Monday, June 30, 2008

New Levers for the Beast...

CODA levers for the Beast of the East. As mentioned below. And they even match the thumb shifter mounts from Paul Components! Don't be fooled all things CODA, they are relabeled parts from another this case, DiaCompe and their SS-5 levers.

Rain Barrel UPDATE!

I know you all have been waiting anxiously for an update on how well my rain barrel functions, all three of you, so here's an update....

My rain barrel functions too well! On Friday, after 5 days of barrel completed-no rain, we had rain! My plan was to read the rain gauge, and then measure the depth of the water in the barrel and correlate the two amounts to determine a baseline for rainfall/water collection. Well...we had 2.5 inches of rain which translated into an overflowing 44 gallon barrel and a back porch that flooded anyway! Whoops! We also had enough rain and high wind that my new gutter on the new porch filled with pine needles and overflowed! Obviously this was an extreme case of the downpours, so I'm hoping that the barrel system works better under normal situations. We had 1.5 inches of rain on Saturday and the barrel, which was already topped of by the overflowing event from the day before, did manage to contain a good amount of rain and disperse it out through the overflow valve in smaller increments than the downspout would have, so flooding was more controlled. Sunday we had another .75 inches of rain and the porch did not flood.

I am thinking that the 2.5 inches in one day fell hard and fast enough that the flooding would have occurred with or without the barrel, and that the normal level of summer rainfall, coupled with my using water from the barrel for daily purposes, would have kept the overflow to a minimum. There is an overflow valve on the barrel about 6 inches from the top, so approximately 8-10 gallons of water will catch in the barrel, yet trickle past the overflow valve over time. This way, at any given time the barrel should be able to at least accommodate almost 10 gallons of water.

Anyway, I'll have to use the barrel contents down to a measurable level and then do the comparison of rainfall to barrel depth to try to establish the correlation. I'll keep you posted! (I'm sure you can't wait!)

Worked on the bikes this weekend. Cleaned the Rush, replaced the brake levers on the Beast with some period correct Cannondale 'Coda' levers (DiaCompe SS-5s, with CODA labeling), swapped the stem on the white EWR for a NOS Control Tech model from the 'bay, cleaned the blue EWR, Even took care of Big Momma's bikes. Tomorrow I will take a mental health day to celebrate my birthday, and go to San Felasco State Park and hit the trails. I'm excited, although driving there will cost me a billion dollars in the Land Rover.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hey Kobe!

"Tell me how my ass tastes!"

If you haven't seen it, You tube "Shaq disses Kobe" and sit back for one of the funniest freestyle raps you'll ever see. The hook at the end is the best...having the whole audience at the club chanting the above quote on cue...Love it! Call me an iconoclast.

Kobe is such a tool. The NBA hasn't been the same since Charles Barkley and Anthony Mason and Xavier Daniels retired. I even miss the Worm. Pretty players bore me to tears. If only Warren Sapp played for the NBA... If only Warren Sapp played for anybody! Oh well, at least KG got a ring.

Travis and I finished up the roof last night, over the new porch in front. Now all I have to do is paint and the house id done...well, except for the 8'x8' hole in the bathroom ceiling! That door is closed though, so I don't count that! HA!

The sky is black and I have to ride home in about 45 minutes...get the soap.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Morning!

Somebody on the Retrobike forum made the mistake of asking what were peoples favorites and hates in the bike world....needless to say I couldn't resist!

"I dig small builders, generally steel, generally with high bottom brackets and steep angles for the twisties, and function. East Coast (US) geometry, like Fat and IF, EWR, Grove, Rhygin, Bridgestone MB-0 and MB-1s, early pre-Volvo rigid Cannondales not too dressed with goofy chi-chi. Pacific NW style is nice too. Early Rocky stuff, Toads, Brodie Sovereigns and Espressos, some Kona I guess, lets say pre-threadless just to be picky.

Parts I dig...Mavic 217 Sunsets, Altek, SDG Kevlar, Race Face Turbines, Deore DX, and pre 'SC' Shimano 105 derailleurs. Yum.

I don't like shi++y CNC boutique parts that aren't worth the pot aluminum they are cut from (and the trail head stitches and sutures that usually result!), and all the modern junk painted spokes, black stems, black posts, black cranks, blah blah blah.... Don't like 100mm+ forks flooding the scene, nobody needs that on a cross country hard tail.

