Sep 23

Starts, and ends, all classy-like

I was very classy today, which is to say I was full of class. Which is to say I was in class all day. If six hours is close enough to “all day” for you.

It was close enough for me.

It was a fun class, we discussed shot compositions and camera movements. I did this twice in different classes. And then I set the eager young people out to shoot video of some things. Next week we’ll look at all of their work, and then the class will get just a bit more technical.

My lovely bride had an afternoon full of classes, as well, similar schedule, but in a different building. So we share the Thursday drive, and this evening we had a nice sunset.

I have to grade some things for a while, so please take in the grandeur of this photograph. I call it “A Meditation On Being Near Corn.” It is a profound statement on how we let the world beyond us impact us, and the ways that, perhaps, it should and should not. It is a commentary on the environment closer to you, and the passage of time you might not see up close if you look too far afield.

It’s certainly provocative, no? I thought so, too. I hope you enjoyed that while I finished today’s grading. I got all of that in just after dinner, and now I can take a day or so and re-calibrate the ol’ noggin for a different sort of class on Monday. We won’t be talking about camera motion, but McLuhan, not composition but Kendi. I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.

We’re back to the Re-Listening project, and my trip back in time is going even farther back in time. I’m listening to all of my old CDs in the car, as you might know, and I am doing so in the order in which I acquired them. From what’s surrounding them in this particular CD book, I know we are somewhere between June of 2003 and February of 2004. What we’re looking at today, however, is older still. The product of visiting a used record store or two.

Why buy things when they are released, after all, when you can wait 10 year or so and get them much, much cheaper, when you the songs you liked might feel fresh again, or you won’t mind if you pick up something and only really like the single?

And that’s exactly what we’re dealing with here, 1991’s “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” got so out of hand that the band came to resent it for a while. They organically sold some 60,000 copies before radio ever put it on the air, but then “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes” went to the top spot of the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and number three on the Billboard 200 charts. Those singles helped the record go platinum five times in the U.S. Everything got a little crazy for a while somewhere in there. Chris Barron, the Spin Doctors’ lead singer, said it got to the point where he couldn’t go to the mall to buy new socks without being swarmed by people.

And despite all of that air play and success, “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” still finished 1993 ranked number seven on the end of year Billboard 200. (Incidentally, I wrote about their third album, “You’ve Got To Believe in Something,” last year.)

How, you might ask yourself, could six other records have landed higher than that one? And what, you might naturally continue, were they? So glad you asked.

1. Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard
2. Kenny G – Breathless
3. Eric Clapton – Unplugged
4. Janet Jackson – Janet.
5. Billy Ray Cyrus – Some Gave All
6. Dr. Dre – The Chronic
7. Spin Doctors – Pocket Full of Kryptonite
8. Pearl Jam – Ten
9. Garth Brooks – The Chase
10. Stone Temple Pilots – Core

You did ask, didn’t you?

I suppose you could say it most years with the lever of time as perspective, but if you peer into that top 10 long enough, you can almost see an event horizon of our most mainstream music. Cyrus was the last male country singer, aside from Brooks, to finish a year in the top 10 of record sales for a decade. Shania Twain and The Dixie Chicks show up a few times. Rap and hip hop, having become hugely successful genres already, were clearly in an ascendancy. Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston held the door open, too. Women — solo artists, groups or groups fronted by women — would occupy almost 40 of the top spots over the coming decade.

But I digress.

“Pocket Full of Kryptonite” comes from a lyric found in the first track, “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues.” And here’s the band playing that song, via Zoom, in 2020.

And though we’re shunning the smash hits, there was a surprisingly poignant ballad that they released late in the album’s first life cycle. And dig that classic early 1990s music video style.

Spin Doctors were a jam band that enjoyed some monstrous pop success. And there’s no greater indicator than the last track, a 12-minute almost-epic that also features John Popper.

In 2011 they released a two-disc anniversary edition, marking 20 years since their debut record. And they’re touring the United States right now. It’s been a decade since they last recorded a record, but their fans still come out.

The next album up in the Re-Listening Project is another used store find. I probably paid two or three bucks for it, thinking the single was worth it. It was and is, though the rest of Jon Secada’s “Heart, Soul & a Voice” doesn’t do much for me. It was his second English-language record, it went platinum largely on the strength of “If You Go.” The song holds up, the video feels a compelling 1994 argument for the silliness of music videos as a genre.

