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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.

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.

Riding Man. 8/27/2007

Someone delivered a book to me yesterday, and I shall be reviewing it in here soon(ish).

In the meantime, the reason I’ve been away was professional, personal and medical.  Work was getting in the way, with my daily grind consuming more and more of my slack time, and what little slack time I had left being eaten away with eating.  My personal affairs could be better, although they have much improved, and are continuing to improve slowly but surely.  To the point where I might actually consider thinking about perhaps possibly contemplating the nuance of a notion of a thought to buying another superbike.  No, there’s nothing wrong medically with me, except that the voices in my head have quieted down to a background murmur these days, and when they start raising the volume I can usually beat them off with the mental equivalent of a stick.

So, for those of you who came back, to find this place covered in dust, I am sorry, and can only hang my head in witnessing your disappointment.  I hope you will come back again, and I can continue to regale you with the Snark’s version of snarkitude.

I thank you for your patience.  But for now, for a while, the Snark is back.

Girl Friday. 8/10/2007

Picture courtesy of Shaolin Tiger.

Lagging. 7/19/2007

I’ve noticed a sudden dearth of motorcycle related posts in this blog.  For someone who is supposed to be passionate about everything motorcycle, I seem to be finding myself riding less and less these days, aside from the run to and from work.  Not even very much of that, since the diesel is my prefered weapon these days for dealing with city traffic.  Not by choice mind you.  But prefered none the less.

I really need to spend more time riding.  If only for the peace of mind that it brings me.  I’m planning a little jaunt this weekend, fingers crossed etc.  A visit to place I haven’t been to in years, on a road that’s likely to be more than a little treacherous, and ready to take the unwary rider out.  Along with 3 thousand foot drops over the side into a ravine, should you find yourself and your bike on the wrong side of understeer.

It’s going to be another small group again.  The participants will be me, Grant, and a Girl Friday.  Yes, the Girl Friday will be riding her own machine.  No, I’m not telling you where we’re going.  It’ll be this Girl Friday’s first ride in a group, so we’ll be patient with her.

Autobots, transform! 7/15/2007

I went to watch “Transformers” yesterday.

Was it good? Yes and no.

The CGI was nicely done, and watching the transformation sequences was nice. The “money shot” where the Autobots posed in a group after their transformation was poster worthy. And I almost clapped and cheered when Optimus Prime made his transformation. Bumblebee as a Camaro instead of a VW Beetle was excellent.

But there was no character development. The cartoon series from 25 years ago was way more engrossing than this movie. And the focus on the humans, and the whole “Sam Witwicky is a loser” thing had way too much time wasted on it.

I mean, when I watch a Transformers movie, I want to see Transformers, dammit. Who gives a flying toss about the humans? Humans are weak and disgusting. “You care for what happens to them, Optimus Prime, and that is what makes you weak.” No that is not a line from the movie, although it should have been.

I confess to having been old enough to have watched the entire Transformers thing from the beginning. And not as a wide eyed 6 year old either. I encountered my first Transformer as a toy being held in the hands of a 3 year old being baby-sat by my riding buddy’s mother. This would have been in the very early 80’s, and it was very probably the first Tranformer in the country. He asked me if I had ever seen one of these things before, and we grabbed it from the kid, ignoring his screams and wails of protest, and spent the best part of a half hour transforming this thing.

I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it now, but I was utterly fascinated by the way it folded together and into itself. My younger cousins, a few years later, were utterly Transformers mad, and I watched along with them. And I grew to enjoy the stories, and the characters, although you could never have called me a hard core fan.

So sitting in the movie theatre yesterday afternoon, large box of popcorn in my lap, I enjoyed revisiting some of my memories of 20 years ago, of lying on a carpet in my uncle’s home on a Sunday morning, with my cousins on either side of me, eyes glued to the idiot box, watching Optimus Prime and Megatron slug it out.

What wasn’t so funny was me sitting in the theatre yesterday, laughing aloud at some of the old Transformer’s in jokes, and other cameos, and then realising I was the only person in the theatre who got it. Which was strange, because some of the other parents in the theatre were definitely my age, or a little younger, and I would have thought they would get some of the jokes. But no, they didn’t, like the one where Bumblebee, in his Camaro guise, was sitting next to a Volkswagen Beetle in the used car lot. I laughed at that one, when they showed the shot, and people looked at me a little weird. They all laughed at the part where Bumblebee shoves the Beetle aside though. I guess slapstick works better instead of subtlety where humour and local audiences are concerned.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for the DVD of the movie to make it’s appearance. This will be one show I’ll be watching again, not for the story, but for the characters.

“Autobots, roll out!”

On the carpet. 7/10/2007

We were walking down the street after lunch, sometime last week, when something in a store window caught our eye. It was a shop selling Turkish carpets, and on display was a rug, shaped like a snail. A shop assistant came out, and asked if we were interested in buying carpets. I pointed to the rug, and asked how much it was. He looked at us, and said, “$100″. I turned to someone to get their opinion and it was agreed we should get the rug.

We walked into the shop, and asked if they had any other rugs of the same type to show, and the shop guy said he did. He spoke to his colleague, and more rugs were brought out for our perusal. Someone asked,

“How much if we buy two?”

The second shop assistant, who had brought out the rugs, replied,

“$100 for two.”

We looked and each other, turned to the second shop guy, and simultaneously said “done.”

The first shop assistant, who had spoken to us outside the carpet shop, suddenly let loose a string of Turkish at his colleague, possibly along the lines of,

“I told them it was $100 each you fuckhead. Now, look what you’ve done!”

The second guy looked a little sheepish, and was about to say something when someone pointed her finger upwards and said, “You said it, $100 for two, no turning back.”

First and second shop guys looked in her face, and wisely decided not to argue. They shrugged their shoulders, laughed at each other, and said, “OK. OK.”

We looked at each other again and laughed, and bought 3 rugs.

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