This Space for Rent

Feb 27, 2011

Domestic vermin picture of the day

A high point of Mavis's day

Mavis on the pie rail.


A hideous tack-weld

The gas-pipe frame I found last year is not exactly a paragon of craftsmanship. For example, all of the (stamped) lugs were tacked onto the tubes with huge blobs of steel (and were fairly crudely welded together in the first place) which, even for a junker frame that I’m going to throw random parts onto as an experiment, are a little bit beyond the pale even for me.

So I spent half an hour this afternoon cleaning a couple of the more hideous welds so they only look awful:

A somewhat less hideous tack-weld

I don’t know if I’ll end up with a ridable frame, but in the worst case it will end up being a less-hideous practice frame.

Feb 26, 2011

Lake Woodward

Lake Clinton, just east of Clinton & 78th

When you get out towards 82nd, some of the east-west side streets become a bit sketchier. Judging from the ice scattered around some of the locals think that a 30' diameter lake is more of a feature than a bug (and I must admit that if (a) the trek wasn’t laden with groceries and (b) it had been warmer than 32°F I would have been sorely tempted to try and punch a line through the middle of the (for lack of a better word) puddle.)

If I keep this up, eventually I’ll have an entire toolkit

half inch wrench

Rando junk from the R100 I rode yesterday afternoon.

Domestic vermin picture of the day

A bookish cat

Mavis holds down a calculus book.

Feb 25, 2011

Volcano picture of the day

Snow-covered Larch Mountain

Larch Mountain looks a lot more mountainy when it’s all covered with snow on a clear day.

Not completely weatherproof

I went out for a ramble this afternoon that I first stretched into a trip up to Sandy for some donuts, and then stretched again to round up to 100km (I wanted to do 200km today, but I didn’t actually make it out the door until noon, so that grand plan was nipped in the bud before I even had the chance to realize how stupid it was.) It was cold today (starting at 26°F, then going up to about 36°F) so I piled on the layers, with a pair of lobster claw gloves (some no-name REI glove; they are warm, but not completely windproof, so my hands sweat and then get quite cold when I plunge down the mountain) a shortsleeve shirt, shortsleeve jersey (I found a really cheap actual-bicycle-jersey at an online sale, and it’s much cozier than the Ibex outerlayers I normally wear. This is distressing), armwarmers, el-cheapo windbreaker (it doesn’t need to be much if it cuts the wind,) my chopped in half pink Rivendell neck-tube-thing and my usual collection of long underwear, two layers of socks, and regular walking-around-in-shoes.

The gloves were fine. The windbreaker+stuff underneath were fine (except that my arms sweated and got chilly every time the east wind blasted me when I was in the shade.) The head and ears were also fine.

My feet, on the other hand, were not fine. Not not fine enough to get frostbite (there was enough windbreaking inside the shoes to prevent that) but by the time I got home they were doing a pretty good imitation of cheap wooden clogs until I just sat down and let them slowly warm up in the air.

And it’s supposed to get down to 18°F tonight, which means it’s not even going to break freezing until around noon (and then a rain system moves in, so it will get (relatively) warmer and rainier as the evening approaches.) I was thinking that tomorrow might be a good fall-back day for another R200, but, um, I am fond of my toes and I don’t really want to see if another 4 hours (or 5, or 6, depending on the enthusiasm of the headwinds) is enough to make them freeze solid and fall off with happy little tinkling and crashing noises.

I’ll probably just do another 100km in the afternoon, then see if I can sew up some footguards to take the place of the more sensible winter shoes that a more well-heeled cyclist would buy. (At least I’m over 700 miles for the month, so being lazy tomorrow and monday would not be the end of the world.)

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite protects the donut compartment

Dust Mite protects the donuts from bandits.

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Mavis the cat-cushion

The fierce hunter catches a few winks.

Feb 24, 2011

THE WHITE DEATH!!!! (part 3)

Russell & a snowball

Russell holds a snowball while he considers his next move.

1 comment

I think that someone got their mailing lists confused

A while ago, I did some consulting through a mid-sized bodyshop that had arranged an exclusive labo(u)r contract with the company that actually wanted to hire me. It was fine; the body shop took their $20/hour off the top, made me jump through a couple of stupid hoops to do their three(!) separate timecards, forwarded my paychecks to me, and otherwise kept out of the way. And when my contract ended, that was the last I heard of them for quite some time (except for a few weeks of fielding “Ohmygodyoudidn’t'submityourthreetimesheetswecan’tgetourrentpayyou!” messages every friday.)

So I was interested to see some mail from them show up in my spam directory just yesterday. Perhaps it was an offer for another round of rent taking? But no, it was merely a case of what happens when you feed the wrong mailing list into your email marketing software:

Dear {me},

Tell us what you think of your recent experience with {bodyshop} and be entered into a drawing for a ${money} Gift Certificate to {e-commerce site}.

