Monday, January 31, 2005

Naked coffee

This is the juice

I have a modified portafilter on the way. The origin scan happened 6pm.

I shall forego the geeky analysis of how it will improve my drink quality. Instead I will declare that it simply will improve shot quality. It's time to take the illustrious cappucino to the next level. Someone who visits the cafe on occasion said they had a better cap in Italy. I am not pleased. It is my SHD to quash that opinion forever. Nobody is to beat the cafe.

pssssst SHD = Sacred Holy Dharma... word.

random data


Range (mg)

Typical (mg)

Coffee, 8 oz, drip-brewed



Coffee, decaffeinated, 8 oz



Espresso, 2 oz



Tea, 8 oz, brewed, domestic



Tea, 8 oz, imported



Caffeinated soft drinks, 12 oz



Chocolate milk, 8 oz



Semisweet chocolate, 1 oz



Sunday, January 30, 2005


Today's story: Went to the zoo with perhaps the slowest moving two year old ever. When b-dog & I go, we have an agenda. What is up with the lollygaggers. Moving on...

The purest mundanacity is the innane activity of disassembling my box spring only to reassemble it in its destination in the bedroom. You see the queen frame simply does not fit up the stairs. The layers of nailed and stapled wood was never intended to be disassembled. Some of the wood self destructed but it's generally intact and we'll be sleeping in high tech comfort...not that anyone's still reading at this point. When I vaporize three hours of my life that I'll never get back, the least I can do is report about it.Right?

Oh and I thought about riding a few miles. Does thinking about riding make one any more fit? Brilliant weather for January: 50's & sunny. Where's the snow & ice? c'mon, it's supposed to be winter here.

Friday, January 28, 2005

on the down low

Permit permits permits. We were envisioning completing this bathroom on the cheap and on the down low. We thought the $500x2 for the skylights was the big spendy part. The plumbing looked really easy and I had a handle on the effort required. It came down to an inch. The drain pipe that went exactly where I needed it was 2 inches. The "soil pipe" which translates into the pipe for the toilet has a minimum diameter of 3 inches. This evil inch turns an easy and fun home project into a major retrofit that requires experienced plumbers. They'll be tapping into the 4" cast iron pipe that goes up to the roof and down to the municipal sewer system. This thing weighs enough that it can handily kill you of it falls, nevermind the destruction to the roof and walls involved if things go wrong. So I declare defeat and call in the experts. Experienced plumbers cost money and now we're shifting into a significant renovation. Originally, I talled up a less than $5000 cost which would be accurate if I could have tapped into that 2" pipe. Now it's looking like double that... if we're lucky. So now it's enough money that we can't (or won't) risk the quick & dirty non-permitted approach. There are other risks as well, such as insurance issues and resale... although several experienced realtors say it's more common than not to build lots of things without permits.

The next chasm to cross is the ceiling height. I believe all can be built to code with exception of that dimension. The skylights resolve the problem functionally but may not pass code because the lower roof joists fall below the height minimum. All of this is along the low side of a slanted ceiling/roof. Unless you must skulk along the low side, it's really not an issue. So we're talking to the city to see if our skylight approach is adequate. I think we're OK in the spirit of the code in making a nice livable & safe space but we're not OK if you're taking a strict conservative lowest point measurement. I think it comes down to the specific inspector. Supposing we fail to meet code, we then enter the world of ...

The dormer. If we cross this chasm we resolve all of our problems and could bang out the lower wall so instead of a 3x9 hallway of a bathroom, it would be a 7or8x9 luxurious bathroom. More permits, more professional work, a set of 4 windows, etc. etc. We'd do all the finish work but we're now into an entirely different price point. The shower would become a tub which is great.

We will see. We may be poor soon.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pig in flight. For those that don't ride, this is not a doctored photo... a stunt like this is *nothing* for these guys. Posted by Hello


You know you're doomed when you see the pigs. Chris & I arrive at the trailhead to enjoy the unusually generous temperature reading for the day. Warm in January in Oregon? Wierd. So I meet two of the nicest guys and their pigs. Chris and I put our decidedly un-piggy mammals into the truck with their pigs and head up the hill for a [ackkk] shuttle run. Our mammals like to climb but the pigs had a decidedly piggy plan and we we're along for the ride.

Out of our league, the pigs ruled the kingdom. They ransacked the village, floated across tall beams and flew through the air like it was nothing. Meanwhile our spindly little critters timidly crept through the forest and made little "eep" sounds as we skittered along. All we can say is that we survived the day of pigs without damage. We will meet those pigs again and when we do we will be victorious. When we meet, we will go ...

