Sunday, January 31, 2010

Digesting Alien Refrigerator Growth (DARG)

I like to think of the odds of getting a flat. Take whatever those odds are and every time you ride and don't flat, the odds change until finally the odds are even.
Or against you.
Well today, the odds caught me.

That's what I pulled out of my tire.
It's okay, cause it seemed like I went for a long period without flatting.
I'll add it to my collection of things that made me name this blog:

Of course there were other things. Mostly I toss them away for I'm usually not in a saving mood when I flat.
I try to remember to keep the special ones.
Anyways, I got a couple of new bike tools:

On the top is a chain wear checker. I decided to get one after thinking about how fast my old cassette wore out. I think my old chain had stretched facilitating the wear of the cassette. We shall see.
The other thingy is something I found while looking for something else. I forgot what I was looking for and bought that instead.
It's something called a Torqkey. It preset at five Newton/meters, perfect for tightening down those carbon fibre accessories.
Not that I have any carbon fibre accessories don't you know, I just like to be prepared.
Hey wait a minute, what's all that stuff got to do with the title of this post?
Well if you really must know.
If you've been following along at home, you know I enjoy my fruit cocktail. Well, my routine is to empty the big can of that magic concoction into a plastic container and toss it in the fridge so I can sort of eat it at will, if you will:

I can usually consume the whole can in three days or so, but sometimes I sort of forget it is there so it sits for a while.
While we're on the subject, just to let you know, the regular fruit cocktail is good stuff, but the good stuff is the Very Cherry:

So anyways, tonight during the commercials, I hit the fridge for a hit of FC and take down a large spoonful.
Then I notice that it doesn't look right. So I think, how long has this particular batch been sitting there?
I don't remember.
That's not good.
I look at the FC again.
I look real good. Closer.
ARG(alien refrigerator growth)!
So I'm thinking to myself, it can't be that bad, I mean I only chucked back a spoonful.
Hopefully it was like penicillin.
Or something.
Well, I just thought I'd remind you, the reader, not to ingest stuff that's been in the fridge for too long.
Just in case though, if you find me repeating myself, using the same stupid phrases all the time, or obsessing over objects that seem useful but are actually useless, let me know.
Just in case though, if you find me repeating myself, using the same stupid phrases all the time, or obsessing over objects that seem useful but are actually useless, let me know.
The ARG might be eating at my brain.
Or I might be eating too much fruit cocktail.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Final

I finally found it!
After years of tedious research, it has happened.
The perfect shrimp flavored snack!

I say shrimp flavored snack for despite what the bag says, it's not a shrimp chip; shrimps chips are different and research is continuing on that subject.
It is a shrimp flavored snack for I'm not sure if there is actually any shrimp in it.
And I don't care.
If it tastes like shrimp and smells like shrimp, it must be shrimp, right?
Wait! It contains tidbits of shrimp!

This stuff would have made ole Bubba Blue proud!
By tidbits, I'm thinking the shrimp shells left over from the company barbecue, ground up and added in for flavor.
Or maybe just the shrimp heads.
Actually shrimp heads are pretty tasty.
Anyways, do know why it's the perfect shrimp flavored snack?
It's baked!
I am in couch potato heaven.
I can immerse myself in the fruits of the ocean from right here on my couch.
Speaking of the ocean, if you follow Blogs of Note, you probably already checked out Abby's Blog.
Abby Sunderland is a sixteen year old girl who has started what she hopes to be a non stop circumnavigation of the world.
She's not the only one.
Jessica Watson, also sixteen, of Australia left in September, got run over by a freighter, fixed her boat, started again, and is now somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.
Reading about the efforts of those two young women makes my life seem mundane and sort of pointless.
I mean those two are out there in the middle of the ocean while the most adventure I get is dodging puddles on my bike rides.
Their blogs are captivating to say the least.
A big double chapeau to them!
Speaking of puddles, the recent rain we've been having motivated me to finally put some fenders on the Beach Bike.
Evil Hoku gave me these, and I've sat on them for some time, not knowing whether or not I wanted to put them on.
Here's a sneak preview:

