Friday, May 30, 2008


The porch contractor is a no-show...what a suprise. This is the same contractor that wanted 50% up front for "supplies'. Yeah right.

Rover repairs were 1200 bucks. Gulp...1200 bucks that I wasn't interested in spending on spark plug wires, a coil pack, and an oil change. Damn British cars...

Saturday and Sunday is the Tour de Cure....a two day 130 mile bicycle tour from Bolles HS here in Jacksonville, to St Augustine Beach. My rear shifter on the Carrera is on the fritz...STI I'll be a little slowed by chunky shifting but I'll be there. The baby tried to give me her Virus, but I've avoided it so far.

More updates soon. Grumble mode off.

Where is that porch guy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


looking good!

Garden Boxes

I built these with the lumber left over from the demolition of our old back porch. Hey, I'm not going to throw away 16 foot long 2x8s! those suckers are rich! Now we have lots of space to grow our own veggies, in preparation for the economy to completely go to crap. They are pressure treated, but painted, so that should keep us from being poisoned!

The boxes have a 2 foot by 8 foot footprint, and there are two of them, although I have the material to build a third. I'll have to make sure we have someplace to put it first before I do that. The little box in the front is a sandbox for the baby. I'll have to figure out a way to make a screen to keep the neighborhood cats out when it's not in use, and a shade so the poor kid doesn't bake in the sun like a turkey! They are all just sitting off to the side right now, waiting for us to determine where we'll put them. The tomatoes in the original 4x4 box are doing great. We harvested the onions and the strawberries look great, but haven't doen much in the way of fruiting all season.

The screen porch guy comes tomorrow, and my car goes in to the shop for a 150$ "diagnostic check". The Service Engine light came on...not good, and then began to blink...really not good. When it rains it poors! Look at the bright side though, more rain means more veggies!

Friday, May 23, 2008

DC and Virginny

One of my friends from college had decided to try his hand at the wedded bliss, and he asked me to wear the monkey suit, so the family and I all loaded into a microscopic regional jet for the 2 hour flight from JIA to Dulles. We rented a Dodge Charger that sounded like it was charging more than it actually charged, and checked in to the local Hampton Inn in the general area of the Patomac Point Winery, where the wedding was to be held. The weather was disgusting for most of the weekend, save for the wedding day, which was beautiful. The baby was tired so we missed out on the duck dinner and instead went to McDonalds for Happy Meals and "Speed Racer" toys. Typical.

While we were in the DC area, we took the opportunity to head into town for a little cultural enlightenment...and as I live in Jacksonville, I'm not going to pass up on any such opportunity. We got together with a group from the ceremony, loaded into the Metro's Blue Train at Franconia Springfield, and headed on into town and the Smithsonian Station. DC looks much better than I remember it from my last visit nearly 20 years ago, certainly benefiting, as most cities have, from the increased residential units and related interest and investment that young professionals have in a more metropolitan lifestyle. Not an adult bookstore was seen the whole weekend. I never once stepped on a crack pipe. I point that out because I've found used needles in my front yard in FLA, so not seeing drug waste on the ground was a nice if not somewhat disturbing change of pace.

The baby enjoyed most of the Air and Space Museum, and the Natural History Museum parts that were open...its under the knife for some badly needed updates and investment. Dinosaurs and Gemstones were the target of the day for Natural History. The Hope Diamond was mobbed by a hoard of Asian tourists who about knocked everyone on their butts to get a chance to see the thing. Rent the movie Titanic...the prop stone in that sad-sack flick is prettier. The "whale room" was closed for renovation, so after teaching my daughter to say "big whale" all weekend, all she got to practice was "triceratops". I made the joke that all the international folks in the museum were just checking up on their new possessions, what with the US up to our butts in debt to China. My wife recommended sensitivity training.

Went to lunch at Qdoba, not because we are typical American sheep that only patronize chains that we are familiar with over the local fare, but because the ESPNZone was fully booked for a special event, and we couldn't find anything else in the area...not even Speed Racer Happy Meals. Qdoba is nasty.

Air and Space was as usual, but with the baby there was a lot of looking at the ceiling, pointing, and screaming "airplane! airplane!" Spirit of St Louis, retired military goodies, some of Richard Branson's discarded gadgets and various nuclear missiles were all on display. The baby got overheated in the museum toward the end of the day and peeled her shirt off and ran around the "Polar Star" half naked. There were no Asian folks to be seen... Perhaps because when the time comes for creditors to forcefully collect, old planes from bygone eras mean less than massive chunks or raw copper, shale, Hope Diamonds and pyrite.

