Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

More like my wrist.
The waging war against fatness has escalated.
I ain't foolin around no more.
I mean, this is serious.
What? You talkin to me?
Okay, I've upped the distances I bike. I've managed to raise my average speed a bit so I know I'm not slacking.
So what's up?
Why ain't I dropping pounds like I drop old people and small children?
I believe my level of fitness has developed to the point where my regular rides just are not burning the same amount of calories as before.
What to do?

That's right sports fans, now I'm playing with power!
What I've noticed is that after hard efforts, my recovery time is faster. That led me to think that perhaps I am no longer pushing myself as hard as I think I am.
I think.
What was a hard effort in the past is now maybe only like a medium to low effort now.
Well, the only way to tell for sure other than getting one of those pricey Powertaps or SRMs is to use the the good ole heart monitor.
Yes, a new dawn has arrived.
I have embraced technology and will ride the wave to new found slimdom.
Sveltness, here I come!
One second thought, I'm too short to be svelt.
Well hey! If I think I am, then I am, right?
It's all in my mind right?
I mean if I think I'm not fat, then I'm not fat right?
Boy, I'm getting pretty good at kidding myself.
I mean the chest strap feels like a support bra for man boobs.
Okay, really though, I figured that I spend too much time on the bike to not take at least some of my rides seriously.
For the readers not in the know, the idea behind exercising with heart rate is to train in a certain zone. For instance, I want a moderate work out, I'll stay within seventy five percent of max heart rate. According to the fine folks at Polar Electro, for me that works out to about 130 beats per minute.
Aerobic exercise is supposedly where you burn the most fat, if you get anaerobic you start burning up things you don't really want to burn. Your body goes anaerobic under hard exertion; you know, when your heart feels like it's going to explode:

So to keep my heart from exploding, I'll monitor my workouts and try to keep my heart rate in a certain zone.
The best part of this rig is going to come when I input manual settings.
See, the monitor automatically figures your max heart rate via set formula. I know for a fact that I am off the curve for my resting heart rate is above the norm. So to get close to max heart rate, I'm going to climb the Hill of Death using max effort and see what I come up with.
I'll use that as my baseline instead of the user defaults.
Thankfully, the monitor saves max rate so in case I pass out at the top of the hill, I'll still know what my max rate was.
Ain't technology great?
Here's the handle bar mount:

If I'd known it was just a piece of plastic, I would've made something up. I thought maybe it folded around the bar or something.
Instead it just sits there:

Not the kind of thing I'd like to leave on the bars when I'm not using the monitor. I'll try to figure out some kind of quick release or something so that I can remove it when I want to. Right now, you use some zip ties to secure it:

So if you are driving down the road to slenderness, the guy on the bike blazing past you at a GAGILLION miles per hour might be me. Or if you see a guy passed out on the side of the road, that might be me too.
Either way, I'll be the one wearing his heart on his sleeve.
I mean wrist.
Or handlebars.

Maintenance Day

Twas not a fit day out for man nor beast.
Nothing shall stop the cyclist from making his miles.
Except for gusting winds.
Yep, I wussied out today.
So instead, I called it a maintenance day.
First thing I wanted to do was fix the cleats on my shoes:

Not really the cleats, but the area just forward and aft. The Shimano SPDs are rubbing on the sole and it being carbon, well everyone knows carbon explodes catastrophically. So I bought these:

These are wonderful things called Shoeshields made by Crank Brothers. They are supposed to be for those that use egg beaters but I tried them anyway.
Well, they are for those that use egg beaters so they don't cover the affected area of my soles.
So much for that.
I did move my cleats back a bit, just to try a new position out. I've read that moving your cleats back is supposed to be better for you. I'll see about that.
I did a search to see if there was anything I could use to fix my holy shorts. First I though I would just wear them pukas and all, but I figured wearing them like that would only make the pukas bigger.
Puka is localese for hole. For instance, "eh brah, you get puka tire" translates roughly to "excuse me sir, but it appears you tire is no longer inflated."
So anyways, it seems like the best fix is to simply use a needle and thread. So here is the blessed defect:

Add some Singer Super Strong Polyester Core thread and needle:

et voila!

Next, I tackled a pesky rattle on the Beach Bike. Seems the front basket was rattling against the front rack. I let it go for a few rides, but upon inspection discovered that it was beginning to wear in to the tubing:

Off I went to the hardware store to see what they had. I ended up with some clear vinyl hose. I actually went to the auto parts store and picked up some fuel line, but this stuff looked nicer.
I cut off a two inch piece, then cut it lengthwise. I opened it up and put in on the rack tubing.
et voila!

