Saturday, October 31, 2009

WARNING: Low Content

Yes, this post contains little or no content. Actually, I'm just writing to let you, the reader, in on a couple of the new entertaining features I put on the page. Well, it's really just one feature: the mileage counter. And I guess it's not really that entertaining.
Now, you at home can follow and track the amount of road time I get everyday. Checking in once a day to see how many miles I've ridden will be the highlight of your day. I promise. I tell you, it just doesn't get any better than this.
I had hoped to get in five thousand miles this year, but I don't think it's going to happen. My one month off the bike wiped out any chance at that. Now, I will have to step it up to even hit four thousand.
For those of my reader(s) who do not cycle and think four thousand miles is a respectable distance, I can tell you that it is not. Not considering I had logged thirty five hundred miles last year in six months. Well, maybe it is, taking the fact that I was unemployed for the first half of the year.
Getting back on the bike has been a bit difficult. Don't get me wrong, I still have fun. Once I actually get going. It's just a bit of a let down seeing as how my performance is underwhelming at best. Now, I am determined to do intervals at least twice a week until I get back to speed. Not heavy duty spin until you puke intervals; just some speed work that I wouldn't have normally been doing.
Oh, and I fell again today. I am embarrassed to talk about it since it was a no speed crash. My legs were cooked and I was trying to scale a mound of dirt and my legs just stopped pedaling. Thankfully, there were no witnesses so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Which brings me to a new link I've added: Art:21 (you can't pay for excellent segues like that!)
For those of you who are into art but not into PBS, it's a series they are doing that involves the changing face of art. Each season they interview contemporary artists to give the viewer a feel for how art is changing and where it's going. Give it a look, you may find something you like.
Which may be a difficult proposition when investigating new blogs. Finding something you like I mean.
I used to use the next blog function at the top of the page to check out what other people were writing and blogging about. Unfortunately, I found out about spam.
So now I use this page. It's basically a link to all updated blogs listed by time. From this list, you can actually see the spam blogs; if you like, you can report them here. Don't know if it will help, but it feels kinda good to know you are doing something.
Anyways, trying to find an interesting blog is like trying to find buried pirate treasure. You know it's out there, you just don't know where and there's no map. What makes it difficult is that everyone in Indonesia seems to update their blogs during the time I have to search.
Poetry has to be the number one blog topic. That would be great if I was into poetry, but I'm not. Which reminds me, I got some haiku I have to post up. Maybe tomorrow.
Anyways, poetry seems to dominate the bloggersphere. Next seems to be happy in love teenage girls, followed by teenage girls in angst, followed by teenage girls who are lonely, confused and don't know what to feel.
I should appreciate this for I was once a teenage girl. Okay, not really, but I used to listen to a lot of England Dan and John Ford Coley.
There are also a lot of women that craft. Also women that cook. And women with kids. And pets. Also happy in love women, women in angst, followed by lonely, confused women who don't know what to feel.
Okay, okay, I jest. Sort of. Kind of.
Check out the list.
You'll get my drift.
To be fair, most of the males that have blogs seem to be poets too. Or songwriters. Or into anime. Or filled with angst. Or just lonely.
What I don't find too often are blogs that are enormously entertaining, filled with amusing up to date content, fantastically interesting photos, mind expanding educational material, awe inspiring anecdotal features, and are exceptionally well written. And are about cycling.
Hey! Aren't you glad you found The Flat Tire!

Friday, October 30, 2009


The Flat Tire Staff

KAILUA- In a startling series of events, absolutely nothing happened today. At a time of day when usually things are happening, there wasn't anything.
Ralph Wong of Oneawa Street could not believe what he was seeing. "There's always something going on around here. Usually around eight o'clock things are happening. Except today. I woke up, looked outside and thought something was wrong. Up and down the road, there wasn't anything, it was just nothing."

The Flat Tire Staff went out and searched to find something. In places normally bustling with people and activity, we found nothing and more nothing. The emptiness and nothing discovered left staffers speechless.

Area residents were bewildered and could not explain the phenomena. "At this time of day I can hear some yelling and laughing and stuff. And all day long, bells are ringing and like that," said Shirley Wright of Kaha Street. "But today, never have nothing. I thought it was like Sunday or something."

