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sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets

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(no subject) [Jun. 26th, 2016|11:04 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
This weekend:
Hung out a ton, although not actually enough, with elusis and her charming boyfriend.
On Thursday I power washed the deck, then acid-etched it Saturday morning and then proceeded to wash it about seven times before it was finally ready for staining. Three coats on today, with a bunch of help from manintheboat, including her doing the last layer of painting. The stuff is oil-based, or more specifically, toluene-based. Really stinky.
I just built a bunch more boards for Mad Scientist Hut, and ran them through test. So tired. I still have a bike computer to repair but I don't have the energy.
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(no subject) [Jun. 23rd, 2016|09:53 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Colorado's version of bike to work week. I rode home on Mon, rode in on Tues, drove the other parts. Wed, I had planned to ride up to Boulder and meet friends and ride into work from there but that was going to be 85 miles round trip, and I just didn't have the energy for that. Instead I drove to Boulder and we rode in together. It was the official bike to work day, during which a lot of local places open up shop and hand out free food.
There were more cyclists in Boulder than there was food.
Tire-to-tire lines of cyclists in both directions on all the paths we went on, which was a problem when trailers were going both directions. That points out the bandwidth problem with separate-but-equal bike paths. You can fit a TON of bikes on a road alongside car traffic, but it doesn't take much to saturate a bike path.
When we were on roads, there were roughly as many bikes as cars.
That stopped in a hurry once we got out of Boulder, of course. It was still a ton of fun.

As we were heading out of Boulder we were on a tense bit where they're repaving, so there's a single lane, and it really is a single lane. We were hauling along but even as a construction zone it's still 45mph so cars were going faster than us, and there was not a lot of room.
But that's fine, right? It's Boulder. People expect bikes.
Until a white Subaru pulls up and honks as it is passing me and a moment later the driver yells "get off the road!"
I waved my fist and yelled "you get off the road, asshole!" and kept going.
A few minutes later I got a text, from my manager's manager. "I'm sorry I yelled at you. I was joking. I forgot you don't recognize faces."
I'm all WUT because he drives a Lexus. He said "I'm driving my wife's car today!"
He was apologetic. I was apologetic. I ride with this guy almost every day and feel kind of awkward now, and he does too.
I was talking to cyclelicious about this and he said he'd experienced something similar and he too reacted poorly to jokes of that sort.

We ended up cruising up to Boulder at a nice reasonable pace, save for the very end where we took to a packed dirt/gravel path. I love hauling along there like a maniac, going through turns just hard enough that I'm drifting the rear tire. One of my coworkers said "it looked like you were going so fast smoke was coming off your tires" because of the dust.

At lunch another coworker came by, not knowing I'd ridden (halfway) in, and asked if I wanted to go riding. Well, I didn't actually work very hard in the AM, so, sure. We went out on a nice wandery route. Near the end I said I was actually fairly tired, and quite soon thereafter he said "let's race at the finish: first one to the top of the hill!"
He did better than he expected. He's slowly increasing in speed. He's too skinny, like "send this boy to camp" skinny, and I am trying to turn him into a sprinter and hillclimber. We talked some about sprint strategy.

I calculated it would take me 40 minutes to ride back to Boulder. Usually it takes me 35 but I gave myself a little extra. Then I added twenty minutes for safety, because I was meeting people that night. Then, half an hour before that deadline I started checking the weather. "no wind, 10% chance of rain" every five minutes until about fifteen minutes before the deadline, at which point the wind and rain hit. The weather place still said no wind, despite cardboard boxes blowing down the street. They were heading _directly_ against the direction I needed to go, so I chucked everything and started riding. I was struggling to maintain half my normal average speed. Phoo.
Oh well. Got down there, drove home, showered, was done exactly when I needed to be heading out.
This collection was walking up the street just as I was about to leave.
There are five dogs in this picture. One is right behind another to the right.

Then off to a great dinner -- not as good as the one we had with elusis on Monday, but still pretty good. Enchiladas in mole sauce. Zowie.

So, today, drove to work. Coworkers tried to talk me into riding home, then riding in and meeting them for breakfast tomorrow. I just don't have the time so I bowed out. Guess which way the wind was blowing, at huge speeds, that would have pushed me home at previously undreamt-of velocity? It was goading me.

When I was driving home today I stopped for gas. Standing around thinking uffish thoughts whilst washing the windows as the gas pump chugs, and I hear this "sir?" from behind me. I turned around and there was this woman, with a ... Russian? accent, very strong, clearly struggling to find English words. She had a tight dress, giant heels, fancy makeup, like, I was tempted to look behind me to see who she was actually talking to. But no, she was talking to me. She said her car smelled hot. She had what I suspect was a right-off-the-lot Lexus. I opened the hood and looked around, checked the oil level, made sure there was water in the overflow tank, cautioned her against opening the radiator cap itself (but it didn't feel super hot) and generally said I thought the car was okay. She was almost awkwardly effusive in her gratitude. Had it been Spain I would have thought I was about to get my pockets picked. It was just slightly odd.

I got home, walked the dog, then took everything off the deck, swept it, and did half the pressure washing before we etch the concrete tomorrow and seal it on Saturday.

For dinner, on a dare, manintheboat made cauliflower lamb meatloaf.
It was fantastic.
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(no subject) [Jun. 20th, 2016|11:03 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
elusis is visiting. In the process of cleaning up, I came across spiders downstairs. Not one, not two, but three: two that were clearly female and male, the male attempting to do what male spiders do, and a third of a different species who was clearly watching them. Cross-species voyeurism.
I got video but am not posting it here because manintheboat will probably be itchy for three days just reading the above paragraph.
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(no subject) [Jun. 19th, 2016|11:07 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
We went to a comfort food joint called Steuben's for brunch.
They had a neato mirror in the bathroom.

Then we rode our bikes home and fought with the house.
Yesterday I battled a wasp nest. It wasn't the usual kind of wasp we have around here. These were beautiful blue-black wasps. But they were also nesting right beside the front door. I applied dangerous chemicals, followed by spray foam, and now they are all gone.

N battled laundry and food and the upstairs bathroom and the dishwasher. I, too, battled the dishwasher, and also the downstairs bathroom, including replacing the toilet seat, and vacuumed the whole house. I mowed the whole back yard but didn't quite have the energy for the front.
We sat on the deck for dinner because it was Too Hot, and watched the clouds.
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(no subject) [Jun. 18th, 2016|05:32 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Traditionally, for the last seven years, my coworkers and I have ridden the Denver Century today. In the past it's been a pretty nice route for a 100 mile ride. This year they changed it to take out my favorite section, and instead have everyone grind up a huge climb on the interstate frontage road.
So we decided to go grind up a huge climb on our own, and nowhere near an Interstate.
We rode from Boulder up to a road called the peak-to-peak highway. As the name implies, it does in fact go from one peak to another, albeit not all the way to the top.
My coworker M is not as strong a rider as the rest of us, so we took turns somewhat hanging back with him. The ride was pretty straightforwards: 35 miles of climbing, 30 miles of descent. Most of the first half was in deep enough canyons we got no direct sunlight, and it was never actually hot, by my tastes. In contrast, the people riding the denver century started out in 80F and by noon they were under a cloudless sky at 95F.
I was a bit disappointed at the distance. I usually ride to and from the century ride because the idea of driving somewhere to go ride my bike bothers me a lot, so it's a nice solid 200 km ride.
But today's ride had enough climbing to make up for at least some of that.
There were a ton of other riders out, too. I had a bunch of nice conversations with other people who were likewise riding at 3/4 effort waiting for friends.
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(no subject) [Jun. 15th, 2016|07:18 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
When I got home there was a cat laying on its side with its legs stretched straight out, on the concrete right in front of the mad scientist hut. I could see flies landing on its head. I thought uh oh. But when I went out there to pick some greens for dinner it perked up its head and ran off.

We finished moving manintheboat into her new office yesterday, after 11 1/2 hours of work, including hanging seven cabinets on the wall. One of the walls has one inch thick drywall and maybe three steel studs across the 11 foot long wall. I hope 20 1/4" butterfly bolts are sufficient to hold those cabinets in place.

While the movers were moving all the boxes up the stairs I wandered across the street, fired up Ingress, and blew up enough portals to get to Level 16. I have now beaten the game. Time to find something else to do with that energy (possibly including new approaches to playing Ingress.)

Coworkers are trying to talk me into a Saturday ride in the next couple of weeks, 70 miles horizontal and two vertical. Oooogh. Maybe. We all decided to boycott the 100 mile ride we've done through Denver every previous year because they changed the route, it's not going pretty places, and it's not cheap. We can go on a long painful ride for free!
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(no subject) [Jun. 12th, 2016|10:47 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I don't know what to say about yet another mass shooting.

After I changed the oil on manintheboat's car and the transmission gear oil on mine, manintheboat and I did a bunch of walking with the dog, then a bunch more in downtown Denver. She says 24,000 steps, or about ten miles. I'm pretty tired now, and my stupid toe hurts plenty. But it was a great walk. Denver's getting weirder and more fun by the day.
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(no subject) [Jun. 12th, 2016|12:14 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I'm replacing the oil in the subaru transmission, which hasn't ever been done before (I'm pretty sure.) The transmission is making unhappy noises so I figured I might as well in hopes that this would keep it alive for longer.
The plug was in there like whoah. I used the large (3/8") socket and breaker bar to try to get it loose. Not enough clearance, so I grabbed a cheap chinese socket extension, put that in there, still no good. When I went to remove the socket from the extension, I slid it off without looking. The chrome plating on the extension had cracked and broken, and a big chunk slit into my finger. By the time I got in the house my palm was filled with blood, and there was more once I extracted the big chunk of chrome and dug around in there to make sure there weren't any little bits left. I don't usually bandage things as I've found that for me they heal faster when exposed to oxygen, but this time I'm making a no-blood-on-all-the-things exception.
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(no subject) [Jun. 11th, 2016|07:19 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
At some point I appear to have dropped something on my foot, or kicked something. My middle toe is purple and HURTS LIKE MAD. I have no memory of this.

Spitfire did pretty well out and about today. Water level was fine this morning. I added in about a quarter cup of antifreeze. It may have a slow water leak, which is a drag. What's more of a drag is that now I'm to the part where every time we do anything with it, I find a screw or bolt that's just a little loose, so I tighten it, or take it apart and put in a lock washer, or a drop of loctite. Today one of the fancy smooth-head bolts that holds the hood latches in place fell off the car. I'm glad I caught that before it went missing.

We just staked all the tomato cages so they won't blow over in high winds. Some of the tomatoes already have larger than golf ball sized fruit. Hooray!
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(no subject) [Jun. 11th, 2016|09:15 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Things I learned: the north american pole of inaccessibility, the point most distant from the ocean, is near Allan, South Dakota, which is also the poorest town in North America. (In contention with Kiryas Joel, in New York, which has a pretty strange history of its own.)
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