Quite some time ago, I went to the pumpkin patch to fetch some pumpkins. This adventure occured before Halloween when one naturally needs to acquire orange squashes for the purpose of carving. So I went to the pumpkin patch owned by a family who has farmed here since the 1860s. Not only did they have pumpkins, they had old farm tools. Rusty farm tools, with wheels and cobwebs and whatnot. I happened to have my happy snapper along, so I took some snaps.
Yesterday, I went to the pool as I often do. Not too many other people went to the pool, and so I decided to do some intervals. For the water geeks playing along at home, I started splashing my way through 5x200. Nothing too silly, just a little splishy splashy. There was no one else in my lane. It was quite glorious. I swam straight down the middle and didn't hit arms with anyone in the lanes next to me. I have very long arms, so swimming down the middle is a lovely luxury. Somewhere midway through the fourth 200, the water began to feel a little strange. Bubbles tickled my fingers. Somebody was in my lane, and she wasn't moving very fast. So much for glorious solitude. Well, I navigated around the intruder and went on my merry way. On to the final 200, only one left to go. After 50 meters of rolling along, a strange creature swam into my field of vision. I had encountered Accessory Man.
Now, I like swimming, because it's simple. I put on a few scraps of lycra, a ballon over the hair, and a pair of goggles. That's it. Jump in, go swimming. But Accessory Man, he's in love with the gadgets. He was wearing fins on his feet, paddles on his hands, a lycra shirt to avoid the sun, swim trunks to cover the um, stuff that swim trunks cover, a swim cap, swim goggles, and a snorkle. All at the same time. I couldn't help but wonder how he remembered it all and which part he put on first. Certainly, the paddles had to go last, since opposable thumbs come in rather handy in most situations. It was quite a stupendous sight. Waiter, waiter, there's a sea monster in my lap pool. He was moving rather quickly too. There's a reason fish have big flippers instead of feet and gills to breathe under water, you know. Accessory Man clearly has fish envy. Also, he looked like a dork. I was awed by the dorkitude and the vast collection of accessories. I felt lucky to escape with my life.
In other news, I've been looking for a new Shack lately. I'm a tad bored of the old Shack and it is lacking in certain useful features like a garage, washer and dryer, and well, lots of things really. So I make my daily pilgrimage to the classified ads and to Craigslist to see the Specials of the Day. During that ridiculous bubble thing, rents rose along with housing prices. Thanks to an elderly non-greedy owner, the Shack lagged far behind. This was very nice. Pop goes the bubble. Prices are slowly sinking, though rents are lagging behind as owners who wagered far beyond their means try desperately to find a renter to save their shirts. Newsflash, if I could pay your mortgage, I wouldn't be a renter.
Anyway, the Search for Shack Version 2.0 has led to some amusing episodes as the descriptions in the classified ads have a tendency to leave out many relevent and important details. Take the example of one house that showed up a month or so ago. Listed as a two bedroom with a large fenced yard, this Daily Special included a separate studio for office or storage and sat on a dead end street. Dead turned out to be the key word. After emailing for more information, I punched the address into the Googler and zoomed along street view until I found it. It was indeed a two bedroom house with a large fenced yard. It also neighbored the local cemetary. At least, it would be quiet. And we could throw a kickass Halloween party.
Beach cottage, new paint, off-street parking, washer dryer hook-ups. This sounded promising, though usually when I see beach cottage in the classifieds, I picture a tool shed with a curled photo of the beach on the wall located somewhere remote and dusty. So, I called up the owner Mike. (Name changed to protect the foolish.) Hi Mike, tell me about your beach cottage. Get the address, check the Googler. Mike's beach cottage is actually near the beach. This came as quite a surprise, I have to say. A Zillow check revealed that the lot was not currently up for sale, a key consideration in this day and age. So, we wound up the veedub - which recently got a mostly rebuilt engine, zoom! - and headed out to view Mike's beach cottage, which was actually a cottage near the beach.
