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Via Urban Velo.



I pulled a Sony WM-1 off the shelf today and checked eBay to see if it was selling for anything.  I bought it at Goodwill for maybe five bucks.  Plays music well but forward and reverse aren’t happening any longer.  Loud as heck (produced before makers realized they’d get sued for killing kids ears–has that happened?).wm

To my surprise, there is one there on eBay now bid to $122.  Unworking!  I expected maybe $20 for working models (and that is what sold listings generally show).  I wouldn’t part with mine for $20, but north of $100?

Apparently there is a Sony TPS-L2 in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy.  The TPS-L2 was the first commercially available portable cassette player.  The TPS-L2s are getting bid above $500 right now.  Cosplay anyone?  Crazy.  So maybe the WM-1 (the first portable cassette player to carry the Walkman name, but the third product of this type from Sony) is also getting a Guardians bump.  Or maybe just a general cassette bump.

I’m not walking and listening these days, but it is fun to pipe the WM-1 into the hifi (early Nirvana just earned a request for lower volume from my two legged housemate).  That’s how I used my Sony D-5 CD player (the world’s first portable CD player).  A very small and attractive unit until you slid it into the protective battery case to take it with you.  If memory serves the battery case took four C cells and was as big and heavy as a hardback War and Peace.  Needless to say, I rarely took the CD player out of the house.  It also came with (or I bought) a dock for home use, giving the unit power in and a line volume out.  Too bad I don’t have that anymore.  eBay could fix that (they come up fairly often and sell for $50-300), but better to live with the nostalgia than another thing.  fip

Frida is doing well.  Enjoying something each morning from the home garden.  The only things there now are arugula, parsley and crabgrass.  I can’t catch her in the act to know which of the three are tickling her fancy.  When I approach, she stops nibbling and looks up innocently.  Might need to get out the binoculars!

I have’t shown you my new to me binoculars!  I decided I’d enjoy some vintage optics gear.  Old cameras rock, but I won’t get involved with film (gelatin in film is sourced from animals).  Binoculars seemed to be a perfect fit.  Awesome construction.  Quality optics.  Nothing but the binoculars to fill up the house (you see the image and then remember it or not).  The ones from the known makers sell for quite a bit, but still very good examples from lesser known makers can be had for very little.  I acquired this swell pair of Hertel & Reuss 8 x 30 for $40.h&r

Eight is magnification (bigger number makes things seem closer, duh) and thirty is the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters (bigger number lets in more light for a brighter image).  Binoculars with bigger numbers sell for bigger bucks, but vintage examples  (without image stabilization) may be harder to use and are too big and heavy for bicycle adventuring.  The 8 x 30 seems about right to me.

Like many owners, I am not sure when I will use them.  Nephew’s football game this fall?  Concert on a lawn?  Post apocalyptic surveillance?  Probably none of the above, so they may remain in their case, preserved for their next owner.  No matter.  I’ve done sillier things with $40.

That’s enough nonsense about old stuff.  Lunch time!  Take care.

It is Quiet

A very odd summer, here.  For weeks now the highs have been in the 70s.  Maybe 81 today.  Not sure how the tomatoes are ripening, but some are.  bov

See the tomatillos on the left?  They went into this season’s first batch of tomatillo-chile sauce from Authentic Mexican, by Rick Bayless.  I added epazote based on his margin notes and it is a delight.tcs

Just now I made a single serving test of eggplant with dengaku sauce from The Enlightened Kitchen, by Mari Fujii.  So simple and absolutely wonderful.  I have four more baby eggplants which will be prepared this way later this week.ewd

Dengaku sauce is a reduced blend of miso, sugar, sake and sesame seeds.

Now I’m hungry so I will let you go.  Be well.


The broken Blumels front fender–sad but not so sad and not sad for long.  rf

I realized the break at the lower fender brace was fortuitous.  Low enough on the fender that I could do a repair and the fender would still function as a fender.

I cut the fender above the break (pruning shears worked nicely), drilled out the rivets on the metal bridge below the break, moved the bridge two inches above the new fender end, drilled new holes and pop riveted the bridge and the plastic in place.



