Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bike-Cam 1.1

Managed to get the downhill run from Rocky Butte without setting off the anti-shock sensors in the camera. Ryan came with me for his first ever visit to the park and was a great companion on the climb.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Leaf Hopper's Paradise

I decided to document the garden before leaving for our trip. It changes everyday, and I make a point to see what's new. The patch we seeded with wildflowers is in bloom, with new species joining in the display as time passes. The bamboo has sent up five new shoots that are growing vigorously, with two at nearly six feet (and only a week old!). The eucalyptus has reached the eaves at this point, how tall will it get to this year? It grew 9ft in it's first year, unreal. The verbena bonariensis is widespread and 6-7 ft with multiple tiers of delicate smelling culsters of flowers. The buddleas are starting to bloom as well, and we saw a butterflty cross the yard today, possibly scoping for summer hangouts.

The trip is so close! We picked up some Fuji underwater cameras for snorkeling, and reserved our gear from Snorkel Bob's. From what I gathered reading the camera packaging, photo labs are only encouraged to return the cameras to Fuji. So next time you take your disposable camera to get the film processed, ask if they return the cameras to the manufacturer, or if they throw them away. If they don't recycle them, I'm taking my business elsewhere.

Buddlea beginning

Yarrd Arrt

Wildflower patch

Clover macro

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Breathin' easy

It's been six months since I quit smoking cigarettes!!! As Fisher Stevens said in the 1986 hit movie Short Circuit, "I am standing here beside myself."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yesterday I took a ride out to and up Rocky Butte. I've been working on a bicycle-mounted video camera rig using my old Sony digicam. I've still got some kinks to work out, such as dampening vibrations. Turns out the camera has an auto-off anti-shock feature, which causes all data that was being recorded to be lost. I had planned to film the descent from the butte, and I tried, but the camera turned off on the way down due to some bump...Realizing this, I decided to get some practice anyway, this time just doing it hand-held, which can be kinda shaky, sorry. This video was for my uncle Jeff, who, although being an avid outdoorsman and bicycle racer, has yet to make it out to my neck of the woods. It was also a birthday gift of sorts for him. Happy Birthday Uncle Jeff!!!

I ascended from the bottom left and descended from the top right.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First off, a little BTS update. In the end I ended up with two of each album! The one on backorder shipped, I pre-ordered Perfect From Now On at Jackpot and 15 minutes later Millenium called me and said they got in my other albums. So I ended up getting all three from MM, two from, and one from Jackpot. Oh, and while I was at Jackpot I ran across Sun Kil Moon's Ghosts of the Great Highway, which I had not seen since December '05 in ATL. Needless to say, I picked it up, post haste.

Today was all about the bicycle. I started it off watching videos Alan Singley made, many of which had footage of him riding his bike around town. I had just recently brought back to life my first digicam, and decided it would make a great experiment/beater camera, so I strapped it to the middle of my handlebars and away I went! I rode down to Jackpot to pick up Perfect From Now On, and then up to the top of Mt Tabor. It wasn't too grueling, but it was more effort than I'm accustomed to giving. At the top I rested, stretched, hydrated, made a few calls, and then headed back down, this time on the dirt trails that weave through the park. I intended to make a video of the descent, but a mini-bungee cord got too friendly with the command dial on my camera and took it off movie mode. So when I get home I have nada to show for it...oh well, I'll do it again soon. It was still fun. I ended it all with re-installing my front deraileur and getting the front and rears adjusted. Need those extra gears for the hills!

Thanks Alan Singley for inspiring my bicycle-themed day!

Here's "Conventional Wisdom" from You in Reverse.

On an unrelated note, here's a couple Blonde Redhead videos I found. Their new album 23 is so so great!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You were right when you said.....

First off, props to CZ for the tip, I would have missed out had it not been for your indie rock feelers probing the depths of the internet (or just clicking on your Pitchfork bookmark). Today I became the proud owner of two Built to Spill albums, You in Reverse, their 2006 release, and Keep it Like a Secret, a reissue of their 1999 indie gem. This was the first release on vinyl for You in Reverse, and a reissue for Keep it Like a Secret and Perfect From Now On. All three albums are all-analog recordings, which just tickles the purist bone in me. For some asinine reason though, Warner Bros. Records only released 2,000 copies of each album. 2,000? You can almost pack that many fans into the Crystal Ballroom! That's 40 records per state on average, so with the odds set against me I made my plans.

I decided not to put my eggs in any one basket and ordered all three albums from two different local record stores, and also from an online store. The online store shipped one, with the other on backorder (read: we sold all the ones we will ever get, sorry). Today, Music Millennium called me and left a message saying they had one record on hold for me. Turns out it was the one on backorder at the online site, so I was initially pleased, but not so with the absence of the other two albums I had ordered. When I went down to MM pick up my album, I checked the stack first to see if there was a mistake, and ended up finding the record that was shipped to me from the online store. Well, knowing how ephemeral vinyl is, I went ahead and bought it too. I talked to the vinyl guru and he said the warehouse had made a mistake and he was sorry. I could tell he was pissed, evidently they do this kind of thing a lot. He then made some offhand remark about how the band playing over the store speakers had stolen a riff from King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man," I nodded accordingly, even though I didn't know what he was talking about, then headed downstairs to make my purchase.

All in all, I'm happy with the way things turned out. I got the two albums I really wanted, missed out on the third, and will end up with two copies of You in Reverse. This of course will sit, unopened, in a cool, dimly lit place until mi compadre Heem returns from EsapaƱa. Tengo un regalo para ti, mi hombre...

21st Century Schizoid Man

Cats foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoias poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Polititians funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Death seed blind mans greed
Poets starving children bleed
Nothing hes got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

You all, everybody...

Just swinging by to drop a few lines while work is crunching away.

Work is great by the way. I'm learning new skills/applications every week, and tackling more complex tasks. I'm working my own hours at my own pace, with, again, no boss looking over my shoulder. More like a cat in my lap.

The car is coming along well, I got all the hardware replaced in the passenger side door, and got its lock re-keyed to match the rest on the car. The people who sold me the car did a crappy job of fixing it up for sale, more like f'ing it up for sale, so I'm getting everything straight and 100% functioning again.

The hood hinge repair went well enough, and I got another pair of door panels to replace the severely peeled ones I had. I also got a used hatch from someone I had sold parts to who had wrecked their car. The defroster lines on my hatch are damaged and the metal panel you place your hand on to close the hatch is dented in from pushing down too hard when the hatch wouldn't close easily. The hatch job is the largest job remaining and should take me a weekend to do it if all goes smoothly.

After that, I have the brake line replacement, painting the steel wheels, and any other needed cosmetic touches. Then it's going up for on Craigslist. I'll miss it. Even though the CRX is primarily thought of as a 19 year-old driven rice rocket with a huge wing and a "fart can" exhaust, the HF was an engineering feat. I pray that mine doesn't get bought by some crazy kid who guts the interior, lowers it, and swaps in a bigger engine (you can swap like 10 different engines into a CRX engine bay!). A bone stock HF is hard to find these days because the tuner crowd buys them for their low curb weight (a couple hundred lbs lighter than Si) and then proceeds to turn them into a drag car.

I'll try to take some pictures when I do the hatch job...