Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Toy Parade

This past Saturday HPVOoO took part in the annual Toy Parade. In past years we've even won a few awards with our float ideas, but so far we've not been notified about anything for this year. ;)

As in the other parades, our modus operandi is to use Richard's Greenspeed tandem trike pulling the large trailer with some sort of theme on it. The rest of us circle around this rig on our bikes, which are usually also decorated. This makes the riding a lot more fun than just moving forward at the usual parade crawl, and helps us keep warm!

This year Alex supplied a large inflatable snowman, so that was put on the back end, then a tree was added, and room was left at the front for various members' kids to sit and wave. Our staging area was on the Laurier Bridge. It was a cold, windy day, and being on the bridge made us feel very bit of the chill. Below, the trailer prep begins (earlier in the week folks had gathered at Richard's to test-fit everything together so that assembly time would be quick).

Alex's bike even had reinder on it.

I rode the tiny trike. It's fun to ride, and I'd like to build one my size some day.

Charles is either doing a robot dance, or this should be captioned "Invisible Broom".

Snowman and tree and kids are all ready to go! (Though some are being silly and pretending to nap in the -10C windchill)

One does not see horses all that often in an urban environment:

I put my camera away once the parade started. Charles has some photos, and Richard's will be up whenever he sorts his server issues out. The parade was fun, and as always the route was packed with adults and kids. Afterwards we rode (still in parade mode) over to the Royal Oak by Pretoria Bridge for lunch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

bike light

I arrived at the re-Cycles shop near closing time tonight and one of the guys says "hey Mark, someone dropped this off for you".

A curious looking thing, with an obvious seatpost clamp at one end. But what exactly IS it?

Those bumps on the thicker section look to be battery compartments:

Oh, it opens up...

To reveal a truly geeky thing:

And it lights up!!!
(It takes eight AA batteries, and a few of mine need recharging)

This thing is retro-geeky beyond words. I don't know if I actually want to fit it to any of my bikes, and most of you know I'm not at all shy when it comes to weird bikey things. Hmm...

Thanks (I think) to William Watt for dropping this off.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween costume

I had a few Halloween events this year, and thought it would be fun to make a costume. I bought some outlandish hats (who, moi?) at Value Village, but instead of using any of them I opted for a rather sinister look in dressing as a medieval plague doctor.

Here's what I came up with, using an old trenchcoat, my elderly "Indiana Jones" model fedora (didn't have a black hat), and the mask was made from a generic plastic mask from Wallack's Art Supply, to which I fastened a beak made from cardboard, tape, and some black fleece fabric. I'd like to make a better mask next time, preferably out of leather like the original ones. But this did the trick:

(thanks to RealGrouchy for the photo).

Yes, I know it also looks like Black Spy from Mad Magazine...

I wore this first for a Halloween party of the Monday dance class for which I do music accompaniment, then for a 'Ween night ride with HPVOoO friends, then later on to a party at my neighbour's place. It seemed to creep people out, so it had the desired effect. But it was NOT a good thing to wear while riding a bike...

The plague doctor wore what could be called the first hazmat gear. It was thought that the plague was spread through the air, and so he was covered from had to toe. The hat was what all doctors wore in the day (an identifier, much like a chef's hat), and the clothing was coated with wax to keep anything from sticking to it.

The beak of the mask was stuffed with herbs and camphor to act as a sort of gas mask, and while it of course did nothing to stop non-existent plague vapours it probably at least helped cover up the smell of dying and dead people. The creepy look also served as a warning to people, per a comment I found: "The Plague Doctor's appearance was actually meant to strike fear into the populace. There was no mass communication at the time and his appearance sent the message - 'Stay in your homes - plague is here. You may be dead within days.' It was a form of crowd control, basically."

X-rays from sticky tape

This is rather interesting:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bugs Bunny faves

Reliving my childhood...

As a kid that actually liked some classical music I thought these Bugs Bunny episodes were (and still are) absolutely brilliant:

Long Haired Hare

Rabbit of Seville

Saturday, November 01, 2008

May you live in interesting times - pt. 6

"Decades of extraordinary growth have catapulted China to the top of the world's economic charts, earning the admiration of much of the rest of the world. Indeed, China's continued economic rise has been one of the few certainties of the 21st century. Increasingly, however, the China story is not one of economic miracle but of environmental disaster."

Full article:

May you live in interesting times - pt. 5

The God That Failed - The 30-Year Lie of the Market Cult

"Beginning with Margaret Thatcher's election in 1979, government after government -- and party after party -- fell to the onslaught of an extremist faith: the narrow, blinkered fundamentalism of the "Chicago School." Epitomized by its patron saint, Milton Friedman, the rigid doctrine held that an unregulated market would always "correct" itself, because its workings are based on entirely rational and quantifiable principles."

Read the rest here: