Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flooded Ants

Ants take turns on top/breathing. That's how they can survive floods.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tri the Rez Taking Off

Registration for Tri the Rez has shot through the roof! We currently have 187 racers signed up, but not so many volunteers. If you want to volunteer, please email seh09e (at)

Last year had 140 people signed up. This year, hopefully the reputation and cheaper price induced more people to sign up. I guess they also had more notice this year. It promises to be a great event.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Sign of Fall

Today I was checking the weather forecast and I saw the "feels like" temperature at 91° when the actual temperature was 92°! Whoa.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Moral Code is Out of Date

Found this article on I probably could have guessed that it was written by someone in some way affiliated with Ayn Rand's philosophy. Anyhow, it frames familiar arguments in a new light to make them support an idea that I haven't seen advanced before.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tri the Rez Custom Orders

I've got a sample of the custom Polar water bottle coming early next week. I saw mock-ups of the bottle and the race T-shirts and they look AWESOME. Sponsor logos on water bottle are full-color and look much like the post below (except with the logo for Enterprise Rent-a-Car added in). Maybe soon I'll figure out how to post a pic of the shirts. 111 people registered as of right now.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tri the Rez Sponsors

I made this all by myself in Photoshop Elements. Not too bad. Not like it's a difficult project, but if it's gotta get done and nobody else will do it, then it comes down to me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Know Your Rights

I went to a know your rights workshop last week and learned a couple things about dealing with the cops.

1. Never consent to a search. Not of your car, your house, nor your person. Tell them that you do not consent to any searches. They'll make shit up about how you'll get in trouble, but cops are allowed to bullshit you. You aren't allowed to lie to them, but they can lie to you all they want. Most people get in trouble because they let the cops search something that they had a constitutional right to keep private (is this where all those 4th Amendment jokes come from, TBW?).

2. Say you're pulled over and asked to step out of the car. You can ask if you are free to go or if you are being detained. They normally aren't allowed to detain you.

3. When pulled over, ask the officer why you were pulled over. I made this mistake when pulled over in Mississippi and waited about 10 minutes before the officer told me why he pulled me over.

4. Shut the fuck up. I talk too much. They'll try to turn your words against you. An example of this is a "compound question" such as: You don't mind if I search your car; you don't have any drugs in there, right? If you answer no, then you don't mind if they search your car, even if you meant that you don't have any drugs. If you answer yes like you mind if they search then you sort of just got trapped into admitting that you have drugs in your car and that allows them to search by giving probable cause.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pick #207

Sleeping Spiders - "Strawberries" from Rock and Roll Master Plan

I think they sound better live than the recordings on the website.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Accident on the Uno

I'm OK.

On the way home from the rock gym tonight, I was riding north on Macomb and a car slowed down with his right blinker on. I thought he was waiting for me to pass, but wanted to make sure. I slowed down and was going to ask if I could go because his window was down. I took my eyes off the road and ran into a pipe that was laying in the bike lane. The pipe was angled into the road (does that make sense to my readers? It went from the curb out into the car lane as I rode up on it). I got thrown into the car lane and there was nothing I could do about it. Not being super used to my fixed gear, I didn't react great when the pedals kept turning. I was able to get my left foot out of the Power Grips on my pedals and kind of kicked the car away, but my left bullhorn caught the side view mirror of the car and smashed the mirror and broke off the plastic piece. My left hand got cut up a little bit and is a little swollen from where I hit the car. I managed to keep the bike upright.

The driver pulled over into an adjacent parking lot. I picked up a piece of his plastic piece from the side view along with the pipe that caused the accident. I apologized for running into this guy's car. If he had been an inconsiderate driver, then his car wouldn't have been there in the first place. I felt like it was my fault. The driver didn't do anything to deserve a crashing-into. He said that he is a fellow cyclist and not to worry about it. I offered him a couple dollars for damages and he again declined saying that he know's what it's like to ride.

The bike's handlebars were askew, a bar end plug popped out (I picked it out of the road too), and some of the grip tape on the left side of the handlebars is torn. I had my multitool with me so I fixed the handlebar angle and rode to Erin's. I was a little bit shaken up, but I think I needed to get right back on the bike.

Now I see that there were a few positive things about the accident:
1. It was a very nice motorist who didn't mind me breaking his car
2. It was me and not some inexperienced cyclist who might have gone down or got really hurt and maybe been discouraged from riding
3. I didn't get very hurt, nor did my bike
4. There wasn't traffic coming up too fast from which case I could have been rear-ended and that would have been b-a-d bad.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Government Ceiling Fan Light Kit Regulation Has Opposite Effect as Intended

Big surprise in the title, huh? The regulation, explained here, was designed to limit the wattage that lights could draw on a ceiling fan light kit. They put an upper bound of 190W on the entire kit. There's some stuff that doesn't make sense, like how it's not a "fan" if it doesn't have a downrod. WTF?

