Sunday, February 26, 2006

Gardening site

I've started another Web site, this time to record my gardening efforts. I'm somewhat hesitant because they might all come to naught! But maybe the incentive and accountability of writing online will keep me at it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lenten book

The Adult Forum at church have decided to read Miroslav Volf's new book, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace, during Lent. We'll read and discuss one chapter (20 to 30 pages) for each of the six Sundays in Lent.

I first read about the book at Byron Borger's Hearts & Minds BookNotes blog, so I ordered the copies from his store. The book is the Archbishop of Canterbury's "official 2006 Lent book." Also, Volf was one of my professors in seminary.

The topics of giving and forgiving will be a fitting Lenten study and meditation, I hope. Each topic is covered in three chapters: God the Giver/Forgiver; How Should We Give/Forgive?; and How Can We Give/Forgive?.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Via M-mv, an interview with Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic titled, “Introverts of the World, Unite!”

On why it can be so hard for (us) introverts to keep the small talk flowing:
Yeah, I marvel at Michael [an extrovert] who can always somehow turn the conversation right over effortlessly and keep it going even when what he says is not necessarily profound or interesting. What he comes up with is perfectly tuned to the sense and flow of the conversation. But it's not words that are particularly intended to convey ideas or mean things. It's words that socialize—that simply continue the conversation. It's chit-chat. I have no gift for that. I have to think about what to say next, and sometimes I can't think fast enough and end up saying something stupid. Or sometimes I just come up dry and the conversation kind of ends for while until I can think of another topic. This is why it's work for me. It takes positive cognition on my part. I think that's probably a core introvert characteristic that you and I have in common and which can probably be distinguished from shyness per se—that small talk takes conscious effort and is very hard work. There's nothing small about small talk if you're an introvert. But we're good at big talk.
On introverts and the Internet:
[Interviewer] Your article “Caring For Your Introvert” has also been one of the most popular pages on our Web site. We posted it three years ago, and it still gets more hits than practically anything else on the site.

[Rauch] Yes. The Internet is the perfect medium for introverts. You could almost call it the Intronet. You know the old New Yorker cartoon with a dog sitting at a computer saying to another dog, "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog." Well, on the Internet, no one knows you're an introvert. So it's kind of a natural that when The Atlantic put this piece online, introverts beat a path to it; it's the ideal distribution mechanism by which introverts can reach other introverts and spread the word.
[Just in time for introverts: rainy weather (finally!) at the start of a holiday weekend.]

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Community calendar

The Pasadena Public Library now has a very informative, interactive community calendar. You can select the master calendar to see all the available events, or you can select a topic or type of event you're interested in.

Viewing the calendar already gave me some ideas of things I'd like to do.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

781 feet

Bike Metro is a service covering So. Cal. that plots out bike routes, giving an elevation gain or loss figure. The elevation difference between where I live and where I work is 781 feet.

I might try part of their suggested route, but part of it is on roads that are too busy or fast for my comfort.

Tonight, I made it home in an hour and twenty-three minutes, a marked improvement over Friday when I was very tired and hot. I didn't wear a jacket tonight (it's been warm here), and I tried the stair-stepping method for the final hill climb. If nothing else, zig-zagging up a hill gives a psychological boost of not staring straight up one street the whole way.

Along the way I was passed by an obviously much more seasoned rider. But, hey, I'm not in a race!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's a sign...

...of what, I'm not quite sure. But, ironically, the week I started commuting by bicycle to work, my car got tagged with graffiti. It happened Wednesday night, and a number of other surfaces in the neighborhood were tagged, too. As far as I know, mine was the only car.

I didn't notice it until I left work on Thursday evening. Thursday morning there was a heavy dew (as in the picture I took this morning), and I was in such a rush, I didn't see it. My neighbor, however, who was leaving at the same time I did, saw it. We waved, and he assumed I had noticed it.

I had the security people at work check it out, but it seemed unlikely to have happened there, as the parking lot is gated and patrolled. So I called the police when I got home and knocked on neighbors' doors to warn them of what had happened.

Because it wasn't an emergency, the police weren't able to arrive until after 11:00 p.m. I had already gone to bed. They wrote up a report and said that this definitely looked like the work of taggers, not gang graffiti.

Now my car is at the shop having the graffiti removed. I love my new-found independence because of my bicycle. Instead of having to wait around all morning at the shop while my the car was being fixed, I loaded my bike on the bike rack, drove the car to the shop, put the rack in the back seat, and rode to the farmer's market to get my produce for the week.

On the ride home, I had an interesting conversation with another bike rider who had made an ingenious trailer for his bike. He had taken a welding class and wanted a project to work on. The trailer carried a Rubbermaid bin, and he stopped along the route to pick up recyclable cans and plastic bottles.

He gave me a tip for riding up hills, called stair-stepping. Instead of riding straight up one street, zig-zag up and across a number of streets. So I will try that on my next ride home for the last, steepest miles.

Now, I'm writing here, and will ride back to the body shop to pick up my car around 1:00. I thought I would have to have the entire car repainted (which it could use), but they are able just to remove the spray paint and buff up the regular paint, for a cost of around $30. So I guess I didn't come out too badly.

(P.S. I commuted to work again on Friday. It went well, although the ride home is long, especially at the end. It's about half a mile longer than the commute to work, and, as I've mentioned, uphill.)