Adrienne's Puppet Show Theater Box Fri, 13 DEC 2013
With just two weeks until Christmas, plenty of parents are beginning to scramble to get and afford the gifts their kids want. But, as you can see from this example, what often matters most to kids is the thought and a little time, because sometimes the gift IS the box waiting to be made. That's how we came to create "Adrienne's Theater" out of a cardboard box last year.
Adrienne was enjoying playing with her stuffed animals and putting on shows in the living room. She would act and dance them on the couch or behind the laundry basket. We got a corrugated cardboard box from one of our online orders and I had the idea to make it into a small "theater" for her to do her plays.
I sat down with her and she sketched out how she wanted her theater to look. I refined the sketch to detail how we'd cut, fold, and decorate the box. After we agreed to the design, I assigned Adrienne to the task of making her marquee (the sign for the top of theater) and the set backdrop. I taped sheets of paper together and let her get to drawing with her markers and crayons. While she did that work, I cut the box with a box knife and folded and taped the pieces. When Adrienne finished the marquee and backdrops, we taped those in place. She added a small "open" sign to the front, and soon enough, it was finished.
Adrienne gathered some of her stuffed animals for the grand opening and then held a fun show.
Clothes Hangers from Bicycle Rims Wed, 06 FEB 2013
I finally made clothes hangers out of those old bicycle rims that were hanging in my garage. The idea isn't mine - I'd seen in done elsewhere - but the work on these was all me.
The rims (aluminum Bontragers, Race Lite and Race X Lite, to be exact) were damaged in the course of riding and racing. I kept the old rims and hung them in the garage with this project in mind. It took a few years before I finally pulled them down and got to work.
I used my drill and a metal cut-off wheel to make hanger-sized portions of rim, being sure that a rim eyelet was at the center of each for the hanging wire to be put through. After the cuts, I smoothed the edges with a file and buffer wheel.
For the hanging wire, I considered simply using a wire hanger, but it wasn't strong enough for a heavy jacket, and these need to live up to their sturdy looks. After thinking of many alternatives, I turned to another item hanging in my garage - the metal wire of an H-stake - you know, the kind of wire stakes they use for election "VOTE FOR" lawn signs (9 gauge galvanized steel).
Shaping the hanging wire was the toughest part. I didn't have a vice to use, so I just gripped and bent the wire with two handheld pliers. The wire is thicker and harder to bend than a wire hanger, and with my meager upper body strength, was quite a challenge, but I managed. I used a regular hanger to model the bend on the hanging end. I put the wire through the rim eyelet, and then bent it back up and into the adjoining eylet. With some needle-nose pliers, I bent the wire into the rim and that secured the hanging wire. So, there's no nuts or bolts or welding, just the rim and the wire. Ta-da!
It's certainly not an economical way to make hangers - rims are expensive and this just takes time, but this project was fun and satisfying. I think bicycle rim hangers look cool in general, and there's always an extra beauty to things I craft myself. It's also nice to recycle parts and find ways to integrate more cycling into my lifestyle.
David Anthony (NOT ADM) Suspended for Doping WED, 01 AUG 2012
From Anthony Weiner to Casey Anthony and now David Anthony. Something tells me I'm going to see a lot more website traffic because of this tool cyclist's idea to turn to EPO and HGH doping to upgrade from a Cat. 4. At age 45! Glad he got caught at the Grand Fondo New York on May 20th. Of all places, though. Sad to think there's more testing going on at a Grand Fondo than at USA Cycling races.
How many other Masters racers are guilty? Not this one.
Carbon Fiber Bicycle Chainstay Protector FRI, 08 JUN 2012
I visited six bicycle shops in four days and couldn't come away with a simple chainstay protector for my two road bikes. Five didn't have what I was looking for at all and the sixth had one that was too thick. So, I decided to import and sell my own.
A chainstay protector on a road bike is usually a thick decal or sticker that is applied on the right chainstay to protect the bicycle frame from damage caused by the chain. When hitting a bump, the chain might slap the chainstay and could scratch and chip the paint. It's commonly known as chainslap.It's more likely and severe on a mountain bike, so on those people use more hardy versions, but for road bikes,the protection of a good decal or sticker does the trick. A chainstay protector also keeps the chain off the paint when you're changing wheels. And finally, a chainstay protector in a dark color (like black) keeps the bike looking tidy by catching the lube and grease from a chain instead of having it splashed around the naked chainstay - practically a must if you have a white or light colored bike.
