Reviving the blog, and an introduction

I setup this blog back in July and promptly forgot about it mostly because I didn’t tell anyone about it.

Last week the subject of blogs came up on the iBOB listand I remembered that I had this blog.

Kent Peterson, also a new iBOB blogger, just posted a nice intro, and I thought perhaps I should do the same.

I’m a guy with way too many hobbies and not enough time to spend on all of them. On the internet I’m best known for my cycling hobby, where I enjoy riding and working on bikes. I host a bunch of mailing lists at bikelist.organd I’m active on even more of them. I enjoy experimenting with bicycles and have a good memory for obscure parts details, so friends (on and off of the internet) often ask me about weird gearing, brake systems, and stuff along those lines. I own a lot of bicycles but the common theme is that most are lugged steel (all are steel) and can fit fenders and wider tires. These days most of my riding is done on my Bridgestone RB-T, but that could change by the time you read this. Most recently I’ve been spending a lot of time off of the bike due to a knee injury, but I’m currently doing physical therapy to fix these issues.

Professionally I’m a software developer for Microsoft Exchange (an email server). I work on the High Availability group, which as the name implies, figures out how to make your companies email servers stay online as much as possible. I’ve been working in Exchange for 9 years and have worked on many aspects of this product,but most of my time was spent working on the internet protocols (SMTP,POP, IMAP, NNTP).

My list of hobbies changes about as often as my list of bikes, but here is what is keeping me interested right now:

  • Woodworking — We needed some custom radiator covers at home, and the cost of buying even ugly ones was quite high. I’m still getting around to building those, but in the meantime I’ve been doing some smaller practice projects. My most recent one was a end table for our bedroom that holds the bedroom stereo. I’m trying to build projects faster than I buy tools, but I really like tools and this is difficult for me. Recently I’ve been trying to find a cheap used jointer on craigslist, but they all sell before I send email.
  • Photography — I’ve been interested in photography since high school whenmy father and I setup a darkroom and he taught me how to process B&W film. My shooting tends to be on again and off again, with lots of photos being taken on vacations. Perhaps I should start a photo blog to remind myself to take photos. My favorite subjects are landscapes, but recently I’ve been having fun taking some sports photos (cyclocross racing for instance) or photos at concerts (when they’ll let me bring my camera). My camera of choice has been a Pentax SLR (these days it is their Digital SLR, *ist D) for pretty much all of that time, I like their user interfaces and smaller lighter weight than most of the competition. On the other hand I’m a strong believer that the photographer makes the photograph, not the photographer, and don’t think that choice of camera is that important to the final outcome.
  • Beer Brewing — I brew my own beer and make my own mead (honey wine). My beer preferences arefor hoppy or dark (or both) ales. My biggest brewing problem is that I normally brew faster than I want to drink it, so I need to find other people to help out. Currently on tap I have a pale ale, a porter, a hefeweizen (german style, not NW style), a sweet/strong ale that was supposed to be a clone of Mac and Jacks, and some peach/ginger mead. Aging and fermenting I have a light ginger mead and two kegs of a barleywine or strong ale. I mostly brew using all grain and in the last year have been working with my friend Peter to build a new brewing system that can do larger batches (so we can split them) and which is more efficient. There will probably be a post on that later.
  • House Stuff — My wife and I own a 1908 Craftsman house in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. There are always projects to be done. Last year we refinished the dining room (a messy project since it involved removing a layer of plaster and 4 layers of wallpaper), the living room, and the office. This year we are working on the kitchen and pantry and I have some small project ideas for the basement.The basement is always a challenge because it is a little small and fighting for space we have bicycles, woodworking, beer making, computers, and laundry.
  • Computers — I host a tiny army of servers from my basement. They serve up this blog, the mailing lists, and personal websites and email for family members and friends. I use both FreeBSD and Windows Server, but I’ve been moving more things to Windows Server as I’ve had the time (not that there is anything wrong with FreeBSD, I just don’t want to keep on top of security patches for two operating systems). For the last 18 months I’ve also had a machine running Windows Media Center which records TV for us (both HDTV using an over the air antenna and regular cable feeds). I enjoy writing software in my free time, but since I also do this at work it usually gets pushed low down on the priority list and happens very very slowly.
  • Biodiesel — My wife and I own two Volkswagen TDIs and run them on 100% biodiesel. Biodiesel is a diesel alternative fuel which is primarily made from vegetable oil. I’m somewhat active in the biodiesel scene in Seattle and host nwbiodiesel’s websiteand have helped them with organizing meetings and their annual forum. I don’t like cars and think that most americans (probably including myself) use their cars way too much. Using them less and using high fuel efficient cars fueled withrenewable and cleansources is something that I’m very interested in. More on this in another post.
  • Music — I really enjoy listening to music and going to shows. These days I listen to a lot of alt country (think Wilco) or alt pop (think Death Cab for Cutie) but my musical tastes are vast and I’m always learning about new bands. I’m a member and supporter of KEXP(I wish every major city had a station like KEXP) and often listen to them at work. I’m lucky to have a lot of friends and a wife with similar musical tastes who turn me on to new music. As I get older I strive to keep up with new music and never to stagnate and get stuck on my musical tastes from my twenties.

Anyway, there it is, a short snapshot of what makes me tick. A common theme is that I’m technical (perhaps overly so) and like to know what makes things tick and how to make things myself.


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