How is it I can resize images for blogger in Internet Explorer and Firefox, but not Chrome?
Motorcycle wrenching, for one reason or another, brings out my curiosity. Why is there loc-tite on those bolts? Why is there is snap ring on that shaft? Does this hose actually go anywhere? What idiot designed this? Why does six months on match.com cost $15 where three months cost $17?
Yes, my juices of curiosity were flowing last night after taking my Sporty's clutch partially apart. Seriously, I am starting to like the mechanics of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The engine and clutch are elegant in their simplicity and quite easy to wrench with the right tools.
But, I digress. Curious...
A week or so ago, after an episode of wrenching, I joined bikerornot.com at the suggestion of another rider. "It's not just for dating. It is like a cross between MySpace and Match.com," he tells me.
OK, so out of curiosity I join. Not that I am looking to date or even get into another relationship. Looking for nothing, just curious. Sure enough, it seems to be a nice, laid back social networking site for "Bikers or not".
Last week or so, a woman I know offered her services to set up a few dates for me. Curious. I declined but did put her on retainer.
So, out of curiosity last night, I joined match.com Curiosity. Perhaps there should be more feeling in this, but the voice of Spock just echos in my head... "Curious"
Well, I adjusted the throwout last night and Athena ran beautifully. Twenty miles of night time Las Vegas asphalt and she was clutching without missing a beat. This morning she flew down I-95 one my daily commute without a single complaint.
Lunch time errands included a lot of stop and go surface traffic. Up and down East Tropicana and Flamingo typically requires a lot of clutching and braking. Arriving at work, the clutch handle was getting loose again, but there was little worry. I knew how to fix it.
On the way home from work I pulled into the parking lot of the smoke shop I frequent. While riding around in first, slipping the clutch, searching for a parking spot, there was a pop. The clutch handle plunged back to the grip while Athena lurched forward. Only way to stop was to hit the kill switch.
So, without clutch, we limped the two miles back to the house. Brings back memories of the little 50 CC Honda dirt bike I rode in grade school. When its clutch cable snapped I learned the fine art of motorcycle riding without a clutch. Even though Athena is about 450 pounds heavier than the Honda, the principals of clutch-less riding are the same.
I get to the house, grab a Red Bull and remove the derby cover. Guess what tumbles out. The clutch throwout assembly. (above pic)
Hopefully this part of the clutch is covered under the extended warranty. Hopefully.
On the same day Athena is christened with her new name, her clutch fails. Ah well. My Sporty isn't immortal like Athena. She is steel and rubber and plastic and aluminum; things of the Earth; and things of the Earth will eventually fail.
So, along with packing, I need to be wrenching. Three bikes and not a single one runs. Vixen is in 300 pieces. Reb has a blown oil seal (that I will be ordering shortly) and now Athena's clutch fails.
Then there comes the July ride situation. There are two rides coming up in July, one to Ely, Nevada and another one to Salt Lake City, Utah. After the Utah ride, I was planning to spend a few days in Colorado. Not so sure now.
Last week discovered Athena needed a new front tire. OK, there's $150 or so. Now she needs a clutch? Another $150 or so. I would truly like to go to Salt Lake City and then Colorado. Cash is tight. We shall see.
"The more I become one with the moment, the faster the present becomes the past."
Discussed and contemplated for as long as the human species has been sentient is time. What does it mean? What is it? What is the past, present and future? What of fate? What of free will?
What is the present? There is no present. There is only the direct relationship between the immediate future and immediate past. You are not really reading this, your brain is processing what input your eyes viewed and your brain is directing your eyes to the next word for more input.
The present is a razor's edge (One of the reasons I chose that name for this blog). A perfectly sharpened razor has two well defined sides; leading and trailing or right and left, depending on your preference. A perfect razor's edge comes to a point at an atomic level, with a cloud of electrons at the utmost edge. That cloud is by nature, indeterminate. Sure, using math, one can determine exactly where the electrons are, but time must be removed and for the most part, the only thing in the system that can be measured is the position.
So? Even the edge of a perfect razor cannot be defined, just as the present.
As motorcycle riders, the now, the present must expand yet stay indeterminate. We look two seconds ahead, five, twelve and meld that into our immediate past. Traffic, road, bike and weather conditions, past and present merge into one when speeding down a long road or tearing up the twisties.
Our minds' inner eye opens to this; allows us the enviable joy of seeing more, experiencing more than the typical human being. The more one becomes in the moment, the more moment is being experienced.
Imagine a small stream babbling along the edge of a forest. Its water is not moving very quickly, simply making a leisurely trip down stream. Now, imagine a flood. The stream is now a torrent of water. It is the same stream, but it has widened and quickened. You are experiencing something wider and grander than the babbling brook. And, it is moving at a greater pace.
It may be a double edged sword for riders. The more we experience and the wider our range of now becomes, the quicker it seems to go by.
OK, enough rambling. I have work to do and a project bike to work on, not necessarily in that order.
And some idle weekend thoughts. **Warning - Adult Content Ahead**
A year or so ago on a similar weekend I became entrenched in a "conversation" with my ex that was simply exasperating. A no-win sort of situation where logic and truth was thrown out the door at the whim of an irrational mind.
After two hours I had had it. I saddled up on my Rebel and headed out for a ride. It was not good. The road, the drivers, the stop lights, even my bike seemed angry.
According to a fellow I know who has ridden for nearly two decades, these are classic symptoms of an expression of inner feelings and turmoil to the external world. To paraphrase, "When you are that pissed off, don't ride. The whole world will be angry."
After much experimentation, and believe me, there has been plenty of opportunity for this, there is but one way for me to productively unwind. To wrench.
A person I know suggested an activity requiring another person of the opposite sex. That particular stress reliever is yet untried. :-)
So, for three hours I wrenched on my little project, my Suzuki VX800. Productive, yes. Soothing, yes. Good news? No. The front cylinder may be garbage. In all, a good end to a less than enjoyable day. --------------------------- Well, I joined BikerOrNot. It is a pseudo dating and social networking website for bikers. For anyone curious, here is my profile: www.bikerornot.com/VegasRider Yes, I am also on FaceBook and occasionally check into my MySpace page. After seeing an advertisement on MySpace for Discrete Relationships for Married People, I don't go there very often. To each, his or her own. I just find that a bit obnoxious. --------------------------- Damaged goods... WTF. --------------------------- "Get out there and date!" Why? Is this some social pressure to find someone? Have a regular safe-sex partner? I am clueless. --------------------------- Biker. I haven't been riding for even two years, yet people call me a biker, motorcycle enthusiest, and rider. Perhaps it is all in the proper attitude. --------------------------- Time may heal all wounds but it is up to us to take care of the scars.
**Sarcasm Ahead** I would just like to apologize to the young woman in the blue Neon, driving down Desert Inn today at lunch time. I appreciate you were driving ten miles under the speed limit, likely to ensure the safety of yourself and all others sharing the road. The line of five cars behind you must have been your entourage or security force ensuring no one came up from behind you.
I am terribly sorry my bike is so loud and sparkly and shiny. That is just the way some Harleys are. I hope I didn't startle you when I accidentally twisted the throttle hard while next to you, causing that darned loud engine to wale and scream. Honestly, my staring at you from behind my reflective face guard was simply meant as a 'I am Sorry.'
Please don't mind that bright, reflective helmet, black leathers and skull & crossbones patch. I am really a quiet fellow who never makes trouble. As a matter of fact, one thing that I love to do is read. If I could, I would read all day, tucked in my bed with Bach playing in the background, fresh cup of chamomile tea steaming on my night stand.
Please, ma'am, accept my apology. I really did not mean to interrupt your driving while you were reading a flier perched on your steering wheel. I do hope it is good reading and when you cause an accident, I pray it is only you involved.
Tuesday night there was a stumble; a trip; an accidental side step and there I am in the middle of a conversation. Well, more of an illogical monologue reminiscent of the Twilight Zone than a conversation.
At any rate, it was a talk brimming full of self deprecation and 'pity, pity me' sort of drama. Had two beers so can't go out for more and that was the entire household inventory, so I can't get buzzed. Drama shields to full.
...She can't go to school for her masters, she can't get a job, she can't write, she will not be able to find a boyfriend or husband, she will never have sex again, she is going to die a lonely old maid... blablabla
Now, I am not minimizing her feelings, but if someone has determined they can't do something, it is quite certain they can't. The only people who have accomplished anything are those who have tried.
This brings me to some thoughts I entertained yesterday. One thing on my Bucket List is to earn my Saddle Sore certificate. What is that? It is a documented ride of 1000 miles in 24 hours. So, why don't I just do it & get it over? It is only 1000 miles. A few weeks ago I rode a little more than 600 miles in about 10 hours. 14 more hours to do 400 miles? Child's play really.
So, when I ride up to Salt Lake for a poker run next month, I am taking a few days off, riding to Colorado for a few days, then making my Saddle Sore ride back into Vegas.
Another thought that falls into the Just Get it Done category. And now for something completely different... Concert producer.
Yup, a charity concert to kick off my 2009 Ride for the NCADV where I try to raise awareness of domestic violence. Hmmm... Why not. Hell, if I can ride a Honda Rebel solo for 5800 miles in three weeks, I can certainly organize a little musical get together.
When I started my ride last year, I pointed my wheel East and rode. I am not terribly sure which direction I should be pointing here... Anyone???
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."