I figure my bikes didn't come with chainstay protectors because some cyclists prefer not to use them for cosmetic reasons and because they like to keep their bikes as light as possible. Done right, they look great and weigh just one gram. I'm a chainstay protector guy.
[FYI: A chainstay protector isn't the same as a chainsuck preventer or chain catcher. Those are usually hardware pieces you add to your derailleur or frame to prevent damage from a dropped chain. A dropped chain can eat into the frame and bottom bracket area between the crank and bicycle.]
When I went online to search for a chain protector, I found several versions. A Lizard Skins leather carbon-look one was promising but I decided it was too thick - more like for a mountain bike. There were several decals/sticker ones, generic or branded, but they were expensive and all the sellers were tacking on another $5-7 to ship them. C'mon, $13-$15 (or more!) for stickers?!?
Ultimately, I found what I needed and decided to import and sell the chainstay protectors on my own, figuring I wasn't the only person looking for a good deal on quality chainstay protectors. These are made from durable carbon-fiber-textured 3D weather and wear resistant vinyl material with a strong, pressure-sensitive adhesive backing. The carbon fiber finish/effect isn't printed - it's 3D textured carbon fiber twill-weave. The chainstay protectors come with two frame patch protectors that can be used to cover blemishes or keep target areas scratch free - like the sides of a head tube to protect from cable rub. They're easily cut and trimmed, and with a little heat (like from a hair dryer), can be applied and conform to curves and 3 Dimensional surfaces - they're stretchable and shapable with heat!
South Park's Cartman Cheers on L.A. Kings WED, 30 MAY 2012
Eric Cartman of TV's South Park show cheers on the Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey team from the LIVE 4HD Panasonic Scoreboard Video as they prepare to start game 4 of the Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center, L.A., California, on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM.
"Helloooo Kings Fans! Welcome to game 4 of the Western Conference Championship! This is our house! Respect our authoritah! GO KINGS GO!"
I recorded this video with my Motorola DROID X Android phone from Section 315.
I like oatmeal for breakfast and have it almost every day. It's quick, nutritious, and I can take it with me and have it almost anywhere.
I started having oatmeal for breakfast regularly when I started working outside my home office. I found myself rushing to eat anything (usually not nutritious) before heading out the door to work or sometimes skipping breakfast altogether (not good for my mood). One day on the way into work I stopped into Starbucks for a coffee and tried out their new oatmeal breakfast. It came in a small paper bowl/cup along with mixed nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar. It was the right portion size and the fruit and nuts, which I had never tried in oatmeal before, really made it tasty. It was a great breakfast, but at about $2.50, felt expensive.
The next day I decided to replicate the experience with my style and a more affordable cost. I went to Trader Joe's and picked up a bag of "Go Raw Trek Mix" and a bag of "Golden Berry Blend." I microwaved a batch of Quaker Oats Quick-1 Minute oatmeal, added the nuts and berries, a dash of cinnamon and some sugar, and had another great breakfast at a fraction of the Starbucks cost.
I decided to take my meal on the road and eat it at my desk. I searched my cabinets for a suitable container. I decided on a Gerber 1st Foods baby food container. I used one to hold a modest but adequate serving of oatmeal, and I filled another with nuts (about 2/3) and berries (about 1/3).
At work, all it took was a bowl, or even a cup, to put the oatmeal and water into (1 part oatmeal to 2parts water) and then microwave for about 2 minutes. The hot water from the coffee maker also worked, though it seemed to take the oats a little longer to soften up with that versus the microwave.
Regular oats are fine, but they take longer to cook than Quick-1 minute oats, so if you don't like to wait and/or like your oatmeal a little finer/mushier, go quick. And while I like the Quaker Man, when he's not on sale I buy the store brand and haven't noticed a difference in quality or taste.
More about the containers: Our daughter has long moved on from Gerber baby foods and the containers we had started to break or disappear. Julienne found a nearly identical volume (140ml) set of containers (two in a pack) at the 99 cent store.
On the request of Jacob H. Bischoff and many others, I just updated my NHL Teams & Cities Map for the 2011-2012 season.
