As Far As I Can Tell

Light Table

Almost a year after having the initial idea I’ve finally finished upgrading my light table. I tore out all of the corroded, nasty ballasts and fixtures and replaced them with shiny new ones. I also doubled the lighting capacity to six 24” tubes. I’m going to use this as a regular light table and for doing screen exposures.

I bought “daylight” tubes that are supposed simulate the noon day sun, but one of them doesn’t seem to work and I had to use a regular “cool white” one. The difference is only somewhat noticeable to the eye, but check out how obvious it is in the photograph below.

Light Table Overview

Closeup of ballasts

Warm and cool light



maybe i’m stupid … but what’s a light table for?

Posted by: miguel on April 30, 2003 4:40 PM

It can be used for viewing transparencies, film or doing a variety of graphic arts work that involves aligning or cutting. I’m also going to be using it as a consistent light source to expose light sensitive emulsion that has been applied to screens for screen printing. It might clarify things a bit to note that there is a semi-opaque glass top that sits above those bulbs.

Posted by: simon on April 30, 2003 9:36 PM

Congratulations on the completion of your light table. I have always been slightly jealous of your light table and will now look into purchasing my own. Seeing as how I am not very skilled at freehand drawing the light table makes it easy to trace things. I now recall a conversation in college where we were labelled as cheaters by a certain SW for tracing.

Posted by: ivo on May 1, 2003 8:06 AM

Ok. I’ve no idea what any of this means: ” I?m also going to be using it as a consistent light source to expose light sensitive emulsion that has been applied to screens for screen printing. It might clarify things a bit to note that there is a semi-opaque glass top that sits above those bulbs.”

Posted by: miguel on May 2, 2003 1:52 AM

If you have to ask…you’ll never know.

Posted by: allison on May 5, 2003 10:41 AM


Posted by: miguel on May 5, 2003 12:49 PM

Trash Trucks Explained

Parked all around my neighborhood and often slinking slowly though the alleys you can find beat up old pick-up trucks with built up sides stacked incredibly high with scrap and trash. Generally wood, metal, porcelain or furniture is piled impossibly high and clearly not just being moved Beverly Hillbilly style to another residence.

I might of finally found out what is going on. The city of Chicago has developed a report [pdf] on illegal dumping that has the following explanation:

Although it primarily occurs at night, illegal dumping occurs at all times of the day. Illegal dumpers often purchase rundown pickup trucks at a very low price, use them for illegal dumping activities until they are no longer operable, and then abandon them while they still contain waste.

So some the trucks I see parked are just abandoned until the city hauls them away. They make their money on illegal dumping and when the truck breaks they leave it for the city to take care of.

Illegal Dumping Truck

This weekend was great because Meredith was in town. It really helps make up for my weeks full of days sitting here in front of this screen staring at incredibly small type all day.

We saw a movie, went to dinner with friends for Matt’s birthday, hung out with Isaiah and Johanna, and tried very unsuccessfully to fly kites that we bought at the Paul Davis Pharmacy. Paul D. was even nice enough to give us extra kite string, but we didn’t make very good use of it.

Three times a group of young kids had to come over and explain what we were doing wrong. Eventually our mistakes ruined the kites before they ever got in the air. An entire family that the kids belonged to watched me running like an idiot all over the hill trying to get the kite to take off. I think I’m done with kites.

Kite Failure Meredith trying to float her broken kite.

Kite Failure If we couldn’t make it fly, at least it matched her dress.

Kite Failure Me being disappointed with my broken kite name “Art 2”.



In the second photo of me I think I look a little like a drunken Muppet…but at least there is some nice matching greens.

Posted by: meredith on April 29, 2003 12:23 AM

from looking at the pictures … my first reaction is … um, did you like at least put the sticks on them before you tried to fly them? maybe that would’ve helped. ;-)

Posted by: miguel on April 29, 2003 1:39 AM

Yeah, it totally looks like we just tossed the floppy plastic in the air and hoped for it to fly. What you’re seeing is after both of our sticks broke.

Posted by: simon on April 29, 2003 6:30 AM

you guys clearly should have gone for the plastic gayla brand kites. i can remember many days when i was a kid thinking that my “sky eye spy” kite was going to pull me off of the ground. are you going to the conference formerly known as upc? and i was wondering about that web hosting place you recommended to me…feel free to drop me a line….

