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Friday, April 29, 2016

It All Comes Out, With Bleach, In The End!

This happens so frequently that I long ago just excepted the phenomenon as just a pleasant aspect of doing things the way we do, but for some reason it just struck me as rather odd, yesterday.  Oh, humorously odd, but odd no the less. 
More than a few times this week we have had some real nice folks bring us in some much needed repairs, and in the process, informed me they had been referred to us by one of the local bike shops.  We get a lot of that over the last few years from many of the "new" bike shops around (at least the ones who don't hate us 'cause were such neat folks!)  and are thankful for it.  The customers tell us one of only three reasons why they refer them to us, that either they're told their bike is "not worth it, and they'll sell them a NEW one", or "we don't work on box store brand bikes" or the more frequent, they were just WAY to high priced!  Now, for the record I am SOOOO not looking a gift horse in the mouth and I hope for our sake some of these other shops "stay snooty" and don't get the picture that customer service is EVERYTHING, but I just have to ask; "is your business doing SOOO well that you can afford to not only turn away a paying customer, but to alienate them from ever wanting to patronize your establishment again?" I mean, sadly, the amount of bicycle riders IS finite in this state, AND most bike riders have FRIENDS who are bike riders.  Those friends might even be more inclined to send MORE business your way, so does it really make sense to denigrate the Huffy rider because your only wanting to tinker on Trek's?  Not to mention, simply, it just ain't right to treat someone disrespectfully  because they can't shell out BIG bucks for some flashy carbonataniumpolymodulatedchromiumnated road bike! I mean, seriously!  You're a mechanic, dude, don't fear the grease, man!
No, no, no...I'm serious about that last one folks!  Funny story: back when we had the shop at the old plaza, I was looking for another part time tinkerer to help put out rides and do repairs.  Had this one, middle age gent come in and apply for the job, and I took a look at his resume, and he had EXTENSIVE experience in the field of bicycle mechanics, and had worked for some time as lead tech for a couple of racing teams!  Why the heck you HERE, man?!  We're a bunch of wrench turning, shade tree grease monkeys!  I tried to dissuade him, the hours were light as was the pay, but he insisted he could handle it.  So, the next day he came into start, and brought in his rolling tool chest.  Cool.  My very first hint of reservation was how he was dressed.  Oh, look, I aint gonna mock someone's personal taste of attire, and where as a pair of Khaki cargo shorts, and a navy blue polo shirt may be nice, appropriate attire?  TOTALLY out of place in OUR shop!  No...you HAVE to wear clothes you have little money invested in and care nothing about! SO, as I am in my bay, rummaging through my scattered tools looking for a crescent wrench, I kept one eye on him as he prepares to work.  At least he had enough snap to put on a workman's apron...like THAT would help much!  Then he opened up his tool chest (black foam padding with the shape of the tools cut into it...Oh boy) and methodically place his standard stuff on the work bench provided for him.  Once his ritual was done, he clapped his hands together and eagerly asked "what do I start on first?"  I nodded my head to Miguel and asked him to dig out a rebuild from the pile.  Miguel grabbed an old Huffy MTB and handed it to him, and I watched as his nose wrinkled briefly in disdain.  Now mind you, he was totally briefed on how we did what we did, and this was a baptism of fire.  I'd told Miguel ahead of time to start him off with the worst one in the bunch to see what he could do.  Heh, this one was BAD.  Having sat in the elements for some time, it was...icky.  If the weeds growing through the wheels and chain were not indication enough of some of the stuff we bring back to life, when he flipped the bike upside down on his stand and a small cascade of stagnant water spilled down his apron, I'm sure that gave him a clear idea!  To his credit, he really did do a good job of refurbishing it (albeit taking twice as long as we would normally take) but the whole time his bay filled with muffled expletives and heavy, frustrated sighs.  The real kicker was, like every five minutes he was washing and sanitizing his hands!  Once he finished, it was near to closing and I thanked him for a good job.  He acknowledged appreciatively as he scrubbed furiously to get his hands clean (he had a FINGERNAIL brush?!   Really?) then, once satisfied all the filth was removed, he started, with the same meticulous manner, to pack up his tool box.  I told him it would be fine if he just left his tools in his bay until tomorrow, but he stammered out a "oh, that's Okay, I may need them at home"
We never saw him again.
Sad thing is, I've visited many of the local shops...and...THAT'S pretty much how most of their mechanics are!  "not that there's ANYTHING wrong with that!" (insert Jerry Seinfeld nasal whine)
Nope, you can't do this job if your a germaphobe! 
ANYWHO!
Yesterday was all about organization and trying to get all of our marketing ducks in a row.  Heavy internet usage, you know.  Today, more of the same, but I will be taking some time in a wee bit to get on the Clown Bike for tomorrow!  Yea...I'm a procrastinator! And Elijah is bringing up the truck for some much needed TLC.
SO, until later, see ya sooner...then later!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ode To Old Friends

There comes a point, in every mans life, when his mind chooses the time to reflect....reminisce, about the choices, and the mistskes he's made. That cresting point where you teeter upon the heaving wave, looking out upon the unexplored waters that comprise the remainder of your life, and wonder..."how the hell did I get up here!?!"
(Don't panic. This isn't the malaise you may expect)
This is what I have been doing for a little while now. I wouldn't call it a mid life crisis, as I have no desire to color out the gray, buy a sports car and try and woo some twenty something for her favors! No, I'm talking more an evaluation of the twists and turns my personal choices have lain about before me, and  in what I have, versus what I left behind.  As much as I love and enjoy the creative aspect of what I do and the scores of people whom I have touched, through that, over the years, but would it interest you to know, that by the age of eight, I KNEW  what I wanted to do...and what I am doing now...never even entered my mind!
No, at that tender age, my entire being wanted to emerge itself in comic books!
Every facet of the medium, the industry, the creative output was the very life's blood of every waking moment, that came to fruition at the age of twelve.  On a sojourn to the Newington flea market in New Hampshire I stumbled upon a both selling old comic books!
At that point I came to realize, while I may not posess the talent to write or draw them, I could still dive deeply within their world. I tentatively approached the vendor and began a slew of wide eyed euphoric questions.  The young man, sensing my eager abandon, compassionately humored my eager fanatasism.
Over the course of the next few months I took every opportunity to travel the distance to visit him, and his patients never wavered.  Eventually he employed me, on credit, to perform perfunctory tasks to assist him,  which I eagerly embraced.
Eventually, he opened a storefront, in Portsmouth NH, naming it "Comic Relief", and offered me a position, one which I willingly left school to accept.  He was the keystone in my approach to customer interaction and willingness to go to the greatest extant to please the customer, and filled me with the joys of the business.  I had the privilege of being there, and running the sales table at a convention in Portsmouth that featured the first release of a then, little known, and easily dismissed New Hampshire created comic book.
Maybe you heard of it?  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Oh yes...I was the FIRST person to try and hock the book to the first crowd to view it!
The next few years of my life were spent in that shop, but eventually, I moved on.  Staying in the business for almost twenty years.  But, with a growing family, and moving south, well...things changed.  And so did I.  No, I don't regret where we ended up.  Sure, the tasks and occasional frustrations of running ANY small business, can be taxing, but the joy of being capable of bringing back a bike to it's original glory, and all the mechanics and creativity of doing so, is in itself, quite satisfactory.  Not to mention, the high kudos we have received from doing so but, as I mentioned, recently I have been revisiting my past, and rediscovering people from it. Most recently, tonight exactly, I sought "him" out.  One of the biggest influences in my life...and found him!  Turned out to be quite easy, as he now owns and operates one of the most widely talked talked about, and five star acclaimed comic shops in New Hampshire!  Jetpack Comics, in Rochester, sports a HUGE amount of critically favored reviews and voted two years the best business in the town!  No small wonder for a man such as Ralph DiBernardo!  He always had a way with people and appreciated  everyone's love and affinity for the medium.
I miss those days,crawling over boxes of back issues, pizza and Jolt cola fueled all nighters to make "new book day" the best one ever!
And I miss Ralph.  His sense of humor,Yankee sarcasm and having to wake him up each morning for work with an open cup of  Dunkin Donuts coffee!
It's been close to thirty years since I last heard from him.  He had left his shop, moving on to other things, or so I had suspected, but when I stumbled upon a photo of him standing amongst a slew of comics and toys, I dug deeper and was thrilled to discover, that even though I have no idea what he had been doing in the ensuing years since we last spoke, he invariably had drifted back, at some point to his original love.  In 2005 he opened his shop in Rochester, and by all accounts and a slew favorable articles, has been doing quite well.  Not only that, through his efforts of hosting certain events within the downtown area, brought a lot of life back into the string of small shops in the downtown area. 
It really did my heart good to know that he never gave up.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

We Want TomorrowLand...Today!

