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Monday, March 09, 2009

Weekend update. Well, and update on my weekend, anyway. I got home from work and relaxed while Mariah drove her way up to my house. We were going to see Cut Copy at Stubb's. I brought along a folding chair for Mariah, since she has been having some knee trouble recently. When we got to the entrance, the C3 presents guy told us we couldn't bring a chair in. Mariah informed him of her condition and he said, "talk to James over there, he'll put you in the VIP area". So we did, and he did. We got into VIP area in a sold-out show!

The first band Matt and Kim were really fun. I haven't seen a drummer smile that much since watching Taylor Hawkins drum for the Foo Fighters at ACL last year. It was crazy being so close and not having an army of people crushing you into the barriers. Truthfully, I enjoy the heat and energy you feel from being in a crowd but, it was pretty nice to sit down while while both bands rocked us out. Maybe I'm getting old...

The headliner Cut Copy had a real synth-pop appeal. It's a real treat to listen to a band that just now has enough material to play live. As an avid listener, you won't be disappointed when they don't play the track you liked the most off the new album. This is especially the case at Stubb's, since noise ordinances force bands off the stage at 11:00 (thanks to the nearby condos which Stubb's pre-dates).

Mariah! I was wrong. You sent out an e-mail to me on February 28th about Cut Copy, so I had plenty of time to listen to their music before the concert. Sorry.

Saturday morning brought me to Walnut Creek where I mountain biked from 10:20 to almost noon. Again, I was elected leader, since I had been to the park more than most of the people there. The guys following me were strong riders so, I pushed myself hard. Too hard at some points but, I only gassed out badly one time. I texted Tobin and Jared but, I found out the message didn't leave my outbox when I got back to the car. Turns out Jared was out of town and, Tobin was focusing on a video editing project, so it was all right that the message never got to them.

That afternoon I went to Staple! the Independent Media Expo where I met a whole host of artists (only half as many as I was hoping to, because of time constraints) from which I bought a moderately sized stack of comics. It was fun learning about their different projects. I saw a few artists that I wish I'd had time to talk with for a bit like Chris Onstad, and Stan Sakai. I even saw Scott Kurtz and Chris Straub walking around the Exhibitor's hall but, since they were there as attendees I didn't want to bother them.

Man, I really wanted to buy some original art from Stan while I was there, as it was the one thing that I regretted not buying last year at Comic-Con. Walked out of Staple! with regrets too, I guess. I'll see Stan again at Comic-Con this year, so I'll make it a point to get something cool from him in July.

I did get to sit front row at Stan's Q and A session which was amazing. I brought in my Usagi Yojimbo Cardboard Standee which would have been impossible to lug to San Diego this year. I tried to lean it up against the stage and the MC (who was going to pass the mike for questions) said that he would be walking in this space and it might get kicked. So he suggested that I put it up on the stage. When Stan saw it, he asked me if I wanted him to sign it. I said "YES!", and as the MC brought it up to him, I said he could stand it up next to him during the Q and A session. As he signed it, he said "Wow, this one's been used", which was obvious from the few bends in the cardboard and some sun bleaching.

I tried to find a picture from a blog or something of the event, since I didn't snap one from where I was sitting. From my angle, there was a microphone covering Stan's face.

Directly after Staple! I went down the street to see Watchmen with Bo, Cory and Betty at the Highland Galaxy theater (because they have DLP projectors). The movie was great, even for a fan of the comic book. Sure, there were compromises in the translation and edits due to time constraints but, this has to be the best comic to movie translation since Sin City. To be fair, I haven't read the comic since 1991 so I could be missing the most irritating changes. I thought the treatment of Rorschach and the selection of actor (and Jackie Haley's performance) was absolutely spot-on. It was particularly cool to see the slightest details replicated from the graphic novel, such as the broken passant on the shoulder of Rorschach's trench coat.

Sunday morning was a little later than I had hoped since an extra hour had slipped away from me during the night. I started the day in the planning on spending the morning back yard, putting in the edging around the planting beds. When I got out there, I found the back yard covered in leaves, so Amy and I worked until noon raking, mowing (and catching) and sucking up leaves. Ended up with 6 or 7 bags to put out on the curb on Wednesday. Hope it doesn't rain.

Once that work was done, I dug a trench for 40 feet of the edging to go into. I should be able to dedicate a few more hours to that work this week before Amy and I go to the Nursery on Thursday morning and pick up the plants that are missing from the layout that I paid for towards the end of last year. While I'm in Chicago this weekend, Amy should have time to put the plants in place and see if the arrangement looks good.

Cory dropped by and gave me a HUGE assist on the upstairs bathroom. We exchanged ideas on the tile and got started on moving the switches and outlet that were installed too low and would interfere with the wainscoting that was planned afterwards. This re-enforced the point "plan, then execute otherwise... re-work". Thanks for the help Cory! Now the upstairs bathroom is a little closer to done AND a little less dangerous.

Now it's Monday.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The ride at Walnut was AWESOME! Tobin took me down some trails that I had never been on before. I was out of breath more than a few times, and I'm a bit timid on some of the downhills but, I can tell that I'm on my way to awesome-ness. I weigh about 210 now, and I fit into the stack of size 34 jeans rather well now (with very little dunlop).

Living in Austin really agrees with me.

Also, AB, I didn't know you were in that line of work. What a very strange and interesting coincidence. Thanks for the congratulations, I'll pass them on to Danielle.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

A few things I forgot to mention yesterday. First, Governor Perry's office called up Emo's to procure tickets for his kids, so I assume they showed up last night. Green day had their own security, Emo's had their own security and so did the Governor's kids, plus Emo's requested extra police. That place must have been seriously locked down last night.

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, my odometer rolled over to 19,000.2. I bought it at 17,000. On my way down Mopac, I saw a bright yellow Lancer covered with my brother's cyclegraphics flame package. It's the second time that I've seen my brother's product on a car.

When I got home, Christine was already on my couch, talking with Amy and waiting for me to get home. After I got ready, we picked up Jared (and met his wife Christi) and went out to Walnut Creek. The three of us had not been mountain biking for at least a month. We met up with Tobin, who knows the trails better than anyone I know and rode for about 8 miles.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

What a week! Hung out with Jenn and her sister on Monday (5 of May), Mariah dropped by while Cory and I worked on the last French door on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Cory and I put more work into the French door.

Now I can see out to the old pecan tree (in desperate need of pruning). Looking out through my new backyard exit, I'm really able to envision the deck, table, lighting, fence, and (possibly) a swing.

In response to a recent comment by Duffy: I could have looked around for an old suspended fork for my Cannondale but, even a NOS (new old stock) part would be shot by now. They have a limited shelf life and a used one would be used up.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Well Duffy, the Cannondale that I bought my last year of College is old tech, and the frame is too small for me. I was recently forced to buy a non-suspended fork for it, since the frame has a (now) non-standard collar for the fork post to run through. It still runs good on the trails but, it's a little unconfortable. I think I'm going to sell it once I replace it with a more current one. Craigslist ho!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I had a really kick ass, and ass kicking weekend. Starting on Friday with the State Radio concert. I invited many but, only Mariah showed up. It was a much better show than the myspace page lead us to believe. Not folk-sie at all. There were some heavy reggae influences and some loud, hard rocking guitar. One thing of note, when the guitar rocked the audience into throwing up their hands, there was a sea of black Xs. I realized that most of the people there were much younger than I. Aw, well I guess I still rock.

On Saturday morning, even after staying up late, I went out to Walnut Creek to do some biking. After 7 miles, I realized I needed to book it home to get ready for the Staple convention. The convention was fun, although I would have spent much more time there if given the choice. Once that was over, Cory and I started work on the french door again. We started by cleaning out the garage of some stuff that I recently figured I can do without. I filled up the back of the truck with goodwill donations and metal to be recycled. It got too dark to continue work but, we were done clearing a spot in the garage to start work on Saturday.