Posted by: jim on April 29, 2003 11:10 AM

oh, i thought you might want to know that a friend of mine from the online journal community was very offended by your use of “might of” instead of “might have” a few entries ago. and then here it is again. yours truly, the grammar police

Posted by: jim on April 29, 2003 11:11 AM

oh no! the grammer police have inflitrated this site as well… shit. anyway, it’s nice to see you kids enjoying your time together. when i was living in chicago and allison here in kalamazoo, we didn’t have such lovely failed kite flying episodes. *sigh* …although i’m sure allison’s outfit matched with whatever lame activity we did happen upon. ugh. did i say “you kids.” forgive me, please.

Posted by: eric on April 29, 2003 6:36 PM

There’s a difference between grammar and style. I prefer to follow style over grammar (as per Strunk & White) in the quest to develop a “voice” that resonates w/ my readers. So. The use of “might of” is accetable in that context. (BTW, so is the use of a single word sentence “So.”). Grammar is important for large social conversations (i.e. between an entire language’s population). Grammar is nothing more than a series of agreed upon rules of syntax. There’s not necessary logic behind them (and often, very transparently, there’s none). That’s why adjectives go first (“red car”) in English but later (“auto rojo”) in Spanish. But when you write for yourself — even if you have an audience — developing a unique, personal STYLE is important. And. That style might include breaking rules of standard grammar for the sake of consistency. Hence. Developing an individual syntax and grammar all one’s own. See? Bottom line: Simon, feel free to use “would of” or “could of” or whatnot as you deem appropriate. Ignore the grammar police. Oh, and BTW, the use of “might have” is grammatically correct, but usually in poor style. One should avoid using passive verbs — “might have” is such a use. Although. It’s difficult to avoid using helping verbs in the English past pluperfect.

Posted by: miguel on April 29, 2003 8:15 PM

*guh!* did i say grammar police… or did i say anal grammar police… ‘cause i meant the latter. *smiles*

Posted by: eric on April 29, 2003 9:26 PM

The scrapper trucks that I’m familiar with (they used to slowly drive up and down our back alley on Argyle st.) are owned by mexicans- I always figured they picked up big trash that had some potential of being reused. I put a microwave and an air conditioner out in the alley becuase I knew they’d be picked up soon. Within 10 minutes, I heard the trolling engine and went out back to say ‘hola’ to some stout woman loading them onto the back of her truck. She had other electronics in there in various stages of decay- I figured that was her specialty. I had hoped that they were just part of the unspoken cycle of recycling in Chicago- obviously not involved with the city but for their own communities (fix it cheap and sell it cheap).

Posted by: vanessa on May 5, 2003 11:28 AM

Return to Sender

I just got back from attempting to see The Postal Service at The Abbey Pub. It of course was sold out when I got there, all from advance ticket sales seeing as the doors hadn’t opened yet.

I’m not sure why I can’t get into buying tickets ahead of time for shows. It could be that I don’t want to deal with the surcharge, but in this case it was cheaper to by it beforehand. I could blame my incredible spontaneity and claim that there’s no way I could allow myself to be locked down to a certain plan, but that would be a lie. I guess I’m just not used to the idea that bands I like might have enough fans to pack the place out on a Wednesday night.

This means I have to start listening to Scandinavian Metal to avoid the crowds.



My favorites would have to be Entombed and Dismember.

Posted by: ivo on April 24, 2003 8:21 AM

I think you should totally get into stoner rock. The great thing about stoner rockers is that it is such a strong community of people willing to help you pass your drug tests. It’s like the Moped Army but for potheads.

Posted by: meredith on April 24, 2003 11:26 AM

hey! is that some kind of slight against scandinavian metal? i hate to tell you, simon, but the members of deicide probably have a larger fanbase than good ole’ mr. gibbard and tamborello combined. watch it simon, or satan might get you. oh wait, deicide is from florida… but i bet they still love satan as much as any scandinavian… and their album covers are just as dungeons and dragons as any other black metal artist.

Posted by: eric on April 24, 2003 7:35 PM

There’s something silly about a black metal band being from Florida. I’m sure America’s phallic peninsula has just as much Satan loving angst as anywhere else, but when I picture it all I think of is old people in Hawaiian shirts. I better stick to wussy my music. I’d probably be murdered and sacrificed at a Deicide show.

Posted by: simon on April 24, 2003 7:45 PM

I also tried to go to the Detroit Postal Service show, I drove all the way there and it was sold out. I never buy tickets ahead of time, I guess I learned my lesson.

Posted by: lauren on April 27, 2003 6:27 PM

Rumble, Rumble

This afternoon on NPR there was a story about a police officer with the last name of Lemonjello. I’d heard of this bizarre name before, but had understood it to be pronounced “Lem-onjello”. The staid, straight-forward voice of an NPR reporter and another analyst both pronounced it straight up “Officer Lemon-jello”. Crazy.

