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Tuesday, June 30, 2015 there anybody IN there....just nod if you can hear me...

Gosh, I would sure like to report a busy day yesterday...
Had a very nice young lady come in for a rear wheel repair yesterday.  She's an animator and going to work for DreamWorks next year, SWEET!  She had the misfortune to have had a friend who "knew" what he was doing in regards to bicycle repair, after all; "how hard could it be?" and fixed her bike.
She has an older single speed cruiser her father gave her and her sole mode of transportation.  She'd been having a problem with the chain slipping off, an easy enough fix by just adjusting the tension on the wheel, but when her friend did it, he removed the brake strap to do so, and when he said it was finished, and she noticed it laying on the ground, he merely dismissed it saying "that's not important"
Well, it's not important if you don't mind NOT breaking, or a rapidly worsening loose wheel, but yea, otherwise "not important"!
I have a theory on this.  Bicycle repair is easy (it has to be, because even I figured it out!) and not unlike a few bicycle manufacturers products I've had the misfortune of working on, people tend to overcomplicate it.  In the past (when we actually hired employee's) we have had folks like engineers and auto mechanics, looking for work, try it out.  I thought; "Heck!  If they can do that, this will be a breeze".  I was wrong.  Somehow, these highly intelligent people  cannot grasp the relative simplicity in design, form and function of a bicycle.  Hence why we work alone!  It's not so much a criticism as it is a difference in thought process.  You need a mind for simplicity and I have a very simple mind!
That was it for the day.  Oh, had a couple looky loo's, and oh yea, several more movie shoppers, but other than that, nada. 
"that's that chicken with the light gravy, right?"
Needless to say, it was an eight chapter day!  With nothing left to do, just punted at the computer working on the big book!  (ok...they're not HUGE chapters!)  but the thing is over 125,000 words right now, and no where near done! 
SO, with nothing to work on, and all my phone calls and running amok done, guess I'll get back at it.
Hope to see ya soon!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rainbows and Buttercups!

Really wish I had Earth shattering exciting news about frenetic activity spurring me on to tales of great accomplishments for this weekend but....NAH!
'Twas a weekend for silence and reflection.  GAWD!  Although, did get two ten minute rules out of it, and oddly enough, that was about all the activity we had!  WOOF!  Saturday, usually reserved for a great amount of repairs and visitors, was more of an opportunity to work on the next book, and that was about it!  'Tis truly summertime.  *YAWN!*  It's funny, really, as whenever I walk down to the corner store to get any goodies we need or cleaning materials, I am inevitably stopped by one or more of my fellow "Strip Mall Mates" and like a scene out of "Clerks" we banter around about how dead things are for everyone.  It's not just us, sadly.  BUT, we persevere, stoke the furnace of creative time management, and press on!  Although, the folks that just bought the "quickie Mart" (some day I'm gonna' don a black trench coat,  backwards ball cap with a Batman shirt and just hang out in front all day!) keep asking me, in rather concerned tones, "is it ALWAYS this slow during the summer!?"  WELCOME to Florida folks!
ANYWAY!  No, nothing new to report on the "New Build" side of things, only because I have had nothing come in to work on!  That's another downside to summers, folks don't want to do anything outside in the Florida Summer Sun, much less dig through an un-air-conditioned garage or shed, so we don't get a heck of a lot coming in.  HOWEVER the upside to that is, when we DO get something in, it tends to be higher end, either because folks are abandoning Florida and are traveling light, or because their employment is cutting back, and they need the cash, so they're slowly selling things off to pay bills.  Unfortunate, really. 
But, as I said, Ten Minute Rule;  first one was in the way of the SWEET Trek Pure I'd mention earlier, the folks had come in the day after another gent spent about a half an hour talking himself out of picking it up after falling in love with it, stating he didn't want to be impulsive, but give himself a little time to think.  Enh.  Hard for an impulsive person to understand that logic, but diversity is what makes the electoral process so interesting, so...who am I too judge!  OK, so not so much a ten minute rule, as it took until the next day to go to anew home, but the coincidence lay more in the fact that the first gent called the next day to find out if it was still here as he had decided it WAS the bike for him, only to have been sent to it's new home, five minuets before!  The second one, occurred Saturday afternoon. After an entire day watching our hair grow, we were about an hour and a half to quitting time, when things got busy!  Had a couple repairs come in that I jumped on with GREAT appreciation, and while in the process, had a gent come in looking to upgrade.  He was on his third Wal-Mart Roadmaster MTB, purchased BRAND NEW for the low LOW price of $87.00, and in just under three weeks had discovered WHY they are so cheap!  He commutes to work over three hours each day (WOW!  I remember THOSE days!) and cannot keep the bike running for more then a few days before something falls off or stops working.  He NEEDED an upgrade.  The one he limped in on, he had purchased on Thursday and by Saturday the left crank arm had stripped and kept falling off.  We spent the next half an hour or so, discussing his options, conversing about his misfortune and then I directed his attention to the newly finished GT, which we had converted into an Urban Commuter.  He test drove it and when he finally came back exclaimed "WHAT a difference!"  Then, after about another ten minuets of chit chat, he commented that he had an appointment for a shave, but that he would come in on Monday morning and pick it up?  WELL, you all know the title of THIS story!
"....six minuets later...."
Having been so close to closing time I can only assume he assumed things were safe, but a young couple strolled in, having recently moved into the area, and having been told that we were the ones to see for a good, cheap used bike, she grabbed up the Mongoose (pre-Wal-Mart, of course) and he, no surprise, the GT.  Unfortunately, this morning just after opening I had to explain this to the first gent when he called. 
Another thing that has surprised me (although with years of retail behind me, I have NO idea why it surprises me) is just how effective rolling a couple of carts of movies outside really is!  It's like folks just suddenly realized "HEY!  They sell MOVIES!"  That was by far the biggest volume we did this weekend!  One gleeful lady, greedily clutch a box FULL of classic Disney flicks on VHS, shocked and amazed that she got them all for only .50 a piece!  And we have another "Film Buff" regular who has come in almost every day since discovering us last week, to buy up a handful at a time. Each time he does, he points to one or another chotsky on the wall and asks "How Much?"  I keep reminding him, gently, that the objects on the wall are decorations only!  He offered me $20.00 for my rubber shark, Saturday!  Sorry, but I got that one on my third grade field trip to the Boston Aquarium (the one where I tried to jump off the overhead catwalk to "swim with the fishes" Yes...not the sharpest tack in the box back then!) Memories are not for sale at any price!  Yea, today I'm putting a sign out by the road, "MOVIES!!" 
Speaking of books...
(nice arbitrary segue, hunh?)
Yes, yes, yes...My ego is in charge right now, so bear with me!  I was checking the stats on the two books I put out, and lo and behold, the second one "Anthony's First Time" is number 12 in the Top 100 for "Teen and Young Adult-Short read-30 minuets"!!  COOL!  And, it's not so much the numbers but the group it found a niche with that so compelling!  The story is more directed at making a point to the 30-40 crowd, about the normalcy of domestic life in whatever form it may come.  It just seems surprising to me, that it would resonate for such a younger audience.  Perhaps there is some hope for this generation after all, as they have grown up in a world a little more acceptable of diversity! 
Going to be interesting to see where this all goes!  Needless to say, it has spurred me on to get back to "Pedigree" in earnest. 
OK, so, the phone has been busy this morning, and I will take that as a good sign that we indeed, may have some fun today!  Here's hoping! 
I am SOOOOOO hoping today will bring us LOT'S and LOT's of fun and excitement!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