I’ve never pop riveted anything before.  I borrowed the tool and rivets from a neighbor for this project.  Pretty amazing tool.  Haven’t used one?  This guy will show you how.  Pop rivets are also called blind rivets.  Really handy where you can’t easily get to two sides of a project.  That said, if you can get to both sides, a classic rivet might be a more secure option.  Classic rivet?  That’s a rivet with a head on one side, perhaps a soft nail.  You mushroom out the side without the head using a press or a ball peen hammer.  This guy will show you how.

Bobbed, but only two and a half inches were lost.  fpLooks good from the inside too.



More accurately, you win some and lose some.  twrI installed the new rings on the TA Cyclo Touriste cranks.ntar

Nothing really transforms a bike like the holy trinity of a new chain, rings and freewheel installed at the same time.  The bike pedals like new.  Then the tide

I wasn’t a block from home, enjoying the new set up, when I pedaled backwards for the fun of it.  My toe clipped the bottom of the front plastic Blumels fender.  Snapped like it had been waiting all its life to become two.  I hate breaking things and I hate breaking irreplaceable vintage things more.  I can get Blumels on eBay, and I probably will, but this pair is gone.  Bummer.  I walked the bike home, removed the broken fender and then set out for the garden again.

I hadn’t been since Sunday and it had rained a fair amount, so it didn’t take long to stuff the Cannondale panniers.  I brought home a huge cabbage, twenty cucumbers, green beans, cherry tomatoes and a big bag of mustard greens.


The kimchi pancakes rocked.  If you haven’t, you should.

kpogThat’s enough.  Take care!


Oh hi!

Lacey and I had a great weekend.  A trip to the Capital City Gastropub (my first since the ownership changed) introduced us to the magic of wrapping a black bean burger in spring roll wrappers and then frying it up.  Before I figured out the deal, I thought they had melted a white cheese all over the thing.  It was really amazing.  Held the thing together really well.  Glad to find that the whole vibe of the place has changed.  Before the new ownership, a trip there as a vegan left me feeling like an intruder in a carnivore’s den.  Now there are many plant sourced menu items and and a welcoming attitude on the side.  Top flight beer list doesn’t hurt either.  We’ll be back.

We also saw the movie Chef.  The food!  The cooking montages!  The happy ending!  Highly recommended.

Frida?  So far so good.  We’re cherishing every day and she is loving temps in the 70 in August.  Go girl!  FiG

Nutrition?  Not sure how I stumbled on this video.   Equally unsure how I watched all 76 minutes of it.  Punchline?  If you are a vegetarian or a vegan you’d do well to eat two tablespoons of ground flaxseed every day and take at least 100 mg of B-12 every day.  Watch the video to see the spooky stuff that goes down if you don’t.  Best part is, we’ve been doing both since day one.  Joanne Stepaniak must have told us to.  Amazed we listened.  I’ll bet Lacey pushed us there.  Thanks, Joanne and Lacey!  Thanks Dr. Michael Greger!

I bought three presents for my ratty Trek I’m enjoying rolling around on.  The two small cogs were skipping and the chain showed 75% wear.  Might have been that way for years since I doubt I’ve ever shifted to the small cogs, but I did last week when riding with a friend.  Clunk clunk went my drivetrain when I applied even a little pressure.

I installed a new chain and freewheel.  Those aren’t presents.  Those I had on hand.  While those two bits sorted things out, I found that TA is making new rings for their classic Cyclo Touriste cranks and that Boulder Bicycle is selling them for reasonable prices (considering what NOS rings are selling for).  You know I ordered a set of three.  TARs

Only problem is, they are way too pretty.  TAR

Am I seriously supposed to run a chain over their mirror finish?  If I can bring myself to install them and use them, I won’t relish the first front gear change.  I’ll leave it in the middle ring as long as I can.  OKC

Dinner?  I’m making kimchi pancakes, avocado rolls and miso soup.  I’ll use the last pint of my 2012 kimchi for the pancakes.  Spooky fun (not really–it isn’t as dark as the picture shows–the sun is hidden by rain clouds–the kimchi tastes delicious and is still crunchy).  The avocado rolls are done and the dashi for the soup is in the fridge so all that really remains are the pancakes.  They go together quickly and Lacey isn’t home for one and a half hours, so I’m happy to be writing to you.

And then the jinx is cast.  I have nothing more to share.  Good enough.  Take care, ok?

