Saturday, July 30, 2022

Or, not

So, I was getting tired. Specifically, tired of slathering my arms with sunscreen whenever I wanted to take a long bike ride during peak daylight hours. In the winter it's not an issue because the sun is low and I'm usually wearing a jacket to keep warm, and in the mornings I'm not bothered because the shadows are long and I'm not usually out for more than an hour. But the weekend and afternoon rides cook my arms with a bit more UV radiation than I'd like, and so I've started looking for alternatives to sunscreen.

In particular, I've started looking for long sleeve cycling jerseys.

Since most of my existing kit is Pearl Izumi, my first stop was to try their "Attack" lightweight long-sleeve jersey. It took ages to come in thanks to supply chain gobbledygook and when it finally arrived at my door I discovered that the sleeves were too long.

This was expected, of course, given that I have stubby little t-rex arms. What I didn't expect was for the sleeves to also be loose, which was definitely not going to work for me. I don't want wet fabric to be flapping around in the breeze when I'm trying to ride my bike.

So it went back for return and I polled the internet hive mind for advice.

I got a few good tips, and eventually settled on taking a quick trip up to SF to check out Ornot. They had a nice selection of long sleeve jerseys, and the sleeves were also too long on them (see the t-rex arms thing above), but crucially the sleeves were not loose and flappy. The jerseys seemed to be pretty good quality, so I bought two of them and gave them a try.

It was nice and toasty on Friday afternoon, so I rode up to the top of St Joseph's on Blackbirb to get some sweat going. As I expected the jersey did suffer from a little bit of wet-tshirt-syndrome due to the light color, and I decided that I didn't really care. It did the job of keeping me cool and comfortable and keeping the sun off my arms without needing to apply sunscreen.

As such, I am pleased.

While I was up there I took some other photos from the top. Looking out over the south bay.

And over into the Santa Cruz mountains.

It's quite lovely up there.

I'm going to keep my short sleeve jerseys in rotation since I don't always need the sun protection, and also they're still in good shape so it makes sense to spread out the wear and tear over them.

All in all I think these were a good addition to my cycling wardrobe.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

An improvement of exactly 220

My Garmin 810 has been serving me well for a number of years now, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth and part of the covering on the display was starting to delaminate, so I have been contemplating the idea of getting a replacement at some point.

As it would happen, a coworker was selling a Garmin 1030, which is only 1.5 generations old (there was a 1030+ released at some point, and then the 1040 was released just a month or two ago) for quite a good price, so I jumped at the opportunity.

It's a touch larger to make room for the bigger screen, and is a fair bit thinner (not that it really matters).

They also put the buttons down on the bottom edge, which is actually kind of a little unfortunate.

For reasons.

But luckily since it's a quarter-turn mount I can just give the unit a bit of a twist to access the start/stop button. Since I only have to do that once at the start of the ride and once at the end of the ride, this isn't a really big deal.

It is a bit silly though.

So it fits, mostly, on Purple Haze. That's good. It fits quite easily on Blackbirb thanks to the mount on that one being above the stem. I have a top cap mount on Crimson Ghost though, and on there.

Hmm,  yeah, that still counts as fitting I guess.

It might have been more wise to wait around for an Edge 830 to pop up (which is the latest version of the 810, though with the 1040 having just arrived one does wonder when an 840 might join the lineup). But, the price on this was quite good so I think this was still a good decision.

Not Giardia

Made a fresh batch of giardiniera on Friday/Saturday. Last batch was running low; I was down to only 3 pint jars yet left unopened.

I ran a little bit low on some spices since I just sort of assumed I had enough left over from the previous batch and didn't actually check. Lesson learned I guess. I'm pretty sure it'll still turn out just lovely though.

One big change from the last batch is that I didn't top the jars with olive oil. Last time I had some trouble with the oil burping out when I was canning the jars, and over all I didn't really feel like it added much to the experience, especially since after opening the jar I'd store it in the fridge, which would result in the oil solidifying on top. If I'm really desperate for it to be oilier, I can always just add some after I scoop out my portion from the jar.

Anyway, I now have two sets of pint jars, so I don't need to worry about making sure I time the new batch right for when the last jar from the old batch is used up. I can pick and choose whenever I want to make another, so long as I have at least 12 jars emptied. And as long as I remember to pick up a new pack of lids.

And more spices.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Inflation is Killing Me

So recently I also noticed that my iPhone's battery was turning into a spicy pillow, for the second time. It's an iPhone 7 so it's certainly been around a little while, and I already got the battery swapped once a few years ago.

But as is evident by the screen lifting on the one side there, the second battery is well on its way out the door now too.

Given that I am somewhat reliant on the phone remaining water resistant, since it sits in my jersey pocket when I'm cycling, this situation needed to be addressed.

Of course, since the iPhone 7 is quite old now, I decided that this 'addressing' would come in the form of an iPhone SE (3rd gen).

Meet the new phone, same as the old phone. I went with the SE because I like the smaller form factor, and I really prefer TouchID over the alternatives. Hopefully this phone will last me another 6 years.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Spicy Pillows

So my Pixel C tablet has been sitting at the office for a few years. I had the charger hooked up to a timer so that it wasn't being continuously charged, but apparently that can only do so much. When I finally picked it up while clearing out my former cube space, the screen had nearly popped off from the batteries swelling up.

That luckily made it a lot easier to remove the screen to get at those swollen batteries.

It was still a bit of a struggle since it was glued the whole way around, but luckily I have a good supply of guitar picks and patience, and I was able to get an x-acto blade in the gap to slice through the remaining spots of glue.

