Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Playing By the Rules

I just pulled the plug on the sale of a bike frame, due to the fact that the buyer simply made me too nervous to complete it. I won't go into all of the boring details, but suffice it to say that the buyer just didn't follow what I consider to be the rules of internet buying.

Here is what I, and everyone I know who sells over the net, expects along with a general description of what went wrong in this deal:

1. Pay by the method that the seller prefers. (I suggested PayPal but agreed to a check due to sympathizing with his circumstances.)

2. Do not ask for/specify something and then change in midstream. (He asked for parts, which I located and priced for him. He agreed to the deal, then backed out of buying the parts. I didn't mind not selling the parts, but I didn't appreciate being led to jump through hoops for no reason.)

3. Do not ask for items to be shipped to a state 2000 miles from where you live, without explaining fully why you want it shipped there. (He lived in Baltimore, and wanted the frameset shipped to Arizona. That sets off all sorts of warning bells for someone who has been selling on the internet and trying to avoid scammers for years.)

4. Communicate well and often! (This is related to #3. There was a delay of days at a time between me asking him a question/answering one of his questions and the next time I would hear from him. The capper was when I expressed concern about the fact that he wanted the frame shipped to Arizona, and I didn't get an explanation.)

Three days later, I sent him an email letting him know that the deal was off due to my suspicions, and outlined exactly why I am not comfortable with the situation. Unlike every other time I had emailed him, he responded quickly (in about 3 hours). Even though he had an answer for everything, I had to just tell him that the deal still made me uncomfortable and the frame is no longer for sale.

Four simple rules to follow...most people do. Many who don't are trying to scam you. Some just don't understand how vulnerable a seller is, and how cautious we've learned to be. Individuals are not like big corporate retailers which can write off a certain amount of loss as the "cost of doing business". If I send something off and don't receive payment, it makes my life difficult.

I've sold dozens of bikes over the net, and I've only been burned a couple of times. Both of those were times when I allowed someone to convince me that they had a legitimate reason for not following one or more of the rules. I'm afraid that has made me very strict about the rules.

Tim, if you are reading, I hope this helps explain (further) what I tried to get across in my email to you. As I said, you may be the most upstanding guy in the world, but I don't know you from Adam. And, I can't afford to to take the chance that I'm going to be taken advantage of.

So, in closing, I'd just like to point out that this kind of thing is very unpleasant for a seller (as well as a legitimate buyer who just doesn't know how to deal with a long-distance purchase such as this), and it's so easy to avoid. Just follow the rules...



When I was a kid, I knew a three-legged dog named Tripod. This post is not about him (although, if I ever adopt a a 3-legged dog I will certainly use the name, myself).

No, this is about a rather affordable camera tripod I picked up, today.

I was shopping at Ross, today, when I happened to see a small spotting scope for $6.99. I was first attracted, and amused, by the wording on the package: European Design...American Attitude...Made in China. Very international!

Then, upon closer inspection, I noticed that the scope mounted onto a small plastic tripod by means of a thumb screw. That thumb screw looked very much like the camera mount screws on photo tripods.

So, I bought it, and took it home. I figured that, even if it didn't work with my camera, I would still end up with a cool little scope.

As you can see from the picture, the camera mounted right up. Now, I have a tripod to steady the camera when I am taking close-up pictures of small items, or timed shots.

Not bad for $6.99 (and I still have the scope, too).


Thursday, November 26, 2009


The biscuits and country ham are prepared and ready to be eaten for breakfast, when I arrive at Dave and Linda's to help cook. We are having a small get together, this year, of only 9 people. Still, in view of the fact that we had to skip last year's gathering, I am glad (thankful) that we have that many "orphans" (no relatives in Colorado) to share the day.

What else do I have to be thankful for in a year which has seen a pay cut at work, six months of back problems and the virtual evaporation of my little side-business of fixing up and selling bikes? Plenty.

I'm grateful for family, even though I can't be with them today. I'm thankful that I am relatively young and healthy, able to ride my bike and enjoy the beautiful area in which I live.

I'm thankful for friends who are as close as family.

Also, I am thankful to have the basic needs of life taken care of; food, clothing, shelter. Even my dogs make me realize that I am lucky, and I'm thankful for the canine circus act they perform, just by being themselves.

Mostly, I'm just thankful to still be kicking around, taking it all in.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Ride with Brad

In light of yesterday's extra-wordy post, I'll keep this one brief, and let the pictures do most of the talking. (Click on them for the big versions.)

