Wednesday, July 30, 2008

bike update

Update: the frozen stem is still stuck... and no amount of whacking it will loosen the beast. I went for a ride yesterday and the bike was quiet and fast. Still need to clean up the grime, and keep working at the stem. It just drives me nuts that the thing is so high... meaning that there is barely any stem holding it in there. The headset bearings... probably need to be replaced as well.

All sorts of solutions ranging from blow torches to liquid nitrogen are suggested through the internets. I think the wedge is stuck in there tight, and that's what's keeping the stem from rotating out of the fork end. The only real solution would be to take it to a shop where they will probably saw off the top of the stem and grind it out of the fork until it finally comes out. Which would be a shame because it is the original stem, and I'd like to keep it... who knows.

I'll post a photo later.

Monday, July 28, 2008


My brother and I scored sweet bikes from DI the other day.

They wheeled in a keeper: a mid 80's ten speed Takara road bike (Japanese)... it was a little tall for me... my guess is the previous owner was 6' 3'' or something... so its a taller bike. The tires were fine, the bar end (!?) friction shifters worked perfectly. It came with fenders and a rack... which I removed because the bike was dirty and needs to be cleaned up. Everything works... after a test ride, it seemed like a sweet find. The bike looks a little banged up.... the frame isn't bent, but there are some paint chips that show some rust.

I need to change the bar tape, and adjust the placement of the brake levers... too high, probably from the the tall owner. The handlebar stem is also dangerously too high... and unfortunately frozen in place after all the years. I tried banging on it with a hammer.... nothing... loosening the headset did nothing... I greased it down with WD-40... but the stem won't budge. I want to keep the original stem- so I'll just try some other penetrating oils to see if i can break the seal between the fork and the stem... My guess is the aluminum bonded to the steel fork and hasn't been adjusted in a long time, though scratch marks on the stem indicate that it was moved to its current position a while ago. I read that ammonia will eat away at aluminum oxide, assuming I don't pass out from the vapors. Or I'll have to keep lubricating the stem with stronger chemicals until I can break it.

While this bike would be an excellent candidate for a fixed gear or single speed, I'm going to keep the gears. Who knows. I may strip down the paint someday and repaint it. Right now I'm just going to keep working on the frozen stem and clean all the grime off of it, and it should look pretty sweet!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I got a ukulele.

Why? You ask? I don't know.

I felt threatened by Branden's growing prowess with ethnic instruments, and I knew that a ukulele would upset the balance. Ukulele vs. Mandolin. The epic battle goes on.

Coming from a guitar background, I figured it wouldn't be that different to learn... but the chords are all weird than what I'm used to. The tuning is strange. And (this isn't necessarily a downside) it sounds... like a ukulele. Its all good though, "Stairway to Heaven" was never easier. And I'm sure it will come in handy for a recording or a Muppet remix of one of Dan's songs.

no one is safe.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I drove my siblings to the airport this morning so they could fly away to the biannual family reunion. They came over late last night and we crashed at my house so we could get up and leave at 4. Driving down, the whole world was asleep.

I dropped them off and drove back. The sky started to brighten up around 5.

There was a brief moment of panic when suddenly I realized that I didn't know where I was, and if I had missed my exit, or if I was on the right road at all. I was tired. It was an out of body experience.

I am tired.