New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Showing newest 14 of 16 posts from July 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 14 of 16 posts from July 2010. Show older posts

Friday, July 30, 2010

Old Fools Journal: It's the x#&^/?% Saddle

There is a wine cork from a bottle of Port in the seat tube to keep out the lizards.

it is. Fixed by two turns of a 14mm wrench.
What makes this worse is I had thought when I was trouble shooting this problem while riding on one of my test runs that maybe it's the saddle. But my aging drug and alcohol damaged brain said that's preposterous, it's too simple, look for something more complicated that requires tearing the bike down and making a real mess. So deciding that it was too simple I dismissed it.

The prize and grand winner of this contest is Thom of Do Right Fear Not, Old Bike Blog and The World Awheel all of which are worthy of your attention. He left a comment on my What's That Noise post suggesting that I check the saddle. I knew instantly that he was right.

Thanks Thom I'm in your debt. But I still feel really dumb.

To all that made suggestions I followed up on all and found the drive side of the bottom bracket loose, a chain that needed readjusting, the hub in need of oil and various other niggely things. Thanks to all.

out gathering the things on the list that SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) left for me this morning I was riding the cargo bike. The list was short but of bulky and kind of heavy items that required capacity and a fat wallet so I knew this was not an errand suitable for the new old bike.

At my first stop I spied this home made rack and basket piloted by "Ted"
Ted made the baskets and in fact the whole thing by bending the shelf racks that are for sale at the hardware store. These are those white coated racks for DIY shelf builders.
It's very sturdy and I would not be afraid to sit on it. As you can see it's all bent and wired together pretty neatly. I believe this is Teds only transportation but I didn't pry.
I like the rear wrap around grill.

Another gentleman came up and was also taken by the cargo bike. Both he and Ted knew nothing about what goes on in the rest of the world of bicycles. When one of them mentioned that it was one of a kind I explained the facts but neither believed me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Old Fools Journal: What's That Noise

My ears do not hear that noise as good as the camera does. At first I thought it was just dry bearings in one of the pedals but the pedals are fine and have been eliminated without a doubt. I have gone over everything else and so far no luck.

It only happens when I am peddling and not when coasting. I have checked the chain and chain guard but no problem there. I'll check the bottom bracket tomorrow. but that is all new and unless I left a lizard in there I don't see how it could be.

The maddening thing is I can't duplicate it in the shop. It only happens under load on the road.

I just hope its not in the rear hub as I'm not looking forward to looking in there. I really don't want to know how that part works but since that is the most complicated and the most inaccessible part "Murphy's Law" comes in to play. I'm probably destined to become a Sturmey Archer 3 speed expert. Right now I'm just a pert.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Old Fools Journal: The Dog, The Walking Stick and the Way to Stop A Bicycle Quickly

The new old bike in full dress. I have a temporary basket for the front should I need it but this bike combines fun and utility so it will mostly get left behind.

I think I'm finished setting up the new old bike. I have changed over the rack and folding baskets on the back along with the tool bag. The bell, rear view mirror and computer were not changed over when I test rode it the other day. I was kind of lost without the bell and the mirror. The bell because it tells a couple of the dogs it's me and the the little kids like it. The mirror because I don't have eyes in the back of my head. I did find that since I last rode without a mirror that I have gained some flexibility in my neck and can turn my head far enough to see behind me both ways now. What a pleasant surprise. I wonder how that happened.
The seat was the real time consumer. Even though I find the bike comfortable the way it is I like the seat set back so that I am not right over the pedals.This part is made
from this.

The cargo bike, the Schwinn and my folder all have the seat set back three inches. I thought I wouldn't on this bike but I tried it and it is much more comfortable set back. The fabrication of the part that makes it possible took some time and metal work. It has been so hot and humid that I am really limited to when and how long I can be out there in that Turkish bath I call the bike shed. The seat itself is too wide for me so I'm using the seat from the Schwinn which is just right.