Brad and I took a nice ride, today. I rode over toward his house and met him where the Highline Canal crosses Iliff Ave. From there, we headed north.

Our aim was to ride a loop made up of the Highline Canal Trail, the Sand Creek Greenway and the Cherry Creek Trail back down to our route to Kaladi Brothers coffee. Here, at the start of the Sand Creek Trail, Brad added a bit of air to his rear tire, which wasslowly going flat. The sealant apparently kicked in, after adding the air, and he didn't have to do it again during the ride.

The dynamic duo with Gotham in the background. A lot of the Sand Creek Trail is unpaved, and made the mixed-terrain bikes a nice thing to have.

At one point, we passed an airplane graveyard. I find derelict planes fascinating. As I told Brad, they hold the same fascination for me as shipwrecks.

This underpass is pretty spooky. I calculated that it stretches about 80 yards away from the path. The "Denver Catacombs".

We passed a park which had some really interesting concrete structures. Turns out, it is an old sewage treatment plant, which operated from the 1930s until the 1950s. Pretty cool, in that post-Armageddon way.

Brad riding on one of the structures.

Unlike Wasilla, we in Denver have embraced the "bridge to nowhere". Both ends of this span are about 30 feet above the ground.

By the time we got to Kaladi Bros, at 11:30, we had covered 44.5 miles. My total, by the time I got home was 46.88. I'm edging my way toward doing my monthly Century rides, next year.

Temps started off in the low 30s, and topped off at about 50F. It was a really nice day for a ride.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not Really "Tips" on Commuting, So Much As Just "How I do It, and Why"

Bonus cute picture of Oswald, at no extra charge.
(Click the pictures for the big versions.)

I don't really consider myself an expert on the subject of bike commuting, in general, , or winter commuting, specifically. Still, I have commuted by bike every day since May 1, 2007 ( 526 workdays in a row, if you are keeping count), and I have pretty much dialed in what works for me. So, since a couple of people expressed interest in my perspective on the matter, I thought I'd just throw this out there.

Keep in mind that this is just what works for me, on my particular commute. Still, enough of it is applicable to others that you might pick up something useful.

First, I would like to point out that I feel very fortunate to be able to have a dedicated commuter bike, set up exclusively to go back and forth to work. If I was using the same bike to commute, and to ride everywhere else, I might use slightly different equipment. The general set-up would remain the same, though.

My commuter is a 29er fixed-gear mountain bike, with 2" wide slicks for the warm weather. I like the fixed gear simply because it requires the least amount of maintenance and is the most likely to be ready to ride, day after day, without a lot of attention. I basically just have to add some air to the tires every month (or so) and keep some lube on the chain. That's good for a bike which gets used 5 to 6 days a week.

I ride a mountain bike, rather than a road bike, just because I want the high-volume tires. I commuted on 35c tires for a year and a half, and had problems with spoke breakage and just general rim abuse due to the (relatively) low-volume, high-pressure tires.

I think that a bell is required...

I have fenders on it, because I don't give myself the option of not riding due to rain or snow. Fenders may look a bit dorky to some people, but I consider them indispensable for year-round commuting, even in a town which gets 300+ days of sun, per year.

You will notice that I have two headlights on the bar. Not only does this work out in that NASA-inspired redundant systems sense (I have a backup if the batteries die on one of the lights), but it also allows me to run a "be seen" light and a "see by" light. I have the dual bulb unit on steady beam, in order to see where I am going, where the pot holes are, etc. And, I run the smaller unit on the side on flash mode, to catch the eye of car drivers.

My neighbor was pulling out, in his car, the other day as I was coming down the street. My flashing headlight made me visible in his mirror, even with a car's headlights on behind me. He told me that the saw the flash, and stopped to figure out what it was, thus not pulling out in front of me. So, I guess it's effective.

I follow the redundancy rule with my flashing tail lights, as well. I usually have both of them flashing, at once, in low-light situations, or when there is precipitation falling. The out-of-sync flashes are pretty eye-catching. I also have the batteries staggered in age (I put the new batteries in the top light two weeks before doing the same in the bottom light). That way, I never end up with no tail light due to lack of charge.

As you can see, I believe in carrying the weight on the bike, rather than on my back. Thus, I have a rack and panniers on the bike. In them, I have: a pump, a spare tube, a patch kit, a folding allen-wrench set, an adjustable wrench, a sewing kit (yeah, I know, I'm a Boy Scout, but it has come in handy more than once), an extra set of glove liners and a cable lock.

