Audi wheel bearing job.

December 28, 2011

I made a stab at my wheel bearing. It was noisy, but not bad. The part that freaked me out about it enough to fix it was that I could feel a bit of a notchiness (is that a word?) at the steering wheel and through the pedals.

So, I bought a new wheel bearing to attempt a DIY repair.

Oh, and the lower control arms are groaning at the ball joints. So, I got a new control arm kit. But, nobody had a deal on just the lowers, so I got the whole set. Oh, and there’s more: Turns out Audi (and many other cars today) use one-time-use stretch bolts… only source: the Audi (st)(d)ealership. Dang, the bolts alone for the wheel bearing, the driveshaft bolt and brake caliper bolts ran close to $50 for 7 bolts.

I take a day off of work, get started, and I realize I forgot a couple parts at home. Wups. Go back, find the wife and her car (cause that’s where I left them) and by the time I ate lunch and got the car on jack stands, it’s 1:00.

I never figured out which side was actually bad, but my best guess was the driver’s side. I get that side apart, pull the bearing out, and it feels perfectly buttery smooth. Rats! so I put it back. It’s 2:30 now. Well, at least it wasn’t that tough to do.

I pull the other side apart, get the bearing out… feels the same. Double Rats!! This one is making a bit of a rattling noise inside. Maybe it’s just worn out of tolerance.

I get the hub/bearing/flange assembly on the bench, apply the hub puller and get it apart. The hub (where the disc brake rotor and wheel bolt on) is pressed into the other part, the wheel bearing/flange (which bolts to the knuckle of the car). I had to put it in a puller, pop the two apart, and then pull the inner bearing race off the hub. That took a while, probably about 45 minutes of heavy pulling on a jury-rigged kinda setup. But, it worked. Then I had to chisel off the inner bearing race from the hub. This is the part I was fearing most. I read stories on the Audi message boards of that part being fused solid to the hub on cars from snowy areas where they salt the roads. Turns out, it popped off with a about 5 minutes of tapping at it with a hammer and chisel. It was not unlike removing a headset crown race from a bicycle fork.

Pop!

I inspect the innards of the bearing, and it’s as smooth as can be. No signs of pitting, wear or grooves of any kind. It wasn’t exactly awash in grease, tho. Dang. I was hoping to find an obvious source of the noise. The main problem is that the old bearing is destroyed in removing the hub, so I was pretty much committed to the new one at this point. I hope I just didn’t waste my time.

Then, I pressed it all back together. I ended up using part of an electrical knock out tool kit from the shop. I was going to use the shop vise, but a ball peen hammer and that knock out kit part worked well just tapping it back together. Again, like a bicycle headset.

It’s about 5:00 at this pont.

I start putting it all back together. It actually went pretty quickly. Done in maybe an hour or so. But… dang! Those bolts have to be crazy tight. Like, the brake bolts need to be 140 ft pounds plus an extra quarter turn. The main driveshaft bolt needed to be tightened to 14o Ft. Pounds plus another 180 degree twist. I took the longest breaker handle I could find… about 4 feet long, and used all my might to get it cranked on. I was seriously worried I would break the tool off in the 17mm allen bolt.

At this point, it’s around 6:00, and  I still need to clean up. I gave up on the idea of doing the control arms at this stage. I would have been there all night if I started that job, and if I got stuck, I would have had to spend the night there. No thanks, some other time.

I get it all back together, put the belly pan back on (which was probably the hardest thing of all), get it off the jack stands, and go for a drive.

Noise… still there!! GGGRRRR. Okay, it wasn’t as bad as before, and I dont feel the notchiness like before. My only theory is that both wheel bearings were bad or worn out of spec.

On the plus side, I found this to not be so bad to work on. All the bolts are easy to get to, nothing was badly stuck. My only real complaint is that Audi uses expensive single use stretch bolts.

It occurred to me after all this… you know… I actually have all the repair records on this car. If I was less lazy, I would have looked it up to see if the bearing had been done before, and if so, which side?

On a side note, on the way home, my car hit 111,111 miles. :)

Wups!

December 17, 2011

I had a little mechanical boo-boo on the trail today.

