Saturday, March 31, 2012

Steel Work

Or working the steel.
In this case, stainless steel.
No, not a bicycle.
Just a sheet of stainless I found that will be used to mount the hood on the kiln.
I mean the Holy Oracle of the Copper Red.
Anyways, I had this sheet of stainless and I needed to cut a puka in it so that the chimney thingy would fit through it.
Seeing as how the chimney thingy gets sort of hot, we couldn't mount it directly next to the roof, so instead it will mount in the stainless sheet.
Like so:

I used a right angle grinder and a cutting wheel to make the well, cuts.
The chimney is ten inches square, so I cut the hole is cut to eleven inches for I didn't think it would be so easy to peel back the stainless and make a bend.
Actually it was sort of easy for what I did was make a shallow "cut" where the bend is:

That made them flaps bend up right nicely.
The chimney will sit in the hole and the sheet will sit on the roof hopefully insulating the wooden roof from the heat.
I say again: hopefully.
Then there was the hood bracket thingy which needed to be cut down.
The bracket thingy sits directly on the kiln and supports the hood. Unfortunately the last place the kiln resided was very high and now the place where the kiln resides is very low so the bracket was cut down and new supports welded in place:

I had to bust out my Jedi Skilz for this.
It did little good for I managed to weld the vise grip to the frame instead.
I did however lay down a nice bead.
So after grinding off the vise grip, a little paint was added to protect the welds.

The bracket thingy is made from an old bed frame.
It also holds the damper for the kiln.
More on this later.
Next week we mount up the hood and set the chimney through the roof.
We must make sure the interior of the kiln is level, you know the place where the pots are stacked, before we attach the hood and send it skywards.
This may get interesting for it means using a jack to lift the kiln up and putting spacers under the legs.
That should be an adventure.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's A Small World

After all.
Sort of.
I mean most of the time it's big, but there is a small part too.
During the last two days over in biology class, we've been looking at cells and stuff like that. You know, like cells, them small things that all living things are made up of.
So anyways, the kids, some of them for the first time, got to see some real live cells under a microscope. They practiced first with some other stuff, pre-made slides, but it was nothing like the real thing.
First of all, no one really knew what they were looking for. Hilarity ensued as most of them focused on dust particles.
No seriously, you can show them pictures of what cells are supposed to look like and all, but looking at it through the eyepiece for the first time is I suppose, an adventure.
In a small world kind of way.
First we did some cheek scrapings so they could see some actual human cells at 400x:

I'm not sure exactly to whom them cells belonged to, let's just call em the donated cells. Well they were all blown away since you can see the nucleus and all but we weren't done yet.
Next up was an onion:

Boy were they surprised at the way them plant cells were all stacked up!
In the onion though it was kinda tough to actually see anything since it was all transparent like, even with some stain you could hardly see anything.
So we moved on to some elodea, you know, that aquarium plant stuff:

You can actually see stuff floating around in there! The best part was some of that chloroplast was actually moving around!

Well at least I thought it was awesome.
In a microscopic kind of way.
Next week the class is actually going off island!
Don't touch that dial.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Case You Were Wondering

About the copper red part.
It just occurred to me that some of you out there in Bloggerland probably don't know what the hell I'm talking about or know what the significance of copper red is.
So a little primer.
If you've been following along at home, you know that I dabble in ceramics and you've seen the goofiness that occurs from time to time.
Which reminds me, it's about time for more dabbling.
More on that later.
Anyways, the stuff I've been working with is mostly low fire clay, earthenware to be more precise, and is a different animal from what I used to work with which is high fire, or stoneware/porcelain.
The kiln being set up now is for high fire work, which vitrifies, or matures at about 2180 degrees Farenheit.
Low fire stuff doesn't vitrify and the maturing temperature varies although I work it at around 2000 degrees.
Give or take.
The most important difference is the ability to hold and absord water and the type of glazes used in the different firings.
High fire clay sort of turns back into like a rock, water absorbtion is very low, less than 1 percent while low fire remains porous.
Glaze color is also different as most bright colors burn off in the higher temps while most of the color spectrum is available in low fire.
Low fire:

