Unknown

To assume that your answer is right because the alternative is unknown is the most basic limitation of humankind. “Answers” that are influenced by a false sense of morals, false morals that are derived from a fear of the unknown.

This is both unnatural and counter-productive to innovation and achieving excellence. To be excellent one must not be bound and constricted by their conclusions; they must hold on to those former conclusions with the tips of their toes while reaching desperately into the darkness of the unknown.

This is innovation, this is excellence, this is all that is good in the human spirit. In this act we become moral, stretching ourselves between the bindings of our minds and the boundlessness of our hearts.

Photo credit: NASA/Hubble

Ikea hacking: Triangle table

Enjoying our $7 triangle table

It’s incredibly hard for me to find the right furniture. I hate cheap dept store stuff, can’t afford / maintain expensive designer stuff, and can never find a purpose for the decent items from Ikea.

Christina seems content with a variety of colors and textures and shapes littering a room at what I consider awkward angles and positions. I’m a bit more anxious about that stuff, I have a hard time concentrating and feeling relaxed in spaces with unsettling atmosphere.

All that said, we had to come up with a solution this weekend to accommodate our Christmas Tree in the living room. This meant a re-shuffle of our couch and tables, leaving us with a particularly odd, triangle gap. With no overhead lighting in our living room, this gap required a light so that we could read, eat, or relax without a flashlight.

The smallest item we had in the house was a $7 Lack table from Ikea. Just about anyone who has gone to college or furnished a first apartment has purchased at least one of these. I owned about 6 in college as they came in handy frequently and costs about the same as a fast food lunch.

However, we couldn’t orient my new favorite chair (thanks Dale!) and our small couch in a way to allow that square table…we kept coming up with a triangle. After some back and forth I realized we could just hack the table in half, with room for three legs and have a perfect triangle table left.

As you can see, it was a success!

This was probably the easiest furniture hack I’ve done yet, and left me wondering about the marvelous items I could construct from more $7 tables.

Wanna make one? Check the photos.

My favorite animate gif of all time.

Why polar bear? Why?!

Leave a comment 30th Nov 2012
Awards

Magnavox Micromatic Player

FOR SALE: $50
CONTACT: max@maxisnow.com 

Parting ways with this sweet suitcase record player. I bought it about 5 years ago and put a little work into it to get it playing again.

It works pretty great and has a new needle I installed about a year ago. All play modes work, including “AUTO” which you can see in the video below.

That said, it’s not in excellent condition on the exterior: missing a small foot nub, one locking latch is broke off (but still have it), and finish is a little drabby.

Also throwing in a stack of records I don’t really care for.

Suitcase folded up and ready to party.

Speaker and player setup.

Speaker hinges disconnect when open

Free records I’ll throw in

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUaSvqnqsmc

 

2 Comments 23rd Sep 2012
Vintage

Illegal contact

In an effort to get a SUPER early start on cyclocross season this year, Christina and I headed out to Double Cross on friday night. We brought a Vanagon full of food, bikes, dogs, beer, and pillows to spend the whole weekend camping and racing and drinking said beers.

Double Cross is two days of cyclocross races on Saturday and Sunday. Going into it, I was pretty optimistic about racing one day with the Clydes and another day with the SS (singlespeed) category. After a pre-ride early on Saturday I realized right away that it was a day to bust out the singlespeed mountain bike and give a spin in the SS category (as I’ve done at some ‘cross races in the past).

Going into it, I was optimistic to have a solid race WAY in the back of the pack. My main goals were to give a good effort, ride the technical parts, and  not get dead last. What ended up happening was a lot more surprising.

I started the race feeling pretty good which quickly turned into a feeling of being totally destroyed. At the end of lap 3, I had done the killer steep run-up 3 times (3 more than I would like :P ), pushed my lungs to a limit spinning faster than I can normally manage, and figuring out a sand pit… the hard way. I was in the back, but I wasn’t doing terrible. I was ahead of a few people and had only been lapped by the heroically fast dude (Luke Demoe) leading the SS race.

Trying not to look like a fool in the sand.

Into my 4th lap, I was passed by about 5-6 other racers. 2 more racers passed on the good line as I headed into the long singletrack section. This section was a pretty tight run with mostly a single line the whole way and plenty of loose dirt/sand to toss your wheel around.

“Right behind you!” I heard from someone to my back near the last of the singletrack section. It was a SS racer who was lapping me. I responded “OK!”, as I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do. This exchange was in what I believed to be a tight section with very little space. I was exhausted and trying to push harder, so making space for another rider wasn’t my priority.

This is where my memory feels clear, but with the mix of frustration and adrenaline may have warped everything a bit. The facts are true, but how exactly it went down may be colored by the moment.

