Blue Threadlocker

Last weekend, it was hot, very hot. As it does every year, summer is slamming its toxic wall of incalescence into the population like Castle Bravo into Bikini. I had a ten mile bicycle ride planned out – from the DART station at Araphaho north along the Central Trail and looping through the Spring Creek Natural Area – including the new little extension that runs up under the towering vertiginous George Bush Turnpike interchange… then back. Ten miles isn’t very far, but my bike is heavy and inefficient and its motor is old and worn out – so it was enough, especially in this heat.

(click to enlarge)

My good intentions were to get up at dawn and go in the relative cool of the dewy morning – good intentions… but we know where the road that is paved with those leads to. I did not actually get on the road until the sun was directly overhead. It wasn’t too bad, though – I carried plenty of iced water and the Spring Creek part of the trail is shaded by the thick forest. I took my Kindle and stopped a few times to read a short story at any particularly tempting shaded bench I came across.

The looping trails through the Spring Creek Natural Area converge on a little footbridge over the creek. There is a nice bench there – a good place to rest and get away from the city for a few minutes.

The only problem I had was that the bolts on my bicycle rack worked themselves loose while I was riding. I noticed one side coming off and stopped to fix what I could – and then later the other came loose. I was able to keep going after some repairs, but the rack was useless.


Bike Nashbar rack mounted on the back of my bicycle.

When I arrived at home I was able to scrounge up replacements for the bolts that I lost and reassembled everything. But I knew this would happen again. No matter how hard I torque down those little aluminum bolts the constant shaking and jarring of my halting progress across uneven concrete would make them back their way out of their proper, tight position. So I sat down facing the search engines and decided to learn what I could do to stop this from reoccurring.

I entered the world of the threadlocker. There are many brands and many types… but it didn’t take long to limit everything down to one key identifier and two types – Red and Blue.

Both colors will keep your bolts under your thumb, but the red, the high strength, has to be heated to five hundred degrees to give up its grip. The blue, however, is removable with “ordinary hand tools.” So blue it was.

A trip to an automotive parts store and a tiny tube of blue threadlocker was at hand. I took the rack off, and carefully reinstalled it, squirting a little blue stuff onto each bolt as I threaded it back home.

So now, is it possible that that rack will go flying off into oblivion when I am tooling along in the middle of nowhere sometime casting my absolutely necessary survival gear into some bottomless pit? Maybe.

But I’ve done what I can.

Pack Straps

This works, but it looks stupid. Though not as stupid as when I’m actually riding the thing.

What I learned this week, June 29, 2012

The Terms

Great News! One of my favorite independant Coffee Houses – The Pearl Cup – is opening a new branch in Richardson – the city where I live. It is planned on opening in late September or August. It won’t be particularly close to my house (It’s in a very nice neighborhood – not the kind of place where people like me live) but it will be a lot easier to get to than the one down on Henderson in the City. Nobody goes there anyway, it’s way too crowded.

Pearl Cup to Open a Location in Richardson!

Dallas Observer Best Coffee Shop – The Pearl Cup

The Bartender’s Tale: How the Watergate Burglars Got Caught

Think you know everything about Watergate? Leave it to a barman to add a surprising twist to Washington’s most enduring story

Turing the tables on scammers

Why would a Nigerian scammer admit that he’s from Nigeria? After all, Nigeria is notorious for fraudulent emails. Shouldn’t the fraudsters claim instead to be from Turkey or South Africa or, really, anywhere but Nigeria? That’s a question asked by Microsoft researcher, Cormac Herley, and seconded by security guru Bruce Schneier. Herley’s insightful answer looks at the economics of scam emails:

Attacking the maximum number of people does not maximize profit. … Since the scam is entirely one of manipulation he would like to attack (i.e., enter into correspondence with) only those who are most gullible. … Since gullibility is unobservable, the best strategy is to get those who possess this quality to self-identify. An email with tales of fabulous amounts of money and West African corruption will strike all but the most gullible as bizarre.

Nigerian scams are labor intensive for the scammer, but only after the first bite. Actually landing even the most gullible correspondents takes time, effort, and skill that the scammers don’t want to waste.

Ducado Vega

During the Deep Ellum Food Truck Festival a band set up along the side, in front of a recording studio. It was Ducado Vega (facebook) and Zenya – winners of the Dallas Observer Music Award for “Best Funk/R&B Act.” They were nice and loud and a lot of fun. Especially when they moved back in time for some classic James Brown funk and some unusual covers (Rolling in the Deep).

