Wednesday, December 06, 2006

OneGoodPhoto: Tuesday

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Sunrise at Oakland International Airport. I was on my way to Santa Monica for work.

OneGoodPhoto: Sunday

photo sharing">
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
This was taken Sunday night at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition auction/event @ SOMArts. Cyclecide puts on punk-rock bicycle rodeo-things that are best observed in the hot summer sun with cheap beer.

Monday, December 04, 2006

2 new obligations

1. One good photo a day. Either taken or processed and posted
2. One good post a week, preferably about my neighborhood.

I won't call these resolutions, because a) it's too early b) I don't want to doom them to failure.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


In a blatant rip-off of Merlin Mann's excellent website 5ives, I give you: Five things I thought were super cool as a kid, but not so sure about now:

1. Calculator Watches
2. Andy from WKRP
3. Walking with a limp
4. Post-apocalyptic Survival
5. Staying up all night

And 5 things I thought were super cool as a kid, which are still super cool:

1. Ben Saari
2. Wheelies
3. Neuromancer
4. Jonny Fever from WKRP
5. Breakdancing

Monday, October 30, 2006

Whoohoo! Halloween, and my friend's internet fame.

Ok, I've lots of photos coming up, but since Halloween is 7 hours away, I thought I'd post this: My good friend from up the street made this costume for her daughter, and now it's on Make: Blog

I've seen it in person, and it is brilliant.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dusting of the old email address...

Whoa. I just peeked in at an old email address, and I see some of you are still trying to contact me at my old, old, old address. I'm not at yahoo anymore, I'm at gmail. So please update your contact info for me. Trane, I'm looking significantly in your direction.

As a reminder my email is: (what I say to my dog when he's running around the house) AT, or AT

That is all.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Birthday party!

To my friends-
I'm throwing a bbq/birthday party for Sylvan and myself on Sat 8/26. Please bring some meat/vegan whatever and make it better with fire.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Living la vida headphones at work 5 days a week my music has become boring. But luckily I've found, a independant music podcast with new mp3s every couple of days. I downloaded them all, and have some new favorites. Your tastes may vary, but go check out some of these:

The Wrens: Everyone Chooses Sides (I cannot get this song out of my head...I'm singing it right now *while* i'm listening to another song, it's freaking musical super-glue)

31 Knots: Chain Reaction
Saturday Looks Good To Me: Meet Me by the Water
Koputador: Phenomenon

I'm sure more will pop out...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Trimming the fat..

Just so you know, I've reduced my cell plan to the barest minimum. I plan to use it only when really necessary, so if you are used to calling me on it, please start using my home number or (in a pinch) my work number. Thanks!

Kids these days...

Zelia now has her own blog.

It also has the best blog name possible.

House Hunt: Enter the Money Men

I just got back from my meeting with a mortgage broker, and the news was mixed (which is exactly what I expected). Basically, with my assets, and credit score, I was only eligable for a $270,00 loan (which won't buy much in this area), but with a little work I could make myself into a much more attractive Lendee for the banks. He outlined 4 steps which would put me in a good position a year from now.
1. Pay off your back taxes
2. Clean up the student loan listings on my credit report
3. either pay down my (small) credit card or get a bigger limit, in order to reduce my balance to under 50% of the limit.
4. Get another, larger credit card.

Yes, I know this stuff is obvious, but talking to a professional who could also prioritize what steps to take made all the difference in the world.

The other good information I picked up was the 'ballpark' figures I would dealing with on a loan for $480,000 (which is right about what we are looking at for a quasi-decent 3 bedroom in Santa Rosa). One thing that has had me flummoxed was the online mortgage calculators that talk about $3300 monthy payments on a loan about that size. I simply can't afford that kind of money. But, he pointed out, you can write off a large portion of those payments (which I knew), and what you should do is talk to a tax accountant and have them revise your W4 to take that into account. Then end result is that instead of getting a fat check from the IRS at the end of the year, you break even, but your take home pay is much bigger throughout the year.

