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Rockport Beach, Texas

2/28/10

Team Portrait

Rockport, Texas

Sturdy Steed is finally totally finished with the fitting. When the temperatures got warm enough about ten am, Sturdy was partially taken apart to get the rim holes enlarged to fit Schrader valve stems.

When the rim tape was removed a surprise awaited me. It was known that the rim had two surfaces to drill out. The surprise was that the inner hole next to the tube was already Schrader valve size. The hole to the spokes side of the rim was Presta stem size, so only one hole had to be drilled out per wheel.
Actually, the correct drill size was not in my possession so a 5/16” bit was used first. Then a small round file was used to gently remove the aluminum until the stem was a comfortable fit. The fine small file left no sharp edges at all. In fact the original drilling had some sharp edges that were also removed. Now there are Slime brand tubes with the Slime sealant in them on both wheels. The green cap lets me know they already have Slime in the tubes. Notice how nicely the stem fits in the rim hole.

While the chance was available, a group picture of the Team equipment was taken. Sneaky the Yak resting on the table, Sturdy Steed standing tall near the center, Comfort Castle providing the back ground and the Truck keeping a headlight on all the activities.

Later in the day around 2:30 pm it was time to give Sturdy a good ride. The wind was very strong today so the Goose Island State Park was chosen for the ride since it has trees to help abate the wind.

At the first of the ride, we headed out toward the pier. The wind was miserable. The welcoming committee was even hunkered down.


After a few minutes of riding into the wind to be certain that there was sufficient gears available for my desires, a snap roll was made and we headed for the trees section of the park.

AHHHHH now this is nice. Eight miles later it was still very nice. Even with just my nylon fishing pants to protect my bottom, the Brooks B-17 saddle left me with no pain. This is the first time in years that that long a ride has been made without some part of my body finishing the ride with pain.

Now that Sturdy is completed, it will be time to get started on Sneaky for rigging. If there is a concept of rigging for Sneaky, it is not in my mind. This will be another grand adventure of trial and error. In other works a great way to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/27/10

Thumbies Rule

Rockport, Texas

Sturdy Steed is nearly finished with the tweaking. The shifter adapter was added today with wild success. This bicycle is by far the best ever in my life. It is a sightseer’s delight.

First was the getting ready stage.
As it turned out a lot of the right side stuff had to be removed and changed. It took two tries to find out the sequence of the parts needed for the right side of the handlebar. But when everything was put back together for the final time, it is wonderful.

All the controls are right at my fingertips. Brakes under two fingers and the shifter fits my thumb like it was made just for me. WOW. Test riding took a long time. For the first few minutes, a stop was needed every minute or two to adjust the tilt or reach of one item or another. After a few adjustments the riding was so pleasant that stopping was not sounding very good. So the wheels kept on rolling and rolling and rolling…….and rolling. OK OK OK enough Fat Man. Get your tools put away.

Here is the whole bike showing off the new bottle cages.

The Paul’s Thumbies work very well. The shifting is exceptionally crisp and positive. This will work out better than the twist grip style in my opinion. The Thumbies were interesting.


They came without any instructions other than that picture on the packaging material. They are simple to put on but there are four positions available to mount the shifter. My first guess turned out to be the correct position for me. WOW a correct first guess for a change!!!

After the testing ride was finished, the tools all cleaned and put away and Sturdy Steed put back into the Truck, the migraine residuals had worn me out. A long nap was taken with good results. Hopefully tomorrow will see my body healed enough to get the Steed out for some serious riding around trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/26/10

Poor Tamia

Rockport, Texas

Since the first entry this morning announcing my death was a false rumor, it has been a pretty day. Following a lazy breakfast and some serious goofing off waiting for the morning chill to go away, a slow walk at the Rockport Beach was attempted. The sun was looking good and the breeze very gentle for the first hour or so. By 10:30 am the temperature was nearly perfect.
The breeze turned into a wind that got stronger as the day progressed. There were several folks walking the beach on this nice winter day. In fact this was a more normal winter day for the area. One fellow was actually wading in his bare feet in water about six inches deep. The water chill is still too much for me.
Poor Tamia (Tamia Outdoors on the left) sent me a picture of the beautiful snow piled up outside her home in northern New York State. My reply picture was the scene above. Yes she made a comment!

