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My Cycling Log

2007-01-03 18:25:11 741

That last post was a killer to write. Felt like doing something literary. Kinda. So now here is some potpourri.

Last night I went over to Steve's. He invited me for sloppy joes. Invite me for anything involving ground beef and I am so there (Emily hates ground meat, bad texture or something.) So I went over in the Camry (el bikeo was still brokeo) and his kids were so happy that I came over. I played a little GameCube with them. So then Princess Emily calls. "I'm hungry and the cafeteria is closed." So her and another nurse called the Grill and I had to leave Steve's to go pick the stuff up. Super Jim to save the day.

Had to ride the race bike to work today. The bad thing about it is the speedometer which makes me ride harder because I was racing myself.

Love my new office. We got our cubical walls today. They suck. I cannot see Steve anymore unless I stand up.

After work I ran six miles. That's right, six entire miles. Actually it is more than six miles, but due to rounding errors the gmap pedometer is a little short of the distance. The route is: run up Montgomery from the apt, turn toward campus, after McArthur turn toward the Sanderson, go down the hill, turn right on the new sidewalk towards the ERC, get to 182, touch the post, and turn around. That makes 3.something miles. To make 6.something miles overall at a pace of a bit slower than nine minute miles. I think I could have made a better time, but our great Presidente has decreed that the university must save energy at the cost of lights on pedestrian paths during the holidays. Note to Doc, the University is open now and the lights are still off. Thanks for the safety.

Drove to Columbus in the good ole Camry tonight to pick up some more wedding gifts from Belk. It cruises along without a problem doing 65 on 82. I don't like to push it more than that... Anyway I made it back with no problems.

Cut up a chicken tonight. Coated it with Walker's Wood jerk seasoning. Going to grill it tomorrow and cook some rice and peas.

2007-01-03 16:49:40 740

A Tale of Two Vehicles

My car. Somewhere near 17 years old now that it is 2007. Back in July 2005 the starter died in the lot behind McArthur. Russ had helped me install it, but it never worked quite right. I thought that the problem was in the signal wire to the solenoid in the starter. Anyway since then I have lived with my car only cranking 1/3 times, usually just getting to hear the solenoid click hard. By using a length of wire to ghetto jump from the battery to the signal cable, I could get the car to start. The week before Christmas, the Camry would not start even with the wire trick. I assumed bad starter of course. Took it to AutoZone, they tested it, it was under warranty, I got a new one for free. Installed it (getting a starter back into the hole is damned hard compared to getting it out) and ole Camry would not turn over. Jumped her off from the Accord and she cranked up. Turn on the headlights and the engine doesn't run so well. So now I am thinking that the alternator is shot so I try to remove it. Cannot figure out how to pull it out so I get pissed and put everything back together. A week later on New Year's Eve, I decide to pull the alternator out and I manage to brute force it out of its bracket. On New Year's Day I took it to AutoZone and it tested perfectly. Take the battery to be tested and it tests fine for load. Got back to the apartment and I went crazy with my multimeter. Turns out that there was some super resistance between the negative battery clamp and post. That is bad. The corrosion was a very light layer of haze so I missed it completely. Take the trusty Swiss Army knife to the post and the clamp to make everything silvery and pretty again. Put the clamp back on and Camry starts up just fine. But dies when I let it idle. Constantly. I know for a fact that there is no easy way to change the idle speed on a '90 Camry. I checked out my fixing book and got no ideas. Looking under the hood, I saw that the throttle cable goes right by the starter. I wiggled it around a bit and then got in for the test. Camry started up stronger than ever! So in the aftermath I feel dumb. 1.5 years with a bad starter and it took a corroded battery connection for me to figure it out.

