Archive for August, 2011

More cycling stuff

The rides through George Bush Park, and Terry Hershey Park, combine quite nicely. It is not quite as far as I thought it would be, but 45 miles is a good ride. I may look for a way to add a dozen or so more miles to that ride on Fridays.

A friend talked me into going downtown for another ride on Friday, even though I’d already done my 45 mile ride in the morning, with a ton of people for “Critical Mass.” While I am sure much of the automobile-bound traffic in and around Houston while we were doing this ride were far less than appreciative of the traffic hold up it was a good time. It was not until after the ride ended that anyone tried to run over me. When I was with 100+ cyclists ignoring red-lights and everything else there were no close calls. The moment I went off on my own to ride back to my car, and thus started obeying all traffic lights, I got to exercise my reflexes and halt myself just before an SUV tried to make me its hood ornament. There were probably fewer than five inches between the Ford and my front wheel when I stopped. Reflective strips and a headlight did nothing for me.

One thing that became readily apparent on the Critical Mass ride was that I need to carry some tools on my bike. The Fens does not weigh much, and I could quite probably manage to carry it home on my back if I break anything on a ride. Why I would want to do that when it is pretty easy to fix a flat or replace a tube is beyond me. Last night, I went ahead and ordered a seat bag, tire patch kit, some emergency boots, a CO2 inflator, and a headlight/tail-light combo pack. I’ve already got a cyclometer and a multi-tool on the way. At some point I might actually add a spare tube or two to the list.

Oh look summer!

It would be inaccurate to say I had no summer break, the two weeks I spent in Scotland certainly counted as a vacation. The time after was more than enough to almost make me forget I did any sort of relaxing during the summer months. A few short days after I landed back in Houston my engineering internship with Compressor Products International started. One week later it was time to start my short summer semester of studying partial differential equations.

The internship was great. I learned a lot in a very short period of time about reciprocating compressors and the parts that keep them running. Since the university does not see it fit to make absolutely certain its engineering graduates actually know how to use any 3-D modeling software, I picked up some SolidWorks skills while I was with CPI.

PDE in the summer? Well, that was just insane. If you asked me to explain anything about solving partial differential equations I would have no choice but to direct you towards the internet. The trend where miserably failing grades on a majority of exams somehow turns into a passing grade is fairly alarming, but that trend seems to be growing more common the longer I go to UH. Regardless of the illogical grading system, I will take that C and run with it. Just four more semesters to go.

Over the break, I picked up a new hobby (or means of aerobic exercise). I’ve created a page to track my bicycle rides here. Next month, I’ll be heading up to Arkansas to ride around Little Rock with my brother. My next big ride plan is to ride the MS150 in 2012.

Photography kind of took a back seat once I returned from Scotland. Some of the negatives I made across the Atlantic will absolutely be printed and hung on my wall, but as of yet I have not made a single print this summer. My digital timer is mostly finished, but I managed to break the relay for the 120V side and will have to wait to order another one. I did buy trays to develop 11×14″ paper, since I have quite a lot of that, but I have not used them yet. Over this coming weekend I intend to read “The Print” by Ansel Adams to familiarize myself with a more archival process for developing fiber paper. Once I have digested that it will be time to work on printing some new negatives.

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