A state spokesperson was unable to explain the sudden appearance of nothing. A senior official, who requested anonymity replied: "First of all, there is no such thing as the appearance of nothing. Nothing appearing is impossible. Second, how can we be sure it's nothing, if there's nothing there?"
He was then asked if the state had an emergency contingency plan in place for the not anything. "Look, this is a totally unexpected development. We've never had to deal with nothingness before. I'm afraid to say we were caught unprepared."
When asked how government planned to respond to the crisis he replied that they could do "absolutely nothing."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Six Months and Counting

Woo Hoo!
It's the six month anniversary for The Flat Tire!
Six whole months of bringing you, the reader, a sketch of life in one point perspective.
Okay, not really today; I sort of missed it by a few posts, but as you can see I've been busy evading the law and staring up into a not quite as empty as you think night sky.
I have to admit, this blogging thing is not quite what I expected. Then again, I didn't quite know exactly what to expect.
In the beginning(cue up theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, wait for it), I thought I'd just throw some things out into blogger land and see what stuck. At first it was sort of strange writing things, not knowing whether or not anyone was reading. It was like talking to yourself, but with typing.
Actually, I'm still not sure if anyone is reading and not just looking at the pictures which is what I do when I surf blogger land.
Google Analytics doesn't help for it is evil and I'm sure it's lying to me.
Cycling seemed like a good topic, for I was about a year into it and still undergoing the trials and tribulations many have when taking up something new. I thought my misguided efforts would be interesting to write/talk about.
Well, after a few months of having these pages stare back at me, I hit upon a novel idea: photos!
Including pictures in my posts would revolutionize the blogging industry! My visitor count would soar and commercial interests would be knocking down my email trying to buy advertising space.
Why didn't anyone think of this before?
Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that some other unscrupulous bloggers had stolen my idea! They had pictures in their blogs too!
Okay, not really. There was no horror or shock but I did realize that posting up some pics might make my entries more entertaining.
So I went out and bought a camera:

As you can see I spared no expense in obtaining the finest instrument available to cheapskates like me. Actually, this was a large step for I already had a camera.
Just for fun, I took a picture of the camera that I used to take the picture of the camera with:

I have to say, the equipment that goes into the production of this blog is unrivaled, unparalleled even, in blogger land.
Actually it was desperate attempt to get that visitor counter moving. I think it's lying to me.
So I hope we can continue this one sided conversation for at least another six months. I can tell by imagining what you all are posting in the comments section that you, the reader, appreciate my adding even more boring content to your otherwise exciting day.
Anyways, I'd like to thank you, the reader, all seven of you, for taking the time out of your busy day to check out the insignificant rantings of a beautiful mind(mine).
Without you, the reader, The Flat Tire would be, well, just a flat tire, deflated and useless.
Actually, they put old tires on the sides of piers so boats don't get all banged up so I suppose flat tires are not all that useless.
The Flat Tire staff is dedicated to bringing you, the reader, only the best in quality entertainment. Hopefully The Flat Tire can continue to grow with you, the reader, and attain the mega status it so richly deserves.
So to you, the reader, chapeau!
And to The Flat Tire, may your visitor hits continue to grow!
But who's counting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Law & Ordered

No, not this Law & Order:

Though I did end up watching it when I got home. It allowed me to get that screen shot.
I'm talking about this kind of law and order:

Yep, Honolulu's finest got me coming home. He was sitting there on the top of the rise as you enter Nuuanu. With the forced off days and short paychecks coming around, this was something I didn't need:

My emotions run the gamut when getting ticketed: anger, guilt, apprehension, hopefulness, resignation, anger again, self pity, attempted validation, guilt again, reflection, sudden self righteousness, reflection again then finally realisation.
This is going to hurt my eBay exploits for at least a month.
I had to feel bad for the officer though. It must have been insanely hot standing out there in the middle of the afternoon wearing a dark uniform watching traffic go by. Oh well, that's another fine mess I've gotten myself into. Get it? Fine? Nevermind.
So I was walking The Dog tonight and noticed that Jupiter was pretty close to the Moon. I don't know what possessed me, but I had to take a picture of it.
Well, seeing as how my camera is evil and all, it took me a while to figure it out and I'm sure I still haven't. Figured it out I mean.
Conjunctions between heavenly bodies are sort of rare and in this case Jupiter is not that close to the Moon, but close enough:

It's kinda hard to see Jupiter in that photo so I labeled it for you. I also labeled the other stuff in the picture:

In another life I was kinda into astronomy; bought me a 'scope and all. There's all kind of interesting stuff out there if you just look close enough.
Which is what I should have been doing as I was coming home today.
Jennifer Connelly.
I'm doing it again(see below).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jennifer Connelly, etc.

