Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Want One of These...

I currently have the 12 speed Bianchi road bike...but what I really want for riding out on the road is a nice inexpensive and basic single speed bike.

This bike here is available on Ebay for right around $250 with shipping, and it's about as basic as you can get. Single speed, 700c tires, flip flop hub to be used as a single speed or a fixed gear bicycle.

Now, why do I want a single speed bike?? A couple of reasons, really.

First, they are VERY basic. They don't have gears that need to be maintained, they don't have derailleurs to adjust, and in fact you usually remove the rear brake on them so they only have one brake. Really, there's just not much to them, which means you just ride and don't worry about maintenance.

Second, they look cool. The fact that they don't have many extra parts means that they are just a flashy expensive components, just a frame, two wheels, cranks and pedals. They are utilitarian, which I think is cool looking.

Third, and most important, having no gears to switch to forces you to work harder to ride the bike. When you are going uphill, you can't switch to a lower gear and just pedal your way through it. You actually have to power your way up the hill...and if you can't do that, you get off of it and walk it up the hill. If you set the bike up as a fixed gear, when you are going downhill your legs will move as fast as the pedals do, or else you're going to slow yourself down. Basically, they are supposed to be about as good as you can get for getting a good workout on a bike. What that means is that if you can ride a single speed well, you will be able to ride a geared bike even better.

I really want a nice bike for the road that will force me to get a good workout, which will in turn help me to lose weight and prepare me for riding the mountain bike a lot this summer. Basically, the single speed seems like it would be better suited for getting me in shape than even my Bianchi is.

I don't know when or if I'll be able to get one, but I certainly want one.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fast Five...

So the fifth installment of "The Fast and the Furious" movies is in theaters today, and surprisingly it's getting REALLY good reviews.

Over on Rottentomatoes, it's currently at 79% and 81% from Top Critics.

For people that don't use Rottentomatoes, those are actually really good scores...and for an action movie, they are exceptional.

I'm going to go up to Lansing to watch it on Wednesday with my friends from work...right now it's me, Scott, Elon, and Li. Should be a pretty good time.

I love "Fast and Furious" movies...and one that's actually getting good reviews??? Should be awesome.

Beginning Work on the Road Bike...

I'm going to be ordering some SPD pedals for the Bianchi in the next day or two here.

I really like the SPD pedals on the mountain bike, and adding some to the road bike will make it much better to ride.

The nice thing is the shoes that I have for the Diamondback will work perfectly with the I'm going to be ordering the exact same pedals that I have for the mountain bike.

They should be here early next week, which means that I should be able to have them on for a ride on our next days off!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Look...

I decided that it was time to go with a new look for the blog.

I was experimenting with some of the transparent boxes that show the image behind the text, and I liked a few of them, but a while back I added this "Reactions" thing to the end of my posts, and the text for it wouldn't show up correctly with any of the I ended up just going with this fairly basic setup.

If anyone knows how to remove that reactions thing that I added, let me know...for the life of me I can't figure out how I put it on there, let alone how to remove it.

Other than that, what do you guys think of the new layout?

I figured out how to remove the "Reactions" thing, but the problem now became that all of the current Blogger templates are limited in their width. So, because of that not only does my picture at the top of the blog not display correctly, neither do any of the videos that I have embedded into the blog over these last couple of years.

This pretty much means that I'm stuck with the older designs...which isn't a bad thing, it just limits the amount of customization I can do to the blog.

I like how I've got it set up right now, so we'll leave it like that for a little while...

Beach Cruiser Update 11...

I ordered a custom printed license plate for the Beach Cruiser.

It's 3x6 inches and printed at 1600x3000 DPI, which means it's really clear.

I plan on hanging it from the back of the seat, just below the seat and above the fender.

Here's the one that I'm getting.

Got it for $11 including shipping, but I had $5 worth of Ebay Bucks from purchases I have made in the last few months, so really it was only $6. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's Keep it Rolling...

Last night the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks played one of the most epic hockey games I've watched in a LONG time.

Vancouver had lost to the Hawks in the last two playoffs, and this year seemed to be in total control up three games to none in the series. Then the Hawks remembered that they were last year's champs, and fought back. An overtime win in game six gave the Hawks the chance to become only the fourth team in Stanley Cup history to come back from down three games to win a series.

The game started with Vancouver taking an early lead, scoring just about two minutes in. They then kept the pressure on for about the first 30 minutes...but Corey Crawford stood on his head and kept the Hawks in it...including a dominant save on a penalty shot early in the third period.