He said that a $3300 mortgage payment (once the W4 has been adjusted) is akin to a $2300 rent payment (note, my figures are even more ballpark than his, because I don't have my notes in front of me, but you get the idea). Now I *could* afford a $2300 rent payment so it does look like it will be possible, at some point, to buy a house. Phew! Waiting may be good as house prices are likely to come down a little more over the next few months. I just hope I will be in a good position to buy before prices and interest rates rise again.

Now comes the hard work: Saving (you've got to squeeze every penny!), paying off debt, and being patient.

PS. Given that it will be awhile before we're ready, I suppose I can divulge which house we are currently in love with as it will be sold long before we are ready to buy. I think it's a great, great buy. It's certainly the nicest thing we've seen anywhere near the price. The bad news? It'll need a new roof within the next 5-10 years.

This weeks House we'd buy if we could


Clark Rosen, Realtor:

Brent Blaustein, Mortgage Broker:

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Whoohoo! It's Friday night!

And we just made up two..that's right TWO! new tongue twisters.

Ok ready? ok.

Try to say "Theme Song" more than twice in a row correctly.

Alternately do the same thing with "People Blaster"

The People Blaster one is from Zelia.

Home hunt something..2? yeah. part 2.

Meredith and I have become the archetypical house hunter characters that you often meet at parties. You know the type, the ones who are always prattling on about house prices, neighborhoods, and completely facinated by anyone else's house buying stories.

And the transformation happened so quickly. Just two Sunday afternoons driving around looking for open houses. Sigh.

Yesterday we rose to the next level. I spoke to a realtor. Clark Rosen. He's my friend's dad, and in one conversation I knew he was the guy I'd like to work with. Not even to mention the past history we share, and the general 'good, honest, stand up guy' qualities I know he has in spades, but his friendly, knowledgable, cheerful demenor. I never felt like he was applying to be my realtor (which was a first from all the other realtors I've met over the past two Sundays).

Today we actually made an appointment to see a house. Luckily it was not *the one*. It was one of the first three bedrooms in our price range that wasn't a condo. On the other hand it was a bit too much of a fixer upper. It had all the classic styling faux pas. Astroturf on the front steps, wood paneling, and that lovely 70's two-layer shag carpet. The yard was red lava rock in the front, and dead and sunbaked in the back. It had originally been a 1920's cute bungalow with a full width porch, but the late 60's remodel had undone most of the great details you normally find in such a place. In order to update it to something I'd like to come home to would require a complete, stem-to-stern interior remodeling.

And all that for only $500,000. Ah Bay Area real estate.

Now the realtor who was showing us the 'diamond in the rough' knew of another house being sold by it's owner nearby that was the same price but was 'ready to go' in his words. And, almost unbelievably, he was exactly right. It was perfect. 3 bedrooms, hard wood floors (freshly refinished!), new paint all around (good colors), nice, if unedible landscaping, fire place, great kitchen with a classic wedgewood stove, garage with painted/sealed concrete floors, the list goes on and on. Meredith was practically beside herself with house-desire. If we had been in a position to make an offer she would've signed any paper necessary. It would've been a done deal.


By the time we get our collective financial house in order, I'm willing to bet that this particular gem will be gone. Anybody who's looking in that price range will immediately see what a good buy this place is. Which, in true house-buying-twit fasion, is why I won't tell anybody where it is.

Just in case.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Homes and Gardens?

I want to buy a house. It's been a vague want for a loooong time. Like finishing college, and getting a 'real' job. Now that those two things are checked off, house buying is presumably next. Note, this comes from a different list than my other vague wants, such as driving a rocket-car, the ability to sing opera and breakdance (albeit not necessarily at the same time).

The thing of it is, that I know very little about buying a house, other than there's a lot to know.

Many of my friends now own houses (even Chairmen Ben!) and their advice is all over the map, from "if I'd known how easy it was, I would've bought much sooner" to "it's the most nerve-wracking thing ever."

