Friday, February 29, 2008

Aerogarden sprouts!

I finally got something extracirricular to sprout in my Aerogarden! The Burpee's Better Boy hybrid tomato seeds. It just took a couple of days.

China bans plastic bags

The Green Daily blog alerts me that China has leapfrogged the U.S. in an environmental aspect; it has banned stores from giving out plastic bags:

The familiar t-shirt bag was invented here in South Carolina by a company called Sonoco. They became truly ubiquitous.

I don't have too, too much of a problem with them, since they are supposed to be biodegradable, sorta, but for some reason there always seems to be one in the tree tops. Of course, you have to put trees to the axe to make paper bags, but they seem to be more reusable.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Morning grocery run

For some reason I got up early this a.m., with a hankering to go to the grocery store. Maybe it's because I had plans to make soup today, and knew I was missing some crucial vegetables. Maybe it's because I'm trying to get a free tank of gas by collecting tokens; for that to happen, I have to make six more trips there in the next two weeks, spending $35 each time. That is way more than I usually shop for groceries; maybe I can use this as an opportunity to build up some Mormon-like food reserves. (Anyone want to guess how much I actually spent?)

The electric bike performed like a charm. There were only a couple of pedestrians to avoid down by the river. On the way back, the weight in the back wobbled a bit, making me take it easier on the turns. Not that I'm Evel Knievel or anything.

I picked up a couple of seed packets at the store. They are the Burpee brand so highly recommended by Mr. Unfortunately, they didn't have broccoli, but I did get some peas and scallions, which would be very nice to have growing nearby.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ignore this

I am completely depressed; I have no friends; my life is a failure. Carry on.

A moment in the sun

After biking my mail and bank deposit, I sat by the river for while, soaking up the midday sun. Ah, it felt good. Temps in the mid-60s'F. I paused to remember my ice biking brethren to the north, then chuckled and pushed the thought away.

New neighbors

I parked a jug o' fish next to an Aerogarden 3. I'm but a couple of tubes away from aquaponics, or growing things with fish. My aim is to increase the oxygen the java moss produces via the extra light, but I must say, the light is very flattering to the fishy friends. Yes, I can see me going full out bonkers on the aquaponics in a couple of months, running aquaducts full of living creatures throughout my urban permaculture oasis.


I saw a Zap car today, a wee little thing. It had motorcycle plates.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Green impulse

I went for a walk by the river. I ended up halfway to the grocery store so I kept on walking. An impulse buy was some tomato seeds. They are in ten little cups, nine of them made of peat, soaking up the light of the nearest growing appliance. Each got about five seeds. One of the little cups is actually an Aerogarden pod; I put them right on top of the stupid hops seeds that haven't done anything in a whole month. Hopefully the tomatoes (Burpee Better Boy Hybrid) will do something unlike all the other seeds I have fruitlessly tried to start this year.

New Tillie title

I saw children's author Sue Stauffacher talking about her Althea Gibson book at the SC Book Fair yesterday. She revealed she has a new book about 1890s velodrome champ Tillie Anderson coming out in 2009.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The next step

I added toe clips to my electrically assisted bike, seeking to take it to the next level in terms of top speed. I had originally left plain old flat pedals on it, thinking it would be sort of a townie thing one could just hop on with dress shoes and whatnot, but the toeclips are still pretty convenient. The tops of the clips can drag a little bit when they are flipped over, but getting in and out of them is simplified by having the electric drive to keep the bike moving and upright whilst one is inserting one's feet.

There was one particular stretch of road where I really wanted to go faster. The clips should also make the pedaling overall more efficient, and maybe increase the range a little.

I am also using the full range of the new chainrings, as I somehow managed to set up the front derailleur correctly after several attempts.

I have made three speed enhancements altogether since assembling this thing: 1) slick tires; 2) toothier chainrings; 3) toe clips. I don't have any other ideas for it right now, except maybe a sail.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Perking and working

I'm at a hipster coffee house. Some slapnuts has set up not just a laptop but a small printer as well. I must confess I've thought of doing the same myself.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mystical moment

I looked up at the lunar eclipse tonight and felt more than intellectual curiosity. I was awed. But why does God save His best work for the heavens? And sow so much pain and terror for us on the ground?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mysterious mycelium

It looked outside to check on the old mushroom log chunks I dumped in a big terra cotta pot with some potting soil and wood shavings. Some of the chunks are still covered with the white mycelium matter. The big one, though, was all brown. I think this means it might be ready to fruit. I brought it in and am soaking it, recycling the container from some store-bought white buttons. Will ever get my $30 worth of shiitakes out of this damn log? Stay tuned.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Contemplation by the river

I went out for a little jog and ended up just sitting by the river and beholding its beauty. This cell phone picture doesn't do it justice.

