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The time has come… 9/28/2007

..the walrus said, to talk of many things,

of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax,

of cabbages and kings;

And why the sea is boiling hot;

And whether pigs have wings.

From when I started blogging in 2004, to what is currently Hunting the Snark, I have had fun. This blog was sometimes an escape, a place to vent, to put down my memories and stories and experience. To say this blog changed my life would be putting it mildly. But, alas, all things must come to an end, much as we may wish otherwise.

I have stopped and started in here a few times. I left it quiet for some weeks on a couple of intervals. And more and more I have found that I no longer have the time, energy or inclination to maintain this blog. This may change in the future. I may come back, with a motorcycle post or two, or something funny I may have heard or remembered. There are no guarantees on that. But the likelihood of there being regular updates in here would be probably less than zero. I’ll keep the space going, as much as for the record as anything else.

I made some friends through this blog, met many interesting people, both online and in real life. For those who came along for the ride, I thank you. Some others were people I perhaps wished I hadn’t met, but on the whole, it’s mostly been good. I’ve always felt that you can learn something from everyone, even if it’s how not to do something.

Motorcycles will still be a part of me, but my active participation in motorcycle forums will be no more. More time riding and less time talking, would probably be the best way to put it. If anyone feels the need to speak to me on a personal basis, you can send e-mail to desmosedici (at) gmail (dot) com.

As I take my leave of this place, I wish all of you happy trails and safe journeys, and that you may always get what you wish for. Be careful though, because sometimes, you just may get it.

Hoisted on the motard. 9/23/2007

A buddy advertised his supermotard for sale last week.  I read the ad in a local bike forum, and gave him a call.  We negotiated somewhat on the price, but didn’t really come to any sort of firm conclusion.  Then he said he’d send the bike over, so that I could use it for an extended test ride, before making up my mind.  He had an ulterior motive in doing this.  All my riding buddies know that I can find something to love about a bike.  Any bike.  Anyone lending me a bike for more than a week can usually expect a call from me asking, “how much?”  This has resulted in me having more bikes than some people have pairs of shoes.  My buddy also had the problem of a naggy wife lecturing him about the “why do you need to have so many bikes?’ thing.  Fortunately, I don’t have this problem now.  Unfortunately, someone has also told me that I will, in future, only be allowed to have 6 motorcycles in my possession at any one time, irrespective of (running) condition.

So he sends it over last night, and I parked it..well…shoehorned it in really, in and amongst the other bikes now decorating the driveway.  I looked it over for about 3 minutes, and walked away.  This morning, I decided to ride it in to work, just to get a feel for it.  I got on the bike, noting the reasonable seat height.  Strange for a supermotard, until I realised how saggy the suspension was.  This did not bode well.

I pulled out onto the street, and neglected to note that there was sand on the corner.  First supermotard surprise, the saggy suspension actually played in its favour.  I felt the rear wheel skid out, and the bike shook its tail a little, and came back into line.  I crossed over into the main road, and headed for the overpass.  Supermotard surprise number two.  This thing could change lanes faster than I could sneeze.  Insane lean angle, due to the high off the ground engine, and a weird center of gravity caused by the plastic fuel tank.

I then got on the highway proper, and proceeded to do my lane split thing, as I do every morning when riding in to work.  Supermotard surprise (well, not much of a surprise, I knew this one already) number 3.  Lanesplitting was a breeze, due to the very upright seating position, and wide handlebars located above the height of standard car mirrors.

I was beginning to think this bike wasn’t so bad after all.  Until I whacked the throttle open.  Supermotards are known for their hooligan like behaviour on the road.  Wheelies, stoppies, and general anti social behaviour are the norm.  Not this one.  This one was slow.  So slow that I wanted to get off and see if the throttle cable was broken.  So slow that I thought the bus behind me was going to run me over and turn me into pizza.

I came into the parking lot at work, and stood there a moment, looking over the bike with a critical eye.  Did some mental calculations.  Eyed certain dimensions.  And a thought formed in my head.

Anyone got a 450 engine going spare?

Girl Friday. 9/21/2007

Girl Friday. 9/14/2007

On the links. 9/8/2007

I played golf today. In a tournament for charity. It’s one of the hazards of my current position, coupled with the fact that no one else in the company plays golf. I find that strange, considering how much golf is ingrained into the corporate culture here, and how much business and information is traded on the course.

I started playing golf years ago, when it so happened that one of the clients of the company I was working for happened to be a golf course. I spent a lot of time in the place, and had the opportunity to pick the game up as it were. Things started getting serious for me in this game in about the mid to late 90s, where I was actually playing a fair amount of tournament golf, and was getting fairly good at it. But I gave it up as too much trouble for a while, because of the amount of time that it consumes, plus the fact that most golfers here just use it as an excuse to gamble. Here’s one thing you may not know about me. I never gamble for money. I’ve always felt if you want to gamble, wager something you cannot afford to lose, like your life.

So there I was, this morning, playing golf with a bunch of assorted strangers, most of whom were working with various councils and government departments. I was late out the door, and barely made my tee-off. I rushed into the golf club, screeched to a halt in the drop off area, and the caddies ran up to me, grabbing my golf bag out the back of the diesel, and hustling me to get registered and on the course.

They sent me out in a special buggy, straight to the tee-box, where my flight was waiting patiently for me. I ran out, holding my 3 wood, and shook hands with everyone, apologising profusely for being late. The other 3 in my flight teed up, and whacked off good shots. I teed up, took a practise swing, and promptly flubbed it, big time. I guess I was less prepared than I thought I was.

The other guys were using the latest equipment. Oversized drivers, funky leather bags, and all that nice stuff. I was using a 9 year old golf set, very scarred and battle worn, with lots of little things like customised grips and weighted shafts. This set served me well, years ago, allowing me to, at one point, drop my handicap into the single digits. Now, well, my flight buddies were kind enough to refrain from commenting on my equipment. Also on the fact that the soles of my shoes disintegrated halfway into the first nine.

This wasn’t looking very promising. I trudged through the misery of the first 4 holes, posting double bogeys and more. Then, suddenly, something of my old swing and form came back. I trounced the next few holes, and my flight mates started looking at me a little suspiciously. They were probably suspecting I was a buaya*. Which I never was. I would hustle in tournaments, certainly, because everyone else was doing so, and the level of competition was high. But in a friendly charity tournament? Not likely.

After 3 or 4 good holes, and my confidence returning, my game suddenly imploded. That’s the thing about playing golf. It has the ability to make the best player look like a fool. A topped shot, a drive landing in the water, a putt that rims out. All these and more make the game eminently frustrating, and supremely enjoyable. I have always favoured a direct approach to the game, relying on my skill, rather than my equipment. I have seen players with expensive custom fitted irons (mine are as well, although obsolete, but that’s a story for another time), the latest gear, training aids and so on, but they were no better players than I was, in terms of skill. I mean, my putter is close to 20 years old, and looks like something from the stone age, compared to putters these days, but I still favour it over anything made today. And believe you me, I have more putters sitting under the staircase than some of you have underwear.

My driver surprised me today. It was something that came with the set, a cheap aluminium thing with a carbon shaft. I never liked it, leaving it out of the bag in favour of something very expensive from Japan. I had sold that expensive driver some while back, so was forced to use this one. It had no feel, and I could never shape my shots with it, nor get any real distance to speak off. Until this morning that is. Somewhere in the back 9, I was driving that thing within about 5 meters or so of the modern high tech stuff the other guys in my flight were using. I think I’m going to keep this driver a while, and take it to the driving range, to find out what it can do.

I’m not going to post my score here. It’s too bloody embarrassing. Especially since I know that I could have done a whole lot better. So don’t even ask. We finished up, and headed to the locker room to shower and change. There was a lunch to attend after that. It was during lunch that I noticed something.

