Saturday, September 28, 2019

Latest Homemade Instrument

In July of 2018, while touring the country by bicycle, my wife and I met some neat people in Mason City, Iowa. We spent a couple of days with them. They invited us to return in 2019 and ride with their team during RAGBRAI.  Last April we figured we could make it and signed up. Our son, Geoff, joined us, too. We spent a week with Team Zippy. The team is named after Zippy the Pinhead, an absurdist cartoon character created by Bill Griffith who was kind enough to allow the team to use Zippy's likeness at no charge. While in Iowa I picked up a couple of Iowa license plates with the intent of building a guitar for my friends there. I think they'll be pleased with it. I should also mention that it plays and sounds great.

A 2019 RAGBRAI-themed license plate guitar. 

Decals of the overnight stay cities.

It's acoustic/electric.

Decals of the daily wristbands worn by registered rides.

A photo of the Team Zippy bus graces the back.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Home Made Music Gear

I built a microphone and a pre-amp this week. The microphone was supposed to have one piezo pickup in it. Just to see what happens I put two different sized piezos in and added an on-off-on switch so I could switch input between the two. There is a subtle difference, which is neat. Vocals are similar to the sound of an AM radio. I have a couple of songs I think this would be useful for. Now to get a stand to put this on. It's really sensitive so it would be best to have it on a stand and not touch it. The harmonica sounds good going through it, too.

I also built a pre-amp for my guitar and for the microphone. (I built the Brick House amp last year.) The guitar has a piezo pickup and it sounds pretty trashy plugged straight into the amp. The pre-amp really helps improve the sound. The pre-amp is also a necessity for the microphone above. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Clearing My Mind

Kathy and I came home to help and support a dear friend after her husband died in an accident. Yesterday we viewed his body before he was cremated. Last night we helped write his obituary. Tonight we gather photos for me to create a video for the service.

Early this morning I went for a bike ride.

I was halfway up Doomsday Hill when I remembered that one of my favorites rides is climbing Houston Road, crossing the rim along Palisades Park, and dropping down to Latah Creek.

I crossed TJ Meenach Bridge and got on the Centennial Trail. Exiting at the Houston Road trailhead I crossed Government Way and headed for the gravel climb.

A nervous rafter of turkeys awaited me.

The climbing was harder than I expected, quite likely because touring cycling does not keep you in shape for this kind of riding. My legs and lungs were burning. There was some walking involved. 

I rode along the rim in Palisades Park.

The morning fog was slowly disappearing.

My Elephant bike rules.

And it's more visible than Lime.

Latah Creek.

Trail dropping from Inland Empire Highway to Latah Creek.

I crossed the Sandifur Bridge and made my way along the Centennial Trail back down Doomsday Hill and climbed Downriver to go home. This is a great way to get ready for the day.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

George Nethercutt Misleads

(Image from The Inlander)

There's a huge problem in this commentary by George Nethercutt in The Inlander.

"McCain was stubborn, too. He voted against his political party's wishes on the repeal of Obamacare. His doing so was interpreted as a vote against Trump. In his heart, he chose to be obstructive, perhaps to spite Trump. Nevertheless, doing so for spiteful reasons was small and petty. He occasionally acted in life as Trump acted in death, McCain's, that is. Such actions were not profiles in courage for either man."

Nethercutt states how how McCain's actions were interpreted, but not by whom.  By using the word "perhaps", Nethercutt himself implies McCain voted against the ACA repeal just to spite Trump. Consequently, he's also stating McCain chose to be obstructive. Now that he "establishes" McCain was being small and petty, he equates him to Trump who is small and petty in each and every way.

Then he laments McCain's actions as not worthy of a profile in courage. According to other senators--and this is easy to search for had Nethercutt had taken the time--before this vote McCain had learned of his brain cancer and decided it was wrong to cripple the ACA with a partial repeal.

Nethercutt does McCain a great disservice with this tripe. It's definitely not a profile in courage for him either.

In addition, Nethercutt makes the point that McCain voted against his party's wishes. He, along with many of our legislators, need reminding that they don't serve their party. They serve the people.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Time For A Change

During my ride to work yesterday morning it dawned on me that it was the last time I would ride my bike to work. Today I retire from the US District Court Clerk's Office after 20 years and a couple of months. It's a bittersweet feeling. This is the best place I've ever worked and the people are great. But there are other things I'd like to do so it's time for a change.

Nothing's changed in one respect because all my riding 
is for fun regardless of where I'm going.

The people I work with know me and Kathy too well.

Kathy retires from her job in two weeks. In May we load our gear onto our bikes and begin a 16-month ride around the country. We thought we'd share a big adventure together while we're still physically able to.  People think we're crazy and that's okay. We'll be blogging our adventure at

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Questions For Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Have you ever gotten tired of counting Trump’s lies?
Can you count that high? Have you even tried?
Are you bothered by his cabinet’s conspicuous corruption?
Are you happy that he’s been such a huge disruption?
Are you concerned he holds Putin in such high regard?
Do you worry he may get us in yet another war?
Do you trust a president who rules by tweets?
Do you feel for Melania on whom he cheats?
Can you tell us if Donald Trump should or ought’ta
Date a porn star and compare her to his daughter?
Can you ever see a day when it’s gotten so dire
You decide you will finally hold his feet to the fire?
And if you did crack down and spanked his butt with a ‘zine
Can you realistically expect that he’d ever come clean?