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Dies y uno de Mayo

Grant Petersen

Welcome! A few Blaghs ago I told the story of how a 64 year old prisoner in Florida read something about Rivendell in Wired magazine, then sent a note saying hi and send me a catalogue, I like to ride, I'm looking forward to riding when I get out in a few years.

Whether I should have known the rules (how?) or he should have told me (whatever), I sent him eight books---ageless ones, not knowing his reading level. two were famously illustrated by a guy with his exact first and last name and middle initial. Then there was a Just Ride and The Ultimate Bicycle Owner's Manual, by Eben Weiss. Two Yehuda Moon comic/graphic books, and The Wind in the Willows (which anybody will love)...and anyway, it came to eight books.

The books were returned with a note from the Prison Security Bureau saying Sorry, too many. Max 5 books and three magazines. So I resent 5 books, and these too were refused because the required paperwork -- which I wasn't familiar with -- wasn't completed.

I can see how books could hide razors and powders, and there's the classic American trick of cutting out a block in the pages and putting a derringer in it, but there's also just checking the books. It's too hard to give books to prisoners. What is the proper amount of "hard"?

There's a story there, somewhere, but who'd going to tell it? Some reporter somewhere down there in Florida. Hey, call me up, I'll give you all the documentation. The knife & drugs defense can't hold up. Open the books, shake ' em around a bit, see if anything comes out, and if it doesn't, let 'em read.


This Book review, is kind of a tough one. I hope it doesn't happen to me.

 It's all too bad, isn't it? Nothing is Ivanka's fault, how can it be?  She was born into it. A reach for her isn't a normal-person reach, so she doesn't realize when she's in the zone, or which zone she's in.


This is interesting--it's about anthropology & stuff.

Don't glimpse the pictures below and skip over this link. It's a neat thing.


My photo-project is inching along. I hope to get to the point where I hate and am embarrassed by these shots, but the current fact is that I like the look, but I also know how to improve them. They're all on film, which I know p*sses people off a little, some people, but I get to have my hard fun, right? Shooting film is not the equivalent of wearing lederhosen and a Tyrolean hat. At some point, the ease and instantness and rapidfire results of digital is like too many lollipops in your mouth at the same time, and every flavor, even passion fruit and lime.

Sixteen years ago I rescued this Wilton vise mounted on a propane tank from the dumpster, and we've used it every damn day since. It has copper jaws, and Mark generally lines those with paper towels, so the Nitto rack stays don't get chewed. ISO 100 film. It looks way better big.

There was a time when I insisted that the cables cross in exact front of the bolt, but I have grown to despise symmetry, adore asymmetry, and in Mark I trust. I like that you can see the metal coil beneath the casing.

I should have waited until the bars were wrapped and twined. This is definitely way less good for lack of twine in it. See? Imagine the twine. Imagine the twine being shellacked! Imagine drips of shellac! O heavenly photo! HP-5 film. 


Roman at his desk with Will—who has the premium work space in the whole empire here (behind the wall there).

There actually was wet sloppy shellacking going on there, although it's not showing. This, I think, is on an Appaloosa with Choco bars. I might be wrong, it could be a Cheviot with Albatross bars. It has bar-end shifters, tho. See the reach adjuster screw on the brake lever sticking out there so barely? Unless you have the hands of a child, remove it. It sometimes rubs.  This looks staged. It may have been. Maybe the shellac had been squeezed out. It's not as good as it could be. Delta 100 film.

We love our Wald baskets. They are the best biggest bargain in all of the bike world or whatever it is. I should have used 3200 speed film and shot this on F11. It would have been better, I think. Well--these are all experiments. FOMA 400 film.

This is our semi-successful attempt (I rode it 50 miles, no problem except for the slight bump) to make the ideal perfectomundo (perfect all over the world) tire size, halfway between 650B and 700C. Velocity made the rim for it.

Self-portrait. In the German Mirror, and that's my CLEM-L and my usual assortment of junk on it.

OK, that's all.  We're planning winter and spring bikes. It would be nice to have tons of money and a big warehouse. Will ordered some of his favorite T-shirts.





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  • Michael on

    Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich…wow. Somebody reads. After that, why not Three Cheers for Anarchism by Scott. Then when you’re ready to just ride your bike and give up (or move to a meaningfully democratic country), The Collapse of American Criminal Justice by Stuntz.

  • Robin on

    They already make the perfect wheel size between 700C & 650B: it’s called 26 × 1 3/8, or 650A or EA3, like on old 3-speeds. (Not the Schwinn 26 × 1 3/8.) Great wheel size, and MANY great old bikes still roll around on them ;-)

  • Andreas on

    Shooting b&w in medium format for >30 years. I too use a Hasselblad, but bring a Mamiya 7 medium range finder on the bike for it’s lower weight and quicker handling to capture moose and black bears on my rides.

    If you have not yet, consider developing at home. Super cheap, super easy super fun. Rodinal. Oh, shelf life is about 80 years, in case you only sporadically develop.

  • TomJ on

    great article/post! bikes, photography (rangefinders, film, bokeh) and social justice. i’ve enjoyed my visits to john’s rivelo, and will stop in walnut creek on my next bay area visit.

  • Mark R on

    Yes, I would say it is the process that the medium requires that makes the difference. With digital, you can fire off a gazillion shots. With film, every shot must become a physical object (film to contact sheet) in order to see what it is you’ve made. And although my photography teacher in college (1970s) admonished us to shoot as many rolls as we could, I don’t think he envisioned the digital “revolution.” Waiting for film development: Remember “Allow 4-6 Weeks For Delivery”? Hah! Now they design the ketchup bottle so there is no more anticipation…

    There is no question digital changes the approach, and therefore, the results. Just not as considered. This is relevant to me because yet another of my (to me) expensive digital cameras stopped working, and because my digital storage is a complete unorganized mess for the most part—too many lollipops.

    Your photographs are wonderful, but I would not give 80 percent of the credit to the medium. In fact, film combines technical skill mastery with your creativity, so you can give yourself 100 percent credit.

    The prison thing is frustrating (although not as frustrating as trying to figure out the This Is Not a Bill bills I keep getting from my trip into the world of health insurance). Prison is a major industry around here, though hidden nicely. The book Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich is a great place to start to make sense of why the various institutions (medical, prison, education, transpo, etc.) are not working.

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