Pure reds and yellows are very difficult to get with high fire.
I've only gotten a yellowish brown once, and I'm not sure how I got it.
Red, an oxblood red we call it, is difficult also but not impossible.
Well, it may seem impossible to some folks but all it takes it a lot of experimenting with glaze composition and kiln control.
High fire reds are created using copper and a touch of tin, usually in carbonate or oxide form hence copper red, and yellows with some variation of iron, either red iron oxide or some other impure form.
Variations in high fire red:

For scale, the taller bottle on the left is 18" tall.
The difference is that low fire red will come out exactly the same each time, while high fire copper red will vary with clay type and kiln firing.
High fire red, as you can see goes from dark blood red to a lighter almost liver brown red.
Actually I don't have any examples of the junk red for all of those got hammered and thrown in a dumpster.
I would say that out of maybe a hundred pieces of high fire red I've done, less than a third were kept intact.
I still got around ten of them.
The red glaze will not always burn red, you can also get white or a greenish blue. In fact I've got one pot sitting around here that shows all three colors:

That's the same glaze in the same firing.
In other words, getting a real nice copper red is sort of a hit or miss kind of thing.
Unless you work at getting consistant results.
Which I have tried to do.
Still anytime you do a copper red firing it's exciting for you never know what you're going to get until you open the kiln door.
In fact color consistancy varies so much, you never know what you are going to get in any color!
There are limitations in high fire though, like you'll never see a teapot like the above coming out of the high fire kiln.
If you look at the blue bottle in the second pic, if you squint yer eyeballs you'll see that the top portion, the neck is actually warped.
Things like bottles and teapot spouts and the like actually warp, unwind if you will, in the opposite direction of the wheel as they mature in the kiln.
I can't tell you the number of warped bowls I've had.
Not that I make a lot of bowls.
Anyways, for me copper red is a big thing, something I've worked hard at to well, I was going to say master, but no one gets a really firm grip on it.
All you can do is close the kiln door and hope for good results.
Which is something I did a lot of.
Hoping for good results I mean.

Fiddling On the Roof

Actually, I played viola in intermediate orchestra.
From there I went and played trombone in band cause orchestra wasn't cool.
If you know what I mean.
Then again, that's not what this is about.
So anyways, yesterday I forgot to post this up so you, the reader are getting yesterday's news today.
Sort of a late, late, late edition.
Work continues on the Holy Oracle of the Copper Red(HOOTCR).
We finally got the roof up, which is important for it's been raining a lot lately.
I mean we got a tarp on the kiln, but still it's great that now it's not going to be rained on:

It was easy going as the 4x8 sections of plywood fit perfectly.
A look at the top:

We'll be adding some tar paper on the plywood next week.
As you can see, we left the center of the roof unfinished, we just sort of nailed some pieces in there to cover it up.
That's because we still have to mount up the chimney, or vent.
The kiln is what is known as an updraft kiln so there's a vent hole directly in the center on top.
That's where the hot gases escape and it's also from there you control the kiln atmosphere.
More on this later.
Anyways, there's this hood we need to install that will sit right on top of the kiln and exit through the roof:

Technically, you don't really need the hood and chimney thingy, but it does help to control where all that hot exhaust goes.
I mean if the kiln were in some large indoor space, you probably wouldn't need it, except if you wanted to vent that exhaust outside.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, we're figuring out how to mount that puppy through the roof so that the roof doesn't burn down once we start going.
It doesn't get like red hot or anything, but pretty darn close so we're going to have to insulate it somehow where it exits the roof and still be water proof.
We can't have it leaking don't you know.
Anyways, as far as the Temple goes, the plan is to semi-enclose it on three sides, leaving space on the top and bottom for air to blow through.
Remember, the kiln chamber gets up to 2200 degrees and since the outer sides of the kiln do get hot, we thought it would be prudent to let air circulate around it.
The kiln I mean.
We should be done in a couple of weekends.
Then we have to work on the gas, propane in this case, and see where and how we are going to mount up two 124 gallon tanks.
We figure the kiln burns about 3-4 gallons per hour, and a full firing takes about ten hours.
That's a lot of propane!
So we're working with the gas folks to see what we can do.
More on this later too.
I gotta say, I'm getting excited about working with high fire clay and glazes again.
Stay Tuned.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Early Edition

