Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dirty Projectors in my head

At 7:21pm, I was riding down Fairmount Avenue with the Dirty Projectors cover of Black Flag's "6 Pack" in my head and spilling out of my mouth. "I know it'll be okay; I've got a six pack in me - alright!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Riding up Broad St.

I'm on Broad Street headed home at a swift pace. I'm riding the 1997 Diamondback Outlook. My best bicycle.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

7:21 at shop.

The shop is closed, and I'm closing up to go home.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

At the El Bar

I'm at the El Bar and the T-Rex song about how long he's been dancing is on. This has got to be one of my favorite songs of all time. It's a smash hit, and I'm getting smashed. I ran into some friends, and we talked about the Blizzard of '96, and glass blowing.

My days of playing bicycle mechanic might be numbered. One thing I've always wanted to do is blow glass and make bowls and bongs. I need to do something new, and I've known it for years.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Coffee, books, whiskey, bands.

Earlier: Got coffee at the new place on Frankford. Read "Shit My Dad Says" and enjoyed it.

Later: Drank a lot and needed to go out. Went and saw my friends' band at the Northstar Bar.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Riding the 1994 Giant Nutra home from work.

We are open later at work now since it's spring and we have more to do. We close up at 7 instead of 6pm. I didn't take a bicycle to work this morning, so I rode one home that I'd left there. It's a 1994 hybrid made by Giant and the model is the "Nutra" though I usually call it the "Nutria." It's a handsome bicycle if you have a strange taste in simple functional and comfortable machines. Handsome and understated.

This bicycle features northroad style handlebars that I rescued from an abandoned heap u-locked to a bicycle rack. The handlebars were the last functional scavenge-able part affixed to the smashed stomped and picked over frame. My position on this bicycle is close to bolt upright with the handlebars several inches about the saddle. It has friction shifters and a nice set of Mavic wheels built on tandem rims. What a great bicycle. I'm planning to give it to Dave soon, and I hope he's able to get some use and enjoyment out of it.

My watch beeped as I rode east on Girard. The weather turned cold again, and I am wearing a hat, gloves, and my wonderful North Face wind jacket.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


More Four

I sure wasn't up to much. I drank two lemonade Four Lokos and horsed around on the computer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lemonade Four in the car. Reading Terminal Market earlier today.

I'm holding a lemonade Four Loko and sitting shotgun in the Nissan. The Weezer song "Hash Pipe" is on the radio. My watch is beeping to let me know the time.

Me and Tara went to Reading Terminal Market for lunch and a look-see. It was crowded. It's a marvel how much stress that can cause me. Anxiety shut down my brain while I wished a snow plow would just shove everybody out. Fried chicken helped some. Nick texted while I sat at a table. It always helps to know that he's another person on this planet and it sounds like he's doing fine.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reasonably productive day off.

I started the day late, but I got a strong start. I sold one of the wheels that I listed on Craigslist and began the day thirty bucks stronger. I invested in coffee and a bagel sandwich at a new coffee shop a short walk from home. I spent six minutes outside the coffee place talking about Campagnolo hubs and trying to understand the caller over the din of passing buses and cars. I returned to my seat to read the book "Shit My Dad Says" and laughed aloud a little.

I sold some Schwalbe tires for $10 less than my asking price. "For the sake of expediency, sure" I told the buyer. I accept.

I rode downtown for sushi and had all the makings of a good ol' anxiety attack while Tara ordered for us. Muzak Michael Jackson was the soundtrack to a tense lunch of circular morsels.

I sold some other wheels for $60 in the time between starting this post and punctuating this sentence.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Drinking a lot. Maybe finding my way some day.

I'm not being hard on myself or trying to quit. I'm spending too much, but I'm doing it on beer instead of lifestyle 'upgrades' that most people chase ad nauseam. My nausea, I guess. A black Lexus and some fancy shoes probably didn't make anyone too sick when their card was swiped.

My personal concern is that life is too short to chase answers down that particular hallway. Sometimes it seems strange that being an alcoholic who lives in a van looks like a noble choice. Not too alcoholic... just drinking too much and being aware of it. Strange too that I still identify as a vandweller as I sit on a leather couch that sits three feet from a big flatscreen television. I need to find my way again. I need to paint my nails again because the pink ones all chipped away.

I'll be fine. I'll always be fine.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bicycle Shop Craziness

It's Springtime. The bicycle shop where I work also just ran a successful promotion that put us deep into the weeds. The shop is backed up on tuneups by a month. We are taking appointments to get bicycles tuned up in a month.

This is not good policy, because a lot of people can't wait. We're turning down good money to work on the discounted tuneups that have swamped us. I've been running around like crazy and I think I feel more inundated than I realistically ought to. I feel more weight on my shoulders than there probably is. I'm keeping that stuff mentally in check to the best of my ability.

We will catch up on the tuneups eventually, and we have effective ammunition right now:

1) Hiring new people; one guy just started.
2) New workstation downstairs for all-day uninterrupted tuneups.
3) Working Mondays while the store is closed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This is roof weather!

