this store does not sell miraculous insecticide chalk

This is a mostly empty domain owned by Colin Murphy (talking about the Albuquerque-Austin-Chicago Colin Murphy, not the evil soap opera doctor or the Irish comedian). This store does not sell miraculous insecticide chalk, so please don't ask. Mainly it just sits here, raking in enormous amounts of passive income from random keyword matches and wayfaring strangers wandering into its lair.  

Your luck may not be much better at any of the other things I'm responsible for--murcoil, dadsmanship, or made last night--but it's worth a shot. Also there's all the socializing: this and the other. (If The Atlantic thinks it makes you lonely, I'm not a part of it.)

Oh look there. You see? It's an advertisement. There's another one over there to the right. Down below are some things I typed to make sure this thing worked the way I thought it did, which it generally seems to. Please, if you have any suggestions on how to make this a more interesting and user-centered passive income raking experience, let me know by one of the mediums above. 

First read of the Ashland BRT Environmental Assessment

posted Nov 20, 2013, 8:49 AM by Colin Murphy

The CTA released the Ashland BRT Environmental Assessment yesterday. 

The key points: 

1) 13 out of 89 intersections would operate at "unacceptable" Level of Service (E or F) vs. 6 in no-build scenario. But proposed mitigation (signal times, changes to roadway geometry etc.) at all 13 intersections bring LOS to acceptable levels or even improve it. However, some of the proposed mitigation measures would involve widening the roadway or other changes inconsistent w DOT's Complete Streets guidelines, which will have to be worked out. 

2) Some parallel roads, esp. Western and Racine/Southport, will see more congestion, but travel speeds (off Ashland) shouldn't be impacted more than 1-3%. The grid should be able to deal with diverted traffic such that no neighborhood streets will be hit especially hard, but mitigation of impacts will be addressed block by block as needed. 

3) 88-89% of parking on Ashland is retained, which is still much more than the amount of parking actually used even at peak demand (55-74%, usually much less), so no mitigation is proposed.

4) Bus travel time and reliability are vastly improved--83% avg speed increase (to 15.9 mph), 9.4 min time savings on typical 2.5 mi trip, 50% better on-time performance. Expect 29% more riders and 26% transit mode split along Ashland.

5) Net regional decrease in emissions (less auto traffic, but more buses)

There's lots more in the report, but those are the easily summarized points so I don't forget them. 

Cycletote child - dog - cargo bike trailer for sale

posted Feb 15, 2012, 11:36 AM by Colin Murphy   [ updated Jun 17, 2013, 1:34 PM ]

SOLD ! For sale is my very well treated Cycletote trailer for attaching to your bicycle, including the bare cargo trailer, child-trailer conversion, and dog-carrier conversion. Since first my dog and then my child loudly objected to riding in it, it has been used almost exclusively for cargo--and then only a few times a year when unusual volumes needed transporting.
If you've seen them, this is along the lines of a Burley Cub or Encore (bigger than the Bee) or Chariot but with the ability to convert into a dog trailer (like a DoggyRide) or utility trailer (like a Bikes At Work).

This is a very adaptable bike trailer made by a small American builder from high quality materials, and has seen only light use; I'm looking for $450 for everything, but will entertain any reasonable offer. 

All told, that gets you: one Cycletote bare utility trailer, with 700c Sun CR18 quick-release wheels (36 hole) and Kenda 700x38c clincher tires, seatpost attachment and 27.2mm seatpost clamp; like-new child carrier setup, including aluminum canopy hoops to attach to base frame, fabric, seats, floor, and rain/bug shield; somewhat road-grimed but generally intact pet-carrier setup, including fabric, floor, canopy; never-used mudguard for trailer tongue.

The base frame and dog part of the bike trailer were purchased in 2003, used with some regularity until 2005, and at that point were semi-retired because my living/bike storage situations made it a total hassle to use very often. Then with a new child, some garage space, and dreams of trailerful summers, I bought the child-carrier conversion last May; it was used only long enough to definitively establish that my kid would rather never go outside again than continue riding in it. (This speaks to my son's character, not the trailer's.) So I believe the universe is telling me bike trailers are not for me. 

There aren't a lot of these kind of bike trailers around, so here are the basics: it's a TIG-welded lightweight aluminum frame, manufactured in Ft. Collins, CO, with heavy duty fabric optionally stretched over the frame (top and bottom) for protecting cargo that needs protecting; welded dropouts fit standard-width front hubs for both 26" and 700c bicycle wheels. Everything is modular and very thoughtfully designed, so if in a few years you want to swap the 700c for MTB wheels, or want their self-actuated braking system for handling the brutal downhill of some new railroad overpass, or need a stroller conversion, it will fit. You can even call on the phone and talk to the talented but somewhat cranky individuals who manufactured it.

The hitch is a ball joint to a seatpost clamp, although they make various other attachment systems for differently shaped bikes and recumbents and whatnot. It attaches and detaches quickly, leaving only a small and light metal bracket pointing out behind your seatpost. 