Well actually the Late Early Edition.
For I just got up.
From sleep.
See, I was real tired after yesterday and besides, I was up all night watching Wallace and Grommit videos.
Netflix don't you know.
So anyways, since I'm getting a late start today, and work continues on the Temple later this afternoon, I figured it's a work on the bicycle day.
There are still a few things on Project Rockhopper that need to get done.
I swapped out old group and installed the STX group Hoku gave me.
It's a bit battered and rusty, but an improvement on the stuff that came off:

If you squint yer eyeballs you can see that I also got a new chain.
I was getting some hop skipping and jumping on one of gears, so I figured I'd try a new chain and see if it clears up.
The old chain was all gummy and yucky so I'm hoping that was the problem.
I also brought my old Easton Flatboys out of storage:

The Flatboys were actually retired to The Flat Tire Hall of Fame(FTHOF) for they are the first accessories I ever bought.
Back when I got into riding, I bought these pedals before I even had a bicycle.
Don't ask me why, as things were a bit goofy back then.
Not that things aren't goofy now.
If you know what I mean.
Next up I'll be changing the quick release on the seat post to a more permanent type:

Not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just that the only spare seat I have right now is one of them Selle Italia SLK thingys and I don't want it to go walking off on me.
Either that or I was thinking maybe on of them saddle cable thingys for when I lock up.
I'm still on the look out for a couple of cheap/inexpensive saddles.
Then I was looking at the shifters.
The old set works okay most of the time:

The rear still tends to hang up once in a while going down the cassette but it's not a real problem.
I do have the STX shifters:

As you can see, they have indicators on them which are cool but not something I really need.
I also want to take out the steel handlebar and put on an alloy riser I got sitting around, but I think I'd need to change out the steel quill on there also.
The quill has a puka in it for the brake cable, so I'd have to find one of them headset brake bracket thingys or drill the new quill.
I'd like to get the bars above the seat height, you know, for a more upright position.
I have two adjustable quills but again, I'd have to accommodate the brake cable to use either one.
New and improved Rockhopper pics to come.
Stay Tuned.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Okay, not really.
Well sort of.
I mean I've been busy, busy with small little things that need my attention and cannot be ignored.
Like Netflix for example.
I just can't ignore it!
No matter how hard I try, a little clicky here and little clicky there and like Emeril: BAM!
French movies and potato chips appear in a cloud of smoke!
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that I fancy myself a student of French.
Except when I watch them movies, I can't for the life of me understand one freakin word that is being said!
I'm so sad.
In more ways than one.
Anyways, I've also been busy working on the video for Kvibe. I shot more stuff today and spent a couple of hours editing.
That's the hard part, the editing I mean.
Watching clips endlessly over and over and over again, cutting and a splicing and a cutting and a splicing.
I figure I'm still about a week away from finishing it off as I still need a few more shots.
Work has also been keeping me busy as we've started a new quarter and I got a bunch of kids that aren't doing too good.
Thankfully, the instructors I work with are great and pretty much let me do my thing.
Which I'm working hard at improving.
My thing I mean:

A lot of these teaching books are sort of repetitive, I mean I learned most of the stuff in teacher school, but if I can learn one new strategy or technique then it's money well spent.
Now that I'm back working a classroom instead of one on one the larger your toolbox the better.
If you know what I mean.
Been busy in the kitchen too as I've been considering my diet.
No, not dieting, but my overall diet and what I can do to be more healthy.
Okay, them pork rinds don't help, but once in a while isn't going to kill me.
I hope.
There's also this other stuff I had to cook up and get rid of.
I mean every year around this time it goes on sale and being one of my favorites I just can't ignore:

This is like the third brisket I've boiled up in two weeks!
Corned beef and cabbage with some Dijon(that's French don't you know) mustard makes me mouth water like you wouldn't believe!
Okay, not exactly health food, but three times a year isn't so bad, non?
Okay, maybe three times in two weeks is bad as I think they put something in the beef that makes you lazy.
Or maybe I'm just lazy naturally.
The weather has been off and on here, rainy and windy and that only helped push my laziness to extreme proportions.
Besides, I only have like thirty something episodes of Nikita to go before I'm all caught up.
Netflix beckons.
Resistance is futile.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's All In My Head, I Mean Blood

