A little over a year ago I embarked on a personal project to learn web programming. I have long been enamored with technology, especially with computers, and as of late with the whole growing arena of mobile Internet access. I come by this naturally being a product of the Cold War and space race era. Add to that early exposure to the hopeful view of the future and technology that is perhaps best expressed in the original Star Trek series. Indeed, my first computer experience was at the Rutgers University computer lab, right after high school in the mid-seventies, playing a Star Trek game on a PDP-10 computer via a Teletype terminal, talk about old school. While my oldest and best friend entered the computer age as a Rutgers student, I went the opposite direction off to art school leaving technology behind. In a few years I discovered two critical things, first that I could starve as an artist and more importantly I discovered filmmaking.
That last discovery ultimately put me on the long and winding road that led to my work as Biker Billy. Filmmaking work led to getting involved with video just as that technology bloomed along side the then nascent medium of cable TV. That in turn brought technology into my work, life and creative process. Fast-forward a couple of decades and along came the Internet, by which time I had discovered my calling as Biker Billy. In short order with the help of several awesome friends www.bikerbilly.com was created. Rather cool to arrive at the start of another new era in creative communication, especially having stuff that I really wanted to share with the world. Unlike all the mediums that I worked in and was knowledgeable about at the time the Internet and web design were black arts to me. All that coding stuff was not my bag back then; fortunately my awesome friends were experts and happy to help. So I did my thing and they put it onto the World Wide Web, all was good.
As the years progressed I have had an ever-increasing desire to do more on the web; at each turn I have relied upon my dear friend Jahn Tiger to implement these ideas and goals. I have been simultaneously thankful for his help and aware that I should learn how to do this myself. After all I can do video production from start to finish, create recipes, write books and I am pretty conversant with computers and technology. It was just all that darn code which held me back. So last spring semester I decided to just take the leap and do it. I enrolled in two classes at my local community college and started to learn about modern web design and development.
I have to tell you that at first I was worried. Perhaps this was more technical than this old dog could handle? That concern did not last long. I have absolutely fallen in love with writing code and seeing what it can do. In a way it is the same curious drive that has me taking apart mechanical things and putting them back together. It is all like a puzzle. How does it work? What happens if I change something? I realize that this is just like cooking new recipes from taste ideas that I am exposed too.
After lots of trial and error and many a long evening staring into the glow of LCD screens I have finally finished a new design for www.bikerbilly.com – and it is live on the Internet. Finished may be the wrong term to use, for now it is a start as I will be updating it and evolving it on a regular basis. Please take a look at the new design and give me some feedback. I plan on making it a more useful place to visit and offering you more information and entertainment. Well that is it for now, the sun is shining, the grass is growing and after zooming around the yard on the lawn tractor I plan on taking a motorcyle ride in the springtime mountains. I may even mount the cameras and make a video for your enjoyment!
Welcome to the first day of spring, although it seems like May already here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. For the past several days the weather has been delightfully spring like in the AM and summer like in the afternoon with scattered thunderstorms. Even though today is the first official day of spring I have mowed the grass twice already and all the ladies in the family have gotten light sunburns. Whoa, what will summer be like?
I have been starting my workdays on the back porch with the umbrella over the table, iPad and coffee in hand. Truly a wonderful way to work with the mountains in the distance and the spring blooming trees and flowers dotting the landscape. I have been getting the final touches ready for the launch of my updated website; it might even go live tonight. I have also been in the kitchen working on the next book, a Mexican focused project, I love Mexican food and I bet you do too.
Today I wanted to cook something warm and green in honor of the change of seasons. I also wanted to surprise my daughter Sarah with a lunch treat. She has embarked on a vegan diet and has been all a buzz with new recipes and food, all very healthy. Reminds me of my embarkation on what has been an over four-decade journey being a vegetarian, rock on Sarah!
So I made a “Spring Green Pea Soup” timed to be fresh and ready just in time for lunch on the deck. My wife Mary, Sarah and I have been enjoying eating lunch together on the deck for at least a week now, gotta love this weather. The recipe for the soup is below I hope you enjoy it and can share it with family and/or friends at your own private outdoor café.
