Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scary oil situation

Last night I drove past six gas stations before I found one with any gas to sell... very scary. Odd how unorganized the fuel supply is more than a week after a couple of relatively minor hurricanes.

I am well insulated against such crises. I can ride my bike or walk to work if necessary. Most of the people in my office live 20 miles or more away. I wonder if they'd be able to work from home in times of crisis.

I considered buying a locking gas cap last night, too. Major civil disorder was on the horizon, with people starting to queue up at the pump. What if this were winter and there was no heating oil? My survivalist/permaculture inclinations are validated.

Trying Out the CaféPress

My latest online scheme involves CaféPress. I found this site when I was looking for a lion rampant t-shirt to use as my tennis team's uniform. I found a pretty cool one, too. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, CaféPress is a print-on-demand shop: they don't make the stuff until someone actually buys it.

I have a few pictures of my own so I have put some of them up there in my own store, hoping to snag a sale some day. If you have the notion, check out my "storefront":

I have basically two categories right now: some USC Gamecock merch based on a design I scribbled myself many years ago in college, and notecards based on my nature pics (as above).

I have not actually sold any stuff to third parties yet, but I have bought some cards for testing purposes and as gifts. I also had the gamecock printed on a coffee cup and long-sleeve t-shirt. It all looks pretty damn good. They also get the stuff to you surprizingly fast... freakishly fast, even. The main drawback: it's not cheap.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Urban Bikes

We've had some nice cool, dry weather recently and it's got me biking to work regularly. With repetition I have refined my route considerably, esp. on the inbound leg.

I pass egrets in the mornings as I pedal along a canal. I have managed to cut the steepest hill out of the picture by turning left into a lightly traveled residential area near the Governor's Mansion.

On the way home, I generally follow the traffic lights. I do stay on the sidewalk if the roads are crowded. Basically I am following the free space. The only time I am assertive is when a light turns green and I am in the pedestrian walk, then I go in front of the cars.

I see several other bikers every day. There is one girl in particular that rides a bike with a basket past my office. Trek is playing to the commuter segment of the market with its "Urban Bikes." The models are named after cities; I wonder if Specialized had that idea first with their Langsters. They offer decent refinements like fenders and racks but the frames are aluminum, which I hear is a rough ride.

I am glad to be riding more regularly, even if it's not very far. It is so much more fun than driving. It makes more sense than ever with the hurricane-inspired gas shortages lately. There are still some stations out of fuel in Atlanta. After two years though, the batteries on my e-bike seem noticeably less efficient. It's still enough to get me to work and back, but yet another of many bike costs lately. Even so, it doesn't compare to paying near $50 to fill up every time. Last time I bought gas, a couple of weeks ago, it was $4.29.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wasp in mint

No it's not a new recipe... whilst at my parents a few weeks ago I noticed the flowering mint was attracting a surprizing variety of wasps. . . here's one. (The picture's not upside down, he is. No he didn't sting me. . . but I was close enough to be nervous.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hemingway's War Bike

Saw an interesting photo today, a bicycle Ernest Hemingway rode while in Italy, around 1918 I suppose. It was configured to carry a rifle along the top tube.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baby lizards

There were a couple of baby lizards on my porch this morning. One was brown and the other was green. How cute is that? They were much more shy than their presumèd parents.