Yes it is.
It's all there alright.
In my head.
Or at least I thought it was.
Now it turns out it may actually be in my blood.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you may have noticed a drop off in the amount of miles I've been putting in.
Maybe I need more performance enhancing drugs.
Okay, my kidneys don't work so good no more and since the kidneys got something to do with red blood cells, that means trouble.
Red blood cells carry much needed oxygen to the muscles and when you got muscles like me, well you need mucho oxygen.
If you know what I mean.
Well my hemoglobin levels are like really low.
Low as in not human low as normal men folk have like hemoglobin levels around 14-18, me I'm more like around 10-11.
Actually right at 10.5 although I suppose it fluctuates month to month.
To put it in hematocrit levels, like them pro bicycle folks, the doping folks get suspicious when the hematocrit gets around 50, me I'm at around 31.5 or way below the scale.
Women have higher hemoglobin levels than I do.
Which is why I get two shots of Epogen a week:

That is a for real shot of my blood getting my much needed Epogen boost.
Yes, I should be a poster boy for the Amgen Tour of California.
Sort of.
Anyways, I get my two Epogen shots(you can see how little I get) but the FDA folks have decided that a safe hemoglobin level is around 11.
In doping terms, folks that have a hematocrit above 50 have a hemoglobin level of 17 or over, which I suppose is where you want to be if you want to take on some pro riders on the Ventoux.
So what does this all mean.
I got bad blood.
My hemoglobin used to be around 12, which was the old recommended level and around the same for women, but the FDA has changed that to 11.
Or less.
I don't know for sure, but maybe some folks have been uh, having bad side effects with hemoglobin levels above 12, hence the lower recommended level.
I mean Epogen is not something you really want to be fooling around with.
The thing is, I talked with my nephrologist, kidney doctor dude, and he suggested that my lethargy my be linked to my lower hemoglobin levels.
Could it be my comfy couch is not the reason for my lack of miles this year?
Well it turns out it could be true!
Not that I'm making excuses don't you know.
Still, I have been feeling rather down and out, slow and lumpy like, and I thought it was all in my head.
Well it is.
In my head I mean.
Well I think it's more than in my head, but now that I know about it, I think I can overcome it.
What I mean is, it's easier to get over something physical than something mental, and now that I know part of it is physical, I think I can get over that part.
Which still leaves the mental part.
In my head.
More than anything, I think I need time to readjust to my new lack of red blood cellness, my lack of pep if you will, and a new fear of pushing myself really hard.
At least now I know what I'm up against.
I mean I'll take weak blood over a weak mind anytime.
The hardest part will be setting new limits and breaking old ones.
I used to rely on my body to tell me when I was tired, except now I feel tired all the time so that's something I'll have to keep in mind.
Hopefully I'll find some sort of equilibrium.
We'll see how it goes.
Just another roller in the road of life.
If you know what I mean.
Now if I can only stop yawning.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Final

Well I've been busy.
Busy sleeping that is.
No really, I lay down for what was supposed to be a minute and that turned into six hours.
Of well deserved rest.
On the last day of vacation.
So this morning, I was off working on the Holy Oracle of the Copper Red(HOOTCR), we're continuing to build up the temple around the kiln:

We straightened out the framing, leveling the beams off best we could then put up the thingys that are going to hold up the roof. We have to leave a space in the middle for there's a vent, a chimney if you will, that goes rightsmackdab in the center, to vent the exhaust gas, well more like a raging flame, that comes off the top off the kiln.
We haven't quite figured out how to insulate it so that it doesn't burn itself down, but we're working on it.
I gotta say, it was drizzling all morning, cold and wet work, maybe that's why when I got home I promptly collapsed on the couch.
Well okay, there was a reason.
I was up all night watching, on Netflix of all things, The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo.
Not the US version, but the Swedish version which is like the trilogy in six parts:

Lemme just say right here, this version is not the one you want to watch with your kids.
I haven't read the books, so I don't know if or how the films follow the book, but the extended version is awesome!
Flat Tire Approved.
I may have to watch the whole damn thing again.
So anyways, despite being up all night reading subtitles, I did manage to get some other work done.
Not on my bicycles, which don't really need work, but something bicycle related, which does need work.
I've been sort of compiling some video and stills for a video about Kvibe.
School has a film festival coming up next month and I'm considering putting it in, if it comes off okay. I haven't quite put it all together yet, in fact I'm still working on a main theme and stuff hoping what I capture will help me figure it all out.
My goal is to educate, while at the same time encourage folks to check the place out.
I'm really having a hard time putting it all together and may end up with two separate pieces.
Anyways, here's a short short short of the Kvibe folks rolling out on Saturday morning. You can see the cargo bike leading the way.

