Archive for July 2009

“Home Made” White Bread

If everything goes as planned, this will turn into a loaf of white bread which I can eat part of for breakfast tomorrow. This white bread recipe, from nuxx.net details everything needed for this simple bread machine white bread; water, flour, sugar, salt, butter, and yeast. I’d attempted to make some earlier this week, but I only had 2/3 of the required amount of yeast and bread flour. Leaving out the rest of the yeast and substituting plain white flour resulted in a smaller, denser, loaf of bread which while not terrible just didn’t sit very well with me. This alternate loaf has been cubed and set out to dry for crouton-making.

I’d originally intended this loaf to be ready at about 7am, but I inadvertently hit the start button on the bread maker instead of timer, immediately beginning the mixing process. Since the ingredients need to stay separated and layered until the whole baking process is about to begin, I had no choice but to let it go. Thus, the bread will be ready about 4am. Oh well. Three hour old bread isn’t exactly a tragedy.

New Bridge at Bald Mountain North Unit

Needing to clear my head and relax a bit after work, I headed out to Bald Mountain North Unit and Addison Oaks for some bike riding. One lap of each, a bit of the connecting dirt road, and a quick jaunt up to Lake Orion to watch the ducks in the park while eating some fruit/nut mix added up to just over 25 miles.

One really nice surprise in Bald Moutain was this brand new bridge over a previously muddy spot, which is located just after the Conklin Road entrance. That image there (and above) is looking back at it, after crossing over. Here is how it looks as you approach it. I’m not sure who did it, but I suspect one of the Team MARVIN (currently unemployed) MMBA members who have been doing loads of wonderful summer trail maintenance all throughout the area.

This ride, and last night at Stony Creek with the usual group, was also a chance to try out the new fork on trails that I know well. Thus far I’m really, really happy with the fork. In short, hard bumps don’t feel as severe, my front wheel sticks more solidly to the ground, and it’s noticeably lighter.

Fifth Third Bank’s Payday Loan Business (aka Early Access)

Today when signing into Fifth Third’s website to check my bank account, I saw a link which would allow me to sign up for a new service called Early Access. Not knowing what this is I clicked on the link, only to see that Early Access is nothing more than easy-to-use payday advance lending. More information is available about it on this page, but I think it’s particularly telling that the bank specifically states in the disclosures section that:

Fifth Third Early Access is an expensive form of credit and should only be used in situations where you need funds quickly and you do not have access to less expensive forms of credit.

Fox 32 F100 RLC on 2008 Specialized Rockhopper M4 Frame

While Danielle was off with two of the other people on her Breast Cancer 3-Day team walking ~16 miles, I spent most of Sunday working on my bike. After the very muddy Tree Farm Relay the day before my bike needed to be washed, and I had a new fork to fit.

For the first time I actually disassembled the entire bike, removing everything except for the bottom bracket, front derailleur, and derailleur hanger. Everything was then thoroughly cleaned, greased as needed, and put back together. At the same time as this a Cane Creek S-3 headset and the new-to-me Fox 32 F100 RLC fork were installed.

The undamaged Avid Clean Sweep G2 rotor (from leftover from the replacement of the brakes post-comically bad ride) was also fitted to the front in place of the roundagon that came with the BB7 and I’d fitted in July of last year. I’ve heard that they tend to stop better than the smoother roundagons, and after some brake clogging problems during the race, I figure it’s worth trying.

The steerer tube on the new fork was just a little bit longer than my old one, but I figured it was best to leave it be and just throw a spacer on top of the stem. As seen here it’s really not too bad looking, even with the particularly tall Niner YAWYD stem cap. I’m not sure I care for the carbon fiber look either, but I don’t think it’s terribly noticeable. Still, I can only hope that in a few years the Asian manufactures will do the world a favor and start using opaque epoxies when working with CF.

The shifter cables were replaced, time was spent adjusting the fork to both factory defaults and a reasonable sag for my weight (100psi, for reference), and a few test rides around the neighborhood were taken. Now to get out and do some single track riding and test it out. Hopefully this will happen tomorrow.