Ah, Shakespeare. Not that I care much for Romeo and Juliet, I like this quote. A name is simply a label affixed to something. Us humans, we tend to label everything; types of motorcycles; tires; boats; cars; and even... certain body parts. Our motorcycles even have names, or minimally we refer to them using pronouns that infer a certain sex. Male riders typically refer to their bikes in the feminine. Female riders generally refer to their bikes in the masculine.
Many people I know give their bikes names like Bob and George and Bullet and Cherry and Donna. Why? Is it an anthropomorphizing of a machine? Is it to be cute? I think, maybe it is to bring something closer to us. We are close to our bikes, and to get closer we name them.
Why then, am I drawing a blank when coming up with a name for my Sporty? My Rebel is known to me as "Reb." My Suzuki VX800 is known as "Vixen."
Maybe it is because we have little history. I don't think lovers immediately have nicknames until they know each other, but this is different. "Vixen" came to mind right after I bought her. "Reb" came after a few months, and even before that I was experimenting with different names.
But here... blank. Maybe a few thousand miles more and something will emerge. Who knows.
I've no idea who originally penned this. Regardless, it is beautiful. I saw you; hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line. But you didn't see me put an extra $10.00 in the collection plate last Sunday.
I saw you pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk. But you didn't see me playing Santa at the local Mall.
I saw you change your mind about going into the restaurant when you saw my bike parked out front. But you didn't see me attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.
I saw you roll up your window and shake your head when I rode by. But you didn't see me riding behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window. I saw you frown at me when I smiled at your children. But you didn't see me, when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.
I saw you stare at my long hair. But you didn't see me and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.
I saw you roll your eyes at our Leather jackets and gloves. But you didn't see me and my brothers donate our old ones to those that had none. I saw you look in fright at my tattoos. But you didn't see me cry as my children where born or have their name written over and in my heart.
I saw you change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere. But you didn't see me going home to be with my family. I saw you, complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be. But you didn't see me when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.
I saw you yelling at your kids in the car. But you didn't see me pat my child's hands knowing she was safe behind me.
I saw you reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road. But you didn't see me squeeze my wife's leg when she told me to take the next turn.
I saw you race down the road in the rain. But you didn't see me get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.
I saw you run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time. But you didn't see me trying to turn right.
I saw you cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in. But you didn't see me leave the road.
I saw you, waiting impatiently for my friends to pass. But you didn't see me. I wasn't there.
I saw you go home to your family. But you didn't see me. Because I died that day you cut me off.
I was just a biker. A person with friends and a family. But you didn't see me.
A day of somewhat delayed embarrassment. Looking back, all there is to do is laugh.
It was a gorgeous day for a poker run and my post was the third stop. Here I am, sitting behind a small table, overseeing the riders take their card and writing it on their card sheet.
A rather well endowed, well spoken woman walks up with her card sheet. She places it on the table and takes a card. Queen of Clubs. I write it on her card sheet and give it back to her. She looks at it, turns it to me, holding it at breast level and says, "Wow! Look what I have!"
Dutifully I look. Pair of Queens. "Wow! Nice pair!" I remark.
That isn't sad.
What is sad, is that I didn't realize what I said, or the fact she just grinned at me when I said it until about an hour later.
Much to the chagrin of a semi-hangover headache my Harley chugs to an early morning start. As her carbureted 1200 CCs warms up and my head thumps in synchronicity, I put my helmet and gear on.
As with fishing, in my opinion, a bad day riding is better that good day doing many other things.
Backing her out of the driveway two songs by Nickelback seem to be occupying the idle parts of my brain. Never Again and If Today Was Your Last Day. It is not out of the norm for songs to tumble around the idle parts of my brain as I ride.
Accelerating to highway speed on I95 toward Vegas there is something out of synch; something out of the norm. Not bad; not good; just different. Automatic danger and situation analysis kicks in. Tires are OK; bike is manuvering fine; accelleration and braking good; no cage is entering into my space.
Like some unseen hand ringing a bell, my helmet starts vibrating. Vision blurred, the apparent wind wipes my mind of everything save keeping rubber on asphalt. Slowing to about 50 it stops but we are now a traffic hazzard. I accellerate to 65 where the buzzing is acceptable.
Head throbbing, fifteen minutes later I pull into the parking lot at work. Helmet off, there is something different. Colors are popping into my visual cortex. Curves, angles, reflections, refractions seem to be alive. Red cars are RED. Yellow and white parking markers are YELLOW and WHITE. Things are different.
Not a side effect of anything determinable, several weeks later it is still here. Colors are still popping, sounds now seem to have infinite depth. It almost seems as if the universe has become more vivid.
Is this how things really are and my muddled mind had been filtering? Did my senses get jostled and wake from a long sleep? Perhaps there is more depth to everything and we simply ignore it, chosing the more hum-drum, day-in-day-out slogging of life.
Fantastic doesn't even describe it. I need to ride.