Twitter is my randomness entropy

Inspired by Henry’s Facebook comment.

import urllib2, hashlib


def hashed(seq):
    sha1 = hashlib.sha1()
    for x in seq:
        yield sha1.digest()

def words(wordsize, seq):
    for x in seq:
        for i in xrange(0, len(x), wordsize):
            yield int(x[i:(wordsize + i)].encode('hex'), 16)

def twitrandoms(wordsize = 4, chunksize = 37):
    def infinite_twitrandom():
        while True:
            data = urllib2.urlopen(TWITTER).read()
            for i in range(0, len(data), chunksize):
                yield data[i:(chunksize + i)]
    return words(wordsize, hashed(infinite_twitrandom()))

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September Riding

September Miles: 196
Percentage of Monthly Goal: 117%
2009 Miles: 2,016
Percentage of 2009 Goal: just over 100%

Well, an exciting month for certain. I made my goal for the year this month. Just this morning, in fact. I left the house with 1,995 and 3/4 miles, which put me just past The Arboretum when I crossed 2,000. Here’s odometer for the day at the first safe place to stop after then:

Also the intersection in question:

And proof that I was there:

So, yeah. Mission accomplished, I guess. I like counting by miles a lot more than counting by trips to and from the office. Longer weekend rides with Stephanie and Fletcher are so much more fun. Although I have to say that I don’t at all miss the alternative to bike commuting:

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Hike and Bike camp sites in California

View California Hike and Bike Parks in a larger map

I have no idea what the state budget issues will do to this list, but as of September 19, 2009, this is what the California State Parks web site has to say about Hike & Bike camps.

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Looks like there’s a pretty glaring hole in all but the most recent version of WordPress. A brief inspection of this site reveals that I’m way behind current and was broken in to. A fresh install was in order, and here we are.

Not quite sure why I’m managing my own install in this day and age when I can have somebody else do it for free. Oh well. At least this is just a stupid personal site and not anything I depend on.

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August Riding

August Miles: 161
Percentage of Monthly Goal: 96%
2009 Miles: 1,820
Percentage of 2009 Goal: 91%

It had to happen some month, and I would have bet at the beginning of the year that it would have been August. I missed goal this month. By less than six miles, too. Which is pretty dissapointing. Thing is, I was at 161 a week ago today. That pesky Station fire made riding somewhere between hazardous and stupid. So I didn’t.

That said, I’m still over 1,800 miles on the year. That’s a ride from my garage to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I’m pretty pleased by that. I’m definitely going to make it to Chicago (which is 2,000 miles from Monrovia) by the end of September.

I think I may revise my goal for the year. The Empire State Building is 2,775 miles from my house….

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July Riding

July Miles: 177
Percentage of Monthly Goal: 106%
2009 Miles: 1,659
Percentage of 2009 Goal: 83%

I know it’s still July, but I’m not riding tomorrow, so whatever.

August was the month that I worried about. It’s often damn hot for three or four weeks straight in August. I love riding, but I’m not commuting in that sort of heat. Anyway, August happened in July this year. For a couple of weeks the highs were over 100, plus I had some other nonsense going on — watching the Tour, which is just about the worst excuse I can think of for not riding a bike — and I ended up not commuting at all for three weeks.

That said, I still made goal, so I’m happy about that. Credit a ride with the good people from Stan’s, a run down to the Arcadia bike path with Stephanie and a Saturday in Ventura with her and Fletcher for actually getting some miles in. Fletch and I also did a couple of evening bike runs over to Sierra Madre for ice cream. It was pretty fun to do some different types of riding.

I’m not sure how we’re going to work it, as it’s more than likely to be hot, but Stephanie and I need to start getting some serious training miles in for the Livestrong ride in October. I feel like we could both do the metric century (65 mile) option today, but we really want to be fast enough to do the 90. (There’s no way that I could make it within the time limit.) It shouldn’t take that much work to get there, so here’s to hoping that the weather cooperates. (Clearly we need to start summering in Portland or Ghent or something like that.)

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June Riding

June Miles: 173
Percentage of Monthly Goal: 103%
2009 Miles: 1,482
Percentage of 2009 Goal: 74%

Slow going last month. I spent a little more than a week dealing with a cold and then a few days after that traveling. Add a few “hey, wear a tie” days at work to that, and I wind up barely making my goal.

That said, June definitely had its memorable riding momemts. Most notably, Fletcher’s scout troop finished up the cycling merit badge, including a 50 mile ride from Monrovia to Seal Beach. I’m really proud of how well he and the rest of the boys did with such a long ride. The farthest I ever rode as a kid was maybe 15 miles. The bike path down there was also really great. From our house, it’s about 40 pretty easy miles down to the beach — we had to circle around Monrovia for a while to stretch it out to 50. I’d like to do the down and back some time, just for grins.

