Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Maybe I'm a lost cause"

Ok, first, the title.

This is from a song by Beck...

I'm plenty depressed, I'm sure, but not that much.

I do, however, identify with the phrase a bit.  Let me explain.

I know I'm getting older. Of course I do. But I'd like to think I can at least keep track of the world around me.  Be aware of choosing to be behind.

But this last week, so many things have struck me as just... unfamiliar.  And to a degree that I just shook my head and thought, I should just stop trying to keep up with the world.

I could never catalog these moments, but here's just a couple that stick in my mind.

I went to the bike shop twice this week to get a fork fixed, as I described in an earlier post.  Of course I browsed around. That's half the fun.  But I barely recognized what I saw.  Maybe I've only been hanging out with racers and watching XC races, but all the bikes looked enormous.  I hate to use the old threadbare phrase, but "where's the motor?" Part of this is the emergence of 29" wheels.  Of course, that makes the bike bigger.  Also, suspension forks have grown longer and longer.  Whereas I've been paring down and paring down a la St. Exupery, the rest of the world's been getting 4" forks, then 5", now 6".  And that's not so shocking... I've hung around bikes with 10" of travel before.  The point I'm trying to make is that the activity I love I hardly recognize.  Who rides these things?  Where?  No wonder it feels like trails are getting impossible to ride for me.  It's not that I stink (which may be true) but that those building trails are making them to challenge these Uber-bikes. Now consider taking a bike with a rigid fork and no rear suspension, along with flat pedals, on those trails.  Knife at a gunfight.  That's not a complaint.  I know this is happening.

Maybe this is parenting? You put your head down for ten years, and I guess life will keep moving forward.

t's far from being just about bicycles, though.  It's about the grocery store just as much.  How did we ever live with only one kind of everything.  We still had limitless choice, but it seems to me that everything has now multiplied out of control---why IS that?

Why are there at least 5 different kinds of Oreos? Why does everything do this these days?  Have you been down the chip aisle lately?  Tostitos alone has tightly rolled chips, regular tortilla chips, scoops, rounds...

and why?

What has changed that created a need for Frito's scoops? No one asked for the Tostitos version, and now you think we want another scoop option? 

See what I mean?  It's beyond my understanding.  Is it important?  Of course not.  Unless you want to think you understand how the world works.

Closer to home, I work on selling Bibles, among many other things.  Let's forget about translations for a moment- sidestep that discussion.  We sell 2232 different KJV Bibles. Perhaps we need to stop worrying so much about getting a bible just right for us and start working on obeying it? We sell a horse lover's Bible.  A stock car racing Bible.

It's as if life has splintered.  Maybe the internet did it.  There doesn't need to be any common consensus now because anyone can find a group to belong to.  That's good, right?  But it does mean that you don't have to "eat regular chips".  Why bend a little to hang out with your neighbor when people just like you are only a few clicks away? And these days, they can be posting live video of themselves, so it really is almost like they're in the room with you almost as much as that neighbor who, let's face it, can be kind of annoying and you can't log off the moment you're finished listening.

What do you think?

The wrong hat

Once upon a time, in a land about three miles from here, I tried to tinker around with my bike for no reason I can explain except to say that I resent the fact that disc brakes and external bottom brackets and 29" wheels and $1,000. suspension forks and all of it is forced upon us. I wanted to give disks the big f-you.  So I tried putting cantis on the back. That went OK, so I tried putting them on the front..What happened was that my dang ham-fisted self put them together wrong, yanked on the brakes during the test ride, they broke all right, sprung back, into the spokes, snapped one of those, and more importantly broke the part of my forks that the brakes attach to.  Quelle irony, no?

Which brings me to Kona P2.  Did you know they have two different forks called the project two?  I didn't. 

 So when a guy on a NEMBA ride down in Middlesex Fells asked if I'd be interested in his P2 fork, I jumped at the chance.  That's foreshadowing.  See, I arranged to meet him and got my family to come along and met him and hey these didn't look like what I'd expected and I should've just said sorry no thanks, but I bought them anyway. To me, mounting this to my bike felt like wearing one of those flat-brimmed trucker caps.  It just didn't  fit.  It worked, sure. It's a rigid
fork, how  could it not?

but I wished for my original Surly fork. I didn't throw it away because... I don't know why.  

Let's get to the point, I decided to see if I could get this fork repaired. I emailed a local frame builder named Peter Mooney, and he replied right away- "oh, yeah, easy fix, we do it all the time".

I thought a new post would have to be welded on, but it wasn't even that involved.  Apparently QBP (the parent co. of Surly, incidentally) even makes kits for this problem.  So after two long drives and 25 bucks (a new fork just like the old one costs $90, and no longer comes in white), I had Ralston, my brand new old fork. (it has a new hand now) It didn't even take 127 hours!

So now I have the fork the bike was designed for, and after the expected tinkering to get it back on (I'm obsessive about adjustment and not really a very good mechanic) it passed the test ride with flying colors. And I've changed back to a hat that fits.

Now, if you'll all proceed to the post entitled "...Lost Cause", I will proceed to offer some observations on what these trips to the bike shop taught me.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Random latest picture s and some news

I'll be writing for a new website called Bindu. I'm on my phone right now, so I won't do all the linking, but keep an eye out for that.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind...

Just so I can see if it's working, could anyone who reads this click on the Google AdSense ad over there to the right?  Normally I won't harangue you in this way, and if you feel like clicking, or don't, it's up to you, but I'd really love it if I could know that it actually could potentially get me... pennies. 


I know I don't need to tell you, but it does seem that the world works on money, and requires it.  Thus, if this little blog could earn... anything at all, I would be more motivated to update it.  Do you like it when I update it?  Anyone other than my parents?

Then click. 

We're not talking about getting rich---I'm talking about a quarter a day would make me ecstatic.

Also, while we're talking all businessy, I have some new writing news coming your way soon.

Do you like to travel?

And one final plug, you really should check out my friend Matt Forster's books if you live in (or visit) Colorado, Michigan, or Ohio.  He still hasn't acknowledged me in ANY of them, but just the same, it's worth your time.  He's available at barnes and noble and everything!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

baby bird, tuck's a comin'--- and he's comin' on strong...

Was sitting on the porch tonight reading a book, when I saw what I thought was a frog.

In fact, it was a fledgling robin.  Picked him up to show Lucy- who looked it up and no, their parents will not abandon them if you touch them- and boy was he mad.  Fortunately for me, he was a baby bird and as such, could not really express his anger in any meaningful way.

we tried putting him in the small tree out front to keep him up and away from cats.  He jumped out and hopped toward the road. 
I'm not a bird. Try again!

So that was out.

In the end, he went down into the swamp (wetland?) behind the house.  Can't imagine that was a good choice, but I think we'd already messed with nature enough.  Also, poison ivy.

Pictures later.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


trying to be as... Geisha... as I can.
too cool for the rest of us
or maybe not