This was the first truly beautiful and warm day of the season. I rode to work in a t-shirt. A crew of housemates sat on the roof at night. My reaction to the weather is positive to say the least. I felt like I'd been asleep for months - a drone simply going through the motions of living for no particular purpose. I'm built to exist in a warm climate. This warmth today made me feel lucky to be alive.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Co-Worker Party. Quizmo ensues.

Tara took me to a party with co-workers at a bosses house. I drank at a good clip and got talkative enough. The next morning I woke up with a hangover. I don't remember a slew of the drinks that I allegedly poured for myself out of a vodka bottle. I introduced everyone to the game "quizmo." Quizmo is a nearly rule-less trivia game with a long history and tradition since I made it up about nine years ago. It's not Quizzo... it's Quizmo - which comes from the phrase "quiz me more." You ask a question, and the first person to get it right asks the next one. No points or anything. A good question would be one that anyone can answer, such as "name ten birds." You can say Big Bird or canary. You can go at it from any angle. A question starting with "name the actor who..." is also standard oft-used fare. There are other aspects of this game which make it run smoothly once the ball is rolling. I guide the game in a subtle manner until it takes off in it's own direction depending on who's playing and how drunk everyone is. Fortunately - Tara reports - I did not make an ass of myself, and the game went over quite well. I sort of remember that happening.

I felt like abysmal shit at work the next day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1997 Diamondback Outlook. On the road again, my style.

I stayed late at work today and performed most of a complete overhaul on Tall Cool - my 1997 Diamondback Outlook. I installed new brakes, shifters, handlebar foam (yes), and handlebars. I swapped cranks, wheels, saddle... it was an in-depth project with the purpose of bringing it back to the state it was in when I loved it the most. I was apprehensive that even after all of the work I would end up still not enjoying it as much as the Bridgestone I've been riding. Emotionally and sentimentally speaking, Tall Cool is my number one bicycle - but I was afraid that my preferences might have changed to technically prefer another bicycle. If so... c'est la vie... but today's project was to rebuild my friend and return this bicycle to glory.

Here is a picture showing my unique new shifter setup. I used Jagwire shifter pods that mount externally on the ends of the handlebars. They are designed for Shimano bar-end shifters on time trial bicycles, but the square-shaped mounting interface works with these old Suntour downtube shifters. Technically, I have the front shifter on the right operating the rear derailer, and I'm using the "rear" downtube shifter in friction mode to operate the front derailer. It's all friction shifting; works great. The front (now 'rear') shifter uses Suntour's 'micro-ratcheting' internals that have seen a resurgence in popularity due to Rivendell bringing them back into existence and talking them up so well. My setup was a cheap-as-hell version. (I pay cost for parts and frequent swap meets).

Also visible in this picture is the "old man handlebar foam." This is the foam handlebar covering that you see geezers rocking on cruiser bicycles. I put it on as sort of a goof, but I also suspected that it was comfortable. Also, I heard Freddie Hoffman uses it.

Here is a picture of the back part of the bicycle showing several things. 1) my cool solution to not have a second water bottle cage: hose clamp the metal part of a Minoura handlebar-mounted conversion unit. 2) nice Sugino cranks that I got for $25 at a swap. 3) u-lock storage on a rear rack. 4) big-ol' Eastern platform pedals that I now love. 5) original "7 SIS" Shimano derailer. Works perfect.

Also, barely visible, are the new Tektro cantilevers that I think are the best brakes I've ever used.

Unfortunately, my high gear on the cassette can't be used because it's too close to the little clamp that holds the derailer hanger in the frame. Tall Cool has an admittedly cheap old setup, and wasn't made to work with 8 (count'em) gears in the back. So I limited the small cog out with the limit screw on the derailer. It also seems as though the second highest gear is worn out, so it pops when I put any real pressure on the pedals. With a 36 tooth middle ring, that doesn't provide the most useful gearing. It's too low. I plan to get a new cassette and swap the chainrings to a 40t middle; 46t large. (Now it's a 36/50).

In conclusion: it's almost there. As soon as I rode the bicycle again it felt natural and wonderful. I love my position on this bicycle, and am happy and satisfied that it is still my favorite. I will work out the slight mechanical hindrances, and my friend and I will roll along for many more miles, my friend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

40 in my hand; shopping.

I'm coming back from grocery shopping. Tara is driving us up Columbus Boulevard while I sip at big fat bottle of beer.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lazy day off. Hot wings and drinking.

I've been striving to find a good time to get Tall Cool back on the road in a configuration that I like. Tall Cool is my 1997 Diamondback Outlook. I rode up to the shop with a backpack full of components, but it wasn't meant to be. Shelly and some others were installing new racks to hold wheels and fixing the pegboard among other construction projects. There wasn't time or space for me to rehab my fat-tubed friend.

I dropped off the parts and headed home. I called in for hot wing delivery and got drunk and useless for the rest of the day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Watching, cranking, sipping.

In Kennett. I watched AFV and Holmes on Homes with my parents on the couch. Mom made grilled ham and cheese on healthy little bread. I made coffee in their Keurig. We also had mugs of tomato soup.

