Still Pedaling

Perhaps you’ve already read this?

“The solution to obesity is not that everyone should run a marathon,” said Michael Earls, co-author of the study. “It’s the little things that begin to
make a dent in the problem, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator
or riding your bike to work.”

Clicky CNN Article!

Yup, I’ve been riding to work…

Why do I talk about bicycling so much?

I find it fun and challenging. It meets my need to do something physical and be practical. I can attach a basket to the back and get some groceries a couple times a week. Or if I have some heavy duty shopping to do, I can attach a trailer and crate to get a full load of groceries. It gets me to work without having to wait in traffic, pay for gas (Premium @ $2.76), or pay $6 for parking. I’ll ride it to a friend’s house to return some DVDs. I’ve actually had a couple of periods where I didn’t drive my car at all for 2 full weeks or in one case, 3 weeks.

I started riding seriously in 2000/2001 while getting ready for the Montana AIDS Vaccine ride but partially because I was starting to worry about my health. The years of a sedate lifestyle of gaming, watching movies, drawing, working at a desk and driving everywhere was leading me to gaining weight and I started to get winded walking up a single flight of stairs.

At my heaviest, I was 175lbs.

I quickly dropped that weight while training for Montana and got down to 155lbs. After the 7-day, 575-mile torture ride through the plains of the “Big Sky” I was at 150lbs. Of course, I had relaxed my riding a bit, ate like a starved man and gained it back up to 160lbs in a couple of months.

I’ve since flucuated between 160-165lbs. There was one exception when I had dropped down to 150lbs in one month due to the antibiotics I was taking and the dental work that made it difficult to eat. Of course, I gained it back when I was healed-up, regained my appetite and could digest like a normal person again.

Right now, I’m 163lbs +/- 2lbs due to water gain and loss from working out. I actually feel thinner, my clothes are fitting a little better, and I see quite a bit of definition in my legs and back. I hope to get down to 150lbs but realise that I just won’t be able to get below that without some drastic measures that I’m not willing to take.

I LOVE Chocolate and Pizza. I have to eat something chocolate at least once a day. I have to eat pizza at least once a week. They are my guilty pleasures, my vices. I cannot give them up. Now watch as I smack my arm like a crack-addict.

I have to say that I’m in better shape now than I was at the end of last summer. By next summer, I will ride that 200-miles in one day. I will ride back-to-back 100-mile routes in 2 days. I will ride that 12-hour and 24-hour endurance mountain bike races as a SOLO rider.

Now, I just need to work on my upper body for rock climbing, again.

-TQ

It just makes sense

Coding has taught me to look for ways to be efficient.

Why do we write dates as MM-DD-YY? or now MM-DD-YYYY or MM/DD/YYYY?

We write time as HH:MM:SS, right? Each set moving left is a power of the set on the right.

So why don’t we write YYYY-MM-DD? Or just YYYYMMDD?

I could even incorporate time into the date: YYYYMMDDHHMMSS providing we are using 24-hour clock.

Example: 20050913153600 is the time of this post.

I Can’t Do That Anymore

Ever reach a point in your life when something you’ve been doing for some years, months, weeks or days, can no longer be done?

Back in 1994, I was working at a rental hall for over two years as a kitchen staff slash handyman. It was sometimes hard work with awkward hours on the weekends, a couple of weeknights and occasionally a minor holiday like Memorial Day. I hated it. There was nothing challenging about it that a simple teen couldn’t do. I felt it was beneath me. There was nowhere to go with it, no advancement, just regular torment by the owner’s daughter and the other female staff as myself and my brother were the only males. I was too meek to defend myself or fight back, I had been raised with two older sisters so I thought I had tough skin.

One day, I cycling the 1.5 mile route to work and I passed through the field that goes to my high school. I decided to take a detour through Rosie’s Park and ride the track a lap or two to get some excess energy out of the way. I found myself not wanting to go to the hall. I wanted to stay home and work on something else. I wanted something better. I could no longer stand being teased, treated like a retard, washing dishing dishes until my hands were raisins, or being the grunt to lift things because someone just had their fingernails painted.

