Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dear Dr. Wally

Dear Dr. Wally

I have a bike and know how to balance on it. What more do I need? The sales guy said I should have a helmet and he even offered some free classes. It's all bunk. Everyone knows how to ride a bike!

Broderick in Crawford

Owning a bicycle and knowing how to balance it is much like have a 44 magnum and only knowing how to load the bullets. It's like having a pit bull and not investing any time in training him. It's like having a car and a seat belt, and thinking that's enough to know about driving.

Some people insist that a helmet is essential, and it is, if you're planning to crash. In your case, definitely buy a helmet. Better yet, buy two because you'll be twice as safe.

But let's assume you're not intending to crash. You'd rather avoid it. That's understandable, but how do you go about learning not to crash? There are a couple of ways, actually. The one I went through was call the School of Hard Knocks and Bitter Experience. I don't recommend it to anyone more intelligent than a small kitchen appliance. So, assuming you can outwit the toaster most of the time, you'll probably benefit from the other approach, and that's to learn from an experienced instructor.

Local bike shops can refer you to a qualified instructor, or you can look on the League of American Bicyclists web page. The main advantage of formal training is that you gain the equivalent of a year of experience in a nine hour class. That's a big jump start toward confident, competent road cycling, and it's an approach I readily endorse.

Dr. Wally

From the Editor:
Dr Wally is presently taking applications for the coveted "Endorsed by Dr. Walter Crankset" seal of approval for regional bicycle programs. Interested parties can obtain the application from his website. Submit the form and the $25 application processing fee to the Dr. Wally Program c/o Larry's Cafe in downtown Broken Elbow, Oklahoma. Larry regrets that he cannot accept PayPal for payment of bar tabs or application fees.


Monday, March 29, 2010

They may want to hire a proofreader

It reads, down toward the bottom, "Hang to dry. Worm iron if necessary." It's hard to find a good worm iron these days. I mean, most worms I've seen around the yard are kinda round and a little bit lumpy from being segmented and all. Sure, there are a few flat ones on the driveway and sidewalk, but they really don't appear to have been ironed.

I went on like this for about 5 minutes, until She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed threatened to lock me in the garage again. Gotta cut back on that afternoon coffee.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ah, Spring!

Welcome to springtime in Oklahoma! On Friday, the last full day of winter, it was 71F and breezy. We went for a walk in one of the local parks - along with a ton of other people out to enjoy the day.

Late Friday night, the rain started. By 4AM Saturday morning as I left for work, it was just above freezing with a stiff north wind. The snow started just after dawn. When I went home late in the afternoon, everything was covered. Grumbling, I shoveled the driveway again.

These photos were taken after an earlier storm this year. I like the fence shot because it just looks cold and bleak. That's pretty much how it feels today. The sky is overcast, an almost uniform gray, and the wind is still blowing.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to be in the 60s. All this snow will melt and we'll likely have some localized flooding.

Meanwhile, I'm staying indoors with a hot cup of coffee, Topeca Manzano, made in a single cup Melitta drip device. Bacon and eggs for breakfast would be nice. I'll have to see if there's any bacon in the 'fridge. That all has to wait, though, as one of the geriatric cats just urped up a hairball in the living room.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Konica C35 corrosion

I'm going ahead with this, but the camera may be nothing more than a paperweight when I'm finished. The black (negative) wire was corroded through at the battery tab, but I couldn't see that until I took the battery case out. To replace that red wire I had to remove the top, bottom, and lens mounting, as well as the rangefinder. That will probably mean the rangefinder will have to be re-calibrated when it's done, a task that took quite some time on the Yashica Electro GT. There are many interesting ways to screw up, and I found most of them.

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ChipSeal update (2)

Earlier today, Blogger Joe K said...

Ed, If I read the Texas Bicycle Law I come away convinced that ChipSeal did violate the law and yes I'm a cyclist (grin). See 551.103 (b)

According to ChipSeal (if I remember right) he said he has a right to the roadway. Wish I could see a transcript of the court trial to see if he ever moved right of he was steadfast that he has a right to the lane and wouldn't move right. If he would not move to the right with cars behind him, then he is impeding traffic.

Either way it's sad that confrontation couldn't be avoided by common sense and common respect.

Ride Long and Prosper

Slo Joe Recumbo

(Joe provided the relevant law. I've edited it for brevity.)

