Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Insect Invasion!

I already degraded my cycling blog by talking about the stupidity of the Fair Tax and then Sarah Palin's undeniable MILF Quotient, so there's only one more moronic topic to cover before I can call my 'Triumverate of Retardedness' complete.
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Bug Sex
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I'm not a big insecticide sprayer. My yard is chock full of bizarre critters that I've never seen, (I blame my proximity to the busiest port on the mid-Atlantic coast, exotic species infestations, etc...) and I'm not very motivated to start bumping these bugs off and in the process killing my daughter's kidneys, so infest and breed they will, and as long as they stay out of the house, I'm OK with that.
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One morning, I noticed a 'bloom' of sorts on the yard-waste can. This isn't a garbage can, and there's nothing stinky-rotten about it. It's just a solid surface under tree cover where a critter population explosion occurred, and produced this menagerie...

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Each one of those little black dots is a wiggling beast. I thought they were Roly-Poly sow bug type things, but when I looked closer, I could see that they were slimy, where the typical sow bug is a hard shelled dry segmented armadillo looking thing! These almost look like Cambrian Trilobites! Must be some exotic Asian sow bug that hitched a ride over on some cheap-ass flat panel TVs from Singapore, maybe. Probably be a CNN story soon, about how they bore into your head while you sleep, feed on your cerebral cortex, and turn you into a lobotomized Sarah Palin supporter. Eck!
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We've got lots of Rain Trees in the yard too, another exotic species that hopped a ride to the US on a pallet of Bananas from Honduras. Apparently, Rain Trees bring their OWN exotic species with them when they propagate to a new continent. These little Red-Butt Bugs come along for the ride.
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No no, he doesn't have two heads, that would just be weird. Rather, this endearing photo is actually a sensitive coital moment between a proud Red Butt Bug and his scrumptious bride. Red-Butts are very sensitive and caring beasts, and after pupating from their larval stage, they emerge lust starved and single minded with their asses all aglow, their one and only goal being to find a member of the opposite sex to glue their butt to. These little rump-humpers must be related to the famed Love Bugs that populate the roadsides of our Nation's highways, although Love Bugs, as we all know have two post-pupation life goals. The first is obviously to find a mate of suitable hotness to glue their butt to. The second is to find a slab-fronted motorized vehicle, preferably white and therefore usually mine, and smear their innards all the hell over the front of it.
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Unlike the ubiquitous Love Bug, though...the Red-Butt has a much higher MILF Quotient, which of course, makes it an excellent choice for the vice presidential candidate on the conservative ticket.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yeti C-26

There's been a lot of flabber on the retro boards about Yeti C-26s lately. About how there are 11 or so around, max, and about the time and expense an enthusiast recently invested to have a C-26 recreated around a set of original carbon tubes he discovered, probably in some barn or something. They are goofy period bikes, a reach of engineering, an attempt to combine the merits of one frame material with another all in the same package. A one-off Cadex, if you will....admittedly a much, much nicer Cadex.

I've never really liked Yeti. I liked visiting Yeti when I went out west once, years ago, and visited the crew in the Bodo Drive shop...a tiny little place, pre Schwinn/Scott buyout. Like most small companies I visited in the dawn of popular mountain biking, it was a great experience. I should track down some pictures...

Locally, my experience with Yeti consisted of seeing a frame or two on the wall, waaaay back in the day, at one of the Gainesville bike shops I reviewed a few months back, Spin Cycle...then called BWA. To tall you the truth, I was more interested in the close-out Balance branded Prestige steel frames they were hocking for 75 bucks. I'm a cheap date.

Anyway...a Yeti popped up for sale recently, as they are want to do, on the web. This listing closed on the old fleabay about 2 weeks or so ago, and while the C-26 thing has been talked to death, I've still had it linked in my eBay account to follow. Call it Shock. I just can't get past the sale price.

Yup, that says 12 grand. That's what it SOLD for. For the frame alone. And it's beat.

Quite the homely looking lump of steel and plastic. (auction pic-ganking again)

Looks like JB Weld, holding the thing together. I'm sure it aint JB Weld. Nobody on fleabay would do that...yeah right.

Yeti Loop Stays. A trademark even of the wonky e-stay Yeti Ultimate.