I've been thinking a lot about Jennifer Connelly lately.
I don't know why.
I checked the news before I left my house and was surprised to see a flash flood warning posted.
Here's the Honolulu Advertiser's weather page:

And here is what it was like when I looked out over my lanai:

So, it was late in the afternoon when I finally decided to get off the couch and get on the road. The first five miles I did didn't feel so good, but the last seven was decent. I even managed to get the Beach Bike up over twenty miles per hour without falling over dead.
Saw Mother Goose and friends:

Apparently segregation goes on the animal kingdom too for the ducks were keeping to themselves:

Birds of a feather, I guess(I had written something else here, but decided to use my better judgement and edit it out. I know, I know, what a chicken. Get it? chicken? birds? nevermind).
Kailua Beach Park is almost done. The paving looks like its finished; they still have to put in the lines.
I guess I don't notice it, or maybe it's the fact that I was going past it every day, but the beach is getting pretty bad:

It wasn't like this a year ago. I hope the state doesn't get involved; the water will be in the parking lot before anything gets done. Call the Army Corps of Engineers. They did a good job on the levee.
Is it beginning to sound like I'm losing faith in the way our state operates?
Mais non(but no)! I'm a state worker, don't you know.
Hey, that rhymed! Why is it I always have great difficulty spelling the word rhyme?
Anyways, I thought I'd let my readers know that this site is now monitored by Google Analytics. It basically helps me track how many people come and go; the counter on the right only tracks unique users, so I had no idea if anyone was actually coming back. It is actually more evil than eBay, for I keep checking to see how many of you folks are stopping by.
I'm pleased that people are adventurous enough to keep checking back. Either that or a lot of you got more time on your hands than I do.
Speaking of time on my hands, if you have time, please check out the Grey link on the right. It was something I did in another life, back when I had inspiration and, well, a lot of beer.
I guess the reason I decided to put Grey up on a blog was that there was no freakin way I was going to re-type two hundred and ninety plus pages without a good reason. And I thought what the hell. I tried to write it the style of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett while keeping the setting local.
Anyway, submitted for your approval and/or criticism, Grey.
Okay, time for me to check Google Analytics again, especially now that Law & Order is on. Gotta love Law & Order Sundays. I swear, Law & Order is gaining evil status for no matter how many times I've seen an episode, I must watch it again.
Anyone know when Breaking Bad is coming back? I've been thinking about the last episode where the stuffed animal is in the swimming pool.
I've been thinking about that.
And Jennifer Connelly.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Bottom Line

Okay, not really.
After digesting the numerous issues that surround the furlough days, I have to admit that I am a bit confused.
Folks have been blaming the Governor, the legislators, the unions, the teachers and even the parents themselves. The debate is on over collective bargaining, pay raises, taxes, the hurricane fund, stimulus money, Republicans, Democrats, teachers, students, parents
Part of me wants to join this debate(pick one), the other part of me just wants to do the job.
The best comments come from those who choose not to read too deep into the problem and seem to blame whomever is convenient. These are the ones that see what they want to see then blame or place responsibility on others to suit real or imaginary agendas. This type of comment of course, is the most amusing.
There is nothing amusing though, about what is happening. I believe the risks to students are real and not imaginary. Although the furlough days are spread out, it is wise to remember that the days off equate to approximately a month of instruction.
What can you learn in one month?
In one month, I could probably teach someone to drive a car, a lifelong skill. Just an example.
I was wondering why the students are being deprived of an education.
I was wondering why teachers are not considered essential workers such as police and firemen.
And I was wondering what I, as an adult, would be willing to give up so that the students could have their instructional days.
I know that I am getting sick of all the talk.
I know that something should have been done. Yesterday.
And I know(or have a pretty good feeling) that nothing will be done.
I hope I'm wrong.
Would I mind an increase in the General Excise Tax? Not if the increase went directly to education.
Would I mind if the state raised the tax on gas? Not if the increase went to education.
Would I take a cut in pay(which I already am)? As long as it kept the kids in school.
Which brings me to the question: if I am taking a pay cut, why are the kids still losing days?
Okay, I kinda sorta know the answer to that one, but it still doesn't make sense for both educators and students to lose, does it?
Now I am not going as far as to declare our education system evil, but I'm considering it.
Things are really (place your/my favorite expletive here)ed-up.
I have to say that I knew what I was buying into as far as working for the state, a union and dealing with all the bureaucracy, but I am not buying into this.
I don't care whose fault it is.
I just want someone to fix it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thank You Gov'nor!

