The Kitchen Counter Archives
October 5, 2009
Up until two days ago, "Connecticut" and "country" never
crossed my mind in the same instant, despite my good friend
Jess describing her East Coast roots as being somewhat rural.
Now that I've visited her native land, I'm a believer. Once you
cross the Connecticut River on the other side of Hartford, the
population thins and the roads narrow. The village of Cobalt is
so small that it's actually part of another town called East
The wedding of Jess and her now-husband Brian brought me
to a beautiful little church in a place I would have never
otherwise visited. Example #2347 of the smallness of our
world was seated next to me in the church pew, a man with a
friend living just a few miles from me back in Illinois. At the
reception, I sat with a film maker from San Francisco, a law
student from Stockholm, and a Department of Homeland
Security officer from Jersey. The film maker, when asked why
he'd traveled all the way from Frisco to attend the wedding in
his hometown, replied simply and elegantly: "I am who I am
because of the people here today. You gotta show up for this
October 25, 2009
The Forest City Riders M/C should have been hosting their
annual enduro today and I should have been helping them put
it on, but Mother Nature blessed the area with about 3 inches
of rain during the week. Most of the creek crossings would
have required ferry service, so the club canceled the race.
What to do on an off weekend? How 'bout make the kitchen a
little brighter. Or a lot brighter. These are the projects that
begin when the racing season comes to a close and cool
weather forces me inside (although today would have been
excellent for many things outdoors).
November 15, 2009
If the challenge of riding a motorcycle through the woods at
high speeds ever becomes unexciting, here's a new twist: try it
at night. What we have here is a headlight for my KTM 250XC,
along with two LED lights. The headlight, powered by halogen
bulbs, doesn't do much except make the bike enduro-legal for
some events (although it is respectable light for 65 watts). The
LED's are what makes the night riding possible. One will be
mounted to my helmet and the other to my handlebars.
Cyclops Motosports supplied the lights, as well as enough
hardware to make these work in just about any possible
situation. The helmet light will be powered by a battery which
is supposed to run the light for up to 6 hours. The
handlebar-mounted light plugs into the KTM's battery. It's all
top quality stuff and very well thought out.
As for the LED lights, I cannot believe how much light is
emitted from 10 watts. One of these will illuminate the empty
house next door. From my front porch, 75 yards away. I can't
wait to try them out on the motorcycle.
December 9, 2009
It is called a Yankee Swap, a type of gift exchange that is part
of a holiday party I was invited to recently. It was immortalized
in an episode of The Office, where Michael Scott outdoes his
minions by buying an iPod intended for Ryan, the object of his
man-crush. The above is what I will contribute to the Swap,
and I am not ashamed to admit that, given the chance, I
would take it for myself (as Kevin did with his own gift in that
same episode of The Office). Can't say I was ever a fan of Mr.
Potato Head, but the KISS version is way cool. So stay
tuned...couple weeks from now, you never know what
interesting gift might show up (or return) to the kitchen
December 21, 2009
Since I moved to Chicagoland, and now even further up into
the Great White North, most winters have been spent in
hibernation. Each December the bikes are parkedand winter
maintenance performed, all the while waiting for the ground
to thaw sometime around March 1st.
This year will be different.
I ordered up a few items that should end my hibernation and
have me out in the elements on my two-wheeled machines.
The first is a set of studded knobby tires, hopefully arriving
sometime this week. The other is what you see here.
"Elephant Ears" to block the cold wind from my fingers, and
grip heaters to keep my hands warm. The grip heaters wrap
around the handlebars, under the grips, and are wired into
my bike's electrical system. The elephant ears will look
something like this:
It remains to be seen how enthusiastic I'll be after my first
ride in 25-degree temperatures, but right now I am as
excited as a kid the night before Christmas. Watch out
snowmobilers....the Austrian Queen (the bike, not me) is
coming out to play.