And the award for "Best Imitation of a Drowned Rat" goes too....
"I'd like to thank the academy and all my fellow competitors...
Yes, that moment when you are two minuets into your ride and you feel the sudden shift in temperature, clearly notice the dark gray clouds encroaching upon you, and spur yourself on in the naïve hopes that you'll actually make it to your destination, dry!
HAHA!! Silly fool! 
And of course; three minutes into the deluge ,Suzanne, a real coward when it comes to rain fall, determines her best recourse is to lay down in the grass!  It took some coaxing to convince her to just move so we could get to dryer climates as quickly as possible.  Thank heavens the old T-Shirts I brought up here last week to turn into rags had not yet been torn into such!  Now...I just got the sticky undercarriage to attend too!
Recently, learned the importance of product placement, that I should have always realized!  We have been selling videos here for well over a year now, and they are not what one may call a "banner crop".  However, recently, after acquiring the racks from next door, two of them were three shelved rolling carts not unlike the rolling book shelves that libraries use.  I plopped some of the excess titles we had on them and rolled them outside in front of the shop, and lo and behold, folks have discovered "WOW!  You sell VHS and DVD's!?!"  Yes, turns out there are a lot of folks out there as tactile as we are, and would rather have a physical copy of a film, in deference to a download or stream!  YAY for old school! 
(heh...don't you love ride in a constant rain, get soaking wet, then five minuets after you get to where you're going, the clouds break up, sun pokes through and everything's dry!  THANKS!  Thanks' a lot!)   
As it turns out, the bulk of what we did yesterday were video sales, and one group of children, in tow with their big sister, stumbled upon them on the way to the corner store, and were so excited to see all the Disney films, I got a round of "High Fives" and the unanimous declaration that we were now "their favorite store!"  SWEET!  (and thank god they bought the other copy of "Sharpe's Adventure" or whatever that thing was called!  ICK!  Tiny ankle biter dog with bling goes to the big city, Disney flick.)
Sent home the Trek Pure with a couple who knew exactly what they were looking for.  Just walked in, pulled it out and said "we're ready!"  As always, we thank everyone for their trust in taking care of their repairs, we really appreciate y'all coming in!
"Anthony's First Time" finally posted to Kindle yesterday, and has thus far outsold the first one!  YAY!  And I know, this time around none of it was family driven, as I hadn't even sent any of them a link yet.  Perhaps, due somewhat to the content and message of the story, which, as it turns out is VERY topical given the not-so-surprising Supreme Court ruling in final acceptance of everyone's right to marry!
SO, I was able to find a lot to keep me busy yesterday, thankfully, as Kaleb rooted around and found a decent set of 26" alloy rims for the GT, so I was able to bang that beauty out!  Oh, she took some WORK to get looking good, and once again, I kick myself for not doing a before and after pick, as the transition was miraculous!  This poor thing was obviously a lawn ornament for a number of years, and needed a COMPLETE tear down and FULL replacement of everything except the crank set and rear derailleur (and the frame of course) but in the process I updated it to wield a set of 3/7 integrated shifters, a Deore front derailleur, a NEW set of 26 X 1.5 road slicks, (with el-thicko thorn resistant tubes!) and an alloy head set!  Lightened her up somewhat, and gave her a more aggressive "urban commuter" feel!  WHAT A GEM!  Also, we got in, processed and put out a cheapie cheap 26" Ladies 15 speed DBS! 
Once that was all done, cleaned the bay out of wheels, doing the spoke and hub strip shuffle, and the relatively full bucket of "leftovers", effectively, leaving me with nothing to do today!
(except straighten the wheel rack.....)
OH, as a SIDE NOTE!  This morning, while opening up the blog, doing the whole "comments check and respond" thing, I accidently discovered that our blog has a "Spam Filter" feature, inadvertently clicking on it, sadly, I discovered where ALL our out of country comments had gone!  I often times have been curious, given the amount of International readers we have, why we never received some kind of feedback, good, bad or otherwise.  Well, we did.  And we did to a tune in excess of a few hours worth of reading!  Seems that BlogSpot (not the best or easy to function outlets) systematically dumped everything NOT from the US into the Spam file!  So to all our International friends, please except my most sincere apologies for this unfortunate oversight!  We DO value your input, and I so wish I knew enough about how to interpret the site as to be able to alter and feature your comments, but alas, I ain't that skilled!  I WILL however, now make a point of checking the SPAM each day, in order to respond to legitimate comments!
Well, with that, guess I better put my thinking cap on and figure out something to do! 

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ONLY $55.00!!
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ONLY $130.00!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015


Only difference is...our work place don't sparkle!
Yep, one of THEM days!  Even though I passed out last night around ten, still didn't want to roll out of bed this morning.  The sad state of ones mind when they don't have a whole lot to do!  *sad face*.  Got through the scrap bikes yesterday, and they yielded very little in the way of useable goodies, unfortunately.  Which was a real pissah', because one of the MTB had, had a brand new set of meaty tires on it, but once I yanked them came to realize that the ride must have sat in the yard for even longer then all the rust would have indicated and the spot where the tires rested was BADLY rotted!  JEEZE!  I know I tend to anthropomorphize bikes, but when you are with these guys for so long, guess it's inevitable, because GOLLY BOB HOWDY do some of them have "personalities"!  Got the GT down to frame, but void of a few choice pieces (used the last of my good set of alloy rims the day before, and SO not putting steel on this child) she's going to have to sit for a bit.  Yesterday was "Kid Bike DAY"!!  It's good to see not only grandparents, weary of today's children obsessive attachment to electronic devices, but parents as well insisting the young ones get the hell outdoors, and are snagging up rides for them.  One such Dad brought in his little guy, and snagged up the 12" Specialized.  Funny thing was, the little man was far more interested in the mechanics of the bike, then actually getting on it!  We also found  home for the old "artsy kitch" Dutch collapsible bikes, much to the chagrin of the gentleman's wife.  She wanted him to get something more "practical" but he fell in love with the look and feel of it, and with the addition of his larger seat off their trade (another tandem, which will be sitting in the back until called upon to become the next truck project), and the couple having a drawn out conversation in the parking lot regarding his choice, he rode away a happy kid!  As I'm sure you have already surmised, didn't get out anything new yesterday.  Nope, after doing my morning chores, and aside from a couple small repairs, had the day to putter.  Instead of doing more cleaning (which didn't need to be done) sat down and put the finishing touches on my second book "Anthony's First Time".

 Yes, I'm using this venue to pimp my stuff.  So sue me! This one has been posted to Amazon Kindle as well, and should be available for purchase by tomorrow (HINT, HINT!!!) No, I have not given up on the larger novels I've been puttering with, but I just felt like I had to get these smaller ones down to free up memory space, and be able to focus on the larger ones.  Besides, I enjoy writing about moments in time.  No big events, earth shattering calamities, just the simple interactions between folk, that after all, is what shapes who we become.  Nothing more vital than that! What's real cool, and I know it ain't "Best Seller" numbers, is I've sold nine copies of the first one!  And, only three of those were to family! 
But, no, nothing new, as I've got nothing to work on, sadly. 
I did have the chance to have a real good talk with a gent, who recently, shall we say, endured a life changing situation and finds himself, at around my age, rebuilding his life from the ground floor up.  I applaud him the acceptance of it all and his rather positive outlook that remained.  His one problem is, and I kind of know how he feels, is the stigma attached to any grown man riding a bike that is not decked out in spandex.  Uncle Chippie has a rating system for bike riders, from the serious to the casual and then come the GOB's an acronym for "Guys On Bikes"  You've seen them, work clothes, a drink in one hand (non alcoholic of course) and a smoke in the other, tooling down the sidewalk (imagine my surprise when I came to terms with my own GOBness).  WELL!  Embrace your GOBness I say!  GOB'S OF THE WORLD UNITE!!  Yes, some are on two wheels because they have lost the right to tool around on four, but SO WHAT!  In the process of rebuilding his life, and initially being forced to go by two's a very wonderful thing happened; He came to discover he PREFERRED two wheels!  Although our families transition to pedal power was one made of free will, the end result is what matters!  One less bloody car on the road is a GOOD thing!  MORE folks should come to the same conclusion from whatever source may compel them to do so.  I'd love to look out our shop window and see a steady stream of bipedals cruising past the shop as opposed to smoke choking monsters!  SING IT LOUD AND PROUD, BROTHER!  Yes, that would be a world we could be proud of!
Sorry for my digressive diatribe, but every now and then you just got "Shake it loose, and let it fall!"
ALLRGHTY!  NOW, after just completing a couple of "while you wait, NASCAR pit stops" (sadly, one gent on his way to a campground up the road had one of the bikes strapped to the back of a trailer do a swan dive and road dance and wanted a quick "in an out" procedure.  Thank God he didn't bend the frame!) I'm now greasy, so I best put it to good use!
See YA!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking!