One thing I learned is that the video file from my camera is not like the video file from my video camera. That little clip was like 10 megabytes in size and took like forever to load up. I knew files were different, I just didn't realize how big the video files were. I need to read up some on converting and compressing them super duper files so that they are more manageable.
Anyways, here's the cargo bike.

The cargo bike is really cool, made by some folks in Portland I believe and I'll get some better images later.
When it's not all cargoed up I mean.
The sad part is that the freakin cargo bike made it up the valley, and I couldn't even ride a regular bike up there without almost passing out.
So sad.
On the other hand, it's something I need to work on.
Not the passing out part.
Okay, so here's today's edition, sort of the Morning and the Final Editions combined into one large well, Final Edition.
As you can see I was Super Busy(SB) today, while I wasn't sleeping.
I've been feeling rather lethargic lately, but I'm working on hopefully doing something about this permeating laziness.
More on that, later.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Into the Vally(The Conscious Part)

This is part II, part one is below.
Below this I mean.

Well the free bicycle to be raffled off wasn't going to be free exactly, the kids actually had to do some work.
Every third Saturday of the month is like a community day up at Ho'oulu Aina and folks are encouraged to go up the valley and volunteer some time working the land.
The Ho'oulu Aina folks are trying to recover the land from invasive plants and they are also growing stuff, stuff that is distributed into the community after harvest.
Sort of going back to the olden days style of living off the land.
There are gardens where folks can work:

Or if you feel up to it, areas that need to be cleared and reforested with native species:

There are a bunch of hard working volunteers that help folks out showing them how to do things like clear land and mix soil.
There is a small nursery where they raise starter plants that they transplant into the ground.
Kvibe brought up a lot of folks:

All of them were working hard and it looked like they got a lot done.
Et moi?
Although I felt okay, the couch was calling me and I decided to call it a day.
I was still a bit light headed and I still needed to ride back to my car.
Thankfully it was all downhill.
Still, I was sort of sad to go.
All them nursing students don't you know.
I'll be going back up there again with school though, and next time I'll try to get my hands dirty!

Into the Valley(of Potential Unconsciousness)

What a day.
Well actually it's not over yet, but it is for me.
I almost got caught by Dehydration Induced Low Blood Pressure Syndrome(DILBPS) again!
Almost, but not quite.
More on this later.
Anyways, this morning we gathered up at Kvibe for the Great Kalihi Cargo Haul.
Well we did hual some cargo, well I didn't actually haul cargo, but some cargo was hauled in their new cargo bike.
First, the early morning gathering:

My first excuse: I don't usually ride this early.
So anyways, here we are rolling out:

Our destination?
All the way up the valley to Ho'oulu Aina, the place where I went with school a few weeks back:

The kids were enticed to work up there by Kvibe offering a new bicycle, kindly donated by a local bicycle shop, to be raffled off after we were done.
Those who didn't have also got free helmets courtesy of a local hospital.
The helmets were given out by University of Hawaii nursing students.
Unfortunately, I already had one.
A bicycle helmet I mean.
I am thankful they were there though.
The nursing students I mean.
See the road to the valley was all uphill.
Okay, not really.
Mostly uphill.
Not a lot of climbing, but enough to do me in.
Here's the Prevaricating Garmin info:

Don't pay attention to the average speed and time, I ended up walking around at the end with the Garmin in my pocket.
So anyways, I get all the way Ho'oulu Aina, and there's like this freaking steep driveway to get up which I didn't, I had to get off and walk up but I'm feeling okay even though I know I've been pushing it pretty hard.
I didn't wear my heart rate strap figuring I wouldn't need it, and I didn't but it would have been interesting to see the data.
So I get up to the place and I'm a huffing and puffing and I start to feel it.
My heart rate starts slowing down, but I'm not really recovering well.
Then my vision starts to go south.
Look at all the lights!
Excuse me, I say, are you a nursing student?
Yes, is the reply.
Well, if I should fall down unconscious, would you be kind enough to call an ambulance for me?
Well I didn't fall down unconscious, but they did call an ambulance for me.
Took me about a half hour to recover and by the time the EMTs got there, I was pretty much okay although my systolic was still hovering below a hundred.
Did I mention I try not ride early in the mornings the day after dialysis?
It all turned out fine, I was walking around goofing off in no time.
After signing the waver for the ambulance folks.
What everyone else was doing while I was doing nothing coming up.
That means Part II.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Stuff