Yetiman headtube badge. He's all the rage in the VRC world. About 2 years ago I sold a well worn and smelly Yetiman hat on eBay, for about 15 bucks. People will buy, and seemingly pay, everything and anything for the right VRC branded crap.

Anyway...hope the buyer got what he wanted. To each his own! I'm sure the dude who paid 12k for this thing is trying to figure out what sort of pinhead repaints a Yokota! All of us...keeping that vintage dream alive, baby!

That 12 grand? Could also cover the lump sum buy in for the Florida PrePaid College Plan. Just Sayin'...

Sarah Palin Book Signing Interviews

For a good laugh...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKKKgua7wQk


Some of the best quotes...

"When you're right you don't have to compromise. Compromise is for people that are wrong!"

"The state that she did govern was right across the street from Russia."

"I don't know what she knows or what she doesn't know. I wouldn't know half the stuff that some people probably ask me."

And the best quote, and certainly the most telling... "I watch Fox News a lot!"

Wow... Just wow. Poor McCain.

Lets all just be frank here, people. If Palin didn't have such a high "MILF Quotient"...
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and instead looked more like Madeline Albright!...
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Then she wouldn't have ever been given her 15 minutes, let alone be in consideration for our nation's highest office. I'm not a Palin hater by any means. I have to say that I genuinely feel for her in all honesty, because I think she's been postered up by her party to represent more than I think she ever expected to become. I'm not on the bandwagon of haters that want to paint her as a blithering idiot, because I'm not sure that's very fair, but I do think that she's just not qualified for the job. She may become qualified at some point, but I'd rather that knowledge not come to her via OJT sitting in the Oval Office. One thing is for sure...the next 3 years is shaping up to be an exercise in candidate building the likes of which American politics has never seen. Get ready.
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You know...Albright has some MILF hotness in that pic too, but then again I always did dig the freaky stuff...

Yokota, meet primer. Primer?...Yokota.

4 coats of primer on the frame and one on the fork. The frame will get a little wet sanding and a small amount of filler on a few spots on the frame, to even out the final finish. Fork will get a few more coats, but I only had time to get the one coat on the thing, with the sun going down. It looks to be a rainy few days here coming up, so I'll hold off for a bit on applying more primer to the fork and starting the paint.



And I think the rack mounts are coming off. These things are goofy, and I'll never use them.

ESPECIALLY these dropout mounts.

After the surgery, I'll hit the frame in the muffed up areas from the surgery with a Dremel grinder bit and some fine sanding, then a bit more primer and then I'll give it a final sanding before we start in with the color.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yokota Yosemite frame details

My early 90's Yokota Yosemite frame, welded up by Toyo in Japan, I believe. (either that or Teesdale here in the states, which I find unlikely...even though he did up some high end Yokotas in the past.) Frame tubing on this little sucker is Columbus OR, and the structure is very sound, so...
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Time to get the map-bike project underway, so I picked up my supplies and got to it this weekend. First, some good pics of the frame details... I think all I've posted up to now is the auction pictures from when I got the thing last spring.
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Here she sits after a quick flash with citrus paint strip, to remove the clear coat and the decals and get down into the paint. The map bike will follow the proportions of this fade pain job, but with three lighter pastel colors more in line with the USGS standards for 1:24,000 topo sheets.
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Stripping process underway, note the stripper is doing it's job and eating the clear coat. The indicator that enough time has elapsed to burn off the clear but not hose the base colors is when the decals begin to lose their colors...indicating that they are no longer protected by clear. I do not want to strip the frame to bare steel, as the original paint is still structurally intact, and the factory prep is better than I could do with rattle cans, so just a quick strip and then some sanding prep and I'll get busy with the spray-work.

Fork, on the other hand... This is not the original fork, although it is a non-suspension corrected model, in Tange Prestige steel...and the finish here is powder coat. I expect the stripper to release the powder coat and then I can roll the coating of the fork with my fingers, much like you can roll rubber cement off a solid surface.

Dropout details. I'm torn as to whether or not I need to grind off the rack tabs. I'll never use a rack. These little dropout ears would be easy to remove, but the seatstay braze-ons would be a little trickier...and I don't want to have one without the other.

Headtube mounted cable stops on both sides of the headtube. No cable housing rub here!

