New Hampshire Media Makers Spoke Card 2

Rewards drive behavior.

It’s like deja vu all over again – I did it last summer with a picture of a porteur near the Moulin Rouge; this year the spoke cards are Prisoner-themed.

NHMM Spoke cards

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Folks who ride bikes to NHMM meet-ups will receive a spoke card (while supplies last, but I have 36 of ‘em). Be seeing you!

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A shoutout to the good folks at Infinite Imaging who did a bang-up job on printing and lamination.

Fuertes and Abyssinia

This is the peanut butter cup of Biodiversity Heritage Library serendipity – two wonderful things that are even better in combination. Via the BioDivLibrary Flickrstream, the Album of Abyssinian Birds and Mammals From Paintings by Louis Aggasiz Fuertes.

Fuertes, for those who don’t know him or his work, was an ornithologist and painter. I’ve loved his art since I first encountered it (I was maybe 10 years old?) in a coffee table book that was, at that point, way out of my price range. His National Geographic article, Falconry, the Sport of Kings is still a favorite (illustration below ganked from The Internet Archive).

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And a preliminary sketch for the illustration from Cornell’s L. A. Fuertes Image Database:

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And Abyssinia. Because it successfully resisted during the scramble for Africa – and for many other reasons – it’s a fascinating region.

So, on with the show. I’m half tempted to post all the Fuertes paintings, but I’ll resist. A selection, with some notes:

Two that go well with the NatGeo illustration – the Lanner:

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and the Black Bellied Bustard:

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Because I love Hornbills, the Crested Hornbill (Darren/TetZoo on Ground Hornbills here):

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Lammergeiers use ossuaries. You’d like another reason to add them to your pantheon? Here you go.

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Neil Gaiman was in town recently on the American Gods 10th anniversary tour. As a result, ravens have been front and center in my imagination (if you don’t understand the connection, you really should read the book). Fuertes remarks that the Thick Billed Raven is “vulturine in habits” – pretty typical raven behavior.

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Waxing extremely vulturine, the badass of the carcass crowd, the Lappet-faced Vulture.

“They are the most powerful and aggressive of the African vultures, and other vultures will usually cede a carcass to the Lappet-faced Vulture. This is often beneficial to the less powerful vultures because the Lappet-face can tear through the tough hides and muscles of large mammals that the others cannot penetrate…” *

“Lappet-faced Vultures, perhaps more than any other vulture, will on occasion attack young and weak living animals…” *

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And last but not least, a canid that is often cited as a possible ancestor of the dog, the Abyssinian Wolf:

Pouring iron to help a friend

Yesterday was the Sanctuary Arts Open House & Iron Pour Benefit. Ali Goodwin is fighting breast cancer and like so many in this nominally wealthy country is screwed when it comes to health care. Locals have been coming together to help on a regular basis – yesterday was one of those times. The pour was a ton of fun, the people were interesting, the weather was perfect – if only the reason for the event were different.

It's as hot as a friggin' furnace!

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Warming the ladles

warming the ladles

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Mr. Swirly is an air blower that makes sure there’s a DRAFT

Mr. Swirly

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Spectators

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art and ladle

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The macaroni art tile I made – I’ve been thinking about infrastructure quite a bit (credit goes to Adam Greenfield) so I produced a manhole cover.

My tile

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More photos here. And to finish up – a video:

 

Book review: It’s All About the Bike

I’ve remarked before (and probably will again) on some of the underlying similarities between bicycles and shotguns. And yet there’s a huge corpus around firearms (yr humble’s correspondent’s collection here), but nothing comparable in size and scope on the bicycle side. Perhaps the gun’s 500 year head start is responsible, but my gut tells me something else is going on. Be that as it may, It’s All about the Bike is a welcome addition to the not-large-enough-by-half bike as object genre. Robert Penn’s book is the story of his dream bike; he wanted a bike that was just so – not the absolute best of everything, rather the absolute best for his purposes. The book leads us through the choices he made, component by component. Along the way he detours into history – his past and the bicycle’s past – to flesh out the hows and whys of his decisions. Take frame material for example:

Crucially, steel can be repaired anywhere in the world by a man with a blowtorch and a welding rod. I know this, because I bent a steel bike in northern India, when I was riding around the world. I was slipstreaming a tractor on the Grand Trunk Road near Amritsar.We were going downhill a lick when I road into a pothole the size of a hot tub. There was no time to react. I had what American mountain bikers call a ‘yard sale’. The bike, panniers, sunglasses, water bottles, tent, pump, map and I were strewn across the tarmac. [...] It took me an afternoon to find the best mechanic, or ‘top foreman’ as the locals called him, in Amritsar. Expertly, he removed the handlebars, the stem, the forks and the stressed headset from the head tube, while attendants handed him tools as a nurse attends a surgeon. Then he shoved a metal spike through the head tube and literally bashed the tubes straight again. It was terrifying to watch.

The frame requires a bit more attention on the remaining 7,500 miles, but gets him home. And:

In the alchemy of designing aircraft tubing, Reynolds stumbled on a manganese-molybdenum alloy that made wonderful bikes. In 1935, the company introduced ’531′ tubing. It was considered revolutionary. Even now, British [and American] cyclists of a certain age go misty eyed and look towards the horizon just at the mention of ’531′.

Five Three One

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You get a taste in the quotes above both of the range of Mr. Penn’s inquiry and of his writing style. I found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable; style and subject both get an A. It’s a quick read – 198 pages of clear prose – and if you like bikes, highly recommended.

Two additional notes: 1) In spite of my pissing and moaning about the volume of bike lit, I recently bought a fantastic book of visual bike history (aka bike prĂ˜n). The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles is a survey of mostly-French mostly-randonneur bicycles from 1909 – 2003. Inspirational – especially as regards a: 2) Current project – I’m assembling a dream bike as well. I’ll post more in a month or so; I’ve built what I’m calling a voyageur bike on a touring frame – pictures/specifications/rationales to follow once the new ride is fully dialed in.

Partially cross-posted to LibraryThing.

Local critters

Late spring means lots of wildlife activity- breeding, emergence, &c. Three recent encounters:

A newly emerged Cyrano Darner, Nasiaeschna pentacantha (thanks for the ID @debcha and M.!).

Cyrano Darner

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I shall fly her on salmonflies and call her Carby.

Cyrano Darner

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A bat (Little Brown, I think) found wandering the halls at work – kept overnight to make sure he was OK and then released.

der fledermaus

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And a field mouse youngling on his or her way outside.

der maus

 

Bog Garden II: planting

After a few days waiting for the peat moss to hydrate, I figured things had settled as much as they were going to. First, I trimmed the excess pond liner and then in went the plants! Super-easy transplanting – scoop an appropriate hole with your hands, and tip in the greenery.

Click through to see notes on what went where.

the bog

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Sarracenia purpurea

Sarracenia purpurea

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Sarracenia rubra

Sarracenia rubra

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Cypripedium reginae (1 year old plants, just getting started after dormancy)

Cypripedium reginae youngling

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Sarracenia flava (also year-old plants)

They’re either ornata or rubricorpora – I lost the tag on the pot.

Sarracenia flava

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And finally a tribute to Watkins Glen in the ’70s. I was there before the rowdiness got going, but read about it in car magazines. As I recall, burning the bus was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

The Bog wants the bus!!

“The Bog wants the bus! The Bog wants the bus!”