With the edition of the fenders, the Beach Bike now weighs in at one hundred and ninety five pounds.
Oh wait.
That's with me on it.
If I can get it down to one hundred and eighty five pounds, I'll be a happy little shrimp.
Kinda sorta.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Trying to Lighten the Load

Kinda sorta.
Not my load personally, but the load I carry.
On the bike.
When I ride.
See, I'm sort of like a Boy Scout in the sense that I have this thing about being prepared.
For everything.
That's just a personal quirk for I've never been a Boy Scout, though I was a Cub Scout once. Guess something rubbed off on me.
Anyways, while out on my ride today, as my legs were burning from the massive effort I was putting forth:

I started to think about all the extra stuff I carry around with me while on the bike.
Now, I'm no weight weenie or anything. I mean I don't load up and carry around a backpack filled with rocks, but neither do I fret about grams or ounces.
I am fat enough as it is.
Anyways, I have a seat bag:

In it, I carry the usual stuff:

extra tube
flat kit
tire thingy
zips ties
I also carry a waist pack. In it, I carry the usual stuff:

extra tube
flat kit
tire thingy
mini pump
bandages and tape
Cliff Shots
pen and small note pad
rubber band
loose change
eye glass wipes
old I.D.
mini screwdriver
8x monocular
extra batteries
dental floss
tire gauge
camera (not pictured)
cell phone (not pictured)
I also used to carry a flashlight, but since I ride mostly during the day, I took that out.
So, I was going through all this stuff, trying to decide what I really needed and what I actually need.
I mean, I need all that stuff, or I wouldn't be carrying it around, right?
No one in their right mind would carry around all this stuff just for the hell of it, right?
That's what I thought.
Well it turns out I decided I didn't actually need some the stuff:

I took out the band-aids since I already have gauze pads and tape.
That's sort of redundant, don't you know.
My waist pack feels a bit lighter.
I'm sure it'll make me faster.
My legs are already thanking me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

le Connaisseur de la Musique

Ah Leah! is the Greatest Love Song Ever Written(GLSEW).
There, le Connaisseur de la Musique said it, so it must be true!

Yes, amants de la musique, Donnie Iris of Wild Cherry and Play That Funky Music fame wrote the Greatest Love Song Ever Written(GLSEW).
Listening to that excellent composition brings tears to les yeux of le Connaisseur de la Musique, and nothing makes me cry.
Except Ah Leah!
What happened to Donnie Iris after Ah Leah!?
Je ne sais pas.
Mais, his legacy was already written.
What can be more moving than two lovers who cannot be with each other yet cannot resist le tentation?
Surely a song that everyone can relate?
Quand M.Iris tells us of

"your lips and I wonder who's been kissing them,
I never knew how badly I was missing them,"

We can imagine two lovers, no longer together, yet still very much in love.
Both still full of the yearn to be together.
He does not stop there.

"we both know we're never going to make it,
but when we touch we never have to fake it."

Does this mean le finis?
What is to become of the two who are so star-crossed?

"we ain't learned our lesson yet!"

Love c'est vrai!
C'est irresistible!
Mais there is more:

"Baby it's not good we're just asking for trouble,
I can touch you but I don't know how to love you,
it ain't no use, we're heading for disaster,
Our minds say no, but our hearts are talking faster!"

Poor M. Iris! His love is very fervent!
Parfois the love is very destructif, non?
Not since the story of Romeo and Juliet has a more bittersweet love story been told.
le Connaisseur ecouter to this song over and over and over.
Et over.
I am rappel of the follies of my youth.
Oui, Ah Leah! is the Greatest Love Song Ever Written(GLSEW).

Next on le Connaisseur de la Musique:
Why Chumbawamba's Tubthumping is the Greatest Rock Song Ever Written(GRSEW).