That revealed...

... some very spicy pillows indeed.

That were, themselves, glued into the case quite securely.

More prying, along with using my hot air rework gun to heat the back of the case, freed the first one up.

Hmm, it's a good thing that lithium vapor isn't toxic.

More heating, more prying, and the second cell came up.

Flawlessly extracted.

Though let's pretend we didn't see that side.

With the case now devoid of dancing pixies, we have a place to install the new battery.

Which was, luckily, quite easy to do.

Then it's just a matter of plugging the screen back in, squishing it down into the still very sticky glue, and...

That's a job well done!

It's just a shame that Android tablets are so god awful. Why did I even fix this in the first place?

Monday, July 11, 2022

Surprisingly Stretchy

So I noticed a little over a week ago that some of the gears on Purple Haze, my road bike, were sounding a bit less silent than usual. This generally means that the chain is worn, and a quick measurement with the chain checker showed that it was indeed worn out past spec. This was a bit curious as I could have sworn that I measured it not too long ago and found it well within spec, but I've got a lot of bikes now so it's easy to lose track of these things.

Anyway, I ordered up a new chain, and decided to take a little side-by-side picture of the two together.

The black chain is the new one, and the somewhat dirty, silver-ish chain is the old one. This is after I cut down the new chain to the correct number of links, the exact same number as the old one. Each pair of links is an inch long, so the old chain had managed to stretch by almost half an inch.

Now I say that the chain has stretched, but in fact what happens is that the inner plates of the chain wear away at the pins over time, causing the fit between them to grow more and more sloppy, which effectively lengthens the longitudinal distance between neighbouring outer link sections by a tiny amount. Left unchecked, this uneven link spacing will eventually cause more wear on the cassette and chainrings, so it's really a good idea to keep an eye on this.

Anyway, the other difference, other than not being worn out, is that the new chain is actually not intended for a 2x11 speed road bike. In fact, it's designed for a 1x12 speed mountain bike, being a SRAM XX1 Eagle chain. The reason for this is that the XX1 Eagle chain is one of the longest lasting chains on the market. The original SRAM PC1170 chain has lasted 2,500 miles (almost exactly), and I fully expect this XX1 chain to last 10,000 miles.

That's a lot of worry-free riding.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Electrical Food Obliteration

So I decided that it's finally time to make an addition to my kitchen gadgetry. Thus, today I welcome the new member of the appliance family: the food processor.

It slices, it dices.

It spiralizes, for some reason. I'm not really sure why someone would want to spiralize food, but this can do it in a flat spiral or a spaghetti spiral.

So now I have two different ways to wonder why anyone would want to do this.

No matter, though. Moving on.

We have the usual mandolin disk.

Which shreds on the other side.

These disks are notorious for breaking when a piece of food accidentally gets jammed between the disk and the lid. Pro tip: don't press so hard. Also unless you're trying to grate like 5 pounds of cheese, maybe you don't need to use the electrified version of this tool.

Anyway, it also comes with this wee little cleaning brush, which is nice.

I decided to store it here in the handle of the bowl, so I'll always remember where it is, about a half second after it slides into my food when I tip the bowl to pour out the contents.

So why did I finally buy a food processor? The answer is simple: pie dough. Cutting butter into pie dough by hand is an annoying and frustrating process that tends to take forever and get butter and flour everywhere. I've done it probably a half dozen times now and it's still annoying, and so it's well past time I spent the $50 to automate it away.

I'm sure I'll probably find other uses for it too. Time will tell.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Disco Fever

It spins around, the lights flash with a rhythmic beat. What's not to love?

Oh right, it's a ceiling fan, not a disco ball. The light probably shouldn't be flickering like crazy.

I removed the LED module (as you can observe, it's missing in the above picture), and gave it a quick inspection to determine if any parts were user serviceable.

Fuse checked out, TVS checked out, bridge rectifier checked out, 4 resistors checked out, zener checked out (as far as I could tell, at least). That left the driver chip as the weak link, and at that point it wasn't really worth diagnosing any further.

A new module would cost something like $45 and given how these things go, had no guarantee of actually fitting. Since having a ceiling fan in the middle of... you know, I'm not even sure what to call the space, but I mostly just use it as a hallway. Anyway, since having a ceiling fan there makes basically no sense, I decided to take the easy way out and just replace it with a flush mount ceiling fixture. A fixture which, for the record, cost $10 less than the replacement module.

But first, we must rid ourselves of the ceiling fan.

Oh that's a good sign. Why do things right when half-assing it takes just as long and yields inferior results? Something tells me that the box isn't fan rated, either.

Anyway, the wood chunks went in the trash along with the ceiling fan, and the new light mounted up quite easily in its place.

Looks just like the one I installed in place of the chandelier I kept bashing my head on.

Next on the list was to get rid of the caddy that held the remote for the ceiling fan, which I used somewhere close to zero times since moving in here.

Threading the screw back into the drywall anchor, just far enough for it to grab but not so far that it spreads out to grip the drywall, gives you a great way to lever the anchor out of the wall without doing a lot of damage to the wall or your sanity.

Just need to spackle up these holes and apply some color matched paint.

I didn't use the hot mud on this one, because I couldn't be bothered to mix some up and I still have some premix kicking around that hasn't quite solidified yet. A little splash of water loosens it up nicely.

If you know what to look for you can spot the dimples that don't look quite like the rest of the wall texture (I purposely left them sunken a little so as not to make an obvious flat spot), but at a glance they don't stand out at all, and you'd never notice anything amiss.