Luxos U — FAIL

Yeaz, it’s been a while since I posted here — I’ve been academically inclined :)
Feel like I need to post a review of my new light setup — especially since, if you’re considering getting one, you should know that essentially: it’s not water-resistant. The directions had assorted dire cautions about the need to make sure you didn’t try to charge a device in the rain, and to make sure the little seal was sealed, but in my very gentle use, there are exposed wires and yes, the first rain I got caught in — despite making sure everything was as sealed as it could get, but not having taken extra steps like putting a plastic bag around it — has rendered the handlebar mount inoperable and if it’s plugged into the light, it’s always draining it.
Except for its total and complete failure, it’s a wonderful product. It was great until it wasn’t.
I had my bike shop install it, but only because I do that. It was within the realm of “basic skills with basic tools.” I got a very short USB cable and a phone mount and SWEETNESS. (Mainly I like to know what time it is on my morning commute).
You see, I’m pretty horrible at remembering to charge my phone and remembering which pocket I dropped it in. If it’s on the bike… charging…
So. I might just head down to MakerSpace and see what they can make of it…

happy happy goy goy :)

I’ve been collecting those experiences where a person can make a connection from being on a bicycle, and Friday I got a n ew one.
I crossed Lincoln… a guy on a rusty Triumph preceding me perpendicularly from Lincoln onto Main.
A man on the sidewalk says, “Could I request your assistance?”
“For what?!?” the Triumph man says, clearly not comfortable (I’m a little wondering, too)…. “It will just involve pushing a bucket.” The guy on the Triumph says something, the guy on the sidewalk says something, and it clicks. I had Made a Mental Note one Saturday … this was the house that I had seen people walk to, discernible first by gait and then by garb, to be observant Jews. And it’s Friday night, and he’s wearing what Google tells me is tallit katan. I feel like a Safety Patrol Girl from elementary school as I get my hi-viz self off the bike and say, I can help … and he starts to explain that he can benefit from electricity but not work with it, and this is a holiday, and I say I know, that no, I’m not Jewish but I’d be glad to push the reset button (not bucket) so the lights will work…

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Observations from that 6:30-8:30 ride: 8:00 traffic is nasty, comin’ and goin and harried and hurried in *both*directions out on the “roads to get to town.” When I’m on a bicycle and the road isn’t wide enough to merit stripes, I feel like a possum trying to get down a football field while there’s a game going on. Yes, the players work their way around me and generally without buzzing (yes, I take the lane), but… I considered heading further out into the country instead of taking loops but theorized that the 8:10 traffic would be just fine, and it was. It’s “rush minute,” after all.
Last Friday I’d heard this strange, loud sound — a full second or more that sounded kinda like a truck running over bubble wrap (or a million heat bubbles in the pavement). It kept happening, on the same general area of my loop, and it was close a nd loud enough to be startling. I thought maybe I was running over something… but I hadn’t *felt* anything.
It happened again today… second time around I realized it was Right. By. My. Ear. Third time around I saw that red-winged blackbird leave his spot on the wire … and theorized that the critter thought I was invading his territory. No wonder I thought the sound was right by my ear…
Fourth time around I reached up and grabbed the straps for my helmet camera holder. The critter didn’t move from his perch, but then I figured I’d let go in case he attacked anyway. Explaining beak marks on my hands in the ER would be weird…
Think I’ll trim those straps. Why stress out the fauna?

Incentives to leave those sidewalks

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This has “decorated” the sidewalk on campus for a week or so near the fountain we also have the privilege to drive through on the “recommended bike route” for campus. I also attempted to snag movies on the way in, but I’m not sure which buttons I was pushing or what angle the camera was holding on my helmet. Will peek at them later if I have time…

Post-magenta morning

tall tree struck by lightning

Lightning!

So I was asking myself last night whether, in fact, I had actually sensed the tingly electricity from that rather close lightning. Welp, probably… this tree is next door. (On the other hand, it might have heard those extra crackly sounds of tree-splitting that would sound a lot like thunder led me to believe “that was really close and hit something!”). There was a fair amount of magenta on the radar…

Left work yesterday half an hour early to avoid that stuff, tho’ it was only blustery by 5:15 when I got home, and didn’t get fargly until 7-ish… but at one point there was distinct teal color in the clouds — and green in the clouds back East *always* meant tornado warnings (both times — that isn’t tornado alley ;)) Fair amount of assorted debris tho’ my tree was the only major casualty spotted.

The other fun spottage was a bumper sticker, in the expected fonts & colors, but … it said “START SEEING AIRPLANES.” Hmmm… what’s next? START SEEING DAFFODILS… START SEEING SPOTS…

Stubble Fest!

Click on it for the better view — OMG STUBBLE FEST :) :) IMAG0052

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IMAG0050This. Is. Urbana.  So Michael Burns said he was playing one or two final gigs before he takes off for that Real Professor Type Job in Pennsylvania (boo hiss on our community for not creating a place for this guy to instigate growth and education *here*).   And gosh, this one was … on my way home.

Imagine the whole fun blast of a festival — but scaled down so that you didn’t have to make rules.   Everybody fit under the assorted tents when the deluge came. Dogs could have fun. Kids could run around. Bands could jam. Oh, and there was a bus.

I was more than a little sleep deprived, having spent the last three days doing a conference thing that had me spending more time on airplanes than convening, especially counting the sittign-on-the-runway time. Yes, our society/culture is on The Downswing; things just don’t run well. Given the choices of ways things could suck Friday, though, I’ll take getting stranded in Dallas. I wasn’t in the path of any tornadoes, and I *knew* I was stuck; if I had actually made the connection that air traffic control precluded, then I’d have ended up arriving in Chicago, not Champaign, and spending the night there.

The American Airlines folks first simply booked me for the plane *24 hours later* from Dallas and too-bad-so-sad about any accommodations, and it took a few phone calls and talking to one person after the other to get a $50 room at Super 8 (which, the reservation guy says I may get reimbursed if I make the right phone call to customer relations during business hours. The motel morning guy warmed my heart and acutely reminded me of my brother. When I came down for the 4:00 am shuttle, he nudged “Mr. Ulysses” from his snoozing spot on the chair and said he’d have to go outside to wait for that friend that was supposed to come at 3:00, since the morning shuttle folks were coming. He then gave us all the “inside scoop” about getting to the right gates, though he completely befuddled one man telling he he’d be going to “charlie 6″ — as in gate C6. It was kinda refreshing to be Back Amongst The Common People after that day of being wined and dined with the Big SHot Administrators at this “convening.”

But years from now, I’ll be able to say “Yea, STubble Fest?? I was there ;)

80 degrees :)

   I’m still hoping that the cooler days mean it will be a cooler summer, but today was quite warm — and there were more bicycles than cars rolling on the ride in. Now, when that’s true on University Ave, we’ll have something :)