Yesterday was as predicted.  After my lengthy diatribe I had JUST enough time to finish up the refurb, and oddly enough, with five minutes to spare before heading out to get the girls, as I was putting the last two screws onto the ride, the young owner of said bike happened to stroll in to check on her progress!  What timing!  It's like, her bike called out to her; "I'm READY!!" 
Sweet!
We did have a few more looky loo's throughout the day, replete with bevies of question about what we do, how we do, and when we do...ETC, ETC.  More than happy to chit chat and pimp out the biz!  I still, have not gotten anything ready for the show this Saturday, sadly, and am chastising myself for my procrastination.  Hopefully tomorrow and Friday I can get the clown bike and truck ready to roll.  Today, well, I am taking it easy.  Unless (hopefully) some repairs come in, I'm just chilling behind the counter and am going to watch some MST3K on the YouTube.  Yea, lazy...but the last three days have been harsh.  After Working a full day Monday I came home early Tuesday morning to find a "under the weather" Miranda, still stirring about.  Well, she actually woke up when I came in, obviously feeling miserable, and rather than wake Angi, who herself seemed to have a bad cough, I did my best to get Miranda to relax and sleep, but she didn't end up passing back out until almost six AM.  once satisfied she was going to stay asleep, I just sprawled out on the couch and tried to get some shut eye.  My mind had just about stilled, and prepared to render itself to unconsciousness, when the other kids started to stir into life for school.
Ugh.
Well, hoping I could get them up, ready and out in enough time to get a quick nap, I quickly realized that was a no-go.  Miranda began to stir, with all the noise, then once everyone had finally left, Kaleb woke up, getting ready for work (yea, he found a job at Dairy Queen) and he is not so light on his feet as to not make a racket when he moves about.  By nine AM, I gave up the ghost and got ready for work. 
After ANOTHER full day....
Got home this morning, and due to my bodies propensity for self preservation, I hit a second wind around 12.30 AM at the plant, and needed to sit and chill on the porch with a drink and some light reading on the smart phone (Weird War Stories).  Again...no sooner had I felt the veil beginning to fall, did a suffering Angi came out of the bedroom with what could easily be "whooping cough".  I helped her back to bed, getting her some medicine to coat her throat and help her sleep, then of course Miranda stirred and woke up.  Angi began to rise out of bed, concerned for not only the baby, but as to whether or not I was going to be able to rest.  Well, chivalry may be dead, but I couldn't see her trying to do much of anything in her state, so after a short resistance on her part, the meds kicked in and she drifted off.  Thankfully.
Miranda wasn't awake for too long, and I finally hit the silk by about five AM.
SO...yea...today I'm gonna relax and wait for folks to come in and pay us a visit.
Speaking of folks paying us a visit, thanks to Dave Foot, on his way back up North, "ay" and for leaving more foodie goodies at the house!  See you next season, sir!
And to Uncle Chippie, for his weekly pass through.  On that subject, he recently posted a comment in regards to our post on the 25th about the state of school children, and offered up the calming words of, (paraphrased) "just relax and wait for the gas prices to go up" 
Well, I know it's meant as tongue in cheek humor, as I know, when it come to pro-actively "green" people, he wrote the book (no...literally he DID right a book on the matter...check out Amazon;  "Wearing Smaller Shoes"...oh, and "Peak of the Devil" if you want some good (scary) advice!)
BUT, I couldn't help but harken back to a year ago when the family and I watched the Disney flick "Tomorrowland" and Hugh Laurie's (Governor Nix) "IN YOUR FACE, STUPID HUMAN'S) speech!  It really spells out WHY we can't wait for the next twenty five plus years before the oil runs out.
Check this out (and for the lead in to explain his tirade, go rent or upload the movie....NOW!)


So yea...it doesn't get much clearer than THAT!
OKEY DOKEY!  Now, I put up my feet, sip some coffee and have some laughs until you folks glean on the concept of giving up your gas guzzler and come get a bike!
I'll be waiting.....








Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sorry Mr. Spielberg, Your Moneys No Good Here.

Okay, first things first.  Last night at the plant Elijah got off work, and paid me his normal pre-return home visit as I started my shift, as it's the only time a day we actually get to talk.  Conversations range, but this time out we talked about a mutually fascinating subject, Movies.  One thing I have to say about this boy is he has an impressive ability to retain an ENORMOUS amount of information about the film industry, and not just in his preferred genre's.  Seriously, I'm not just a boasting father!  He can not only regale you with an impressive knowledge of not only ALL the current actors/actresses working on both the big screen and small, but directors, producers, writers...you name it!  Not to mention the majority of the projects they have worked on throughout their careers! I have NO idea how he does it, save a lot of time spent online on a variety of film sites.  So, it is he who I go to (whether I want to or not) to find the latest info.  Once lighted upon a tid bit of info that peaks my fancy, I delve deeper into it, as with most folks his age, they tend only to read the headlines, teasers or highlights.  One such eye opener he alluded to was that Nathan Fillion (FIREFLY and Castle) was to be in the next installment of "Guardians of the Galaxy"!?!  Well, not a huge shocker, as he was in the first one.  Oh, if you didn't catch his cameo in that one, don't knock yourself out, I missed it until I watched the credits.  His pass through this Universe was as a voice over for the Big Blue Alien in the Prison the hero's were sent too, you know, the one that had his eyes set on Quill as a "Bunk Mate" only to have his nasal passages cleared out by Groot.  The sad part, was his voice was so heavily modified to appear much, much deeper, you couldn't even recognize it was him(?)
ANYWAY!
Photo's released clandestinely by a fan on the Internet, who was staking out the set in Cartersville, Georgia, shows a movie theatre featuring a film festival dedicated to Simon Williams, portrayed in movie posters, by Nathan Fillion. Now, for those "not in the know", Simon Williams is the secret identity of "Wonder Man"!  Wonder Man was a former Nemesis of the Avengers, as a member of the "Masters of Evil" and brother to the Grim Reaper.  Later, he rejects his evil ways and eventually joins the Avengers, even so far as to eventually spearhead the formation of the "West Coast Avengers".  As he is one of Comicdoms few true pacifists, he eventually gives up super heroing and becomes an actor! Now, as the scene is meant as a backdrop for what speculation and gossip has predicted is Star Lords return to Earth, the Movie Posters may be nothing more then another "tip of the hat" Easter Eggs for fans...
or...
With the upcoming two part film "Avengers: Infinity War" (yea, we will finally see the culmination of all the machinations of Thanos from the previous films) reportedly featuring 67 Marvel Super Hero's, is it a long shot that Nathan may come to Earths aid and don the tights?  Who knows, but I for one SOOOOOO hope it happens!
ANYWHO...
That's a LONG segue into my (mini) rant.  I call it Mini, because the person I'm going up against, is none other then the great Steven Spielberg!
*shudder*
When I had finished the article on Nathan, there were a few links to related articles and one, in particular, caught my eye.  Apparently in an interview, Mr. Spielberg cast his opinion that "Super Hero Movies were a "passing fad".
Enh.
I just HAVE to disagree.  And although my opinion may seem somewhat jaded due to my love of not only the film genre, but the printed one too, there are a few more obvious reasons I don't think Mr. Spielberg gave much thought to.  And here's why.
He goes on to compare the current trend of Super Hero epics to that of the success enjoyed by the Western films from their heyday of the 30's-60's.  Now, while it is true, certain genres tend to dominate the spotlight in the fickle cinema, and who knows what the next decade or so will bring to the forefront, but there is reason to doubt the waning of this particular brand of eye candy.  First, superhero's have been an almost constant mainstay on both the large and small screen for almost a hundred years.  Yes...I said a hundred.  I'll explain, to get totally technical, the few noticeable marks of a "Super Hero" are; he defends the defenseless against all the ails of Evil, utilizing a set of skills or powers that exceed that of normal man, and as cheeky as it sounds, has an easily recognizable symbol to not only give hope to the hopeless but fear to the oppressors (boy...does THAT sound corny!)  SO, ipso fatso, Douglas Fairbanks portrayal of Zorro in the 20's fits the bill!  Not only that, but his character traits, the mask, the cape, the alter ego and the stylized "Z" slashed upon his conquests were all inspirations for the creation of "Superman".  Not to mention such other Stalwarts of not only film, but Radio...Buck Rogers, Mandrake the Magician, The Shadow...see my point?  Then, you have Batman and Captain America in the serials of the Forties, George Reeves Superman of the 50's, Adam West (yea...can't NOT mention that) in the 60's Batman (with the Green Hornet riding his coat tails), The seventies having seen Spiderman, Captain America, Dr. Strange and the Incredible Hulk, into the eighties and beyond with a slew of others (hey...it ain't a complete list...but you get my point) all enjoying a modicum of success (ok, maybe not Dr. Strange...with a "pornstache"?  Don't believe me...You tube it) There has always been a market for the medium, with each generations fans (if I am to be an example) slathering at the bit for the chance to see our print hero's "leap upon the big screen".  The ONLY reason the genre never was able to get a real foot hold, well, is a two parter.  FIRST, most folks in the film industry just never really took the subject matter seriously.  You can't produce what the fans really want to see if your not going to give it the respect it deserves.  It took them a LONG time to finally get that, and even to this day, SOME still don't get it (I refer you to the travesty that was Shumachers use of dead pan one liners akin to Adam West, not to mention day glow colors and "Over the Top" overacting by Batman's adversaries!) and most recently, the Fiasco of "Batman V Superman" (yea...not getting over THAT one any time soon!).  But, comic books were MADE to be movies!  I refer you to the comments made in the handbook "How to draw the MARVEL way" by Stan Lee, and I'm paraphrasing "Comics are merely an arranged set of movie still's, with the action and dialogue moving the story".  Another PRIME example of this (well two) is  Frank Millers "Sin City" which was a stylized film reproduction of the graphic novel, and the much lamented, but BEAUTIFUL (and with all due respect to the gruesomeness of the subject matter) "Watchmen".  If you get the chance, read the original Graphic Novel, paying close attention to the panels, then watch the film, and you will see the director shot the film angle for angle to the depictions in the book!  Phenominal! 
In my opinion, the first time the medium was treated with TRUE respect, and showed that; "yes, you can take a "funny book" and make a serious attempt at reproducing the concept without resorting to camp or overdone, pandering theatrics" was "Blade" in 1998. 
Ok, wait, I do have to give a nod to Brandon Lee's portrayal of Eric Draven in "The Crow" in 1994.  They did an incredible job of relaying the dark and brooding subject matter, but yet again, the bad guys were just a little to over the top.
Wesley Snipes really brought this little known "B" character into the limelight, with heart and gusto, and as the second film sported the opening "Marvel Flip" in my mind started the renaissance of the films.
The second reason is very simple.  All the throngs of fans were merely waiting for the film industry to develop the technology to depict the action necessary to propel stories of Gods and Hero's!  Seriously, how much can be offered with cheesy blue screens, wires, fades, stop motion, miniatures and "Old Web Head" swinging around on a nylon rope? 

