Obama in Portland

•May 19, 2008 • 1 Comment

Went for a 50-miler or so bike ride yesterday morning and was winding my way back home through downtown, where Obama was getting ready to speak. I wasn’t able to stick around for the event, but just seeing the energy and the amount of people that had turned out was amazing. Local news sites reported there were 60,000 people in the park and another 15,000 that couldn’t get in! When I was riding through downtown, people were wrapped around blocks and blocks and were slowly filtering into Tom McCall park.

One amazing thing was that bike parking was scarce and bikes were locked up next to just about anything you could get a lock around. BikePortland had a nice little write-up about that.

I was bummed to not make the event, but caught the speech on TV and was definitely inspired. I’ve mostly heard Obama in sound-bytes, but listening to his 30-minute stump speech is impressive, regardless of your politics. He’s an inspiring speaker and I, for one, hopes he gets into office and can use his charisma and brains to bring the US back to something that many of us don’t feel like we have to apologize for…

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The bike…It always comes back to the bike…

•May 14, 2008 • 2 Comments

So I signed up to ride the Seattle-to-Portland (STP) ride this year and my dad and a few of his friends are coming up to ride it as well. Not a difficult ride, per se, but it is 100 miles two days in a row, so if you’re not broken in to your saddle, its gonna hurt. (Well, its going to hurt anyway, just a matter of how much.) I’ve been out of cycling seriously for a while now, but have re-dedicated myself this year (both for exercise & commuting, you know, gotta save the earth and all). Suffice it to say that cycling is on my mind, almost all of the time…

I finally got some miles under my belt last weekend…not quite a hundred between both days, but an intense group ride on Saturday and a 4+ hour solo on Sunday (with plenty of wind, ugh). Got on my bike yesterday to run downtown and watch the prologue of The Mt Hood Classic and, wow, were my legs dead! I felt surprisingly good on the Sunday ride (once I remembered to eat….I think that’s half my training, remembering to eat before I completely lose it) and even had some juice left to hammer up the hills to my house at the end of the ride. But getting rolling yesterday hurt. Of course, once I got warmed up things were rolling again, but it took a while.

Kind of realized this weekend that I’ve got to ramp the miles pretty aggressively if I’m going to be ready for this. I don’t need to get a double in, but at least get one century in! 8 weeks and counting….

Oh – and the Prologue event was pretty cool. It was a short, flat, no wind, out-and-back time-trial course. 1.7 miles. The winner finished it in just over 2:45….that’s an average of 37mph! Talk about hammering. (bikeportland write-up) They’ve got a hilly crit tonight at Mt Tabor, a local park that is a dead volcano that I’ve ridden up and around many times. I’m debating whether to blow off my drawing class and go watch the race instead, I’m sure it’ll be cool.

Storage & cleaning up the garage

•February 16, 2008 • 1 Comment

I love having a house and all the room, but this house isn’t exactly set up great for organized storage…thus, my garage looks like this:

Luckily I had a few extra days of vacation to use around the house and added shelving to the garage loft. It was a great project for me after returning from my Grandpa‘s funeral just a day before I started the project. He was a woodworker all his life and worked with his hands often, and I definitely spent a lot of time thinking about him while working on this project. I think there’s a lot of value into pouring yourself into a project and giving your brain some time to work things out (mostly) in the background while your hands are busy.

It’s and interesting place to design shelves for, and my design has changed multiple times. Its only 4′ deep x 4′ tall and its ~9’ off the ground (the joist in the above picture is the floor of the shelf), so having a wide enough ledge to maneuver on is important so the shelves can’t be too deep.

I’m definitely still building my tool collection, and a few of my in-laws were gracious with their Home Depot gift cards, and I’m now a proud owner of this 😀 😀 😀 :

I started off by screwing 2x4s to the walls at the shelf height. These will provide full-length backside support for each shelf. I decided on heights of 1′ from the ceiling and 1′ below that. This ends up being a little tight and limiting to what you can place, but I think it will be useful. If I were doing it again, I’d drop the bottom shelf 4″ or so to give the extra space to the middle shelf.

Using joist hangers was a pretty easy way to attach the cross-supports to the wall-mounted 2x4s & to the front-support legs. The hardest thing about those is that, because you drive nails at an angel, which provides excellent pull-out support, they are pretty hard to get to end up at the exact right height – which was important because they supported the cross beam between the wall and the front-edge legs. Making sure each one of these was aligned pretty well was probably the thing that took the longes through the whole project.

After getting the supports up, it was time to place the shelves. G caught me a few beers in after getting the two shorter shelves placed.

And finally, after getting the other shelves up, I could start hauling the storable items up to the loft.

Luckily, there’s still plenty of space up there. I’m in a bit of a purge phase right now, so I can’t imagine running out of space anytime soon. But if I need more shelves, the building will go a lot faster the next time around!

Whoa, been a long time…

•January 3, 2008 • 1 Comment

…but I’m back and with the new year will do a better job of keeping this up.

Just got back from an extended visit home to Salt Lake City, which was great. All my siblings were in town and we had a really good time together celebrating the holidays, eating & drinking, and staying up to the wee hours of the morning.

We had a bit of a damper put on the vacation (and reason to stay a couple of extra days) because, unfortunately, while we were there, my Grandpa passed.

Me & Gpa at my wedding

His health has been in decline for several years now, so it wasn’t unexpected, but death always ends up being sudden. He was a kind, gentle, and witty man and many good stories were shared at his funeral service by his children and grandchildren. We were lucky in that we stopped by to see him the day before his death, the first time I’d seen him in a year-and-a-half, so at least got to spend some time before it was his time.

My heart goes out to my Gramsey, Mom, and Ron. Take care all of you, and Rest In Peace, Grandpa.

Vibe of Portland

•June 24, 2007 • 1 Comment

Gen is on the Board of Vibe of Portland, a non-profit organization that a music-school friend of hers (Laura) is starting up, and so we attended their first fund raising event tonight in North Portland. Laura did a great job of putting it together, with a silent auction, local Jazz quartet, good eats, and all in a beautiful setting. Here’s just a quick (and totally inadequate) sample:

Michael Shultz Thai Lions

Michael Shultz rock inlay

Good luck to Laura, Gen and the rest of the board to get Vibe off the ground and helping Portland kids get some music in their lives!

Super Size Me

•May 27, 2007 • 2 Comments

First, great movie. Entertaining and enlightening with a lot of ‘state of health in America’ sub-themes. But more about that in a minute. The cool thing? I just went to Netflix, and with my 2-movies-at-a-time subscription, found out that I can “Watch Movies Instantly on [My] PC” for free! How cool is that! Sure, it’s a limited time offer, but to get on-demand over broadband is pretty sweet. I was highly skeptical because of long download times for movies, but Netflix seems to have done a really good job with their streaming implementation. I watched the movie from start to finish without a single ‘hiccup’ in the broadcast. Yippee! I’ll be watching more movies this way for sure. (edit: the only thing better would be if they would show which movies are available online in your queue.)

Now back to the movie. You’ve probably heard the premise: a guy, interested in obesity in America on the heels of McDonalds being sued by two teenage girls, decides to eat nothing but McDonalds, three times a day, for a month. He gets three doctors to monitor him, has multiple lab tests & weigh-ins weekly, and at the end of the month the doctors are amazed that the diet could’ve had such a negative effect on him. Interspersed with facts & figures, interviews with food-industry representatives & school lunch ladies, and concern expressed by his vegan girlfriend, his downward path is amazing to see.

Two big thumbs up from me. He stretches and over-generalizes at points, but overall does a good job of indicting the food industry & the American culture of excess and the obsession with ‘big’. And if you want more info on the food industry in America, Eric Schlosser’s book “Fast Food Nation” is a good read too. If you eat meat, be prepared to want to give it up after that read.

Little, tiny, small soldering

•May 14, 2007 • 1 Comment

{Update: Sweet! Got the pics working. Got to link to the actual picture instead of the webpage, duh.

Sorry the pics don’t work yet…I’m new at this and will get it working soon}

It’s harder keeping up on this blog thing than I thought…But. I’ll. Keep. Trying.

Well, I bought me one of them-there soldering irons and fixed my cat-chewed Bluetooth headset charger.

frayed headset charger wire. stoopid cat

Boy! The package sure does look nice! But holy cow, getting that thing open is a whole other story. This was after about 10 minutes of poking & tearing at the thing. I’m all for keeping your products secure and whatnot, but getting into packaging is tougher than shelling out the money to buy the damn thing!

new package

mangled package

Now that the iron is free of its prison, let’s get to work. I coated the two wires with fluxed solder.

solder coated wires

Then wrapped the wires around themselves, and soldered again.

solder coated wires

Tape each DC line separately to electrically isolate, then tape the whole thing to protect, and Voila! Good as new. Almost. Stupid cat.

taped once

taped again