... up.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Broken link

In the post below the japanese market had a broken link.

Japanese Aesthetics

Visited Uwajimaya, the huge Beaverton japanese market for the first time. Other than picking up some fresh water chestnuts (I assumed they grew inside of cans), I realized an over two year old quest. That quest was for proper cast iron Nabeyaki Udon bowls with lids. Sounds odd to care but there's certain joy in preparing, serving and enjoying food according to tradition. There's a reason that this bowl exists as there are reasons for every local culture's approach to food. Pickling of food, for example, was and is done to have something to eat in the dead of winter.

I digress... the cast iron bowls are truly mac daddi and my first use of them with udon noodles, fresh vegetables, egg, spices and 'fu (b-dog's word for tofu) was sublime. Will send along a photo once I cook something else in them.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Emerging from the dark dark night

With exception of nipping around town on my bike, I've gone on ZERO riides for about a month. Put another way, of the quiver, only the commuter and track bike (i.e. the fast no-cargo commuter) got any use at all. Between the elective travel and the ice storm, it just wasn't happening. Plus I actually felt a bit of down time would be good. This is the longest off period in over a decade.

Today I ended the down time in true binary fashion. OK first a bit of background. As a parent of a 22 month old, days can be divided into 3 daytime pieces: Morning Outing (9-12), nap (12-3 or 4) and pre-dinner (3 or 4 to 5:30). So if you want to do something with the kid that takes more than 90 minutes, you must get it done in the morning. On occasion, he'll sleep until 5pm so it's pretty much the morning or nothing for anything significant. Parents will truly get this, others will wonder why I'd waste keystrokes typing this paragraph. Alas I'm not the young hip guy drinking shots at the Red Room or Laughing Lizard Lounge.

The Morning Outing was a journey from home on bikes with the bike trailer to Mt. Tabor which is a fun little peak maybe 500 feet tall. It's nothing. But dragging the kiddie trailer after my deep hibernation hurt a bit. Then Benjamin played near the merry go round. I would spin it and he'd run around it at the same speed. This was more fun than being *on* it. kids. The ride was done on the single speed cross bike. Ideal ratio for anything gradual but the Tabor climb wasn't gradual enough.

We return home and I go on the 2nd ride of the day, or the "real ride." On my fast bike with the fast tires I speed to the rendezvous spot on the West side of the Hawthorne Bridge. I meet up with the boys and push the pace slightly. This is not hubris or showmanship but my typical reaction to urb riding. I like to bomb through it with speed and rhythm so I can get past it and be on the quiet twisty road. Then I like to go fast for different reasons. But I certainly hit the busy stuff so it'll go away quickly. These efforts are hurting me and the significant climbs have not yet begun. But I feel great, it's a overcast & a balmy 50+ degrees when the average is 36. Oh, and it's dry. The earthy smells of loam and pine are strong and addictive.

We have a good pace on the first climb. Jay says something like, "You two guys go attack, I'm just spinning up this hill." I hadn't even considered doing anything but a leisurly spin. Bastard. Where I think the hill has less than five minutes left, I apply pressure. Not a burst sprint but an acceleration where I would just push it and look back and see a lonely road after a couple of minutes. The requisite two minutes pass and I glance back to see Chris a few meters back. This causes a nearly instantaneous failure of the legs. I completely fall apart and he blows past. Not long thereafter, Jay comes by my sorry exploded legs. We've nearly summitted at this point but I score a sad number three.

We come to a literal fork in the road and I choose the appropriately named quiet nice road, "Greenleaf." I had forgotten how steep this was. It was mainly busy street avoidance rather than a desire for more hills. I had recovered from the previous beating enough to hang with the group. There's a small gap where Chris is ahead and Jay whispers, "Go get Chris." He didn't say this with a glint in his eye or some devious grin. He said it like one mentions taking out the trash after a long tiring day-and you're already in your pajamas. It was this tired sigh... "Go get Chris."

So I did.

OK... so I tried. I turned twenty meters into three. Then I thought it would be best to pass him not inch by inch but as an unstoppable force so I stood up and mashed on the pedals. This exertion of energy didn't actually cause me to accelerate. Instead it took my tenuous ability to maintain speed and sank it. It's like a crappy old car that actually slows down and sputters when you floor it but goes pretty good with the pedal halfway down. So I'm zero for two today. We parted company and I experimented on new roads without a map and not in any condition to summit anything: Dumb.

