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Trompe d'Oeil

Boston Painting

I’m not a packrat, but I have an eye for memorabilia, socking away strange little keepsakes that would otherwise land in a dumpster. Examples include circuit boards from the PDP-11 system I managed in college, and the brass corporate mission plaque from MediQual, my first post-college employer.

Another such item is a poster-sized oil painting that hung over Sapient’s front desk back in 1995, when I was first hired by the nascent internet consulting company.

It was an original composition by Courtney, Sapient’s receptionist, who had recently graduated with a bachelors degree in studio art at Dartmouth College. Painted a year earlier, it depicts a streetscape of brownstones in Boston’s South End, where she lived.

During her years at Sapient, Courtney left the front desk and led new e »more

Boston Painting

Boston Painting

Streetscape of Boston's South End neighborhood, 2'x3' oil on canvas, Courtney Dickenson 1994.

Yeah, Yeah, Bicycle

We’re halfway through August, and 2018 persistently continues to be a lackluster year. Even this “catch up on miscellaneous topics” post consists almost entirely of disappointments.

In one of my least exciting accomplishments, I’ve reached 16,800 miles on my 2013 Specialized Roubaix, surpassing the miles I put on my first bike, a steel 2000 Devinci hybrid. Still need 6,000 more to eclipse the Plastic Bullet, my 2006 Roubaix.

Another less than earth-shattering development: I bought this Kool Stop tire bead jack. Why? Well, I guess it does prevent me from pinching and puncturing the inner tube when installing a tire. But that’s about as positive as anything that’s happened this year.

Another unnecessary purchase yielded a worse result. By installing this funky combination headset spacer a »more

This Is Ourselves Under Pressure

Obsessive-compulsive here has been logging his blood pressure weekly since 2014. That’s enough data points to provide a reliable test for the conventional belief that regular exercise lowers blood pressure.

An online search yields a common assertion that daily exercise can lower one’s blood pressure by 4-9 mmHg, although references are inconsistent about whether that refers to both both systolic and diastolic BP or just systolic. The effect is greater for people with existing high blood pressure than for those with normal readings.

Although I do try to ride in the winter, my volume of exercise is still far greater in the summer months, so the seasons make a logical way to compare periods of high versus low activity.

So I defined the winter as the six months from November through Apri »more

Site News: Added Current Satellite Image

Added the current weather satellite image and link, sourced from NOAA's GOES-EAST.

Allegheny to Windgap

2018 Every Neighborhood Ride

The run-up to this year’s Every Neighborhood Ride wasn’t promising. Four weeks ago, I struggled to complete the much easier ABC Ride (blogpost). A week later, my lack of fitness caused me to DNS (Did Not Start) on the Three State Century. Followed by 10 days off the bike due to weather and bad morale, I was unprepared for the rigors of Every Neighborhood, which has more climbing than any ride I’ve done, bar one.

Leader Jen, cramping Ornoth, and the intermediate group at the final rest stop.

Every Neighborhood is usually part of Pittsburgh’s week-long BikeFest, but BikePGH, the local “bike advocacy” group, decided it was too much effort to sponsor one of the few good things it does for people who actually ride bicycles. And so a rich 15-year tradition dies at the hands of the people »more