The views expressed by le Connaisseur de la Musique do not in any way represent those of The Flat Tire of its staff.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Art of Repair or the Repair of Art

So about that box in the garage I was telling you about, you know, the one I found the picture in, I told you, the reader, that I also found something else.
Long lost but not forgotten, was a casting I did in aluminum.
I had taken it to class to show some kids and they promptly broke it so I put it away knowing I needed to fix it then forgot about it for like three years.
What happened was they broke a pin that was holding the whole thing together:

Basically, what I had to do was flatten the pin on both sides, then drill them out and put in a new one. Since I was working with aluminum, this was a fairly easy deal. Since it had been sitting in a box for so long, I got out the polish and cleaned it up.
I didn't like casting metal. The whole process was time consuming and tedious. I preferred to fabricate stuff.
Sort of like cut and paste with steel don't you know.
Anyways, with some Mother's Mag polish and some elbow grease:

My classmates told me it looked like a big Q-tip. Har, har!
Well okay. It does look like a giant bent Q-tip but that's not what it was all about. The top is mirror polished, while the bottom is textured:

I wanted it to look like the two ends were being stretched apart, each end having a different surface. I toyed with the idea of trying to capture the metal in its liquid form and freezing the image. I did a bronze casting with the same theme.
Once I started working it, I found the aluminum was still a bit malleable so I gave it a twist.
I called it Allongee, or Elongation.
Instead I got a two headed reproductive cell.
Still, it's one of my favorite pieces.
At least now it's fixed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What You See Is (Not)What You Get, Maya Lin

If you have been following along at home, then you already know that I am in possessing of a certain piece of paper that certifies, no make that it confers upon me the title of Bachelor of Fine Arts:

I am quite proud of that diploma for it is the only one I possess not having completely finished high school.
The irony that I now work at a high school is not lost on me; I sometimes think it is a penance I now pay to all the teachers I forced into early retirement.
Anyways, to receive that illustrious document, I actually had to do some work that involved art.
So to speak.
Oh, there was also a whole bunch of a talkin' and a thinkin', but now that I look back, not a whole lot of actual makin'.
Okay, there was a whole lot o'makin, but not much survives to this day.
Anyways, I was diggin through a box in the garage when I happened upon some stuff I hadn't laid eyes upon for some time.
More on that stuff later.
One of my projects involved research on an installed sculpture. The object was to look at where the work was installed, why in was there, and how in interacted with the environment around it.
These are things not too many artists get to ponder unless they are commissioned to do a work for a particular place or event.
The first thing we were shown was a film on Maya Lin, A Strong Clear Vision. If I weren't so old, I probably would have caught a plane and begun stalking here right there for Maya Lin is in my humble opinion awesome. Her website is here.
A great long story made short is that Lin designed the Vietnam War Memorial when she was like twenty one years old winning a national design competition.
If that isn't awesome, I don't know what is.
So anyway, as part of the project, we had to make a presentation to the class during which we were to explain the choice of location and implementation:

Oh, did I forget to say that the artwork had to be original?
As in our own work?
Yes, sportsfans, that is my behemoth of a creation sitting next to the parking lot adjacent to the Art building up in Manoa.
Actually, it's a picture of a maquette I made that was Photoshopped into a picture of the parking lot adjacent to the Art building up in Manoa.
The sculpture was only about a foot tall, made with four inch long triangular pieces of steel tack welded together and spray painted blue.
I was sort of into triangles back then.
I thought the image came out well. The hardest part was catching the light from the correct angle and getting the shadows looking like they belonged there.
Unfortunately/fortunately the maquette is no longer in my possession. I gave it away when we were clearing out of the studio at school after we did our final project show.
Speaking of our show, I actually found a link to it online! See, the shirts in charge decided that our show was to have an digital catalog that year that no one received. Someone took it upon themselves to post in on a couple of websites.
No, there are no links.
I mean there are links, I'm just not putting any of them here.
Neener neener!
Okay that was pretty childish, but I never claimed to be an actual adult person.
Anyways, there's no linky for the links only prove that I am a real living person and not some figment of your wild imagination.
Then again, if I was part of your wild imagination, that wouldn't be so bad.
Don't ya know.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Endless Summers, Side of the Trail Peculiarity