As the game wound down, Chicago started putting more and more pressure on, but then with about 3 minutes left took a penalty, which seemingly ended the momentum. But not to be outdone, the Champs put the jets on and ended up scoring a shorthanded goal with just under two minutes to play then held on to force overtime.

It was sixty minutes of the most epic, intense, and suspenseful hockey I've seen in a LONG time. Great saves, big hits, good chances, and awesome hockey filled the first three periods.

Then in overtime they were going back and forth when the Hawks turned the puck over in their own zone and then the Canucks found the twine behind Crawford for the win.

I can't blame Crawford for the loss at all, the guy played an absolutely amazing game. So did Luongo, and both teams gave it their all out there on the ice.

An epic end to finish an epic series.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What a First Round...

With several series yet to be determined, the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been incredibly awesome.

Only the Red Wings and the Caps moved past the first round in less than 5 games. All the other series went to at least six games, and four of them are going to seven games.

The only problem with the whole thing?? If the Blackhawks don't manage to beat Vancouver tonight, then the Wings will have to go to San Jose for the second round...and they never seem to play very well against the Sharks.

Hopefully the rest of the playoffs are as good as this first round has been so far.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Weekend...

...and more crappy weather.

I really just want to get out and ride the bikes, but every day that we have off seems to end up being crappy out. If it's not freezing cold, it's raining.

For instance, tomorrow it's supposed to be nearly 75 degrees...which is awesome...but it's supposed to thunderstorm pretty much the entire day.

I really wish it would just get nice outside and stay nice for a change.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Riding With SPD Pedals...

I got the pedals on the Diamondback and did some riding on them.

One word.


I really can't believe how much of a difference there is in feel with the SPD pedals. It really feels like you're part of the bike. It feels more effortless to ride, as well.

I'll definitely be getting a set of those pedals soon for my Bianchi road bike. I'm planning on cleaning the Bianchi up a bit and doing a bit of work to it, so the pedals will be a good thing to replace. It needs new ones anyways.

But anyways...I'm glad I went with the pedals and shoes. The only regret I have about them now is...why didn't I do this sooner???

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 10...

I got the final piece of the fender installed on the Beach Cruiser, and now it looks even more awesome than before. The final piece installed pretty easily, but looks great. Now the entire back wheel looks like it's got a fender, which is what I was going for.

I'm probably going to end up buying a wooden chain guard from Woody's for it to go with the fenders, and the whole thing will look ridiculously awesome. But I'll probably wait a few weeks before doing that.

Here's some pictures of it.

And finally, here's a quick video to show it off.

Friday, April 22, 2011

SPD Pedals Installed....

I got my SPD pedals installed tonight, and then put the cleats into my new shoes.

The pedals went on relatively easily, and the cleats mounted into the shoes really quickly. I then adjusted the tension on the pedals so that I could unclip from them with enough ease, but that I didn't think I'd slip out of them on accident.

I sat in the hallway clipping in and out for a few minutes until I started to get the feel for it. I was getting pretty proficient, but I'm sure that once I'm out and actually moving on the bike it will be a completely different story.

I will absolutely be getting a set of these pedals to put on the Bianchi.

The ONLY issue with the whole process was the fact that I didn't have the right wrench to put them on. I tried using an adjustable wrench, and it worked, but I put a couple of pretty nasty scratches onto my cranks. They are aluminum cranks, so they won't rust away or anything, and I'll be throwing some touch up paint on them...but it's definitely a downer to have these two nasty scratches on a bike that hasn't even hit the trails yet. Oh well, it's a mountain bike I guess, so hopefully by the end of the season it will have at least a few more scratches.

TuneIn Radio for Android...

I just got a new App from Amazon for my Droid.

It's called "TuneIn Radio," and it's Amazon's free App of the day.

Basically what it does is provide you a portal to connect to all of your local radio stations internet broadcasts. Amazingly, it found literally every local channel that I would even be remotely interested in...including the AM station that plays ESPN Radio that doesn't seem to come in on any radio that I actually own.

It also allows you to search for broadcasts for specific sports I will be able to easily listen to Spartan games that aren't on TV, Wings games, Lions games...pretty much everything.

If you've got an Android, you should definitely check it out. It's awesome.

Fender Finished...

I got the other part for my complete rear wheel fender in the mail today.

I got it installed, but it needs to be adjusted a little bit. I'm going to have to move it a bit farther back down near the crank, because it's much farther away at the crank than at the top, so it looks just a bit off.

The overall look of having the entire wheel surounded, however, looks pretty awesome.

