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Duct tape. 6/16/2004

Otherwise known as “100 mph tape”. Beloved of racers of all classes, duct tape is a known life saver. Usually sold in a roll about 2 inches wide, duct tape was originally intended for just that, taping ducts. Air conditioning ducts need sealing at the joints to prevent conditioned air from escaping, and duct tape fulfilled that need. Until someone noticed that the glue on the tape, which was formulated to hold air pressure in, would also hold up to a high speed wind blast.

And thus an entire industry came to rely on duct tape to hold vital pieces of equipment together. I have used duct tape to keep fairings on, lights, seats, fuel tanks, pipes and various other components in place, form impromptu race numbers, seal beer coolers against theiving hands, cover up torn pants, seats and crotches, blank off speedometers to minimise the ‘oh fuck!’ factor, and many other uses too numerous to mention, including restraining recalcitrant pets and small children. In my twenty some years of riding, I have never ever seen a single racing motorcycle without a piece of duct tape somewhere on the machine. Or the rider.

Another good waste of duct tape is one of seeing how many rolls it take to suspend someone from a vertical surface, like a wall. Typically, for a person weighing 150 lbs, 4-6 rolls of tape are used. Please note that removing duct tape from body hair is an extremely painful process, potentially resulting in the loss of friendship and the requirement for skin grafts.

Duct tape comes in many widths and colours, but the the best, and original, tape comes in a 2 inch width, and is a grey silver colour. The backing is a fibrous cloth, which is easy to tear width wise, but resists stretching and tearing in a longitudinal direction. Properly applied, duct tape will stay on in 100 mph plus wind, and will easily hold weights above 200 lbs.

The most famous interation of duct tape was a serious of articles by Ed Hertfelder, which first appeared in the pages of ‘Cycle’ magazine in the 70s. Ed wrote about his adventures in motorcycling, notably off road riding, and the various characters which inhabited that wonderful world. He was notorious for including the ‘pornographic’ paragraph, which was intended to be edited out before printing, but gave the editorial staff some light relief. In one case, the editor managed to miss the paragraph, and the article was actually at the printers before some called to ask if this article was meant to be included in that month’s printing. I once wrote a letter to Ed, when I was a young and new rider, and he was kind enough to send me a reply, which gave me encouragment to pursue my interest in this hobby.

Duct tape. Don’t leave home without it.

Cubicle Country. 6/3/2004

I have the unfortunate privilege of working in an open plan office. I share the office with 5 other people. There are times when I wish that they would be more courteous and considerate of the other people. Things like personal phone calls can be very disruptive and distracting, especially the person speaking has no idea about volume control. I have absolutely no desire to learn that your aunt’s maid ran away with the family jewels. And that the new secretary in the office downstairs might be fucking the boss’ brains out. And playing music on your PC during office hours. Hey, you might like that ethnic shit that’s playing on your machine, but I don’t. If I were to start playing Metallica on my PC then you might understand what it feels like to me.

I have noticed that manners and consideration for others are traits that seem to have fallen by the wayside for many of us. We have grown so into that ‘looking out for number one’ thing that we have become selfish creatures, and only consider ourselves, and not spare a thought for our fellow man.

Is it really necessary to have a discussion with the colleague next to you at the top of your voice? Do I really want to see 50,000 koala bears balanced on the edge of your cubicle? Do you have to talk to your mother in your mother tongue when people around you are trying to have discussions and work? Do you have to set you fucking cell phone with its fucking polyphonic ring tone capability at full fucking volume when you’re in the office? Do you really have to bring pungent, spicy, smelly food to your desk?

Work is trying and stressful enough at the best of times. Being selfish and inconsiderate only makes a tough job harder.