Rear derailleur cable guide

Twin noodle cable guides for the front derailleur and the rear cantilever brake. Pretty neat details like these are what makes these old Yokotas cool.

One more of the noodles, and on the right side of the pic, the stay mounted rack mounts. Note also the stepped seat tube, a nice way to save weight on a steel frame.


Next up...some spray!

Franken Mower!

I don't do 'Yard'. That isn't to say that I don't like to work in my yard, or that I don't enjoy having a yard that looks like something. No, instead it means that my idea of looking like something isn't what most folks view. Blame it on my parents, who used to agree on maybe only this one thing...a mowed yard looks good. What you mow isn't nearly as important as keeping it mowed. I still subscribe to that today. I don't spread a load of chemicals on the yard, and while I refuse to climb aboard the St Augustine Grass Con-Job Express, I will spread rye seed in the winter, for a bit of green. There's something therapeutic about mowing. Especially when your job is an endless string of similar land development issues...getting out on a hot day and mowing the grass and seeing that you have finished something is rewarding.

I've had the same lawn mower since about 1985, or so. It was actually the push mower that my mother got back in the day so that I could mow her yard. Today, because she now uses a service, and because as Presbyterians we don't ever waste anything, the mower is mine...has been since we bought the house over 6 years ago. It's a simple machine, and I've given it new blades and plugs and oil and filters over the years, and the little Tecumseh engine needed a carburetor a while back, but otherwise...going strong.

Untill...

Yup, that's a big crack in the mower deck just forward of the rear wheels. Not good.


And the crack just forward of the left side rear wheel...looks like the agricultural equivalent of the Liberty Bell!

Well, like most folks who find themselves with a mower catastrophe like this...I went shopping for a new mower, and what I found wasn't good. Lots of regurgitated American mower brand names slathered on flimsy imported crap mowers and hocked for pennies at big box stores like Lowe's. Bolens, Wheel Horse, Troy Built. All seeming much more flimsy and floppy than even my split-deck Craftsman, now old enough to buy a drink and vote!

The Internet wasn't much help either. Snappers and Toros, the fancy-schmancy made in USA boys, sell for 350-500 bucks for a non-self propelled mulching mower, (I aint bagging anything, ever!) Way too pricey. And while folks love the Snapper Toro stuff, the reviews of the cheap-o big-box mowers were not good...things like, "seems OK, like it will last for a few seasons anyway" littered the boards. I don't want a disposable mower! I just want a decent mower and I don't want to spend billions to get it!

So I fixed the one I own. Made a few brackets our of angle steel and bolted the thing back together with Loctite and washers to keep it from falling apart under the vibration.


The Brackets and some of the hardware...getting ready for my surgery.

Tah-Dah! Bolted together and ready to roll...but a bit ugly still. There are three of these brackets holding the ass of the deck in place. Two on the topside and the one there in front of the rear wheel. I ran it around a bit after I bolted the crap in place, and the old beast works fine. Ugly, but functional. Now about that ugly part...

Blast it with a bit of primer, and let it sit for a bit before the final spray.

Scene of the "crime!" HA!


Flat black top coat. Hey, what can I say...Only the coolest home-owners own 'Murdered Out' push mowers with Frankenstein bracing! Dead Sexy!...In a Helena Bonham Carter-Frankenstein's Girl kind of way.... New plug, oil and air filter and we're good for another 25 years.

Next up...Bike crap. Here's a teaser...
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 Volkswagen Show, Dade City Florida

Dropped down to the Bay Area weekend before last, and went with my dad and the rest of the family to the VW show that the air-cooled addicts hold yearly down that way. It was a good turnout, with a bunch of very clean cars and buses and so forth.


Safari windows on a nice Kombi - Samba!
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Early Ghia
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Vanagon Westfalia
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Early Bug, 1961 or so. Nice ragtop too!
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Rare and Cool Transporter done an ill-advised rockabilly, rat-rod motif. Bleah.
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Last of the Beetle hard tops, Champagne Edition.
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Quite a bit of tuner kit on this '66
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Quite a bit of random kit on this '64! Must be the Sanford and Son Edition.
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Lightly modded 66
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More from the early 1960s
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Very clean 72 convertible, much like my 71 although much much cleaner!
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Very clean interior from...
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...this lightly modded 63. I think it was a 63 anyway. This was my favorite of the show.
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Early turn indicators means late 50's. This one has a reproduction EMPI tool kit on the spare tire there. Original tool kits are worth big big bucks, and you'd be crazy to take such an easily boosted accessory to a car show.
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Safari windows, auxiliary lights, sufrfboards. WOO!
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We must be in Florida!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where's my bike made?