I also got some new chain lube:

I've been using Boeshield for the last couple of months and it's been okay. It just doesn't seem to last that long. Evil Hoku rode with me one day and commented on the chain noise and it seems like I have to clean and re-lube every hundred miles or so. I need something that will shed all the dirt and sand I pick up along my route.
So I got this Dumonde Tech and I got some Rock N Roll Extreme on the way.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to try it out since I cleaned my chain last Sunday and I, ahem, haven't been on my bike since.
The massive thighs gotta rest once in a while.
Besides, twas not a fit day out for man nor beast.
Don't you know.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Final

What a day.
We went from imminent disaster to business as usual in the span of about nine hours.
Of course it was much longer for me.
I heard about the quake at around nine last night and I followed the news until about four thirty this morning.
Took a short nap then went right back to monitoring the events.
Following the buoy reports, then the reports from the Marquesas and Tahiti, only served to build the tension.
For a while there, it didn't sound too good.
As it is, all turned out well.
I have to admit though, there was the small disaster monger in me that sort of wanted something to happen.
I mean something did happen, but not the something I thought would happen.
If you grew up here in Hawaii, you know all about the power of the ocean. People die in the water here often enough to make you understand that the shimmering blue that beckons is just a facade for the dangers that lurk if you don't show respect.
The first thing you learn as a child is to never turn your back to the water.
Except for that one dude with the death wish and a couple of surfers, the public showed the ocean the respect that it is due.
It's difficult to imagine that one catastrophe that happened so far away could have caused another in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
It serves notice that we are all tied together in ways we don't often think about.
Even if we don't like it, it's not like we can just get off the planet and leave.
Elton John said that Mars is a pretty cold place.

Saturday Impact Edition

10:45AM HST
Obama adressing the nation.

If the tsunami hits, his vacation home is toast.
All eyes are on Hilo.

10:46AM HST
Local news reporting unusual tide activity.
Wave buoy off off Kauai is reading a south eastern swell.

10:55AM HST
News images are focused on Hilo Bay and Oahu beaches.
Kailua High School is open as an evacuation area.
Looks like what appears to be a passenger jet flying into HNL.
Local news reporting that French Polynesia reporting waves in the six foot level. American Samoa also reporting waves.

Presumably, all eyes are on Hilo Bay now.
All is calm.

10:58AM HST
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has reported that they are in lock down.
Images of the evacuation zone show empty streets.

11:03AM HST
Hilo Bay camera shows all is still normal.

11:05AM HST
Hilo Bay conditions normal.

11:19AM HST
Hilo Bay still normal.
Local news showing image of lone person wading in the ocean off Waikiki.

11:32AM HST
Hilo Bay camera showing some water movement.
Looks like water is receding.

11:35AM HST
Water in Hilo Bay continues to recede.
Person in Hilo reports water level dropping.
Water remains calm.

11:37AM HST
Water can be seen being sucked seaward. White wash and more rocks being exposed.

11:39AM HST
Conditions in Hilo Bay changing quickly.
Water continues to recede at a faster rate.

11:43AM HST
Water in Hilo Bay now changing again.
Water is beginning to fill back in.

11:48AM HST
Water in Hilo Bay is receding again.

I approximate the water movement to be +/- two feet.

11:58AM HST
Water is moving out of Hilo Bay.
Appears to be like flood waters moving out.
Kahalui Harbor in Maui reports receding water.
Water movement is now rapid.

12:09PM HST
Kahului Harbor reporting movement of one meter.
Hilo Bay water continues to surge.
Surges reported on Oahu.

So far, no large wave. Thankfully.
It does appear that the surge action in Hilo Bay is becoming stronger and the change in water level is more drastic.
Hopefully, all we get are the surges.
The surges are dangerous though. The water builds inland, then sucks back out.
In the Hilo Bay cam, it appears the water is moving very quickly.

12:32PM HST
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is saying that Hawaii "dodged a bullet."
Water surge evident now in Waikiki Beach cams.

13:15PM HST
Waiting for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to call the all clear which may come by 14:00PM HST.
Olympic coverage returns.

Saturday Tsunami Edition

So I've nothing better to do than sit here.
The anticipation and the waiting.
Probably the worst part.
Now some of us have been through this before.
Well maybe not exactly like this.
Already gas stations are reporting that they have run out of fuel.
Once it started to look like this was real, I went out early this morning and got some gas.
And cigarettes.
I filled up some containers with water and checked out the canned goods and toilet paper situation.
And since I am part Boy Scout, I think we're okay.
The people in charge are taking this one very seriously.
Last time this happened, the wave did not appear and the Civil Defense took it in the chin. I mean you displace quite a large amount off people, and then nothing happens, well, it is sort of a hassle.
I think this time though, even the most skeptic person would agree that because of the size of the earthquake this time the threat is very real.

