Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Building a Bike

I'm tall. I have been trying for some time to find a bike frame that fits me good. My friend D. found a guy that had about 300 bikes in his basement with the hobby of restoring and selling them. I found a Schwinn with square frame (25" down tube, 25" top tube) Which fit me perfect. D. then convinced me that it would be fun to convert the bike to a fixed gear, and so began my decent into madness.
I guess it was nativity on my part, expecting interchangeability between bike parts. My bike was old. To avoid needing to rebuild the back wheel to switch to a fixed gear hub I bought new wheels with the new standard of 700c sizing. That lead to new brakes to reach lower. The bike had a single piece crank that wouldn't work for lining up a fixed gear so I bought an adapter but that required a freakishly long bottom bracket. In the end the only part that I didn't end up replacing was the frame and the seat tube. For what I spent converting the bike ($380+$160 for the bike) I could have bought a new bike that was already a new fixed gear bike. I keep getting solace from the idea that I wouldn't be able to find the right sized frame but it is still frustrating. The good news is that no part of a bike is foreign to me and I know all the tricks of converting between English and Italian sizing. Not to mention I bought a bike tool kit which was the right way to go since I have now used every tool in it.
The part that stings though is that D. was supposed to make a fixed gear too. He instead built a racing bike. The original idea was to have a fun bikes for all of us to ride through central park so I guess it is still OK.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cabin fever

So as much as I complain it really has not been that bad of a winter. There has been two times that there was bad enough snow that I stayed home from work that day and just worked from home. There have not been any un-forecasted snow storms so we were always able to change our plans or prepare if we needed to.
There is still the problem of what to do though. I hate feeling stuck inside but it was cold enough that neither of us felt like doing that much outside. This meant a lot of trips into NYC. This is where living near a train was really nice. It did not matter if there was snow or if a storm was coming.
When L.'s brother T. came for Christmas I was able to show him around the city since I have gotten a lot better at finding my own way around. When L.'s friend came to visit we took the train in to see the musical "Chicago". My friend D. and his wife joined us. On our way to the theater D. slipped on the ice and twisted his foot right in the middle of time square. It ended up that he had broke it. See snow and ice are dangerous.
L. and I made up a plan to visit all the different neighborhoods of Manhattan to familiarize ourselves. We made op a map and wrote the names of buildings famous for that area. So far we have about half of the neighborhoods checked off.
Its funny how many things we have found excuses to go into the city for. When living in California we never went into Los Angeles this often. Obviously living near the train has helped and there is a lot more to do in the city as compared to Los Angeles which is much more spread out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day

Since L. and I seemed to never have any of the special days together it seemed like this year she was making a larger than average effort. She has been giving me cards each day of the week and was making me nervous about what else she had planned since I didn’t have that much. I had been listening to music on pandora.com every day at work and found a Singer (Kate Havnevick) that I was sure she would like so had bought it and gave it to her early. (Yes, I felt like a teenager giving a CD as a gift but she loved it and listened to it constantly for a week while driving.)
But now that my one gift was already given I had to think of something to do. While doing errands with my friend D. in NYC we stopped in a 99 cent store. It hit me, dinner. So I bought candles, candle holder, and a thing to hold a can with a chicken over the top. I wasn’t being cheap, I was being resourceful.
I searched around and found and found recipes with something she loved in each one.
Chicken steamed in Dr. Pepper
Green Beans with Pine Nuts
Hasselback Potatoes with Parmesan
Coeur a la Cream with Raspberry Coulis
The biggest problem I ran into was the desert called for a heart shaped ramekin. After looking up what that was I improvised with a cut up paper plate and tinfoil.
The dinner was a hit. It was fun eating by candlelight and I am now looking for a decent set of candlesticks so we can do it again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Descent Into Social Networking

My manager was retiring to become a professor. Instead of hiring a new manager they decided to absorb our group into the other groups in the department. For me this meant that I was switching to the social computing group. Well that's all well and good but I am not one of the people that has any accounts on any of the social networking sites and outside of this blog that is more just for me keeping track of my own thoughts I hadn't bought into any real part of the social web or web 2.0 or whatever they want to call it. For the most part I have felt it was more a waste of time on creating bragging rights or showing off.
There are parts of it that I think are really interesting though and I have a lot of ideas so it is not like I am dreading moving groups but I did feel that I needed to learn some more about a large aspect of the internet that up until now I had pretty much ignored. So I started using my Facebook account that I had created more than a year before when I was in San Jose. The funny part is that is that my family had created two social groups and I guess didn't know about the other group being on the internet. As soon as I joined it pulled the two groups together and as with most things in groups it increased the activity exponentially.
The biggest problem I am having so far is privacy. Since it is all so new it seems way to easy to do malicious stuff that could steal information. It does not matter how careful I am since a lot of my friends and family aren't. I guess that is something that I will have to work on fixing.