I don't like Trek, the butchers of Klein and Bontrager. Trek should fall off the planet. No like Diamond Back/Mongoose/Iron Horse/Haro/GT pretend BMX junk brands. Except the Tech Shop GTs, Zaskar, Xizang and Psyclone...some DBRs get a pass from the hate too...

Kooka. I don't like Kooka. Garbage from day one. All Kooka junk should be melted down and pressed into Mountain Dew cans, except I don't think the aluminum would pass canning quality standards. In their own words..."Get off the trail, you weasel!"

Spooky, never liked Spooky either. Bunch of plastic image junk. Fake straight-edge hiding in your mom's bathroom huffing on her hairspray and then proclaiming about how you're bucking the man by not poisoning your body with cigarettes and booze...all the while driving your retired plummers panel-van all tagged up with crap 3rd grader graffiti to McDonald's for a McRib. Brands like Spooky and Azonic are the fake boobs of the cycling world.

Wow...I feel better!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rain Barrel!

I am a farmer!
Put together my Rain Barrel made from a flexible down spout, a 44 gal Rubbermaid trash container (rated for food contact too!) and some plumbing supplies. The ground under the barrel is cleared and tamped level, and then I used the 2x8"s from the old porch to build a deck for the barrel, set the barrel in place, trimmed the flexible gutter and drilled holes and installed the fittings with plumbers tape and viola!...One William Faulkner, run-on sentence describing how I built a rain barrel from a trash can!

It didn't rain all weekend.

This is just like the time I laid down 2 pallets of sod and then it didn't rain for 6 weeks and the sod died.

Oh well...RAIN BARREL!
I also got my tomatoes in the ground in the other two planter boxes. 1250 lbs of soil and composted manure and some cedar stakes and now, combined with the three plants in the square planter box, we now have eleven tomato plants!
Last night I made fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, and Big Momma and I have decided to name our second child "Tomato". To deal with my male pattern baldness, I have started gluing tomatoes on my head. Got to use all these tomatoes...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Alphabet Game

Everyone knows about the Alphabet Game, where on long road trips you looks for words that begin with each letter in the alphabet in sequence. Well, a friend of mine from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee here in town is riding across the country solo, and he posted this sign from Wyoming...

His adventures can be found at:

Good Luck, Crazy Guy!


Ever wonder what to call a post that is going to just be a bunch of random observations? I vote for 'Stuff."

I have a new caffeine addiction, Black unsweet tea, iced. Jacksonville is hotter than fire already, and it isn't even technically summer yet, so a substitution for coffee was required.

Sold a few retro goodies on the 'bay here lately. An SDG blue Kevlar saddle, a set of green Real levers, NOS Fast Feather QRs in the package, anodized purple (the QRs, not the package!), and the Flite Ti saddle that I took off the Carrera. I have some other retro parts for the 'bay that I need to list, and I have an other SDG out there right now. Some of these parts are things I've had for a while and some are parts that I got bundled with a part I really wanted, or on a bike that I bought for the parts, etc. I can't keep all this stuff, and I'll never use the Real levers or purple QRs, so for sale they go. I've been contemplating selling one or two of the bikes also, maybe the Ti frame and the Rush. I'll keep the rare parts and just sell the big parts to facilitate more room in the shed, or I'll just keep all my cool toys and wing it! Space-Schmace!

The Surfboard is on Craig's List...again too many hobbies and too little time. Anybody want a custom Clay Bennett long board? 500 bones.

Rode to work today, 2ND day this week. Not had much of a chance to commute lately, Big Momma had a haircut on Wed, and then she was out on Mon-Tues so I was car-trapped for the first three days of the week. Bleah!

Went to Lowe's yesterday and got a 44 gal trash can and some fitting to make my Rain Barrel. I'm excited. Water re-use AND I can solve the porch flooding problem we've been dealing with. I'm going to set 4 brick footers, then use some of the leftover wood from the porch demo to make a small deck to put the barrel on, that should help keep it stable and prevent it from looking too much like a big trash can. (Lets face IS a big trash can!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This was emailed to me in one of those irritating non-sense BS emails that you always seem to get over and over and over. But it's pretty funny...

"CALMNESS IN OUR LIVES I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, 'The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished.' So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No Big Momma means Dad is "Mr Cool!"