FACT: We argued about whether or not I was DQ’d for being lapped.
WHAT I REMEMBER: He seemed rushed and asked me to move over. I declined. He and I squabbled a bit about whether I was DQ’d for being lapped or not. I wasn’t happy about the conversation. We cussed at each other a bit.

FACT: He attempted to pass me on my left.
WHAT I REMEMBER: He moved forward on top of me, and I felt his handlebars brush my left knee. I wasn’t happy about this, either, not one bit. Not from being lapped, but I felt like my space and safety was being threatened.

FACT: I leaned into him and extended my elbow (possibly a few times)
WHAT I REMEMBER: To convey my discomfort with his move on my line and my own anger about the situation, I threw my elbow out and leaned into him. He was close enough that both of those things made significant contact. I rode the line, which tossed him off the singletrack. I didn’t feel like I leaned excessively or violently jabbed my elbows as he wasn’t flung off his bike.

FACT: He grabbed/palmed my side and shoved me off the line.
WHAT I REMEMBER: He shoved me, which actually didn’t move me much, but did force me to try putting my foot down. I scrapped into a stump and some blackberry bushes and tangled my wheel into a large stick. I tried to rip out of the stick as he took off on the line. I was jamming up against his bike while trying to thrash my wheel loose. I also remember yelling something stupid like “sweet! Keep pedaling to that DQ!” or something.

FACT: I reported the shove to the officials at the pit.
WHAT I REMEMBER: I attempted to get back in the saddle and finish out the race, but my wheel was rubbing up against my chainstay. I shouldered it and ran to the pit. I relayed to Jordan what happened. He asked me if I would come with him to talk it out with the other rider. I did not want to. Not because I was afraid of the confrontation, but because I was pretty pissed and afraid I may escalate it even more.

What a stupid and shitty situation right? Why the hell do two grown men get into this kind of bologna after paying money to have fun on our bikes?!

But all of this above isn’t really what I wanted to talk about. The other rider, David, and I have talked since and been able to sort it out. He gave a serious apology and I gave mine. We both got carried away. We both said and did stupid shit and were both able to see that after the fact.

What I wanted to talk about were some seriously gnarly sentiments I’ve now heard from some other riders. This was a fairly small event, but it’s also a fairly small cycling community. I’ve now seen some folks, who I always thought were pretty cool, saying some pretty disparaging things.

It bums me out.

It bums me out that folks believe others don’t belong in a certain race, thoughts like “get faster or get out of the way”, that situations like the above are somehow squarely the fault of a slower rider.

One of the first things I started to think about was Ernest Gagnon. When I first read his story I was so excited on a number of different levels. First, because this dude was doing something so rad to make himself feel better. Second, that the cycling community was being so supportive of him. And third, but most important to me, was because while I don’t match the weight and challenges that Ernest has faced pursuing cycling I DO understand what it means to be an overweight dude in the cycling community.

I know what it means to silently put out 5 times the effort to climb the same hill as everyone else on the ride.
I know what it means to have  to replace seat-binding bolts, drivetrains, wheels, saddles because you absolutely destroy them just by using them.
I know what it means to order skinsuits at the largest possible size, only to have them still be too small and make you look like some sort of fairy-tale character.
I know EXACTLY what it means to be a huge fucking dude who loves a sport full of people who are WAY better at it than you.

But, like I’m assuming Ernest does, I’ve learned to silence all those voices in my head. I’ve learned to get on my bike and pedal pedal pedal, and not think about how much harder I have to work for the same gains as other dudes.

All because I love this sport and I love riding my bike.

So what does this have to do with me being bummed out?

It has to do with the sorts of hypocrisy I see in the cycling communities. I see them in myself.

We want a dude like Ernest to ride, but we don’t want him in front of us. We want bikes and racing to be a open sport, finding new participants and greater popularity, but not at the cost of “my race” or “my points”, “me me me me me”.

I didn’t race Sunday. I told Christina it was because I didn’t like the course, hell, I told myself it was because I didn’t like the course. But it was really because I could silence the voices that day. All those little doubts in myself, all the reasons I have to walk away from even trying to race or give an effort.

I don’t blame my friends/acquaintances/fellow cyclists for me feeling that way about myself. Those are my feelings to manage.

I just wanted to speak my mind and hope that maybe some of them would think before they comment and talk about situations they really don’t understand.

We all have our weight to bear, some more literally then others. Until we learn to help with the lifting, shits only gonna get harder.

 

4 Comments 17th Sep 2012
Bikes

We are married!

We haven’t been blogging here since our wedding wesbite (see archived here) took over last March. Well, we’re married now.

The wedding was a smash and we enjoyed every moment with our friends and family.

We also had a chance to honeymoon in BEAUTIFUL Poipu, Kauai, HI. (PHOTOS HERE)

Stay tuned for our official wedding photos. Until then, the blog is going back up and hopefully some posts soon too!

