Monday, May 31, 2010

I Will Ride for Cream Soda

The road calls!
I could not resist he primal urge to don the cleats and revel in the glory of self propelled propulsion. I had to get out and feel the asphalt under my wheels, the wind in my hair, my heart beating and blood pumping.
Okay not really.
TNT was showing a Law & Order episode that I had already seen like a GAGILLION times, so I took it as sign that I needed to get off the couch and get out.
I tell you, the park was full of people!
There would have been a whole lot more if parking had not been such a premium.
You know the beach is full when people start parking on the bike path.
Well not on the bike path exactly, but they start to create parking that gets pretty close to it.
Beach goers get even more creative when it comes to parking in Lanikai where there are no marked spaces. Several times I have been almost right hooked there by tourists looking for an open area to park.
No, I didn't stop to take pictures for I was drafting behind two girls on beach cruisers. The second girl in line looked behind at me, gave me The Look and put the hammer down.
I thought I'd show them that it wouldn't be so easy to drop the old guy.
We manuevered between slow tourists, kayakers, surfers, dog walkers, stroller pushers and people just plain walking around.
We made it out of Lanikai safely.
Oh, and I dropped them at the end.
Just before my turn around, on the side of the road, I saw two young girls, carrying a tanker(longboard to you non locals) one in the front, the other bringing up the rear. I got closer and saw they were carrying not one surfboard, but two!
Each board had to be twice their size so this was the buddy system at it's best.
I would have taken a picture, but to be honest, they were quite young and not properly attired.
Anyways, I see young people skateboarding, bicycling, walking, crawling, and limping to the beach.
Okay, maybe not crawling or limping.
Point is, they use all kinds of transportation besides a car.
Well, they probably can't afford the gas:



The thing is, they're used to alternate forms of transportation. I'll bet they aren't worried about getting to the beach and not finding a parking space.
I was contemplating these things as I rested and had an Icee:



The thing is, cycling advocates are going about this thing the wrong way.
See, they try to convert people, let's call them gasoline powered people(GPP), to try alternative transportation.
Too late.
Assimilated.
Consumerized.
Drank the Kool Aid.
We got to work on the young people, let's call them the can't afford gas people(CAGP), to make them continue to use the alternate types of transportation they already use.
Let's go a step further and make it easier for them to continue, and harder for them to join the GPP nation.
I wonder if we can tax gas enough to make public transportation free?
Okay, maybe that Icee was getting to my head.
Brain freeze and all that.
I think though, the more CAGP we have, the easier it will be change the paradigm. We should be working to make petroleum products unaffordable to the next generation.
I mean I used to take the car to run over to the store and get bread.
Now, it's cheaper to take the bike:



Even if it's just to get a cream soda.

Gimme a Minute

Boy, what a great day!
Law & Order marathon on TNT!
I don't know if I can leave the house.
Okay, I should get out and enjoy the sunshine.
At least for a little bit.
Maybe I'll go out to grab a cream soda.
Just gimme a minute.
Or so.
For those of you also enjoying a day off, gimme just one minute:



Thanks!
I'm going for a ride.
Right after this episode of Law & Order.

Full Moon Plus Three, Atlas and Hercules

Three days after the full Moon.
I didn't expect to see so much change.
Of course the Moon is no longer circular; it's beginning to appear elongated.
It is also rising a lot later in the evening, which may become a problem for me.
I have to say, I've never looked at the Moon this way before.
I mean, I've looked at the Moon.
Just not on consecutive nights.
Good stuff.
For me anyways.
Okay, Moon plus three:



This is about the sharpest image I have taken yet. Not tack sharp, but pretty close to what I see in the eyepiece.
I wouldn't have posted this up, but Mare Crisium is almost totally in the dark. The only thing left visible is the ring of high ground that surrounds it:



You can start to get an idea of depth and height of some of the features. The shadows help to define stuff that during the full Moon is washed out.
In the picture above, the two prominent craters that are off to the left of middle are Hercules(69km) and Atlas(87km).
On the west side, a whole bunch of craters:



Average size is between 70-90km across.
I boosted the contrast on the close ups to improve definition.
I also tried out the neutral density filter tonight but it didn't really help. My guess is that it only helps when the Moon is full.
Although these images were taken while the Moon was fairly low on the horizon, there was very little heat in the atmosphere which may explain the extra sharpness in the images.
I have to go back and take another look at the previous shots to see if I missed any good ones.
Actually it's good that the Moon is rising late. I may be able to get in some star field shots although the good part of the Milky Way doesn't rise until early morning.
I hope to get in some nice pics when the Moon goes new and the Summer Triangle appears.
The Summer Triangle is made up of three bright stars: Vega in the constellation Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila.
Right now, the Summer Triangle is following the Moon rise, so it's a bit washed out.
Anyways, I can't wait to see what the Moon looks like tomorrow.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Jumpy Thingys and Turtles?