I was rolling down some stairs that go into a switchback, when I leaned too hard on the outside bar while applying the front brake. Wups. The wheel just folded over like Newt Gingrich after a call from Grover Norquist.

Rim was cracked at the pinned seam (yeah, it was a cheapo rim), but the tire still held on and held air. It was a rim a friend gave me for free (pretty much for the same reason you see here) so I wasn’t feeling much of a loss. However, I was 4 miles from the house, and it was so badly bent it wouldn’t turn in the fork… well prong… whatever you want to call a Lefty fork… prong… pokey thing.

Here is the method for field truing a badly bent wheel in the field. (Some NSFW language and themes)

Skip to 1:50 for the fun part….

Yeah, like a boss!

I managed to get it straight enough to continue the ride… another 10 miles. :) But, it is basically trashed at this point. I’m going to have to rebuild it with a new rim. Hopefully, I can re-use the spokes, and I’m going to need new spoke nipples.

Today’s Ride:

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/135042216

Latest car project

December 13, 2011

Owning a high mileage Audi is a bit like owning a 100 year old house. Stuff is constantly breaking, and needs updating… but you do it because you love where you live.

My front end control arms have been groaning since soon after I got the car. When my car was under an aftermarket warranty, I brought it to (and I’m going to name names) AVS in Berkeley. I used to work with the owner way back in the day of German Auto Salvage, so I figured that the owner would not hose me. I was wrong.

After paying an extra $700 to have them put in a new German made steering rack (cause the warranty company would only pay for a cheap Chinese made remanufactured one) and they would not do the job unless they could put in a German made original Audi rack, and after three weeks of waiting to make an appointment and being blown off (and the clock running out on my warranty), they finally replaced my steering rack…. and the fricking thing still groans…. and now I’m out of warranty. Grrrrr….. While they had it, they replaced my upper control arms and tie rod ends, but not the lowers.

Fast forward a year, and now a wheel bearing is failing. Being a bit on the broke side, and after gaining some confidence on how the job is done, I decide to tackle the bearing myself. Oh, while I’m at it, I’ll do the last 4 lower control arms… you know, as long as I have it apart anyway. Turns out that the price of just the lower 4 control arms individually is the same price as a complete front end kit, so I order the kit.

This is the kit:

Jumpin’ Geebus on a pogo stick, this thing has a lot of parts. What am I getting myself into? Okay, I’m only doing the lower four control arms, some of the hardware, maybe the sway bar links if the ones in there are bad. I’ll either fence the unused arms or save them for if (when) they fail again.

Just checking in

December 13, 2011

Dang.. I kinda forgot about this page. Forgive me, followers (if any actually exist).

In the last few years:

My older kid got sick with Wilm’s tumor, a year of rough times for everybody, now all better.

Current bike stable:

Titus RacerX29er with Lefty
Singular Swift 29er Singlespeed
Access XCL29er hardtail, geared
PlanetX Kaffenback CX/Touring/Road bike
Giant Yukon with pannier racks for a city bike.

I recently discovered the Dimond (yes, that is spelt correctlee) Canyon trail system, like 6 blocks from my house. There is a tight winding singletrack trail that snakes up overlooking Sausal Creek, crosses it twice (on bridges, of sorts… no wet feet there) and goes up nearly impossible tight uphill switchbacks, up and down flights of stairs. Good techy fun. At the top, it meets up with paved roads near Highway 13. It’s easy to go across and then do a loop of Joaquin Miller Park, Redood Park, Lake Chabot, Tilden, wherever I have the time and energy to continue my slog.

I don’t know why I haven’t been riding the crud out of this years ago. I mean, Geez! I’ve been living in this town like 11 years.

Here is a rest break I took at Bishop’s Walk:

This may be a totally half baked idea, but I started looking at the light camping gear I have collected, and my bike with all the pannier racks on it. Hmmmm……

Seems to me that it would not be that hard to strip my camping gear down to the bare essentials, strap it to my bike and ride off to Lake Chabot or something for an overnight. See how it goes. If I work my system out well enough, I can try taking BART (the local commuter train) to San Francisco, ride across the Golden Gate bridge to Marin, and ride out to West Marin and camp out there. I figure it would be around 40 miles of actual riding, and would probably take me a good 6 hours of riding time. Camp, and come back the next day.

