Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Best of Tullio's, Continued

Best Rear Derailleur - SunTour Superbe and Cyclone (first generation)

Best Americana-Roots-Country-Folk-Blues-Rock Band - The Band

Best Storytelling-Revival Preaching-Sideshow Hawking-Folk Singing-Earth Shaking-Rock and Roll Band - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Somebody say "Amen!")

Best Concert Film - (tie) The Last Waltz (The Band, Martin Scorsese) and Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads, Jonathan Demme)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Brains, Barf, Bikes, and Books

Long time, no post. Here are some of the things occupying my time lately:

Brain – I’ve suffered migraines for a long time, and I’ve had some doozies lately. The last one laid me up for two days and was starting on day three before it subsided. It’s very hard to describe this type of headache to someone who has never experienced one. The discomfort can become so great that no drug or treatment can help. It even becomes impossible to remain still as your body struggles to find some position that offers relief.

I’ve been reading a book called Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz, MD. Buchholz suggests that many of the migraine treatments prescribed by doctors are counter-productive (surprise, surprise). He recommends avoiding problem medications and following a trigger-free diet. The diet is fairly restrictive, but I’m willing to try just about anything to find some relief.

Barf – All prospective parents should be taught about the “Three P’s:” pee, poop, and puke. If you have kids, all three will get on you sooner or later. My littlest, Jack, is 11-months-old and just had the flu. This makes life fairly exciting for a parent. Sick children can propel various bodily fluids at great velocity over significant distances. Don’t ever think that you are out of the range of fire. This particular episode only resulted in getting barfed on, but there was lots of laundry to do.

Bikes – The business. Between Heron and Tullio’s I’m keeping busy, but I’m also going through one of those periodic reviews where I look at what works and what doesn’t. Do more of the same or change course a bit? The business is good enough to sustain itself but not good enough to really earn some dough. That’s a dangerous place to be. If you were losing money, you’d be inclined to change what you were doing right away. Surviving can make you complacent.

Books – In 2004, I discovered NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month. Foolishly encouraged by the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I signed up and now have a manuscript. This dubious achievement raised my self-esteem to dangerous levels and, eventually, thoughts of actually publishing this thing began to enter my head. Fortunately, the process of revising the manuscript has brought me back to reality. It’s a lot harder than writing the first draft.

Still, I want to continue working on it, but what with babies barfing on me, selling frames, and placing icepacks on my head while wondering if my brain actually can explode I rarely have any time to do so. Of course, this brings on fantasies of shutting down Heron and Tullio’s to focus on writing. This is when my wife reminds me that nobody has paid me to write anything yet, and until they do, I might want to keep my day job.

Darn reality.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tullio's Essential Reading List, Part Two

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The Great American Novel. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this book. It reads today as a modern novel because it, along with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, defined the modern novel. Originally published in 1884, it forever changed how fiction would be written in America. It is still a wildly entertaining story for kids and adults. If you haven’t read it since you were a child, take another look.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. If Mark Twain defined the modern novel, then Hunter S. Thompson defined, uh, something. A groundbreaking book in its own right, it spawned quite a few imitators. However, nobody has come close to matching this it. Thompson leaves readers wondering if he actually lived these adventures or just imagined them. The answer doesn’t really matter because it’s pretty impressive either way. Just don’t blame me if you get chased by giant bats.

Second Treatise of Government by John Locke. If you want to really understand what the Founding Fathers meant by “liberty,” you need to read this book. With this text, Locke jumped into the centuries old debate begun by Plato in The Republic and continued by Aristotle, Cicero, Machiavelli, and others about the proper role of government in society. Taking this debate to new territory, he developed a philosophy of government that inspired the American Revolution and United States Constitution. It will also shed some light on how Locke’s vision has largely disappeared in modern America.

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell was the twentieth century’s premier scholar of mythology. He studied how man, over the course of history, has built his social institutions and beliefs upon shared stories. This book came from hours of interviews done by Bill Moyers for the PBS television series of the same name. This book provides the clearest description of how we developed socially, morally, and spiritually that I’ve ever read. In order to understand the human race, you need to understand its mythology. In order to understand its mythology, you need Joseph Campbell.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Sample Heron Rally Component List

I recently posted a list of Suggested Touring Bicycle Components in response to a number of requests for recommendations about how to build up my Heron Wayfarer frames. I am now in the process of putting together a Heron Rally in the shop, and I thought that a list of components used on that bike would make a nice companion post.

This bike is being built for a customer who lives in an area with steep, but not exceptionally long, hills. The goal is to build something that is durable, comfortable, and versatile. Loads will generally be light, and any touring will be done as part of supported rides.

Frame and Fork – Heron Rally
Headset – Stronglight A9
Stem – Nitto Dynamic
Handlebars – Nitto Model 177
Bar Tape – Specialized Bar Phat
Seatpost – Nitto Crystal Fellow
Saddle – Terry Fly
Front Hub – Shimano 105, 32H
Rear Hub – Shimano Ultegra, 36H
Rims – Velocity Fusion
Spokes – DT Competition with brass nipples
Rim Tape – Velox
Tires – Panaracer Pasela Tourguard 700x28, aramid bead
Tubes – Specialized
Brake Levers – Tektro R200A
Brake Calipers – Tektro R730 (47-57 mm reach)
Shifters – Shimano 9-speed Bar-End
Front Derailleur – Shimano Ultegra triple
Rear Derailleur – Shimano XT SGS
Cassette – Shimano Deore LX, 11-34T
Chain – SRAM PC-951
Crank – Campagnolo Centaur, 50-40-30T
Bottom Bracket – Campagnolo Centaur
Pedals – MKS GR9 Touring Platform

Weight as built: 22.5 pounds

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tullio's Essential Reading List, Part One

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler. When you think of “Great Books,” you should think of Mortimer Adler. Adler was a prolific writer and significant contributor to the fields of philosophy and education. While at the University of Chicago, he developed the Great Books of the Western World program that has been copied and expanded the world over. How to Read a Book is a great introduction to Adler’s thoughts on education as well as a primer on how to gain the most from each book that you read.

Profiles of Courage by John F. Kennedy. Written while a US Senator, this book is Kennedy’s tribute to eight extraordinary Senators who came before him. Fans of the television show The West Wing will recognize their idealism. These men risked their political careers to stand up for what they believed was right. It is easy to become cynical about our elected leaders yet here is some cause for optimism. The book offers just a glimpse of how things could be and is an inspiration as a result.

The Republic by Plato. For over 2000 years, there has been a discussion about justice and the proper role of government. That discussion starts here. While men certainly discussed and wrote about these subjects before Plato, he was the one who laid the foundation of work later continued by scholars such as Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Locke. Those seeking to become a philosopher-king need to read this book very carefully.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. If you haven’t read this, you need to. It’s a hard book to describe. What starts as a cross-country motorcycle journey becomes an introduction to philosophy. The book is compelling yet very informative. It should be required reading for every graduate student.

More to come.