Spring Green Pea Soup
While soup seems to be a winter warmer, it can also be an invigorating early spring lunch. This soup is light and fresh tasting and a delightful green punctuated by the orange carrots and the brilliant red bell pepper; just a nice reflection of life that is all about greening up and blooming flowers. Perfect for those spring days when you return from a ride or are heading into the garden to do some planting. I made this soup to celebrate the first day of spring and bring on the green. I hope it brightens your table and spirits like a sunny day.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 fresh green jalapeño, stemmed, cored and minced
1 (1-pound) bag of green split peas, sorted and rinsed
10 cups water
1 tablespoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground savory
1 cup baby carrots, cut into 1/2-pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Place the olive oil in a large soup pot over a medium high heat, add the onions and jalapeño, sauté for 5 to 8 minutes or until the onions are tender. Add the split peas, water, celery salt, white pepper, savory and carrots, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring often for 1 hour. Add the bell pepper and continue to simmer for 30 minutes or until the peas have broken down and the soup is at the desired texture. Serve hot.
Makes 10 to 12 cups of soup.
Recipe and photographs copyright Bill Hufnagle 2012
In this the last week of calendar winter, the temps have been oh so spring-like. Not surprising considering the truly mild winter we have had. That mildness has been a blessing, at least to me, as I despise winter. But moving beyond my personal opinion of winter and my admitted disaffection towards the coldest season of the year – can you imagine how much more fuel our nation would have needed this winter if it had been as cold and harsh as the past few winters have been? Couple that with the current price of gas approaching four dollars a gallon after setting record highs during this winter, and you can easily imagine how much further fuel costs would have risen.
Of course I might just be rationalizing my ill disposition with old man winter. Then there is the fact that weather is truly the most local thing, even more so than politics. So your weather may have been different than mine but at least spring is about to be sprung from its frozen prison. That means just one thing to the soul of a biker – it is riding season again. So I took a little ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and this time I remembered the camera (or three that is), so I made a little video for your enjoyment. Check out the link : PreSpring Ride Craven Gap to Bull Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Lately I have been experiencing a strange effect, it started a while ago and has turned my nights into days. The result of this foray into the world of nocturnal laboring has made me feel like a mole. Now as I am surfacing from the dark of night I can relate to the ground hog rising out of his burrow to test for spring; or perhaps more like a mole thrust into the blinding sunlight by the farmer’s shovel. Fortunately unlike the doomed mole I did not get wacked on the noggin by that farmer’s shovel.
Yes I have been pulling some all nighters, working some nights to 5:30 AM, dang it feels like being in college all over again, sans the keggers that is. Well actually I am back in college (on a limited basis) but that is only part of the reason. Last year I decided I wanted to learn web programming and development, the purpose being to update my website and develop some new web based projects.
So these recent all nighters have been a cross between studying PHP programming and doing the homework, which is both challenging and fun. It is so cool when the light bulbs go off and I see the logic and the beauty in the code. It really is not that hard to learn. It just takes time in good measures and quiet to focus, hence the burning of late night oil.
The other thing that has kept me up working till near dawn has been the website update itself. You can see a part of it in the banner for the “Biker Billy’s Irons in the Fire Blog” that you are reading. That is the basic look of the new website banner, of course the text is different, reading “Biker Billy Cooks with Fire” for the website. I am very excited about the revamp of the website. It has been a long time in coming, and a lot of work. If all continues according to plan I will be launching it next week after Daytona Bike Week is over. This seems like a good way to celebrate spring and launch into a new riding season.
So stay tuned I will be posting it here when the new website design goes live, till then I hope you can get out and ride for the Moleman says “eat your shadow ground hog cause spring has sprung!”
So tell me what you use to read e-books. I have been using an iPad 1. This will help me make sure that the new book I am working on is available to you. Besides voting in the poll, post a comment if you find that a certain feature makes e-books better for your enjoyment.
This is an interesting look at the new landscape of publishing. The book I am working on now will debut as an e-book. I think I will run a poll here to see what readers my reader use.
Just as a few massive chain stores eventually came to dominate the traditional printed book market in North America, the e-book marketplace is a kind of oligopoly involving a few major players — primarily Amazon(s amzn), Apple(s aapl) and Barnes & Noble(s bks). And while bookstore owners of all kinds are free to decide which books they wish to put on their shelves, these new giants have far more control over whose e-books see the light of day because they also own the major e-reading platforms, and they are making decisions based not on what they think consumers want to read but on their own competitive interests. That is turning the e-book landscape into even more of a walled garden.
Author and digital-marketing maven Seth Godin highlighted this issue in a recent blog post, in which he described how his new book was turned down by Apple because it…
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