So what have you been up to?
Nothing much.
I mean I've been around, but sort of just lounging, not really doing anything.
Oh that.
That's just a slice of bread.
Sort of reminds me of someone:

No I ain't gonna say who, you are just going to have to guess.
I also found a strawberry that looked like someones derrier, but I ate it too.
Get it? derrier? butt?
I ate the bread too by the way, part of a tuna sandwich.
Which I will be eating more of.
Tuna sandwiches I mean.
Seems that hot dogs are like high in phosphorus, the stuff I have to stay away from.
Difficult seeing as how I dig hotdogs, especially with a dose of cheese on em:

I'm not supposed to eat too much cheese either, so technically that's like a double dose of potentially life threatening mystery meat.
I'll have to lay off them doggies for a while.
Which is good thing for I need to lose about eight pounds.
Oh boy.
So anyways besides planting my you know what on the couch, I've been thinking(dangerous!) about the Yet To Be Named(YTBN).
You know I want to call it something catchy, something appropriate, but so far nothing good has come to mind.
I was thinking of using the old Super Sonic stem cap, but somehow that doesn't seem right and I'd like something original, though the Deda cap is nice too:

There was a time when I was all hot for that Deda cap, so I may not change it out, but I'd like to put something custom there.
I'm still tossing around a couple of ideas.
Also getting some attention is the Rockhopper Project.
A new chain came in the other day and I've been working on cleaning it up some.
More on this later.
The weather is back to normal so it's about time to get some miles in.
I'm sort of getting tired of the couch.
If you know what I mean.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Flat Tire Investigative Report: Microwave Pork Rinds

So yesterday, while at the store buying some batteries for the Flat Tire Photographic Device(FTPD), I was standing in line waiting to pay when something caught my eyeballs.
You, the reader, know how they put the stuff near the checkout, the small stuff like gum and candy, trying to catch the weak minded and enticing them into one last impulse purchase.
Well my weak mind focused on something I had never seen before and in the interest of science and for the benefit of my readers I decided to fork over two bucks and check this newfangled thing out:

That's right snack food fans!
Microwave pork rinds!
First of all lemme just say that I'm not a big pork rind(PR) fan. I mean I don't get PR cravings and go scouring the earth looking for a bag of these crunchy yet mysterious uh, thingys.
Okay, I did eat them from time to time while enjoying my favorite cold beverage, but now that I don't enjoy my favorite cold beverage, PRs have barely crossed my mind.
Still, while in line at the checkout, I was intrigued by the possibilities of having crispy hot PRs in seconds.
The PRs are just like pop corn(PC) and come in a microwavable bag:

Just like PC, you unfold the bag only with PRs you shake the bag, vigorously it says, to distribute the rinds evenly.
Make sure to place the bag the correct side up in the microwave.
The instructions also say not to use the auto PC feature when cooking, but to just crank that puppy on high for one to two minutes while carefully observing the bag and the rate of expansion.
See the PRs don't pop or make any sounds, the bag just sort of inflates, like magic, and you must turn off the power once the bag stops well, inflating.
Be careful, it's hot!

Okay, not really.
I mean it's hot, but not PC like steaming hot where you can burn the skin off yer fingers if you just go tearing into the bag.
Be prudent upon opening.
So I dumped the contents into a bowl so you can see what they look like and lo and behold! they were still a crackling!

