Sunday, 27 September 2009

A Life of Comedy

It's within striking distance of October, and the not-so-much BikingBakke has had 3 days out of office since BC Bike Race, an average of a day a month. Some office banter on Friday morning went like this:
OfficeGuy: How's it going BikingBakke?
BikingBakke: Great. It's Friday, and instead of working till 9pm like the last two Fridays, I'm gonna bolt outta here at 4pm and sleep in on Saturday.

Then reality reared its ugly head, and it turned into a late Friday coupled with a 2 hour conference call starting at 8AM Saturday. Murphy's law, right?

That continued into working most of Saturday, then a 7 hour shift Sunday before I pulled the plug to go biking.

My bike ride was not intense and not long - dropped by Craig's which turned into a good one hour chat in the fall sun, then did a couple hours of riding. Got home at 6:30, showered, and checked the BlackBerry.

Hmmm... kind of a "Wolf" from Pulp Fiction moment. Yeah, that's urgent. Yeah, I'm at home trying to eat, but I'll be downtown to get a leg up on that for Monday morning in 20 minutes.

Nothing like putting in a surprise 7pm to midnight Sunday shift... right?

It's pretty much comedy (other than it's my life).

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Hooper's Housewarming

Hoop and Janice - congrats on the beauty new digs. Here's what I've learned: those floor tiles are all the rage, your place makes a very convincing argument for the "buy and move in" route, and there's something about Bud Light Lime that's gonna be the end of me. At least it's a fad drink so it won't en be available in a year or two, but I'm on the verge of drinking that stuff on same preference as coffee. There's something to be said for watered down American beer.

Seems like everywhere I go, people "our" age are in a highly reproductive state, man there were a lot of babes and babies in the house... I'm guessing the faces I didn't recognize from bike riding were part of the nursing crowd.

House Renovation 7 - more garage and framing progress

Not so much "visible" progress this week in some ways, but you've just gotta keep a keen eye open for the smaller things that still take plenty of effort.

Entry way concrete wall separating garage from house now gone, support beam in place. Entrance now feels much more open relatively speaking for a modest house size overall.

View from corner of future workout room (garage) back towards rest of house.

This space is hinting at how it will come together. This wall divided a bathroom from the workout room and entryway.

A detail, but none the less, all the doors in the house will be 4" or whatever it is taller to help combat the "small tight spaces" feeling of the 1950's norm.

Note in all the pictures the exterior walls are now "expanded" to equivalent 2x6" depth to accommodate more insulation.

The steel pipe here is now gone. From move in day when we bought the house to today, we've gained almost a foot of headroom on these stairs. 80% of that is from this renovation, I got a few inches improvement back in the day. A little thing, but something noticeable every single time the stairs are walked.

Garage foundation insulated from exterior and now backfilled too. It will be insulated from the interior as well, but this should help, considering we're going to keep the garage heated (non freezing anyway). Note the soil on the lower part is excess and will be removed, but the upper level "workshop" space is easier to visualize now.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Supernova E3

I've had a Supernova E3 head light and matching tail light now for a month of commuting now that it's getting dark. They're bright - really bright. Need I say more?

People stop me and ask what they are. A guy in our bike cage at work was spinning my front wheel to check it out. People ask if that's "the same as those new BMW headlights" cause they look blue-ish I guess. Brightest bike light I've had. I usually go for "the most" but skipped the E3 on the guidance that it wasn't suitable for public road use, too blinding to oncoming traffic. Plus, the no batteries thing with my Schmidt hub is perfect for guys like me where "dropping by the store to pick up batteries" or "needing to remember to recharge batteries" doesn't work so well with my routine.

Quantity of Work?

I've been asked a lot this year on why I work so hard/much.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

House Renovation 6 - garage and framing progress

Rain lately and cooler temps mean my solatube skylight hasn't been as hot, I've developed a mushroom farm from the old Stramat "insulation". Cool!

The cement block wall between the garage and entryway has now been removed, space is beginning to feel much more open. Open is important in my view when dealing with small spaces like this house.

Way more headroom for stairs now! (that pipe won't be there long).

The big old front windows have been removed. That wall will now have two floor to ceiling windows, essentially extending these ones by about 1' higher and 1' lower, as well as a door leading out to the future front patio.

The funny half height rear window will go to a normal sized rear window in the back. The one by the garage roof will stay the same, it's opaque anyway and offers no view, just ambient light. Rather pointless... but whatever.

Windows and doors being set up for the new version.

Front windows out.

New garage room window framed (1 of 2, other will be on angled side).

Garage roof materials.

Garage foundation now poured.

View from alley.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Black Sheep 'cross bike

This is a creation of Black Sheep Bikes from Ft. Collins Colorado, a 'cross bike and general all purpose BikingBakke workhorse inspired by a frame James Bleakley displayed at the North American Handbuilt Bicycle show in the early half of 2009.

It's a beauty and has a nice ride quality, my Strong geometry was used as a rough guideline, so it felt just right on first ride. It needs two little bugs to be ironed out before it goes into long term maintenance free typical titanium bicycle service, which probably require a trip back to Ft. Collins briefly. I made no particular effort to weight weenie this thing, it's 18.5lbs as pictured.

Tried SRAM stuff for first time. Mostly Rival, which sounded a bit less finnicky via reviews than Red, but did go for a Red crankset. Considering it's an all season bike didn't need to go too prima donna, and I like stuff that just works without continual tweaking. Plus the bling on this thing in theory comes from the frame, not the bolt ons...

Wheels are my workhorse of choice, came from a Canadian distributor's blowout during the meltdown last fall. Had to average down the cost of this thing somehow! For those with keen eyes, still need to trim the cable housings in a couple spots, but this is just the "rough in" build where I wanted to get it outdoors.

Integrated seat post and cables all tucked away, even all the way to rear derailleur was possible with the top tubes/seat stays this way. Wanted to keep the eyes on the clean lines rather than clutter. I like the saddle clamp, it looks clean and seems pretty solid.

Fork rides smooth. Fender mounts front and back, and used long reach calipers instead of cantilever squeakers. Clearance for up to a 40mm tire in theory, which gives a lot of room to work with.

House Renovation 6 - Garagemahall foundation work

First, a quick look at insulation, or lack thereof. I think there's room for improvment here. This stuff is about an inch thick, and just doesn't give me the warm and fuzzy that it's airtight or particularly insulative.

Some mulch now on the new plantings so it looks more finished.

Excavation work took 2 days. 2 trucks might have sped that up.

Footings framed.

Footings poured.

Cribbing started.

Another view of the cribbing.

I think it's roughly Monday finish cribbing, Tuesday pour, let cure for a few, then the following week probably is framing.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Petty Crime

I'm kind of a cost/benefit analysis guy by trade. Let's try this one:

- Mercedes window, center console, electronic mirror control mechanism, an ipod, $3 in change and 3x $100 Esso gas cards missing from what I can tell. For sensibility reasons I'll forgo posting the monetary equivalent personal time it'll take to do the "housekeeping" items associated with this, as my "time is money" rate I calculated off my T4 last year is getting interesting. Maybe if I'm lucky the glass can rattle for years in all the nooks and crannies of the car... Tori can attest to how much I [don't] tolerate misc. noises in the car.

- some bum has $3 change to buy booze with, an ipod with no earphones, and $300 in gas cards for the car he undoubtedly doesn't own. You think I'm jumping to conclusions re: a bum doing it? The big rock smelled like fresh piss (the Police guy picked it up with rubber gloves).

That's cost and benefit not balancing well.

Pure waste... whatever, who cares. Drive on.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

House Renovation 5 - planting

Today we planted a bunch of fall sale trees and shrubs, 24 by my count.

Some trim didn't survive Calgary's windstorm.

Planting out front - 9 in total, plus the big hole in the center where the city will put a tree. Will deal with the other half when the driveway disappears. We'll put a few on the inside of the hedge too, these things should grow to 3m+. Idea is to shield the view of the 70's style university box buildings.

15 trees/bushes mostly finish off the section of the back yard. The first two spruce trees are in line of sight between our windows and our neighbours windows.

Wasp next in the upstairs bedroom, looks like they could come in where the main power line entered the house and had a hole too big for the cable cut.

Machine to dig out the garage next week, looks like they already busted up the concrete. Pieces that were left. Probably 100 wheel barrels full of the good soil at the back have been moved for the various planting efforts.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Halts and stutter steps

My life is slowing down.  Maybe it's relaxing?

House reno not moving at any discernable pace.  Finish distant.  Colorado ti framebuilder is moving at no discernable pace.  End stop.  Try to go for a single speed ride and bend a chainring.  Pause.  A few Cannondale fork parts will arrive sometime this year maybe?  Period.  A few winter bike light parts will get here whenever they get here?  Full stop.  Fitness and exercise... serious deceleration there.  Despite modern technology, Tori and I have not yet had anything like a "flowing" or "interactive" conversation or thread, after years of being in generally immediate communication.  Halt. 

Any progress here... or only hitting the brakes? 

At least the office keeps me humming.  Maybe that's the best part and I've been missing the point this whole time.  Hmmm...