Okay, not really, but I did have today off thanks to the Governor.
Since Law & Order wasn't on I decided to take the Beach Bike out for a cruise. My thought was to make a run to the store just to test out the legs and the rest of me.
I ended up going a little further that I had planned.
Hoku said that it's probably not a good idea for me to be out riding at midday, but never the less at the stroke of twelve, off I went.
Maybe I shouldn't use the word stroke.
Moi, the moron, forgot my water bottle at home so I had to stop off buy some. You'd think that I had learned something from my adventure on Sunday, but apparently not.
I found out on Sunday that they are fixing up the parking lot at Kailua beach:

I guess it was time for nature was slowly taking it back. Today they were topping it off:

I wonder what happened to this dude's slippers:

Looks like they were buried there since the last time they paved the place. Perhaps they are back under the tarmac again.
I rode on over to Aikahi Shopping Center and took a break there. I tried to imagine what I looked like lying on the ground in front of Tamura's with the EMT's working on me. Must have been quite a sight.
Taking three weeks off hurt me. I'm thinking it'll take a couple of weeks to get my legs back. I was apprehensive about pushing myself hard; the memories still linger.
Tomorrow, I'll take out my other bike and go slow down.
I hadn't been on the levee in a while so I decided to do the out and back:

The levee extends out toward Mokapu for about a mile and a quarter. It borders Kawainui Marsh on one side to help protect the area from flooding:

There are little ponds that line the levee that flow out to the canal. I once saw a turtle here:

What it was doing there, I haven't a clue.
At the end of the levee is where all the ducks hang out. It was a hot day and even they were chilling out in the shade:

The Beach Bike is great. The basket rattles a bit and affects the handling some, but over all a comfortable ride:

It was strange riding around today, a day when I am usually in a classroom. Seeing all the closed schools and kids out and about was a bit disheartening.
Some of the students I know are already behind the other kids; these days off can't be good for them. I believe the above average students will find a way to keep progressing, the tweeners are the ones these furlough days are going to affect. Last time I checked, about a third of the students in one of the classes I work in were averaging Ds or below. While this is not common, it illustrates what could happen as lessons get condensed and less time is available for instruction.
I suppose until the state figures out what to do, the students will keep suffering and I'll just keep riding around.
Thank you Gov'nor!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Great book by Michael Crichton and pretty good movie with Demi Moore and Michael Douglass.
No, this is not about any kind of harassment.
Having a couple of days to digest the events of Aikahi 911!, I'm afraid I did not truly depict the events of the day. In trying to inject some humor into my experience, I'm afraid I've come across as flippant or worse, cavalier.
Such is not the case.
I live with end stage renal failure; my kidney function is less than thirty percent. For that, I spend three times a week hooked up to a dialysis machine for three and a half hours at a time. Dehydration and low blood pressure, unfortunately for me is sometimes a fact of life.
I've wrestled with talking openly about this for I imagined that it did not affect me as negatively as some might think.
In fact, for the most part, it has changed my life for the better.
The events of Sunday though, made me realize that it does have it's dark side.
Hydration is a cat and mouse game renal patients endure. Too much fluid is bad(high blood pressure), too little is bad too, as my experience relates.
The too much part is what makes renal patients different. The EMTs could not just flood me with saline, for it would have been dangerous. Fluid retention is a problem kidney patients must be wary of. I am, by doctor's recommendation, supposed to limit myself to one litre of fluid of day.
The dialysis machine removes excess fluid from my body via blood for my kidneys have stopped removing it for me. On occasion, the machines take out too much hence my familiarity with dehydration and low blood pressure. The great folks at the clinic though, monitor my condition constantly and are quick to deliver a jolt of saline should I ever need it.
You can imagine my consternation when after asking (very nicely I might add) the EMTs and ER doctor to please increase my saline drip I was told they could not.
And I was aware of their reasons.
Perhaps because dehydration makes me a little loopy and a little out of touch with reality, I found myself amused by the irony of the situation.
Here I was, getting the treatment I needed, I was just not getting it fast enough.
I don't believe I was in any real danger, but upon further reflection it could not have been very amusing to my man Hoku.
When thinking about it from his point of view, seeing me pass out and having EMTs work on me could not have been a very pleasant experience.
Then again, writing about things from my point of view is what this is all about.
I'm sure Hoku and I will reminisce about this and I'm sure he will make sure I am properly hydrated on our next ride.
I am a believer in the adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I hope you understand if I approach my Sunday adventure as a mild inconvenience, a flat tire if you will, and continue on with my journey.
I hope to keep it interesting.