Needless to say, I was impressed!
Okay, they weren't exactly hot, but they were crackling and crispy, as promised!
So what do they taste like?
Well, I have to say that I've been disappointed in some microwave PC as sometimes they tend to be a bit soggy.
Maybe it's all that buttery goodness, but in the case of these PRs, I think it's a home run!
Light, crispy, not oily to the touch.
Just like from the bag in the store!
The Flat Tire Microwave(FTM) is 1300 watts and I was afraid I would get some blackened PR, but no, 95% of the bag was perfect!
Actually even the ones that looked over cooked were quite enjoyable.
I can't wait to try the Hot and Spicy variety!
In fact, I'm taking my weak mind right on down to the store and buying more of this stuff!
You know, for the sake of science and all.
Okay, there you go!
Microwave Pork Rinds, Flat Tire approved!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dremelizing the Seat Thingy

Okay, so I busted out the Dremelizer to try and see if I could make the Dedacciai Corto seat thingy work with the Selle Italia Flight Gel Flow seat.
As I showed you, the reader, yesterday, it is not a very good combination:

The flex of the saddle is causing the low hanging sides come in contact with the rail clamps.
Actually this isn't a Deda specific problem, as other seat posts have this type of clamping mechanism, and I suppose it depends on where you clamp the seat as if the seat was further forwards you wouldn't have this problem.
Anyways, this is what the clamp looks like, along with the earlier modification I made:

You can see the rather hard edge on the original clamp thingy, and the area I softened up on my first pass with the Dremelizer. The exposed area is where the saddle edge was making contact.
This time around my goal was to remove more material to create a larger area so that the edge of the clamp wouldn't bite into the saddle.
Out came the ole Dremelizer:

That small little block I think is silica carbide, it's used to clean the bullet thingy when it gets all clogged with aluminium.
So anyways, a Dremelizing I went:

Of course I didn't leave it looking like that!
A bit o'nail polish and voila!

Just like from the factory!
Sort of.
Unfortunately I am not able to show you how the modification works as my camera batteries just died, but trust me, it looks better.
If it doesn't work, I have two alternatives.
Change the saddle, or change the seat post thingy.
I like the saddle so far, so I went looking for another seat post thingy.
There aren't too many aftermarket seat post thingys floating around, but I did find this:

As you can see, the rail clamps on the Ritchey Seat Mast Topper are different and they look like it would solve my problem.
I guess I'll go out for a ride and see if what I did works before changing it out.
I may just change it out anyways as the Dedacciai Corto thingy is a boat anchor and now I'm officially a Weight Weenie.
Kinda sorta.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Final

First ride today on the YTBN!
The weather finally cleared, sort of, and off I went with Hoku in tow.
Which was a good thing as I was a huffing and a puffing like you wouldn't believe and Hoku looked like he just jumped on his bicycle.
It was on overcast day, but that didn't stop these folks:

Off to explore the Pacific are they.
Watch out for waterspouts!
Anyways about halfway out it rained, so I cut the ride short and Hoku went off to go surf.
I did manage to get in a good twenty miles, well not really good, but twenty miles is twenty miles.
If you know what I mean.
So what about the YTBN?
It's nice, but not like super duper or anything.
Although it weighs less than the Celest Devil, you can't really tell but it does feel lighter than the Ciocc.
The frame soaks up bumps, like when you go over manhole covers and such and there is less road vibration.
Steering feels a bit twitchy, but my headset was tight and I was doing some over correcting so that might have been it. After I loosened it up a bit it felt better.
I like the new seat, a Selle Italia Flight Gel Flow, but there is a problem:

The seat flexes so much that the sides are hitting the seat clamp.
That's even after I ground them down some.
The Dremelizer will be coming out later and I'll see if I can fix that up.
I was worried a bit about front derailleur function as the cable comes up through the carbon behind the BB:

I wasn't sure how much rubbing I was going to get and I also wasn't to sure about the braze on adapter:

No problems.
So far.
As you can see, we did hit some wet roads, and oh boy I felt like screaming like a little girl.
The frame has some drain holes, but some of them are like really tiny, like the one on the fork:

I guess I shouldn't be worried for it's not like it can rust.
Overall, it's a pretty nice ride.
I'm not sure I'm all blown away or anything, we'll see once I get to ride my bicycles back to back, but I'm pretty happy.
The cockpit feels nice, I'm not over reaching and the bars aren't too low.
I didn't even have to adjust the seat.
Would I have been just as happy with another steel frame?
Perhaps, but at least this is something different, something new, something I never experienced before.
Right now I just like fact that it feels different.
We'll see how it is after I get some miles in.
Okay, time to do some cleaning and maybe get on a coat of wax: