Friday, April 25, 2008

Post ARGH!!

I picked up a 29.4 Syncros seatpost from flea-bay, it arrived yesterday...and its CRACKED! How do you ship a cracked post and not notice it?! Now I'm waiting for the dude to respond to my email regarding the condition, and so far nothing.

Rode the blue EWR in to work again today and that post I've got on there is just too short. Too bad the Syncros is cracked, now I'll have to suck it up and just buy one new. Irritating.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

EWR on the commute

The Blue EWR this time...I need a longer seatpost!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Spent the weekend in the Pisgah National Forest, Davidson River area. Biking and hanging out with the fellas and drinking some beers. Gary, Paul and a few other fellas that I've known for a few long years now. Matt was planning to go also, but he's having some health issues right now that limit his ability to get off his butt. I did take him an orange SDG saddle for his new EWR, though.

Anyway, Thursday I drove up to ATL and stayed with Matt. Gary had flown in from out west and was already at Matt's house, so we dumped my bike off in Matt's basement, hid the valuables from prying eyes, and hit the town for some grub. first, before we left, both Gary and I drank 5 beers each from Matt's Beer-of-the-Month subscription and THEN we went out to eat! At Fox Brother's BBQ in Decatur, I had a montser full slab of baby back ribs and two more beers. Hey, the car keys were in somebody elses hands, what can I say! Ribs were amazing too, and it was a beautiful night siting out in the cool air and watching the activity in the train yard across the street from the restaurant.

The next morning after breakfast at Crescent Moon, Gary and I kicked Matt's ass and left him for dead for bailing on the weekend, and headed on up I-85 to meet up with Paul, who was pantless in his Saab in the Lowe's parking lot...don't ask. The three of us caravaned up to Davidson River and dropped off my car at the campsites that Brian and his family had snagged for us, picked up Brian and his crew and headed into town for burritos at a local joint in Brevard across from the college there. Pascudo's I think? Good grub anyway, and then we headed back to the camp site after a quick stop off at Backcountry Outdoors, a bike shop near Davidson River that offers full service and support, and sells their own line of bikes under the Harvey Cycles brand. At the site we met up the rest of the group for a quick spin on one of the shorter trails, then after cleaning up we all hit the folding chairs for a few more beers before retiring to our tents.

Morning was cruddy, rainy and gross as it tends to be in Pisgah in the spring, so we drove into Ashville for some food, and of course more beers. We also did a little bike shop tourism, stopping off for a peek at Carolina Fatz and another little hole in the wall shop too sad to remember. Fatz was a hopping joint and had good stock and smart folks, but the other place was a mess, one of those shops that looks like its in business in spite of itself! Ashville is a funky, Boulder-esque town filled with light-hearted trustafarians and other pott-puffing nutty folks who all seem to drive VW Westys, so its a cool place to people watch. After three pitchers of Smithwick's at the Bier Garten, and a club sandwich, we returned to Davidson River and hit the bikes for a few more quick laps.

Sunday was a riding day. Bennett Gap was up first, an amazing trail that I think I've done before, back in 1995 when I went with the crew from USF. Lots of great views of Looking Glass and the surrounding area. Then we hit the trails again after lunch and a quick beer for one more lap before we had to return to camp to get all cleaned up and loaded for the drive back to the ATL. We were pretty wiped out from the weekend so it was an early nigh of grub and Guiness and then to bed.

Breakfast at another local joint, mushroom omelette's, fried potatoes and about 4 cups of coffee, and I was rumbling on the highway back to my family. A good weekend in the books. It was nice to see all the guys again and put aside our usual stresses and junk and just enjoy each others, I mean company!
And Beer.

Funny thing though, when I schedule these types of outings away from the usual grind, I always look forward to it until I'm on the road, and then I miss the family and wonder why they didn't come along. We will need to get the baby involved in camping and see how she behaves locally so the next time I head to the mountains she and momma can come along too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

VW no worky again...

Well the turn signals brother says long term goals are overrated, so I'll settle for the short term goal of being able to make a lawfully signaled right turn. Of course being law-abiding is overrated...Ha Ha!!

Progress on the House!

One of my friends, Travis, stopped by with his mad set of tools and the two of us tore down my porch! The previous owner had built the porch such that the water draining from the dining room off the back of the house would be damned by the header for the porch roof where it attached at the fascia. Yeah, that's right...rather than step down from the roof to the porch, my house stepped UP! Water no drainy up hill.

SO...we pulled out the reciprocating saw and a circular saw, and beat the decking from below and freed it from the joists. Then we chopped the decking into manageable chunks, and pitched the pieces off the roof into the backyard. I now have big piles of construction debris in my side yard, and as this is the start of about two months worth of projects to get the house up to snuff, it won't be the last pile of construction debris either!



The Southeast Region Users Group for ESRI software product users is in town this week so my new blogging activity will be limited. On Thursday I'll be off to North Carolina for a bike trip with the fellas. There ain't going to be lot of activity on this sucker for a while...poor Kim Kardashian!

If anyone other than a software guy cares...


