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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Graffiti Safari

Corinna's birthday bash wasn't the first party I ever helped plan and shop for, but it is the first one I did the shopping for by bicycle.

The thing about some errands is they're not only too short to be driven, they don't even add up to enough miles to be worthy of a ride. But the evening was cool, and a five quart tub of ice cream has enough mass that it doesn't melt instantly anyway, so we gave a fairly heavy load of groceries a ride through the West Bottoms on a graffiti safari.

My feet kept kicking my panniers, and I kept trying to scoot them back and couldn't figure out what the deal was. I ride with these things all the time. Looking through the pics, I see my mistake: in my haste to strap them on, I put them on backwards. The reflective stripes are for cars behind me but they're clearly forward in the shot I took while Corinna fixed a gnarly flat.

The gnarly flat was caused by a bent nail, and it went in through the center of the tread and out the sidewall. Looking at it, I wondered if I was riding solo back to her house to fetch a tire, or if we'd just end up going home at a walking pace. But, no, the second spare inner tube held and we made it back in time for some very late night cake baking by yours truly.

I'd written out a list that I hadn't really used at the store and had actually forgotten the baking chocolate. Fortunately, the Chocolate Fairy had some 100% cacao in her pantry because, well, she's the Chocolate Fairy. I learned a lesson in cake baking here, don't mix brands. I had a Ghirardelli bar, which would have done for one batch of batter, then another brand (Aldi's house label, I think). It was slightly less pure, 85% I think, and whatever that other 15% is didn't want to melt.

Experience at melting chocolate in the microwave saved the cakes. I still had that neurotic moment as I filled the cake pans, where I was sure I'd forgotten an ingredient or used either twice or half as much of something as I was supposed to.

You never know what you'll find on this sort of safari, looking for treasures in the middle of what politicians, general contractors and financiers like to call 'blight.' You can even find some really good advice:

(And this piece wasn't even, strictly speaking, 'graffiti.' If you're paid to do a mural it's not really tagging.)

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