Well, with no small amount of egotistical self gratification, successfully published my first work on Amazon Kindle.  As if the rather large link advertised to the right of this wasn't a clue.  Who knows where It will go, but it's a rather fine thrill to have it on "paper" and in "book form".  Of course, with the realization that I can get these stories out there, now, my every free moment not working is spent working on others that have been filling the recesses of my limited, overtaxed brain.  The larger novel I've been poking at, is simmering right now, until I go back to it, in deference to some of the smaller ones I've wanted to get down.  Working on the next one "Anthony's First Time" as of yesterday. 
But I've talked enough about ME!  How about you talk about me?
Oh I LOVE people who do research!  See, there are two kinds of shoppers in this world;  Those who are compulsory and "pass through" any given business and purchase on an emotional level, and those that take the time to plan, research, search and execute.  I am the prior, mostly, and will pay a little more, if the establishment peaks my curiosity.  That's probably why I don't "window shop". If I go into a business, I feel obligated to buy for being allowed to look.  Then there are those like a couple folks we met yesterday. A very nice couple came in, after spending time "checking out" a variety of local shops (YAY for the Internet!) stating they caught mention of us from a variety of sources online, and decided we were the ones to service their bikes.  They have a pair of uni-sexed Diamondback Comfort Hybrids that suffered the misfortune of being stored in a shed with Pool chemicals.  Sadly, the vapors released from them have the unfortunate side effect of corroding spokes from the inside out.  Yea, when those little brown lines start to appear they're getting ready to pop.  They had a LOT of brown lines after being stored for two years, and a LOT had popped!  That, coupled with a need for a minor tune up.  And, with no small amount of self back patting on our part, we were successful in convincing them NOT to get rid of them!  They apparently take several sojourns to North Carolina each year, and  what drove them to store the bikes in the first place was a fateful stop over in one of the bike shops up there.  It would appear that, sadly, the propensity for the majority of bike shops out there, is their sales practices lean heavily on discrediting and degrading whatever ride you may happen to bring into their shop.  I know, from experience, that this tactic is heavily used in some of the shops around here. They pick out one or two minor issues, expand them into potentially life threating defects, and attempt to scare the customer into purchasing one of their more "suitable" bikes!  Or, in the case of this young couple, convince them that the rides they had were unsuitable for the terrain in the area.  Well, sure, they were not "off road MTB'S"  they sported a nice set of hybrid tires, with the smooth raised center, and were upright in seating position, agreeably NOT for the "down hill, dirt crunching, rock climbing" set, but that's not the kind of riding they were doing, anyway.  Sadly, they took this advice to heart, rented a couple of nice MTB's when they were there, and upon returning to Florida felt compelled to "put them up".  As they did the majority of their riding while in NC, the bikes just sat.  After awhile, and settling more into Florida life, they decided to bring the rides out of the rafters, and either fix them, or (and they were leaning more towards this angle) sell them and buy NEW mountain bikes.  Don't get me wrong, these rides, other then the wheels, were cherry!  Like NEW cherry, and would have been more than happy to have them.  I told them as such, but that it would be a shame to rid themselves of such versatile rides, especially when the "WAY gone" wheels set greatly diminished their resale value.  Better, they just have them fixed, which in the end cost them less then a third of that of ONE new bike!  After this discussion, they both appeared very relieved, commented on the fact that they had used our Internet presence as a Litmus test for where to go, and I over heard the wife nudge the husband and say "I TOLD you we should have come here!"  Does the heart good!
The next lady to come in and pay us a visit was an all too familiar "I had NO idea you were here!" types.  Lives in the neighborhood (two streets directly behind us as a matter of fact) and drives right in front of the shop every day.  But  we understand, our visibility is completely dependent on a persons need to see us.  She found herself, recently, getting ready to take care of her granddaughter.  And in the fashion of folks within our generation, was damned if her granddaughter was going to sit inside all summer, and she would, in fact, be getting OUTSIDE!  YOU GO GIRL!!  She spent, according to her, several days online, checking out local shops, Wal-Mart, K-mart and the like, looking for a suitable upgrade for her six year old visitor.  Slowly, she was becoming somewhat forlorn, commenting on the fact that she had NO idea of just how damn expensive bikes were.  And for KIDS!  SHEESH!  At this point Providence stepped in, a friend suggested Craigslist, and that's all it took to discover that her answer was in her own neighborhood!  It was a joy chatting with her, but we both agreed it would be preferable that she bring her granddaughter in here to pick one out, when she arrived, in order that she be inspired by her own choices, and get out and ride willingly!
Well, aside from those and other really cool conversations yesterday, we did manage to put out two newbies!  A nice, run of the mill, 20" Mongoose BMX, and a really fine Diamondback MTB!  Oh, it's not one of the Top-of-the-Line ones, more their base model, but is now in really fine shape!
Today?  We acquired a few gimmes and a trade yesterday, which I will be poking at shortly, but the majority of it is more just parts.  Although one is a GT MTB, so even though it's really thrashed out, probably will be rebuilt. 
Other than that, well...we'll see where the day takes us!
See ya soon!!

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ONLY $160.00!!
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ONLY $45.00!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Wonders of Nature or Witnessing Natural Defensive Systems 101

Okay, yes, I am easily amused!
Last night around ten pm, during our now nightly ritual of curling up on the couch and running through episodes of "Lost", we were interrupted by the plaintive whines of Suzanne, prancing before the front door, in the canine variation of the "pee,pee dance".  With a mild groan, I hauled my carcass of the couch, and proceeded to the door.  Normally Suzanne will not exit an open door without first, dutifully, awaiting her leash.  However this time, as soon as I opened the door she darted out and deftly executed a rapid 90 degree course correction around the side of the house.  For a moment I thought for sure the neighbors would, once again, be treated to the site of me jaunting through the block, in my skivvies, irritatingly calling out Suzanne's name.  But as I huffed around the corner of the house, fully expecting to see nothing, Suzanne was eagerly sniffing about something n the grass in the middle of our side yard.  It didn't take but a second to realize she had something pinned, so I ordered her off and approached what turned out to be a dead possum.  Obediently, she came to my side, the whole time her curious eyes and sniffer going at rapid speed, and I felt a moment of sorrow for the poor creature, hoping dearly Suzanne was not the cause of it's demise.  Then, while examining this sprawled creature, bent in half, partially on it's back, legs out stretched in rigor mortis, mouth flailed open, the skin on it's face stretched into a hideous open mouthed death mask, I couldn't help but wonder "how in the hell did it die here?"  With no clear answer,  I had to contend myself with the conclusion it must have been hit by a car and merely crawled into the yard to gasp it's last breath.  Pulling Suzanne's attention away, and to finish her business, we went about 20 feet away to the small tree in our front yard, while I waited for her to sniff out the perfect spot.  A scant few seconds later, almost at the same time, I became aware of the slightest of moments in my peripheral vision behind me, and Suzanne's ears perked up in rapt curiosity, as she dashed back towards the unfortunate possum.  As I turned to go after her, I realized the possum was gone!  Suzzane's eye's being more adept at the dark then mine, found it in seconds.  It was now ten feet away, partially clinging to the wheel of one of the "art bikes" we have leaning against the house, one little furred hand, clinging desperately to a spoke, the remainder of it's body in that same pathetic, grotesque contorted display, head lolling back, upside down, tongue out, gaunt, stretched face.  Possum's really DO play possum!!  At this point, Angi and the boys had come out to investigate what had had me all riled up with excitement, and we all watched, quietly as the creature slowly lifted his head up, cautiously looking to see if everything was safe, then meandered off to the tree line behind the house.  AWESOME!!! 
Like I said, easily amused!
Yesterday, we were a whirlwind of activity!  Well, in the sense that we had a great deal of time to clean!  ARRGH!!  The dog groomer next door to us had done some spring cleaning of their own and rolled out a variety of really nice Rubbermaid storage shelves and totes and such, and the son came in to ask if we wanted any of it.  FREE!?  Yea, we do free, even if we have no place for it, we'll take FREE! This inspired me too, yet again, rearrange the store room and behind the counter, now having a central location to divide the shop tools, from all my old construction tools and office supplies!  YAY!  I have nigh on empty drawers!!  WHOOPIE! 
Like I said; easily amused! 
Oh Heaven's...this is PRECIOUS!  I gotta tell you this story!  Just had to pause to endure another SNAFU conversation with our credit card processors who apparently are incapable of communicating with our bank to resolve issues between the two that really have NOTHING to do with us!  Seems the bank kicked back one of their "fee's" for the third time in the last three months.  Instead of calling the BANK to find out what the bloody problem was, they assume I know the intricate inner workings of this fine financial institution, and are adept at navigating the  bureaucracy and technical minutia to come to a satisfying resolution!  YEA...right!  I have issues using my cell phone!  ANYWHO, after ten minutes of failing to convince them that I was sorely inadequate to the task, I reluctantly agreed to accept the E-mail of info they had and attempt to fix things.  But HERE'S the funny part, that exemplifies the pathetically sad state of our public education system: after spelling out my e-mail address, the phone jokey read it back to me, in military fashion, by reciting words to identify the letters. IE: "M" as in Mary, "B" as in Boy and "O" as in apple!?  Hunh!?!  No mam, I said "O".  (slightly annoyed, she retorted) "That's what I said "O" as in APPLE!"
No folks.... I am, sadly, SOOOOO not kidding!
I wonder if I'll get the email?
As promised, I did, in fact pop in the newly acquired copy of "Barbarella" just to be able to admit I had, in fact, seen it.  My reaction?  How in the HELL did Jane Fonda EVER find work again, after THAT monstrosity!   WOW!  There's Bad, then several steps up that ladder, teetering at the very top rung, three past the "Do Not Step Above This Line" Barbarella!   Obviously after several hit's of acid, the writer sat in the Mojave desert, pulled out a pack of rolling papers, and jotted down this script!  He had some real latent sexual issues as well!  WOW!  There are dog's, then there is this "frothing at the mouth" Bowzer pinning you into the corner of a really dank, smelly alley way! 
Inexplicably, this film got made, more than likely due to the then fashionable "psychedelic, all we need is love" subset that infiltrated America in the latter half of the Sixties.  You pretty much get the point of just where the directors head was at, when in the opening title sequence, Jane Fonda is doing an anti-gravity, strip tease out of her ersatz, sliver foil, fish bowl head space suit,  too the "trippy" theme song.  Yes, for the sake of nothing more than a masochistic, sick fascination, I (partially) watched the entirety of the film.  The only two,  redeeming qualities I found in the whole ordeal, are: discovering the origins of the popular 80's bands name, "Duran Duran" and the similar use of the name of the planet Kahn's crew in Star Trek 2 were stranded on "Alpha Ceti" (although, Roddenberry's creation was "Ceti Alpha")  Other than that...should you make a similar attempt, may I suggest a strong sedative!
Other than that, we did do one overhaul and sent the Cannondale road bike to a new home, so at least the day wasn't a total wash!
ALL RIGHT!  With that, I best git a going and try and get something done!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Well, just did it.  Thanks to the benevolence of the Internet and simplicity of self publishing, My first novella is now in review on Amazon and should be available in 72 hours!  WOWZERS!!  Help support your local "Starving Artist" and grab yourself a copy of "An Odd Occurrence In the Otherwise Orderly Life of Noel Pendelton" 
One a day.  That's all we ask.  Thank you for your support! a cat by it's tail under the pale moonlight?

