Monday, June 25, 2007

Mold, Fans, Gardens, & Music

I cleaned some spots in our carpet a week or so ago with our little carpet cleaner. I cleaned a few of them in the basement as well.

It stays cool in the basement, so we often close the vents down here in the summertime and force more of the air upstairs. I figured the cooler air from upstairs would just pour down the stairs and some circulation would take place. I faked a cold air return down here, actually in the duct-work next to the furnace, though, and that's really all we have for return air down here.

Anyway, several days ago, a sharp, moldy smell developed in the basement. We usually keep a small fan going down here, but I noticed the whole carpet down here felt... not damp, but not dry, either.

So.... I went to Lowe's and got a Harbor Breeze Ceiling Fan. For $30. I didn't think I could get a quiet one for that, but it said "always quiet" on the box, and I figured if it wasn't I'd take it back. But for $30 I was wiling to give it a try.

We put it in in about an hour. It's quiet. And we opened the vents down here. The smell subsided quite a bit, and the carpet doesn't feel damp-ish anymore.

I'll run the Ozonerator tonight and see if I can't get rid of the rest of the residual smell. I can't smell it much, but it affects Vicki pretty badly.

The garden is going pretty well. Needs a little more water now that the plants are bigger and it's hotter.

Vicki and I did an 18 mile bike ride Sunday from McBaine to Rocheport and back. I got here this new-fangled bicycle seat to protect her from the dreaded bike seat sores. She said it worked pretty well. We also found the spot on the trail under the Rocheport Winery A-Frame. There's a bike rack to park your bike and a trail to walk up. :-)

Let's see, I got a tool cabinet for the garden/yard tools and put it under the deck to make room to hang the sleeping bags in the garage -- the proper way to store them. I got a North Face down sleeping bag... not sure the rating but it's at least a 30 degree bag, maybe rated cooler. There were some with less loft there that were rated at 30.

I need to get my mountain trip planned. But there's two Oracle training sessions I'm going to on either side of the time I'd planned to go, and I have a class reunion (25th) in there, too.

I never was a huge Leinenkugels Beer fan ... although they did have a dark one that was pretty good. I mean, all of it is decent, don't get me wrong. But this Summer Shandy they have out -- they have something there. It's a Wiess bier with lemonade in it. Quite tasty! And this is why I have to ride the bike.

Have I ever mentioned the group "Radiator"? Back in college I frequented a used record store called Whizz Records here in town (I actually worked there a couple of years and managed the place over the summer later on). Anyway, Mike (the owner) had a "free" box with records that weren't worth anything to most people -- and if you spent more than I think $6 you could take an album from the Free Box. My roommate and I were there one day and he got a free record because of the group name and the title "Radiator" "Isn't It Strange". Sealed. And we laughed on the way home wondering how bad it was going to be.

It wasn't.

And it really grew on me over the years. And one day, I was looking for some lyrics I couldn't figure out to the title track and I stumbled upon a website for a British group called "Lindisfarne". Turns out that Radiator was a one album group which was basically a solo album by one of the main driving forces behind Lindisfarne (which was apparently very popular in the 1970's). That man's name was Alan Hull. And as a matter of fact most of the material on "Isn't It Strange" got released as a real solo ablum of his called "Phantom".

I listened to some Lindisfarne on Rhapsody, and liked it. But all they had was live stuff and I wanted to hear some studio work. I got some imports from Caiman records -- which I've dealt with before for hard-to-find stuff. Good folks. And I got another Alan Hull solo album called "Pipedream" today. Haven't given it a good listen, but the Lindisfarne stuff's pretty good.

Thus goes the life of a music junkie. Shoot me up, will ya? ;-)

Back in the Saddle Again

Bicycle saddle, that is.

Yes, after a hiatus of ... oh, 8 or 10 years, I guess, I'm bike riding again. It seems the ole drink beer and eat about anything you want lifestyle was catching up to me again. And if you want to continue to eat well and drink good ale, you need to do something to counter-balance that.

See, I have a desk job, and thus I spend lots and lots of time sitting on my arse with my heart rate not breaking 60. Ever. And I noticed that trips up short flights of stairs got my heart going waaaay more than it should've.

Gas prices are up, and I have excess fuel in my body in places I'd rather not have it. So, I turned back to the bike.

3 days a week is my goal. It's 2.8 miles to work, and there's a good hefty hill in each direction (although the one on the way home is longer). It takes me ~17 minutes.

"But dontcha get sweaty and stinky?"