There were a few logo changes (L.A., Tampa Bay, Buffalo), logo tweaks (Vancouver, Phoenix, Nashville), location changes (New Jersey from East Rutherford to Newark), but most importantly, the elimination of the Thrashers from Atlanta, GA via move and rename to Winnipeg Jets.
Cardboard - It's More Than Boxes, It's Art! THU, 19 APR 2012
My experience in self storage and the related moving industries really made me aware of cardboard boxes. It goes even further back - to when I used to break down boxes of retail stock and put them in the bailer at Sav-On. And nowadays, cardboard boxes are as close and frequent as the next Amazon.com order. But they're more than just boxes, they're art!
There's a kid who created a cardboard arcade. That's right, a video arcade out of cardboard boxes. "Cane's Arcade" is an excellent story about a 9-year-old's imagination, his use of cardboard, a filmmakers discovery of it, and the resulting film and flashmob.
Then there's a "Cardboard cathedral planned for earthquake-devastated New Zealand city." A famous church there was destroyed and this new one will be partially constructed of cardboard tubes. Along with more traditional building materials such as concrete and wood, it's expected to be weatherproof and fire-resistant, sustainalbe and affordable, and last 10 years!
Both of those items reminded me of some fun I had with a large cardboard box about 10 years ago. We purchased a 55" TV and 10 years ago that wasn't a flat screen. It was delivered on 9/11 (yes, that 9/11), and came in a pretty big box. I decided to make it into a cardboard play house.
I cut the box a door and some windows. I made a door handle out of two apple juice caps and a nut and bolt. The window panes are packing tape. And all the furniture and accessories are my crayon art.
My niece and nephews enjoyed it until we broke it down about 3-4 years later. We enjoyed it, too!
Carmageddon Weekend, Casey Anthony Weiner SAT, 16 JUL 2011
I've gotta hit some SEO keywords today, so here goes.
Haven't heard about Anthony D. Weiner in the news in a little while. His scandal sure had an impression on my traffic with the whole "Anthony D." thing going on. Luckily (or unluckily) I wasn't a common result for "Anthony's lewd photos".
Casey Anthony was found not guilty of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony. She's set to go free tomorrow. Too bad there's no penalty for careless parenting.
And finally, so far I'm surviving Carmageddon. The 405 has been closed for about 12 hours or so and the world hasn't ended yet. I'm not planning to drive that way anyway, and the section of 405 I saw on my ride this morning (in Seal Beach) looked just fine. Hang in there folks!
1. I missed the start! I had to make a last-minute call to the port-o-poties. I emerged to the grandstand's call of, "...and off go the 35+ men!"
I was probably only 30-45 seconds back, but they started hard (see #3) and it took me 4 miles of hard, all-or-nothing chasing to catch on. I was totally spent when I caught on, especially because I had practically no warm up to begin with. After that I was warm, but I wasn't recovered by the time we hit the climb and I fell off pace near the top. I wasn't that far off after we crested the top, and with the work of five others, managed to get back on to the pack about 3/4 of the way into the lap. On lap two, with the pace now set to 'ludicrous speed', I once again fell off at the climb and had nothing left. I limped in with a group of six to finish 50ish.
2. Chris Daggs flatted on the downhill of lap one and was fortunate not to crash. He got a slow wheel change that gave him no chance to chase back.
3. Peter Andersen and Mike Williams attacked from the gun. They worked it into a nice lead with another rider, but the field's pace was ferocious and they were caught by the top of the climb on lap one. The effort took a critical toll on their legs.
That left just Andy and Rob to help each other. They still managed to do pretty well agains some very good competition.
I obviously wasn't there to witness it, but I found out later the winner was Mauricio Prado from a late 3-man break.
Three of our guys - Tomo Hamasaki, Gil Correa, and Mike Onkels - teamed up in the 40+. I only saw the finish, but what I saw was great. Onkels leading out Gil leading out Tomo. Gil ended up 4th and Tomo, still not 100% from his crash at Barrio Logan, was ever-so-close to the win and took a spot on the podium - 3rd.
The Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling was Sunday, May 1, 2011.
I'd tell you about the race but it's the end that matters and that's easy. The race ended and I didn't even know we were on laps. Entirely my fault for not paying attention, yes, but I don't recall the announcing stand ever mentioning we were on laps. I only realized it when we hit the final corner and I hear the announcer call the winner. I was wondering why everyone was in such a hurry!