Oh...don't get me started...rough night!
Didn't finally get to sleep until WAY after the "Witching Hour" (for those not in the know, that's 3 am) Twas one of those "everyone's got sleeping issues" and after three attempts to lay our heads down, Angi and I finally passed out! 
NOT a big fan of those kind of sun cycles!  Relatively inactive all bloody day, then as soon as I get home, well the fun starts, and I don't recall there being a full moon so I have NO explanation for any of it! 
As I said, not busy to say the least, with only one repair and sending only one to a new home, had LOT'S of time to kill!  I did manage to put the finishing touches on the story I wrote, which I originally considered a "short" story, but according to the industry standard a "short" story is 1200 words or less?  That's like a bloody paragraph!  But then, as I am sure this may come as a shock to some people, I can tend to be a little long winded.
Yes, the story ended up coming in at just under 13,000 words, so I guess you could call it a Novella?  Who knows!  I'll leave the literary terminology up to our resident published author, Uncle Chippie!  If you are so inclined (and I'd love to hear some honest feedback) I'm going to try and post it to my Google page (you get there through the little icon up top of the page) and see what folks think.  In short "An Odd Occurrence in the Otherwise Orderly Life of Noel Pendelton" is about an excruciatingly average civil servant who inadvertently  averts the end of everything.  Not too far reaching for my first go around?  Anywho, please let me know what ya think!
On to Yesterday...wait...we covered that.  Oh, aside from what was mentioned we did manage to get in one really FINE consignment piece!  Check it out below!  2012 Trek Pure Low Boy seven speed!  NICE!!!  ALSO!  Same gent, a regular of ours, was SUPER KEEN FINE by dropping us off a load of "gimme" DVD's and VHS movies!  UNREAL!  We FINALLY have a copy of Barbarella!!  YES!  B-Movie hall of famer!!  Of course, got several choice picks to add to the collection at home!  So at least the day wasn't a total wash!  Truth be told, I refer to the Jane Fonda classic with some reverence from time to time, but honestly, I have never actually watched it!  Gonna rectify that today!  I'll let you know if it's as bad as they say! 
Today...well, with one repair in, I'll have about a half an hour of busy time then...well, I just hope that will prime the pump and somehow, by sheer force of will, inspire others to come pay us a visit!  The crickets are getting bored again.
SO until next time...

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ONLY $240.00!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptangya Zoooooooom Boing Ni!" Those Who Hear It, Seldom Live To Tell The Tale!

And DARNNIT!  Where's my damn shrubbery?!
Oh, Lord...weird bloody mood THIS morning!
After yesterday's frivolity (and the inevitable dissemination of a variety of war like confrontations between children cooped up in the unfortunate summer heat) we wound down the evening by beginning, what is sure to be several weeks of (in the case of Angi) re-watching the entirety of J.J. Abram's "Lost" television series.  Picked up the entire series on DVD in a bulk buy we did a couple weeks back, and as she has always raved about it (and I thoroughly enjoy everything else the man has done....OH....Star Wars 7....December is SOOOOOO far away!) I figured I'd give it a shot.  As such, I did, in fact, really start to get into it, so stayed up a wee bit late getting through the first four episodes, thusly, waking a wee bit beyond schedule.  Made it to work on the dot of nine, unfortunately, had we left at the usual time, would have missed the beginning of the rain (UGH!!!) and arrived perfectly dry!  The girls gave me a cute Daddy's day gift in the way of a impromptu Play Rozy scripted, her the part of Gargamel, Izzy Smurfette, and Miranda as "Azreal" (complete with inked in cats nose and whiskers!)  it was quite adorable.  As has always been my rule, I don't like them to spend money on gifts, preferring  the more thoughtful hand made items.  Oddly enough, Elijah's mention of the day, came in the way of a couple text's, to some degree, apologizing for his more recent lapses in good judgment, I received while having my morning coffee. it was not until about an hour later, I came to realize, he sent the texts from his bed?  SHEESH! 
Saturday was, in the end, somewhat busy, but was relatively void of the normal string of Looky Loo's that are prone to keep it a bluster of activity.  Not complaining, just pointing out an oddity.  Sent both of the Cheapo Hybrids to new homes, one with a request for an upgrade when found, as well as the last 26" DBS we had left, for now.  Hope to get some more in, in the near future (HINT, HINT!!).  The one ride we had gotten in the day before, a real nice example of an earlier Cannondale Triathlon/track bike was finished up (complete with the original, integrated Areo Bars) and we did get in, a soon to be, sweet older Mongoose BMX (no, not the OLDER top of the line ones, but nice) I'll be getting to today.  Once all that was done, still had a couple hours to kill, so I tried to finish up the last little bit of "An Odd Occurrence In the Otherwise Orderly Life of Noel Pendelton" but, well, Owen's day was Saturday, and perpetually under the influence of an over active energy gland, the boy doesn't understand the concept of "quiet time".  So, with hope's, I'll have it roughed out shortly.  Here's hoping! 
Other than that...enh?  Not sure what a rainy Monday is going to throw our way.  Just have to wait with bated breath!
SO, hope to see y'all soon!

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ONLY $190.00!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Crawling Hand!!!

Oh, I know, missed a day!  Sorry! 
No, came in yesterday, sat at the 'puter to do my morning sh....stuff, and was suddenly struck with an idea for a short story.  Beginning, middle and end formed complete in my brain and was burning a whole in it with the incessant need to put it down.  As yesterday, turned out to be, probably the single most deadest day we have had in eons, it allowed me the time to type, undeterred for close to ten hours.   I've only got to wrap up the last little bit then do a final read through (and spell check of course!) BUT, not wanting to get to far behind, thought I'd pop in and bring everyone up to date. 
Aside from picking up a couple of bangers yesterday and one really nice (or soon to be) classic Cannondale triathlon bike, as mentioned it was all but "rigor mortis" yesterday! 
On to Thursday!
A little better (but not by much) as we sent home one new ride and a few repairs, but what stuck me as desperately, sadly, funny is a little thing we'll call "THAT HAS HAPPENED FOR A WHILE!"
In the middle of the day a young gent came into the store,  I gave him the traditional greeting, asked if there was anyway I could help him, and although polite with his response, remarked he was just looking around.  No worries, we get that all the time.  But, as I puttered, keeping one eye out should he appear to have a question, I couldn't help but notice he was taking an inordinate amount of time studying not so much the items, but prices.  He moved from the parts to the bikes, and again, not so much the bike but the price.  Yea, there was one bit of evidence available that informed me of his true intentions, but wait for the dramatic reveal on that one!  So, patiently, I waited, then the expected questions began.  For the next couple of minuets, he struck up what was to appear to be a friendly conversation, then started to question the prices on repairs.  He really was becoming more and more obvious, but I SO did not have the heart to inform him, his ruse was not well thought out.  Now, by the time I had listed the cost of a tune up, bearing repack, and tube change, I have to admit I was getting a tad bit giddy, because he seemed to be becoming more and more, well, concerned.  Once we got to wheel truing, he was clearly agitated and simply stated (and nope, no kidding here) "you cant DO these things so cheap!"  HEH, HEH!  GOTCHA!!! 
Look, I am not to proud to admit, when we first got into this gig, years ago I too, would occasionally "comparison shop" other bike shops (granted, I did it over the phone) but it was because I really had NO idea what to charge for any given repair, that would be a fair price.  We really had never originally intended on doing repairs, just sell bikes.  Thanks to Dave Foot from Canada for changing all that!  What I found, when shopping around was, there was NO way we could or would charge the prices that other bike shops charge.  Two reasons, let's be fair, they use NEW parts (which are bloody expensive) and primarily we use used.  Second "Minimum Shop Hour Charge"?  Come on!  Nope, keep it simple, keep it cheap!  And as far as going into another bike shop to clandestinely check them out?  Nah.  Dem's not kosherized rules!  I have visited several of the local shops, but before even checking out their stock, introduced and identified myself, for one reason only:  we do have folks coming into visit us who want new parts and bikes, and once they realize we don't do that, we need to be able to refer them, in confidence, to someone else.  And there's no way we're going to do that if we don't even know the shop.
So, in an attempt to calm the young inquisitor, I reassured him, yes we could, but for the reasons mentioned above.  We're not in the business to compete with other shops in the area, we're here to represent a portion of the population who are not so at other "new" bike shops.  It's definitely a niche market, but we are very happy to work for them.
And, to any other bike shops in town, who want to know how and what we do, and have the brilliant idea to "send in a scout"?  Well, just tell him one thing before you do,  "At least make sure they remove your work shirt with the company logo on it, before they come in!"  BWA-HA-HA!!!!
On to another "awkward" sit-ye-a-shun!  Pulled in this morning to notice a car parked off to the corner with a bike sticking out the back, figured that was fer us. Opened up, and after a few mo's they came in.  Nice enough couple, but..well, one of the few bad parts about this job is when some folks have a different value system in regards to their own ride.  The gentleman was looking to sell, and even before I got out from behind the counter, he gave me the run down of the bike.  it was an old Murray five speed cruiser.  Now to hear him regale me of it's worth, and how pristine it was, truly, filled me with a bit of dread.  I SO did not want to be put into the position of having to burst his bubble, and here's why:  MOST bikes will only sell for a certain top price.  That's it!  Oh, you have variations in total dollar figure, but only below top price.  For instance (and I'll use one we see ALL the time) Next Power X Dual shock MTB:  Top Price $85.00.  Now that's if it looks NEW!  You could sink $150.00 into it in new parts, replace and upgrade everything, but it will STILL only sell for $85.00,'s a Wal-Mart Next. That's it!  SOOOOO, an older Murray five speed cruiser, in TOP condition will ONLY sell for $75-80.  To hear this man rail on about how perfect, waxed and shiny it was, well....I was looking for an "out".  Fortunately, I had one, or so I thought.  It being first thing in the AM, and not having brought any cash with me, save coffee money, I explained I wouldn't be doing any buying today.  I thought I made it.  Nope.  "Well, would you at least look at it, and tell me what you'd pay?" 
*sigh*  "wasn't gettin' outta dis one!  With my most polite "going to the gallows" smile, I said sure.  But not unlike a teasing first date, we got half way to the door and I was given the false hope, yet again, of a way out.  He stated in passing, that he "already had an offer, but it was in Saint Pete"  HO HO!  Looking hopeful I said "How much was the offer?" 
"Fifty Five"
BINGO!!!  "Well sir, I would definitely snag THAT offer!"  And , assured I had made it out, unscathed, prematurely pivoted to turn back to the desk when he said plaintively "But I don't want to drive all the way to Saint Pete, I'm sure you could sell this thing for over a hundred bucks, she's PRISTINE!"
SOOOOOO close.......!
With what I hoped was not an audible sigh, an unseen rolling of the eyes, and a hidden slumped shoulder, I acquiesced and made the march to the firing squad!
Yep...SOOOOOO wish I hadn't had to go out there!
What I was faced with after a dramatic reveal, and much hype and hyperbole, was in fact, a frame with a variety of chips and scratches in the paint, a chain of burnt umber, with matching stains on almost every inch of chrome and bald white walls with so many fault lines of dry rot they made the surface of Mars look as smooth as a marble! 
OKAY, how the heck do I get through this without seemingly insulting the guy.
Well, in a weak attempt, I just smiled and said "you'd be a lot better off taking the fifty five?"
"But how much would YOU offer for it?"
Well, propriety out the damn window, I had no other recourse but to give it too him straight, ran through the list of defects then informed him it was only worth ten bucks to me.
Heh....yep.  Completely expected response.  Incensed and insulted, he rallied on about how much work he put into it... "IT WAS WAXED!!!"  and how valuable it was, how much I could sell it for, how "we had parts anyway to fix it" so it "wouldn't cost us anything!" (???????) and of course, how much we were trying to screw him, then drove off in a huff.
Great way to start a Saturday!
WELL, recouping, I rallied my strength , and am determined to make it through the rest of the day, without any further scars!
(I'll be hiding under the desk if you need me!)
Here's what we built Thursday!
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ONLY $85.00!!!
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ONLY $80.00!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

“With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.” _Robert Louis Stevenson

Well....that happened!! a funny thing happened on the way to the desk...
TEN MINUTE RULE almost gone horribly wrong! 
So, toward the latter half of the day yesterday, after a rather lackluster day of puttering (well, not so puttering. managed to put out two newbies and bang out four EZ repairs!) had a gent come in, we'll say...umm...fourish?  He had noticed a dual shock MTB we had put out the night before, apparently window shopping after hours, and came in to "snag it up". He appeared to be somewhat of the quiet type, didn't say much, but asked if he could road test it.  SURE!  No worries!  He heads off around the block, and I go back to my bay, banging away on one of the hybrids we put together, then about five minuets later, comes back, parks the bike, waves a short salute, says his thanks and leaves.  OK, obviously not what he was looking for, no worries!  Less the ten minuets later a young lady comes in, inquiring about the same bike, asks the pertinent questions (work done, age, would it fit so and so a height man, and the warranty info) and after she seemed satisfied with the answers, snags it up.  Saying our so longs, I went back at it.
Less then ten minuets later (you notice a trend here?) the first gent comes back in, and upon noticing the ride was no longer in the spot he left, inquired as to where it had wandered off too.  I answered simply "we just sold it."  Well, at this point, not unlike Robert Louis Stevenson's literary creation, his timid demeanor shifted to one of contemptuous wrath, and began spatting vitriol about "unprofessionalism" and "he was just going to get money" and "how could we have sold it out from underneath him"!  Calmly, but with my own ID inspired monster broiling beneath my placid exterior, I relented the floor and allowed him his tantrum.  Once I found a moment that opened a question, allowing me response time, I simply stated that he had said nothing when he left so I only assumed that he was not interested.  Well, at that moment I saw the slightest gleam of recognition to this fact, but not willing to relinquish his incensed  high ground, huffed, and with a few choice words...left.
WOOF!  How some people can get THAT wound up, well, the old saying "It's the quiet ones you have to worry about" comes to mind.  Shaking it off (which, at times, can be a chore) I went back to finishing up the second hybrid.
Oh...the story doesn't end there...
About an hour before close, having now shifted into "cleaning mode" I had my back to the store, sweeping out the debris from my bay, when I heard the tell tale "chunk" of the sticky front door opening.  I turned around with a smile to greet who ever came in, only to find the gent standing there.  Oh, for a brief moment I had a sudden chill of "the unrealistic psychopath coming back to seek revenge" but, with relief" recognized the contrite stance he took.  Recovering myself I cautiously inquired "what can I do for you" to which he extended an apology and the almost humorous revelation that, as it turns out, the lady who had come in and snagged up the ride in between his visits, was in fact, his wife, looking to get him a surprise!  So either, he had time to think about his behavior and come to terms with his overreaction, and the subsequent apology necessary OR, upon learning of her purchase, related his story of impropriety to her, and she ordered an "about face" and "go say you're sorry, young man!"  (given her out spoken manner, I am more inclined to believe the latter!)
Well, as mentioned, we banged out two "need a LOT of work, cause they sat in the back yard for far to long" hybrids.  which, in addition to the repairs, took up the better part of the day.  We did get in a sweet little 20" BMX in trade, just around close, so I'm jumping on that one shortly!
Other then that...enh?  Not too sure, but we'll see which way the wind carries us!
See y'all soon!!!

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ONLY $95.00!!
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ONLY $95.00!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” _Haruki Murikami

Oh the Florida skies!
Truth be known, I have always been a big fan of storms.  Torrential down pours, rumbling thunder echoing from hidden recesses within massive slate black clouds.  Even the comforting yet oppressive sheath of humidity, accompanied by the metallic scent of the oncoming onslaught.  Then there is the moment, if your patient enough to wait to feel it, that the temperature drops dramatically, and you realize you have about ten minuets to put your affairs in order, before the oncoming deluge!  This is queerly exciting, if you happen to be riding somewhere.  That sudden shift, and realization that you either better get to where you're going, or prepare to do an unexpected load of laundry!  (I carry a small zip lock bag with me at all times!  A must have for cell phones and other perishables!) 
Yesterdays daily rain, was a little disappointing though, as it only rained long enough to make things unbearably humid!  UGH!  But, in retrospect, if that's all the troubles we have this season, I'LL TAKE IT!  Last year was so bad, we entertained the thought of shifting stock to inflatable rafts and personal water craft!  SHEESH! 
We managed to keep rather busy none the less!  I got a hair across my buttocks, and with nothing else to occupy my time, took advantage of the fact that Terry hadn't come and picked up his table saw yet, and that I had left over lumber from the truck project and put some of it to good use and expanded the video shelves somewhat!  I was getting tired of looking at the jumble of crates on the floor.  We are far from a "pristine" shopping experience, but even that mess was too much.  Even broke down and got rid of the tapes without cases (except for the delightful re-discovery of the BBC's production of "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" and the complete set of "Fawlty Towers") although for a brief moment I contemplated doing an art project of sorts with the older tapes, but thought better of it! 

Ahhhh.  SO much cleaner! (although, ick, I really need to have these floors cleaned!)  Even created more space for MORE videos!  Heh, heh!  Although, at the moment, I have completely abandoned the concept of alphabetizing the stock!  Even got a spot for "Managers Picks!"  Obviously, not new releases, but each week I'll feature a few of my faves! 
Gotta send a shout out to ALL the folks that keep passing our name around!  PLEASE, keep it up!  Not to mention the minor leaguers over at the ball field who are quickly becoming a whole subset of patrons!  These are BIG guys, not at all easy on bikes, who are keeping me rather busy either "swapping out" rides or doing repairs.  Not warranty work, mind you, but....well, I replaced a fifth wheel yesterday.  I have NO idea WHAT they are doing with these bikes, but they are more then realistic in  recognizing part failure from abuse!  Also, had a nice young lady and her mom come in on a referral from somebody who over heard them talking at Kmart while perusing the rides there, and told them they should check us out first.  She had a real hard time deciding between the "Pub Crawler" (she's into kitch!) and the ladies aluminum MTB we had.  Prudence and practicality won out on that one.  Also, the ball player was visiting us with his girl, and as they waited for me to fix up his ride, she convinced him she needed a bike too, and snagged up the dual shock jobby we had, primarily because it had a gell seat!  Hey!  Priorities!  And a young mother of triplets (oh...I shudder to think if we had three of OUR kids at the same time!) needing to upgrade all their bikes, but after her and her hubby had scoured the area looking for something other then a hundred bucks a pop on 12" bikes, was near to giving up when she sent out a plaintive plea to her friends circle on Facebook, and some unknown benefactor alerted her to our presence!  She came in and was quite thrilled to find a cute little girls 12" for $15.00!  She was not shy to exclaim she wish she had known about us first!  Seems her hubby had broken down and bought one of the aforementioned rides for their older boy.  So sorry to hear! 
For today?  Well we picked up a nice set of hybrid bangers yesterday, so I'm jumping on those, as soon as I slam out a couple of minor repairs, post haste! 
So, here's hoping that today brings a lot our way to keep us hopping!
See ya soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Break On Through, Too The Other Side....yea.

When the still sea conspires an armor
And her sullen and aborted
Currents breed tiny monsters
True sailing is dead
Awkward instant
And the first animal is jettisoned
Legs furiously pumping
Their stiff green gallop
And heads bob up
Poise, delicate, pause, consent
In mute nostril agony
Carefully refined and sealed over
-the Doors

Nope.  Didn't think the Gary Fisher would last that long! 
Left outta here first thing yesterday morning to one of our new regulars.  This is a HAPPY story!  Gent came in about three weeks ago, new to the area, and is lucky enough to live near the Pinellas Trail.  Quickly after moving in, he was introduced to the local bike culture, and being a younger man, in his early thirties,  saw the benefits in having two wheels to explore some of the more colorful areas abut town. SO much easier to get to them on a bicycle.  After being removed from bicycling since he was in his teen's and of course, achieving the goal of almost every young man hitting the milestone of 16, got his license, parked his bike and never looked back!  He came in and snagged up a "Cheapy Cheap" DBS in the form of a Magna dual shock MTB, just to test the waters. No sense in spending Boocoo bucks on a newbie, if you just get bored with it and shove it in the garage. 
He didn't get bored.
No, quite the contrary.  He discovered that not only was it a lot of fun for recreation, exhilarating to get off the main drag, and take "the road less traveled", but being a single gent, he could run his errands, do his chores AND get to work SO much easier...and FASTER on two wheels!  See, he's one of the smart  ones who moved to the area CLOSE to where he works!  Within a matter of a week he realized "What do I even NEED a car for?"  Well, short of a couple jaunts over to the Tampa night life...really...not much!  His only complaint, after letting the car collect dust, was that the Magna just wasn't "enough".  I do understand this, as the DBS is good for A to B banging about, but once you get serious about riding?  You need something a little more.  He happened to swing in yesterday morning, to have a pedal replaced that was trounced (plastic cheapies, big guy...go figure) and we got to talking and he relayed the above story to me.  However, as we continued to talk,  I noticed the inquisitive gleam in his eyes as they lighted upon the Zebrano. 
Offering him a road test was all it took!
Within ten minuets of zipping around the block a couple of times, we were talking trade-in value!   I'm not what you would call an advocate of the higher end market, we like to deal with the cheaper modes of transportation, BUT, we do hold true to the principle that a bike always finds its rider. And this gent was SOOOO a Gary Fisher man!  Let's face it, there is a difference between a Magna and a Gary Fisher!  I'm just happy that we could hook him up for a relatively small investment, regardless though, seeing the look in his eyes when HE recognized the difference...well....a lesser man could have milked it for a lot more! 
On the remainder of the day?  Seeing as I am all caught up, no new projects to start and everything cleaned and organized (well...except the wheel rack.  Really getting tired of having to reorganize that bloody contraption!) when we got in our standard compliment of repairs, had loads of fun doing the whole "NASCAR Pit Stop" bit! Absolutely LOVE to see the look in folks faces when they bring in a repair, fully anticipating the industry standard of "give us a few days", but instead get a "give me ten minuets and I'll have 'er done!"  OH...priceless!!
One gent brought in an older cruiser with a spent rear and fused chain, and was quite consolatory almost to the point of abject apology, that it would take me "a while" to finish up, and he'd be more then happy to pick it up next week. Next WEEK?!  Nope, go and grab a soda, and we'll have it finished when you get back.  He apparently was not convinced, so lingered a wee bit, returning an hour later.  In that hour we did his and two more fixers!  Sorry folks, yes I'm bragging, but we are proud of what we do!  Well...that...and part swapping is SOOOO easy!  The real challenge is when we rebuild them.  Yes, that takes some time!
At this point we hit the "Horse Latitudes" of midday, so it was all I could do to not snooze.  Rozy was up, so we went to the corner store, picked up a pack of playing cards, and she whooped my butt at War, and Go Fish.  Then introduced me to a new game "ten's" which was elementary, but kind of fun.  That's the one good thing about summers, as I bring one kiddo on alternating day's with me, it affords me a little time (when I'm not to busy) to reconnect.  The chaos of school years limits our interactions to dinner, baths and bed.  And whereas, bath time is relegated to just Izzy and Miranda (the other ones are WAY to big for Daddy to wash up!) and even though the school agers are here in the afternoons most days, that's our busy season so it's more "go in the back room and let Daddy work and stop taking my tools!" time. Of course, when Logan comes up, it's totally different.  He disappears into the back room as soon as we show up, turns on his cell phone and gets lost in whatever video he's watching or games he's playing.  He gets his "technotactics" from Mama.  It's bizarre, that.  Angi recently came across an old photo of herself when she was just about Logan's age, and it was incredible, they could have been TWINS!!!  The oddity in our home, is that the boys, physically take after their mother, while the girls take after me.  Yes...pity our poor girls! 
Speaking of girls.  Last night was "fresh veggie goulash" night soafter I made a trip to the local fresh market, got home,  and started dicing and slicing.  Miranda, not a fan of veggies, caught wind of this fact when she was investigating what Daddy was making for dinner, and as I was a little later then unusual, unbeknownst to anyone, she gathered up her bottle and blankie, snuck away to her room, shut off the light, pushed the side table in front of her crib climbed in and went fast to sleep!  Around 8.30 while passing through the living room I did a head count and realized she was missing. After a brief search, I found her sprawled out fast asleep in bed.  That's ONE way to avoid eating her greens!
But woe to anyone who inadvertently awakes her before she is prepared to get up!
Yea, at this point I'm vamping folks.  One side of my brain writing, the other side trying to come up with something to occupy my time! 
Soooo, I think I will wander about the shop, aimlessly, looking for something to do!
See ya! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ma and Pa Kettle Go To The "Big City"!

Mommy and Daddy tired!
Yesterday my beloved and I set out on a mini adventure, and headed down to Saint Pete for the day! 
No, it wasn't all THAT bad!  As I mentioned earlier last week, when Christophe came and snagged up the truck we built him, the trip back down to the "lower depths" was somewhat, jarring, and busted a few of the rack mounts, and dislodged the chain.  I took advantage of the need to be there and do a rare "house call" (considering what he spent on this beaut, it was the LEAST I could do!) and to take a while to explore, what I have been told is, a rejuvenated Saint Pete.
True, it has been some ten years since we have set foot in that side of town, (it's a two hour bus ride, so it takes about ten years, I guess, to build up the stamina) and many folks coming up from that area have been telling me it's got a lot better. Well, very little has changed on Central Ave from 34th st East to the water.  Twas a bittersweet trip in to Williams Park.  We lived on fourth ave south, years ago, when I was doing construction and remodeling some of the cute homes down there.  Working for two partners who were doing flip houses (but doing them WELL) in an attempt at gentrification, and cleaning up the neighborhood.  Primarily, it was still a bit rough, but given the fact I'd been working there, at that point, in roughly a 6 block radius, from one house to the next, I had the brilliant idea of just moving the family there, as really, there are some very nice family homes nestled in there.  The thought being, was there were many folks, families and couples who were doing a great job, one house at a time, and I had real high hopes they'd all turn it around.
Then, the rumblings of the recession started, and pretty soon the effort dried up.  The bad element took hold again, and we got the hell out of Dodge.  True, some of the store fronts along the way have been rehabbed, and more little independently owned business have taken hold.  Also, there seems to be a much stronger "Artistic" presence being seen.  I do appreciate that, as many a building is awash in color, and murals and such.  It's got a ways to go, but is definitely more vibrant then the subdued and slowly evolving banality of downtown Clearwater!  ICK!  Although...sitting at Park Street station, waiting on our bus, it's a lot of fun to play "fill in the blanks" with the motivations and intentions of all the "Scientology drones" skittering about! Sorry, but it looks like the whole area is nothing but a training facility for Valets!
Back to Saint Pete.  We got there a little earlier, so we wandered about  from 1st street up to 9th along Central Ave checking out all the little shops which, for some odd reason, most were closed on Sunday?  You'd think with all the folks milling about they'd take advantage of it.  We checked out a couple of "trendy" clothing stores (that would be for Angi folks, My clothes are gathered from donations and thrift shops!  No point in going new, as I'll destroy them first day out!) but once she saw the price tag, got that sour lemon look and a big "NOOOO Thank you!"  Really, she can take anything from a thrift store .50 cent table and make her OWN trendy attire!  Then we happened upon a SWEEET little record shop, "Daddy Kool Records"!  at 666 Central Ave (yes...the address IS a little foreboding!) If you've ever seen the flick "High Fidelity" you'll have an appreciation for the atmosphere, however, the gent running the joint is anything but "elitist" and a really friendly chap!  I was impressed at their professional organization, while still retaining a personal, comfortable atmosphere.  And yes, it's a record store with CD's as well, with the minor addition of new chotskies, but not a "tourist trap" set up!  These guys know there stuff too!  Angi has some very obscure tastes in music, but the owner knew exactly who she was talking about.  Yes folks, if you're into a more tactile experience with music, or the better music quality of vinyl, you gotta check this joint out!  Angi was so smitten, that even though she has all his albums on download, she snagged up one of Marilyn Manson's CD's (sadly...we have no record player...anymore...children, go figure!) yes, Marilyn Manson, like I said, odd musical tastes!  Ever try and eat dinner while his music is on?  Not good for the digestion!
After we visited Christophe's evolving juice bar (he's really into repurposed kitch!  LOVE IT!  The furniture is constructed locally from recycled pallets!) at 689 Central Ave, unit 100, and did the quick fix, we bid our farewells, and wandered back down Central , towards the water.  We forgot, however, just how stagnant the air is in downtown.  Even though you're close to the water there is hardly any breeze, and best stick close to the shadow of the buildings, as it was rather sticky.  We ended up stopping for lunch at "Lemon Grass", a real chic little Thai food place (surprising on how popular the color Magenta has become for a decorating choice!) for some Sushi (yea, our Kyptonite!) and ordered up the "Duet", a fine sampling of rolls and Sashimi!  YUM!!!  Although, one particular round, came garnished with fresh slice of Jalapeno's, which...I paid for later.  But it was SOOOOOO worth it! 

Yea, I had already snagged one of the Japanese rolls before Angi got a chance to snap a pic!  What can I say...I was HUNGRY!! 
After we gorged ourselves (and had minimal left overs...I even ate some of the garnish!) We set out, sated, to walk some of it off.  However, being as we are somewhat unfamiliar with a lot of walking, we were both feeling the heat and the day, so opted to head back to the bus depot to head out back home.  We swung down to 1st street and looped around to 1st Ave north and back up.  That corner looked no different than it always did, so at least most of the joints on that block are still alive and kicking.  We had about a half an hour wait at Williams park, and of course THAT place hasn't hardly changed at all!  Still a makeshift camping ground, quite family un-friendly, given the element wandering about.  No, don't label me one of the stuck up anti-homeless folks, but seriously, peacefully occupying the park is one thing, but having a drunk (or otherwise) free for all, with eight people because somebody sat in somebody else's "space"?  A wee too much!  Guess the Police were too busy handing out traffic violations, or something.
Finally, we got out of there and ventured home.  Surprisingly, everyone was in one piece and the house was still standing, so that's a good thing!  Of course, it was early to bed for Daddy!  I was pooped.
Saturday, was a busy, busy day!  Had several of the "I know what I want" snatch and grabs.  That's where folks, who obviously window shopped in the off hours, came in, went right to the ride they wanted and snagged them up!  We like those kinds!  Were quite busy with repairs as well, later in the day, but still managed to put out three newbies!  Two of them, were no brainers, that needed...well nothing, aside from reinstalling a pair of trainers.  These are LIKE NEW Specialized kiddo bikes!  One's a 16" and the other a 12"!  And MAN!  I cannot BELIEVE the prices these things sold for NEW!!  I mean, I know they're Specialized, but  $240.00 for the 12" and $275.00 for the 16"!?!?!  SHEESH!  No, we have them out at a very reasonable $35.00 a shot!  Also, got in a sweet Gary Fisher Zebrano sports hybrid, we got in on trade for the 20" Mongoose.  Sure, she needed some work but SOOOO worth it!
Today, it's been a repair-a-go-go, and sent the Dahon folding bike home with one of our regulars (after the prerequisite discussion about the follies of teenagers!) and intermittently coming back to the blog to try and wrap things up. 
Today...well, don't have anything in the hopper to jump on, so looks like I'll have to get creative again!  Rozy's turn up to bat, and she's been on the floor making "House of Cards" and I'll tell you, she's going to become an engineer!  She WAY has the patience for construction, and definitely doesn't get it from me!  I never had a flair for this kind of thing!

Her next one used all the cards and was somewhat higher!  I put out three...and they fall over!
OKAY!  Guess I have waxed nostalgia enough, and should get back at...something!
Hope to see y'all soon!!

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ONLY $35.00!!
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ONLY $35.00!!
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ONLY $180.00!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Filenes Bargain Basement! Mind the Snares!