I wasn't fooling around in yesterday's post.
Them jumpy thingys are proliferating:





Seriously, this is the beach!
I mean what's so fun about just jumping around? Can't you accomplish that on like your bed at home?
Okay, I guess if you have a bunk bed, it's difficult, but I mean at the beach?
Like there's nothing better to do?
Hey kids, what do you want to do today?
Let's go to the beach and jump up and down in a semi enclosed plastic Spiderman house!
Yay!
Well at least the kids are outdoors.
Sort of.
I wonder where the Playstation is hooked up.
It was turning into a nice day so I decided to do some exploring. I mean I was all dressed up and had no where to go so why not?
Off I went to find the President's vacation house.
If you remember the secret spy photos I took when the President was on vacation here, you know that the house he stayed in is near a canal that flows into the ocean:



This section of beach front property is exclusive. There are no public right of ways here.
In the interest of journalism, I braved the 'private property' signs and ventured on:



I parked the Barn Door for a bit and stared into the water to contemplate life and the cream soda that waited for me on the other side of the canal.
It was pretty warm and I was working up a pretty good thirst. I looked down and what should I see?



A sea turtle!
Like right there!
Now what is a sea turtle doing cruising along the edge of the canal? I mean it must be at least a couple hundred yards from the ocean.
Surely a lost soul.
Well turtle number one heads towards open water and then:



Two turtles!
Okay, I know that one looks a lot like turtle number one, but trust me, it's turtle number two!
For me, this is quite incredible for I've never seen turtles in a canal before. I mean I've seen them in the ocean and stuff, but what are they doing swimming so far up the canal?
Must be something for a minute later, turtle number three! Out swimming in the middle of the canal(the pics didn't come out, you'll just have to take my word for it).
What gives?
I better check this place out more often!
Just goes to show you that just when you think you've seen it all.
Well, you know the rest.

Full Moon Plus Two, Mare Crisium, Langrenus

Okay, here's the full Moon plus two days.
If you compare the shots of the full Moon to these, you can see how much difference the terminator makes in helping to define features.
First let me say, that I tried taking images just using the digital zoom on my camera.
Resolution sucked.
So, I had to haul out the ole telescope to get these pics.
Now, these aren't the greatest for there was still a lot of heat in the atmosphere; you could still see heat shimmers.
Best time to take high rez images would be when the Moon is at zenith, or at it's highest point in the sky.
Well, I couldn't wait, it's pretty late here.
So, plus two days:



Now that's a mirror image that's been reversed via the magic of Photoshop so that now it's in the correct relationship to your naked eyeball.
You can start to see detail and the shadows provide some depth. The mountains that encircle Mare Crisium are now quite evident and you can see some peaks in the middle of some craters.
I mean walled plains:



That crater on the top with the central peak is called Langrenus, named after some Belgian guy who apparently drew the first map of the Moon. Langrenus is 132km across.
Below that is Vendelinus, named after another Belgian guy, below that, the other crater with the central peak is Petavius, named after a French theologian.
Petavius is 177km across.
The last large walled plain is Fernerius, named after some Frenchy.
Here's a blow up of Mare Crisium:



The higher ground that surrounds it is pretty spectacular.
I wish these images could reproduce exactly what I see in the eyepiece, but unfortunately, the human eye corrects for errors a lot faster than a camera lens can. The view I see is pretty much crystal, well except for the heat waves. The camera unfortunately picks up all the crap in the atmosphere.
The large telescopes, like the ones on Mauna Kea, are built with what's called adaptive optics. The mirros that make up the main reflector constantly move and adjust to the conditions, just like the human eye.
I'm also not much of a photographer.
Sculpture major don't you know.
I'll try to keep taking pictures, weather permitting, as the Moon waxes.
If I catch anything interesting, I'll be sure to post it up.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Boneshaker, WW

Today was wonderful!
No pseudo flats, plenty of leg, plenty of sun:



Ain't if funny?
I mean I ride past that coconut tree all the time, but today was the first time I've seen it like that. It was worth a five minute pause in my ride just to stand there and appreciate it.
Okay!
Moving on.
If you've been following along at home, you saw me go on a picnic up near the mountains. That place had a pavilion and benches and stuff, not really outdoors if you ask me.
Here's an excellent example of folks out on a real picnic, just a few friends and family:



Also they had like two covered canopies, a whole bunch of tables and chairs, a generator and a one of those jump house thingys.
I would like to say that's the exception, but really, I see one of those jumpy thingys like every weekend. I guess the kids get bored, I mean they're at the beach and all.
Maybe they should take up water walking:



It looks like fun!
If you get tired, you can just water sit and watch the others walk around.
Boy, water walking sure is getting popular. I may have to try it myself sometime this Summer.
So anyways, when I got home, in my mailbox I found this:



I don't remember where I found about Boneshaker so I can't give a real shout out, but chances are good it was probably on one of the links below.
What links?
You mean you didn't know there were links at the bottom of the page under the links?
What are you waiting for man, check out those links!
So anyways, Boneshaker calls itself a cycling almanac and it sort of fits the bill. It's full of stories and articles and just plain fun reading. I would say the tone is sort of like a real almanac except it has been a while since I've read a real almanac.
I guess I think it reads like a real almanac.
For five bucks plus shipping, you get like 96 pages of cycling wisdom and wit. I think some of the stuff is from readers for submissions are welcome.
I like it so much, I'm ordering the back issues when they become available this Summer.
More about Boneshaker here.
This is going to be the Summer of reading and riding!
That is unless I get a job.
Anyways, I'm sitting here waiting for the Moon to rise cause my neutral density filter came in today too. It's kinda cloudy out though, so I'm not sure I can get any images.
I hope I don't fall asleep.
Reading Boneshaker.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Get the #$@%! Outta My Way!

If you've been following along at home, you know that I've had my problems sharing the bike paths around here with other bikers, joggers, people just walking around. You can read about some of it here.
So I took the plunge and ordered me some Banshee Brakes.
If you've never heard of Banshee Brakes, you can read about them here.
According to the manufacturers, the noise from the brakes are supposed to alert other path users to your presence.
Here's what one of the pads looks like:



Apparently, the come already broken in or something cause you can see the uneven wear on them. I took out the old hex wrench and using the easy to follow instructions, mounted them up. Here's what they sound like:

video

Well to be honest, although they do sound like a truckload of banshees on meth, I wasn't that impressed. I mean they are loud and all that, but will they really alert others to my presence? I readjusted the pads just to see if that made any difference. I also used some sandpaper to remove any foreign material that might be embedded in the surfaces.
No difference.
So I took out these:



Perhaps Kool-Stop's dual compound pads will solve my problem. They are a little funky as they have this extension on the rear of the pads I think to promote toe in contact. So I put them on and here's what I got:

video

Gee, I didn't know Kool-Stops have a built in safety feature too!
I hope the Banshee Brakes folks know about this.
Anyways, it looks like I'll be safe on the paths for now.
If they can't see me, for sure they'll be able to hear me.

Damned If You Do, Well, You Know the Rest

Today was clean the chain day.
I'll get back to that later.
Off I went this morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take a nice long ride around, well, around here.
Anyways, I'm riding around, having a grand ole time, keeping that cadence up and all that, when about half way through the ride, man oh man I just start fading.
This happens from time to time, the fading part.
Sometimes, I don't warm up too good and expend too much energy in first half of my ride so that when I roll around to go home, I'm dragging my you know what.
I know I shouldn't have, but I checked the evil computer.
Obviously a wrong move.
I was forced to summom all my massive wattage to keep my cadence falling below seventy.
I mean I was just out riding around, but you know, that evil computer, it makes you do things.
I began to push hard. I mean damn the heart rate, don't let that cadence fall!
Now somewhere along the line, I wondered if hey! is my tire flat?
I mean it was getting real hard to pedal.
Like I said I was pushing real hard, but I wasn't really going anywhere.
If you know what I mean.
I look down and all is fine.
I struggle on home.
So like I said today was clean the chain day.
I clean the chain, and as I'm taking off my rear tire, that's right!
It was going flat.
An almost, not quite flat tire.
Now at this point, I'm feeling relieved. Relieved for I understand that I'm not getting slower, my bike is!
I gotta tell you, this has happened to me like four or five times in the past, so I should know to check the tire pressure.
Or should I?
I mean what if I'm really struggling on the bike, check the tire only to find that it's okay. I've done that before.
I can't begin to tell you how demoralizing that is.
I mean you are going really slow thinking that your tire is flat and it's not so it can only mean that, well, you are flat.
Then if you don't check the tire, for the rest of the ride, you are thinking about how freakin weak you are.
Should I trust the tire to be the bearer of bad or good news?
I mean really, should I leave it up to the tire to break or make my day?
You are sort of damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I'm beginning to think that tires are a bit evil.
Know what I mean?
They just sit there on the rim all benign looking but secretly they are plotting against me.
I'll have to keep an eye on them.
Anyways, I'd rather have a real flat tire than one of them half flat tires any day. With an all the way flat tire, at least you know where you stand.
Not like them ambiguous flat tires.
Posers.
I'm telling you, I'm getting some new tires.
Soon.

