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Feb. 22nd, 2016 @ 09:25 pm I do things, but I neglect to write about them
crazy elf
Current Mood: bland
Current Music: tea brewing
A bit over a month with no blog post. I'm a lot rustier at this than I thought I would be. I did, at some point, jot down a few notes that I would catch up on "next time I post," and now, of course, the notes are basically meaningless, since they were just little ideas that I was sure I'd remember when I needed to. That's been happening more lately, I've noticed. And by "lately" I probably mean the last few years. My brain doesn't perform like it used to. Part of me understands the inevitability of that, and part of me is terrified by that, but so it goes. Those aren't mutually exclusive ideas; something can be both inevitable and terrifying. I guess most inevitable things are terrifying, come to think of it.

Yeah, let me not get into yet another crisis of mortality. Where was I?

So, yeah...catchup. It seems close to a fruitless endeavor. Some rambling catchupCollapse )

Anyway, the main point of me actually sitting down and posting today was that lucidam and I are back from a weekend away at Wicked Faire. The final Wicked Faire, as a matter of fact; it's being replaced next year with something called Glimmerdark. (Which, incidentally, while still in Febraury, looks like it's moving a weekend or two earlier, which means maybe I can hit Dreamation next year!) Wicked's been Tabitha's and my Valentine's Day for a few years now. She gave me lots of candy. :) We picked up some leather goods. She paraded around her amazing Maleficent cosplay -- lots of compliments and attention and requests for pictures. She seemed pleased and validated by that, which of course makes me very happy. In the moment, I tried to fade to the background, as I do under attention from strangers, but I was very happy that all the time and effort and stress of making the costume reaped such rewards. Very proud of her. There are pics on her FB.

As tradition dictates, we went to the Voltaire show, which was excellent as always. This show also was not shy about commemorating the final Wicked Faire, and so it was an event to remember, and I'm glad we were there for it. Gb loves Voltaire, too. It has probably bummed him out a bit that he's not been old enough to come to Wicked Faires all these years. Tabi is, of course, a superfan, and I've gotten to the point where I could sing along with some of the songs. I like the music. I'd pursue more, I think, including the back catalog, if I had much time for music anymore. Feels like I don't have time for much of anything anymore.

Speaking of that, I should wrap this up. I took my customary Day Off From Work After a Con today so deal with con drop and infostream catchup and unpacking and whatever other aftermath. Just now remembered I meant to do laundry, but that didn't happen. Oh, well; I did a lot of other stuff, so I don't feel guilt about that. Also took the time (during lunch) to sit down and watch The Rundown again, which is something I'd been meaning to do ever since hearing that it was on Netflix. So that was time well spent; great action movie. I mean, True Lies is maybe still on top, at least in the American style, but The Rundown is maybe...top five? Anyway. Oh, also, I picked up a few games at Wicked, too! Batman Fluxx for Gb, Codenames for whenever party games are needed again, and Deck Building: The Deck Building Game because...well, I told myself I would when I first heard about it, because who can resist that good a pun.

Yeah, games. I should definitely be playing more games.

On that note, I'll call this a post. I know it wasn't dripping with excitement or personality, but that's just the kind of day this has been. I'm trying to get caught up on backlog, so this is the output expression of that. This is my blog post equivalent of just marking a shitload of stuff "read" in my RSS reader so I can not have to think about it anymore and just focus on what comes next. So, as always, we'll see how things go in the future.

You know what I should start doing? I should start seeing how much time I spend writing blog posts. I think this might have been like a half-hour or so.
Jan. 16th, 2016 @ 10:06 pm Harder than I thought
crazy elf
Current Mood: down
Current Music: headache
When I first decided to return to Blogland, I figured I'd post at least every a week or so. We're a couple weeks into the new year and I haven't kept that schedule. I think a lot of it is because my natural inclination is to sit down and write a long-ass post that covers a lot of stuff, but who has time for those kinds of shenanigans anymore.

Not I, said the fly. Not me, said the flea.

In any case...this is not going to be one of those long-ass posts.

I figured one possible solution to the No Time For Long-Ass Posts problem would be to write shorter, more frequent posts dealing with less stuff. We'll see if I get around to that. Tonight, though, I'm just writing because I haz a sad, and because I want to see how this "shorter posts" technique might work. So far...I am not keeping this very short. :P

Anyway. I'm largely out of words. If you really want the background on why I'm a kind of in the dumps, read this Facebook post, but suffice it to say that I'm feeling the weight of mortality more than usual tonight. Here's a thought process I just went through.