I had to go downtown today to get paper for the upcoming Moped Army BBQ8 promotions. Somehow in the next week and a half I need to finish building my light exposure table, design the promo, buy supplies, and figure out how to screen print. On top of that I’m trying to get the 1977 website done was quick as a I can. It’s going to be a busy week.

While I was downtown I went to Buckingham Fountain by the lake. It was rush hour and the city was buzzing with people going everywhere. The buildings were sculpture and the fountain was an orchestra. I’m going to miss this place.



have you never screen printed before?

Posted by: jake on April 23, 2003 11:33 PM

I’ve screen printed before, but in a pretty amateur manner. I’ve never actually made my own screens, and I’ve never done multi-color printing with a press before.

Posted by: simon on April 23, 2003 11:55 PM

I did both both in high school and professionally (albeit for a short while). The press that you got is pretty similar to what I had in high school. Once you get a handle on all of the quirks of the press, you should be a screen-printin’ mutha.

Posted by: jake on April 24, 2003 10:44 AM

Cool. If I run into any troubles or questions can I give you a call?

Posted by: simon on April 24, 2003 12:55 PM

On Second Thought

I just wrote and deleted an entire entry about the process of upgrading my computer to a new case and replacing all the fans and one hard drive. Upon reading it the societal awareness meter in my head alerted me to the fact that it the most boring post I had ever made. I’ll leave you to imagine.

I would write and tell you more about my weekend, but Meredith has summed it up so nicely that I’ll let you go there instead.

Meredith was telling me about riding mopeds today and I became really envious. Mopeds in Chicago work out okay in theory. The traffic is generally slow enough for you to be a part of it, but it’s not the same. You’re constantly on guard, having to watch from 6 different angles so you don’t get hit. It’s a stressful experience, whereas riding in Kalamazoo is always something I did to relax myself. And then there’s the fact that riding in packs is always more fun. Roughly a month from now I’ll be Rollin’ on 50cc’s everyday.

I wish I would of been able to build in Chicago the kind of moped community that exists in Kalamazoo. In time it would of happened. Hopefully it will still someday.



boy simon, that case is awful boring… why don’t you try out the bling method!

Posted by: eric on April 15, 2003 2:19 PM

bling is over-rated. ;-)

Posted by: miguel on April 15, 2003 10:06 PM

Roll Simon. Roll to your hearts desire. Burn rubber, not your soul.

Posted by: Brendan Barrans on February 8, 2004 4:09 AM

Sickness traps man in front of bad movie

Meredith just left after spending the weekend here, arriving by train on Friday evening. It was a fun weekend that included a movie, elotes, China Town, good food and the zoo. On my way back home from Union Station to see her off I started feeling even sicker than I already was. After the Simpsons I felt bad enough to remain on the couch for the entirely of the romantic sports comedy staring Keanu Reeves, The Replacements. Now that’s sick.

Luckily, as I was wishing I felt good enough to go to the store and buy Tylenol Cold medicine I stumbled across some in my bathroom. I just wish it would of kicked in before the movie was done.



I had a great weekend with you Simon and I hope you feel better soon. In my heart I know that only extreme sickness could make you watch a Keanu Reeves movie, so we will keep dating.

Posted by: meredith on April 13, 2003 11:19 PM

i know nothing of these elotes. tell me more.

Posted by: jim on April 14, 2003 9:10 PM

H2 = USA

It seems that Hummer owners have decided their over-sized, over-consuming, over-priced vehicle of choice is not only a good ride around town but an act of patriotism. Apparently nothing says “America” like a Hummer, which unfortunately may be true.

“Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed,” he added, “deface the American flag and what it stands for.”

As a rider of a French moped I doubt I have any say in the matter.



fuck that! ride w/ pride.

Posted by: miguel on April 9, 2003 6:47 PM

Gross beyond expression. It makes me want to deface everything.

Posted by: meredith on April 9, 2003 9:53 PM

CONSUME!!! CONSUME!!! CONSUME!!! soon there will be low priced “Free Iraqi” oil for ALL!! BUY A HUMMER NOW!! If I were under the age of 15, I might just go out and deface some highly offensive SUVs. Maybe I should round some up to do my bidding. I could buy them off with cigarettes and cheap beer.

Posted by: Eric on April 10, 2003 11:47 AM

you should check out if you haven’t already, for all your SUV defacing needs.

