This Space for Rent

Dec 30, 2015

Not where I intended to go when I went out shopping today.

A short but painful shopping trip

Yes, the mountainhack is in the emergency room. I was halfway between two errands when a car turned abruptly right just in front of me and won me a Free!(not free) trip to the emergency room with a broken shoulder, a broken helmet, a broken pair of glasses, and every muscle on the left side of my body bruised.



Dec 29, 2015

Dwarf Biscotti

Dwarf Biscotti

Occasionally my attempts to veganize a recipe don’t work out like I expected; this Moosewood pecan-currant biscotti (eggs replaced with soy yogurt) turned out as more like pralines instead of a sweet biscuit.

Dec 28, 2015

Railroad picture of the day

A southbound Coast Starlight approaches Stark Street

I reached the Stark St. crossing just moments before the crossing gates came down and a southbound Coast Starlight came through.

Dec 27, 2015


Traction Orange

This coat of paint is very glossy, but it doesn’t suck photons from the ether and accelerate them directly at my eyes like the mountainhack’s paint does. Now I suppose I should think up some good decals for the DT after the #many sand/spray cycles that I still need to do to get a consistant (and drip-free!) paint cover.

Dec 26, 2015

Resetting my idea of a sedate paint job

Fluorescent bagel delivery wagon spotted in the wild!

The bright & shiny traction orange paint that’s going on the kit bike even as we speak is going to seem like a pretty staid and conservative paintjob compared to the the mountainhack’s new clothes.

Hummingbirds in flight

fly, my pretties, fly!

In iPhone-o-vision

Dec 25, 2015

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Christmas Tree Mite

Holiday Mite

Dec 24, 2015

Mutant bread

Mutant bread

The result of really enthusiastic yeast; I needed to bend the large loaf to fit onto the baking sheet :-)

Dec 22, 2015

Toilet installation day

Our bathroom, updated to the current century with a low-flow toilet instead of the old 10 gpf one

Taking a break because of exhaustion; the old toilet was, not surprisingly, not completely compatible with modern toilet hardware, and to add insult to injury it had 104 years of filth caked over the hardware (the carriage bolts that held the captive flange to the bowl were completely corroded except for a whisker-thin iron core; the 2" steel pipe connecting the tank to the bowl had corroded to paper thinness, which was good because the clampy things connecting it to the bowl and tank were rusted into immobility, and the captive flange had seized to the sewage pipe, so I had to work a putty knife around it it a few times before I cracked enough of the corrosion so I could rotate the flange and thread new carriage bolts through two unused holes) which I needed to chip away so I could unbolt the old bowl and put it to one side before cleaning the floor and installing the new one.

…. after 3 trips to the hardware store for bits and bobs of hardware, including a new feed line because the old one (which was not, thankfully, original to the house) had brittled to the point where it stopped being watertight when I unscrewed it from the old tank.

The toilet seat, which we were thinking of moving over from the old toilet, is still stubbornly attached to the old bowl and I may have to use a sledgehammer to free it tomorrow morning. So the floor will remain grubby (it’s actually been cleaned, but there was a lot of debris to clean up) until then, and we’ll just have to perch birdlike on the edge of the bowl when we need to use the facilities.

(And, man, this low flow toilet is wonderful; when we flush, there’s this little gurgle and swoosh and all of the waste is sucked away instead of the old routine of leaning on the flush lever until the water decides that it really wants to head down the drain instead of swirling around and climbing higher.)

Dec 20, 2015

Compare and contrast

Which machine has the gaudiest paint scheme?

Which machine has the gaudiest paint scheme?

This may be the only place in North America where I could successfully chase a train with a bicycle

The 4449 rolls over a pedestrian underpass

Getting a few pictures of Portland’s own GS-4 on the last day of 2015’s Holiday Express

Dec 18, 2015

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Lugged Mite

Picking out a couple of 4-point HT lugs just in case the HT on the kit bike is actually failing, and a non-socketed ST lug I can stick onto the fillet-brazed frame I’m going to build the next time my rack queue starts collecting cobwebs.

I suppose I should braze up a very tiny tadpole trike for Dust Mite to ride?


It's a bicycle-shaped-object!

Alas, I need to fire up the torch and relocate the front derailer braze-on, because I brazed it in half an inch low and a quarter-inch forwards than it needed to be?


Dec 17, 2015

A thing of something is a something something something

It is finished(ish)

It took a lot of spray/sand cycles before I was satisfied with the finish on this thing, and there are still a few runs of paint on the underside of the frame. But it’s every bit as garish as I’d hoped it could be, and just in time for Saturnalia!

Dec 15, 2015


Mavis contemplates whether to swat Buckeley

To swat, or not to swat, that is the question.

Dec 13, 2015

♪Chicken & Dust Mite, sittin' in a tree♫

Chicken & Dust Mite, sittin' in a tree

It’s that time of year again.