It peaked at number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, Secada’s last top-10 single in the U.S. This track topped the charts in Canada. He released “Si Te Vas,” that same year, most of the same songs as this record, in Spanish. So these were his third and fourth records. He’s put out 15 records, all told, the most recent in 2017. He’s sold 20 million records, has three Grammy awards and worked Broadway and is a noted humanitarian. He’s doing the occasional “intimate evening” venues lately. Pretty great career.

And that’s a good place to finish the day.

Sep 23

Welcome the weekend

This is how parking works on the Rowan campus: You park. If you work there, you don’t have to pay for it. Which is a novel approach for some campuses, and more of them should look into it.

I would ride my bike to work more, but our house is a little too far away and no one wants to watch me sweat during a lecture. So I have to drive, which means I have to park, which means I have to get a parking permit. No problem.

This is how the parking permits work on the Rowan campus: You go online through a series of website links, with each click wondering why they didn’t send you to the third-party vendor site the first time. Eventually, you fill out some information asking about the color of your car and so on. You put in the mailing address and, eventually, the permit arrives. Mine arrived today, which will come in handy next week.

This was on the note inside the envelope.

Helpful stuff considering I had been looking for this in the mail and the return address sort of gave the game away about what might be inside the envelope.

The parking permit is a sticker. I prefer the hang tag style, as I am old school like that, but whatever puts me in a good spot with a relatively easy walk on campus, ya know? The only problem is they want you to put the sticker on a particular spot on your car. You can tell that from the instructions, the instructions found on that insert. But the instructions might leave you with the impression of having been edited by someone moonlighting in the assembly manual department of IKEA. They say put the sticker here, unless that spot is unavailable, in which case, put the sticker here. The way I’ve read the sentence, several times, it sounds like the two places are the same place. This is only a problem for people like the security guard hut in front of my parking lot and any people tasked with doing parking enforcement who are looking for these stickers, affixed to cars in one of two places, which are the same place.

This is only the second most first world problem of my beautiful Friday.

We had a bike ride today, and the weather was grand. Sunny, not windy. Mild enough so that you didn’t get a lot of sweat in your eyes. I’ve been getting dropped a lot lately, and I’d resigned myself to more of that. But it wasn’t too bad. My lovely bride stopped about a third of the way through the route to stretch her back out and I pressed on, knowing she’s particularly strong on the next segment and she’d catch me soon.

That road is 2.5 miles and she didn’t catch me, but I saw her over my shoulder as I turned left.

I divided the next 10 miles or so up into short segments in my head. “If I can make it to this overpass in front of her, then I’ll be able to stay out front until that next intersection.” So for 10 miles I rode as fast and as hard as I could, knowing she’d catch me just before the end, because she’s done that a few times.

And I made it over that overpass. I got to that next intersection. I put in a lot of effort over two sticky little hills and through another left turn. Here, I knew, was where she’d find me. And probably pass me like there was nothing to it. Only she didn’t. And then there’s one more left, and on that last mile she didn’t catch me.

Checked my phone, which I suppose your supposed to do, but, there’s a lot of information coming your way through your phone. Take this, for instance —

So I put the bike inside, changed my shoes, had the brilliant idea to grab a kitty carrier and drove back out to the scene of the cat.

We brought her home. She was young, hungry, angry, and desperate for pets. We didn’t take her inside, no need to mingle with our furballs. Called around for animal control, no answer. Called some vets, one of which told us to not call that animal control, but do call this one.

Eventually, we found a place where we could take this kitten to get the care and attention she needs. And, soon enough, some kid or some adult is going to all in love with that little face.

Our friend Sally Ann flew in for part of the weekend. The Yankee picked her up at the airport while I took a trip to the inconvenience center. I rearranged some things in the garage, picked some tomatoes and soon enough there we all were, reunited once again. We went to a nearby winery for dinner. The atmosphere is as causal as possible — there was a DJ tonight, and it was nothing but coffee house hipster vibe covers.

They make really good pizza, it turns out, and so we went for pizza. Except they only make pizza on Saturdays and Sundays. On Thursdays and Fridays they do shortbread.

Not as good as their pizza, but, still, a great way to welcome the weekend.

Sep 23

Thursdays are the full days

We had a man from the electric company scheduled to come out this morning and do electric company things. You know the deal, you spend hours on the phone with people and machines and hold music and finally you get someone scheduled in a two hour window on the busiest day of your week. My lovely bride has been handling all of the phone stuff. We were both scheduled to be here to meet the fellow.

