Monday, September 28, 2009

South Florida 17 - Florida State 7

at last.

Privacy Fence

The house to the left of me spent the last year in short-sale, and is now fully foreclosed and vacant. The result is that instead of having my air headed but very sweet neighbor over there, I've got overgrown milk weeds and rain trees. Time to screen the ugly.

This is my chain link fence...normally slathered in vines and ferns, which provided some privacy from the ugly next door. Here its stripped bare and awaiting the next phase, skinning with pickets!

The skinning well underway. I sistered a 2x4 board to each of the chain link posts already there and doubled up the 2x4 where it extends above the steel post of the existing fence, which left me with posts roughly 6 feet tall. Then I stick built the fence from the ground up. The little copper caps are solar lighting.

One of the lights. They are really pretty at night, running along the top of the pickets. Not that solar lights can run, but you get the idea.
The fence turned out great if I do say so myself. Now if we can just get that house sold we'll be in business!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Deck Box

Marinas across Florida have these storage locker thing bolted to the pier in front of each slip, right next to the fresh water and power hook-ups. Deck boxes are used for storage of maintenance items for the boat, like fiberglass and stainless steel polishes, scrub-down and deck brushes, and incidentals for engine, sail and generator maintenance...things you wouldn't need while underway. Don't want to be tripping over the Brasso while you're on the river for the 4th of July? Deck Box!

My mid-century modern-ish house (read; 1940's tract home with a flat roof!) has a wing wall/planter box on either side of the front facade. On the right side, the wall is still intact although some dingle berry knocked out the planter...I'll get to that project in a bit.

On the left side, our original carport has been enclosed as a den, and there is a newer two car carport off the front of the original one car. The carport works fine with one exception, and that is that the planter box is still there, in front of the wing wall and inside of the carport...shaded from sunlight and rain, and therefor filled with scraggly ferns and dirt. Solution? Deck Box!

Here I've dug out to a depth of about 20 inches or so, and framed for the supporting side structure and a slatted floor. The floor will allow the contents of the box to be up off the ground, while the slats provide drainage for any heavy rain that may blow in under the carport and get into the deck box. The entire box is designed so that no holes were drilled into the original structure of the house, and that the weight of the box itself, coupled with the weight of the contents, keep the box from being lifted out of the planter.

The Depth of the deck box, shown here using my drill for scale. The two-by at the top of the wall is the framing for the top swing side hinged lid to the box.

Doing work. See the wall cap framing here?

All finished and locked up tight. There's a bunch of greasy car stuff inside it now, my leaky 3 ton floor jack is in there, 4 gas cans and 8 rusty jack stands, and a set of moldy jumper cables. All the little to no value car maintenance stuff that you use occasionally, but otherwise just find yourself tripping over in a garage or shop. Now, it's right by the cars ready to go!
No Brasso though...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tsali on the orange E-motion!

Like I mentioned in a few previous posts, I took the new(ish) E-motion up to Tsali to give it the run-around. I met up with my friends Paul and Caroline, and a few of their cronies, Steve and Elizabeth, for a bit of camping and boozing. As usual, it was a good trip. As usual, unfortunately, Matt came up with a reason to not be able to make it. Punk.
Turkey running for his life as I roared around the corner in the Rover. Stay skinny, Mr Turkey. November will be here before you know it!!

Friday morning we ate breakfast at the Nantahala Village. Their usual breakfast buffet was not in session, I guess because of the stress of the economic situation we're all in, but the quiche and coffee and fresh fruit that I had instead still went down well.

Fuzzy Trees. A sign of Armageddon?

After breakfast, we headed down the road a bit to the NOC to enjoy the river and drink our coffees. It was early yet, and on a Friday in September, very quiet.