July, likely as not, will be hot. I’m not looking forward to it. Stephanie and I already had a heated stupid cyclist moment this weekend, waiting until mid day to leave for a ride. Turns out that the middle of the day is a bad time to ride. Who knew! My hope is that it stays cool enough in the mornings for me to keep riding in to work. Otherwise, I’m glad that May worked out as well as it did, otherwise I’d have no chance of keeping up.

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May Riding

May Miles: 501
Percentage of Monthly Goal: 300%
2009 Miles: 1,309
Percentage of 2009 Goal: 65%

May was, far and away, the biggest cycling month I’ve had. The stars really did align in terms of great weather, not too many “business casual” days at work, getting the bike situation straightened out, and a couple of opportunities for longer weekend rides. I also did my first metric century (100km) in May, and it wasn’t that bad at all. Stephanie and I are talking about doing a 100 mile ride in September and are doing 90 miles for the Livestrong ride in October, so that’s something to work towards.

This was my first full month on the Surly. It really is a great bike. Riding it feels like driving a giant Caddy with big comfy bench seats, but still a good suspension and a reasonable-enough gear box. I was a little worried about moving up to 700×37 tires as opposed to the 700×25’s I’ve been riding for the last year, but if anything that seem to roll better than what I’m use to. I am also slightly ashamed to admit that I quite like the indexed shifting for the rear derailler. Sure, it lacks the flexibility of friction shifting, but man is it a lot easier. (I’m not changing out the silvers on the Bstone, though.) Perhaps most importantly, I bought the biggest frame that would plausibly fit me. This, more than anything, is likely why it feels quite so nice to ride. I recommend buying big to everybody. Anyway, I’m quite happy with it. If you’re looking for a commuter bike or an around-town bike or a touring bike (which is what it’s built for), you’ll be hard-pressed to do a lot better than a Surly Long Haul Trucker.

If it’s like every other June, next month should be pretty ideal for riding as well. Fletcher’s scout troop has a couple of rides planned for the month, and Stephanie and I really want to find time to ride out to Claremont for lunch at the Back Abbey. Should be another great month!

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Pasadena BTWD 2009

Today is Bike To Work Day. There are bike “pit stops” all over LA, all doing different things. My goal this morning was to check out the three Pasadena stops.

I rolled in to the REI-sponsored stop at the Allen gold line station at about 8:30. They said that they had talked to a lot of riders today.

Gift bags and free mechanical checkups were the order of the day. Also picture taking, it seems. I declined the checkup, but gladly accepted the gift bag.

Quite excited about the REI coupon — new helmet? wheel truing stand? — and the water bottle/patch kit/sun screen. We get out to Claremont often enough that I’ll definitely be able to use the Jax coupon. Those Clif bars look yummy as well. I’m not at all sure what to make of the TMZ-branded combination pen/bottle opener.

The Pasadena city hall pit stop looked pretty mellow from the street.

Inside, though, it was much more of a scene.

They seemed much more geared towards letting city and other very local employees know about alternative transit options. Metro and Fuller had tables set up. I think Pasadena Cyclery was holding a drawing for some sort of Gary Fisher city bike. I really wanted to hit the South Lake pit stop before it closed, though, so I grabbed the nice shopping bag they were offering and was on my way.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the South Lake stop. I rode up and down the street from Colorado to just south of California and back. Nothing. I guess it was getting on towards the end of the time they were to be there. Perhaps they packed up early?

Most disappointingly, this is what I saw when I got in today:

Oh well. I guess we won’t be getting those new bike racks after all. (We were running out of room pretty regularly last summer, and “there isn’t enough space” is a much more compelling argument than “these are crappy stands and they scratch up my down tube so I don’t want to use them.”)

Either way, though, a fun ride this morning. There were definitely more bike commuters than usual out on the road today, and it’s nice to see the city and local businesses help out cyclists. (Even if it is just marketing.)

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April Riding

April Miles: 167
Percentage of Monthly Goal: 100%
2009 Miles: 808
Percentage of 2009 Goal: 40%

April was a rough month, riding-wise. My commuter finally bit the dust, and I was without a bike for the better part of two weeks. After that we were out of town for spring break — we had a lovely trip to Monterey — during which I picked up an ugly head cold that kept me off the bike for another week. Good times.

Either way, and despite missing the troop ride, I was able to make it to within 1/10th of a mile of my monthly goal. Which is pretty spooky if you think about it.

I’m set to get back on track in May. I finished the Bridgestone, and Stephanie bought me a new commuter bike. (More on that later on this week.) So even if I completely destroy one in the name of “fixing” it, I’ll still be able to ride to work.

My other big cycling acquisiting for April is a Road ID, also courtesy of my loving wife.

The general idea is that if I get hit by a bus and can’t account for myself, the EMT’s or whoever have a few people they can call to figure out who I am. Given that one of Stephanie’s riding buddies was in an accident and was only identifiable because of his Road ID — his bike was crushed under a bus and the EMT’s cut his jersey away (he came through everything just fine and is back on his bike again!) — it seems like a more than fine idea. (P.S.: Carter: if I get hit by a bus and they can’t get a hold of Stephanie, expect a call.)

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