Mike's beach cottage sat in the middle of a lot with two other beach cottages. It had a cute little yard and though it lacked a garage, the car port had ooodles of storage. Looking good so far. Venturing onward, we entered Mike's beach cottage. The door stuck on the carpet and required a solid push. Annoying, but not fatal. The kitchen offered counter space, good, but no refrigerator, bad. Very bad. Like, where's the refrigerator? Not only was there no fridge, but there was really no obvious spot to put one. Mike's beach cottage had a very small kitchen when it came right down to it. A door led from the very small kitchen to an even smaller porch with the advertised washer hook-ups. The porch was cute, with a cheerful red floor. Red floors are nice. Windows without glass are not so nice. The laundry porch had no door and no windows. Killer, I get to buy a fridge and put it, well, somewhere, and a washer and dryer and put it well, outside. This idea did not fill me with joy.
The large hole in the kitchen wall around the gas pipe also did not fill me with joy. Hello, Rodent Local #3201, we have a job for you. Yes, c'mon over, the wall's wide open. All you can eat, we'll leave the light on. The bathroom spanned the length of the bathtub and not a millimeter more. It also had no fan and no window and sat between the two bedrooms. Maybe the bed, which is not really so large as beds go, would fit in the bigger bedroom. Maybe. My beloved sectional couch would definitely not fit in the living room, at least without overlapping the wall heater which would lead to fire. Fire is bad. The walls bowed inward and outward at the same time. Single concave works well for surfboards, but not so well for walls. Just one layer of wood and siding separated the inside of the house from the outside and no insulation marred the imperfect fit of the windows in their frames. I could always burn my couch.
The sign outside showed the original offering price for Mike's Daily Special. $1800.00 per month, bring your own fridge, washer and dryer and a lot of wool socks. The price had dropped considerably by the time I encountered Mike's beach cottage, but it was still way over-priced for what amounted to a permanent camping trip. If I wanted to go camping, I'd buy a tent.
I don't really like tents, so here I am at the Shack still reading the classifieds. At least the roof doesn't leak, the walls aren't concave (or convex), and my couch fits. This is very important, the couch.
For those who'd like to play along at home, welcome to Craiglist. Roll the dice, see what you get. No pets? Lose a turn. House for sale? Do not pass go. Apartment listed as a condo? Go directly to jail. Ad that leads to a Nigerian email scam? Lose all your money. It's good wholesome fun for the whole family!
Alrighty, then, that's all the adventures for today. Next time I go looking at beach cottages and such, I promise to take my secret pocket camera, so I can bring you photos. Accessory Man, I leave to the imagination. I would not wish to confront my readers with such a frightening sight.
Once upon a time, on a flat Summer day in Santa Barbara, John decided to build a surfboard. An Alaia, to be exact. The Alaia is an ancient Hawaiian design made of wood. It is completely flat. Look ma, no fins.
Off we went to the hardware store to purchase some wood. Heh, heh, she said wood. Well, it turned out that they didn't make wood wide enough. So we bought two pieces of wood (6'x 1'x 1") and some very very strong glue. We also bought a saw, because we didn't have one. A planer, because we also didn't have one of those. Some sandpaper. And some string.
Those are all the ingredients, right there.
Chapter 1: The Planks The boards, they needed sanding. John planed the inside edges so they'd fit together all nicelike. Then, they needed gluing. Newspaper might have been a good idea right about now. Shhh, don't tell the landlord.
The planks had to dry. This part was sorta boring. Like watching, er, glue dry. The strings kept the wood all close together and tightlike without squishing it. Squishing is bad.
Chapter 2: The Measuring The template came from the internet. Is there anything that isn't on the internet? I'm going to say... no. The laser printer rallied to the cause and belched out all the pages. Then, we taped it together. Be vewy vewy kwiet, we're measuring surfboards.
And then, measuring it again.
Chapter 3: The Saw Now it was time for the cutting and shaping parts. The cutting part would be much easier with a better saw. Like, maybe one of those fancy ones that you plug in and stuff. Sweaty business, the sawing.
With the outline cut out, the planks were starting to look something like a surfboard. Something, being the key word.
Now it needed rails and some curves. John planed the rails down to a rounded edge.