It's not often you see this in one spot...three orange EWRs? AND an old VW Westie?! The culture of it all... I mean, can't you just smell the intellectual depth in these North Carolina woods?
We were staging up for the ride...two laps, one each of Left and Right, a total of about 20 miles on the E-motion. It is a fast, fast bike, and the 32-34 gear combo gives just enough boost for climbing. I like it. Like my white EWR tho, it could use a 135mm 10 degree stem, as opposed to the 130mm 5 degree that's on there. By today's standards, that would seem like a huge stem, but remember that this bike was designed in the mid 90s, and the standard stems of the day would have been around 135/10.
Left and Right were in pretty good shape, with a few puddles, but not nearly as bad as we would have to deal with on Saturday...

Saturday AM...breakfast at the NOC and then a nice sit down on the benches out by the river and the Founder's Bridge. Misty North Carolina mountains, a warm cup of coffee and an early morning combine for one of life's great pleasures. Peace.

Old men at Peace. Alright, I'm no that old, but I'm pretty peaceful.
See Matt...THIS is why you go to Tsali with friends. At my age and with all the stuff going on in my life, the riding is almost second fiddle to a quiet moment with a warm beverage. The traffic, the computer, the boss...miles away. You should try it, and leave your other expectations about who we once were and what we could do on a bike way back when, at home.
Although I can rip pretty good for pushing 40!

Or a quiet moment with about 14 cold beverages! Our "Wall of Shame" Was pretty impressive for there being only 5 of us. I gotta dry out!

We did three laps on Saturday, and for this outing I used the blue least to start. Saturday is Thompson Downhill day, and I wanted the suspension fork that the blue bike has, with me on the ride. So, off we went on Thompson, which was pretty gooey in places, and then Mouse. Climbing out of Mouse, I tweaked my XO rear derailleur on the blue EWR with a stick that got itself stuck in the spokes. So, with one derailleur baked, but a spare bike still on the truck, I took down the orange EWR and we did one more run on Thomson, on the orange E-motion, rigid fork and all.
In the camp ground on the way out. We commented to each other that the campground seemed less tended than in the past. I wonder if money from the facilities fee services still stay only at Tsali, or if that pilot program is over, and the dollars from successful sites like this campground are now being used to support other more remote and less profitable locations. The campground was pretty full.

And I'm spent!

We'll be back on October 18th, this time with both of my lovely ladies in tow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

EWR E-Motion

Finished the orange EWR E-Motion this weekend. Daddy likes.

Sram X-0 for the rear derailleur, and Sram 980 for the cassette and 991 for the chain.

Kona K-Nine steel cranks with a single 32 chain ring and a bash guard. Deore DX clipless pedals.

Made in the states, baby. Although X-0 is now made in Taiwan. Still ships in cookie tins and crayon boxes.

Race Face bar and stem. King mango headset.

Sram X-0 twisty shifty, Oury grips and Altek levers.

Kona P2II Disc fork, with a strategic Race Face sticker. Salsa skewers and Avid BB7 brakes.

Non drive side. Look at that beautiful...rain barrel.

*edit* I wrote this post a week ago and forgot to post it up. In that time I've also taken it t North Carolina and gotten the old beast dirty. I'll post up some mud pics and some comments on how the beastie rides later. I will say this...a fun bike for sure, but it is a medium, and not a large as was advertised. The large would have a full 24 inches in top tube length, and here I've got 23 inches, maybe a bit less. Still the frame measures close to my large Rascal, and with the right bar stem combo I think I can still use it. More on that in a bit...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fire Pit

Did a little work around the house this weekend. Getting ready to tie up a few loose strings on some lingering projects I've had kicking around the house.

First up, finishing the rustic patio area out near the shed under the trees. I built the dry stack stone wall out of the pavers from the old shed floor, did that a few years ago, and just had some scraggy grass out there for a while. I went out and picked up some brick pavers to set in a soldier course to edge off the patio from the rest of the yard, and then created a 36 inch square paver pad for the fire pit, set on a diagonal in the middle of the patio, and filed the rest with 10 bags of pine bark.

"But wait!" I hear you say in a very Hemingway-esque tone. "Pavers are good. Bricks are good. The soldier course is straight, and nice. The pine bark was aromatic. But pine bark is flammable!"

