Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Success, Mostly

Well, here I am. I couldn't use the migration tool because I was jumping from to, but it was shockingly easy to do it myself by changing Blogger's publishing settings. For now, I have moved to with my old template. I will probably update the template soon (not tonight), so don't be shocked if things look a bit different next time.

I was unable to set up a "missing files host" (again because I was jumping from one domain to another instead of just going to a subdomain at, so I think blog entries with photos will be broken. Since I haven't posted many photos here, I'm not worried about it.

I still have to update my own Web pages with the new blog address. This may take a while because my Web editor got wiped out with my laptop hard drive. Although I have the file to reinstall, the registration info is inside an Outlook e-mail file and, yep, I lost Outlook as well. The software (Namo WebEditor) was several years old, so I may just buy something new instead. I need something more robust than a mere HTML editor, but I think something like Dreamweaver would be overkill (in features and price). Any recommendations?

As part of severing the blog's connection to my business, I am also brainstorming a new blog name. Suggestions are welcome, but try to keep them clean enough that I'm not embarrassed to tell my mom.

Blog Status

Yes, I know time is ticking away, but I am having a hell of a time computer-wise lately. First my laptop hard drive croaked last Friday. Since I'd have to start over anyway, I figured I may as well buy a new desktop PC (I've had only the laptop since 2005). The new PC is okay except my Internet connection keeps going down for no reason at all. This time it isn't even EarthLink's fault -- according to my DSL modem, everything is fine. But Windows keeps showing a big red 'X' between my network and the Internet. Others have reported similar problems with Windows 7, but all the solutions I've found online have failed.

I'm afraid I'll lose my connection at a critical juncture in the Blogger conversion wizard and something terrible will happen. But the odds are that my computer problems won't be solved by May 1, so I'm going to try to convert my blog now regardless. See you on the other side, I hope. Please go to to follow my further adventures (give me an hour or two -- or more)...

Boys Will Be Boys

Here's another interesting excerpt from Tom Zoellner's Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World:
In 1951, three boys in the prairie town of Dahlhart, Texas, discovered a black rock lying near the railroad tracks. It was weirdly heavy -- thirty pounds -- though only about the size of a hamburger. The boys found that it made colorful sparks when they pounded on it with a hammer. The editor of the local newspaper believed it might be a meteor and sent it off to the University of New Mexico for testing. The rock turned out to be highly enriched uranium, apparently stolen from Los Alamos. An even bigger chunk of it was discovered in a nearby junkyard. If slammed together correctly, these two pieces would have leveled everything within ten miles.
When I read that to my wife, she asked, "Why is it that the first thing boys do when they find something is to pound on it with a hammer?!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Story of Uranus

Everyone knows Uranus as the seventh planet from the sun and the butt (pun intended) of many a joke. But the story of the god Uranus is pretty wild. From Tom Zoellner's Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World:
According to the Greek creation story, [the sky god] Uranus had visited the earth every night to make love with the ground and bring forth children who would one day grow into the mutated Cyclops and the Titans. Uranus hated his own children and ordered them chained in a prison deep inside his wife, the earth. One of the most violent of his children rose up from his prison, castrated his father, Uranus, and tossed the severed penis and testicles into the sea. These organs grew into avenging spirits called Erinyes, or the Furies, who occasionally returned to earth for the persecution and damnation of men who upset the natural order.
So let's see... Uranus screws the earth and then buries their progeny within, like stuffing them back into the womb. One of the kids gets pissed and cuts off dad's manhood (godhood?). Then Uranus's vengeful junk punishes people.

It's really a shame that the legacy of Uranus has been reduced to Klingon jokes.

Quote of the Day

"He's an alcoholic, but at least he drinks at home."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blog Update

When I started this blog, I thought I was being smart by using FTP to host it on my own domain. Now that Google has announced the end of Blogger FTP support, I don't look so smart anymore. Come to think of it, I've been feeling stupid for quite a while, ever since Google started adding a whole bunch of features to Blogger that were not available for FTP users (such as layouts and integration).

So after 5-1/2 years, I am being forced to make a decision: move to another URL or kill off this blog entirely. Frankly, my ego would not stand for the second option. Like many writers, I feel that my written work is far more important than it actually is. Killing off this blog is akin to chopping off a limb, albeit not a very important one. I'm sure I could live without one of my littlest toes, but losing it would still be painful.

I will be moving somewhere. The most obvious choice is, but I've decided against that. When I created this blog, I intended to use it to promote my business. Aside from disseminating public appearances related to Biking Illinois: 60 Great Road Trips and Trail Rides, this blog has utterly failed in that respect. Who really wants to blog about -- or read about -- work?

Even worse, connecting this blog to my business has compromised my freedom of expression. I've pulled a lot of punches over the years for fear that potential clients will be turned off -- if not downright repulsed -- by my blunt opinions and crass language (at this point, some of you are thinking, If he's been pulling punches, how much of an asshole is he really? Stick around and find out, I guess.). I also have felt stifled in writing about my career on a "company blog," even though it's my company. Instead, I am planning to move to I know clients could still find my blog there, but at least it won't be literally a part of my corporate identity.

Please note that I have not made any changes yet, so don't go to the new URL looking for anything.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Next Time You're on a Bike Path, Think About This

This completely random shit always freaks me out:
The 33-year-old driver of a flooring company van was critically injured this morning when a rotted tree fell on his vehicle as he was driving outside a Northwest Side forest preserve. "It fell directly on his head--it was like the tree aimed at him," said Nancy Hagerty, one of the first people to reach him.
This particular incident occurred on a road, but it could happen in any forest anytime. Many cyclists think trails are so much safer than streets -- even though they may be surrounded by potentially deadly rotting trees!