And in keeping with my disclosure theme, I write this two hours removed from the dialysis machine where I came off eight pounds lighter (four litres of fluid removed) than when I went on. Am I feeling a little loopy?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Aikahi 911!

The birds were chirping and the sun was shining; what a perfect day for a ride!
Back in the saddle after nurturing the flu for three weeks, it started off as a fine day.

Crews had begun repaving this stretch of path three weeks ago and now they were finished. What a great day!
Well, actually not so great.
After my six mile warm up loop on this fine, smooth, glass like surface, I suffered a bit of dehydration induced low blood pressure syndrome (DILBPS) at my first stop.
Not a problem, I thought. I filled up on some fluids, rested a bit and went on my merry way.
The weather was a bit hot, but not too hot for these eight year olds:

This team from Waimanalo was preparing for battle.
So were the tourists. The rally point was Kailua Beach and they were invading in numbers:

I was half way around Lanikai when the Evil one rings me up.
Let's go for a ride, I say. I meet up with Evil Hoku and off we go!
We head out toward Aikahi on the wonderful velvet like surface that is now Kainalu Ave. We turn left on Kainui, and Hark! What is that novelty that appears up ahead?
The graciuos officers of HPD have put out a speed indicator.
Sprint! I say.
Evil Hoku takes off on his Allez; I give him a head start and follow.
He clocks in at twenty-nine miles per hour while my cobweb laden legs can only muster twenty seven.
We head off on Mokapu toward Aikahi Shopping Center.
Tamura's, I beg, I need a break.
Here is where it got interesting.
DILBPS reared it's ugly head. Again. Only this time, I did not recover.
Well, not right away.
I asked Evil Hoku to take pictures, but I'm afraid he was too worried about my well being to remember.
Long story short (LSS), I succumbed to the evilness on the bench in front of Tamura's and Evil Hoku had to call the ambulance. I had to keep reminding him that he was the photographer and I was the passer outer. Sorry, no ambulance pics.
I had never passed out before and I don't think Evil Hoku ever had anyone go unconscious on him before and, to paraphrase his words: start to twitch and/or convulse.
I, of course, do not remember a thing.
The kind ambulance crew, that came sirens a wailing from the fire station that's located literally next door to the shopping center, deposited my sorry ass in the emergency room as I was in dire straits.
Here is what the emergency room looked like to me:

Stuff sticking out of me

vital signs

The view from where I lay

What it looked like when I tried to raise my head

By the way, as they were wheeling me into the ER, I was coherent enough to beg them not to cut off my cycling shoes and luckily my jersy was of the full zip type.
LSS, I ended up taking a litre of saline intravenously and am fully recovered.
Evil Hoku carried his bike while riding mine to his home and met me at the ER. Stayed with me all the way.
This may earn him a reprieve from the Evil List, but only a temporary one.
I'll have to think about it.
All in all, I put in a pretty good sixteen miles today, not including the ambulance ride and the ride the maybe former Evil Hoku (MFEH) gave me from his home to mine.
So, how did your Sunday go?

