Posted by: David | August 24, 2010

Black Bike Is Back

You may remember my mentioning some time ago that after getting the new tires on my cheap-ass Giant OCR3 road bike (also known as “the black bike”) and taking it out for a spin that there was a dreadful clunkity-clunk going on with every turn of the crank. If you don’t remember, it was back at the beginning of the summer. It seemed unlikely that the bottom bracket, which is what you call the bearing assembly used by the pedal crank, could be worn out after a mere 6000 miles. After talking with lots of people about it, and mostly just getting blank-eyed shrugs (I even looked in the mirror and gave myself a blank-eyed shrug), I finally got the response I needed from a friend named Kerstin. She said “replace that bottom bracket”. So I emailed my buddy at Alfred E. Bike and bought a nice, brand new, sealed system Shimano bottom bracket for $25. To avoid shipping costs, I spent another $50 on various other items.

This is the OEM bottom bracket that went clunk clunk clunk. At least it lasted 6 years and 6000 miles.

I had the tools needed for this fairly simple replacement, and thankfully, the repair worked! The Giant is a really cheapo road bike, but it’s lighter than the blue Fuji touring bike and my average speed is a couple MPH more. So I rode it first 5, then 16, and last Saturday took it for an 80 mile ride, mostly because I had to work Sunday and was trying to burn off some frustration over a domestic issue. The burning off of domestic grief was not entirely successful, but the bike performed beautifully!

On other topics, the school year is about to begin, with over a hundred students having already arrived at the college.  So far so good. This means that I’m really busy, and is the reason for the paucity of posts. Love that word and should use it more often . . .

My wife harvested the onions last week. Beautiful crop, especially the red ones.

These are the modules needed (3 extra) to fold a 12u jitterbug.

Another way I’ve been trying to stay sane has been this origami stuff. There have been accusations of obsession. Unfounded I say. I don’t fold every day. Barely even twice a week. It’s still fun. The 12u jitterbug form starts with paper that needs to be trimmed to a rectangle of a certain proportion. The modules are not difficult, but fitting them together is. Some cursing is required. This is the 3rd one I’ve completed. I had to punch the arm of the couch pretty hard. It’s OK. The couch is insured.

Bet it’s not covered against cat fur.

ssembled jitterbug, in relaxed mode.

ollapsed into a tetrahedron. Rubber band holds it closed.

I need to find some more modular models to fold. I’m a little scared because I find it difficult to follow the standard origami diagrams. It’s much better to have a live Origami Princess (or Prince I suppose) show you in person how to make the trickier folds and reversals. Soon I’ll have time for this. In October maybe. Gotta get to work now . . .



  1. The jitterbug is beautiful. Love that particular color combo. However, it amazes me that you find origami helps keep you sane. I suspect the accompanying impatience and frustration would have the opposite effect on me.

    Well thanks PiedType. Note the use of the word “trying” in that sentence about sanity maintenance. Finding new models to fold on the internet is not helping with the sanity. I need another origami mentor to come into my life. I’ll be on the lookout.

  2. 6000 miles is a long way to self-propel! I am going to tally up my logs and see how long I have run in the miles. I think it is somewhere around 1000…I am curious.

    Well MTAE, don’t forget that the bicycle is a most efficient way to travel in terms of watts/distance. I suck at running lemme tell ya, it’s a lot harder work. But I bet you’ll be surprised at how many miles you’ve run if you can add them all up. Don’t let it bother you that I’ve got 6,000 on the black bike and almost the same on the blue bike.

  3. A tetrahedron sounds much more classy than a jitterbug, and so it is surprising that it should be the lesser of the two, but yours is a strange passtime.

    Now you have to take off your hat to the 33 miners who sat starving in the dark for ten days 2000 feet underground before they received the slightest sign from outside telling them that somebody was still looking for them. And they sent up a note saying: WE ARE WELL, ALL 33 OF US AT THE SHELTER

    iImagine! Instead of screaming for help and saying the obvious thing, which is that they are starving at 95º Fahrenheit.

    And now the paper says that there are two ways to rescue them: one of them may take up to 4 months involving expensive machinery and the other one is simple and may take only a couple of weeks, though there may be some risk of further collapse (it says). I am afraid, literally, I mean there is reason to fear that the expensive method prevails because it finds more supporters = people who need the money.

    I read that the big machine causes big vibrations. So there is risk too.

    But it is wonderful that the técnicos have been able to send down serum and news and water, and in another day or two, when the miners have recovered a little, they will receive real food packaged and sent down through the perforation that brought up that message.

    My hat is off. Prayers for those poor men and may god speed their rescue. How terrifying!

  4. Are you a professor? What do you teach besides Origami, of course?

    Nope, not a professor, but a computer desktop support technician. Desktop Dave. Fun stuff if you’re a NERD. Which is what I am.

    • Very cool. I can barely save a document. I started drinking early, like in the 10th grade when we were learning how to do basic stuff like that. So now, the only way I can really work with my computer efficiently is if I have a little vodka in me. I’m not sorry about it.

      I’m glad you’re not sorry. Sometimes I just wish my computer could get drunk with me. Until someone develops a computer that can do that, I’ll drink alone. You say you can barely save a document, but I know this is not fully accurate since a) you know enough to call it a “document”, b) you blog, c) you Facebook, and d) you post hilarious videos on YouTube. I know a computer geek when I see one. Even if she has carny arms.

  5. Do you hang the onions up? In Switzerland that is how onions used to be sold on the market. The leaves were braided or plaited and tied together to be hung up on a string.

    My wife put them all out in plastic trays to sit in the sun for a couple of days, before it got rainy. Then they were moved to shelter atop the woodpile. She snipped off the tops. In the past we’ve braided them, which is pretty and supposedly increases their storage lifetime, but I’m not sure I believe that, and we’re too busy to braid them now.

  6. I used to braid my hair and so I can do it very fast. In Switzerland there is even a typical Sunday bread where the dough is cut into four parts and braided.

    I think the onions were braided so that they could be hung up in the attic, so they would not rot.

    And what would be the English word for the pile of cow dung that farmers used to keep behind the cow stable to use as fertilizer in winter? Well, in some places the farmers braided the straw protruding on the outside, the periphery of these piles to make the pile look neat. This was both admired and debunked as Swiss perfectionism.

    About 30 years ago my hair was long enough to braid.

    The English word for any large animal solid waste to be used as fertilizer is manure. It’s amusing that those Swiss farmers found the time to beautify their manure piles, and pleasing in a sort of earthy way. Around here one homeowner in twenty like to stack their winter’s firewood in such neat piles that it seems a shame to take the logs to the wood furnace and ruin the beautiful pile. I’ve been known to admire and debunk that behavior. My wood piling philosophy is simple. Move the firewood as little as possible, and only toward the wood stove. Pile as high as stability and reach allow, under cover from the weather. In case you wondered …

  7. My mail server, Lycos, has been bought or has somehow taken over by another company called Zimbra, and now it closed down without warning and without letting me take out the addresses and the mail I had in there.

    I looked on the net and saw that many people have the same problem and expect the new arrangement to kick in sooner or later. I am not so sure.

    I have been thinking about how any crook with cash could buy up a mail server and would then own 10000000000 addresses with lots of info and contacts.

    Here’s the Wikipedia information on Zimbra. Sounds like a big corporation buying real estate in the “CLOUD”. THE CLOUD is where all the eggheads figure everything will eventually be located. By “everything” they mean all data, information, media, applications, and wisdom. They are not crooks with cash, but some sort of latter-day robber barons of the infoscape. They want to “virtualize” everything and turn our brains into mushy sponges that can hold anything, but only temporarily, and for a rental fee. However, no actual virtue will be involved.

  8. The mail server seems to be working again, but now I discovered another ominous development:

    There are many places where you can no longer “recommend” or “like it” without signing in to Facebook!

    The moment you click on “I like it” or on “recommend”, even at the New York Times, a card comes up asking you to sign in at Facebook.

  9. Congrats on the super cool jitterbug. It looks amazing. Sorry to hear about the domestic issues. I hope all is better on that front now. Glad to hear the black bike is back up and running. 80 miles! I hope to brag about 5 some day. 😉 “Paucity” I hate that word, don’t use it any more. 😛 Ha!

    Thanks Peter. The domestic issue: money. The #1 domestic issue, after sex, I guess. Hate and anger have subsided.

    Seriously? You don’t like the word “paucity”. But it’s such a cute little word.

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