I'll try to get some pictures when I get a chance.

In other news with the Beach Cruiser, I'm going to be removing the kick stand and working on a new solution. The one that's on there simply isn't long enough to work with the big Fat Frank tires.

I don't have any idea what I'll do to try to remedy that situation...but I'm sure I'll eventually think of something.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gearing Up The Mountain Bike...

I've been getting the mountain bike all ready to hit the trails. It started last week with the purchase of a new hydration pack. I had one that was given to me by a guy I work with that he got while in Afghanistan, but it's designed to be hooked to another backpack so it's not very comfortable on the shoulders. But it's an actual Camelbak, so it's bladder is the best in the business. I found a cheap pack at the store that had a really comfortable actual pack, but the bladder wasn't the best. So what to do?? Obviously, take the nice bladder out of the Camelbak and put it into the nicer backpack. Now I've got a nice comfy pack with all the awesomeness of the Camelbak bladder.

Then yesterday I headed to On 2 Wheels to look at SPD shoes. I ended up getting a pair of entry level SPD shoes by Shimano, model MT22. They are mountain bike shoes that can easily be used on the mountain bike or walking, or for that matter on any other bike. They are pretty nice looking, as well.

What exactly are SPD shoes?? Well, you see that piece in the middle of the sole?? That's a metal piece that a cleat fits into. That cleat allows you to physically hook into your pedals so that you get power not only when pushing down on the pedals, but also when pulling up. It makes you a lot more efficient. Not to mention, the soles are designed for biking, so they end up being a bit stiffer which makes it easier to transfer your power to the pedals.

To make them work, however, you need some special pedals. So I ordered these from Amazon. I got a great deal on them. They list at $55. Amazon sells them for $33. I had the $20 gift card from buying "Portal 2," so I effectively got them for $13. Shimano PD-M520L. They are an entry level SPD pedal that comes with the necessary cleats for hooking into the shoes.

The best part about these pedals and shoes is that the pedals will also work on my Bianchi road bike. I'll probably end up ordering a second set of the pedals eventually to put on the road bike so that I can use the nice shoes on both the Diamondback and the Bianchi. The whole package will make me a much better cyclist, and hopefully help me get an even better workout than the bikes would normally.

Keep on Skating...

Well, it's the only series of the first round that ended in four games...and it just so happened to be the Red Wings that pulled it off.

Tonight was game four, and they finished the Coyotes off with a strong third period.

Overall, I thought the Wings played really well in this series. If they can keep this up, they stand a chance to go pretty far. Up next, though, they may have that pesky Sharks team that seems to play so well against them. We'll see, though.

In related news, I'm sorry to hear that the Coyotes may have played their last game in Phoenix. I never really like the idea of a team moving to a new town. I know it's all business, but fans are loyal. True fans are, at least. And for a team to come and then just up and leave must be heart breaking. I know that if one of my local teams moved, I would be pretty upset. Fans give a lot to teams...they buy merchandise, pay ridiculous ticket prices, parking prices, and concessions prices...just for the chance to have something to cheer for. Only to watch that team leave when they feel that there are "better" fans somewhere else.

So here's to the Phoenix Coyotes. You left Winnipeg in 1996...and here we are 15 years later...getting ready to possibly go back.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finally Spent My $50...

...that I got from my Grandpa for Christmas. Yup, I have had it in my wallet all this time, which is surprising for me.

But they had a deal at Toys R Us where you could get two new 3DS games for $50...which is a pretty good buy considering they are normally $40 each. Basically it was like getting one game for $10.

I opted to go with the only two other 3DS games that I really wanted.

The first one is "Ridge Racer 3D." It's an arcade racing game. It got some of the best reviews of the launch games, and I can see why after playing it for a little while. It's got really good graphics, they show off the 3D really well. It's also got great controls. It uses the circle pad excellently and uses the touch screen for some minor controls. Overall, it's a pretty good game.

The other game is "Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D." It's, clearly, a soccer game. I'm not sure why...I don't like soccer much as a sport...but I LOVE soccer games. They're just fun to play. And this one is no different. It's got AMAZING graphics, and the physics are great. I've had a blast playing around with it, and I have to say that it's use of the 3D is probably the best that I've seen so far. At one point in time, I had a ball end up getting kicked right at the camera, and I flinched a little thinking it was going to fly out at me. Amazing.

Did I need two more 3DS games, making it five total so far?? Probably not...but it was a great deal, and a great way to finally spend that $50.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New Game...

