I spent most of a gray rainy weekend at my desk working on WRI’s Annual Report, flowing new copy in where the old was and researching photography to place the FPO stuff I’d dumped in there last week. It all came together pretty well, and I’m hopeful the team will have only minor edits to things from this point forward. We won’t be getting a physical proof before printing for obvious reasons, so I’m a little worried about how it will print, but I’m determined to stay cautiously optimistic.
Planting update: I’ve got about 5 Chef’s Choice, 10 Cherokee, and 4 cherry tomato sprouts, as well as 10 lettuce sprouts germinating in the basement under the grow light, which is a lovely treat to watch every day. I’ve been turning the light on at 7AM when I let Hazel out for the first time, and shutting it off at 11PM, so they’re getting a full 16 hours of light daily. This evening I pulled the plastic cover off for the first time and we raised them closer to the grow light to keep them from getting too leggy. The question now is how to get them from tiny seedlings to healthy plants and then out into the greenhouse without frying or killing them. For a total investment of about $15, I’d say this is an experiment worth trying until I figure it out.
Governor Hogan says, Don’t Call It a Lockdown, but it’s pretty much a lockdown. Good to know that we can still go shopping for liquor when the stocks run low. Seriously, it’s about time the dumb fucks in our neighborhood leash their kids instead of letting them run around in packs, which I see daily from my front window. There’s no possible disease vector there, no sir. Downside: I can’t pick up the bathroom wood trim that’ll be available on Monday.
Teleworking has made me an expert on switching between seventeen different videoconferencing applications in one day. Zoom, one of the most popular, was outed as being completely scummy several years ago. It’s still pretty scummy. Apparently it likes to send data to Facebook without your consent. Unfortunately, it works better than Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams, so lots of our teams use it. I’m just thrilled to death about sharing everything with Facebook, can you tell?
I did more grocery shopping on Sunday morning for the stuff I couldn’t find/had forgotten on Saturday. I took the Scout, and it was nice to stretch her legs a little, even if it was only around the neighborhood. When I got home, I washed my hands eight times, and then did some cleanup in the basement. I set up two trays of seedlings under a grow lamp on the workbench: three varieties of tomatoes and a bunch of lettuce. Hopefully they will appreciate the light and warmth.
Then I headed upstairs to the bathroom, where I was mortified to find that a bottle of purple PVC primer had spilled on the floor, staining the grout in a saucer-sized area by the closet. I cleaned it up with some acetone but found that the chemical in the primer had made the grout pliable, so I dug the stained grout out with a putty knife and got to as much of the white as possible. I’m going to have to take a Dremel to the edges and clean things up, and then I have to call the tile distributor to find out what grout was used and how I can get some more.
Once I’d cleaned that up and calmed down, I continued with a bunch of trim and carpentry work, putting a spacer in between the left side of the sink and the wall, and then finishing off the kickplate around the perimeter of the room. I’m still waiting on the toe kick panel for the fronts of the cabinets, which I’m told will be in on April 1. Once I’ve got that in hand I can finish off all the rest of the trim and nail the thresholds in place.
I also added yeast to the beer, and by bedtime there was an inch of krauzen on the top and the airlock was burbling happily.
After dinner, we lit a fire in the living room and read four chapters of The Amber Spyglass, the final book in the Golden Compass series, while the dog snored at our feet. It was a lovely way to finish off a busy weekend, and I was happy to have my girls safe and warm with me.
At one point in time, I was really into cycling. When I lived in the city, I used my bike for everything, going so far as to commute to my first real job year-round, through heatwave and snowstorm. I started out in college with an entry-level Trek 800 mountain bike, which was heavy and inexpensive. Over time I bought a second set of rims for it and mounted city tires for my daily commute. But it was a mountain bike and no amount of upgrades would change its geometry or weight, and I was interested in something lighter and faster to dart through traffic.
In 1995, I bought a well-used Trek 360 out of the Pennysaver from a kid who was upgrading his ride. I might have paid $150 for it, but I honestly don’t remember. He’d done some small upgrades to it in terms of the gearset and the rims, swapping out the stock Sugino units for a Shimano 105 crank and derailleur, and a new front rim/hubset. I was happy to re-wrap the handlebars after adjusting them to my height and reach, and I put new tires on it, adjusted the brakes, and replaced the saddle. Other than that I left it pretty much alone, and it served me well for miles of urban exploration and work commutes until I moved out of the city for good.
Since then, it’s mostly sat in the garage or basement; it’s hard to find someplace around here that’s suited to road riding that also fits into my schedule. I’ve thought about bringing it to work and locking it in the cycle room there so that I’d have something to ride during a lunch break.
One thing I recently decided to do was rebuild the handlebars to a more modern setup after stumbling on a set of bullhorn handlebars on deep discount. It came with old-school drop bars that feel old-school, and given the riding position I favor with my mountain bike, I like the feel of bullhorns better.
This involves removing the grip tape I installed in 1995, pulling the brake levers off, and swapping pretty much everything, so I ordered a set of bar-end brake levers to complement the bars. The brake levers get re-oriented at the very ends of the bars—they use the hole at the end of the bars as their mount point. This is a 40-year-old bike, and the old-school gear shifts are mounted on the drop tube, so I don’t need to worry about shift levers anywhere (and theoretically could change the whole thing out to a fixie if I wanted to). I’d like to ride this bike a little more, and for a total of about $40 this is a very inexpensive upgrade.
In the interest of cleaning things up, I’d also like to get some clean alloy lugs for the bottle cage mounts (there’s only one present), some black tubing for the cables, and black grip tape to match the new bars.
Eventually I’d love to put some newer rims and tires on it, but for that cost (the gearset is 30 years old) I’d do better to just buy a used modern bike. Fixing this old girl up will be fun, and that’s really what I’m interested in anyway.