In addition, I carry a fresh shirt, socks and underwear in a ziplock bag, and my lunch, on a daily basis. This leaves room for incidentals like a sketch book, or a lighter jacket for the ride home. (I carry a few pairs of work pants in, after laundry day, and carry them home as they get dirty.)

In the winter time, I run studded tires when the roads are icy. Having disc brakes allows me to run a set of 26" wheels with the 2.0" studded tires I bought in 2007, even though the frame is built for 29er wheels.

In the past I had a separate snow bike set up with these tires, but I am trying to cut down on the number of bikes I own, so I went this route, this year. (Plus, it was kind of a pain in the butt to have to transfer everything from bike to bike when it snowed. Now, I just swap out wheels and go.)

I ride these bmx platforms with the pins in them, year-round. They work with any shoe, and keep my foot in place really securely, even when furiously spinning downhill. I suppose that if you were into skidding and skip-stopping they wouldn't be as good as clips and straps (or clipless pedals). That's not of concern to me, though.

Being one of the proletariate, I am always on the lookout for inexpensive replacements for expensive equipment. The dual-beam light on the bike is pretty expensive, and I only have it because I got in on club-order and paid about half price for it. Still, it's the most expensive light I've ever owned.

This light on my helmet cost $15.00 at Target, batteries included. It's a camping headlamp, from Energizer, with 6 LED emitters. It will run for some stupid-long amount of time on the low-beam (which is plenty bright for riding on the road) and for a pretty long time (17 hours, I think) on high beam. It also flashes red, in one setting, so it could be used as a tail light, if you wanted.

I've not used it as a commuter light, but I used it during the night laps of the 24-hour race I did back in June, and I was really pleased with it.

I put a piece of self-stick Velcro on the front of the helmet, and the back of the light pod, to hold it in place.

I did the same to the strap. It never moved during the race, even when I crashed on the first night lap. I think that this would be a really good "see by" light for a commuter who likes helmet lights. You could rig up a mount for the handlebar, otherwise, and use it as a bike-mounted light for 5% of the cost of the headlight I am using now. The only disadvantage is that it is not rechargeable, and you'd have to buy batteries for it, periodically (I have no idea how well it would run with aftermarket AAA batteries).

Clothing, for commuting, can be a challenge. I know that many of the "cycle-chic" crowd maintain that you should always ride in your everyday clothing, and ride to work in your work clothes. I am not comfortable doing so, myself. My route to work is pretty rolling, with one good steep climb about a third of the way to work, and I tend to work up a bit of a sweat.

Mikael, over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic, preaches the message of "Style before speed". Of course, Copenhagen is a dead-flat port city, and you can cruise along at 8 to 10 mph (the average bike speed there, apparently). So, casual riding will allow you to get where you are going, relatively fresh. Dottie, up in Chicago, is able to do the same thing. If you are able to get away with riding in your work clothes, I actually envy you, since it's so much more convenient than changing clothes twice a day like I do.

But, I am just not comfortable wearing slightly damp, sweaty clothes all day. Plus, I like to wear padded bike shorts under my pants when I commute, even though I often ride much farther without them on the weekends. I'm not sure why, except that, in the winter time, they are warmer than my normal underwear, and help keep the tops of the legwarmers in place.

When I ride with long underwear, regular underwear works just fine, but I still would want to change out of it due to the sweat factor. So, if I'm going to change anyway, I might as well enjoy the benefits of the padded chamois.

Still, I don't wear the whole "I'm a cyclist" uniform of spandex tights and team jerseys. My outer clothing on the bike is pretty much the same stuff I wear around at home. In the picture above, I am wearing what I had on when I left the house on my way to the coffee shop, this morning, with the temperature hovering around 40F.

Bike shorts,, leg warmers and knee socks under knickers, with casual "athletic" shoes cover the lower half. Up top, I have on a Craft long-sleeved base layer, a short-sleeved cotton t-shirt, arm warmers, a fleece vest, kerchief around my kneck and leather gloves with separate liners.

For the commute, I would also be wearing a helmet. I don't always wear a helmet, but I always do for the trip back and forth to work, mostly because of the fact that I commute during heavy traffic time, in the evening, and drivers are in a hurry and/or distracted on the way home. I don't know that bike helmets are that effective in many cases, but I figure it probably won't hurt.

Had the temps been in the mid-30s or lower, I would have added my breathable water-proof jacket and neoprene shoe covers (I wear a size 14 over my 10-1/2 shoes so that they fit loosely and retain the heat better). The t-shirt and arm warmers would have been replaced with a wool sweater, too.