Fully Moonly

So last night was the full Moon.
I didn't bother posting images for there's nothing really to see.
Well okay, there's a lot to see, it's just that you can't really see anything.
If you know what I mean.
What I did do, is map out the major mare, or seas.
Back in the old days, when dudes like Galileo were using their newfangled telescopes, they though that the dark areas on the Moon were oceans or seas.
Sort of like how they thought the dark areas on Mars were canals.
That's another story.
Anyways, they named the dark areas stuff like Mare Tranquillitatis or Sea of Tranquillity.
The thing is, they had some notion back then that the Moon phases had something to do with the weather, so a waxing Moon, one that was turning full, meant calm weather, and a waning Moon meant bad weather.
Hence the Sea of Tranquillity is on the East side, and Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains is on the West:



The list of Mare and translations:
Mare Crisium Sea of Crises
Mare Fecunditatis Sea of Fertility
Mare Nectaris Sea of Nectar
Mare Serenitatis Sea of Serenity
Mare Vaporum Sea of Vapours
Mare Insularum Sea of Isles
Mare Cognitum The 'Known' Sea
Mare Nubium Sea of Clouds
Mare Humorum Sea of Moisture
Mare Frigoris Sea of Cold
Oceanus Procellarum Ocean of Storms

Interseting story on Mare Cognitum. Seems it was named in 1964 after the sucessful flight of the Moon probe Ranger 7. It crash landed somewhere around there.
The area around Mare Cognitum and Mare Insularum is where Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 landed.
If you've seen the movie Apollo 13, you can hear them talk about Fra Mauro which is ringed plain near the area where Apollo 14 landed.
As the Moon wanes, I'll try to get some close ups of the area.
No, you can't see anything.
I believe that using even the most powerful Earth bound telescopes, you can only resolve things around half a kilometer across.
It's mostly because of the Earth's atmosphere and stuff like diffraction and all kinds of other stuff.
Or something like that.
Anyways, the goal here is to create a mosaic of the Moon phases every two days or so. If you notice, the above image is in correct view(not mirror reversed) for it was taken straight through the camera.
It was shot at 1/1000 at F3.5. I boosted the zoom beyond the physical limit to around 35X digital.
I was too lazy to set up the telescope.
I also remembered(Doh!) that I can reverse the image via Photoshop, so no more bass ackwards pics.
I keep forgetting to add that you can also click on the pics for a larger image(Doh!again).
Later, I'll show you what I got so far.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spin to Win

Relief.
Sadness.
Joy.
All these things went through my mind as I left work today.
Now if I was still a student, I'm pretty sure exhilaration would be somewhere in there too, but I'm not so it's not.
I can forget about waking up with the sun and taking on morning traffic.
No more unruly kids and living by the bell.
I'll miss the people I work with and the day to day interactions.
I won't be missing too much time on my bike.
In fact, the first thing I did when I got home:



