Thursday, March 31, 2011

When Things Go Wrong

They really go wrong.
Maybe it's just me.
Maybe I'm just having a hard time getting psyched up for this.
Maybe my work sucks so bad I'm having a hard time getting psyched up for this.
Well okay, it doesn't suck that bad.
Today, I took my stuff out of the kiln and give it the once over.
Then I started to try and take some decent images of them to send in to the submission place.
There are all sorts of requirements you have to consider like size and orientation and stuff.
Seems the submission place can only show images in landscape form, so you have to fix up you images and make them square.
I'm still working on that.
The hard part was taking the pictures.
I've taken images of my stuff before but somehow today, I'm just disliking every shot.
I was up late last night finishing up the glazing and I get up early so I'm a bit more irritable than usual.
Then The Dog decides he wants to dance with the tripod and everything falls over and he just looks at me gives me "what?" look.
Then I can't seem to get good lighting and my background thingy keeps falling down and well, you get the picture.
Get it?
Get the picture?
Like I'm taking pictures and you get the picture?
So anyways I'm screwing around with the lighting and it occurs to me that I usually take pictures earlier in the day and that's why I'm getting all sorts of wierd shadows and no matter where I go I'm sort of still screwed.
So I just about gave up.
I'm thinking of going out to the store and getting me some Doritos and a cream soda.
Or something.
Well anyways, the two thingys came out of the kiln okay, meaning they got at least one good side that'll photograph okay.
That's important for that means I can take some pictures and send them in if only I could get some decent ones.
Pictures that is.
Here's the first one, I call it Vessel No.1:

The idea, if you've been following along at home, was to take a vessel and turn it into a well, vessel.
Like a space looking vessel.
Sort of.
This one is like your basic model.
I think.
Again, I wish that the nozzleliciousness was higher off the ground, in the image it looks like it's grounded and that takes away from the landing gear being well, landing gear.
I'm also not that happy with the lid, I wanted it to be sort a reentry looking shield thingy, but it just looks like a hat.
Turns out additional images are like five bucks extra, so I'm only sending in one of each. Hopefully they are goofy looking enough to get some attention and make it to the up close and personal jurying part.
The other thingy is so-so:

Vessel No.3 is a little closer to what I was thinking, though now I wish I had made the lid taller or maybe transitioned the shoulder up into lid.
I was going to go black and white on the glazing, sort of Polaris missile like:

Something possessed me and this is what I got.
I wanted to use the blue and black, I like that combination, it just doesn't work so good here.
The bands don't stand out like I wanted and get sort of lost; you can hardly see the ones on the nose/lid.
I wish I could have gone taller and thinner, but that right there is the about my limit for height in the kiln.
Total height there is about eleven and half inches.
Although these two thingys are not what I wanted, they are a good start.
I mean I got another six months or so until the next show, so I got plenty of time to think about them.
I'll post some close ups on The Garage if you wanna see more.
Now, if I can just get some decent pics I'll be okay.
I mean I need to send them in by tonight.
Oh well, I've been rejected by this show like four times so one more ain't gonna kill me.
Then again, I'd feel a little better if things had worked out like I had planned.
Somewhere along the line I must have muttered some famous last words.
Or something.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Feet! The Hard Part

Lookee here!
What do I got?
Something good you know!
My transformation is almost complete.
Sort of.
I mean it's like an addiction, you just can't stop.
It's just a coincidence that I enjoy pasta.
For I'm seriously turning all Italian:

Or at least my feets are.
That's right sports fans, now even my toes can enjoy some Campagnolo goodness!
Too bad they won't be enjoying them today for I got bigger uh, toes to fry.
Or something.
The good news is that all that stuff I put in the kiln last night came out okay.
The bad news is that now I gotta glaze it.
That's the part I dislike.
It's very difficult don't you know.
So the Mr. Potato Head is looking okay:

I fooled you!
I had that nozzleliciousness hiding in the chuck!
Which wasn't too good for I wanted it to sit up higher above the ground. I couldn't really see it once it was in the chuck thingy, so I just sort of eyeballed it.
I just made it:

Still, if was only and inch or two higher, the effect I wanted would have been better.
The other thingy, the funeral urn is okay too:

I wanted to put some landing gear on that one too, but man did I ever run of time.
Especially since I wasted so much of it.
Time I mean.
So I'm putting off my ride today cause I gotta like work on those things and see if I can make them spectacular like for The Big Show.
Actually I'm not really counting on them turning out too well for if you were following the UFT saga you know that I don't usually hit my stride until I do like the second or third one.
Anyways, we'll see what I can pull out of my artistic hat.
Right after Law & Order.
Oh, and after I finish my tuna sandwich.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The Flat Tire Staff

KAILUA- Local officials here announced today that a suspect has been identified in relation to the proliferation of numerous annoying Craig's List adds offering bicycles and bicycle parts in various stages of condition.
The adds, often resulting in disappointed buyers offer bicycles described as "like new," "clean with low miles," "just taken out of storage," and the most popular "needs work."
Enraged prospective buyers and Craig's List users asked the authorities to step in as the for sale adds multiplied like rabbits often discouraging buyers from engaging legitimate sellers.
"We got him this time!" and ecstatic anonymous Craig's List user said. "Caught him in the act."
"Like that dude man, like he was posting up his adds like every ten seconds," said another man who would only identify himself as sale-ab5dj-674489206. "Like maybe now Craig's List will be like all about real people buying juicy bikes."
The Craig's List abuser was finally caught on a security camera inspecting what apparently is his inventory.

'Stangs in the Corral

Yesterday, after tackling the Hill of the Vanishing Legs, I needed to take a couple of breaks on my way home.
Okay, not really.
It did help though.
I stopped off at the local car dealership for there was a car show of sorts.
Every year they hold a Mustang Roundup or something like that along with the local Mustang and Shelby club.
I used to be a member of said club way way back.
In another life.
I wasn't too interested in the newer stuff.
I sold a couple of SVT Cobras, back when they first came out and once you sell them, they become more of a commodity than something to ogle and fawn over.
The older Mustangs though, that's another story. I even have a book that encompasses the early models:

So anyways, here's some of the eyeball candy.
A GT40, apparently a custom copy:

Modeled after the Dan Gurney model with the dome on the drivers door for Gurney was a tall fellow. This I believe is the car than won Le Mans in 1966 over Ferrari.
A row of Thunderbirds:

A de Tomaso Pantera:

I was actually around those a lot back in the seventies for the service station I worked at serviced several of them.
Ford powered Italian design.
Oh, and Campagnolo wheels!
A Cobra:

This one a little closer to the original look, badged 427(big block motor), but for some reason it looks wrong.
Another Cobra:

Again this one badged 427, but obviously a small block motor.
Not a purist car, but hey! it's a Cobra, even if it is a replica and I wouldn't kick it out of my garage!
Oh, and there were some Mustangs:

The top one if I had to guess is a '65, the other one I think a '69 with a big block 428.
Seeing them pony cars made wish I had one again, this time instead of a fastback, I'd take a convertible.
For the cruise don't you know.
I know this is primarily a cycling blog, but them olden

Contest Special

Okay, here we go!
Let me say that this was difficult.
For one thing, only three folks sent in images, and it was hard to choose only one.
I mean it would have been easier to disappoint the many, versus the few.
If you know what I mean.
I sort of disliked having to make this kind of decision, cause I feel like I should reward all of your efforts.
I not going to identify the participants; they can announce themselves in the comments section if they wish to seek fame and fortune.
So, what I was looking for was something that grabbed my eyeballs.
I also took into consideration the interest of the non cyclist and how interesting the picture would be to the layperson and how well the image would stand alone.
Out of the fourteen pictures I got, I selected five for final critique:

Framing is a bit off, but those cross hairs just get my attention!
Like some kind of sniper assassin bike!
I also liked the texture against the smooth coolness of the clamp.
I dig symmetry.