So I set off to fetch some dog grub for the dog pack from one of the local stores and return some magazines to the library. I ride through a modest quiet little neighborhood on this route that has a few short little dead end streets that I sometime ride down just to aggravate the ankle biters that run free in violation of the law. Of course they came out in a pack like the cowardly sons of bitches they are (that is not cursing it's what they are). I was riding dead slow and went for my weapon (walking stick) with the intention of making the bravest one less brave. I fumbled, lost control of my shillelagh and jammed it into my spokes. It was a very effective brake. The bravest of the brave was so close the he ran into the bike, scared himself and took off, his cowering cohorts right on his heels. I could hear them barking from deep under the house trailer where they took refuge. Brave Sons of Bitches indeed.

One spoke very slightly bent but the wheel appears to still be true. I will take it off and check it the next time I can stand to be in the shed. (It has been checked and it is fine)

This bicycle rides sweet. I wonder what the chances of finding three old bicycles that fit me for free are. Pretty long I'd wager.

The long suffering and abused 35 year old Schwinn is in the tear down phase for a rebuild. It's going to be better than ever. I have yellow paint but I may paint it red to make it a little sassier. I do like ladies in red.
Road Hazard, there be horses in these parts.
Essential bike tool.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Warning! This Is Not Nice.

Does Anyone Remember The Exxon Oil Spill?

It's been 21 year and 4 months since the Exxon Valdez destroyed the fishing in Alaska and they don't have to pay for it. Our government sees to that. The environment and the people there were decimated and they still have not been compensated as if they(we) could be. Exxon has spent billions to not pay for its negligence.

The State of Alaska still loves oil as a whole but not the people who live from the land. Because of the money they will suck on that pipe until it kills them.

So BP is supposed to pay 20 billion dollars for their damages in the gulf of Mexico. Believe me it will never happen. They lie and the government will help them to weasel out of it. They say they have paid 4 billion already and I truly doubt that. They say that the safety of the cleanup workers is paramount but I know that is a lie. Those people are bought and discarded like a boxes of Kleenex.The news media loves it because they have a disaster to talk about and as a group they don't want it to go away (it sells cars). I'm sure that individually they think different but as a group they need disaster to survive but survive for what.
BP is a sleaze ball company and right now they are at the top of the sleaze ball heap but there are others to take its place on a moments notice.

I have known hard drug addicts and they don't ever get over it. They might stop using but the vast majority will use until it kills them. We humans will keep mainlining oil until it kills us all. It shouldn't take long and I may actually live long enough to see it (not something I look forward to). Unfortunately many other beautiful living things will go before us and we'll get to see that as well.

People with the money that live above all this will be affected as well as those of us who live in it and with it. The ignorant will wonder what happened and try to pin the blame on someone else. Man is only an animal and will go the way of all animals in due time. Meanwhile man is helping the animals go.
Things have a way of evening out.

I think I'll go take drugs now. I've obviously lived too long.

Pictures are from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. I decided not to put more because these few made me sick to my stomach. I apologize for being weak.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Old Fools Journal: How To Waste Three Days


Just when I thought I had this computer figured out I made the mistake of upgrading my operating system. There went three days. I don't use Microsoft of any kind so I can't blame it on them. I use a Linux compilation call PCLinuxOS. You can find it on the interntwebtubespipes. It wasn't its fault either. The fault was mine.

I have been using this system since 2005 and it wasn't the first Linux I tried. I sampled six or eight compilations but they were all lacking in some way or other. I had gotten used to Microsoft windows to the point that I could help others. I gained my skill and meager knowledge because it was always rolling over and playing dead. By burning incense, mumbling incantations and shaking my rattle I always seemed to coax it back to life. In the end I was reinstalling every six months and that was getting old. I fiddled with it more than I used it.

The problem with the Linux compilations were varied but what I wanted was something like MS-DOS with a shell over it that looked like windows, was intuitive and that I could use without having to work on it all the time. PCLOS was it. It looked like MS windows and whatever I did on MS windows I did on it and it almost always worked. When it didn't it was either easy to figure out or there was online help. One other little perk is it was free. So I went for it.