Today I got a new game...and this one I'm probably actually going to play. See, I've got a bunch of "new" games that I've never played, simply because I can't seem to break way from playing "Bad Company 2" for anything more than about ten minutes.

But I've been waiting for this one since about two years ago when I finished the first one.

"Portal 2" came out today, and although I won't get to play it until tomorrow, it's definitely going to be awesome. It's getting GREAT reviews, and if it's anything at all like the first it's going to be an insanely awesome ride while it lasts.

This time there's more to do, a more fleshed out story, and a completely separate story in the co-op there's definitely a lot of things to get done in the game.

I'll get started on it sometime on's gonna be great.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Enough Snow...

When we left for work today, there was about two inches on the ground. When we got home, it had all melted.

But the next couple of days it's supposed to snow off and on, so who knows if there will be any that sticks.

All I know is it's the middle of April, and this picture really fits...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are You Serious??

We currently have a winter weather advisory, and in my city we are expecting to get up to six inches of snow.

And here it was 83 degrees last Sunday.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rebuilding the Tablet...

So for the last two weeks or so, my Archos tablet has been PAINFULLY slow. The keyboard was taking over one second to come up, apps were taking a long time to load, and the web was just crawling along.

I had tried clearing all of the caches and deleting files. I had tried making sure that nothing was in the resident memory eating up the RAM. I had tried everything, except for that one last resort...

...hitting the "Full Reinitialization" button.

So tonight, I did just that.

I had a goal in mind. Reinitialize and remove everything from the device that had been installed, then move forward with the device ONLY utilizing Amazon's App Store for Android. Remember, the Google Android Market doesn't TRULY work on the Archos Tablet. There was a hack to make it work, which I had done, but it was basically a Band-Aid fix to the problem that offered no permanent solutions. It also required almost constant tinkering to be able to download the newest apps. So, seeing as I haven't used the Google Market since the Amazon App Store was released, I figured I would just go Amazon and see how it went.

But I didn't think of a few things before I did it.

The first, and major SNAFU was that I didn't check to see if some of the Apps that I wanted were available on Amazon...some of the stuff that I have that I really liked on my tablet like my browser, launcher, memory manager, and Gmail client.

Of course, when it got booted back up and I installed the Amazon App Store, there were a few that weren't there. Namely Launcher Pro, Dolphin HD Browser, Switch Pro Widget, and Gmail.

Now, I was easily able to get Launcher Pro. I just searched for the .apk on the web and found that the Launcher Pro site has it available. So a quick download, install, and then product registration (because I paid for Launcher Pro in the past, they will send me the product key whenever I request it) and I had Launcher Pro back on the device.

Dolphin HD I was able to download onto my computer and then send it to the device, so I got that up and running quickly. Same with Switch Pro.

Gmail turned out to be the biggest problem. It wasn't on the Amazon Market, and I couldn't for the life of me find a .apk that would work. So I ended up using the stock Archos client, which I really don't like. I did some searching on Amazon and found a client called "K-9." I did some searching on the web and found out it's a pretty robust (and in many ways better than Gmail) email App, so I gave it a shot. I'm glad I did, it's pretty solid and I definitely find it easier to use than Gmail's App. I will probably be downloading it onto my phone soon, as well.

The ONLY other thing I couldn't get onto the device was the weather widget that I had before...but that's okay, I found one called Fancy Widget Pro on Amazon for $2 that is spectacular.

So now I have the device up and running again...and it's running better than it ever did before. Even when it was brand new it wasn't this crisp and solid. I think that removing all of the wonky Google stuff from the hacked market did a lot of good for the device. I also got rid of a few programs that were memory hogs and replaced them with better ones.

Overall, it was a bit of a pain, but nothing that was too difficult. I also know in the future to make sure I have .apk files for the few programs that I really want to be able to use already Dolphin and Switch Pro. So now, if I ever have to do it again, it'll be even easier.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 9

Today I got the rim tape in the mail that I ordered from Amazon. That's the stuff I needed to put on the wheel to make sure that I didn't have any issues with the tubes getting pitched or cut any more.

The tape went on quickly and easily, and I can definitely see how it's designed to make sure that tires don't get punctured. It's thick and there's no way that the screws for the spokes would be able to cut the new tube that I put in there.

So far, after sitting for a good several hours, the tire hasn't lost any air I'm going to guess that I fixed the issue.

I also mounted the rear fender a bit differently. All I did was reverse a bolt, and that allows it to more easily be tightened if the need arises.

I also went ahead and did a really good job of fixing the scratches that I had accidentally put on the back fender. How did I do that??