Then, he put a wee bit of upward curve on the nose. (Okay, I lied, the Alaia isn't totally flat, just mostly.) He also put a concave in the back. Just a wee one. I tried to take a picture of the concave, but it didn't work out. You can barely see the concave curve on the bottom.
There followed lots and lots of sanding. Then, the Alaia received several coats of linseed oil to seal it for freshness. And a Milo brand for cuteness. Voilà.
Finally, we took it to the beach, and put it in the water. It actually floats! There weren't really any waves, but John made it surf. I don't have any pictures of this phenomenon, because I was surfing too. Maybe next time.
Final measurements: 5'11", 3/4" thick, 16" wide (at the center).
Overheard at the Cafe: "Is that your single speed?" "Uh, what's a single speed?"
Meanwhile, I have spilled many words on the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France over at steephill.tv, which is why the Lint Trap has been a bit empty lately. After much squinting at very cryptic profiles, I have stage previews up for the Tour now too, though I still have four more to write. Sheesh, who makes these profile thingies anyway? The ones for the Giro stages were no problemo, but in France, they seem to have a profound aversion to legible stage profiles. Eh, we persevere.
A second twobluebikes has also shown up. Someone has clearly been feeding them after midnight. Pro Bike racing content is at the other bluebikes. When I get around to it, that is, which hasn't been lately. Maybe today, since there's a rest day thingy there in France. Surely there will be gossip of some sort going on.
And I'm really really hoping the flat spell ends soon. I did ride my fish yesterday in ankle high windswell. But I'm not sure that counts.
John finished building his Alaia. A post with photos on that bit of shenanigans coming soon!
The other day while I was out playing bikes, I pulled off the road to send off a text message. My headset is pitted, so I can not text from the bike. Or, do anything of the other things on the bike that require two hands. A tad inconvenient.
Anyway, I was chilling roadside making plans with a friend for coffee. j... k... Ld.. Lep... Lets md... medicate... mee.. meet. Autocomplete, so silly. There I sat arduously turning gibberish into words. There must be a better way.
Along came two riders. I noticed them out of the corner of my eye, noting the beat-on mountain bikes, the backpacks, and the white shirts. Commuters, I figure. But then, they stop. Maybe they're lost, I think.
"What have you done today to bring Jesus into your life?"
I stared back blankly at them. Like, who are you and why are you in my space. And, are you for real? They looked like they'd walked out of a Halloween party.
You are trying to convert me by the side of the road, I think. This is an odd turn of affairs. Surely, text messaging must be some sort of devil's work. Certainly, lycra shorts are.
"What are you doing today to bring Jesus into your life?" More insistent, this time.
So I said the only thing that came to mind, that is, what I was doing at exactly that moment.
"I'm writing a text message, then I'm finishing my bike ride."
Nothing like putting action to words. I hopped on my bike and sped off. Sped, being a relative term, of course. It wasn't exactly difficult to out-run the missionaries.
The road is a strange place, some days.
Today's ride was thoroughly uneventful. Just windy. I like Spring, except when I don't. Flowers are nice, except when I sneeze. Wind is fun, except on the bike. And the surf is well... Don't ask. So much wind, so few waves. I'm paying rent for this?
I went out on a bike ride on Saturday. I saw a lime-green whoopie cushion by the side of the road. I wonder if it glowed in the dark.
Happy New Year. Did I say that yet? I meant to say that. Now, it's 2009. Which feels so completely different from 2008.
There's still no surf to speak of. Who ordered up the flat spell? Me, I'm blaming Kelly Slater. Reportedly, he recently bought a house here. Clearly, it's all his fault that it's been flat for weeks and weeks and weeks. Sigh.
In other surfing-related news, we just sold one board, so we can buy another. So virtuous.
If you are of the surf-video watching persuasion, One Track Mind has some quite lovely footage shot on film (as opposed to digitalness.) Yum. Funny interviews, too.
No surf, how about food? I recently discovered a friend has a fabdabulous blog of vegetarian recipes. Nice clear instructions that even a dumbass like me can follow. And, pictures. Scrumptiously beautiful pictures. Now, where is that kitchen of mine, anyway?
I did say this post was about strings too short to tie. And, really, it's a bit short to tie, too. Somedays are like that. Especially mondays.