Gee, either that image is blurry or I'm really tired.
That's a pretty good pic of my well worn tire though.
It was supposed to show that I was on the road by eleven this morning.
That's right, I left work early and hit the road.
Boy, I needed it.
I had forgotten how much I missed it.
Okay, it was only like four days since my last ride, but hey! it felt good!
Work this year was something of a challenge. I should say more of a challenge for it's always a challenge. Without getting into details, I'll just say it was quite frustrating, but I did manage to learn a few things.
I work in one on one situations which makes things a bit different. For one, you sort of measure success by the accomplishments of just one student.
This may not seem that difficult, unless you take into consideration what happens if that students fails all the time. What I mean is that in a class room setting, you can measure your success by the whole class.
If you lose one or two, it's okay for overall, you did your job.
With one kid though, well, you sort of live and die with him.
You cannot just say 'oh well,' walk away and turn to the next student. You have to keep working until the issue is resolved.
That doesn't mean it ever gets resolved.
It just means you keep working on it.
Hitting your head against a brick wall comes to mind.
So anyways, me and my bandaged head went out today with the intention of just cruising around, enjoying our new found freedom.
Well, like some bike rides, it turned into a workout.
Spin, spin, sugar!
I've sort of been working on my cadence, spinning in a lower gear and keeping the heart rate down.
Let's face it though, somedays you got legs, and somedays you got two things that only look like legs.
Today, I had legs.
Really, I should take like four days off more often!
I must have looked a bit funny, cruising around spinning like a madman, not really going fast or anything. And let me tell you, I was pedaling my proverbial derrier off!
Well, all this time, I've been averaging around the high sixties in cadence.
Today:



Voila!
Not quite the eighties I was hoping for, but a definite improvement.
The thing is, those small rollers were easier to take going down a gear and spinning up instead of holding my gear and mashing.
In the end, I think I made some real gains albeit little ones.
Sort of changed the way I'm approaching my rides.
I got home and started thinking.
Now that's dangerous!
Me thinking, I mean.
As far as work went this year, I made some small gains.
I mean I didn't turn the kid into an A student brainiac genius, but I think I did manage to change how he approaches his education.
In small ways.
All that time, I thought I was just spinning my wheels.
Well, I guess all that time I was just, well, spinning.
Hopefully, I'll be better because of it.
Summer is going to be great!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

le Connaisseur de la Musique

Bon soir!
It is time again for le Connaisseur de la Musique to impart to you my musical wisdom.
I have come to you to declare that Young Americans is M. David Bowie's Greatest Song Ever(DBGSE).
Le title track off of the album Young Americans, it is surely the meilleur composition he ever recorded!



Et why is it so?
Did you not hear from moi?
Did you just not now read it ici?
Surely you know by now not to disputer avec le Connaisseur de la Musique pour what I say is certainment the truth!
Oui, c'est vrai that M. Bowie has many musics worthy of this title, mai Young Americans(DBGSE) stands out like no other!
C'est un anthem!
An anthem to the epic struggle of la jeunesse!
The desespoir et resignation can be heard in his voice as he weaves us a tale urban existence.
M. Sanborn on le saxophone and M. Vandross on backing vocals est exquis!
Qu'est-ce que c'est?
SpaceOddity? Modern Love? Fame?
Non!
Not one of these songs has les jambes to stand next to Young Americans(DBGSE)!
C'est faux?
Perhaps you need to clean la cire out of your orielles!
Do not argue avec le Connaisseur s'il vous plait!
One listen and you will ecouter the truth.
It is all in M. Bowie's voix.
Ecouter et you will understand.
Young Americans est David Bowie's Greatest Song Ever(DBGSE).

Next on le Connaisseur de la Musique: Why England Dan and John Ford Coley should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kepler and Aristarchus

Well, the old Moon is almost full.
When I say old, I mean old.
Like 4.6 billion years old.
Our solar system is thought to be around 5 billion years old, so the Moon is not quite original equipment.
Anyways, according to Sky and Telescope, we are two days away from full.
So what's so good about a full Moon?
Nothing really, for it's not even a very good time to observe.
As I said the last time though, it is a good time to see those ejecta rays coming from Tycho and Copernicus:



If you've been following along at home, you know that Tycho is the crater on the bottom with large rays and Copernicus is in the middle on the right, with a smaller ejecta field.
If you haven't been following along at home, here you go:



Don't forget these images are mirror reversed.
As you can see, I've added a couple of other things. Plato is a dark spot on the edge of Mare Imbrium(sea of rains) that's about 101km wide. Technically it's called a walled plain.
Moon nomenclature don't you know.
Off the side of Copernicus, you can see Kepler, named after the famous astronomer. The ejecta field is not as large as Copernicus, but still quite visible even with binoculars.
Kepler was a dude who had a theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Unfortunately, he couldn't figure out the retrograde motion of the planets so he made up some stuff called epicycles to account for it. Sort of difficult to explain, so I'll let you look it up.
If you are so inclined.
Near the terminator, yes, it's the terminator for the Moon is not quite full, is Aristarchus. He was a Greek astronomer who first came up with the notion that the Earth spun on an axis and revolved around the Sun.
Unfortunately, nobody believed him and it took guys like Copernicus and Kepler to prove him correct.
Now you can really see the rays coming from Tycho.
I'll tell you, I wouldn't have liked to be Moon walking when whatever made that puppy hit the surface. If you look good, you can see rays that extend all the way North.
Okay, so there you go, the almost full Moon.
Hopefully as it wanes, I'll be able to get more pics.
Oh, and your Moon factiod for the night.
Lemme see.
While the same side of the Moon always faces Earth, 59% is actually exposed to us. This is because you get a different view depending on where you are on Earth and because of something called librations. Again sort of difficult to explain without pictures so if you have to know, well, you know what to do.
Happy Moon viewing.
Just don't start howling.
Please.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Drafts