You can't save everybody.
Actually, you can save hardly anybody.
No one. You can actually save no one.
Death cannot be defeated. Death can only be postponed.

And from there, the idea went on to the idea of death being postponed really only applied at scales shorter than a lifetime. Any larger scale than that, and relatively speaking, death can't really be postponed at all. So one starts to wonder at the point of it all...

And that's about the time that I had to consciously put a stop to that line of thinking, which is part of my new Very Healthy And Therapeutic Thank You approach to coping with anxiety and depression, which is basically not to dwell on these kinds of ideas. So instead, I'll write this blog post, redirect the train of thought out into the Ether, the Void, and maybe out of my head.

We'll see how that works out.
Jan. 2nd, 2016 @ 11:07 pm Like the old days
Current Mood: sleepy
Today saw a bit of socializing happen, which is a rarity for me these days. James (kawaiiryuko) is in town for the holidays, and he wanted to meet up before heading back to Hong Kong, so we had made plans to hit a diner this morning. Originally he was going to come out to SI, but some delays and shenanigans with car availability had us revise the plan, so we ended up meeting in the middle in Brooklyn, since we were coming from SI and he was coming from Flushing. He semi-randomly settled on the Lindenwood Diner, which none of us had ever been to before, but which seemed like a good halfway point between our various points of origin. It's way the hell out in eastern Brooklyn; I'm not even sure if there's a neighborhood name or what. It's almost out to JFK at that point. Tabitha (lucidam), Gb, and I piled into the car and headed out there and met James. Unfortunately, his wife and kid were sick and didn't come out to play, but we had a nice, old-school diner hangout, and it was nice to catch up and shoot the shit for a while. We talked about the usual everything and nothing. I asked him about life in Hong Kong, and he was regaled with some stories from around these parts. It was a fun time; I'm glad I made the effort to leave the Rock. [EDIT: I should also add for historical purposes that, as is tradition whenever James and I share a meal out, we played CCR to settle the bill. Since it was really just James and I playing, I went with a two-player variant by flipping a coin. James ended up paying; I left the tip. I honestly can't remember where the record stands now, so I'm just going to call this undefeated in 2016 so far, and another good start. ;)]

After we parted ways, our trio headed back to Tabi's place to play some games. So...some backstory. A while back I picked up the game Zeppelin Attack from the Kickstarter. (This is going to be a recurring theme, I think. I pick up a card or board game every now and then from Kickstarter; almost all the RPGs I get anymore are through Kickstarter. This is a whole other topic.) When I had first pitched the game to the household, Gb's suggestion was that we should have zeppolis when we play Zeppelin Attack, which sounded good to me. So, back to now. I had picked up some zeppolis for New Year's Eve so we could play it then, but we didn't end up playing; I think Murder of Crows probably took its place. Whatever the case, we didn't end up eating the zeppolis. :) So I was thinking we could take care of that tonight, instead. But instead of diving into Zeppelin Attack when we got back, we instead tried out Boss Monster, which was a game I had picked up this past Metatopia (in November), but that we hadn't tried. (I also didn't know anything about it; I just picked it up randomly.) It seemed like it would be an easier and faster game than Zeppelin Attack, though (which is a deck builder), so we gave that a shot. It's an all right game. It's pretty fun, but it has that fatal flaw (to me) of player elimination, and I can also see the game getting old pretty quickly (not a lot of card variety), but it was cute in its way. I believe Tabitha won both games. I definitely know I got eliminated in both games. ;)

Anyway, she's having her tea and reading, and I'm just dashing off this entry before bed. I'm getting sleepier earlier in the day these days, I think, but I'm taking that as a good sign that I'm putting together a better sleep routine than I've had lately. It remains to be seen whether this helps me be more productive overall, or at least get more done in a day (not sure if that's the same thing or not), but I'm keeping a good thought.