The problem started this time when the latest version came out. I was using the 2009.1 version and the 2010.07 version was offered so I downloaded it and installed it and my PC rejected it. It acted like it would work then it wouldn't. Fortunately I had the old system on another partition so I could keep working while I tried to figure this thing out. I tried re-downloading, burning another copy and re-installing it again to no avail. Meanwhile I was having trouble with my remaining installation and the repository where I get my fixes and updates rejected me. Panic city. I downloaded Kubuntu and it worked but was klunky, Ubuntu but it was like trying to instantly learn a foreign language. Finally I decided to install Ubuntu and learn to use it.
My desktop, Riggs Library, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
I could live in there.

Talk about an exercise in frustration. I was used to the KDE graphical interface and this was something that for me was just not intuitive. I could get online but some of the programs that I know it had I just could not figure out how to access. It would access all my files that I had on PCLOS partitions and get online so that was good. Then I tried to work with it and it just did not feel good so...

Screw this. I reinstalled an old copy of PCLOS 2009.1 (20 minutes) and resolved to use it without updates and several apps that I had been using. OK there's two days gone. Then I downloaded PCLOS with the lxde graphical interface and ran it as a live cd and it worked fine which told me that it was the new version of KDE that was killing me. You see my PC likes KDE 3.5 but throws up when fed KDE4. So KDE for me has been fixed until it's broke.

So finally I went to the forums, something I should have done three days ago, thinking that I couldn't be the only one having this problem (no, really?). I found the answer posted on May 8 in three minutes. I guess you could say three days and three minutes. Three days of beating my head against the wall and three minutes of thinking. I wish I was inclined to try thinking first.

I apologize to the geeks at PCLOS that developed and give away this wonderful operating system for all the cursing, wailing, gnashing of teeth, expressing doubts about their ancestry and taking of their name in vain. I'm crawling back on hands and knees begging forgiveness and please take me back. I'll be good.

Now for something a little lighter. Here is a couple that put real meaning into "Pole Dancing". If it doesn't want to play right click and select watch on youtube.

Now try to flush those sexual fantasies you just had and come back down to earth.

This made me feel really good just knowing that this can be done but I have feelings of inadequacy knowing I can not. I do like dancing but I'm not a big fan. I found this to be most beautiful.

I like to ride my bicycle, I like to ride my bike. I did go for a ride and I can't wait to tell you of the dog, the walking stick and how to stop a bicycle really quick.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Old Fools Journal: I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

This is how I felt this morning so I did.

Some of the public didn't seem pleased but then you have to cram FUN down some peoples throat. The behind the scenes video is good too. 160 people and 4 months to spring this "spontaneous" production on the unsuspecting public. Why doesn't this ever happen to me. I guess it's just as well that it doesn't because like the barefoot boy watching the summer circus parade through town I'd likely follow them like the children did the Pied Piper

I started changing the racks and other paraphernalia from the Schwinn to the New Old Bike yesterday. The Schwinn's last maintenance was the summer of 2005 so it's due. The rattle can paint job needs a little touch up as well. I didn't finish moving everything but I did enough so the there were no lose ends. So this morning inspired by this video I went out for an hour to see how I like it. Believe me an hour was enough today. It's back in the shed now for tweaking.

I think I mentioned that the bike is a full fendered Free Spirit made in Taiwan with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed. The date on the Sturmey Archer is 1987. Before I started putting all the stuff on it the weight was 31 pounds (14k). When I went out today it was 41 pounds (18.6k). I'm not worried about weight just curious about how much additional weight it cost to be able to carry even more weight.

I visited my neigh -bors heh,heh.

Then I had my meager lunch.
Tasteless foreign shrimp (south American probably. Damn BP anyway) but the home made shrimp sauce and the homegrown tomato make up for it. Finished with a slice of sourdough with pure no added anything peanut butter for desert and a glass of beer. Oh how I suffer.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Breathing Underwater

This weekend was so humid the going outdoors was like breathing underwater. At least yesterday it was. Today it's raining so it's cooler and the the air is more satisfying to take in. I have been trying to get back to riding my bike at least a little bit everyday but for the most part I don't find riding in the rain all that much fun. Sometimes it is but most times not. Besides riding down the street in the rain screeching in my highest wicked witch voice "I'm melting, I'm melting" makes people look at me sideways.
Seemed like a good time to finish some sewing projects that I've been putting off for a year or so (conservation of energy) and to catch up on my reading. So I transformed my hovel into a sewing room and went to work. I had more stuff to do than a thought on Kilts that went back to my first one. I put in about 6 hours at the machine and hand sewing and still didn't get finished.

