Sunday, October 31, 2010


My roommate lost one of the bolts connecting the small and large front sprockets on his bike. The pressure of the chain bent the small sprocket, doubling it over completely, and rendering the bike useless. It was an old European three-bolt sprocket set with a cotter pin to attach the crank-arm to the spindle. The bike-shop didn't have the old parts, so my roommate asked me and we took it to the workshop today, found an old crank set with the exact same setup, and swapped it out. I wasn't familiar with the old cotter pin set-up (but I've never used a modern crank-puller either) but it wasn't that hard to figure out. So we saved a bike's life today. Good times. Now back to work.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Press Blurb

I love this.

As you may recall, I gave a presentation on the Sierra High Route to 5 Bay Area REI's this summer. They later gave my name to an East Bay trail group, and in early September I gave my presentation to them at their big annual hike & ride fundraiser.

They just sent me their newsletter, and this is how the presentation was described:
"The entertainment that evening was a slide presentation by Garret Christensen, who has hiked all the major though hikes [sic] in the US. He talked about hiking the top of the Sierra Mountains from one end to the other – off-trail! He showed us slides of the beauty of the High Sierras, the exhausting work that it takes to hike it, and the pitifully minimal equipment he takes when he goes there. I think we all came away from that talk admiring his persistence and resourceful- ness and thinking: “Thank God I’m not THAT crazy!”"

Awesome. Support the Bay Area Ridge Trail. It needs to get finished so I can thru-hike it.

I Can't Sleep

NYT article on pushing your physical limits.

The Town was a great movie. So was The Ghost Writer. The Arcade Fire show at the beginning of the month was good, but I didn't think great. Conveniently it was at the Greek Theater 100 yards from my office so I had time for it, but I thought the jumbotron behind the band that showed live distorted video of what they were doing on stage was very distracting. You're standing right here in front of me, can't I just watch you jump around in real life?

Is it just me or are Dem's chances looking a little better lately?

All the Poisson regressions, county trends, and population weights are starting to work. Good times.

Electronic music is good to listen to at work as it's less distracting than my normal indie/folk. Thank you, Ratatat.

That's all for now.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Presented today. I think it went well. You know it's going horribly if nobody bothers to make comments, and I was worried about that at the start, but I realized that was just the part where I was talking about non-economicsy background stuff ("Here's how you join the military"). It got lively with lots of comments when I actually started showing results, and the faculty was dropping knowledge bombs all around. And the suggestions are stuff I can actually do, so that's cool.

I was exhausted, so I'm spending the rest of the day buying groceries, doing my laundry, fixing some bike spokes, and maybe watching Carrie or reading Harvey Pekar's adaption of Studs Terkel's Working. (And talking to a guy at RAND about the control functions approach to eliminating omitted variable bias.) The only problem is, I bought the freewheel removal tool (the Suntour 2-prong model) but I've only got an 8-inch crescent wrench which is not giving me enough leverage. At the community workshop they've got a huge wrench with a hex-slot in it, perhaps explicitly for this purpose, but they don't sell them at Missing Link and the guy there said he just uses a crescent wrench anyway. So it's off to the hardware store to buy a big-ass crescent wrench, I suppose.