Now there are some hurdles to get over, not limited to house prices in the North Bay, to my credit not being as stellar as I could hope. But I think it's possible, and with the market cooling down a bit, probably a good time to start looking.

Of course the problem with looking is finding something that you love before you are in a position to buy. Like this one. But that's bound to happen.

Ideally we'd like to find a house in our current neighborhood (cheap and cheerful!) with a decent sized lot. But frankly almost anything with a decent roof and a good foundation and garden potential will have our interest.

I keep dreaming of landscaping and a garage with a concrete floor (something I've not had the pleasure of since I was 18). The house in the above link, already has us envisioning how we'd remodel it, and what we'd do with the yard. But that's putting the cart before the horse.

In reality I'd like to buy into something in the next two years. That would give me some time to clean up my credit, get together some semblence of a down payment and school myself on all the ins and outs of real estate.

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Errata...Encryption and email.

Email, as you may know, is a completely insecure form of communication. It has been likened to a postcard, in that anybody who wants to read it can without almost any effort. The analogy is good, but it would be more accurate to say it's a postcard that is delivered not by the postal service but by randomly handing it to a guy on the street and asking them to pass it to the next person they see heading east (and on and on it goes from one random person to the next until it arrives at it's intended destination).

And as my life is increasingly involved on-line (calendars, to-do lists, reference materials, shopping, etc) I've started doing some serious thinking about how vulnerable much of that data is. Granted, with most things I have little control over 'my' data held in banking computers, or goverment laptops (SSU comprimised thousands of it's students SSNs last year), I do have some control over some things. My email is one of them, and it's probably the least secure method of communication I have. Encryption is a toddle, and on a philisophical level I feel it's critical that everyone becomes aware of the issue, and starts using encryption.

It's not that I feel that my forwarded funny cat videos from youtube are critical to keep secret, and I'm smarter than to put anything important like SSNs or credit card numbers in an email, but with my email unsecure, there is no way to be sure that email you recieve from is actually from me. It doesn't take much to 'spoof' someones email account, and then the cracker is able to siphon all my emails without my knowledge. So the easy thing to do is encrypt my mail (and thus move away from gmail).

Encrypting email is really quite easy (especially after you set it up). I use a combination of free tools on my mac that integrates nicely into Apple's default Mail app. It's the open-source variant of PGP, called GnuPG. It's a very good, respected, encryption scheme that relies on "public-key cryptography."

Here's how it works: I make two different keys, one public, and one private. I put the public one where anyone can get it, and keep the private one...well..private. Then if you want to send me a message you use my public key and encrypt the message. When I get it, I can decrypt it with my private key.

Think of it like your voicemail: your phone number is your public key. I can leave you a message using your phone number (public key). When you call in to your voicemail system, you enter a number that allows you to hear your messages (the private key). I can't hear your messages, but anyone can leave one.

Got it? If not, let me know or google PGP, or public-key encryption. There's volumes on the 'net about it.

These encryption tools also allow you to encrypt files on your hard-drive (or your whole hard-drive!) and 'watermark' any message so that anyone who receives your message can verify it really came from you.

So, any message you recieve from me should start containing something that looks like:

Hash: SHA1

The message would be in here.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.4 (Darwin)


If you install GnuPG (or PGP), and download my public key, it will instantly verify if that message really came from me, and then if you reply you can use the same key to encrypt it to me.

Really this stuff is easier to setup than a home network, and it's a basic precaution all of us who use email should take.

As an aside: All the 'data losses' that keep showing up in the news (laptops with 65,000 SSNs, or credit card numbers, etc.) wouldn't be nearly so catastrophic if these people used some decent form of encryption. Frankly I'm surprised no one has sued these various companies/agencies into mandating encryption.

*There is some version of GnuPG/PGP for every OS and almost every mail client out there. If you want some help setting one up, let me know I'd be happy to help.

Monday, July 10, 2006


On the two block walk to my favorite work coffee shop I was thinking over the layers of personal history that surround me in this town. For example, I buy my coffee from a guy I've been buying coffee from for almost half my life. The business he works at is run by friends of my parents. The woman behind the counter is the sister of a long time friend of mine. The building the shop resides in used to house a printing company that my friend's dad worked at.