Posted by: jim on April 10, 2003 3:47 PM

This has nothing to do with Hummers. It is an e-mail my dad sent me concerning TCUP. Thought I would forward it to you since…well…duh! Micah….(Simon) The site is fun and navigates easily, but is there an actual output? What conclusions are you able to draw from the connectivity made? Is the frequency of key words/phrases a key, or is the sequence of key words more notable? Based upon a series of linked dreams, are you able to synthesize a likely next dream in the sequence…and if so, do you put it out there to see if anyone dreamt it? Also, have you asked the users to indicate whether or not they have experienced a dream noted…or a part of it? Dean L. Faulkner Director, Enterprise Applications Delphi Delco Electronics Systems PO Box 9005, M/C A237 Kokomo, IN 46904-9005 Phone: 765 451 2758 I wrote him back with: I think the intent is a bit more ephemeral than you suggest. The experiment, as I understand it, is one that allows the browser to sort of “feel” a sense of the communal unconsciousness if one does exist. As of yet, there is no quantitative aspect to the project, though there probably should be. I will mention it to the gang and see what is possible (even expert flash website designers have their limits). Love, Micah I dunno what you can do with all that, but I thought you might like to read it. Love (this time I mean it), Micah PS- I now must own a H2. My nationalism is at stake!

Posted by: Micah on April 10, 2003 5:18 PM

How strange, The same day you post something about the H2 on your weblog, Lewis Black has a little rant about it on the Daily Show. He pointed out that the money that you would pay to buy a H2 ($50,000) could be used to buy a billboard on Times Square that states “look at me. I’m a dick.” That wasn’t the only place where it came up. Later, on Conan, Adam Sandler mentioned it. He said they were great for storming the local coffee shop. I thought it was so strange that the H2 was mentioned three times in one day and attributed it to be a sign that I really need one so I went out and bought 2!

Posted by: jake on April 11, 2003 9:37 AM

Well, “hummer” used to be slang for oral sex..And I don’t think there’s anything more american than that…And I hate to think that there are people out there paying 50,000 dollars for hummers only to have them defaced…That’s sick!

Posted by: josh on April 12, 2003 1:14 PM

For Barb

I found out today that my grandma has lung cancer.

As far as I know she’s never smoked a cigarette in her life, and definitely didn’t hang out at places where people do. It’s miserably unfair for her to have this tumor on her lungs while other people laughingly joke about their “cancer sticks”. I know there are other ways to get it, I just don’t know how she did yet. This came really unexpectedly.

From what I understand there is no cure. I only hope the doctors do their best at playing god, and I’m sure she’ll get the best god she can find.

I haven’t talked to her yet; I heard from my mom. When two people are together in a room you can let hugs and silence do the talking for you, but on the telephone silence just sits there.



Simon I’m so sorry. I wish I was there so I could hug you and curl up with you. Your grandma is strong. After all, she’s been dealing with Dave for many years.

Posted by: meredith on April 9, 2003 8:43 AM

Man, I’m sorry. My mom also had a short bout of lung cancer a bit ago. And she never smoked or hung out at such places. She come through it OK. I hope your Grandma’s OK, too.

Posted by: miguel on April 9, 2003 6:50 PM

man…i’m sorry too.

Posted by: jim on April 10, 2003 3:44 PM

I’m so very sorry, Simon. My mother had lung cancer. Fortunately, there is hope! When my mom was diagnosed, they were able to drive the cancer from her body. She unfortunately ended up with a mutation of it a year later in her liver and died. However, the doctors told us (way back a decade ago) that the technology curve on cancer treatment was so steep that she likely would have beaten that bout also, had it struck a year or two later. Either way, my prayers are with you and her and your family. It’s hard and unfair. I’m sorry. Love, Micah

Posted by: Micah on April 10, 2003 5:23 PM

I heart Motobecane

After months and months of neglect I gave my trusty moped a complete tune-up today. All new cables, air in the tires, carb cleaned, everything that moves was oiled, and all that’s chrome was polished. The weather wasn’t as into the moped spirit as I was so the work had to take place in the basement. I did take it outside to start it when I was finished though. It started just fine.

I’ve chosen Motobecane to be my lot in the moped life. I figure I’ve made it this far, why stop now.

This weekend I’m going back to Michigan and plan on driving entirely too much during the next three days. Tomorrow the trip begins with lunch in Kalamazoo with Meredith before heading to Deerfield, MI to pick up the screen printing press I bought. Then back to Kalamazoo with maybe a quick stop in Ann Arbor. On Saturday I’m going to Sturgis to visit my Grandpa before his back surgery next week and drop off the press in his barn that I’ll be using as a shop. Back up to Kalamazoo that night; back to Chicago the next day.

It seems that I’m desperate to get my truck over it’s warranty miles.