Bike luv 4 U

2nd Annual Bike Love 2/23/08 8 p.m. at Asheville, NC's Wedge Gallery (River Arts District). Bands and stuff. Benefits Asheville on Bikes. COSTS $12. I'd like to go but it would be ironic to drive 100 miles to get there wouldn't it?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Apeshit Aerogarden

Someday someone is going to google the phrase "apeshit aerogarden" and they are going to land here and I'll maybe break the single digits as far as readership.

My point is, Aerogrow is going apeshit with the Aerogarden derivatives. There is something called the "Aerogarden Pro 200" that is brighter and taller than the old Aerogarden Pro, the one with the stainless trimmings and advanced control panel. They also have these little vases where you can pop your AeroGarden 3 flowers into for special occasions, then stick em back in the unit later so they don't shrivel up and die like your pre-liberal arts degree dreams.

Speaking of apeshit, you should see the garden they have at Riverbanks Zoo. That would be an interesting growing contest, Aerogarden vs. jungle dung.

Experiment in visibility

I was going to do a cool, cycle spoke knitting thing with this reflective thread I got, but I lost patience. I thought I'd do a kind of play on the spiderweb potential of the spokey wheel instead. Hopefully it looks cool and not stupid. Anyway it does have some reflective potential; I'm not sure how visible it is in real world conditions when it is spinning furiously like a trophy wife on an exercise bike.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Night ride across the Caucasus

OK, my adventure tonight was not as exciting as the Loreena McKennitt song. . . but it was dark.

Riding a bike at night is a damn fool thing to do, but it can be an awful lot of fun. I had a songwriters meeting to go to, so I decided to bundle that with a trip to a nearby library. It was so close that I am ashamed to state the mileage for fear of ridicule by hardcore bike commuters. However, it did require strapping on helmet, gloves, and trouser strap, then locking the bike up at the end, so it was like a real trip.

It also involved a bridge. It was twilight as I departed but on the return trip the water below was very dark and spooky. I only dared peek momentarily at the inky darkness due to my rate of travel.

There were streelights on the bridge itself as well as all over the rest of my route into the city. I had four lights going too, three of them strobes. I think I was very visible, but more importantly, I was EXTREMELY DEFERENT to motor vehicles. If an intersection was involved, and I wasn't 100% sure I was safe, I stopped to get my bearings, doing it in a way not to confuse any turning cars as to my intentions.

It was short, but I had a chance to pedal hard, and the night air was exhilirating. Biking tends to focus your senses, esp. at night. Long story short: felt good.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Alternative transportation history factoid

I just saw mention of a ban one community had against "go-devils" from 1926 to 1965. It seems these were skateboard-type devices that caused a lot of panic and consternation amongst the populace of San Gabriel, California. ---"Officials Stress Skateboard Safety," Arcadia Tribune, May 29, 1975, p. B1.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ironic transport du jour

According to the November Men's Vogue, the design chief at Bugatti Automobiles gets to work via train and a "modest brown 10-speed." His company produces $1.5 million supercars that produce 1,001 horsepower and accelerate with rice rocket quickness (0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds). Is that a change of pace or what? But it is also somehow appropriate, for the firm's founder Etorre Bugatti began his career as an apprentice at a bicycle manufacturer.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Things that didn't work

Just a quick update on experiments that did not work.

Sticking fresh cilantro from the supermarket in the Aerogarden did not get them to root, although they stayed alive for a few days.

Sticking mycelium chunks in a can with some spent beer grains made a moldy mess for the most part. However, I found out that the shiitake mycelium likes potting mix. A lot.

Hops seeds haven't done anything after two weeks, occupying a slot alongside the Aerogarden herbs.

Adding a second basket to the electric bike doubled grocery capacity and has been useful. I carried six t-shirt bags' worth the other day.

The freelance writer thing didn't work out so well. Or did it.

Coming to a coffeeshop has proven effective in gently jostling one's mind from writer's block. However, I just paid $3.50 for a little cup of hot cocao. Holy crap.

Honey I Shrank My Aerogarden

In time for Valentine's Day, Aerogrow has come out with a new, miniaturized Aerogarden called the Aerogarden 3. It has just three pods and is designed to convey a durable bouquet of flowers to your honey. It is much smaller than the standard AG, supposed to have the footprint of a coffeemaker as opposed to a breadbox. They look very cute, I don't know if you can grow mini-tomatoes or other food in these things but there apparently is an edible flowers kit.