Golfers, as a whole, are not known for their sense of fashion. Ugly pants in vomit inducing patterns tends to rule the day. But during lunch I noticed that a large number of men were wearing what seems to the be latest thing for golfer shirts, presumably made popular by Tiger Woods. The thing is, someone should tell these guys that polo neck T’s are not very flattering  to balding men over 50 with pot bellies and saggy chests.

*Buaya - local slang term on golf courses for a hustler.  The other local definition for buaya is a skirt chaser.

Girl Friday. 9/7/2007

Obstruction. 9/3/2007

Sorry, I missed last Friday’s Girl Friday. I was really busy the week before, and Friday being a holiday, I elected to stay away from anything remotely resembling a computer. I didn’t even bother answering my phone(s).

I did go riding Sunday though, and it was a good ride, just what I needed to clear my mind. 18 bikes turned up, not bad for a ride that wasn’t announced, or planned. Just a bunch of guys showing up at the usual place, and going for a ride. Some of the riders were new to me, and I had my reservations about a couple of them, especially one who turned up on a streetfighter. He was uncertain about the bike, and wasn’t showing any grace in his bike control skills. I resolved to give him a wide berth, and pointed him out to Grant.

Grant mentioned that he hadn’t ridden in a big group in quite a while, his current riding being 90% solo, with the very occassional jaunt with me. Which is kind of the way we both prefer it, at this point in time, really. There was also something different about this ride, because the bitch seat on Bikebike was occupied. With one of the Girl Fridays.

Please note lack of proper safety gear on my part. Mainly because I had a 0530 roll out. It was a good ride, with Bikebike performing well, although Grant, following behind, had to watch out for sparks coming from the stands grounding out. I think I should stop eating so much pizza and drinking beer. Weather on the ride was good, and the sun come out enough on the return run that tyres, even the hard as rock Kendas on Bikebike, were sticking well.

Girl Friday was a little concerned that she was slowing me down, and that I would have prefered to ride solo, but it wasn’t here nor there. She’s not big enough or heavy enough to make a noticeable difference in the handling or performance of Bikebike, aside from maybe me having to rev it up a little when going uphill. Small engine, but big heart, on Bikebike, and I’m really going to miss her when she goes to her new owner.

After the run, a storm was brewing, and I had to rush back to make a lunch appointment in the towers. The wind was strong enough that Bikebike was making unexpected lane changes as I rode in between the wind shadows of the buildings. I hunkered down over the tank, to put more weight on the front wheel, and rode with a certain degree of caution.

After lunch, along with a stop to get some bedding and a search for furniture, we met up with someone’s friends for tea. After tea, we had to leave, and returned to the big diesel to discover that someone had double parked, and hemmed the diesel, and the car next to it, in. I got in the diesel, and honked. No response. I looked at the car blocking my way out, and the driver had neglected to leave a number on the dashboard, or a location. This began to piss me off.

I considered my options, since time was running out, and I had to be home at a specific time. The idiot had left the park brake on, and the gearbox in “P”. No chance of rolling it out of the way. I thought about using the brute force of the diesel to shunt the car out of the way, but the road was narrow, and even if I pushed the car out, I wouldn’t be able to make the turn. I was fuming at this point, and the driver of the car next to the diesel was also kind of pissed off, and understandably so.

I thought about breaking a window, and letting the park brake down, and the guy in the car next to mine was all bravado about getting out his baseball bat. I looked at him, and realised I’d seen his type many times before. Really brave when he’s got people on his side, but empty bluster and sitting quiet when he’s not sure if he can get away with it. In my case, I really didn’t give a shit. I was now late, and had people waiting for me at home.

And I lost it.

I kicked in the doors of the car blocking my way, and ripped off both the wing mirrors. I threw a rock in the rear window. Then I walked away to get a taxi.

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