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Update; Video; Chain Letter; Hacking
Jeff with Leif and Piano
Hey'all! Another update of the moment:

Physio is going amazingly well. I feel like my neck / shoulder mobility is close to what it was pre-surgery. My strength is still lagging behind, and I'm doing hefty 3 pound bicep curls! Woohoo! Not so much for my arms, but for my back, which still has to support my arms doing this. I'm also doing 45 pound dips, and some exercises with a yellow theraband. Walking is really tiring me out at all anymore, no matter what distance I walk. As I'm reducing my pain meds, I am starting to get sore, though. Hopefully in the next week that will stabilise. Next Monday I get an ultrasound of some internal organs (I can't remember which, sorry) that will see if I have a non-drug related cause for the ongoing nausea. But so far a pill every day or two seems to be keeping it at bay.

I've posted two more videos of Leif up on YouTube. I have a bunch to sift through, but hopefully there's at least one more good one in the set. I haven't uploaded the pictures yet because I hate f-spot so much. (Ask my sometime why I think it was called f-spot)

I got a fun chain letter from someone asking everyone to boycott Esso and Shell for the rest of the year to force gas prices to come back down the sub dollar-per-litre. This was my reply:

I like high gas prices, though. I want the prices to go much higher.

Every time the prices go up, there are more cyclists on the road, and
the air gets a bit clearer.

If it were $10/litre, then almost noone would drive. We'd all be on
bicycles. Then it we be so much safer to be on a bike.

I can't wait for the day.

What do y'all think?

And on the hacking front, I actually dusted off CVS and fixed some autotools bits in GNU Sysutils so that David could fix a compile bug. I don't know if this round of activity will spur us into doing more. But it's possible. So maybe in another.. Oh, I dunno. decade or so we'll have a full GNU replacement for util-linux that's portable and everything. =)

I might get off my ass and hack on my reimplementation of Galactic Bloodshed through the month of May. I miss that game in a strange pathetic way.

Heading into my last month of off-work recovery time, I'm surprised at how good I feel. I haven't replied to alot of emails I've gotten from folks, even from before the surgery. I'm starting to make headway on the emails, though. Thanks for your patience!

Hugs all!

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Hi Jeff. So glad to hear your physio is going so well! Congratulations on the walking and the 3 lb. weights! I actually find 3 lb. weights heavy! Grin. Sure hope your digestive system calms down too.
We're on Mayne for the weekend and just looked at the video clips of Leif. They're so much fun to watch! Thanks so much for doing that!
Hugs to you and Angie and Leif!

I hope you guys had a lovely weekend! I get the expresspost of my fedex envelope today. Thanks!

So glad to hear from you. I will save your email and stay in touch. I hope you will be back to Birmingham and get in touch with us too.

While I agree that high gas prices are good for the environment, they are hell on lower income families, especially those who live in areas, like the South, where public transportation is nearly non-existent. We are hearing more and more stories of families who are facing job loss, because they can't afford to get to work, on top of the rising food prices, and they are literally having to choose gas to get to work or food to put on the table. It's a scary time for the already penny-pinched under-class. Bikes are an option but if you have two kids who need to get to day-care across town and then back again to get to work, it's not feasible. We have hit a crisis here in the South, and it doesn't look like it's going to get any better any time soon.

Meanwhile those who can afford the gas prices are generally one with the power to effect change in the public transportation, but they don't see the need. So there are always two sides to every coin.

Glad to hear that you are steadily improving.

If we accept that driving cars and consuming gasoline isn't sustainable, then the question becomes: How do we help the lower-income folks for whom this is a hardship transition to a mode of transport that they can both afford and will be sustainable? I ask that seriously. I've tried hard to always live within a 15 minute walk or bike to work to make sure that I didn't need a car to get there. I know that's not always possible for folks, but I also know that for alot of middle-class folks, they're not willing to give up their yards or live in smaller places to make that happen. (Our place in Toronto was a 1 room, 550 square foot place. But Angie and I could both walk everywhere we needed to go. )

Now that Leif is over a year old, we can finally fit him with a helmet, so we can reduce our car usage. I'm a bit stuck right now because of my surgery - I can't ride a bike (I'm not sure what the right solution here would be in the world with $10/litre gas. Rent an electric scooter?)