Anyhow, here's the cover of the DPGP "Event Guide." Can you find me in this picutre?
Got the new 2011 team socks. They're from the same manufacturer as last year - Gizmo Gear.
I'll admit I never heard of Gizmo before we got their socks, but I'm glad to have them now. They're comfy and they look great. I noticed Gizmo also stitches the sock size onto the bottom of the sock, just in case you forget what size you're wearing.
It was warm but not hot at San Marcos. Thankfully.
I said I wasn't going back but today's race was the MCL 35+ finale and I wanted to help our team move up in the rankings, even if it meant driving to San Marcos and into a potential hot, hot day.
The weather was nice and the race wasn't too bad. Of course, it was easier from my vantage point most of the way. After a couple of early attacks, breaks went off and I settled into blocking / resting mode.
Up ahead it was Jim Stark versus Chris DeMarchi and his Amgen teammate Michael Johnson. They went 1-2 and Jim was 3rd. More of our team went up the road and showered the top 10: Andy Wilson was 5th, Andy Brown 7th, and Tomo Hamasaki 10th. Dave Herbst cleaned up the field sprint while Mike Hand, Lance Coburn, and I rolled in with the pack.
In other news, I am finally ready to part ways with my trusty VeloVie Vitesse 300 - CA Pools Team custom edition. I hate to let her go but there's only so much room in the garage.
I went out to race Team Velocity's "Old Brea" Criterium today. It's the "old" St. Valentine's Day Massacre course. Still great for racing.
It was a sunny but cool day. The wind was blowing fierce. I carpooled with Rob Kamppila and we decided the one 35+ race in the wind would be enough. We might normally do the Pro, too, but it was back-to-back and we didn't feel up to that kind of effort.
Our man Andy Brown made the break that lapped the field. He was pretty spent from the Amgen attacks but was a real fighter. We (Tim Coleman, Dave Herbst, Rob, and me, organized to get him a chance for the finish. Andy got 5th.
The race fields were kind of small. I guess everyone was watching the Tour of California or just decided to take the weekend off.
Despite having only an average race, I managed to have a pretty good time. I contributed to the team effort, sure, but I was actually just glad to be there. Glad to see the same group of guys, glad to be able to ride my bike, grateful to have another chance to get some exercise and compete.
On Saturday, we raced the 30+ and Mike Williams made the break. He finished 4th, I was 8th, and Tim Coleman 11th. Tim and Mike did the 40s and Mike again made the break for 3rd.
I did the Pro/1/2 at the end of the day and was feeling okay. A break of ~5 got off and there was no way it was coming back. I was tiring and I knew I wouldn't be able to race the second race of the omnium the next day (because we were leaving early), so I considered pulling out but ended up pressing on.
It was forecasted to rain during the day and it started to drizzle ever so slightly at the later moments of the race. Coming into the last laps of the race, it started to come down a little more and the ground started to get wet. I hit a fast downhill corner like I'd been doing ever lap before, but this time my bike slipped out from under me and I slid on the pavement.
I didn't take anyone else down and they were kind enough not to run me over. The slip-out was very sudden so I was shocked and then in a lot of pain in my left calf. No one saw what happened but we think my bike, pedal, or the slamming force to the ground caused the calf muscle to knot up.
My teammates were nearby and ran to help me and the bike off the road. I sat to collect myself and waiting for the calf to release. It finally did and then I was able to get up to assess the damage.
Mike said my bike looked okay. When I worked on it later, it really was. I just had some more torn bar tape, a more scraped seat, and had to readjust the left brifter position.
As for my body, my lower rear-end took the brunt of the fall and slide. I got a fist-size razzie there, one small one on my shoulder, and surface abrasions along my outer left lower leg. There was no helmet scrapes or damage, no broken bones, and the thing that hurt worst was the knot in my calf. It sucked to lose a brand new pair of bib shorts. As I walked away, I could see balled up portions of the shorts fabric still on the road.
I wasn't the only one to go down at that turn. At least three others went down in the last two laps including two guys of the breakaway. Then later there was a fun/kids race that took place and several of them crashed, too.
I still raced the next day. I finished 10th and ended up 8th GC in the 30s. Mike was a stud and finished 5th in the 30s for 5th overall, and then he took 2nd in the 40s and took 2nd overall.