I stopped at the bleachers of the school’s baseball diamond for a think to see if I just needed to calm down and suck it in. Two hours later, my dad pulled around in his pickup truck since the hall had called to ask if I was coming in. He wasn’t mad, but rather worried that I was just sitting up in the bleachers with my bike and not in an accident. We sat and talked for a few minutes while I explained I just couldn’t do it anymore. For once, he was rather understanding, loaded my bike in the back of the pickup, and took me home to order some Chinese carry-out from “The Wokery”.

Shortly after that, I had started a job at Toys R US working in the warehouse and receiving area. I thought I was be stocking toys, doing inventory, and helping customers but instead I worked for about 5 months as a grunt, unloading the trucks, retrieving large ticket items from the warehouse and loading them into people’s vehicles and causing my back all sorts of problems. Mindless. The only fun thing about the job is that I violated so many OSHA rules by standing on the very top of A-frame ladders, climbing the warehouse shelves like a monkey, jumping from shelf to shelf like a squirrel. It was like a giant jungle gym. Unfortunately, I grew tired of breaking my back, putting in 12+hour days, dealing with smokers in the employee lounge while I tried to do homework. Then, one day, I simply couldn’t walk into the store. I just drove to an arcade I frequented and played a couple hours of “Killer Instinct” and various other games. The next day, I went to the store and said I’d be no longer coming in.

I’ve had several other jobs since then that have brought me various levels of joy, frustration, misery, education and pay but I don’t think I was ever really “happy” doing them. CompUSA, IDSI, ESI, Volkswagen, Noma…they all left me feeling like there was something else I’d really rather be doing.

I’ve spent the past several years learning various Windows systems, Groupwise, Netware, Exchange, Backup Software, Anti-virus and other office applications but now I’m finding myself at a point where I just don’t care anymore. I don’t see a point to it.

I thought it was just the environment I did not enjoy. I thought it was the people. I’m starting to realize it was the subject material itself that brought me pain, sleepless nights, anxiety, and misery.

I’m tired of supporting these complex systems of software that only seem to conflict with each other, make themselves targets for malicious programs like viruses and spyware, no ROI, and have design flaws that make me wonder if this stuff was meant to be broken all the time as job security. It’s quite frustrating working until midnight cleaning all the systems in the ENTIRE company of some new version of a virus when you had just done the same thing not a week earlier.

I no longer wish to be a “System-Supporter”.

I wish to be a “Content-Creator”.

I want to make content. I want to make functioning systems of my own design, cartoons, animation, web-pages, comics and games. If I have to work in a business environment, then it will be in an environment that caters to my needs professionally and personally. I no longer wish to sacrifice personal health, relationships, personal time, holidays, birthdays and weekends for “the good of the company”.

Money alone is no longer worth my well being.

What do I plan on doing? I’ll explain in a later post as I start to realize it myself.

-TQ

Free Expression, Not Free Marketing

I think it’s very nice that Google offers free Blogger accounts to any hu-man that would like to record their thoughts, ramblings, shout-outs, or whatever they please to use for personal reasons.

What is flat out evil are the people that take advantage of this free space and create Marketing Blogs that just have a bunch of posts with keywords for whatever it is they are trying to sell, picture of said items, or just nothing but links to what they are trying to sell.

This is also along the same lines of Comment Spam. The post I wrote concerning the Bridge Pedal had 4 spam comments in one day. I don’t care about Free Kitten T-Shirts, Cialis, Pharmicuticals or ANYTHING.

This blog is for PERSONAL use and PERSONAL comments. It’s bad enough I have to change e-mail addresses because I can no longer be bothered to sift through the THOUSANDS of SPAM i get per day.

The reason I bring this up is because of the “Next Blog” Button.

I clicked on the button out of curiousity. I wanted to see a complete stranger’s blog and what they would write about it. Instead, I had to click through 4 SPAM-BLOGS, before I got to a real blog that was actually in a different language. Some blogs even get rid of the Blogger tool-bar, or just the “Flag” button so they couldn’t be flagged as being in violation of the useage terms.