Sitting in the conference reminds me a lot of the things I thought I could bring to planning when I started out in my career. I had visions of introducing an older generation to a modern tool, and providing a more analytical approach to decision making that would help us all make our town a better place to be. I never wanted to make the planning decision, I only wanted to help make the decision more relevant. Now, after 10 years on the job, I wonder if I'm able to measure even the least little bit of success, as I still don't see much of a pattern of thought to our decision making process. Walking back from the conference, I spent a moment reflecting on what it is that I want to accomplish for myself personally, and determined that I'm too concerned with my employer's actions and not enough with my own professional development.

Translation, I need to pay my own brain with knowledge and not worry about if my employer chooses to benefit fully from it. So now I am going to try to take the momentum I'm gaining from the conference and build it into a strategy for my next 5-10 years. Somethings got to get better, because I'm not getting any younger!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Day!

The Hayden Burns Downtown Library in Jacksonville looks to have a future after much positive and negative speculation. Mixed use redevelopment with a urban market is the plan. Looks promising...The glazed brickwork is from the east wall of the library facing Ocean Street.
Rode the Beast to work again yesterday...the tires on that thing are the el-cheapo CSTs from the Rush and they are barely round....junk!
Spent the morning in Disaster mitigation planning meetings and let me tell you...I am packing my stuff early and heading out if a Katrina type animal is heading my way, thank you very much!
Last night I took the VW out for a cruise around and the turn signals are doing funny things again...the joys of a 40 year old car! I love the thing but frustration is just a scuff below the surface at all times!
My brother has a theory that he can post the name of an obscure actress from long ago and it will drum up traffic for his blog. I'm not much of a Tina Louise fan, and I bet it aint a successful tactic for him. I mean really, what good does it do to just randomly plunk down the name of a second rate celebrity in your blog for no reason? What would Kim Kardashian say about such a dopey scheme?
ADD post! Over and out!

Baby Baby Baby!

Oh Baby! PLEASE let us all sleep through the night...even the dog is beat!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Another one on the Beast...a beautiful morning. Just a little overcast enough to take out some of the glare, but still crisp and clear. Days like this are why I live in NE Florida.

Last night the little monster was in a very atypical mood. We were in the backyard and I was playing "bubbles"with her. She loves soap bubbles, so whenever you go to the backdoor, she says,"outside! outside!" and then runs out to the patio table, where the soap bottle is and yells, "bubbles! bubbles!" until you blow a few hundred of them for her to chase around the yard. Mom came out in the yard and took over bubble-duty for a bit and then we tried to put away the bubbles to go in for dinner, and the rug-rat flat out erupted! Screaming "BUBBLES!" for about 2 hours! We finally gave up on dinner and went to bed early, although she didn't actually fall asleep until a bit after 9. Irony is mom and I were just talking about number 2. Number 1 must have heard the conversaion and shifted into "status quo maintenance mode". Crazy kid.

This morning..."Cookies! Cookies!"


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Beast of the East on the commute!

OK, so Cannondale never intended for the M800 to be a commuter, but thats just what I'm using it for. Rode in to work today on the new-old bike, and I love it. Light, fast and smooth. Some small issues, like seat adjustments and bar adjustments and stuff, and the red DX 636 pedals interfere with my SPD sandals, so I'll have to swap those out for some smaller pedals to use my sandals. I think this one will work out nicely as my daily bike, and of course, its retro cool!

I am a geek.

Have a nice day, Tina Louise!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Beast of the East...DONE!

My retro throwback bike is finished. Over the Christmas break I picked up a lightly used Cannondale Beast of the East frame, same year but alternate color to the one I owned back in college. I built the bike with retro NOS parts, including DX derailleurs and XT hubs from Shimano, but with a twist. I fitted the rear hub with a modern 9 speed hub body so that I can use modern gearing. Shifting duties are handled by Dura Ace 9spd bar end shifters with Paul Components Thumbies so I have that thumb shifter experience. Wheels are the Velocity Deep V blacks that I picked up at Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater on the cheap. I've always had an addiction to retro bike parts and I've been collecting them for some time, but this is my first dedicated retro bike. Beast done, next up...Klein Rascal!

I'm not very happy with the 8 Speed cassette on the blue EWR. The last two low gear cogs just seem to be hugely separated ratio-wise from the rest of the gears. I may have to make a more concerted effort on the cassette purchase there...something I've never really done or even considered paying attention to before!

The day was otherwise pretty much a wash (Pun!). Nothing but raining and clouds all day. I walked with the family early, and the baby had a blast in her bike carrier with the new jogger stroller attachment I picked up. The jogger is much easier to walk with than a traditional stroller. I always thought joggers were pretty moronic and just another lame-o thing that the magazines try to push on new parents, but I'll give the jogger experience a thumbs up, although I don't see myself jogging anytime soon! We did finally handle some potting issues and lawn maintenance stuff. After debating an addition for as long as we did, we found that when we finally did determine that we weren't interested in spending a load of dough on adding on, we had done a good deal of neglecting our exisiting yard.

All in all, a very pleasant domestic weekend. Oh, and we turned a perfectly good bottle of Chianti into sangria ...which was very nice.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

EWR on the trail!