Leave a comment 17th Aug 2012
Wedding

Remember the Mud

Any great day in the saddle starts on a not-so-chilly morning with a delightfully made espresso drink.

…and ends with an indulgent spattering of mud, sweat, and February sun.

Blake and I took to the trails Sunday with very little riding for 2012 under our belts. I was excited to ride Forest Park for the first time in months and Blake seemed happy to be pedaling out as well. The trails were wet, soft, and…well, prefect. After an almost entirely mud-less ‘cross season for 2011 – It was pure pleasure to get some mud in my eye.

Oh, and Blake flatted. Twice. With no tire levers.
Can someone buy him some?

1 Comment 13th Feb 2012
Bikes

Selling my Vintage Rangefinder Collection

In the hopes of soon procuring a new digital compact camera system I’ve decided to let go of my pretty little vintage camera collection. I haven’t had these  long, but I’ve used all of them and have had some excellent results that can capture the lost era of film rangefinders, from the 1950s into the 1970s.

Let me know if you’re interested in a camera. If you want them all, I will gladly pack up all 5 for $100.
Otherwise, the individual prices are below and negotiable.


Braun Paxette 35mm (german made, ~1954)
$30
This camera is a beautiful example of the rise of rangefinder popularity in the 1950s. Everything works, however the winder recoil is missing a small piece. It works to wind the film, it just does not work as intended. Film loads in the bottom as seen in gallery below. Pretty damn cool.

Middl 120-A medium format (~1950s, folding bellows)
$40
This camera needs a good cleaning. I have not shot film on this and I believe the aperature and focus dials need to be cleaned. That said everything operates great otherwise. Bellows are in excellent shape and don’t have any light leaks that I can see. More photos below!


Konica EE matic 35mm (1960s?)
$30
Konica EE matic is a fully mechanical auto-exposure rangefinder. Surprisingly the auto-exposure worked pretty well, but the viewfinder focusing doesn’t seem to work at all so you have to approximate. Film turned out great. See post here for more details about the camera and here to see some of the tests I did with it.


Yashica  35mm (newer era)
$20
This Yashica is actually really cool. Auto exposure and focus. Auto focus works great EXCEPT for at right around 5′. Weird eh? See post here for more details about the camera and here to see some of the tests I did with it.


Minolta HI-MATIC E 35mm (~1971)
$25
Really super cool rangefinder similar to the above Konica. Focus seems slightly off but photos came out pretty cool. See post here for more details about the camera and here to see some of the tests I did with it.

 

Photos of the bottom 3 cameras at http://robopony.com/blog/2011/rangefinder-romance/ and the rest below.

 

3 Comments 12th Feb 2012
Photography

Bike Lane Wars: Cyclist vs Bike Commuter

Me, I don’t like to segregate people who ride bikes.
Yes yes, I utilize the stereotypes and loose categories that everyone else does:

…..the list goes on and on.

That said, I’ve always held myself and most others to a higher standard than many other sports and hobbies. There is a huge movement throughout the US for bikes to have more funding, more road use, more recreational area….just more for everyone of every discipline or category of bike rider. It’s a wave of change that would benefit everyone from the vegan bike commuter to the GOP-loving mountain biker – more road and more space means more riding and more fun. (ps. not all bike comuters are vegan, nor mountain bikers all love the GOP) For the most part the bike riding community (whatever that contains exactly) has been internally rather pleasant to one another, even if some of us lose our shit with drivers, runners, hikers, or the like.

But it feels like the tide may be changing in the concentrated areas. I recall, only 5 years ago, riding country roads and getting a passing “hello” honk from a MTBer in his giant raised SUV headed out to the hills for some dirt. I remember hearing “good morning” or “on your left” or “hey! nice bike!” all times of the day – whether commuting to work or just putting in some miles in my spandex.

Not to sound too nostalgic, but that all seems to be gone now. I don’t hear anything, not a word, from other cyclists on my rides; I say “good morning” and they act like they didn’t hear me – I say “on your left” and they speed up. My dress for my ride also seems to have become important, dictating how commuters or road racers should treat me. It’s not ALL THE TIME, but it’s become the vast majority.

Why?

Can’t we all just get along?

 

2 Comments 7th Feb 2012
Bikes

Get back on board, prick!

In light of the terrible cruise ship accident in Italy, a whole new awesome trend has been born. The second Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco yelled “Vada a bordo, cazzo!” at the incompetent cruise ship Captain, t-shirts hit the printing racks and a new meme, nay, a new pop-culture mission statement was born.

I really wish these shirts were available in the US for less than $40USD – because this is one of my new favorite expressions.

Take a look here (it helps if you understand a little Italian)