You can tell where this is going already, can’t you? Guy never showed up. She called the company again.

“What’s the deal? When is he coming out?”

The person on the other end of the line was all What did he say?

“He never showed up.”

What does the paperwork he gave you say?

“He wasn’t here. He brought no paper, or himself.”

At least the lights come on when you flip the switch. You wonder how, sometimes.

But, hey, it gave me more time to iron. No wrinkles on me for class today.

And how’s that going? I’m doing so well I have even ironed clothes for Monday night’s class.

Unless you meant class. How are my classes going? Just great. Two of them today. One was better than the other, but only because they both can’t be equally awesome. And because I probably did a better job in one than the other.

After two in a row, though, and almost six hours of prattling on, I am quite talked out by the end of the day. It’s been, probably a few decades since I’ve done continual talk and projection. At least it’s just one day a week.

We talked about pre-production, post-production, sampling rates and quantization. We also discussed frame rates and aspect ratios. In the next class, they’ll be pointing cameras at subjects and shooting video. It’ll get pretty fun from there.

What’s really fun is, after a full day of classes and dinner, you can start handling the inbox, and the grading. This will take a few minutes.

Let’s dive back into the Re-Listening project. You know this feature. I’m listening to all of my old CDs in the car, in the order in which I acquired them. It’s fun; a few trips down memory lane, some singalongs, and I get to write a little bit about it here. So let’s dive in.

It’s 2003, though this CD was released in 1998. That means I probably bought it in bulk at a used record store. I can’t say which one specifically, but I am guessing this is from a little downtown shop in New Albany, Indiana. We used to go there for the fall festival and that store sat on the corner and, every year, I’d come out with a handful of discs. That’s just a guess, because I have no memory of buying this, but it makes sense considering the discs that surround it in my little collection.

Most assuredly, though, I bought it on the strength of the moderately successful alt radio single, track one, “Pensacola.” It takes a second or two, but it builds nicely.

The contemporary Washington Post review is humorous.

Country-flavored new-wave rock would be the correct guess. As indicated by song titles like “Pensacola” and “Pull the Weight, Virginia (Innocent Lucille),” this North Carolina quintet is heavily into poetic Americana, but its “In the Gloaming” sounds less like the Band or Son Volt than REM. (Indeed, the disc’s guest musicians include ex-d.B. Peter Holsapple, who used to supplement REM’s guitar sound on tour.)

It’s not that Jolene never gets earthy or gloomy. Even when it does, though, the group retains an early-’80s-rock sense of dynamics: Songs like “16c” and “So Sleepless You” contrast brooding verses with bombastic choruses or bridges. More common are such brisk tunes as “Wave to the Worrying” and “Star Town,” which feature jaunty rhythms and rippling guitars. It’s not a style that Jolene can make sound fresh, but the band plays it with skill and assurance.

That’s a lot of styles to throw in one column, into one band, or especially one record.

This is the band’s second record, and there’s some atmosphere in the instrumentation, but for the quality mixing and mastering, there’s just … something … missing overall.

It’s pretty clear, from the liner notes alone what they’re after here. Blurry photos, oddly mismatched fonts showing snippets of whoa deep lyrics, deliberately poor kerning. These guys were trying to ride the alt movement for all they worth. And, in 1998, they were just on the backside of that wave.

By the time I got this in 2003, it was probably just something I listened to for that one single. When I played the whole thing this time through I was looking for a second song to like. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to get past something’s texture to enjoy its taste.

By the time I picked up “In The Gloaming” the band was spent. They’d parted ways in 2001, having produced five records on three small labels and supporting some pretty substantial bands.

This is the song I’ll play while trying to find out what’s become of the five members of the group.

One of the guys, Rodney Lanier, died young. He’d been diagnosed with cancer, and though this band hadn’t played together for years, they all came back together for one more show with their old friend.

Mike Mitschele is a front man in Alternative Champs. You might also hear his music in The Righteous Gemstones. Dave Burris played in a few other bands, and has since turned to film making and been a producer of reality television. John Crooke is doing marketing out west, released a few solo projects and is still playing, from the looks of things. Mike Kenerley was the drummer in Jolene. It looks like he continued on and played with a lot of notable bands over the years.

Up next in the Re-Listening project is Wyclef Jean’s “The Carnival.” People have written scholarly articles, more than a few, about this record. It’s difficult to say something new about such a widely well-received record that’s now 26 years old.

