Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for November, 2006

Lakes Lemon and Monroe

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

Dave and I were hoping to get to ride at Brown County today, but he went for a hike this morning and called me to say that things were pretty muddy. We decided to forego the trail ride in favor of a road ride.

We started from his house in Unionville, rode along State Road 45 for a while, and then on Lanam Ridge Road, followed by some gravel roads and finally, back across the causeway at Lake Lemon and up the hill back to his house. We rode about 15 miles in a bit over an hour.

While we were riding, I learned that Dave has been working on a hiking guide that details some 45 different trails in this area. He said he’s going to give me a copy. It’s so weird when someone mentions something like that out of the blue — I wondered why he hadn’t mentioned it sooner, although I realized that we just haven’t talked about hiking very much. I asked if he’s planning on publishing this guide, and he said no. Which I can understand, but I think it would be a pretty cool thing to do.

Dave also showed me a pond that’s a bit off the beaten path … it’s not even far from the road, but you have to go down a gravel road a little bit and then do a very brief hike to get to it. It’s always cool to find things (or be shown things) that most people would never even know was there (also an argument against publishing the hiking guide).

After I got home, Sarah and I got some Starbucks and headed for Lake Monroe. We wandered around in the beach area and took some photos. It was pretty cold and windy, so we didn’t stay too long. We also went out on some of the docks, which of course aren’t in use now, and that was pretty neat.


Friday, November 17th, 2006

It’s time for a good, pointless, stupid rant. This is not unlike, but not the same, as the “Disposable?” rant on Squublog or this awesome rant on usability on this furialog I found yesterday.
It’s been uber dry in our apartment lately. Every morning, we wake up with scratchy throats, crusty eyes, dry skin, and lips so chapped they’re about to peel off our faces. So, last night, Sarah and I went and bought a humidifier at Target. As with most things we buy, we didn’t get the cheapest one, and we didn’t get the most expensive one (though this was more on the expensive end by Target’s standards at $50). The main attractions of this unit were:

  • It’s for large rooms. We wanted it for the bedroom, but we intend to leave the door open, and hopefully it can cover the whole upstairs.
  • Digital humidistat built in. You can set it to a certain humidity and it’ll maintain that level.
  • “Ultra-quiet operation”
  • 3 fan speed settings

All of that stuff looked great, so we bought it. The thing definitely works, but there are some really stupid problems with it:

  • To set the relative humidity you desire, you push these up/down arrow buttons, which increment/decrement the percent humidity. It sounds great, except that it goes in 5% increments. This is completely stupid, as the range they suggest using is 40-50%. This means that the numeric humidity setting really amounts to just three settings, as if it had a low/medium/high setting for relative humidity. According to the Wikipedia “Humidifier” entry, you shouldn’t set it above 55%, and the humidity in our room without the humidifier was at 39%, so that range seems about right.
  • Even worse, when the humidity reaches the level you set (actually, once it passes the level you set, but I’m just splitting hairs), the display starts fluctuating between, say, 45% and 46%. I understand that there’s no decimal point, but I’m not really sure that rapidly switching back and forth between two numbers is terribly helpful. Not only that, when this happens, the fan starts turning itself on and off repeatedly. After a while, it’ll stop, but before long, it’ll start turning itself on and off again. That’s pretty damn annoying.

Now, I may have dropped out of engineering school, but I can think of simple solutions to both of these problems. The first one is so boneheaded it’s astounding — I can’t think of any reason they wouldn’t just program it to increment/decrement the number by 1 instead of 5. It’s that simple. For the second problem, you could implement a delay so that the fan won’t turn itself on or off more than once every couple of minutes or so.

So, I need to figure out if there’s a way I can keep the damn humidifier from turning on and off all the time. If not, I’ll return it. I might just return it anyway on principle, but I feel like I’m going to have this kind of problem with any humidifier.

Request for folk suggestions

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

I intended to make my post last night a request for suggestions for other folk music I should check out — possibly other things as well, such as blues, bluegrass, etc. I want to get into some local music to some extent, which would take me into bluegrass and country territory. I’m skeptical, especially of country music, but I am guessing that a certain amount of it will be necessary in this endeavor. Sarah has already ordered a Bill Monroe CD for me that includes the Brown County Breakdown, after which the mountain bike ride is named. Bill Monroe, the “father of bluegrass,” played mandolin and sang and lived in this area for some time.

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