FUCK THEM

The Tour is Coming

The 2005 Tour de France starts this Saturday, July 2. I’m very excited at the prospects of Lance winning this seventh in a row Tour, but I just have this gut feeling he’s not going to do it. I was also pesimistic about it last year and look what happened.

I hope I can find a channel to watch it on this Saturday during our BBQ…maybe Lee is also interested in watching…

Unfortunately, I’m completely shut off from all forms of internetformation at the Port of Portland so any time-checks I want to do will have to wait until I get home from work. *sigh*

The Hunt Continues

Yes, yes, yes…I am still searching a job. I’M SEARCHING SO HARD! I haven’t recieved any calls for interviews yet, but I’m still hopeful…still hopeful.

What have I done? Uh…ermm…

Last Wednesday (June 8) I hiked Dog Mountain with a local mountaineering group call the Mazamas. It was just under 3000 feet of elevation gain in just a few miles. Most of the trail was very steep and just KILLER on my calves and glutes. On the way down, it tortured my quads like nothing else. I couldn’t walk right for 3 days! Also, during my Dog Mountain recovery time, I had a cold that I believe I caught from Matt or Kris, they both had it. But now, I’m much better even though my sinuses are still draining.

Uh…ermmm…

Oh yeah! That’s it!

Cheers!

Open Drawing Night


I went to an open Life Drawing session today. This is the only day I’ve draw since early March. Wow, I felt rusty at first, but by the time I got to this drawing, I was feeling much more confident. I will be going to other Life Drawing sessions at different locations this week and again to this one next Monday. You can see the rest of the drawings if you go to http://www.functionalsponge.com/My_Art/ Posted by Hello

Migrating West


My car with all it’s traveling junk on top near the first quarter of traveling through Wyoming. It wasn’t too cold, but enough for the snow to stick to the ground but not the highway. You can’t tell, but it was REALLY windy out there! Posted by Hello

The Final Stretch

Well, Friday was the “Final Stretch” of my long and treacherous
journey into the West.

I had a decent rest at the “Sleep Inn” but couldn’t get the internet
access to work, I think the port in my room didn’t work and I didn’t
have a wireless adapter at the time.

It was a perfect sunny day to finish making my way to Boise, Idaho and
onto Oregon. Fluffy clouds, bright sun and rolling hills on either
side of the highway. It was so nice.

As I crossed the border into Oregon, it became clear that I was indeed
in another land. Mountains, very green grass, and valleys. Ah,
refreshment. It was inspiration to keep going until I made it to
Portland.

About 6.5 hours later, I made it to Multnomah Falls just East of
Portland on Highway 84 just off the coast of the Columbia River. I
will be posting my first pic of it tonight. Keep in mind that when
the picture was taken, I only had about 16 hours total of sleep in
three full days and have been driving for over 34 hours. Mind the
baggage.

Even though I ran into some drizzle in Oregon, it never developed into
full blow rain downpour…until later.

About 6pm EST (I think) I finally made it to Matt and Kris’s house in
Milwaukie, just south of Portland. Man…I was beat. It was such a
relief to see them again and be at a place I could finally rest for a
few days.

We went out to dinner and drove around a bit the local area, we even
went to Fry’s Electronics (My Favorite Electronics Store) to get my
computer a wireless ethernet adapter. yay!

I think it ended up being about midnight local time before I finally
crashed in my bed that was so pleasently supplied by M&K.

Unfortunately, this part of the trip was probably the least eventful,
and least memorable since exhaustion tends to mess with my memory of
details.

And now…my new life begins…

Cheers!

Tomas Quinones
Professional Geek

The Next 18 Hours

I know the update is late, but here it is, so stop whining.