So I’ll just say this. With the exception of the comedy bits, so familiar in the 1990s, this album holds up better than almost anything in the Re-Listening project

It is solid, throughout. Better than “The Score” in several respects, “The Carnival” debuted at number 16 sixteen on the US Billboard 200. Certified as double platinum in the U.S. in just over a year. Funkmaster Flex is on here. Lauryn Hill and John Forté, of course, but also the Neville Brothers and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. There was a coming together on this project.

I remember we used to play this song on our campus radio station before anyone had an idea that it’d be a single.

Critics loved the record, while also writing a bit dismissively about the samples. Released in 1997, people were still trying to figure out how they felt about samples, I suppose. (Look who won, right?) It’s funny in retrospect, I suppose, but the answer to that question was always in the lead single.

The Bee Gees didn’t care for the finished product, but Jean’s audience did. It climbed to 45 on the Hot 100, number three on the Hot Rap Songs chart. This song, and the album, often landed on those “Top of the Decade/All Time” lists that people compile.

And The Fugees are still playing. Right now they’re supporting on the 25th anniversary of “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Don’t know how long Pras Michel can be on this tour, though …

OK, back to the grading.

Sep 23

The day that I enjoyed

There’s a little security guard hut between the road and the building I’m teaching in. A human sits in there, checks everyone’s parking pass and raises and lowers the arm. The gentleman that was there last night, as I made my way in for my evening class, was the talkative sort. Asked me where I was headed. I pointed to the right. Going to teach, I said.

What class?

“Journalism. Introduction to New Media, specifically,” I said, unsure if we were chatting or if he was challenging me.

Journalism is old media, he said.

“Yes it is …”

And I want to hold it in my hand!

So we were chatting.

He had a solid 45 seconds ready to go on the subject, and he delivered it in a steady way full of calm, fun conviction, the sort that lets you know he could do two, three, maybe five minutes on this if you wanted and didn’t mind a little roughness around some of his witticisms.

He was right about what he said. You couldn’t help but agree and laugh at his larger point. But, sir, I really need to get parked and go in and log into the 19 services I need to teach this class and …

Have a good one he said, as he pointed roughly in the way I was expected to go.

It’s a night class, so parking was a breeze. We were in the gloaming, but the building was still bustling with activity. I walked into the room and two students were already there. The rest flowed in over the course of the next 20 minutes or so. Owing to the holiday last Monday, and the late start hour of this class, this is the last first class of the semester. They knew it, too, and, by then, students are usually over all of the first day class experiences. Let’s get into this.

So we did. Course outline. Syllabus. The many policies. An icebreaker. Some jokes. A conversation about how we want this class to go — and they got a say in some of the key elements of that. And then I launched into a presentation about new media … I started with some works archeologists have uncovered that date back about 3,500 years. I like doing the history for context. I’m not sure if you need three-plus millennia of context, but it’s so interesting. Here is an Egyptian medical scroll, it isn’t even the oldest medical document we have. Let me tell you what this 65-foot document covered. And occasionally you flash forward. Maybe not to, but you bring it around. And then you jump to another part of the world, another period, and you talk about the story these cave walls told, or the meaning behind this Japanese tale, or the functionality of Ghana’s talking drums.

Then there are the various cultures that used knot-tying systems for record keeping, if not for storytelling. We know of four of them, at least, in various parts of the world, and they all seem unrelated. And so isn’t it interesting how people from different places and times, with different resources and problems, and different needs and degrees of ingenuity solve their problems. I mean, these drums talk. And certain varieties can be heard miles and miles away.

And then you get to a certain point in history, and some of these older technologies give way. Some stick around. Their uses entrenched traditionally, or just important cultural artifacts, or their purposes modified, but people in what we arrogantly think of as modern cultures all start gravitating to the same tech.

It’s a big lecture, and it all winds up with the Lutherans, somehow, because I found a great cartoon image to end the slideshow, making the point that, at least in the western sense, everything we know stems from this moment.

I think the biggest takeaway, though, is they probably won’t want me to lecture them late into the evenings. It’s going to be a group class, and it could be a good one. Thirty or forty percent of them were leaning into it on the first night. I’ll get the rest in due time.

Today, I worked on part of another lecture, which I will give twice on Thursday. And this is the rhythm of things through the end of the semester in mid-December.

