Sunday, April 27, 2008

Best Commuter Bike Ever Project, Part 4

In the previous installment on this topic, I mentioned a Merlin titanium frame. The transfer of components happened, and I am extremely pleased with the outcome. I defy anyone to present me with a cooler all-around bike than this. For a while the bike was mounted with Ritchey Tom Slicks as skinny as road bike tires. The bike feels incredibly light and fast with them. Then I mounted big MTB knobbies for the snow, and it felt great. I am fairly certain that I could do some serious mountain biking on this with those tires. Then this weekend I mounted some wide slicks in preparation for going to Bar Harbor, Maine in a few weeks. This bike is a great trailer puller, too.

A Novel Stance

My good friend Florian owns the world's coolest scooter, a Piaggio MP3. When I was on a trip to California lsat week, he let me take it for a spin. It has an amazing suspension system on the front with two front wheels that lean with the motorcycle but that articulate independently so that boths stay planted on the ground at all times. It feels almost exactly like driving a normal motorcycle except that it feels more sure-footed in corners and over bumps.

A Bug's Life (REALLY, REALLY, REALLY gross)

(I am only writing this because I have snapped photos with my iPhone and because I am intellectually curious about what happened to my leg. If pictures of infections gross you out, don't read on.)

For some reason, in the last two years I have gotten three minor skin infections that turned very aggressive and dangerous very quickly. One was on a knuckle on my hand. I nicked my finger while cleaning leaves out of the gutters on my house. It looked like a little nick. After a few hours it started to look like a spider bite. It swelled and became warm to the touch. The next day I showed it to a friend at work who is an MD. He was surprised by it, and told me to draw a circle around the extent of the redness and to watch it very carefully to see it if it grew. (BTW, he also told me that this is what people died of 100 years ago.) If it did grow, my instructions were to go straight to an emergency room. It did progress, so I called my primary care physician and described the situation, telling him that I didn't want to go pick up a worse bug while I waited my turn behind the gunshot wound victims in the ER. He prescribed me some strong antibiotics over the phone, and the infection cleared in a few days. The second infection was similar, but entered via a plantar's wart on the bottom of my foot. I thought I had broken a toe somehow, but the podiatrist I went to see told me that I needed antibiotics. That fixed it. I think these are staph or streptococcus infections. Googling around, I think I have recurring cellulitis.

Anyway, to the current case. I was on a cross country plane flight two weeks ago on which I idly picked at a little scab on my shin. It may have been where I scraped my shin on something, or it may have been a mosquito bite. A few hours after I scraped the scab, I noticed that it had become tender. You know the rest. When I returned from the trip two days later, I showed the bite/scab/infection to my good friend Bob the world renowned brain surgeon. He told me he would call in a prescription for antibiotics right away because it looked scary. In the two hours that passed between my conversation with Bob and when I took the first Cephalexin, my lymph nodes around my hip on the leg with the infection became tender and swollen. Anyway over the next few days the antibiotics beat back the infection. I documented the whole thing. I also self prescribed a hot pad on the theory that my body was heating up the area to fight the bug and that increased heat my bring increased blood flow and therefore increased infection fighting to the area. I do wonder how I happen to keep encountering (or failing to beat down without the help of antibiotics) infections like these. I am becoming obsessive about washing hands, and I am carrying Neosporin next time I go on a trip. Rebecca noticed that one can see three different pairs of Adidas in the following photos. These represent about 1/4 of my Adidas harem. I don't have any excuse for this behavior.

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 9:

Wrapped up in you (WARNING, GROSS!!)

My favorite vacuum cleaner in the world is the one I own. It is a Windsor Sensor that I bought used on eBay. I first noticed Windsor vacuums while helping clean up at my church. The church owned a Windsor vacuum that worked extremely well. I was curious about it and I looked on the bottom to see if I could learn anything about it. Lo and behold it was made in Germany! That was enough to get me looking for one on the Internet. New ones are around $500, but a place in Florida sells used ones that have been retired from hotel use. Anyway, that's a long intro to a short punchline. I noticed that the roller warning light was coming on more frequently, so I turned it over to check the roller. This is what I found:

It looked as though all of the women in my home had somehow gotten caught in the roller. It took a disgusting but very satisfying five minutes to cut the wig off of the roller with scissors. The mat of hair was at least 1/4 inch thick.