Here’s all of the pictures taken of my bike today, in case you want to see how it now looks:

· My bike, a once-was 2008 Specialized Rockhopper Disc, after being cleaned up and fitted with a 2008 Fox RLC fork and Cane Creek S3 headset. (Note the terrible crank / downtube positioning. This is awful composition.)
· Detail of the Cane Creek S3 headset and carbon fiber spacers. Since the steerer tube is a bit long and I didn’t want to cut it, the top cap sticks up a bit.
· 2008 Fox 32 F100 RLC fork and Cane Creek S3 headset installed on my 2008 Rockhopper Disc.
· Clean rear drivetrain after disassembly and chain replacement. The mud from the Tree Farm Relay required that everything receive particular attention.

The Jan & Linda Bust Trust Shirts

Danielle is doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in a few weeks, and we’re just now finalizing the t-shirt designs. If any of you are interested, we’re now taking orders for the shirts, at $25/each. I apologize for the short notice, but orders need to be received by tomorrow evening; Tuesday, July 28th, 2009. There is a bit of a lead time required for these shirts, and we’ve pushed it to the last minute.

The logo up top there is the final front design, done by Kristi / Pixel Fairy Design. The back will be printed with the names and logos of the sponsors. The shirts will be white, American made and printed athletic / workout type shirts, printed with a dye sublimation process by Voler, one of the best cycling jersey companies in the world. This means that not only will the shirts be breathable and comfortable for working out in, they will also last for quite a while.

Sizing information for the shirts themselves is available here on the sizing tab. To order shirts, please email me at c0nsumer@nuxx.net with the size and quantities desired. For payment we can either handle it as the shirts are delivered in person, or via Google Checkout or PayPal.

If you need or want the shirts shipped, please let also let me know where to send them. I’ll be tacking on a single $5 fee to each to-be-shipped order for Priority Mail postage, but this should be good for however many shirts that you order. This means that one shirt shipped will be $30, but three shipped will only be $80.

Thanks, everyone!

(If you’d like to visit Danielle’s 3-Day site itself, where you can make a donation via credit card, it’s here: danielle3day.nuxx.net.)

Tree Farm Relay

Yesterday was the 2009 Tree Farm Relay out at Lakeshore Park in Novi, MI. Our team consisted of Nick, Tak, Bill, and I under the name Snatch and Grab with the excellent team number 23 (Hail Eris). While the results aren’t up yet, I think we came in somewhere around the middle to the latter half of the group.

When we first arrived, there was a steady rain, which soaked everything nicely but (thankfully) stopped just before the start of the sport-class race. The first group encountered the muddiest trails, with the course progressively drying out through the third lap. When I went out for my fourth lap everything should have been nicely dry, but there was a downpour which started just after I entered the more difficult single track. The result of this was that I added a good two pounds of mud to my bike, and finished the race completely soaked and mudspattered. For the most part it was easy to tell who hadn’t ridden yet. Those who were still waiting for their lap were clean, and those who finished were not unlike this photo of Marty. Yes, it was loads of fun.

Up above there is a photo of a tube, blown out the side of a wheel. This is Nick’s bike, right after he ran across the line with his bike on just the back wheel. It turns out that during Nick’s lap he first broke his chain, then fixed it. After that, he slipped on one of the sloppy mud corners, washing his front wheel out. Once he started going, 20′ or so later a floowp floowp flawwp sound was heard from his front wheel, and right as he looked down at it the tire it finished unseating itself from the bead and the tube erupted out the side. The result was deemed unworthy of trail maintenance and the last chunk of trail traversed on foot. This was a good thing, as we all got to look at the wonderfully distended tube. Stuff like this is normally only seen in photos, so this was a nice treat.

This race is basically a party. Loads of people hanging out, talking, eating, and drinking both the beer that they brought or the kegs provided by Liberty Street and Dark Horse. There were even shots being handed out at the crater, a feature which is not unlike riding into (then quickly out of) the collapsed foundation of a house. I’m really glad I was able to go. This was a great way to spend a mid-summer Saturday.

