I had avoided cell phones, smart phones and mobile technology -- until now.  My one small contribution to the untold billions spent on Black Friday was to order this device from Amazon -- a basic 4G capable Android phone for the T-mobile network.

T-mobile (at least while the company still exists in North America) has a $30/month unlimited data plan that comes without the necessity of two year contracts or 450 minutes of unwanted and expensive voice minutes per month.

When the device shows up, I intend to 'root' it (delete a host of unwanted pre-installed software), install a VOIP dialer, and use a Google Voice number over data or (when available) WiFi connections.  If this works well then my days with a landline phone may be numbered.

It will be interesting to see how this changes me -- if at all.  Perhaps constant connectivity will reinvigorate my waning interest in online oversharing and having a camera with me more often may open some new possibilities.

...or perhaps I'll just play Angry Birds instead.


Go-go girls ascendant as Tyler fades away

To run this totally inconsequential site, is to have a small keyhole through which to peer at the pulsing global consciousness:  The traffic reports reveal what people all over the world are searching for.  

And what does this record reveal?  

That erotic massage in Kathmandu (Thamel, specifically) is now the single most searched topic on this site.

Looking for love tawdry, paid-for sex in all the wrong places...
And the thing is, that I'm sure that these worldwide seekers of pleasure are pretty disappointed when they click through... because the post in question alludes to tawdry, paid-for sex, but does not describe any such activity, because there were no such activities to describe on the night in question. 

Go-go dancers, alas not of Nepal, but of New York City
Time marches on and memories fade.
And how has traffic to this site evolved?  Back in 2007 I inadvertently Google-bombed cyclist Tyler Hamilton's then-wife (the topic of the post was doping) and this post was the single most trafficked page on this site through the spring of 2011.

In May, however, Hamilton confessed on 60 Minutes and ignominiously retired, and ever since, search traffic to this post has tapered off.  Two trends remain, however:
  1. If it's not the topic of drugs, it's the topic of sex, that drives traffic to this site.  The post "Drugs and sex remain popular" is already written.
  2. No one really cares about where I ride my bike or the other more recent triviality that shows up here.     


Out and back

I have not been very active on this blog lately. "Moonlight in Vermont or Starve" is a bumper sticker here and I have managed to juggle a string of roles, some professional and challenging, others more mundane (landscaping), in an attempt to keep the repo man at bay.

Also some of my roles involve blogging and after coming up with coherent, well-argued, typo-free blog posts on varied topics in the workplace the last thing I want to do is come home and blog some more.

It has, however, been a warm and clement November which has meant that my Sunday routine has involved watching a  cyclocross race (usually a Superprestige or World Cup) from Europe online and then going for a ride on my road bike.

After several years away from the road bike it is strange and somewhat awkward to spend hours in the saddle again.  I find that both leg speed (ie, cadence) and overall speed is lacking on the bike but there's no doubt that the longer road climbs in the area offer a chance to gain strength and fitness that will carry over to nordic skiing and next year's riding season.
The usual lumpy Vermont ride profile.



One can sense the end of the year aproaching -- and it's not just from the holiday commercials showing up on television.  Images from a (probably) last ride on Waterbury's Perry Hill trail network near my home last week.  Wind and a light dusting of snow over the weekend finished removing any remaining foliage from the trees:  It is officially 'stick season' now.

There was still some color in the understory on the trails at lower elevation.

These trails close for the season on November 1.  If there are some balmy clement days in November I may poach a couple of quick rides but for the most part riding season here is over until 2012.

Higher up, the trees were pretty bare and the thick layer of leaves on the ground made for very tricky riding, even on trails that I know very well.

I know it is perfectly absurd of me and also that I am not a very technically proficient mountain biker but I was quite pleased with myself when I learned to ride these rocks on my rigid bike.   When I first encountered this obstacle many years ago I thought to myself "there's no way I'll ride this".

The 'line', roughly.
My Redline has served me well but now that I have a mostly functional road bike I can set about upgrading or replacing this rig.  Most of the time the rigid bike is fine but I have done some longer rides where the Redline has delivered a real beating and left me sore and barely able to ride.  Salsa's "Adventure by bike" slogan and design philosophy has a certain appeal....
The GPS track of this ride.