Sec. 551.103. Operation on Roadway.
Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless....(a) surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway...the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or (is) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

Bicycles may ride on the shoulder
Sec. 545.058. Driving on Improved Shoulder. [i.e., a paved shoulder outside the traffic lane]
(a) An operator may drive on an improved shoulder to the right of the main traveled portion of a roadway if that operation is necessary and may be done safely, but only (among other things) to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass...

First, an aside about the court proceeding in Ennis. As I understand it, there is no written record of it. That's how they handle local cases like this, and some witnesses said the judge did not give the jury the full text of the law in his instructions. Anywhere else that alone would be grounds for appeal and possibly reversal, but then again, I'm not an attorney.

However, Bob Mionske is an attorney, and he wrote this about the Selz case and impeding traffic in his book, Bicycling and the Law:

...the problem for the court was that, contrary to what the police officer believed, the statute does not prohibit slow-moving vehicles from impeding traffic....the Ohio court explained that if the statute did prohibit slow-moving vehicles from impeding traffic, "it would be tantamount to excluding operators of those vehicles from the public roadways, something that each legislative authority, respectively, has not clearly expressed an intention to do."..."a bicyclist is not in violation of the ordinance when he is traveling as fast as he reasonably can."...Because it's clear that the Ohio court interpreted the impeding traffic statute correctly, it seems likely that other courts would agree with Ohio.

'Other courts' evidently does not include Ennis, Texas.

Let's define what 'roadway' means. In most states, Texas included, the roadway is that traveled portion of the road exclusive of the shoulder. That's not my interpretation. It's the law. Given that the lawmakers decided to address the presence of a bicyclist or other slow-moving traffic on a roadway, they obviously expected cyclists to be using those roadways, not the adjacent shoulder. Otherwise, they would have written the law to exclude them. Surface hazards, etc., may induce a cyclist using the shoulder to swerve left and right into the traveled part of the road, posing an obvious hazard to himself and others. It's safer to stay in the roadway. That's makes a bicyclist's movements more predictable, and as we all know, being predictable is the very foundation of traffic law.

Also, absent a "designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane" a bicyclist is not obligated to move to the right. The police tried to charge Bates with failure to use a bike lane - a charge that wouldn't stick because there are no designated bike lanes in Ennis.

Bicyclists may use the shoulder. Note it does not say that they must use the shoulder. This is a critical difference. But even when it says we may use the shoulder, it specifies that it's only if "it may be done safely." Who can better judge the condition and safety of a shoulder - a cyclist traveling at 15 mph, or a motorist driving at 50? What is 'safe' to a motorist surrounded by a ton or more of steel and glass may be something quite different to a bicyclist protected by a lycra jersey and a styrofoam hat.

Finally, one last thought, Joe. You're, well, um, you're a recumbent rider and as we all know, 'bent riders are the spawn of Satan. (Don't listen to Steve A when he says that I'm one of Satan's minions. Steve lies.)

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

I am a bad, bad man....(updated)

I went rooting about in a bin at a flea market, finding tons of old Kodaks, Polaroids, and for some odd reason, Minolta autofocus cameras, when I spied this way down on the bottom.

The battery leaked and corroded the battery compartment. Most of that is plastic so it shouldn't be a major problem. But I read Matt's Classic Cameras about repairing these, and his unit had corrosion all along the negative lead from the case, requiring replacement of the wire. There's a lovely photo on his site of the disassembled camera.

Of course, the seals are a gummy mess. At the bottom of this photo is a small roller that's part of the back. It's supposed to make winding a little smoother, and it's a nice touch on a camera that was meant as an inexpensive but decent quality photo taker in the days before the auto-focus, auto-everything camera killed off the rangefinder market.

Oh, there was also a Canon AF35ML in that bin. It's an automatic camera with a comparatively fast f 1.9 lens. I have one around here somewhere and I bought it new back in the 1980s. That model had two major problems. First, the battery compartment door had a tendency to break off. This was a shoddy design decision in what was a high end point and shoot. The other problem is the camera is gawdawful noisy! Honestly, I've never heard another one like it. It takes great pictures, but it's gratingly LOUD.

The one at the flea market had very badly corroded batteries. It went back into the bin.


I took the C35 apart this afternoon. It was worse than I expected.