So, Cory and I met Jen, Martha, Brandon, Christine, Mark, Mariah, Cliff, and Morgan down at Fado's for a few beers which ended up taking up the rest of the night.

So, the next morning, I woke up early again and did some road biking with Christine. We had ridden all the way down to the campus when, seemingly for no reason, I wrecked my bike into the pavement. Since I was clipped into the bike, my left ankle was mildly hyper-extended. I was able to stand and walk, and even ride back.

When I got back to the house, I joined Cory, Bo and Betty for lunch. I had already planned on going out to play disc golf a Pease Park with Rachel, so I left Cory to move the circular saw into the garage.

When I got back, Cory was already cutting a piece of pressure treated lumber to be used as a base for the part of the french doors that hangs off the slab. I noticed that my foot had swollen up pretty bad from walking around and playing DG for a few hours. I wasn't really able to walk very well but, I really wanted to make some headway with the French doors.

So, I decided to re-use the redwood that Cory and I pulled from the living room ceiling (left) to create some new trim that will be installed around the outside of the door. I had thought up the style earlier in the week to match with the straight lines of the house. Cory used my technical drawings that I derived from my design idea and how it would actually work when attached to the studs and the frame of the door. The existing patio door (not the slider) had some planks and a spacer nailed onto the face of the frame and over the top of the wood that looked terrible. It was 4.5 inches wide and reminded Bo of a BBQ restaurant. So, I my idea was three steps on a board that was only 3 inches wide. Here's a closeup of the prototype peice that Cory built with the table saw.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

I started my day (at 10:30) by watching Stargate Atlantas and having a chicken sandwich. I got an e-mail from Jared about doing some bike riding so, I rode my bike up to Walt's house which is right next to a trail head into Walnut creek. We rode through the tangle of trails and suddenly, Walt's bike malfunctioned. A screw fell out of his rear breaks. We looked for a while but, Walt ended up going home. So, Jared and I continued on. We completed the Tangle of Trails and then hit Windy Loop and then the BMX bike trails. We head back through the Tangle and through Walt's neighborhood. Fortuantely, bike route 47 goes right from Walt's neighborhood to my neighborhood. A few blocks from 183 was Jareds house.

On the trail, I noticed that the screw had fallen out of my brakes as well but, apparently that had been the case for a while (I noticed that there was rust inside the threads of the brake post). So, when we got to Jared's house he put my bike up on his repair rack and searched for a screw. The only screw he found was a little long but, it would serve to keep the brake caliper from flying off.

Jared noticed that my de-railers were a bit off so, he made some minor adjustments and set everything right. I would say "again" but I installed everything when I bought the bike and really didn't do that great of a job. Thanks, man.

After that, I headed down to The Flying Saucer on my bike and joined the U.F.O. club which netted me a shirt and a few discounts. If I drink 200 different beers, they will put my name on a gold platter and put it up on the wall. I'm up to 3, wish me luck!

Hey, anyone want to join me in my 200 beer challenge at their local Flying Saucer? Duffy? Bill? Russ? Ashwin? Come on! It will be fun!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yesterday, I finally got my bicycle back from Buck's Bikes. It may have been done for a few days but, Buck's doesn't typically call you to update your bike's status. Instead, they rely on the link they have on their web site so you can update yourself. Unfortunately, I lost my tag that gave me access to my status.

Oveall, I'm a little unhappy with the customer service experience from Buck's. Every time I went in there, I got the same feeling that I get from comic shop employees that revel in their superior knowledge of obscure pop culture references. The repair guys didn't really spend much time with me beyond talking about changing out of my forks. In the end, the forks were shorter than I expected, the seat post was a different brand than I was told was going to be installed, the connection from the fork to the handlebars was not replaced and the work on my crank that I requested was initialed but, the work was not done. I paid for the work but, ended up leaving the bike until yesterday.