see....

 
yea...pretty pathetic.
No sooner had the technology caught up, did we see the fans flocking to the theatres and dropping down ODDLES of cash to make thirteen of the top twenty five "all time highest grossing films" super hero movies!  Think about it...those numbers were in just the last sixteen years.  How long have films been around? 
Not only that, but, do you know what the MOST recognizable universal symbol in the world is?
And if you guessed the Cross...nope.  It's this....


Nope.  Not kidding.  Google it.
And now, with the characters we love so pervasive in our daily lives from movies, to merchandising and a plethora of interactive video games, each new generation will loving embrace this symbol along with many others.
SO, Mr. Spielberg, no, I'm sorry.  A century of a recognizable, and agreeable concepts such as the defense of freedom, the value of life, self sacrifice infused with the combination of heroics, drama, comedy, romance, horror, action, science fiction, etc, etc are ideals ingrained into our social and worldly conscience.  Ones we aspire to attain or if falling short at least give us the hope, that others share in that desire.  And as long as the helm of that story telling is given to people who not only want to produce a good yarn but one that gives the subject matter ALL the due respect that it deserves, I don't foresee there ever be a failing in it's popularity. 
And as a side note: The latest installment of the Captain America series "Civil War"  received 100% on the "Rotten Tomatoes" scale and is creating a LOT of buzz and a LOT of speculation.  Well here's mine...look for this one to give Avengers a run for it's money in the "Cash Cow" race!
S'okay, on to work!
Put up one newbie, then had a gent come in, newly returning to the Veloist life style (at the urgings of his well meaning lady) and snag up the Pacific I put out on Sunday, bringing in a trade of an old school, "Pre-Walmart" Mongoose MTB hybrid.  The poor thing had sat, unused, for quite some time so needed quite a bit of TLC (and tires) but in a record breaking hour, she was out on the line "shiny and new....so come aboard.....we're EXPECTING you!"  (a big NO-PRIZE for any of the over forty crowd that gets THAT musical reference!) and ready to roll!
Other then that, though, a quiet day.
Today, we have a full up refurb to do, and pandering to my own self interest, IE; the LONG blog rant, I think I'll have just enough time to do that...and not much else!
SO, see y'all soon!
MEN'S 26" "DAILY BANGER SPECIAL!!"
ONLY $65.00!!!
26" "PRE-WALMART MONGOOSE MTB HYBRID!!
ONLY $90.00!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Morning Cup Of Reality!

So, Sunday was, thankfully, a productive day.  It was kind of cool when folks, noticing we were here, double backed and grabbed their rides, hurrying in for some quick "Fix-me-ups"!  Mark even brought in two, one after the other, when he realized just how quickly the first one was done.  Also picked up two nice Bangers in trade, and already processed one out (pic below) that is a pretty nice, lightweight alloy frame, MTB with some "not so bad" components.  Say what you will, but Pacific does put a little more effort into their low end rides.  Also managed to weed through some more stuff from out back, thankfully, and will endeavor to continue today.  No, still didn't get to the Clown Bike, as much as I wanted too, the repairs were too "aplenty" this weekend, and folks wanting to get out and ride ALWAYS come first! 
Had a visit from Uncle Chippie this AM, and in our chit chat, he brought me up to date on his latest novel he's working on, which, given the subject matter, a group of young men in the eighties, rebutting technology, who decide to revert to a more Low-Tech era, the late 50's, as a way of life, brought about the inevitable Whine and Cheese festival over the state of affairs of our now, WHOLLY tech dependent society.  Of course, within that, we Veloist railed on about the total dependency upon motorized transportation prevalent.  One point in particular, the state of every schools parking lot when the kids come and go from school.  Here's my nag!  I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Florida, if you live within a two mile radius of your child's school, no bus transportation is provided, and your child needs to find alternative transportation.  Here's the rub, first, we have, undeniably, a REAL problem with youthful obesity, right?  Not to mention, a real issue with pollution (a hundred or so gas guzzlers idling in one spot for a half an hour?) and on top of that....overweight adults?   And no, I'm not judging!  It's just I've heard enough at school gatherings of Mom's sitting about, pre-festivities, complaining about their weight gain, to be able to make the assertion.  Here's the thing, you are driving your children to school, because they live UNDER two miles from school.  Do you know how long it would take you to ride a bike with your kids, or walk with your kids...two miles?  Walking, about thirty minuets, Bike? ten.  And, too be fair, in a car? Six minuets (but lets not forget, you'll be waiting in line to drop off, about twenty minuets)  Hmmm?  only four extra minuets to ride them there, about a minuet to drop the bike off in the cage, then a hug and a kiss, and you're gone and back home, in less time then waiting to get in and out in your car.  On top of that you've had exercise, and in that scant twenty minuets or so, burned an average of 440 calories! That would sure help little Johnny or Jane burn off the Happy Meal they had for dinner last night (I said, "help", at 600 calories it'll take a couple more miles to burn it ALL off!)   Honestly, I think anyone could plan their day to be able to leave their house ten minuets earlier to get the kiddos to school.
OKAY, preaching over!
Now, I'd best get to work!
See ya soon!'