I was sitting here tonight trying to pound out something relevant and it just wasn't happening.
Well, I did start like two drafts, so you may or may not see the fruits of that. What I started though, just wasn't good enough for you, the reader, to set eyes upon.
You mean you, the reader, thought I just sat down in front of the keyboard and this stuff just, well, happens?
Sometimes it does.
Sometimes stuff just comes out of nowhere and makes it to your computer screen.
Sometimes stuff calls in sick or takes a day off.
Today, stuff took a day off.
Okay, not really cause I had this whole post going about a place called Neverland but then I remembered that Michael Jackson called his place Neverland and it occurred to me that now Neverland is tainted by, well, something.
So now I have to go back and rewrite that whole thing.
I dislike rewriting things.
In fact, very few of my saved drafts make it to the front page. As of right now, there are eighteen saved drafts in the folder and I doubt if two or three will see the light of day.
Here's an example:

Let's face it.
It can't be all that it's cracked up to be.
I mean being the most powerful human on the planet must have it's perks, but man, it must wreck havoc on your sleep number.
So, I was thinking about what it must be like to be President.
I was thinking that you gotta have a sense of humor.
Besides having an incredible amount steely resolve, you have to be able to roll with the punches.
Imagine:

Four thirty in the morning.
"Wake up Mr. President."
"Huh? Wha-?"
"Terrorists again."
"Terrorists? Don't them fools ever sleep?" The President blinks sleep from his eyes.
"You know what? I'm getting pretty sick and tired of terrorists ruining my sleep. Let's send a message. Nuke em."
"I beg your pardon Mr. President?"
"Just kidding. Give me a minute and gather the usual suspects."

Imagine again:
Four thirty in the morning.
"Wake up Mr. President."
"Huh? Wha-?"
"Terrorists again."
"Terrorists? Don't them fools ever sleep?" The President blinks sleep from his eyes. "You know what? I'm getting pretty sick and tired of terrorists ruining my sleep. Nuke em."
"I beg your pardon Mr. President?"
"You heard me, get me the damn missile codes! I want those morons vaporized! Now!"
"Yes sir!"
"Damn terrorists. Last time they wake me up," the President mutters as he pulls blanket over his head.

You can sort of see here where a good sense of humor prevails over your average joe who's in charge of nuclear weapons response. I mean if I had nuclear weapons at my disposal, the alarm clock would be little more than cosmic dust.
It makes me wonder just how much joking around goes on in the White House.
Okay, I'm pretty sure there must be a standing order that does not allow joking about nuclear weapons and stuff, but there must be loads of opportunities to yank some chains.
Personally, I'd love to see a President just goofing around. It reminds me that the office is occupied by a real human and not some party puppet.


Not really going anywhere with that one.
So there it sits, written like five months ago, collecting digital dust. Well not anymore.
I just deleted it.
In fact, before this night is over, I'm gonna go ahead and delete a couple more.
Why?
Well, for one thing, I'm not going back to work on them.
Okay, I might work on some of them, the good ones.
The bad ones though, kiss them goodbye.
Not one of those drafts helped me with today's post. I mean I opened up that file in search of inspiration and all I got was a dose of sleepy.
I took a nap for like two hours today.
So off they go!
Sure, them drafts inspired this post, collectively though, not individually.
So unless one of them steps forward and really shows me something, they are yesterdays news.
The good news is that it's cherry season!
I'd show you the bowl of cherries I had but I just ate them all.
What cherries have to do with this I don't know.
Remember, I didn't have a thing to write about so I'm kinda just pulling things outta thin air.
Which reminds me, I've always wanted to read that book "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer. I've had a slight interest in Everest every since I heard they found George Mallory's body on Everest in 1999. He and Andrew Irvine disappeared while attempting the summit in 1924.
So anyways, today was clear out the drafts day.
Gotta make room for some new ones.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Final, Copernicus and Tycho

