Press "Enter" to skip to content

Month: November 2010

(Somewhat?) Fixing a Gristleizer

I recently did a bit of work on the original version of this kit, a clone of Chris Carter‘s original Gristlizer; an analogue effects unit used by Throbbing Gristle. This one seemed to have the wrong type of LED on it (a blinking one), fitted backward so it wouldn’t illuminate.

After replacing the LED I hooked it up to my x0xb0x and ran some audio through it. It definitely seemed to be doing something to the sound, but I’m not completely sure what. I’m also not sure how it’s supposed to sound, so I don’t know if it’s working quite right or not. Since it’s analog and a lot of the pots and switches ground through their chassis, it’s hard to say what it’s supposed to do until it’s all buttoned up in a case. I have a feeling that some (or all) of the op-amps on the board might be cooked, but I don’t know enough to tell right now. At <$1/ea it's also easiest to test them out by just replacing them. (After looking over this PCB and photos of the v2, I can't help but want to pull an SDrive NUXX with it and release a much-improved, CC-licensed PCB / BOM / end panel set. I think I could do a much cleaner job on the board design and incorporate very useful connector footprints that allow flying wires to be terminated at headers, direct-mount pots, etc. I’d also like to do an end panel set that fits right into a nicely solid off the shelf enclosure. This would make assembly easier for kit-builders easier resulting in far more elegant devices with less room for assembly mistakes. Maybe this will be a winter project.)

Leave a Comment

Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, 1955 – 2010

This morning I woke to read on MetaFilter that Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson died yesterday (November 24, 2010) in his sleep in Krung Thep (กรุงเทพฯ / Bangkok), Thailand.

As he himself stated a few months ago:

“…remember we are all only temporary curators of our present bodies, which will all decay, sooner or later. In a hundred years or so ALL the humans currently alive will have died. I take great comfort in knowing, with certainty, that thing that makes us special, able to enrich our own lives and those of others, will not cease when our bodies do, but will be just starting and new (and hopefully even better) adventure…

(The photo above was taken this past summer and borrowed from Chris Carter’s Photostream.)

Leave a Comment

Snow! (Late Autumn 2010 Version)

Well, there it is; the first that I’ve seen near home this season. En route to Traverse City for Iceman we drove through a quite-strong snow squall between Kalkaska and Acme, but this is the first bit here. It won’t be long before it’ll be time for winter biking season and cross-country skiing! Yay!

(Hmm, I should get those 29er Nokians broken in soon. I keep putting it off. Maybe Saturday…)

Leave a Comment

St. Brendan’s Driving Kit

As seen last night at Meijer, the St. Brendan’s Irish Cream Liquor gift pack for Christmas 2010 comes with a travel mug. The very same kind of mug that is commonly sold for easy and spill-resistant coffee drinking while driving. I suspect that this mug, full of coffee, along with some (particularly fragrant once warm) DaVinci Irish Cream syrup could be employed with great effect around the workplace or other places where alcohol consumption is frowned upon.

1 Comment

Late Autumn Riding

Today’s ride was probably the hardest I’ve done this year. At 51.71 miles (in 3:35:34) it was about a mile shorter than Massive Fallout and my route made it mostly flat and paved, but the conditions were not particularly hospitable, and there was no real opportunity to stop and get food. I started out by heading up to River Bends, then over to Clinton River Park before ducking out through Dodge Park to ride the paved path out to Metro Beach. After consuming the only two gels and finding that my favorite trail mix wasn’t being particularly satisfying I was concerned about running out of glycogen so I headed up Schoenherr towards home. I normally would have brought more food, but I erroniously thought I had three gels in my bag when I really only had one.

Schoenherr is terrible riding between Metro Parkway and 18 Mile as there’s no paved path, no track worn in the grass, and the road is shoulderless and 50MPH, but I still took that route (via the grass) in the interest of time. From there I took the usual route of 19 Mile to Hayes, up to 21 Mile, over to Milonas, then back home via 22 Mile. The next time I ride through the Hall Rd. area along Hayes I need to find a better route, because I had more than my share of car issues. I think that simply cutting through the parking lot of Meijer and the plaza containing Sherwood Brewing Company would save me a bunch of hassle. Unfortunately there isn’t any other option for getting through the shopping centers along this area. The next feasable crossing is Schoenherr (which is worse) or heading over three miles west to the tunnel to downtown Utica.

With overcast skies and roughly 34°F air it was cool out, but the ~14MPH wind out of the southeast made the ride down the Metro Parkway path brutal. Still, the tights, shoe covers, windproof gloves, Under Armor shirt, and windbreaker that I was wearing did a fairly good job of keeping me warm. My fingers were a bit cold at times and I probably should have opted for Moose Mitts and summer-weight gloves, but things worked out just fine.