So here is my gear list so far:

Bike – my Giant Yukon with a rigid fork. Currently has slicks, but would need bigger mountain tires. V-brakes will be scary with a heavy load down a steep descent, but I’m not going for speed.

Water bottles

Saddle bag

Helmet

Gloves

Gear straps

Bike tools

Duct tape

Multitool

Tire repair stuff

Pocket knife

Sleeping bag

Sleep pad

Tent

Tent stakes

Stake hammer

Camping saw

Cookware

Stove

Fuel

Spark/lighter

Pots, pans, bowls

Utensils

Camp soap, brush

Water filter

Toiletries

TP

Tooth brush

Tooth paste

Deodorant?

First aid kit

Clothes

Shorts

Jersey

Socks

Long sleeve shirt

Warm pants

Jacket

Knit cap

Again, this is pretty half baked. I already started to strap stuff to the racks to see if it will fit, get an idea of my load balance, like that. So far, I got my tiny sleeping bag and a foam pad strapped to my front racks, the pannier bags in back, my tent on top of the rear rack, one pannier half full with the cookware and jacket. I still have one and a half rear pannier bags to fill, plus I’ll probably take either my Camelbak for some more space, or a bigger backpack, and put a Camelbak bladder in there. I might take it out for a few local light rides, say at China Camp or Lake Chabot to see how it handles, see if stuff shakes off the racks, shifts, check for foot, heel, leg and hand clearance. that sort of thing.

Just out of curiosity, I checked with the rangers at China Camp today about camping fees. They charge $25 a night if you drive in, but $3 a night if you walk or bike in. Sweet!

While thinking about this, I was getting all ready to make a penny stove. This guy came up with a way to cut up a couple of Heineken beer cans (the ones that look like little kegs) to make a small compact lightweight stove that can boil a few cups of water in 5 minutes. It can run on Everclear grain alcohol, which can also serve as a disinfectant if I cut myself badly… and of course, get a bit drunk on it (that is, if I can tolerate drinking what tastes like camping stove fuel).

Alternatively, the penny stove can run on 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, but that makes an invisible flame, which is kind of dangerous.

It’s a very elegant design. Cheap, weighs nothing, takes 20 minutes to make one… plus you have to drink beer to get the empty cans. Downside is Heineken is kinda watery beer… the Budweiser of Europe.

Then, I remembered that my mom gave me all of her camping gear. I went through that and found a sweet compact white gas stove that includes pots and pans, all in a tiny kit. Sweet! Also in there was a pump water filter and other goodies.

This may never actually happen, but it would be great if I could pull it off.

back from denmark

June 9, 2008

Okay, I’m lazy. We’ve actually been back for weeks, and I really don’t know what to write about it. 

We were sick the entire frickin’ trip. On top of that, Denmark is one really expen$ive country to visit. We ended up cheaping out so much of our time there, I think it ate into the amount of fun we had… worrying about every Krone. 

So I just thought I would share some interesting observations of our time there. 

Yeah, the Krone… about that… Denmark is too cool for even the Euro. I guess they don’t wanna slum it with those cheap ass ghetto countries like Germany and France. 

There are taxes on everything, even the taxes, it seems. Our hosts told me a VW Golf would cost nearly $80,000 dollars when you include the taxes. The same car (the US version, called the Rabbit) sells for around $20,000 with taxes. 

They have some unreal bridge tolls. The Zealand (the island home to Copenhagen) to Sweden bridge toll is $50… each way. The Zealand to Fyn ‘Big Belt’ bridge was $40 each way. For a country that is pretty heavily socialist, they don’t fuck around. 

We got a Whopper combo at Burger King the fourth day we were there. $11

Denmark TV has an equivelant show to the ‘Cops‘. The first story was about a guy who left his wallet on the roof of his car when he drove off, and the cops were trying to help him find it. No shit. Really.

Our hosts told us that there is hardly any crime in Denmark, but many crimes go unsolved. They said if your house got robbed, there would be about a 6% chance the perps would be caught. But it rarely happens, so that is not a big deal. 

I spent $125 on 3/4 of a tank of gas for the rental car, twice. 

