22.07.42 - Mark

Since moving from Iowa to North Carolina, the winter thing largely disappeared. It gets chilly, but the winters around here don't create iced over ponds good enough for skating. Snow is almost equally absent, the few times it shows up (at least a bit off the mountains) accumulations seems to be fractions of an inch. Today however 3 inches isn't hard to find, and a foot or more is still predicted. It's truly lovely.

So while the snow is still falling, I'm reviewing some of what I did building this site. While the "disconnection" from the internet is easily blamed for the lack of writing, the reasons for some of my content disappeared in other ways. A variety of reasons I effectively stopped reading though a pile of RSS feeds (but now redeveloping), custom blogging tools I've honestly forgotten about until looking over my code. And while this code has remained working for years, I quickly fixed a few after yesterday's post (like removing the 19 empty archive pages that that post triggered), but I have a number of more bugs to iron out. Good thing I still enjoy coding.

The other little bit I've rediscovered is mess of changes to some of the online tools I had been using to help. I had forgotten Feedburner was purchased and moved to Google (admittedly well before I paused blogging), and my list of RSS feeds used to be backed up on NewsGator Online, but they shifted their goals and I apparently was supposed to have moved my list to Google Reader. Easy enough solutions to fix, just a bit surprised that I missed those changes.

Oh well, I suppose I've got a few more spider webs and dust to clear off this site.

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Dear Midwesterners, Sorry

18.46.19 - Mark

Lovill Creek, Mount Airy, NCWhile the Midwest is getting slammed by a winter storm, I've spent the afternoon riding my bike around Mount Airy in shorts and a t-shirt taking photos of things that don't feel like winter. Although I wish winter would arrive in North Carolina. As nice as it is to be riding my bike in mid December, it's also weird. December is supposed to be cold.

I love to take photos in winter. As amazing as fall colors are, there's nothing quite like taking the camera out after a fresh snow, or taking some macro photos of branches and bushes after an ice storm and everything looks like it's encased in glass. Plus the sky never seems clearer than in the dead of winter. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait until the new year for much chance at winter photography. There's a 3% chance of a white Christmas (and there's a good chance that's very optimistic), and I suspect that those odds don't improve much the last week of December.

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Someone please turn down the heat

22.19.33 - Mark

Right now, its about 63 degrees Fahrenheit outside. 10PM in the middle of January and its as warm now as it was six months ago. Earlier today I was riding my bike in a t-shirt and shorts because it was at least 70. In the last three months I don't think that the temperature here has dipped below freezing except for about two days a month ago.

In the same period of time, I've only seen snow twice once for maybe 15 minutes last week and the other time I wasn't even in North Carolina (Georgia back in November)

As much as I hate people complaining about how its "too cold", I expect it to be cold in the middle of January. I like how taking a deep breath of cold winter air bites at your sinuses, and you can taste the purity of the air. I love how when my lungs are taking in cold air I can look up and the sky is so crystal clear even the regional light pollution can't dim the night sky.

Can we please turn down the heat?

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Welcome to December?

23.22.25 - Mark

While it isn't something I consistently miss about the midwest, like the availability of good pizza, I occasionally miss having more than three seasons. A couple weeks ago I thought winter was finally starting to creep in. Well that was then, this past week the temperature has been hovering around 70 degree fahrenheit. The first of December, I want it to be cold. Every part of my body and my genetic heritage is screaming at me to stay in a warm bed in the morning or take in a little more fat to last me the winter. Instead I'm regretting not wearing shorts or thinking about taking my bike out for a ride. We should have seen snow by now, and I'm still waiting for a decent freeze.

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Second Sign of Winter

23.47.35 - Mark

The signs that winter is fianlly coming in vary from place to place, and even person to person. For me, I just passed the second major sign of winter today.

The first is the need to actually pull out a long sleeved shirt and wear it all day. I can make it for most of wall with tshirts and a light jacket, but a couple weeks ago we had a cold front that got me to slip on a long sleeved shirt for a few days.

The second sign I passed today when driving to and from class. That sign is enjoying the directional blast of dry, stale scented heat generated by a car's heater in the middle of the day. I can live without an AC unit in the car, but growing up with Iowan winters, you always checked to make sure the car's heater worked well.

I suppose the third sign is ice and/or snow. I suspect that that will hit my part of North Carolina in a few weeks. At least I hope.

The one thing I really miss about the Midwest (other than good pizza) is Winter. Mount Airy has more than one season, but I like to have something more than a week inbetween Fall and Spring.

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The Morning Commute

22.27.31 - Mark

Since my iBook has been out of service for a few weeks, I've built up a small supply of raw video, and this little movie is the result of it. Last fall, when the leaves were finally changing colors I pointed my camera out the window of my car on my evening commute home then set the footage to music in Leaves as a first attempt at video blogging. Since then I've gotten a little better at manipulating iMovie and with my iBook kind of fixed (and a massive external hard drive attached) I figured it was a good a time as any to make a new video.

The footage was shot on a beautiful cold wet rainy morning most people despise (or at least constantly complain about) on my way to school a couple weeks ago, and I tired to edit it so its not entirely obvious that I reused several segments (unlike Leaves). For the record, using a Mac to edit video is so much easier than on Linux (which I tried doing this video with)

Anyways, the music is Clouds or Smoke? by Derek K. Miller (PenMachine Podcast) which was released under a Creative Commons Attribution, ShareAlike 2.5 license - same as the video itself.

Morning Commute (55MB 320 x 240 H.264 Quicktime)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

And sorry about the large file size. The compression really kills off a lot of the details I like in the video but H.264 makes it bearable at 320x240. I was really tempted to post a high resolution quality, but I figured 120+ Megs for a 4 minute video is too selfish.

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Should have...

17.36.13 - Mark

North Carolina Weather is a very, very confusing critter. Yesterday London might have been envious of the fog, which then froze overnight, but quickly thawed in the clear, mid-50 degree weather than was upon us by 10AM.

A little sad that I wasted it sitting at home. I've playing with the idea of taking ground school for a pilot's license, but I'm not sure how much I enjoy flying. I've only been up in a couple of private planes and those were years ago, so before I commit all of my Saturdays for 3 months I'd like to go up in a plane. Today would have been perfect. Oops. But I'm resolving myself. I'm going to fly this month.

Afternote - This post was prompted by the 5th or 6th small plane that's flown over today.

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