Whoa! What's this? The B2 bomber?
The use of back lighting caught my attention right away and I dig the negative space.
You can never have too much negative space.
Okay, not really.
About the negative space I mean.
Being something of a minimalist, I liked the simplicity.

The implied symmetry worked for me here too.
Although the line moves the eyeballs downwards, it's a view most of us don't see of our own bikes.
Unless you are riding backwards or something.

Now this one, I really liked!
In a what the hell? oh that's what it is sort of way.
When I first saw the thumbnail, I though, hey! we don't need no shimmering water pictures!
I liked it so much I even went and did some PS magic on it to see what it would have looked like in B&W and liked it even better.
There is some kind of artifact in the upper center that bothers me some and I wouldn't really mention it, but like I said, I really liked this one.
The thing for me about photography though, is that unless it's really visually interesting, I'm looking for a story.
Better yet, a story and something visually interesting.
Which is why I really really really liked this one:

Winner winner chicken dinner!
Or that one I dug so it won the coffee mug!
Or something.
Would have been better if the tire was flat though.
Just kidding!
That picture was talking to me.
I mean that picture went someplace, came back and was telling me a story. It had the best of all the qualities I was looking for.
I gotta say though, me being a tinkerer and all, I did the PS thing again and it looked really nice in high contrast black and white.
I really shouldn't be fooling around with other folks' images, but I can't seem to help myself.
Okay, so if the owner of The Flat Tire award winning image will send me an address, like right now, I'll see if maybe I can get your mug off today.
Or tomorrow.
Thanks to all who participated!
I really appreciated and I applaud all of your efforts.
Oh, and don't worry, you'll get another chance.
I hope it at least made you look at your bicycles in a different way.
That's sort of what this was all about.
Okay, get ready for The Flat Tire Mug Give Away No.2.
Coming to a blog near you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Final

The Hill of No Return.
That's what I'm going to call it from now on.
For after I crested it, my legs were so cooked, I wasn't sure I was going to make it home.
Yet limp on home I did.
Not before I saw this:

Now the person who rides that bike must old for it was back in like 1975 when turning the handlebars up like that was in style.
I know cause I had a white Sears Free Spirit bike with handlebars like that and yes, I'm old.
Sort of.
Well today was kind of a day of firsts for besides tackling the Hill of I Might Not Be Able to Make It Back Home, I went ventured onto a freeway on ramp to get these:

These are the ancient fishponds over by Marine Base Hawaii on the Mokapu Peninsula.
In my book Ancient Sites of O'ahu by Van James, it says they are called the Nu'upia fish ponds. According to James, in creation chants, the Mokapu Peninsula was where the first man was created, Mokapu meaning "sacred district."
Sort of interesting that the whole place is fenced and off limits to us regular folks, but the Marines do a good job maintaining the area.
The ponds date to around 1300-1600, but have been altered from their original configuration.
The wildlife area is around 482 acres in size and are made up of eight different ponds.
I had to stop off there and take a break for my legs were starting to talk back to me.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, I staggered on home and did some work on that ceramic stuff I was supposed to work on last week.
I need to fire everything and take pictures by Wednesday, so I'm really cutting it close.
From this:

I did some things to it and got this:

Not exactly what I wanted, but hey! I gotta enter something!
I also fixed up the Mr. Potato Head thingy and hopefully all this stuff doesn't fall apart in the kiln.
I need to fire it off tomorrow, and let me tell you, I'll be holding my breath.
Okay, not really.
About the holding my breath part.
Anyways, I went ahead and started another blog called The Flat Tire Garage for I figure not all of you out there are interested my ceramic goofiness, but if you are, that'll be the place to go.
Now don't go running off right away cause there's nothing there.
It will be a serious look into the mind of someone who considers himself an artsy fartsy prima donna.
Sort of.
I have a college degree in this stuff don't you know.
So anyways I didn't have time to bang out those planters like I wanted, so tomorrow I'm gonna try and get up early.
Make that earlier.

