Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It Ain't Over Yet, What the Calculator Said

It was over but now it's not over.
I thought it was sort of done, but now it's not done.
In fact, it sort of started up again.
The Great Frame Search(GFS) continues!
Sort of.
The word I received from the kind folks over at Pelizzoli is not exactly what I wanted to hear.
The standard Columbus SL frame sounds like it's going to be pretty basic.
I mean it's lugged and all, but no frills.
No chrome, no pantographed stuff.
Which is stuff I sort of wanted.
I mean I was dreaming of some chromed lugged goodness, and now I gotta rethink this whole thing as no options will be available on the basic frame.
Which also means no chrome fork crown and no chrome chain stay.
Which also means it's sort of getting away from what I consider Italian frame goodness.
The Columbus Spirit frame however is fully custom.
The thing is, I don't want no over sized tubes.
I want them skinny tubes, you know, a more classic looking frame.
Then again, it's not like the Spirit tubes are huge or anything.
They have extremely thin walls, like .38mm thin, so durability has me worried.
Not that I figure on crashing or tossing my bicycle around, but you never know.
The good part is that I suppose I could chrome the whole frame if I wanted to, not that I would, but I could.
I'll at least have me some chrome lugs and the fork is way nicer.
I'm not sure the custom options are enough to sway me towards the over sized tubes though.
So anyways, I've fired off another email asking about custom options.
The pictures of the standard frame should be coming around soon, so I'll be waiting to see what that looks like too.
Seems like I'm making some compromises here and this is something I didn't want compromise.
Well I sort of already am so I didn't want to compromise my compromise.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, stay tuned.
This looks to get a bit more complicated.
In other news, I went and measured up all my particulars, you know, so I could send them numbers in and see what some online fit calculators said.
Actually only one calculator, the one over on the Competitive Cyclist site.
What it told me is nothing really new.
Bicycle size around 49 to 50 and a top tube around 53 so I'm right where I'm supposed to be, a Goldilock's like just right.
I'm just going to go with a slightly smaller TT, around 52 or so, 53 seems a bit too aggressive for me.
The thing about going with a slightly larger frame is the head tube is a bit taller, so that may help also.
Seems to me this whole fit thing is way too difficult.
I mean it should be easy, but I guess it's not especially taking into consideration that all men are not created equal.
Still it seems that with all the adjustments available, seat, stem etc., one could get pretty darn close.
The thing is, I'm not really sure how close is close or how far is far.
I suppose if I try enough things enough times I'll sort of get the hang of it.
Better to go by the seat of my shorts than what some calculator says.
Who knows, maybe I'm already fit, but I just don't know it.
Maybe as long as my bicycle isn't giving me any aches and pains, besides the usual I mean, every thing is okay.
In other words, maybe I'm looking for a problem that isn't there.
I mean I've ridden some 60 miles and come away feeling like I could go a bit more so it's not like the bicycle is beating me up.
Well okay, sometimes the bicycle beats me up, but then I just don't lube the chain until it learns its lesson.
Or maybe I've learned my lesson.
Or something.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Call, Homage

Blink them lights, it's last call baby!
Okay, not really.
Well it is, for this batch of stuff anyways.
I got a few more loads of stuff to fire, then it's done for now.
I'm just finishing up the last few thingys and doing some touch ups to refire:

I gotta say, it's been sort of cool to be back making stuff folks can actually use.
Not being one to make utilitarian pots, this has been a trip back in time, back to when I had to learn to make all these forms.
Bowls were the eyeball opener as it took me a while to get back to Jedi level. Making a perfect bowl is an elusive thing and I'm still trying.
The thing about making stuff folks are going to use is that you really have to be aware of well, the end use.
There was a time when I'd scan the Crate and Barrel catalogs to see how many ounces this kind of bowl should hold as opposed to that kind.
Then I'd measure out the clay and try to crank out six or twelve bowls that were of the same height and depth.
I'd make U shaped bowls and V shaped bowls and big bowls and small bowls and all sorts of bowls.
Practice in this case, does make perfect.
For me, making bowls was something I just couldn't jump right back into, unlike riding a bicycle, there was a whole new learning curve.
The platters were cool
Working with a flat surface was different as far as the glazing part went.
You are a bit more free with ideas as you have more of a presentable area.
Not that I got creative with this batch, I'm beginning to see some possibilities.
Then there was the big Sell Out.
I mean putting some landscape on my stuff was like death before disco, but hey! you gotta do what you gotta do.
I'm already looking for some other recognizable land mass to incorporate into my designs.
No, not Diamond Head!
I haven't sold out all the way.
I got to try some different things with the glazes and I'm more familiar with how they work.
I'm getting sort of tired and bored with these low fire glazes, but there are few more things I'd like to try.
There's actually a few things I'd like to keep for myself, like them Mondrian bowls.
They take a while to get out, but look pretty nice.
I did steal one more thing.
Okay, not really stealing, but more of a homage.
Just for you JRA:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Have ____ , Will Travel

So I've been thinking.
That I carry a lot of stuff with me when I go out on my bicycle.
I just can't help it as all sorts of scenarios go through my head and I want to be prepared.
So I got this waist pack thingy, but it's getting all old and decrepit so I was thinking that I need a new one.
Or not one.
Let's see exactly what's in it:

Okay, you got your tire pump, tire patch kit, piece of inner tube, presta gauge, tire lever, note pad, pen, dental floss, lighter, small screw driver, extra batteries, aspirin, monocular, and a Waialua Soda bottle cap.
Now, do I really need all this stuff?
The thing is, I got a spare tube, tire patch kit, and tire lever already in the seat bag; I never use them.
I usually use the stuff in my waist pack.
Maybe that's a bit redundant.
The presta gauge I sort of need, I mean gotta fill back up to the correct pressure, non?
Note pad and pen, you know, for just in case I get like a brilliant idea.
Or need to get a phone number.
Or something.
Etc, etc.
Now somewhere around here is post that shows what I used to carry, which lemme tell you is more than you see here now.
I mean I really trimmed my load, for more speed and all that.
So now I'm thinking that the waist pack is not very aero and losing that will gain me a couple of miles per hour.
Besides it makes my back kinda toasty and sweaty.
Instead of what I really need, what don't I really need?
There's more:

I almost forgot the essentials!
Wallet, check!
Phone, check!
Moolah, check!
Music player thingy, check!
Oh and don't forget the camera, that's usually on the waist pack strap.
Now what can I lose?
Well the thing is, once I stop carrying it, I'll need it.
You all know how that goes.
Okay, I can lose the wallet, I only use that sometimes, and carry just the needed cards.
Maybe wrap some paper around that and lose the pad.
Boy, I really don't want to lose the monocular, cause you just never know when you need to see something up close, like at the beach.
If you know what I mean.
It also turns out I don't need the patch kit since I got the same thing in both saddle bags:

Lastly, I'll just chuck the pump in my jersey pocket.
I was thinking of using the frame mount, but I don't really want to.
Image is everything don't you know.
Let's see what we got:

I think I could live with that in my jersey pocket.
It's sort of heavy, but it's mostly phone, and that presta valve gauge, but I'm working on that.
The gauge I mean.
I'll fold the baggie up and see how it goes.
It'll feel sort of weird without my waist pack, sort of nekkid and all.
Then again, nekkid is a good thing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Final

Oh boy.
First of all, it was sort of a nice day, the sun was a shining and the wind was a blowing.
Did I mention the wind was a blowing?
Let's check The Flat Tire anemometer:

A bit o'chop on the water there.
Which means, a little bit o'wind to deal with.
Well I wasn't going to power through the wind all day so I decided to take it easy on the pavement and just cruise around.
Let me tell you, just cruising around in the wind is not really just cruising around!
I mean I felt like I was a pedaling pretty hard but when I looked at the Prevaricating Garmin, I was like hardly moving!
Very annoying.
Part of it is that it's sort of side ways wind, so you kind of catch it coming going.
No free rides to day, nosirreebob!
So anyways, a funny thing happened on the way to the beach today.
First, the obligatory winter pictures:

These guys were out in the bay.
These guys were kinda way out there:

If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see the whitecaps way out there in the real ocean.
It was a windy today.
Anyways, I was like riding around on the Ciocc and suddenly! I was feeling pretty good.
I mean the bicycle was feeling pretty good, like my position was feeling pretty good.
Not stretched out at all.
So I got to thinking.
Which is usually not a good thing for sometimes bad things happen when I think.
Anyways, I was thinking, just what is going on here?
The last time I rode this I wasn't liking it so much, but now well, I'm sort of liking it!
My overall position felt better than on the Celeste Devil!
So I got to thinking again, just what is going on here?
I figured that since I spent so much time off the bicycle, it would take me a couple of rides to get back that ole aero position and to get comfortable again.
My thinking is that more I ride, the more flexible I get and the more I get used to this whole road bike position thing.
Well I was feeling pretty good tooling around but then I started to get worried.
I mean here I am, about to order a new frame and I still don't know what the hell I want.
Should I order a 49, like the Celeste Devil, or a 50 or maybe a 51, the same size as the Ciocc?
Okay, I don't like that I'm using a 70mm stem on the Ciocc, that makes me think it's too big.
So maybe I should go right in between and go with a 50.
Or maybe I should go talk to someone who actually knows what the hell they are doing.
Or maybe I'll just keep the Ciocc and get another bicycle anyway.
Or something.
I think I'll try one of them online fit calculators and see what comes out.
You know, just to see.
Then I can get all confused all over again.
Okay, where's my measuring tape?

Sunday Early Edition

There are good signs and there are bad signs.
I like good signs, you know, signs that things are going well, really humming along.
Bad signs, not so much.
Still bad signs are a sign that at least something's going on.
Then there are things that can be good signs or bad signs:

Usually this might be good sign, except right now it's a not so good sign.
Anytime I break out the Dremelizer on ceramics means I'm trying to fix some mistakes and/or things are being refired.
These things for example:

You can't see them here, but there are four little feetsies holding that thing up.
The thing is, them thingys warp and the feetsies get all wobbly and I gotta Dremelize them back into non-wobbly flatness.
Not very fun even using a silica carbide bit thingy.
Very slow going.
I did five of them, and it looks like only four are going to make it.
The last one is just too far gone.
Lesson learned.
Then there's all this demon dust:

It's like some eVil incarnation of Tinker Bell goes flying around in the kiln depositing little flakes of who knows what creating little imperfections in the glaze.
That need to be Dremelized out, reglazed and refired.
I've had to do four of them.
So far.
Then there's the What the Hell Was I Thinking(WTHWIT) bowl.
Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?

I loaded this up after coming back from dialysis, you know, when I'm really not thinking too good.
To tell you the truth, I don't remember loading it up at all, I just remember needing to get another load in.
Well it seems that I forgot to stilt this bowl, I stilt everything for the pots are glazed on the bottoms too.
What happens when glaze touches shelf?

Glaze, meet shelf.
Shelf says, how you doing? I like you so much, I'd like to make you a permanent friend.
Not happening says I equipped with chisel.
My once pristine shelf now has a nice round chisel mark reminding me of my doofessness.
Thank goodness I'm almost done!
Now hopefully someones buys this stuff as I still got stuff from last year:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Working with Ugo, OMG!

So I found this video on Yootoob and I thought it was interesting.
Seems like Mr. Pelizzoli is giving some folks a tour of his shop and another dude is translating for him.
The translation is spotty, but the shop tour is cool.
Look at all the Italian Goodness hanging from the rafters!
All the pretty colors!
Reminds me of Santa's workshop.
Check out all the tubes laying around and the Chinese carbon frames.
If you look good, you will also see a couple of Viner frames against the wall.
I don't understand Italian, but I'm beginning to really like Mr. Pelizzoli:

If you listen good, you can hear Mr. Pelizzoli say how he worked under Ugo De Rosa.
Since we're all Pelizzoli today, here are some pics from Bloggerland citizen Scott, who kindly agreed to share pics of his bicycle.
I hope he doesn't mind, but I hit them up to crop and increase the contrast:

Holy works of art Batman! Check out them brakes!
Yes friends, the truly unobtainable.
The Eighth Wonder of the World, Campagnolo Delta brakes.
Even if I had them, I don't know if I'd actually use them.
I mean they belong in like a glass case.
Or something.
Chapeau Scott!
I've also been doing more looking around at them Columbus Spirit tubes. I'm not sure I like the over sized look and all but I'll wait for the pics of the new frame.
Maybe if just the down tube was OS, that would be okay.
I really like the thin tube look, it's classic and I think a lugged bike should have classic lines.
I think if I were going fillet brazed, that would be a different story as a brazed frame looks more contemporary anyways.
Okay, off to finish off the ceramic thing and undo a rather large goof I made last night.
More on that later.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Selling Out