The photo above shows a newly-downed tree on the trails at River Bends. At ~40′ long the tree will need to be sawed out, so I’m hoping to give it a go this weekend. If I’m not able to remove it by hand I’ll just have to ask the park to cut it out with a chainsaw. Previously I’d mentioned not wanting to be near a small tree that was falling, but this one would have been much worse to be around. While not quite visible in the photo, a piece roughly 8″ across is also lodged in the dirt trail surface so deeply that I can’t see the end of it.

Here’s three more photos from today:

· Titus Racer X 29er sitting against the gazebo at the end of the path at Metro Beach during a long, cold ride.
· Lights were brought on the long, cold ride just in case I got stuck outside after dark.
· Standing at the end of the Metro Beach path near the gazebo a bit more than half-way through a long, cold autumn ride.

Leave a Comment

iMac Goes To The Hospital

My desk looks pretty sparse without the 27″ iMac sitting on it. A few months back I noticed that the optical drive wasn’t working correctly, so today after calling support I have a 1pm appointment at the local Apple store to have the problem assessed. Since the drive simply doesn’t read disks; making slight clicking and whirring noises before ejecting them, I believe that the drive probably needs to be replaced. Hopefully there is a spare drive in the store and the techs will be able to replace the drive quickly, as this machine is pretty core to my network at home.

At least this will give me an easy chance to clean behind where it normally sits. A fair bit of dust has built up back there in the last year.

UPDATE: A new optical drive has been ordered, and Apple will call me when it’s in the store so I can bring the iMac back in to have the replacement done. Until then I’ve got my iMac back at home.

Leave a Comment

Nokian Gazza Extreme W294

Now that I’m mostly riding 29ersthe 26″ Nokian Hakka WXC300 studded tires that I used last winter needed to be replaced. A month or two back I was very lucky to be able to pick up two brand new Nokian Gazza Extreme 294 29″ studded tires via the MMBA Forum for $100 for the pair. While nowhere near as light as the 26″ race-ish tires that I had before they should work out fairly well this winter, and at less than half of typical retail price they were a great deal. Having both the 29″ and 26″ studded tires should also give me plenty of flexibility even allowing me to ride the 69er this winter.

Just as before I have to ride the tires for ~30 miles on pavement before taking them off road, so I’m hoping to get that done this week. To do so I mounted the tires on the VooDoo Dambala and switched it back to the original 34×16 gearing. This should be good for some casual rides around local paved areas, perhaps up to River Bends, over through Clinton River Park, then back. Or maybe I’ll just take a ride over to Rochester and back, or something like that.

Leave a Comment

Driving Skill and CR2032 Batteries in Short Supply

Admittedly this is a poor photo, but I didn’t want to get too close to the people working to remove this vehicle from the curb on which it was stuck. Apparently a driver with a handicapped license plate drove over the curb of the Walgreens at 21 Mile and Hayes, solidly lodging their car on a parking divider with the front (drive) wheels hanging in the air. Some people were working on removing it by jacking the rear of the vehicle up in the air to try and make the front wheels contact the ground.

I’d come across this scene while stopping in search of CR2032 batteries, as the local Target and Meijer are both sold out. I can only surmise that there is either a supply issue or there is some hot new consumer device which requires them.

Leave a Comment

A Tin of Spaghetti

Tonight’s dinner is an imported tin of Heinz Spaghetti in Tomato Sauce (purchased from the clearance food section at Meijer) and a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout making for a particularly contrived “British” meal. The spaghetti is not great, but better than the typical super-salty Chef Boyardee canned pasta that one normally finds here in the US.

The scum around the edge of the bowl is the result of my following the prescribed microwave heating directions of heating on high for two minutes, stirring, and then heating for another two minutes on high. Apparently the average US microwave is more powerful than the average British microwave, as this caused the sauce to boil over saturating the paper towel covering the bowl and spilling down the sides.

I think I’ll finish off some leftover pizza after this.


…and then there was a tree!

While out at River Bends with Bob tonight we did a casual-pace lap, then set out for a second. Apparently due to the winds that were whipping around the area the second lap was blocked by a freshly fallen tree. I had my Sven-Saw in the car so we were able to go get it and take care of the tree. While too heavy to move in one piece, cutting it at the edge of the trail, tossing aside the lighter top, and dragging back the heavy base made quick work of this otherwise impassible obstacle. This 6″ log was sitting about 8″ off the ground, located just before the top of a short, steep bench cut uphill that turns and passes between two trees.

Here is another view of the fallen tree just after finding it. The broken piece laying on it had broken off of the main trunk as it was falling. I’m glad I wasn’t near by when this occurred.

Leave a Comment