Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I've been fighting some kind of virus or infection since last week. Last Monday I went on my own to an "ear doctor". I had to wait for 5 hours! It is there I probably picked this mess up. Once I saw the doctor, he looked at the ear that was bothering me, prescribed some medicines; one that I had had before and other I wasn't familiar with. I forgot to tell the doctor that I was allergic to penicillin.
I started taking the medicine and after a few day, things started getting worse. By the time I got home to PLC on Thursday night (no school on Friday) I was starting to cough up phlegm and my “good” ear was starting to bother me.
By Saturday, Tania had had enough and took me to an emergency clinic. The doctor right away recognized I was having an allergic reaction to penicillin and got me off the regimen. He prescribed a few new things and things are looking up. I slept 13 hours Saturday night.
Still coughing phlegm, but feeling better.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Testing the Birds

Today I fired up the wind tunnel and were able to get data from 4 of the student's birds. The students have never done a lab investigation like this before, so I am having to teach them all sorts of stuff.
Today we just set up the birds and collected some data. Monday we'll complete the data gathering and then begin to analyze what we got.

I took off the upper A-arm on the wind tunnel's suspension system. The balsa wood is strong enough not to need the second arm. The second arm was adding friction and weight into the system.

The fan I borrowed for today's session is a small Electrolux. It is pushing air through the test chamber at 1.1 to 1.2 m/s (about 2.4 mph). I designed the wind tunnel to use a large volume window fan. Even with the small fan, the bird pictured produced a net lift force of 1.1 g, (with a slight nose-up attitude) so this bird can fly.
More on this project next week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bird Project

Right now in middle school Life Science we are covering vertebrate animals and currently on birds. I have my wind tunnel and need an excuse to use it, so we are making small birds out of polystyrene. It is a messy project (polystyrene chips everywhere) but hopefully tomorrow we can test our birds and see if they “fly” inside the wind tunnel.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Mimbres Man Cometh...

Here's an old ad from the past.
Rider: Your's truly
Age: probably 34 or 35
Photographer: Mike Padian
Time: About February or March 1994 or 1995
Place: White Tank Mountains State Park in Arizona
Bike: 1993 Merlin (1" headtube) w/ Specialized Stumpjumper fork
Bar ends: Onza
Tires: Ritchey Z-Max
Helmet: Etto
Sunglasses: RayBans (the 90's)
Jersey: Mimbres Man (of course!)

Nothing New

I wish I had something to add since San Bernadino but nothing really exciting happened over the weekend.

I rode the Merlin SS on Saturday. Stopped by Jacques' to see his shoulder. Saw the X-rays. Weird stuff! Instead of his collarbone snapping like most peoples, his separated at the shoulder blade. There was a gap of about 1 cm. The doc in Caracas used titanium wire to tie the bones back together, then sutured the tendons back in place.

On Sunday I rode the Litespeed. I rode alone mostly, but hooked up with the locals for a little bit, then continued on my own. I climbed as much single track as I could. I climbed and descended the Fausto Trail which is tough.

Riding the two bikes is like night and day. When I get on the Merlin, it is almost an extension of my body. I've been with this particular frame since 1996 and my other Merlins since 1990 (1990, and 1993), so I am used to them.

The Litespeed has only been around since 2006, though it is a 2000 model. I like it a lot. It is probably a better riding bike than the Merlin, but I don't spend as much time on it as the Merlin. I am now tweeking it more and more to suit me. Steve Garro of Coconino custom cycles will be building me some custom wheels for it. I've also locally ordered some new 2.4 tires for it. I plan on getting a Thomson stem and seatpost for it in the next few months. Slowly, I am giving it more of my personal touches so it is my bike and not the previous owners.

Job wise everything is okay. My big project now is getting the middle schoolers to make polystyrene bird models to test in the wind tunnel. We are investigating the physics of bird flight. They are jazzed about this project.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

San Bernadino

We rode last Sunday to San Bernadino. I rode the Merlin single speed. The group I ride with don't get it (the single speed thing). Anyway, I rode from where most of the others did, so it was an extra 12 km (7.5 miles) to the trailhead.

There was a moment on the ride when I was completely alone. It was nice. Just me and my most simple (and favorite) bike.

In San Bernadino I took a few photos, but nothing outstanding. My favorite is the one posted above.

On the return trip, Jacques crashed hard on the downhill. He mangled is left shoulder pretty good. Today I got word that he had surgery in Caracas and had a pin put in his shoulder. That's nuts!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Carnival Weekend

Well, I had a good Carnival weekend. 4 days of no work, got some things done on the apartment, and 4 days of riding.

Everyday I went out and rode from about 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Lots of sun, lots of fun. I rode the Litespeed exclusively. I don't ride it as much as the Merlin. It took me a day of riding the Litespeed to get used to it again. It is a size larger than the Merlin (19" vs. 18") and has flat bars as opposed to risers, and it has a full compliment of gears; XT-9 speed (34-11) in the rear and 3 in the front vs. the Merlin's 18T ENO and 32T Black Spire up front.

The latest mod on the Litespeed is I swapped the stem. I had the generic 100 mm stem from the Merlin available because now its sporting a new 100 mm (105 degree) Thomson. The stem on the Litespeed was a 130 mm (0 degree) Zoom. I felt too stretched out with it and wanted to try a shorter set-up. I like the 100 mm length. Now I'll have to buy a second Thomson for the Litespeed.
Saturday, an electrician came and installed two new light fixtures; one in the living room and the other in the kitchen. They are killer looking! He also installed 5 dimmer switches, so now all out main lights are on dimmers which is a nice touch. I need to find brighter bulbs for the kitchen fixture. I didn't realize it, but the fixture is European so it is set up as a 220 V (60 Hz) application. Venezuela uses 110 V (60Hz) like the USA, so my kitchen lights are dim. I am thinking of ways to solve this problem, maybe the best will be to see if I can swap out bulbs. Either that or modification.

My wife is starting to understand my vision of the apartment. It is starting to look pretty swanky. I like it a lot!

The rest of the 4-day weekend was low key. Just lots of bike riding.

This coming weekend; more apartment stuff on Saturday, maybe Merlin riding on Sunday.