The surprising thing to me about sewing is how messy it is. As you can see I have the iron and the ironing board out and a couple of sewing kits plus the machine. Sewing with a machine is wasteful of thread as I always have lots of thread ends and tangles I've had to clear away after I screw up. The floor ends up littered with thread and scraps of cloth not to mention the wet crap I track in when its raining.

Sewing is, like working on bicycles, very satisfying for some reason. It can also be frustrating as in when I start to get tired and the machine and I have a disagreement. Sewing machines are like computers. You have to do everything exactly right. I am happy to say that today I mostly did.

Anyway I got it all done including ironing the shirts, one silk, one rayon and one cotton. What a pain in the ass. Oh well it's work I can do nekkid standing in front of the air conditioner and a fan.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Rack Hack

Whilst out and about on my usual Friday Walkabout I ran into this gentleman on his way to the store I think. I didn't ask and he didn't give his name but this is apparently his primary transportation as in no car and no drivers license. I liked the fact that he had a red shirt, a red Schwinn and and a rack hack.
He said that hanging his tool box from the handle bars made the bike handle funny so he slapped the rack together from what he had. It worked and he saw no reason to improve it.
I personally think that is a wise move. I like to think of it as conservation of energy. It's also a good example of re-purposing things instead of sending them to the dump.

I hope to run into him again as I think he is a kindred spirit.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Fools Journal: I'm Not Making Any Long Range Plans

I'm not what I call a "Doomsdayer" but having been a student of the massive events this universe is capable of I do pay attention to the possibility's of catastrophe. It's happened before on Earth and there is no reason it shouldn't happen again. Read this report and the supporting reports to see what I'm talking about.

This is not a chicken little "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" article but is more a "it could happen" article and given mans greed and lack of forethought about taking care of his nest I think will happen sooner or later. The best part is there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it so no work is required.

Anyway it's a good excuse to go for a morning bike ride then eat whatever I want washed down with beer for "The End Is At Hand". I may use this excuse several times.

Now that the oil has stopped flowing it is back to business as usual. It will all be soon forgotten. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Numbers

Cayenne, my first attempt at growing these.

One of my pet peeves is how politicians, statisticians and car salesmen toss numbers around. It's not so much the number but it's the way it's said to cover up how much it really is. With politicians it was first indignantly using the term "hundreds of thousands of dollars" as if it were a horrendous amount but when they got use to that it was "millions". "Hundreds of thousands" no longer sounded so big and in fact five hundred thousand became "point 5 mil" as if it were a minuscule amount. At first millions seemed a lot but then to make it sound not so big they would put a little number like 2 or 3 with an only in front of that and say "mil" instead of "million so it became an insignificant amount as in "only 2 or 3 mil.

Now it's "billions". I doubt that any politician has any clue as to the difference between a million and a billion. Most people don't so if you preface that "with only (insert small number here)" it doesn't seem like much. Concentrate on the number 2 or 3 and (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain) underemphasis the word billion. Billion is just a bunch of zeros anyway.

The best example I can give of the difference between a million (a very large number) and a billion (a very, very, very, large number) is to do it in seconds. One million seconds rounded off is a little more than 11 and ½ days. One billion is one thousand millions in most of the world but there is an argument that it is a million millions. For the sake of this argument I use what the bank calls a million which is one thousand millions. One billion seconds is 31.7 years plus the leap days I didn't count.

One million seconds = 11.57 days
One billion seconds = 31.7 years (more that 11,574 days)

What I'm getting at is there is a vast difference between a million and a billion even before you tack on the little number in front of it. Now trillions are being tossed around as if it is a large number. I just calculated that in years and I think I burst a blood vessel in my brain.

A million dollars in one dollar bills stacked is only 43 inches tall. A trillion dollars in one dollar bills is over 678 and ⅔ miles (1092km) tall. I'd like to see that. Seems like a big difference to me.