So I was heading out towards Lanikai, when who should I see but the Evil one checking out the surf. He had ridden his bike(!!) to the park and was thinking about paddling out.
Well, I went around Lanikai and he went home to get his board and we met at the boat ramp where I got some images of him doing his thing.
I told him to give me the Endless Summer pose:

I also caught him paddling out:

And here's a shot of him(I think) on the ankle snappers that were breaking off of Flat Island:

Looked like he was having a good time so off I went.
The vog has been pretty thick recently. Vog, if you don't remember is kind of like smog, except our stuff comes when southerly winds blow stuff from the volcano over the island chain. Yesterday, I estimated visibility to be about two miles. It was pretty bad.
It started to clear up today in the afternoon:

When the winds blow from the south it tends to get a bit muggy; the Kona winds don't provide the comfort the tradewinds bring. The trades bring in cooler air from the north. It was in the low seventies until the Kona winds showed up.
So anyways, remember the strange design in gravel I showed you?
The one I posted about here.
Well, it's back. This time, I found someone doing something at the site:

If you look good, you can see a woman there with her bike. She was walking around in the tracks with her hands clasped together. I passed her sort of quickly and I didn't want to make big eye so I don't know if she was actually making the design.
Anyways, here's the old image on top and the new one on the bottom:

This was not there yesterday. At least I don't remember it being there yesterday.
I'm not sure if there's something more going on there.
I'm not sure I want to know.
Anyways, with Evil Hoku out surfing and with me wiping the perspiration that was profusely pouring down my face(okay, not really), it did seem like a summer day in the middle of January.
To steal a line from the movie: Hawaii is truly the land of the endless summer.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Street Warfare: Black Ops

Okay, I'm not really at war.
With anyone.
I do ride on the street though and at times it seems I have to fight my way around all the road construction.
So anyways, I've got some miles on the Origin 8 Black Ops rigid carbon fork:

If you missed the original post, you can find it here.
My original impressions haven't changed.
Small bumps in the road seem smoother, large stuff is transmitted directly to the grips. I would say if you ride access roads or smooth singletrack you'd be okay.
The area where going rigid excels is in power transfer. It's difficult for me to fathom how much the suspension fork was absorbing. Even a POS fork like the Dart 3.
One strange thing though. Under hard braking, I don't think I've seen the fork flex. This makes me think it's not soaking up any road bumps either. I suppose this is good for I don't know how I'd feel seeing a carbon fork acting all flexy like; on the other hand, a little flex can't hurt, right?
No, I didn't get any faster.
At least I don't think I did.
The difference is in the fatigue factor. I can do the little rollers with less burn and faster recovery. Riding on a gravel road while at times is bone rattling, is also less tiring.
Unless you are riding a high end fork like a Fox or Reba, you probably won't be bothered by the difference.
Although the rough stuff is, well, rougher, I'll take the trade off.
Anyways, it seems I got my rigid fork just in time.
The roads here seem to be under a constant state of repair:

Finally, they have begun to pave over the bad sections. Back when I sold my Allez, even the dude who bought it commmented on how bad the roads were.
Well, my tax dollars are at work:

They've even begun to smooth over Lanikai:

Soon, I will be in road bike heaven.
Even though I don't ride a road bike.
Anyways, there is still a whole bunch of construction going on.
The battle continues.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Flat Tire Land State of the Blog Address

"My fellow Flat Tire Land readers, in the course of human events, it has become time for us, the people of Bloggerland, in order to form a more perfect blog, to talk about the future.
We have come a long way from such humble beginnings. From the depths of Bloggerland obscurity, we have risen up to become one of the most read blogs on the the planet.
Okay, I exaggerate, but our circulation has grown from zero, to eight dedicated, educated, highly entertained followers.
Four score and six years ago, when the doors of The Flat Tire first opened, we had but one desk, one chair, one piece of paper and one pencil.
Today, thanks to you, the reader, we flourish in lavish comfort!
Two chairs!
A full notebook!
A desk lamp!
Forty eight quart Igloo cooler!
All thanks to you!
Can you dig it!
Caaan youuuu diiiig iiit?
Today, we are faced with many challenges.
Ideas that once gushed forth like wine from a spigot, now only ooze like like an empty bottle of Cheese Whiz. The award winning photo journalism has been replaced by cartoonish reasonable facsimiles. The words, oh the words, while still plentiful, have become weak and unfulfilling.
If there ever was a time for us, the proletariat, to rise up and overcome the bourgeois-
If there ever was a time for you, the reader, to rise up and overcome these challenges, now is the time!
We must go out and lead one another by hand to the promised land.
Flat Tire Land.
Now is the time for us to come together, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no blog has gone before!
Our five year mission, should we decide to accept it, is to increase readership by 3.5 GAGILLION.
We must link together as one!
And link, and link and link!
As one!
Yes we can!
Do not ask what The Flat Tire can do for you, but ask what you can do for The Flat Tire!
We can make this a blog for the people, of the people, by the people!
We are the world!
We are the children!
Say it with me!
Thank you for your support."