Being alone with the baby yesterday was a good time! We went home to let the weasel out to tinkle (the dog to pee) and then headed off to the suburban hell/planning nightmare known as St Johns Town Center. Baby had chocolate milk and orange wedges at Crisper's, and I had some bizarre flat bread pizza type thing that was pretty good. I didn't take a stroller, so the Bean had to motivate herself around on her own, and we walked a good way. Maybe 2 miles or so in total. She was running for most of it too, which was nice (for later!) We went by the fish pond there and she squealed at the Koi and the turtles that live in the pond. The large fiberglass fake stone horse statues outside PF Chang's elicited more squeals from the kid, and she in general made a fool out of the both of us with her leaping around and squawking. The Nice thing about being out with a baby is it gives you license to misbehave in your own right...all in the name of "entertaining the child!"

Funny that the pasteurized culture of the Town Center is so interesting for a baby. I think the place is boring as hell, but children just seem to love Disney World! Sort of scary then, that so many folks who head out to the Town Center clearly spend so much time getting primped and preened and ready to go...hmmmm. Babies and Yuppies on the same intellectual wavelength? Is the Land Rover owner throwing stones in his glass house?

Tired children sleep easily...halfway through a Richard Scarry story book she was snoring and drooling and I was enjoying a peaceful evening. Don't tell Big Momma, she needs to think I struggled with an unruly child! *wink wink*

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blog modification. I am dull.

Adventure is not found in modifying your blog, not by a damn sight. Still, some tweaking has been tweaked, and the option for additional tweakage is still on the table.

Tweak on, tweakers.

Monday Monday Monday!

Big Momma is on her way to O-town for a conference, so me and mini-me will be on our own tonight. I'm SURE she will be on her best behavior! I figure we'll head on over to the town center or maybe we'll get some dinner somewhere. Something that will get her out to wear off some of her energy so that she'll go to bed! There is a fine line with mini-me, if you get her too tired, she'll be wide awake and nutty as a fruitcake. If you don't wear her out she won't be tired and you'll never get her to sleep. Funny how the rug-rats roll...

Rug-rat delivery service means no bike, just gas-sucking Land Rover.

She's a good little rug-rat though. Land Rover pretty ok, too. Bike is better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Commute on hold...

I rode in last on Tuesday, and then I got rained out on the ride home, so I had to hitch with the little woman. The weather has been nutty for early summer. We have settled in to the usual Florida storm pattern of afternoon thundershowers with lots of sudden downpours and just general dark and nasty weather. This is usually the stuff that settles in to Florida in the later summer months with this regularity. Tampa used to see this pattern earlier than Jax, but they are down there getting little to no rain. I blame global warming and George W. Bush for "firing off all them rockets!" "cause you know, like my boy Matt says, it's all GWs fault.

Although he's being funny...where I think it's a bit true!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day Two! Peace!

You get a lot of funny looks in Florida when you ride steel frames with little or no carbon. I even had two guys on steel bikes comment on the Carrera, the first was a dude on an older Pinarello who commented that the Carrera was nice, and then there was a dude, maybe a friend of his, on an Independent Fabrications road bike right in front of the first, who said something like, "yeah, well at least its steel". WTF! People are bananas about the dorkiest things. All I noticed was that I had passed them! SEE-YAH!
Just enjoy the ride, folks. Enjoy the ride.
These pictures are used under permission of the copyright holder for my personal purposes only. Please do not shamelessly gank another's intellectual property!

Tour de Cure

Day One...and no I do not ride for Francaise des Jeux! Ha!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Under the bus part deux!

Probably not very bright to blog on this, but I came in to work yesterday and found an email apology from Under the Bus Official. I was intending on offering some sort of small olive ranch because I did give him hell on Friday, and that really isn't my place any more than him tossing me into the gutter is his, but he beat me to it and sent the email on Friday. Turns out that he might have been prompted to send the email, because when I spoke to him he was still gruffly indignant about his behavior being completely defensible. Skinny is that this is repeated behavior and that the higher ups are as tweaked as me. Either way, some folks just can't seem to realize that even if he was correct in his observations about my performance or the performance of my staff, he should have directed it up through our department and not aired the laundry to the universe. Oh well, I sleep at night. As grandfather used to say, "End subject, change subject."

Weighed myself this morning and I'm at 188. I haven't weighed less than 190 since I was 25. I'm not trying to lose weight right now, just move the weight from where I don't want it to where it will help me in cycling, so I'll have to adjust my diet again to make sure that I don't get any smaller. I eat like a pig, so volume isn't an issue, just substance. Think I'll have a whopper for lunch......just kidding.