Most of the beer there was of the 3% alcohol by volume type. I felt like I was in Utah where beer by law has to be less than 3.2%. Making love in a canoe, as MPFC says. I made some off the cuff comments to our hosts (which was very rude of me, and I feel badly about it. I apologize again) and they made it a point to get some harder 6-8% ale kinda stuff. I’m a bad, bad guest. 

In our last visit to Germany, we found the biggest downside of a nationalized health care system: You have to see a doctor before you can get meds that are commonly sold over the counter here. This time around, we brought the ‘mighty bag of drugs’ with us… mostly chocked full of stuff like antihistimenes, decongestants, Afrin, Tums, Zantac stuff like that. The MBoD proved no match to the even mightier bubonic chronic west nile freakish mold that festered in the walls of our rental beach house. I think I heard the mold chuckling at us in the middle of the night. 

I never got to ride a bike in Denmark, which I think might qualify as the most bike friendly country on the planet. There are dedicated off-street bike lanes everywhere. It also may be the flattest country. The high point is like 400 feet above sea level. My regular workout ride at China Camp peaks up around 1200 feet, and CC is considered the bunny slopes in the mountain biking community.

Our hosts told me that if there is a bike/car accident, the car driver is always considered to be at fault. I guess that way, the car drivers are extra credit sure to give the cyclists every right of way, and a wide berth. 

People actually leave their bikes unlocked in their driveways… and they are actually still there the next day. I even saw a bike with a Burley trailer left unlocked outside somebody’s house in plain view in Sweden. Most of the city bikes there have a cheesy lock that basically just simple clamps around the rear wheel…. and that’s all that is keeping the bike from eloping. There were hundreds of bikes left just like this outside the subway terminal in Copenhagen. If you left a halfway decent bike locked up outside a BART station, it would be stripped to the frame before your work day was done, if it was even still there.  

Denmark is a very beautiful country. Green everywhere. Oceans of wheat, mustard flowers and oats as far as the eye can see. The weather was stellar the whole time we were there. 

One of our hosts was Icelandic. He told us that the Icelandic government requires that all children born in Iceland have an Icelandic Patronymic style name. That is, you take your father’s first name in your last name. For instance, Lars’ son will be named Firstname Larsen or daughter will be named Firstname Larsdóttir. Keep in mind, this is the frickin’ law

Also, we were talking of Icelandic history, and how they gained independence from Denmark. At the time, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany. Iceland broke off and got away with it because Denmark obviously had bigger worries at that time. I should probably read more about the details on that, but like I said earlier, I’m lazy. 

They LOVE Hans Christen Andersen there. Judging by how deeply they are steeped in him, you would think Denmark contributed nothing more to world culture except HCA. 

The sun starts setting around 8 PM this time of year, and doesn’t finish going down until about 10 PM. Then, it comes back up around 3 AM and rises at 5. 

There are really big windmills dotting the horizon everywhere, just doing their little thai-chi like dance. It really is hard to realize how big and majestic they are unless you stand right next to them. They are pretty close to dead quiet unless you are standing right underneath one. 

There were no naked people on the public beaches we visited.

The tyke blew out his diaper four times on the plane ride back, but slept most of the way. 

Air France doesn’t edit their movies for cuss words, content, or nudity. Haught! Downside is they show a lot of crap. ‘Jumper’ has to be the worst movie I have seen in years. You thought Hayden Christiansen sucked in the Star Wars movies, you ain’t seen nothin’. I couldn’t tell if my ears were popping from the ascent, or the deep, relentless suckage of the movie. 

We got turned back around from our jet lag really quickly… both ways!

I had a good time on this trip. Of course, it could have been better if we weren’t sick. But feel fortunate to be able to see such a beautiful country. 

 

Another good ride

March 13, 2008

The weekend before last, me and a bunch of the mtbr.com knuckleheads rode the usual 25 mile Steve Wolf loop at Annadel. Good ride. I put the hurt on, and it felt good. My knees don’t like me much, even 10 days later. Then again, I’ve been working in the crane truck at work all week, and that tends to put a lot of pressure on my knees, so maybe that is the issue.  

