What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall is here

Don't know what to think. This summer seemed too short. Starting with rain and rain throughout really took a chunk of it. This morning as I got Faith dressed for school I noticed a fair amount of leaves on the lawn. It is a welcome change of season, but a bit of a bummer to realize that summer is also fading away.

We had a jam packed weekend at the Brummett house. Saturday was lost to lounging around the house and then we spent the afternoon at Jim's lake house. It was a beautiful afternoon other than about an hour long storm in the middle of our swim time. We caught a few fish, but nothing noteworthy. Austin and Faith both got rides on the wave runner. They really enjoyed it. Ended up getting home after 9pm. I sat down to relax, but got reminded that I needed to finish laptop duty. I had started trying to purchase a new Dell laptop for Erin and Austin to use earlier in the day, but was bothered by some price/promotion descrepancies on the Dell site. Well, three sales reps later I did end up purchasing a Dell laptop. I picked it up on ebay. I was able to take advantage of a 8% ebay coupon, 10% Bing cashback, and free shipping to get an even better computer for over $200 less. Dell.com needs to get their act together. I had wanted to purchase direct, but I do not have disposable income to pay 20-30% more for the exact same item with the same warranty.

Ended up with a Dell Vostro decked out and "downgraded" to XP for $633 out the door and $70 cashback coming in a couple of months. On dell.com it clocked out at about $900 + $100 tax, shipping, and fees. Score 1 for Doug the super internet shopper.

Sunday I woke up a bit late to make the 7am ride. I had to put a few final adjustments onto the Heckler. I had just got it back together Friday night. So I opted for about an 8:30-11am ride by myself. Stopped by The Evil Empire and grabbed a cup of coffee and a sandwich to consume pre-ride. I showed up at the kiosk on Monte Sano empty handed. Normally I have cash in the ash tray for park fees. Another norm is that there is never anyone working the kiosk. Well, this morning there was a nice lady running it. She ushered me in and told me not to worry about the missing dues, "it's really not a big deal" she said. Very nice exchange. I was thankful again to be living amonst such nice and friendly people in Huntsville.

I arrived at the biker's lot to see a fairly full house. The usual suspects were obviously out on the trails somewhere. I checked the tires and air pressure in the suspension. Then I headed out. This was a Doug ride, so I did one of my favorite fast downhills into the heart of the trail system, turned around and rode back up it. I did an out and back on Family trail to get some mileage. Then I hit the downhill again. I didn't find the need to stop on the ride, I took a nice pace and enjoyed the gravity. I finished up by riding out Sinks to Bankhead and up the road to the biker's lot again. Total of about 11-12mi. I ran into everyone else on the trail and again up in the lot. It was nice to talk shop for a bit after the ride.

I got home and relaxed into a beer and some reading on the patio when Erin railed me for not being ready to go. Dang, I thought we wer going to John and Mary's later in the afternoon. Oh well, scramble over and spent the afternoon. It was nice to see them and meet some new friends. In typical form the rest of the day faded away and I find myself at work again today. So it goes.

I saw this today over on Bike Rumor. I enjoyed it and think it worth sharing...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sneak Attack

Well sort of...
I have been stowing away spare parts as I built up the Heckler and got it to my liking. Well, what's a guy to do with a box of spare parts? Build another bike. Like the Heckler this bike is also to be a flashback to a bike I had in the past.

In Spring 2006 we had:
21" Rockhopper Pro
Revelation QR fork
Mutt-mix of parts
90mm stem and big riser bars
Decent width (and weight) wheelset

Well time flies, but not much changes.
Heading into fall 2009:
21" Rockhopper
Revelation QR fork
Mutt-mix of parts (a bit tidier this time around)
85mm stem and low rise bars (of course there is a stack of spacers to get them up to about even with the seat)
28mm wide rims on XT hubs (simple)

Check out the bars.

Got these dirt cheap off e-bay to test out some wide bars. These are Woodman Wide&Wild trails bars spec'd out at about 1.5in rise and 730mm wide (that's near 29in for us Americans). I have then tilted back to give a more traditional rise/rake. These are about the stiffest bars I have gotten a hold of. Those trials guys don't fool around.

The width honestly feels good. I may trim them down a touch mainly to get more trail clearance.

I am also liking these Easton Vice stems. Jenson has been blowing them out for $13-18 depending on the size. Burly stems and not that terribly heavy. Easton does good forged stems and at the price it is hard to gripe. Not many options nowadays for a stiff/strong 100mm+ length stem. I have been running a 115mm by 6 degree on the Heckler for the last few months.