And that's only the coffee shop. Along the walk I pass by a large building that used to be a lumber yard (and it's many fond memories of Saturday morning visits with my dad). Now it houses a bike builder I've known for years, a kayak shop with a pair of blue heelers that I've played with on several occasions, and a textile company that several friends have worked at over the years.

I walk by the spot I spent countless hours studying while in college, the space that until recently was my regular cafe, which was run by a friend from high school and staffed by my doppelganger.

And this all takes place in a neighborhood I spent many hours in as a teenager taking pictures of decrepit warehouses.

During my early to mid twenties I felt stifled by all those associations, but I've settled in, begun to enjoy them. They are what connect me to the world, they add depth to my landscape. I think that's why I don't enjoy traveling as much as I feel I should. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing new things, and visiting new places, but without any connections, I grow bored really fast.

I am a townie.

Ironically, I don't even live here anymore.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Subaru Update

20,000 in 8 months. In that time I've commuted to Oakland, driving over the sierra (2 or 3 times), through flooded areas in Sonoma County during our wet wet spring, almost the entire length of California (from Trinidad to Mammoth lakes, admittedly not in the same trip) and daily errands in stop and go traffic. So far my mileage has stayed at 22 mpg almost without change that entire time (one dip to 19, and several tanks at 24 or so).

High Points of ownership: The car has got to be the absolute best vehicle I've driving in nasty weather. Torrential rain on the freeway? No drama. Snowy icy roads? Surefooted and predictable. It's comfortable and bland (e.g. no tickets! unlike my BMW 2002 which was a cop magnet). As a wagon it can hold an impressive amount of stuff. It's handling is better than any other car I test drove (except for the Prelude). The cappuchino cup holder in dash.

Low Points: Brake rotors have gotten horribly 'warped.' Rear windows only roll down halfway. The interior fake-wood dashboard is still ugly. One of the oxygen sensors has crapped out. The rear license plate *still* rattles. The windows are 'frameless' and have gotten noticblely loose in the door when they are rolled down. Wind noise on the freeway is suprisingly loud. I've read that it's fixable by doing something with the window guides, but I haven't taken that on yet. It can be hard to find in the parking lot. There are so damn many of them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Hellooo? Phew! It's dusty in here. Jeeze. Well I need to do some sprucing up around here, but I've been very busy out there in the meatspace. Nothing too exciting, just the post-modern standard of work, home, projects....

Just to get you oriented, I no longer have a boat, but I still work for the same company, and live in Santa Rosa, um..yeah.

Upcoming posts? Several art shows of good stuff. Another pill-party at Laurel & Andy's for their upcoming show in....SF?

Corporate ropes course day, Laguna Beach, GTD, bikes, motorcycles, Linux, pvrs and fuzzy fuzzy cats.

Stay tuned!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Colbert Has Stones

There's been some internet-meme buzz around Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Press Corps Dinner. I watched some of it last night and I got to say..meh. And I think I'm more disturbed that this was considered pointed criticism. Maybe he got more blatant as he went on (I got bored so I didn't finish it), but seriously if his speech is the high bar for questioning power in this country we are in big trouble. Maybe I was in the wrong headspace for Colbert's speech. I had just recieved a raft of photos from New Orleans from some co-workers who are there on vacation. The city is still devastated. Miles and miles of devastation, boats (big ones) still lying in the middle of streets, garbage, and falling down houses, and broken infrastructure everywhere. And it's been what, 9 months? And hurricane season starts in a few weeks? Man.

I know there's been a lot of gnashing of teeth over who has responsibility over NOLA, and that the Feds can't solve all the problems, etc etc..But I have to wonder. When a major city gets destroyed, who should be responsible for fixing it? What happens when there's a massive earthquake in California and LA or the Bay Area gets seriously damaged? I always assumed (wrongly perhaps) that massive tragedies, and the rebuilding were one of justifications for hte Federal Gov'ts existence.

