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Month: July 2008

MMBA Wednesday Night Stony Creek Ride

The only photo I took on the 30-Jul-2008 MMBA group ride at Stony Creek.

Despite carrying my camera with me, here is the only photo I took during last night’s MMBA Wednesday Night group ride at Stony Creek. I don’t know any of the people in the photo and they are just a small part of the ‘fast’ group. There were a bunch more folks who arrived at the top of the hill, after winding up The Snake, after this was taken.

Oh, and that photo is taken on the top of Mt. Sheldon (not a real mountain), the highest point in the park, which is where I took this photo from on Monday while facing the opposite direction. Just ahead of everyone there and to the left is The Roller Coaster, the really nice piece of multi-segment lengthy, winding, flowy, mostly downhill single track.

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A MetLife blimp is flying over my workplace for some reason.

There is a blimp flying over my workplace. I don’t know why. Thankfully the camera in my phone still works well enough to get a photo of it. I really could use a new phone, though.

I’ve also posted some other new Moblog images, including the blimp one. Interested in seeing them? Here they are:

· A MetLife blimp is flying over my workplace for some reason.
· Beautiful storm clouds seen from outside of Rochester Mills Brewery on 21-Jul-2008.
· A Surly Cross-Check set up for commuting, parked outside of Rochester Mills Brewery.
· The brewery floor at Rochester Mills.
· A Dyson Airblade in the men’s bathroom at Rochester Mills Brewery.
· People sitting around at Rochester Mills Brewery in the back room for the MMBA Metro North chapter meeting.

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Biking is getting easier…

The entrance to The Pines trail in Stony Creek standing at marker #6.

Since I’d picked up a CamelBak yesterday I decided to give it a try today, but only after removing the rack and bottle cages from my bike to make my bike as light as (realistically) possible. While I previously didn’t like biking with a backpack, one of the cycling-specific CamelBaks isn’t too bad. Yes, I got a good bit hotter and sweatier, but after the first couple miles I didn’t really notice it was there.

The lack of extra weight on the bike made it (much) easier to hop over logs and handle log piles, although I did find that the extra weight on my body caused me to stand up a little less, and my butt was getting a bit more sore. No numbness in a bit over 15 miles, though.

While reading a bit on line about cleaning CamelBaks I found that a number of people just empty the bladder then throw it in the freezer. This keeps things from growing in it between uses so one doesn’t have to wash/dry it every time. I tossed mine in the freezer and hopefully it’ll work out well.

It was also suggested to me that I try to ride in the center chainring more often, because it makes it easier to keep one’s speed up which is quite often the key to getting through tricky areas. I spent most of today’s ride trying this and it really did work out well, and I was able to make it through a particularly difficult uphill rutted switchback comfortably. I don’t know if it is this different gearing contributing to more speed, more experience, or both, but I’m feeling much more comfortable covering routes at Stony much more quickly. I hope this feeling of comfort on trails applies elsewhere.

Oh, I also brought my camera (the Coolpix 5400) along with me today. One of the nice things about the CamelBak is that there is plenty of room in it for my normal set of tools, camera, food (if needed), and things like that. Since I was out there alone there wasn’t much to take pictures of, but I did grab that photo above (also here) at the entrance to The Pines, a switchback filled but not too hilly part of the Stony Creek trails. I also grabbed this photo from the top of Mt. Sheldon, the highest point in the park, looking out at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester, MI.

If you’d like to reference things, here is the MMBA provided map of Stony Creek, and the entrance to The Pines is marker #6, the top of Mt. Sheldon is marker #25.

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Korg DS-10 Synthesizer for Nintendo DS

Korg DS-10 running on my DS.

In case you were wondering, yes, the Korg DS-10 Synthesizer for Nintendo DS is excellent. It’s awesome. Fun, very easy to understand, the works. I can’t wait until it’s released in the US so that I can have multiple copies running.

The only thing I can’t figure out is what the SMT/HLD setting on the Kaos Pad is supposed to do. Oh, and it does seem like some of the settings (in particular those on the patch panel) don’t do anything until one slightly turns a knob, but that may be intentional.

This sounds excellent on headphones. I can’t wait to see what people come up with using it. Hopefully there is a good way to trade songs beyond peered DS’.

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8GB iPod Touch For Auction / Sale

8GB iPod Touch for Auction / Sale

Due to an interesting series of events (more on this at some point in the future) my sister has had to purchase a new computer and such for herself. As part of her purchase of a Macbook she received an 8GB iPod Touch for free (after rebate). She doesn’t need the iPod, so I’m attempting to sell it for her.