MEN'S 26" MTB!
ONLY $90.00!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday, Lovely Sunday!

Welcome to Sunday!
Yep, as the season draws to a close the desperate dash for cash begins, and you'll see more of us opening up on our day off.  We SOOOOO don't want to go through what we had to endure last year!  YEESH!
No, keeping expenses down is a priority!
First thing, is weaning myself off the addiction to air conditioning!  I figure, my hide has been toughened over the last several months of working in the warehouse, that perhaps open doors and a fan will be enough to keep things comfortable enough around here.  Well, at least until mid June perhaps.  Then...we'll see!
And on the household end, Angi has done an admirable job of greatly reducing the electric bill AND the water bill at the house.  She is more able than I to deal with warmer temps, so rarely has the AC been turned on at all.  Not to mention, relying more on natural light and continuously monitoring the kids when they are home, by following them around and flicking off lights.  The TV...well, that's another battle altogether, but the weekly trips to the park, and some playing outside is helping.
OY!  I was looking through the last few months of blog entries (trying to find a bike we built some time ago) and I couldn't help but notice a PLETHORA of spelling and punctuation errors, a plenty!  Serves me right for not running a spell check!  So, sorry for any of the obscure, confusing passages!
Well, seems like we may be a tad busy today as a couple repairs have come in already, so I am going to get a move on, finish them up, then maybe start digging through the piles out back and weed some of it out!  I'm sure our neighbors would appreciate it!
See ya soon!

Oh, yea...here's a couple newbies from yesterday!  The ladies MTB is LIKE NEW!!!  Barely rode a few times then garaged!  Needed next to nothing but some tweaks on factory mistakes.  The Men's 26" "Tomcat" MTB (have NO IDEA who builds it) has a VERY unique feature...A head badge that proudly states "Built in the USA!"  WOW!  I had no IDEA we ever built them here!  We picked her up yesterday from someone who didn't even think we'd want to buy it, given it's condition, but a full tar down and rebuild later (with several replacement parts) and this is actually one really solid, lightweight ride! 

26" LADIES 18 SPEED "LIKE NEW" MTB!
ONLY $85.00!!!

26" "BUILT IN THE USA TOMCAT MTB!
ONLY $95.00!!!



Saturday, April 23, 2016

Nope....It's a Banana...But I Am Glad To See You!

Got a bone to pick with stigmas!
One of our regular readers shot me a link the other day via Email, of a stand up routine he thought I'd get a rise out of.  Well, I did!  Twas a female standup and part of the routine was the predictable rant about the dating world of the twenty somethings.  Now here was the point my friend found quite humorous but I got my "Irk" on!  She railed on about the "financial viability" of some of her would be suitors, with emphasis on one in particular.  A young man, self employed who "rode a bike for transportation" as it was more ecologically friendly.  Instead of embracing the young mans efforts to protect the environment, she exclaimed that "No, it's because your credit rating is so bad, you couldn't finance a Kia!" too which the audience (females primarily) exploded in agreeable laughter. 
OKAY!  Folks (and pay special attention ladies) there are TWO points I'm going to make here beyond the basic reality that the act of commuting on a bicycle is BY FAR better for any human NOT TO MENTION the world we are currently calling home! 
First, you're REALLY not looking at all the benefits here!  If a HEALTHY young man chooses to get about town on a bicycle, he's one up on most other potential beaus, because he's healthier, has more energy not to mention.....STAMINA! On top of that, a guy on a bike has NO car payment, NO gasoline costs, NO insurance payments, NO vehicle taxes and NO repair costs!  SOOOOO, If he is, in fact, gainfully employed... HE HAS MORE MONEY TO SPEND ON YOU!!!!
And second!  Let's review the well worn, overly used old clich√© about some guy jetting about town in a shiny new death machine, that is either fast, flashy, expensive or big.  Say it with me..."he MUST be overcompensating for something!" 
OKAY, keeping that in mind, and if the law of averages applies, the opposite, therefore MUST be true!  Ergo... if you see a gent jetting about on a Schwinn...he MUST be packing!!!!
Chase him down and hand him your phone number and get your hands on some Vilagra!
And trust me, looks can be deceiving, there are plenty of bikes out there with a price sticker higher then a Mercedes!
Yea... I gots me some issues!
Okay, so it's Saturday and it's a BEE-OOOO-TE-FULL Saturday!  I have a few things to bang on for bit, but then I'm bringing in the Clown Bike for an overhaul and a make ready to ride!  Oh yes....I'm gonna give her a spin today!  Been awhile since I've perched upon her, so cross your fingers I don't break my ankles...again.
Update on the "would-be" show bike we were trying to build: No Go.  Sadly.  After a couple of days worth of attempts, excessive "Daddy Language" some slight abrasions, and a nasty pull in my side we could NOT get the rusty old sealed bottom bracket out.  SO, sadly the frame left for the scrap pile yesterday.  I'm not giving up hope, though, as eventually I want to build a custom Cruiser road bike, just 'cause I think it'll look cool!
ANYWHO!!!
Best get my hinders in gear nd grind out some goodies!
See y'all SOON!



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Now THATS a Box!

Yea..so?!  I'm a prepubescent, immature preteen. So sue me!  But tonight, while cutting through the electricians bay, I stumbled upon a box of parts that made me burst out into a fit of tittering giggles!  Check this out and tell me it doesn't make you revert to middle school snickering...

Right?  RIGHT!?  Now you're wondering where all those years of earned maturity went as well, hunh?  Either someone in their marketing department wasn't thinking....or they were REALLY thinking!
So, yea....it stuck in my head!
Today, was another quiet day, but we did send the Schwinn MTB we put together to a new home right quick.  I managed to build up that old school Schwinn MTB into a nice commuter but it took the day to do!
Once I finished, had about five minutes to get the girls and head home.
Tomorrow though...well, got a Gary Fisher in and I hope to have her prepped and out, then it's anyones guess!  For now, gotta cut it short, it's 4.21 am and a full moon is up, sooooo.... Miranda is still up. ..
Ugh.
See ya...later.this....morning?
Ugh.
CLASSIC SCHWINN HIGHPLAINS HARDTAIL!!!
ONLY $105.00!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Community Service Message!

So, the winter season is coming to a close, the Snowbirds have begun preparation for their retreat to milder northern climes, and the rest of us brace for another summer season slowly encroaching upon us.  As I rode in this morning relishing the sun and mild breeze my pessimistic thoughts ran to the dreaded expectations of another tropical summer, but I tried desperately to squelch them, and just enjoy the morning.  The prevailing thought became "preparations for summer riding" which is something I always have to consider as our families life choices mandate it.  Where we lack the option of rolling up a window and cranking the AC (AC on a bike is "RIDE FASTER" and get some wind!) we have to make plans.  For those of you who have chosen the Veloist lifestyle (and you are a wise hero in my eyes!) recently, or to remind those who have been for a while, or to just forewarn those who have made the odd choice to vacation in the tropics come summertime, here's a few tips for Summertime Cycling!

"Check the weather report before heading out!"  While not always accurate, if the report reads rain, plan on hitting the road in the Early AM, or later afternoon evening.  Most rain fall down here comes mid afternoon, a downfall just long enough to make the remainder of the day rather humid.  By nightfall things cool down a wee bit, to bearable levels. Don't give up on the day, just plan accordingly.

"Pack LOTS of water!"  Dehydration is a real risk.  Don't think you'll just grab when you're out.  Stop every couple miles, grab some shade and have a healthy swig. 

"Sunscreen"  Nope, I never use it, but my skins different then most, apparently, I never burn.  Most folks will, though, so be careful!

"Goody Bag!"  Get a fanny pack for under your seat (that's where your fanny goes!) Carry a couple spare tubes, adjustable wrench, Philips and flat screwdriver, tire lever, and a hand pump.  Spring and summer are BAD for sandspurs and they can take out the heartiest of tread.  Always make sure, if you have the misfortune of a puncture, that you check the inside of your tire before you put in the new tube!  These bloody thorns can and WILL stick in your tread awaiting to pop the NEW tube.  Seen it WAY to many times! And if you have the space, squeeze in a set of rain slickers (bright yellow is the best) And, for the more permanent rider, here's a tip, throw an extra change of clothes in a garbage bag then into a backpack and strap it to your bike rack (don't have a rack?  You should get one)  Even with a slicker some real downpours may leave you squishy in your shorts! 