I finally got out on the road today.
That guilty feeling was too much for me to take so I grabbed the Celeste Devil and off I went!
I was worried that after three weeks or so of idleness, the ole legs were going to take a beating, but after a few miles I felt fine.
Fine enough to take on The Big Ring.
I could feel my heart rate rising just thinking about it.
Usually I'm fine just leaving that thingy on the left side alone; I mean my left shifter must be just like brand new seeing as how I hardly use it.
Well I guess the the guilty conscience thing was really affecting me cause before I knew it I was a chugging along, my piston like legs driving me forwards at unheard of speeds!
Photographic evidence that indeed, The Big Ring was in use:

Well after seven miles I said Okay! enought of this! and I went back to happily spinning along my way.
Besides, I think I was blistering the pavement behind me and I think I saw some little girls fainting in the bike lane.
Okay, not really.
About the little girls fainting part.
Anyways, three weeks was not enough to affect my Jedi Skilz.
I felt good about getting back on the bicycle, for one thing, my box o'goods is filling up:

I should be happy about that, but I'm not.
Sort of.
In desperation, I was wel, desparate to find some new glaze pattern, I went ahead and did something I've never done before.
After reading some stuff about Fauvism, I decided to try some geometric pattern that actually depicts something with a local influence.
The thing is, stuff that sells around these parts is usually the stuff with honu(turtles) on them or dolphins or fish or flowers or coconuts or palm trees or waves or sea shells or well, you get the idea.
Them fauvists liked to use wild colors and stuff and that's what I wanted to do as I was sort of getting tired of the same color combinations I was doing.
So I took this:

The Mokulua islands just off of Lanikai, and did this:

I still haven't fired that thing cause I been looking at it and looking at it wondering if it's really where I want to go.
I mean talk about selling out!
Or maybe it's just a good marketing plan.
Or something.
Anyways, that plate is in the queue for the next firing so we'll see how it comes out.
Who knows, maybe I'll actually like it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday Stuff

Boy, I can hardly move.
Hawaiian Paralysis.
My eye was bigger than my stomach, but I still ate it all.
I guess that's why man invented couches.
To recline on after you eat all that food.
So anyways, before I ingested like a GAGILLION calories, I was a busy doing my thing:

I got like twelve more thingys to glaze and as much as you, the reader, are getting tired of hearing about it, lemme tell you, I'm getting just as tired working on them.
I've already mangaged to run out of six glazes and it looks like I'll have to go out and get a couple more.
Since I'm all in a clay making mood, I figure I might as well make some mugs too, you know, to give away at Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, anyone out there brave the early lines?
I guess I'm sort of lucky and cheap cause I get to make most of my gifts.
Good luck shopping now that it's every man for himself.
Well inbetween the glazing and a firing, I been reading this:

23 Days in July, by John Wilcockson follows the US Postal team during the 2004 Tour de France. It's interesting to read about some of the insider stuff that goes on, stuff that you don't normally hear or see through the regular media.
This was the year Lance was going for his sixth and unprecedented win.
It also talks about some of the history of the le Tour and some of the politics involved like how they choose the route and stuff like that.
Most interesting though is all the talk about doping.
The things folks like Hamilton and Landis said back then compared to what came out recently is sort of strange to read.
Sort of a were they lying back then or are they a lying now kind of thing.
Anyways, a good read if you are into bicycle racing and that sort of thing.
It helped me understand what the teams are doing and their stategies and all that stuff.
Finally, my brother and I were talking about doing a tour of the island next year, an around the island trip that would take around three days.
Part of the trip though involves some off road stuff as there isn't a road that circumnavigates the whole island. Out Kaena Point way, there used to be a road but it's unimproved and hasn't been used in as a real road in years.
We figure it's about 120 or so miles completely around, something we could do in two days but we want to do it at an easy pace with plenty of time for goofing around.
This may be a good test for an outer island biking excursion, we'll see how it goes.
Anyways, I feel like I should ride about a 120 miles tomorrow, just to burn off all that turkey and stuffing I ate tonight.
I gotta tell you though, something is compelling me go over and open up that refrigerator again, you know, just to see if I missed anything.
I shall resist temptation!
So anyways, I hope you had a nice and safe Thanksgiving!
Did you eat as much as I did?
I hope so, you know, just so that I don't feel so guilty.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Unknowns

