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[public] Training update [May. 5th, 2008|11:26 pm]
Paul
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These past few days have seen lots of progress on training!

On Saturday, I went biking. It was rather wetter than I would have liked. For the first half of the ride, I rode with jmboyles, mh75, and a few others from what's become of our STP biking list. We started out from UZ, in the hopes that this brief break in the rain was actually more than that. Nope. We stopped at Matthew's Beach to meet someone who was running late, and then the rain picked up on the way to Logboom Park. After a bit of hanging out, I turned around and headed back, as I had no interest in doing the full 50 miles that many in the group wanted to do. I was also starting to get a little cold. What I hadn't realized is how much my rear rack on my old bike kept water from getting kicked up onto me; my back and butt had gotten nicely soaked by my rear wheel.

I slowly made it back just fine, a bit tired, and none the worse for wear, and overall happy that I had gone, particularly to catch up with a few friends I hadn't seen recently.Collapse )

Then, on Sunday, I did Mary Meyer's pool training clinic. It was lot of information (and slightly overwhelming as a result), but it was also way helpful. I intend to go again and expect it to not be overwhelming a second time because I'll already know some of their standard drills. My typical stroke count has been 24-28; it dropped to somewhere around 16, and the pool seemed a lot shorter than 25 yards. Now we'll see whether I can remember all the tips. Or even half of them. The thing that made the biggest difference for me was angling my body (and not my head, oops!) to one side or the other with my stroke (you should only be flat 5-10% of the time; most of the time you should be at a 30-to-60-degree angle). I also need to work on kicking; the other coach gave me a specific exercise to do for that, which I think sneaks in getting used to having my back straight (instead of dragging my lower torso through the water). One other group drill was intended to get us to keep the shoulder that's not being used for the current stroke in tight (close to the ear). jmboyles jotted down more notes of what both of us remembered; one of us will probably post those.

This morning, while getting dressed, I realized that at least one shirt no longer fits over my upper arm comfortably.

And I finally did some running again! I've had my running shoes at work for a week or so; this afternoon, I walked out to the waterfront, and then alternated running two blocks, then walking one block unless waiting for a don't-walk signal gave me a break. I made it to Madison before turning around, and was still jogging about half the time until I left the waterfront and about half the distance (roughly 1/3 of the time) until I was pretty close to my building, for a total distance of, um, probably 1.6 miles. That went much better than I expected! I intend to do roughly the same level for a bit simply to get my body used to those running shoes with their new orthotics, and break in both shoes and orthotics before increasing distance or run/walk ratio.
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[public] Caucus! [Apr. 7th, 2008|02:36 pm]
Paul
I went to the 46th district Democratic caucus yesterday, as a delegate for my precinct. Not surprisingly, it was pretty chaotic and long. Unsurprisingly, this writeup is also long.Collapse )
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[public] Java Newbie [Mar. 26th, 2008|12:32 am]
Paul
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I'm starting to get the hang of Java, though I'm still definitely a newbie. Here's what I think so far; I may post more later; we'll see.

Paul's random commentary on JavaCollapse )
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Washington Democratic caucus [Feb. 7th, 2008|11:57 pm]
Paul
The WA Democratic party expects the precinct caucuses to be a zoo this year, both because of a trend in increased participation and because it'll play a significant role in choosing the Democratic candidate.

I encourage everyone to attend! (Well, you have to be a Washington-registered voter, or a Washington resident under 18 who expects to turn 18 and be eligible to vote by the November elections.) If you're a Republican, then you should attend the Republican caucus, which I know nothing about.

I also encourage y'all to help them go smoothly and be successful. To that end, here's my advice, based on a combination of my experience leading my precinct's caucus four years ago and being marginally in the loop for this year's planning...if you want to help them go smoothly, there are a variety of things you can do to help the Democratic precinct caucuses in WA:
helping out...Collapse )

Lastly, if you feel strongly about a candidate, spend some time preparing yourself to be able to explain to the crowd why you support that candidate. I was on the fence going in to my caucus in 2004, but the Dean folks got my vote because they could explain why they liked him.
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voting... [Oct. 31st, 2007|10:22 am]
Paul
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I know, many of you have probably mailed in your ballots already.

There have been lots of election things showing up in my mail and on my answering machine. I've been ignoring most of them. Why? My real dilemma is what to do with Prop. 1. I think I'm siding with Ron Sims' viewpoint. It seems sad to vote against the expansion of light rail and other things with this package. However, I'm disappointed by some of the choices the light rail district made, including going with the highest-cost option which seems to provide light rail to a slew of areas with low-density housing, and I totally agree with the congestion pricing concept; it seems like an innovative way to maximize the throughput of highways by using economics to reduce the traffic volumes to the sweet spot where the most vehicles can get through (for this reason, WSDOT now only counts congestion when traffic speeds drop below 70% of the speed limit; see WSDOT's Gray Notebook, Sept 2006, mentioned in Lite edition, but only the full edition has a decent explanation).