Dang, I love this MC29er bike. It is completely unlike my other bikes. It is dead simple. No gears, no maintenance, just hop on and pedal away. Well, I did have an issue on this ride. My front disc brake decided to eat its retainer spring, which made really nasty fork-in-the-garbage-disposal kinda noises. After about 15 minutes of hammering out the pin that keeps the brake pads in with an allen wrench and a rock found on the trail side, I just removed the spring and put it in my pocket, and popped it all back together. I lost my safety clip that holds the pads in, so Sparky was so kind to lend me a safety pin from his first aid kit to keep the whole works from falling apart while we finished the ride. It was all my own dang fault for letting my brake pads get too low… probably from the sandy wet soil of Marin Headlands when I rode in the biggest storm of the season the week before. Nothing kills brake pads faster than wet sand.Anyway, 25 miles… 3000 feet of climbing in about 3.5 hours of riding. Not a blisteringly fast pace, but fast enough to have a good time and not get cold. Pic credit: Biker Scout Sparky

 

Here’s a movie Sparky shot of me rolling over the rock pile:

The baby has some new molars coming in, so sleep in this household is spotty this week. We are actually starting the potty training process with the assistance of our baby sitter. She prides herself on actually potty training kids before age two. Dunno how realistic that is, but that would be really nice to get him out of diapers as soon as possible. He has also been eating like a machine this last week. I think he is gearing up for a growth spurt. He started waking a few feet at a time unassisted. Oh, it’s all gonna over soon…. my being able to just watch him from the couch. 

So the 8 hours of Boggs is coming up in a few weeks. Naturally, I feel completely unprepared for it, and do not have enough time to get prepared. What, I’m going to be able to drop 10 pounds and gain another 4-6 pounds of muscle mass in three weeks? I think not. Not enough palates in the world for that. Also, I’ve hardly touched my geared bikes this year, and there is no way I’m racing that on my SS. If it were a solo race, sure, but this is a three person team effort. I’ll easily turn the slowest laps on the SS, and …. heh… I’m not going to let that happen. 

We are also gearing up to finally go on vacation to Denmark. My wife spent a year on exchange there in high school, and stayed in contact with several friends. The original plan was to stay with them, but looking into it further we found we could rent a beach house on the cheap on the west coast near where her friends live. I’m really looking forward to it. Today I got my updated passport, and my boy’s first passport in the mail. Pics were horrible. We sent them decent pics to process, but the colors somehow got all whacked out. We both look like we spent way too much time on the sunny side of Mercury with insufficient sunscreen.  

*edit* Dang wordpress! Unless you use IE, it totally hoses all the code. Problem is, my only IE equipped Wintendo is at work.

80 percent bad idea

February 23, 2008

Last year, a friend of mine and his bud decided to race a bike path quality tandem bike in the Sea Otter Classic race. The discussion went something like ‘I have a bad idea…. well maybe an 80 percent bad idea.’ I always liked that expression, so I’m going to steal it here.

Two weeks ago, I raced the first CCCX race, and lost badly. I mean, it was sad, I got DFL, although I had fun, and it was a good race. No crashes, and only one flat right near the end, so really I can’t complain. I always say that any ride is a good ride that doesn’t end up in the emergency room.

Last weekend, I got stomach flu something awful, and blew a three day weekend… actually made it a four day weekend because I had to take Friday off. Basically, I blew the first three days in bed, lost 6 pounds (not necessarily a bad thing apart from feeling weak afterwards), and spent Monday watching the baby. Which is fine, except I needed to get out and do a ride. 

So this weekend, there is this big storm blowing in. My wife told me to go ride, but with the storm, I thought that would be a bad idea. Then I thought about it. Heck I got rain and cold weather gear… and a singlespeed bike with disk brakes… hmmmm…. maybe I can do this.

Maybe it’s a bad idea, but only an 80 percent bad idea. If it sucks too badly, I can bug out back to the car and figure something else out.So with little preparation, I throw some gear in the car. I’m going for everything I can think of since I’m not really taking the time to think it through.

