Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


The Heavy Artillery

Many of those who know me know that I like to cook and that I am a bit of a breakfast aficionado, especially in the waffle department. In that spirit, I bought a Waring Belgian waffle maker a couple of years ago and proceeded to use the heck out of it. I often had as many friends over as I could find in my phone's text directory for long Sunday breakfasts:
Old and busted: The Waring "Pro"

That all ended back in September, when after a year of declining service, the Waring (with my uncle, grandmother, parents and wife in somber attendance) kicked the bucket for good. Stupid consumer -grade kitchen appliances. Over time, it took longer and longer after the "beep" for a completed waffle to emerge, until the very last waffle, which languished in liquid state until I finally gave up. 

I took the thing apart to find cheap, thin sheet metal wrapping the nonstick irons and heating elements, and totally fried wiring and insulation between the iron and the base.  The "flipping" action that is so necessary for a good waffle was too much for the pathetic wires inside.  Tired, greasy, and with cuts on my fingers from the sheet metal casing, I gave up and put the whole lot into the trash. 

Later, I went back to Amazon.com to see what the reviewers said.  Many who put their iron through heavy use like I did had the same problem, and some had gone so far as to replace the thermal fuse in the wiring.  In fact, that fuse is one of the things that shows up when you look at the "other things people who purchased this item also purchased" section of the listing.  So, if you buy one of these, you are likely to have to go out and buy a new fuse for it and will have to rewire it within the first few years of ownership. 

We have been waffle-less all winter long (of course, I have been ski instructing all winter long, so the opportunity to have friends over for long, lazy breakfasts is also severely limited until after the end of March.)  I have been wishfully looking around the Internet for a good replacement, but there is a surprising price gap between consumer machines (maxing out at around 200 dollars) and commercial ones (starting at about 600 dollars). 

The $1.50 part that fails inside of the $75 waffle iron. 

Enter that wretched hive of scum and villainy, eBay.  After few months of watching and bidding, I am the proud owner of a serious waffle machine (used, of course), for a consumer-grade price.  It heats to skin scorching temperatures, weighs somewhere in the high twenties to low thirties, and has no lights, no temperature adjustment, no silly sheet metal or plastic cladding. The power cord coming out of the back of it is as big around as my thumb. It could probably use its own electrical circuit. 

New hotness. (with apologies to Shepard Fairey.)_

(For illustration purposes only. Some scoundrels on Ebay are selling waffle irons that look much like this that are actually, much like plastic milk crates, "not for sale" and are only available if you are a subscriber to their proprietary batter mix and service plan.  I would never take part in such shenanigans. ) 

So rejoice, my friends and breakfast invitees.  Some day, when the snows of winter have receded and the time presents itself, there will once again be waffles at the Boulanger/Nugent house.  They will issue forth from the machine with a hearty "ding from a mechanical timer. Arms will be strengthened with the turning of the massive plates. Appetites will be satisfied.

Now, to find a place to park this thing...