randomduck

thoughtful. entertaining. random.

Month: January 2007 (Page 1 of 4)

r.i.p. molly

Her struggle is over – may she rest in peace, and may her writing inspire folks to keep up the good fight.

on wikipedia politics

I love the politics of Wikipedia, especially when the “size of your manhood” debate rears its ugly, pointless head.

Case in point: the current uproar over the entry for Annabel Port, one of the co-hosts of “The Geoff Show” on Virgin Radio. Somebody suggested that Ms. Port’s entry be deleted as she is “of insignificant merit.”

There is a link for discussion of this issue, and many people – myself included – have chimed in with our opinions. Yet there’s a user who is trawling this discussion and trying to discredit those who haven’t made umpteen contributions to Wikipedia entries.

I’ve contributed to Wikipedia a total of 31 times. Most of these are edits to correct grammatical errors or add minor data. But in doing so, it’s increased the quality of these entries, making them more legible and accurate. I don’t contribute to entries where I have little-to-no knowledge of the subject matter at hand. You can view my contributions by clicking on this link.

Yet a Wikipedia user who thinks very highly of himself is harping on me for “only contributing minor edits to articles” as a means to somehow discredit my opinion on an entirely subjective matter.

Repeat after me: what the fuck?!?

If you check out my edits, many are, in fact, minor. But they’re edits that have stood the test of time. And some are major additions or necessary re-formatting of pages to make them more useful to Wikipedia patrons. The fact that most of my entries have survived intact should be a sign that my work hasn’t been trivial.

A look at MSJapan’s contribution history shows that he’s performed more edits and engaged in more discussion, but that his contributions haven’t necessarily been any more major than mine, or those of other Wikipedia users who he’s chosen to try and discredit.

So, to MSJapan, I say this: get a first life!

(Update: the eventual outcome of the Annabel Port entry was to keep it – yay, Annabel!)

think peaceful thoughts for molly

If you read any commentary pieces in the newspaper or online, you’ve undoubtedly run into the brilliant, witty work of Molly Ivins. She’s a Texan who has held BushCo and other dimwitted political types to the fire for years – often having her readers doubled over in laughter along the way.

As many of Molly’s fans know, she’s been battling cancer for the past few years. And it seems that she is losing her war. She recently was in the hospital receiving treatment, but has since returned to her home to die in the company of those she loves.

Molly has been brave in the face of many challenges over the years, and it looks like she’s finally going to lose one for the team. And the best way to honor her life is to read her columns (her latest column, “Stand Up Against The ‘Surge'”, is a doozy), enjoy and support her media outlet, the Texas Observer, and keep her in your thoughts.

And always, always speak truth to power.

while the girls hang out, i shop and watch

As I mentioned yesterday, sprite and her friends spent a lovely afternoon hanging out – click here to read about it.

Meanwhile, I headed over to Arlington, Virginia, to do a little shopping and movie viewing.

The shopping was nothing exciting: bought lunch fixings (deli stuff, nothing special), looked through magazines and books at Barnes & Noble (I need to figure out what reading material I’ll want for the trip to Europe in two weeks), browsed at Best Buy, The Sports Authority, and Shopper’s Food Warehouse.

I browsed a lot because The Departed didn’t start until 4:25.

So I finally got to pass the 50 percent mark in seeing Best Picture contenders. The Departed is a fine film, though hardly Martin Scorsese’s best. The story pits the Massachusetts State Police against a South Boston crime syndicate, showing how neither side is really “in the right” as fellow police officers – one a mole tied to the mob, the other a mole asked to infiltrate the crime syndicate – play a high-stakes game of cat and mouse to bring each other down. The movie has strong, gritty performances from the whole cast, and the movie moves at a brisk pace for more than two hours.

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apartment cleaning

It sucks.

But it is all for a good cause: so that sprite can hang out with her posse.