9:03AM HST
Local news reporting police helicopter is telling surfers on the North shore to get out of the water.
Civil Defense sirens going off again.
Evacuation centers are open.

People being people, you are going to get those who are going to want to check this out. Last time, there were reports of thrill seekers going out to the waters edge to see what was going to happen.
I wonder what is happening this time.
Now the surfers. Well a small swell was expected last night and the tide is low right now. Surfers being surfers, well, what can you expect?
If the surf is rocking, and no one else is out there, I mean, that's pretty much the normal behavior. You gotta remember, surfers go out in hurricane conditions.
Hell, I was even pondering getting a ride in before the wave comes.
Then I thought the better of it.
Today is my dialysis day, so I'm a bit concerned about that. My clinic is located in the basement of a hospital so if something happens, I'm wondering if I'll be able to get in.

9:13AM HST
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports Marquesas Islands saw a six foot wave.
Local news showing boats headed out too see. Police still telling people to get off the beach.

People are treating this like this is the real deal.
Which is a good thing.

9:42AM HST
Local news reporting Navy is moving ships out of Pearl Harbor.
Streets in the tidal zone will be closed starting at 10:00AM local time.
Traffic cams showing nearly deserted streets.
First wave expected to hit Hilo at 11:05AM HST.

10:10AM HST
Local news showing one dude still sitting out there in the surf catching waves.
Local weather guy reports "surf is excellent" but still extemely dangerous.
Streets in the evacuation zone are closed.

10:25AM HST
This is getting somewhat surreal.
One of my neighbors is weed wacking his yard.
It's a nice day:

I suppose that makes it all the more strange. Everything seems so normal.
Well I guess that is going to change in about an hour or so.
Here's a pic of the pond I live near:

The thing about living on an island is that sea level means down the block.
Best guess is that I'm about two miles inland. The pond is connected to the ocean, but last time I checked, the stream mouth was covered in sand. If we do get a wave that come in here, the water level will rise, then have no where to recede.
I hope they dredged the stream mouth this week.
I guess we'll see in a little less than an hour.

10:30AM HST
Civil Defense sirens going off again.
Local news reporting that National Guard is sending up helicopters to help monitor the situation.
Big Island Mayor is being interviewed on the local news.
Camera shot is of Hilo Bay, which will be the first place to see the wave.
Coast Guard helicopter can be seen flying over Hilo Bay.
News is reporting one last siren will sound at 11:00AM HST.
Traffic cams showing deserted streets now.

My thinking is that last siren means that you better be able to run fast.
Or at least be wearing your personal floatation device.
Kailua Bay faces the north east, but seems to be protected from the tsunami by the other islands. That doesn't really seem to matter here, for the wave will wrap around the islands and keep going.

Saturday Early Edition

1:30 AM HST
Due to a magnitude 8.8 earthquake that rocked Chile tonight, Hawaii is now under a tsunami warning.
Basically what this means is that we will get unusual water/wave activity sometime around 11:19AM(HST).
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center people are on the T.V. right now saying how this earthquake is the largest they have seen since 1964.
At this time, scientist are sure a wave is on its way; they just aren't sure about the size. They are still awaiting measurements from monitoring buoys in the deep ocean so that they can better model the expectant wave.
This is not the first time I been through a tsunami warning.
Back in the early nineties, Civil Defense sirens sent people home from work when a tsunami warning was given. At that time, a small wave, really only about the same as the high tide rolled in so there was no damage.
The second time it happened here, the wave was though to be larger and people were actually told to evacuate to high ground.
Cars lined the highway above my home; people waited for the wave that never came.
Better to be safe than sorry.

At this time, we are being to instructed to await Civil Defense instructions.

2:30AM HST
Local news reporting that a 9 foot wave hit the coast of Chile. Aftershocks of 6.5 and 5.4 magnitude reported.
Local news quoting Pacific Tsunami Warning Center as saying they expect a "decent" sized tsunami here.
This doesn't sound good.

2:45AM HST
CNN reporting that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is predicting wave of 10 to 15 feet to hit.

4:00AM HST
Local news reporting Civil Defense sirens will sound off at 6:00AM HST. Civil Air Patrols will fly over areas not covered by sirens. Low lying areas will be evacuated.
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warns of incoming waves that could last for six to ten hours.
Honolulu Advertiser reporting that the Department of Transportation is calling for ships to head out to sea and clear the ports.
No one knows what to expect.
The Flat Tire reports staff is getting sleepy.

