Monday, April 30, 2007

Shifters and Derailleurs

Someone asked what kind of shifters and derailleurs I got for my bike.
I got Deore.
They look awesome and work as good as they look.


Hey, even though I know these hits don't really mean anything (half the people that visit only stay on the site for 1 second before moving on), I just wanted to write that this week I'll hit 15,000. Tell your friends to come visit!

I subscribe to two different stat tracking services, but I pay for neither. That means that depending on the service I am either limited to the most recent week of data, or the last 100 visits. Still, that is enough to have some fun. I love looking at my stats, but not because I want to know how many people visit. I like to see if I can discover why they visited. One of the features is a 'World Map' indicating the location of the visitor's ISP. Here is the map for my last few visitors:

I like to think of who could have visited that I might know. You don't see this, but if I mouse over each point it tells me the name of the ISP and location. It looks like maybe Michelle was there, maybe Eric or Jeff too. Victoria could be Chris, and I think the Oregon hit might be Sue or Andy. Of course the North Carolina hit from was either Kara or Shannon... but probably Kara.

I also like the visitor length pie chart. It tells me if anyone has stayed to read anything, or if they immediately leave.

You can see that roughly half the people left after reading the title, but nearly a third stayed for over an hour. This chart is based on a calendar week, and it just reset, so we are only seeing today's numbers but I am happy to say that this ratio seems to hold true over the course of an entire week.

Like I said though, my favorite part of keeping statistics is trying to discover why a person visited. My first step is to review the 'Came From', or 'Referrals' section. It tells me the exact URL that a person was on BEFORE browsing to my site. This usually tells me when they arrived by clicking the 'Next Blog' button in the top of any Blogspot blog, or through a search engine, or links from other sites. For example, this blog is listed on a site that lists blogs by women, and it is also linked to on my Yahoo and MSN accounts. A couple of my friends even have a link to my blog on their blogs. (By the way, thanks Sarah and Jenn for the links!) This page also lets me know when Gwen or Devin have visited because they both use webpages to keep track of stuff for them, like the urls of their friends' blogs.

My favorite feature though has got to be the 'Keyword Analysis'. This is where I get to see what people were looking up in a search engine that eventually led to me. Sometimes people look me up by name, sometimes they are looking for transgender, and I've had my fair share of same-sex marriages hits. The fun ones though are when someone is looking up something completely unrelated and just sort of stumble on my site. Realistically, I think they are likely one of the visits that is less than 5 seconds long, but I like to imagine that every once in a while someone who unintentionally stopped at my site might stay and read some of my articles and come out with a positive feeling. Who knows, maybe someone reading one of my entries might change their mind about what a transsexual really is, and won't feel so bad if someone they know comes out as one.

~ ~ ~ ~

So, it is Wednesday now, a few days after I posted the top part of this post. Remember how I said I like to try to discover how and why a person got to my site? Below is a breakdown of all the search terms a person has used to get here in the last few days. They all made sense except for that last one...

As it turns out, I have made one partridge joke in my entire life, and it is in this post.

My Rocky Mountain Blizzard

My bike is an old friend. I bought it on Feb 19th, 1991 for almost $2000. Back then this was a stupid amount to spend on a bike, and several people expressed to me their opinions on overspending but I have to say that 16 years later I still have no intention of getting a new one. A few years ago though I almost had to. I noticed a crack in the frame. I thought it might not last one solid bump in the road so I stopped riding it and eventually I reluctantly went to the bike store to order a new bike.

In 1985 I got my first mountain bike - a Rocky Mountain Fat City Flyer. A few years after that both Eric and I each rode around on a Rocky Mountain Fusion and then, like I said, in 1991 I got the Rocky Mountain Blizzard. So when it came to deciding on a new bike I knew what company it would be from. I went to the website and I decided my new bike should be a Hammer. Both the Hammer and Blizzard are steel frames with similar geometry(fig 1), but not only was the Hammer much more affordable, but for some reason they only sell Blizzard frames - without components(fig 2). The site told me that the new Hammers came in exactly the same size as my Blizzard, but instead of white I'd have to settle for black.

Figure 1: Similar frame geometry between Hammer (left) and Blizzard (right)

Figure 2: No components on new Blizzards!

Having picked my new bike I went down to Doug's Spoke-n-Sport to buy it. I was greeted by an overly happy man who seemed overly pleased to meet me. I told him that I was looking for a black Rocky Mountain Hammer with an 18.5 inch frame. The guy paused and nodded and said that he had a red Hammer with a 21 inch frame in the store and asked if I wanted to see it. I said sure.

It looked nice enough, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I reiterated that I wanted it in black and with a smaller frame. Instead of going to the counter and ordering it for me, he just kept pushing the one in the showroom. I explained to him that for $1200, I wanted exactly what I wanted - not something kinda close. He didn't seem to hear me and he walked the bike outside for me to test ride it.

