Li’l Bastard Comix

And now a series of five because I was kind of stumped on where exactly I wanted to go:

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Thirsty Thursday

Ugh- what a week. I need more pretty.

Oh daddy!
Male cleavage equivalent
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Bambi 3.0

I got Il Bambino back from the bike spa. NOW he’s basically done- just in time for storage. (Sad face)

As we know, the initial build left me wanting in a couple areas. The chain had too much slack and I didn’t like the stiffness/noise of the rear freewheel. So to take up chain slack I added a 48t front crankset.

That didn’t work.

So I got him in to the spa to see what they could do. They put on a Shimano freewheel (soooo quiet!). But they couldn’t solve the chain slack.

Until they ordered a 47 tooth chain ring.

Initially I wasn’t wild that they ordered a black 47t chainring (it was probably all they could find). I was envisioning silver. But the more I look at it with the silver, black, and white wheels and some of the other black accents— I’m ok with it.

It sure was nice to ride him to work this morning.

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I voted, bitchez

I love living in a large city thst has early voting available. I went over lunch and took care of it. It was nice to see it fairly busy- most other times I’ve done it there’s only been like one other person voting.

Let’s hope America’s nightmare will be over soon.

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Weekend at Mommies

This past weekend I did a quick visit to Iowa to check in in mom. And to do some chores around the house.

We’re finally getting rid of the nasty carpet in (most of) her house and replacing it with laminate flooring. This will hopefully make it easier for her to get around— less friction and all. Especially if she wants to use a wheel chair.

To prep for that I cleared a lot of her tchotchkes and breakables. Just so I’d have less to do when the actual install day comes. But she needed a few other things done.

I had to dig out a Christmas present so she could do “beauty maintenance” stuff. I changed out her smoke detector battery. She needs a new smoke detector, so I ordered one. I got rid of more old paint. I mowed her lawn. And I trimmed her toenails for her.

We also discussed what to do with her old spinet piano and her collection of DVDs. At some point we may go through her books too, to donate.

The good news is that so much of her basement is cleaned out as is the garage. We sold the generator and her grill and donated a bike.

It is my goal to get her down to simple living to maximize the space in her house by the end of the year. We’ll see.

OH! And I took some of her 1970’s ceramic pots for my burgeoning collection of plants.

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Covid Project

I have great southern exposure in my condo. As such, I’ve developed quite a collection of indoor plants (succulents mostly) which just love the light. And my plants have kind of exceeded my shelf space.

So— time to build new shelves.

My previous plant shelf was created from an oak plank (courtesy of Room & Board outlet) and a couple adjustable height table legs from IKEA. It worked well but I’ve outgrown it- literally and figuratively.

A new trip to R&B Outlet netted me two, heavy tempered glass shelves (54”x18”) that I got for 9 bucks apiece! SCORE!

Then it was just a matter of devising legs. I was going to buy 4 new IKEA legs, but they’re sold out and shipping isn’t an option. So I thought to myself “What about the neo industrial look? I can use black pipe.”

So, I got four lengths of pipe, and associated pipe flanges. And some clear gorilla glue. I measured the current height of the legs and figured how long they needed to be— with the screw in flange height adjustment of about 1/2 an inch.

Here are the tops with the flanges glued. Just waiting for the glue to set.

And here are the finished shelves:

The pipe matches my black plant shelves too.
More plants in place
Succulent on THAT, bitchez!

I think they came out well, and it doubled my shelf space. There’s a few open spots for the balcony plants that I’ll bring in before the freeze.

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Thirsty Thursday

I need some dickstraction— this has been a long week.

USA is A-OK!
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Piano. Man.

It’s that time of year. Time when I start questioning whether or not to get rid of my piano. The last time I thought about this was maaaaybe 2 years ago when I discovered weighted key action Roland pianos.

This time it was a random FB ad that sent me down a click hole of digital piano/keyboard research.

Technology is really something, huh?

The issue at heart is that I have a studio upright piano in my condo. We’re technically not supposed to have pianos (noise, etc), but I have had this one ever since I moved in. This is the piano I bought in North Carolina when I first started lessons. It’s kind of my baby.

But I hardly play it anymore.

It’s a fairly nice piano, and produced good sound. It needs a good tuning at the moment, but other than that everything works well. But I don’t feel like I can play it without risk of disturbing neighbors. So I don’t play it often, and when I do it’s tentative.

Plus, I gotta be honest, moving a piano kind of sucks. And having to line up tuning. And the space it requires.

The keyboard option, I must admit, is very alluring for several reasons. No tuning. MIDI options with computer. Headphones. Different sounds possible. And other techie things. And it’s way more portable.