I quickly get dressed in:

Bibs

workout pants

club fit jersey

coolmax long sleeve shirt

smartwool socks

So I throw in the car:

Camera

REi rain shell with pit zips

Baklava

knee warmers

arm warmers

Dakine knit ski cap

My MC29er singlespeed bike

Snacky bars and a pack of Gu in the Bento Box on the bike

two bottles of sport drink from powder

Winter bike gloves

… and the usual bike gear stuff, helmet, shoes, etc.

I drove out to Tennessee Valley and parked in a residential neighborhood, and start getting my gear together. From what I have read about rain riding is expect to get wet, but dress to stay warm when wet. Hmmmm, warm…. So I put on the arm and knee warmers under my long sleeve shirt and workout pants. I throw on the rain shell, and stuff the baklava in the pocket. What I am going to use this for, I have no idea. Hail, maybe? The ski cap under my helmet, change out my lenses for clears, winter gloves, and away I go.

I headed up to the horse stables at Tennessee Valley, and head up to Miwok Trail (yes, the legal part) and down to Fort Cronkhite to Rodeo Beach. Wow, this is great! Yeah, the wind was picking up, and the rain pelted me a bit, but not too bad. The rain shell kept my core warm and dry. My legs were wet, but still warm. Feet soaked, hands soaked, but still not too bad. I thought this was gonna kinda suck, but I’m actually enjoying this.

I hung out at the beach for about 20 minutes, just taking it in, watching the surfers. Beautiful, even in the rain. I realize I need a bathroom, so I find the one in the parking lot. In the bathroom, they had those electric hand dryers. I’m in heaven! I spent some time warming up by drying off my hands, then I thought I should dry off my gloves. Futile. I forgot the philosophy here. Don’t try to stay dry, embrace the damp. Just try to stay warm.

I head back up Bobcat Trail, which is basically a fireroad grind back over the hill. It runs around three miles, with about 800 feet in vertical gain. The grade is not too bad. I cleaned it on the singlespeed without too much effort.

After the climb out, I picked up Monticello back down to the horse ranch, and then down Tennessee Valley Road back to the car. 

Strange. There are a few days that I thank God for such a beautiful day. Whoda thunk it would be a stormy day on the bike on normally unexciting trails.

Okay, I could have been better prepared. Next time I have to remember to bring a change of clothes and a towel. Wups! That would have been a good idea. Driving home in wet shorts could have been avoided. Also, I should bring some of those chemical hand and foot warmers. Maybe some plastic bags for my toes to keep them from getting so soaked, or at least to help keep them warm if they did. Next time I do not need two full sport drink bottles. One would have been fine.

Total ride distance: 14 miles

Vertical gain: Dunno, but guessing 1600 feet

Ride time: 1:45

Average Speed: 8 MPH 

Where to start

February 7, 2008

Dang,

Hard to keep up on this bloggy thing with so much going on. I got crazy overlapping projects at work that keep me away form home for too many hours. The tyke is picking up new words like mad. He still isn’t fully walking yet. He’s been on the verge for months, but he just won’t take those steps. Comfy where he is, just like his old man. Sometimes you gotta take those unfamiliar steps.

I haven’t been on the bike much lately… at least not for any long rides. OTOH, I have been taking the tyke on the city bike to the park, store and back. We actually logged about 5 miles so far in 4 or 5 trips. The new WeeRide seat showed up. The thing is great. I can actually see my boy’s face as we toodle around. Priceless, I tell you what. Only downside is that I have to peddle bow-legged a bit, and peddling ‘a la danseuse’ (that is, out of the saddle, standing) is out of the question.

Pics:

Oh, and on a sad note… Sheldon Brown passed away on Sunday. The man was a legend in the cycling world. Not for winning TDF or anything like that, but for being such a passionate cyclist, a mad scientist (the man made a 63 speed bike and a two speed fixie!), and being just about the biggest walking cycling encyclopedia to ever grace the sport. The length and breadth of his knowledge is amazing in itself, the add to that his oddball sense of humor. I learned proper wheelbuilding form his site, and have a serious bug to build one of his homebrew tandem bikes. I want to learn to weld just to do this. Captain Bike, you will be missed. The light of the world is slightly duller without you.

The first race of the season is upon us. The CCCX race in Fort Ord (or is it Toro Park?) is this weekend, and I haven’t even turned a crank to a sweat in a month. I’m gonna race, and I’m gonna come in DFL, but that’s okay. Gotta start somewhere.