Rode the blue EWR to work again. 5th day in a row. I didn't put any miles on either road or mtb this past weekend, and this coming weekend I'll be re framing my rotten front porch, so I don't think I'm on the bike then either. Maybe I'll get to ride Saturday morning early. Try out my new Dura Ace STI!

Paragraphs with bike talk in them light up like a christmas tree when you hit the spell check button. Makes me feel like a bone-head for a second before I realize that only a cyclist would know or care what STI is!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Updates...sort of!

Not a lot today to report, but I don't want to ignore the thing, so I'll stroke the keys a bit before OK, THAT sounds a little bit off from what I intended!

Today I had the uninvited return of one of office livings most feared and despised black-sheep cousins...that of Under the Bus Official. Nothing like coming up for air after working on a project for three hours to be informed that 'oh yeah, while you were working, you were blamed for all sorts of stuff by that little weak-kneed sap over there'. Good job, people. Way to earn your pay. I won't go into the details because this here blog thingy is supposed to be mildly therapeutic, but suffice to say that I was surprised, hurt, and bloody-well tweaked! My guys came through pretty good, and handled the situation very well so all is not trailing fire and headed into the ocean nose first, but it sure would be nice to not have to deal with the BS. I know I know...all jobs are like that. hockey. That's just what they say to keep you pacified and rotting in front of a terminal. 2% a year and a kick in the grapes, thank you very much. I interviewed a potential new hire earlier in the day...second one this week...maybe I should tell them this story so they know what they are striving for.

I had to replace the rear STI shifter/brake lever on the road bike. The poor old girl took her leave of absence three days before the Tour de Cure, so I picked up a replacement, NOS 9 speed Dura Ace STI lever from a local shop for the princely sum of 200 bucks! Ugh! Maybe I'd better not lose my job just yet! I considered upgrading to 10 speed, but the age of the rest of the drive train parts, and the fact that they are all Dura Ace, and I can only afford Ultegra, led me to just say the 9 spd and be done with it already. Besides, I aint Lance...9 speed works fine for me.

Rode the new EWR, the blue one, into the office today again...third day in a row. The longer post (I ordered a Thomson from About Bikes in Orange Park) makes all the difference. Took it off road two weekends ago, and now after some road miles and a trip off road, the drive train is bedding in nicely and the brakes have scrubbed off their packing goo, so I'm ready for something a bit more industrious to tackle with the sucker. This weekend I'm going to pain the new trim after the roof replacement though, so there might be a bit of a wait until I get back to the trail.

Sat on the porch and talked a bit with my mother and brother on the phone. And drank some sangria (ooooh!). Not because of the family, no. Just because of the porch! I blame the porch!

Ah, Life!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I've lost 48 pounds in the last year, cycling and walking and cutting out on my casual consumption of beer, soda and fast food. Now...after I don't have an ounce to drop, my employer is launching a reward program for fitness. Great...

I can at least offer some help and guidance to my co-workers though, and while some have asked that I do exactly that, the number of folks who seem tweaked that I'm in the room and talking is staggering. I don't know if I'm ready to be the skinny guy that all the fat people want to pummel. Attitudes need to get better or they are on they're own...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tour de Cure! Day Two!

Back from the slight detour of the roof crisis...

On day two, we got up and put our junk together as best we could considering the early hour, I was lamenting forgetting my sunblock. Oops!

We grabbed a quick breakfast at the event tent-city up the beach at the pier where we had dinner the night before...some store bought bagels and cold breakfast was made from egg and cheese and some indescribably disgusting pepper type things. Kicked off the tour at about 7:15 or so, and handled the first leg, along A1A north up the coast toward Ponte Vedra. There were two stops on the A1A leg, and we took them both, quick stretching and a Gu pack at the first, to get the juices going, and then a Rita's frozen Ice and a pack of orange flavored Shot Bloks and a banana at the second. I was determined to behave myself and not get over taxed on the second day. You always feel pretty good when you start out on day 2, but your reserves are noticeably depleted and I didn't want to blow myself up before I knew I had the day in the bag.