I think that the whole proximity thing is the key part. But how do we get more communities designed around the concept that your daycare should be walking distance from your house, so should your job, and so should your church.

It's worth noting that the "walking distance to your church" thing is a common rant of mine about UU churches and the desire to grow large churches. I'd rather see one every 5 blocks built around a true community model. But that's another topic.

I've been trying to follow your Facebook postings, and I'd love to catch up sometime. It sounds like you've had some rollercoasters lately.

Hugs! Be well!

electric scooters get terrible gas mileage!

are you as sick and tired of being the effect of corporate greed as I was?
I say "was" because at least I found a solution for myself. I am trying to make it available to everyone because if this thing takes off as it is starting to and goes mainstream...
we will have a different, much better scene in this country and the world.
Check out the testimonial videos at so you can see it isn't just me saying it!

Posted by Andy Forbes, 23rd August pm Report Comment Fuel prices are to high, and I resent the fact that they are trying to get low income people of the road by these high prices, If they genuinly want to reduce immissions why don't they stop all these unnecessesary air flights for holidaymakers, I have never been on a flight and do not feel the need to and I am 60.

High gas prices are good, because they spur innovation in the long term, but in the short term they hurt those who have little disposable income.

wish it were that easy

I love my bike (see my latest post -- and avoid using the car, but high gas prices don't affect car-owners only.

Oil prices affect the cost for me (and many others) to keep our homes warm in the winter.

And while many people think "Oh, I'll go electric!" they forget that many electric plants use coal (some even use oil) -- something that isn't all that great for the environment. And the price of coal is going up, too.

(Never mind the fact that my me-powered bike has to rely on carbs (e.g. grains) for power, and the price of that is going up, too.)

Re: wish it were that easy

Let's assume for the moment that a price rise to $10/litre is inevitable (as it likely is at some point in the future. The biggest question is when). What does it take to be ready for that? I know that Hydro Quebec used to have programs where they would do a winter thermal analysis on your home if you committed to spend some amount after (I don't remember the amount) on upgrades to insulation and whatnot. What programs can we consumers take advantage of now that will help mitigate the cost of the rising gas prices?

Probably the biggest reason I like to hope for a rise in the oil price is that it's a reminder to me to do *now* what I can. Be in shape to ride my bike; lower my hydro bill; prepare food simply, cheaply and lower on the food chain. Doing this satisfies not only the environmentalist in me, but it also makes me feel a bit more prepared for bumps along the way when it comes to oil supply and prices. I'm trying to take an honest look at what I like to do and figure out how I can do it and improve my environmental footprint.

Re: wish it were that easy

And I agree, it is a great reminder. Rising oil prices makes it that much easier to justify getting some work done on my house that'll make it more efficient.

Still, there are those people who are living at or below the poverty level now. Their wages aren't going to go up to match the price of oil and food.

While rising prices help you and I think about ways to be more environmentally conscious and consume less, rising prices for them means something completely different. Why would you wish them ill?

Take, for example, heating oil. Heating Oil companies have programs in place to help people who can't afford to heat their homes. Charities exist to help (the churches in my area have a Heating Oil fund), but, still, every year we hear about people dying because they turned off their heat or didn't pay their bill.

I don't wish that on anyone.

Your arguments don't have anything to do with energy or oil; they're all simply based on "the kings won't need us, so they'll cast us aside".

I am never warm in the winter and I don't look forward to 60 and 56 but I am sure Mr. Obama's home is much warmer than that.

I sympathise: going on Critical Mass from time to time makes me hope for a future where bikes rule the streets every day.

I've still never actually been to a critical mass, although I watched a couple out my window. In Toronto, they've destroyed the waterfront by putting an elevated freeway along it (underneath it they have a road the same size, but with stoplights designed for local traffic *sigh*), and the place I lived in there had a gorgeous view of the freeway (and the lake behind it)

One afternoon I looked up because it seemed awfully quiet out there, and the whole freeway was covered in bicycles. It was really cool. I didn't have a bike in that city (the drivers scared me too much), but when I'm better I should see if there's one around here. If not, I'm sure there will be in San Francisco.

Where are you living these days? Dr. Garrett had said that you were moving at the same time as him and I don't remember where he said you were going after.

Bikes retake the streets for a time. Others have formed "Critical Manners" rides where traffic laws are obeyed.

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