Thoughts on life, Japan, and technology.

Critical Mass in Seattle

This entry is about Critical Mass in Seattle. For the background story, please read Emotions Still Running High After Critical Mass Confrontation, the online version of an article in the Seattle Times, as well as the entry on Wikipedia.

As a bicyclist, I am torn between the pros and cons of Critical Mass, myself. Although the debate will never end, my experience has told me that for one reason or another, Seattle (this does not include Bellevue or Redmond on the east side) has developed a culture that is considerably friendly to bicyclists. As long as I obey the rules of the road, I have found drivers on the whole to be quite courteous within Seattle city limits, generally giving me more than enough space to maneuver. This stands in stark contrast to my experience living in Cleveland, Ohio, however, where irate motorists leaned out their windows to yell at me to “Get off the road!” at least once a day while I commuted to work. Why is this? Is Critical Mass one of the factors that raised awareness of cyclists on the road in Seattle? Or is Critical Mass made possible by the strength of numbers that cyclists have here? I suspect that it may be a bit of both.

Seattle-Redmond Commute, Part I

This route starts from my favorite morning coffee shop (and art gallery), Ancient Grounds, crosses over the I-90 bridge, passes through Mercer Island, continues east of Bellevue, and finally connects with the 520 trail. The key point of this route is that it avoids the cycling hell that is Bellevue and the I-405 interchange entirely. It’s unfortunate that it took me a few months to find this “scenic detour”, though! I average about one and a half hours for this route, though I have completed it in 1 hour and 20 minutes, going east, and 1 hour and 10 minutes, going west. To tell the truth, I didn’t realize that Redmond was on such a large hill until I compared my trip times; elevation gain really does make a difference.

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Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

From the same man that brought you Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I have only seen the former, though they are both quite well-known), comes this Internet Miniseries Event. If you haven’t seen it already, you have until Sunday at midnight! Then it will “vanish into the night, like a phantom”. You may like it, or not, but it definitely has its moments.


GrandPerspective is a neat little program for OS X that shows disk usage in an intuitive way; I somehow managed to find this during my random wanderings of teh [sic] intarwebs. From the project website:

GrandPerspective is a small utility application for Mac OS X that graphically shows the disk usage within a file system. It can help you to manage your disk, as you can easily spot which files and folders take up the most space. It uses a so called tree map for visualisation. Each file is shown as a rectangle with an area proportional to the file’s size. Files in the same folder appear together, but their placement is otherwise arbitrary.

If you’re running OS X, I would definitely give it a try! It is free, after all. :)


Just a week or two ago, my coworkers introduced me to Pandora Radio, a streaming internet radio station that adapts itself according to your tastes. It also has an incredible user interface.

The basic idea is this: provide Pandora with an artist or song that you like, and it will start picking songs out of its master database that have the same basic qualities as the artist or song you provided. By adding more artists and songs, as well as by ranking songs with a “Thumb’s Up” or a “Thumb’s Down”, you can customize the station over time to your tastes. You can even have multiple stations, if you’d like, for different moods!

For the curious, here is what I’m currently listening to: Experimental1. If you actually know me, what do you think? Does this sound more or less like my kind of music?

STP Weekend

This weekend was the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, in which I was originally quite eager to participate. Of course, that was before I discovered that it would cost about $130 to participate ($85 for registration, ~$50 for a bus or train ticket home, and other various and sundry fees), which struck me as a bit excessive to just ride 200 miles to Portland. Perhaps I could just do it solo one of these days?

Anyway, instead of going on a double-century ride, I have spent my weekend in a much more pedantic fashion. I was struck by a bit of a cleaning bug this weekend, so I reorganized all of my laundry, started archiving all of my old e-mail, set up an automatic backup solution (which I will get to in another post), and finally configured this Movable Type install. I also managed to wander around a bit in the sun yesterday at Myrtle Edwards park—which, as I discovered, has a breathtaking view of Mount Rainier—and take in a Sergeant Major performance at a bar on Capitol Hill.