Wednesday, November 30, 2011

(click on the pic to see it larger)


On Dec 10, 2007, I bought an '03 Suzuki SV1000 naked with 21,555 miles. Today, I turned 71,000 and some miles on her. So, I'm around 500 miles, or about 4 tanks of gas from hitting 50,000 of MY miles on this beauty. In four years. That's an average of 12,500 miles per year.

Average, mind you. That 21,555 it already had on it? I doubled it in eleven months. She's taken me from Austin to Dallas, Del Rio, Lake Corpus Christi, Seguin, and on many rides through the Texas Hill Country, not to mention a lot of adventurous urban riding in Austin itself. Financial downturns stopped me from traveling as much  after that first year, but I still ride to work nearly every day. I don't need an excuse to ride to work, I need a damn good reason to drive the truck before I'll leave the bike at home.

Ride 'em, don't hide 'em!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I don't usually get into the idea of a contrived "I'm thankful for ..." speech/toast/post, but for whatever reason, inspiration took hold just now. So, in no particular order and not complete, here's a quick list just off the top of my head:

  • My children; and their laughter, smiles, and hugs
  • My Love and her embraces, laughter and smiles
  • Voices of relatives on the phone
  • Motorcycles
  • Good coffee
  • Tattoos
  • Living in a cool city in a moderate climate
  • Brothers and sisters who are related by choice, not by blood
  • Both the right and the ability to speak my mind (even if I'm clearer with a keyboard than in person)
  • This digital medium to stay in contact with so many people from all aspects and periods of my life

Whatever it is that triggers your gratitude, hang onto it and enjoy it and appreciate it every day, not just today. You never know when some or all of it will be whisked away from you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How A Bike Motor Should Be

I keep thinking about my bike and her engine. Super reliable - five years, fifty thousand miles, and only routine maintenance so far. I put her on a dyno a couple years ago, and granted, she’s got a Yoshimura aftermarket exhaust, but that’s the only performance mod. 101 hp at the wheel. 71 ft lb peak torque. Just over 400 pounds. Kick ass high revving V twin growl. Nice neutral, comfortable riding position. Regular fucking gas, not premium. 42 miles for every gallon. Fifty mpg if I keep it at 55 mph (I only know that because I got caught in construction traffic on a holiday weekend for an hour or so once).

Reliable. Economical. Powerful. Cool sound. Everything a motorcycle engine should be. Why aren’t they all like this?

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Baggers

Photo taken from

In the late 1960s, Robert M. Pirsig took a motorcycle trip. He told the story of that trip, and mingled in philosophy and a bit of autobiography in the book "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance".

Here is a list, excerpted and compiled (and  paraphrased in places) from lists of his own in the book, telling what he carried on his trip:

  1. Two changes of underwear
  2.  Long underwear
  3.  One change of shirt and pants for each of us. I use Army-surplus fatigues. They're cheap, tough, and don't show dirt.
  4. One sweater and jacket each
  5. Gloves
  6. Cycle Boots
  7. Rain Gear
  8. Helmet and sunshade
  9. Bubble (he refers to a snap on face shield available for the helmets of the day - full face helmets weren't around yet)
  10. Goggles
  11. Shop manual for his bike
  12. Chilton's Motorcycle Troubleshooting Guide
  13. A copy of Thoreau's Walden
  14. Two sleeping bags
  15. Two ponchos and one ground cloth. These convert to a tent and protect the luggage from rain
  16. Rope
  17. Maps
  18. Machete
  19. Compass
  20. Canteen
  21. Two Army surplus mess kits with knife, fork, and spoon
  22. Collapsible Sterno stove
  23. Aluminum screw top cans for food and condiment storage
  24. Brillo
  25. Two aluminum-frame backpacks
Toolkit containing:
  1. Large adjustable wrench
  2. Machinist's hammer
  3. Cold Chisel
  4. Taper Punch
  5. Tire Irons
  6. Tire patch kit
  7. Bicycle pump
  8. Chain lube
  9. Impact Driver
  10. Point File
  11. Feeler Gauge
  12. Test Lamp

Spare Parts:
  1. Plugs
  2. Throttle, Clutch, Brake cables
  3. Points
  4. Fuses
  5. Headlight & Taillight Bulbs
  6. Chain Master Link
  7. Cotter Pins
  8. Baling Wire
  9. Spare Chain

Notice he had no cell phone, no rainsuit, was prepared to make major repairs including changing tires and/or the chain while on the side of the road. Also notice his tent was no lightweight, waterproof nylon thing with lightweight shock-corded aluminum poles that set up in five minutes.

Also notice he was traveling with his teenage son, and had all this stuff piled onto the bike. For seventeen days. No interstate travel, either - back roads and two lane highways as much as possible.

What kind of bike did he use? A Harley-Davidson Electra Glide? Nope. Indian? Nope. A Honda CB360. Including the passengers and gear, the bike was probably carrying its own weight.

And nowdays we feel we need fairings and windshields and radios and CBs and CD players and mp3 players and GPS and a big monster engine.

No. We just need two wheels and to get on 'em and RIDE.

Friday, November 18, 2011


People like to talk about God's Plan For Them. That seems a bit narcissistic to me, and unrealistic, too.