So I guess that Colbert's snarky remarks just seems like a weak jab at a President who should be getting pummeled daily by the press and public alike.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

White Brown and or Black: Tea

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Tea @ SFMOMA, San Francisco

White Brown and or Black: Topaz

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Mercury Topaz, and Unfinished Building, San Francisco

White, Brown or Black: Mati

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Day of the Dead, San Francisco

White Brown and or Black: Lanmart Building

Lanmart Building
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Lanmart Building, Petaluma

White, Brown and/or Black: Breda

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Breda bike, my studio.

Green: Freeway @ Night.

Freeway @ Night.
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
South of Market, San Francisco.

Green: Staples Roof with Moon

Staples Roof with Moon
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Staples Center, Los Angeles.

Green: Tunnel

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Tunnel in downtown LA at night.

Green: Hill

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Hill outside San Luis Obispo from a train at sunset.

Green: Ferns and Copper

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Atrium @ deYoung, San Francisco

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blue afternoon.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Woman on bus. Los Angeles.

Yellow (Red?) Paella.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.

Yellow Hotel.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Ok, I decided I'm not quite done with yellow. So here's a yellow hotel.

Blue Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge. At speed. For the record, Meredith took this, but I love it too much to not include it.

Blue_ Window

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Blue. window at my old house.

Blue. Oak

Dusky snow oak.
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Oak Tree, Sonoma Mountain, Snow.

Yellow Hot Rod

David diFalco's Hot Rod. Yellow...mostly.

Yellow Tile

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
In the Mission, San Francisco

Yellow Todd

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.


Following in Meredith's blog-prints, I'll be doing the week long color photo challenge. Here's yesterday: Yellow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pigeons of Doom.

Stormy Weekend.
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.

Snow fambly.

Snow fambly.
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
So with daring adventure tales of Friday's foray into snow country here in Sonoma Co. The family Har-son-ton or is that Jo-ger-hamil, went of snow-hunting expiditions saturday with no luck. Sunday we got up early and just drove east until we hit snow just as we were crossing into Lake Co. It was really fun and it made Meredith (ex-Michigan'er) super happy. I had my usuall reaction to snow: Ooo! Pretty! Ok, cold now. Where's the hot chocolate?

I think I would like to see it snow here more often. I wonder who'd I could write to about arranging that.

Perky Perky Dog.

Perky Perky Dog.
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.

"Pardon me good sir, but I believe you are standing upon my stick. If you would be so kind and just give it a toss, I'd be ever so grateful."

Beehive Collective Art @ Triptych

Beehive Collective Art @ Triptych
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Thursday night Meredith and I went down to San Francisco to see the openning of the Beehive Collective Show at Triptych. We really went to see Mati's work, but all of it was impressive! Show here was another member of the newly formed Beehive Collective (Christina...I think). It was a neat show, with lots of people and good music. Mati's work was wonderful and I think Laurel nailed it with her description: " [It's] currently a sort of russian folk art and vintage fashion aesthetic running through her usual brightly colored birds, plants, and devilish supernatural kittens." Good Stuff.

Snowy Sonoma Mountain

Snowy Sonoma Mountain
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
It's March so I guess that means we finally get our winter here in California. I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever break out my sweaters and heavy coat, but lo and behold: Snow on Sonoma Mountain last Friday!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Blue Bike.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Ok, I'm almost done with my stable. I just wanted to get them all shot and online before I start making some drastic changes. This bike (variously: Blue bike, bomber, beast) has been the stalwart of the stable. I've had it the longest, ridden the most miles on it, and neglected it the most. This was my commute bike for most of my college career which logged upwards of 100 miles a week with little trouble. This was the first bike I built up as an adult, and was what I rode in my first critical mass (the 10th anniversary, and yes there's a sticker for that too). It also served as my mountain bike, grocery getter, urban beater, and general mule. It's a late 80s/early 90's Specialized mountain bike. Heavy, simple and comfy. The sticker you see here was hand cut from reflective tape by Laurel. The bike is covered with her stickers and others, but this unicycle guy is probably my favorite (more photos @ flickr). Sadly it's come time for some drastic measures. Surface rust is starting to make serious in roads on this frame so I need to strip it and repaint, which means I lose all my stickers. Sad but inevitable. I think I'll rebuild it as a mutli-speed scorcher/commuter. I really want to start commuting at least 50% of the time on a bike.