My bike. My commuter bike that is. The sweet late '70's Raleigh frame tied to some other ancient hardware. The rear wheel has always been a bit out of true since I built it last July with its crazy twisty spoke pattern. I decided to try and true it up a bit more and managed to extend a spoke through the tube and blew it. That made me sad. And pissed. So I took apart the wheel and went for another spoke pattern, double twisting each spoke pair to reduce their length even more. It looked beautiful when I finished with it and I was able to get it decently true. The truth came out when I put it on the bike, double twisting spokes takes out all of the lateral strength. It was wonderful up and down, but put any sideways stress on the wheel (like taking a turn) and the wheel would bend into the frame. Not so good. So then I relaced it with a single twist W pattern. Looked pretty neat. Then I tried to true it. I learned that that pattern did not give exactly even tension around the wheel. I managed to pull the wheel so far out of true that it went more than an inch to each direction as you went around. Bad bad bad. I unlaced it completely. On a whim I laced it with my old Sapim Race Spokes (the ones from my racing wheel that I had laced to my old 7-speed hub) with a double cross pattern. Turns out there was too much slack. So I went back to the twisty method and twisted each spoke pair together. That was last night. So today the commuter bike was dead and I rode the race bike to work. It was fun going 33 down the Montgomery Street hill. Anyway I spent a little while tonight truing my newly laced wheel. I put it on the bike and trued it up some more. Went on a test ride through the parking lot fully expecting a load of creaking and popping. It was completely silent. I sprinted back and forth up and down the parking lot and there were no creaks. Yay for somewhat kinda flaky wheelbuilding! Well the real test will come tomorrow if it lives until I get to campus...

Two vehicles, a gas burning one and a carbohydrate burning one, broken during the Christmas break and fixed soon after. Hopefully this will not make me want to drive more now that my car doesn't suck as much.

2006-12-29 16:48:53 739

So I had some habaneros in the refrigerator that were getting a little old. I decided to try to make a dried version before they were too old. After removing the seeds from them, I put them in the toaster oven and in about 30 minutes they looked dry enough. Ran them through the food processor and made the hottest pepper dust ever. I used a brush to get it all out into an airtight container. Even though I took so much care in washing my hands every time I touched something hot, I still managed to get some in my eye. Ran my head under the faucet for a bit. Now my right thumb is on fire and it tastes spicy. Yay for spicy thumbs! Anyway I found a nice list of spicy recipes here including some jerked chicken and rice and peas that I haven't had since the honeymoon.

This is the first post to be made on my new server, Steve. Of course Steve is running Gentoo. I just got Apache, MySQL, and PHP5 up and going and figured out how to re import the dump of my database. Steve isn't even live on the Internets yet until I change some port forwarding on the router.

2006-12-25 15:11:21 738

Yesterday for Christmas Eve I cooked Steak au Poivre. It turned out pretty good even though I did not have any cognac to deglaze with. I used rum as a substitute and it made some awesome high flames. We had baked potatoes, crescent rolls, and steamed broccoli and carrots as sides.

Today I made stuffed Cornish hens. I didn't use the exact same stuffing as I did with the turkey last year. I put celery and parsley into it and it turned out great. We had butter beans and cornbread too. Everything got done just in time for Emily to eat and then leave me for work so that I could do dishes on Christmas Day.

2006-12-24 23:16:53 737

Moving to Etheredge from Lee has made my commute just a little longer every day. Now it is a whole 2.7 miles according to the gmap pedometer.

Emily and I drove to Birmingham with the intention on meeting her parents for lunch after they got back to the airport from their vacation. Their plane was going to be really late but we decided to make the trip anyway. We went to a few stores north of the Galleria looking for more kitchen stuff. Spent so long in the Galleria that Emily was shopped out and I was nearly dead. We headed to the Summit and found out that her parents were going to head straight to Starkville. Ate at P.F. Changs it was pretty good. Just like a Macaroni Grill but with Chinese food. After that we went to the Bruno's there that is the best grocery store ever and loaded up.

2006-12-22 21:40:58 736

Well I had several official tasks for tonight. The biggest was to stamp and seal the many thank you notes that sweet Emily had written. At least I had sealed the ones I had written so I just had to put stamps on them. Then I spend a good long while being really productive sharpening my axe and pocketknife.