And I get to go and…. well, have fun for an afternoon. Maybe a movie, maybe some shopping, maybe something else – anything’s game.

workout log: 27 january 2007

Activity: road cycling
Location: Bowie, MD > North Beach, MD
Distance: 62.0 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 3:08
Weather: sunny, 35 to 55 degrees
Avg HR: 160 (max 181)
Type: aerobic

PPTC “Winter Training Loops” ride. A great turnout for this ride, which went the longest proposed distance due to gorgeous weather (a handful of riders opted for a shorter, 52-mile ride). The pace was brisk (19.6 mph average), and the group was in good spirits. The weather warmed throughout, which is good because there are some parts of the route that are notorious for road ice. The rest stop in North Beach featured one of the best espressos I’ve had in some time. I cramped around mile 54 due to dehydration, but rode it out with a simple spin.

three random things

Fun in threes!

  1. It was nice and crisp this morning – in the teens, perfect weather for cycling. At least that’s what I thought.
  2. Thanks to a thread posted at the WordPress Support Forums by Sam, I was able to get the “next page/previous page” links to reappear. It seems that the Adhesive plugin isn’t quite compatible with WordPress 2.1, regardless of what the list on the codex says.
  3. Pizza on a Friday evening is simply wonderful. Even if the pizza isn’t from your favorite purveyor of flatpies, it’s still most lovely.

ironing out the kinks

Okay, so the transition to WordPress 2.1 is not without a few issues.

As Sam pointed out, the “Categories” on the right-hand side are all messed up. Apparently, WordPress 2.1 has reconfigured how a “category” is defined. Thus, the line between blogroll categories and post categories has been effectively erased. Try the links for “cycling” and “cycling & cyclists” for comparison.

Usually, that wouldn’t be a big deal: just exclude the offending blogroll categories. But there is a snag: a few of my blogroll categories (e.g. “politics” and “tech”) share the same name as their post brethren, and thus the same ID number.

So I may need to go in and whack the blogroll categories, rebuilding the blogroll from scratch. I’ve posted a couple of inquiries on the WordPress support forum, so if any visitors from said forum happen by this blog, post a comment with suggestions on how to fix – perhaps ones that aren’t as draconian.

The other problem is that the page navigations that used to appear near that bottom of each page are no longer part of the WP codebase. Thus, you’ll see page navigation in the footer of each page – it’s better than nothing, but not ideal. More debugging.

But I’ve had an easier time than some folks who migrated their sites from older WordPress builds, so I consider the few issues I’ve encountered as lucky.

urban cycling in dc

The mild climate of DC this winter means that more people have been cycling to work this winter.

That’s a good – no, a great thing! I love that people are willing to breathe in a little crisp air, turn their pedals, wake up a bit on their way into work.

All the same, you still see some of the same deplorable habits coming to roost: people running stop signs, people wearing headphones that tune out the traffic noise, people riding without helmets, and people not signaling where they intend to go, people riding without lights or reflective elements after dark.

I try to police things where I can, but I’m not official law enforcement (for the stop sign running and lack of signaling). But it does give those of us who do abide by the law (and common sense, and physics) a bad name. I mean, who’s going to lose when a car and a bike try to share the same space?

If you think it’s the bike, well…. I’m not sure who you are.

And I won’t point the finger at “the usual suspects”: folks like bike couriers and hipsters on their fixies or single-speeds; rather, I point the finger at folks who just don’t think when they ride. As a cyclist on the roads of DC, you are a vehicle using the road – the same as any car, motorcycle or scooter that shares the pavement with you and your wheels. So be an active participant in good road stewarship:

  • Obey stop signs and traffic lights. The extra few seconds per intersection won’t cost you – consider it good power or sprint training for your winter-softened legs.
  • Signal your turns, and take the lane when necessary: be assertive, be seen.
  • Invest $20 in a basic set of lights. Dip a little deeper if you want to get a reflective vest or belt, or a light that’ll give you as much presence as a motorcycle or small car.
  • Take off the headphones when you ride. If you must have tunes, then wear one headphone and keep the volume as low as you can.
  • Wear a helmet: it’s the cheapest insurance policy you can buy if you ride a bike.
  • When in doubt, don’t be stupid: pull off the road and let traffic by, take a breath whatever. Let’s face it: it’s not worth the stress, and sometimes you see some cool stuff by slowing down.

Okay, that was a bit of a rant. I still love the fact that people are still riding their bikes during the winter.

I just hope they also will use some common sense when they ride.

if bush really wants to stomp out earmarks…

….he should be amenable to the elimination of “signing statements” that fundamentally rewrite the bills that congress passes.

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