Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Monday, 2017.10.23
Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how
not to. So it is with the great programmers.

		Alan Perlis

2007.04.03

Worthless Words

As was easy to predict, the promise from Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments to return my $2,000 deposit by March 31 has proven to be just as vacuous as his promise to build an electric cello. Here it is, April 3 and not so much as a penny has been returned.

Lying leech.

I’m amending my demand to say I want my deposit and expenses in the form of a cashiers check. I have zero confidence in the ability of Eric Jensen of Jensen Musical Instruments to act in an ethical manner. Someone suggested he could potentially send another bell and whistle laden package which would be empty and he could then claim he sent cash. Regardless, any future correspondence with Mr. Jensen will be opened before witnesses and on video tape.

Lying, unethical leech.

2007.03.25

WhaaaaaaaaaaHOOOOOOOO!

The Sammy Flyer has arrived!

Sammy Flyer 1

Here she is just before her first test ride. The bike arrived a couple of weeks ago, sans one key part which had to be sent separately. While waiting for the part, I assembled the pieces and tuned as best I could. I recognized all the parts, the the sum is rather alien, however.

Cool. But what the heck is that thing?

It’s a Linear Recumbent 3.0 bicycle custom built to fit my frame. In fact, it’s the second 3.0 Linear Recumbent built.

After Janet died, sitting amidst the wreckage of what had been our life together, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer accept, in so far as it was possible, living as a 6′ 5″ man in a world built for 5′ 6″ people. I began by replacing my wardrobe with clothes designed to look good on a frame my size. That’s expensive enough, but it wouldn’t stop there. When I decided to find a bike that fit, I was willing to go custom there, too. But there was more.

When the quest for a bike began, I had been studying cello for all of one month. This made the traditional bike design out of the question. After even relatively short rides, my neck would hurt from having to essentially tilt my head back as far as it would go just to look straight ahead, my lower back would hurt from compensating for the odd angle of my neck, my hands and wrists would be close to numb and my ass would hurt from the crappy seat design (all the seat designs were crappy for a guy my size.) All of these things are very bad for the emerging cellist.

I had seen a recumbent bike in an REI store sometime in the mid 1990’s. By then Janet was already fighting breast cancer and a $750 bike was just beyond reach. Didn’t matter anyway. The thing was waaaaaaay to small for my frame. I don’t remember the model, but it really was designed for someone around 5 feet tall. But it left an impression. “Someone must make one for my size frame,” I thought.

I don’t remember when or how I found Linear. But when I did, the recognition was instantaneous. “That’s it! That’s the bike for me!” When I met the opportunity to act on the dream, I made the call. That was 18 months ago. The original Linear company had been bought out by the folks at The Bicycle Man in Alford Station, New York, and they took it upon themselves to improve the design. And that pretty much explains the past 18 months. At least once a month I would call Peter Stull to find out how his re-engineering was progressing. Almost to a fault, Peter would explain what he was doing, how the testing was going, what the design, engineering or production problems were. But I say “almost.” A few times I called just for a quick update as I was between meetings or some such, but he always managed to keep me on the line for 15-20 minutes. Truly, I enjoyed these conversations.

First Test Ride

Simply put, the most fun I’ve had on two wheels since the gurney races in the long gone “catacombs” between Craig and Swedish Hospitals in the early 1980’s (That turn into the ramp just before the boiler room was tricky!) WhaaaaaaaaaaHOOOOOOOO!

Here she is, post ride – a 12 mile ride along the Highline Canal Trail.

Sammy Flyer 2

There are a few new things to learn about riding a recumbent, particularly if the bike has below the set steering. Your balance is different because the center of gravity isn’t what you are used to with a regular bike. The mere act of peddling seems to throw the rider in a constant state of imbalance. That is, until you get the hang of it. I found I was making constant micro adjustments to the steering as I rode just to keep in balance. I suppose that happens with a regular bike, but not in the same way. No big deal, and this may change as my body gets more familiar with what it feels like to ride this bike and how to keep my balance.

There are a few design changes I would like to make to the bike, perhaps in concert with Peter. There is great potential to make this a long distance buggy par excellence. This is not a bike for racing. It’s designed and built for comfort, not for speed. It’s built to carry the rider great distances in relative comfort.

And so it did. Following my 12 mile maiden ride, the only thing that hurt were my thighs. And that’s what I expected. No neck pain. No wrist and hand pain. No lower back pain. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet!

The Sammy Flyer?

The Christmas before last, my brother-in-law, Roy, and his stellar wife, Amy, sent along some cash to help me in my quest for The Bike. I told them this secured for them the naming rights for The Bike. And so it is named after my charming niece, Samantha, or “Sammy.”

I’m working on a more thorough review to be posted. But I just had to get this sneak preview out.

WhaaaaaaaaaaHOOOOOOOO!

2007.03.21

The Passing of Cathy Seipp

This is a great loss.

Cathy was one of the few bloggers I followed consistently. I admired her writing style, enjoyed her humor, and delighted in the way she could both nudge the reader into thinking about things differently as well as deliver the proverbial slap shot to wake the reader up.

Her latest battle with lung cancer paralleled Janet’s final struggle and so I had a pretty good idea what was coming. Doesn’t make this loss any easier by any measure. Blessings to Cathy, her family and friends. As with Janet, I find solace in knowing she is no longer suffering. She shall continue to be a treasured source of inspiration for writing, for living.

Peace be the journey.

More on Pajamas Media.

[Edit History]

2007.03.21

Official obituary in the LA Times is here. More on Hot Air and Little Green Footballs.

2007.03.22

And Michelle Malkin.

2007.03.20

Unbearable Cuteness

God’s Holy Trousers! Not again!

Allahpundit at Hot Air reports: Lethally adorable baby polar bear marked for death

By, um, animal rights activists. The zookeepers are domesticating him, which means he might have trouble interacting with other polar bears later, which naturally means it’s better that he die.

I’m not unsympathetic to their position. Cuteness at moderate levels is productive and useful, but cuteness this highly enriched could cause mass shock, seizures, and uncontrollable cooing. If it were ever to fall into the wrong hands…

Let’s just pray that day never comes.

I lived through the massive cuteness release here in Denver when the twin polar bear cubs, Klondike and Snow, were unleashed upon the world. It’s been 12 years and the effects can still be seen and felt – people smiling with fond memories, brisk souvenir sales of bear cub stuffed toys, bumper stickers.

I toughed it out, like any resident to their hometown would. You hunker down and endure. But like so many others, I felt compelled, obligated even, to visit ground 0 X 2. So I did and was overwhelmed. I’m not ashamed to admit I smiled at their playfulness, their delightful curiosity, their innocence.

Alas, the animal rights activists have a solution different from that found for Klondike and Snow.

🙁

[Edit History]

2007.03.23

But wait! Knut lives! Reckless, it is, for those zookeepers to be handling such a critter without cute tongs and anti-cuddle suits. Mark my words, they’ll regret it.

2007.03.27

Run for the shelters, folks! Run! (H/T Allahpundit)

2007.03.15

Blog Haiku #17

Taunting sock puppets.
Fulfilling vilification.
Did you not see the frog?

2007.03.07

Blog Haiku #16

Raging news feeds.
Stepping in,
I still know nothing.

2007.03.06

Every Rose Has Its Thorns

Five and a half pounds of pure speed. As an antithesis to Jasmine for whom, at age 13 years, there is no such thing as an action shot, for Rose, at age 11 weeks, there is no such thing as a still shot. You either get blur…

Rose

…or fuzzy.

Rose

She has a strong bite filled with bunches of needle sharp puppy teeth that seem to pierce anything. Unfortunately, my stocking feet are a favorite. Ouch.

Previously:

Introducing…
Dangerous Cuteness IV
Dangerous Cuteness III
Dangerous Cuteness II
Dangerous Cuteness
A Dog Needs A Dog

2007.03.05

Beneath Snow…

…is the ground. And beneath the ground, are the crocus.

Crocus

Or so it was until this morning. There were robins in the trees on Friday. Spring is approaching.

2007.03.03

The Paper It’s Printed On

That’s what this is worth…maybe…

Letter From Jensen - 20070303

The letter was sent priority mail, certified and return receipt. Not sure what that was about. Mr. Jensen gains nothing with some sort of paper trail. Is he trying to demonstrate the sincerity of his intent to refund my deposit? I won’t be holding my breath until March 31st. From my perspective (That would be the one of the customer who is out $2,000.), nothing of substance has changed. In this deal, talk has been cheap and promises empty. I’ve been put off before by such chatter and promises from Mr. Jensen.

Neither will I be altering in the slightest the plans I’ve put in motion. Eight bucks of postal pomp and circumstance hasn’t inspired me to call off the dogs. If Mr. Jensen wants to impress me, he can send my money back, plus interest, and cover the expenses I incurred while trying to get his attention. And remember: the terms are cash. It will save the burden of having to spell my name correctly.

Previously:

Ripped Off By Eric Jensen And Jensen Musical Instruments

[Edit History]

2007.03.03

Something about this letter bugged me even after accounting for the postal pageantry and name misspelling (after first spelling it correctly.) It’s dated February 29th, 2007. Typed on a date that doesn’t exist. Perhaps that’s to match his promise? What calendar is Mr. Jensen looking at? I’m thinking the same one he uses to schedule his delivery commitments. Grateful, I am, there is a March 31st. Although, Mr. Jensen doesn’t specify a year.

2007.02.20

A World Without America

Well, golly gee wilickers! I’m sold! What’s not to like about this:

2007.02.19

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty…

Cheetahs Maul Woman to Death at Zoo in Belgium

Karen Aerts, 37, of Antwerp, was found dead in the cage, Olmense Zoo spokesman Jan Libot said. Police said they ruled out any foul play.

Authorities believe Aerts, a regular visitor to the zoo, hid in the park late Sunday until it closed and managed to find the keys to the cheetah cage.

“Karen loved animals. Unfortunately the cheetahs betrayed her trust,” Libot said.

One of the cats that killed Aerts was named Bongo, whom the woman had adopted under a special program. She paid for Bongo’s food, Libot said.