Anyway, the 190W limit is enforced by a device that acts as a dimmer. Somehow, as if that dimmer weren't enough to limit wattage, they decided it would be a good idea to make the bulbs candelabra base too. Why does that matter if the wattage limiting device does its job?

Here are my personal complaints: 1. a light in Jen's room started smoking! I called the company and they said that the wattage limiting device acts as a dimmer (something that isn't mentioned in the installation paperwork or anything included with the fan when you buy it). Most candelabra base CFLs aren't compatible with a dimmer and that's what caused it to almost catch fire (actually, this site says that they won't actually combust).
2. I had to buy new effing light bulbs for the new fan light kits. What of the other spare medium base bulbs I had lying around the house? Or the lights from the old fan. Making me buy new stuff is not energy efficient.
3. Since dimmable, candelabra base CFLs cost about $10 each at Lowe's (compared to about $10 for a 4-pack of medium base, non-dimmable CFLs), I ended up INCREASING THE WATTAGE that the light kit uses! I used to use 52W and now I'm running 4 x 40W incandescents (which also generate heat that I'll have to cool with the A/C)...I have MORE THAN TRIPLED THE WATTAGE CONSUMED BY MY LIGHT KIT DUE TO THE NEW "ENERGY SAVING" REGULATION!
4. It shouldn't have been a surprise that when I was facing the decision of whether to purchase $10 special light bulbs or buy regular incandescent bulbs at 1/8 the cost, I picked the incandescents. And I consider myself to be more pro-energy saving than the average bear.

Urban Uno, Parade of Homes, and Bike-In Movies

I've been riding my KHS Urban Uno for a little over a week now. I like it. It makes me sore a little bit because it makes me use muscles that other bikes don't. I've been able to take it up big hills, but it really sucks having to get it started up a steep hill. I think it will end up making me a better rider. Just today I had the opportunity to test the fenders...they work pretty well.

Yesterday I went to an event called Parade of Homes (3). Basically, it's a big group bike ride (not the fast kind) where you go from one location to another and bands are playing at each location. As you might guess from the name, most of the locations are homes, but it started at Krank It Up. I actually split halfway through the parade to go to another event. I saw a couple good bands and they'll make it to my pick of the week coming up soon.

I've also had an idea, mainly for the triathlon club: bike-in movies. Bring a trainer and your bike and we can set up a projector or something and cycle while watching a movie. Preferably something upbeat and inspirational. For people without trainers, I thought that we could take shifts...ride for 25-30 min, then hop off and eat while someone else takes over that trainer. It would be part workout, part social, part cool thing to do. I don't have a venue for it yet, so if you have a big enough place and think it would be cool to do at your house, let me know.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coasting Uphill

I've seen lots of people on bikes (people who I might hesitate to call cyclists) riding around and coasting up hills. This happens mostly on campus and I have a feeling that they might just be riding from dorm room to classroom, but why would anyone ever coast up a hill? That just makes forward progress even harder. If you want to go easy up a hill, a good even easy pace is better than bursts of power followed by zero effort. You can coast on the way down if you like.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

2 Brakes & a Helmet

So I built my KHS Urban Uno up as a 44x15 fixed gear but with a 16t BMX cog in the rear in case I want it. So far it's been treating me pretty well. I think I might lose some street cred with fixed gear kids though because: it's got the coaster on the other side, it has 2 brakes!!!, and I wear a helmet. I guess that makes me not as cool.

I don't think I'll ever remove the brakes, but I have noticed that after riding for a few miles, my instinct to slow down has been to resist the forward motion of the pedals instead of pulling the brake lever. It might get to a point where I don't use the brakes, but I don't think I'll take them off...mainly because I might want to use it as a single speed.

While riding, I found myself reaching for phantom shifters to change gears. Maybe that habit will disappear over time. I think that I shift more than most people on geared bikes. Not being able to drop gears makes me have to recruit more power from my legs when climbing...which I hope will turn me into a better climber when I can switch gears.

I had to take off the stock pedals. I put on Power Grips instead because I wasn't getting much power out of the upstroke on those plastic toe clips. I hate toe clips anyway...but the ones without the straps aren't as bad.

If anyone's thinking about switching to riding fixed, I would offer the following advice: wear a helmet and equip your bike with 2 brakes. You don't have to use them, but you might want to have the option. At least use a front brake because you can stop way faster if you use a front brake in conjunction with a skid stop (I haven't been able to get a good skid stop in yet...but physics will tell you that my previous statement is true).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

KHS Urban Uno

I'm getting a KHS Urban Uno fixed/single speed bike. Brand new. I didn't think I'd get a new bike after I bought my road bike, but working at Damn Good Bikes gives me Damn Good prices (even better than the ones that regular people get) and it's pretty affordable to get a new bike. In fact, it would probably have been more expensive to modify a used bike to get it just how I want.