Great local music.

Support your local bands. Ducado Vega will be in the Colony this weekend.

Flippin’ Out

The other afternoon we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner. Candy asked if there were any places in Dallas that sold crepes. We go to Cafe Brazil all the time, and they have the thin pancakes on the menu, but she meant someplace new. Luckily, there is that internet thingy and a quick search turned up a place in Addison called Flippin’ Out. It was on Beltline Road (isn’t everything?) and a bit of a drive… but it looked different and interesting so we headed out.

It is a tiny place tucked in the parking lot of a strip center… a little to the West of the hopping heart of the Addison Strip. It advertises Crepes and Coffee, so it couldn’t be bad. There is no seating inside, only a tiny room crammed with menu boards and equipment for cooking an brewing.

Out back there is a neat covered patio and someday I’d like to go back there and sit outside, but this day was too damn hot so we ordered our crepes – I had a Gulf coast (Sauteed shrimp, lump crab, roasted Pasilla peppers & Pontchartrain cream sauce)… Candy had a Cuban (Slow roasted pork, pickles & onion topped with Dijon mustard & Swiss cheese) and she also ordered a dessert… I think it was the Honey Badger (Handpicked strawberries, bananas & blueberries topped with honey, yogurt & granola).

We took the food home and it was good. I was impressed with the idea even more, though. Crepes are easy to make, very thin and don’t have a lot of calories, and very versatile. So on a whim, we ordered a Cucina Pro cordless crepe maker off of that internet thing again.

A couple days and there was a box on the doorstep. On Saturday I made up a blender full of crepe batter and stood there cranking out a couple dozen thin little pancakes. We ate a couple and put the rest in the fridge in a bag.

I’m surprised, but it looks like this is going to work out. A bit of fruit, or some leftovers… really anything… and you can roll it up in one of those things and there’s a meal. It’s like a big, thin tortilla… only Frenchier.

Flippin’ Out – it’s not very big, but it’s hard to miss.

The main menu.

Drinks menu… the coffee looks good, but “Treats from the Teat!” – I don’t know if that’s as catchy or as appetizing as they think it is.

Not a lot of room to spare inside.

Spicy Asian Tacos!

I have been trying hard to watch what I eat recently… and doing a fairly good job of it. But we live in a world of temptation and I saw publicity for a second Food Truck Festival down in Deep Ellum last Friday. The last one was a big success and Deep Ellum is such a great place for people watching at things like that. I could not resist. So I decided to take the DART train down after work and then simply watch what I ate.

Oh, in checking this out, I came across a bit of interesting information. If memory serves, they said a little over a year ago there were two gourmet food trucks in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Now there are somewhere around sixty four.

Luckily for me, this festival had a number of healthy options. As is my wont, I chose a truck that I had never tried before. The Good Karma Kitchen truck was in attendance. I don’t think I had even seen this one before – they seem to spend most of their time in Fort Worth. They make gluten-free vegetarian food.

I chose the first item on their menu, the Spicy Asian Tacos – “Slow Roasted Korean BBQ’d tofu w/shaved carrots, jalepeno lime cream & ginger pickles.”

Do you think that sounds good? If you do, you are right.

Review of Good Karma Kitchen

Wall of Fame

Across the parking lot from Deep Sushi down Deep Ellum way there is a wall painted with four portraits. I have no idea who painted these or why…. I haven’t done any research on the paintings. For some reason I don’t want to.

The parking lot for Deep Sushi, down in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas.

The four are all Dallas musicians… but a very eclectic lot. First off, Erykah Badu – by far the most famous. You know who she is.

Erykah Badu

The next is a little more obscure. Ronnie Dawson was pure, absolute, Dallas Rockabilly. He was born here in 1939 and died of throat cancer in 2003. He was much more popular in England than here.

Ronnie Dawson

After these two classics, there are two current up-and-coming local artists. I have seen both of them in the last year and have written about them. First of all, the duo called the O’s. I saw them at the Patio Sessions at the Winspear Opera House… and was very impressed.

The O’s

And last, but not least, Madison King. I’ve seen her twice recently. Again, she was at one of the Patio Sessions and I saw here just a week ago down at the Museum of Art.

Madison King

So here they are. If nothing else, a pretty good set of examples of the wide variety of music spawned on the overheated streets of Dallas. I’ll bet there are folks like that where you are from too… even if there aren’t paintings of them on a wall somewhere.