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Month: February 2013

Home Grown Oyster Mushrooms

Danielle’s brother and sister-in-law sent us a kit from Cascadia Mushrooms that promised to grow oyster mushrooms. We’d inadvertently ignored it for a couple weeks, during which time it started growing, so we quickly set to starting it properly. The first harvest of mushrooms was good, but a little bit woody, so we’ll pay much more attention to the second crop which has just started growing.

As seen above, clusters of mushrooms have just barely begun growing, with the largest one comprised of a few primordium now visible. (The scale shown is a millimeter ruler.) I expect that within a week these will be much larger and almost ready to harvest. This time I’ll try to collect them before they turn woody, and if timing works out I’ll try to serve them up with scrambled eggs and toast, just as I ate when Dominic and I were in Brussels.

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Heel Rub Protection for SRAM X0 Crankset

I recently came across a great deal on a 2011 SRAM X0 2×10 crankset; something which should be a drop-in replacement for the X7 crankset that’s slated to come on the bike that I’ve got on order. Being carbon fiber and looking very nice I want to keep them in great shape, so I decided to apply some protective tape to cut down on heel rub and some plastic caps to keep then ends from chipping when hitting rocks.

Race Face’s Crank Boots took care of the end of the crank arms, but for heel rub I turned to my favorite rub protection material, UHMW polyethylene tape. After a few minutes with some masking tape, a marker, and some drawing software I’d made this template which was easily transfered to the tape. As I used some thin (.0045″) tape it was a bit of a hassle to get in place, but hopefully my cleaning routine (glass cleaner followed up with isopropyl alcohol) got the cranks clean enough that the tape won’t begin peeling before I want to remove it.

The applied tape looks a bit milky, but I think that once in place on a bike it’ll be fine. The photo above is worst-case for appearance, as the angled lighting shows all of the slight surface imperfections in the tape. Just as when used for cable rub protection I feel that this super-slippery, strong tape will do a better job of preserving the cranks than the crystal clear polyurethane films that are normally used.

With the peel-off backing still in place the tape only weighed 1g, and with the Crank Boots coming in at 15g for the pair this bit of extra protection won’t add much to the overall weight of the bike. This photo shows the boots and pedals installed, and I’m pretty happy with how it all looks.

Since this crankset is a pretty common style and SRAM doesn’t appear to have changed the molds for their carbon fiber cranksets much recently I hope that quite a few others find this PDF template useful: SRAM XO Crank Arm Protector Template, Designed for 175mm 2011 2×10 X0 GXP Crankset, part number 00.6115.422.070.

Heel rub is when one’s shoe rubs against a bike’s crank arm, wearing off the finish.


FJF Door Sales Flyposted My House

During some routine repairs FJF Door Sales of Clinton Township, MI stuck an advertisement on the inside of my residence; something which I feel to be an inappropriate act.

A month back the garage door opener spring broke, and a quick call to the management company for our condo resulted in FJF Door Sales got it fixed the next morning. All of this was good and I was happy with the promptness and service provided. Since the garage had become the domain of Danielle’s new car I’m rarely in there with the door closed, so it wasn’t until yesterday evening I noticed the advertising decal that had been stuck to the inside of the garage door at eye level.

I find it ridiculous that this company feels that it is okay to stick their advertisement on the inside of one’s house after they have performed a repair.

Living in a condo makes this manner of advertising even more asinine, as garage doors (and other exterior elements) in this complex are handled by the condo association and not individual co-owners. Therefore, advertising directly to a co-owner is pointless.

Removing this advertisement has proven to be rather difficult. FJF chose to use a very cheap type of paper decal which tore when peeled and left behind a good deal of adhesive. This won’t be easy to remove since flat paint tends to absorb whatever has been applied to it and most adhesive removers are oil-based and won’t evaporate completely. The best recommendations I’ve found all involve cleaning the area and then repainting, but this’ll be a fair bit of work and have to wait until spring. All because one company chose to stick their ad to the inside of my house.


More GPS Goofyness

This evening I was playing around with drawing custom courses that can be loaded into a Garmin Edge 500 and used to provide turn prompting while out riding. This isn’t quite turn by turn directions, but upon reaching a certain point it’ll provide notification that one should turn, look for a hazard, etc. To test this I set up a neighborhood route, out Philadelphia Court and out to some main roads, winding around through some other neighborhoods, and back.

Not long after departing on a test ride it correctly informed me that I should turn right out of the driveway, but then gave an an off-course notification and the prompting no longer worked. After I got back home and reviewed the data the image above is what I found. Lots of garbage data scattered around the neighborhood.

This is just one of the many little quirks that I run into when using a GPS for data recording. Despite indicating that it’s receiving a solid signal it’ll still occasionally go funny and produce garbage for a little while. I’ll have to give this a different test another day. Maybe I’ll head out for a ride on Sunday and test the prompting on one of Bob’s routes…

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Marty’s Orange 9:ZERO:7 Susitna

This evening, amongst a bunch of other stuff, I had the opportunity to put together most of my friend Marty’s new bike, an orange 9:ZERO:7 Susitna. Named after Alaska’s only area code, 9:ZERO:7 is one of the premier fatbike brands, and one of the few (or only?) mass-availability models that aren’t sold by QBP.

Marty’s bike is mostly stock, but with SRAM XX Grip Shifters and the Gore Ride-On cables they came with, Ergon GP1 grips, a Ritchey carbon bar, Planet Bike bottle cages, some flat pedals that I had laying around, 45NRTH Escalator tires, and some peace sign rim tape that Nick (her husband) set up on the wheels for her. I also added the usual compliment of UHMW tape for cable rub protection to help the frame look nice for a long time to come. (Disclaimer: I didn’t put the wheels/tires together, so the not-aligned logos and valve stem are not my doing. Yes, I acknowledge that is a very pedantic detail.)

As shown it comes in at 32.62 pounds, which is quite respectable for a fatbike where weight wasn’t the priority in the build.

With the orange frame and peace signs the look of this bike just screams Marty, and it should work out very nicely for her. I had a bunch of fun building this, and I hope it serves her well. It’s a really, really great looking bike.

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Green Tree Servicing: Keeping Us In The 1990s

My mortgage was recently purchased by Green Tree Servicing from GMAC Mortgage; a fairly common practice in the banking world. This doesn’t bother me, but Green Tree’s refusal to process an on-demand online payment without a $12 fee has me frustrated enough that I’m looking at refinancing. It’s possible to pay without a fee by sending in a check + payment coupon or setting up automatic withdrawals, but I don’t want to do this. For larger payments I do not like having them automatically withdrawn, just in case needs vary and I have to miss a payment or want to make one early.

I guess I’ll just have to stick to those 1990s (and earlier) standbys: paper checks. Up until now the only reason I needed them was to pay the water bill, as Shelby Township’s Department of Public Works charges a similarly-stupid $6.50/transaction fee to pay one’s water bill online.

2 Comments w/ JOSM XML Support

When working up some map stuff and trying to follow my own OSM workflow I ran into a quirk where the script wouldn’t deal with OSM XML coming out of JOSM.

Thank to help from a few folks on IRC I now have this updated version of available and it will successfully parse files from JOSM.

The root cause of this problem is the script parsing XML by hand, but as I didn’t have the time (or knowledge) to fix the problem by using an XML parser, this hack which deals with differing quote types and extra spacing, was put into place. It works, and I was able to get the map that I promised to someone complete.

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Cute Faces in Holland Ponds

While it is graffiti, I found the faces spray painted on trees in Holland Ponds to be rather cute. I was at the park today collecting GPS data to finish mapping the trails in OpenStreetMap. With the submission of changeset 14903288 the main paths should all be mapped, scenic overlooks pointed out, and the Clinton River shoreline cleaned up to match something recent.

I’m not quite sure how things are working out with my new camera, as it seems that all images I’ve taken thus far are a bit blurry on the left side (when in landscape mode, normal orientation). It can be seen in the photo above and this one of some ice along the river. It’s a good thing that I purchased it from Costco; I can easily return it if there really is a problem.

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2013 LOHS Winter Race

This morning I took part in the sixth annual Lake Orion High School Winter Race; a cross country (XC) race around the school’s grounds and mountain bike trails. The trail conditions were perfect for all kinds of bikes, and my fatbike definitely wasn’t necessary. It sure didn’t hurt, though, and made for a fun ride. Per usual I didn’t have to brake much, as the increased rolling resistance (the front tire is 4 PSI, rear was 6 PSI) allowed me to stop pedaling before most corners, roll through, then keep going.

Being the only person on a fatbike I won the Fatbike category by default. Had I raced in my appropriate Sport class I would have taken third out of four. (Official results here.)

I really liked the route, as it avoided many of the hard/slick climbs that can be found on the school grounds and instead opted for a nice rolling route. My only complaint would be the overall length of the race, as doing three laps I was only riding for ~46 minutes. I think we could easily have gone to four or five laps and still been sane for a winter race.

GPS data of my ride today can found here on Strava. It seems that for the last third my HRM acted up again, radically under-recording things.

On the way home I noticed that there is now a Great Lakes Coffee location along M-24 / Lapeer Rd. and stopped for some coffee. It seems to be almost colocated with a Kensington Church location so I braced myself for a bit of proselytizing, but I was pleasantly surprised to instead encounter some nice folks who made me a good cup of coffee.

The photo above is one of the first actual-use images taken with my new camera, a Fujifilm FinePix XP50 ruggedized camera. I bought this to replace my aging Olympus Stylus 850SW as my carry-everywhere camera. The Olympus served me very well, but I was wanting something with better low light performance, a more capable movie mode, and SD cards. Finding a good deal on the XP50 I figured I’d give it a go. Its ~20g heavier than the Olympus and lacks the nice auto-retracting metal cover for the primary lens, but I think it’ll work out well. I’ll know for sure at the end of summer.

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