Monday, February 28, 2011

Splitting up, leaving, maybe coming back.

After all those nights of drinking, it was tough to slow the momentum. I didn't bother. Me and Tara goofed around with a Wii Fit board that she bought, and watched some TV shows on my computer.

It is interesting to note that I bought a 32" flat screen not long ago, and I'd still rather just watch shit on my laptop. It's complicated enough to get stuff over to the big screen that I'd rather not bother. Technology is an endless pit of necessary upgrades. Bicycles too, if you're like some people.

Me and Tara are splitting up when I go on my bicycle trip in May. I said she could keep the big screen. At some point I have to get all my belongings out of this room and house and put them somewhere else. I haven't given much thought to if or when I'm coming back to this area. I think I'll get my van's electrical issues worked out, and move back into it. I picture that being a beautiful time. There's nothing that makes a van seem more like a mansion than spending many nights in a small tent.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Three Piece Fest 2011

Three Piece Fest 2011 occurred at the Danger!Danger! Gallery all the way in a different corner of Philadelphia. I brought the other half of that MGD case from yesterday, and headed over with Tara in her car.

It was a success. There were plenty in attendance, and it got hot, crowded and full of energy. I brought plenty of pot to share if anybody wanted it. Not as easy a sell as I thought. Every time I'm at a house show and someone is smoking pot, I think "gee... I'd like some of that." Maybe people thought I was a cop with rainbow socks. One person did not hesitate.

Here is a photograph. Yesterday, I mentioned seeing Peter & Craig at Two Piece Fest. The same Peter is also in this band, Algernon Cadwallader. They played last, and everyone got batshit.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Two Piece Fest 2011

I left work about an hour early to go to Two Piece Fest.

This warehouse show boasted 22 Bands, all with two members each, starting at 2pm. All bands had 20 minute sets, and there were two stages for quick changes between bands. There were posted schedules, and the times were adhered to like clockwork. There was an intermission at 7pm that gave me enough time to partake in free food that some housemates had prepared, and still ride a bicycle home, smoke mad weed, and get back in time for more music.

I left work at 3:30pm, and picked up a case of MGD on my way. I dropped off half the case at home, put the rest in my backpack, and headed to the show. It was a highly enjoyable time of music and all-day drinking. Probably hundreds paid to get in. I can't count, but it was a successful show. I was hoping to see the band 1994!, but the cops shut everything down a few hours early.

I was fortunate to witness the set of Peter & Craig who wore huge paper mâché masks decorated as caricatures of themselves. Well executed, and I also liked the music.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hanging out with Mike

We went to the El Bar. It's been awhile since I've been in that place. I drank at pace I'll call reasonable, and we talked about topical subjects.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The CB-1. My 1991 Bridgestone City Limit.

I own a 1991 Bridgestone CB-1 "City Limit" bicycle. I've said it before, and I'm talking about it right now. It's a beautiful red bicycle. In 1991, Grant Petersen was the guy designing the best bicycles that Bridgestone sold in the USA. Bridgestone is a huge Japanese company. After they couldn't remain competitive in the US market (dollar/yen exchange rate), Grant started Rivendell. The Rivendell website is an excellent source of information about sane bicycles that make sense. That is a matter of opinion, but it is my opinion, and I hold it strongly.

If bicycle design wasn't driven by marketing and a need for pointless changes touted as improvements, then bicycles would probably be a lot more like the ones produced by Rivendell. Not exactly like them, but bicycles certainly would have evolved much differently. It can't hurt to poke around the Rivendell website, even if you don't spend a dollar. If you have even a passing interest in bicycles, then I strongly recommend it.

I don't know how much design input Grant Petersen had in developing the 1991 City Limit. The CB-1 was the cheapest bicycle produced by Bridgestone in 1991. The frame is TIG welded (not lugged/brazed) and the frame tubing is un-fancy 4130 steel joined in Taiwan. Grant Petersen would no doubt love it more if it was Japanese and lugged using butted tubing. Sheldon Brown has information about the City Limit as well. Sheldon calls the design "mainstream" claims they are intended for the "non-enthusiast" and says they are "nothing special." The nicest thing he says is that there is "nothing wrong with them." Sheldon knew a lot about bicycles, but I'm going to keep enjoying this one even though his claims seem to indicate that I should set my sights higher.

Me? I think this bicycle is great. This is my do-everything bicycle. I made component upgrades and I added fenders and a rack. It's good. I haven't made a final decision on what to ride across the country, but if I have my head screwed on right when I'm ready to leave, it'll probably be the CB-1.

I've had a great time riding my new 3 speed around, but for the past two days I've used the CB-1 for my short commute, and it's been great. I have tons of gears, and a milk crate securely hose-clamped to the rack. These are good times we're living in, and this is as good a bicycle as anyone needs.

In conclusion: read all of the technical information and opinions on the Rivendell website, then apply what you've learned to choosing a sensible bicycle. If you're lucky, you might end up with a 1991 Bridgestone CB-1 City Limit. Or it might be a 1994 Giant Nutra Hybrid. Possibly an old pre-suspension Diamondback Outlook. Those options all roll nice, and there are millions more like them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Center City Coffee

I don't hang out with Mike that much. We haven't been hanging out enough. I stopped by after work to meet with him for a coffee. We talked about relationships. I was maxed out on caffeine intake for the day, so I just talked. It was good. Then I went to visit Dreamane 'cause she lives about four blocks from there. I went home a little bit later and talked to Tara. Lots of talking today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting a ride back from Kennett

Cathy and Karl are giving me a ride back to Philly from Kennett. My van has been sitting in the driveway of my parents house for months. The battery is dead, and there's something sucking the juice out of it. I have to get that fixed, but for now I'm just as happy to let it sit while not paying for insurance. My parents have a slightly different feeling about it, but we all seem to exist in harmony for the time being.