I’d say so. In this case, she paid with her life. Do you suppose that Darwin fellow was on to something? Or was it species profiling by the cheetahs?

Seriously, when people expect animals to behave as refined human beings and interact with them based on that fatally flawed assumption, there should be no surprise when the animal dispatches that belief to the bone yard. What was this woman thinking? That the cheetahs would recognize her and purr thankfully for hours, lulling her to sleep that night? Instead of recognizing her as the food lady, they recognized the lady as food.

(H/T: Tim Blair)

2007.02.18

Blog Haiku #15

Tracks in the log file.
Left by machines
Driven by minds.

2007.02.13

Marcotte, McEwan, Darwin And The Blogosphere

Since the Marcotte-McEwan-Edwards ménage à trois, there has been a lot of comment from both the left and the right in favor of Edwards retaining his two miscreant bloggers. The argument generally went along the lines of how firing them would make it difficult for bloggers in the future to find similar work. Somehow, the entire pool of bloggers would be discredited. There is merit to the argument. But I believe it takes the short view.

To be sure, placing such inept writers in such a prominent position has splashed a measure of slime on all bloggers. But taking the long view, I believe the disgraced departure of Marcotte and McEwan from the Edwards campaign will be a good thing. Blogging is a relatively young medium for expression and has yet to be exposed to the kind of fire which can temper it into a quality medium of expression. The flames fed by the manure cakes packed by the likes of Marcotte and McEwan can help the rest of us forge blogs of substance. The offensive wet noodles with which Marcotte and McEwan charge into battle serve to accentuate the power inherent in well crafted and persuasive argument. The wreckage they leave is our call to craft such arguments which hold an edge in battle.

Marcotte and McEwan swam in relatively small and protected pools. By jumping into the much larger pool of a presidential campaign, they exposed themselves to an entirely different set of rules, a different set of dangers and fish much bigger and hungrier then they are. In short, they became subject to the Darwinian rules of survival applied to a political context.

Humorously, they attempted to adapt, to change their stripes, by offering non-apology apologies and changing the character of their usual writing style. They made a pathetic attempt to become hyenas in lamb’s clothing. Fortunately, they failed.

Marcotte, McEwan and, particularly, Edwards, have made it more difficult for bloggers to establish credibility. But I believe that is a good thing. They have helped set the stage for the fittest bloggers to survive, and even thrive, while the bottom feeding bloggers will be forced to recede further into the blogosphere muck.

Previously:

Amanda Marcotte: Near-Earth Object From Deep Left Space

2007.02.12

Ingredients For Disaster

As the saying goes, “Experience is the worst teacher. It always gives the test first and the instruction afterward.”

The Instapundit is recommending a couple of books on preparing meals in situations where you may have lost power:

Both look pretty useful. And they combine two InstaPundit interests — cooking, and disaster preparedness.

In my house, we’ve learned to do the disaster preparedness first as there is the all too real possibility it may be needed as a result of the cooking. Of course, now that the EPA has required I file the necessary paperwork prior to the implementation of any new culinary endeavors and the DoD has confiscated most of my college era recipes, the disaster part is far less frequent than it used to be.

[Edit History]

2007.02.14

Ha! I was talking about electrical power. If you’ve lost some other kind of power or otherwise fallen into some sort of decline, well, then get some Primal Shrug Therapy, a can opener and just deal with it.

2007.02.11

Introducing…

…Rose (n. Willow)

At 2 weeks…

Rose - 2 Weeks

…3 weeks…

Rose - 3 Weeks

…4 weeks…

Rose - 4 Weeks

…5 weeks…

Rose - 5 Weeks

…6 weeks…wait for it…

Rose - 6 Weeks

…Ears!…7 weeks…

Rose - 7 Weeks

…and finally, 8 weeks.

Rose - 8 Weeks

Settled on “Rose” for the name after seeing the puppy’s ears. Two of Janet’s favorite rose varieties were “Barbara Bush” and “Barbara Streisand”. The puppy’s ears look like petals from these two bushes in Janet’s rose garden.

Spent most of yesterday driving out to Burlington, Colorado to meet the owners at Paws and Claws Kennel. Brought Jasmine along as she would have final say over whether or not the new puppy was a fit. It was a rough trip for the old girl, but she was a trooper and seemed to like the puppy. All that’s left is to work out a few hierarchy rules between the two of them back home (So far, it’s working out really good.)

They say you learn more about a company when things go wrong and experience how the company handles the problem. Such was the case here. A potential glitch in our deal arose and was handled completely to my satisfaction. Landon & Dana Richards were excellent to work with – conscientious, fair and honest. Their operations were very clean and a good example of what a responsible breeder’s kennel should look like. In addition to puppy pictures, I encouraged them to put pictures of their kennel on their web site. The puppies sell themselves, but pictures of their operations would add just that extra bit of reassurance to potential customers, letting them know they are working with professionals and not some puppy mill crank.

If your decision is to work with a breeder, I highly recommend the Richards and Paws and Claws Kennel.

Previously:

Dangerous Cuteness IV
Dangerous Cuteness III
Dangerous Cuteness II
Dangerous Cuteness
A Dog Needs A Dog


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