2006-12-21 19:06:55 735

iTunes downloads for today:
1. That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! - Sufjan Stevans, free holiday song, a nice acoustic sounding mellow tune, almost Donovanesque
2. Stille Nacht - The King's Singers, free holiday song, Silent Night in German (I think), like vocal crossed with some sort of electronic mixing, maybe they just sing that way...
3. Other People's Lives - Modest Mouse, in cleaning up my home directory on bill, I came across a text file of good music that I had heard on radio wazee meaning to download later, this is one of those songs
4. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence - Pavement, another from the forgotten text file, this song rocks in an awesome 1994 way
5. Pandemonium - Killing Joke, also from the text file, a rocking song, almost sounds like some of Stabbing Westward

2006-12-19 22:09:35 734

I have found my newest favorite website which has a post, The -693926 Days of Christmas that has made me laugh out loud. All by myself.

2006-12-19 20:54:51 733

Stupid Starkville electric and their crappy electrical service. Apparently blinked good enough this weekend to kill the clocks and poor ole Bill.

David got married to Deborah on Sunday. Emily and I got up and on the road around 11:00 Saturday morning. Took the Winona/Memphis/Little Rock route thinking it would be fast. Had some problems in Memphis making the westward turn because a cop was kinda blocking the off ramp and they had orange cones everywhere. Had to loop around and go at it for a second time. I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock is the busiest stretch of interstate that I have had the pleasure of driving on. We had the bright idea of going to the mall in Little Rock not thinking that it was the last real Saturday before Christmas. The traffic there was fun too. Got back on the road and made it to the Hampton Inn in Caddo where my parents were staying; the same hotel that Cory, Sarah, and I had stayed at for the Degray tri last August. Went to Cracker Barrel with my parents, the couple to be married, and some of Deb's family. Afterward several of us went back to David and Deb's apartment. They have gotten the best little Shitzu ever. I don't even like dogs that much but I wanted to kidnap that one. After a while Emily and I went back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep.

On Sunday morning Emily and I went down for breakfast; me in suit pants and a dress shirt and her in pink pajamas. Mom was down there and we ate with her. She told us a funny story that David had been trying to open a box of raisin bran earlier in the morning and managed to rip it that it exploded across most of the dining area. So of course Emily and I wanted to throw raisin bran at the newlywed couple. David met me pretty soon after and him and I headed to the gardens in the Accord. The place was really nice. Nice and natural. Had the neatest Arkansas stone sidewalks that were nearly perfectly level and smooth. Anyway the hardest thing I had to do was set up a projector and screen to show the kids' photos during the reception. Was tough because the projector was way too big for the screen. Anyway the ceremony went very well with one little omission but it was not really noticed by anyone but the maid of honor and me. I think this is the first ceremony that I have ever attended with a woman officiating. The reception was neat too. David's groom's cake was so good. Almost as good as mine. They had a bottle of champagne and the opening duties were assigned to me. Some bright soul had put the bottle into the freezer since before the ceremony. I opened it without much of a pop, but then the ice dam broke and a frozen slurry slammed up into me and to the ceiling. Good times. Well Emily and I left and both of us were starving and she really wanted a steak. I got back to the interstate in Benton and saw a place called Colton's off of the road. It was one of the best restaurant experiences we have ever had; we were starving so the food tasted better than it might have been, but the service was excellent also. We continued back toward home and made pretty good time. Saw lots of deer on 55 and 82 though and that was scary. We went to my least favorite store once we got back in Starkville and picked up a nice on sale fake Christmas tree. Finally made it home around 10:00 PM and got some much needed sleep.

2006-12-15 20:57:02 732

Obama? Wow that sounds like Osama! And he dresses like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Crazy crazy!

Go go stock market! My IRA is up more than 2% in the past 30 days. I am mostly invested in the S&P 500 and a mid-cap index fund so if the market tanks I am screwed. Stupid businesses giving there CEO's $40M bonuses keeps that keep good ole wealth concentration keeping on. Something has got to give, and when it does things are going to get really really bad. IRA is going to go to poop. Maybe I should buy me some gold.

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