Wednesday, July 13, 2005

welcome to "downtown" Reston

I'm in Reston, VA, this week for a Windows Server training class. I don't think I've ever been out here before (despite living in the DC area for seven years), and I've definitely never been to Reston Town Center until today. It's a faux-downtown area, with restaurants, upscale shops, a movie theater, and my hotel, all in the middle of suburban Washington, DC housing developments and apartments. There's really nothing else out here but townhouses, not even a decent strip mall. I think I've been living in New York too long. Now anything that isn't either urban or completely rural is just too weird for me. My class starts tomorrow, and it's just a block or so away from the hotel. I think I'd go crazy except that I have some old friends living in the area and I'm going to try to hang out with them while I'm out here. On Friday evening I'll go out to Bowie and spend the weekend at my dad's house, getting back to some semblance of normalcy.

I was also going to rant about the hotel's wireless connection, but I figured out a way to fix the problem I had with it. The hotel's ISP has some sort of funky DNS server that not only refuses to look up pages correctly, it even interferes with SSL certificates. Several sites with SSL encryption popped up with errors that the site's certificate came from the ISP, not the site itself. And that's just wrong, especially when the sites are Earthlink's webmail and my office's remote access system. But a quick substitution of a few known good DNS servers fixed that problem, and now I'm surfing without any trouble. Which is a good thing, because as I told my friend earlier tonight, I don't mind a hotel room that's small, smelly, or has a crappy bed. But if the Internet doesn't work properly, AND I'm paying $10/day for the privilege of using it, THEN I get mad. (OK, my office is paying the $10, but it's still a matter of principle for me.)

In other news, I've added a somewhat new wrinkle to my fitness regimen. For over two years I've lived near Central Park, but only in the past few weeks have I started riding my bike there during the week instead of just on weekends. I'm trying to establish a new habit of riding laps in the Park on Tuesday mornings before work instead of going to the gym. So far, it's working out well. I don't like the fact that cars are allowed in the Park after 7 AM, but I'm learning to live with it. This morning, before I left for DC, I rode four laps (or 24 miles) in the Park, and I loved every minute of it. I was done by 8:30 AM, so I was home in plenty of time to watch the Tour de France, pack, and catch up on a few other things. I can't wait to get back out there next week.

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