Archive for December, 2011

More monkey business.

Over a month without a word, and now suddenly two posts in as many days!  Well.  There’s a reason.

The other day I found myself sitting on the floor with a torch in hand looking up at the joint I was brazing, something that any MONKEY knows not to do (finally proof that I am not a monkey).  Sometimes the desire to get something done takes over, and I get sucked into dangerous situations..  I was looking up at the joint and the beautifully flowing flux, thinking, “wow, if some of that dripped on my face right now, I’d be really sorry.”  So I kept going.  When the flux DID drip, it landed on my thumb.  Flux, when it’s hot enough for brazing, and this was, looks and behaves a little like molten glass, and when a big glob of it hits skin it sticks.  My thumb only took about 25 seconds to cool it down enough that it wasn’t burning me any more.  He heee!  Fuckin’ idiot.

So.  Now I have this blister on my thumb that is roughly the size and shape of Antigua.  It’s making it a little hard to work.  So.  Some forced down time.  The side of my thumb is still working pretty well on the space bar.

I did manage, after that moment of stupidity, to finish brazing up NOSE BIKE MKIII before the blister swelled up enough that I could work.  And yesterday morning, I lanced the thing, drained it out, taped it up, tapped and faced and reamed the frame, and swapped the parts from MKII to MKIII.  I got a picture of the two side by side before doing the MKIII build.

The changes are these:  Most obviously, the rack is 1″ stock instead of 3/4″, an attempt to reduce the spring board quality of the rack (success).  The curve is now at the back where it will be visible when the crate is on, cleaning up what I felt was the real aesthetic downfall of the original design (are we even applying notions of aesthetics to such a goofy looking bike?  Yup.)  The only reason that I didn’t start out with this approach is that it makes the mitering and fixturing a good deal trickier (I spent several days, late last week, making a jig for mitering the curved section and another for holding it in place for brazing).  The new version has a bigger down tube, and an externally butted seat tube.  It also has the new dropouts that I designed, with which I’m awfully pleased.

I’ll report back on my full findings

There IS a holiday batch of fenders in progress.  It is going to be a little smaller than I had intended, however, due to this latest piece of idiocy.  When they go on sale, I think they’ll probably go pretty fast.  You’ve been warned.  I will send an email to the mailing list when they’re up.

garbage dinner

About once every couple of weeks, usually when it’s just me and hill and it has been a long day and perhaps it’s raining out, I make garbage dinner.  Open up the fridge and see what’s in there.  Then, rather than waiting a few more days and throwing the stuff out, just find some way to cook it up.  Iron Chef, where the ingredient of the day is whatever you happen to find.  All the usual salt and pepper rules apply.

Last night it was wild boar sausage (from the freezer..  from the farmer’s market.. a bit of a ringer), oven fries (with leftover horseradish aioli from a few nights ago), crimini mushrooms browned with a little parsley and white wine, and cabbage braised in beer.  A strange mix of hearty remaindered items, but perfectly lovely.

When we’re up in Nova Scotia, going to the super market takes about half the day.  It involves boats, and cars, and Canadian currency.  We try to do it as little as possible.  Once a week maybe.  Since it is my habit here in NYC, the land of good food shopping, to shop every day for precisely the thing we want for dinner, I am not very good at planning lots of meals in advance.  Maybe three.  That’s about my limit.  After that, I’m just buying ingredients that I think might be useful.  When day four rolls around, it’s all Iron Chef all the time!  It’s when we have some of our best meals.  Being challenged to work with what you have sometimes brings out the best in you, I think. It takes you out of auto pilot and makes you pay attention.  (this is not a new idea).

It has the wonderful fringe benefit of making you feel virtuous for cleaning out the fridge.

Salt and pepper, don’t fuck it up..  pay attention..  clean out the fridge.

Over and out.

A couple of questions about the cabbage!

Cut the cabbage in quarters.. (leave the rooty section intact enough to hold it all together).

Brown the flat faces in a butter/oil mix over medium heat.

Pour in some beer.

Cover and turn down the heat until they seem done!

A nice thing to do with corned beef and potatoes for St. Patrick’s, instead of just throwing all three in water and boiling them into submission!