Test ride #2 included hills, 53 miles, and 22 pounds of gear.san jose

It was doable, but perhaps not sustainable. I could definitely handle 50 miles and 22 pounds of gear for two days in a row, and maybe even three days in a row, but adding more intense hills and going 7 days in a row? Perhaps too much. I’ve pared down to 18 pounds but may go up as high as 20.

Some thoughts on the missions I’ve visited so far:

Mission Solano, the northernmost mission, was cute. It’s a small little historic landmark in wine country. It’s very humble. There was some art, but a lot of the gold and extravagant art I associate with Catholic churches just wasn’t there. A replica of the original Californian flag was there, and being the most recently built mission it had some more recent history (like the gold rush).

Let me preface the next two thoughts with the following: I did zero research on the missions before this trip, and mostly chose this route because I’m Californian born and raised, and El Camino Real is a long, well-defined route to follow for backpackers and bikepackers with historical significance. I should also probably say that I’m not Catholic at all, and from a cultural point of view I’m learning more about Catholicism at each site than anything else.

Mission Santa Clara is on a Catholic University campus. I didn’t tour it, partially because everything was a sprawling campus and I couldn’t figure out what was the Mission and what was the university bookstore. It’s less than 10 miles from where I live, so I can come back to it. I was very surprised it wasn’t a state historic park.

Mission San Jose is a state historic park, but it’s also active as a Catholic church. There were baptisms going on while I was there. This also surprised me.

imageDid a short 20 mile test ride today with ~26 pounds of gear that included a pitstop at Mission Santa Clara. I’ll be repacking and reprioritizing my bags tonight, then making another test ride tomorrow.

I was extremely anxious about this trip. I originally wanted to hit all 21 Missions in two weeks but have since realized this was unreasonable. I pared down my itinerary and now I’m feeling much more confident and excited!! Just one more week!


I’m sure there’s some famous quote about how the media you consume colors your vision of the world. Whatever book I’m reading or show I’m watching influences my interpretation of my own life.

Current audiobook: The Martian
Current anxiety: upcoming multiday bike tour

Some spoilers for The Martian below: More »

13902791_10104627558886723_9058545920674417047_nThis plaque marks the end of the Mission Trail; alternatively, it marks the beginning of mine. The plan is to visit all 21 missions in California. Visiting Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma last weekend was my first.

I’m reading a non-fiction advice book written by multiple authors, and many sentences include first-person plural words like “we” or “us.”

At times, I identify with what the authors are saying, and feel like I’m part of that “us.” At others, I feel like it is just their opinion, and the “we” who is saying whatever they’re saying comes from the authors and no one else. At still other times, I find myself questioning whether I’m meant to be included in the grouping of “we.” I also find myself putting myself into others’ shoes – the friend who recommended the book to me, for example – and wondering if they would feel part of the “us” community the authors suggest.

This could all be solved with inclusive and exclusive we. Many languages around the world have two distinct words for we. Inclusive we refers to the speaker (me) and the listener (you), and possibly some other third party (them). Exclusive we refers to the speaker (me) and some other third party (them) but definitely not the listener (you).

In a semi famous linguists’ urban legend, one missionary speaking a language that included a clusivity distinction said “We (exclusive) will be saved by such and such deity.” The listeners, understandably, did not seem excited to convert to the religion.

Although clusivity can help clarify a situation (or make for a laughable faux pas), I also wonder if the vagueness of English “we” is a benefit. The reader of this advice book is free to choose whether or not they self-identify with the authors. If the we is interpreted as exclusive, the reader can dismiss the authors’ advice as “just their opinion.” If the we is interpreted as inclusive, the reader can feel validated and feel like they are part of a community.

Have you ever been in a situation where clusivity would help (or make things worse)?

Previously, whenever someone asked me what I wug is, I let Jean Berko Gleason herself answer.

But now I have a nifty new Wacom tablet and a free trial of Camtasia so I decided to try my hand at making my own explanation:

I love bicycles. A lot. I lived in Davis for four years, which is in a town that has more bikes than people.


This is Epona, my faithful steed since 2009. We’ve been on a lot of adventures lately, including our first metric century (that’s 100 kilometers!) two weeks ago. Three other recent adventures in cycling (one negative, two positive) in the last 48 hours:

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A long time ago, I made a little script that converts whatever you type into animals. You can try it here. And you can download and play with the code here. And you can learn more about how it was done below… More »

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged. The last year has been a crazy flurry of life changes and positive self improvement, including but not limited to:

  • Dropping out of grad school
  • Joining the tech industry
  • Moving (twice)
  • Rekindling old hobbies (cycling, painting, and PC gaming)
  • Picking up new hobbies (audio books, rock climbing, and tabletop RPGs)
  • Running my first Beer Mile (in 17 minutes, tyvm)
  • Doing my first unassisted pull-up
  • Riding my first quarter century, half century, and metric century
  • Going to therapy and stopping having anxiety attacks
  • Cutting my hair short

Anyway, I’m at a point in my life where regular blogging might become a thing again. I am learning so much about bikes and computers, I want to share!

Some goals for the foreseeable future:

  • Start building stuff with Raspberry Pis
  • Go on a multi-day bike tour
  • Finally learn calculus (thanks Khan Academy)
  • Blog more, paint more, do more yoga

As far as long term goals? I’m really not sure. I recently closed my academia/linguistics chapter of my life, and am starting down this path of the tech world. I’ll do this for a while, and then see where my next “lifetime” takes me.

I’m helping score the Analytical Writing Placement Exams for incoming UC freshmen this week. For those of you not familiar with the exam, 17 and 18 year olds who have been admitted to a UC wake up at some ungodly early hour of a Saturday morning, sit down, read a passage, and write an essay. It’s my job to look for things like sentence variety, organization and structure, arguments, analysis, and a general understanding of the prompt. Of course, multiple grammatical errors, poor variety in vocabulary, and numerous misspellings can hurt, but I can be forgiving for one or two misspelled words. After all, they don’t have access to spellcheck or wikipedia, and no one writes perfectly well without a chance to edit, especially on a Saturday morning when you’re 17.

The prompt this year has to do with socializing with strangers. One “error” I’ve seen in many essays (of a variety of skill levels, including those scoring “clearly competent”) is the use of conversate instead of have a conversation or converse. But is this really an error?

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