Thursday, May 12 2005:

After sleeping a few hours preceding my brush with Tornado driven
DEATH, I prematurely awoke on my comfy bed of $75 per night when I had
only slept maybe 5 or 6 hours. So, cleaned up I got, dressed and
packed myself back into the car. I was back on the road by 10:30am
EST. This early rise after not going to bed until 3am was probably
due to my nocturnal conditioning of not being able to sleep-in past
9am on a week day. *sigh*

Nebraska, sans Wizard of Oz grade weather patterns, is quite the
boring drive. Long stretches of 2-lane divided highway with the
frequent occurance of farms and various livestock. If I had not just
been in the storms and hailing, I would have not known anything had
happened to the area. No downed trees, powerlines or other weird
anomolies.

After driving for an hour and realizing I needed food and petrol, I
pulled-over at a gas station that seemed to be Nebraska’s Mecca of
knock-off merchandise and other things that children would want but
should have. Various knife-based art works such as the
knife-scorpion, the Skull with Knife-Teeth, the flying killing thing
from “Krull” but with only three blades and skulls in the handle and
other weapons of death that are all reasonably priced at $29.99.
Other things of interest included a miniature ridable version of OCC’s
“Black Widow” chopper that looked like it was meant for children but
actually had very small engine, not some cheap plastic power-wheels
thingie.

As I drove on, I came across the Platte memorial archway. I don’t
know jack about it other than it’s an unfinished bridge that spans the
highway but doesn’t have any ramps leading to it. Very weird in my
eyes.

On to Wyoming…

Why-Oh-Ming. Much more interesting in landscape and roadway
navigation than Neb-Rass-Kah. As soon as I crossed into the land of
Ming, I was surrounded by shear cliffs and mountain passes. Hurrah!
Something to admire! But admire I did only in small doses for I was
determined to get into Idaho before I called it a day so the only
stops I made were for refueling.

Now, I was making good time for a while there, but I started to notice
that my fuel efficiency was going WAY down in the Miles-Per-Gallon, so
naturally I started to worry that something was wrong with my car. On
top of this worry, I started driving to “Medicine Bow” mountain range
which went from sunny and clear to slightly snowing with an inch or
two on the ground but no snow on the road at all. It was as if the
snow didn’t fall on the road, only on the shoulder and grasslands. I
eventually stopped at a pull-over area where truckers can install or
remove chains from their tires so I could throw away accumulated
banana peels and that’s when I noticed that the wind was a strong
20-30mph at least at all times and was causing my car to shake a bit
since I had the aero-dynamics of an elephant at this point.

I eventually made one last stop in Wyoming before crossing into the
norther corner of Colorado. A very busy Pilot station was a welcome
stop to me since all previous stations in this state were very small
gas stations with sub-par facilities that reaked of “Red-Neck”
influences. What was special about this stop is that the very cute
girl at the counter did charge me for one of the two items I had
bought. “You got a good deal tonight”, “I did?”, “Yes, look at your
reciept”, “Huh? What am I looking at?” Yeah, I felt kind of special
for not having to pay for my Gatorade…I would have asked for her
number had I not been passing through…she was so cute…I should
have got a picture!

Eventually, I started to grow very tired again, somehow making my way
into Idaho without the slightest clue as to the terrain surrounding
I-84, which I later found out to my dismay, I had missed a lot of
scenic passages due to the night-time rain I pushed myself to drive
through.

I eventually called Davecat again since my drive was getting a bit
boring and needed some human interaction that didn’t involve a food or
fuel purchase. I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but it
helped keep me alert for a few more hours until I eventually pulled up
into town and grabbed a room at a “Sleep Inn” at 4:30 am. I do
remember getting a bit of a discount from the manager since I would
only be there for 6 hours. Again, only another 5.5 hours of sleep
despite the onset of driving exhaustio.

End of Day 2 of THE GREAT MIGRATIONENING 2005!

Stay tuned for “The Final Stretch”

Tomas Quinones
Professional Geek

The Migration Begins – The First 15 Hours

Wow, what a night. I just finished 15 hours of driving through
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and about a third of Nebraska.