Well -- not really. We don't have a shower at work, but it is cooler in the morning anyway. I wear biking clothes that breathe and wick, so I stay pretty cool & dry that way, too. I take my work clothes in a bag. What I do is bring a washcloth in a ziplock bag, soaked in some water and rubbing alcohol. When I change I just sort of wipe down a bit with that which is both cooling and cleansing.

When I ride home, of course, it is much hotter and I'm much sweatier -- but the good news is we have a shower at home. And it has cold water, too! ;-)

So I ride 5.6 miles a day which takes about 35 minutes total. Not a ton of exercise. But it's steady, and I make myself do it regularly... and here's the thing. If you get on a treadmill or exercise bike and you get tired of it, you can just stop. And you don't have to get back on it later. If you ride your bike to work, you can't stop until you get there. And then there's only one way to get home. So... see, it keeps you going. There's a purpose besides burining calories you can't see.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Took the 12-string in to Lee and he basically said I was on the right track with my adjustments, and advised me to cut the slots in the nuts slightly deeper to make the action on the first few frets better, and then I might have to carefully file down a few frets that are "noting out" farther up the neck.

After he looked at it I realized that my other two main guitars could use some neck adjustment as well, and I was surprised how much better the action got with just a little adjustment. Well, on the Martin D-15 it got a little too low on the high E string so I shimmed that end of the saddle and backed the tension on the truss rod about 1/4 turn. Niiiice. Just high enough not to buzz.

I need to find my razor files to do the 12 string properly.

And my backpacker needs it's saddle filed down a bit lower.

Artsy-Fartsy shot from the Float Trip

I dunno. Just liked the colors and the lines. And the suggestion that fun was about to be had. This was a bunch of our gear waiting for the Windy's van to come pick us up and take us to the put-in.

Spring Float '07

Well, it looked like we weren't going to be able to go floating with R&K this year due to a family function, but they got a hold of Harold and Lynn (and little Kate) and they were able to move the trip up a week.

We spent the night with the Williams' in Fulton on Thursday. Took Friday off and drove down there relatively early. We were getting a non-reservable camp site... I actually like them better because they're right up against the woods and are actually IN some very large but thinned (relative to the woods) trees. We didn't get our normal spot because they were doing some maintenance -- ok it looked more like a complete overhaul of the nearby bathrooms. The exterior walls and sinks and toilets were all gone. And it wasn't clear we were allowed to take that spot anyway.

So... we went to a different spot about 150 yards away. Tents went up. Harold & Lynn showed up about 8. We had a nice fire. I had gone into the woods and got a half-dried elm branch with the pocket chain-saw. It's effective and compact, but a bowsaw is better if you've got the room. I got it mostly for lightweight, low-bulk backpacking. I also got an old dead wild grape vine for kindling. And then I bought a couple of bundles of split oak. Harold brought some bigger dried hardwood when they showed up.

The only problem we had was these three... oh, they looked like teenagers but I guess they could've been in their early 20's who talked too loud late into the night on a speaker phone with women they didn't know, advertising their location, their next day's plan, and the fact that they had 105 beers. (And a machette, to anyone they heard walking by the tent.) You could hear both sides of the conversation, and they couldn't stop giggling. But they piped down about the time I got back from looking for the campground host. They DO have quiet hours there and they start at 10:00pm.

Ryan & Kristie and Vicki and I were the only ones floating. We couldn't have asked for better weather. We put in about 10:00 am, and spent the day on the upper Jack's Fork between Bay Creek and the Alley Spring Camp Ground. Stopped several times to play with the fun-noodles. We shot several "chutes" on them and found a few places to just lollygag in the water.

Kristie spotted some sun fish nests early on. Just like the ciclids in your fish tank, with an adult there chasing off anything that came near the bowl in the sand. We saw lots of sun fish and palid sturgeons. No turtles! Odd.

At one point Vicki and I had gone back upstream a little ways to check something out ... and for some reason ever attempt to get the canoe turned back around with the nose (Vicki) downstream ended up with us turning backward again. Not sure what was going on there, but we sure had a good laugh at it.

Later in the day we were in a chute and I got tired of trying to run it, I just wanted to be in the water without being carried down stream, so Ryan and I anchored my McGyvered "noodle ring" to a rock at the bottom of the river. Worked pretty well! (That's Ryan trying it out there).

Got out about 4:30 and had our "poor boy" packets that Vicki and Kristie put together. They were quite tasty. Roasted Marshmallows. And a S'more or two.

Broke down camp Sunday morning and went in to Eminence to Ruby's T&T Restaurant. They have an awesome breakfast buffett. Driving home, just north of Salem, we hit heavy rain pretty much through Jefferson City.

And for the rest of Sunday, I don't think either of us had any energy to speak of.