Of course, pine bark is flammable. But I'm not worried. First off, the hose is nearby. Second, there a fire extinguisher in the shop. Third, the fire pit will never have a fire big enough for tossed embers to be an issue, and for the most part, here in Florida, will see Duraflame duty only. My yard will not go up in flames, thanks.

Kristen's brother Ryan made me this Bucs flag out of some test plot and scrap material at his job, where he's a graphic artist guru. I hit it with about 6 coats of UV resistant spray, and hung it by chain from the eves of the shed over the patio. All that's missing now is the chairs.

And of course, the missing chairs are another project of mine... 4 Adirondack jobs still in the making. Home projects are never done.

Monday, September 14, 2009

SDG eBay Heaven

The only thing uglier than an orange EWR is an orange EWR with an orange SDG saddle. I myself am a tremendously hideous man, so you know that since I picked up an orange EWR 8 months ago, I've been orange-SDG-saddle-shopping for the last 8 months!

To the patient comes Ambrosia.

And yes, I plucked the pic straight from the auction, like a Pufferite swipes Twinkies from the Circle-K. *plink!* Ownership.

Now, where did I put those nasty looking orange Oury grips?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Goodbye Oregon

...and we're out!

The Oregon trip was a great time. The state is very beautiful, and the people were some of the nicest I've met in my travels across the US. From the Pacific Coast to Bend, Crater Lake to Portland, I'd do it all again.

If you haven't been go.

Thanks Oregon!

Vanishing Species - Oregon

When I lived in Colorado, one of the things that really surprised me was the negativity I experienced when folks found out I was not from in state, that instead I was from Florida. Seems that Coloradoans hate three things...people from California, people from Texas, and people from Florida. I had heard that Oregonians shared that animosity for the three interloper states, and I was not misguided.

Some of that though, is just a natural concern that Oregonians have about being able to support and protect the great indigenous peoples of their fine state. Biodiversity is a beautiful thing.

Harritains - A once noble people, identified by their disheveled ponytails and their dirty striped green wool sweaters and 'Sub Pop' t-shirts. Females of the species are distinguished by their penchant for sleeve tattoos and their hairy armpits. Once the dominant species in metropolitan settings such as Portland and Salem, they were nearly eradicated when the healthiest and heartiest of the breed flocked en mass to Seattle and took their teen spirits with them. The remnants of the species were left to wallow in their self loathing and pump quarts of heroin into their veins, longing for the days when Pearl Jam was relevant. Today, Harritains live in small enclaves, called 'coffee shops', sprinkled throughout the urban landscape.

Pufferites - A once numerous and proud people, the Pufferites came to dominate the landscape of this fine Pacific Northwest state after the reduction in stature and importance of the then occupying, silviculture practicing, troops of the great western peoples of Loggerania. The Pufferites are a happy and pleasant people, warm and sensitive and sometimes moody, and seemingly always hungry. Pufferites are concerned individuals, both for the health and well being of their communities and for the communities of others. Strangely, Pufferites seek anonymity in their lives, and bristle at the concept that they may actually be, after all, Pufferites. Easily identified during mating season by their empathetic pleas of "Dude!" and "Whoa!", and sometimes even, "Whoa, dude!" Pufferites spend much of their days cultivating their most cherished crop, "weed" and avoiding their more predatory nemesis, Law Enforcement.

Furrieleggs - Mountain peoples, easily identified by their 10 year old Subarus, although more senior members of the troop and the nobility of the clan occupy the more prestigious and desirable mating vessels known as Vanagon Westfalias. Females of the species are easily identified by the bushy scrub that flows from not only their armpits, like the Harritains, but also from their calves. Subaru favoring subspecies are known as the Antierus-Mazdacantus, while the Westfalia sporting of the breed are called Convertius Poptoptenticus. Furrieleggs spend much of their time crafting and enjoying their prized elixir of life, called "micro brew", and listening to Obama quotes broadcast on NPR.

