Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hopes, Dreams and Aspirations for 2013

Yah, I could say these are my 2013 New Year's resolutions, but calling them "hopes, dreams and aspirations" is more...inclusive. (The more I write about this now the more I think this is a multi-year project...but....) Here they are:

Make more music.
  1. Play more banjo. Attend banjo camp in Port Townsend in September. Learn some new songs, and check out "three-finger style." Continue to learn frailing. Hang out with banjo players.
  2. Play more guitar. The more I played in 2012 the better it felt. Singing with DB, TC and CC on Christmas Eve was totally fun. More of that would be good. 
  3. Set up the recording studio. It's been...ahem...at least  fifteen years since I've recorded anything (and at the time it was all live Duk Bukki or Big Bird Cage. The boy is showing some interest in Garageband, perhaps encouraged by us following The Onlies. Maybe it's time.
  4. Sing. With other people. In harmony. Brian Eno (one of my heros) thinks we could fix the world if everyone would just sing a cappella together, and a recent scientific experiment suggests he may be right. I know singing with friends just gets me every time. I'd like to set up the opportunity to do this on a regular basis.
 Do more outside.
  1. S24Os. One of my absolute highlights of 2012 was the S24O bicycle trip with the boy to Fay Bainbridge State Park. He dug it too. I'd like to do more of this kind of thing! Possibly one that would be a repeat of our shuttle up to Snoqualmie Pass and downhill ride on the John Wayne Trail; another Fay Bainbridge trip; and maybe something farther afield on forest roads. By myself, I'd also like to get back to the Isle o' Vashon with my old motorcycle buddies. 
  2. Car camping with friends. The annual trips to Baker Lake over Father's Day weekend with HA, LT, FM and ML, and the Mt Baker Waldorf Pre-School Reunion during Seafair are two of my absolute favorite annual events. We usually get out a couple weekends by ourselves too, to Fort Flagler. I'd like to do more, and include friends we haven't camped with before, or for a long while, kinda like the Rookie Camping Trip with TK in 1997.
  3. Backpacking! Back in the day with TK and LH, I got out of the City on a regular basis, at least twice a month during the summer. I miss that. I'd like to introduce the boy to backpacking, with one short, easy overnight this year. 
  4. Cross-country skiing. I suspect I'll need to get over my adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) before it will be possible to get back into this...(but gosh, I sure hope it's gone by next Thanksgiving.) Twenty years ago with EC and then MD, cross-country skiing transformed my relationship with the winter rains in Seattle. Rain at sea level meant snow in the mountains! Another cool thing to do with the boy. 
  5. Continue to commute by bike. Not really aspirational, since I'm doing it virtually every day I'm at the office downtown already...but I think it's fine to consider the daily commute part of "doing stuff outside." 
  6. Sail more! I joined the Center for Wooden Boats last year, but didn't manage to get checked out for renting the boats. I need to do that. Then I can take the cool boats they have there out of an evening. This should be a regular thing during the summer. PE is right in the Vance Building, and is ready to go with me.
Repair relationships.
  1. Over the last ten years there have been several business and personal relationships that have not turned out as I hoped or expected. Setting aside the question of who's responsible for the situation, I'd like to reach out to those people and see what I can do to restore positive connections. If restoration is not possible, 2013 ought to be the year to let go and move on. 
Continue to do work I believe in.
  1. Get Park Passive certified as a Passive House by Passive House Academy.
  2. Move the design for the Multi-Generational Passivhaus along. Get it pre-certified by PHIUS by the end of the year.
  3. Continue mentoring the fabulous Tessa Smith. 
  4. Design and model at least one of the Case Study Passive Houses I've been sketching for three years.
Deepen my knowledge of Passive House.
  1. Take the THERM course from PHA.
  2. Learn WUFI Passive.
Build proficiency with ArchiCAD.
  1. Work through the rest of the Best Practices course on ArchiCAD.
  2. Implement EcoDesigner on a project.
Expand the tools for collaboration with clients, builders, consultants and contract employees. 
  1. Set up BIM Server/Teamwork.
  2. Utilize BIMx as a presentation and construction documentation tool. 
  3. Have at least one project with QR codes on the drawings linking to BIMx 3D models and/or details. 
Continue to revamp my business approach to provide both better service to my clients and more income for my family.

