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Sunset. 10/20/2005

Not quite a view from my balcony, but a beautiful sunset all the same. This picture was taken by a very good mate of mine, Roy, who resides in Australia and has a fetish for classic cars. He also owns two pre-war motorcycles, which were raced by his uncle.

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Picture taken off Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, 2005.

Morbidity.

Bkworm blogged about her thoughts on death. I was thinking this was a hell of a subject for a Monday morning. It being a typical Monday for me, with zero notice meetings, and sudden visits from Matrons wanting additional information and paid for holidays to Beijing, I spent some time thinking about my own mortality.

I have spent the greater part of my life indulging in various high risk past times. I spent my 21st birthday getting my stomach pumped in the Emergency Department for alcohol poisoning. I’ve pushed various vehicles to the edge, and sometimes beyond, and come back to tell the tale. When I was younger, I had a unshakeable faith in my invincibility. Absolutely nothing could happen to me, and I was fearless. Absolutely and totally. I would never back down from a fight, either at the track, or in the pub.

Now, though, there is a little cut off switch in my right wrist that activates when my heart starts thumping above a certain limit. One might say that my instinct for self preservation is now stronger than my will to overcome. Some of you might remember “The Pace”, a post from a couple of months back, where I pushed a young, new rider, and showed him that dinosaurs could occassionally come out and deal a can of whup-ass. I know I have the skill, but more and more, these days, I am perfectly content to sit back and enjoy the ride, as opposed to turning it into a near death experience.

And I’ve had my share of those, including being in a coma for a short period, after banging my head off the tarmac in pursuit of another 0.75 second reduction in my lap time. I’ve been thrown off boats, jumped out of aeroplanes and helicopters, started up a gas turbine without hooking up the exhaust cowl (hey, I wanted to save time in fixing the damn thing). Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and glass ball with snowflakes in it.

I’ve lost friends. Many of them. I started attending funerals when I was still in high school, and I’m not talking about funerals for old folk who died peacefully in their sleep. I’ve lost friends to various diseases and other malfunctions of the body. I’ve lost friends to violent altercations in fits of drunkeness. I’ve lost friends to stupidity, whether their own, or as the results of other’s actions. So I’ve seen death, in all its forms. And it doesn’t affect me. At least not anywhere that I’ll show it.

The Train.

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Picture taken at Donington Park, 2004.

What’s in a name?

Hamu posted something about the nicknames she has carried through the years, which gave me a bit of a chuckle. I’ve had my fair share of weird nicknames, some appropriate, some which were terribly apt.

The usual one is a shortening of my first name down to the first syllable, which usually leads to comparions with one of the “3 Stooges”. Especially when I start getting violent. I carried this one through my university years, mainly because many Caucasians couldn’t roll their tongues around my name. It wasn’t my fault. My father didn’t have much of an imagination, and my first and surnames are terribly ethnic. My middle name, on the other hand, causes many people to pause, usually resulting in lots of questions about my ethnicity, and how I got to be given that name.

Another was given to me by Mike the Bike, a huge Chinese guy with a penchant for riding dual-purpose machines. I must have known Mike some 20 years easy, when I first started riding. He, and some of the guys in the Online pub, gave me the nickname “Slick”. Because I once turned up in the pub 3 nights in a row. With a different companion each time. The fourth night, I walked in alone, for my usual, and had to endure a barrage of questions about what was going on in my love life, and how come I was alone that night. And Mike hung the name “Slick” on me.

I’ve carried some other names over the years. The guys in the club call me “V-P”, because of my position as Vice-President of the club. In another riding club, I was given the title of “sifu”, or “master”, by some of the members, in recognition of my many years of experience in motorcycles. That is a particular title I am humbled to accept, and carry with pride.

I very much wanted to list down all the nicknames I’ve carried across the years, but I’m afraid if I do that, those who know the names in real life, and happen to stumble across this website, would be able to identify me too readily. Which is a real shame, because the stories behind some of those nicks are bloody hilarious.