Notice the pretty flowers in the lower left of the picture above. Here is a close-up with out the fantastic fragrance that went along with the flowers. My walk paused for a few moments to really enjoy the fragrance.

There were some very bright yellow flowers also, but the sun washed out the color when the pictures were taken. RATZZZ they were also worth the time to pause and kneel down to see them up close. Sorry about messing up that picture for you folks.

By the time my feet got me to the designated swimming area, it was obvious my strength was not up to any more travel away from the Truck. A short cut across the park to the Truck was taken which caused me to skip several interesting things near the boat ramp and the bird watching station. They would have added about a mile to the walk and my body was not ready for the added distance. It takes three days for me to really recover from a migraine attack.
Back home some chores needed doing. First some rest then the tools came out. The bath closet needed some vents added. Here they are installed near the rear wall.

The under bed storage was damp also, so a vent was added there. Two inch holes were drilled through the wall. The vent louver was then attached over the holes to help the appearance of the Castle.

On the advice of several folks here and research on some RV forums, a de-humidifier has been ordered for when colder wet times hit again. The Castle is so small that the air super saturates very quickly. Then condensation forms and runs all over the place. This never happened out in the desert. DUH? Hopefully the new vents and the dehumidifier will take care of that mess.

One other thing is being done. The catches on the cabinet doors have room to move them out a small amount. That will allow more air to circulate through the cabinets. When a rig is as tight as and small as this one, every little thing helps.

All this effort seems to have been too much too soon, so rest was the order of the day this evening.

Another change in my life has happened this afternoon. My travel plans have changed. This area is very enjoyable to me. While thinking on that subject, it occurred to me that maybe enjoying this area during the spring would be a good idea. After much deliberation, it was decided that the Team will home base here in Rockport until sometime in May. It all depends on when spring turns into summer. By the time all my mess here is straightened out, it will be too late for a trip into BIG BEND. They will already be approaching 100 degree days by then.

The Teams Rockport location is only four days of gentle towing from the higher elevations of New Mexico that are an exploring goal for 2010. Leaving here in mid to late May would give the Team four plus months to roam around New Mexico before heading back here for the winter. New Mexico is not all that big and parts of it have already been explored, so four plus months should be about right for that bit of travel at higher altitudes.

Chores accomplished and beautiful weather for a walk combined to make it a great day for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

The Next Day

Rockport, Texas

8:30am
The migraine seems to have finished with me for the time being. A lot of residuals as usual, but at least the sun is shining and mobility is back in my life. See you later.

2/25/10

Sick Day

Rockport, Texas

TheOFM is required to take a sick day today. This is not the way to try to have tooooo much fun.

2/24/10

Time For Venting

Rockport, Texas

One of the packages for Sturdy Steed came in today a day ahead of schedule. That was a nice surprise. The water bottle cages that were ordered in blue turned out to be a beautiful blue that nearly matches the blue of Sturdy.

The cages were installed while Sturdy was still in the camper on the Truck. The wind was cold but the sun was out. That made the Truck camper very nice inside. Cramped but nice. A picture will have to wait as the space in the camper did not allow me to get far enough away to get a picture.

My jacket was washed last laundry day. Today it was sunny enough to put on the water resisting spray. This stuff helps the fabric shed water in light rain. A lot of rain will still wet the jacket all the way through.

More cabinet arranging was started. A trip to Wal-Mart for five more shoe boxes took care of the overhead front cabinets. It is nice to have the unnecessary stuff out of the way. Most of it went on the donations table in the office. Some of it went into the dumpster.

Next the cabinets above the kitchen were attacked. It is a guaranteed fact that unneeded stuff multiplies as least as fast as fire ants. Two bags of stuff left the Castle from the four overhead cabinets. That is an unbelievable amount of stuff from just four medium size cabinets.

Next on my agenda was the bathroom closet. The top shelf was unpacked but nothing needed to be tossed out from there. The clothing rod portion below was started on and trouble popped up. My two suit coats were in the back corner and both of them were damp with mildew on the front. That is a bad scene. They were laid out on the picnic table to dry and get some sun. Tomorrow they will go to a dry cleaner for clearing up that mess.