I left home around 10:45am Tuesday morning after having breakfast with
my roomate, Adam, one last time. Driving through Michigan wasn’t at
all eventful and the same goes for Indiana.

As for Illinois, someone is going to get a kick in the balls (or
mammaries) for their Chicago area construction planning. I got stuck
in an “express lane” of some sort for several miles before I saw a
sign that said “No Exit to I-80” which was precisely my destination.
Having been lost in the Chicago area before, I wasn’t bound to let
this happen again. I happen to be fortunate enough that there was
just enough road between the end of “Express” and the exit to i-80
that I was able to bolt over 5 lanes within a few hundred feet to get
in line to pay the one toll I’ve had so far. Freakin’ Scary. The
rest of Illinois was just plain boring. Long straight highway over
flat land.

Iowa wasn’t too much different at all. The weather was still overcast
with some sunlight peaking in here and there but just plain sucky. I
kept my mind busy tallying scores for different items like: Pieces of
Gum Chewed, Refueling stops, Rest Stops, State Troopers, Cow Farms,
construction sites and more! I will elaborate on this during a
different e-mail.

As soon as I got into Nebraska, everything changed. It started
constantly raining. The road became very glossy and difficult to see
the lane markers and the wind started picking up a bit. Then the rain
calmed down and I started to see a lot of lightning in the distance
but had not been able to find any weather reports to find out what I
was getting into this evening. As the miles wore on, the rain grew
heavier, the wind stronger and the lightning was playing havoc with my
radio reception. At this point, I pulled over near an underpass
behind two other vehicles because the crosswind seemed to get
dangerously strong. I tried to bring up my GPS and map to find out
where I was so I could listen to the weather report and see how bad it
was going to get, but my cell and gps both could not get signal.
Crap! I had a general idea on the map, but I hadn’t seen any road
signs for miles so I wasn’t entirely certain.

After waiting for the wind to die down, I decided to hit the road
again and was rewarded soon afterwards with calmer winds and less
rain. In fact, the rain had stopped completely and the lightning had
moved to a different spot on the horizon. I even called my friend
Davecat to talk to him about it since I was getting pretty freaked out
over the possibility of a chance tornado encounter. No sooner had it
seemed like the weather was going to be OK, the frequency of lighting
in my immediate horizon became so short that it strobed. At this
point I got Davecat off the phone, the rain picked up and within a
couple of minutes, it was raining so hard I had to slow down into
second gear and get into a rest stop that came up at exactly the right
moment. No sooner had I stepped out of my car that hail started to
fall.

When I think of hail in Michigan, I think of grains of rice size.
Hail in Nebraska has been known to get to GOLF BALL SIZE during this
time of the year. Great. Tonight, however, it only got to be green
pea sized. Still, it was heavy enough and so much of it in a few
minutes I started to worry about the damage my poor car may suffer.

I got Davecat on the phone AGAIN, because at this point, I was pretty
freaked out about the turn of events and the possiblity of DEATH. I
got pretty soaked in the 20 feet I ran from my car to the restroom
pavilion at the rest stop and was getting a bit cold since I was only
wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals. My raingear was all in a crate
on top of my car that is impossible to get to until I take my bike off
the roof and cut the sealing duct-tape. Not going to happen.

After about 20 minutes, the rain seemed to calm down again, the hail
had stopped after 5 minutes and I had chatted up a really young couple
that was traveling from Ohio to Idaho to go work on a co-op farm for 3
months.

That does it, I was heading to hotel. I was pretty awake and alert and
would have driven straight through the night but I was scared, cold
and a bit of a nervous reck.

I drove to the nearest town of Grand Island and checked into a Holiday
since the two cheaper motels of Super 8 and Howard Johnson were both
out of non-smoking rooms nor had internet access. Oh well, a bit more
money to spend but I will get a better rest out of it.

And so, my wear mind bids thee good night. Tomorrow, the journey
(hopefully) continues.

Drive time: 15 hours out of an estimated 35 until destination.

Cheers!


Tomas Quinones
Professional Geek