This is the exposure mechanism inside the top cover. The rangefinder is to the right, and the frame counter is that wheel to the left. Those wires attached to the little white plastic box in the center come from the battery. See that gray blob at the end of the red wire? It's corrosion from battery fluid that traveled through the wire via capillary action. The wire will have to be replaced, but here's hoping the corrosive didn't find a way inside the exposure control mechanism, or this camera will just be a pretty paperweight.

But there's more. The battery compartment is plastic as I mentioned earlier. A pair of screws hold it in the cast aluminum camera body. One of them goes all the way through to the back of the camera, inside the film compartment. I found corrosion in there too. Hopefully, I'll be able to remove it with the assistance of some penetrating oil and maybe a soldering iron.

I can see some brackets that look like supports down inside the camera body. They're corroded. Most of the internal parts appear to be brass, though those corroded pieces may be steel.

Regardless, this camera is going to be a more involved project than I'd hoped. It's going to take a considerable amount of dis-assembly to fix this. I'm glad I only have five bucks in it.

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ChipSeal update

ChipSeal posted this yesterday:


On Tuesday, March 9, Officer McCurdy arrested me. He did not tell me what law I had allegedly broken. After cooling my jets in the Ennis city jail for 26 hours, (10 AM Tuesday to just after 12:30 PM on Wednesday, according to my phone records.) I was keen to look at the citation to see what the particular charge was.

I was not given one....

So Friday I stop at the court to file seven motions and plead not guilty to this charge. I ask the court clerk for my case number. She runs my case envelope through the copy machine. Here is what my case envelope says:

E0011786 01 100053359
Fin: 100.00 Cst: 94.00 Due: 194.00



Violation Date: 3/9/2010

In another time and place, I'd find this absurdly humorous and worthy of the Marx brothers. But it seems like Reed is descending into a Kafkaesque nightmare. The law enforcement and legal system in Ennis is more on the order of Stalin's show trials. The end justifies the means, and the end is to get that pesky bicyclist off the road permanently.

This is not only wrong. It's against our American values of justice and fair play. The authorities in Ennis are using the legal system in an effort to curtail the rights of an American citizen.

In an ironic twist to this story, he was arrested once while returning from jury duty. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that failure to appear for jury duty is grounds for arrest. So here you have a guy doing his civic duty, and he ends up in jail afterward. Again, it's absurd. This story has absurdity in abundance.

Bates is unemployed. He simply does not have the resources to fight this alone, so if you can, please donate to his defense at Let Him Ride!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


PM was astonished that I still had a bottle of Cramolin in my toolbox. It was a popular cleaner for electronics once upon a time, and as I found with my commuter bike, it prevented corrosion and intermittent contacts between the bike computer and its mount.

Cramolin was replaced by DeoxIT, a similar appearing liquid that has a different odor and slightly higher viscosity. Where Cramolin smelled slightly acidic, DeoxIT is far less pungent. Also, DeoxIT's higher viscosity makes it a little more difficult to remove after cleaning an assembly.

And therein lies a story.

When I hired into the navigation electronics shop at this very large airline, most of the fleet was composed of Boeing 727s and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s. The controls for those aircraft were primarily electro-mechanical systems. When you look in the cockpit and see all those dials, switches, and indicators - those were a big part of my job. Since much of my previous work involved small mechanical devices, working with gears, levers, and springs was second nature. That's how I ended up on the pitch control panel for the DC-10.

Pitch is the up or down motion of an aircraft relative to a horizontal line. The pilot would set his cruising altitude on the pitch panel by turning a knob connected to a gear train that moved both a mechanical counter and a mechanical encoder assembly. These days, encoders are optical devices, very small and very reliable. Your car probably has an optical encoder on the frequency dial, particularly if it's speed sensitive. Turn it faster, and it makes bigger changes.

Those old mechanical encoders weren't nearly as reliable. They consisted of two spools with a pattern of make-and-break contact areas. Tiny cat-whisker switches rode on the spools. As the spools turned, the cat whiskers touched on gold plated conductive areas or insulators. the pattern determined the particular data being sent to the flight computer. Naturally, this was a redundant system as there were two identical spools sending the same data. If they differed, the computer flagged the panel as faulty.

