Thursday, December 31, 2009

What 'N Tarnation Happened Tonight?

John's weekly bike hang was going all good, I thought. Until the checks came and suddenly everyone at our table went for their REI credit cards like cowboys drawing their pistols.

You've heard of the Stepford Housewives. Meet the REI Automatons:

They totally went off . . . espousing the benefits of membership, and spewing the terms and conditions of their agreements. I need to reiterate that this came out of f'ing nowhere.

Patty and I, ummm, "needed to get going". Creeped us the hell out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don't Get Any On You

I'm in a major funk. It's the holiday season and I should be all glorious, but it's gotten out of my control. Don't know why, but I just feel like a piece of burnt toast.

Apparently, when you are in this mood, you retreat to your shop and measure shit.

I wrote down what I measured, which is even sadder. I don't know exactly what I am measuring or why. I think I just want spring to come. Last winter was good for about the next five years.

Sorry to drag you down. Well, actually, I'm not. If I'm going, I'd rather take you with me. I didn't start this blog as some kind of charity event.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Battling The Elements

I'm pretty okay with pulling on my long johns and peddling happily through this arctic bullcrap. Whatever, your body pedals and generates heat and you sweat to death while your toes and fingers and face freeze and fall off. It's not as bad as it sounds.

But this winter I have racks to build and I need to stand in one place on a slab of frozen concrete and it's different than the riding thing because there's no movement, and I am NOT happy. It's colder than balls out in my shop and 30+ outside is fine, but when it gets into the low 20's and upper teens, well that's just beyond stupid.

The dumb little heater I have is like peeing into a lake. No way you're gonna raise the level even one fraction of an inch. 23,000 pathetic Btu's in a sea of cold.

So somehow, Patty took pity on me and let me drop a coupla hundred bucks on a mighty new 70,000 Btu heater (probably because I let her buy that goofy fake Christmas tree) that will will keep me toasty warm despite the fact that it uses up oxygen and generates carbon monoxide like a mother, all in a closed space. I've been pretty hard on my brain cells and don't have a lot to spare, but even so, oxygen deprivation and inhalation of poisonous gas seem like a small price to pay for staying warm.

The directions said to break it in outdoors, so I did. It roars, figuratively and literally, and I can only imagine how impressed my neighbors must be.

As part of the stay-warm package, I also picked up a digital indoor-outdoor thermometer to gauge my happiness. Finding something this basic was not an easy task, since the whole thermometer industry has gone to a multiple-transmitter system that is driven off the internet and atomic clocks or something, and is designed to give you the temperature in every micro-climate that you might possibly be visiting, along with trends and historical lows and highs, and requires about 4 dozen double-A batteries and an instruction manual that looks like a phone book. Krap, I just wanted to know the temperature in my shop. Sometimes I just picture some Chinese designers sitting around, going all crazy with new features for some very basic device (you've seen the talking bottle openers??) and laughing their asses off, because they know that whatever kind of crazy shit they can dream up, a bunch of dumbass Americans will buy. But I've gotten way off track here.

Anyway, the top part is the outdoor temp and the bottom part is the indoor temp and you can see the dramatic difference after running my new badass heater for about 45 minutes. (Just ignore the number in the middle, which were put there by Chinese designers to stimulate wide-eyed, gee-whiz Americans.)

Just so you don't get the idea I don't care about my own well-being, these are the dampers at ceiling and floor level that let the air in/out so I can get the O-2 that my highly-evolved brain craves. I'm still fine-tuning the whole how-much-is-enough thing.

Sure is good to be warm.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worst Winter Cycling Gloves Ever

The "experimental phase". For many, it involves a late night college study session, too much caffeine, and a member of the opposite sex. For other, it's spring break at Ft Lauderdale, too much alcohol, a member of the same sex, and a sleezy millionaire with a video camera.

After all these year of dreaming and waiting, my experimental phase finally happened last winter, and it would put you right to sleep. It was all about winter cycling gloves, and I went a little crazy. There are no emotional scars, but here's the material aftermath:

They say that the human mind can't remember pain over time. So apparently, that's why I forgot how much I hated my Planet Bike Borealis gloves last year. And it might explain why I thought it was such a great idea to go ride with them tonight.

The Planet Bike Superflash blinkie is the bomb. It makes me want to love all things PB. But tonight I hate those damn gloves worse than ever and the switch on my PB 1W headlight quit working, so I had to take the batteries out to shut it off. But their marketing rules, so I'll probably keep buying their krap.

Anyway, I want these gloves gone. They cost me $35 + shipping. First person that puts ten bucks in my pocket walks away with a fabulous pair of slightly used gloves and an opportunity to prove that I have no clue what I'm talking about.