8:47AM HST
The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting the tsunami wave is expected to be approximately three meters high.
This definately is not good.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Memory Lane

Not to be confused with Penny Lane.
I'm not even sure where Penny Lane is.
Okay, it's in Liverpool and was named after a slave trader or something.
I'm not sure where Memory Lane is for back then, the other life, is sort of in a haze. I mean I remember, I just don't remember.
You know what I mean?
So anyways, I don't remember what it was that reminded me of this group, but something did so I went out and bought the CDs.
Country Comfort was one of those local to me bands that made an brief but I think important impact on the local music scene:

I honestly don't remember too much about these guys, and I never had the pleasure of seeing them play live, but the music stays with me. The images are of the albums; the CDs are on some label called Cord International.
I can't really explain the sound so here's a YouTube link where someone has posted up some of their music.
The song in the link, Waimanalo Blues, is about progress.
Waimanalo is a couple of miles from Kailua and has a real country feel despite being so close to urban Oahu.
The sound is sort of Hawaiian; it certainly has Hawaiian roots, so let's call it contemporary for way back then Hawaiian.
Country Comfort and another band called Kalapana brought this Hawaiian-ish sound to top forty radio. Kalapana was a bit more progressive in sound while Country Comfort swayed toward well, country.
Boy, I can even remember taking my allowance and going to Longs Drugs Store to buy that Kalapana album. I got home, spun it up and was blown away!
Who were these guys?
One of the lead singers of Country Comfort, Billy Kaui, came out with a solo album later that spawned a couple of local hits.
Mackey Feary of Kalapana also had a couple of solo albums of which this is my most sought after:

The album cover picture is from a famous night time parking spot in Honolulu that overlooks Waikiki.
The view might be a bit different now, but I'll always remember it this way.
Why am I looking for the album when I obviously have it?
It's because it's been played like a GAGILLION times so it's getting a bit worn.
Now I had the pleasure of meeting Mackey Feary once. Turns out a friend of mine went to school with the guy so off we went to the nightclub to meet my idol.
Well things are, as most things from back then are, kinda fuzzy, but I do remember drinking a beer with the guy between sets.
My brush with fame if you will.
I also got the autographs of Bun E.Carlos, Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick back when I worked at the Hilton.
Billy Kaui and Mackey Feary are no longer with us. Kaui died soon after the release of his solo album and I cried when Mackey took his own life in 1999.
Thing is, whenever I play their music, while it does take me back to a place far, far, away and a long time ago, the music is still as new as it was way back then.
Or maybe it's just me.
And Billy and Mackey, walking down Memory Lane.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Message of Reform

This is pretty shocking.
I never thought I'd see it happen.
What am I talking about?
Seems a school district in Rhode Island has the right idea.
Now I'm not going to sit here and wax on, wax off about what's wrong with the present educational system.
Okay, maybe I will.
Just a little.
For one thing, I thought the school that I work at was under performing.
It is, but that school in Rhode Island, I mean, I can't even bring myself to call it a school.
I look at it this way: if your business is not doing what it's supposed to, then you should either change how you are doing it or close up shop.
Seems that particular school wasn't doing what it was supposed to, yet the people there thought everything was copacetic.
Oh, don't worry, we'll take some recommendations and change some things, but other than that, we're okay.
Don't worry about us.
Huh? The kids?
What kids?

Chapeau to the Superintendent.
Now we have a new School Superintendent here, but what happened in Rhode Island is never going to happen here.
The thing is, here, there is only one school district.
For like the whole state.
This wouldn't be a bad thing, if all the kids in the state were the same too.
What I mean is, it would be great if all the kids were of the same ethnic background and had the same socio-economic status.
Would be.
Moving on, for historical reasons here, the unions have too much power.
There, I said it. I said it for it's true.
A teacher here must get caught dealing crystal meth before they get fired. Or smoking dope in their car before school.
Not getting through to the kids? Don't worry, you got tenure.
The teachers don't even control the teachers union.
See, the majority of teachers I know and work with, care about the kids.
Yet, Hawaii has the shortest school year in these United States.
If you have been following along at home, then you know that due to budget cuts, the teachers have been taking unpaid furloughs on two Fridays a month.
This year, the kids will lose seventeen instructional days.
Three weeks.
The thing is, the teachers are not able to restore any instructional days even if they wanted to.
The union, and the collective bargaining agreement won't let them.
Now to me, I have a hard time understanding all this.
Okay, not really.
I worked in the private sector so I'm just used to doing things differently.
Like firing everyone if the job is not getting done.
Usually though, they just fire everyone from the top down and start all over.
Hey wait!
That's exactly what happened at that school in Rhode Island!
Seems like the teachers(or maybe just the union) there were haggling over being compensated for working more. I guess they forgot they were professionals who don't punch a time clock.
Professionals with a union.
Guess the union made sure they all got treated equally.
Don't get me wrong, asking for compensation is okay I guess, if you are getting the job done.
If you are getting the job done.
What I wish for, hope for, pray for if you will, is that parents will get so fed up with the current system, that they'll just stop sending their kids to school.
The students should go on strike!
The parents and students should form their own union and demand change.
It would be like "we aint' paying you doodley squat until you teach us something."
Now that's reform!
I wonder what would happen at my school if one day, no students showed up?
Boy, wouldn't that send a message.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Space Ship Earth (petite version)