"ALWAYS BE AWARE OF WHAT'S AROUND YOU!"  OK.  Keep the cell phone in your pocket, and keep one ear bud out and the volume down, don't let yourself get distracted!  "Right of Way" means NOTHING in Florida!  Sure, if you get mowed over at an intersection when you have the crossing signal by someone taking a hard right without stopping, you could sue...if you survive.  There are plenty of beautiful trails to explore with minimal interaction with the two ton death machines, best to stick too those.  BUT if you have to travel the roads...skip the bike lanes!  Car drivers pay no heed to each other. much less bike riders!  Best to stick to the sidewalks.  Just remember, always ride to the right and by courteous to the pedestrians and let them know you're coming. 

"Plan your time"  Remember, you my be good for a ten mile ride, but as one can guess, the heat can be taxing.  Don't push yourself!  For every mile you ride AWAY from your home...you have to cover it to get back!  Just keep that in mind!

"Tune-Up!"  Okay, this one IS a little self serving, but if you are in for a biking holiday or just preparing for another year, visit your choice of shops and have a skilled mechanic give your ride the once over.  Murphy's Law mandates, that if you don't, SOMETHING is going to break down and more than likely it will be just when you reach the farthest point AWAY from your return destination!

S'okay!  It aint a full list, I'm sure, but I hope it helps give some folks a leg up!
NOW
Ride hard, ride far, ride long....until you die.
Then coast.

Oh...here are the goodies put out yesterday.

MEN'S 26" SCHWINN SIDEWINDER!
ONLY $95.00!!

MERRACO BMX!!
ONLY $110.00!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Good Sunday!

Oh, it's another Monday!  BUT, I can even overlook the irritation of dealing with the annoyance of bank and tax issues after such a wonderful Sunday! 
Once again the youngins and I took off to the grandeur of Philppee Park for the day (well at least for part of it) with picnic lunch, and kites in hand and had a blast!  Oh, of course, it wasn't without it's trials but even those ended up being some fun!  The LARPER's were not there, unfortunately for the older kids, who were looking forward to doing battle once again, but we made it work.  Our first stop was an area of man made rock (if there is such a thing) formations set about for climbing, complete with zip line's.  We all took too it, eagerly, even Miranda did a stupendous job on the smaller ones, and quite apt at the Zip Lines, while Izzy once again showed her physical aptitude for sports by successfully scaling each and every challenge.  Of course, she needed a little help getting down, but after only a few tries working with her on position and footholds she made the next few attempts on her own. 
After breaking for lunch, we meandered towards the water and broke out the kites.  Everyone took a turn and after a couple initial tangles (and trees) they learned not to fly too close together.  Miranda was amazing, as she took to it immediately, keeping hers aloft like a pro!
Once they started getting bored with flying, and began to wander, we packed up to move onto the playground, but not before Rozy and Miranda needed a potty break.  As the bathrooms were right behind us, Rozy lead the way and I turned my attention to picking up and packing up.  After a few minuets, wondering where they were, I sent Owen over to investigate, only to find they were not in the restrooms.  OKAY...brief panic ensued, and Owen and I went in search of them.  Sure enough, after about 90 seconds we found them down by the water.  Well...IN the water!  After the initial combo of relief and anger, I realized just how much thrilled fun they were having and couldn't bring myself to break it up.  Of course, once we alerted the other kids too having found them, they wished to join in the fun.  And, in difference to the "no swimming" sign, figuring as long as they didn't actually "swim" but rather splash and frolic, we were okay.  Luckily, it wasn't cold, as they had no bathing suits, or towels, and any brief complaining they had about being cold and wet once we were done, was quickly squelched once they realized Daddy had a ready made lecture on "You CHOSE to go in there!", and Heaven forbid they need to be subjected to a lecture!
Once I got them cleaned up (and changed one REALLY soggy diaper) we wandered again to the playground.  Here, in an relatively enclosed area, Logan and I could relax and play a couple quick games of Magic to relax.
Yes, a real fine day to say the least! 
Once we got back home, Angi and the older boys had taken the quiet time to redecorate the girls room.  When we did the switch a month or so back, a lot of the "boy" flair was still apparent in the starkness of the room.  Momma went all girlie and fixed it up nice.  Nice enough, that the girls actually slept in their own room and not on the couches last night!  YAY!
So, into today, as mentioned had to do all the Icky "Business Work" this morning, so I'm just now hopping back on the rebuilds, with hopes of putting out a few before I gotta split!
So...with that...see ya soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

No....seriously...a size twelve CAN make it !

Okay folks! Don't let it be said I wasn't a busy little bee today!  I was a regular master blaster when it came to pounding out the goodies, by a LONG SHOT! Trouble for you heavy sleepers and lacklusters was,,,you were TOO LATE ! WOZERS GOLLY BOB HOWDY did we get some gems up in HEAH!! WOOF!
Okay, first things first, put out SEVEN today!!! Two of them were fifteen year old READY TO GO STARS!!! I'm talkin, hung up for all them years NEVER rode!!  They looked like the just came off the under paid child labor Chinese assembly lines!
Poo. Too much?
I'm in a mood.
Seriously though, they were PRISTINE! A PRE Wal-Mart Mongoose d40 that STILL HAD THE ORIGINAL nipples on the tires! Check out the pics!  She Was a gem! I say WAS because she was snatched up fifteen minutes after we took her in by a lovely couple with their two kuds, They came in for a couple kiddo bikes, saw her, and had to have her! I'm glad she went to an appreciative home!.
Oh ,and we had a ten minute rule TO BEAT THE BAND today! HaHAHAHA!!  A couple came in to check out cruisers, and we had just put out three more. They loved what they saw but, as fate will have it sometime, wanted to "think about it".  I'm talking THREE minutes later, a gent with a very proper English accent came in to check  out cruiser's, pulled them out one at a time, quickly looking them over and after asking how much, then realizing how much CHEAPER they were then any of the other shops in town, declared "I'll take them all!"
Hahahahaha!
Wow!
Ten minutes after the original couple came back in and it took some talking to get them to accept they were all sold!
On top of that, we sent another five to new homes as well!
WHAT A DAY!!!
So, I'm gonna leave you with pics of what's left and what you missed just to rub salt in the wound.
Hee,hee!
See ya Monday!
Oh, pee s...there's only six below, the road bike we put up found it's new home even before 're she was done so I didn't t as me a pic. Sorry
PRE WAL-MART MONGOOSE HYBRID!
ONLY $115.00!!

BRAN FRICKEN NEW!!! MEN'S 29"ER CRUISER!!!
ONLY $120.00!!!

NOPE!   GONE!

CLASSOC BMX!!!
ONLY $40.00!!!

NOPE....GONE

NOPE.....GONE!!!




