Our Past Is Real

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Repaired cracked mural, Denton, Texas

Even artworks… no, especially works of art… develop cracks and hopefully will be repaired. Is the art lessened by this? Or does it add a greater dimension, one of time, pain, and disaster – if not avoided, refurbished.

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.

Rack

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, September, 29, 2011

Russell Blake – On Editing

The ease with which the self-publishing platforms now enable aspiring writers to upload their work is mind-boggling. The only thing standing between you and being on Amazon are a few mouse clicks. Gone is virtually the entire delivery system that defined the traditional publishing business for generations. Trees don’t need to be sawed down, trucks don’t need to go to and from warehouses filled with freshly printed books, stores don’t need to occupy valuable space that could house another Starbucks or fast food joint. It’s a brave new world we’re writing in; the old rules are dead and the sky’s the limit.

(read the whole thing)



I have this continuing fascination with Food Trucks. One of the interesting aspects is the battle with City Hall and the struggle for permitting and permission. You would think that you could drive where you wanted and sell sandwiches. Nope.

Even when the city likes something, it sets up barriers. And charges fees.

Dallas City Hall Likes Food Trucks


Why does the Good Life End?

by Victor David Hansen

Redistribution of wealth rather than emphasis on its creation is surely a symptom of aging societies.



What Should I Do with the Cables, CDs, and Accessories that Come with My Gadgets?

Great Ideas, from Lifehacker


My camera is fixed! If you need repairs or other work on your digital cameras – I highly recommend Archinal Camera Repair. It is located in an old storefront in old Downtown Richardson.

It isn’t cheap – repairing complex electronics and delicate mechanical devices never is – but they do good work and are pleasant to deal with.

Archinal Camera Repair on Beltline Road in Downtown Richardson


from The Telegraph
 
  • Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain
  • The Long Goodby by Raymond Chandler
  • Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson
  • Give Us a Kiss by Daniel Woodrell

Do you remember this song from “Kill Bill”? It was originally done by Cher, and was written by Sonny Bono.

New Screen

Last year, at Tulane, some time Lee stepped on his laptop and cracked the screen. He had a separate monitor, so he could still use the thing. Still, it killed me. I would love to have a nice laptop like that (I’ve got a decent one, it was Nick’s Toshiba – a present his Junior year in high school – until the hard drive fell out and he went out and bought an Apple – I retrieved his broken one and installed Ubuntu on it – which kicks it up a notch, IMHO) and I would take better care of it.

Still, accidents do happen. It’s a few hundred dollars in parts and labor to repair damage like that. Luckily, there is ebay, and without any trouble I could find a brand new replacement screen for seventy five bucks or so. I’m not so cheap to muck around on a used pull or something like that – though I did look for one at the First Saturday computer swap meet.

Luckily, there is even a YouTube Video of the procedure.

So, the Fedex man brought the box, I watched the video a few times. I collected my weapons: screwdriver, forceps, a couple little bowls to hold stray screws – on the kitchen table.

Lee's Laptop

Here's the laptop and the replacement screen - all ready to go.

So I took a deep breath and dug in. It was pretty easy. It was very easy until I had it all apart. The guy did a great job with the video, detailing how to get the thing apart and pointing out possible problems and potholes.

All Apart

All taken apart.

The only difficulty is that the video ends with the well worn bromide, “Just do the opposite of what you did taking it apart to get it back together.” Technically, this is true.

But it is a lot harder to get those tiny little screws to jump back into their holes that it was to yank them out in the first place. Especially with big fat clumsy fingers like me.

But I kept at it and soon enough, it was all back together. Works like a charm.

Now, lets see if we can get him to keep the damn thing in a bag when he’s not using it.

Yeah right.