Please email me at colin at josecrappus dawt calm with any questions (note: I LOVE participating in schemes involving foreign money transfers for much greater than the amount paid, so definitely email me all of those offers right away!). See Cycletote's site ( for more info and an example of some of the worst web design of the modern era. Below are marketing blurb and specs taken from their website; very little except prices has changed since I purchased. Some of the photos are of the actual trailer, some are from cycletote, I'll let you guess which ones are mine. 

Base trailer
- Seat post hitch provides natural steering control
- Ball joint hitch attachment for extra safety
- Your choice of either 700 cm (touring) or 26" (mountain bike) quick-release bicycle wheels and tires
- Full-size wheels provide for low rolling resistance
- Rear reflector
- Wheel reflectors
- High strength lightweight aluminum frame
- Convertible to cargo, child or dog trailer with additional conversion kit
- Outer dimensions with wheels removed (LxWxH): 34" x 32" x 14"
- Internal Height: 13.5"
- Length with tow bar: 58.5"
- Capacity: 100lbs
- Trailer weight: 23lbs
- Wheel size: 26" or 700c
- Track width: 25.50"

cycletote child carrier trailer
Child trailer setup
(padded seat with capacity and harnesses for one or two children, canopy, storm and bug screens, clear plastic side things to keep hands out of spokes and sippies out of roads; in the photo of my own trailer above, the canopy/screens are removed;

Transport one or two children, weighing up to 100 pounds, safely behind your bicycle. They ride in a comfortable sling seat with mesh panels for ventilation and a waterproof front cover for rainy days. Durable CORDURA® fabric protects them from the weather. The full-size wheels make for a smooth ride. Storage areas, including a zippered pocket, can be accessed from the back of the trailer. (A stroller conversion is also available from Cycletote, replacing the tongue with a single front wheel and adding a rear handle.)
- Foam padded seat and back
- 5-point harness for child/children are fully adjustable. Center seating for one child or side-by-side for two with shoulder strap adjustment that continues to fit perfectly as children grow.
- Storage area in back including a zippered pocket
- Water resistant and durable CORDURA® 1000 Denier fabric
- Bright blue and yellow fabric with extra reflective highlights for high visibility
- Mesh and vinyl front covers
- Plastic floor insert
Specs same as base trailer, except
- Outer dimensions with wheels removed (LxWxH): 34" x 32" x 27"
- Internal Height: 26.5"
- Weight: 27lbs

cycletote dog carrier trailer
Dog trailer setup
(shell that stretches over the frame, a masonite floor with a loop for attaching a leash, and a canopy between two removeable aluminum hoops attached to the base to keep paws out of spokes;
Small dog trailers have the option to fully enclose your pet with fabric pieces not shown, or leave the front and back open. Inside, the trailer has a floor for solid footing and a hold-down loop for attaching a short leash. The inside of the trailer is 29.5 inches long by 20.5inches wide with 29 inches of head room (Note: this is cycletote's current info, and it looks like they have raised the height slightly on the dog carriers--on my trailer it's the same height as the current child carrier, since it fits the same fabric; also note the slight difference in top height between this catalog photo and my snowy one above. If that extra 2.5" makes all the difference, they can manufacture you new canopy hoops fairly reasonably.)
- Mesh and vinyl front covers.
- Plastic floor insert
- Traction floor to provide grip for your pet
- Leash loop
- Accommodates many sizes of dogs
Specs same as above, but 
- Outer dimensions with wheels removed (LxWxH): 34" x 32" x 29.5"
- Internal Height: 29"
- Weight: 26lbs 

a new old project

posted Nov 7, 2011, 9:28 AM by Colin Murphy   [ updated Nov 11, 2011, 11:25 AM ]

I used to enjoy the Tothian writing of letters to the producers of products I admire, like the makers of A1 Steak Sauce. A few days ago, a postcard fell out of an old vinyl LP of the Tijuana Brass I was about to consign to Goodwill pile, suggesting a new project. 

From now on, any old business reply postcard I find, I will document their filling out and mailing in and whatever comes of this. Here's the first one, to High Fidelity Magazine, at One Sound Drive, Canton Ohio. Since sending it I looked it up and found that it ceased publication more than 20 years ago, but hopefully somebody there in Canton will have some back issues they'll throw my way.

High Fidelity subscription card, ca. 1986

style guide

posted Oct 31, 2011, 1:14 PM by Colin Murphy   [ updated Oct 31, 2011, 1:17 PM ]

We, the style authority of this site, duly selected and installed, hereby decree that the title style is not even sentence case. I don't even know what you would call it. Only proper nouns, and then only a few of those, chosen pretty much at random, will be capitalized. Middle-of-sentence case? Definitely no way will there ever be all caps anywhere here as long as I can dictate what's what. 

the global terrorist threat

posted Oct 31, 2011, 11:11 AM by Colin Murphy   [ updated Oct 31, 2011, 1:14 PM ]

Snow globes were enough of an issue at this LGA security checkpoint that they had to make an entire laminated sign about it.

Please be advised, snow globes are not allowed through the security checkpoint.

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