  1. Try alternatives to hourly billing. 
  2. Continue efficient and flexible arrangements with contract employees. 
  3. Develop the "two-day charrette" as suggested by SS, and offer that to prospective clients.
  4. See all of the above related to ArchiCAD and BIMx....
Minimalize.

In 1990 I moved to Seattle from New York City with every single one of my earthly possessions in an Econoline van. In the last 22 years I have accumulated vastly more stuff. It's time to divest. 
  1. A lot of the stuff came from my parents' house after Mom died in 2000 and Dad died in 2001. For many years it was simply not possible to let go of things—I missed them too much, and the material things, no matter how insignificant they might look, reminded me of them. I still think of them almost every day, but it's time to go through those boxes of photos and letters, keepsakes and memorabilia, and catalog gems, recycle, sell or toss junk, and distribute anything of emotional value to those who will appreciate it most. 
  2. Have a look at the tools in the garage, and garage-sale the ones I haven't used in 10+ years for sure, and have a hard look at the rest. One good Fein MultiMaster might replace a number of lesser tools. Here's an idea: Aim for being able to fit all of my tools in the Craftsman tool chest. (Oh man, that could be a challenge!)
  3. Give away the rest of the motorcycle lotions and potions.
  4. Take a hard look at 30+ year-old electronic recording and music equipment, and see what of it can be consolidated into computer-based software tools. Sell whatever can be duplicated digitally.
  5. Those vintage compact film cameras are incredible pieces of machinery...but are there any I can let go of?
  6. Most magazines are available online now. Recycle the remaining motorcycle, architecture, wooden boat, and photo magazines, or find someone who might like them.
Catalog and organize my own history.

Pretty much all of what I've saved from my own and my parents' past (I realize now) has been to pass along who I am, and who my parents were (since they were both gone before I had children), to my future children, that is, now in 2013, to my amazing nine-year-old son. I so wanted to know that stuff about my mom and dad, and just lapped it up as a kid whenever I discovered it in the attic or basement of our house in Ohio. In order for that to have any meaning if I'm not here, it all has to be a) edited and b) annotated. 
  1. Convert cassettes of the various bands I've been in since 1976 to mp3s. 
  2. Write on the back of photos. Who the people are, what year it is, where we are.
Wow. Well, I think I better stop here. Considering everything else that falls in a typical year, I think this is more than enough to lay out here. If I get 25% of this accomplished I'll feel good about it.

Happy New Year!

~RH

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bicycling Hopes/Dreams/Goals for 2011

Bicycling things I'd like to do in 2011....
  • Go on three S24Os over the summer, at least one of those with my seven-year-old son. 
  • Explore the easy rail/trails of King County with the family.  
  • Take a multi-modal overnight trip. On Metro to North Bend, then up into the Cascades. 
  • Ride a 100k brevet with the Seattle International Randonneurs
  • Do the STP again, this time in less than 11 hours/day! 
  • Figure out how to climb faster. (Lose weight? Build strength?)
  • Get more flexible! Try yoga. Or at least a regular stretching routine.
Acquisitions to help with doing those things....
  • A Rawland rSogn built up the way I'd like it, as a rough-stuff bike. 
  • hammock for those S24Os and camping trips.
  • A frame bag and rear saddlebag, perhaps by Carousel Design Works, for the rSogn in lieu of a rear rack. 
  • A repair stand for assembly and routine maintenance.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Microbrew & Saluki...


Microbrew & Saluki, originally uploaded by Rob Harrison.

...what's not to like? Another photo from the ride today.