Now days when an automobile is advertised on TV or radio and prices are mentioned then it goes something like this. "Only eighteen nine fifty" but never "eighteen thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars". Sometimes they'll say "under 30". What that means is it is twenty nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars and ninety nine cents before tax license and dealer prep. You'll never find a price in print in any auto advertisement.

Housing is always "affordable" as in "affordable 250's". Thousands is never said out loud. I heard one the other day that said "economical 135". They left adding the thousands up to the listener.

I'm not even going to talk about statisticians that swing numbers around wildly like a double edged four foot sword. Such as, .0016666 of the population of the USA was killed today in random drive by shootings. All the victims were children. Doesn't sound like much to me but if you piled the bodies up in the town square it would be around 50,000 children and it would be a big pile. You might need several town squares. "Only 40 to 50 thousand deaths are caused by automobiles a year" is another good one. I like the use of "only". They never tell how big the pile will be. If you piled the cars up with the bodies still in them that would really be a big pile.

I try to relay this kind of information to my grand-kids but it's hopeless. Seems the common perception is that if you survive to be an old man it's probably because you're stupid and don't know anything about the real world. That's by the adults, the kids still think I'm kind of smart but they'll get over that.
I suppose you wonder what that all has to to do with Cayenne chilies. Nothing actually but these two little bottles do. I put a mixture of ripe and green chilies in each bottle and the dark one has balsamic vinegar and the lighter one is apple cider vinegar. The bottles are about 8 inches (20 cm) tall and I got them at the thrift store cheap.

I've done this before and I keep a bottle of jalapeños and another of garlic in white vinegar on hand in SWMBO's kitchen. That's pretty much the only salad dressing I use. This is my first time using cayenne and I'm really curious to see how it works out with these two vinegars having used only white vinegar before. I use cayenne a lot in cooking. Sometimes a lot (chili con carne) and sometimes a little to add zing without heat.

If I can figure out how to dry them in this humid climate I'll get enough chili powder and red chili flakes (for pizza topping) off that one plant to hold me until next summer.

I have to go wash out my eye now since I just rubbed it with the finger I used to hold the chili when I slit the sides and stuffed them into the bottle. Ouch.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old Fools Journal: New Old Bike, Dirt Daubers and One Big Fly

This is a good riding bicycle. It usually takes a lot of tweaking to make a bike comfortable for me but this one is better than 90% right out of the shop.
It was completely taken apart right down to the the last nut and washer. All worn parts and parts that were too corroded to clean were replaced. Everything that required lube was lubed. One cable was replaced but the others were OK. The chain can be made usable again but not by me. It's just too much work.
I did no painting. All rust was either removed (it will come back), treated or converted as on this chromed fender. Paint is only surface beauty anyway. The real beauty is in the form or utility.

The only thing I forgot was coating the seat post with anti-seize but I need to adjust it anyway so it'll get done before it has a chance to become "one with the bicycle".

It's going right back into the shed as I have a old skate board that I have used as a rack in past and I think it is perfect for a custom rack on this bike. Skate boards are incredibly strong and no heavier than a steel rack. It'll be posted here when I get it worked out.

This bike was a freebie but to be usable it needed a few things. Tires from the hardware store $18.00, new chain $6.00, spokes $23.00, brake cable $2.50, brake pads ($5.00) all other things came from my stock. A seat with seat post I bought at the thrift store some time ago for $1.50, oxalic acid for removing rust, lube and rust treatment. Most normal people wouldn't have that stuff laying around. Seems I've got about $65.00 dollars in it and a lot of labor. That's not a bad price for a really sweet riding old time three speed.