Sunday Early Edition

Boy, looks like another overcast and windy day.
Still I need some miles so I'm gonna try and get out later.
This morning though, I did a surprise inspection on the Cactus Corps.
Something very strange is going on:

I got some seriously leaning towers of cactus!
Sort of looking like a pokey cucumber.
Or something.
Then there is the one that's going sort of horizontal:

I have no idea what's going on there!
I mean it was leaning at first, now it looks like it's starting to head back into the ground!
Then there's this planetoid looking one:

I don't know how it stays upright as the part that enters the soil is very small.
All those were plant place bought so I have no clue as to what species they are. I suppose I should check again and try to identify them now that they are larger.
Still with the GAGILLION types of cactus out there in Cactusland it's a bit difficult.
The plebes are doing okay, we haven't had an attack in a while:

Seems like those are the ones who are going to make it.
There a couple that have risen above the rest, the platoon leaders:

Time for a transplant I think, I've already got some bigger plastic pots.
The Saguaro is going great!
I think:

Time to separate them into individual pots, something I'll work on today if the weather doesn't break.
I think I'm going to make some little cactus pots as these things won't get any larger for like years, so I won't have to keep changing out the planters.
It's strange for they seem to be doing better than some of the others:

I can't imagine anything growing any slower than the Saguaro, so maybe I need me some miracle cactus juice or some nitrates or something.
I'll try and check the plant place later.
For now, I need to get going and make more planters!
Okay, there's only like fourteen hours or so to get your photos in for the Mug Giveaway No.1.
Which reminds me, I gotta make more mugs too.
There's also that pesky thingy I'm working on for the show that doesn't seem to be inspiring me.
Maybe something will come to me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Italian Madness!

Sheer unadulterated madness I say!
Out of mindness!
Just what am I babbling about?
Okay, so today I was feeling lazy so I just sort of sat around.
This being a long weekend for me since Monday is the last of the furlough days.
So I decided, just for fun, to search evil eBay for everything Campagnoloness.
Well, I didn't make it through all 142 pages of stuff, but I did get to page 104.
I have to say, it was an interesting couple of hours, seeing all that alloy and carbon goodness.
I also managed to hold back and not hit any BIN buttons although my watch list is pretty darn full right now.
Besides being interesting, it was also pretty crazy.
I mean I'm sort of Campagnolo Crazy and all, but not completely out of my mind.
Which is what you have to be to purchase or bid on some of that stuff.
I mean I can sort of see the pantographed Colnago seat posts going for like three hundred and Super Record carbon rear derailleurs at three fifty.
What I can't see is the cassette lock rings selling for forty bucks.
C'mon, it's a lock ring!
Then there's the dude selling cassettes sans lock rings.
Speaking of cassettes, how about a full titanium Record cassette?

Only three hundred forty five bucks.
I don't see any lock ring on that either.
I guess if you can afford the cassette, you can afford these:

No, you aren't imagining things, those are gold plated cranks, yours for only four hundred and eighty dollars.
It's on sale by the way.
That won't even get you a second look if you want to be upper stratosphere Campagnolo elite.
For that you need this:

Fiftieth anniversary group set.
Opening bid is three thousand five hundred dollars.
That's $3,500 American dollars.
Of course if you can't wait and absolutely need it now, the BIN price is a mere four thousand two hundred.
Can't afford it?
Well, you can just do the poseur thing and walk around announcing that you are a card carrying Campagnolo 50th anniversay group set owner:

The card will only set you back a hundred and fifty.
Oh, and it's used.
Now I don't know about you, the reader, but that's some insanity right there.
I don't know what's more evil, the prices or the fact that somebody is actually buying that stuff!
Campagnolo goodness.
For a price.
Call it an arm and a leg.
I'll tell what though, you can't browse through a hundred pages of Campagnolo stuff and not get anything.
So I put this on my watch list:

Campagnolo goodness.
On the cheap.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Dummy's Guide to Pain and Suffering

Fifteen days and counting.
Boy, that went by fast.
The other fifteen days I mean.
In the first fifteen days, I only got in six rides, not very good let me tell you.
Although I'm getting in twenty five to thirty miles per ride, I really should be in the thirties and getting into the forties.
Not good.
So I sought professional help.
Not that it's going to do me any good at this point.
I thought it'd be fun to try.
So anyways, I've been reading up some on training and such, getting ready for the Haleiwa Metric Century coming up fast next month.
Looks like I'm going solo for my brother is busy with The Warehouse and just didn't have time to jump on the bike.
Well I've been working on my spin for some time now, sort of getting it up to where I want it. Now comes the hard part.
I used to do intervals, sort of, and let me tell you those weren't fun.
When I did them though, I did pick up a half mile an hour or so on my average speed.
Now it's time to go back and work on speed and endurance again so I went ahead and got this:

That's right sports fans!
The Dummy's(me) Guide to Pain and Suffering.
Or Chris Carmichael's The Time-Crunched Cylcist.
Between the covers is a thousand ways to make you puke!
Okay, not really.
Okay, maybe.
I haven't really read it yet, but Carmichael says the workouts are "intense."
Oh my!
I'm pretty sure he wasn't smiling when he said that.
My preliminary skim of the first couple of chapters reveals short but difficult you ar going to throw up type workouts.
The idea being for those who don't have time to go on four or five hour rides, this is the way to go.
Self torture.
That makes perfect sense.
So anyways, here I go!
Off to blow a gasket!
The thing about riding by yourself is that there's no one to push you and for me anyways, if you rely on just your own threshold of pain, you really don't get any fitter.
I mean funny things happen to your brain once that heart rate gets a going and the sweat starts to sting the eyeballs.
Suddenly that hill you were thinking about before you left sounds really good, tomorrow.
I've sort of lost that loving feeling, the feeling I had when I first started to ride around, embarrassing myself.
That was motivation!
Nothing like having women and children pass you by like you're standing still.
Okay, they still pass me, only not as fast.
So now I figure it's time to at least try and keep up.
One of the great things about pain and suffering is actually seeing changes made to your body.
In terms of speed and endurance I mean, I don't think I'll ever be like skinny.
Seeing those changes come is a nice reward, but also for me, a sign of control over my health.
Something that went way out of control.
In another life dont' you know.
So anyways wish me luck!
I'm off to seek bicycling fame and fortune!
Or something.
Oh, and will someone please stop me if I start mentioning a Powertap.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free Mug Give Away No. 1

So in between sleeping and Law & Order, I been thinking real hard about how to give these mug things away.
I mean it has to be fair and I was trying to come up with something more or less objective.
You know, something I wouldn't have to like judge or pick from or make a decision about.
Less work for me don't you know.
On the other hand, I couldn't just give these things away.
If you know what I mean.
I mean I'm giving them away, absolutely free and all, but I didn't want to just give them away.
So anyways, I've been coming up with all kinds of convoluted diabolical schemes, really evil stuff for I'm pretty good at that sort of thing, but in reality, as in the real world, the stuff I was coming up with was pretty darn difficult.
As in maybe you may see something like that yet.
The convoluted diabolical stuff I mean.
Well as a warm up, a prelude if you will, to see if you folks, the readers, are willing to actually try and win these things, I've come up with something really really easy.
This is the mug up for grabs:

Now these things take me a while to put together. Total time invested is around three or four hours per mug depending on what kind of handle I put on there.
So while I'm giving these away absolutely free, it's gonna take some work.
Not for me.
Not right now anyways.
For you.
The work part I mean.
This is a photo contest!
Boy, I really really didn't want to do a photo contest cause that's kind of lame but it was easy and this one is going to take some creativity on your part.
Of course it involves a bicycle.
Your bicycle.
This isn't one of those "take a picture of your bicycle in front of something interesting" thingys.
This is take a picture of your bicycle, actually more like some part of your bicycle.
A really small part of your bicycle, close up like.
In other words, I don't want the whole bicycle, just some interesting part of it.
Some examples:

Get the idea?
Remember, things like composition, lighting, color, tone, etc. all that stuff counts!
Look at your ride in a different way, capture it for all to see.
Does something on or about your bike tell a story?
What does your bike say about you?
That sort of thing.
Think visually interesting.
Oh, and you can't copy the compositions above, been there done that.
You also don't need no fancy pantsy camera, the two images on the bottom were done with a point and shoot though you may want to bust out the instructions and figure out how to actually use some of that camera stuff.
Enter as many images as you like, the more the merrier, but quantity doesn't count.
Quality folks, the more artsy fartsy the better.
All images remain your property.
You can either send em to me via the contact on the right, or send me a link to your own page, though I'd like to post them up all together for everyone to see.
I'll give you guys until 11:59 PM HST Sunday, March 27 to get these in.
That's like three days and I'll post and announce a winner on Monday.
Or Tuesday.
Or something.
Have fun and good luck!
Your time, STARTS NOW!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mr. Postman!

Believe it or not, but I really like that Kevin Costner movie The Postman.
I mean besides being a self serving epic like Waterworld(which I also liked) it's got a great plot and some good drama.
Seriously, in a post apocalyptic world, it's entirely possible that something like the mail, a form of communication, could reunite folks and make everything better.
Sort of like what the internetswebz thingy is doing today.
Making folks feel better.
More on that later.
Oh, and that is not what this is all about.
The Postman and I, in my case actually a she, a Postperson, is sort of like my Mrs. Jones.
See, we got a thing going on:

Anyways, like I was saying, me and the Postperson, we got this thing going on. She brings me the goods, the bicycling goodness, and leaves it right at my door.
I don't usually see her, but oh, count on it, I know when she's been here. She's unwittingly become a partner in crime so to speak, an accomplice, an unwilling participant in my quest for the evilness.
She covertly brings me my goods, and quietly leaves with nary a hint or clue of every having been part of this deceitful scheme.
Except for the other day.
The other day, I was singing another tune:

Boy this is a first.
I actually linked not one, but two videos!
I must be desperate for material.
So anyways, I go to the mail drop and find this:

It looks like some envelope I crumpled up and threw away!
I've been waiting on something, more goodness, could this be it?
I mean could this be the wonderful bicycling goodness, the stuff dreams are made of, the stuff I'd been waiting for?
Say it ain't so joe!
I mean Ms. Postperson!

Tell me it didn't fall off of a truck somewhere on I ninety something only to be run over by half the commuters heading home from work!
Tell me it didn't fall on the sorting floor only to be flattened by the passing carts of Express Mail.
Tell me it wasn't the sorting machines fault!
There was a love note:

I usually do not use expletives here but No Shit Sherlock!
Okay, actually I was pretty amused by the condition of this package.
For one thing, the item I received was sort of bullet proof, or should I say USPS damage proof.
I mean they, the mail folks would really have to try to damage this:

You'd have to sort of go out of your way, and really really try to mess that up.
Wait a minute.
It sort of looks like they did!
I mean it looks like they tried everything short of an oxy-acetylene torch on that package.
Oh Ms. Postperson!
What have I done to make you treat me with such disrespect?
The Saturday Postperson means nothing to me!
I swear!
Then I got sad.
What if it was some ultra light carbon fibre doohickey that I had been saving up for, something that I'd sold off my first born male child(a masculine child!) for?
I feel jilted.
My faith irreparably damaged.
Like my package.
Boy, maybe I should start leaving doughnuts in my mailbox.
Or something.