My guess is all the cold rain and continuous high humidity was too much for the interior of the Castle. The amount of water running off the inside of the windows yesterday was huge. It looks like two things need to happen. A dehumidifier the proper size for the Castle needs to be purchased and used. The bathroom closet needs to have some venting installed to it.

After taking measurements and deciding what to do, a trip to Lowe’s in Aransas Pass was made to get the grills for venting. They are a nice complementary light brown to go with the light brown oak finish of the cabinets.

A template was made this evening to facilitate the drilling and cutting of the closet wall for mounting the grills. Naturally nothing fits easily, but it works out ok in the end. Easy statements tonight do not necessarily make for easy installations tomorrow.

The bright sun and less cold temperatures this afternoon made it a pretty good day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/23/10

Whirlygig Delight

Rockport, Texas

“Now it is time to get out and enjoy THIS DAY.”

A great saying from Lloyd at http://www.wandrin.us/blog/index.php?/archives/776-Cold-Day-Hike-at-Fairbank.html

Lloyd has been on the road for years and has lots of good information on his site for folks. His wisdom and experience has helped me on many occasions. For anyone thinking they might want to know about this lifestyle, his site is a perfect starting point.

With cold getting colder, strong wet winds and continuous drizzle rain being today’s weather, there was not much outside fun to be had. Most of the day was spent checking the cabinets for stuff to dump out. The Castle already had empty cabinet space and now it has even more. It is beyond my brains ability to understand why so many folks deliberately carry around so much stuff they will never use. It would be a big surprise to me if all my stuff inside the Castle came up to four hundred pounds in weight when a full supply of food is aboard.

The cabinets have had empty cardboard boxes occupying the empty spots so the rest of the contents do not slide around. During the rummaging today, it was noticed that the boxes seemed damp from all this miserable winter weather. Damp in cabinets is not good any time and especially in an RV. Now we have an effort to replace the cardboard space keepers with plastic boxes.

Some dimensions were taken and off to Wal-Mart we went. Three cheap plastic shoe boxes came home with me. They seem to fit into the needed spot well and do the job of holding other things in place. Here is the right front overhead cabinet with one shoe box in it.


On the other side of the Castle, the left front overhead cabinet needed two shoe boxes to fill that empty spot. They now carry my spare golf balls and the spare grips for my golf clubs

Now that that has proven to be a good idea, tomorrow more dimensions will be taken to replace other cardboard box spacers.

As a side benefit of this mess, some items were found that had been forgotten about totally. These neat whirligigs came from somewhere during one of my visits to a town or two. Isn’t it great how good my memory is? They are cute anyway. The darkness in the window was at two pm today. YUK

And that sums up all of today’s efforts at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/22/10

The Hole

Rockport, Texas

What do you do with a hole in a cabinet left over from the previous solar panel controller installation?????

You stumble around for a few days until Wal-Mart has some cheap picture frames on sale. Then you purchase one of the correct size and put some fantastic art work in it. Next the frame and artwork is screwed to the cabinet and whoopee no hole showing in the cabinet. Of course it is possible that the hole is nicer than the artwork.


For the rest of the day Sturdy Steed was given many tweaks and tests. Most of the adjustments have been done now. For a change TheOFM is in a picture thanks to good buddy Jimmy. He is such a good photographer that TheOFM ALMOST looks human.

Riding the Steed with the computer installed proved my feel for the bike was correct. It is a lot quicker and faster than the previous bike. A lot of running around checking gears and speeds was done. Then some more was done. All this checking was to determine which gearing will be correct for my style of riding. In the final analysis the middle chain ring was sufficient for all my needs. The nine speed cog proved to be the big difference from the old bike.

On the old bike there were times the small chain ring was used for going very slow. The old bike had a seven speed cog at the rear. It turns out that by using the middle chain ring on the new Steed; my speeds are as low as two mph in lowest gear to in excess of eighteen mph in the highest gear. Personally, eighteen mph is in excess of my intended maximum speeds. There fore the chain ring derailleur was removed from the Steed. That makes one less thing to maintain and keep clean.

The parts will be retained in case my situation changes and it is needed in the future. It is an easy install if needed.