Take it with a grain of salt...I'm not vouching for accuracy here, but take a look. Find out where that four thousand dollar Specialized REALLY came from!


Sucker!

http://allanti.com/articles/where-was-my-bike-made-pg328.htm

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hoodies

There's something in me very conflicted with the loads of dough that have been brandied about in Washington DC these last 10 years or so. (note I said 'last 10 years or so', as I'm not myopic enough to buy into the horse-hockey about Obama's out of control spending. Don't forget, GOP...a huge portion of that debt is YOU!) On the one hand, I think these companies, be they banks, insurance firms, or auto manufacturers, almost NEED to fail. On the other hand. I can't even begin to fathom a world in which America doesn't make cars, and I recognize that while the financial security of 2 of our three car companies is in question, many of those questions were rippled from a credit crisis that punched GM, Ford, and Chrysler in the face, just like it punched you and me. Still, auto manufacturing in the United States has been teetering on the brink for years, and it is our own gluttony and laziness, and theirs, that put it there.

But I'm not here to debate all that crap about the auto industry. Right now though, I am here to debate the gluttony and the laziness. I'm here to redirect you to a much simpler time, and an easier place, and to lobby for the return of one of America's forgotten symbols of success and prosperity...or maybe misguided perceptions of success, and uselessness and gluttony.

Remember the hood ornament?

These things weren't meant just as handles to assist in the removal of the hot radiator cap, they existed to symbolically direct the occupants of the car - starting with the toddlers in the backseat, looking over their parents shoulders - to better lives...and bigger, more prestigious hood ornaments than the ones that graced their parent's view out over the hood the generation before. We wanted more. We wanted to project that we had more. We wanted to make sure that others around us knew that they were losing, in the unspoken race to success and 'more', to 'Me'.


Hood ornaments represented something that, in our young professional careers, would help us in projecting our self perceived and assigned assets of strength and stamina. Agility and lithe efficiency. Speed. Entitlement. Some of us have more. We will achieve more. Get more. As William Henry proposes in In Defense of Elitism, we deserve it.


And as we Americans grew older, and we realized the American Dream and became Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers, we yearned to project intelligence and wisdom. Of course, Doctors and Lawyers and Engineers had more wisdom. (?) More potential. More success. They almost owed it to the rest of us to push the target for personal achievement, to show the rest of us with less potential for 'more', the way to 'more'. Like my daughters G.I. Specialist, (who labored to write his notes in her medical history with a very expensive, and very leaky, and nearly non-functional Mont Blanc fountain pen), demonstrated; the achievement of becoming a doctor or lawyer or engineer is almost second in importance to the act of making sure that other people around you know that you are a doctor, lawyer or engineer. That leaky pen existed in that examination room that day, to stress the existence of that 'more'.

Then we retired with our 'more'. We looked for cultured and sophisticated hobbies and pass-times, like pheasant and duck hunting, and later, golf, that we earned with our hard work and our 'more' and our winning in the success race against competitors that many times were unaware of our competition. Even though we no longer pushed to win future challenges, we wanted to make sure that the younger generations knew that we had won our 'more' already, and that they would have to do 'more' in their own race to be 'more' to take the title of 'more' away from us.

Still, in the end we are all made of the same stuff. The same goo and lumps and sticky mess wrapped in biological Saran Wrap, and a car, and it's hood ornament, is just that; a car and a hood ornament. There's Real Irony in the use of our tax money, gleaned from years of effort in toil in pursuit of our symbolic 'more', long used to support the unsustainable sprawl and growth of our nations roadways, now instead going to support a failing industry floundering under the weight of, and symbolized by, such an iconic figure such as the hood ornament. We complained about the taxes. We complained about the traffic, and we complain today about the bailout. Aren't they all the same?
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When is More actually Less?