Seattle Riv Ride 2: Day After Thanksgiving


Fremont Brewing, originally uploaded by Rob Harrison.
Had a (mostly) very nice ride today, the second Seattle Rivendell Ride, this time with iBobs as well. We met at Zoka Coffee just before 11am (civilized!). Let's see, this time it was Ryan from West Seattle on a Handsome bicycle, Andy on a Bleriot, Alistair on his own Centre Pompidou bike (clear epoxy with all the dimensions and angles, butts in the tubing marked on the outside) Jeff on a Curt Goodrich, Brian on his A. Homer Hilsen, Alex on his A.H.H., Russ on his Cassarole(?), Rob M. on his Bleriot (IIRC) and myself on my Saluki. After coffee we headed south along the Burke-Gilman. Weather was surprisingly good. Forecast was for rain and mid-40's, but the rain held off until later.

At 15th Ave NE we came upon a nasty bicycle accident. A rider was down and unresponsive after apparently fiipping his carbon bike, clipped in pedals still attached. We called 911 and stuck around as he came to, covered him with our jackets as he started to go into shock. A UW security guard arrived and offered a space blanket. We waited until he was in the ambulance to move on. From what we could imagine he must have hit one of the metal post covers in just the wrong way, and knocked his front wheel 90º and gone right over the bars and smacked the ground hard. Ouch.

Continued west on the Burke through Fremont to Ballard, north along Golden Gardens and up the switchbacks to 85th. Headed east again on 75th, various folks peeled off. Eventually we crossed under Aurora at the south end of Green Lake and Alex, Brian, Alistair and I headed south on Stone Way to Fremont Brewery. We were too early for the Urban Beer Garden, so ended up at Pacific Inn, where we had some of Fremont Brewery's Pail Ale. A tasty brew, accompanied by great conversation.

The rain made an appearance while we were at the Pacific Inn, and the rest of the way home to Mt. Baker was quite wet. I rode about 25 miles. Not epic by any means, but very enjoyable.

From today's ride I know that with the addition of a thin wool undershirt, my Bouré wool jersey, Ibex arm warmers and Showers Pass jacket on the top, and Bouré knickers with BMW socks designed for motorcycle boots, GoreTex booties and Rain Legs on the bottom, will keep me comfortable in the rain and down to 40º easily.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My First S24O: Vashon Island

I finally got a chance to try a S24O. What a great idea! It was a gorgeous weekend in the Seattle area. I rode out to Vashon Island from our house in the Mt. Baker neighborhood--one way about 22 miles plus a nice ferry ride. Not epic by any means, but perfect for my first time bike camping. I rode my Saluki. The draw was the Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts Isle of Vashon TT, a vintage motorcycle rally I have attended for many years on various motorcycles. I sold my last bike a couple months ago (See <http://bigbirdcage.blogspot.com/2010/05/selling-my-motorcycle.html>) but didn't want to let not having a motorcycle get in the way of hanging out with old friends. For the last six years we've camped at the Eagles Club, which always proves to be "interesting." A nice big grassy lawn for tents, very cheap drinks in the evening and a big ol' breakfast buffet in the morning. Nothin' like camping at the bar....;) 

Here are some pictures: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/robharrison/sets/72157624837312162/with/4940395316/>

A few things worked really well:

• I switched out my 8-speed 12-28 cassette and DA 7800-series rear derailleur for a Harris Cyclery custom 13-34 cassette and an XTR RD, along with a new SRAM chain. I was really glad I did! I was able to shift into the 26T chainring and 34T sprocket and slowly toodle on up the ~300' elevation gain from the ferry. The XTR RD shifts as well as the DA. Took a little getting used to the low-normal, since it reversed the function on the levers on the ErgoPower brifters. This particular Harris custom cassette number CS837  has the following sprockets: 13-15-17-19-21-23-26-34. There's a big jump between the 26T and the 34T, and that is the only problematic gear change. It does eventually jump up there though. I may try fiddling with the barrel adjusters, see if that makes any difference. 