The political thing is heating up. I was always stunned that Dubya made it as far as he did with his crap. Take side as you will, conservative, neo-con, liberal, moderate, whatever. We all have our opinions. Y’all probably know pretty well where I land on that scale. But the guy managed to take the Constitution and put it aside as he saw fit… as if the rules didn’t apply to him. The way I see it, he put aside what is the framework of what our country is about. He was not on our side.

Anyway, I see great things happening. Mostly the voter turnout in the latest Primary. Whoa, baby! If people cared this much in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 we would not be in the serious messes we are in today.

IMO, our country is (or at least was) arguably in shambles. We seriously lost our way. Heck, IMO we lost our way back when Reagan turned this country from a land of ‘us’ to a land of ‘me’. Kinda like Kurt Vonagut’s line of ‘we could have saved the world, but we were too cheap’. That idea applies here too, methinks. It became about the individual taking as much as he could from the system with no regard for how it effects our society as a whole for the long term. As we have seen over the last 27 years, it has become all about how much can be shaved off our taxes, how much the useless crap costs us from the store, how much it costs to fill the tank. I think there is lots of places the gubmint can save a few bucks, but schools, public services, health care, and infrastructure are not places to cheap stuff out. Call me a commie all you want (and those who do should look up what Communism actually is… because it has never actually existed on this Earth), but that is the investment in We the People. We are just mortgaging our future. Ove rthe last 27 years we have seen our jobs go overseas to save a couple bucks, and the middle class is being hollowed out to create working poor, and richer rich people. The folks in power have us arguing over the color of the drapes in the kitchen while they steal the TV and stereo from the living room.

I know it isn’t about the cruddy politicians.  It’s about the people. It’s entirely our fault for largely not being involved. We have to remember that first preamble of ‘We the People’. They wouldn’t have gotten away with it if we didn’t let them… on the whole. It seemed that just about everybody knew about the lying, cheating and stealing (well documented, I might add) and still didn’t turn up to vote the scumbags out. I’m not limiting this to the Republican Party, either. The Dems knew full well about the torture, lying and cheating, but went along with it because they wanted something out of it politically, not to mention the failure to investigate the blatant high crimes. The Dems were asleep at the switch… the enablers.

Point is, this latest Primary’s record turnout gives me great hope in the future of this country. This country would be a politically very different landscape if everybody voted… heck, even if 75% voted instead of the typical 50-ish percent that turned out in the past.

Anyway, that’s my little sleep deprivation fueled ran for the evening.

three times

December 30, 2007

Whew!

Holidays are almost over. I love the holidays, but this year it seemed like just a huge amount of work. So much so, it seemed kind of like a whole drag on the whole holiday thing. We had relatives come stay with us for a week with their 20 month old daughter. She’s a sweetie. Loads of entertainment. It was a good visit for my baby boy.

Being around another slightly older baby exposed him to new things. He picked up some new things. It reminded me of when I was a serious musician, between bands. There were times when I start playing the same sort of stuff over and over, and only really break that cycle when playing with new people. Anyway, he’s saying a few new things, and learned to clap his hands.

<> I wasn’t able to get out on the bike to do a real ride. Yesterday, I ran out three times for quick trips to the store for assorted things. Head to the store, got a few things, came back home. Oh, wait. We’re out of diapers! Gravy to finish off the last of the turkey. Always something. Sounds like a hassle, but I actually enjoyed it. It was good to get out, even for two miles at a time. The only rub was my new pannier bags, while loaded down with grocereys, got sucked into my rear wheel. It wore a hole in the bag, and trashed a box of Annie’s pasta, but other than that just annoying. I am going to have to figure out some kind of reinforcement to the backs of these bags so they can’t suck back into the rear wheel. I could imagine a bag sucking into the wheel causing a total lock up at speed and a bad accident. No thanks.

<>I got a quick spin around China Camp this morning on the MC29er. Fun stuff. I didn’t feel as out of shape as I thought. Even my knees were feeling less sore after the ride. The trails were pretty sloppy. Man, that bike is fun. I only rode for an hour and change over 12 miles. Not a big ride, but a good spin.

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