Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nice girls want to chat with me

I don’t know if it’s because of my sparkling personality, or the fact that I’m a big-time newspaper publisher, but I’ve been inundated with a dozen or more emails a day from “nice” girls that want to “chat” with me.

I don’t want to make any of you jealous, but that’s nearly 400 “nice” girls a month. Not too bad for a funny looking fellow who gets around on a bicycle, eh?

One thing they all have in common – besides having great taste – is that they all write that they’re “bored” or “tired,” without exception. I guess I have some sort of character flaw that attracts only bored or tired women, at least over the internet.

Another common trait is that they all email me from an email address other than their own, and they all write “I am writing not from my personal email.” They’re probably using someone else’s email because they’re jet-setting around the world, staying in lavish hotels, and fantasizing about chatting with me.

I haven’t had time to correspond with any of them, nor would I know what to write even if I did. It’s just nice to know that there are so many “nice” girls out there interested in me should I get a hankering from some forbidden fruit.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Why, you may ask, do I almost always post photos on Monday? Because I drive nearly 200 miles and taking photos takes the edge off. It also gives me a chance to stretch my legs.

Wilson Creek Beach.7.30

The beach at Wilson Creek is always a nice place to stop. It was cool and foggy.

iew from Vista point

This was the view from the Vista Point above Crescent City. I'm offering high-resolution downloads of this photo free of charge for a limited time only.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monark Silver King, 1947

For reasons that don’t make any sense, I’m on the lookout for an old-fashioned men’s 3-speed bicycle – preferably a vintage 1950s Raleigh.

This isn’t something I plan on spending any significant amount of money on. In fact, I have great confidence that I’ll get one for free someday.

There are probably thousands of bikes like these stashed away in garages and mini-storage units all over the world. It’s only a matter before their owners pull them out and declare them “worthless pieces of crap” after discovering that the tires are flat and that they don’t look like the bicycles used in the Tour de France.

They’ll then be wheeled out to the curb with “free” signs on them, dropped at a thrift store, or tossed into a pile of scrap metal at the junk yard.

So I just need to keep checking the usual sources and remain patient and vigilant.

Today I thought I had found something similar to what I’m looking for when I saw an advertisement for a free 1947 Monark 3-speed on craigslist. I called the owner, who informed me to come and get it before it was tossed in the trash.

When I arrived at the person’s home in Eureka, a woman informed me that this was her sister’s bicycle, purchased in 1947 – back when Harry Truman was president and the Marshall Plan had just been proposed.

Monark Silver King

This isn’t what I was looking for, but I didn’t want to see it end up in the landfill, so I took it home. I have no idea what, if anything, I’ll do with it. Just for the heck of it, I pumped up the tires, straightened the handlebars and tested it out. Everything works, including the internal 3-speed hub. Not bad for a 60-year-old bike.

monark name plate

Check out this cool plate on the front.

old seat

This is a crude, heavy version of those fancy Brooks saddles that are all the rage at high-end shops.

license plate

I like the idea of bicycles having license plates. An interesting tidbit about 1953 is that it's the year that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Mt. Everest, making them the first to reach the summit.

Monarch fender

Rust is our enemy, yet it's kind of beautiful. At least I think so. I also like how the front fender has a little fin on it. That's a Goodyear tire.

Sturmey Archer Shifter

Perhaps my nerdiness has reached a new level, being that I find myself completely fascinated by this Sturmey Archer shifter. My gut tells me that this little item is the most valuable thing on the whole bike. Notice that it's made in England for a 3-speed or 4-speed bike. I didn't know they made 4-speed internal hubs.

Monark chain guard

Nice chainguard.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

At night...

If you saw a questionable-looking fellow with a camera lurking around downtown McKinleyville Wednesday night, it may have been me.

After sitting on a plastic chair for nearly 3 1/2 hours and listening to people debate the pros and cons of fluoride and other topics at Azalea Hall, I felt like screaming. So I just got up and left, and decided to take some night shots before returning home.

fig's glowing

This photo sucks, but it's the best one I got. I'm playing around with extremely slow shutter speeds with my cheapo digital. Had there been more traffic on Central, I could have taken something interesting – in which the car lights turn into colored lines. That technique worked, but the photos aren't worth posting.


Today I had to visit a Big Box in the Big City. So I checked out the cameras. It was interesting to discover that a digital camera similar to the one I'm now using cost about $100 or less. Even more interesting is that a camera with all sorts of bells and whistles and a pretty nifty lens can be had for $300. Naturally, the consumer in me is interested.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

McKinleyville Totem Pole.Full Shot.7.18.07

McK Totem Pole

After that previous silliness, it's time for a regular shot with regular colors.

McKinleyville Totem Pole.7.18.07

I don't care what people say – I like the McKinleyville Totem Pole.

McK Totem Pole tilted

And I also like grossly over-saturated colors. Eventually, I'll grow up and revert back to realistic colors. But not today.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Morning Commute.7.16.07

As I do every Monday, I grabbed a cuppa joe, jumped in the car and hit the road.

Stone Lagoon.7.16.07

My first stop was Stone Lagoon. Herman Melville was right – people like to gaze at bodies of water. (And, yes, white is a scarier color than black. Got that?)


Just a stick.

Orick Theatre

Frank will be performing at the Orick Theatre. On this one special night, Orick will be transported back in time to the good ole days, when the town was bustling and there was a seemingly endless supply of old growth redwoods.

"Orick, Orick, that toddling town
Orick, Orick I'll show you around - I love it
Bet your bottom dollar you'll lose the blues in Orick
The town that Billy's Sunday could not shut down."

Battery Point Lighthouse

You can only get to and from the Battery Point Lighthouse at low tide. Today was a very low tide.


This building seems out of place in Crescent City. Then again, I feel out of place in Crescent City, so what do I know?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mad mouth.7.13.07

MadMouth from a distance

If you're a regular visitor to this blog, please disregard this photo and move along. Much nicer photos of Angelina Jolie and her inflated lips await you on the internet. Explore and enjoy.

This is just a ho-hum snapshot taken from the Hammond Trail between Murray Road and Knox Cove Drive. I post this not because it's an interesting photo, but because it shows the mouth of the Mad River in the middle of summer on a warm, sunny day. You can see the seals lounging on the south bank, where they flop around, snort, splash and make a lot of noise if you stop long enough to listen. A couple weeks ago I counted at least 170 seals at this location, but today there weren't nearly that many.

This photo may be an interesting reference point later this year, or early in 2008, when massive storms wallop the North Coast and the river's mouth meanders up and down the coast.

The river's mouth will suddenly migrate south to School Road, then reverse course and migrate back to Hiller Road. By the end of the season, it will return to its present location and all will be well.

In addition, I'm predicting at least two days of snow – one day in February and one day in March. One of these storms will be significant enough to close HSU for a day, and delay air traffic in Mack Town for at least 6 hours.

More predictions to come...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My fancy bike

Once I sell my electric bike, I’ll have a few hundred dollars burning a hole in my pocket. Rather than do something smart with the money, I’ll probably blow it on hobby-related fun stuff.

My first thought was that perhaps I could buy a new bike – something sleek, lightweight and fancy. You know – a kick-ass racing bike.

I even went so far as to visit a local bike shop. Turns out that all the bikes I like cost $1,200 or more! At this point in my life, that’s just crazy and couldn’t be justified on any level, even if I had the money (which I don’t, being that I’m in the newspaper business.)

The good news is that I have a fancy bike. Here’s a photo I took of it today.

My fancy bike

Pretty nice, eh? As you can see, it would be quite challenging to ride at this point.

It’s a Cannondale which I got for free on craigslist. It came in a bunch of pieces. The frame was covered in bumper stickers.

It was an ugly mess – so much so that the guy who gave it to me decided against going to all the trouble to fix it up. Whoever owned it before him was obviously a major degenerate who has no respect for bicycles, and probably no respect for humanity in general.

He (I’m sure it’s a male because a woman would never treat a bicycle in such a fashion) beat the hell out of this bike, which was probably an expensive item when it was new. Right now I call it my “$600 Bike,” because that’s what I imagine the first owner paid for it.

As of today, the frame is sanded down and primered. The front wheel is lubed, trued and ready to ride, sans a tube and tire. The front wheel is super-skinny compared to the rear wheel, which is a standard 1 1/4 aluminum wheel.

To match the aluminum frame, I came across an aluminum fork for a couple bucks at the Arcata Recycling Center a few months ago. You can see it in the photo. I’ll set aside the steel fork as a backup.

There are some nice Shimano components. There are also a bunch of missing pieces.

Right now I’m shopping for some cranksets – something with a nice granny gear for those long hill climbs.

I’m going to consider this my “racing bike,” even though it’s not really a racing bike. It’s a light-weight touring bike. But at my skill level, what’s the difference?

If I can devote an hour a week to this project, I should be riding this before the end of summer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bike Nut Anniversary

I’ve been a dedicated bicycle commuter and all-around bicycle nut for a little over a year. To mark this one-year anniversary, here’s a rambling list of thoughts and observations.

• I’ve always enjoyed bicycling, but last year I turned it up a notch, or two, or three.

• Everything in McKinleyville is within easy bicycling distance from everything else.