Well, even though I knew I wasn't buying this bike, I wanted to try out the shifters so I rode it around the parking lot. When I brought it back in he was ready to write up the bill of sale. His ever-present smile was constant as ever, but his expression did droop a little when I said I needed to think about it and I said goodbye. I didn't really need to think at all, I was just hoping to come back on the weekend and hopefully get a different salesman.

I wasn't feeling satisfied with my trip to the bike shop, so I went to The Bike Doctor on Main St. They didn't sell Rocky Mountain bikes, so when some guy asked if he could help me I asked him about the possibility of getting my old bike fixed. By the end of the day my bike was in the shop scheduled to have the frame welded and painted and all components and cabling replaced. It turned out that all this would only cost $900 and I'd not only save $300, but I'd not have to struggle with the salesman.

It didn't take long. Two weeks later my bike was finished and it was perfect(fig 3). There was only one thing that I couldn't do at The Bike Doctor. Since they were not a Rocky Mountain dealer, they could not order new decals or sell me any official handlebar grips. I had already called to order the decals, but I had seen the grips for sale in Spoke-n-Sport so I just popped in to pick them up myself. The eager salesman was there again and his face lit up with delight when I walked in. He greeted me with some comment about me not being able to stay away and asked if he should wheel out the bike for me. I said, "actually I went to The Bike Doctor, they're helping me out. I just need some handlebar grips." His smile disappeared completely, telling me that he finally heard what I was saying.

Figure 3: My Rocky Mountain Blizzard!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bike Ride!

Yesterday morning I spent indoors playing World of Warcraft with Dragoo and Boud. As the day went on I felt how warm the air was as it blew in the open windows. I checked the computer and saw that it was 20ºC and I suddenly couldn't resist the urge to go for a bike ride.

I've only gone for one ride so far this year, and it was a short one. Last weekend I rode down to the gas station and filled the tires, then I came straight back. I wanted to ride more but it so windy, and the air was so chilly that it blew right through my clothes. I brought the bike home right away and put it back in it's spot on the balcony for another week.

Yesterday though I was determined to ride further. I went out to see my bike and saw that the last ride did nothing to shake loose the coating of dust caused by a long winter outside. Despite that it was even windier than last weekend I set out
to the car wash. I washed off the dust and grime and then I oiled the chain and the gears. When I pulled back on to the street my bike felt solid and smooth. It was like it was brand new again. I decided to ride to the university but I didn't make it that far. Eric and I have an old gypsy curse - 'nothing but wind', and it was in full force. To get to the university I had two directions to go in - north and west - and true to the curse, either way I chose, the wind was against me. It was frustrating enough when I had some sort of cover from buildings and houses, but when I started riding along the fields between 14th and College Drive the wind was too much. The dust blowing off the field sometimes forced me to close one or both of my eyes at times. Before long I felt my face was starting to sting from wind burn. It was my first real bike ride of the year and I pretty much hated it.

I gave up. I hung a left and immediately the struggle was over. The wind blew me down the next few blocks and I don't know if I had to pedal at all. When I turned on to 8th Street I was a little nervous because I hadn't been in traffic on my bike in years. With the wind on my back though it was as easy as driving a car. I even passed a couple cars as I sped down the hill near the Acadia Drive Tim Horton's. By the time I got home my awful bike ride had turned into a great one. All that effort and struggling in the beginning was very difficult, but it was all worth it considering that it made it so I could literally coast through the ride home.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Such Anger!

I just finished work about 20 minutes ago and I started browsing Wikipedia. I started on BC -the comic by Johnny Hart*, and I ended up at Spenser - a fictional detective in books by Robert B. Parker.

Well, at the bottom of the article about Spenser was a link to a fan site called "Bullets and Beer - The Spenser Home page". I just sort of glanced at the site, but one paragraph caught my eye. It was positioned right underneath a link to another Spenser fan site and it said:

This former link is for reference purposes only. Dodd Vickers was an egotistical asshole with a pathetic site he never updated except with slightly reworded files he stole from me, and who considered a Yahoo chat board as an extension of his site. He also registered (without the dashes I was forced to use) for two years while pointing it to his own site after promising to point it to mine. Rot in Hell Dodd; I may get around to posting my extensive documentation of how you have fouled the internet or just let you disappear into the anonymity you don't really deserve.

It made me laugh that this guy was sooo angry he'd go to the trouble of writing that but that was nothing. Just for fun I googled 'Dodd Vickers' and the top link was for I clicked it and found this:

Domain-Squatting Scumbag
This page is dedicated to
Dodd Vickers of
875 Lawrenceville Suwanee Rd
Suite 310-285
Lawrenceville, GA, 30043
(770) 289-2303
Dodd is a
Domain-Squatting Scumbag.

Now maybe reading that last wikipedia article influenced me, but right now I am feeling like a fictional detective myself. I have to say that the clues have led me to the conclusion that the bullets and beer guy is guilty of some anger mismanagement.

