When Rivendell was a baby in the mid ‘90s, the Reader had a column called Progress Report, which I then thought of as a public diary, but would now be a blog—-except, it was only on paper. I wrote what worried me, where I screwed up, how things were going, what I was thinking, and all that now-bloggy stuff. At the time, I had the idea that I’d do it for ten years, print and bind, and put it on a shelf to look at years later.
It lasted about four years, cut short because too often for my constitution, when I admitted a goof it often triggered criticism from after-the-fact-ers, people in chat groups would jump on it and say what I should have done, or shouldn’t have done, and I’d be thinking, hey, I know.
But something happened lately that’s too unfortunate to withhold. It will make some of you happy, some of you shake your head, and some of you wish you’d taken The Bamboo Plunge.
Basically, we severely underpriced the bamboo stuff. I did think the plain (not trick,not jewelry) boxes were under-priced at $27. It turns out they cost us, like $70, so should’ve been $100 or more to you. The magic boxes…retail where they retail, for $300. The jewelry boxes are about $220 in the non-RIvendell fantasty goofup pricing world. The rulers—-which are the coolest rulers ever, should’ve been $20. And, basically, at those prices we wouldn’t have even tried to sell ‘em. We’ll get over it, lesson learned, HOW it happened makes sense but is too painful to describe. Won’t happen again. They were and still are superfine boxes. And rulers, and banks. We still have some, but now they’re priced right. Win-win; not win huge-lose.
I ride at night with a headlight, on my forehead, and I wonder if anybody else notices the particles in the air, even when it’s not drizzly. I’m not … well, I’m not one of those who frets about dust mites in the eyelashes. The thing about the night-particles is…what are they, and are they there but just invisible during the day? Wear a headlight, ride at night, and you’ll see them, I bet. It can’t be only in California.
I liked this story in the NYT about, tableware. Flatwear. Spoons, forks, and knives, but no sporks or runcible spoons for the table. It has its disturbing parts, but I really like the flip. I do it every day now. What “flip”? Read it and find out.
Here’s the result of a recent flip here at RIv, with a spoon brung from home:
The Owl and the Pussycat, that poem by Edward Lear, is the first mention ever of a runcible spoon. A few years ago I went into a special kitchen supply place and asked for one, but the response was “huh?”, and earned later that RS was made up. But I’ve seen illustrated Owl and Pussycats that showed a spoonish fork, what we might now call a spork. It is hard to beat a spork for eating the last bit of salad from a big round bowl.
This is not about the book, but Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense is a must-own and must read book for anybody who likes words, noise, and funny looking animals.
Many of you know we have a new bike on the backburner, and were/maybe still are/just not sayin’ thinking of Indian names for it. What a neat discussion that lead to on the Rivendell Forum, with people taking all sides, as you can imagine. Even as a little kid, I always hated what happened to the Indians, and was always fascinated with Indian-like lore and things. But…it’s kind of too touchy, so we’re going to barely skirt this contentious issue by naming it something that sounds Indian, but actually isn’t.
Today is Friday the 13th and is Jay’s last day here, because he’s going to Arizona to….spend time with his girlfriend, who is a doctor in residency down there. So last night was our last Jay S24O (quickie bike campout), and the biggest yet, with tennevus. Hardly any photos, because…my cam needed a battery, and so Dan shot a few and we’ll have them tomorrow. Dan manages Camera West, in Walnut Creek.
Jay is one of those people who has a way of being and ways of doing things that everybody ought to want for themselves, their progeny, heirs, friends, whatever. He dives into tasks and finishes them fast and right, and goes onto the next. He kicks over hurdles and doesn’t miss steps or beats. He is not intimidated by the unknown, or challenges, and he doesn’t require the right tool to do the job right. Everything he does, mechanically, on a bike, he seems to breeze through. The normal assembly isn’t what I’m talking about. I mean, like, rigging up a rack or fender, or basket or bag, on something or in some place where it needs to go or you or he wants it to go, but it’s not really meant to go…he makes it go.