Or, they'd make an excellent Christmas present for someone you don't like.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I've Never Been Happier

Holy krap, I just now realized what I just said. I would like to append the following statement: "EXCEPT FOR MY WEDDING DAY, OF COURSE".

Maybe you thought I was stupid enough to fall into a trap I had set for my own self. Okay, not "maybe", "probably".

Think again.

I know I beat you down pretty bad while we were building our first rack. I can see why you would be pissed and might want to take this opportunity to extract a certain amount of revenge.

Just keep in mind that I was super-stressed. I hope you can see your way clear to giving me a pass. But on the off chance that you are seeing nothing but red, let me remind you that I have the power to delete all comments. If you have something to say, maybe you should start your own damn blog.

So anyway, back to what I wanted to talk about in the first place.

Tonight, I finished closing up the ceiling of the shop.

This is huge. It means that I can contain a small amount of the heat that I generate which means that the inside of the shop will be slightly warmer than the outside. Everyone with their snide comments over the last coupla weeks about how it feels colder inside than outside can kiss my ass.

At long last, I don't have to quit working at night because I can't feel my fingers and I understand that this whole post may seem way not-bikey, but fabulous exciting bikey shit will constantly now be happening and I hope for your sake that you can let byegones be byegones and get on the right side of this whole deal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hang Report

John got this idea about doing a once-a-week winter bike hang. Then he implemented the thought. Or maybe it was Nate's idea, I'm not sure. Whatever. Nobody knew what to think at first, but now these hangs are low-quantity, super-high-quality events that are not to be missed. I've been out of town for the last couple and was really looking forward to this week's edition. I was not even a little disappointed.

Wade brought show-and-tell. This is the righteous trucker-biker-mudflap-blingy-shiny decal. You're looking at V2. The V1 boobs were too small and if you're gonna do something, you might as well do it right, even if it involves re-work. So says Wade.

That's Glen on the left. Wade is illuminating himself from above. Stephanie and Nate are getting into position. John had already bailed.

That's Glen on the left. Wade is illuminating himself from below. Stephanie and Nate are in top form. John had already bailed.

Somewhere along the way, Wade hatched a plan for a summertime Sunday morning ride that's all about getting to a ballfield and playing a game of kickball. We would have to tote beverages and BBQ. And of course, the ball. Brilliant. I'm in. If you believe that necessity is the the mother of invention, you are sorely mistaken. It's obviously beer.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Santa,

This year I would like:

(1) ea Victor® J-28 Torch Handle #0382-0127, (1) ea of either a Victor® 1-W-J Light Duty Welding Nozzle #0387-0041 (Clamshell) or #0325-0084 (Box), along with (1) ea Smith #14779-4-10 Kevlar Brazing Twin Hose (A & B Fitting).

I've been pretty damn good.

So I don't see a problem, but it's not my call. I really need this stuff, so if you could let me know one way or the other, that would be great. I have some projects in the hopper so I need to get this stuff ordered if you're not gonna come through for me.

But if there's any way you could swing it, then I could save that cash for other stuff . . . we're out of heating oil and we've had to burn newspapers to stay warm and grandma's medicine is sooo expensive and the holes in the soles of my shoes keep filling up with snow whenever I shovel Mrs. Olsen's sidewalk for her. Brrrr!

If you're kind of on the fence or maybe you've done some fact-checking and your and my idea of good are a ways apart, we could talk about some custom rack work for the sleigh, to sweeten the deal.

Anyway, safe travels and I'll leave a light on for you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Damn Bastards

I had to leave town for a while. When I bailed, it was cold, but not all crazy ridiculous. Your hands might get a little cold, but you could still get shit done.

And then I return to Spoberia. I don't know how to sugar-coat this, and besides, we've always been brutally honest with each other: I LEFT YOU GUYS IN CHARGE! How could you let this happen???

Just look at what I found on my workbench . . .

When I left it was a perfectly useful bottle of drinking water. And now, ummm, that's the liquid part on top and air on the bottom. In other words, it don't flo no mo'. It would make a bitchin' bowling pin.


I have bike stuff to do . . . how am I supposed to work in this environment?

The ceiling in the shop never exactly got finished, so I can't hold any heat in.

Doctor Phil would advise me to take responsibility for my own inaction and stop blaming you, but I'm not ready for this kind of personal growth.

I had to stop and pick up six sheets of OSB to plug the hole in my little sky. I froze my ass off in the parking lot and I froze it off again when I unloaded it at home.

I'm sending you the bill.