Today's roundup, then, is a little bit of Internet, and a whole lot of social time, some of it even involving someone outside the family. ;) I'm starting to feel sad about there only being one more day of free time before it's back to work. Before the end of the weekend comes, I always like to think I'm going to "make the most of it," whatever that means, but I always end up feeling like there's never enough time to get the stuff done that I want to get done. So we'll see what happens tomorrow. I still have so much catchup to do, and the thing about the Internet is that there's always more of it. Oh, on the topic of making the most of my time, though, so far I think I'm doing all right trying to take advantage of the Habitica stuff. As was recommended, I'm not jumping right in with a million things to keep track of, but the stuff I am tracking, I think I'm being pretty good about so far. I dunno...still calibrating. I'm pondering whether it's worth spending money on it, but so far I'm leaning toward "yes." That lends some importance to it, so I think it will encourage me to take it more seriously. Yeah...that's sounding pretty good, actually.
Jan. 1st, 2016 @ 10:43 pm NYE
Current Mood: good
Also, ostensibly since I want to start journalling again, let me just briefly recount New Year's Eve. Tabitha (lucidam) and I met up in the evening and picked up some (of course) last-minute supplies. I didn't have a lot of opinion to offer about Champagne. She ended up choosing Nando Fragolino, which was a very sweet berry-flavored sparkling wine. I found it quite delicious, frankly. I think she found it too sweet. We got sparkling cider for Gb (her son, almost 14 now). We basically whiled away the pre-midnight hours with board games. I picked Murder of Crows, which we played for the first time. It was simple and played as quickly as I expected. We used the copy I picked up from the KARTAS promo, so we got to play with Ken and Robin cards, which was at least fun for me. ;) Here's my winning spread, including one Robin D. Laws as the perpetrator. :)

Image and much more blathering...Collapse )
Jan. 1st, 2016 @ 07:24 pm A lackluster return
Current Mood: optimistic
Hello, world. Or whatever subsection of world comprises the group of people that are going to see this. According to this very LiveJournal, I haven't blogged since the summer of 2011. That seems unimaginably long ago, when I stop and think about it. It's not like I haven't had some kind of online presence here and there. Mostly Facebook, a bit of Twitter, stuff like that, but the real meat-and-potatoes long-form blogging -- yeah, none of that. But it's a brand new year, and I'm full of the hope and possibility of a new lease on life, so let's see if we can get this going again, shall we?

[EDIT: Looks like the lj-cut tag renders apostrophes in the text attribute as quotation marks? Well pardon me while I write around not using contractions. :P ]

What has been happeningCollapse )

What is happening nowCollapse )

I think that's a good enough catchup post for now. In summary: I'm living and working in NYC again, look to be for a while, in a stable relationship, look to be for a while, and in therapy for an anxiety disorder, and look to be for a while. In 2016, I'm looking to just overall improve my health and do some more things I enjoy, and maybe I'll even use blogging to help track it. Hopefully catch you all again soon.

So hello again, everybody. Good to be back. Have a happy new year!
Aug. 6th, 2011 @ 10:59 pm The time had to go /somewhere/
fringehead bedhole
I worked pretty hard today, and I got a lot of things done. Practical things. Chores. And now I'm very tired, but in an accomplished sort of way, which is satisfying. What's strange, though, is that I didn't get anything done that I had planned to do today. Among the stuff I didn't get done that I had intended to was a blog post catching up on my life in recent weeks, etc. Like, you know, having moved and had a birthday and that kind of jazz. Perhaps tomorrow. But definitely not tonight.

Jul. 10th, 2011 @ 10:22 am It continues
Nothing quite bums me out like moving does. Soldiering on. I guess my progress is more or less where I wanted it to be for this weekend. Not everything is packed, but it's pretty darn close. I am not looking forward to the cleaning. Got to run a few errands today and then get back to it. I put my Netflix account on hold last week to remove temptation to goof off, so that appears to be working out. If all goes well, next weekend will see the actual transport. After that, who knows. Just gotta get through relocating base camp, and then everything else will fall where it may.

I do this an awful lot. You'd think I'd be used to it by now.
Jul. 4th, 2011 @ 12:45 pm The wheel comes around
Hey, everybody. I got kinda sidetracked before writing this post, so this will probably be brief. :) Also it is a lovely extra day off from work, and Star Trek: The Next Generation is now available on Netflix streaming, so you know I got shit to do today. ;)

At any rate, most of the heavy lifting is over and done with, so I guess it's time to break the story that roomie metalepticfit has moved out of the house we share in Philly. That was pretty much my last tie to this place, so I'm looking to get out of here, myself. This is pretty good news, actually, since, as we know, I'm working full-time in NYC, and that commute is a drag, everybody. Ideally, of course, I'd move back to New York, or at least somewhere a lot closer than I am now. ;)

But, naturally, since I don't seem to want to do things the easy way, there are complications. First and foremost, I'm broke as shit, so I will not actually be moving back to New York any time soon; I just flat out do not have the capital. Therefore, since it is available and makes sense, I think I'll be moving back to the place I was at before coming down to Philly, the house blogonymed Chateau Tallcake. As long-time readers may recall, this is a semi-abandoned house out in a sleepy podunk on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. It is...somewhat closer to New York than Philadelphia is. :) The bus trip is shorter, but catching the bus is a lot less convenient, so my commute time will probably actually not be greatly improved. What will be greatly improved, though, is the money I can save by living there, meaning I can build up some funds to make a better move somewhere down the line.

