Happy New Year!

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Hi! It’s been a very long time since my last post, and the blog has been down for most of it. Be warned, this post will be a little bit long and boring, partly because I’m using it as a refresher on the blogging tools I’m using to produce this. Anyways, for the past few weeks I was using this domain as a link to a few small Python-based projects, but then I realized that there’s no reason to pull the plug on this blog - I could just move it to a subdomain! And so blog.ryanwcummings.com was born.

Tech projects

My most recent project, a to-do list app based on the fantastic book Test-Driven Development with Python by Harry Percival, lives close by at superlists.ryanwcummings.com. Feel free to take a look if you’re curious. As of the writing of this posts, it can save lists to unique urls and has basic user login functionality, but does not save lists to users and does not have the ability to remove or edit list items. It runs on a DigitalOcean server that I’m renting for about $5/month. If you’re interested in giving it a shot, you can use my referral link HERE for a free $100(!) credit.

I have a few other small projects too. One is an e-ink display I attached to the inside of a photo frame, driven by a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero running Ubuntu that lets it display the date and weather. It turned out really neat, as you can see below. I might write up a lengthier post about how it works, including some of the code that drives it. For now, it basically runs python code that gathers data and generates the image, then writes the image on the screen using a library from the company that made the screen. It was pretty easy to set up, and I’d recommend it to anybody.

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I also wrote up a little webapp that lets you search the Reddit MechMarket community for specific keyboards. Reddit’s search function has never been great, so it was a useful little tool. I took down the code later, but I might clean it up once I get the rest of the site pulled together.

Med school

Right now I’m enjoying the end of a two-week holiday vacation, wedged between my Internal Medicine and Anesthesiology rotations. I’m not sure how much time I am going to spend producing this blog, but I do think it will help with my writing, so I might spend some more time down the road talking about my experiences in my rotations. For now, suffice to say that I saw amazing things, got my hands dirty, and met inspiring patients. While I will probably end up chasing a career in Radiology, I will not forget the time I spent on the floors this year.

Anesthesiology is followed by Surgery, which makes me a bit anxious. I’m sure I’ll love the field, and I am not worried about performing well on tests or in the OR, but I am worried about how much time I’ll have to study and live. On Internal Medicine, I found myself working 6 days a week for about 10 hours per day, and I just barely had time to get through the one study resource I decided to use (the best of the best - Uworld). The question bank for Surgery is not so long, but I still worry that I’ll have even less time to study, let alone cook, clean the apartment, and train for bike racing (more on that later). Anyways, time will tell how it goes, and I can do anything for a month, right?

Bikes, books, and other hobbies

On the personal front, the big news is that I’ve been training regularly to get back into bike racing. Racing road bikes is something I have loved since I started back in college, and it’s something I haven’t been able to do since. I am much slower than I used to be, to be sure, but with a better indoor smart trainer (the 2018 Wahoo Kickr), a heart rate monitor that actually works, power meter pedals, and an awesome training plan courtesy of TrainerRoad, I am confident that I can swing for some good finishes this Spring and Summer.

On the bike front, I’ve found some new gear that I can’t stop talking about. First is the PowerArc saddle from Specialized, which has made a huge difference in bike comfort for me. The saddle is short and stubby, but wide and with a hint of flex. It doesn’t offer much in the way of forward/back position options, but I can’t believe how comfortable it rides. It’s comfortable whether I’m on the hoods, in the drops, or even upright with my hands off the bars, which is something I can’t say for any other saddle I’ve tried. I also bought it with a small scuff from someone on ebay for basically 90% off – an absolute steal.

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I’ve also started to use Chain-L chain lube, which is a thick oil-based lube, and is basically everything the Rock-n-Roll Red lube I used to use is not. Rather than evaporating and leaving a thin, fragile waxy coating behind, Chain-L works its way deep into bearings and stays there for good. Sure, the chain gets dirty more quickly, but as someone who rides mainly indoors this time of year, that’s hardly an issue. And I have to say that I’ve never heard a quieter drivetrain. With the silent Wahoo Kickr trainer and the now-silent drivetrain, I find that I can watch tv shows while I ride the trainer without any problems at all. It’s amazing and has totally changed my experience riding indoors.

Lastly, I noticed that the rim on my rear wheel was bent, so I picked up a Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST tubeless rear wheel. Touted as cycling editor’s choice in 2017, this wheel was an awesome deal and looks amazing.

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I’ve been reading a few books over the past two weeks. I knocked off Maze Runner, a Christmas gift, in about a day and a half. It’s the kind of book that you don’t feel obliged to spend too much time reading, with simple words and unimaginative dialogue, but the story is intriguing makes you want to skim even faster. I’m also reading the first Game of Thrones book, another gift, and At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft. Both are amazing.

And that should about wrap it up. I’m off to go make a quick meal with my new Instant Pot, which I’m sure I’ll write about later. Until next time, Happy New Year!

 
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