Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Drive in Couches

Saturday evening finally allowed a chance to revive a tradition I had a part in starting back in Arizona; going to the drive-in theatre – with a sofa sleeper.

I think the original idea was Rob’s, most likely since he’s the one who owned the couch. He conveniently kept it in his drive way, which made it easy to pull up in Ian’s truck, throw it in, and head on our way. It became a regular Wednesday evening event.

Since moving to Sacramento, and seeing a drive-in in the vicinity, I’ve wanted to introduce the event to others. Javier actually organized it on Saturday, which worked great, since he has a truck. Believe it or not, you can actually fit a queen size sofa sleeper and a large love seat in the back of a Ford Ranger, especially if you stack them “69” style, as Hav referred to it as. Getting the sofa sleeper out of my living room was a little harder than expected, but overall worth the effort.

There were probably 10 of us or so; I’m not sure exactly since some were hiding out in the cars. Next time, I’d recommend maybe going in the actual summer; despite this being California, it was a little chilly. Some of the guys had the foresight to order pizza to be picked up on the way, which went quiet nicely with the cooler of beer. The movie we saw was “Serenity”; a Sci Fi flicked based on the show Firefly. Overall it was a decent movie, with character depth slightly above what most movies portray. It fit drive-in requirements quite nicely; with a simple plot that you won’t miss out on much if you’re talking, a little bit of action to keep it exciting, yet good enough that you don’t feel like you’re wasting your money. Fun times were had, definitely to be repeated, although I’m not sure if that will happen until next summer.

Faith in mankind????

Interesting thing happened to me Sunday afternoon.

There I was, standing in the check out lane at Safeway, silently staring at my would be purchases of a 6 pack of Kaiser Rolls, and a 32oz block of swiss cheese. I had been waiting for about five minutes, when I thought to check and make sure I had my wallet. During any other day of the week, I wouldn’t feel the need to check this. I know that after waking up, I would have immediately grabbed my wallet and keys after putting pants on. Today was Sunday though, which means I woke up, put on comfy pants, and skipped the wallet and keys, them not being immediately necessary. When I needed to go the grocery store, I had just grabbed my bag, pulled Le Puge off the Multi-Bike Compression Super Rack, and headed three blocks down the street to Safe Way. (I needed my keys to lock the door, so that wasn’t an issue)

So, I’m standing there, giving myself a full pat down worthy of a federal aviation security agent, hoping to feel the recognizable lump of a wallet. That’s when it happened. The gentlemen behind me, a totally normal looking, middle aged man, asked me if I wanted help. No, not with patting me down silly, but with paying for my groceries! The person in front of me was still paying, so it’s not even like I was in the awkward position having bagged groceries and a bill sitting in front of me. I told him it was no worry; I only lived a couple blocks away, and stepped out of line, throwing my items on a nearby shelf. As I was unlocking my bike and adjusting my messenger bag, he walked past, (he must also live close by, since the bike racks are at the far end of the parking lot), and smiled saying it happens to him all the time. I politely thanked him again, telling him how nice it was, and carried on my way.

Sometimes people are just so surprising!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Multi-Bike Compression Super Rack

The living room of my house has been in rather sad shape since we moved into the place in June. Although the space worked great for stashing bikes, it wasn’t providing much in the way of other usefullness. For the first three months, we had all the furniture and decorations from our landlord, which were, to say the least, of “interesting” taste. After she moved her stuff out, we went from having a room filled with junk, to bare room with nothing but a couch. Then my roommate bought a TV, which he set up on top of the cardboard box it came in. Then he bought a computer, which he set up on top of the cardboard box it came in. The room was starting to show promise, improving from its former status of “crack house living room minus the needles and pipes,” and was well on its way to reaching the status of college house. (baby steps)

The "Pink Pig", our land lord's most prized possession. This was actually the one thing I liked, if that says anything about the rest of her tastes.

Things really started to pick up pace recently though. The TV was relocated to the floor, and the computer box was replaced with an actual table. Yes, a real table; four legs, made of wood, standard IKEA issue. Hence, the bar was raised, the gauntlets were off, and I stepped up to do my part; it was time to build a bike rack.

Bikes scattered in the room

The requirements for the rack were high, needing to hold a minimum of 6 bikes, plus room for expansion if necessary. The bikes would have to held vertical, to take up the minimum amount of space. The entire setup would need to be aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, it would be spuedo-free standing, requiring no bolts, or drilling, and not to cause any scratching or damage what-so-ever to the floor, walls, or ceiling.

Enter the Multi-Bike Compression Super Rack.

Borrowing an idea used for years by UW-Madison students to loft their beds in the dorms, I constructed the super rack to utilize two expandable posts, which would be held in place by being compressed between the ceiling and the floor. A 2X4 stretching across the two support posts provided ample space to hang the bikes from.

Two 8 foot 4X4 posts: $16
One 8 ft 2X4 :$4
Two 1 foot, ½ inch threaded rods: $5
Six heavy duty rubber screw hooks: $10
Eight ½ inch nuts and washers: $2
Four squares of carpet: Free (Actually, the label said they're supposed be returned to the store in 24hrs. Oops.)
One quart of paint : $10 (optional, I might leave it natural, aka, be too lazy to take it down, outside and paint it.)

Overall, very pleased with the end results.