The bad? Nothing electronic will ever successfully reproduce the keys, feel, and sound of an acoustic piano. And the closer you try to get, the price skyrockets. Plus? Electricity required.

My research led me to a low cost, full size option which kept topping review lists. I definitely like the price and I like that it doesn’t have crazy sound effects but it has good polyphony and grand piano sound sampling. And weighted, hammer action keys. Also the key weight changes from low to high like on real pianos.

Now the issue is: am I ready to relinquish my piano? I think I am, as long as it goes to someone who will use it. I don’t want it to be turned into kindling. And there is a guy who may be interested in it (fingers crossed).

I’ll keep you posted. The keyboard I’m exploring is a Casio PX 160. Check it out.

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Adventures with Nago

Ok- so I do love my titanium Colnago bike. It’s pretty choice, all things considered. But it is a 20 year old bike or so. And Italian. Which presents some challenges.

I screwed up some repair and thankfully the fancy boutique bike shop was able to fix it. And everything looked good. So I took him out on a ride this weekend…

… and broke another spoke.

As I said previously, I’ve never had a spoke break on any bike before. Ever. Now my Nago front wheel has shelled two spokes. This is a nice wheel set too. Campagnolo Nucleon wheels with stainless steel aero blade spokes.

Unfortunately I was 2/3 of the way to Minnehaha falls where I was having a socially distanced quartet rehearsal. Which means I had to bend this spoke out of the way and limp my bike along to the falls. Not ideal. I got a ride home which helped to prevent further damage.

Once home I started Looking at my options. I don’t need to ride the Nago, so it can sit until the wheel is repaired. And I should be getting the Cinelli back from the shop on Tuesday. So I started looking on the internet for repair parts.

The problem? These wheels are not made anymore. Which means the spokes for the wheel are hard to find. As in, I couldn’t find any spoke replacement kits anywhere. Not even from the manufacturer. Ugh!!

Ebay to the rescue! Thankfully (and serendipitously) I found a guy selling a “parts only” Nucleon Wheelset with some extra spokes. It was $150, So I bought it without a second thought. (To fully replace the wheels on the Nago with a comparable set would cost $1200 or more 😳!)

Bike season is winding down, so I’ll have tons of time to get things fixed up for spring. but in the meantime, I’m riding as much as I can in the shortening days.

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Falling Man

On this anniversary of when our world changed , I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw that someone had posted the image of the Falling Man. Along with a link to the Esquire article about the picture. And the towers. And that fateful day nearly two decades ago.

You all know the image of which I speak; I neither want nor need to repost it. It captures a man plummeting to earth in front of the sunlit facade of the World Trade Center.

I would have to say it’s the most perfect photograph I’ve ever seen.

It’s beautiful. It’s horrific. It’s stark. It’s evocative of so much emotion. It’s a gut punch. It’s literally breathtaking. And it perfectly encompasses the history of that day.

I can’t see the photo without crying. And by crying I mean ugly sobbing to the point where I pray that someone doesn’t see me. I cried in my office today at work- thankful that most of my staff is gone today.

Every time I see the image, I can’t help but think of those people. Those poor, trapped people who had two doors to choose from: the tiger or the tiger. Burn to death or fall to your death?

Which would you choose?

I know that almost everyone knows this image and of this man who chose to meet his death head on at 32 feet per second squared. A choice to leap out a window and into ten more seconds of life.

Ten.

What most people don’t know (because those in power tried to sanitize everything) is the magnitude of people who chose to jump. The estimates are about 200 people leaped to their death from the towers that day. That’s about 8% of the total deaths reported.

200 souls.

The first responders. The eye witnesses. The French documentary crew. They all documented seeing people streaming out of the top floors of the buildings, sometimes one right after the other. The film taken at the time audibly records the sound of each body hitting the ground.

And they hit the ground at alarming frequency.

I can’t imagine these people’s last moments on earth. I really don’t want to. Even a fleeting thought about it causes my heart to ache in my chest.

I see the Falling Man image and I think of all of them. And instantly I think what would I have done? Would I have jumped too? Would the intensity of the flames driven me to jump? Would I have tried to get to the roof in the hopes of a rescue helicopter?

Part of me likes to think that once I realized that death was inevitable, I would have found a piece of glass and cut my wrists. Hoping to bleed out before the flames got too bad. But with the overwhelming fear and panic that must have saturated that moment, who can say?

What I will say is this:

I am not religious. I do not believe in any god. But I hope-with every fiber of my being- that some grace, some merciful power took pity on these souls in their final seconds and eased their passing.

The alternative is just too horrifying.

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