Yup. I got some Turtle Wax and have been putting it on and buffing it off all evening. I've got about 4 coats on it now, and you can barely even tell that the scratches were there. I'm thinking one or two more coats and you won't ever be able to tell that it was scratched.

I'm really glad that I was able to buff the scratches out. I was worried that the fender would be scratched for good, but the wax has done an excellent job of taking care of the little problem.

I also went ahead and ordered the extra fender piece from Woody's today. It will have to be put together, so I'm sure I won't get it any time soon...but once it gets here, it's going to finish up that rear wheel area perfectly!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Make Up Your Mind!!!

Today when I looked there was...get this...SNOW in the forecast.

Seriously? Snow?? It's the middle of freaking April!!!

The other day it was 83 degrees outside. On Tuesday and Wednesday it was in the 60s and gorgeous.

Now it wants to snow some more??

I'm ready for it to just be nice and 70 degrees outside and sunny every day.

Not more of this white crap!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thanks Mom, Dad, and Grandma....

Just a few pictures, in good light, of the Beach Cruiser with it's new fenders.

I got a flat tire today, but it was my own fault. After taking these pictures yesterday, I took the bike out for it's first "real" ride. I pumped the tires up quite a bit more than they had been before, and I'm guessing that I put a small puncture in the tube. See, I forgot to put rim tape on the inside of the wheels when I put the tires on, so the screws that hold the spokes in place were just exposed. With only 22 pounds of pressure in the tires it probably wasn't a very big deal...but with 40 pounds in it like I pumped it up to yesterday, I'm pretty sure that the exposed screws put a tiny cut in the tube, causing it to slowly go flat. No big deal. I've got two extra tubes laying around, and I've got some rim tape on the in a couple of days, it should be good to go again.

I also have been in contact with Cody that makes the fenders, and I'll be ordering the extra piece in the next few days. It should end up arriving soon and it's going to cost me $32 total including the shipping.

One last piece I will be ordering is a license plate. I found a guy on Ebay that custom makes them with any state and up to 17 letters on two different lines. I'm thinking of going with Hawaii as the state and "NoBeach" on one line, and "NoProblem" on the other line. Should look pretty cool, I think.

Now, on to some pictures...

Fun Day with Jason...

Jason came down today, and we had a good time.

He got down here and let me know that he had taken his mountain bike in for a tuneup, and found out it was broken beyond repair. It had a crack in the frame that wasn't going to be able to be fixed, so he had looked at some new bikes. He found a few but nothing that really struck his eye. He then told me that he went to another shop in Lansing and they didn't have anything.

So the first thing we did was head down to the local bike shop here. About 20 minutes (and nearly $1,000) later, Jason had picked out his new bike. It needed something replaced to fit him, so we headed to the Toy House to look around at the awesome toy store while we waited. After that we went back to pick the bike up. It's a Gary Fisher 29er...pretty nice bike.

We got it loaded into his truck and then hit the park where we road the longboards around the trail twice. It was a blast. Definitely tiring, especially considering I haven't been really active this past winter. He crashed a couple of times, and almost took me out...after looking at his board, he decided he wanted to get some bigger wheels like the 76mm wheels that I have. I'm sure he'll be ordering them soon.

We then headed to Ella Sharp park so I could show him where the mountain bike trails that we will be riding are. I showed him around Jackson a bit while we were doing these errands.

Then we headed back to the house to pick Cathy up. We went to Klavon's for some pizza and watched the first period of the Red Wings game. We then came home and watched the rest of the game before he called it a night and headed home.

Definitely a good time. I'm sure he'll be coming back some other time to do some more boarding, and I told him that I should head up his way to do some boarding one day too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jason Coming Over...

Tomorrow our friend from work Jason is coming to our house to hang out for a little while.

Helen...that's his wife...must be working all day or something.

Jason's been a good friend of mine at work for a while. We get along pretty well. We have been playing "Bad Company 2" together for the last couple of months.

I'm not really sure what we're going to do. I know that we will probably go and grab something to eat...I'm guessing at Rocky Top, but before that I'm really not sure. He's bringing his longboard, so I'm thinking that maybe we'll head over to the park and ride the boards for a little while. It's supposed to be pretty nice outside so that should be a good thing to do.

Other than that, it just doesn't really seem like Jackson has much to offer in the way of fun things to do.

I'm sure we'll think of something though.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Surround Sound...

Back on March 25th, I posted a bit about getting an App for my phone that allowed me to tune my surround sound system.