So remember the biospheres?
The class project?
Okay, you gotta look here.
So the sealed environments have been, well, sealed for almost a week now.
Houston, we have a problem.
It seems the kids don't listen too well.
Okay, here's what a couple of them looked like on day one:




All of them installed various kinds of fishes in the aquatic portion and some kind of plant in the upper terra part of the biosphere. Some included aquatic plants in the lower section, some chose not to.
One problem was the amount of fishes.
They were briefed on the the hazards regarding the quantity of life forms to be encapsulated.
In this case, more was not merrier.
Okay, this is way too easy to tie into Jared Diamond's book Collapse, so I won't do it.
I will say that it was difficult to watch the kids overload their projects with various small creatures. Well, it was in the name of science, I suppose.
You, the reader, can probably guess the outcome.
As the instructor commented to me, we'll certainly see some interesting effects of decomposition.
Here's a day two example:

If you look closely, you'll some candidates for said decomposition floating near the surface of the water.
This was typical, and as of today, I counted only three biospheres in which some kind of movement could be detected.
It's interesting, for the class is going over the whole carbon/oxygen cycle thing. I think they are having a problem interpreting the scale of it all.
I mean one small aquatic plant is not going to scrub off the CO2 and replenish the O2 of like ten fishes!
This is a great project and hopefully they will be able to relate some of this to Space Ship Earth.
Thursday will be day seven.
We'll see if there are any survivors.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Getting published.
Now way back when this used to mean something different.
Today, apparently anyone can get published. I mean this blog is being published right?
Well, I'm talking about getting published on paper in some readable form.
Like a book.
Here is the process:
See you write some stuff that in your mind you think is pretty good.
Fiction, tech, autobiographical, whatever. You think it's good and for what ever reason you feel a need to share it with the world.
So off you send your manuscript to be scrutinized by people who are supposed to be good at knowing what other people are interested in reading.
I say supposed, because you think you know and when your manuscript is rejected it is clear evidence that the person who is supposed to know doesn't know because you know for sure that everyone wants to read your stuff.
Or something like that.
Somewhere I have a file with some rejection slips that prove other people don't know.
Or maybe it means that I don't know.
This blog is absolute proof that I do know.
Or do I?
Way back in another life, one of my goals was to see my words in print(actually I did, but that's another story).
Not print like on a computer screen, but print like on paper, bound together in some sort of readable form.
Like a book.
The rejection slips were actually kind of cool.
It meant that I was at least trying.
I mean that's like the pinnacle of any writer's dreams right?
To be judged by peers and deemed worthy of publishing.
Well, I deem myself worthy so I have decided to self publish.
I've been tossing this idea around for some time and I think the time has come.
For one thing, I'm getting pretty tired of seeing the same old crap on my screen and it's time to delete a bunch of stuff so I might as well put them in some sort of readable form.
Like a book.
Writing, being an art form of sorts, to me is like making art; you are never quite done, but you might as well put it out there.
I mean I can go back and work on those stories until the end of time and they still wouldn't be quite right.
See, I keep going back and working on them thinking all this time that I'm tweaking them to perfection.
What I'm actually doing is updating.
I don't want to do that.
I started thinking that these stories should be like photos, snapshots of what I needed to put down at that time.
Sort of like how this blog is a snapshot of what happens day to day.
By going back and rewriting, I'm actually softening the stories; taking the edge off so to speak.
I also don't have the time or inclination to go through the whole query process again and sit around waiting for answers.
I got around twenty short(some kinda long) stories taking up valuable hard drive space. They are just sitting there, doing nothing but reminding me of a time that I'd sometimes rather not remember.
This does not include the book Grey, which I'm still kinda sorta of working on.
It seems that I used to have a lot of time on my hands.
Anyways, Grey looks like it's going to take up even more space as I get it in a Word file.
So I'm gonna self publish them. The short stories I mean. Get em off the computer and put em somewhere else.
Like a book shelf.
Then I can start over.
Or something.
This should be interesting.
And a total waste of money.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catastrophic Fail(ure)!