I would have also worn my snowboard gloves, rather than the lighter-weight leather gloves. I also wear a wool skull cap, which covers my ears, and clear-lens sunglasses (not pictured) to keep the wind from making my eyes tear up.

I wear a lot of easily-removeable layers, and I start off warm. I'm one of those people who would rather start off comfortable, then remove excess clothing, as opposed to starting off uncomfortably cool and warming up to comfortable. I usually end up with my jacket open, halfway down, with the the cuffs pushed up onto my forearms even when it's in the low 20s or high 30s. Any cooler than that, and I stay comfortable for the whole 8.3 miles to work, even with everything zipped up.

Still, as I pointed out, I put enough effort into getting up the hills that I still end up a little sweaty by the time I get to work. So, changing into fresh, dry clothes feels good.

That pretty much covers everything I've learned, concerning equipment for commuting, over the past two and a half years. I know that it was a long post (and I hope someone has read all the way down to here), but I hope that you might be able to glean even one little tip which will help you out on your commute.

I do want to add a few non-equipment-related thoughts, though, if you will bear with me.

Every time it rains, snows or gets either very warm or very cold, at least one person will say something along the lines of, "I can't believe you rode today!" Alternatively, they will ask, "How do you leave the house when it's so cold/hot/rainy/snowy/windy?"

I find it to be pretty easy to ride in extreme conditions, simply because I committed to riding every day until (insert short-term goal here - currently until I hit 10,000 consecutive commuting miles). Riding to work is a given, so I don't have to talk myself into riding, I just have to figure out what clothing and equipment will make it safest and most comfortable.

And, you don't have to commit to every-day commuting to do that. You just have to commit. If you have decided to commute by bike on Mondays and Thursdays, just do it. Have your stuff ready to go, the night before, and just get up and go on those days. Once it becomes a part of your routine, the extra effort that a challenging weather day brings will not seem so daunting, at all.

And, if you find it as fun and relaxing (mentally, if not physically) as I do, committing is not too hard.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Three Days Ago, It Was 75 Degrees

Today, the forecast high is 38F (EDIT: It actually only got up to 30, today, according to the weatherman on the nine o:clock news) . That's November in Denver, though.

Obviously, the studded tires are back on the commuter. I am going back and forth, in my mind, as to whether or not I need to put the chains on. The last snow was deep enough that I really would have benefited more from the tire chains than the studs (which are really only effective on ice).

This snow seems much less out of place, more timely, than the storm that we had in October. It is a bit more normal to have a good snow in November. Winter is here, regardless of what the calendar says.

This is one of the bike racks at The University of Denver (DU). As much as it costs to go to school there ($45,000 per year, according to the DU website), you would think that they could at least provide covered bike parking...


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Took A Nice Little Ride, Today

Since the weather guessers were all predicting another 75 degree day, today, I took the day off and went for a ride. I figure that there probably aren't a whole lot more of these days in store, this year, so I wanted to take advantage of it.

At 7:15 A.M. I was at the post office, to send these two packages off, using the Automated Package Center. The top package, some drawings for my mom, was no problem. The tall one, however, was.

It is the Kinesis fork that I posted about yesterday, going back to Ben's Cycles for a refund. Unfortunately, it won't fit in the bin provided for the APC, so I had to wait until the P.O. opened at 8:00 so that I could mail it off at the counter.

So, I sat and read the Westword until 8:00, then went inside and mailed it off. Finally, I was able to get on my bike and ride.

I rode over the Cherry Creek Trail and headed south. I was supposed to meet Mark at Pablo's on Sixth, at 10:00, so I figured that if I rode down to Kennedy Golf Course, then turned around and headed back north, that I would be at Pablo's around 10:00.

I got to the top of the hill by the golf course at about 9:00. It was a little hazy toward the mountains, but a very pretty morning.

I took my jacket off, since the temperature was warming up. Then, I headed back north.

As I took off, I noticed that my front tire was a little low. As I rode, it seemed softer and softer. After about a quarter of a mile, I pulled over to take a look. Sure enough, I was having a flat.

No problem. I opened up the saddle bag to get a new tube and my pump. Hmmm. I didn't find a tube.

Oh, yeah, I gave it to someone else, a while back and forgot to replace it. So, I figured I could just air the tire up, ride until it went down again, and repeat as necessary until I got to Pablo's. From there, we could run over to Turin Bicycles and get a couple of tubes.