He set up our darkroom with only a little help, never having set one up before. He found stuff for it, and made everything work, and taught me how. On trips, he packs late and fast, and doesn’t worry about not having everything,and if he doesn’t, he deals with. He never complains about anything or anybody. He is genetically gifted in the superficial appearance department, but is the least vain guy I know. He doesn’t primp or care. He lies down on dirty floors to demonstrate or do something, without putting down a mat first. His clothes don’t always fit. He can leave work late, ride home a long ways and up hills, and you don’t get the feeling that he’s thinking, “Oh, great—-I’ll get home in time to go to bed, then I’m back here early tomorrow morning.” He reads books you wouldn’t expect him to read, on topics you might not expect him to be interested in. He’s lived a year in Africa, and spent enough time either in South America to learn the language, although he may have forgotten some now.
Most others in his situation…family situation or something…would show signs of something not so good. Not necessarily bad, but not so good. Some sense of entitlement or a casual approach to life’s challenges that could, easily, come off the wrong way. He lives kind of low on the ladder and works hard. He was raised around bikes, lots of them and great ones, and throws a leg over one as naturally as any gunfighter ever drew a six-gun, and any card shark ever shuffled a deck, and any salmon ever leaped a rocky watery obstacle. How can a guy like that, with all these bicycle qualities and history, be less than a thousand percent confident about patching a puncture? Can a guy who is all those things humble himself to be taught by Miesha the best-right way to do it? He did, and didn’t feel…like, one atom shy about it. This came lately, and to me, with a long list of things-to-be-impressed-about-that-Jay-does, impressed me the most. There’s not even a word for it. Coolmility? A guy like that is incapable of telling a lie under any circumstances.
Most guys, most people, lock in and defend their ways, but Jay’s always open. He got his A. Homer Hilsen before he worked here. I’ve told this story before. He wanted a 59, but I talked him into a 61. He got it, liked it, rode it, and sold it so he could get a 63…and liked that more, but then wanted a 65, so he sold his 63 to Keven (who rides it still) and got a 2TT 65. He’s also not too cool to show enthusiasm for things, and he doesn’t overthink things. If he likes it, he likes it. He doesn’t, as most of us and I do, wrestle with something about it and try not to like it because of this or that in his history, or what he liked yesterday.
Jay has a desk here and a room for assembling bikes. They’re both messy, but now he’s cleaning up his desk for whoever gets it next. Spic-n-Span and all, super neat. He doesn’t require super neat to be efficient or to feel good, but he is going way above the call to make it good for Nexty.
The most popular (views) video we have is the Hunqa video he made himself one evening after work when he and I went for a ride. At the point where I turned back to go home, Jay stayed out there another couple of ours with a Flip video and a tripod, and shot himself riding it, and edited it, plugged in the music, and it was up and popular in a week. He just does stuff, really fast and well. Of course we’re going to miss him.
Jay has the most remarkable mix of what you might think of as incompatible qualities, but they’re all good ones.
Who’ll be my role model/Now that my role model is gone ? —- Paul Simon said it about —well, not exactly, not clearly, about Al, but it’s part of the song, You Can Call Me Al. Jay was a role model to many of us, whether we’ve said it or not. That’s a youtube link, kind of an irritating video (Jay could have made a better one), and the line is near the end. Maybe you know it.
Here are some misc pix-o-J, and tomorrow I’ll throw a few more up from last nights campout.
Jay in Africa, the highest point in the continent, the sign says. I always thought that was Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is 19,000+ feet, but this says Uhura Peak. Well„,we don’t even know for sure that it’s Jay, but the photo was labeled Jay in Africa when I found it on our hard drive. Photo says 19,340 ft. FLASH!!!! It turns out, this is Jay S, not Jay Ritchey.
Jay on an S24O last year.
Jay, right, and our friend Dustin, left. Dustin goes on lots of the S240s.
Vaughn, who moved home to Colorado to sell fancy cowboy clothes; and Jay.
Keven and Jay.
Tri-tip and salmon at Jay’s going-away lunch. Mark cooked it.
A bunch of us, with Miesha and her daughter in the foreground. This is our showroom.
Poor us for losing Jay.Photos of the campout up tomorrow.
L to R: Jay, Vince in his Walnut Creek Bike Patrol bib, friend Dave, and our Dave. The lights of bucolic Walnut Creek in the distance.
This made the cut here only because of the red sky, which I can’t explain. That’s dave, in his red cowboy shirt and his possum wool beanie. My bike in the left corner. No Jay in this one.
Less red in this one. Somebody wanted a pyramid, so…
Bottom: me, Vince, Jay, Dave
Mid: Keven, Justin
Top-ish: Jay’s replacement, Brian. Still on probation for a few years, but he’s winning us over.