After a modest yet painful climb I emptied the bottle and inhaled the meager foodstuffs jammed into my jersey pockets. When doing a double set of rides it's a good idea to have lunch. I limp home to live another day.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Here's the thing, I like to go outside when other's prefer the refuge of the indoors. To me, nasty weather means that trailheads and such will be empty. I enjoy rolling back to the house layered in wool and fleece after going through any of the following: cold rain, freezing fog, snow. Done right, I'm completely warm and invigorated by the weather.

[ While a perfect sunny day is great, bombing through the ugly makes me feel alive! ]

The *only* thing that thwarts me is ICE. There's no amount of talent and expertise that would allow biking on this stuff. Yes I could throw down for metal spiked tires but that's just one more bit of gear that I would rarely need. The safer roads are the highly traveled ones treated with sand. This would put me in traffic with the not-too-remote possibility of wiping out with a car close by. Or the car losing control and me reacting with unknown traction. Yeah, I'm always up for a challenge but .... no. The most intrepid explorer would never sign up for that risk.

So my only choice becomes sliding around on my feet as I venture the short distance to my village cafe & grocer. Hardly the expedition I had in mind.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

And the commuters sorted as well. Posted by Hello

Happiness is organizing the quiver. Posted by Hello

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Georgia Pig BBQ sauce + Boulder Hot sauce = perfection

Yumm Posted by Hello

Optical illusion buster Posted by Hello

Time moves forward

I am an idiot. My plan was to tell a story with photos that went chronologically. Alas I created a memento-style piece. For time moving forward please scroll down to the obvious first in the series. There's one mean storm heading our way. I'll set up a chair under the skylight and wait for drops of rain to enter the house. That'll be my big Friday night plan. woo.

With the shade down, it's decidedly a tight & cozy skylight. Velux does good work. Posted by Hello

Double, nay... triple chin...nice. Posted by Hello

FiSHEW... done & done... almost Posted by Hello

Note the concern on my face as the ominous cold front bears down on Stumptown. Posted by Hello

Note the *sun* on my face...[foreshadowing] Posted by Hello

Uh oh, there's a roof in the houuuse. Posted by Hello

Uh oh, there's a hole in the roof! Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Somehow anti war = pro terrorist?

To hear a person utter such nonsense is disturbing. This tool Kristin Taylor (male) of the Free Republic said the following, paraphrased: Code Pink and Answer (act now to stop war and end racism) have aligned themselves with the terrorists & Saddam ... is akin to giving Saddam & the terrorists a cheerleading section.

Listen for yourself:

I've been to a meeting where I met some Code Pink people and they're wonderful kind souls. The thing that confuses me is why being anti-war isn't what everyone is with exception of perhaps executives at Northrup and the bomb making community. Who stands up and gets counted as pro-war? I mean seriously, read the ANSWER acronym out loud & ponder how anything there can be construed as anything but noble.

I'm not sure whether I prefer Mr. Taylor to be intentionally misleading or stupid. I'd prefer that he knows better but is pushing an agenda as stupidity might garner a touch of sympathy.

half caff

The week gets calmer as our Boulder, now Ukrainian guest departs today, along with the rest of my family bound for Seattle. I'll have a few tranquil days before the typical 22 month-old antics resume. I'll get some miles into my legs... that's the plan anyway. Another goal is to chuck in the skylights before they return as a surprise. The problem I have is that it gets harder and harder to impress Amy as I continually complete tasks in less time than one usually might take. If I manage to install some drywall then THAT will be impressive given I have no car available. Bike+Trailer+4'x8' sheet of drywall... I'm always up for a challenge but ... actually it wouldn't be that hard as I visualize how it would work. I'm not ready for the drywall phase anyway so while it would be fun to watch Amy's face, it would introduce difficulty working in such a cramped space. That reminds me, I need to talk to a plumber.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


That'll be the common thread for the next few months here in Portland. We're in search of some GOOD bagels. Portland rules but the bagels are sad. If anyone knows of real bagels available either in Portland or a bagel shop that ships overnight... let me know.

The biking/training has been near zero for over a month now. I call it the recharge period before I get serious.

Bombing in Forest Park self portrait Posted by Hello

B-Dog Posted by Hello


Took me all of 90 seconds to start up this blog. I should be working but alas cannot find the focus. Perhaps an espresso will sort me out. This exercise will start slowly and gain momentum and its style & rhythm over time.

Hello World