I actually started thinking in this direction before Ron Sims went public with his opinion; what got me started was my brother dzolo's comment on my viaduct post when that went up for vote, as well as my own ruminations of how expensive WSDOT's ferry system is. The ferry system is rather expensive, and most of the time, it benefits a small percentage of the state residents even though it's heavily supported by state funding. WSDOT's default mode of operation is to try to keep doing as good or better at moving people; from there, it's a small step to always building out transportation facilities. What if we froze our ferry system's capacity at its current levels, and raised prices to maximize the income from ferry fees (based on at what threshhold various percentages of people would stop using the ferries), and possibly used congestion pricing there as well? This way, very gradually, we could wean the ferry system away from the subsidies they get, without abruptly disrupting the communities that have come to depend on the ferries. Taking my brother's comments into account, gradually, people's choices would change, as they took the ferry price increases into account when selecting housing, and thus many things would be kept more or less in balance.

Which gets me thinking...if this idea can safely be applied to the ferries or the viaduct, could it be applied to the 520 bridge? How could we design a system that would provide the right incentives to slowly shift our region to not needing that bridge at all over the next 10-20 years, or having just a 2-lane bridge for some combination of transit, HOV, and people willing to pay (probably quite high) congestion-based tolls? I've seen fiscal analyses indicating that in order to afford to replace the 520 bridge, in addition to whatever funding we get, we should start tolling both 520 and I-90 now to pay for it; why aren't we doing that?

Should we be doing *more* of this, say at every bridge that crosses the ship canal?

I'm not actually qualified to evaluate these things. However, I think the people guiding our choices should be evaluating these options, and my impression is they're not, because they're not politically viable options.
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[public] Joel on Software [Sep. 7th, 2007|11:41 am]
Paul
Thursday was lots of running around. In the morning, I watched Joel, of Joel on Software, speak. I was impressed, but not for the reason I expected to be. Part of a quote from someone who attended in Vancouver, BC, the day before, captured it nicely. "Well, I expected to be bored about FogBugz and enraptured by fascinating tidbits of Joel Spolsky wisdom. In reality, the opposite was true. I now believe FogBugz to be a pretty interesting looking app..." Actually, I thought some of Joel's tidbits were interesting too. What was really interesting to me was how he's intertwined the two; Fogbugz has not only grown from a bug management system to a task/bug/contact management system (where tasks seem to be the primary entity), it embodies his own understanding of how software development should be done. He's done that in how he prioritizes features, at times refusing to implement certain features because he thinks they would encourage programmers to optimize for the wrong things, or something like that. This also means that it's a task management system optimized for software development, not for anything else. It contains the wrong feature set for, say, managing tasks for repaving I-5 in the south part of Seattle. (This just happened, and was a Big Deal.)
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tinyurl and services [Aug. 22nd, 2007|11:34 am]
Paul
tinyurl is nice.

I'm surprised that companies like Google don't offer this for their own stuff. For example, it'd be really nice if every "email this" and "link to this" link at Google ran the url through something like t.google.com (t=tiny) behind the scenes before surfacing it to the user.
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viaduct vote [Mar. 4th, 2007|03:01 pm]
Paul
If you're a Seattle voter, you probably already got a ballot in the mail for the pair of votes on what to do with the Alaska Way Viaduct (state highway 99 along the downtown waterfront).

The issues here are quite complex. This debate has been going on for years. The stacked-tunnel option was already discarded once, but was added back to the list for more detailed studies. Other options have been killed off from most perspectives, but refuse to die entirely. Numerous politicians seem to have the attitude of, "Of course I'm right, everyone should just agree with me so we can move on." I'm biased; I have an opinion of which politicians are behaving worse than others, and I also use the viaduct as a part of my daily commute. However, I'm going to try to present some unbiased background before presenting both my opinion and some resources to look up more stuff on your own.

Read more...Collapse )
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Election time! (judges) [Sep. 14th, 2006|10:00 pm]
Paul
I got what I considered lukewarm responses to my poll about getting together before elections to go over the Seattle Voters' Pamphlet. It sounds like people are interested but busy. So I'm instead going to post about what I think of the races where I think I have something meaningful to say. I'm not going to make any attempt to be thorough.

Feel free to agree/disagree in comments, or to state your opinion without reading mine.

Today, I'm writing about the State Supreme Court races. (These are the only judicial slots applicable to my precinct.) Because of the lack of attention elsewhere, I'm prioritizing the judicial races. Read more...Collapse )
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SPF (an anti-spam technology) is coming fast [Aug. 20th, 2004|02:49 pm]
Paul
An anti-spam initiative is about to become real, it'll hopefully help your ISP do much better spam filtering in the short term and cut down forged email headers significantly in the long term, and it'll likely matter to you how quickly you and your ISP move to ensure your outgoing email can be considered good.

background, details, and what it means for youCollapse )

It isn't the entire solution to the flood of spam, but it's a good first step.
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