Photos from the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Over at my flickr page, I've got lots of photos I took at the NAHBS show in San Jose on Saturday. Needless to say it was stunning. Almost every booth had some neat design detail or flawless execution. There were steel bikes (lugged, fillet brazed, and tigged), titanium, carbon fiber, bamboo, and aluminum bikes. From race bikes to track bikes to jaw dropping gorgeous Randonneur bikes. Sonoma County and Portland were well represented. Bruce Gordon's work is elvish in it's detail and grace. Sycip (Santa Rosa) had a nice range of styles, and one of their former employees has struck out on his own with this beautiful track bike as Robolledo Cycles, whose shop is 5 minutes from my house.

Ahearne, Brian Bayliss, and ANT bikes were among my favorites as well.

Some of Todd's work at Roshambo

Some of Todd's work at Roshambo
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Todd and Dude had their openning at Roshambo winery last saturday. The work was amazing (go see it!) and the turnout was huge. Sadly I only got two decent photos because I had a bad headache, but that's ok because you are going to go check out their art anyway, right?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California ended in Santa Rosa yesterday. I'm not a big fan of sports, but I'm beginning to get interested in bike racing. Not having cable for most of the Lance Armstrong years meant that I missed out on most of the TdF video coverage. The small bits I did see were riveting. One of the things that is hard to convey on TV is just how fast these guys are going. So here it is, after 70-somthing miles on a pretty cold day in February and these guys are just hammering around Santa Rosa (9th street in this photo) at really crazy fast speeds.

The Tour of California (for those who haven't been bombarded by newspaper articles like we have) is hoping to become THE premier U.S. race, attracting lots of Euro competitors (which is key) and hopefully vaulting more U.S. cyclists onto the international scene. I hope they succeed.

If anyone has cable, and can record the coverage on ESPN2 for me, I'll be infinately obliged. I think it's on 10pm PST every night.


Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.

Oh, it's lunch time. Maybe it's time for pizza.

Pinky's Pizza Party

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Heidi turned 30. So that must mean: Pizza Party. Pinky's...sheesh I haven't been there since I was in organized sports as a kid. Which is funny because I work like 2 blocks from it.

It must be because the vice-principal of my junior high used to bartend there.

The pizza was good though.

Dang Cute.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Dog in skeleton costume. Super adorable. According to his owner, he likes wearing costumes. Just like Fargo.

Paranomal Paramours @ Boomerang

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
The openning to Paranormal Paramours, a group show, at Boomerang in Petaluma. It was PACKED. They recently enlarged their space, but the turnout increased too. Meredith had a lovely piece in it, as did Heidi and others. I think my favorite was Phoebe's which you can kinda see in the background (the girl with red hair). The evening was marred however by some bad behaviour by one of the artists. He decided to take down someone elses (fragile) work, and put up something else. What a chump.

Yoda and his pink pillow

Yoda and his pink pillow
Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Pet Tuesday: My new cat Yoda. He's a strange, puffy cat who is always yelling 'myeh'. He's the only cat I've met who prefers to be under things then on top. In our house we have lots of cozy, plushy spaces for a cat to sleep, but Yoda is always sleeping under a chair. Or in the middle of the floor. Like all cats, he loves loves loves wool. He's our non-evil cat.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cables are too new fangled.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Give me a solid rod to stop my bike. Here's the mechanical linkage for the brakes. Another thing I love, mechanical age goofiness. Linkages, belt driven wood working tools, arcane electromechanical whozits...he says while typing on the antithesis of all things mechanical: A Powerbook.

Rod Brakes, and integral lock

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
The rusty thing on the left is a built in rear wheel lock. The best part is that it still had the key in it!