Okay, so stiff bars and stem paired up with an aluminum frame. How's that treating me? Honestly a bit rough. I hadn't given my steel raleigh 29er as much credit as it was due. The Rockhopper doesn't have nearly as comfortable of a ride in the rocks. It does put the power down darn snappy though and I do like the more aggressive geometry. Still worlds more compliant than a SC Chameleon in the rough stuff though, so I can't complain too much. I had also taken for granted how lazy the Heckler lets me be. On the hardtail I am reminded quite often to lighten up on the saddle when rolling rocks and roots that I would normally just plow through.

All things considered it is nice to have a second rig up and running. Doing it mainly from the parts bin was also pretty cheap. I have a few rides on it and am pretty happy with the handling. Today was my first ride on the short stem, but that transition was easy since it fixed the heavy and weighted feeling in the front that was bothering me with the 115mm stem.

Okay, that's about all I have to say on that...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Atherton Project

Nice little video series covering Dan and Gee during the 2009 season (click the picture)...

From Blog

Monday, August 17, 2009

Little bit of doing for the church

A couple of weeks back I busted loose the garage cabinets in preparation to get them to their new home.

I pulled the counter top, broke them loose from the wall/floor (they were glued down), and flush trimmed them (cabinets are built with a lip around them to make matching them up easier I guess). At any rate, they are going to be out in the middle of Erin's classrooom, so they needed a bit of work to even things up. Then they sat for a while in wait for the time that they could be moved.

Well, this was the weekend for it. That meant it was a busy one for me. All of the little tasks Erin wanted all piled up in short order. Of course the garage was still in chaos from the whirlwind tree removal. So first order was to clean up some before I made a mess of it all over again. Then I moved onto my best effort to realize Erin's design. Most of the work is rougher, ala contractor style. But I did put some additional effort into the book shelf and hand rail. Pastor Brian referred to it as "custom". I think that was a compliment :)

At any rate, making counter tops and cabinets that have 3 sides designed to be hidden into free standing counters/stations was more work than anticipated. Here is the result of the room divider. Note, we still need to do some painting...

and a couple of shots of the book shelf...

The design is my copy of something in Pottery Barn that Erin liked. I beefed it up strong enough that should a 30lb monkey decide to climb it the shelf should hold up. I also made it 4ft, where the PB ones were only 3ft. That and the PB ones were $60ea.

I didn't take any pictures of the other cabinet. Not much to talk about there. I had to close off the bottom oposite the kick panel. Erin wasn't too worried about it, but I just had visions of all sorts of toys gathering under the cabinet. I was able to scrounge around the garage and come up with some scrap 1/8in ply for the job. I have been trying to come up with a cheap top for the cabinet. By seperating the cabinets the original counter top wouldn't be long enough. Scrap pile to the rescue again! As I was putting some garden tools back into the corner I set eyes upon the steel table that I had adopted when my previous employer had moved the factory. Hmmm, that's about 5ft long, steel, and laminated. I got Erin's blassing to use it as the counter top. It ended up working out very well.

Okay, that's it. Only omissions are beer drinking, watching TV, and a bit of eating. Hope you all had a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rolling with the times

Weekend recap. Not much going on around these parts. Erin had a class this Saturday, so the kids and I hung out. We lazied around the house for the morning. I had been getting a hard press to go swimming. So off we went. I grabbed some popcorn to snack on. The pool is quiet in the mornings and mid-day, so it was low stress. Spent a couple of hours going back and forth between the kiddie and the big pool. Surprisingly it was easy to get the kids out of the pool. I told them we needed to go get them some new shoes, so it was time to go.

Quick grab and go and we are off to the mall. Stride Rite was a mad house. There were hollering kids and strollers strewn throughout the store. Total chaos. Yet amidst the comotion there was a glimmer of hope. Some bright individual had put a sign in sheet to maintain order to the line of people streeming into the store. After a few minutes we were helped by a very nice lady. Faith and Austin were measured, had picked out their desired new kicks, and fortunately the store had their sizes in stock. Done deal. Wallet is a bit lighter, but we had been putting off the new shoes for too long.

Not really sure where the rest of my day went...