Please click the following link now to begin the survey: https://{survey.url} (Please note: If you have difficulty loading the survey, you may also copy the entire link and paste it into the URL address of your web browser)

Thank you for being a valued {bodyshop} customer. We are contacting you to learn about your recent experience with our firm. We value your feedback and hope you will take the time to complete this short, three-question survey. Upon completion, your name will be entered into the drawing. This survey and contest close on {date}.

By sharing your thoughts on our performance, you are directly impacting the quality of the service we are able to provide you.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.





THE WHITE DEATH!!!! (part 2)

A tiny snowman

The bears are braving the arctic blasts to go and play in the front yard, and the first thing they did was to make a snowman to oversee their efforts.

1 comment


February 24th snow

There’s apparently more snow up on the heights around the Willamette river gorge, so everything is slowing wayyy on down in Portland today.

I’ll have to take the Trek out for a loop today to see how deep the snow is where it’s not being suppressed by the malign warming influence of the river.

Feb 23, 2011


Reused cork tape

Last year when I needed to replace the (disintegrating after 2500 miles because I hadn’t applied any varnish or other sorts of preservatives) first batch of tape on the mclm, I bought some cork-alike tape from Rivendell, dropped it onto the bicycle, then twined and shellacked it into oblivion and left it there until I realized that the bars were bent and I had to replace them. And for some mysterious reason, I decided that carefully removing them and storing them away would be a good plan, so I did that.

Fast forward to this spring; after shuffling through a couple of other bar types (mustache bars were extremely comfortable, but didn’t give me a ramps position to put my hands and were thus quite exhausting once I got over about 30 miles on a loop, then origin-8 gary bars, which, annoyingly, are shaped so that if I leave the bars low enough so I can easily shuffle between the ramps and the drops I can’t actually get them comfortable in one or the other position, I reverted back to another set of Nitto B135s, but didn’t have any good handlebar tape to apply to them.

So I dug through my parts bin (a paper shopping bag that’s got all of my extra bicycle parts except for wheels) and dug this old tape out. Which was perfect; despite having many layers of shellac is was still flexable and it let me rewrap it without disintegrating on the spot, and even though it looked pretty grubby after rewrapping it cleaned up nicely with the application of a couple of new coats of shellac.

Hopefully it won’t outlive this set of handlebars!

Feb 22, 2011

Don’t let the citron go to waste!

yet another fruitcake

It’s the fruitcake of the month club (if you don’t mind most of the fruitcakes being the same recipe!)

Feb 21, 2011

Picture of the day

King Street Sunset

Sunset struck when I was in the middle of a short afternoon loop, so I had to take a picture to document the atrocities.

Feb 20, 2011

New Code!

Discount is now sitting at version 2.0.7 now that I’ve finished up documenting and writing additional code for php markdown extra-style footnotes support.

The documentation isn’t that much – I merely mention it’s supported and how to enable it, then point at the php markdown extra webpages for details on how it’s done – but the additional code adds a function that allows the user to customise the format of the html tags that the footnote code uses for jumping up and down through the text; mkd_ref_prefix(MMIOT,{foo}) tells discount to change footnote output to:

<p>here is a <sup id="{foo}ref:1"><a href="#{foo}:1" rel="footnote">1</a></sup></p>
<div class="footnotes">
<li id="{foo}:1">
<p>a footnote<a href="#{foo}ref:1" rev="footnote">&#8617;</a></p></li>

This means that if you’re using discount for a weblog and have it generate the html for each article separately, you can footnote them all and have the links on the page still make sense.

I’m going to need to tweak annotations (among the many other tweaks I have to put into it) to support this, but in the meantime it’s still New Code! that you can grab and put to the test yourself.

Feb 19, 2011

Picture of the day

Sesame bean paste balls

Still life with chopsticks and sweet bean paste balls.

railroad picture of the day

Oncoming sushi train

The GP-38 pulling the sushi train at Sushi Ichiban approaches us along the north side of the sushi bar.

Feb 18, 2011

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

The Phantom Tollmite

Dust Mite enjoys a good book.

1 comment

Cute baby picture of the day

Silas glares at the camera

Silas waits until it’s time to come home this afternoon.

Feb 17, 2011

Picture of the day

The Steel Bridge from the Broadway Bridge

The Steel Bridge as seen from the Broadway Bridge on a cloudy day.

Feb 16, 2011

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Two cats on the loveseat

Mavis and Buckley doze on the (cat-mangled) loveseat.

railroad picture of the day

EPT 100 basks in the sun

The working Eng! enjoys a sunny gap between two snow flurries.

Feb 14, 2011

New Code!

Discount has been pushed up to version 2.0.6 with the addition of one bizarre feature; php markdown extra-style footnotes, which are disabled by default, but can be enabled with the MKD_EXTRA_FOOTNOTES flag (or the -ffootnotes flag to the markdown(1) program.)

PHP markdown extra footnotes are almost completely unlike the traditional footnote syntax; they actually place a little list of footnotes down at the foot of the document and provide superscripted footnote markers that can be used to click down to the bottom and back. I suppose it’s useful if you want to make your web pages look very closely like books – I don’t see the point of it, but users wanted it and it was a fairly trivial thing to get working (if not documented.)