A Small Step Back

I wrote to the mayor to raise my hand in favor of helping our road users get along better.  Said I thought the key was education.  I got specific and suggested we all be reminded of (a) the exceptions to the pedal on the right law and (b) the pass with three feet minimum law (to say we have a three feet passing law you need to mash together our pass a safe distance law with the legislative history saying that three feet is the minimum safe distance).  I suggested this sign be placed on the back of busses.  PastedGraphic-1

That was February 7, 2014.  I heard nothing so I wrote again on June 12, 2014.  My second attempt yielded a reply the next day.  I was given a contact, whom I contacted on June 13, 2014.  I heard nothing so I wrote to the contact again on August 6, 2014.  I got a real reply the same day.  Looked like this:

I apologize for the delay.  Thank you for your interest in increasing road safety within Albany. I agree that we definitely need to improve motorist, bicyclist, and pedestrian awareness of existing traffic laws.

Recently, the Albany Police Department created a Traffic Safety Stakeholders Committee (TSSC) that is devoted to looking at ways to make the City of Albany safer for all users of the right-of-way. The TSSC is made up of police officers, representatives of the City School District, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, planners, and members of the public. There TSSC concentrates its efforts into three subcommittees: Enforcement, Engineering, and Education. Each subcommittee looks at strategies to improve safety and works on action plans to implement these strategies. The next full meeting of the Traffic Safety Stakeholders Committee will be at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 18th in the large upstairs conference room at 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard. I hope that you are able to attend.

Another group that you might be interested in taking part in is the Capital District Transportation Committee’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force. This group meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 9:00 AM at the CDTC office at 1 Park Place, Colonie, NY. These meetings are geared at looking at the bicycling and pedestrian conditions of the region. If you are able to attend I believe you will find these meetings extremely informative. Representatives of CDTA regularly attend, as do representatives from many municipalities in the region.

I would also recommend that you join the Albany Bicycle Coalition and brainstorm with members about potential initiatives. I work closely with Lorenz Worden and other members of the Albany Bicycle Coalition on bicycle initiatives within the City.

If you have any further comments or questions, please let me know.

Huh.  After six months I was initially happy to have a detailed reply, but I was hoping they’d tell me what they are doing or will do to help.  Instead, after writing four times and waiting six months I am invited to meetings at which I can voice concerns (which I have already voiced) and offer solutions (which I have already offered).  Not sure I have the patience.  Some people enjoy meetings and others tolerate meetings.  Blessed be the meeting goers.  Seriously.  Big respect.  But I am in a third group–I’ve done meetings, hate them and suck at them.  If our government is do it yourself, maybe I just pedal and hope for the best.

Yesterday I was close passed by a tool in a BMW from Quebec (I should probably sell mine so that I could let my prejudice against BMW drivers flower more fully).  I did nothing but take a picture of his plate at the next light.  Not sure why.  Probably not a good idea.  But that’s what I did.  Today I was close passed by a tool in a blue mini van.  I exclaimed “too close!” and he shrugged.  I interpreted that to mean he didn’t see waiting to pass as a viable alternative.  I slowed to get behind him where I felt safer.  Then he nearly rear ended a parked car.  Golly.  On the way home I was very nearly close passed by another tool (I saw him coming, the road was narrow and there was an oncoming car).  I ooched out to stop him from squeezing through and then a bicycle officer pedaled by in the other direction.  The driver saw the officer, got off my wheel and stayed back really nicely.  I scooted right when it was safe and motioned for him to pass.  Hooray for bicycle officers.  Hooray also to this officer.

I should focus on the dozens of miles that go really well.  I don’t ride far, so dozens of good miles mean something to me.  Whole trips go down without incident.  I had a nice ride to Troy with a pal on a Saturday morning.  I enjoyed the country loop a month or so back.  It has been a really swell summer.  69 degrees just now.  Fall like, but summer isn’t over.  Still time to ride more, take the lane when needed and keep my fingers crossed.

I need to go.  Hope you are well.

P.S.  Then I see this on Urban Velo.  I’ve taken the survey.  It doesn’t look like they are trying to glean data for marketing.  More like they care about precisely the issues I’ve discussed in this post (and a dozen others).  So take the survey already.


I never miss an issue of Urban Velo.  It is for me a cover to cover read, and I just read the whole of issue #43.

An article on fun rides, presented as a critical mass alternative enjoying increasing popularity, starts on page 56.  Among the handful of rides covered is Albany’s Tweed Ride!  There is even a picture of two of our local pedaling stars.

