The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Well I didn't blog as much about Scotland as I thought I would because I constantly updated my status on Facebook with new profile pics for each day.

For those of you who don't have Facebook, I'll post the photo albums as soon as I get them uploaded.

Here's one of my favorites for now.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Note to self: no knives through security

Well my trip is off to an interesting start, totally forgot to take the knife out of my pocket when going through security. They didn't think I should take it on the plane for some reason. Luckily Sarah had not left yet and the dude gave her the knife. Note that she *pretended* to leave, but stayed just out of sight *knowing* that I would do something stupid. Proved her right again.

Next thing I did was drop my laptop. No big deal, I mean it's only got everything I need for three conferences on it. I lucked out again though and it seems to be working just fine.

I'm looking at my plane now. It's nice and shiny. How in the world do those gigantic engines stay on the wings with those tiny connections? Never mind.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Why I Like Bikes!

So, biking is kind of an obsession with me and some might wonder about the etiology of this pathology. I think there's something to this, so I want to meditate on it a bit.

1. Function wedded to form

I am all about the fusion of function and form. Bikes are incredibly convenient. Surely one of the most useful inventions ever was the wheel. Well bikes don't add much to that basic invention, just a way to sit on the wheels. Add a super simple drivetrain and now not only can we save energy by coasting down hill we can take advantage of the mechanical advantage of gears to make going up hill easy as well!

Yet bikes are also works of art as well. I'll upload a photo album if my beloved "Triumph" and Sarah's "Golden Boy". These are worthy of being in a museum! Sarah's gold anodized frame always turns heads (well, she turns heads anyway, but I'm just sayin'...). When the sun glistens on my carbon-fiber chain stays, it is a thing of beauty.

I use my bike to haul the kids around, to get groceries, to get to school, to Mass, to work (and all without donating to Osama Bin Ladin).

2. Health, Wealth, and Well-being
I am dedicated to taking care of my body. Commuting lets me exercise on a regular basis without having to schedule it. Bikes, even very expensive bikes, are much cheaper than the average car and much cheaper to maintain. And being on my bike is *peaceful*, much more peaceful than stop-and-go traffic or bumper-to-bumper hi-way road rage.

3. Fun!
I am nine years old. I love to play! Bikes go FAST! You can do wheelies, jumps, go over logs, across creeks and splash and spray. Bikes are fun!

4. Human ingenuity
The simplest bikes are ingenious in their simplicity: two janus-like triangles with wheels at each end, a crank at the bottom and a seat at the top. And the most complex bikes are ingenious in their complexity. The amount of high-tech engineering that goes into the pivot system on a full-suspension frame is amazing. The math his out of this world and it would be impossible to build without computer aided design.

All of the above: when you combine form, function, health, fun, and ingenuity into one package, you got me hooked for life...

I should add, by the way, that bikes can change the world. Don't believe me? Check out

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Back to blogging, back to Scotland

Soooooo maaaaaybe I shouldn't have scheduled my Primary Area Comprehensive PhD Exam, my Secondary Area Comprehensive PhD Exam, my teaching practicum, and my thesis defense in the same semester (the same semester as one another and the same semester in which I'll be going to five conferences, including three in the next two weeks while in Scotland).

"Irregardless," I'm leaving for Scotland Friday morning and I have my handouts done, my inbox cleaned out, and all I have to do is clean off my camera disk, so I'm just about in the clear at last!

I will be doing some photobloging while over there, so keep an eye out. Last time I toured the East Coast of Scotland, this time I'm taking in more of the Highlands and the West Coast, including a trip up to Inverness to catch a glimpse of Nessie!