This is me trying to carry though on doing these posts more often.
- I’m still on my move towards “old school” internet- less of the big-company managed mess, and more of the ‘ol home grown and home cooked. I’ve not hopped on the Shuttlecraft train just yet- I’m going to need for that to get a bit more mature- but I’ve got my eye on it.
- My latest (v3!) experiment into a tamper-proof adhesive seal has apparently gone well. I’ve applied it for testing’s sake, and I’ll keep an eye on how it wears/ages. So far so good, though?
- Deep down the rabbit hole for researching fruit-bearing bushes that I can add to the yard. We already have raspberry, blackberry, strawberry (not a bush, but whatever), and blueberry. I’m for-sure adding more blueberry this year, but I’m also looking at adding honey berry. All this drives the following question: if I’m building an orchard (and I am), should I be planting fruit-bearing bushes interspersed in it? (I think I should)
- I’m starting to think about modifying the landscape around the house here- adding a Gingko tree (maybe? I’m worried about the allergen load, there), mountain laurel bushes, maybe some crabapple trees, and now I’m seeing golden (and black!) stemmed bamboo, and that seems pretty good (and useful, too).
- I’m looking at studio upgrades- the new Mac mini M2’s are getting pretty rave reviews, and I’m thinking about replacing both of my aging mini’s with one. That said… I think that should maybe be my reward for building the new gear rack down here and populating it? Maybe that’ll give me the motivation to get that project over the line?
- I’m increasingly fixated (?) on the idea of quadracycles. They’re kinda Europe’s answer to Kei cars (they have maximum dimensions, weight, power, and speed), and they’re totally not road-legal here. Anyway, they’re really all the car I’d want/need for most of my uses, and they’re just… so fucking practical. I don’t need 5000lbs of car to drive 10 miles to a train station at 35mph. I don’t need 300 miles of electric range and I don’t need autopilot or whatever. Right this minute, the Kilow La Bagnole (https://kilow.com) is tickling my fancy.
It’s been a long time. I’d say I’m sorry (I’m not, really), but given the last three years or so, I think it’s reasonable to say that I didn’t have the bandwidth to devote to these. Maybe I do now, but the only way I’ll know is to start. So here we go.
- Work: Crazy busy. Lots and lots of new projects (some that have been visible over the horizon, others not so much). Getting the allocation of resources sorted has been a lot of work.
- Playing: I’ve been toying with alternate-internet-protocols. Some of it new (Mastodon, find me @firstname.lastname@example.org) some of it very, very old (finger email@example.com), some of it weird (ActivityPub lets you follow people on Mastodon but also follow people on PixelFed and maybe Tumblr and Flickr soon and it all shows up in one unified feed?) I’m looking into Shuttlecraft next.
- Bikes: Have been slow for the last couple months. Some of that is weather, but most of that is work being too busy and kids being home a lot more than normal. I’ve made some gear updates and whatnot, but what I really need to do is find a bit of time to get back out there.
- Making: Has been slow as well, but I’m at least having some progress there. I’ve been playing a bit with Kydex (a thermoplastic mostly used for making knife sheaths and whatnot). I also got a teeny bit obsessed with a tamper-proof seal that I saw on a piece of Tom Sachs’ work (here: https://www.instagram.com/avantarteinsiders/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=892cc317-345a-46fd-ba09-219537435c62) that I’ve begun trying to make a version of. Building back to doing new sewing project.
- Video: I haven’t shot video in a year. I want to, on general principle, but… again, time? And also, I haven’t had much time to think about what I’d like to talk about there- I suppose the most obvious is to respond to what’s going on in that space, but… I dunno. I’m not sure I’m ready for that approach, yet.
- Food: We’re making an effort as a family to explore new food- we, like lots of other people, tend to make the same ~8 recipes over and over and over, so we sat down with a stack of cookbooks and flagged anything that looked good- again, as a family. We’ve been doing about three new meals/week right now (though I’m sure we won’t sustain that pace), and we’ve found some serious winners. The Sichuan Pork Ragu from the Lucky Peach cookbook is a winner, as was the “Dollar Dumplings” recipe.
Anyway. That’ll do for now, I think.
Christ I haven’t done one of these in a long, long time. Let’s do this thing.
We got a dog. A “Whoodle” (a cross between a Wheaten Terrier and a “Moyen” Poodle). She’s amazing and wonderful and a terror.
No goats yet. The garden and the dog and the transition back to in-person school and work were enough of a change that adding a pile of farm animals to the mix seemed a bit much. Still on the long-term plans, but need to do a shed and pasture fencing and whatnot first.
