Today’s weather was the best in the world for … anything, and so I walked my dog and rode my bike in the hills at longitude 37.898106, latitude -122.017593 with a friend named Keith, below. I’m shooting a Lumix:

Two of three so far violate the Rule of Thirds, but none of them would have benefitted by cropping.

These are typical trails here…about 15 minute of riding, mostly on sidewalks and light residential, to the trail heads. Then you ride into canyons, on ridges, up hills and down valleys with so many connecting trails that you’re always coming to intersections where you don’t really know where this one goes, or that one.

A couple of Blugs ago I mentioned I was taking French lessons. I got the Pimsleur tapes, for $9.95. It’s eight 30-minute sessions, an if you do nothing they’ll send you more in a month and bill you $64 a month for 4 months for the rest. Some people don’t read the fine print, and figure they’re being shenaniganned, but it’s easy to cancel, and I think I won’t cancel. I’ve gotten $400 worth of education so far, out of the $9.95 I spent, and it’s only 30 minutes a day. I know how to ask a lady if she’d like to drink wine at my place, or where would she like to eat something, or does she know where La Rue St. Jacques is? And when she says “It’s not here, it’s down there, and No, I don’t want to drink wine at your place; I want to drink beer at Pierre’s restaurant,” well, I know what she’s saying. I have no connection whatsoever with Pimsleur, but I am doing it, and it’s a bargain.  In case you want to learn a language and missed the earlier reference:

http://www.pimsleur.com/

We are open tomorrow, Monday. What holiday is it? President’s Day? In the old days Lincoln and Washington got their own holidays, but now they’re combined. We’re not a school, a bank, or a government agency, so we’re working…and we gotta…but every such holiday, teachers, bankers, and bureaucrats come by (thank you) to get something, and express surprise to us that we’re open. That always makes me feel like a scroogey whip-cracker, but the truth is, we have a reasonable vacation and days-off policy, at least by non-bank/school/government standards. We are open.

One of you sent me this, which is in the NY Times magazine section today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/timothy-barrett-papermaker.html?ref=todayspaper

It’s a neat story about paper. Do they have stationery stores, anymore? Stationary, yes, but the other? Is Office Max and Office Depot all there are? I go to a nearby Max once a month for something. Around here, the stationery stores have closed, I think. THere is one in Lafayette, and in Berkeley. The best paper I’ve seen or used comes from Japan. I’m not a paper snob or afficionado, but I like the heft and smoothness of Japanese paper, and whenever I go there, I always go to stationery stores. I am a sucker for them. Notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers. Here’s are two old favorites:

The one here is 25 years old, but I got several of them on a Bstone trip there. The Notebook is called Lucky Gloria, and it says:

We rise above one another in y’Esteem of y’World

by different degrees of Perfection, proportion’d to

the Want or Advantage of a liberal Education

I don’t know whether that’s a quote from some famous Englishman, or if some Japanese guy made it up, but its bizarreness struck a chord with me, and I bought six, down to my last one. I did lots of Bstone work in these.

The one here is a simpler one, with a banker’s envelop closing (there’s a “wheel” on the back, too, to hold it closed), and its message is easier to understand.

Here’s something another customer sent to me. Some of you know that..within what I hope are sane limits and all, we are, to some extent, encouraging those who want to lose some weight to eat fewer carbohydrates. This is contrary to what you may have been told (as a cyclist) to do, not to mention it being super difficult if you’re a V, but whatever the case is, this short little column is interesting in that the protagonist recanted his long-held and published notions about diet, and people don’t easily or often do that. In a related story about the same guy, who apparently is famous in New Zealand, he recommended that those who owned his famous book rip out one of the chapters in it which he now thinks is bs. I admire a guy like that:

http://www.timeslive.co.za/lifestyle/2012/02/05/sorry-but-carbo-is-really-a-no-no

In other New Zealand news, there is new book out, about fly fishing, and there’s a chapter in it that mentions me, and I really want the book, but it’s $165, so…probably won’t get it. Here’s a link to the book, and don’t ask me about the name, because I don’t get it either:

http://issuu.com/stevenspublishing/docs/i_mind_one_time__hugh_mcdowell

You can open it and go to page 80 or so…I think the chapter begins on page 75 or something. In my defense, I heard it was 61, not more than that, and I remember the number well….but I heard it from a guy who saw Hughie catch number 61 (and many others before that, and nobody else was catching fish that day). He just didn’t stay around to see the others.

We got our Betty Foy frames in. I’m getting one for sure. Dave has one, Vince just got one, Keven and I are next.