Breda, in all it's pre-war tech glory

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
I think it was made in the last 20 years, but it's based on OLD-school dutch bikes. There's only a little plastic on the rack and the reflector.

On any Saturday

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
I had a lucky Saturday (two in row, if you count last weeks flip-flop wheel find). This classy dutch-esque town bike was at the dump for $10. I saw the pin striping and rod brakes and was smitten.

I've been trying to control my bike collection lately, but really...rod brakes?

Of course it didn't look this good there. It was half taken apart, covered with weeds, mud, and just looked heavy.

I did a google search on the brand (Breda) and found nothing (!). After making sure I wouldn't be making a grave error by bringing another bike home, I woke up early Sunday and rushed back to the dump. I pulled up just in time to watch some guy poking at MY bike! And he already had a pile of bikes picked out. I wandered around feigning interest in kids BMX bikes, until he gave it up as a lost cause. Whoohoo!

I swooped in before he had a chance to reconsider. Paid my $10 and scurried, well drove, home.

To my delight, Orion showed up, and I immediately put him on polishing duty. Within a couple of hours we had fixed all the major problems and cleaned of most of the gunk. The tires even held air!

That afternoon Meredith and I rode around Roseland enjoying the warm sun.

Someday I'll probably sell it, but not yet.

Brooks B.17

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
I like modern technology. But I like some traditional stuff better. I like traditional materials over all. Ride in wool? Yes. Sit on leather? yes. Steel frame? Please.

A lot of people swear by brooks saddles, and an almost equal number hate them with a passion. I was unsure, but curious for a long time, but I tried many different modern saddles and none of them were comfortable for long.

Then I bought this. After a couple of weeks riding, it started getting really comfortable. Now every time I ride on anything else I wish it was this saddle.

I also bought a green one and I'm still (months later) breaking it in. It's taking much much longer.

Davidson Deraileur

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Campy something or other. When I was younger (11-13) I was a cycling fanatic. I couldn't afford the top end stuff (not to mention I was 11), but I lusted after campagnolo anything. As an older, one would hope, wiser man, I no longer lust after labels like I once did. But I still like the look of older Campy stuff. Does it work better than a cheap suntour or something? Nah, probably not, but it shifts when I want it to, and looks pretty. That's enough for me.

Davidson Front Hub

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
This hub and wheel was built by my friend Pat at the Bicycle Factory (sadly gond). It's a Campy Tipo hub, and I think it's one of the most beautiful hubs ever made. Pat did a nice job, and I love the crow's foot lacing. Someday, I'll have a rear to match.

Studio Bikes, my roadie

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Since spring in on the way, my bike love has blossommed again. It took a hiatus for a little while just wasn't very bike friendly. But now that my commute is back to reasonable, and I'm not commuting to see my lovely girlfriend, I've got the time to ride.

So I though I should document my bikes as they are right now (because I'm always tinkering and changing them).

This bike is my favorite to ride. It fits me just right, and handles really well, even with that atrocious aluminum fork. This was my main bike for commuting to school, and midnight mass rides. It is a lugged steel frame from davidson in Seattle. I traded an early 80's Merckx that was too small for it at Recyclery in San Rafael. The fork was the only thing they had that fit the frame, but someday I'll pony up the dough for a proper Davidson fork, but I don't have $250 sitting around...

Motobecane makeover, ver. 0.9, the whole package.

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Due to the cramped setup of my studio, the wide angle lens make the bike look a little funny.

These are great tires, Avocet Cross II in a neato grey sidewall. High volume, cushy without feeling sluggish, and so far (3 different bikes, over a couple of years) very flat resistant. The rubber rots pretty quickly though.

Motobecane makeover, ver. 0.9

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
I love this bike. It's almost perfect for rolling around town on a weekend morning. The kids and I were enjoying the great weather by going for bike rides whenever we got the chance. So far the makeover was on the cheap, as a proof-of-concept. Cheapo steel bars, and a lucky day at the recyclery netted me a flip-flop fixed gear wheel for only a few hamiltons. All the other stuff I had in my lab. What it needs now is a rack, some nice fenders, and a springy brooks saddle. In fact I like the setup of this thing so much I'm thinking of changing over my black fixie to this permanently.