Cathy is my sister, and she married Karl who is one of the nicest guys around. I have a good family, and I'm happy that I can recognize it, state the fact, and feel proud and happy. They took me home, which was nice because it was a big favor to me and a runaround for them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sitting in Kennett. General state of my existence.

I'm sitting around on the couch in Kennett. Spots the cat is getting old. My parents are both retired these days, and now they're on vacation as well. While they're in Florida, I'm doing a lazy job of watching the cat. She's getting smaller and skinnier, and I don't know if she's enjoying her life. She throws up a lot.

I've been regularly irate and feeling overwhelmed. Between big life plans, winter, and not knowing if I'm on the right track, it all feels more difficult than it probably really is.

I'm in a good mood for a reasonable amount of my time. I don't take anything terribly seriously, but I'm also randomly afraid to die. I don't want to die. Will I be reincarnated? Is something like heaven possible? Doesn't seem likely, nor does it matter. You can't know. It shouldn't be scary, but sometimes it is.

I quit drinking. Except for last night. I went ahead and drank a lot of whiskey last night. I don't feel good about it, but I don't feel too bad either. It was fun until I stopped remembering what was going on. Then I woke up on the couch with an extremely dry mouth. Maybe it'll all be ok.

I'm leaving on a bicycle trip in May. Hopefully that will be fun. I'm saving some money, and hopefully it cheers me right up and gives me some new perspective. Part of me always wants to leave and never come back. A big part of me also wants to buy some land and live in a vehicle. I've checked on empty lot prices in Philadelphia. Philly is a pretty decent place if you cut out the winter part.

I'm 28. Getting older slowly and passing time. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing, or if I ever will be.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I've been proud of myself for going a bunch of weeks without drinking. Seven weeks? I quit a few days before New Years. I never told myself it was forever. I don't make myself that promise anymore. It got more and more difficult. What's the point, I decided?

I got dropped off in Kennett to watch a cat. Tara dropped me off, and it was obvious that I needed time alone. I needed time alone to drive my dad's car to the liquor store.

I made mashed potatoes and didn't eat much. I drank whiskey and had dozens of genius-creative thoughts. I called Shawn at some point, and don't know what I said. That was about it.

Drinking isn't a great idea for me because it increases in frequency and dosage until I deem it a problem. I have too many good memories of drinking, and too many future projections to times when appropriate drinking should occur. It's hard to be without, but it's hard to find a middle ground.

Look at me. Look into my eyes. This is me rolling the dice. This is me hoping that I can do the right thing. This is my sincerest face.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Working on a 1970 Phillips

I have a 1970 Phillips 3 speed. I stayed after work to mess with the cranks and the bottom bracket. I re-tapped the threads to English threading. I used a grinding wheel to take off the shoulder of a Shimano UN-54 bottom bracket. I installed the bottom bracket, and put on a pair of old Dura Ace cranks.

Apparently I didn't tighten the bottom bracket enough. It loosened up on my ride home, and now I'm left to hope that I didn't screw up the threads by riding it that way. All I can do is take of the cranks, tighten the BB and hope for the best.

At 7:21pm I was listening to Halfway To Holland and making strange anachronistic changes to a bicycle. One of my customers, Eric, stopped by with his girlfriend, and we chatted for a bit. I was in a hurry to get home, feeling rushed and anxious.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Putting grease in a bottom bracket.

I work at a bicycle shop in Philadelphia. Shelly opened a bicycle shop, and I'm working at it. This is a good job. Probably the best job I've had up to this point.

Ahhh, Philadelphia. Your winters and strong headwinds continue to erode my soul. I should be in Key West. I should be somewhere else feeling distant and alone.

I'm writing on this blog again. Maybe I needed a change of internet scenery. I like the Blogger interface pretty good. It's easier to search through the titles of past posts. I think that's great. I'd like to move over all the Wordpress stuff, but I don't know if that's easy or not.

I was just reading through some of my writings from Ashland Oregon in 2008. I can barely remember what that was like. I was lonely. I was sometimes desperately lonely.

I'm planning a bicycle trip from Philadelphia to Virgina to Oregon. I'm leaving in May. I'm trying to get $3600 in my bank account, and hopefully not blow it all on booze and prepared food before making it back to Philadelphia. Somewhat un-secretly I don't even know if I want to come back to Philadelphia. I like it, but I question whether I might belong somewhere better. I can leave, but that's when the loneliness kicks in. I'm ready to be lonely on the bicycle trip. That's part of riding alone. It leaves more time for contemplation, and more space for easy decision making. It'll be good. Lonely on-the-move is OK. It also allows for random choices and meeting strangers. Hopefully it's a good trip.

I stayed after work to do something about my bottom bracket. It clearly needed an overhaul. At 7:21pm, I was trying different square taper spindles to see if one would work with the old Raleigh-threaded cups. None were to my satisfaction, so I regreased some new bearings and put together the old cottered setup with new pins. Jolly.