Corrosion wasn't a problem due to the gold-plated contacts. But dust intrusion and the eventual wear on the cat whiskers, combined with the loss of tension over the years, made these panels a bit tricky. A tiny amount of dust on the spools would build up under the cat whiskers. Under high magnification, it looked almost like a miniature snowdrift blown up against the wire. But it was just enough to lift the switch out of contact with the spool. Once one side went intermittent, the computer threw up its hands in disgust.

The usual procedure was to disassemble the panel, remove the altitude encoder assembly, and then disassemble it. Care had to be taken to mark it in order to make re-alignment easier. The spools were cleaned with Cramolin (See? I got around to Cramolin again) to float any dust up out of the spool's surface. The excess was wiped away and then the spools were cleaned again with denatured alcohol. I really wanted grain alcohol for a cleaner as it leaves no residue behind and it makes a dandy technician lubricant when mixed with some fruit juice. That's an excellent way to get fired around here, incidentally.

After cleaning, the whole shebang went back together again, sometimes aligned properly on the first try. When I was learning to do this, the initial unit took about 2 hours to disassemble and clean, and then it took the rest of the week to get it back together and working properly again. There were lots of interesting ways to do it wrong. I found most of them.

This morning I wanted to see how DeoxIT compared to the older Cramolin. I had a circuit board with push button switches. These have only one moving part besides the push button cap. There's a small coil spring formed in a circle around a center post with a groove to retain it. When the button is pushed, the spring is forced out of the groove and it makes contact between the center post and a circuit trace. When the force on the push button goes away, the spring goes back into the groove. It's very simple.

Since this control is in the cockpit, it sometimes gets liquids spilled onto it. There a gasket between the push button cap and the switch itself to prevent liquids from entering the unit, much like a computer keyboard. Still, they can get very dirty and this one was no exception. I cleaned it up and decided to try the DeoxIT on the switches.

Using a cotton swab, I daubed a bit onto each spring. After a few minutes, I washed it off with alcohol, or rather, I tried to wash it off. The stuff is tenacious! It took three washings to get the board clean and I still had to wipe some DeoxIT away with a small Kimwipe.

I'm thinking this stuff would be better for connections exposed to weather, like my bike computer, or the electrical connectors for trailer hitch lamps. But in future, I will use it very, very sparingly on these control panels.

One last thing - because I went looking for information on Cramolin yesterday, I discovered that our shop doesn't have a material safety data sheet for the stuff. Without it, I don't think we can legally have that chemical in the shop, and since we are regularly inspected by the FAA and our internal audit people, I'll probably have to dispose of my bench stock.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Olympus XA update

Do you see that little lever to the left of the camera lens? That's the f-stop lever, the one that was stuck halfway through its range.

In order to get to it, the sliding dust cover must be removed. Once it's off, it's time to search for the tiny roller that clicks to hold it in place. This is best performed by a wizard, someone skilled in crawling about in the dark while muttering incantations. After the pesky little bugger is found, it's a simple matter to remove the top, bottom, and right side of the camera. Well, it would be a simple matter if it weren't for a couple of screws that really didn't have to be removed. And then there's the minor problem of a couple of hidden screws as well.

Let's just say I had a good time with this puzzle.

As it turned out, the f-stop lever was stuck because it was ever so slightly bent. That part on the left (ZK739700) has the detents for the f-stops and it's guided in its up and down travel by a pair of small shoulder screws. The fork on its right side engages a small pin on the aperture assembly. The adjustment handle on the part had been forced upward, bending the upper slot inward very slightly. The bend wouldn't go past the shoulder screw.

I found this by removing it from the camera and working the aperture pin up and down. It traveled freely, so the problem had to be in the linkage. The bend was so slight I missed it the first time, thinking that it was hitting the camera body at the upper end of its travel. Wrong. Careful examination revealed the pinched slot. The part is just mild steel so I bent it back outward with the fat end of my heavy assembly tweezers.

While I had the camera apart, I did a quick cleaning on the rangefinder assembly. It looks better, but clearances are so tight I couldn't get a cotton swab onto some parts of it. I'll do it again sometime soon and I may try a pipe cleaner or a wad of cotton held in a pair of mosquito forceps. One thing's for sure - I won't disassemble the rangefinder!