The flight home was as uneventful as the trip up, with the baby sitting bolt upright in our laps and not sleeping a wink until after the plane landed. 500 bucks in airfare, 500 bucks in hotel rooms, 300 bucks for the non-charging Charger, 50 bucks to park the car and incidentals meant that George Bush's tax break was shot in 5 days.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Collective "Seasons"

I flew up to Atlanta to go to a release party for the mountain bike movie "Seasons" This is the third release from the production group that calls themselves the Collective. More great cinematography and some great action. Just as is the case with the first two films, I recommend "Seasons" not just to fans of cycling, but also just as good clean exciting entertainment. Good Stuff. Check it out.

I had flown in just for the occasion, and to do a little brainstorming on my next career move. Sometimes its a good idea to whet your entrepreneurial whistle a bit by spectating on others grand schemes and their successes and failures. Anyway, Airtran handled the transport (and we didn't nose into a swamp so I'll call it a good flight) and then I rode the MARTA from Hartsfield Jackson out to Decatur. I like to try out other solutions to mass transit when I have the chance, and lord knows I never have the chance in FLA. Marta was very nice. Clean and quick and very affordable. I would never drive to the airport if I lived in the ATL...nope. Kiss and Ride.

The premier was held at the Sweetwater Brewery in ATL, which was nice because one of my buddies does contract work for the brewery, so he got us in for free and then the beer flowed gratis as well. Five 420s and a free pint glass later, we went to Six Feet Under and ate dinner.

The next day we poked around some local shops looking for old school schwag that maybe lasted the last 10 years without being sold. No such luck, but I did find a nifty bell with dinosaurs and a bloodshot eye on it. Not really sure what the two have to do with one another, or for that matter what either of them have to do with a bike bell, but hey....dough, you can't take it with you!

Tomorrow I'm on a plane for Virginny for a wedding, so the updates will be sparse for a little bit longer.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Syncros post update.

I'm not messing with returning the post. The shipping expense I would have to eat, and the hassle, and the fact that it didn't cost that much all conspire to mean that I just keep it for parts and be done with it. Too bad...would have been nice on the blue EWR.

One of the fellas from Retrobike, a board I frequent, had asked me to post up on the board a close-up of the Beast of the East logo from my red Cannondale. It's a neat little detail that I'm glad is intact on the frame that I have. The bike makes a nice commuter. Reminds me of a much simpler and romantic time...called COLLEGE!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I am still alive!...

...although you wouldn't know it from the date of my last update! We have been spending a load of time coordinating some improvements to the house. I finished chopping up the old porch into manageable chunks that the city will haul away, and then couldn't move for a few days after. Some of the rafters are pressure treated 2x8"s so I pulled the nails and hardware from the straight and clean boards and kept those for some planter boxes I'm planning to build in the front yard. This summer I'm going to try my hand at growing grapes! (and yes, the pressure treated boards are sealed and painted so we won't risk eating copper and arsenic and whatever else they use on pressure treated wood these days.

The roofer will begin his thing on the 5th of May (I will or course be watching from the sidelines with a bucket of Coronas!) We are using a non traditiona roofing process called Hydro-Stop that should be a more energy efficient and longer lasting process that hot seamed rolled composite that they usually put on flat roofs like ours. The Florida Theater downtown has a Hydro-Stop roof, and the super says that he's not had any issues in the 7 years that the material has been in place. The final finish will be white too, so that should help out the electric bills.

On the 20th of May, The AC guys will be out to replace our entire central air system. That will go a very long way towad reducing our power bills. I'm in favor of low bills. Low bills are good. AN electrician will be around to replace the ac breaker and inspect the supply wire, which might be aluminum and would then need to be replaced. While the electrician is on site I'm going to have him relocate some conduit on the roof, replace an outlet in the kitchen, and run an exterior outlet for the porch. He may be asked to send power to the shed too...but I haven't decided. I still play with the idea of using solar panels and a 12V supply in the shed...with an inverter and a deep cycle battery to run the juice. Solar baby! I won't be able to recharge power tools out there, or run a welder or anything, but 12V would supply lights and an inverter could power a small fan and maybe a bench grinder or some other small tools.

Then...the screen porch guy comes out and rebuild or rear porch but with SCREENS! I'm so excited to be able to sit outside and have blood stay in my body.

Anyway...the quick and the dirty update. I'll post something a little more fun soon!