* As it turns out Johnny Hart just died two weeks ago. I don't really know much about him, but I like his comic strip.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Veronica Gets Something Off Her Chest

My old roommate Curtis used to laugh at me when I'd take baths because he considered them too girly. Well... he had no idea. Back then I'd just lay in the tub and read, but now things are just completely over the top. I don't just bath, I take stereotypical girly baths. I still read in there, but now I do it by the light of a dozen candles in a tub filled with anything that smells nice and makes bubbles. It is so girly it is even alarming to me, but Curtis... he would have flipped his lid!

This blog entry isn't about baths though, in fact it isn't even about anything real. It is about something I thought I saw in an Archie comic last night, and even though it turned out to be false I decided to post about it anyway. See, yesterday I bought a 'Betty & Veronica' and all afternoon I held off reading it because I was saving it for my bath. When I finally did read it I was shocked because I swore that Veronica was wearing an open-front shirt.

I looked forward to blogging about it all day until a short while ago when I scanned it. I realized that there actually is a slight difference in colour between her skin and the heart over her chest. It was very disappointing because last night by the light of the candles, I was certain I had just seen Ronnie's right boob just shy of the nipple.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Imogen Heap Song Streamed

  Listen to Imogen Heap "Hallelujah"

Friday, April 13, 2007

Plenty of Freaks

So as some of you know I have a profile on It is a free online dating site that usually gives me a source of entertainment, and sometimes even a date or two. Most of the time the people who message me are super nice, very rarely they are not. Usually though when they are not nice they are not even personally mean, they are just letting me know how much god hates me and all that. The other day though I got a personalized letter of meanness.

I logged in to see I had a message from some guy named mrright2572. I opened it to see he had just typed "Andrew?" Just in case you don't know, before I changed it to 'Sarah', my name used to be 'Andrew'.

I was a little scared because I had no idea who this was and he obviously knew me. I didn't know if I should reply at all, but curiosity got the better of me so I wrote, "Yup... used to be anyway." Then I apologized for not recognizing his picture.

I was pretty eager to see his reply because I wanted to know who he was. I was thinking maybe he was a friend from long long ago, maybe from boy scouts or something like that. When notice of his reply came I immediately opened it, and I was immediately disappointed. Not only did he not tell me who he was, but his message said, "what a freak you are. Thought you were a freak back when I knew you and you are even more one now. loser"

I was a little bit upset. Not only was that message pretty rude, but he didn't even use proper capitalization. I am pretty much immune to insults dealing with being transgendered*, but now I really wanted to know who this person was. I replied and I was very nice to him. I agreed that I used to be a freak for sure. I said that I never really felt comfortable in life before, so I was very awkward around people sometimes. I even apologized if I had wronged him somehow. I suggested that we forgive and forget because "I'd rather think I reconnected briefly with someone I once knew, than just have someone call me names."

Not long afterwards I got another reply from mrright2572, "Well Andrew, I am sure Heather *** hA*** would have a good laugh at you, as would others who knew you. Too funny, Freak!! " (I left out Heather's last name for her privacy)

I could see he was still having trouble with his capitalization, but at least this last message gave me a clue as to who he may be. He must have worked with Heather and I at A&W. I shot off an email with his picture to Heather, Jamie and Michelle to see if any of them remembered him. In the meantime I sat back in my chair to see if I could remember. I was a little distracted because I was laughing that this guy presumed to apply a behaviour to Heather that is so far from reality it was as if he had never even met her.

I have known Heather for over a third of my lifetime. Heather was the first person I told that I was transgendered and she is one of those people that I know will always be on my side. She is family. It is actually quite funny, when you think of it, that of all the people this guy could have named in an attempt to make me feel bad, he picked someone who has always made me feel good, even from just a stray thought or mere mention of her name.

As I thought about this lame attempt at making me feel bad suddenly a name popped into my head. Heather confirmed this guy's identity later that evening, but at the time I couldn't wait for anyone to reply. I sent him a message that said, "Ron! The broom handle guy!"** Now I don't know if Ron was just done insulting me, or if he was only comfortable calling me a freak when he was completely anonymous, but after I sent him a message identifying him, his messages comletely stopped.

It's funny how many words can be clearly defined, but in the end have meanings that are completely up to individual interpretation. I guess I just think of myself as a regular woman, but he saw a freak. Like I said, by far most people chat on plenty of fish with civility and a live and let live belief, but Ron believes in going out of his way to insult people and to name-call. I take a look at the two of us specifically and I see one of us is clearly an oddball; unique in a displeasing way. Who is the freak when you look at it that way?

* Honestly, for anyone out there who wants to insult a transsexual for his or her choice to live as the other gender, just consider that it is like insulting someone with a broken leg for using a crutch. It's what we do to get by.

** I don't really remember Ron at all except that he liked to unscrew the handles from mops and brooms and twirl them around while bragging about his martial arts skills. How very Napolean, Ron.

AHA! Eat this Caspers and Chino!

"Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. "

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jimmy: The World of Warcraft Story

This video is hilarious!

P.S. Mom, you won't understand half the jokes in this video.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Coming May 2007

Jenn, get ready... We're raiding.