Good thing too...because after the second stop, we turned due west toward Nocatee, and plowed straight into a 15 knot headwind that depleted our pace and wiped out our average speed for the day. The headwind was with us for about 15-20 miles on and off, depending on the wind shadow provided by the tree cover...which because of the Nocatee foolishness (SPRAWL!) was nil! Finally heading north again on San Jose over Julington Creek, and then through Mandarin on Mandarin Road and Scott Mill, we were getting close and we knew it. After taking our lives into our hands negotiating the intersection of Beauclerc and San Jose (where there was NO traffic management! WTF!!!), both of us wanted off the bike. So when we cleared the light at Baymeadows, I cranked up the pace to 21 or so...wind be damned, and hauled us in to Bolles for the closing BBQ lunch. Travis had pulled my lazy butt around the day's course more than was his fair share, so it was the least I could do! Another 4.5 hours or so for the day, although the wind had conspired to wipe out our average speed (we only managed about 18 and change...maybe a little less). It was a good tour, and I'll consider doing it again, but it wasn't quite the spectacle that the MS150 is. 500 or so riders on this event vs the 2500 or so at the 07 MS150.

The only bad news I heard of from the event was of a poor guy who got clipped by a landscaping trailer, and he was sent to the hospital for some minor repairs. His bike was not so lucky, as his Specialized Tarmac was snapped in half just behind the seat tube. Shame too, as it was a pretty bike. Oh well. Life is like a box of chocolates....or some such stupidity.

Afta Afta!

Same useless pipes and wires but hold the bugs, please!

Yeah...painting is next. Unless of course the tree drops more junk on us.


Note scrubby wires and pipes of various grades of uselessness common to houses of a more advanced 'vintage'.

Uninvited Lumberyard

Uninvited Lumberyard...which translates to big-a$$ branch on the house. The roofer came by this morning and dried us in, he'll make the permanent repairs to the roof next week, which includes patching 5 holes ranging in size from silver dollar to dime. He'll also cut away a 3 foot section of the drip edge and repair the framing below that as needed, then of course replace the drip edge. Then a Hydro-Stop finish will be reapplied and we'll be set, at least until another lumberyard incident... He also applied the first round of the Hydro-Stop to the new junction with the porch, which he had flashed for prior to the porch installation. Of course, all of this roof trauma is karma for my earlier crack about c-section scars. Oh well, it's only money, and that can be replaced by a few quarts of plasma, so we're all good.

We did finally sit on the porch last night. After I'd cleared the debris and put away the chainsaw I talked to mom a bit on the phone while I moved the furniture back onto the porch. Then after mom was tired of listening to me pout, big-mama whipped up some Sangria out of my last bottle of Chianti (I know, I know, Spanish drink...Italian wine. What can I say, I was celebrating the Spaniard atop the podium of the Giro d'Italia). We downed the whole pitcher and I felt better about the day's gloomy events. OK...I downed most of the pitcher, I'll come clean. Remember we're talking about two generations of mamas here, people. I'm a sad little man, but I'm not getting shnockered on the porch with my own mom for crying out loud.

Tonight, unless the sky drops another torrent, we'll grill some chicken breasts that have been in a nice lime and basil marinade for the last 24 hours or so. Yum. That would have been yesterday's dinner, but that whole roof branch thing...


Came home last night to enjoy the new screen porch and found a twelve foot long branch stuck in my new roof! ARGH!! God hates me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tour de Cure Update! Day One!

The Tour de Cure was this past weekend, and Travis, a buddy of mine from work, and I signed up for the fun. A fundraiser tour much like the MS150, this one supports Diabetes research and the ADA. The first day of the event was 68 miles from Bolles High School in Jax to St Augustine Beach pier. A very nice route, with lots of wooded 2 lane roads near the river and then the last stretch almost due east over the intercoastal to the beach. We arrived in about 4.5 hours and averaged 19mph with three stops. We got to the finish and sat in the shade tents and had some refreshments and then headed on down the beach to the Holiday Inn. I don't know what it is about Holiday Inns, but nothing attracts blue collar, fat, smoking, retired, welders from Cleveland like a Holiday Inn. Tattoos, pot bellies, bad C-section scars, and ill fitting bikinis all around. This one was no exception and the service from the staff was certainly pandering to the clientele, with nary a whit of customer service or hospitality to be found. DUMP.

That night we walked back up the beach to the event dinner, which was held in the same tent city in the parking lot of the pier that hosted the arrival bash. Dinner was catered by Carrabba's and it was better than marginal, but not scrumptious by any stretch. Too much garlic and butter for folks who needed to get out of bed the next morning and ride another metric century. Travis and I bloated up on the free grub and then teetered back to the Shanty Inn for a few beers and then an early night to get ready for the next day's miles. Shanty Inn had other plans though, and the pool-side bar was closed when we got back! Saturday night at 7pm and the damn bar is closed?! mmmmm...Hospitality . I always wondered why every half-wit in community college studies "Hospitality Management" I know there are even more that need to!