Someone has to love the Motobecane, and you are the only one I know who’s ridden one for more than a year without having major problems. daveb

Posted by: daveb on April 4, 2003 5:18 PM

i know nothing about mopeds (other than what i’ve sorta picked up from you), but i always thought that Motobecane was a neato word. i hear you on warranty miles. i suffer doubly since i am leasing, drivng to schaumburg and back daily.

Posted by: jim on April 4, 2003 6:51 PM

you have chosen … unwisely.

Posted by: miguel on April 5, 2003 12:50 AM

Don’t listen to Miguel. He’s probably just bitter because you love a French moped, don’t let him start calling it a Freedom moped.

Posted by: meredith on April 6, 2003 8:59 PM

no, i’m giving simon a hard time for not riding an italian moped. and i don’t go in for that french = freedom nonsense.

Posted by: miguel on April 7, 2003 12:37 PM

liar. you just hate the french. i saw you scoffing at my french toast the other day. *wink*

Posted by: eric on April 7, 2003 2:18 PM

LOL. Yeah, those snooty French surrender monkeys! They think they’re so clever w/ their Proust and berets and black cigarettes. Damn them! Oh, except for Amelie, of course. And a long list of others.

Posted by: miguel on April 7, 2003 4:13 PM

It seems my link to the list of “acceptable” French things didn’t work. Here it is again:

Posted by: miguel on April 7, 2003 4:14 PM

I’m not sure why, but the links need to have their quotes surrounding the href attribute. I’m going to look into it. here’s your link

Posted by: simon on April 7, 2003 4:20 PM

oh, shit! i just realized that i had put motobecane on that list. oops. ;-)

Posted by: miguel on April 8, 2003 10:27 AM


Well, it’s been an eventful few days. The weekend was spent in Kalamazoo, looking at apartments and being there for 1977 Mopeds’ first day. The friends and family grand opening went well. Lots of people, a good amount of sales, and a whole spinner rack full of the new Swarm and Destroy movie. The DVD is now for sale off of the Moped Army website along with being available at the shop.

Dan has really pulled this thing together in a hurry; best of luck.

Meredith and I found an apartment to rent in an old firehouse. It’s the second floor apartment in the back, which used to be a hayloft when it was in operation. It’s a loft design with just one huge room plus a small kitchen and bathroom. It’s really neat. Right now we’re waiting for our current landlord to get back to our possible new landlord to recommend us as good tenets. Hopefully we can get a lease signed soon.

This morning I won an eBay auction for a used 4-color screen printing press. New ones are expensive enough that I’ve put off getting one, but I got this one for only $150. It’s a bit beat up and I have to drive to Detroit to get it, but I’m really excited by the possibilities of being able to print multi-color posters and t-shirts. I hope to go get it later this week.

Tonight I went to the 3 Penny Cinema in Lincoln Park for the first time. Although a cheap second run theater, you definitely get what you pay for. The seats were pretty broken and there was an aisle light with a broken cover that kept shining in my eyes the whole show. I had to sit in a weird curled up position so my leg would block the light for me. I could of just changed seats, but hey — the movie had started.

I saw Spirited Away, which I missed on it’s first run because I was too busy watching other good movies out at the time. It was great, and at times hilarious madness.

Besides just looking for apartments this weekend Meredith moved into the W.R.C. building on campus and is back at Kalamazoo College. We’ll be seeing each other every weekend, but it’s going to be hard to get used to her not being here in the evenings. Chicago and Meredith, you are so intertwined.

Daniel Robert Webber Kastner, Owner

Counter and showroom floor, 1977 Mopeds

Mopeds on the showroom floor and my parents standing by video games

Respect goes to Vornkamp Bike



It’s only a month or so and we can make the weekends seem long. This has become my mantra. I miss eating dinner with you at our little table.

Posted by: meredith on April 2, 2003 3:00 PM

Hey, as a person who spent three months away from my loved one… I’ll testify that it can be done. It’s hard, but you’ll do it. Spend your time together wisely, and when not together keep yourselves as busy as possible and while not putting your loved one out of your mind, try not to dwell on your “missing.” it’ll be over before you know it and it’ll make you appreciate time together so much more.

Posted by: eric on April 2, 2003 3:29 PM

at least it’s a short time. remember how i visited you back in 1997 be/c my girlfriend lived in allen park and i lived in evanston? i’m so proud of dan. i’ll definitely be a customer if i ever finally join the moped revolution. and as for the apartment—so neato, so cheap. funny that a fire staiton used to have a hayloft—isn’t hay very very flammable?

Posted by: jim on April 4, 2003 6:56 PM

As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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