I forgot to add that my RoadID (9/23/09) did come in handy though I am ordering another for I neglected to add my birthdate to it and everyone kept asking for it. I guess that's how they track you down when they send you the bill.

Just remembered that this is not the first time this has happened to me while out on a ride with Hoku (8/5/09). I may have to rethink this "Evil" thing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kailua Becomes a Target

Big box retailer Target has announced plans to open a Kailua store.
Read about it here.
The site Target has chosen is presently occupied by Don Quixote, formerly Daiei, formerly Holiday Mart(FDFHD). The building is also home to several small businesses and eateries. Although the tenants have changed over the years, the building remains as it has been for as long as I can remember.
Once upon a time, when I resided on the other side of the island, I remember taking the special journey over the Pali to A&W Drive-In to partake in root beer float goodness.
Presently, I do most of my shopping at Don Quixote's(FDFHM); Safeway, which is right next door, serves only to fulfill my blueberry muffin/cheese roll fixes.
Kailua has become a hotbed of controversy recently with the topic of the many bed and breakfasts' the main issue.
Hotbed? Get it? Okay, never mind.
The other issue has been the overall face lift the town is going through.
Yes, time has caught up with Kailua.
Buildings have been undergoing renovations and a couple of new commercial centers have popped up. A cleaner, brighter, more modern look is the common denominator. This has been done, for the most part, to cater to the influx of tourists Kailua has seen recently. Hence the bed and breakfast controversy.
A large stretch of bike lane was repaved recently and for that I am grateful.
I can't really blame the tourists though, Kailua and Lanikai beaches probably rank among the best on the island. If I was visiting here, I'd want to go there.
For the most part though, it has been a change for the positive.
For the most part.
What I like about Kailua, and I've seen this sentiment expressed about other parts of Hawaii, is the small town feel. And the fact that it hasn't really changed much in the last thirty years.
Though time marches on, Kailua has managed to maintain a good ratio of old and new. While new buildings have been built, architects have been able to preserve the character and feeling of old Kailua. The new spaces are occupied by mostly sole proprietor businesses largely keeping signs of large franchises where they belong: in town.
Progress and commerce slowly continue to infiltrate the neighborhood.
We have the fast food places (although for some reason, Burger King is no longer in Kailua proper but nestled in Aikahi), Macy's and Longs, we even got a Pier One and Starbucks(who let them in?). Yet these franchises have managed to keep a low profile and blend in.
Kailua remains a small town.
Why don't we just pour concrete over the marsh and put a large X on it.
Perhaps Walmart will notice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cut Backs

Well, it seems that the union I work for has settled with the state.
To simplify a complicated story:
State has no money, projects budget shortfall, needs to cut back, threatens government workers with lay-offs.
Unions counter, willing to take days off (furlough days) in lieu of lay-offs.
Much posturing by unions and Governor. Education to take largest hit.
More posturing.
Teachers settle first, taking 17 days off this year. Parents of students not pleased.
"My" union tentatively settles, basically matching what teachers give up.
What we "give up" is an eight per cent pay cut.
Unfortunately, the students lose and I work a four day week until the end of this school semester.
Fortunately, I still have a job and riding my bike is free.
Now, I have been trying to stimulate the economy by purchasing non-essential/consumable goods.
As it is, the work of one cannot save the work of many.
So, in keeping with the spirit of furlough days and cutting back, The Flat Tire has decided to downsize it's staff of one, to one half.
As of today, only one half of the staff of one will work on writing and posting stories. Because of this staffing cut back, news and interesting stories will be posted one day late. Photos will accompany stories, but will be filed in black and white with color to be added later. Postings may be in two parts, since only half the post can be written at a time; the second half will just have to wait.
Spell check will be used on only half the postings and any links provided will not be checked for authenticity. Until further notice, numbers will not be included in text for the top of the keyboard is not accessible for use.
Flat Tire shirts will only be available as tank tops.
Despite the downsizing, The Flat Tire is dedicated to delivering it's readers the highest quality entertainment it can provide.
Under the circumstances don't you know.
Now, I just have to figure out how to cut back on eBay.