Don’t stop there.  Turn the page for a terrific article on increasing the number of women riders.

Great reviews, too, including a review of the ABUS Granite Futura mini U lock.  You gotta have a U lock if you leave your bike in public, and this sounds like a great one.  The Rivendell folks sell ABUS products and you know that speaks to me.

How about narrow wide rings?  I’ve never thrown a chain off a single front ring with a rear derailleur (and I have long had this set up on one or more of my bikes), but thanks to Urban Velo I won’t be in the dark when I stumble upon a conversation regarding this hot new product.  Narrow wide rings might not revolutionize pedaling, but  it’s good to know what they are.

Thanks Urban Velo for all you do!

I’ve been digging through some old video tapes.  Here’s a clip I enjoyed.

It’s the 4th of July, 2003, so I’ve dressed ol’ shaky bones in flags and I’m wearing my cherished Lagusta is My Hero t-shirt.  I’m reminded by other footage that it was one heck of a day.  Lacey and I joined half a dozen friends on a tour of the hills of Omaha.  Good company, but my not so tall bike was a less than ideal ride (it threw the floating tensioning ring ten times if once) and Lacey picked a more unfortunate steed when she threw a really cute leg over a crazy heavy balloon tire bike.  Needless to say, the heat, the hills and her steely mass put Lacey in a mood.  I have the tape to prove it but the decency to keep it private.  I will share my friend’s rad bike, though.

I guess we were coming to the end of the new blacktop, but since the video continues, it seems like we all made it through.

Time to feed Frida.  Have a wonderful Sunday.



Quickly.  mm

I thought I invented the smoky mezcal mojito but the internet says I was at least two years late to the party.   No matter–I combined 1.5 oz. Somrba mezcal, 1 Tbs. agave nectar, juice of a lime, mint, a pinch of salt and some seltzer.  It’s brown because of the agave nectar (easier than making simple syrup).  At first I thought that was not pretty, but a day later I think otherwise.  I muddled the mint with a wooden pestle that had previously been used to grind cumin.  I wiped it before use but a hint of the flavor made it into the drink (and was a delight).  Maybe this is my contribution.  That, and a pinch of salt.  This made me think of salt.  Why not always with the salt?bwd

Notice the black rubber grips?  Had to take off the cork ones that I loved so much (purchased from Rivendell long ago).  They were made of bits of cork that had been glued together.  One came loose, see.  The glue was still holding but the inside surface of the cork separated from one grip such that the grip could be easily slipped off.  Happily it didn’t slip off while riding.  The outside of the grip still looked good, but the inner diameter was bigger (having lost the material that remained stuck to the bar).  The grip would no longer make good contact with the bar, so regluing wasn’t possible (unless instead of thin spray adhesive I used something with dimension like Shoe Goo, but then the problem would surely happen again at some point in the future).  Rivendell stopped selling the composite cork grips and now sells these seemingly better ones made of whole connected cork rings.  They even talk about the old composite cork grips versus the new cork ring grips.  They downplay the downside of the old, but I forgive them.

I’ve picked enough cucumbers for a gallon of pickles, so those are on the counter doing their thing.  No picture.  You’ve all seen ceramic crocks so I won’t waste the electricity to share another image.  fb

I’m also fermenting six beets.  Not dark red this time, maybe sad, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the result.  fap

The cool weather is back and Frida approves.  Before walks, she jumps for joy as if a decade of her life has been rewound.  Nothing could make me happier.

Rewound?  That is something you used to do with audio and video tapes.  Have you done this?  I did for decades, but I am old enough to have just bought my first pair of progressive lenses for my eyeglass frames.  I sprung for ridiculously expensive Nikon Professional lenses and would suggest you consider the same when your number comes up.  I was warned that I’d need three weeks to adapt, but I loved them from the first second and a day later don’t notice any difference. I can see super well at all distances, ‘cept I can’t see the TV when watching reclined in bed unless I slide the frames down my nose a bit.  Other than that, it’s all gravy.

Enjoy your weekend.

A Fix?

It is the only fix that I can start today, on my own, that I know will help.

And a lasagne made possible by a polar vortex in July.


How else could I stand an hour long hot oven in a home without AC?


Frida loved it too, but now it is gone. Sighs all around.