In any case, that's the vague plan for now. I'm bringing this up now because this has all happened fairly quickly, and between my unavailability during the work week and the moving-type activities I'm about to engage in for the rest of my upcoming time, I'm probably going to drop off the map for a while, maybe two or three weeks or so. My goal is to have things wrapped up by the end of the month, but who knows what could happen in that time. But...that's the state of things for the time being.

So, yeah...might not be showing my virtual face around on the 'Net much in the next few weeks. As always, though, if anything comes up, you know how to reach me. Peace out, and happy Independence Day, everybody!
Jun. 26th, 2011 @ 09:48 pm The big time
Not a whole lot to report from this week, everybody, except maybe the best moment in my Internet life to date! As you may or may not know by now, dear readers, I've been having a love affair with the Pretty Good Podcast for some months now. I've had some contact with the show here and there, but Friday took it to a new level. In a nutshell, I sent in some fan work and got some props and a few laughs, which is what it's all about, but they also put me up as the show pic for that day. Woo! Photo credit to metalepticfit. ;) If you start the show at like around the 10-minute mark, it's only a few minutes to pretty much get the whole story. Well, actually, at the risk of exposing an online persona of mine, you can actually get a pretty full history here. ;)

And, well...if you're like me and dig that conversational talk radio style, and you're looking for a new podcast, you know my recommendation. :)

Not much else going on of note. Was all excited to (finally!) be going for a bike ride yesterday, and I got about three blocks away from the house when I threw another flat. :( Plus, since I had been putting off getting a new tube and/or patch kit since my last adventure with a flat, now I'm without bicycle again. Serves me right for procrastinating on that front, but now as punishment I have to walk to the bike store to get my parts. :)

Anyhoo...yeah. I do so little any more to blog about. So it goes. Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later!
Jun. 18th, 2011 @ 08:11 pm Ha!
And you thought I was kidding about the eco-friendly wedding. :)
Jun. 18th, 2011 @ 06:52 pm What people get up to
fringehead bedhole
The weekend is here, everybody, so that means I actually have some time to sit a spell and relax. Actually, I spent the first half of the day doing chores and the time since then slogging through quite a lot of Internet backlog, but I thought it's time for a break and maybe I should get that update post cranked out.

Decided I should lj-cut this. But if you skip it, you"re going to miss the cute pet pic!Collapse )

So now...here I am again. Taking the weekend to catch up on my chores and my Internet and, mostly, my sleep, because damn, I got way not enough sleep in the last week. Oh, also...so I mentioned this slightly before about my bathroom being messed up. What happened was...apparently while I was away, the medicine cabinet in my bathroom fell off the wall. Yeah...I didn't know that kind of thing happened. But anyway, when I got back to Philly, it was to a nice little job cleaning up shards of mirror and, I dunno, spilled antacids or whatever, so that was a little stumbling block on my idyllic return home. Otherwise, though, things are as they are. Except I don't have a bathroom mirror any more, which is going to make shaving on Monday pretty adventurous. But that, friends, is something I don't have to worry about for another day or two. :)

And that, I believe, catches me up to the present. So I'm going to wrap this up, and go back to my Internet rounds. If all goes well, by the end of the night I will have cleared out the queue and be ready with a fresh, clean slate to start getting backlogged again. And, lo, life on the Internet goes on. :)

Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later!
Jun. 15th, 2011 @ 10:23 pm I heart Larry Miller
Larry Miller's Ten Minute Theory of Life

You're going to get over everything that annoys you in life. Any grudge, any anger, any disappointment, any slight, anything. You're going to get over it. The only question is when.

It'll take you ten minutes, or ten hours, or ten days, or ten weeks, or ten months. Or ten years.

I've done them all. I recommend ten minutes.
Jun. 13th, 2011 @ 10:53 pm Home again home again jiggity jig
I'm sitting here at my desk in my room for the first time in over two weeks. Feels like longer. Much has happened, pretty much all of it good, but as I've dropped right back into my hectic working life, I don't have time to get into it all at the moment. I just wanted to check back in, say hi, and let you all know that I've been more or less unplugged for the last couple weeks, so if anything spectacular went down, I probably missed it.