I also went for a bike ride because I needed a break and folding laundry didn’t sound fun, comparatively speaking. I was going to do a quick square pattern, a route that I’ve established on four of the closest roads. It’s about nine miles. Do it twice, you can get in a good hour and then get back into whatever. I have a feeling I’m going to do that a lot, which is fine. They’re good roads.

But one of the things that should never be taken for granted about having your feet on two pedals on either side of two wheels is the ability to be spontaneous. Before I’d done the first mile I had a new idea. What about this other road? Where does it go?

It’s a road that we drive for some of our routine trips. Thing is, if it is part of the routine you only your part of the road. And, sure, I could look at that on a map later — and I do for some roads, but the real joy is in simply finding out first hand. So, I figured, I’ll go down that road until my bike computer says I’ve done 10 miles, then I’ll turn around.

When I’d gone three miles I had to amend the idea, because the road ended in a T-intersection. See? I didn’t know the road. Hadn’t consulted a map. If I turned left, I’d go down a hill pretty quickly, which just means riding up it later. But if I turned to the right, it was a gradual thing. So I turned right and found myself racing over some nice false flats, only to run out of that road pretty soon. OK then, I’m going to have to remember landmarks and such. Another right turn, and then another. I stayed on that road until I got to 10 miles — though even though it seemed like it took a lot longer than normal — and then turned around, retracing my route.

I had a brief conversation with a friend the other day about seeing things by bike. The speeds are different, of course, so you can see and appreciate more. For instance, I’ve driven on this stretch of road now maybe four or five times. I’ve never noticed this sign.

I shot this on the way back. I’ve also never seen this one, which is great, because how can I top the serendipity of the sun setting over the shoulder of the sun?

Near the very end of my little 20 mile ride I got behind a tractor. And the tractor got behind another tractor, this one which was hauling a trailer of fresh crops away from the fields. The second tractor passed the first. And then I passed him, too.

The first tractor had not been going particularly fast, but it disappeared somewhere, and I’ll probably think about that every time I’m on this road I explored today.

I just created three new segments on Strava for various parts of that road, meaning I’ll have to try to go faster next time I come through there. I also added a segment that is a commonly ridden road on the way back home. I could add segments for every stretch of every road that is becoming a part of the new habit, but I’d never know which ones to give a big effort, and where to recover. Segments are usually done going uphill, but I am, of course, much faster going downhill. All of the ones I’ve created, the Strava website tells me, are flat or downhill.

Go figure.

Tonight it was cleaning up a bit outside, watering a few plants, catching up on the Vuelta, writing this, plotting out the next few classes and … that’s enough, really. Oh, and listening to the rain tap on the walls, and the wind howling over everything. That really should be enough. After all, I’ll be writing more lectures tomorrow, and thinking up a good newspaper joke for that guy working the security hut.

Sep 23

First day of school

I’d ironed yesterday. All of my things were together. The only thing left to do was wake up, check, have something for breakfast, check, get ready to go to campus, check, and, finally, have my first day of the new school year … on the third day of the new school year …

And so that was the first half of the day.

Our schedules are pretty similar on Thursdays, just like the old days, so we drove in together, just like the old days. And I mean the old days, going back a lifetime or two ago. The mid-oughts. There was a gas crunch, as I recall, so we carpooled. Some days I would drive her to Red Mountain and drop her off at WBRC. Some days she would go over the mountain and downtown to Pepper Place to put me in my office at 6 a.m. I have vague memories of that, and they’re not vague because of the early call time. This was 17, 18 years ago, I think.

And here we are today. My lovely bride had to get her newly issued computer. (Still waiting, myself.) And the place to go for that is just one building over from where I’ll spend the semester. We cruised through two full parking lots and finally found a spot behind the building. We walked around the front, said our good lucks and I went inside. She went on for hardware and to teach two classes elsewhere on campus.

I wandered most of the halls until I found my classroom, plenty of time, clock on my side. I think it would have been more direct, though, if I’d just gone in the back door. Such is life in a new place. There was a class still underway in my class, so I decided to walk the halls until I stumbled upon the offices of one of the departments I’m working with and met a few people. I sat in the copy room and checked a few emails, whiled away some time and then headed back to that class.

This is where I invoke the memory of a guy I used to work with. Chris was an MCO at a television station but, before that, he was an RN.

Chris, I said one day, if you can do that, why are you doing this?

He pointed at the screen, punched a bunch of random buttons on his panels and, with a wicked grin, cranked the chroma key, changing the color of everyone on the TV screen at that moment, and surely making people watching at home wonder if they were having a mental or physical episode. But it didn’t last long because with deft and practiced hands Chris reset everything to its proper position and the TV show continued on.

