An Ode to the Shop Vac

By January 15, 2015 Uncategorized

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Generally I hate cleaning, and I find vacuums to be clunky, worthless, and frustrating.

We have two household vacuums- our shitty one died, and the second is borrowed.  It too, is a piece of shit.  So with a less-than-appealing dirt pusher and a non-functioning dirt pusher at my disposal I’ve set my bias toward the time-tested broom.  Simple, lightweight, and effective most of the time.  Like all hand tools it always starts, as I like to say.

The problem with the broom is that’s not really good on mixed surfaces, and really it just pushes dirt & dust around.  You know, like both vacuums in the house.  So after amassing a great deal of sawdust downstairs I figured it was time to get a new filter for the wet/dry vac that lives in the basement.

The same wet/dry vac that was submerged for almost three days during the flood, and the same one that could have gotten me electrocuted.  But didn’t.  And it didn’t because in spite of being submerged for so long it was barely wiped off and upright before it was plugged in and put back into service.

So after all of that I threw a new filter, turned it on, and cleaned the entire basement with 4 hp of suction in 5 minutes.  Yeah.  It fucking worked.

It went so well I contemplated how I could rig up some attachment for really cleaning the carpet.

It was…fun.

I Saw This on the Interwebs and Thought of You

By December 31, 2014 Bike, tinkering

Or at least I was bored and stumbled upon some semi-interesting bits of cyclo-centric newslets.

Curtis Keene, or “The American Dream” as he’s known, is a regular on the Enduro circuit.  He has a pretty good social media presence, and posts some cool ride pics from his adventures.  This week he posted a picture of his newly RS1-equipped XC racing hardtail and I was among the surprised minions.  The whole setup looks very appropriately XC pro with the wicked short stem, aggro bars and Intense lock-ons being the only tip offs that this may not be your average XC racer’s bike.  I’m glad to see he didn’t do what many other gravity riders would in this case and set it up with a ridiculously low saddle height, flat pedals, or other malarkey.  Truthfully his setup is similar to my hardtail- Guide RSC brakes, 1 x 11 drivetrain, two bottle cages, lock on grips, and wide bars.  His are bars are decidedly wider and the stem is decidedly shorter (60 mm) than current XC norms, but it does make me contemplate a similar arrangement on my bike.

Curtis also claims a 19 lb total weight which means this thing really is what it should be- an all out XC race rocket.

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Lukas Flückinger is a member of the BMC Mountain Bike Team and is also reigning Swiss Cyclocross Champion, so not only is he regularly top 10 in XCO World Cups but he has a pretty full schedule racing through the fall & winter.  This is his current race bike- Dura Ace Di2 and as you’d expect for a mountain biker it’s got disc brakes.  It also has some cool but subtle national champion-specific graphics.

I can’t tell much about the wheels beyond the ubiquitous “Shimano” sticker on the rear rim, but they’re certainly shod with A. Dugast tubular tires.

Fluckinger's cx machine

 

So that’s two black and red carbon bikes in a row.  

Flückinger’s BMC teammate, Ralph Näf, has also been campaigning on the cyclocross bike this fall, but really this pic caught my eye more than any of his on-bike shenanigans.  First, he has some really cool race shoes, glasses and helmets at his disposal.  Second, I like the cable method of organizing everything and will keep that in mind for future dwellings.  I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks about this stuff.

naf 

 

So yeah, still not riding much outside, but the very cold weather with very little snow at moment means that I might get to ride my mountain bike tomorrow on trails at Catamount, which could be awesome if it’s not an icy death trap.

Until then I’ll amuse myself by wondering about whether I should run a shorter stem (I several at my disposal) or which glasses/helmet combo I should run.

Fiddling with Logos

By December 26, 2014 Uncategorized

Since Thanksgiving I’ve been toying with some ideas for an updated logo.

With 20 American dollars burning a hole in my pocked I picked three different designers offering their design services for $5 on Fiverr.  They were all sent the same materials, which were basically an assortment of images and graphics from the blog.  Here are the results in no particular order.

This one was going for a Snap-On looking sign, but got something that looks more like it belongs to a diner.

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This one is intriguing and has a Cub Scouts at summer camp flavor to it.

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Here we have the GTI, and it looks kinda OK in this format, even if it is a little too blurry.

And an unnecessary Oxford comma.

 

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Last up is this one which has the last to do with any of my design elements yet is probably my favorite.  The arrow is an interesting touch, and I rather like it.

Overall this seems like something you’d see at a state park or something.

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Fiverr was an interesting experience, and for $5 the quality and turn around were both pretty good.  I didn’t have any strong ideas for what I wanted so it’s not surprising that the lack of clear instructions yielded a less than stellar return.  I’d say it’s basically like the free or super cheap business cards you see offered online- they’re a good value, but you do get what you pay for.

For now don’t expect to see any new art on the site.  I will have some team-related announcements though so there will be some changes afoot.