Literally Lateral Literate Literature

Saturday should be the official day of "Movie Talk".  Friday being Family Movie Night and all!  Last night Elijah picked up a copy of the new Goosebumps movie with Jack Black playing the part of R.L. Stein himself.  Jack has done some hits and misses throughout his career (High Fidelity, a hit, Year One...miss)  as his "over the top" dramatics sometimes doesn't lend itself to the role he's playing, but this one was definitely a hit. I've sat down and watched some of the TV shows with the kids, and at times, some of them could get real creepy, but by and large they always reminded me of a more "Scooby-Dooish" kind of silliness.  But I'll admit, this one was just plain fun.  Probably made more so by the fact that all the kids really got into it.  I never realized, until that point, that Rozlynd has actually read ALL the books!  See, the movie isn't just (OPPS, almost forgot; SPOILER ALERT!!) another R.L Stein tale, it actually takes place in the "real world" where R.L Stein's creations had actually come to life, but imprisoned in the original manuscripts under lock and key, until an unwitting neighbor accidently unlocks one, which creates a domino effect, thereby releasing ALL the nasty's unto an unwitting small town.  Even though all the nightmares ransacking the town are scary, there is just enough of the aforementioned Scooby-dooishness to make the film accessible to even your smallest wee ones, while the humor keeps the older folks entertained.  Rozy was excitedly pointing out each critter even before they had shown up, with such glee it was entertainment in itself.  Definitely a good flick for Saturday entertainment!
Oh, while we are on the subject of films, after my review of Batman V Superman I got a LOT of feedback, and yep, it was universal...the movie SUCKED!  And you thought MY opinions were strong?  WOOF!  I didn't use any of the words I have heard to describe this stinkburger, nor did I issue any death threats!  WOW!  In retrospect, DC REALLY did themselves a disservice, while striving to get some of the gold, like Avengers did, I think they put the bar SOOOOO low at this point, the movies to come in their new franchise are going to have a HUGE stigma to overcome!  When will these people ever learn that while their fan base is quite large, they are not as forgiving as they seem to hope!  And honestly, while I was somewhat charitable to Mr. Affleck for his turn in the cod piece, that opinion was not shared!  They may want to rethink Ben's contract if they hope to make JLA fly.  The only dimly flickering high point of the flick, while totally out of place, was the portrayal of Wonder Woman.  She looks to pull off the character well enough, and watching her glee while in battle?  Could be some hope in her turn up to bat.  (opps...did I say "Bat"?)
On to work stuff!
Yesterday was a better show than the remainder of the weak (yea....I spelled it right!) had been, by a long shot.  Several "getting ready for the weekend" repairs came and went, and sent the Boss Cruiser to a new home.   Also, put out a gorgeous Specialized Hard Rock, aluminum frame, with loads of upgrades!  Not to mention a rescued ladies Giant Simple Seven that apparently languished in storage for FAR to long, but once stripped, cleaned and rebuilt (with new cables, tubes and such) looks almost as good as new! 
Today has been equally busy first thing, with several more pick ups and fun visits (one gent came in with the sole purpose of putting in his disgusted two cents about the "Bat-failure" but was in complete agreement that "Deadpool" kicked butt!) and I'm gearing up to do some more "house cleaning" by finally putting together the other sweet, classic Schwinn MTB (although I'm going commuter with this one!)
(Heh.  Just for the record! I know I write with a lot of exclamation points!! And I know, in the literary circle, too many !!'s are simply unacceptable! But...a few years back someone who worked in the field of literature actually took great offense to my "casual" writing style and EXCESSIVE USE OF CAPITALIZATION, not to mention exclamation points!  So...heh, heh...I JUST STARTED DOING IT MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!)
It's my darn blog!  Don't like it...there's more on the web to read, I think?
oooo, I digressed again.
So, today, first the Schwinn then I just snagged a beat up hybrid good for parts so I can finally get this sweet older Mongoose hybrid together, FINNALLY!!! (take that Mr. Literary Critic!).
And, least but not last, the show bike.  Well, ended up with no time to bang on it yesterday, but gonna TRY again today as I need it all the way stripped so's I can take it to the sandblaster Monday.  Alrighty, now I best get too it!
GORGEOUS SPECIALIZED HARD ROCK!!!
ONLY $170.00!!!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Skinwalkers?

Yes, sometimes a new build can become a vendetta!  Such is the case of the show bike I decided to create. Woof!  It's a rather unique looking BIG BOY frame I chose as it is also aluminum.  With the lightweight alloy components I picked out, shouldnt weigh much when I'm done.  Trouble started though in the tear down when it became apparent the alloy crank set was stripped out and my crank puller would just push out.  Ended up having to take a cutting wheel to it.  At that point came to realize the sealed bottom bracket was fused in rust!  ARRGH!  Not giving up, kaleb and I took turns with the socket and hump stick and finally broke the left side free.  The barrel is still left, though, but we soaked it with rusticate and will try again tomorrow. Sadly, this puts me a few days behind as I won't have access to the sandblaster until Monday.  Well, at least if we get that last piece out I can do a dry fit and make sure this Frankenstein will work!
Things picked up a wee bit today, sending the gents 29er to a newly displaced fellow Yankee and got a few repairs in to boot.  We banged them all out so I'm free up on my full day to dedicate to some builds before jumping on special projects.  Picked up a well loved three wheeler as well and I'm gonna do just a mechanical on it so as to sell it cheap as a banger.  It don't look to bad and will make it through the park and to grab groceries.
Speaking of the supernatural...
(nice clean seguea, hunh?)
Whilst on my break I was passing the time with some lightweight reading on line , touching on the top ten most "haunted" places and I stumbled on this blurb about a place in Utah called the "Skinwalker Ranch" Ok, short version (Google if you want all the tidbits) supposedly, this place has been a mecha of all kind of other worldly shenanigans since the fifties.  Everything from poltergeist activity, monsterous inhuman creatures, huge wolves that can't be killed, alien creatures, UFOS, cattle mutilations, voices coming from nowhere...you name it!  It drew so much attention that when the most recent occupants had been scared away a private research firm purchased it, and set up full time employees to monitor it with all the latest technologies from audio to video, extensive monitoring all over the property.  Now this has been under constant surveillance since like, 2006.
So....here's the thing, photography has been around for almost 200 years but sadly 90% of ALL photographs EVER taken...in the world...have been taken in the last ten years! (very true...look it up).  With the advent of the cellular phone and equipped camera we are remorsefully overwhelmed with an enormous GLUT of narcassitic, ego driven "selfies" as our legacy! But I digress...my point is, after about an hour of punting around online I couldn't find ANY pictures or videos or even sound bites of all this suppised activity that is reported to occour around the clock!  So...maybe age has made me cynical, but as a movie had been made about this place it begs the question; "did the promoters of the film take a page from the mockumentary that preceded "the Blair Witch Project" and just fancify this urban legend?
You be the judge.
Okay. Gonna git cleaned up and padd out.
See y'all soon!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Justva Thing...

At the point the enquiries to sell bikes outweighs the desire to buy, this time of year it usually denotes the end of the "season".  Ugh...that's starting to happen, sadly.  Even with at least two more months of good riding weather left (for the casual rider) and this week has been SOOOOO quiet!  NOT a good sign!  We will though, as always, try our damndest to keep plugging!  We decided to build an entry for the rat rod competition at the end of the month to help pimp out what we do and let people around here know there is a cheaper alternative out there than the snobby boutique bike shops so proliferate in the area.  If it helps at least one person save a few twenties on repair cost, all the better!
Yea, a little down.  Went in this morning full of pi$$ and vinegar ready to bust a move....but had no visitors.  Managed to clean up the place and get to work on stripping down the new creation, but would have loved to help someone get back on the road!
Hopefully, with fingers crossed, tomorrow will be a better day!
Miranda is doing well by leeps and bounds, and as predicted, going to sleep earlier.  I'm sure angi is thankful for that!
Elijah is recovering and headed back to work tomorrow with the blessing of his doctor..
So , with nothing more to report I'm going to hit the hay!
Night!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Day Two and All Is Well!

Yea...well....ok....that was boring.
So, this morning I awoke early to help Angi pry a VERY tired Miranda from bed and get her ready for her second day of school.  Angi was in contact with the school checking up on her as we were both concerned with whether or not our little miss would take to the experience or blow a gasket and thrash some poor unwitting child who had the misfortune of crossing her. Either that or have a meltdown from being separated from her mommy.  But as it turned out, no such trauma of any kind!  Quite the contrary she seems to have adapted right out of the gate!  Taking to the transition like a true champ she has been reported as participating quite adeptly.  Well, we knew she is a smart cookie and it looks like all of Angis efforts to get her enrolled were well invested.  Hopefully over the next few days the early mornings will rid her of her nocturnal tendencies.
Once she was on the bus and gone and all the other kiddos were dispatched Angi and I passed back out.
I got to the shop around noon, but as it turned out I could have just slept more as we barely had any visitors!  Just a couple looky loos that kaleb could have handled. Ah well...i do what I must.  The one upside is I did come up with a design for an entry in the rat rod show at the end of the month.  Suffice to say...a cruiser/road bike hybrid.
Yep.  I went there!
Cant wait to show it off!  SOON!  Keep an eye on these pages!
The plant wasn't any better!  Five hours of sandblasting right to machine cleaning!
Joy of joys.
BUT...here again, I wrested interest from boredom and in my breaks looked up a topic Logan recently showed an interest in; alchemy.
Wow!  Talk about FACINATING!  Over 4000 years of history of a subject that was the precursor to not only modern science, but spirituality, occultism, medicine, philosophy and psychology to name a few!  And who knew! There are not four but EIGHT elements!  Wowzers!
Its gonna blow his mind next time we get to talk!  And he thought it was all the pervue of mage's!
Okay. So enough of my day, gotta buckle down fer the night!
See y'all soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Days don't get much better!