I've been paying close attention to the setup since then, and I have to say that I am more impressed with my surround sound than I ever have been before.

I never knew how low I had my rear speakers set up. I had them to the point where you could barely hear them, and that was way too low of volume for them. With them setup correctly, things sound so much better.

When something gets thrown "towards the screen" in a movie, you can noticeably hear it fly "past" you now. Like tonight I was watching Pixar's "Up," and the old man threw a piece of chocolate at the screen and when it flew past me I could clearly hear the leaves rustling behind me. The bird, Kevin, then chased it and you could make out all kinds of great sound effects from behind you.

On top of that, now whenever music kicks in during a scene, you are literally enveloped in sound. It's really awesome to be able to actually feel the music coming from all around you.

I'm really impressed with how awesome my entire entertainment system is setup now. The sound and video are just amazing. Good stuff.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 8...

Just wanted to make a quick note.

I contacted the guy that makes the wooden fenders and he let me know what I need to get to be able to reseal the wood where I had to trim it to fit. He also told me that small scratches should easily be taken care of with some car wax, so I'll be hitting the store on my days off to get the stuff necessary for it and then putting it on when I get a chance.

I also asked him about a possible custom made piece that would go from the crank to the top of where the back fender is mounted. Basically, it would go in the spot where the fender normally is, but allow it to stay in it's street sweeper effectively the entire back wheel would be covered by fender, which I think would look really awesome.

He asked me to take a couple of pictures and get a few measurements and then he could get back to me to let me know how much a piece like that would cost.

I think the bike looks great with the fenders. I got to see it in the daylight today and it just looks so unique now. I've never seen a bike with wooden fenders...but then again, I've never seen a bike with cream wheels and tires, either. So those two really unique facts make the bike pretty amazing, in my opinion.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 7...

I know it's been a while since I made a Beach Cruiser post, but I got a really unexpected birthday gift from my parents and my grandma today.

I don't know if you remember or not, but a while back I posted about a set of custom made leopard wood fenders?? Well, my mom obviously reads my blog, because she ordered them for me for my birthday.

When I opened them I was REALLY surprised. I wasn't expecting them at all. I had grown to think that I would just leave the bike without fenders, but when I saw them I knew that I had needed them all along.

I got home and put them on. It took a bit of work, as the Fat Frank tires make mounting fenders conventionally virtually impossible. To mount the rear one where fenders normally are, I would have had to break a support piece off of the bike, and I wasn't really comfortable doing that for obvious reasons, so instead I ended up installing it in a "street sweeper" fender style. That's a style of fender that goes from the seat post all the way to what is essentially the ground at the back of the bike. It went on like that REALLY well. I managed to put a small scratch in it, which ticked me off, but then I realized it was just in the clear and wax coats, so it should easily buff out. I'll repair the scratch on my days off this week. I will also probably replace the bolt that's mounting it to the seat area, because that one seems a bit small for the spot. If not the bolt, I'll definitely be adding some washers to it. Either of those options should resolve the possible issue of the bolt slipping through the mount piece. I could also possibly look for a replacement mount piece. The one that is on there is adjustable, and it's just a small piece of metal. I already know what I would replace it with, and they cost about 12 cents at home depot. But I don't think that will be necessary. In fact, I think the washers will be enough.

This is what the back fender looks like. Not the greatest photos, it was dark out, but I'll get some better ones soon. But I think you get the point. This picture shows the back one from an angle, so that you can see what the wood looks like. The leopard wood looks GREAT. The purple stringers on the side are really similar to the color of the bike, so that's awesome. And the stripes down the middle of it set it off just perfectly.

Here's another picture of the back one, and in this one you can more clearly see what I mean by saying it goes down nearly to the ground. You can also see that it's effectively just a flat fender, which accomplishes another thing. From the side, you can still see the awesome fat profile of the Fat Frank tires and how well they match the wheels. But from the top you can clearly see the fender. Gives the bike the best of both worlds, really. You have an added fender, but don't have the negative side of having the fender cover the awesome tires too much.

The fender goes down REALLY low to the ground. But it's not so low that it scrapes at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only time it would scrape anything is if you went through a REALLY deep pot hole. Other than that, I'm not worried at all about it getting scraped on the ground while I ride it.

The front fender took a bit of custom work as well to get it to mount. The fork doesn't have a spot to mount a fender, and the old fender was mounted with what was essentially a dowel shoved into the bottom of the fork. I was able to work around those issues and get the front installed pretty solidly as well. I had to trim the fender a bit to get it to fit between the fork legs, but that is normal for the fenders. I will have to take it off soon to re-seal the wood, but that's not a big deal at all.