Unfortunately, my pump appeared to be broken. But, that was okay, as well. Like NASA, I adhere to the concept of redundant systems, and I had a CO2 inflator in the bag, along with 5 cartridges.

Five cartridges...four of which had already been used. Hmmm, again.

I aired the tire up and took off, as fast as I could, racing the leak. I made it to Colorado Blvd before it was unridable. I pulled out the CO2 inflator, and used the last gasp it had, hoping to avoid a hike. I got barely enough inflation out of it to be able to ride, slowly.

I knew I couldn't make it to Pablo's, so I detoured over to the Denver Bike, Rack. It is a commuter-oriented annex of the bike shop I worked at, last. Buying stuff there is akin to throwing a party with the contents of your hotel mini-bar. But, it was too early for any other bike shop to be open, and I was stuck.

Pretty much, I was their dream customer.

Fifteen minutes later, with a $7.00 (!) tube in my tire (and a spare in my bag), I continued on toward Pablo's. I was there by 10 minutes past 10:00. I got my coffee and scone, snagged a patio table, and waited for Mark.

Mark showed up about 5 minutes after I sat down, and got his own coffee and something to eat. After sitting and enjoying the coffee, we decided to ride around North Denver/Highlands for a bit.

Eventually, we decided it was time for lunch. As we rode along, discussing where to eat, we approached Little Man Ice Cream. I had never even heard of it, so I wanted to stop and check it out.

It's sorta like Denver's version of the Brown Derby!

Turns out, they have food, as well as ice cream. I had creamy tomato soup and a grilled gorgonzolla sandwich. Darn good, I might add.

The location, right next to the old Ollinger Mortuary/Crematorium adds a bit of a twist. But, I didn't let it affect my appetite.

That's my dessert on the top of the cart. A scoop of Orange Creamsicle ice cream, in one of those papery cones. Delicious.

After lunch, we continued to aimlessly ride around Denver, with a stop at Mark's house, for a bit.

Eventually, we wended our way around to Cheesman Park, where we split, and each headed to our respective homes.

I stuck a cyclometer on the Red Rockhopper, last night, just because I wanted to see how far today's ride ended up.

At 4:30 P.M., I pulled into my driveway, with a bit over 50 miles on the clock and almost 9 hours of enjoying one of the nicest Indian Summer days that we've had here. Hard to beat, flat tire and all.

Tomorrow is supposed to be 40 degrees cooler and wet. I'm thinking it might be a nice day to just ride down to the coffee shop and hang, before doing my errands and grocery shopping.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hey, Noah: More Spider Pictures!

Tonight, one of my Circus Spiders decided to turn his back toward the floor, for awhile. Not only that, but he walked over a spot directly above my floor lamp and posed for photos.

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille..."

Common House Spider seems like such a pedestrian name for spiders which are so cool. I have renamed them Circus Spiders, in order to show them some respect. Individually, I call them Archie and Veronica.

Noah, in KC wanted dorsal views. I am happy to oblige. And so is Archie. (Maybe it's Veronica...kinda hard to tell.)


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Kinesis Cyclocross Forks and 29er Tires (WARNING: If you are not a bike mechanic, this post is going to even more boring than most!)

Okay, this is one of those posts which I'm putting out there just in case someone needs the information I've gathered through trial and error. Trust me; you can't find this stuff out through the normal channels.

In the picture above, there are three different Kinesis cross forks. Two of them have a 1-1/8" steerer, the other has a 1" steerer. One of the 1-1/8" forks is disc and cantilever, the other two are canti-only.

These are the two 1-1/8" forks, the newer disc-compatible on the left.

Why do I have all of these? And, more to the point: Why am I showing them to you?

The black 1-1/8", canti-only fork has clearance for 29er mtb tires (2.2" width). We used it on Dan McGrady's bike until he bought a disc-compatible fork for his On-One.

Neither the canti-only 1" nor the newer design disc/canti 1-1/8" forks will run anything bigger than a 42c to 45c tire.

So, if you are trying to build a disc-equipped, non suspension-corrected 29er, the Kinesis fork will not work (although a Surly 26" mtb fork will work, and has the correct axle to crown length for non-suspension 29ers).

Yep, it's been a long hard row to hoe...

So, if anyone searches Kinesis fork 29er mtb on Google, I hope this comes up and saves them some aggravation, time and expense.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Just Some Random Stuff

I know it's not Spring, but ...

First, to all of those who sent well-wishes after I had my steroidl injection, "Thank you." It went well, and the difference before and after was like night and day. The pain in my leg and hip is gone. I'll now return to trying to not complain about my "old-man problems" all the time.