The bell and the computer were installed. A mirror for the handle bar was installed to try out. It seems to be an asset, but time will tell if it has value.

Finally the Truck bed area was adjusted slightly to enable carrying the new Steed in a secure manner. Sturdy Steed fits in very well and stays in place like it should.

This was another typical winter day for the area. Tomorrow is supposed to start a three day session of bad winter weather AGAIN. This next picture shows how winter is normally down here. It makes for great times at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/21/10

Got Crabs?

Rockport, Texas

A choice has been made on my new toy’s names. The bicycle and yak used for my adventures will always be named Sturdy Steed and Sneaky. Comfort Castle has been the name for my many different homes since my life changed to that of a single adventurer. Therefore it is only fair that the names for the bike and yak continue through the changes of living. Appropriate edits have been done to the OFM Details blog.

And so the Truck is carrying TheOFM and Sturdy Steed into Goose Island State Park to give Sturdy a workout. What is that in the road ahead of me???? When it got close enough to tell what it was, my eyes were astonished at the innovation rolling down the road. The older fellow was riding a bicycle towing a trailer set up so his companion could ride in a comfortable chair during the ride. She gave me a cheery wave when the Truck passed them.

As Sturdy was being prepared for the first real ride, the couple pulled into the parking lot next to me. The lady had a lot of trouble walking over to the water nearby. The older fellow provided a lot of assistance to her while she was putting in serious effort at walking. Here is the bicycle and trailer.


Now this is what had been mentioned many times in this blog. You don’t quit, but you do accommodate so that you get to keep on living to your absolute maximum. These are my kind of heroes.

Sturdy was well into getting all the things ready for riding, when my brain realized that my riding gloves were lost.
A stringent search of the Truck did not find the gloves. The duct tape holding the shifters on the handlebar was checked for tightness. Everything seemed ok so off we went. Immediately the superiority of this bike for my sight seeing riding showed itself. The previous bike was excellent. This bike is way better already and it is not even fully set up yet. The Ergon grips proved to be adequate for the ride even without the riding gloves on my hands.

GISP had been chosen for the first ride since the previous bike had been ridden here often. This gave me a fair chance at a decent comparison by riding the same routes as before. The LHT is a major amount better. My backside did without padded shorts. The B-17 Brooks saddle proved so comfortable that padded shorts were not needed today.

After looping through parts of the campground, we headed over to the pier area. Near there we saw an Egret watching us carefully, so we stopped so it could get a good look at the new Sturdy Steed. The Egret is at the water edge in the far right of the picture. Click to enlarge the picture for better viewing.

Notice how ugly this winter day is down here. Seventy degrees during the ride proved to be very comfortable. This is more like normal winter weather down here than what we have gotten this year.

During the ride the boat ramp was being passed when an odd sight caught my attention. A closer inspection revealed that it is old crab trap clean up time here. Here is what a new trap looks like.

The crab traps get lost or abandoned and cause a lot of hazards to wildlife and navigation. Please believe me that wading up against one of these will cause you to release some blood into the water. It is not a nice scene when that happens. This clean up is a wonderful happening. Check out the two yakkers on the water in the upper right. The pelican seemd to be wondering when the next fish cleaning session would commence.

When the ride was stopped, the Team had made over three times as many loops of the park as ever before. At the completion of riding, my body noticed that there were no sore spots or aches. WOW that is different. That gives good indication that a lot more time on the saddle will be used for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/20/10

Chiming In

Rockport, Texas

The broken wind chime has been waiting for me for a couple of weeks. Finally the time was taken to repair the chime and rehang it on the office porch. Now chime adds its tinkle to the other chime hanging at the porch.
The first bike item to get finished today was the installation of the kick stand. On the biking forums, this particular stand frequently had comments about the mounting machine screws loosening. That is not acceptable to me. The local hardware store had exactly what were needed, stainless steel machine screws and lock nuts. The old screws are the black ones here.
The new screws were installed and the lock nuts then added to the wheel side of the mounting arms. Everything seems to holding up well and extremely solid. The kickstand seems to hold the bike well even in the wind.


The next few hours were spent finishing as far as possible all the things the bike needed added and or tweaked. The brakes went on very easy. They are used pads from the previous bike. The pads had a worn shape to fit the old rims. Consequentially they are still being seated by riding and stopping frequently.