Okay, now that I've figured out what frame I'm shooting for, let's look at exactly what I'm shooting for.
Okay, let's not look at it, for there aren't any pictures available.
Seems the folks over at Pelizzoli are changing the line up a bit, coming out with two new road frames.
The first one, I guess is sort of a standard frame in standard even sizes with standard paint.
It will be lugged with NOS Columbus SL tubing with chromed drop outs.
I'm not sure whether any custom stuff like extra chrome will be available on this frame as it sort of sounds like it will be an off the rack offering.
Their custom frame will be lugged made with Columbus Spirit tubing, not sure if this is the old Spirit or the newer niobium Spirit.
This frame will have chromed lugs, drop outs, fork ends, and stays.
The fork will also be double crowned and chromed.
The thing about this custom frame is the Spirit tubing.
The top tube and down tube I believe are over sized, something I didn't really want.
The tubing is also really thin, so thin that the tubing comes in two different specs, one for welding and one for lugs.
There aren't a whole lot of frames out there using these tubes, I think because of the thin walls.
Of the two, the custom frame is the higher priced, coming in at around $400 extra.
I'm not sure that's worth the price of admission, so initially I was thinking of the off the rack frame.
The thing is, I don't really know the full story here, my initial contact with them was very brief and not too much info was exchanged.
The way I figure is, I want to see at least some pictures of these frames before plunking down on the Paypal button.
I gotta say, I'd be more than happy with that Corsa GP frame pictured on the website.
More on this as info becomes available.
Now, what do I put on this yet to be named frame?

That's right more gears than you need fans!
I'm thinking of going eleven!
Except eleven may be a bigger chunk of change than the frame.
The thing is, Campagnolo has sort of dumbed down the lower end of their groups to something called Power Shift; you can only shift one gear at a time.
The stuff I got is called Ultra Shift, now only available on Chorus or Record, where you can do multiple shifts with one crank(push? sweep?) of the lever/button.
Veloce, Centaur and Athena now also use Power Torque cranks, sort of like Shimano with outer bearings in cups.
My stuff is all Ultra Torque cranks, with the bearing pressed onto the shafts of the cranks.
Now I've sort of gotten used to dumping multiple gears, especially when changing rings up front, so I kinda like the Ultra Shift stuff.
I'd have no problem going with Centaur again, except new Centaur is black.
In fact, everything is now black and nasty except Athena which can be had in alloy.
You bet!
I really like that classic alloy look, but it's only available in 11 speed Athena, which is only available in Power Shift.
To get Ultra Shift, I'd have to go at least Chorus, but that's all carbon/black too.
If you've been following along at home you, the reader, know that if I'm thinking Chorus, I might as well save up a bit and go Record, cause that's how I think.
To tell you the truth I really don't like the way Record looks, all black and nasty and stealthy like.
Okay, that carbon rear derailleur is pretty:

As you know though, I'm an Italian Alloy Goodness kind of guy.
Now I could find an NOS or used alloy group, but somehow that just doesn't seem right.
If I go used, I might as well use my Veloce.
Boy, this is a bit more difficult than I thought it would be.
I mean now I gotta fret over what I'm hanging on this unknown frame.
So anyways, there it is.
The unknown frame with the unknown group.
I don't even want to get into the Unobtainable Lightness of Roundness.
Hell I may not have any funds left over for wheels.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Flat Tire Investigative Report: Pelizzoli