• With the rains fast approaching, I decided to switch tires, from my beloved Pari-Motos to the Schwalbe Marathons I bought from Franklyn on the Rivendell list. I put in a set of Schwalbe tubes while I was at it. While they don't feel as nice as the Pari-Motos, I really appreciate the extra confidence of knowing I'm unlikely to flat. This ride went through a fair amount of industrial area with bad pavement, and not having to worry as much about glass in the road was super nice. 

• I'm liking the Trail Designs Caldera Ti-Tri stove. The whole thing is super light and compact, and burns alcohol or wood. Nicest thing about alcohol is it's so quiet!  

A couple things I'll change when I can:

• The medium Wald basket is a touch small...though I wouldn't necessarily want to carry a heavier load up front. I'm saving up for a PlatRack, which I can take off more easily when it's not necessary. I haven't found the basket as universally useful as I thought it would be. 

• My yellow Ortleib Backroller Plus panniers worked totally fine, but were a bit of a pain to get in an out of, and clash with the butterscotch of the Saluki. (Oh NO! ;)) I didn't have a handlebar bag, and I was using my Panasonic GF-1, which doesn't quite fit in a jersey pocket. Maybe I'll try Grant's strap technique. Eventually I'd like to invest in a SaddleSack Large

• Definitely would like a lighter shelter. Looking at either making a RayWay tarp and bug net, or a hammock. I like the Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. Between cutting down the weight of luggage + rack, and a lighter shelter I could probably take ~7 lbs off the setup. Which would probably be made up in food, if I was camping somewhere besides the lawn outside a bar....:)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Seattle-to-Portland!

Catching up a bit here. 


July 17th & 18th I rode the STP on my Saluki. The STP covers a bit over 200 miles on mostly beautiful back roads, a few sections of annoyingly high traffic highways, and one Rail-to-Trail path, from Seattle to Portland. It's one of the largest rides in the US, with a limit of 10,000 registered participants. About 20% of the riders do it in one day, the rest in two days. (Two days for me!) Here's a link to the ride page on the Cascade Bicycle Club website

A little back-story.
I rode the STP once before, in 1996 on my Bridgestone RB-T. Although it was a fun ride and a complete success romantically (the start of a wonderful relationship!) it turned out to be a bit of a disaster physically. The ride aggravated an ankle condition that made it difficult to walk for a few days, and ultimately, impossible for me to ride a bicycle without pain for a long time afterwards. After a couple years of failed remedies I ended up giving up and buying a motorcycle, a path I very much enjoyed for the next ten or twelve years. Except, that is, for losing my favorite form of exercise and gaining about 40 lbs over those dozen years, and nagging doubts about a hobby that burned fossil fuels.... 

A couple years ago though I had a heart attack, and decided I needed to get back on my bicycle come hell or high water. Part of the trouble had been the fit of the 59cm RB-T, which was probably a full size too small for me, and, ahem, a complete lack of stretching. An MRI of the ankle revealed the physiological issue--a fused bone, and with new knowledge I fired up the RB-T again, this time with a Technomic stem, Albatross bars and a tall mountain bike seatpost--and a stretching regime I learned from the awesome heart attack rehab folks at Swedish--and began commuting to work several days a week. 

A few of my motorcycling buddies ride bicycles as well, and this spring we decided to tackle the STP. Things conspired, as they sometimes do, to make it time for me to get out of motorcycles (More on that: <http://bigbirdcage.blogspot.com/2010/05/selling-my-motorcycle.html>) and I used some cash from the sale of my F800GS to buy the Saluki, with riding the new bike on the STP in mind. 

The Ride
Over all the ride was fantastic. Chilly with a heavy marine layer for much of both days, with sun burning off the clouds by late afternoon, so not too hot. I rode with a new friend, Sarah Bergmann (an artist who is creating Pollinator Pathways), and our paces were perfectly matched. The ride logistics were impressive, with rest stops for food and water about where you'd want them, and well-stocked with decent food and barrels of Nuun and water. 

