November 22, 2017: Stove-top Espresso, New Skills, Fall Biking, Lemon Cake, The Cost of Bread, New Bike

Androp’s two-year old, $685, Rancilo Miss Sylvia home espresso machine began to throw the kitchen surge protector.  After viewing on-line videos of possible fixes (the heating element was implicated), the decision was made not to attempt a fix.  Androp has negligible ability in terms of home repairs.  It is suspected that his wife was quite relieved.

The Bialetti Espresso stove-top coffee maker: simple, elegant, inexpensive, and the aroma and taste of the brew is like nothing else.  Get the 9 cup, which means 9, 2 oz shot, size, for two.

An elegant, simple solution was proposed and subsequently executed: a Bialetti Moka Espress stove-top coffee maker was purchased.  The elegance is sublime: octagonal base and an 80 year old design.  The resulting brew is aromatic and less better than a 15-bar pressure pulled shot, but more flavorful than boring drip coffee.  Extraction is at 1 to 2 bars pressure.  The Bialetti has achieved Androp’s highest level of recommendation: GJGO (Gawd, Just Get One).  At around $40, you have not much to lose. .

The toast with butter was prices at $2 at a bike trail cafe.  The two loaves of cinnamon bread on the bottom were made for less than $1.

Androp prepared two loaves of cinnamon bread and was reminded of breakfast on the bike trail.  He purchased slices of bread at $2 or $3 each.  Five pounds of flour costs less than $3.  Of all the things to be amazed by, the fee for a single slice of toast with butter, at $2, seems supremely shocking.  The bread was homemade, but not as fresh or as fragrant as what Androp can produce at home.


Lemon filled, lemon frosted, lemon cake was produced for the wife’s birthday.

Lemon filled, lemon frosted, lemon birthday cake resulted in a coma when consumed by the wife. Note: grandchild assumes every cake is for her, and is pictured blowing out candles.

This required large quantities of lemon juice and lemon zest combined with a great deal of time and effort (but not much skill, really).  The result was coma-producing, but worth it.


The youngest grandchild has a new skill: opening and closing the front door.  This is both exciting and panic-producing.  One more can get away, and this one tends to want to escape.  She is a maverick.


This child has learned to escape.

Finally, Androp purchased a new bicycle, after months of anguish over prices and styles.  No identifiable event tripped the wire toward making the purchase, but it was nonetheless made.  Intense self-loathing, post-purchase, lasted about two weeks, and has since slowly faded to simple, intermittent, moderate self-criticism.  Decision points included: steel frame (not aluminum), drop handlebars (not straight), semi-upright geometry (not more aggressive; Androp is old), up-graded wheelset, and up-graded (not stock) tires.

A new Salsa Fargo was used to enjoy the fall colors (sugar maples prominent, right)  along the big river bluffs.

The final contestants were the Salsa Vaya, Salsa Fargo, and Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Among these, the Fargo had the must up-right geometry and was selected on that basis.  About 200 miles are on the bike.  One initial frustration: the disc brakes are not as simple to use and adjust as rim brakes.  For most uses, rim brakes are probably better, but marketing has made the discs standard on ‘up-scale’ bikes.


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