I am currently selling it via eBay auction #290249097988 with a starting bid of US$1. If any of you are interested in purchasing it I can make it available outside of eBay. I expect that we’ll get somewhere around US$240 for it once the auction has closed, but I’d take US$220 cash (or equivalent). This goes for folks overseas or not. Yes, that’s a much better price than you’ll pay for one at a store.

This is a brand new iPod purchased a couple of weeks ago at the local Apple store at the Partridge Creek shopping center. It comes with the original receipt, so there should be no problems with any sort of warranty support on it. It should also be quite easy to get the 2.0 firmware (jailbroken or not) on it, if you so desire.

So, anyone want it? Otherwise I’ll just leave it up to the eBay peoples…

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CamelBak M.U.L.E. (Coyote / Black)

Camelbak M.U.L.E. in Coyote / Black color, purchased from REI for US$85.

Today while out and about Danielle swung by REI where I used one of those silly VISA gift cards to purchase a CamelBak M.U.L.E. hydration pack. I’ve been contemplating getting one for a while now, but I finally decided just to get one and see if I like it. Because it was purchased at REI, if I really don’t like it I can just take it back.

I had wanted the orange / charcoal colored one, but it wasn’t in stock so I went with coyote / black, which is a nice brownish color. I figure that black would be a bit hot to wear and it’d also show all acquired dirt very easily, whereas this brown should be considerably lighter.

I also picked up a US$1 brass Presta to Schrader adapter to keep in my bag. Last time I was out riding I happened across someone with a flat who needed to borrow a pump, but as my pump doesn’t do Presta very well (getting the fitting on is a huge hassle) I couldn’t help him out. Also, my sister’s bike has Presta valves and if I’m out riding with her I need to be sure that I can adjust her tires as well.

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Michigan Brewer’s Guild 2008 Summer Beer Fest

My glass of Tiramisu Stout and a handful of tokens.

The Michigan Brewer’s Guild 2008 Summer Beer Fest was, at least from my perspective, a great success.

There was a bit of bothersome traffic on the way, but we arrived with plenty of time to meet up with everyone, apply sunscreen, then wander over to the park. Despite being in a rather long line to get in, we were only waiting for about 15 minutes.

There was a set of dark clouds that rolled through and sprinkled a little rain, but not enough to even make one wet.

All in all, it was a really nice time. After the festival closed we all headed back to Brian and Debbie’s place for food and sober-up time and things like that. Unfortunately I just never became sober, so Danielle, who had no problems getting back to normal, drove back to my place.

If you are interested, here is a list of all the breweries and beers at the festival this year, and here is my Michigan Brewer’s Guild Summer Beer Fest 2008 album. All photos were taken with Danielle’s nicely pocket sized Panasonic DMC-FX3. It’s a nice small camera, but it still takes decent photos.

When wandering around we ended up at the tent for Adventures in Homebrewing. Brian knew the person there, and he offered us some root beer in these nice red plastic cups he had. Well, the root beer was excellent, and it turned out that the breweries would happen to fill these cups as well, half a cup for a token. Since 1/3 of a red plastic cup was equivalent to a full normal cup, we ended up with quite a bit more beer than expected. As seen here, Eric had no problem ending up with a large full cup of beer for two tokens.

Oh, and extra tokens were 10 for $5, so near the end of the day Danielle and I acquired $10 worth of extra tokens (one of the red special cups can also be seen here). As most of them didn’t get used we’ll just have to save them for the Winter festival, which is happening on 28-Feb-2009 in Grand Rapids.

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Southern Tier’s Jah-Va

Southern Tier's Jah-Va poured into a glass. This is a very, very nice 12% coffee stout.

I do declare, Southern Tier makes some of the finest beers I’ve ever had. They are consistently good, with only one or two of their styles ever being something that didn’t set well with me.

Tonight while eating a rather late dinner of leftovers I had this nice bottle of Souther Tier’s Jah-Va, a 12% coffee stout. I think I spent two hours on this bottle, sipping the 1.5 (or so) pints of it while watching some TiVo’d stuff, balancing my checkbook, talking to friends online, and relaxing. It’s very, very good. I’d highly recommend trying some yourself if you like thick, strong stouts.

Also, based on the flags and sprayed markings in front of my house it appears that either Comcast is installing new boxes or Wide Open West is bringing service to our complex. Here is a photo of the new box, and the short one behind it is specifically labeled Comcast. Maybe I should give WOW a go.

Thanks, work. At least I got some stuff fixed, I guess.

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