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December 8, 2022

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 10:38 pm

Pseudoephedrine, the main active ingredient in common cold medicines such as Sudafed, is chemically quite similar to ephedrine (hence the name). As such, it can be used to make methamphetamine. Since crank is quite illegal, and with the growth of small-scale meth labs which use pseudoephedrine in their production, many states have placed restrictions on the purchase of pseudoephedrine containing medicines.

So why do I care? There I am at 7:30, standing in Target (Tar-zhay?), and I’m in the market for pseudoephedrine. Not because I’m planning on starting up a meth lab in my new apartment. Instead, I just have a terrible cold, and I’m out of everything but Nyquil. Unfortunately, New York no longer allows the unregulated sale of pseudoephedrine. At Target, the process is very similar to purchasing large items: rather than picking up the item itself, you take a ticket for it. You then take the ticket to the pharmacy, and if you’re over 18, and you’re not buying too much, they’ll give you the medicine. Unfortunately, Target’s pharmacy closes at 7. So I’m without cold relief! Damn you, illicit methamphetmine producers!

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December 8, 2022

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 1:07 am

It’s amazing how many interesting, or even disturbing, things you just hear as opposed to see, and how these fleeting bits of sound get put together into a coherent story.

Earlier today, I heard a domestic disturbance going on in the apartment downstairs. A man was yelling at a woman rather loudly, something along the lines of “you can’t just take her and leave!” The yelling lasted for maybe 10 minutes before it stopped. I wonder if she left, I thought to myself.

Then, earlier this evening, I heard a lot of loud knocking downstairs. Maybe the guy left and now he’s trying to get in?. Once, twice, and then one last time. Then the knocking stopped. Well, either she was stupid and let him in, or he gave up and left (at this point, my various survival/scaredy-cat instincts kick in, and I deadbolt the door).

Finally, five minutes ago, I heard even louder banging. Well, I guess he left last time and now he’s maybe drunk and trying to get in. Once, then again. Then: “Open the door!” *beat* “Open the door! This is the police!” Huh, I guess she was dumb enough to let him back in. I wonder who called the cops. “Get down on the ground! Now!” I guess the police got inside. I hope this ends well

I haven’t heard anything since then. I wonder how things turned out.

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December 8, 2022

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 1:17 am

Today, I had my first flat tire. As I was pulling out of the bike rack area at work, I heard a fairly steady thump, thump sound. I looked down and thought to myself, “You know, I’m pretty sure that my rear tire isn’t supposed to stick that far out to the sides at the bottom.” So I stopped, and took a better look. Yup, definitely flat. I hadn’t gotten too far away from work, so I walked the bike back to the shade (a necessity, since it topped out at 98 degrees here, today) to try my hand at fixing it.

Fortuitously, last Sunday I decided that I had tempted fate long enough, and went down to the local bike store (Livermore Cyclery). While there, I bought a seat bag, a spare tube, a patch kit, and a pretty swanky multi-tool (what can I say, I’m a gadget freak with too much disposable income). I also got an on-frame pump to complement the pump I already had at home. I’d like to say that my buying this stuff so recently was prescient, but I think it’s more likely that I was just stupid for not having gotten it sooner (especially considering how much use I get out of the bike). Having bought that stuff, I decided that I should probably learn how to use it. Enter the Park Tool website, where I read through how to pull off a tire, how to patch/replace a tube, and how to get everything running again. I will chalk up having read the site before setting out on the bike again to some fairly good common sense on my part.

Armed with a vague recollection of how to deal with my flat, I pulled the rear wheel off the bike and saw that there was pretty much no air at all left in the tire. Using my now so-handy multitool, I got the tire off and saw that the tube was likely ruined beyond repair (it was torn right at the valve stem. Anyone have any ideas why that may have happened?) so I decided to just replace the tube. That’s when I hit my first snafu. It appeared to me that the spare tube I had was far too big for the bike wheel. Even partially inflated, it didn’t fit snugly around the wheel. Getting a little skittish, I actually took the tube off the wheel and compared it to the broken tube. Turns out they were both the same size (so why is it that the tubes seem significantly bigger than the wheels?).

After getting the tire back on (that was surprisingly hard to do!), I reattached the wheel on the second try (the first time through I had cleverly gotten the chain to be completely on one side of the hub) and headed off. Total time: about 30 minutes. Not bad for my first attempt, I think. It was even sort of fun!

Anyway, that’s my biking story for the day.

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