The first day's ride included what was purported to be the big climb of the ride--"The Hill"--a ~6% climb for a mile and a half outside of Puyallup onto the plateau. It went way easier than I'd expected based on the big deal it was made out to be. On the other hand, the section through the strip-malls of Spanaway was the worst of the whole ride, in terms of comfortable riding. Lots of monster pickups bugged about having to wait for bicyclists to pass so they could pull out of McDonald's. Ugh. Followed though, with a long section of leafy recently repaved Rail-to-Trail (which was fine and safe as long as you obeyed stop signs at the crossings) into Tenino. We camped in Centralia, the half way point, with I'd guess 6,000 other riders. A fun festival atmosphere. 

The second day's ride was even nicer than the first. Until we got to 30 in Portland, there were fewer sections of narrow-shouldered single-file riding along highways. Beautiful country roads. A couple nice 35 mph descents made the second day's climbing worthwhile. 

I got an unbelievable number of compliments on my bike (as people passed me!) including lots of "How old is that bike?" I tried the "I'm pretty sure it's an aught-one..." reply a few times. :) 

Riding into Portland was phenomenal. The finish line felt like the end of a stage of the Tour, with throngs of people cheering and high-fiving us as we rode into Holladay Park. I rode about 95 miles the first day in 11 hours, and a bit over 105 the next in 11.5 hours. I tell you, it feels like a real accomplishment. I am BACK as a bicycle rider! :)


What Worked...
• The Saluki was great. The fit and ride make such a difference. 
• I love the Campagnolo ErgoPower brifters. 
• 26-36-46 chainrings and 12-28 cassette were just fine for this ride. 
• The Berthoud saddle was very comfortable, considering I had about 250 miles on it before I started the ride. 
• The Gran Bois Hetres rolled well, and I had no flats. (Saw a LOT of narrow-tired folk by the wayside. I'm sure I made up the time they raced ahead on their skinny tires by not having flats....) I had another issue with the tire, see below.
• Hammer Nutrition Perpetuum in addition to real food at the rest stops worked really well for me. 
• The Nigel Smythe Lil' Loafer I got from Gino on the Rivendell list served well, along with the Berthoud 786 saddle bag. I'll need something bigger for fall rides where inclement weather is more of an issue.

... and Didn't.
• The Exustar shoes, toe clips and straps caused a fair amount of pain over the 200 miles. Though I spaced the left toe clip out by 3/16" or so to account for foot length difference, the toe clip seriously mashed my big toe. It may be that the shoes are just one size too small. I have a pair of Speedplay Frogs I will try at some point. 

• After I finished, a fellow came up to me and said "Hey, your rear tire is about to blow out!" Check it out: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/robharrison/4817049422/in/set-72157624011191725/> Bummer.

• I took the nice-looking Lezeyne pump off before the ride and switched back to my Zefal HP-X. The hose of the Lezeyne inline gauge developed a leak the first time I used it to pump up a flat. Fail. 

• Despite a pre-ride adjustment/tune-up by Bob Freeman at Elliot Bay Bicycles (because I thought it was my lack of experience in tuning that was causing the problems), the Dura Ace front derailleur did not shift the TA rings well at all. It's just the wrong shape. Required a lot of trimming. Getting the chain up into the big ring was nigh impossible. So either the ErgoPower brifters, the DA derailleur or the crankset (or the FD _and_ the crankset) has to go. Bob says a Super Record FD will shift the TA rings a lot better. I'll try that first. I'm not averse to going Sugino XD2 with ramps n' pins though. Not a purist, that's for sure. 

Here are some photos: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/robharrison/sets/72157624553775586/> (Clearly there is vast room for improvement in my ride documentation!)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Uh oh....


Sat on one of these beauties at South Sound Motorcycles this morning, while waiting for the charcoal canister recall to be done on my F800GS. It's a 2011 Husquvarna TE630. About 60 pounds lighter than the GS, and a bit more than half the price.

Well, if I was going to get another motorcycle, someday, this would definitely be on my shortlist. Sigh.