Wouldn't you know it?
I was just talking about it and something similar happens!
No, I didn't get hit by a car while going the wrong way down the road.
This has much more serious implications.
See, I was-
This is going to be long and it is going to be brought to you with limited commercial interruptions so you might want to get yourself a cold beverage or something.
So I was out doing my bicycle thing, creating a convection zone because of all the friction and heated air I was creating as my massive thighs powered me around Kailua.
As I was cranking along at a GAGILLION rpms, I sensed something was not right.
For one thing, my inner thigh kept rubbing on something.
I looked down and figured it was just the seat rails.
After adjusting my position a bit, it began to feel as if one of my legs was shorter than the other:

Now I don't walk with a limp or anything so I'm pretty sure my legs are a matched pair. Still, something was wrong with my pedaling motion.
I thought perhaps one of my shoe cleats had moved, but no, both shoes were secure to the pedals.
This, along with the fact that my derrier was having a hard time finding the sweet spot on the seat was driving me crazy!

So I get to the midpoint of my ride and I'm sitting down on the wall drinking my Jones Cream Soda(limited commercial interruption!) and I'm thinking about all of this.
Did I tell you I was wearing a new set of bib shorts? Well I was wearing a new set of bib shorts and I thought about my inner thigh rubbing against something.
Well, when you have massive thighs, this sort of thing happens don't you know.
So I check my shorts and I just freak out!
There's a spot on my shorts were the brand freakin new Lycra is getting all frizzy like!
Now I'm freakin out cause the shorts are new and it's not like they are cheap. I mean they aren't super expensive or anything but it's not like they were super cheap either.
I see the culprit!
The strap that holds my seat bag to the seat post had come loose and the freakin velcro thingy was rubbing on my brand freakin new shorts!
Now I'm gonna have a cow!

So I'm sitting there and suddenly my Jones Cream Soda is not tasting so good cause I realize that it's from my own stupidity that this is happening to me.
Instead of stopping to check on what was rubbing, I just kept riding along like nothing was wrong.
I glance over at the bike and have another cow!

My leg isn't getting shorter, my freakin seat is pointed like ten degrees off of center!
All those other riders today must have been surprised to see me when they all thought they were passing some girl riding side saddle!
So anyways, I don't feel much like riding around anymore so I limp on home with this dark cloud over me:

Remember the part about the new bib shorts?
Well, I was wearing new shorts because of this:

That's right.
My epic fail caused me to wear a hole in my other shorts.
I now own a pair of eighty dollar underwear.
I'm such a moran.

Friday, February 19, 2010


The Flat Tire Staff

HONOLULU - The Flat Tire has received exclusive images of what is thought to be a "black" funded State project to develop a new waterless swimming pool system. The new system is believed to be undergoing rigorous beta testing at this undisclosed location. The waterless technology is preferred over aquatic swimming for the new pools will be less expensive to maintain and there will be little chance of accidental drownings.
If the new technology proves useful, it will be used exclusively at rural and inner city public housing projects.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh Boy!

I mean Oh Boy! in a bad way.
Not the good way you say Oh Boy! when something great happens like someone giving you free Cherries Jubilee ice cream.
The Oh Boy! I refer to is the Oh Boy! you mutter when something bad happens like, well, like you just realized you got a flat tire.
Which is what I said to myself today as I was driving to The Warehouse.
One of the first things that came to my mind was Gilligan's Island:

For those not in the know, Gilligan's Island was a television sitcom that aired between 1964 and 1967 which means that when I was old enough to understand what was really happening on that deserted isle the show was already in syndication.
Now Gilligan was a likable lad, his only shortcoming was that everything he did to get those castaways off the island usually backfired and in the end his good intentions kept them from being rescued.
I sort of looked up to Gilligan.
More so than the Skipper or the Professor.
Mr. Howell was just too caught up in his wealth for me to relate to.
Of course there was Mrs. Howell, affectionately known as "Lovey," and there was Ginger and Mary Ann. Now I'm not going to get into the whole Ginger or Mary Ann thing; that's been debated over the decades and we all know who we would choose.
I mean it's obvious right?
Well, I wasn't really thinking about any of them, the main characters I mean.
The character that came instantly to my mind was a recurring character by the name of Wrong Way Feldman:

Now Wrong Way was a cool if not slightly devious character whose fault lay in the fact that everywhere he went, he got there by flying the wrong way.
If you have been following along at home, you may have noticed that I've sort of made a big deal of cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road; riding against the flow of traffic I mean.
So anyways, I was driving along and usually when I just drive around(DRA) I take notice of people on bicycles mostly because I'm interested in seeing what kind of bicycle they are riding. It was not odd for me to notice the guy the bicycle about fifty yards ahead of me riding on the sidewalk coming you guessed it! against the flow of traffic.
Well, I do this sometimes(ride against traffic I mean) so I can't really get all preachy about it. The thing is I am aware of the dangers this presents to me and other vehicles like say, cars.
Thing is, most drivers aren't looking to their right, they are looking to their left, at on coming traffic.
Well, before I could blink an eyelid, here comes this blue compact pulling out of a parking lot and before I could even think Oh Boy! all I saw was bike and person going airborne over the hood of the blue compact.
Scary stuff!
The dude on the bike stood up as I pulled over and asked him if he was okay. He nodded the affirmative, but I pulled over anyways to make sure. By then, the driver of the blue compact was out of his car and checking on the bicycle dude too.
What was said is probably typical of accidents like this:
Car Driver: "I never even saw you!"
Bicycle Rider: "I thought you saw me!"

