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Fourteen days. 10/31/2005

I’m on holiday. Finally, after long last, the leave is approved, the air tickets are booked, the hotel rooms are reserved, I’ve dusted off the the golf bag and scuba gear, and I’m going on holiday. I’ll be away for fourteen days, looking to recharge the batteries, and work on my c.v. The c.v. is going to be very high on the to-do list, because if things go the way I want, I’ll be heading back for a semblance of my previous lifestyle of jet setting and globe trotting.

The previous Saturday was quite entertaining, with us being invited to Mack’s place for a small get together. Paul should have told me he was coming so that I could give him his birthday present, but I guess Mack neglected to pass the guest list around. Also, Shaolin Tiger, Suanie, Fireangel and another unidentified person had a close encounter with the “Eyes of God”. Which means that I ran the truck straight up to Shaolin Tiger’s car door, with all lights blazing. About 500 watts of power in total I think. I may have burned his retinas out.

Girl Friday. 10/28/2005

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Roy’s Jokes.

My good mate, whom I have mentioned in this blog on more than one occassion, is a very old friend of mine. We first met online, in IRC, on the oz.org server, in 1997. Over the years, we mainly kept in touch through various chat programs, with MSN Messenger being the current weapon of choice.

We have never met face to face, in spite of several invitations back and forth over the years to come visit. We did manage to speak, using Skype, recently, just before he took off to Hawaii for a holiday. And over the years, Roy sends me jokes on a fairly regular basis. Some of them are olf favourites, some are new, and some make me laugh out loud, spewing coffee all over my laptop screen.

And thus, this is the beginning of a semi-regular series, of jokes which Roy sends me. You will probably have seen the jokes elsewhere before, usually in your e-mail. But I will be only posting jokes that Roy sends me. Because he’s a good friend who tries to cheer me up whenever I’m down.

Please note that the jokes are usually very off-colour, and definitely not meant for younger readers.

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No big deal Part II. 10/25/2005

I was just informed that the very first person on the blogosphere to give me a birthday wish was this girl. Thanks Penny. I honestly didn’t know until it was pointed out to me.

Can I blush now?

No big deal.

I didn’t want to make a big deal about this, but this mad woman had to go post it on her blog. So, yeah, it is that time of year again. Which also reminds me, Hunting the Snark is also a year old.

So, to anyone else who’s having a birthday today, enjoy yourselves. I know I will. If I can muster the enthusiasm, and the time, I might post something about my birthdays past.

Wet court. 10/24/2005

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Homophobia. 10/21/2005

In World Superbikes, known as WSBK, there is a special rule requiring that all motorcycles raced in the series be available, in limited quantities, for the buying public. This process is called Homologation, and involves producing a very limited number of motorcycles, with the same engine and chassis parts, as the race version. This rule is intended to cut down on the cost of producing a racing motorcycle, and ensure that privateer teams get equal access to race bits.

Homologation motorcycles tend to be twice as expensive as the same model motorcycle available for sale, and are produced in runs of 500. Some companies regard this as an oppurtunity to generate exclusivity, like Ducati, relying on the ’snob’ factor of owning a very limited edition motorcycle. Others, like Honda, don’t particularly care, producing their homologation machines through Honda Racing Corporation, HRC, and usually only selling them to privateer teams, and to the general public only on request. Yamaha goes even one better, and their OW series motorcycles are supposedly for sale, and shown in their catalogue, but try calling them and getting a machine.

Many bikers are snobs, and like playing the ‘look-at-me’ game. Most riders are exhibitionists, and rolling into a biker cafe on a homologation special is a good way of getting attention. Some of us buy homologation specials with the intention of racing them in the local race series, thinking that the special bits in the engine and chassis will give us an edge.

This, unfortunately, is not the case. The engine and chassis in a homologation special are, well, special, but factories guard the current race engine and technology jealously, and usually only offer race engines from the year before to privateer teams. Also, factory race engines tend to be filled with ‘unobtanium’. I once had the opportunity to compare the connecting rods from a 999R, Ducati’s homologation race motorcycle, against the actual connecting rod used in the race engine. The difference was like chalk and cheese. They were both made from titanium, but the race engine rod was significantly lighter, and designed differently.

There were other differences between the homologation machine and the actual race machine. Suspension, chassis, lots of other things too numerous to mention. I asked the Ducati team manager how much it would cost to have a WSBK Ducati made up for me, and he took off his sunglasses, lifted his eyebrow and smiled. And named a figure which made me go pale. I know from experience that racing motorcycles is an expensive game, but this was something on another level entirely.

Factories are determined to win races at any cost, due to the prestige of winning championships, and the resultant sales in the public market. Ducati are the success they are today because of their performance in WSBK. When WSBK started as a race series in the late 80’s, evolving from FIM Formula 1, the rules stated that a minimum of 200 machines had to be produced for sale, before the motorcycle was eligible to be entered into the series. The realities of manufacturing being what they are, this was sometimes not possible, and the FIM would ‘close one eye’, and accept a manufacturer’s production schedule, or partial production, as being ‘close enough’, for admission into WSBK.

By the way, for those of you who are boy racers, and throw the acronym ‘GTO’ around, be advised that GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato. In English, Grand Touring Homologation. Basically, it means the car is a limited production vehicle, produced to ensure compliance for admission into a race series. It was not meant to be a marketing gimmick (sort of), when originally produced by Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in the 1950s.

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