Motobecane makeover, ver. 0.9, drive train

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
Simple, effective, and low-maintenance. It's also very very quiet, which has become really important to me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oh man.

It just keeps getting worse. From Newsweek: Presidential hits.

What happened to Congress? What happened to the Supreme Court? Where's my damn country?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

There's a John Cleese in my dreams

My afternoon nap microdream:

Radio Newsguy Voice: On a sad note, famed comedian and former member of Monty Python's Flying Circus committed himself to a mental institution outside of London. Several years ago we intervied Mr. Cleese on this very subject.

Cut to taped interview:

Interviewer: You work over the years has been called loopy, crazy, wonderful, and strange. How do you determine what is sane or crazy?

John Cleese: Well, I know my work has had crazy moments, but it's intentional. I think if elements of my work started showing up in real life, then I would in trouble. If naked organists, or silly walks began making a regular appearance then that would be it, wouldn't it? I'd have myself committed.

Radio Newsguy Voice: One of Mr. Cleese's well known skits was reading nonsense newscasts. Evidently the proliferation of nonsense spam emails appearing worldwide was enough to for him to decide that enough was enough. We wish well, and hope he makes a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Frenchy in the Studio

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
This is the "Before" shot.

M is for Motobecane & Meredith

Originally uploaded by ScottyJ.
I still haven't set up my shop. It's getting there, but most of my tools are still dull, and in boxes. I've moved the furniture around several times and I think that I've come up with the best layout for the space. Now I need a project to motivate me to actually get the rest of the unpacking done. So I present to you my newest project: Frenchy, the town bike.
This Motobecane Mirage came as a gift from Meredith. She found it languishing in a thrift store, and decided to suprise me with it a couple of months ago. Seeing as how I have a roadbike, a mountain bike, a folder, and a fixed gear, I knew I needed to build a sweet town bike. I've wanted something with fenders, baskets, and a comfy 'cruising around town' feel for some time now. But that's the future. Let's deal with the present. Here's the bike as it came from the thrift store: Steel rims, rotted flat tires, and rusty drive train. The frame is in good shape. It looks like it wasn't ridden much at all. First I'll stick a wheelset on it, and get a sense of it's geometry, and see how it fits.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yay! Consumerism!

Whoohoo! There's two new bike stores in westside Petaluma. I'm always happy to see more bike stores because maybe it means that more people will ride bikes. And I'm especially happy to have two new stores downtown because a little over a year ago we lost our last downtown bike store. I was very troubled by it's closure. Sure I can order all my odd-ball goofy bike parts over the internet, but I like going downtown and talking to someone, and supporting my local-bike-shop. So far, I've spent a little money at both of them, and once they get some more stock (they are both under a month old), I'm sure to spend more money there.

the two shops (Bici, and Eastside Cycles) cover a similar range, if slightly different styles of bike shops. Eastside (so named because it's first store was on teh eastside of town) is your more standard bike shop. Bigger than Bici, it covers a lot of the mountain/road mid-range market. It's got a some small selection in helmets, shoes, clothes, accessories and bikes, with a decidedly Moutain Bike slant. But they also work on bikes, and the guy told me they are still setting up and getting stock in.

Bici, is decidedly more stylee. The fixed gear in the window, the pale wood floors, the large plasma tv on the wall, mark it as much more boutique. But I liked it. Good bikes, actually some fixed gear stuff (lock rings, cogs, etc..) on hand, and the Bici guy (whose name I didn't get) is really hoping to make it a 'destination' type bike shop, with group rides, clinics and the Tour on a bigscreen plasma on the wall. Also: coffee. So he's got my business.

Bici Sport: Kentucky Street, Petaluma. Nice guy.
Eastside: In the new parking garage building (ironic, huh?) near the new theater.