I got a ride in Sunday. Just a 2hr stroll through the Land Trust and Monte Sano. I did the big climb. All 800ft or so :-) from the Land Trust. I hadn't done that climb since fall of 2007. Gotta say it is much nicer at the beginning of a ride than the end. Up top I did an out and back on the Family Trail. Then I turned around and went out the Observatory Loop to Cold Springs. For the first time ever I managed to not miss the turn up to the red gate. It was a good ride and yet again I had the pleasure of setting an enjoyable pace since I was solo. I ran into Steve and Sean at the biker's lot. They had done a similar ride to mine, but in reverse order.

After the ride motivation was low. I drank a couple of beers, then convinced the kids we should go to the pool. And we ended the day hanging out over at a friends house. By dinner the kids were in super grump mode. So a quick dinner and then we sent them to crash out. Of course they were out about as fast as they got into bed.

Okay, weekend recap in a nut shell. Hope everyone else had fun and unproductive weekends as well!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where is Waldo?

Or more importantly, where is Doug?

Ride Log on Google Docs

I am going to put a link over on the sidebar as well since this post will eventually get burried.

At any rate, I have created a log where I can put up when, where, and with whom I am riding. So in the event I don't make it out for some reason the boss can at the minimum tell the authorities where to look for me. A bit dramatic there, but it is a good idea none the less.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend recap

first off, I gotta try this...

Okay, so the weekend was one of those where it is over and I feel like I need a weekend to recover from it. Thursday actually stayed overcast, but dry. So I got home from work and mowed the front yards. I started to clear some of the grass growing in our gutter, but only made it about 50ft into that before the storm and lightening started hitting. It hit hard and fast. Within about 10 minutes it went from regular overcast to wind gusts, sheeting rain, thunder and lightening.

I was pulling the dogs in and watching the trees in the back yard. I was a bit nervous about the way they were swaying and decided I should probably be inside. Right about then I here a pretty hefty thump out front of the house. I am thinking it was a big branch off of one of the trees. I open the front door and find a tree is covering the front of the house. Doh!

That is about a 60-70ft tall Tulip Poplar. The root ball pictured was about 7ft tall. Not exactly the type of thing you want to have in your front yard. Fortunately no one was hurt and only minor damage was done to the house.

Needless to say, I called in sick to work on Friday. Ended up spending the morning on the phone. I had a tree service out to quote. The price to remove this beast was $4500. Yeah, not gonna happen bub. So for the minimal fee of $1000 they came out with a bucket and a crane and removed the tree from the house. That was probably still a bit high, but they were able to come out on the spot and get it done. I spent the rest of the day clearing what they had cut down. One of our neighbors stopped by with a chainsaw and helped cut up more and trim some logs to length. I ended the day by hauling 300lb of sand and a 50ft tarp up on the roof.

Saturday started at about 8am with more clearing. I had a loaner chainsaw from our neighborhood pastor by 8:30am. By 9-9:30am I had been joined by not 1 but 3 other neighbors all willing to help clean up. It was truly amazing to have that kind of response from my neighbors. Yet again a not so subtle reminder of how nice of a neighborhood we have moved into. Before noon we had everything we could clear with the 16in chainsaw either stacked by the garage for firewood or in piles at the curb for disposal.

About that time Eric (another neighbor's son) arrived with Daisy an 88cc husqvarna chainsaw with a 36in bar. The rest of the neighbors departed as he and his girl friend dug into the main trunk and limbs of the tree. As they cut off logs and slices I would haul them out to the curb. At about 3pm the deal was done. All that remains is the root ball.

After a break and some lunch it was back up to the roof to secure the tarp and make sure it was held down well enough to deal with another storm that was rolling in. I finished that up and then raced to get a shower and appear presentable for the company summer party. And then it was off to Guntersville for the party. We arrived late, left early, and I was not in the most social of moods. However the kids got to fish some and get a short boat ride in, so they were happy.

Sunday was supposed to be a crash day, but Erin had to be up early to get some books back to her friend via her husband who was doing the delivery. So we were up and somewhat going. I started cleaning up the Family room. I don't think the couches have been moved in a good while, because there was all kinds off stuff under them. Full vacuum of the room, rug, and couches. Erin hit the kitchen. Austin and Faith stayed out of the way and tried not to make additional mess.

About mid-day Erin and Austin headed out for some school supplies. Faith and I went to get some odd and ends, and a new swimsuit for her. Then it was off to the pool. Finally some R&R. We ended up staying until dusk and closing time. Erin and Austin arrived around 4pm. BBQ'd some hot dogs and called it a day. Done. I'm pooped.