Well, not that EWR...the old single speeder. I didn't get the blue one completed until the afternoon...more on that in a bit.

Single speed is the way to go for smaller urban style parks where the trail system is made of a grouping of shorter trails that you can piece together for a longer riding experience. This is expecially true of some Florida trails where the trail itself is just not that Hanna Park here in Jacksonville. The trail system consists of many shorter trails of just a few miles or so, varying in difficulty from cake-walk fast sweepers to root filled technical trails. The speed comes from you and you alone as there are no hills at all (its literally on the beach in places). You can string together a good many varied trails and hit them with a tight geometry single speed bike with no suspension and have a very good time. I did tweak my thumb a bit, an age injury I think because I didn't wreck, didn't even stumble, so I'm not sure where it happened.

There were some interesting characters of note there, one guy with a late 80's Cannondale with a mix-mash of parts, but the frame was cool, and it was neat to see it in action. The dude was riding with his buddies, two guys on Cannondale Rush and Specialized FSRs, so he was a bit outgunned.

There was one other guy that I saw on a single speeder out there, a 29er Ventana dressed to the nines. He walked up to me and asked what gear I was running, which seems to be the way single speeders greet one another, go figure. Anyway, I had to think about it, because its not like I tatooed it on my forearm. Finally I said 32-18 ( which was actually the first combo, its really a 32-16) at which point he said, and I quote, "I use a 16, but then I like to go fast". I was floored. Thank you Richard Cunningham. Hanna Park has always had this disease, people who wouldn't know you from adam who walk up and give you an unsolicited opinion about how your choice of equipment is wrong. I'll never understand it. Oh well.

It was a beautiful day, the rain held off like it was supposed to, and the pollen by the beach wasn't nearly as bad as it is in my own backyard!

Hanna Park

Came home and routed the fron brake cable for the BB7 on the blue EWR. Tuned up the whole deal and adjusted both brakes. Bike is ready to roll now! Tomorrow is a VW and Baby day so I won't be able to take the bike out, but I'll do a few shake-down commutes this week and then hit the trail next weekend. I'll need to put some miles on the Rush too, as I'll be using that bike in Pisgah in two weeks! Woohoo!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Grumbles and Buckles.

Spent some time yesterday evening running cables and tweaking out the EWR. Some Observations...

Why the hell are the rear triangle brake cable braze-ons on the underside of the stay when the caliper feed is on the top of the caliper on every disc I can think of! As it is, the housing runs along the underside of the stay, then with less that 4 inches of distance between the last braze-on and the caliper, the housing has to wrap 180 degrees around the stay and then feed the caliper! Looks like a piece of black macaroni on my nice blue frame.

Also, there are no cable feeds on the Revelation, so I just zip-tie the housing to the lower leg and the brace, where RS has provided miniscule little bumps as some sort of lame guide? No wonder my buddy Matt's Pike looks like his front housing is just flapping in the is!

My BB is not threaded deep enough on the drive side for my Race Face ISIS BB, either the EWR is shallow or the cup for the Race Face is deeper than the norm.

Is it me, or did frames and parts from BITD not have as many of these issues? I was a much worse mechanic back then, and I remember building and tearing down bikes once and sometimes twice a week for grins! I bet even buddy Taylor couldn't rebuild his fork before a ride with this modern stuff they're feeding us. (Of course he never should have tried that in the first place, and we will never let him live it down.) I expect quirkiness from the frame, hell the first EWR had the weirdest front derailleur cable rouing in the universe, but the fork guides just leave me wondering what-ho!

Enough with the granny-bitching...she's a purdy bike...and my Sachs rear derailleur pounds off shifts with a frame-rattling clonk! *Click*...*Ker-KLUNK!*


On a lighter note, one of my roadie friends dared me to wear my Shimano XT 25th Aniv. belt buckle to work today so I did. I dig it, but strangely my wife wont speak to me today. hmmm. Worst thing is that my pants don’t fit after losing the weight (46lbs!), so the buckle hangs down and makes like a tray from McDonalds!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


...for lunch...and too much water. Now my rice has expanded and I need a nap. Might need a bigger seat if I keep this up.
I can't seem to control myself at a sushi joint. Who am I kidding?! I can't seem to control myself at lunch! Yesterday it was Mexican (and I'm addicted to chips and salsa), today sushi, tomorrow, who knows? I'll make a pig of myself no matter what though!
It is a beautiful day outside, and I'm fighting the urge to grab my stomach, fake an illness and cut out on leave and enjoy the day. There are cold beers in the fridge, and the view from my hammock up through the trees to the blue sky on a bright spring day like today is why I put up with planning in Florida. Enjoy it while you can everyone!

Baby Patrol!

Last night my wife had to conduct a public hearing on revisions to the city comprehensive plan, so I was on baby patrol! We had beans and weenies, and goldfish, and lots of milk. Then I poured her toybox out on the floor and sprawled in the middle of the room and let her abuse me with various colored blocks and little action figure type thingies. Sometimes its nice to put all the junk of the daily grind completely out of your mind and just wallow on the floor with toys and a happy baby. That's what its all about.

At least until she tried to pick my nose with an action figure. I had to put my foot down on that one...