Posted by: Jack | February 22, 2009

Sudoku – Yeah, I Beat That

Arto Inkala, a Finish mathematician, claims to have created the world’s current most difficult Sudoku puzzle (link includes the puzzle if you’d like to try). He even went so far as to name his puzzle ‘Al Escargot’. What a nerd.

This guy spent three months creating it. I spent 30 seconds solving it. 

Well to be fair, I spent about a minute inputting it to this program I wrote to solve it for me. The program solved it in about 30 seconds.

Posted by: Jack | February 22, 2009

Filling Up the Stable

I bought a Voodoo Wazoo cross bike. It’s shiny, fast and as proven on its first off-road ride up at Scappoose yesterday, durable. And it has two fully functioning brakes; which I’ve recently learned is a good thing to have on a bike.

Went out for another ride this morning on Mt. Tabor. There are a lot of people who see me and others mountain unicycling and react as if we’re borderline suicidal. Having gotten back into mountain biking, I have to say that its way scarier and potentially far more dangerous, especially on a cross bike. Super fun though.

Posted by: Jack | February 7, 2009

Now With Greater Stopping Power!

In the past few weeks, frequent ‘training’ rides up and, more importantly, down Mt. Tabor lead me to purchase a set of Magura hydraulic rim brakes. In addition to the added functionality, the contrasting colors look pretty sharp. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone is sporting the exact same look.

My wheel can now cease rotation at an instant. Unfortunately, my momentum will still be adhering to our universe’s inherent physics.

Posted by: Jack | February 4, 2009

Reach the Beach!

Three years ago I rode 23 miles on my unicycle to celebrate my 23rd birthday. The next year I traveled 31 miles on that same unicycle hauling a 30 lbs pack through Wisconsin’s hilly moraines, enduring miserably cold wind and rain. Only a few months ago I doubled that distance with a metric century West of Portland. That latest ride nearly did me in.

With all that in mind, I’m taking on the longest leg of the American Lung Association’s (ALA) Reach the Beach ride. In about three months I will be waking very early on a Saturday morning and setting out to achieve this personal best. With a maximum speed of ~15 mph but an average sustainable speed below 10 mph, the 100 mile ride from Portland to the coast will last an anxiety-inducing 11+ hours — which will be just fast enough to finish before the course is closed. But unlike many of the challenges I put upon myself, this one actually provides an answer to the inevitable, “Why?”. This ride raises funds for the ALA which fights lung disease through education, community service, advocacy and research. 

I’m putting up some cash as well as days of assured pain. But I can’t do the ride if I don’t raise a bit more money. If you have a couple minutes and a few bucks to spare, check out my donation page which makes contributing a snap. 

If you choose to donate $10 or more, I’ll tell all my friends how great you are.



Posted by: Jack | January 25, 2009

Can’t Knock That Second Wheel

Spinning out on sloppy climbs. Skidding sideways across icy bridges. Popping over fallen trees. Nearly sliding off of ledges. 

Most know that I’m a huge proponent of the one-wheeled movement. But after a night of flying through forest park amidst a dusty snowfall, never seeing more than the next 20 feet of the trail, I’m so glad I still have my mountain bike.

Posted by: Jack | January 4, 2009

Eight Letter Words

Generally the most attractive of words. Wouldn’t you agree?

Posted by: Jack | January 3, 2009

Christmas 2008 Roadtrip

Taking advantage of surprisingly low gas prices, Anna and I, along with our short-term-roommate/long-term-friend Megan journeyed South for the holiday. Destinations included:

  • Sea Lion Caves – Florence, OR
  • Yosemite National Park – CA
  • Death Valley National Park – CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Grand Canyon National Park – AZ
  • Florence, AZ – Winter home of Anna’s grandparents
  • San Francisco, CA

Though my third visit to Vegas, this was the first when I took the time to see the typical sights and do a bit of gambling. After about twenty minutes at a penny slot (I don’t have what it takes to risk big money), a single bet of $2.40 won me nearly as much as we all spent on the entire trip combined. Certainly a highlight of the trip.

I took tons of photos and have uploaded many of them. Instead of trying to stick them all in here, just check out my flickr set by clicking the photo below.

Posted by: Jack | January 1, 2009

Glory of Griddling

Among the favorites  of our many generous gifts received this Christmas is the slick new griddle from Jeff and Molly.

When it comes to breakfast, upgrading from an old fry pan to this griddle is like connecting a second monitor to a computer. There is just so much space to work with…and everything glides effortlessly from one side to the other.

Gratuitous breakfast photos:

Posted by: Jack | December 14, 2008

Chains? Really?

Its snowing in Portland. We’ve got about an inch already. Just glanced out the window and saw this:

He’s not alone. There are two other neighbors just on our block putting on chains right now. Its one inch! I took my driver’s license test in about a foot of fresh powder.

On the other hand, minor accidents have already managed to shut down a lot of the interstates and highways in the area. I don’t get it. People are obviously aware that snow is slippery because they put chains on. But at the same time, no one considers the option of slowing down a bit or generally exercising a little extra caution.

Posted by: Jack | December 12, 2008

Catching Up

Haven’t added anything here in over a month. Not sure why. Plenty of stuff has been happening.

A friend from WI has moved to Portland and is living with us until she can get settled into a job and place of her own.

I received a number of prizes having taken 1st place in the unicycle division of the Cross Crusade cyclocross series. Among my prizes was a brand new unicycle with a monstrous 4¼” tire. I also achieved the honor/disgrace of being ranked as the nation’s top sandbagger on having placed 1st in every race while not having the option of upgrading to a more difficult division.

Cyclocross Magazine contacted me for an interview which will be included in their next issue.

A pleasant night spent camping outside of REI proved well worth the time as I acquired a number of bike upgrades, a jacket for myself, a rain jacket for our new roommate and awesome cycling shoes for Anna (of which I’m very jealous because they did not have them in my size). All for about $50.

We went to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving. Lots of good friends, food, museums, etc. I’ll try to put up some pictures eventually.

Some other stuff probably happened but I’m bored of this for now. More to come.

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