All told the bike got a couple of miles put on it with a lot of braking. The shifter on the right side is held in place with duct tape until the new mountings come in next week. The direct pull breaks are WAY stronger than what came on the bike. They are also a LOT simpler to install and adjust. Simple, easy and strong is my kind of item.

During the brake break in riding the bike really showed its style to me. The Surly LHT is frequently the touring bike others are judged against. Let me guarantee that those others have some serious competition to do better than an LHT. This is one FINE riding machine.

Now it is time for a couple of pictures. The first is of the LHT sitting in the yard showing off how pretty it is with its new stuff.
This second picture is with my two bags mounted on the rear rack. The faded blue trunk has been with me for nearly twenty years and still going strong. The bright blue pannier has been with me for about fifteen years, but has had very little use. The most use was the year the old bike was used to ride to work in Washington.

A handlebar bag will be considered when there is more riding time on the new bike. Many handlebar bags have a clear water resistant map pocket on the top of them. That pocket could be very valuable for me in my wanderings in the outback of the USA. Long distance touring by bike only is not part of my future. Check out the crazyguyonabike website if you want to read about those tough folks.

My current bags would allow an overnight credit card trip to somewhere if that opportunity ever arises. In fact the current bags would allow two nights. That would be three days of riding and that sounds like plenty to me. Carrying camping gear and sleeping in tents along the way is not part of the equation.

By the time everything was squared away, it was later in the afternoon. My back was screaming at me for doing so much squatting and bending over. OK Mr. Back we will take it easy for the rest of the evening. The Truck took me and Mr. Back over to the Beach Park to look around. The sun was nice and bright but the wind was chilly. A little while later a lot of smoke rolled in. From the smell of the smoke, there must be a prairie fire nearby. This fellow fishing the Allegro Channel did not have any luck during the thirty minutes we stayed at the Channel.

Tonight’s supper was gorging on shrimp at the Buffet. When a count was taken after several shrimp were already in TheOFM storage locker, there was eighteen more on my plate waiting for my enjoyment. My guess is that at least two dozen shrimp went into the locker along with the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, egg roll and a piece of fish. All this was lubricated with hot green tea. Now that is a fine finishing touch to a day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/19/10

Dirty Memories

Rockport, Texas

The allergies have hit with a vengeance. It has put a damper on the activities for a while. At least the laundry was done and put away. The world is safe for another week from the terrible sight of my fat body running around unclothed. My mirrors are all polished stainless steel since glass cannot stand up to my image being in them.

Tonight’s activity will be cleaning brake assemblies from the bicycle. They have a lot of memories on them in the form of trail dirt. My maintenance schedule on the previous bike was when it quits working then fix it. The new bike will be better maintained in the interest of safety. Here are the brake levers with all the memories on them.

In between allergy attacks some food preparation was accomplished. The pancake mix was mixed up with cinnamon as a kicker. Then they were cooked to perfection.

After cooling for an hour in the nice breeze coming through the open window of the Castle, they were packaged for freezing. Now for a while, breakfast can be pancakes with peanut butter and syrup. That is a good start for my day.


The last parts for then new bike were ordered today and are supposed to be in next week. A check of the local Corpus bike shops brought forth the information that they would have to order the parts also. None of the desired items were in stock locally. So Amazon got the business. Just to go over to Corpus to pick the parts up locally costs more than the shipping from Amazon.

Once the brakes are clean, lubricated and reinstalled the new bike will be able to be ridden as a single speed bike. Until the bike parts come in, the yak likely will get some attention. Messing with a boat is another great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/18/10

Moving Things Around

Rockport, Texas

The recently purchased bicycle repair book is not the best in the world. It is NOT recommended. My previous bike repair book was much better written but out of date.


Almost the entire day was spent transferring items to the new bike or trying out an idea on the new bike. The wheels on the new bike are only 17 mm wide where the tire mounts. Sturdy Steed was 22 mm wide and could handle much wider tires. The 1.5 inch tires of the new bike measured with my calipers at 1.3” wide. For Sturdy the 1.5 inch tires measured 1.65” wide. The wheels from Sturdy were tried on the new bike. The front wheel went great. However the rear wheel of Sturdy has a cassette style not compatible with the Shimano style on the new bike. That means that a total break down of both wheels and re-spoke and truing of the new wheel would be required to use the wider rim on the back. Way too much money involved there since that is beyond my ability. The wheels and tires that came with the new bike will be used.