The XA is interesting because it's so tiny. Everything has to be aligned just so. The other cameras I've had apart - the Canonet and the Yashica Electro - are more like big American cars with tailfins by comparison.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Reed Bates has been stopped numerous times by the police in and around Ennis, Texas. Most notably, he was arrested and jailed for the 'crime' of riding a bicycle on the road. Yes, he was on the roadway, not the shoulder, so the county sheriff's department decided he had to be taught a lesson.

Like most states, Texas forbids motor vehicles from using the shoulder. Cyclists are permitted to do so, but they are not legally obligated to ride on the shoulder. Rather than charge Bates with violating a non-existent law (a practice that's not unusual) the police charged him with impeding traffic....on a four lane road.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but when there are two lanes in the same direction, isn't one of them often called the 'slow lane' and the other the 'passing lane'? Motorists pass slower traffic all the time, yet when it's a bicyclist in that slow lane, somehow a crime just had to be in the making.

Bates was tried and convicted by a jury of his peers - not a cyclist in the bunch, obviously - and his case is now on appeal. That is, his case will be appealed if we can raise enough money to contest this unfair treatment. Please, please, please, visit this website and make a donation however small and do something to stand up for a cyclist's right to use the public roadways.

And where are LAB and the Texas Bicycle Coalition in all this? That sound you hear is crickets chirping.


She Who Must Be Obeyed

Fans of dubious literature, cheesy movies, or British television series may recognize that phrase. The first time I encountered it was in the H. Rider Haggard novel, "She", about a 3,000 year old woman who, along with another woman's husband, skipped out on all that Egyptian empire nonsense with pharaohs and mummies and whatnot. They ventured into uncharted Africa where She found the secret of eternal youth by bathing in the eternal flame of whatever. Conveniently, her lover died, otherwise the book wouldn't have had much of a plot. Jump forward a couple of millennial to some English adventurers exploring that same uncharted Africa when they stumble across She and her entourage. Hijinks ensue.

Someone just had to make a movie version of the book, of course, and they did so back in the 60s. It starred Ursula Andress as She. The whole thing leads up to her bathing in the flame thing again in order to show her new lover - the spittin' image of the old one who was apparently reincarnated - that the flames were indeed safe and USDA approved. She had to bathe naked or nearly naked, since her clothing would have caught fire, you know. To our lurid teenage imaginations there was little difference. Trust me, you won't watch this for the acting.

The movie inspired me. Oofda! I'd seen Ann Margret in "Bye, Bye, Birdie" too, and I knew what I wanted for Christmas. Sadly, it was not to be.

Years later, a British comedy appeared on PBS. "Rumpole of the Bailey" followed the ups and downs of barister Horace Rumpole. His wife telephoned him often, and he invariably rolled his eyes while covering the mouthpiece, saying, "It's She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed!"

When I first started writing a column for an amateur radio newsletter, SWMBO figured prominently. Most readers knew my wife and realized she's not the authoritarian type depicted. Far from it, in fact. I'm a lucky man. She hasn't tried to kill me yet.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

FreeWheel 2010

(This is my Lanterne Rouge column for this month's Red Dirt Pedalers "Wheel Issues.")

I attended two of the FreeWheel seminars here in Tulsa. In the first one, Ellen Proctor, the FreeWheel 2010 Director, announced the route for this year's ride. This is the 32nd edition of Oklahoma's cross state event and will cover approximately 438 miles.

Registration forms will be mailed the first week in February. They will include a section for making reservations for bus transportation. Bus tickets will be sent in May. For the first time, on-line registrations will be accepted. They include a 6% surcharge. Non-riders will be charged $40 this year. Registration packets will include information about luggage transport, shower facilities, the "Shuttle Guy" porter service, and more.

The 2010 Route

Sunday, June 13th. Hugo to Clayton. 55 miles.

Breakfast will be available at 5AM, with a mass start at 630AM. Ellen said, "You won't need an alarm clock. You'll wake up to the sound of hundreds of tent zippers opening."

Monday, June 14th. Clayton to Heavener. 70 miles.
Heavener is home to the mysterious rune stone, an ancient rock carved with Norse symbols. No one knows how this occured. The town may offer bus transport out to the park, but the route passes it on the way into town, so many cyclists will undoubtedly stop to see this rock.

