ted | driving | Sunday, December 17th, 2006


marriedtothesea.com direct link to the image in case it doesn’t show up correctly


ted | junk | Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

This is easily my second favorite Christmas song ever. EVER.

Of course, my favorite Christmas song, the one I used to play in a relatively nonstop fashion from the day after Thanksgiving until midnight on 25 December is the Barking Dogs’ “Jingle Bells”. No video for that, but if you don’t know it already there’s no saving you.

rule two of bicycle commuting

ted | bike | Monday, December 11th, 2006

Diagnose and repair any issues ASAP.

I had a slight creak from my bottom bracket. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just open it up and regrease the bearings one day. I’ve got the tools, grease & know-how. No big deal.

I finally got around to cleaning my bike of the asphalt tack coat I stupidly rode through. It was then I noticed I had at least 1/4″ of play on the right side of my bottom bracket. Rut roh. That ain’t good.

So I sat down on a white plastic bucket in my unheated garage, and with my cheapo tool kit and by the light of a CF bulb in a lightweight clamp-on fixture, I took the bottom bracket apart. First the pedals then the spindle dust caps then the retaining nuts then the crank puller then the bottom bracket bearing races and HOLY CRAP WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY BEARINGS, BUBBLES?

bearings gone bad

I know that picture sucks, but you get the idea. Notice the nice flat spot on the lower leftmost bearing and the one next to it. Oh and those metal chips. And how the ball retainer is more mangled than a 12 year old’s braces. These are the worst-looking bearings I’ve ever seen.

Fortunately the races were fine. Even more fortunate, the bottom bracket shell was set up for a standard 68mm wide sealed cartridge bottom bracket – I checked the length, diameter, spindle length and even the thread pitch, so off I went to my LBS and purchased a replacement. $24 for their finest generic sealed unit. Hopefully this will be a lot more durable, as it appears they used the absolute cheapest-assed bearings they had in China.

Finally got it all back together yesterday and it rode great on my way in today, except the part where I decided to ride partially through some slush (which was actually solid ice) and almost ate the curb. I guess that should be rule three: always ride around stuff. Fortunately a couple years of mountainbiking and motorcycling has taught me how to correct wobbles, at least somewhat.

But even if you’re riding through doggy doodoo and frozen vomit slush next to a bass blasting lowrider full of homies brandishing Tec-9s, keep an ear out for any new squeaks, creaks or clunks, and fix them as soon as possible, you lazy jerk.

Ever thus to deadbeats, Lebowski

ted | junk | Friday, December 8th, 2006

My rug was, in fact, micturated upon. By my cat. And my linoleum. And bed linens. And pillows. It’s unfortunate, but it really seems that Pervelous is going to need a different home. We’ve had him for 2 years and he’s never really fit in with our existing cats & dog. His litterbox manners have gotten progressively worse, too. As of this writing he is the sole occupant of the basement with his own – unshared, freshly cleaned and filled – litterbox. Yet he continues to, ah, soil my rug. This will not stand, man, this aggression will not stand.

I felt like a complete jackass thinking about giving him back to the shelter, but the cold fact of the matter is he has never used the catbox like he should. We went from having two cats share one box necessitating a cleaning once a week to three cats with four boxes and he still would pee on the Dude’s rug even if they were all cleaned once a day. It’s sad that he never really fit in with Rusty & Miebutte, but that’s a known problem when you bring one adult cat in with two existing adult cats. Selah.

It is awfully cold in my fair city for this time of the year, a chilly 5°F (-15°C) this morning. Starting last Thursday with the ice and the snow and the wind, a couple Alberta clippers sailed through. I can’t help but think this is payback for the lovely weather we had around turkey day, though.

There were seven of us what descended in Rogers Park on what was dubbed “Fakesgiving”, an excuse for friends to get together and gorge ourselves. At one point, all standing out on the beach at Scott Action & Leighanthrax’s place, ooohing and ahhhing as I delicately lowered a 16 pound turkey into three gallons of bubbling Canola oil.

Hell yeah, I fried a turkey for Fakesgiving. Best goddamn turkey I’ve ever had. Plus I’ve got a line on a guy who will turn my five gallons of once-used oil into biodiesel. Nice.

Saw 7000 Dying Rats the night after. Good show, as always. We didn’t stay to the end to find out if Spock or Bigfoot won, but I don’t think it matters too much.

But unfortunately it’s not all moist, tender turkey and experimental heavy metal in my life. I did come down with a case of food poisoning or E. Coli or stomach flu or something last weekend, because I spent Friday night thru Tuesday at noon mostly in the bathroom and a little time on the couch, moaning in discomfort. Lovely. Must’ve had something to do with that quick run out to Taco Hell in Jersey last Thursday night.

I was actually driving around that night in the sleet and I gotta say that the Golf is very well mannered in the snow and ice. Traction control and heated seats sure are nice. That efficient diesel engine doesn’t warm up too quickly, tho, but since I’ve blocked off part of the grill with foam pipe insulation, it does make a noticeable difference. I’ve got usable heat within 1.5 miles and straight up 190°F on the temp gauge in 4 miles of easy city driving, even this morning.

Still, it’s much nicer than my old car, which had a stuck-open thermostat. Some days it wouldn’t even move off the cold peg, even after I blocked off part of the radiator with a piece of cardboard. Most days it would get warmish in city driving but progressively get colder and colder in highway driving. It’s nice driving a car where everything works (knock on wood) with 40+ mpg to boot. Last tank was almost a record at 45.7 mpg. I’m hoping our upcoming road trip down Hotlanta way will give me some record tanks – it’s entirely possible to make it from my house to Charlie‘s in one tank of fuel.

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