“No matter what happens here, nobody died,” he said.

I’ve repeated that to myself as a joke for all of the years hence — I mean it that way here, too — but that’s grim.

There were 15 people in my first class. A few non-traditional students, a range of people freshmen-to-seniors, and a lot of interested faces. We talked about the class and all of the usual first day things and, before I knew it, I was ready to send them on their way.

There’s just long enough between that class and my next one to sneak a comically late lunch, so I did that, finishing a sandwich as the early arrivals for the next group trickled in.

There are 15 people in that class too, a range of college experience, but mostly freshmen. We talked about the class and syllabus. It’s the same class, and so I realized pretty quickly that I’ll live in fear, all semester, of wondering what I’ve omitted because I think I said it, and what I’m repeating because I’m afraid I’ve omitted it. Also, the very tip of my nose started itching. No idea why. But you know noses. Once you address the matter, it just gets worse. It’s hard to make a point about the exercise planned in week 10 of your course when you’re trying to scratch the first two layers of epidermis off your nose. But, before I knew it, I was tired of talking. The second class wrapped a bit earlier than the first, but it was after 5 p.m. and no one minded. All of the important information was still conveyed.

All of the brave and hearty ones, the ones who stick in the class, I’ll see next Thursday.

It’s an intro to production class, They’ll be learning about camera movements, shot composition, audio capture and a bit of light production. They’ll go into the studio and do some mock leads and tags. It’s a lot of fun. I hope they have fun. I really hope I can teach them a fair amount.

After class, waiting on my ride, I had time to run through some email, and start building a calendar. This won’t be a conventional schedule, this semester — I’m beginning to wonder if there’s ever going to be a conventional schedule — and so now I’m trying to decide what to do with my free time and when to make my free time. But first, the basics, what day is the first day of my week? Is Thursday the first day of my week? Is Thursday the last day of my week?

And that was basically my day, because almost six hours of listening to myself talk is just about enough, thank you. Except at home, there was a bit of early grading (syllabus quizzes are easy points, and it makes the diligent student hunt for details within the 12-page document) and starting to think about how to set up next week’s classes. Oh, and my third class, which will begin next Monday.

Right now, the early vote is for Thursday to be the last day of my week. Though I’m considering something innovative: making Monday both the first, and last, day of the week.

Later, I decided to change my bike tires. I’ve had three flats on my rear wheel in the last three weeks. One could be wear. Another could be anything. A third, that’s probably user error. Plus my tires were mismatched in age. I don’t remember which is the newer. And the one on the front wheel looks like it could fall apart any day now.

So, before tomorrow’s bike ride, two new tires. Here’s how that went tonight.

I took the front wheel off the bike. Struggled, in a most unusual and almost embarrassing way, to remove the tire from the wheel. Finally got that off, and then started putting this guy on.

Gatorskins are great. They’re heavy. They’re durable. You wouldn’t race them because of all of that, but I don’t race. They’ll run forever. One of these has been on my bike for two years. My receipts say I last bought a set in 2013. So tonight’s effort should serve me well for a good long while.

The downside to a Gatorskin is that they are difficult to put on the first time. (The secret, if you can’t get it completely fitted, is to heat the stubborn bit of the tire with a hair dryer.) But I’m getting better at it. (No hair dryer needed.) Tire on, tube in, tire seated. Inflate.

Take the back wheel of the bike, remove that tire. I found a little sliver of metal inside that had escaped my earlier notice. So I know what caused at least the third flat.

Speaking of, the tube on the front wheel is leaking inside the brand new tire.

And this is why you don’t immediately slap it back on the frame, I said to myself.

Which was a nice thing to say, since it was congratulatory. The wheel wasn’t back on the frame, but I did have to take the tube out. I found a tiny leak right in the seam. Maybe I damaged it. Maybe Continental tubes are the most temperamental tubes on the market. Anyway, old tube out, new tube in. Gatorskin seated. Inflate.

Back to the rear wheel then. Repeat that process. Decided I’ll keep both old tires. One can go on the trainer. The other … well, in a bit I’m going to google recycling and repurposing bike tires.

Both are inflated. Neither are mounted on the bike frame. Let’s see what they do overnight. (Update: They were fine.) And now I’ll have two new tubes and two new tires for tomorrow’s bike ride. It’ll be a great day. And this one was good, too. But I hope yours was even better.