Three-speeds is all the gears I'll ever need. I'll think I'll ride it for a while and tear down the Schwinn for an overhaul and repaint. It's been over six years since I did that last so it's about time.
Meanwhile the dirt daubers were hard at work. It only took a few hours for this nest to be built. This is the back of the main workbench in the shed and right in front of my face. It wasn't there, then it was. Dirt daubers are buzzing around all the time so I don't much pay attention to them except when they buzz my face and become a nuisance then they are done for. Before I use any given bicycle I have to check under the seat and fenders for nest. I have even found them on the chain.This guy showed up for cocktails at happy hour last evening. I believe it is the biggest fly I've ever seen and I've seen some really big horse flies. Fortunately it seemed to not be interested in us. It was a fast moving fly. I wonder what it would weigh dressed out and bar-b-cued.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Roasting My Chili

One of the grocery stores I haunt had a special on chili verde's the other day. One pound for $1.19. They are usually $2.99 a pound so usally I only buy a couple at a time. When I can get them in bulk it takes very little more time to prepare them than it does for just a few.

These are called Anaheim peppers or chilis in Southern California but they are really Chili Verde's. They are usually mild on the heat index but if grown where they can cross pollinate with a hot variety of chile can give you a little surprise. They have a distinct flavor of their own. I like other chili's such as Ancho, Pequin (especially pickled), Chili Arbol, Serrano, Cayenne and Jalopeño but for cooking and preparing chile's as a main dish these are my favorite. New Mexico is famous for this variety and those grown around the Hatch area are the best.

The skin is tough and needs to be removed.
Removal tool.

This is my method of choice. I love the way the skin crackles when the torch hits it and the smell of roasting chili is exquisite. When finish you have something that looks like this. If you picked them up before they cooled you also have burnt fingers.
I take them to the sink and under cool water scrub them gently with a nylon scrubber. The blacken skin comes off the chili easily but sticks to everything in sight except the compost bucket or the trash. It is embedded in the scrub pad, on your hands, on you belly if you do this nekked, if you don't do this nekked then on your clothes forever. If you wash your clothes with it on them it will still be there but it will have multiplied and be on everything in the wash and on the wash tube ready to multiply some more and be on the following washes. Take the time to get it all down the sink.
Take a paring knife and cut around the chile just under the stem end. This one is cut all the way through but the seeds are all attached to the stem and if you just cut through the flesh you can remove most of it in one fell swoop. (fell swoop=all at once with a flourish)
Moving the stem with the seeds attached to one side cut around the inside to release the seed attachments.
A plate full of goodness these. The one with the red end is why they were on sale as they were starting to ripen. I cut that red end off this mild pepper and popped it into my mouth. Delectable. For a moment. Then the "Revenge of the Mutant Chili" (soon in theaters everywhere) set in. This chili was one hot mama. I ate the rest of it in an omelet and as I got more to the pointy end it was less hot but I still had tears when I finished. I'll probably hear from it again tomorrow.

The remainder of the chili's were put in a freezer bag (the bag inside the cereal box that the cereal is in) laid flat so that I can take them out one or two at a time. They will be use in soup (chile verde instead of chile ancho), for chili relleno (stuffed with cheese or something) and omelets.

When we lived in Baja Sur, Mexico our next door neighbor Emma knowing my love for chilli relleno would bring over surprises. So one day she brought this beautiful puffed up fluffy dish over which there was a cream sauce with pomegranate seeds. It was stuffed with a mystery stuffing that she would never reveal. It could have been catfish heads and guts for all I cared. It was the best I've ever had and I have tried to duplicate it since with no luck.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Old Fools Journal: The Bicycle Werks and some Pretty Things

36 brand new spokes. Ain't they pretty. I've never bought so many at one time before.
All of them are 2 mm too long so it's grinder time. The one on the left is the gauge. I ended up doing three at a time so it went quickly.
The Old Fool in the Bicycle Werks.
Hair clasp to keep hair out of work : Dollar General 12 for a dollar.
Glasses: Dollar Store. One dollar
Shirt: None. It ain't cold. In fact it's hot and humid and raining. I should be working on an Ark.
Kilt: By Old Fool. Very light weight polyester camo, reverse kingussie style with cargo pockets hung at the waist and belt loops.
Stockings: None
Shoes: Red clogs. Family dollar. 3 dollars American.
That old fool is the height of fashion.
Finished wheel happy old man. In my reverie I found lacing spokes satisfying very much like sewing.
Shiny Sturmey Archer.
Pretty parts that will soon be in the dark and never seen again.
This is bright chrome but reflects the yellow from the artificial light. I rather like it.
This pretty part will soon be hidden by chain, chain guard, dirt and grime.
Same as above soon to be hidden away with only the rider aware of it being there.

I woke up this morning full of venom and worry.
Worry for my darlin' who went to the dentist yesterday and was/is not feeling well.
Venom because I made the mistake of paying attention to the so called newscast. I can't believe what grown men say and do but instead of dwelling on it I did this instead.

I can't do anything about stupid anyway, stupid being a rather permanent condition.
So my day was in the shop with Suzy the head dog and love songs from the 40's and 60's.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Let There Be Light or the lowly light bulb as art

This is the bulb of which I speak.

Their are all kinds of shapes of light bulbs and some are really beautiful but personally I like the shape and size of the common ordinary incandescent bulb preferably without the inside light diffusing coating. When they were first used they hung in the center of a room proudly displayed while they gave light. As time went by they were more and more hidden until they became a symbol of cheap or poor.

I have noticed over the years that the only people that seem to appreciate them are those people that are just coming into electric light and artist. I have seen examples of the former in some of the poorer parts of Mexico and in fact many years ago I enjoyed the best tacos and beer in a room with a dirt floor and a single 60 watt bulb hanging in the center. The place had an old ice box so the only electricity used was by that bulb.

Multi-bulb fixture - the number of bulbs is limited by the wiring, circuit breaker and/or cost of the parts. Simple idea but spectacular when on.
I want to make one similar to this only using cleaned out bulbs and a single bulb at the center.

Some of the artist I am sure do not think of themselves as artist but rather as chandelier makers but they are artist and I stop and stare at their work. I also copy them.

Single bulb chandelier for the artist craftsman. This is a cool simple idea and I'm going to make one.

Anyone that has read any of the post I have done on lamps well knows that I am somewhat of a lamp freak. Some of those lamps hide the bulb which is OK because in that case it is about the lamp not the bulb but I have a few that share the stage with the bulb and one that is merely a stand for the bulb.

Burnt out bulbs are easy to open and clean out and I use them for art displays such as Kendra's bike feather as seen on Girl On Bike and whimsical stuff of my own. I have made plans for using burnt out bulbs for a couple of chandlers ideas that I got from someone else but I have no place to hang them. Maybe someday. This Christmas there will be at least one glass ornament on the tree made by me from a common 60 watt light bulb.

Burnt out bulbs use to be more fun to break when I was a child. In those days they enclose a near vacuum but now they usually have an inert gas in them. The bulbs with the vacuum had a definite distinctive pop when broken but now it just sounds like broken glass.

I like using them for display such as Kendra's bike feather.

I'm no artist but I think the hatching light bulb falls under "art project. Foolish stuff for an oldfool.

More attempts at art. This is the "Whats it for" bulb because children ask "What's it for?".
Another brass base from the thrift store. Five cents.

There is another shape of bulb that I find truly pleasing and that is the plain round globe. They are more expensive but the globe is a shape that pulls at something primitive inside my head. Not something I can explain.

I also like the shape of the bulbs from Edison's day for their antiqueness but they are not common and I find hard to get. Pricey too.
This vase is a good use for round bulbs. The brass base came from the thrift store for a quarter. The artificial looking plants came from my yard and they are real

The new CFL's are an abomination in the looks department. I use them almost exclusively because they are cheap now and save energy but they are ugly. I revert to plain incandescent lighting in the winter for the heat that they produce. I get about 600 watts of heat as well as light evenly dispersed throughout my hovel and on many days and nights that is sufficient.

Some CFL's are made with a glass facade that is suppose to make them look like the common bulb but the manufacturers haven't got that right yet and they are way to expensive for what you get. I've a feeling that the CFL is not as "green" as is claimed when the cost to the environment of manufacturing and waste disposal is figured in. I've no proof of that.

I see new direct replacement LED's coming on the market now that have a pleasing shape but they are very pricey. I haven't actually seen one in the flesh yet or held one in my hand so I am reserving judgment.

See beauty in the common place.