Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Biking Wife

So I get home yesterday, and Jennifer had a stack of things for me.

First was some things to help fight tinea which has come back with all the sweating from riding.  It has a lot to do with the backpack not allowing my back to breathe, but we're working on it.

Next to the that she had a pair of tire separators and an inner tube.

We actually did the repair behind the couch.  First off, I cannot stress the importance of latex/nitrile gloves for bike maintenance.  Otherwise, you end up with grease all over your hands.  These gloves were great.  We'd learned our lesson on Sunday.  We inflated, and everything seemed fine.

Thsi morining the tire was still tight, and the ride to BART and work went great.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Bike Woes

So Sunday, I had this great plan for getting to my parents.  I would bike to BART, ride to the station near them, and bike to their place.  I had it all worked out on the schedule and Google Maps.  All I needed to do was pump up my rear tire which was a little soft.

I attached the pump, and umped it up, then when I took it off, all the air leaked out.  All of it; the valve was limp.

So Jennifer and I did the Zipcar thing, and had a wonderful time with my parents at The Englander in San Leandro.  What made it feel even more authentic was the non-American football playing on the big screen.  The only non-English thing was that it was Mexico and Italy playing.  With lots of Mexico fans.  The food was good and the beer selection was amazing.  I told Jennifer we can got here for Monday Night Football in the fall.

So to make sure that I could get my bike fixed, we cut the visit a little short, and found a bike co-op just a block from home called Spokeland.  For just $5, they showed us how to replace the inner tube on my wheel, including how to take off the wheel off the back without losing the chain.  The only drawback was that they didn't have a tube in my size with a presta valve.  They found a used/patched one that they threw in for free, and so after a ride home, I thought I was all set.

However, this morning the wheel was totally flat.  So Jennifer is out looking or inner tubes for me today.  We're going to get to get a couple so that we'll have a spare available.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Reel Steel

Yes, I went to see it tonight.

Yes, I enjoyed it.  The effects are cool.  I like Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.  Russell Crowe is an excellent Jor El.

No, that part didn't bother me; I can see how they can use that in the future.

What bothers me?  Kevin Costner.  He bugs the hell out of me.  And it's a stupid death.

Two things to watch for: the satellite and the captain.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


So I've noticed that my blog has been a little light on pictures recently.  And what does the Internet need more of?  That's right...

Pictures of cats!

So this first one is Felix on the upstairs balcony.  He is our little black-body radiator, and works hard to maintain his requisite temperature.

Now, this is not to say that his brother Oscar doesn't like the sun; he just has a lower tolerance for the heat, and will tend to lay int he sun, then move to the shade, and back again.

We recently got a sampler box of one of our favorite breweries, and Oscar decided to see if he could fit.  The answer below.

 But back to my own little Basement Cat.  The other day I came home, and was greeted by Oscar, but Felix was not immediately found.  Then I saw the disturbed blinds, and went behind the love-seat to find this looking at me.

I'll try to be better at pictures.  Because Penny Arcade says it all about why pictures are better.

Wiggle Room

So Tuesday morning I had a little issue with my bike:  I noticed that the left side pedal was wiggling.

Now, I had experienced this issue before right after my bike got stolen.  The pedals had been removed, and when I got new ones installed, they got stripped, and one came came off.  I got a new pedal and gear set, and they've been great.  But this wiggle made me nervous.

So when I got to the office I raided the supply closet and found an allen wrench set, and tightened things up.

Unfortunately, I didn't notice that the pedal arm had come off the shaft somewhat, and so on my way back to BART at the end of the day, things just got worse.  soon I had about half an inch of play with the pedal shaft sliding back and forth through the frame.  I texted Jennifer from the train, and asked her to bring me my allen wrench set from home.  She met me at the BART station, and with just a little wiggling, the pedal arm came off.  I got it all back together, and everything seemed fine.