Rack refresh

Revisions to rack#1 (4)

The first rack I made, with some revisions

  • The fork leg stays now go to R/R/K standard fork leg bosses (140mm down from the crown bolt hole)
  • The light mount has been relocated to the NDS side of the bicycle.
  • A few crossbraces added to stiffen up the deck a bit (¼" tubing is very lightweight for a porteur rack, and when I had it on the original project bike it had developed a bit of a swayback from repeated heavy grocery loads.
  • The fork leg stay braces now brace the center rails, also to stiffen up the deck.
  • Painted with a hammertone silver (to hide the inevitable drips with designed texture :-)

Dec 11, 2015

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Giant soiled Dust Mites creeping up from the sewers and biting you on the bum

checking out the toilet before it’s installed.

New toilet day

Great A, little a, this is new toilet day!

All of the faucets in our house are equipped with flow reducers that bring them down to a couple of gallons a minute. Our shower has a low-flow head that’s rated for 1.(something) gpm. We have a fancy modern euro-dishwasher than uses /maybe/ 16 gallons a load, and a not quite so fancy but still pretty frugal clotheswasher that uses ~20 gallons/load. And on a typical week we process ~200 gallons of water through these devices.

And then we have our toilet. Vintage 1909, 10+ gallons per flush, and an antiquated enough drain system so that if everyone poops it often takes 3 flushes to get the filth out of sight out of mind. 400 gallons a week, maybe, if we’re being earthy crunchy and only flush after someone poops.

We’ve been talking about replacing that horrid thing for about a decade now, but have never gotten around to calling a contractor and getting it put in, and suffering with watching our water bills (including the sewage fees for the sewer it turns out we’re not connected to; Portland’s water bureau is, as is traditional with crown monopolies, /very very/ good about billing people but not quite so good about actually knowing, or caring, if their bills are accurate) go steadily up as inflation (and, to be honest, unfunded government mandates, but I find it /really/ hard to object to having to split the storm sewers from the sanitary sewers, given that the Willamette River – formerly sanitary sewer #1 – is less than a mile from our house) keeps slowly ticking over. But, anyway, we’re no longer living on a computer programmer’s salary (which was nice, but my tolerance for the computer industry had reached the point where I had to either quit or find a nice bridge to throw myself from) it means we don’t have the money to hire someone to install a toilet anymore, so I needed to do it myself. And after a round of 100-year storms last week, our sewer aggressively backed up, I snapped and bought one through the hellish mills at Amazon, and the UPS truck showed up this afternoon with a couple of huge and heavy boxes containing 1.28gpf’s worth of shiny white ceramic (with trace amounts of metal and plastic.)

Sadly, the wax ring we also ordered did not show up today, otherwise I’d already be elbow deep in filth trying to extract the old toilet and putting this one in its place. But soon; it shouldn’t be more than about half an hour if I don’t have to redo the plumbing to account for the increased depth of this toilet.

Dec 10, 2015

Things fall apart; the brakes do not hold.

It's probably about time to replace these brake pads

~3500 miles on these noname black pads and there’s not much left of them in the braking department. These are the second batch of worn out parts I had to replace on the kit bike today; the front Confrerie must have had something snag on the sidewall, because there was a hole ripped in it down by the bead which was large enough to allow the tube to herniate and rupture.

Fortunately I was already on the way to REI to replace some missized clothing, so it was only a matter of a minute to walk over to the bike department and grab a couple of sets of foulweather pads.

Dec 09, 2015

Gone shopping

a 4x12 chunk of vintage PDX airport carpet

Or at least picking up the 4x12 chunk of PDX airport carpet I’d ordered from the Mill End Store about 2 months ago. I kind of wish I could have ordered a lot more, but I’m afraid that if I proposed carpeting anything in the house with airport fabric I’d be facing a civil insurrection.

As it is I’m going to cut a couple of 18" x 5' chunks to make into bicycle pads, then try to finish most of the rest of the carpet into small rugs to sell.

Dec 08, 2015

Seems legit

We don't want that shipment to be delivered too quickly!

Why, yes, I can believe that UPS would shuttle a package back and forth between Seattle and Portland a couple of times before dumping it into the Portland package depot to age a couple of days before they stuffed it onto a truck for delivery.

Dec 07, 2015

Holiday Express

NDS 4449

The 4449 looks a lot better from the side that doesn’t have the garishly politically correct “MERRY CHRISTMAS” sign.

Dec 06, 2015

The best camera is the one in your hands

Redtail hawk in silhouette

A redtail hawk in silhouette.


Almost painted

Not quite finished (it needs to be sanded smooth, have the pink/green transition masked and feathered, and then decalled and clearcoated) but it’s close enough to look like a finished bicycle.

Dec 04, 2015

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

The Seamsmite

Time to sew!

Increasing my carbon footprint

Several coats of paint later and it /starts/ to look like it's painted

… by applying a dozen or so thin coats of fluorescent spraypaint to the mountainhack. I think I’m /almost/ done with the paint – I need to apply a couple more layers of pink to properly fade the seattube + cover the bottom of the TT and DT – but when that all cures I’m going hit the frame + fork + rack with a coat or two of gloss clearcoat.

Dec 02, 2015

Ignoring the paparazzi

Feral peacocks in Errol Heights, #4

It appears that (a) there’s a flock of feral peacocks in Errol Heights and (b) they’re used to people screeching to a stop and taking pictures of them.

Dec 01, 2015

It has begun

Paint shop

Time to paint the mountainhack!