According the kind folks at Sky and Telescope(see link at right), it's three days past the first quarter. That is, the Moon is waxing, not poetic, but just about to go full, which should be in around four days.
I ordered a neutral density filter(ND) to help with the picture once that happens, I just hope it gets here in time.
Okay, tonight's Moon shot:



Don't forget that these pictures are mirror reversed os fi uoy era gnikool edistuo, it will be different.
Now we can see two major craters, Copernicus and Tycho with their large ejecta fields. In the pictures, Copernicus is in the middle right and Tycho is on the bottom. You can see the lighter areas around the impact craters.
Tycho is most brilliant when the Moon is full and you can see the rays. It is 85km across and almost 5km deep:



Copernicus(93km wide and almost 4km deep) is obvious for it sits in Mare Ibrium and the rays are quite prominent:



In case you are really lost, here I labeled some stuff:



The craters are a reminder that the Moon does serve a purpose. It attracts rogue rocks floating around there in space before they get a chance to impact Earth. Most of them impact the dark side, but a couple of hundred years ago(I'm thinking like 15th-16th century, I forget), one impacted right on the edge of the light and dark side and those in the know think it was observed.
There's another cool crater off the side of Copernicus called Kepler, but it will be a couple of days until it's visible.
Copernicus and Kepler were among the first to believe in the heliocentric theory saying the planets revolved around the sun. Tycho Brahe had an observatory on an island and lost his nose and wore a gold mask or something, Kepler studied under him. He was too embarrassed to excuse himself during dinner and he died from a urinary infection.
Tycho Brahe, not Kepler.
Anyways, hopefully my filter will get in before the Moon goes full.
Oh and tonight's images were taken again at around 37X with a shutter speed of 1/200-1/300 at F2.7.
Tonights lunar factoid:
Lemme see, okay, the Moon is in synchronous orbit with Earth which is why we only see one side. One Moon orbit is equal to one rotation on it's axis which explains this phenomena.
Have fun figuring that one out.

Project Rockhopper

Today was windy, blustery and overcast so I figured it's about time to take a look at project Rockhopper.
If you aren't following along at home, I appropriated an old Rockhopper from a friend to work on during the Summer.
See the particulars here.
The first thing to check was the drivetrain.
Bottom bracket was still turning to that was a good sign. Dropped some 3in1 on the derailleurs and chain.
Some links in the chain were sticky, so I used some Prolink on them and worked them free:



After getting jiggy with the rear derailleur, it seemed to work okay but the shifters were sticky. I though I would try and change out the cables, but I frayed a cable so I just cut if off.
It's a single speed for now.
If anything, I'll take off the derailleur and put on the one I took off the Barn Door as it looks pretty corroded:



Or I may use this single speed kit I picked up a while back:



I'll have to see if it fits on the seven speed hub.
The front derailleur is out of adjustment too; it sort of skips over the middle ring. I didn't bother trying to adjust it for the limit screws look fused to the housing.
Over all, I'm thinking new shifters and cables at least.
I took off the tires and checked the tubes for holes. They seemed okay. When I took off the tires, the rim tape came off too. I though about running over to the LBS; instead I just used some electrical tape so I could remount the tire.
I'll have to remember to check that later.
The brakes are cantis and were out of adjustment.
Way out of adjustment. The front pads in fact were installed backwards!
So I took them apart and adjusted the cables.
To no avail as the pads were rock hard.
Solid.
For a second there I wondered if this were some kind of new compound or maybe perhaps prototype Banshee Brakes.
I'll have to order some new pads or change them out for Vs.
I won't have to worry about a new fork for the one on there is frozen solid.
There's some rust on the frame, but not too bad. Here's some surface rust at the seat stay seat tube junction:



That's about par for the frame. Not bad considering it was stored within sight of water. Lots of chips in the paint and scratches, but no dings or dents.
I'm wondering now just what to do with this bike. I don't want too put in too much money(more like no money), on the other hand, if I upgrade the Barn Door, I can use all the take offs.
So I put the tires back on took it for a spin on my street.
It goes:



I have no clue about what to do about that flamingo necked stem. I'll have to do some research.
Maybe I'll put on a set of those ape hangers.
Or not.
Guess it's time to hit up ole evil eBay and see what's available. I'll try and figure out what it's gonna cost to get this thing going.
Project Rockhopper, phase one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Bike to Work Day

