Many years ago, I used to sit with a Zen nun. She was a nice lady, and taught me lots of things about Soto Zen Buddhism. I was about 18 years old at the time, and I ended up getting more interested in chasing girls and getting drunk than I was in staring at the walls and waiting for enlightenment.Lately, I don’t drink so much, and I no longer have the energy to chase women, and so I’ve been thinking about getting back into formal meditation. Google only turns up 2 meditation centers in the Harrisburg area, neither of which appeal to me too much.

Today, my mom came down to visit, and she told me that my old nun has been making the papers in Williamsport.

Rev. Dai-en Bennage

While I was goofing off, Rev. Bennage was being sworn in as the Abbess of the Mt. Equity Zendo.

I think I might make the trip up and see if I’m not better able to concentrate, now that I’m no longer a drunken teenager.

Technical Difficulties

I made a good-faith effort to upgrade the blog to wordpress 2.0.3 today. I ran into some problems with PHP. I believe these problems are on the hosting end of things.While I await a reply from customer service, I have restored from backup.

9 Miles

Got my headlight out and went cruising around Mechanicsburg. Got chased by a weener dog…

My Route

Land – O – Lakes

I was a little bored today, and so I got to thinking about how to optimize my commute.This is a composite map of the area surrounding my route to work.


My commute takes me roughly from the lower left to the upper right side of the map. The map is somewhat deceptive, however, because many of the roads depicted on the map are utterly worthless to me as a bicycler. Dead ends, cul-de-sacs, and restricted highways are all useless to me.

To make the map more useful to bicyclists, I have gone ahead and retouched it to make it seem like any worthless piece of asphalt is actually a body of water.

Highways are rivers, and unnavigable cul-de-sac neighborhoods are ponds.

This is what the same area looks like from the perspective of a bicyclist.

A practical view of the neighborhood

Seeing the map this way also makes it plain that there simply isn’t ANY east-west route through the area that doesn’t involve one of the busy arterial roads. I have to take either the Carlisle Pike, Trindle Road, Simpson Street, or Gettysburg road.

I usually take Simpson in the morning, because there isn’t much traffic, and Gettysburg in the afternoon, because it gets less than the others (but it still gets a lot).

We could really use a bike path along that railroad line right through the center of the picture.

Commutasaurus Rex

I woke up on time and rode to work.

I am the man.

Damn right, it's better than yours

My laptop bag brings the nerds to the yard,
And they’re like,
It’s better than yours,
Damn right it’s better than yours.

Getting back on the wagon

I went for a bike ride today. I haven’t been riding a whole lot lately, and my general fitness level has deteriorated significantly. I didn’t make it as far as I was planning to.I was coming over this hill and was passed by another cyclist. This guy had fenders and panniers on. How embarrassing.

Share the road
The fires of Isengard will spread, and the forests of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn.

I followed a side street that had a chain across it to keep people out. I decided to investigate. I found an oil pipeline!

Oil pipeline
And all that was once green and good in this world will be gone.

You know what we don’t have enough of around here? Well I’ll tell you what. We don’t have enough butt-fucking-ugly buildings around here. Let’s build some more.

Bulldozing the woods
There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.

I set the Trek back up for commuting duty. I need to ride more regularly. I ordered a pair of non-clipless pedals today. I think one of the reasons I never ride the Trek is because I don’t like to screw around looking for the special shoes I need to ride it.

Barring any unfortunate alarm clock malfunctions tommorow morning, I’m going to get back on the bicycle commutung bandwagon as often as I can. I’ve been a real slacker lately.

Suburbia For Sale?

I just came back from a ride through suburbia. I was just kind of cruising along through some of the housing developments near my neighborhood. (I’m the “bad element” in this neck of the woods).Anyhow, I was surprised to see how many McMansions had for-sale signs in their front yards. These are houses that were built less than five years ago. One neighborhood only one block away had 3 houses in a row up for sale.

I wonder why the whole neighborhood decided to move away…..

Maybe the owners are those foolish people you hear about who got the biggest adjustable-rate mortgage they could afford and now the rate ‘adjusted’ and they can’t afford the payment.

Maybe it’s because of the price of gas? Doubtful. I mean, we are a whole nine miles from downtown Harrisburg, and it’s less than one mile to a bus stop.

My hypothesis is that these are people who commute to Baltimore from here. It’s 80 miles to Baltimore.

Let’s see… an 80 mile commute each way is 160 miles. Assume they have a half-decent car that gets 30mpg. That’s 5.33 gallons of gasoline per day. There are about 20 working days per month, so these people are burning thought 106 gallons of gasoline per month, just in commuting.

At $3/gallon that’s a gasoline budget of over $300 per month.

Of course many of these people drive faux military vehicles which get about 15 miles to a gallon.

I guess maybe it’s both the interest rates and the price of gas. If they are already squeezed on mortgage payments, an extra $300-$600/month on gasoline could really mess up the finances.

That seems a little bit insane to me.

I hear people bitching at work about this stuff. Apparently they “worked real hard to get where they are” and it’s “not right.” I feel sad for them. Thier entire notion of ’success’ hinges on a totally ridiculous concept of a ‘dream house’ in the suburbs.

There are better things to dream about than vinyl siding and sheetrock.

More Artsy-Fartsiness

I know that my readers come to for the superlative professionalism and maturity with which I conduct this blog.

With that in mind, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum:

Rick Santorum loves the cock

Self Portrait

Viking Super Hero

I used to be a viking super hero

This project started out as a really bad 1 megapixel photo from a crappy web-cam. I vectorized it in inkscape, re-rasterized it at high resolution, and did some finishing work in the gimp.

I always wanted to draw comics, but I have zero artistic ability. I wonder if I could use this technique to create a comic from live-action photographs.

Speaking of comics, check out Gone With the Blastwave. It’s pretty funny.