Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Curb your Car

Many readers of this blog (as if I had many readers) are familiar with a much more famous blogger - BikeSnobNYC - shocking but true he is a blogger who rides bikes in New York City. On a good day I might be able to match his ironic wit, sadly I have only sporadic good days, but I am not supplementing my income from this blog - so far my Google AdSense revenues are $1.45 over nine months. That and a peach from my tree and I'll have some baby food for Liam.

The Bike Snob has sort of a personal jihad about the misuse of bike lanes in New York. That and a general distaste of fixed gear bikes and wrong way cyclists. Somehow he keeps it fresh.

In San Francisco, we don't have a ton of problems with double parkers in bike lanes - mostly because we have a dearth of bike lanes thanks to a gigantic douchnozzle trying to pass himself off as the next coming of John Muir. Thankfully the time in purgatory is nearing an end. Not that we don't have a problem with cars - or Motorcycle Cops parked in our current bike lanes.

In Noe Valley we don't have a lot of bike lanes, so the problem here isn't so much parking in bike lanes, it's just flat out double parking, mostly in front of our various coffee shops. Noe Valley is not short on douchnozzles but it's a generally nice place.

Today, someone crossed my path that had my irony sirens going off full steam. I saw a car, double parked. This is something I really don't like, especially in the location it was double parked, around a blind corner on a busy street. Perhaps this guy had it in for me - he has a thing about organized religion you see, and while my claim to be "Holier Than Thou" has very little to do with actual religion, I could see how he might get confused. Anyway, the ironic part is that while he was parked in the middle of the street - as opposed to against the curb (pay attention - that was an important distinction), his ironic bumper sticker states...

curb your car

"Curb your God"

The next level of irony was the fact that he was double parked while sitting in the drivers seat, while there was an open parking spot directly behind his car (well, behind, and to the left. behind, and to the left). So he wants everyone to curb their God, which is really a pretty strong statement as a lot of people have invested a lot of time into their faith, but he can't be bothered to "Curb his Car".

This man has decided to wage jihad (well, not jihad, that would be a "holy war", but you get my point) against "Gods" of a religious nature, and advertise the fact on his car. I would claim that to this man, perhaps "God" is reflected in either...

1) Himself
2) His car

Apparently all those Allah lovers and fans of the Holy Trinity must put their god to the curb, his "God" is exempt.

Oh, and he was double parked in front of a church.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

millions of peaches, peaches for me, millions of peaches, peaches for free

Peaches, peaches for free on Twitpic

I think it's time to pull them, take them to SF, and distribute to friends. Especially in light of what something is doing to the Almonds. Not sure how to defend the Almonds from the varmint invasion.

Something attacking the almonds on Twitpic

On the veggie front, the cucumbers are coming in.


Tomatoes are coming in by the dozens but not starting to ripen. More sunburst squash, peppers (bell and jalepeno), the basil/mint/parseley are persisting. EZ stuff!

The San Francisco Bike Plan 45 of 56 projects approved!

45 of the 56 projects in the San Francisco Bike Plan were approved by the MTA board Friday Morning.

10 had been tabled for further study previously, including Masonic, a constant bone of contention as it provides one of the better routes south to north in that area. One project was tabled for further study at the hearing - bike lanes on 2nd Street. I am not very familiar with that area - residents showed up in force and the story from most is that they want bike lanes, just not the configuration proposed. We'll see.

Two things I find very laughable in the comments - the same comments come over and over and over.

1) Cyclists should be required to get a license, pay registration, etc... like drivers do. I'll grant that it's pretty much impossible to drive without paying gasoline taxes, but the concept that a drivers license or registration is required is laughable. All you need to drive a car is a car and a set of keys.

Do you doubt this assertion? 7,070 matches on google for <"suspended license" fatality 2009>.

2) All these restrictions and taxes are the LAST STRAW and that person is never coming to San Francisco and will send their taxes to San Mateo County. Guess that is why Westfield Mall (BART Accessible) is overrun with customers, and the big box stores in Dublin and the like are going under.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mork went back to Ork, and took the rest of the hippies...

