Archive for May, 2013

Toes Woes

Friday, May 31st, 2013

When last we heard from James, he was fixing his broken bike wheel with carbon fiber. Today’s post is much more organic; a broken toe.

Yes, I made it through an IronMan getting only a blister. I also received two blisters and a wicked sunburn at another triathlon. I got a scrape while wrestling an alligator.

Apparently, my bedroom is more dangerous than all of these. I misjudged the location of a piece of furniture as it related to the location of my feet. Perhaps I misjudged the location of my feet as they related to the furniture. In either case, I kicked the corner, forcing my toe sideways. Wolfgang Pauli’s Exclusion Principle (Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time), was found to be intact. My toe, was left in a lesser state.
Human adults typically have 206 bones in their bodies. I suspect I’ve broken the middle toe on my left foot. Here’s why I think it’s broken:
It hurts!
It’s swollen.
It’s bruised.
Did I mention it hurts?

I suspect if I attempt to move it, it will cause nausea. Frankly, I’m not inclined to move it.

What to do?
Option A: Go to the doctor. This is a GOOD idea! This provides medical advice, and the least amount of physical risk. The downside is, it’s pricey, and I’m pretty sure what will happen. They will take an X-ray, exposing me to radiation. They’ll look at it and say one of two things; It’s broken, or it’s not broken. Either way, they will tape it to the taller toe next to it, and advise me to take it easy.

(NOTE: I am NOT qualified to dispense medical advice. This blog is anecdotal, not prescriptive. I recommend always seeking the advice of medical professionals. That said, here’s what I did:)

Option B: I have tape. I’m reasonably certain it’s broken. Let’s tape it!

Two days later, I took the tape off, and yep, it’s pretty broken. It’s VERY bruised, and it looks like there was some internal bleeding.

Here’s how I taped it:
I start with a strip of stretchy sports tape about as wide as my foot. I gently wrap the broken toe and it’s buddy together. Some people put a gauze pad between them. If this seems more comfortable, I say go for it. Don’t wrap too tightly; there needs to be plenty of blood flow to heal.



Keep an eye out for fevers (which can be a sign of infection; go to the doctor!)
Elevate it to decrease swelling.
Ice on the first day to reduce swelling, then you can apply heat on following days to help speed up the healing.


I skipped the ice and the heat, and helped my godfather move heavy machinery. I wore boots to protect my toes. I HIGHLY recommend thick comfy socks and shoes with a lot of toe room to help.

It’ll be a while before this heals. I may swim, maybe bike a little, but I don’t think I’ll be running. In the event that you break yourself, I hope you’ll seek medical advice, but if that’s not possible, this SHOULD keep your toe from falling off.

If your toe falls off from this advice, put it under your pillow, and the Toe-Fairy should be along shortly to exchange it for a treat.

Just kidding about the Toe-Fairy. Always seek professional advice, not just blogs!

Broken Spoken

Monday, May 20th, 2013

My bicycle wheel broke. It made me sad. It made me angry. I HAD to fix it. Or get a new one. Immediately, if not sooner. I CANNOT go about my life knowing that the rear wheel of my mountain bike has a crack in it.

And now I know why. I figured it out.
When I was 20, I was in college, and had a scholarship that, after tuition and books, left me just enough money to buy a Toy. It was the first time in my life I’d had significant discretionary income, so I banked a portion of it (mutual funds) and spent the rest frivolously. One semester, I bought a mountain bike. I realized that I didn’t own a bicycle, and that thought made me sad, so I purchased one. I got it at the bike shop, and it fit me, which Department store bikes did not. I then joined a fundraiser that rode from Orlando to Miami over three days. Not a great idea on a mountain bike, but I was hooked on to wheels.

Then I met Christine. She was the last of last-year’s model. She had been sitting for a year, and was lonely, and a little angry at life. The first time we went out together, she was so smooth, and handled so gracefully, I knew the future needed us to be together. My father helped me purchase her, and we made a pair.

She was not nice to me. We went off-roading a lot, and each time, I would come home with a new wound from where she would bite me. My scars have scars. Then I dressed her up nice. I got her a fancy pair of brakes that matched her paint job, then I bought her a carbon fiber wheel. My parents bought her the other as a birthday gift to me. These wheels were the bomb-diggidy in 1998. There were no wheels cooler than these three-spoke carbon fiber Spin wheels. I took Christine to Utah, and we rode down mountainsides at 38 miles an hour while jumping from rock to rock. She never bit me again (that I didn’t deserve).

Part of the awesomeness of these wheels was their indestructability. They never needed to be trued, and they had a lifetime warranty. Except, the company went out of business. Oh well, they were still indestructible.

Unlike the rest of life. Out in the world, life changed. I moved, taking Christine with me, but didn’t have time to ride. Children came along, making mountain biking a luxury. Christine became the Hauler of the Trailer with our children in it.

When I got a triathlon bike, I think it kind of broke her heart. I completed my triathlon, and then turned my eye on my neglected mountain bike. I washed her carefully, lubed the chain, and noticed the crack in my indestructible wheel. It ran near the rim, completely through the wheel. It shouldn’t have been possible. Those wheels were supposed to be forever.

I was dumbfounded. How could it break? I took care of it. I did what I was supposed to. I upheld my end of the Bargain. It WASN”T FAIR!!!