Good morning campers!  Oh my what a wonderful Sunday!
Yes, yesterdays post was melencholy, but with a mind like mine it's like living in an industrial tumbler filled with superballs!  You never know whats gonna git tossed out!
But seriously, Sunday was a BLAST!  The kids church was throwing a shindig at Philipee Park (never been there before. I don't get out much) and it was GORGEOUS there!  Man! Like...in our backyard and I had NO idea!  We had barbecue than played a massive kids vs adults kickball game!  Of course, i was a little less than gracefull playing in steel toe workboots, but when you're a ONE pair of footwear kind of guy, you make do!  Izzy, Rozy and Owen played while Logan followed Miranda around as I was in the outfield.  Each one of them clobbered the ball and Izzy was so cute, after she nailed it down the center she just stood, not realizing she had to run.  Of course, when the wee ones were up to bat, the adults gave leniency.  She made it all the way to third before the next runner got the third out.  Rozy and owen did real well too against genuine effort from the adults.  Miranda found her two favorite things to play with; water and the bathrooms!  Don't ask me, it's her fixation!  I'm just thankful she listened when I told her not to grab the urinal cakes!  Y
After the game ended we wandered about and ended up in a far field where a group of LARPERS (live action role playing) were engaged in battle.  Logan was smitten and soon he, Rozy and Owen were doning shields and foam padded swords and engaged in furious combat!  Half way through, izzy and Miranda joined in and showed NO fear at attacking the other team head on!  Izzy actually lead the charge far out front!  I was one proud papa at the battlefront exploits of the Atherton clan!  Shortly onto the second charge an odd guest lumbered out into the field in the guise of a rather large box turtle.  One of the leaders of the other team quickly scoop him (or her) up and delivered it to safety. Quickly miranda and Izzy abandoned the fray in interst of the turtle and slowly followed it around as it munched on grasses.  The look of excitement and wonder on their faces was to die for!  I followed them around quite content to just spectate. The afternoon ended far to soon for all of us but our ride had to go.  But I have assured them next Sunday, we go for the day!  Picnic lunch and all.
Check out some cute pics of our day out below.
On the work front! Managed to get one newbie out, in the way of a solid single speed cruiser created from two.  I forget sometime how EASY single speeds are!  Then we got busy with a bevy of repairs and that comprised the remainder of our day.  Thanks to all for the kind words and continued trust!
Oh, and a special thanks to Joe, our poster guy, and the lucky owner of the 67 Schwinn Two speed kick back We had wasting away in the back room for three years!  There's a rod ride show in Dunedin April 30th and he sent me a flyer via a jpeg file (reproduced below) and will be printing one out for the door!  FINALLY we hear about this show BEFORE it happens!  There is a good chance if you go, you'll get to see me banging about on the clown bike (yea, the twelve foot tall blue one sitting outside the shop!) not to mention the "truck.
So, tomorrow, got more goodies just waiting!  Hope you come join the fun!








Monday, April 11, 2016

Another First!

Please forgive me a few moments of bittersweet melancholy.
This morning Miranda began school, and for the first time we all stood curb side, her bedazzling in one of her fresh new school outfits Angi picked up last week, to bid her farewell on her first school bus trip.  Surprisingly, she took it all far better than we had anticipated.  As predicted, she was a little tough to wake up and get motivated, but once the bus arrived she was almost excited.   As the attendant stepped down of the bus, Miranda, quite formerly and with flair introduced each member of her family in attendance and then with hugs and kisses eagerly climbed the steps, and quickly took her seat. 
Wow.  This was SO not the happenstance we had thought it would be.  Nowhere was the expected tantrum or anxiety ridden separation.  While relieved that it was not an ordeal, I couldn't help but slip into the whole paternal "my how they have grown" thing. 
Once the remainder of the kiddos were ushered off to school, Angi and I sat to finish our morning coffee and reminisce.   As we sat, Angi put on her music, and while flipping through her play list lighted upon a recent remake by the band Disturbed.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of remakes and as the name of the band implies, their style of music is, well, disturbed.  Not always my choice of musical fare!   I was, to say the least, surprised when their version of the classic Simon and Garfunkel tune "Sound of Silence" produce serious shivers down my flesh.  Nowhere was their guttural vocals or screaming guitars, but an elegant harmonious rendition complete with orchestral accompaniment. And, while listening to the song and remembering the original, now some 52 years old, it struck me as just how applicable it's original social commentary is to our current state of affairs! As Angi and I discussed this we both came up with two other significant examples of this.  First, was her remembrance of White Lions ballad from 1987 "When The Children Cry". 

Little child
Dry your crying eyes
How can I explain
The fear you feel inside?
'Cause you were born
Into this evil world
Where man is killing man
And no one knows just why
What have we become?
Just look what we have done
All that we destroyed
You must build again
When the children cry
Let them know we tried
'Cause when the children sing
Then the new world begins
Little child
You must show the way
To a better day
For all the young
'Cause you were born
For all the world to see
That we all can live
With love and peace
No more presidents
And all the wars will end
One united world
Under God
When the children cry
Let them know we tried
'Cause when the children sing
Then the new world begins
What have we become?
Just look what we have done
All that we destroyed
You must build again
No more presidents
And all the wars will end
One united world
Under God
When the children cry
Let them know we tried
When the children fight
Let them know it ain't right
When the children pray
Let them know the way
'Cause when the children sing
Then the new world begins

Almost thirty years old and you could take this song, play it over a recapping of todays news soundbites, and it would still remain topical.  Angi's thoughts, and replaying the song reminded me of another example of the stagnant state of social change in our world, and that was of Phil Collins/Genesis's song "Land of Confusion". 

I must've dreamed a thousand dreams
Been haunted by a million screams
But I can hear the marching feet
They're moving into the street
Now did you read the news today
They say the danger's gone away
But I can see the fire's still alight
There burning into the night
There's too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see this is a land of confusion?
Well this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in
Ooh, Superman where are you now
When everything's gone wrong somehow?
The men of steel, the men of power
Are losing control by the hour
This is the time, this is the place
So we look for the future
But there's not much love to go round
Tell me why, this is a land of confusion
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in
I remember long ago when the sun was shining
Yes, and the stars were bright all through the night
And the sound of your laughter as I held you tight, so long ago
I won't be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We're not just making promises
That we know, we'll never keep
Too many men, there's too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see, this is a land of confusion?
Now this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for
This is the world we live in
This is the world we live in
And these are the names we're given
Stand up and let's start showing
Just where our lives are going to

Originally produced in 1986, during my generation, as it turns out, what seems to have been like a generation of lost hope, it gave an impassioned plea for not repeating the same mistakes of the preceding decades, even to the point of asserting, with vocal vigor "My generation will put it right".

