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2010 North American Handmade Bicycle Show
Posted on 03/04/10
My brother and I trekked down to Richmond last weekend for the NAHBS, an amazing trade show for small artisan and boutique bicycle manufacturers. The array of hardware on display was fantastic, from commuters to heavy duty trail rigs, and everything adorned with the special touches and amazing craftsmanship you's expect from the companies attending this show. Here's a video I put together which should give you a nice overview of what was on display.

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De-Winterizing? No... Re-Winterizing!
Posted on 02/13/10
Okay, so I tried to de-winterize last weekend, and failed. Over the course of the week I had the people who'd installed the furnace (Highlands Plumbing & Heating, nee Horrel-Neiderhiser Plumbing & Heating) come up and fix it, and turn the heat on. The plan was to have these guys heat the place up, then drive up and turn on the water so the home inspector could do his thing next week. Well, they say no battle plan survives its first contact with the enemy.

While the heating guy was successful turning the heat on, what I didn't account for was how the mass of snow on the roof would react with a warmer house. Despite the huge amount of insulation up there, the roof will get warm enough to melt some of the snow. And these big eaves, so wonderful most of the year, are fantastic at refreezing the snow melt as it comes down the roof. Yep, we have ice damming, and water's getting into the house. Not much water, but really, how much water coming in from the ceiling is accep
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De-Winterizing, First Attempt.
Posted on 02/08/10
I drove up to the PA house this weekend. I finally have an offer and needed to de-winterize (summerize?) the house for the home inspector. Alas, with all the snow this was not as easy as I'd hoped. First, the heat came on, but didn't stay on. The propane line had frozen and the thermostat had packed it in. Once the propane in the line was depleted the furnace shut down and that was it, no heat. Well, without heat I wasn't about to turn the water on. Oh well, at least I did some snowshoeing. I also shot a short video of the place. Enjoy.

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Posted on 02/04/10
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Preparing For A Cold Winter
Posted on 10/19/09
Went up to Pennsylvania to winterize the house. I didn't do this last year and spent around $500, maybe more, for propane to keep the place above freezing all winter. Not again.

Drained the water lines, tanks, and filters, opened all the valves, and put non-toxic RV anti-freeze in all of the traps. Turned all of the circuits off, except the front door light and living room lighting. Finally, I cleaned up and took as much stuff out of the house as possible. I even left notes to remind myself that all the valves are open (before I turn on the well pump and flood the place).

With any luck, come spring, everything will be just as I left it.
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Parting Is Such Sweet So... Errr... Meh.
Posted on 10/05/09
Okay, I will miss it I guess, but really it just wasn't the ideal vehicle for me anymore. Here are some final thoughts about my dear, departed '07 Honda Element EX.

Pros: Versatile, drove like a small car, comfortable, decent mileage, cool, cute, agile, quick, utilitarian, stick shift, great color, flexible, decent stereo with aux-in.

Cons: The reverse-opening rear doors just suck (not much more convenient than a two door) especially with a baby seat, cargo area always seemed too small (impossible to fit 8' lumber even with the front seats down), stick shift (my wife can't drive it), lack of always-on lighter sockets (a lot of cars fall short there actually), arm rests too low, serious lack of covered storage compartments, rear sunroof you never use, anything you put on the rubber floor will eventually end up under the brake pedal.

By the way, the sale at CarMax went wonderfully. After having no luck at all with eBay and Craigslist, I drove it do
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Fixing A Hole...
Posted on 10/04/09
A few weeks ago I moved the refrigerator away from the wall. It had been making a godawful racket and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to fix it. I was shocked to find that the floor below it was spongy and soft. I grabbed a few of the tiles, which came up easily revealing the soft, waterlogged subfloor. Ack. As it turned out, the refrigerator had no drip pan, probably hadn't had one for years, and the floor was rotted through. I put some boards below the fridge, rolled it back and tried to forget about it started thinking about how I was going to fix it.
The biggest concern with a job like this is always "What am I going to find when I start pulling this apart?" After finding another spot for the fridge (and not knowing how long it would have to stay there), and tearing up some tiles I started tearing up the wet, rotted floor.
I likened this step to debridement, the removing of dead tissue from a wound. I removed all of the d
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Garden Update
Posted on 07/18/09
The tomatoes are out of control. The photo below was taken before I spent some time cleaning them up a bit. Compare it to the one I posted previously to see what I mean. The cherry tomatoes are exceptionally hardy and have reached 6' tall. Although I've since pulled them back and tied 'em into the bamboo trellis I built, they were lying across all of the other ones forcing them down to the ground.
The sunflowers are nice, although I've had to add some bamboo to keep them upright. We had a bit of a storm last night.

Other than that, we have various peppers coming in (jalapenos, green, yellow, red), as well as yellow squash and green beans. The beans seemed to have been ravaged by something, as well as one of the pepper plants. The broccoli was pretty much a bust, althogh I've been told I can try again with another planting in August. the brussels sprouts are in, but apparently won't be 'sprouting' until the fall.
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So As Not To Spend More Money
Posted on 06/22/09
When I heard about the upcoming iPhone 3GS I was excited. My iPhone 3G had a cracked screen that was getting worse by the day and I'd convinced myself that $299 was actually reasonable in lieu of taking on the risky effort of repairing my own phone. Then AT&T dropped the bomb that current iPhone 3G customers would have to pay a hefty $200 surcharge, on top of the $299, and in addition to extending your contract for two years, to get the new phone. Suddenly the repair effort seemed like the way to go, if only to avoid being intentionally screwed by AT&T!

I'd originally noticed just a crack, but started losing pixels about a week later. Because of the pixels, I assumed that both the glass digitizer and the LCD were destroyed. Here I'm running the free Flashlight app so you can see massive number of the dead pixels.

I bought the replacement parts from a dealer on eBay for around $80 including p
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Farming The Suburbs
Posted on 05/10/09
Amy took Mother's Day off and we built a few new raised beds and planted everything we bought at Tatham's yesterday. We've got peppers (yellow, red, green, and jalapeno), tomatoes (roma, cherry, and beefsteak), an eggplant, broccoli, brussels sprouts, zucchini, string beans, yellow squash, zucchini, and a strawberry plant that made it through the winter and is already bearing fruit. We even have a few sunflowers in the brick bed next to the house!
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