So if you don’t plan on using them, this New Code! should do absolutely nothing that 2.0.5 didn’t do. But if you do plan on using them, well, here’s your chance, so grab this New Code! and see what falls, shrieking, out of the sky when you fire it up!

railroad picture of the day

EPT 100 approaches 17th Ave with a East Portland-bound train

The working Eng! pulls a short East Portland-bound freight up the ramp from McBrod Ave to 17th.

Feb 13, 2011

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Mavis Transfixed

Feb 12, 2011

Rando junk of the year

Rando junk of the year

I thought I’d found something out of the ordinary when I found a mainly-intact walky-talky/gps/cell phone yesterday, but that is nothing compared to what we found today; two boxes of bananas sitting sedately by the side of Lusted Road just east (and UP) from Dodge Park (and the no-longer-in-existance viaduct bridge that used to carry Portland’s water supply from Bull Run down into Portland; I presume the ongoing federal government hysteria about terrorism is what put the thing underground through here. Oh well, it’s not as if those tax dollars could be put to use replacing bridges and building trolley lines here in Portland; I guess I should be thankful that the upper class actually pours city water on their gardens, otherwise we’d be having to buy water from water trucks.)

But anyway, there were bananas, which were reduced substantially while I stood there taking pictures (and hurray for fruit; bananas come in their own organic wrappings, so it’s pretty easy to tell if they’ve been broken open and are serving as a feast for yellowjackets and other more-disreputable creatures.)

Feb 11, 2011

Photo of the day

The Sandy River, looking east from the Revenue Bridge

The Sandy River says “hi!” as I stagger by overhead.

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite pauses at the Sandy control

The weather forcast called for a high chance of rain tomorrow, so I moved my plans to ride an R200 up until today. This, however, meant that Dust Mite had to come along for the photo opportunities.

And here it is, enjoying a brief rest at the control (Joe’s Donuts, of course) in Sandy.

Feb 10, 2011

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Mavis on the pie rail

The decorative cat

Feb 08, 2011

Shiny hub & grubby bicycle

The new dynowheel, installed and in the throes of testing

Every time it rains, the poor mlcm picks up a thick layer of road crap everywhere that doesn’t have a fender in the way. This makes the new Shiny! dynohub look a little out of place.

But don’t worry, it’s supposed to be rainy this weekend and I’m thinking of doing a R200 on Saturday (to make up for only doing 185km last saturday,) so that pesky shine will all be gone by the end of the weekend.

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Mavis makes herself at home

Cats sleep anywhere, as Mavis is happy to demonstrate.

Feb 07, 2011

Domestic vermin picture of the day

Roscoe the mop-dog

A very small dog at Llewellyn School.

Trivial(?) project of the day

New dynowheel

I promised that I’d do something with the old damaged dynohub after I pulled the wheel last November, and I finally got around to doing something about it today. I knew that I’d need 292mm spokes to lace a replacement dynohub (which had been sitting around since, um, November) into the existing Mavic rim, so the first step (before mail-ordering a fistful of cheap spokes) was to unlace the old wheel so I could have a rim for the new spokes + dynohub.

So I sat down at 1pm and pulled the wheel apart. And then I wondered if any of the spokes on the Shimano 3d72 would actually work with the new hub. So I measured the left side spokes, and they were, happily, 292mm. But maybe the right side spokes would need to be replaced, given that this is a disk brake hub?

Nope, they were exactly the same length!

So I sat down in front of the computer, summoned the spirit of the oracle, then spent about half an hour lacing the new wheel up. And then I went to school to pick up the bears, and after coming home I spent another 30 minutes tightening, destressing, and truing the thing.

Now, I don’t have a nice spoke tensionometer, so I have to resort to tone-deafedly plucking spokes to guess at the tension, but the wheel makes mainly the same tone all the way around the spokes and, more importantly, it sounds an awful lot like the other dynamo front wheels when they’re plucked. So if I haven’t badly messed something up, it looks like I can actually put together a wheel in finite time that may actually be able to work on a bicycle.

I’ll have to try some really short loops with it first, though.

Feb 05, 2011

railroad picture of the day

The Vernonia Shay

Oregon-American #102 sits in the park on a cloudy day.

Feb 04, 2011

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite & Green Monster

Dust Mite faces down a terrifying green paper cutout monster.

Now that’s a nice surprise

Not what I expected to see at the local convenience store

Zapp’s potato chips in a store in Portland? Yum!


Feb 03, 2011

Cute baby picture of the day

Silas works on a sketch

Silas works on a drawing at the dinner table tonight.

Feb 02, 2011

Not quite so interesting when they’re not backlit

Front-lit Epiphytes

Same old epiphytes, different camera angle.

Feb 01, 2011

Picture of the day

Epiphytes at play

Aerial ferns in one of the playground trees at Llewellyn.