Well...we didn't.
What makes this song a prime example of failed practices and broken promises was that the song was redone, once again by Disturbed, in 2005, and was still just as topical at that point as it is eleven years later!  The one thing that struck me as funny about this cover, was the band seemed to pick up on the irony of the originals shortfall, as when they get to the passage I mentioned above, there was no disguising the ironic sarcasm in the lead singers voice.  He got it. 
And then we come to todays generation.  And not wanting to sound clich√©...I weep. 
Nowadays, there is more effort being put forth, through protest and petition signing, and interaction with government officials to legalize marijuana then there is to fight global warming, famine or the encroachment of "Big Business/Brother" into the most hidden recesses of our daily lives.  Quite the contrary, we seem to be blissfully embracing that last part, while shielding our eyes form the realities of the others.  Sadly, the only thing in our society that has seemed to evolve at a breakneck pace, is that of technology.  And oh, don't we eat that up!?  Yes, I could (and have) railed on about that one, but the problem is, even though we are quite adept at using them, our interaction with todays technology often reminds me of the opening scene to "2001: A Space Odyssey" where the primitive Monkey Men experience the obelisk.  All this power for instant communication and interaction and what is it primarily used for?  Pseudo Social interaction, pornography and cat videos! 
Yep, we gave primitive man the power of a harnessed atom, and we use it to careen off the road at 65 miles an hour to our death because we're to busy texting the person we are three minutes away from meeting!
Okay, yes, I do seem to go on about the same things often enough, but at moments when I look upon the hopeful promise of youth I can't help but feel the slightest twinge of concern.  What kind of world am I (we) bequeathing our children?  And why is it that for so many decades so many other generations have asked exactly that same question...and no one seems to have the answer?  Actually, you know, that may not be entirely true.  I think most folks KNOW the answer...but don't like the conclusion.  Because, in the end, it would mean a WHOLE lot of sacrifice and work on our parts, and as individuals, we can see it...we just don't want to be the ones to take the first steps.  Most folks I talk to about these subjects all seem to be in agreement.  Some do take baby steps, like our family did thirteen years ago giving up on cars, but I know there is more we could do.  Like yesterday, when we became aware of a swarm of honey bees building a hive in the tree in our front yard.  Instead of the knee jerk reaction of destroying it, we just moved to the back yard.  No, we'll have to get rid of it, as Angi is allergic and we don't want to risk the kids getting stung, but thankfully, we found a few places locally that relocate the hive rather than destroying it.  SEE!  A GOOD use of Google!
Folks, you know the changes you need to make.  Things like, walk or ride a bike if you're only going a few miles.  Buy locally grown food, or better yet, plant a garden and get a few chickens.  You see someone in trouble or struggling, help out.  Do it because it's right, not because you're looking to get something out of it.  If you hear about your elected officials doing something contrary to the public good, call them out on it.  And, for at least a little while each day, shut the bloody cell phone off and view the world around you, not take photo's of it.
Okay, I'm stepping off my HIGH soap box. 
See y'all soon. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

OOOOO! Look at the Preeties!

Thank Heavens! Yesterday was a day for nothing but NEWBIES!! 
Well, okay, there were a few breaks for some repairs, but right back at pumping out some more goodies!  
Put up a real sharp looking, all chrome men's 29"er 7 speed cruiser for starters.  She needed a lot of work, but well worth the finished product.  Then, went on to a full frame up on what turned out to be a pretty sharp looking 26" dual shock Mongoose MTB.  Makes for a real sweet DAILYBANGER SPECIAL!!  Then, not to overlook the younger folk, got two really nice looking 24" er's as well!  Another dual shock Mongoose, this one, too needing a full frame up, then onto an easier one in the shape of a really cute girls Trek!  That last one has some REAL nice components and the bosy is close to cherry! 
Thankfully, there were no other catastrophes to report, and Elijah is on the mend.  He even came up for a little bit in the early evening as he reported he was just bored lying about the house.  Even though, to watch him move, you could clearly see he was in a bit of pain. 
So, if your in the area today, we will be open until four PM.  Look forward to seeing you!

Men's 29" SEVEN SPEED CRUISER!!
ONLY $130.00!!!

GIRL'S 24" TREK MTB!!
ONLY $90.00!!!

BOY'S 24" DUAL SHOCK MTB!!!
ONLY $65.00!!!
MEN'S 26" DUAL SHOCK MTB!!!
ONLY $85.00!!!!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Did Tim Burton Write Yesterday's Script?

SO...just gonna write off yesterday like it never happened.
AS IF I COULD!
What a WEIRD day!
(Yea...this is one of those time when I witch..so skip over a few paragraphs if you're not inclined to share.)
First thing to stick a HUGE chip in my craw was having to contend with our credit card processors.  Oh are THESE people a REAL piece of work!  As many who have come in know, we have not been able to take credit cards for a few months now.  Trust me, it aint been from a lack of trying!  We switched our service back in December, as the previous company we worked with kept jacking up their rates until we were paying 21% on every purchase.  We went with the Square, with their promise that the whole set up would take three days to complete.
That was on December, 21 2015!
Lest me just say, if you own your own business and the "Elliot Management Group" tries to convince you to use their service? Run away screaming! 
Now, not only did they not deliver on ONE promise, but it took them until Feb 29, 2016 to deliver the equipment. Unfortunately, the equipment was NO good unless it was set up on the phone, something they had to send a tech rep out to do....which didn't happen until YESTERDAY!
Now, the biggest problem was, that no sooner did we get the equipment, did the "Service Charges" begin!  Mind you, when we signed up, it was clearly stated "NO MONTHLY SERVICE CHARGES!!!"   OKAY, so that was OUR fault for not reading the fine print!  The processing company only charges per transaction, but it's the credit card companies themselves that charge the fees!  Trouble was, we were charged for a full month when we only had the equipment for a day!  Well, we got that fee refunded, but still, no rep to set it up.  So when the next month rolled around, and we still had no service, and they charged us again, I called them out on it.  They again, agreed to refund the amount, but in some odd maneuvering (I guess someone changed their mind) ten minuets after they refunded the original amount, they charged our bank account AGAIN, plus a thirty dollar fee on top of it!
YEESH!!
Needless to say, I spent the better part of the day contending with these people. 
During that time, things took a turn for the worse! 
Elijah and Kaleb were both up at the shop.  Kaleb working, and Elijah hanging out.  As it turned out, because of the frakas with the bank, we needed to get the light bill paid, and Elijah offered to pay off the shortfall until I could straighten things out. 2.30 rolled around and I was still in "On Hold" limbo, so I asked Elijah if he could go get the girls from school.  He headed out a few minuets later, only to call me shortly thereafter to inform me that he had just been hit on his bike at the corner!!
We all took off running!  He was going through the intersection of Patricia and Beltrees, just at the end of the Plaza , and with the crossing signal on, and ushered across by the school crossing guard ANOTHER idiot car driver barreled into the intersection, taking a hard right and mowed him down.  Well, actually, threw him OVER their car!  He's okay, thank God!  But, I insisted he go with the paramedics to get thoroughly checked out, and in the end, no broken bones or head injury, but enough contusions and stiffness to warrant morphine at the hospital and a prescription for hydrocodone. 
This intersection is one of the WORST in Florida.  Not that it's a blind corner or anything, but the fact that the cross signal is in conjunction with a solid green.  The road is two lanes, and heavily trafficked.  so folks tend NOT to slow down when taking the turn, to hell with whoever may be in the crosswalk.  What makes it even more serious is the fact that it's the same road the schools are on so more than half the "walking" students use that stretch of road, on that particular side, to get home!  And, as both left and right turning traffic compete to make the light, anyone in that crosswalk is in CROSSHAIRS!!
Izabella was almost run down by a ditzy blonde in a Mercedes two weeks ago, and I was a mere four feet in front of her waiting in the middle of the intersection for her to cross when this twit cut a hard right ON HER CELL PHONE and almost mowed her down!!!  What made THAT experience all the more tragic, was a scant few moments later, a police officer pulled us over a half mile up the road!  At first I thought perhaps the incident was reported by the crossing guard, and he was there to check up on us and take a statement.  Oh...no.  The lady that took the freaking turn called the cops and reported negligence!! ON OUR PART!!! I was dumbfounded!  Even Izzy and Rozy exclaimed that the lady almost hit US!  But, in true police fashion, they always take the side of the car driver and merely chastised US to be more careful!?!?!
UM....don't the police KNOW the law?  The CAR is supposed to yield to pedestrians!!  When Angi heard of this, she went ballistic and called the police to ask for them to investigate, to which she got the patented brush off of "What would you like US to do about it!?"
Yea...the local police REALLY need to change the moto on their cars to read "To serve and protect...anyone in a car"
Now...if THAT wasn't enough to make our collective hair gray even more...after we got Elijah sent off to the hospital, Kaleb and I returned to the shop, me carrying Elijahs now defunct bike (the REAL irony of that was, Elijah had JUST replaced his wheelset with a nice set of deep dish single speed he picked up, which were now toast!) when Kaleb hooked up with a friend to go and grab lunch.  But, as they were backing out of the parking spot, the driver struck a parked car! 
Okay....now it was just getting "sadfunny"!
More cops later....
and I just wanted to curl up into the fetal position and mumble incoherently!
Well, on the bright side, I think Elijah has a REAL good lawsuit in his future!
So, needless to say, with all the excitement, nothing of any significance got done!  We did manage to get a bunch more goodies, though, so at least I have a lot to keep me busy today. 
So, with that. I am going to click my heels together, sprinkle a little fairy dust and "think good thoughts" and hope for a better day today!
See y'all soon!