Thursday, December 3, 2009

Epic Tales of Laundry Goings On

I needed just one more quarter for the laundromat tonight, so I went up to the Fremont street market to get some change.

I bought a 32 Oz Pyramid Breweries something or other that I didn't really want but might sometime soon. The guy at the register had exactly one quarter which was fine I guess, as that's all I needed. He had to give me nickels for the rest of my change.

Sometime soon I'm going to have to go get a roll of quarters. I apparently can't really rely on the corner bodega for my laundry coinage, it seems.

That was about it for the excitement tonight.

Monday night, on the other hand, was awesome. Morrissey at the Roseland, and I went with a good friend.

Morrissey was fabulous, of course. God bless him.

Some nights are more epic than others, I guess.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I found a vinyl copy of Joan Baez' "Come from the Shadows" at Goodwill.

It's in almost perfect condition (there's just one spot that jumps but doesn't skip.)

Anyway, it's really good stuff.

...just sayin'

Friday, May 1, 2009

My cup runneth over

My spare parts bin is getting to where I can build a bike pretty much anytime out of just salvage.

This one here is the latest:

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Andrew and I went up Powell Butte yesterday. Him on his Mt. Bike and me on my touring bike/commuter/whatever bike with 35c tires. The trails were still just a little too wet for me to get enough traction on, so some places I had to walk.

At the top we saw some hill a mile or two away that looked inviting. We found a directional sign thing that named the hill as Grant Butte.

So of course we had to go check it out. We couldn't find a way up at first, but after tooling around the neighborhood a bit we found what at first glance seemed to be a trail.

The next half-hour or so ascent felt like a Mountain Dew commercial. There were logs across the "trail" every 30 yards or so, low hanging branches (at one point Andrew's helmet was knocked off,) and a fairly steep incline. I asked Andrew to rate the trail in terms of difficulty and he placed it somewhere between "Super hard" and "Olympic death match."

Once we got to the top we found there was an easier trail down, which we took. We then went back to Powell Butte and down the other side. At the bottom, right before it turns back toward the Springwater trail I ate it.

All in all it was an awesome day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Clamorers are at it again.

I have several exciting bike builds on my plate just now. I don't have pictures yet but in order to stem the huge clamoring tides

of people wanting to know all about them, here is a brief synopsis....

I "upgraded" the bottom bracket and crankset on an old crappy Schwinn Varsity that Cody found (in a dumpster I think?) from Ashtabula to cottered cranks and English Standard bottom bracket threads.

The huge clamoring tides may not quite fathom fully the absurdity of that. So in order to give you some idea of how hilarious it really is I've come up with a few analogies for all the different types of dorks out there.

For the computer dorks:

Imagine you found an old 286 machine in the garbage and upgraded the operating system from DOS to Windows 3.1 --Something similar is what I've done with this frame.

For all the other dorks:

Imagine you found some crappily-made thirty year old piece of junk and then took off an important part and replaced it with a twenty five year old piece of junk part.

Hmmm. Actually I had thought it would be a little easier to think up analogies than that.

Anyway, you get the idea. Upgrading from Ashtabula to cottered cranks may not be the most ridiculous thing ever, but it's definitely in the running. It would have been far more sensible to have built a giant slingshot and shot it off the top of Rocky Butte.

Come to think of it, that also would have been more illegal.

The other couple of builds I have going right now are:

1, That Gitane frame I am in the process of painting. I'm waiting for the first coat of primer to dry and so far so good on that score.


2, I traded this motobecane frame

to some guy off craigslist for a bike that is more my size. His was an old french bike too, so we thought that we would each be able to keep our parts and that they'd be compatible but it seems we underestimated the ability of the Erratic French to produce nuances and idiosyncrasies amongst frame models even of the same brand.

The long and short of it is that I now have only the fixed cup side of a bottom bracket for my frame and he needs my seat post. We were supposed to make the swap this afternoon but somehow it didn't happen. Hopefully early this week or else I've been foiled again by the Erratic French.

Anywhoo, there's your updates on my present bike builds.

Carry on.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I fancy myself as a kind of bicycle godfather to my younger siblings. I try to make sure they each have working bicycles, and I try to pass on little tidbits of knowledge when I can. On the whole it's an enjoyable role to play, but sometimes it can be a little discouraging. Their bikes always seemed to brake down the minute I leave town. It's like there is some kind of bicycle sabateur troll waiting around to sabatoge the family bikes as soon as no one is looking.

I was at my parents house this weekend, for example, and everything was in disarray. My youngest brother had brand new bar tape that looked like it was 10,000 year old mummy wrap. --Pieces hanging off, then ends overlapped backwards and taped right up to the stem. His brake cables were somehow tangled into acute angles sharply under the handlebars. I couldn't figure that one out. It looked like somebody would have had to take the brake levers off and position the break cables at sharp angles deliberately.

My other brother had not only a puncture in his rear inner tube, but then three more pinch flats from when he had ridden the bike home without air in the tire. At that point it's still economical to patch the tube, it's just a little ridiculous. Of course it was Sunday, so there weren't any bike shops open to sell us a new tube. I patched it up and it held air, it just looks like it has some kind of rubber susceptible case of the patch-measles.

The coup de gras was when I was about to race my youngest brother (a race which he ended up winning, but that's another story,) and I looked down at his front wheel to see that he had tightened his quick release lever all the way down and not clamped it closed. Which is of course hilarious, but only because I saw it before he was able to do an endo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Ten Commandments and the Well Ordering Principle

When I was a kid (and all through my life, really,) my mother would periodically tell me to:

"remember the fourth commandment, the only commandment with a promise. --Honor your father and mother, that it will go well with you."

I was reminded of this last night while reading Sarah Vowell 'The Wordy Shipmates.' There is a part in this book where she's talking about how, for the puritans, this commandment applied not just literally to your parents but also to figures of authority (governments and such.) The only thing is that she calls it the fifth commandment.

So, excited at the chance to play scholar, I went to my bible and looked it up. And, sure enough, it was the fourth. So then I went and asked around the house, and somebody had another bible, and that one had it as the fourth too. The thing is, though, that nobody's bible enumerated the commandments. You have to count them yourself. --Since they are written in verse form, without numbers. And really, I wasn't sure if I was counting them right, because it seemed to me that there were really only nine commandments.

So this morning I looked it up on the internets. According to Wikipedia, there are several different traditions depending on your denomination. It just depends on how you split up the verses. Some people say that "you shall have no other gods before me," and "you shall not make yourself a false idol" are two different commandments. Whereas other people say that "you shall not covet your neighbors possessions" and "you shall not covet your neighbors wife" are two different commandments (when I had thought there only seemed like 9 commandments I was lumping both "don't covets" together as one commandment, and also lumping "don't make a false idol" and "have no other gods before me" as one commandment.)

The tradition of splitting up the "don't covets" but keeping the "don't make false idols" and "have no other gods before me" as a single commandment seems more reasonable to me but, honestly, it probably really doesn't matter a whole lot. This is the kind of thing that people probably got killed over in the 16th century. Hard core religious people would probably still get a little too worked up over it even today.

Anyway, all this thought about ordering reminded me of one of the first theorems that one learns in elementary number theory, The Well Ordering Principle. This theorem says that any collection of non-negative integers will always have a smallest integer. Think about this for a moment and you will see that what this theorem is really saying is that any collection of non-negative integers can be listed in order, or ranked (that's why it's called the Well-Ordering Principle.)

That theorem turns out to be an important building block in number theory, but what does it have to do with the Ten Commandments? I guess the point is that the numbering of the commandments matters only if it is also a ranking. i.e. commandment #1 is more important than commandment #2, commandment #5 is less important than commandment #4, etc.

I'm actually curious to know what religious traditions, if any, do consider the enumeration of the commandments to be a ranking. Maybe I'll give my dad a call and ask if he knows.

If she were ranking them, I'm pretty sure my mother, given here druthers, would have made "honor your father and mother" a little higher.