Friday, October 9, 2009


The Flat Tire Staff

KAILUA- Residents here were awakened early this morning by what many described as a loud "exclamation." John Smith of Kainalu Avenue was shaken out of his bed at approximately 1:34 AM by a rumble that disturbed much of the island.
"The dogs started barking and everything," said Smith. "It sounded like a sound I once made when I dropped a brick on my foot." Asked if he could determine the source of the massive groan, Smith said he thought it "came from the heavens."
Cathy Jones of Kuulei Road was outside on her lanai and managed to get a picture of where she thought the sound came from. "I was outside you know, having a cold beverage, you know it was hot last night, you know, and I hear this sound and I look up and I couldn't believe my eyes." Jones said she immediately picked up her camera and took a picture.
When given the photograph to examine, scientists at the NOAA declined to comment on whether or not the early morning "gasp" had anything to do with NASA's mission to crash a probe into the surface of the moon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You Are What You Eat

If this were true, I'd look like a blueberry muffin.

As I get older, my dining habits have gotten better. I try to eat fresh fruits and I don't eat a lot of red meat. For some odd reason, I cannot eat whole grains, which suits me fine for whole grain bread tastes like a combination of sawdust and cardboard.
I seem to have taken a liking to chicken. It's strange for I don't seem to remember being particularly enamored to chicken no matter how it was prepared, but presently I eat it all the time.
Don't get me wrong, I don't eat chicken all the time.
I still like my Burger King Whoppers with cheese, Teddy's Bigger Teri-Burgers, Italian food and Libby's manapuas and pork hash(dim sum for you non-local folk).
The thing is that although I may stray to the places above perhaps once or twice a month, they are but small diversions on the great chicken highway.
My eating habits have become routine over the last two years. I eat out three times a week. When I say eat out, I mean sit down at a table with my newspaper and take my time to finish my meal eat out. These meals have become so important to me that I plan my days around them and I make sure that I don't miss them. I look forward to these meals and I don't like my routine interrupted.
I don't like to admit it but I've become a creature of habit.
It bothers me some that I've taken so much of a liking to chicken. My diet was previously much more varied and interesting.
I think what happened is that these three meals have become so important to me, so much a part of my weekly pleasure, that I eat the same thing because I won't let myself be disappointed by dining on something inferior.
So what do I eat?
Boneless Chicken from Ritchie's Drive In:

Chicken Cutlet from L&L:

Now, I like a little variety in life, so sometimes I'll eat at Ritchie's two times a week and L&L only once, then I'll eat at L&L two times and Ritchie's once.
As far as I know, there's only one Ritchie's, but to find a good chicken cutlet at L&L was difficult. I think I tried three or four different L&L places before settling on the one I go to.
And which L&L do I go to? Well, let me just say it's not any of the ones in Kailua.
Anyways, I keep telling myself that this infatuation with chicken cannot last. The last time I was compulsive about eating the same thing was ordering Dos Burritos from Cisco's Cantina here in Kailua. I stopped eating there because they closed down. Well, I'm sure something will come along to break the evil chicken spell.
Yes, I have declared chicken to be evil.
So if you see someone that looks like a chicken riding around Kailua with blueberry muffins strapped to his bike:
That would be me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

SOMB II (see below)

So I spent the better part of today on my The Flat Tire Shirt Project(TFTSP). While quite satisfied with my DIY results, my OCD(OCD) quest for perfection raged on.
First thing this morning, off I went to Don Quixote, Formerly Daiei, Formerly Holiday Mart(FDFHM), to purchase some blank tees. Unfortunately for me, they only had mediums(MED), but fortunately for Evil Hoku(EH), that was his size.
I used the same picture from the shirts I did last night, and I am sorry to say, the green tint remained. Evil Hoku(EH) says he remembers that inkjet printers add cyan to greys so it cannot be helped.
I did another shirt using the Blog Title Picture(BTP). That came out well. Evil Hoku(EH) is the proud owner of the first(experimental) editions of said shirts.
Here is how my shirt turned out:

I also did a badge on the front:

Since Don Quixote(FDFHM) only had medium shirts, a trip to the mall was required. Champs had some cheap blanks in all kinds of colors, but I stayed with your basic black, white and grey.
Next Came The Fun Part(NCTFP).
I had this cool picture of my bike's rear wheel area that I wanted to use for my next design. Unfortunately, something about the composition was just not right.
Here is the one of the Original Unadulterated Shots(OUS):