Using Microcomputers at the Library SUN, 27 DEC 2009
Before my parents brought home an Apple IIgs, I could only use a computer at school (usually an Apple IIc or IIe) or at the library. And it was there I learned the early joys of using an Apple Macintosh.
Here's a scan of the "Microcomputer User Handbook" put out by the Cerritos Public Library circa 1986. My brother and I used to sign up for time slots and go to do homework and play games. Once in a while we'd try the IBM with DOS but it never seemed to work. But the Mac's were awesome and it was there we got our first tastes of typography and graphic design.
"The Apple Macintosh computers supplied by the Cerritos Public Library are equipped with two 3 1/2" disk drives, 512K of RAM, and Apple Imagewriter printers. The 3-1/2" disks hold twice as much information as the 5-1/4" diskettes used by the IBM computer."
512K of RAM! The latest MacOS (OS X Snow Leopard) requires a minimum of 1GB RAM. That's 2,048 times more memory!
Have you ever talked to someone and asked for their phone number and they give you just seven digits?
Me: What's your number?
Hello? Area code? Do you have one? Am I supposed to just know it?
I'm from L.A. and as long as I can remember there've been at least three area codes (213, 714, 909) around here and now there's a bajillion. Every time I cross a street I'm in a new area code or dealing with an overlay.
So from what hick-town-with-just-one-area-code are these people from who give out numbers without area codes?
Similary, I do a lot of print advertisements and keep seeing these ads where the designer - wait, perhaps I'm giving too much credit to begin with to assume there's a "designer" involved. Anyhow - where the "designer" has made the area code smaller than the rest of the phone number. I call it area code deprecation. It's as if the area code is less important to the phone number, which you know isn't true if you're trying to reach said number from a different area code phone, or even the same area code phone in an overlay situation. And there's the one that leave it off entirely...
Racing isn't about the money, but even when the payout is just enough to buy a spare tube, there's exponential joy in knowing you finished "in the money". Or anger and frustration when you keep coming up short.
But really, it is about the money, as in I gotta keep doing well at my day job to keep the family housed and fed.
Prior to last weekend, early season racing for me was two CBR crits, both of which I pretty much just attended. I was a low factor of the races and I pack finished.
Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona was last weekend and our team headed out to defend last year's GC win by Peter Andersen.
I knew my lack of TT skills would immediately leave me out of contention, but I wasn't there for me, I was there for the team. I put in some efforts that got me dropped in the road race. I loved the crit but used my energy to help keep the race in check, not to sit and save or break away.
Longer Story: Within the last 12 months or so, BofA has replaced their ATMs with new versions that take cash and checks without the need for an envelope. Sounds good, except instead of an envelope, the new ones require you to insert cash and checks separately, and each check has to be fed in one at a time to go through a scan and verify process. With the older ATMs, you could put all your checks and cash into one envelope, make one deposit transaction, then be done.
BofA touts their new machines as a great achievement because you get machine-verified deposits that post more quickly to your account. That is great, except the trade-off is it takes much longer to run even a single check or cash transaction, not to mention much, much longer if you have several checks that have to go through the scan and verify process.
I do most of my banking online, have my paycheck direct deposited, and rarely pay cash. But still, I get checks and cash from time to time and have to deposit them. I use the ATM instead of going inside a bank and up until these new machines, it's been a great way to take care of business.
Today was the tipping point because like has happened times before, the machine wouldn't recognize an otherwise fine check. It just wouldn't take it. It tried scanning, buzzed and whirred, and then spit it out and said it couldn't accept it. And that's just unacceptable.
BofA is forcing me to do their deposit work while I stand their waiting for their machine to conduct what used to be back-office work. And then it can't even do it. Now, BofA is forcing me back into a branch where I'll have to wait in line longer because they have even less tellers working.
These new ATMs would be great if they were faster and better, but they're not. They just suck.
I put in 105 miles yesterday with the New Year's Day Ride. More miles than I've been putting in weekly. I've been eating like a pig ever since. My annual weight and body fat graphs will be posted soon (and probably won't be pretty).
In the right column of this main blog page is a ChipIn Widget for donations to Hughes Park Cycling. You might have noticed it before, but I never pointed it out because I wanted to really spice it up before the official launch. I never got around to spicing it up and it expired 12/31/2008, but I do have good news to report about the donations collected out there.