To the inhabitants of the great state of Florida, or North Cuba as it is called today, the three great peoples of Oregon all seem pretty much the same!

OK OK OK OK OK! All kidding aside...


Ever wonder what product managers are thinking? What makes the marketing guys think that shipping out rear derailleurs or other bicycle parts in cookie tins is a good idea?

At least cookie tins are usable for small part storage.

Newer release of the Sram X-0 goodies don't get cookie tins. Nope, no longer. Today, X-0 stuff comes in a nice clear pencil box.

Good job, marketing goons. Good job.


Ezekiel 25:17...

"Maybe it means, you're the evil man, and I'm the righteous man, and Mr. Nine Millimeter here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness."

"Or it could mean, you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd, and its the world that's evil and selfish. Now I'd like that, but that &%$@ aint the truth."

"The truth is, you're the weak, and I am the tyranny of evil men. But I'm trying, Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oregon Bike Shop #5 - Bend Bike and Sport, Bend

Last stop!

Bend Bike and Sport. A slick little operation located in an old house-ish setting similar to Chain Reaction in Gainesville, although here in Bend the exterior gets a much more tasteful paint color to distinguish the theme. Bonus Points for the slick rack out front...Where have I seen these before?...hmmmm.

Oh Yeah!
Inside...hardwood floors, high ceilings, split levels from one side of the shop to the other. Very nice environment makes customers want to kick the hemp and get in touch with their inner athlete. There were a few too many shaved leggers here, though. Working too. Never a good sign.... As a general rule of thumb, shaved leggers suck at selling stuff.
Rack it up and space em out, boys!
- 2 Crisped "smooth as a baby's ass" shaved leggers! Need I say more. Something about these hard core roadies just leaves me clammy. I'm an arrogant prick, mind you, but even I'm put off by the Lycra attitude. One of my local stores suffers the same disease. Here's a tip, fellas...there's no room for a Peloton IN the store. Take it outside.
- 3 Smoking Time-suckers! There were the usual assortment of geegaws sprinkled around in an inviting if not terribly organized fashion. You could build a bike here if, say...your rig got crunched by FedEx on its way from Florida to the west coast....not that I needed to worry about that! The inventory did lack that 'gotta have it' goodness that makes the drooling tourist drop loads of debt markers around the store and leave with arms packed with unnecessary but arguably uber-cool goodies.
- 4 Torched Tots! They had it covered. High dollar, low dollar, full suspension and road. lots to choose from and well stocked. Both the fury of legs and the shaver set could be happy with the selection here. Thumbs up!
- 4 Torched Tots! Well set up and fun to peruse. I walked around the place and looked for a while...long enough for the sales dude to finally notice me, but not long enough for him to break off his conversation about his swim time in his last Tri event. Where the hell do you swim in Oregon anyway? Mosquito Reservoir?
- 5 Fully Involved Fledgelings! With the high ceilings and wood floors, the place was great to be in...made me want to parade around and investigate, and yet seemed inviting enough to make me want to just cuddle in and lounge with a good suspension fork recall notice and read. There was no couch, however...but that's ticky tacky on my part. Rude little roadies be darned, it was a slick little shop. Bitches.
- 4 Torched Tots! From the selection of bikes, to the parts and merchandising, to the warm and inviting layout, this place had a lot going for it, and if the arrogance level could have been controlled then they probably would have squeaked out a 5...maybe. I'll never understand why roadies who work in shops are as obnoxiously competitive as they are, even with customers. I get that the arrogance helps in a competitive event...clearly Lance is successful in no small part because he's a jerk, but stop there kids. You are working in a bike shop...or owning said shop...because you are NOT Lance. If keeping the hair on your legs makes you act just a little bit sweeter to your customers, then I'd suggest you put down the Nair. This is the highest rated shop I visited in Bend, and yet the stiff-lipped attitude kept me from reaching for my cash, inventory selection and merchandising be damned.