Except me that is.
I drove.
I mean I'd like to bike to work, really I would.
I just don't want to bike seven miles uphill both ways.
Okay enough excuses!
Some managed to ride today and they gathered during lunch to show off their rides. This year was a little better than last year as one of the local bike shops had a mechanic and repair stand to do some tune ups and stuff.
There were some cool bikes:



Remember this? Slick rear tire, and center shifter:



Man I was diggin those handlebars!
Suspension seat:



Hey that license plate is older than me!
Okay, not really.
Low rider:



Stretch trike with boom-box and disco balls:




Now we talkin homey!
The strange thing is, the school doesn't even have a bike rack!
Two or three instructors bike in, and I've seen a couple of students on bikes, but that's about it.
Maybe high school kids are just too cool to be riding a bike.
Anyways, I get home and I'm all psyched up to get in some miles.
Just a late afternoon burn off the lunch cruise.
Ole Sol is beginning to hang around a little longer now, and the shadows are growing long. The light turns gold and makes everything a warm fuzzy.
That gives some guys time to make one more run:



I have just enough time to make it to the neighborhood convenience store and grab a cream soda:



Summer is here and the roads are open.
Extended hours, while it lasts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Won! The Landis Thing

It's cloudy tonight at Flat Tire Central, so I decided to expand my mind.
Learn some culture, broaden my horizons.
First of all, a rather large shout out and larger thanks to Richard over at Cyclelicio.us for sending me my brain fodder for the night.
He ran a contest over there and lucky moi won!
Winner winner, chicken dinner!
My first internet prize:



I told you a couple of weeks ago, I'd be getting back to Mr. BikeSnob NYC and here it is.
First of all, I don't read his blog. Well, not regularly anyway.
I do visit once in a while, mostly when others link to his posts. Which, come to think of it, hasn't happened in some time. I did happen to catch his first couple of columns in Bicycling until I let my subscription lapse, and of course, I've been reading about his new book.
So I figured that being sort of a BikeSnob virgin, I could do an unbiased book report.
The book is really nice.
Aesthetically I mean.
It's hardbound with thick pages and nice illustrations. It also comes with a set of four stickers that I suppose you could put on your top tube or helmet.
Or something.
The thing is, it's small, smaller than a trade paperback. Like I said though, it is nice.
Okay, the meat and potatoes.
I'm not sure what audience was targeted. It's a good fast read; I never got bored with it.
As someone who cycles, I was somewhat disappointed; his reputation and all that. I mean the guy is sort of known for writing with an edge; this seemed a bit watered down.
If I was just getting into cycling, I would probably have been more amused.
I enjoyed the early part the best. He gives a brief(very) history of the bicycle and traces some of his cycling roots.
Then it breaks down cyclists into sub-groups complete with definitions and tendencies, then it moves on to some other stuff.
No spoilers here.
Overall, a good way to kill a rainy afternoon.
Now, the cycling world has probably exploded with all this Landis stuff.
Even the local sports talk show featured it, tackling the credibility angle.
The whole thing is pretty crazy when you think about it.
Oh and just in case you've just come back from some brevet or something, Floyd Landis came clean and he also named names.
I'll say this: if you wanted to just come clean like he said, he shouldn't have named specific people.
Reeks of sensationalism.
I mean, Lance and Company is already guilty by association. Just by saying it was during his US Postal days, blows this thing up.
Now, I'm not going to get into his credibility and all that. I suppose we'll learn about that over time, just like what happened with Jose Canseco.
What I will say is that his motivations for coming clean, according to him, and the way he did it, implicating others, seems a bit strange.
What now? Will he write a book?
Oh wait, he already did that.
Work on another book ala O.J. and reveal the sordid details?
Seriously, blow a fortune defending yourself, then admit guilt?
I know they did it, I just don't have any proof.
Where have we heard that before?
Does this really help cycling?
Is this big enough to cause sweeping reform or a paradigm shift?
Did he really call his mother?
Who is this dudes manager?
All this is becoming like climbing the same hill over and over again.
It's time to move on.
Wait, what if it's all true?
To tell you the truth, if all the allegations are true, at this point, I really don't care.
What does this all mean in the big picture?
It's cycling!
People riding around on bicycles!
Now if you said some dude with his finger on the button of ten nuclear warheads was dropping acid, I'd sit up and take notice.
Really, just stick an asterisk by Lance's name and just call it the 'doping era.' Baseball is getting over it, cycling should too.
Professional cycling is entertainment.
Clean up pro wresting while you're at it.