New garden was good- with more improvements to come. Larger, better use of compost and water, and more variety still. Corn! Herbs! More flowers! More fruit trees! Berries!
“New” bike is excellent. Walt was a pleasure to work with during a very difficult time, and he built a bike that was everything I could ask for. It was built for the type of riding I like, and boy does it excel at that. I’m still learning how to really exploit what it can do on the trail, but I’m also trying to shift to riding in flats on that bike.
I’ve been spending more time listening to music during work, and that means starting to spend time paying attention to the both the music I have and how I listen to that music. Short version: I’m going through my records and I have record players out again.
Look, I’m just going to skip over a bunch of the last year because the last thing I need to is to relive this horror-show. It’s been/is bad, people. Real bad. I’ve tried to make some amount of lemonade out of this truckload of rotten lemons. It’s been hard.
A couple of highlights:
- The gravel bike is done- minus maintenance. Tubeless tires, a new Chris King headset, lower gears and a new crank (46/29 chainrings!), and so on. It’s such a fun bike to ride, and I’m super happy I took the time to really build this thing out. I still have a tendency to take it on overly-technical trails, but let’s be honest: I was going to do that on any gravel bike.
- I finally sourced a new handlebar and stem combo for my road bike. I needed to shorten the reach and raise the bars a bit (from a hyper-aggressive fit) to ease my aching back. It’ll be the first change I’ve made to that bike in ~20 years (besides consumables).
- I ordered a new mountain bike. Fully custom/bespoke, it’s a Waltworks steel hardtail. Custom sizing, custom geometry, custom everything. I’ve built a number of custom bikes over the years- and while I’ve been constrained by budget before, I’ve never been so constrained by availability. Sourcing parts was really difficult on this one. I’m still building it- wheels are backordered and the drivetrain is en-route, but the frame/fork and some parts are here.
- We made a makeshift garden last spring that was a massive success- we grew more things in a tiny space with more success than I’d ever imagine. Heck, we grew watermelons and cantaloupes and pumpkins and peppers and greens and all manner of things. So: we’re quintupling the garden size for next year- and we’re getting better seeds and starting things earlier and and and. Pretty excited here. The calming effect of hanging out in the garden cannot be overstated- it’s been a massive benefit for us all.
- We’re likely doing a few goats this spring. There are a lot of reasons, and it really deserves it’s own post, so I’ll do that as we get closer. Likewise the garden, really.
- More hiking. We’ve been pushing to get outside as often as we can- and walking in the woods has really helped the whole crew here manage some of the stress. We’re looking to keep doing this all through the winter.
Here’s where things stand, currently:
The gravel bike has seen some work- it has “new” wheels (with ceramic rim sidewalls- next best thing to disc brakes!), a “new” cassette (11-32, for more hill-climbing low end), re-fitted fenders (which currently need a new adjustment, give new wheels and tires), and a new stem and bars. Stem is 10mm shorter and 40mm taller, bars are 40mm wider (at the hoods, more so in the drops). HUGE change to the nature of the bike- it feels a lot more balanced and capable. It needs a “new” rear derailleur installed to really make use of that 32t cog, but it’s in the parts bin already.
I’ve been sewing a bit again. The gravel bike will likely get a front rack/basket combo for longer rides (to better keep weight off my back/out of my jersey pockets), so I needed a basket bag. Sure, there are loads of people that make really nice well thought out bags for just this sort of thing. But why buy one of those when you can hack together a mediocre version yourself? I’m currently on a second prototype- and it’s not too bad. Simple, mind you. But not too bad.
Iv’e also started working on a pattern to sew bike caps. I’ve always liked these, thought they seem to have gotten somewhat harder to find these days. I couldn’t find a pattern I liked, so I made my own based on some measurements from a cap I’d bought. The first draft surprisingly came out wearable (thought there’s obviously still lots of room for improvement). I’m super excited about these for some reason.
House-bike infrastructure needs some work. I’ve added some bikes and tools to the fleet recently, and I’ve not updated storage or workspace to take that into account. The garage, especially, needs some love to really be workable as a space.
I’m working on a custom yearly reference book for myself. I’ve toyed with this idea for a long time- and I’ve made analog attempts before, but I think I’ve finally settled on form. I’ve had some success in the past using POD services to output one-off books for myself. That’s been collections, custom texts, portfolios and whatnot, but I’m working on what feels like a cross between a photo book and a commonplace book. I’m likely going to use Blurb to print a copy or two (not for resale!), and then I’ll start compiling next year’s copy. It’ll be full of reference that I’ve created/aggregated/compiled during a given year, and it’ll function as a research time capsule. Pretty excited about this one.