Just like my parents divorcing. Just like my sister moving away. Just like the selling of our family’s Old Home. It’s not fair. I kept my end of the bargain. Why can’t it just keep keeping on, like it was supposed to in my head. Like I thought it always would.

I priced new wheels; too expensive to replace with an exact duplicate. I could buy a cheapo-wheel, but it wouldn’t match, and then Christine would look silly. Every time I looked at her I would see an example of how life wasn’t fair. No can do.

There are people who professionally repair carbon fiber wheels. They are expensive (and worth it!) but out of my budget. There are toys to buy bills to pay. Expensive repairs are for cars that make money, not for Daddy’s toys.

So what’s a guy to do? Accept defeat? Grow world-weary and bitter because life hands you lemons, and it takes sugar and water to make lemonade? That’s not in me.

I went to Ebay, source of All Things. I bought carbon fiber and epoxy for $40. I spent a weekend in my garage repairing that wheel. I have carbon fiber barbs imbedded in my. They itch. A lot. I glued 3 fingers together. They are still sticky. The wheel will never look as good as it once did, and there is ALWAYS going to be the chance that it will break again.

But it’s not broken now. I fixed it.

Things break in life. Toys. Bones. Promises. Bargains. Dreams.

It’s not fair. What’s more IT NEVER WAS FAIR. Fair is a pleasing fable for children.


No hand controls my destiny but my own, and if I’m unhappy with the situation, then it’s mine to change. It’s a burden. I’d rather whine to the gods that they need to fix things and I want my dream-life back. But they are mockingly silent, and if I want my future, I know I must take it from them.

My wheel was broken, but I shall not be.

The lather contest

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The contest rules seemed pretty simple: Send in a picture (or pictures) of your best lather. Winner gets a bunch of cool shaving swag. First, I sent this:


A friend of mine was kind enough to loan me her legs for this operation, and the forum is pretty heavily weighted toward the masculine, so I thought this would be a shoe-in.

Then, they struck back, with creativity. I knew I had to win this; I lathered up a buddy’s legs! I couldn’t let that go unrewarded! So this was entry #2:
I’ve been looking at the pictures, and gentlemen, they have been inspiring. Power tools! Animals! Excellent products and technique. Natural human bristle brushes! Excellent work, and it got me thinking… which can lead to trouble.

I was ruminating about what I could possibly do. How to take it further, and my eyes lit on an old weed trimmer. “Hmmm… no one’s used a gas-powered engine yet, I’ll bet THAT would make a heck of a lather!”

But what to use as a brush? I love natural bristles, and I love the thought of re-purposing an animal into performing a useful task. We don’t have badgers where I live, and that would have been my first choice. I tried using my cat, but as soon as he saw the shaving cream, he disappeared. Once, my wife had asked me to shave her… you know… and at that time, I got confused. The cat has not trusted me since.
While I was in the garage, making my masterpiece FaceWacker 3000 brush, I saw that damn gopher. He lives under my air conditioner unit, and eats my cilantro. Drives me nuts. And then the light came on, and I saw a way to rid myself of a varmint, and apply a beautiful coat of lather.

After eyeballing him (while he ate my Basil plants; Dammit! That was for my dinner!) I made him a harness out of leather, and attached it to the FaceWacker 3000.
Relying on my keen hunting skills from Boy Scouts, I snuck up on him and used my blowgun to shoot a tranquilizer dart at him. I never thought I’d use Wildlife Capture merit badge, but sometimes, I’m surprised.
With Wally (the gopher) safely strapped into his little harness, I applied a bit of cream to him. I use a mixture of Burt’s Bees and Cremo cream, especially when shaving with wild animals. The rich lather smelled nice, and kind of earthy. I figgered when Wally wakes up, he’ll thank me.
I’m no dummy. I use protection. After seeing some of the other experiences, I realized that eye protection and a way to breath might be in order.
Wally must have been in a deep sleep, because it took 3 pulls to get the FaceWacker 3000 started, but it belched some smoke, started whining and spun the gopher.
Woo-hoo! If I was a smurf, and I fell into a barrel full of shaving cream and weasels, I imagine it would feel like this. Eventually, it was over. I was a wreck. The FaceWacker 3000 was destroyed, and Wally was sitting on the edge of his hole, smoking a cigarette and looking smug.
I sat up, staggered inside, and realized I had to finish the job, so between an antique Craftsman, and a Wade & Butcher, my face was shorn.

The lather, gentlemen and ladies, was exquisite.


I don’t anticipate repeating this. The Facewacker is beyond repair, and Wally and I have reached an understanding. My wife appreciates the smooth face, but the questions I have been asked by the local Animal Officers have led me to believe this is not a good way to continue.


The cat still doesn’t trust me.

OMA SteamPunk Ball

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Hi Everyone!

Thanks so much for coming out and making this night a success. I know the weather was terrible, but inside, it was all sunshine and STEAM!

Please feel free to use these images for your own personal purposes. If you’re going to use them for a business purpose, please just let me know. (I like to keep track of these things).

If you enjoyed yourself, please feel free to join more Steampunk fun with the Central Florida Steampunk Association! They can be found at:

Please also check out the ethereal tones of The Cog Is Dead!

The Cog Is Dead

The Cog Is Dead

Also, please support the Orlando Museum of Art, First Thursdays!

First Thursdays at OMA

First Thursdays at OMA