Here’s the handful of photos I took there:

· Walking from my car to the race area in the rain at the 2009 Tree Farm Relay.
· A pouty Mike Moss wearing Erik’s antlers.
· My bike, Bill’s bike, and Nick’s bike all lined up with our team number, 23.
· A very muddy Marty after her starting lap on a rather muddy trail.
· Nick had a slight fall which unseated his tire, causing the tube to pop out one side of the wheel.
· My bike, very muddy, after a fourth lap at the Tree Farm Relay during which it started raining.

Here’s two related videos:

· Detroit Free Press promo video for mountain biking at Novi’s Lakeshore Park and the Tree Farm Relay.
· My video of the Le Mans style start, including a bit of crashing and falling.

Squeaky Hedgehog!

Today I’m working from home because my car is at the shop getting the brakes sorted out. Danielle’s dog Roxie is here, and every few minutes she arrives with a different toy, wanting to play. It’s a bit distracting, but I can’t say that I mind.

Uncle Bud’s Deep Fried Peanuts Are Very Good

This past weekend while waiting for a pizza at Buscemis, Danielle and I saw a few flavors of Uncle Bud’s Deep Fried Peanuts for sale. After deciding to try them we picked out a bag of the cajun flavor. Tonight, conveniently with the tasty Simpler Times Lager, I decided to give them a try.

Rather unlike last night’s experimental Made In America pickle popsicle food product I really, really like these. The peanuts inside are nicely roasted and the shell has been cooked into a somewhat soft, oily potato chip like texture. The spices on the outside are a bit mild, making me almost want a bit more flavoring, but a light flavoring is definitely better than too much. I think that next time I’ll get a bag of either the hot or garlic flavor to try.

It’s probably a good thing that there isn’t nutritional information printed on the bag. While very good, they are good in the same way that Downey’s Potato Chips are, and thus clearly not good for you.

Trader Joe’s Simpler Times Lager

Trader Joe’s Simpler Times Lager is a very good, cheap yellow beer. Advertised as a corn and rice-free 6.2% ABV lager costing $3.99 for a six-pack, I thought I’d give it a try. In short, buy this. It’s basic, but good. There’s no funky or off tastes typically associated with a cheap lager; just basic refreshing yellow beer.

There’s a very good chance I’ll buy this again.

Google Android (T-Mobile G1) Hanging Sync Problem Resolved

On Google Android, running on my T-Mobile G1, there is a icon which appears in the notification bar whenever the phone is syncing Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, etc. Typically this icon only appears for a second or two and then goes away. However, a week or so ago I began noticing that my G1’s battery was being completely exhausted at least daily, and quite often I’d pick up the phone to find it very hot with the sync icon stuck on. The warmth seemed to be caused by the radio being constantly in use for extended periods of time as sync tried to occur. While I could deal with the sync not always working right or my having to cancel an in-progress sync, having to charge the phone a few times per day was becoming a big problem.

My short-term workaround was to leave the phone on the charger overnight and allow it to sync then, which seemed to work. However, this was obviously not a solution. Yesterday I finally took time to look into the problem. To start, if I entered Settings → Data Synchronization, the Application sync settings portion would often indicate that sync hadn’t occurred for a day or two. When I manually initiated a sync I noticed that while Gmail and Contacts synced and completed reasonably fast (a few seconds each), the Calendar sync seemed to start and stop repeatedly, never finishing during the time I watched it.

Signing into Google Calendar, which I don’t do very often, showed the error above, stating that …this is not a Calendar user: http://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/adsense-calendar@google.com/public/basic. This calendar is a Google AdSense calendar found on this page within the AdSense help documentation, entitled How do I subscribe to the AdSense Calendar. After removing the entry for this seemingly broken calendar from my Other calendars list I initiated another sync from the phone (Settings → Data Synchronization → MENU → Sync now) and it all syncing completed within 30 seconds.

If one visits the page from which the aforementioned AdSense calendar is linked, the link is still active, but attempting to add the calendar results in this error. Since I’d added this calendar without error a while ago, I suspect that once it became unavailable the phone was unable to promptly complete a calendar sync, having to wait for something to time out before it could complete. Unfortunately, until this timeout the radio was active, which ate battery and caused the phone to warm up.