I put my prototype frame in the back because it has some nice Sugino cranks that I need to swap onto Tall Cool. (The prototype frame was one that I designed and had made in Taiwan several years ago - nothing came of it; Tall Cool is my '97 Diamondback Outlook)

I left at 9-something and put some whiskey and coke in a cup, and deposited a check at Bank of America. Tara drove us home to Philly. Jason DeRulo vocalized about "riding solo" on the radio while I sipped a drink. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fours and 40 Ounces

I had a Four Loko a little bit ago. It was the lemonade flavor - new recipe with slightly less insanity, but the same 12% alc content. Now I'm drinking a forty.

A fun thing happened today concerning 40s. I wear a Mickey's Malt Liquor cap at work ("Get Stung.") A customer about my age complimented it, and showed me that he was wearing a t-shirt from We talked about 40 ounce beers, and he suggested I go to the site. I assured him that I'd already been, and I was quite familiar with it. He's friends with the creator. We talked more about funny or collectible 40's, and he told me about his collection including some early 64oz Colt 45 bottles. Good times, indeed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

All over Fishtown on a bicycle.

I went to the El Bar for a couple specials, and it went from there. A guy told me about an art show (plus beer) at the book warehouse on Frankford, so I put that on the list. I got lit up and barged in the kitchen at Homeslice to try and get Drew to bring home free pizza after work. I also went to the Barbary where a bouncer suggested that I pay the cover if I wanted to stick around. I think there might have been another bar in there, but I can't remember that now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Watching a movie

I think this movie is called "Going the Distance." I can't call it memorable.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shepard's Pie

I'm eating shepard's pie that Tara made. We're sitting around downstairs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Listing bicycle stuff for sale on Craigslist.

Today's mission: list all of the nonsense and BS I have for sale. I have accumulated a lot of bicycle parts. I have put my claim on a lot of useful used wheels at the shop. I gathered them and listed about 25 items for sale. It could equal several hundred dollars or so.

I'm a little behind on my ideal savings for my upcoming bicycle trip - hopefully this solves that. Cash flow is always good too.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cheeseburgers at Paradise

The Paradise Cafe under the El. It's a diner across the street from where I live. I'm sitting with Tara and Drew, and I'm eating a cheeseburger.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spent a day in bed.

I'm feeling tentatively acceptable. Tara drove us out to Kennett, and we laid in bed watching dumb movies. She washed a contractor trash bag full of our dirty clothes, and we headed back to the city. We stopped by Carraba's to use a gift card. I left a sub-par tip and had a mild jackass-attack about that and the fact that I'm behind my savings plan for the bicycle trip. For as highly as I think of myself, I can start to be dopey at the drop of a hat.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Malaysian food

My watch beeped outside of a Malaysian restaurant.

I feel unwell, and I'm doped on CVS cough medicine. We'll go inside and order food to be shared. Intestine, literally, will be eaten. Good but chewy. We're in Chinatown, and we're blocks from where some of Tara's family are staying at a hotel.

Back to the hotel for drinks, and back home again. None of this is helping me feel better, but I suppose it's better to at least get outside for a bit. I promised to go to work tomorrow after calling out today. The promise won't be kept, because nighttime will find me feeling much worse still.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter blues

You know, I was in a shit mood today. It's not worth numbering or listing the reasons or excuses. Winter kicks my ass. My nose was running, and I felt inundated at work. And depressed. I miss Lala Land where the sun shines hard and the aura of silliness massages my body like a sponge bath. That's far from my current reality of blowing my nose into toilet paper every couple minutes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Buying wine for another human

721pm? Cooking noodles, and having a 1936 penny close at hand.

I stopped by the liquor store a couple hours ago. There was a guy outside with some change in his hand, and he was trying to increase the amount.

"Hey brother, can you spare some change, I'm tryna get a little bottle." He said, holding change and shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
"What are you looking for, whiskey?" I asked.
"Wine" was his response. He looked almost visibly more calm just saying the word.
"I'll see if I can get some change in there" I promised as I headed in.

I got some $5.99 red-something, and handed him the bag. If I'm going to drink subtle poison, I might as well provide or share or whatever. His face lit up. I shook his hand. I walked towards my bicycle and placed my personal purchase and backpack inside my orange Wawa milk crate.

He called out one more thank you, to which I responded confidently that I was just looking out for a man. I threw my leg over my vehicle wondering if he had a good way to deal with the cork; assuming he did.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm getting sick now.

Getting sick is a relatively rare event for me. This is the first time of the season, and all I want is to be able to pass time faster. I want to sleep until it goes away. At 7:21pm, I was in the kitchen hovering on two feet while Tara cooked food for us to eat. I waited until she was busy with the sink to pour the last bits of flavored vodka into a pint glass.

Whipped cream vodka tastes like cream soda when you mix it with Coke. I got a bottle for Tara, who expressed interest after learning about this drink from a friend. I drank most of it, then I quit drinking for about seven weeks. Now I'm standing in the kitchen pulling off some kind of sneaky pour to eliminate the remainder. The guy getting sick feels sheepish drinking something he knows won't help while his girlfriend cooks.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekends that end on Tuesday

Lazy day. This is the second day of my off-center Monday-Tuesday weekend. I slept late and accomplished little.