OH...the lessons in life we learn...or not.
Before I begin, let me preface this entry by saying, I am aware it may come off as slightly self serving, and perhaps as if I may have taken a wee bit of gleeful "I told you so", but take it for what it's worth, and try to see it in the spirit it is recited, as a "warning tale"
Two days ago, when I was out and about running the gauntlet, Elijah was watching the shop.  As per usual, whenever one of the boys takes the helm, I look for a detailed synopsis of everything that went on in the shop while I was away, upon my return. This particular day, was a relatively quiet morning. He had done a couple tube changes and had a few Looky Loo's.  One gent, in particular, was looking for a BMX for his young son.  We have the older Mongoose we rebuilt, looking quite sharp, but when it was brought to his attention, he looked it over, sniffed and in a rather derogatory tone stated "I'm not paying $70.00 for an old Mongoose! I can get him a bike cheaper at the Pawn Shop!"  According to Elijah (who, yes, may be slightly formulaic and stiff when doing customer service, but is still not a rude boy) he remained pleasant and wished him well, and should he need any help with service on his purchase, to not hesitate to bring it to us.
I met the gent yesterday.
First, as a Side note:  Yes, Mongoose's ARE a Wal-Mart, but back in the day (the tail end of which, being, when the one we have was made) Mongoose's were the BOMB!  ANYONE who was a BMX'er in their day HAD to have a Mongoose!  They were built well, and had competitive styling. 
Anyway.  The gentleman came in, dragging a very ragged looking Hyper.  You know, the TRUE Wal-Mart BMX, black and blue with the el-cheapo nine tooth rear, that holds up for about two weeks after buying it.
Here's the story.
After leaving here that Wednesday, he hit a few Pawn Shops, until he found this "GREAT DEAL!" of a Hyper, for ONLY $50.00!!  Yes, granted, it looked very clean, and almost new (when he bought it), but now, it had some fresh scratches, and a thrashed out front wheel, and slightly bent fork.  Well, of course it had looked new, because, quite frankly we have found, in many of the ones we have rebuilt and sold, that the kiddo that gets one of these rides, may have a week or two to ride it, before the rear end (or any other of the inherent seven weaknesses this bike has) fails.  Therefore, doesn't get to ride it and beat on it any.  However, that's not the truly sad part.  Seems he picked it up and brought it home and presented it to his excited tweenager, who immediately got on to put it through it's paces.  According to him, on it's third trip down the big hill, in the neighborhood they reside in, about midway , the young man stood up to crank...and the rear end locked up, chain slipped and the young man and the bike suffered the consequences of it.
Luckily, the boy escaped with only a couple of bruises and road rash (I say only, because as a father of a reckless BMX'er, if it isn't a compound fracture, you can write it off as lucky!)
The bike did not fare as well.
The story takes an even sadder turn, however.
After cleaning the boy up (who apparently took it all in stride, with admirable strength) the incensed Dad, went to return the bike to where he bought it, only to be told, there was no returns or refunds on bicycle purchases,  especially when the child "beat on it"  Apparently, the exchange became somewhat heated and perhaps colorful after that, however, they remained reticent.  Begrudgingly, he dragged the bike away.  At this point, he had the thought to just have it repaired, so went in search of a shop to do so.  He hit two others, before (I can only assume, reluctantly) came here.  The first place informed him the repairs would be in excess of $200.00, the second shop, refused to work on it, sighting they "don't do Wal-Mart bikes!" (sadly, that is, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, a rather common theme around these parts.  Although...Side note yet again, I will say, I happened upon an opportunity recently to talk to the owner of one of those shops that doesn't work on box store brands, who sighted the consistent failure of components on those bikes. I will acquiesce, that if your working on, say, a drive train, where the derailleur has failed, and replace only that, then two weeks down the line the chain gives way, their experience was, the customer retuned complaining it was their work that was the cause.  They avoid working on them to avoid the inevitable liability) So, he trudged it to us, as would appear a last choice (I think pride was tugging at him there!) I checked it out, and in order to get it up and running it was going to cost $83.00 to replace the rear wheel (with a standard size freewheel) upgrade the chain ring to normal size, replace the front forks and wheel  and put on a sturdier chain.  He paused for a moment looking at the Mongoose, but opted to just pick up the parts and fix it himself, in respect to the money he already had invested in the bike.  Hey, were all about promoting DIY, so no worries. 
The lesson here, folks, is clear and concise, and I feel a little pandering to even denote it, but "sometimes a Great Deal, is not all that good"
Thanks to all the repairs that came in, post haste, and snagged up their rides yesterday, even given the state of the weather!  ICK!! More rain and dark gray skies!! Even got in another two just before close, and the poor souls bringing them in were drowned muskrats doing so! 
Of course, there are a couple hangers on, but that's not their fault, as is the case, in too many summers, having a kiddo each day with me, a couple of them are prone to walk off with pages from my notebooks for drawing, and sometimes fail to check and make sure there isn't anything written on the pages they swipe!  ARRGH!! Needless to say, I can't find their numbers! 
As we are surprisingly back up to speed on all that needs a doin', I took the time to do the pedestrian chores of parts sorting and cleaning  (STILL finding pockets of sawdust everywhere!) and banged out a few kiddo bikes (like we need anymore!  SHEESH!) and Boy, if it's not looking like Toys R' Us around here!  Also, had to do a "Bone Row" return yesterday.  Had a gent come in over a month ago, paid for a bike, then asked to have a couple modifications done, and he would be back later that day to pick it up...and we never saw him again?  Yes, oddities happen, my friends!  I sure hope nothing bad happened! 
OKAY, well going to jump on the last couple repairs in hopes that someone, some kind soul, brings me more to do today!
Here's a Hoping! 
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18" BOYS BMX!!
ONLY $40.00!!
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ONLY $30.00!!
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ONLY $20.00!!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Back To Normalacy! *Shudder*

First, an apology for "not doing my job"!  Twas brought to my attention, via E-mail (luckily, today was one of the rare times I actually CHECKED our E-mail!) that a young lady was interested in one of the rides we had listed in the blog's "Still Here" column!  A bike that was sold yesterday as it turned out.  This sparked my memory that it had been a few days since I checked the listings, and when I did, realized how WOEFULLY out of date it was!  Granted, it's only been a few days since I updated it, but a few days around here can bring about a full stock turn over!  Not to mention a whole world of excitement!  SOOOOO, it is now brought up to speed!  Luckily, for her, since the ride up herEwould have been for naught, that she thought to communicate before making the trip!  But a side note folks, call or text with any questions, as Yahoo is SOOO bloody slow and frustrating, I rarely check it! 
OK, so after my trip into State funded lunacy yesterday, came in and got right back on the horse!  The Alley Cat I had put out, sold likety split to one of our regulars, who professes "he buys ALL the cool customs we make that he can get his hands on"!  WOW!  Thank YOU sir!  I know we've seen him MANY times!  He must have one heck of a full garage!! 
Also, sent the Raleigh Big Boy to a new home, finally!  Surprising how that one held out for almost two weeks!  That's...old man status around here! 
As I had mentioned, yesterday was pretty much all about the repairs, as just over the two days I was running about "higgley-piggley" they stacked up...HIGH!  Most came in and snagged them up, although I have a couple hangers on, and one, for the life of me...I can't find their number! ARRGH!  Hope they check in soon! 
Then it was on to newbies!!  Put out a sweet Cannondale F500 MTB (got no idea of the year, although I speculate early 00'S (TAKE THAT Mr. Y2K!!) because these suckers are hard to date!) lightweight alloy hopper!  Also, a very unique Dutch Collapsible 20" adult "Pub Crawler" with an integrated rear rack, perfect for carrying a 12 pack!  LOVE the cute handpainted "lizard" head badge!  Today seems to be mounting up to be more repairs as well, having gotten two in first thing!  Just taking the time to imbibe enough caffeine, as last night was M. Knight Shamalayn time again, with a late night viewing of Sixth Sense that didn't put me to bed until around 1.30am!  WOOF!
Well, best get started and make use of myself!
Hope to see y'all soon!

ONLY $80.00!!
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ONLY $290.00!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015 least I got my tool's back!

So, yea...had to go back in this morning and give them another deposit on the taxes.
The frustrating thing about this was, they made SUCH a big deal that I HAD to be in BEFORE noon time, like some paradox would form and all life as we know it would vaporize in an instant if I was a second late.
SO, this morning, even before the sun was up, I got up, shot to the bank and waited.  As it turns out, fate wasn't quite done with us, and in my own stupidity, realized...I forgot a check! 
SOOOOo, had to jet back to the house, wake Angi, have her sign another check, which she was gracious enough to do, having been awoken by me with a modicum of panic, then I shot back to the bank, only having to wait, after the last bus had driven past, because, even though we have been banking at the same branch, for over two years, with the same tellers, doing deposit and cashing checks three to four times a week, only to be told...her signature did not match what they had on file!?!?!
Standing at the drive through, having to wait for the home office to open, so they could fax a copy over and have them check it against their records only to find....yep, it's good! 
Really.  Fate and the Cosmos, sitting over a cup of Joe, just hadn't had enough fun with us yet!
Needless to say, in order to get there by the deadline, I had to call a cab.  Be thankful I averted the destruction of our Universe.
ONLY to find, once I hurriedly ran into their office...the agent I met with yesterday...had the day off!  It was simply a matter of me handing the money over to a teller and getting  a receipt! 
All that?  And I didn't even have to SIGN anything?
ANYWAY, at least that trial is behind us, and thankfully, being forced to take a cab, was not necessarily a bad thing (excepting the driver was a recruiting Scientologist...Clearwater....go figure!) as it got me back to the shop a lot quicker then the bus, and given the pile of repairs that have backed up, I need the extra time! 
However, I'm taking this time to just recoup.
Last night, after doing the nighttime thing and the girls in bed, we acquiesced to Logan's desire to watch the M. Knight Shalyman film "Signs".  Now, when I watched this the first time, I was not all that impressed, as I felt the pacing was a tad bit plodding, not your normal "alien invasion" film.  But, the second time around, perhaps with the distance of age and altering sensibilities, I enjoyed it much more this time around.  The focus on a more personal reaction and character interaction in the wake of a world altering catastrophe set against the backdrop of a personal tragedy, earlier on in the characters lives, and how all the subtle coincidences melded into the conclusion of the story, not to mention the more subtle (and truthfully scarier) visuals of the aliens, made it all that more entertaining.  Definitely a film worth revisiting, if you reacted the same way I did, first time you saw it.
Okay, now, with my meandering thoughts down, I best get a move on and get some thing done!
Oh, by the by, did actually manage to put two newbies out yesterday!  One is a lightweight, alloy frame Mixie single speed custom jobby, and the other is a Fuji Silhouette Sports Hybrid, small frame!  Real sharp looking!
OK, that's it!
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ONLY $170.00!!

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ONLY $280.00!!!