Okay, not really.
This is not an investigative report I mean.
Well sort of, cause I did do some looking and a peeping and I did make an indiscreet inquiry of someone who actually went through the process of ordering a frame.
If you've been following along at home you, the reader, know that I've been looking at all sorts of bicycle frames.
Yes Steve A, I also spent some time on the Mercian site too.
To misquote a famous song, I still hadn't found what I was looking for.
I had only one set of criteria: lugged or fillet brazed steel.
The dream frames I looked at were all beyond present reach.
At that price, everything is pretty much custom geometry and to tell you the truth, I don't quite know exactly what I'm doing yet as far as geometry goes.
What I mean is, when the time comes to make the jump to the next tier, that Holy Grail of Frameness, I'd like to be able to have some input as far as the numbers go, and not just supply my height, inseam, etc.
For right now, I figured I'd save some money and go with something off the rack.
Why Italian?
Well I'm part Italian don't you know.
In fact I'm eating a pizza right now!
So anyways, as far as the other off the rack folks go, like say Torelli or Basso or the folks at the nuovo Ciocc, I wasn't sure exactly who was making the frames.
It seems that there's all these villages with small shops who are contracted to supply frames then logos are slapped on them.
Not saying that it's a bad thing, just saying that it isn't what I wanted.
The only place I found that I sort liked, besides Pelizzoli, was Mondonico as there is actually a person with that name involved in the frame production.
I also looked at Tommasini.
The thing about those companies, and companies like them, is that they are distributed in the US by other folks.
One word came to mind: middleman.
Not that it's a bad thing, them middlemen, I mean we're not just dealing overseas, it's more like two seas for me and I think it's good to have someone on your side that speaks your language and knows your laws.
Then again we're talking bicycle here, so as long as they got Paypal, I feel okay.
Besides, I exchanged emails with the gentleman whose bike I posted up yesterday, and he reported an excellent experience.
Now I knew of Pelizzoli from about the time I got my Ciocc.
Giovanni Pelizzoli started the Ciocc marque, then sold it to the folks that I assume run the company now.
I have to admit, having a Ciocc that had nothing to do with the original Ciocc sort of bothered me.
Like having something vintage only to discover that it was made last year.
Now being able to go direct was one of the main factors in my decision.
I save a some cash, maybe enough to get an extra gear.
If you know what I mean.
A lot less expensive if I were to say order a Tommasini Tecno.
I gotta say, when it comes down to frames in this range, I figure they are all about the same as far as craftsmanship and quality.
So what did it come down to?
I'm the type that digs being different.
Chances are I'll be the only one or at least one of a few who have a Pelizzoli here and that makes me happy.
Which is what counts the most.
Okay, okole happiness counts a lot too, but seats are inexpensive compared to frames.
Sort of.
I also decided that I wanted a bicycle with classic lines, meaning not over sized tubes:

I admit, this may change now that they are building with Columbus Spirit, I'll have to see what it looks like.
I gotta say, choosing a frame is pretty stressful.
I mean it's not like I get a new frame every year.
Okay, I sort of do, but this is a lot of cash and I got to live with it as well as ride it.
Well this is not a lot of cash, it's less than the other frames I was looking at and those frames were getting close to the next tier and forking over three grand for a frame is like well, forking over three grand for a frame.
It's something I'm just not ready to do.
The forking over part I mean.
Lastly, how could I resist getting a frame built by a cute old Italian dude?


A little more about Pelizzoli can found here.
Okay, now that I figured out the who, I just have to figure out the what.
More on that, later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Give Up

It's no use.
I just can't do it.
I mean I tried and tried but I just couldn't get a grasp on the whole thing.
So all bets are off.
No frame to end all frames.
This year.
The way I figure, I'll like never make up my mind.
There's like a GAGILLION frames out there that I want and choosing one is just not going to happen.
The more I looked into it, the more I studied up on steel tubes and lugs and brazing and seat stays and stems and all that well, it just boggled my mind.
I like that word.
I mean I don't even know why I'm so fixated on something Italian.
It's not like they cornered the market on frame building.
The Italians I mean.
Hell folks make bicycle frames like all over the world!
There's even a dude that makes frames right here!
Besides, I've hyped up this frame to end all frames a bit too much.
Okay, the Mother of All Frames may just exist, just not in my world.
So I'll just be happy to frighten women and children and scorch the roads with the Celeste Devil.
Oh Celeste Devil, how could I think of betraying you?
Since I'm retiring the Ciocc, I still need a back up bicycle.
You know, just in case.
Did someone say Ciocc?
I think I said Ciocc!
You did, didn't you?
I mean it's not like I'm fixated on the Ciooc, even though the name sounds kinda cool.
Okay, I have been thinking about Ciocc!
Just not the Ciocc Ciocc.
The Ciocc Ciocc.
I like the way that sounds too.
Anyways, the new Ciocc is not the same as the old Ciocc.
So I think I'm just going to order something from here.
I hope this dude don't get mad at me for posting up his ride, but it's the only built up picture I got:

Going with Pelizzoli just sort of came to me.
In a dream.
Okay, not really.
Oh and that's not really the frame I'll be ordering as they are coming out with two new road frames.
One a 'standard' frame using Columbus SL, the other a custom using Columbus Spirit.
No pics yet as I think they are still working on them.
I've already sent off an email and will let you folks know what's happening.
Anyways, the more I looked into frames, the more I realized that there's this pricing tier I wouldn't/couldn't cross over.
Unfortunately/fortunately it was right where my budget was.
To get the type of frame I was looking at would have taken me north of three large, and I just wasn't prepared to head North.
I mean I want a nice frame and all, but seriously, I had a hard time visualizing myself on a three thousand dollar frame.
I'm delusional, but not that delusional.
I'm also not made out of cashola.
I work(sometimes) for my money.
If you know what I mean.
Besides, I hope to be around riding my bicycle to one day cross over to that next tier.
Anyways, I gave up and gave in.
Pelizzoli it is!
Now I just gotta figure out which frame.
That may take a while.
Oh, more on this later.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Final

Well it was rain off and on today, so instead of trying to get a ride in, I figured I'd just finish up whatever I could and made some more stuff.
I tried something different, making a couple of small thingys on a hump mold:

Basically, you get slab and drape it over an upside down bowl shape thingy.
Let it dry a bit, add some feetsies and return to the upright position:

Because of the rain the clay wasn't drying to quick, I was only able to get two of em out, but I got three of them hump mold thingys so I managed to make some different shapes.
Some look okay, some not okay.
More on that later.
Anyways, I don't know why, but all of a sudden I'm all into making all kinds of useful stuff!
Stuff I don't normally even think about making!
I gotta say, there's a side to this utilitarian ware that's sort of challenging. I mean you sort of have to think about the end user and how stuff will work.
There's more to it than meets the eyeballs.
While on the wheel, I made some kitchen utensil jars:

Also managed to get out one more platter.
The others set up well and I was able to trim and finish them off.
Some of them were on the thin side, so I had to improvise and make some feetsies for them:

Usually you wouldn't do this in high fire clay, the clay would slump around the feetsies and warp.
This low fire stuff holds it's form pretty well so I'm not worried about slumpage.
Okay, all my wet work is just about done!
Because of the weather, I don't know how long this stuff will take to dry.
Now all I gotta do is keep a glazing and a firing and hopefully I'll have enough pottage to order me up a brand spanking new custom Reynolds 953 frame!
Okay, not really.
Maybe I can order me some tires though.
Oh and I keep forgetting.
Someone actually has to buy this stuff.

Sunday Early Edition

Now I'm really fat.
More fatness!
Well yesterday, I had to go and visit the clay place to get more clay and some new glazes.
On the way home I was forced to make a slight detour.
The other day, I spied one of these side of the highway vendors doing her thing.
Around these parts, it's not unusual to see folks selling all kinds of stuff like dried ahi or aku, flowers, or in this case pateles.
Okay, that's not how you really spell it.
Another word gone bastardized by us locals.
It's actually pasteles.
A Puerto Rican thing that has sort of found a place in our local diet.
Except that there aren't many Puerto Rican restaurants so I gotta get my fix by the side of the road:

I was just talking to someone at work about these things and how it's been a while since I had one.
Since you sort of have to track someone down who makes them, and that someone is usually parked on some road somewhere.
Besides besides the road, I think I had some when some dude came driving around in his car selling these things at lunchtime.
Or something.
All I know is that I only know of one place that actually sells them over the counter and that is called appropriately, The Pastele Shop.
Unfortunately it's over on the other side, closer to where I work.
Anyways, I turned the ole car around and followed the sign.
To this:

Which is how it usually is, with or without tent.
Anyways, the lady selling them was really nice and assured me that these pateles were not left over from yesterday or anything.
Sort of strange, but in the couple of times I've seen her there, I've never seen anyone stopped off there.
I was kind of thinking about that as I drove over, I mean I think she's sort of new to the patele game, meaning I've never seen her around before.
Well, the pateles themselves go for like $3.50 each, which is sort of pricy, but after I saw them I knew why.
They are large.
Maybe even extra large.
She also had some Spanish rice(SR) for like $5 in one of them 1 lbs. containers.
Got home and wow! everything was still hot/warm!
The SR:

Now I've never to Spain.
That's a Three Dog Night song!
Anyways, I've never been to Spain so I can't comment on the authenticity of said rice, but it was tasty.
Now the tricky part.
The pateles are wrapped in foil and cooked oh, I don't know how, but you have to unravel them to eat them:

Look at that puppy!
Usually they're only like about 2/3rds the size.
Okay, slowly unwrap, careful cause you don't want to spill the juice.
The juice is good.


Available in spicy or mild.
Gonna try them spicy ones next time.
The Flat Tire.
You guide to island cuisine.
Sort of.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Flatness of Roundness

So I finally got around to doing some platters.
I don't really like doing platters.
Sort of like how I don't like doing bowls.
Not my best forms.
So anyways, you get some clay and center it on the wheel:

Now, instead of going up, we go down.
It's sort of strange for going in either direction takes a bit o'skill.
Going down means putting some pressure on the shoulder of that mound thingy and making the clay expand outwards.
Centrifugal force also helps here as the wheel is spinning at around a GAGILLION rpms:

The thing is you can't get all that clay flattened down at once.
It sort of takes four or five compression cycles to get it where it's in the Platter Zone(PZ):

Once you're in the PZ, you have to start to worry about the center and the flatness. Believe it or not, moving the clay outwards and down is not easy.
Sort of an isometric workout.
If you know what I mean.
The clay also doesn't want to be flat.
It tends to want to be convex, all humpty in the middle, so you got to work it flat, or close to flat.
Then you can start to work on the sides:

Once you get here, it's pretty easy going.
Except that now you have to slow the wheel down to half a GALLION rpms for the outer section is like spinning way faster than the inner part.
Centrifugal force here is doing it's thing and control becomes your primary concern as the outer rim wants to fly off into orbit.
Luckily my Jedi skilz came back after I made a mess of the first platter I tried to do.

No, not done yet.
Because of the exposed surface area, the clay dries in different sections. The outer part dries faster than the middle part, so cracking and shrinkage is a problem.
I also have a habit of making these things really thin, so thin that I have problems removing them from the round bat thingy.
Tomorrow we'll see how it goes.
Let me tell you, making these things is a work out, if you're not in platter making shape, which I'm not.
In platter making shape I mean.
When doing bigger platters, you are pressing down with almost your whole forearm, trying to get that clay down and flat.
The good thing is that I've got more ideas on how to glaze these puppies.
Having a flat surface is easier to work with and I'm ready to try some new stuff out.
Maybe something special:

Decorating the Half Roundness

I'm sort of running out of ideas here.
I mean I got all these bowls and it's like they all can't be glazed differently.
Well okay they can, but it's a pain to sit there and be all creative and such.
So what I've been doing is working in sort a series, glazing these things in like patterns using different colors.
Some folks want bowls in sets, but when I did these I made them in all different sizes and shapes. I haven't done a set of bowls in some time, or a set of anything for that matter.
At least some of them will sort of look the same.
I went back to my polka dot thingy:

I forgot how much I like doing this and there are more color combinations I can use.
It's fairly fast, each bowl only taking a half hour or so and doing the dots is faster than the taping off thing I was doing.
I mean still doing:

This is an old trick, contrasting the roundness of the bowl with some geometric pattern inside like a triangle or square.
Sort of difficult to keep the lines straight, but easier than the Mondrian thing I was doing.
I think I'm finding a rhythm now, the bowls are getting done in bunches.
The thing is my kiln is so small that now I'm only able to fire off two bowls at one time. All the smaller bowls are pretty much done.
So now I figure I might as well make big bowls, you know, to the size of the kiln, that way I'm not wasting so much space.
Thursday will be my last 'wet' day, as the I'll only have ten days from there to finish up.
Meanwhile, I got this invitation to do this fundraiser for one of the museums here, a sort of high mucka mucka thing where my work will be on display at the local Neiman Marcus for sale later.
Thing is, they want something new so here I go again, I need to come up with a couple of pieces worthy of the occasion.
I got until January 5 to get that in.
Oh boy, the pressure is on.