Here's the front fender from the direct side. You can see how closely it hugs the wheel, which looks awesome on the bike.

And here's one from the angle so that you can see how awesome the fender looks overall. It fits GREAT on the front wheel!!!

Overall, I'm REALLY happy with the way the fenders look on the bike. I have a bit of work to do to get them finished up, like resealing that front one where I trimmed it, adding the washers or different mount to the rear, and resealing/waxing the scratch on the back one...but other than that they were a straight forward install that looks fantastic.


Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Today is my 32nd birthday.

I can't believe I'm 32.

I also can't believe it's been a year since I turned 31. I guess I must be having a good time, because time surely is flying.

I got lots of good stuff for my b-day so far...from Cathy I got my wheels for my beach cruiser, a small LEGO set, a dinosaur, a LEGO pen, and a little rubber lizard. Just some fun stuff. I also got the cheesecake. From my friend Alex I got the DVD set that I showed earlier. Tomorrow I go to my parents house and I'm sure they'll have something for me.

But a big b-day present was the fact that the government won't be shutting down. See, Cathy and I are both considered "essential" employees because of our jobs, so that means that we wouldn't be put on furlough. The problem?? Our pay wouldn't have been sent to us until a budget was reached, so even though we still would've had to go to work we wouldn't have gotten paid for it for a while. So I'm glad that they worked everything out at the last minute tonight.

Anyways, happy b-day to me!! Now let's just make it through to the next one...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Getting My New Mountain Bike Back..

Last week I dropped my Diamondback off at my father's work. He works with a guy that really knows his way around bikes. I wanted Jayson to have a look at it so that he could make sure it was all put together correctly.

I will be picking the bike back up after going to my parents for my birthday tomorrow.

Jayson said the bike was really nice, and for the money a good deal at $400...but I paid $300, so I imagine he'd say it was a great deal for that.

He mentioned only two things that could be weaknesses...first are the pedals. They are just composite, which is plastic, and he said they wouldn't be very durable. I will remedy that soon because I've already found a nice set of pedals on Amazon that will work. Maybe I'll use some of my money that I still have left over from Christmas to get them.

Second is the front fork. He said for really hard riding, it probably wouldn't really be up to the task...but that's okay for now, because I probably am a good long time away from being able to ride the bike very hard.

When it comes time to upgrade the fork, I will definitely get something nice...but for now, I think the bike is great. Jayson seemed to think it had nice components and was a good product, and he works in a bike shop part time as well as working with my dad, so if he says it's nice, there's a good chance it is.

Now that I'm getting it back, all I need is a week or two with no rain so I can get it out on the trails!!

Early Birthday Present...

Today I got another early birthday present...

Cathy ordered me a Banana Cream Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.

It's pretty much my favorite dessert ever, and it was an awesome and really unexpected gift!!

It came on Wednesday in the afternoon, and by Thursday evening there was only one quarter of it left.

It's amazing!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Cleaning...

Tonight Cathy and I got some more cleaning done.

We cleaned up and arranged stuff in the kitchen areas so that it doesn't look like we just throw things all over the place in there.

It looks quite a bit nicer now. I am probably going to get a power strip so that we can plug all of our little gadgets into the same basic spot. That should help clear up any more clutter that is still there.

We also bought a new rack for inside the shower because our old one was getting pretty rusty. The new one looks really great. We paid for it by returning $30 worth of pop cans... which helped clean up the garage.

So far the approach of cleaning up some small items every week has been working well. Next week I think I will finish the living room and maybe try to start on the office. As I've said before... if i can get the office clean, then the formal dining room gets clean as well because all the puppet stuff moves to the office.

Cleaning up slowly also helps to not make it seem like a major chore. Hopefully in a month or two we'll be all set. My parents are having a garage sale in June, and hopefully we can have some stuff in it.


Tonight Cathy and I watched "Camelot." It's a new series on Starz.

Quite obviously, it's based on the legend of King Arthur.

I have to say, the two hour premier was pretty awesome. It had everything...drama, action, name it, it was probably in the episode.

I was really impressed with pretty much everything about the show, and it will definitely be on my list of shows to watch.

If you have Starz, I highly suggest you give it a try.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Today I read from several credible sources that soon Motorola will be releasing Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, for many of their phones.

I did some looking and it appears that the Droid 2, which is what my phone actually is, is on the short list of phones that should be getting it soon.

