Actually getting out of the house this week

I've been staying busy, it's eaten into my food schedule and possibly brought on a night of insomnia but it's still good.

Food has proven to be really key to keeping my mood even, I'm trying to be really good about eating on a regular schedule.  So it's kind of bad when I miss things. Last night I skipped dinner until late and then didn't really eat enough when I did make food and I kind of did the same thing tonight.  I guess if that's the worst that comes out of the week I'll be good.  There's just been stuff to do so I haven't had time.  Thankfully tomorrow's meeting is actually somewhere that you can order food so that will be good.

The reason that I skipped dinner last night was because of a public meeting about improving access on Franklin Ave.  The meeting was at 7:30 and I worked up until about 6:15 so there wasn't any time to eat in between work and the meeting.  They had a lot of good ideas about how to improve the street for pedestrians and bicyclists but I'm not sure how they were going to do it.  The money would need to come from the county and it wasn't clear if they were really wanting to do anything.  The first part of the process is the plan and the public comments to find out what people really want.  The meeting was pretty well attended, there were probably 50 people there including a lot of people who would be instrumental in getting any project through the process.

After thinking about it more I think my choice for options on the section from Chicago to Hennepin would be to do the shared bicycle priority lanes during rush hour.  I'm not entirely sold on it though.  The other option is doing a 4/3 conversion with bike lanes and parking but that would take a variance from the engineers to do 10.5 foot lanes which has typically been a non-starter in Minneapolis before.  It would also be a really cramped layout with the bike lanes and parking.  They could also completely remove parking altogether but I'm not sure how popular that's going to be. 

There wasn't much that people really wanted changed about the section from Chicago to Bloomington, I think most people felt that part was pretty good as is and redoing it would be pretty expensive because it would mean changing the bump outs in some areas.  There was a lot of support for changing the part underneath Hiawatha to Minnehaha into more of a pedestrian friendly area with a landscaped median. 

I didn't find myself hotly debating any of the proposed designs, really I didn't care all that much.  Pretty much whatever they do will be an improvement and I already feel pretty OK riding on the street most of the time.  I used to have to take it every Tuesday during running from basically the river to Nicollet and never had any times that I felt that I was in danger of getting hit by anyone.  Of course I was also taking the full lane from Chicago past 35W and not letting anyone even try to share the lane with me, traffic was slow enough  with the gridlock that I could do this pretty easily.  But that's a pretty aggressive stance to have to take and most other people won't be comfortable doing that.  I wasn't sure how well it would work in any of the plans, with the fact that they can't widen the street at all they are pretty limited so anything they do will be a compromise of some sort. 

I'm pretty sure that the skipping on dinner and then just eating a little reheated Indian food for dinner contributed to last night's insomnia.  I kept thinking and thinking long after I should have been asleep.  It was well after 3 by the time that I finally fell asleep with the help of a sleeping pill.  So much for my streak of not taking them.  I was doing pretty good.  Because I took the pill so late I was super groggy the first couple of hours of work but that was ok.  We're starting to set up our workdays so that the mornings are small little bug fix kind of stuff and not heavy duty coding, then after we bang that stuff out we move on to the heavier coding.  This will hopefully cut down on switching gears halfway through the day as we get small 10-15 minute jobs so that we can stay better focused and write some better code. I spent most of the day working on a form for a franchise application.  It has an absolute ton of fields, everything from the family status of the person applying to their full credit details. I think this is probably the most complicated external form that I've ever programmed.  I think I have close to 6 hours into it so far, I forgot to log my hours yesterday.

Pretty much right as I finished up with that for the evening I got the call from the other people from the Occupy Neighborhood Democracy Project that they were meeting at Boneshaker so I hurried up and got my stuff together and ran over for that.  It was really nice having the new laptop to use for taking notes and looking stuff up.  There were a lot of questions about the site, and some concern that the url is something people won't remember.  I think minneapolis.occupy-ndp.org is simple enough but we're going to be sharing tinyurl.com/mplsndp.  Really if we do end up taking this and doing it in other cities using the same code base then we are going to want to start using the domain occupy-ndp.org and making the main domain mostly a listing of what city subdomains there are to visit.  There was also some concern about storage space, right now we're just on the most basic hosting plan at work which has a storage limit of 500 megabytes.  As is just the html to run the site and the git repo is probably 150 megs of that.  So if they want to be uploading lots and lots of files that's not really going to work, and they were already wanting to do things like scan all of the maps we have for canvassing and make them available for download on the website.  I could see doing the main canvassing materials, fliers and sign-up sheets and surveys but high res maps of every inch of every city that we do this in is something that we really don't have the server resources to do.  Hopefully this doesn't become an issue too quickly.  We've been pretty good about donating hosting for bicycling related non profits but I don't think any of those are going to be getting the same kind of traffic and content.