Several other things went the same way. At least the handlebar from Sturdy fit the new bike very well. Some test riding with the old handlebar on the new bike indicated the correct path was being followed. So the old handle bar is now resident on the new bike.

The brakes on the new bike were adequate but during my time with Sturdy, the brakes had been upgraded a bunch. The brakes that came with the new bike were removed and the brakes from Sturdy were installed. Even not totally adjusted, they were impressive in stopping ability. Here is a picture of the front and rear brakes on the new bike. A major clean up and adjusting is scheduled for the near future.


The result of the testing and experimenting today resulted in my decision to use a gadget called Paul’s Thumbies to move the shifting from the bar ends to right at my finger tips when riding. Letting go with a hand to shift does not fit my choice of the way to do shifting. The shifters that came on the new bike are excellent and definitely are the best ever in my experience. So they will be fitted with the Thumbies and located at my finger tips while riding. This should make an excellent combination for riding in difficult situations.

The LHT frame and fork continue to feel wonderful for my style of riding. The adjustments and changes in no way mean anything was wrong with the LHT at all. After 55 years of bike riding, there are a few things that are my preference. As the LHT has been torn apart for swaps and changes, it has impressed me with everything being top notch quality. This is definitely one of the better bikes on the market.

In a blog entry of a few months ago, Tamia, of Tamia Outside, wrote about a small bag that mounts on the top bar forward at the head tube. She gets the good stuff. The one purchased today for me came from Wal-Mart ( otherwise known as Cheapmart) for about $8. It will be where the camera and Halt reside while riding. Thanks for recommending that style of bag Tamia.

Late this evening Sturdy Steed was moved down to the trash dumpster where good stuff someone else might find a use for it. About an hour later a fellow was checking it out for parts to upgrade his bike. He took it off to his trailer and went to work. So Sturdy is no more but has supplied folks with excellent parts to make their riding better.

Today was good fun and tomorrow will be more fun now that the decisions and trials are over on the new bike. The new parts will be ordered tonight and should be in next week to finish out the new bike. Then it will be time to start in on the Edisto yak to rig it out.

Then there will be many ways of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

2/17/10

Spoke Holder Away

Rockport, Texas

There have been troubles with speeding in the campground. So today Brian, the owner, put an end to that with a speed bump to slow folks down. It will do the job.

Having open wood fires around RVs is not a great idea. Sparks can burn holes in the plastic roofs made of EPDM. So a few folks got together and requested permission to set up a campfire area away from the campers. Brian liked the idea so they went to work to make a fire pit from a barrel. An area near one of the ponds was selected. It turned out pretty nice it seems to me.

The bike part, a stem extender, that was on order came in on schedule today. After unpacking it the rest of the day was spent tweaking or changing the bicycles to fit my preferences.

The first structural modification was eliminating the spoke holder that is in the way of the kickstand. My Dremel tool was a silly toy purchase a few years ago, but it has turned out to be one of my best tool purchases ever. Today it took away the spoke holder section that was in the way.

In about fifteen minutes the holder was gone and the damaged paint repainted. The paint was Krylon from Wal-mart and matched surprisingly well.

Later the kickstand was installed. It works very well.

Lots of measurements and trial rides were taken today in the effort of making choices about how to set up the new bike. One of the things that came in was a stem extender to get the handlebars higher. It took several minutes to install since my previous experience with this type of stem system was none. It went on very easy and a test ride proved it to be very valuable to me. My fears of it being too flexible were worthless. It is very sturdy under load of my riding.

More riding and thinking went on. The Surly LHT frame and fork are really a good match for me. The bike flows like a part of me. More riding and considering will be done tomorrow in hopes of getting the LHT set up for my uses by the end of tomorrow.

For a break from bikes, this evening a short trip to the local beach was enjoyed. There was a yakker out doing exercise paddling and practice maneuvering his boat.

Once this bike is set up it will be a great tool for the task of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.