Fortunately, the car driver wasn't some careless person rushing to get to Walmart before they ran out of ninety nine cent toilet paper and luckily the dude on the Roadmaster was a pretty big guy and not some old person making the run to Seven Eleven for a Slurpy.
So anyways, that's what made me think of Gilligan's Island and Wrong Way Feldman.
I guess I'll keep harping on cyclist going the down the road against the flow of traffic and I'll try to refrain form making those little indiscretions of the same sort.
I keep playing the scene over in my head and all I can think of is:
Oh Boy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday Final

The Crayola company was founded in 1885.
It's interesting to note that one of their first products was dustless chalk.
Well, Crayola has come a long way baby:

Seems as though someone, and I'm not mentioning who, even if I did know I wouldn't say, but someone went and vandalized city property.
The Bike Path Avenger(BPA)!

Well, maybe not vandalized for this certain person was questioned by a police officer who witnessed this certain person in the act of, well, whatever this person was doing. After a brief conversation, the said officer drove off.
Will the message this certain person was trying to deliver be acknowledged or disregarded?
Have we seen the last of the Bike Path Avenger?
Not far from the scene of the crime, was a new mystery:

What were the hidden messages on these signs? I had noticed them for about a week now and resisted the temptation to uncover one of them. It seems that along with the new pavement, some changes are forthcoming to the road.
I thought that perhaps they were finally adding a new bike lane to the street. Not that it really needs it; the road in question is five lanes wide and goes through a residential area.
Anyways, somewhere in the middle of my ride I passed this on the side of the road:

Believe it or not, people pay a pretty penny for coconut trees. I remember reading an article in the paper that said some palm trees can fetch thousands of dollars, depending on what kind of tree it is. It's not that strange to see coconuts trees here being hauled along the freeway headed for who knows where.
Part of Kailua was in fact a copra plantation once upon a time. A section is still known locally as Coconut Grove.
Well, I was feeling pretty good so I decided to torture myself a little.
This is Flat Tire Land:

Why haven't I posted that image before?
Well, to take that shot, I have to climb a hill that makes my legs want to do this:

Anyways, if you look at the picture, the rest of Kailua is to the left and Lanikai is to the right. If you look really close, you can see the Flat Tire Land flag flying from our offices.
Okay, not really.
On the way to the Hill of Death, one mystery was solved:

Just as I thought!
A new bike lane!
Could this be a job for the Bike Path Avenger?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm The Man

Excellent song by Joe Jackson!
Can't really say I'm a Joe Jackson fan for I only have three albums. Well maybe I am for I do have Look Sharp in a collectors edition:

What's so collectible about it?
If you look closely, you'll see that it's a special version on ten inch vinyl. His other great album Night and Day is behind it.
Great way to impress the friends; that is if I had any friends that were impressed by a ten version of Look Sharp.
Anyways, that's not what this is all about.
Sort of.
So I was thinking to myself the other day that hey, I'm the man.
Then I said to myself, no, you da man.
So this went on for a while since the whole purpose of this exercise was to build up my ego.
Not that my ego needs any building up don't you know.
I was just practicing just in case I needed building up. I like to be ready.
Then I thought, boy, you got to have a pretty large set to be telling yourself you/I da man. I mean I wasn't even comparing myself to anyone, I was just sort of sitting around drinking my Jones cream soda and thinking about things when this revelation hit me.
Well without getting into the specifics of my nether regions, the more I thought about it, the more I began to believe it.
Then I thought, this is a good thing!
By thinking that I'm da man, I strive to be da man.
Inferiority and mediocrity take a back a seat!
You are dealing with da man!
Das right! Look behind you and check your rear view mirror cause here I come!
Then I remembered this post in a forum about bicycle shorts wearing out.
I have no previous experience with Lycra and other stretchy materials so I had no idea that bicycle shorts had a finite seat life.
Apparently, the material gets thin enough to see through.
Now this got me worried. My shorts are kinda high mileage.
Well, I couldn't exactly stand up and check the status of my own shorts.
I mean how would that look, me standing there trying to get a look at my rear in the reflection of the store window?
I wouldn't be da man, now would I?
Well, because I was sitting down, I began to concentrate on how the concrete of the wall felt against my ass, trying to determine if it felt any different. Then a gust of wind blew and well, I could feel the breeze if you know what I mean.
That didn't help.
All I could think of was this:

Needless to say, I hurried home to check on the wear status of my padded proctection.
The moral of the story?
Well, if anyone tells you that you da man, even if it's yourself, always remember to check your rear for you may not be looking as sharp as you think you are.
Oh, and thank goodness, my shorts are okay.
I'm getting a new pair just in case.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shift, the Red Kind, the Weather Kind

So I woke up early this morning and was watching the Olympic coverage.
It's sort of cloudy here so I'm not sure if a ride is on the planner.
I'm watching Matt Lauer run with the Olympic torch; this year's torch is actually pretty cool looking:

Well like many things that get posted on here, I'm not really sure why, but the word(s) red shift popped into my head.
What the hell is a red shift?
No, it's not a new set of twelve speed STI shifters from SRAM.
In the context that I was thinking about, it refers to a measurement of light from receding galaxies.
See way back in the Dark Ages, when Einstein (it's raining now, just thought I'd let you know) was putting together all his relativity stuff, he made what he called his "greatest blunder:"
He assumed the Universe was static.
Well it seems that there was evidence at the time that stars were moving around out there in space, but the movement detected was deemed insignificant.
Or something like that.
Poor Einstein!
Bet you he wished he had forked over the $39.95 for the broadband so he could get Wikipedia!
Well this stuff also ties into a debate over what the hell the Universe looked like.
See back then, kinda like now, no one had any idea what outer space was all about. Two men, Shapely and Curtis, had a big brouhaha in 1920 over the shape of the Universe. Shapely thought it was small, Curtis imagined it was humongous:

Well, we all know who won that bet.
Anyways, Edwin Hubble was up on Mount Wilson in California looking through his telescope. He and another astronomy geek named Vesto Slipher who worked at Lowell Observatory in Arizona were interested in the red shifts of galaxies and stars(the stars are known as Cepheids, I don't remember why).
Red shift, to put it simply, is an observable shift in the color spectrum of objects moving away from us.
Us on Earth I mean.
So anyway, around 1929 Hubble and a guy named Milton Humason(who started off as a janitor!) put it all together and figured out that holy crap! the Universe is freakin expanding!
Einstein did a major face palm.
Hubble got a constant.
Oh, and he got a telescope:

Well it's not really his telescope.
But it is named after him.
So what has this got to do with the Olympic torch?
I don't really know. I suppose they are related somehow.
In my mind anyways.
Well, guess I'll go and clean my chain in case it stops raining:

There's bound to be a shift in the weather.
The weather here is not static.
Though sometimes I wish it was.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Like a Rock, Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

I like Bob Seger.
Songs like Against the Wind, and Nightmoves were practically anthems when I was growing up.
Kinda partial to Mainstreet myself.
Today as I rode along, I kept thinking of the Seger song in the Chevrolet commercial, Like a Rock.
Probably because the Beach Bike felt like it came out of the Slate Rock and Gravel Company:

Better yet, in another life it was a boat anchor.
Or something.
Whatever it is it does not feel like extruded aluminum. Seems like those fenders added another GAGILLION pounds to the frame.
I'll be glad when I'm back on the other bike Friday. I broke a spoke the other day so I have to true up the wheel:

So anyways, today's little excursion to the store turned into a nine mile ride. That's strange for the store is only about a mile away and when I left, I was pretty beat.
Did I mention the fact that it felt like I was rolling along on two flat tires?
There is something about getting on the bike though, something that makes you want to keep pedaling and keep on going. So today, I passed the store and kept on going.
With no particular place to go.
Is that a Chuck Berry song?
So I just rolled along, enjoying the waning afternoon light. There's a primitive pleasure I get out of just rolling along, breeze in face, sun at my back. I say primitive for it is not a conscious pleasure. How can it be pleasure when you start huffing and a puffing and your legs start to catch fire?
Perhaps it's that old hunter/gatherer instinct calling me out to the open air. A need to roam my territory, explore the range.
The thing that kept me rollin along today was the same feeling that makes me look up at the night sky with wonder and marvel at the stars.
Okay, this is getting way too hokey.
That Jones Soda bottle cap has put me in a delusional tizzy.
Where was I going with this?
Ah yes, riding around.
So anyways, I finally remembered why I was out there and headed on back to the store to pick up a few things:

Okay, I didn't really pick up a copy of Frampton Comes Alive! I took that image a while back and never had a chance to use it.
Until now.
And right now, I wish I was still out there in the afternoon sun, rolling, rolling, rolling: