Gnats Gnot Gnice!

Several times per week I wake up at 4:30am and leave the house at 5am to go bike riding for exercise.  I took this picture at sunrise this morning because I wanted to show off how cool the moon looked with the sun shining on it.  Unfortunately my cell phone takes crappy pictures.  I took 3 and this one was the best one.

But that’s not the reason for this post.  I love riding almost 23 miles every time I ride but the one thing that I do not like are the gnats.

Sometimes I will run into these little buggers.  They are so gross lol.  I can’t see them until they are coming towards my face and sometimes I can’t see them at all and I have no time to duck my head to the side to avoid them.  Occasionally I’ll get a straggler that’s flying solo that just flies into my mouth as I’m singing, and you know if you are on the bike trail by yourself with headphones on it’s pretty difficult to not sing.  Imagine singing an Alanis Morissette song “It’s like RAAAAYYYYAAAAYYYYAAAAIIIIN” where you practically have to unhinge your jaw to sing that one part.  A ton of gnats gets in then.

One thing these disgusting little things do is when they do run into my face, arm hair or chest, they latch on and go for the ride.  When I get to a point where I usually stop to take a break they let go and swarm me.  So one thing I like to do is stop maybe 20 feet or so from the place I like to take a break at so they will let go then take off so they can’t follow me.  Although some do catch up with me but not all of them.

During my breaks I like to take off my helmet and skull cap so I can dry my head and replace it with a dry one.  My breaks aren’t spent slacking off, they are spent getting dry to continue going the way I came, back home.  If I don’t do that then the skull cap I’m wearing will start dripping in my face.  23 miles is a long way to go with a soaking wet skull cap.  Usually as I’m opening my energy bar and taking a bite is when the gnats finally catch up to me then it’s dodging gnats all the way home lol.

It’s a very strange existence.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a gnat, flying in eyeballs, noses and mouths, latching onto clothing and sitting there while I’m being taken away from my gnat family.  No, I don’t think I want to live in that world.

I don’t even want to think of any diseases they carry *shivers at the thought*

Ok my skin is crawling, I can’t think about this anymore lol.

Cleaning the Back Yard

We were supposed to have family visiting us in early March but they postponed until late March.  Then they made it early April, postponed 1 week then again.  Basically, I’ve been frantically cleaning until I hear of the postponement over and over lol.

The house isn’t that bad but you know, it’s the little things here and there.  Nooks and crannys that you don’t think about but it’s the first thing that draws their attention and they bring out the white gloves type of thing lol.

So I moved on to the side patio, back patio and back yard areas.  Got the side patio and back patio cleaned out but it’s the yard that really needs to be cleaned.  I had a lot of trash in all of those places because we never use them so all of the boxes that I don’t feel like breaking down when I get packages and when we got our tv’s ended up there.  Also, some stuff got ruined in the recent rains and well, needless to say I have a lot of trash.  Our trash only gets picked up once a week so I have to wait to clean some more.

Our back yard doesn’t have any grass and the orange tree is growing out of control but what I would like to do is clean it all up, prune the branches on the tree and put grass out there then I can clean up the lounge chairs (sand, prime and repaint them and buy some garden cushions for them) so that I can sit out there.

My Nook works in the sunlight and I think that will make reading it so much easier if I’m reading it outside instead of inside.  Also, it will give our dog Flower a chance to do what she loves to do in the summer time which is sun bathe.  She loves to lay out in the sun.  I can see her laying on a lounge chair in the back yard lol.

I think that if we had a nicer looking back yard we might have BBQ’s back there where we can invite friends and family over for lunch or dinner or something.  Then we can all sit in the chairs in the sun or in the patio under the awning.

Since I have a lot of work ahead of me this is just a dream for now.  But like I said, I can’t do anything until the trash gets picked up so I can add more to the cans.  Same with the green cans.  I can’t add any of the orange tree branches to a full can so this will be a dream that will take weeks, maybe even months to fulfill.  But I want it to happen so it will… hopefully.

The Situation With My Bike

A couple of months ago my bike bit the dust. Well, the back wheel did. What happened was, I rode it to the store and all was ok, it started wobbling but not enough for me to stop and take notice. When I left the store, I unlocked my bike, put the groceries in the bag on the back rack and left. That’s when it took a turn for the worst. Get it? It’s a wheel… it took a “turn”… no?

Anyway, as I was leaving the space that I locked it up at, I got on it and started riding away. It was wobbling something terrible and I got off of it but couldn’t see anything wrong. I got back on it and continued to ride. All of a sudden something terrible happened and I had to get off the bike.

The sun was going down so it was hard to see what was wrong but I did notice that the long screw that holds the wheel onto the bike in the middle had unscrewed all the way over on the left side. The nuts on the right side were missing and so was everything else that was supposed to be in there. I didn’t see anything on the ground so I don’t know when that happened.

I walked the bike home which was a huge mistake, I should have gone across the street from where I was to use Chips cousins phone to have him come get me and the bike because walking it home ruined the back wheel.

The end of the long screw was digging into the middle of the wheel which screwed it up so much that the bike store told me that they can’t fix my wheel, I’d have to buy a new one which is $39.95 plus tax plus $7 to install.

I don’t know if by install they mean they will take the gears (cassette?) off my old wheel and put them on the new wheel or if he means that the new wheel has all the gears on it and installing means placing it on my bike frame. All I know is if it’s the latter, why should I pay someone $7 to do something that I can do for free.

I have put so much money into this mountain bike of mine, I just can’t keep sinking more and more money into it. The only original thing that is left on it is the frame and the chain. Everything else has been replaced.

When I had my first accident on the Oak st. bridge, I had to replace the handlebar stem and a new front wheel. I had to replace the pedals because one of them was broken because it was cheap plastic. My seat was making me impotent so I had to buy an ergo seat which gave me back problems and shoulder pain that wouldn’t go away for 8 months which is why I had to replace the handlebars with beach cruiser handlebars. My front tire got a bubble in it and broke the wiring for my bike computer so I had to buy a new computer and new tires.

I’m just going to get the new wheel and get it over with. I need my bike back for going to doctors appointments. I refuse to take the bus to visit the doctor with lunatics getting in my face at the bus station downtown. I also need it for the daily trip to the grocery store and so I can get back on the bike trail and lose this weight.

The Price of Tea

In my blog I talk about things that I find interesting or disturbing. My blog is more like a bad episode of Seinfeld. So… now I’m going to talk to you about the price of tea lol.

I went to the grocery store to buy some tea bags. I grew up on it and I like to make it as an alternative to soda. In my opinion it’s cheaper than anything else out there, all you need is a coffee maker, a tea jar and some sugar or sweetener. My mom used to brew it in the sun but I find it much faster to brew a pot of water in the coffee maker with the tea bags clamped on the coffee pot lid. I had an aunt who used to boil the water on the stove in a large saucepan then steep the teabags in the water then pour it into the jar. I like my way better.

I was a little confused about how much they charge for their teabags though because it didn’t make any sense. I was looking at the 100 count box which was $3.99. Ok that is a bit high but it’s not that bad I guess. But, I don’t need a big box, I just need enough to get by until Next week when I get some money. I looked at the box with 50 bags and it’s $3.49. What? It’s only .50¢ less? Well that’s not right. It’s half the bags, it should be half price right? $2! Then I looked over at the one that only had 25 tea bags and that one was $5.49 WHAT?!? How can it be possible? It has 1 quarter of the bigger box. How can it possibly be more? The box with 25 tea bags should cost $1 not $5.49.

Then I look and see all these boxes that only have like 10 tea bags and they cost more than the box of 100 bags. What is wrong with this picture? Why is tea so expensive when it’s in a smaller package? Why is this big box of 100 tea bags so cheap compared to the other ones? I don’t understand. And the box of 50 and 25 was the same exact brand and same exact flavor as the box of 100 bags.

Lipton, Lipton, Lipton, can we have a chat please? Is there something we can do to fix this? It just doesn’t make any sense what you are doing here. I just don’t see your logic in charging so much money for smaller packaging. It should be less but you charge more. Why? Is it because you are going broke? Is it because the packaging cost more than the tea itself? Maybe we can think of a cheaper way of packaging the tea bags then. I just can’t understand why you would charge so little for 100 bags but then jack up the price for the smaller boxes.

I’ve been a Lipton fan since I was a kid and I remember in my 20’s buying the smaller boxes of 25 bags and they were only $1.50 per box. I’m sure there was a mistake in pricing at the grocery store but it looked like it had the correct label so I don’t know. I just think that it’s a big waste of tea bags and packaging if nobody is going to buy the smaller boxes when they can get the bigger box so cheap. You know what I mean?

Ok, my tea bag rant is over lol. I’m stepping off my soap box now. Carry on.

Yes… that just happened.

Goodbye Bicycle

Well so much for exercise.  I went to the grocery store and as soon as I got on the bike to come home something felt a little strange with the chain.  I rode in front of the store from where I locked my bike at and tried to fiddle with the pedals to find out why the chain was giving me trouble but I couldn’t figure it out.

So I was fine to ride to the street I turn right on but then it started acting a little strange, the wheel didn’t feel right, it was wobbling.  I got off the bike in the middle of the street and had to walk it over to the sidewalk.  At first I thought the townie basket was coming off and was pushing against the wheel so I took the heavy groceries out.  That wasn’t it.

I still didn’t see it because the sun was almost finished going down so it was too dark to see, but then I saw it.  The bolt that goes all the way through the wheel was sticking out too far on the left.  The 2 nuts on the ride side were gone, I don’t even know what happened to those.  So since there was no long bolt to hold on to the frame on the right side the wheel couldn’t keep me balanced since it was only holding on the left side.

I had to walk the rest of the way home carrying 1 heavy grocery bag on my left hand and 1 light but still annoying grocery bag on my right hand while both hands held onto the handlebars.  The entire time I was walking the back wheel was rubbing against the brakes and making this awful noise which I can’t explain how it sounded.  Well, it sounded like some deep voiced animal either dying or giving birth.

I have 2 missing bolts and no idea where they are and no money until next week to be able to do anything about it.  It’s not going to be expensive, well, I don’t think it will be.  I mean it’s just a matter of screwing the bolt centered again and buying 2 nuts right?  Maybe?  I’m sure the nuts aren’t too expensive at Home Depot or maybe the bike store has them cheap.  Or who knows, maybe I have to bring the back wheel to the bike store and have them fix it and charge me $20 for it.

I wonder how this happened.  Last weekend when I rode the bike on my 22 mile trip I tightened everything .  In fact I did a full maintenance job on the entire bicycle to get it ready to ride with no issues.  How in the heck could that bolt screw itself all the way to the left?  It doesn’t make any sense at all.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter.  I’ll get it fixed and everything with be fine… blah blah blah.

Update 2011-01-28: As of this date I still do not have a new back wheel.  I just can’t afford it.

My Shoulder Exercises

Yesterday I tried to find the poster in PDF format of the exercise guide for my Weider Total Body Works 5000 home gym but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I have the poster that came with it but it’s washed out in the sun.  I took several pictures of the poster so that I could combine them all using the panorama thing in Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.

The pictures that I took suck because I took them in my bedroom and it’s really dark in here so the white of the poster looks dark yellow.  I would like to do it all over again outside so the white shows up as white instead of as dark yellow.

The point of me doing that was so that I could crop certain exercises out and put them all side by side and print onto a sheet of 4×6 photo paper so that I can carry out there with me so I can hold it up and look at it easier.

So I picked out 8 exercises that I could do for my shoulder.  I picked out all the ones that are for the rear part of the shoulder since that’s where my pain is.  Although yesterday the pain moved to the front, well it’s back where it belongs, in the back of my shoulder.  So I’m going to focus on working that muscle to fix the problem.

Even though it sucks really bad, here are the exercises that I chose.  You can click it to see it full size.  It looks horrible but it looks better on 4×6 paper.  When I get time before my Stargate shows come on I’m going to go out there and try it again so I get it right.  Then at least I’d be able to share it with the world since nobody else has it for download.  Oh, it looks white with specks because I used the replace color option in Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 to change the dark yellow with white but I couldn’t get all of those colors out of there so I just left it for now.  I will fix it.

rear shoulder exercises

As promised here is the guide.

Chia Pet Status

This morning I went to look at the Scooby Doo Chia Pet and noticed that it’s still just seeds.  My laptop with the time-lapse software with my webcam has been taking a picture every minute over the last 24 hours and nothing has happened.  The seeds aren’t sprouting yet.  I figured that if they aren’t even going to start sprouting yet then maybe now is a good time to reset everything.

Yesterday I messed up the camera angle and I think I fixed it so it was at the right angle again but I wasn’t 100% sure.  So turning it off and deleting all the pictures was ok.  I turned it back on but instead of 1 picture every minute I figured 1 picture every hour would be fine.  Maybe I might change that to every 10 minutes though which means I might have to shut it down and start over again lol.  That’s ok, it’s all still just seeds anyway.

Ok I went and stopped it and changed it to 5 minutes (300 seconds) instead of every  60 minutes.  I figured maybe 10 minutes was still too long that 5 minutes would be good because a lot can happen in 10 minutes.  I mean as far as movement, the growth might move toward the sun in 10 minutes and it might look funny.

So it’s back on starting now lol.  The video is going to be too long anyway if it’s every minute and I don’t want it to be a 20 minute video in time-lapse.  I did a video of me sleeping with time-lapse and it ended up being 17 minutes and that was just from 6 hours of sleep too but then again it was taking a picture every second so there you go.  But this video is going to be going on for 1 week.  I’m pretty sure every 1 minute is going to make it a very long and boring video.

Well whatever it is I will make it about 5 minutes so it will go really fast lol.  I’m going to work on the other video today that I made yesterday while I was spreading the seeds.  I will get that on YouTube (and here) A.S.A.P.

So anyway, see you in a week with the progress.

Bike Cam Part 2

When I did the Bike Cam video the place where I stopped at was my half way point, the place where I would rest before I got back on and turned around to go back home.  That was 16 miles round trip.  Well, since then I’ve added to my bike ride.  I was going 19 miles then 20 miles then 21 miles and now I’m going all the way to China Grade so my bike ride is now 22 miles round trip.

So since I’m going to China Grade now, the next time I ride I will bring the camera with me and when I get to Manor St. instead of going through the tunnel I will set my camera up on the handlebars and then continue through the tunnel from there and go all the way to China Grade before stopping the camera.

This of course means that I will have to leave the house at 5am instead of the usual 4:30am because when I get to Manor St. the sun isn’t even up yet and I don’t think doing a video in the dark is very productive lol.  Especially since I don’t have a light for the camcorder.

Anyway, tomorrow is my day off from riding, I do 3 days on then 1 day off to give my body (and now especially because of the new seat) some time to heal.  So Thursday morning I will take the camera with me and video tape it and then by Thursday afternoon the video will be on YouTube.

If you want to help me before then, suggest a couple of songs for me to buy to put in the video via a comment.

My Bike Must Be a Teenager

I guess my bicycle must be a teenager because the front tire has a pimple on it lol.  I was riding along this morning and all of a sudden it felt like I was hitting bumps in the road but I knew there weren’t any bumps at all.  I couldn’t do anything about it either because the sun wasn’t up at all so I had to wait until I got to my halfway point which was when the sun starts to come up.

As I’m riding I pass this baby stroller on the side of the bike path and I looked at it while I was passing it and saw 3 heads get up and turn to look at me as I’m passing.  I could’ve sworn 2 of those heads were dog heads while the 3rd one was a bald headed man lol.  The pimple in my tire was making noise and it woke them up.

So I get to my halfway point and I really don’t see anything wrong with the tire.  Then I see this bulge sticking out of the side of the tire and the top of the tire too so the top of the tire was slanted in that one spot lol.  I figure I can’t do anything until I get home because I’m probably going to have to remove the tire and the tube and adjust it.

I finish my 10 minute break and start to head back, I look at my computer and it says I’m going 35 then 40mph lol.  WHAT?!  There’s no way I’m going 40 lol.  I pull over again and see that the pimple is rubbing the wire going to my computer and it’s stripping it exposing the wiring inside.  I definitely have to fix the tire now.  I pull the wire tight so it isn’t going to get pulled by the tire again then I turn the bike upside down and let the air out of the tire.  I sort of adjust the tire but really, there isn’t anything I can do.  I’m not gonna start taking everything apart right there on the side of the bike path road.  I started putting air back in and see the pimple blowing up again so instead of filling it all the way with 64psi I just stop at 30.  That will get me home for sure.

My tire pressure in both tires doesn’t have to be the same.  My front can really be 30 or 40 and I’ll be fine but my back tire must be either the standard 64 or 60 is good.  The reason my front tire is doing that is because the wheel is 26×2.0 but the tire is 26×1.95 so it’s not the same.  So now I need a new tire for the front wheel so when I get some money I will buy the exact tire that I need for the front wheel.

Wood Burned Box

I just added a video to YouTube, it’s just a 1 minute video but it’s of the box that I just finished making for Chips cousin Vedra.  Her birthday is this Saturday, July 4th.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_3cqj-0WWA

I wish I had thought of doing this earlier in the month because then I would’ve had time to do it properly.  I put this wood protector stuff on it, I don’t know what it’s called but it protects the wood from the sun and from water.  Anyway, you are supposed to put that stuff on then let it dry then sand it then put more on and then sand it again and I think you are supposed to do that several times.  But I didn’t have the right sandpaper to do that and it’s just a box lol.

So what I did was I found the pattern online, it’s like a border for making a card or sign or whatever.  But I stretched it out so it was the same size as the top then for the front and back I cut out the bottom of the border image and printed it the right size for the front and back.  Then I did the same thing with the sides and I just blended them in with the roses so it looked normal lol.  Then I used this water based paint to paint the roses and the leaves.  Darrin wanted pink so I mixed the red and white to make pink.  I was trying to be clever with the green color for the stem that the leaves were on so they weren’t as dark of a green lol.

I’m still a beginner with 0 skill in shading so until I can learn that there is no shading in any of my projects.  I’m going to buy a book online this Friday along with some supplies so I can learn.

Anyway, I hope you like it.