Tuesday, June 15th. Heavener to Muldrow. 71mi.
Muldrow, with a population of only 3000, has a claim to fame. The former Miss America, Shawntell Smith, grew up in Muldrow. No, she will not be greeting FreeWheel riders as she now lives in Tennessee.

Muldrow is 8 miles from Arkansas. A short side trip will allow FreeWheel riders to add another state to their itinerary.

Wednesday, June 16th. Muldrow to Tahlequah. 61 hilly miles.
This is the hilliest section of the 2010 tour. Ellen Proctor used the touring euphemism "scenic." SpeedWheel will take place in Tahlequah. This is a separate event from FreeWheel as it is a sanctioned racing event held in conjunction with the tour each year.

Thursday, June 17th. Tahlequah to Pryor. 50 miles.
FreeWheel re-visits a popular route from years past.

Friday, June 18th. Pryor to Miami. 67 miles.
On this next-to-last day of the tour, the FreeWheel organization offers a catered dinner to all participants, followed by a bluegrass concert by Brian Berline. This is tentatively scheduled for the Coleman Theater Beautiful, one of the attractions along historic Route 66 through Miami.

Saturday, June 19th. Miami to Joplin, Missouri. 38 miles.

Tom Brown, owner of Tom's Bicycles, presented the second seminar on bike repair and maintenance, most of it aimed at inexperienced riders. He highly recommended a road bike for the tour, though people do complete it on mountain bikes. Road bikes offer more hand positions and therefore greater comfort on a long day's ride. Proper bike fit is essential.

Tom covered the ABC Quick Check.
A - Air. Tires should be rock hard. Check wheels and hubs too. Feel for any sideplay in the hubs and inspect the tires, looking for bulges, cuts, or debris.
B - Brakes. When applied, there should be a thumbs width of clearance between the lever and handlebar. This is a good way to see that your brake quick release is closed.
C - Crank and Chain. Check for sideplay. With your hand, turn the pedals backward. Look and listen for any damaged or tight chain links. Pay special attention to any that may have a side plate popping off.
Quick releases - note that there's an open/closed label on the lever. Get in the habit of putting the quick release levers in the same position all the time so you can see at a glance that they are closed.
Twist the handlebars to see that they're tight in the fork.

Tom demonstrated how to fix a flat, except for the essential part about re-filling the tire with air. He forgot to bring a pump! The assembled group found this highly amusing. He noted that three bike shops drive the route, so if anyone needs assistance it will be somewhere nearby.

With a bike in his repair stand, Tom demonstrated how bicycle gearing works and described the basic concepts of cadence. He also covered the differences between traditional pedals and clipless pedals, highlighting the advantages of clipless units.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Dear Dr. Wally: Hipsters

(This is the Dr. Wally column for the Red Dirt Pedalers "Wheel Issues.")

Dear Dr. Wally

A couple of days ago, I decided to become a hipster. I'm nineteen, so it's cool. It helps that I'm kinda tall and thin, actually 5 feet 10 inches and 145 pounds, so I can fit into those really skinny jeans. But I'm having trouble finding ironic t-shirts here in Broken Elbow because all the ones I've seen either are for sports teams or some variety of farm equipment. I took my Dad's dusty old bike and I'm converting it to a fixed gear. It's an ancient Schwinn, a model I never heard of called a Paramount. It doesn't look like any of the Schwinns at the local W**Mart store. One of my friends said I can make it into a fixed gear by pouring epoxy down into the gear cluster. Will that work? I've already customized it with stickers and I sanded off all those manufacturers decals in symbolic defiance of modern consumer culture. I threw away all that Champ stuff too.

Teen Hipster in Training

Dear Hipster

Is there any chance I can be on the jury when your Dad's trial comes up? For that matter, if he gets a jury of his peers - say, middle-aged men with teenage sons - he'll probably walk. Just realize that your body may never be found. I'd even help him dig the hole.

I'm going to ask you a question that's been asked of me on numerous occasions. Are you out of your mind? Wait, wait. Don't bother answering that. You're a teenager and as such the whole planet revolves around you, right? There's a quote attributed to Samuel Clemens. He said, " "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." So according to Clemens, you have three years to go. Let's hope you survive them.

My advice - join the Marine Corps immediately and get out of town before your Dad discovers what you've done.

Next time on Dr. Wally: Hipsters in the Heartland - Threat or Menace?