I grew up in the bucolic town of Niwot, Colorado. Heckuva place. Backwards, you will note, it spells TO WIN. Not that we ever won much as a small town school in a big town conference, but it was a great place to grow up.

Among other things, the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic held in the 70's and 80's (later renamed the Coors Classic) featured some of the all time cycling greats in a stage race around Colorado. There were races including a Team Time Trial down Colorado 119 - the "Diagonal Highway" between Boulder and Longmont. In 1986, Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault came to race, that year included the Niwot Time Trial. My favorite race was the Criterium that was always held in Boulder. These days I would prefer the hillier stages. The race was a key race for the 7-11 team including American cycling greats Ron Kiefel, Davis Phinney, and Andy Hampsten. The most famous stage was the "Morgul-Bismarck" - of course that road is now sort of ruined as it is in a subdivision - at least by my understanding.

The race was viewed very favorably locally, at least in the mindset of a teenager, and nobody was happy about the races demise.

The race definitely added to the local cycling culture, I would go out and time myself on the TT course (and determine that I was actually a LOT slower than I thought I was). I was taught as a teenager to respect cyclists on the road, to slow down and give them a wide berth when passing.

Apparently things have changed in Boulder.

BOULDER, Colo. — Tensions between drivers and bicyclists in rural Boulder County have reached a new level, with fliers circulating in mountain neighborhoods asking drivers to blockade next month’s Sunrise Century ride.

What is it about being in a car and "Needing to get somewhere" that makes people lose all concept of space and make them willing to risk other people's lives. I just don't get it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lance Mixing it up Old School

lancearmstrong Race update - @levi_leipheimer, @hornerakg, and myself are racing the Nevada City Classic next Sunday. A great American race!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Prune Basil

OK, off the angry cyclist meme and back to the nice Farmer meme.

I am growing some basil, and was reading about pinching or pruning the basil to get it to grow out, not up. There were plenty of descriptions but few pictures. So here are my (crappy) photos.

First, the plant before pruning. 6 leaves. The bottom 2 leaves took some damage early in the plant's life, so I let this plant go to 6 leaves and will prune back to 4. In theory, you want to pinch all but the bottom 2 leaves.

basil - top

Here is the underside view showing the nodes (places where the stem splits).

basil - side

I'm leaving the bottom 2 (not so happy) leaves and the next two. I will be pinching the basil back just above the 3 way split.

basil - pinched

OK, there is the basil post pinch. The theory is that the leaves I left will grow stronger and most importantly, new shoots will come up on either side of the pinched off stem. I didn't really see any good photos on the web of this, or of the end result. But I wanted to try it, and I had a lot of seedlings going with which to try. And I was able to use the leaves I pinched off.

Here is the result from a plant I pinched back last week.

basil - sprout after pinch

There are TWO pairs of leaves on either side of the center of the plant, these came up on either side of the pinched off stem, sprouting from the node below the pinch. There is already a tiny set of next level leaves coming out from each pair, starting a new node. Once the first leaves from the pinch get to a decent size and the second set are up enough that there is a stem to pinch, I will pinch each of these side shoots back, which will prompt ANOTHER split on each side shoot. Eventually I will have a very bushy basil plant, instead of a tall stringy plant that just goes to seed quickly.

You can also see the leftover olive oil from the treat I made using the pinched off leaves. I have 3 decent sized plants going, one will stay in SF and 2 will go to Healdsburg, where they will soon adorn heirloom tomatoes from the rapidly growing tomato plants.

heirloom tomatoes

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dumbass Driver of the Day

Incident this AM. Central and San Tomas, Santa Clara California.

View Larger Map

Usually I exit Eastbound Central onto the offramp towards San Tomas, then take a quick left turn into the Tellabs Parking lot. Today I decided to say on Central to Scott, a couple hundred yards ahead, to try and find a place to buy some shampoo.

This requires me to leave the shoulder to cross the offramp lane. I looked back, saw nothing, and signaled to move left. As I started my drift, the spidey sense tingles and I look back and see a car barrelling at me in the merge lane at high speed, clearly exiting, and not intending to yield. I signal again but drift back to the shoulder and watch as my new friend exits onto the offramp, slamming his brakes to make the tight radius turn. Good for him, he's driving a Prius so maybe he got some regenerative breaking energy from that one. Cut off, I decide it's best to now take the exit, and follow him to the stop sign that leads to Lawrence Expressway North.

He was now third in a line of cars. This gave me time to prepare a response, usually I only have enough time to scream. Today, given more time, I threw my bike on the shoulder and stood right in front of his car, spread my arms, and said....

"You Missed. Try again. I'll make it easier for you."

Of course, this entails a certain amount of danger but I had already done the "mass murderer check". No tattoos, check. Bluetooth headset, check. This guy was plenty aggressive in the abstract, but he wasn't going to put me on the tarmac intentionally. In fact, what he did was nothing. He stared sort of in my direction, then he sort of looked to the left, into space, completely ignoring me, waiting for me to make the next move.

At this point the line of cars behind him was 4-5, and they started honking. I honestly didn't want to delay them - they hadn't done anything to me - yet. I shook my head and walked off in disgust.

And I didn't get my damn shampoo.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This is nuts!

From the Chron

A supervisors' committee will consider a number of proposed legal settlements Thursday, including whether to pay out $100,000 to a bicyclist who lost a testicle after he hit a pothole and $82,000 to a San Franciscan whose arm was allegedly broken by a police officer after he offered to translate for the officer.

The bicyclist, Barry Louis Mangels, was riding on Hugo Avenue when he hit a 5-inch-deep pothole and his testes slammed against his bike seat, forcing him to undergo surgical removal of the right testicle. His lawsuit argued that the city had received numerous complaints about potholes on that street and knew the area was dangerous.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I heart my iPhone

The camera phone is a great invention. The camera phone that allows me to zoom is even better.

I had the following 2 problems to debug this weekend.

The ball joint on the right (with red handle), was leaking, even after I tried to cover the leak with cement. Turns out I had sort of screwed this up, the ball joint was screwed on, not cemented on, but whatever. In the bad old days, I would have probably cut the whole mess off on the left side, brought it into the hardware store, and said "help". Instead I showed the photo. We ended up making the whole thing simpler by removing the pressure regulator (the black thing) and screwing a new ball joint directly onto the pipe fitting after the 90 degree bend. Leak solved, added a water timer (finally coming to the realization that teflon tape will keep the screwed on joints from leaking) and my blackberries and strawberries will get watered appropriately.

This one was ugly. There was a white cap indicating a capped off line next to one of my almond trees. The previous owner ran all sorts of tap in spots to the surface when he ran his buried irrigation line, in case he wanted to drop in more irrigation. I noted slightly wet ground around this cap. Digging deeper the ground was soaked - maybe this is why the Almond tree is loaded with nuts this year! That's not the long term solution to watering the almond tree, I ran an irrigation line to the tree that will be on a timer, but this leak needed to be fixed.

Turns out the rummy used a cut off nipple to run to the ground from the 90 degree PVC pipe. Cut off nipples are used so that you can easily size the distance from a PVC connector to the lawn sprinkler. Say you have a line running at a uniform "altitude" from the center of the earth, but your lawn isn't even. Some places you will need more vertical length, some less. The cutoff nipple allows you to shorten that distance with one part.

A cutoff nipple is not exactly the best part to use where tree roots will be getting in the way. A root pushed on the cutoff nipple and eventually bent it to the extent that the cutoff, which is intended to be breakable, broke. Replaced with a solid nipple, recapped, and I was good to go. I left this above ground because since I didn't run the PVC and the previous owner didn't leave me a map, it's good to have some reference as to where the PVC is running.

Neither of these solutions were immediately obvious to me. Being able to take the photos and head off to the hardware store with the evidence saved a lot of hassle and probably a couple of trips.