The Flat Tire is made possible by contributions from readers like you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Big Sleep, Late Night, Cherries

I like cherries.
In fact, I like anything cherry flavored.
Well, almost everything. That cherry flavored flouride at the dentist was sort of tangy.
So I was eating a bunch of really good cherries the other night when I read about the death of Robert B. Parker.
Now usually, I wouldn't have commented on it for to tell you the truth, I have never read any of the Spenser books. I mean I have always wanted to, but I guess I never got the chance.
I did read one book he co-authored:

It seems that although I never read any of his books, Robert B. Parker and I shared something in common: we are/were both huge Raymond Chandler fans.
Chandler never got to finish his last Marlowe book, Poodle Springs, and it sat unfinished for some time. I don't remember the circumstances, but Parker was asked to finish it. That is akin to someone touching up the Mona Lisa.
Well, Parker had a difficult job for Chandler had gone and married perrenial bachelor Philip Marlowe off to a character in a former novel.
Myself, as a Chandler fan, would have prefferred the manuscript be left unfinished rather than having someone speculate of the fate of the great detective.
When I say I'm a Chandler fan, I mean I am a follower:

I not only have early editions of his novels, but also the American Library editions that contain most of his writings:

Of course if you read Chandler, you must read Hammett and MacDonald(Kenneth Millar):

Well after reading about Robert B. Parker doing his dissertations on Chandler and the other giant of the genre, Hammett, I have a renewed interest in Parker's books.
I think I'll be checking some of them out now that he's taken the Big Sleep.
Now before I turn off the lights and go to sleep, I usually watch one of the late night talk shows.
This whole thing with Leno and Conan is pretty interesting to follow.
The way I see it, the late night audience is now in four camps.
The ones that worship Conan.
The ones that want Leno back.
The ones that watch Dave.
And the ones that have a digital recorder or don't care either way.
I'm sort of in my own special camp: I never liked Leno and preferred to watch Dave, but I also would switch over to watch Conan after Dave so I wasn't too happy when Conan went head to head with Dave but that's better than having Leno back and losing Conan cause if Conan goes, I ain't watching the Tonight Show.
Actually, I only watch four things on network television anyways: the news, late night(Dave or Conan), Law & Order, and Chuck.
If the shows I watch are like eating the cherries, then the rest of network programming is what's left after I'm done:

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Big Meanie

Actually, I'm not very large.
In fact, I'm on the short fat side.
That fact though, is for another day.
Something happened yesterday that I forgot to talk about.
I did something I later regretted, then after thinking about, I didn't really regret.
I was traveling down the road on the extreme right side, when I looked up to see a young girl in her early teens riding towards me.
Now usually that's not so bad.
Well it kinda is.
Riding on the side of the road going in the opposite direction of traffic is dangerous. Trust me, I know cause I've done it a couple of times.
It's dangerous because vehicles entering traffic aren't looking for you. They, the drivers, are usually looking in the opposite direction at oncoming traffic.
Most people who do this probably think it's safer because you can see the cars coming towards you.
I'm willing to concede that point, but once you are on the road, a cyclist is considered a vehicle and must obey the traffic laws.
If I need to ride against the flow of traffic, I try not to ride on the road.
I'll take the sidewalk, thank you.
So anyways, I'm bearing down on this girl at with a closure rate that would freak out a jet pilot.
Okay, not really, but I'm coming up on her fairly quickly.
Most people I catch doing the wrong side of the road thing know better and yield to the person riding in the right direction.
Not this girl.
That's not the bad part.
She was riding on the road against the flow of traffic while talking on her freakin cell phone!
Once more for emphasis: she was riding the wrong way on the road while talking on her freakin cell phone!
Some primal urge welled up in me and:

I yelled at her.
Now, I could have yelled a whole bunch of things. Especially since I was coming off a hard effort, when my brain isn't exactly functioning perfectly so I tend to regress a bit.
I could have yelled out a fabulously entertaining expletive. My better judgement and superior training took over and all I yelled was: wrong way!
Okay, it wasn't better judgement or training, "wrong way" was all I could think of at the moment.
After I passed her, all the fabulously entertaining expletives came to mind. That's when I started to feel guilty about the yelling part.
Then I rationalized.
Then I felt okay about it.
Just like the time I felt guilty about yelling at those old people who were going the wrong way forcing me into traffic.
Now I thought, boy, I must be some piece of work, yelling at young girls and old people.
Then I thought about all the guys I see riding the wrong way. The thing is, when that happens, most of the time, the guy riding the wrong way will yield.
He knows he's going the wrong way so he will accommodates the rider going the right way.
To avoid confrontation don't you know.
Anyways, to make a short story even longer, I wish people that want to ride on the road would ride like they are supposed to.
Then I wouldn't have to feel like a big meanie anymore.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Final

I had a lot on my mind today as I hit the road.
Mostly I had to decide on whether or not I was going to do what I did tonight.
You know what I mean?
Anyways, I decided right away that I was just going to ride around and take it easy since I absolutely punished myself into some perverted form of submission yesterday.
Not that I was hurting or anything. I just felt like my bike needed the rest.
I got started kinda late, so I was surprised to still see a line in front of Boots and Kimo's at eleven o'clock:

Boot's and Kimo's is a breakfast and lunch place that moved into the new building recently and are famous for their macadamia nut pancakes. All this time I've lived in Kailua and I've never been there to eat. Judging by the line, I probably never will.
I altered my route today and sort of did the back end first, just to make things different. My mind wasn't really on the ride; I was too busy playing head games with myself.
I did make it out to the Marine Base though. I wanted to take some shots of the fish ponds there:

All I got was that image. The fish ponds are quite expansive on that side of the base. The Marines do a good job of keeping up the area and it helps that most of it is off limits to civilians. I think I'll have to ride up on the highway to get a better shot of the area. I hope the M.P.s don't chase me off.
So I rode all the way down to the Mokapu Gate where there is a small bridge that goes over the entrance to one of the fishponds. I think I saw a couple of mullets swimming around but what caught my attention was this:

What the hell is that?
Why it's a little stingray:

I thought that it was pretty cool. It's not like I haven't seen a stingray before; I have seen them, in fact I have seem them up close and personal.
Big stingrays. Like five foot wing span stingrays that I had to cut off of the end of a fishing line.
This small one though was just sort of cruising along in the current, probably waiting for something tasty to drift by. It actually came much closer to the surface; close enough for me to see the white spots on it's, uh topside.
That sort of took my mind off of the on going debate inside of my head.
I don't usually fret over things like the thing I was fretting over, but I was fretting over this.
If you know what I mean.
Then it happened:

I haven't had a flat tire in a while, so it was inevitable. Sort of like what I had to do. That thing I was thinking about I mean.
Usually I'm pretty bummed when I flat, but today, I almost welcomed it.
Not that I was tired or anything; I just sort of felt like stopping right then.
Actually having that flat helped me make up my mind about what I was going to do.
Okay, not really.
It would've great though seeing as how the name of this blog is The Flat Tire and all.
Anyways, I fixed my tire and went on home.
And thought.
Then I thought some more.
Then I made a decision.
Then I changed my mind.
Then I said this is really stupid.
So finally, I just did it.
I'm glad I did.