Then yesterday on my way home from BART, it all started again.  Apparently, I had not tightened the nuts down enough on Tuesday.  When I got home, I took the pedal arm off, loosed things up, slid it back on, and tightened things as hard as I could.

Then this morning, I got downstairs ready to get on my bike to ride to BART, and what do I notice?

I had put the left side pedal arm back at the same angle as the one on the right.  So I went back inside, and did some quick maintenance to get the pedals offset by 180 degrees like they are supped to be.

I have seem some of the recumbent bikes that have hand cranks instead of pedals (I don't know if they are for disabled riders, or just for using your arms), and the arms on them tend to be set at matching angles, so I guess it would be possible to ride a regular bike that way.  With toe clips.

I am now tempted to try that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Music of the Ages

So in re-reading the dune series, and especially Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse Dune, I have had flashes of music either in my head, or older songs that have come up on my iPod that have taken me back to the 80s.  And then I began to think of the different kinds of music that have pretty much described different parts of my life.

Until I really started listening to my own music, I was surrounded by Oldies and Pop music.  Mom and dad would have one of those stations going in the car and in the background all of the time.  Oldies I especially came to associate with moving, and putting up wallpaper and painting.  Or scraping the ceiling of sprayed plaster.

The first really unique music I got into was Soundtracks, and that started with the "Star Wars" soundtrack.I played the LPs of the double album over and over on the turntable I had.  Over the years in California, I added "Superman, the Motion Picture," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "The Black Stallion" to the rotation.

When I moved back to Kentucky, I was starting to get interested in modern music, and so a lot of things in the background for me were MTV.  But when I think of playing games (especially the Ultima series) on the old Apple II+, I hear Genesis.  Almost always "That's All" or "Illegal Alien" because they were in heavy rotation.

Moving to Maryland, I was big on Dire Straits thanks to my friends from Kentucky.  Also there was a little of the new Invisible Touch album from Genesis.  But still a lot of MTV, and getting into The Alan Parsons Project.

Then for my Senior year of high school, Peter Gabriel, Huey Lewis, and Sting dominated the music.

College became a blend.  I still listened to soundtracks, but I had a seed that had been planted in early high school, and I made a personal discovery of Def Leppard.

After college, that blend continued, and now with my iPod, I have music from the Beatles to 30 Seconds to Mars.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Bicycling Atmosphere

So I've recently found a much easier route between home and the BART station.  In the mornings, it's less of an uphill climb for the last stretch of the ride, and in the afternoon, it's not so much of a wind tunnel like Horton is.  Plus it's nowhere near as busy as San Pablo.

What it does have is some interesting smells.

I hadn't noticed anything the past couple days beyond one cloud of cigarette smoke.

Today, I passed through 3, count 'em: 1 - 2 - 3, clouds of weed smoke.

At that early in the morning?

I've heard of "Wake and Bake", but don't people like that usually sleep in?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Reading Rainbow

So I took another break from the Dune series to catch up on some other reading, and to help build up some personal momentum for the end of the series.

Brandon Sanderson's completion of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (A Memory of Light) was masterfully done.  Sanderson brought back a lot of my excitement for the series that had dwindled with Jordan's dithering over the series.  I don't know if I'll ever do a straight through reading of this series, but I can say I appreciate the ending.

Then I caught up on my Magic Chick-Lit books with Kim Harrison (Ever After) and Patricia Briggs (Frost Burned).  They're both always fun modern-magic reads.

And then I've been enjoying some comic book compilations on the iPad.  They're all books that I have hard copies of, but are fun to be able to read in bed or at work without carrying the trade paperbacks around with me all of the time.

And just last night, I finished Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune.  I think this book is what shaped my memory of Frank Herbert's writing style.  When I began reading the books after the movie came out, I had read very little science fiction.  Heretics is an ever accelerating book of action with some of the events left to your imagination, being mentioned only by character's thinking back to them.

At lunch today I started Chapterhouse Dune, and I can remember parts of what is to come that make me want to sit and just read all day.

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