Gingerbread is supposed to update some of the issues with the FroYo version of Android, such as prolonging battery life and introducing a nicer keyboard.

I use an aftermarket keyboard on my phone, but if it's possible to have a stock keyboard that works as well as my aftermarket one, I will definitely switch back.

I'm excited to see that the device is still being supported, even though it was put on clearance and is probably going to be something that isn't "current" within the next few months.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nothing Planned for this Weekend...

For what seems like the first time in a long time, Cathy and I both have absolutely nothing that we have to do on our days off this week.

Well, I guess I have to get an oil change and renew my license plate, but those are both things that can be done in just a couple of minutes. I'll probably just drop the car off at Sears for the oil change, then walk down to get my new plate sticker, and then we'll do some shopping at the mall while we wait for the car to get done.

Other than that, I don't really have any idea what we're going to do. Maybe we'll continue working on cleaning up the house?? Maybe we'll just watch some movies and do absolutely nothing.

Either way, it's nice to not have anything that we really need to do.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Tonight Cathy and I went to our friend Angel's house to watch Wrestlemania 28. It was pretty fun.

Angel had made a ton of food, and there was lots to eat and drink for everyone. There were quite a few people there and we all really enjoyed the event.

The last match had a little bit of a lame ending, but definitely not enough to even come close to ruining the evening. It was a great time, and I'm glad that we went.

Angel did it last year, too, but we didn't end up going for some reason or another. Now I'm thinking that we'll definitely be going in the future!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Been Doing Some Tweaking...

So I've been tinkering with the R2-D2 a little bit.

I ended up installing a new launcher, Launcher Pro, and that made the phone quite a bit smoother. It took away the seven home screens that came with the stock launcher and cut that to three, which is alright.

I've always been a minimalist when it comes to icons and shortcuts. I HATE having a cluttered user interface. My computer has like 5 icons on it's desktop, my tablet has four, and my phone has about 8...including the ones for the dialer and the contacts AND the one for the app drawer.

So after getting Launcher Pro installed, I then tweaked it even more and cut myself down to only one home screen. Everything on the phone runs a bit snappier now. It's just quicker to get everything to load.

On top of that, I installed a Memory Manager. I know that 2.2 FroYo is supposed to be pretty good at allocating it's memory, but Auto Memory Manager has worked great on my tablet, so I figure I'll give it a shot on the phone.

Now that I've got it streamlined I enjoy the phone even more than I did before. Sure, I lost some of the cool graphic properties of the old launcher...mainly the App Drawer and the little icons showing you which page of the homescreen you were on were cooler on the stock launcher than this new launcher, but I'll take functionality over some cool looking designs any day.

I'm still really enjoying this phone...and I find a cool App for it all the time now. I've been downloading the free one on Amazon pretty much every day, if for nothing other than it gives me a chance to add to my review count. Plus, I figure, with the free apps you never know when one of them might come in handy, and then since you've already "bought" it, you can just download it to the phone (or the tablet) for free!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Loving the 3DS...

The two games that I have for the 3DS are both pretty amazing. I'm really enjoying both of them.

But I have to say, "Street Fighter" takes the cake. It's simply amazing to look at, controls like a dream, and is an absolute blast.

I'm normally not very good at fighting games, but this one has taken some steps to make it a bit more accessible. Mainly, you can set the touch screen as "buttons" and map the difficult to do special moves to a single press on the screen. It makes it so that a guy like me that doesn't really "get" fighting games can in fact pull off some of the awesome moves and have a good time.

"Steel Diver" is no slouch, though. It's unique and also very fun to play. I'd say my only problem with it is going to be the fact that it's only got about 7 levels. They're awesome, but that's just not enough. Hopefully a sequel will make its way onto the system.

Overall, though, I'm REALLY impressed by this new piece of hardware. It's really cool.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Huge March...

So March was a pretty huge month for me on my blog. I posted a TON.

A lot of that had to do with the Beach Cruiser. I still have a couple of things left that I'm interested in doing to that bike, so I may still get some posts out of it yet.

April is going to be a nice month. My birthday is about a week away now, and hopefully the weather will start getting quite a bit nicer.

I took my bike to my dad's friend Jayson to have him look at it and make sure I put it together correctly. I also took my friend Angel's bike over there for a tune up. We're hoping to get some trail riding done this coming summer, along with Cathy and another friend of our's, Scott.

I'm really just looking forward to the weather getting nicer. I've gotten quite fed up with the cold and nasty weather...and go figure, it's supposed to snow one last time tonight. Hopefully it gives us a tad bit of snow then goes away for the season.