I say one of the shots because for some reason or another, I was never quite happy with various aspects of each photo. I must have shot from some variation of the same angle about forty(40) times using various camera settings.
I Guess That's Why I'm Not the Photo Major(IGTWINPM) and Evil Hoku(EH) is well, evil. Fortunately/Unfortunately(F/U), I have a camera that can be set to manual so it too, is truly evil.
NCTFP part two(see above).
Now, I'll be the first to admit that Photoshop for me is like someone tossing me the keys to the Space Shuttle(SS) and telling me to take it for a spin. At best, I could probably turn it on, but then again, I Guess That's Why I'm Not a Friggin' Astronaut(IGTWINFA).
Photoshop for me, is one of those hit and miss(HAM) sort of things: I might be able to get the desired results, but after I'm done, I have no idea how I did it. F/U, I am still battling this cold so I have a lot of spare time on my hands. Actually, using the HAM technique, I might even be able to fly the SS.
Anyways, I finally settled on this for the front:

And a Larger Version(LV) for the back:

And here is a LV of the Photoshopped pic:

I also added something to the left sleeve:

There a few more designs I want to try out, but I have run out of transfer sheets so they will have to wait. The Transfers for Dark Colored Shirts(TDCS) are a bit different, so I think I will have to ReThink(RT) the photo compositions.
As I said last night, this is a pretty easy, inexpensive project to do and the results, while not exactly commercial quality, are nice.
However, as in anything, I Am A Professional, Don't Try This At Home(IAAPDTTAH).
And of course, You Mileage May Vary(YMMV).

note: if anyone wants to Try This At Home(TTAH), I would be more than happy to send along the files. Just drop me an email and I'll send them as an attachment. If you have Mad Photoshop Skilz(MPS), you can even remove the logos.
The Flat Tire Staff (TFTS)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Shirt Off My Back

I've been having a life and death struggle with a cold this past couple of weeks. Okay, not life and death, but enough to keep me off the bike. Well actually, I did ride the two miles to the hardware store last week to purchase a stainless steel bolt for the Beach Bike's front rack. But that doesn't really count.
My cold comes at a perfect time since I am off from work for the next week. I may have more time on my hands as the teacher's union has agreed to furloughs to reduce the state budget and it looks as though the union that represents people like me will follow suit.
There is a another story here, but I don't know if I want to get into it. I just hope it doesn't mean I have to give up the shirt off my back.
Which brings me to my cure for boredom.
I decided to make shirts.
The Flat Tire shirts.
To make a short story long, I played around with different images associated with the blog and cranked up the Photoshop.
I took a photo and added the blog title and address.

Here's a close-up:

The process was simple:
I manipulated the image in Photoshop until I got what I wanted. I then mirrored the image. In Adobe speak, I believe it was called a horizontal rotation. I spent a while trying to figure out how to reverse the image to no avail. I eventually googled it. I guess that's why I'm not the photo major and Evil Hoku is, well, evil.
In order to save transfer paper waste, I rotated the image vertically, then inserted it onto a Word document. I pasted two of them side by side so when printing, I would get two transfers on one sheet. Then I simply printed them and cut them out.

To apply the transfers, I put my shirt over a masonite board to flatten it out (flatten, get it?). The iron was set on high, then applied with pressure on the transfer per instructions.
The only problems I had were with the color of the transfer. If you compare it to the picure at right, the transfer has a greenish tint to it. I think if I go back and change the picture to greyscale, it should be okay.
If you are going to try this at home (which you shouldn't because I am a professional), don't forget that there are transfers for light and dark colored shirts. The color of the shirt will also alter the color of the transfer as the image is a bit translucent. I would think that the transfers for dark clothing would be opaque.
I am going to try and make smaller logos and put them on my cycling jerseys; maybe on the breast or on the pockets in back. The concern here is to not melt the polyester when applying the transfer.
Total cost: fourteen dollars(for a packet of six transfer sheets).
I didn't think this project would turn out this well. Being so pleased with the results, I took off my shirt and did another one:

The possibilities here are truly infinite. A cool project that doesn't cost you your know what.
No, not an arm and a leg(see above)!