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Saturday, March 27, 2010

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Caterpillar into butterfly: proving metamorphosis works to a 3 year-old (almost 4!)

We've read about it, and like most of us he knows the theory. But is it for real? Like tadpoles growing into frogs, caterpillars turn into butterflies. Yeah, right. As if. So we carefully captured a fat stripey caterpillar and temporarily relocated him/her/it from a ficus in a pot to a plastic bug holder. Within 2 days we had a lumpy blobby chrysalis that dried overnight to a dramatic gold sheen. And a week or so later emerged a Common Crow butterfly (black with white spots). Theory turned into practice, we let the butterfly flutter by, off to sip nectar somewhere nice....

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Friday, March 05, 2010

The 20 year old Look KG76 wore out so I got another Felt. (Warning: bicycle pics attached.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Some pics of local central coast cockatoos including full-flap landings at my seed bowl (OK, their seed bowl)

Bike stuff. I swear this shifter cable was perfectly fine a week, or maybe a month, ago. Or was it?

Clearly it wasn't. Despite knowing that I should clean, inspect, lube and replace cables (having broken plenty of gear cables in my time, and clutch and accelerator cables in cars, too) somehow this one passed me by. In hindsight I knew I had a problem. I saw the cable wearing against the head tube and I should have wrapped it with some tape. I also noticed the lack of responsiveness in shifting but I assumed it was related to cable tension and friction, and having lubed it where I thought it "needed it", I left it at that. Indeed, performance had improved markedly, so I thought I had nailed it. Then yesterday it started to skip gears, or shift belatedly under power. At the end of the ride it refused to go into the smallest gear. No big deal, I thought. I'll adjust it later. But later didn't come.

Instead I went for another training ride today and forgot about yesterday's problems. Until I tried to grab a bigger-diametre rear cog. No dice. It would go up but not down the range. (Which is to say I could grind out a bigger, harder gear but I wasn't going to get a smaller, easier ratio if I needed it. Considering I live on a hill this was no small thing.) That's when I started playing with the cables, looking for a kink - whoa. That's not a kink. That's a snap. You'd think after almost 30 years of bike riding I'd be on top of this stuff... but complacency never lets up, does it?

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