I looked at a bunch of websites, the other day, after Noah asked me to get a shot of the backs of my spiders. I couldn't get them to flip over and pose, so I thought I'd try to i.d. them from the info and pictures on the sites. As near as I can tell, they are Common House Spiders. They meet all of the identifying criteria (although none of the websites mentioned them walking on top of their net-like webs).

I have decided to try to ride at least one Century ride per month, next year, with hopefully at least three being off-road, or a combo of pavement and dirt. I find that I am pretty much only riding for the commute and errands, lately. So, I'm hoping setting a goal like this will prompt me to just get out and ride for fun, again. I kinda miss that.



Sunday, November 08, 2009

Brad's New Bike, With My Old Wheels and Tires

Brad got a spankin' new Rivendell Bombadil frame and fork, and built it up last week. All of the time that he was considering ordering the frame, and then waiting on delivery we had an ongoing discussion about the maximum tire size that it would accept.

The Rivendell specs say that the 2.0 inch QuasiMoto tire is the maximum tire it will handle. Brad even went on the Rivendell Owners Bunch chat group and asked if anyone knew if the NeoMoto (2.3") would fit. No one ever gave a definitive answer.

Yesterday, upon seeing the bike for the first time, I was pretty confident that the bigger tire would work. So, I had Brad stop by the house on the way to Kaladi Brothers, in order to test fit my wheelset with the NeoMotos on it (the wheels and tires I had on the 650b Stumpy).

The bigger tires work, just fine. Plenty of clearance on the rear triangle...

and on the fork.
Granted, if you were riding in the Gumbo-style mud of the midwest, you might have some mud-packing problems. The thing is, any mountain bike, with any knobby tire, will pack up if the conditions are bad enough.

For normal conditions, I think it is safe to say that the Bombadil frame and fork has suffecient clearance for 2.3" NeoMotos. And, the big tires make it look extra-burley!

Glad to be of service.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hanging Out With the Guys

I have been dealing with a herniated disc since the middle of May. The herniation apparently impinges on the Sciatic Nerve, and causes constant leg pain.

Today I got an epidural cortico-steroid injection (they use a really long, scary-looking needle to stab your spine, by the way). It went smoothly, and was surprisingly a not too unpleasant experience.

Now, I am in the middle of 24 hours of doctor-prescribed sloth. So, the dogs and I are lying about listening to tunes and taking it easy.

I am cleared to ride the bike, tomorrow afternoon, and it's supposed to be in the mid-70s (F), here. So, I think I might actually do something kinda rare (for me) and actually go for a opposed to riding to a destination.

The leg/back already feels better, so I think I'll take advantage of the (also doctor-prescribed) sick day from work and actually enjoy myself a bit.


Monday, November 02, 2009

I Have The Coolest Spiders in My House

They weave a web much like the safety net below the circus high-wire, parallel to the ceiling. The strands are so fine, that they are virtually invisible; difficult to see even up close, and impossible from a few feet away. As you can see, they walk on this web, with their backs to the ceiling.

From a distance, they appear to be walking on thin air.

I actually once saw one of these spiders grab a fly out of mid-air, as it flew by. It was like a trapdoor spider grabbing a bug, but it pounced from above, rather than from below. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen a spider (or any other bug, for that matter) do.

I get such a kick out of my air-walking arachnids that I just can't bring myself to sweep down their web and run them off.

I try to not walk directly underneath them, however, for fear that I'll end up bound by silk, to the ceiling!


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pomegranates, Pomegranates..Ooose...Aaah*

The Poms were a buck apiece, at the grocery store, last week. These are the last three of 10. You can see the the three stages of preparation here: whole, sectioned, seeded.

They take a bit of work, but the reward is well worth the effort. Here are the sweet, delicious seeds of three pomegranates, all shelled out and ready to eat.



*Apologies to John Records Landecker, and all of the Boogie Check fans from the 1970s.

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Short-Lived Snow Event

As often happens, here in Denver, we have had a couple of days with bright sunshine and temps in the upper 50s/lower 60s on the heels of a snowstorm. The two feet of snow doesn't stand much of a chance, under those conditions. The roads are virtually clear, with just a few snowy or icy spots left in shady areas.

The commute should be a bit less of a challenge, tomorrow, than it was on Thursday.

In honor of our first good snow of the season, I drew this in my Moleskine sketchbook, the other day:

Snowflakes and two are exactly alike.


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