• There are few reasons to use a car to get around town.

• I still use a car to get around town, just not as often as I used to.

• I make excuses as to why I need to use my car, at least half of which are bogus.

• Even though it rains a lot in Humboldt County, most of the time it doesn’t rain, which means that most of the time rain is not a legitimate excuse for not bicycling.

• When I arrive somewhere on my bike, people ask me why I’m using a bike. But when I arrive somewhere in my car, people never ask me why I’m using a car.

• It’s not uncommon to hear people say something like “That’s a good idea. I should ride my bike.”

• Sometimes these folks actually start riding, but usually not.

• I log about 50 miles a week when it’s sunny and about 20 to 25 miles a week during the dead of winter. Sometimes these numbers are higher, sometimes lower.

• On average, I save two to three gallons a week in gasoline compared to before I went bike crazy.

• I used to keep track of every mile I bicycled. Now I don’t. There’s no rhyme or reason behind this.

• In the winter, fenders are a necessity.

• In heavy rain, I get wet no matter what I wear.

• During a drizzle or light rain, I’m very comfortable with my Gortex rain coat.

• My pair of fleece mittens, which was previously useless to me, is now a prized possession.

• Most of the time I wear regular street clothing – like jeans and a T-shirt – when I ride.

• Most of my pants now have grease stains on the cuff.

• I ruined two pairs of jeans this year due to grease.

• For recreational rides, sometimes I wear a lycra bicycle jersey. I like the idea that it has pockets in the back, but I’ve never used them.

• The butt pad in a pair of bicycle shorts is luxurious for the first 10 miles. After that it doesn’t do anything.

• I think most bicyclists look silly in their lycra outfits.

• There are a lot of rude and reckless motorists on the road, but my fellow bicyclists are even worse. A lot of them are reckless and ignore even the most basic traffic rules.

• I consider myself a courteous, law-abiding bicyclist, except when I’m not.

• I have a bunch of bicycles and ride different ones depending on my mood.

• Free and cheap bicycles are plentiful.

• I have to resist the temptation to bring home every bike I find that’s free.

• I take home most of the bikes that are free.

• I need to fix them up and give them away to loving homes before I run out of room in my garage.

• I hate the idea of giving away a bike to someone who won’t ride it.

• I spend about 30 minutes a week wrenching bikes.

• I’d like to spend 90 minutes a week wrenching bikes.

• The most beautiful bike tool I have is my fancy chain remover. It’s a work of art.

• The ugliest, most useless tool I have is a 6” crescent wrench I bought for $1 at a discount store. It was designed not to work.

• There’s never a need to purchase new 26-inch mountain bike tires. There are lots of gently used tires at the Arcata Recycling Center and they only cost a couple bucks, sometimes less.

• It’s much harder to find used 27-inch skinny road tires. So if I see them, I grab them no matter what.

• What the hell is a 700cc tire?

• I'm stuck in the 1980s when it comes to bike technology, not counting my fancy mountain bike.

• In a few months, I'll fix up my Cannondale, which I think as 700cc tires, whatever those are.

• I completed the 100-mile Tour of the Unknown Coast on tires that cost me $1 each.

• I don’t spend much money on bikes or bike parts. I'm cheap.

• You can buy nice T-shirts for $1 each at a thrift store.

• When they wear out, they make nice rags for cleaning bicycles.

• I’d like to free up some cash and spend a little at the local bike stores just to make up for all the times I’ve gone in, asked dumb questions and wasted their time.

• I feel like I owe the guys at Life Cycle a few bucks. Oh, and sorry about leaning that greasy bike frame against your merchandise the other day while I looked at new bikes that I may never buy.

• If I do buy a new bike, I'll shop at Life Cycle first.

• The mechanic (maybe the owner?) at Revolution Bicycles gave me a suggestion for solving a mechanical problem. I ignored his advice because I didn’t think it made sense. Months later I followed his advice. He was right.

• I feel liberated using a form of transportation that I can repair myself.

• I’m a slow rider, even though I feel like I’m going fast.

• I plan on getting into bicycle racing, but I’m going to do it slowly.

• I plan to ride the Tour of the Unknown Coast next year, but I’ll do it a lot faster.

• Faster is not always better. If you’ve got the time, what’s the rush?

• I always wear my helmet when I ride.

• I’ve developed an obnoxious habit of wearing my helmet when I go into stores.

• I have a chronic case of “helmet head.”

• I use my bicycle bell a lot.

• One of these days I plan to make my own bicycle bell.

• I’m intrigued by the idea of manufacturing extremely fancy bicycle bells for the high-end market.