The repairs took over a month to complete but, I can give them a at least a little slack on that. Apparently, the fork took a while to have delivered. However, they took their time to order it, didn't order all of the parts at the same time and ignored the bike while waiting for the parts to come in. Not sure if I would return to Buck's Bikes for repairs or any other reason. I am happy to be able to ride again, though. In fact, I may do some riding today at Walnut Creek with the Austin Ridge Riders.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Recap: I brought my bike to a shop near my house called Discovery Cycle, hoping to give the guys business create a relationship and help them ward off the big chain stores (sun and ski, wal-mart). The fork on my bike was trashed because it was actually just a stack of mushy cylinders and they had degraded over time. So, the angle on the bike was terrible, and really hurt my back. I rode the bike in and one of the guys took a look, said it had a 1" neck for the fork and said that it was outdated but, they could get a new suspended fork. After a week, the guy hadn't called me, so I dropped by. He said he had not ordered it, so I waited until Monday of the next week. I dropped by again, and the guy said the company no longer makes this fork. I asked if there were alternatives and he said I should go to another shop and see if they have an old fork on the shelf that would work. Even though, I was ready to spend $300 with these guys, the guy essentially told me to go away.

So, I drop by a few shops like Nelo's and Sun & Ski and both said that the 1" neck was not supported and they turned me away as well. So, about 3 weeks ago on a Saturday, I dropped by Buck's Bikes and talked with the guys who work there. One said most of the staff abandoned suspended forks in favor of static forks (with no shock absorbers). He also said that a company was producing 1" neck suspended forks. Since I knew that this was the same company that the first shop mentioned, I said to go ahead and order both. He said he would on Monday.

I assumed everything was going good until I got a call on Tuesday afternoon. Apparently, they figured out that the suspended fork was not available and asked if I wanted to go with the static fork. Since I had told them to order both, I was surprised that they had ordered neither AND that it was close of business on Tuesday (essentially Wednesday). So I dropped by the shop on Saturday and found that the static fork had not been delivered yet. I told them about a clicking noise that I was getting from the crank and asked if they would rebuild or replace anything that was broken.

So, I go to the GABF, come back and on Thursday (today) give them a call. After getting dropped during a transfer to the service department, I talk to the guy who originally helped me. He says that there are still parts necessary to get the fork mounted and that they cost $12 and he needed to order them and he only discovered that today! Fan-f**king-tastic! Who knows how long the new fork has been sitting on the bench waiting to be installed?

I probably won't see my bike until the end of next week, and who knows what parts will be needed to fix the crank. That's over a month without my Cannondale! Maybe I'm not the most serious rider, and I probably talk like a tubby rube to the bike repair guys who know all the lingo but, seriously, can I be mis-managed any worse? I really wish the guy had said "F this old bike and get into a new one".


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Got at call today that confirmed that the color on the side of my car needed to be blended across the drivers side door. They will have to remove all of the accessories, strip the clear coat off of my door, blend in some paint from the back then clear coat it again. So that's going to be an additional $350 and won't be done until tomorrow afternoon. The price is not bad but, I'm discouraged by the fact that the paint needed to be blended. Maybe it just shows my ignorance about paint but, the factory yellow paint should blend pretty easily with factory specification aftermarket yellow. Of course, this means that I'll miss my Wednesday morning drop off with Pontiac.

I also got a call from Buck's Bikes, where I dropped off my Cannondale over the weekend. Unfortunately, there are no suspended forks that are compatible with the 1" neck of older bicycles like mine. This saves me $250 and leaves me with only a solid fork as an option for a replacement. Apparently, the staff at Bucks have all abandoned suspension on their mountain bikes, so I don't feel too bad about the limitation. It will be nice to have my bike in good working condition and hopefully hit the trails this weekend.

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