In my mind I owe one whopper of a post to catch up on everything, but the reality is much more straightforward, so...I'll just post an update, probably this weekend, and then we'll all move on. Suffice it to say...for the time being, I'm satisfied, if a bit travel-weary, and I feel pretty okay about things. So many lives around me are changing, and there are probably changes happening for me in the somewhat near future, too. Time and blog will tell. But for now, some sleep, and the remainder of the work week, awaits.

Oh, and while I was away, apparently my bathroom fell apart. But you can't have everything, now, can you.

Peace out, everybody. Smell ya later.
May. 27th, 2011 @ 07:07 am Bonus round
An NPR headline: "Blagojevich To Jurors: 'I'm Here Today To Tell You The Truth'"

What's funny is...I have a t-shirt bearing that exact quote...from Jesus.
May. 27th, 2011 @ 06:53 am Ha!
Yeah...that should work nicely.

Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and one of the first investors in Facebook, is proposing a controversial path toward more rapid innovation. [Wednesday] his Thiel Foundation announced that it was giving 24 people under 20 $100,000 fellowships to drop out of school for two years to start a their own companies.

This...this should also work nicely.

Dr. Jeffrey H. Toney writes that a team of biomedical engineers at the University of Pittsburgh led by Henry Zeringue have managed to grow an active brain in a dish... To produce the models, the Pitt team stamped adhesive proteins onto silicon discs. Once the proteins were cultured and dried, cultured hippocampus cells from embryonic rats were fused to the proteins and then given time to grow and connect to form a natural network.

Emphasis mine. It is a cuh-razy world out there, everybody.
May. 22nd, 2011 @ 08:39 pm Still here
So it appears that I've survived the Rapture or Judgment Day or whatever the hell (no pun intended). Although, in celebration of the putative end times, I did undergo a little personal Apocalypse of my own by once again quitting cold turkey on the damn cigs. Caved to the addiction when I started working again, so that probably means I've been off the wagon about two months or so now. No bueno. I've actually pulled this stunt before -- gone without on the weekend, I mean, only to jump right back in there come Monday. This time I'll see if I can stick it out, though. Again.

Related to that, I've basically been on a junk food bender. Nay, a frenzy. Couldn't even sleep last night for all the crap I ate. Think I gave myself acid reflux or something, too. And not even any biking to show for my time. In a nutshell, I treated my body like absolute garbage this weekend, but all in the name of the greater good of getting off the cigs again. Normally I don't try this kind of thing without having a solid week or so of free time to go with it. But...hell with it. If I'm going to get good at quitting, I might as well work on it in adverse conditions.

So. Long and short of it is that I'm in partial-to-total disconnect from my right mind, and from a brain chemistry point of view, I can't really take much pleasure or feel much joy, so unsurprisingly, not a lot of blog post tonight. Feel like I skipped last week, too, but for reasons that currently escapes me. I know I went biking in the rain, but I can't remember much else about it. On the topic of Internet presence, though, I actually sat down and took the time today to catch myself up with my infostream backlog. I did a fuckload of pruning and such, so...we'll see if I can get back into some kind of routine with that, though. I kinda miss the Internet. Then again...I really kinda don't. We'll see.

Oh, and speaking of biking...I saw this sign during my wanderings today. Kind of tells a whole sad story by itself, there, don't it?


Bummer there, man. Coincidentally, I wouldn't have even seen the sign had I not been out walking instead of biking today. So it goes.

Anyway, yeah...just checking in. Next few weeks are going to be a little unusual. Not so much this upcoming week, but the weeks following. My sister's getting married at the end of the month, meaning I'm breaking the wedding embargo, but just this once. Then I'm going to be holding down the fort at her place petsitting again while she off and honeymoons. Still working out the logistics of that, but a change of scenery is always nice. It'll be like a little mini-vacation.

So, yeah. Not much going on in these parts. Still haven't made it to the bike store to replace my patch kit and get a new tube, so I'm mildly afraid of going on any long trips, which is actually just as well because I haven't been doing that anyway, and I don't see me taking anything like that on in the next, oh, three weeks or so. Otherwise things are proceeding as usual. Carry on.
May. 8th, 2011 @ 09:52 pm Flats with no sharps
So I went out for a bike ride today, or tried to, anyway. This was to be a ride just for pleasure, as opposed to the normal running errands and stuff that I've been up to of late. I've gotten so used to Philly closing off a section of the roads next to the Schuylkill to cars that I was quite surprised to find today that that wasn't the case. Still not sure exactly what the story was; I mean, I think they change the schedule around for the summer or something, but I had thought prime weekend hours were still covered. Anyway, no biggie...there's still the Schuylkill Bike Trail, and that's fine by me! So I hooked around the Art Museum and headed off toward...I dunno, wherever that goes, Manayunk or whatever, and set about my ride.

It started off routinely enough: basically the part of the trail still within the city is a shared road between cyclists, joggers, bladers, and moseying pedestrians, so there's lots of speeding up, slowing down, weaving around, and general, overall cursing of the people who don't respect the "walk on the right" rule. During one particularly sharp weave, though, I detected a definite...shift...in the traction on my rear wheel.

That felt strange, I thought to myself. I had thought at the time that I had just slid or skidded slightly to the side during my turn, and I was counting myself lucky that I didn't wipe out. However, as time went on, things started to feel a lot more draggy, so then it dawned on me that I might have a problem with my tire. I glanced down and, sure enough, the rear tire was looking pretty low. I pulled over to see what was up.

Ordinarily when you squeeze a tire to check for pressure, you want to encounter a whole lot of resistance. Squeezing my tire on this occasion was like squeezing a marshmallow. Not just low...a full-on flat. Bummer! Thankfully, I had my patch kit and other dealing-with-flats-gear on me, since I make it a habit to pack all that stuff when I go out for extended ride. My sister had actually, a while back, given me a whole kit to address this very situation, so I was at least kind of excited to finally put it to use! I've done the repair job a few times before; all I needed to do was pop the tube out, do a quick patch job, reassemble, reinflate, and be one my way. In fact, I thought to myself as I rummaged through my bag, I think I actually have a spare inner tube on me, which would probably be a preferable option to doing a patch job right out there on the road, and I could patch later...

I stared at my bike. I kept staring. In my head, I started to curse.

I like preparedness. I like making preparedness a habit, in fact, in the hopes of minimizing the times I am unprepared. Once it becomes a habit, you know that just by following your habits you'll be prepared, and you don't really have to think about it any more. Of course, when you don't have to think about it any more, you don't really think about it any more.

As some of you may recall, my bike was stolen some months back. I got a replacement through kawaiiryuko a little while ago, and I've been putting a lot of work and such into it to get it back in working order. It serves its purpose well, and I've been happy with it, though there are some differences between this bike and my old one. Single-speed, for one, and some other little changes, but by and large I've gotten used to it all. I'm pretty used to thinking of this bike as "my bike." It turns out, though, that there's another major difference that had slipped my attention.

My old bike had what they call "quick-release" axles that held the wheels in place. Basically it just means tool-less; there's a kind of locking lever that you use to secure the wheel to the frame and take it off again; you don't need a wrench to undo the nuts or anything holding the wheels on. This new bike...doesn't do that. I knew that, of course; I've taken the wheels off and put them back on dozens of times now, but always either in the shop or in my house. My preparedness kit for being out on the road, the one driven by habit, sadly does not contain a wrench.

So...back to the scene. I'm sitting there staring at my bike, realizing that I have no way of getting the wheel off. Which, of course, is a necessary step in fixing the tire. I started pondering the engineering of it: theoretically, I guess would be possible to slide the tube out of the wheel while it was still attached, but I quickly realized that I still wouldn't be able to get it actually disentangled from the bike; there's no way to get it around the axle holding the wheel on. I could actually give up the tube for lost, since it's a ratty old thing anyway, and cut the tube to get it out, but even then there would be no way to get the new tube in there. I definitely needed to take that wheel off to fix this. Either that, or I could actually try to patch the old tube while it was still attached to the bike and try to work from there. The downside to this course of action was that, if anything were to go wrong, I wasn't going to be walking that bike back home; I was going to be carrying it home.

There was nothing for it; I basically just had to start the long walk home. I wasn't far down the trail, so...I figured I couldn't be more than a couple hours away from home on foot. I got to thinking, though...I don't think I totally blew out the tire or anything; maybe it was just a slow leak. If that was the case, maybe I could just reinflate the tire enough to get me home. Here's where another quirk of my kit comes into play.

Jeff, for example, carries a tiny version of a bike pump around in his kit. This is an elegant solution, and one that I figured I'd one day start using, myself, but so far that day has not come. What I carry, instead, is a little pressurized CO2 cartridge. If you've ever played paintball (or are into whippets), you know the kind of thing I'm talking about. My kit has one of those and a neat little gasket/flange/spigot/whatever thingy to connect it to the tube (which, admittedly, I've always wanted to try). So basically I had one dose of reinflation on me.

I did a quick evaluation, and I figured it'd be worth a shot to try it out. If it didn't work, I wouldn't be any worse off than when I started. All I had to lose was a cartridge, basically, so that's fine. I had another one at home anyway, which would have to tide me over until I got myself a mini-pump. :) So I set to work figuring out the little spigot jobby, and I was pleased to find that I could open and close the cartridge once I attached it, so I was thinking maybe I could stretch this one cartridge out into a couple of doses.

I finally got everything set up, and gave reinflation a try. It was working! I had no way of gauging how much air was left in the canister or anything, but I basically just inflated the tire until I felt it had enough air in it for emergency riding, and then shut it off. I packed everything back up, including the partial canister with the spigot still attached, handling it gingerly and hoping that it wouldn't jostle and take off in my bag like some kind of tiny little rocket. I hopped back on and started to bike home, going as gingerly as I could and trying to put as much weight as I could on the front end of the bike. :)

It worked out fairly well; I made some pretty good distance before the thing was obviously too flat to continue. I hopped off again and repeated the reinflation process, finding that the first time around, I guess I had used a little more than half of the cartridge, since it ran out during my second session and the tire was still a little soft. Regardless, I jumped back on and made a pretty good second leg of the journey. So between those two stopgap inflations, I more or less made it back to the Art Museum, which is only like a half-hour's walk from home, so I hoofed it back from there, feeling pretty okay about how things transpired, all things considered.

Once home, I went through the usual flat tire routine. In fixing the tube, I realized that this was my last patch in my patch kit, so I need a new one of those, now, too. The first time I reinflated the tube after patching it, it was clear that the patch didn't take, so I had to do the damn thing over again. Second time around actually was only marginally more successful, but I figured it would hold good enough to get me to the bike store so I could pick up more supplies -- which would have to happen like next week, because there are apparently no bike stores in Philly that are open on a Sunday. I was compiling a shopping list in my head while I was reassembling and remounting my rear wheel and getting ready to reinflate again.

I had attached the pump and was getting it back up to riding pressure when the tube I was inflating (the one I had just patched) suddenly and violently exploded. I was completely unaware that my bike had any kind of capacity to make a noise that loud. I was actually deafened for a short period of time, and my ears continued ringing for quite a while afterward. It was totally unruly. And it's not like my head was even next to the tire or anything! I mean...it's a floor pump; I was standing and pumping, like driving an old handcart on the rails in the Old West, you know? I had to be like a foot or two away, as the hose length would allow. I could not believe the noise I had just heard. And then not heard.

Anyway. So once I regained my senses, I disassembled the wheel yet again, and this time mounted on the as-yet-unused inner tube I keep in my kit. I don't know if these things have a shelf life or what, but I inflated it to riding pressure and took it out for a few minutes just to test things out, and it seems fine so far, so...that's good. Hopefully it will be enough to get me back out to the store to restock. :) I decided not to push my luck by going out for another ride that day. ;)

So. In the final analysis, I'm going to call this one a wash. I'm thankful that the emergency reinflation out on the trail was enough to at least get me most of the way home, so that's a win. But in the end, I wound up blowing a cartridge and using up my patch kit on an inner tube that self-destructed rather than take advantage of the new life I had granted it, so there's that. Upon examination, the actual explosion site on the tube was right next to the valve, and was apparently unrelated to the leak that had developed, so I took a small measure of pride in that, by the tube exploding from inflation, apparently my patch job had held well enough. ;)

Anyway. So just yesterday I had finally gotten myself some lamps so I could ride at night, and I was feeling pretty good about that, since it's like a tangible reward for being back at work. Now, though, I won't feel good about going back out on any long trips unless I get at least a new patch kit and inner tube (and a wrench to carry around, too!). I guess for preference I'd like a mini-pump as well, but I can wait on that; I still have one CO2 cartridge left! :) Plus that gasket thing is mad fun to use. ;)

So that's the latest from Bicycle Land around here. I've started to hear strange noises coming from my front wheel; I think that the front wheel spokes may need a some adjustment, but that's definitely something I should do in the shop. My rear brake calipers are still giving me some concern, so that's something else that bears some examination -- and probably replacement. In any case, the list goes on for shit that needs work, but on the whole, I don't mind. I mean, in the scheme of things, the bike is still a luxury and all, so I won't die without it, and it's still cheaper than (and superior to) car ownership, so...at the end of the day, it's still all worth it.

Still, man. That shit was crazy loud.
May. 7th, 2011 @ 01:54 pm God bless West Philadelphia
Our corner somehow ends up being more or less the center of a continual, low-grade vortex which ends up depositing a lot of wayward street litter on our front steps. Every once in a while, when the mood strikes, I go out and pick up the trash on our street, because it makes me feel less like I'm living in despair. In addition to litter, though, it also gives me an opportunity to clean up a bit of the just...usual urban detritus that collects on the streets.

Here is what comprised a small pile I just cleaned out of the entrance to the alley next to our house: a condom wrapper, the accompanying condom, a disposable cellophane glove (yikes), and a maxipad.

Yeah. Spent a little time washing my hands after that one. Stay classy, Philly.
May. 2nd, 2011 @ 10:41 pm Good times
I should have done this blog entry yesterday when I had some semblance of time for it, but since I didn't, I figure I gotta get it done now, or it will never happen. So...this will be the abridged version, but I wanted to make sure I commemorated that I had a great weekend this weekend. The gist of it is that fr33m4n was coming to town, so we had a good ol'-fashioned Guys' Night Out, except it was for the weekend. At various points, including a good, solid block that included all of us, we had, besides myself and fr33m4n, kawaiiryuko, gmonger, and our host, jeded1ah. It was a gathering in the finest traditions of the Old School, by which I mean we basically didn't do much of anything but hang out, eat, and play video games. kawaiiryuko came in late due to work load at the office, and fr33m4n busted out a little early due to dying from pet allergies, but the time we got in was pretty well-spent. Or wasted, depending on your point of view, but you won't hear any complaints from me when you and a bunch or your goof-off buddies can get together for a weekend of flippancy and then somehow end up in an endless argument about math.

One of the featured events for this gathering, even though it wasn't planned that way initially, was the AMC Theater's special 25th anniversary screening of Top Gun. Yeah, you know you're jealous. That was every bit as awesome as you think it was. That was pretty much the only thing that got us out of the house, though, at least after I showed up. Otherwise it was a lot of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Smash Bros. Brawl, and some varied Internet videos and TV. For me, anyway, there's nothing like some console gaming on modern systems to really drive home how much technology has advanced since I stopped keeping up with the latest stuff.

Anyway. Ordinarily I'd spend the time to try and chronicle the whole shebang, but I just don't have the resources, sadly. I got back home Sunday afternoon and spent much of the rest of the day scrambling to get my chores done for the week. That accomplished, I basically just pooped out and had to spend a little time decompressing on my own. Once that was done (if it ever was), it was basically bedtime, and then the work week starts, and then...well, then you get blog posts like this. :) In summary, though, it was Good Times. I haven't hung out with or even seen fr33m4n literally in like five or six years. This is a pretty far cry from back in the day, when we lived within a couple blocks of each other and hung out all the damn time. :) For all the differences that divided us, we've ended up living oddly similar lives, in some respects, anyway. I also think (again, in some respects) that we've ended up being oddly similar people, which I take as a good thing. In any case, reconnecting with him definitely gave me things to think about. Just like old times, I suppose. :)

Anyway. So that was that, and it was good. Life otherwise trundles onward, and I'm just kind of hanging on to the side at this point. I think things are going to be like this for a little while to come. There's not a whole lot of steering I can do at this point; I just have to hang in there and not get tossed off. The big project now is getting a handle on things, getting back on my feet, and trying to get a lot of loose ends under some kind of control. All projections indicate that this is going to take a while, so...I don't really know what happens in the meantime. Just...keep on swimming.

I'll check in with you hepcats another time, then. Take a little time in your day to fondly remember old friends. Hopefully it will put a smile on your face. Peace out, everybody!
Apr. 28th, 2011 @ 05:53 am Adventures at work
widowmaker boohoo
[The intern is discussing with a coworker how slow her computer is.]
Intern: I'm sure this was really great and cool in, like, 1999.
Me, over the cubicle wall: Hey, so was I, by the way.
Intern: Yeaaahh...I was a rockin', like, eight-year-old.
Me: *bursts into tears*