• Four different times in the last 12 months I strapped a milk crate onto my bicycle rack so I could carry stuff.

• I have a bicycle trailer that my parents gave me. I’ve never used it.

• Bicycling and photography go together like peas and mashed potatoes.

• The nicest, most relaxing bicycle ride you can take is from McKinleyville to Patrick’s Point and back.

• The scariest place to ride is the shoulderless portion of U.S. Highway 101 north of Big Lagoon.

• It’s fun to ride at night, but I rarely do it.

• There’s a never-ending list of places I’d like to ride, some near, some far.

• The best reason to ride a bike is because it's good fun.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Morning rays near Damnation Creek.7.9.07

Morning rays at Damnation Creek.7.9.07

It's a little muddy, a little messy and not quite what I was shooting for, but I've posted worse photos.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

World's Tallest Totem Pole

Totem Pole.7.8.07

...and it's right here in Mack Town. Years ago I read that the Japanese created a taller one, but I think they dismantled it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

View from Hammond Trail north of Murray Rd. 7.7.07

Clam Beach near Widow White Creek

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This and that

Hammond Bridge graffiti

The art exhibit under the Hammond Bridge changes week to week. This week the display is much more colorful than before. But what does it say behind my bike? I can't figure it out.

Hammond Bridge underbelly

Over the next couple of weeks I hope to take a gazillion photos of the Hammond and Mad River bridges. I'll be posting most of them at McKinleyville Landscapes II.

Why is there a McKinleyville Landscapes II in addition to McKinleyville Landscapes?

Because Flickr has a memory limit unless you want to pay. Being that I'm cheap, I created a second account and a second page once I reached my limit on the first account.

Keep in mind that the photos on these pages are intended to simply document the landscape for historical purposes. Most of the photos are simple snap shots of fields, streets and buildings. Nothing fancy, unless you consider a photo of the bathrooms at Clam Beach high art.

Clam Beach, south lot bathrooms

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hammond Bridge

Hammond Bridge

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mill Creek Falls.7.3.07

MIll Creek Falls, rounded corners

On Tuesday I ride by Turner Road off Central Avenue just south of Kmart. I can't resist stopping by the falls. I'm never happy with the photos I take down there, but I click away nevertheless.

This time I decided to try something different. I used the "manual mode" on my little camera and used a slow shutter speed. I didn't mess with the colors or anything, but the camera captured some odd shades of green. That's probably because it's a confusing lighting situation, with dark areas and bright areas.

I used the corny "feather edge" on the photo above because it was the only way I could figure out how to cover up a corner that was way over-exposed. There appears to be a water spot on the photo below. I'll consider these "rough drafts" and I'll return to the falls soon to work on this concept.

Mill Creek, left side

Mill Creek Falls, south side

Argument with Self

blue building

Why are you posting this photo on your blog? It’s boring and lame. It looks like something out of a real estate magazine.

Man, you just don’t get it. The beauty of the photo is in its simplicity. The entire building is a bright baby blue, with a shadow perfectly darkening one half.

So what? There's a skit on Letterman in which an act comes out and they have to decide if it’s “something” or “nothing.” The photo above is “nothing.”

Maybe so, but for some reason I think it’s interesting. Not great by any means. Just interesting.

It looks like you’re over saturating the colors. This seems to be a trend in your photos. That’s kind of amateurish, if not downright childish.

I’m guilty as charged. But in this case I changed the color saturation very little. Besides, sometimes the increase in color saturation simply makes the photo look more like the real thing. When the human eye views a scene, the colors “pop.” But when it’s transferred to a digital or film image, the colors are dulled. So adjustments are in order.

You're over doing it.

I can't help myself, but I will try to be more conservative. I just can't make any promises.

I think you should have deleted this photo. By sharing it on your blog you risk the chance of embarrassing yourself.

Why should I start worrying about that now? I’ve tossed all sorts of material on this blog that I probably shouldn’t have. Remember, this is a “laboratory.” Some things here are just “experiments,” and sometimes experiments fail.

Kind of like this idea of debating yourself?


We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this photo. By the way, why didn’t you ever respond to Rose’s suggestion that you exhibit some of your photos in town?

Because it’s an idea I’ve been thinking about and I wasn’t ready to respond until the idea rattled around my head for awhile. I’m still thinking about it.

If you ever exhibit your photos, PLEASE don’t use the one above. I don’t want you to embarrass me.

I wouldn’t use that photo because I’m not even sure about it. Actually, the only photo I’ve taken in the last several months that I like is the old garage at the bottom of my recent “Trip to the Big City” posting.

I like that too. But there’s a high likelihood that other people don’t share our tastes.

That’s what would make an exhibit interesting.

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