As of last year, there are estimated to be over 6,840,000,000 people on the earth. Currently living. Add in all that have ever lived and all that ever will. Now, doesn't it seem a bit conceited to think God has a life plan all outlined for you?

Also, we're talking about a being who created all of reality, theoretically by saying a few words. You're saying that if he wanted you to do something, you'd really be able to do anything else? Calls into question either Free Will or Divine Omnipotence, eh?

Have you ever done something for absolutely no reason at all? Like absentmindedly peel the label off a beer bottle, or toss a rock into a pond? Well, don't you think it's possible that after God built everything and hit the "On" switch, that maybe he just sat back to watch the ripples spread out from that pebble he chucked into his fish pond?

Just some theological thoughts that ran through my mind today. I'm pretty sure God didn't plan for me to share them with you...

Work is the Curse of The Riding Class

The day before yesterday, it was just one of those days. In a good way, though. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky. The temp was chilly, but not outright cold, the bike just seemed to feel and sound right. I was wearing a combination of comfortable, familiar, broken-in jacket and gloves so old, they've conformed to the curvature of my fingers, and a new helmet that I'm loving. I was rolling up the road, coming to where I had to turn into the shopping center where I work.

I looked up at that deep blue, cloudless sky, listened to the roar of the V twin engine beneath me, and I swear I heard Matthew Broderick's voice in my head, from the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", saying: "How could I be expected to handle school on a day like this?" I really wanted to keep riding, and just ride. All. Day. However, I sadly remembered that we were scheduled for an unusually large shipment that day, and that there was really no one else who could be called in to replace me. So I exerted a herculean amount of willpower and made the turn and went to work. Damn that sense of personal and professional responsibility, no matter how small it may be...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Words of Wisdom

A list of more aphorisms suggested to me by friends after yesterday's post:

Si vis pacem para bellum.
(If you wish for peace, prepare for war)

Res firma mitescere nescit
(A firm resolve does not weaken)

écrasez l'infâme
(Crush the infamous)

l'enfer, c'est les autres
(Hell is other people)

Ex tenebris lux
(from darkness, light)

Futue te ipsum et caballum tuum
(the gist: Screw you and the horse you rode in on. Literal translation: Fuck you and your horse.)

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.
(Kill them all. Let God sort them out)

Thanks Tony, Mark, and Gabrielle.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Getting Through The Day

C'est la vie
(That's Life)

Qué Será Será
(What Will Be, Will Be)

It is what it is

illegitimi non carborundum
(Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down)

Mentsch Tracht, Gott Lacht
(Man Plans, God Laughs)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Movement's Disturbing Reaction to Rape - HUMAN EVENTS

Occupy Movement's Disturbing Reaction to Rape - HUMAN EVENTS

Thoughts On An Early Saturday Morning

This seems so unlike me. I've never been a morning person; always the night owl. Always one to stay up late and often to sleep the day away. I'd always wind up regretting losing most of the day to sleep, but usually couldn't bring myself to set an alarm on the weekend. On workdays, I always got up with just enough time to frantically get dressed and rush out the door and off to work.

In the last couple of years, though, I've been getting up much earlier. I've come to appreciate the time to drink coffee and have breakfast at a relaxed pace before heading off to work.

Apparently, it's spilled over into weekends now, too. Baby Girl woke us up at 6:00 a.m. We fed her, then I got up with her so my Other Half could go back to sleep. Later, Baby Girl decided to go back to sleep, too. Against what has been my nature most of my life, I decided to stay up. So, here I am, at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, and awake for no reason other than I just want to be awake. Just saying that feels odd to me.

Ah, well. People change. We all evolve, no matter how constant some of us want to think ourselves to be. I guess this is just another step in my personal evolution. Yes, I'm a little sleepy, but I also like that I'm not going to waste a day snoring away. I need the coffee for comfort right now, it's true, but I'm also appreciating being aware of this moment, right here, right now.


Good Morning. How's your day shaping up?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Motorcycle Wordplay

Please, please, please stop using the following terminology. It just makes you sound fucking stupid.

  1. Front fork.
    Seriously. Where the hell else is there a fork? Sure, I know there are some internal pieces, but they’re specified (shifter fork). We know it’s not a rear fork, so just drop the “front” - it’s redundant and useless.
  2. Rear swingarm.
    Same damn thing. Okay, a few months ago, I read an article on a Bimota that’s using a front swingarm, but it’s probably the only one in existence. Maybe some of BMW’s front suspensions are close, but even they don’t consider the telelever and paralever to be swingarms. So, until some rip in the space/time continuum happens and the Bimota design becomes standard, let’s just say “swingarm”, and leave the word “rear” out of it. Or else I’m going to start talking about my front headlight.
  3. “Assless chaps”.
    Don’t. Just don’t say it. I don’t care if you wear them, hate them, laugh at them, think they’re only for leather-fetish gay men or for rodeo cowboys. It’s redundant. By definition, chaps ARE ASSLESS. If they had an ass, they’d be PANTS!! What, next you’re going to talk about sleeveless vests? Oh, I know: check out my new legless T shirt.
Okay, I’m done with my language related rant. For now. As always, I reserve the right to return to this topic and rant more when (not if) I encounter more dumb word usage.

… like saying “8:00 a.m. in the morning”. As if there’s an 8:00 a.m. in the evening? Oh, hell. Don’t get me started again…