Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quid te exempta juvat spinis de pluribus una?

Monk, Camel

The title of this post came from the Preface to the 1755 edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, and is originally from Horace, Epistles 2.2.212. It means literally "How does one thorn removed out of so many help you?" Johnson, apparently vexed by the varieties of orthographical experience emerging from people trying to put into writing what they had been accustomed to speaking and hearing in their own peculiar ways for so long, decided to crank out a monster of a dictionary to standardize spelling and meaning once and for all. But, where to start, which words to choose, which spellings, which meanings, you can almost feel the oceanic-sized task in front of him when he glosses Horace as "to change all would be too much, and to change one is nothing." Which "spots of barbarity" to tackle first, which of all the spellings "depraved by ignorance" should he straighten out first? But since this is Johnson, he has no doubts about being up to the task, or about knowing the right answer, so he jumps right in, and writes a dictionary used by writers for the next 193 years as the standard reference to answer these questions. (I don't claim to know Latin btw. Don't test me with multi-layered slightly butchered famous quotes; I'll fail miserably. I do like the way it looks, and have always been interested in it as the source of many words.)

The quote is apposite here for several reasons:
  1. Last weekend's ride on the AZC east of Pima Road was rife with goathead thorns
  2. I bought the book last night on clearance, and like it because it's both educational and highly soporific
  3. Bip has a few mechanical quirks (see below), so which one to tackle first?
  4. You have to start somewhere. Thus, the addition to my intro text to the above right: One day at a time, one person at a time, one ride at a time, resist anger and do good.  

The rock formation in the picture above is popularly referred to as "The Praying Monk" on "Camelback Mountain," although he's never really looked like he is praying to me. "Surveying Monk," perhaps, or "Indignant Monk" or "Impatient Monk." Also, I don't know why it's not just called "Camel Mountain," as I've always seen more there than just a back. Thorns, leave 'em alone I guess.

Great If You Like a Slowly Descending Seat

Bip has some mechanical quirks, which is to be expected in a machine of his seniority. Adds character. One that I had to resolve before it drove me nuts, though, was the slowly descending seat caused by the collar, above, not being able to clamp tight enough. Initially, I thought it might have been due to excessive grease on the post. I've been known to employ plenty of grease, it's true, so when the post kept slipping down I wiped it and the inside of the seat tube as clean as I dared, and it still slipped. I tightened that collar as tight as it sensibly could be, but it still slipped. Since I'm not a huge fan of quick release seat collars anyway, I replaced it with a non-quick version today, and no more slipping. I want to write more about thorns and taking problems apart piece by piece, and doing good and so on, but family matters call, so I have to beam out of bloggerland and back to Domesticadia. I'll leave you with some more pics from the morning ride and the recent week on wheels. Get up. Go ride.

 This is a Canadian Metis Nation flag (I did not know that)

Need to dust off my road bike. This looks awesome.

I'm a lot happier with the point-and-shoot camera lately by the way. I fiddled with some of the settings, and found the combo that works pretty well for me to grab shots while riding. I set it to the fastest auto-focus mode, and locked it to ISO 400 to get a faster shutter--I like the way it stops the spokes above, for example. I am still impatient with waiting for it to turn on and then focus, but I am getting used to it. 

He was with the other two above, but took the sidewalk instead of the lane

 I Think I Would Position Farther to the Left to Turn Left. Steve A? Thoughts?

A Merry Band of Cycling Brothers


  1. Hey! what is that roadie doing on the other side of the yellow line!

  2. I believe they were crossing diagonally to hop on the canal path on the other side. Shortest distance between two points and all that.

  3. I'm with you on that "Position Farther to the Left" idea, JRA. When I "take the lane," I take it right down the middle, preventing motorists from pulling alongside. When I was first getting back into riding in traffic, I would try to stay right like the fellow in your photo is doing. I discovered some cagers will pull up next to you and attempt to turn left simultaneously with you. I even had one guy pull up on my left (because, of course, he had the room) and make a RIGHT turn in front of me just before I started my LEFT turn! :-O


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