First off we have to start getting people to the website.  So that means more canvassing and flyering at a rally or protest I forget which and the May Day parade.  The rest of the group said they'd sign up and start adding some content.  I volunteered to spend some time formatting a quarter sheet for handing out this weekend.  Hopefully that should be pretty easy, I'm going to try to update the logo a little bit too, probably just using the same font that we have on the website.  They are using the Minnesota Occupy logo that's the thumbnail of this post, it could use a little help.  Then we're going to put on a QR code on for a meeting that we're doing on the 29th at the Minnehaha Free Space.  We're hoping to get a lot more people out at that meeting to get involved and hopefully help us start reaching out into other neighborhoods and doing more canvassing and organizing here in Seward. 

Tomorrow night it's planning for an upcoming camping trip that Low is putting together.  It's a pretty tame trip, 30 miles to the campsite or something like that.  I have to find someone to share a tent with so hitting up this meeting is pretty key.  It should be pretty fun, I'm looking forward to a large group bike camping trip.  After that probably working on the flier.

Thursday if I'm not done with the flier the morning is going to be finishing that up and then in the afternoon is more training for Powderhorn 24.  It looks like a perfect day for it, I think I'm going to just try for the same 40 mile loop again and then maybe add something on in the evening after if I still feel good after eating dinner.  That should be fun.  Riding with a friend that I don't see very often that is just kind of getting back into biking so it will probably be a pretty slow ride.  I was so slow last time that that doesn't seem like a hard thing to do. 

So yeah, staying busy.  Not a lot of time for coding.  I'm glad that I got pretty much everything done on the Occupy website on Sunday after I posted up.  I went through and made screencasts for logging in and updating your profile, making blog posts, and making forum posts.  Doing that exposed a lot of other little bugs that I cleaned up and now I feel pretty confident about the whole application now.  Low got back to me on the comments on Greaserag too, turns out it doesn't need to be fixed which is nice.  There's still more to do on that and Occupy I'm sure but for the moment I can breath a bit.  I'm sure that lots of bugs will start showing up on the Occupy site once there are tons of people using it.

We had a question today of putting up fliers on the site which brought up something you wouldn't really hear in other group settings.  We were trying to determine if we should have a central place to put up all the fliers and canvassing materials on the site or if they should just be posted up as part of blog posts.  I was asked if the fact that adding them to a central repository meant that we would have to have a class of user who are actually administrators or have someone like me who is an admin add it, and if having administrators on the site was unacceptable from an ethical standpoint regarding the content.  I honestly can see it both ways.  I didn't want for there to really be a set class structure for the site where you have admins and you have users.  The idea is that everyone has equal access to post  up anything.  So having content that has to be approved and edited and placed online kind of goes against that.  But I don't see another way around it, you certainly can't give every user the ability to do every little thing that they want to do on the site with a system as robust as concrete 5.  There's so much potential for them to really break things.  So you almost have to have an adminstrator class to keep things in place and coherent. 

I guess I'm OK with there being admins, if we have to.  It makes sense from a content management standpoint, we need to have these files in a different location than what is possible with user blogs or discussion forums.  Although I guess we could make a discussion forum called "Resources" and then do sticky posts in there with each different flier or handout or whatever.  That might work. 

Anyway, today is pretty much over.  Hoping my mind will shut down and go to sleep tonight.  It sucked, I could feel myself fall asleep, the cacophony of my subconscious building in a huge crescendo that would wipe me out and I would feel my body go to sleep, a numb tingling.  But the part where your conscious mind switches off and you actually sleep wouldn't come, my rational brain would still be interjecting thoughts and after the first of these I was brought right back out of the sleep state.  If I could stop thinking about the things I'm thinking about I would but I don't think that's going to happen without years of work and probably a lot of change externally that I can't even begin to make happen.

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