Riding down Memory Lane

Thinking of the 1986 Tour de France triggered a stroll down memory lane.

I was introduced to the Tour by Great Adventures in Daredevil Sports. One of the stories, “Pedal till you drop”, was about Jacques Anquetil winning the 1964 Tour - making him the first to with the Tour 5 times. That was pretty much all I knew about the Tour for many years. Greg LeMond briefly put the Tour on the US media map, but it wouldn’t be until Lance Armstrong that the US would really pay attention.

It may be hard to imagine, but bicycles were the accessible high tech of the 70’s. Cars had carburetors and computers were for the privileded few. Heathkit was more about saving money than learning. But we all had bicycles. And we would fantasize about Reynolds 531 frames, tubular tires, and Campagnolo groupsets.

But that was big bucks. I had my eyes on a Viscount. A Viscount dealer had moved into my neighborhood and I would ride down and drool 2 or 3 times a month. The Viscount featured a cast aluminum fork and I loved the look of it. Its notoriety as the death fork was yet to come.

I never became much more than a casual rider. But I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Slaying the Badger

“Slaying the Badger” goes beyond just a story about a cycling race.

John Dower - Director

I remember watching Greg LeMond seize the 1989 Tour de France from Laurent Fignon’s grasp with an amazing ride in the final time trial. But I don’t have direct memories of the 1986 Tour. So I was very pleased to watch Slaying the Badger, the latest film from ESPN’s 30 for 30 this past week.

Going in, I was certain that Hinault owed LeMond the 86 Tour de France as LeMond’s just reward for letting Hinault win the 85 Tour. Halfway through I had come around to thinking the team director was the villian and that maybe Hinault wasn’t such a backstabber after all. And at the end, I was convinced Hinault was pond scum.

Like all the best stories, Slaying the Badger is a story about people. Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond were two of the great riders of their time. And they were both on the same team. A very good watch for the sports fan.

World Cup Withdrawal

As a bit of a soccer dilettante, I refrained from commenting on the World Cup while it was ongoing. But it’s fair game now.

I thought the group stage was brilliant. There were a few clunkers, but the teams were playing for the win. But the knock-out phase brought a return to form - teams started playing not to lose rather than win.

Germany is a worthy World Champion. But I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the Argentina had the extra day of rest rather than Germany - they had early scoring opportunities, but they weren’t sharp and let them slip away.

The 2014 World Cup is over. Time to start the countdown for Euro 2016.

About Time

And I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you

What I like about a Richard Curtis romantic comedy is he gives us multiple romances to follow. And most, if not all, of the romances are interesting. The lead romance in About Time is between Tiem (Domhnall Gleeson) and Mary (Rachel McAdams). But that’s not the relationship that I’m envious of.

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Missing Roger Ebert

I just watched About Time on cable (a very nice romantic-comedy from Richard Curtis, known for Love Actually and Notting Hill). As is my want, I hopped over to IMDB to check other people’s reactions after the end. And I realized once again that Roger Ebert was gone and that I’d never read a new review from Roger again.

Roger Ebert was my go-to movie reviewer. I feel his absence with every movie I wish he could have reviewed.

Infrastructure Updates

New Theme

I’ve switched from the default landscape theme to the biture theme. I’ll miss landscape, but regenerating the site in landscape took about 27 minutes vs about 8 seconds for biture. I think I’ll keep those 27 minutes per post.

S3 Update

My S3 hosting bill continues to run just over $0.60/month. I like those numbers.

Like reading an old yearbook

I’m bringing the blog back by hand. I thought about automating the process, but I needed to convert from textile to markdown and update my intra-blog links. Rather than wait for automation, I decided to start the conversion by hand immediately. The side-effect has been that I’ve been reading my blog from the beginning.

It’s like reading an old yearbook:

  • Some pages are ehh
  • Some pages bring a smile
  • Some pages take you back in time

A little bit goes a long way, but well worth my time.

The Long Game

Skate to where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.

If anything, this quote understates the difficulty of what Apple has done. Apple started work on the new Swift Language four years ago. That is like a football team putting in an offense for a defensive scheme that no one is playing yet.

I suspect that not all Apple’s long bets pay off. But I don’t see anyone else even making a long bet.

Wall Wart Woes

The EU has already standardized cellphone chargers. I wish they would hurry up and standardize external DC power supplies as well.

A four legged member of my family chewed up the wall wart powering our cordless phone. The OEM power adapter isn’t readily available and I wasn’t going to buy an aftermarket replacement without knowing it would work. I ended up buying a new phone. The new phone’s adapters have split loom tubing to protect them from the same fate.

Now I have a cordless phone in good condition that is destined for recycling. I’m trying to find a replacement OEM adapter via eBay so that I can give it to Goodwill. It would have been so much easier if someone forced the consumer electronics companies to use standard wall warts.

Why turn the Lights Back On?


When I said that I was spending time bringing my weblog content back, my wife asked “Why?”. I didn’t have a satisfying answer then. And you may not find this a satisfying answer now.

I started Take the First Step in early 2003. Zuckerberg wouldn’t start Facebook for another year. Ev Williams wouldn’t start Twitter for another year after that. If you wanted to stake a claim on your internet identity, then a weblog was the way to go. And I built “Take the First Step” into something that I could be proud of.

I’m not turning my back on that.