Monday, September 10, 2007

How to Make Friends

This past weekend I went to Home Depot with a tape measure, some written measurements, and the intention of getting shelves for my closet. But as usual, I ended up wasting a lot more time than I should in the plumbing section. Literally four hours went by as I played with various PVC connectors like five-year-old at Toys R Us. I decided to take a break from setting up my new room and what better way to do this than to build a life-size stick figure out of PVC pipe to ride on the back of my tandem bicycle?

I walked around the aisle, measuring my arms, legs, and torso, drawing pictures, and laying pipes out on the floor in a roughly humanoid form.
"Do you need help?" one employee asked, choosing his words diplomatically.
"Yes", I said. "Do you have cross-joint for one-inch by half-inch by one-inch by two-inch PVC?"
"I doubt it, considering the way water flows. We don't carry every piece so it's hard to find things that aren't used for typical plumbing setups." He looked down at my head on a stick "And that is clearly not plumbing related."

I adjusted my plans accordingly, swapping out pieces in my drawings for the ones they actually carried in the store. Since I didn't know how big he'd need to be to fit properly on the bike I just modeled his sizes after my own. This is why his biceps are a half of an inch in diameter.

Later I went home to saw and cement together my new friend. After much deliberation with my roommate, Amy, we decided to call him Pascal Vanderbilt Chesterfield. I think it's a pretty fitting and dignified name.

Having a tandem copilot automaton around has a lot of benefits that you might not realize. I can finally ride in the carpool lane when I'm biking to work on i93. If none of my friends are around to go for a ride on the weekends I can still go without looking completely ridiculous. It's a lot less awkward if I meet a girl at a bar and she has a friend made of PVC. And best of all, he can wear the backpack instead of me. Now I just need to teach him how to signal.

video

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

This made my week. Thank you.

Mike Machenry said...

And it makes my weekend that you liked so much. Thanks for the comment.

Joe said...

just when i figured a trebuchet was the coolest thing you could do with pvc pipe, you go and post this. so hilarious. cracking up sitting here by myself. any plans to dress Mr. Chesterfield up? a cape? a bow tie (more distinguished)? thanks for posting!

Mike Machenry said...

There have been plenty of considerations for clothing for Mr. Chesterfield. There are concerns about clothing masking his inner PVC-ness but I think shorts and a tshirt would be a nice compromises. I tie would definitely lend some much needed dignity to that wardrobe too, good idea.

I think we definitely need to dress him for seasonally though. He can go nude most of the time but that boy needs a Halloween costume for sure.

Serra said...

I hate you for reminding me how much I miss having you around... ;-)

Mike Machenry said...

Awe ::hug:: We should hang out more anyway. I'll see you on Friday.

amy said...

I can't believe Pascal has been around for all this time and I haven't taken a ride with him yet. I need to do that soon!

Mark said...

Cool. Let's see what the tandem bikers say.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?p=5249337#post5249337

Anonymous said...

Saw this over on the BF tandem subforum and had to say thanks for posting this. Definitely made me laugh out loud...and I've added it to my list of winter projects. What was the ballpark cost of the PVC you ended up using?

Mike Machenry said...

Thanks for the comment. I think the rough ballpark cost was about $30. Pretty cheap. I bought so extra stuff that I didn't need at first. Like a four 1x1x.5 joints that I swapped out for .5x.5x.5 instead. Subtracting stuff like that I think $30 was good. I had to buy the whole ten foot length of PVC pipe too and I bought too of them. Those are cheap though. About $4 each.

Mike Machenry said...

Hey, Amy, any time you want to ride around with Pascal just let me know :)

bc! said...

Wonderful!
The Magnetic Fields track topped it off too.

Mike Machenry said...

There's now a high-quality version on youtube.

Brian Guthrie said...

I'm late, I know, but I just wanted to pop in and say that this is the awesomest thing I've ever seen.

kemmer said...

After seeing this, I made my own. I posted pictures and a crappy video in the bikeforums thread about Pascal:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showpost.php?p=5542106&postcount=8

Mike Machenry said...

Man that's so awesome. I love his head. I considered using bike parts for mine as well but I didn't have enough and I have PVC lying around everywhere. You should make some more videos that show him riding from the side.

Do you get a lot of reactions? I get a ton every time I go out. I have two guys on the back now (one on a trail-a-bike) dressed as pirates for Halloween. Pictures later.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your entries through xkcd, and I have to tell you, these are awesome, plain and simple. And the more I read, the more awesome they get.

Madcyclists Blog said...

Excellent

kaichu said...

i know i'm going around randomly reading all your old blog posts now that i stumbled in here, but seriously, i keep getting amazed.

is Pascal still around? does he have more costumes/clothes? how often do you guys go riding out together?

and thank you. seriously.

Mike Machenry said...

Oh he's around. We ride all the time. He has a friend now too. Another PVC guy 2/3 the side on a trail-a-bike behind us. He also pedals; it's a triple now. I trade back and forth between commuting with Pascal and with the tall bike.

-mike

kaichu said...

Hah. I would think so. =)

What's the new guy's name?

Mike Machenry said...

Percival Vladimir Chesterfield is the second guys name. Pascal's full name is Pascal Vanderbilt Chesterfield.

-mike

kaichu said...

You know we want pictures of Mike, Pascal and Percival together. You totally owe it to your blog readership.

Mike Machenry said...

Oh it's true. I'll get to it asap. I probably won't have time for a decent video until after Burning Man though, so it'll be at least a few weeks.