Christmas Redwood Vacation

I haven’t posted anything on this site in a while, mostly because my recent photos have been crappy smartphone shots uploaded directly to facebook. However, I really do prefer to post my content in a setting where I control the terms of service. (Everything on this site can be shared and remixed according to this Creative Commons license.)

Erin and I just got back from a few days on the northern coast, spent day hiking in the redwoods. I took quite a few pictures, most of which turned out terribly. (I need a faster camera and a better eye for color balance to do the landscape justice.)

Here are the ones that look OK, plus a few that I like just to help remember the place.

Iceland

I’ve been promising these for a long time, but here are the best pictures from the honeymoon in Iceland.  A lot of these are pretty mediocre, but I wanted to show as much of the trip as possible.  I’ll add captions later, and maybe pare down the selection a bit, but I didn’t want to delay this any longer.

Wedding Pictures

We got the wedding pictures from the photographer a week or so ago, and we’re really pleased.  I’ve uploaded a handful below.

The wedding was an absolute blast, everything we could have hoped for and more.  The entire weekend was filled with the people we love.  Thank you all so much for coming, or for being with us in spirit.  It wouldn’t have been the same without all of our wonderful family and friends.

1 down, 45 more to go

Erin and I climbed Giant Mountain in the Adirondacks today.  It’s spring break this week, and we had a break in the weather today, so we decided to go for it.  I’ve been desperate to get out of the city lately. Giant is one of the 46 high peaks in the park, so at this rate, we’ll be 46ers…well, maybe never.

It was a beautiful walk.  A strenuous hike, but not too technical.  There was a lot of snow on the upper half, but thankfully it was packed enough to hike without snowshoes.

Too tired to write more, so enjoy some pictures:

Spring Bike Porn (SFW)

So I’ve spent the last couple weeks making some adjustments to my bike.  I’m pretty sure I’m done, at least until summer.  You can see the original build here.  After taking those pictures, I replaced the pedals with a set of MKS GR9s, which are decent, inexpensive platform pedals that accept toe clips.  They’re great with street shoes, and the profile is a little bit narrower than my original pedals.   I also added a set of half-clips from Velo Orange.

This spring I replaced the stock stem with a shorter one, also from Velo Orange.  Along with the shorter stem, I fine-tuned my fit, shortening my reach.  The result is much more comfortable.  I also replaced my 16t rear cog with a 17t Rennen cog, as my original gearing was a little too tall for the stop-and-go traffic on my usual commute.

I ditched the steel fork in favor of a cheap carbon/aluminum cross fork that I scrounged up last year.  A lot of people would argue that a carbon fork on a heavy steel bike is silly, but mostly I was interested in the disc brake tabs.  Snow-clogged cantilevers are no fun in the winter, and I think I’ll add a front disc break next year.  Dropping a pound of dead weight off the front isn’t a bad thing either, and I can’t discern any difference in the geometry with the new fork.

Most recently, I stitched some leftover leather onto the toe clips and added pair of VO alloy fenders.  It looks like Albany is pretty wet in the spring, and commuting in the rain without fenders is a special sort of hell.

Finally, I scraped off the gaudy Surly logos.  Personally, I think the end result is gorgeous.  Here are some pictures, although the color balance is pretty crummy.  I’ll try to get some outdoor shots tomorrow.

Winter keeps hanging on…

We had some nasty freezing rain last night, followed by snow this morning.  Made for a real mess, but the ice was pretty, especially when the sun came out.

2 bicycles (+ 2 adults) in 1 studio apartment…

Erin and I have just moved into a very small apartment.  It’s only for a few months, and we only moved the essentials, but it’s still quite cramped.  Fortunately, I have experience storing bikes in kitchens.  Some may remember my original DIY bike rack.  That post got a lot of traffic, and many people complained about the crude construction.

Personally, I thought the original had a nice “beta-testing” feel to it.  But after looking at the pictures again, I’ll concede that it was probably an alpha release.

For the whiners who are into sandpaper and staining, I proudly present Bike Rack 0.2:

Construction is the same.  A 2×4 upright is held against a 2×4 plate, using a lag screw for tension.  Slip-on stud hooks are used to hold the bikes.  It’s still in beta, but I’ve added the following improvements:

This added nearly 15 minutes of labor, so in an emergency bicycle rack situation it may not be advisable.

Bicycle

While I was in Korea, I saved up a bit of money for a new bike.  I haven’t had a new new bike since 5th grade, so the whole thing has been pretty exciting.  I bought it in October from the Outpost of Manistee.  Kyle is a good friend and working with him is always a pleasure.

I looked at a number of options before going with a Surly Cross-Check.  I added lighting, a rack, and a good lock.  After a few months of riding, tweaking the fit, and swapping out a few parts, I’ve got a bike that I really enjoy.  Here are some pictures from our ride today:

The stock cyclocross tires have been swapped with a cheap pair of 28c tires from my LBS.  I replaced the saddle with a Brooks B17 Narrow, and stitched on some elk-hide bar covers from Velo Orange.  The brake levers have been swapped out with Cane Creek SCR-5s.  These are actually almost identical to the Tektro levers that came with the bike, but I wanted something brown to (sort of) match the bars.  They’re slightly narrower than the Tektro levers and much more comfortable for my hands.

Finally, I’ve added a computer and a bell.  I’ve never been a fan of bells, but it’s handy on sidewalks and bike trails.  Yelling “on the left” as I zip past always seems sort of rude.

For me, this is the perfect commuter.  It’s fast enough, handles well, and the steel frame is a blast to ride.  It’s nice, but not obscenely expensive.  And I love the way it looks.

The Pond, 2010 edition

Since Erin and I are both back in East Lansing this winter, it’s time for another round of pond pictures.

For those that don’t know the story, this is a pond that Erin and I discovered while living in the university apartments.  These were older buildings, next to the express-way and the train tracks. There was a surprising amount of swampy, wooded land near-by, and it made for fun exploring when we were bored.

The pond itself is shaped like two perfect rectangles; I’m assuming it was a borrow pit left from the construction of the express-way.  If you’re curious, you can see it on Google Maps.

This was our first trip this year.  It was a beautiful day for a walk, and I wanted to check the ice conditions.  I looks like there’s enough ice for skating, but the surface is pretty rough.  We’ll need to get a patch cleared off and see if it smooths out.

Here are some pictures:

Pictures from Bangladesh

Here are two galleries of photos from Bangladesh.  I’ll do a longer write-up later, but I’ve got lessons to plan right now.  Enjoy!

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