July 2004 Archives

Meh.

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Didn't get the bike yet. The dealer only came down to 6900, my max cash outlay was going to be 6500.
Dangit. I hate that.
There's two more dealers to check out though - one up in Georgetown and one down in San Marcos. Additionally, Cycletrader has a dealer in Paris, Texas listing the bike for 6100 in the color I want. Might mean a road trip. We'll think about it.

Object of my affection.

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I'm thinking of getting one of these. Today.

Stunning...

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I've watched this four times already, and each time it sends shivers down my spine.

The Sad Song by Fredo Viola

(its not really 'sad' per se.. make sure you get quicktime 4 installed to see the video)

A mystery reveals itself slowly..

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Last month I gave some thoughts on the 'jews for jesus' book that was sent to me anonymously.  Well they're starting to come out of the shadows. This month the book was followed with a letter that I've scanned in here. 

Yet there's still no mention of a group name or any contact information other than a PO Box in Austin.  Are they thinking that this is really going to be a surprise for us 'benefactors'?!?

One guy at my office that's a practicing jew has mentioned that some of his friends have mentioned receiving the book as well. Like I said, its their money I suppose!

Look out parking lots of Austin!

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We both passed our driving evaluations for our course completion certificates this morning. We're fully qualified to toodle around roped-off parking lots on non-street legal machines while we practice our maneuvers.

The 4 things we had to do were:

  • A figure-8 demonstrating 2 u-turns, one right, one left
  • A 'swerve' at speed
  • A 'quick stop', and finally
  • A leaning curve at speed

I aced the curve & the swerve; tilting the bike is fun and feels right with the center of gravity. I think Chaz aced both of those as well.

On the U-turn I lost 3 points when I crossed one border on the right-hand turn, and I lost 7 points on the quickstop. It took me 20 feet to stop when it should have been in 13 feet based on my speed. I'd had problems with the quick stop in practice, mostly with kind of activating all the stopping controls and the throttle at one time in a mad rush. When I get a bike, I'll have to spend some time on an empty lot practicing that.

But first things first.. I need to do some shoppping.

Vroom Vroom!

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Chaz & I had our first on-bike motorcycle lessons today. We signed up for them at MotoFun
The first couple of times I put it in gear, I was a bit hesitant, but within an hour or so we had some good exercises where we were weaving in and out of cones, and eventually doing some laps pretty quickly. Its up in Round Rock in an old Walmart parking lot, and it got hotter'n crap out there. They had us start at 6:30am "Ready to Ride" so we could get off the asphalt before it got to be noon. The only problem we had was really with the emergency stop. Both hands and both feet have to react to get it out of gear and stopped quickly; it'll take some practice to get to where we can do it reasonably.

I got to ride one of the Eliminators.

After 10 lessons on the bike, we had a quick lunch then did our written test - Chaz got a 100, and I got a 94. I guessed on a few.

We go back Sunday for another 6:30am lesson, for probably about 3 hours of lessons, then a riding exam. If we pass that, we'll have a certificate that we take to DPS to do only a written test with them.

I initially didn't like the idea of a 5:30am wakeup for these classes, but it does beat the heat of the day, and being able to drive a motorcycle will really be cool. I'm going to have to get one pretty soon. :-)

Chicago wrapup

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So, when I got back last week, I didn't feel like writing about our 5 day weekend in Chicago cause it ended on a double-shitty note. The taxi driver we had got lost going to O'Hare to the tune of a extra 30 minutes on a 25 minute ride, and on the layover in IAH, Continental wouldn't post a departure time for the connection to Austin, so instead of relaxing in the club, I spent 90 minutes at the gate waiting to board.

Honestly though, the trip was terrific; when we arrived a cold front was going through and the 69 degree afternoon was turning into a downright chilly evening. Coming out of sunny,humid Texas, that makes it entirely worthwhile. The events of the weekend were around Chicago's pride events as well as our host, Brian's, 70's theme party for his friends & coworkers. I really have to hand it to the Chicagoans - they know how to throw a good party. Pics are in the gallery which is linked here:

Probably the biggest highlight for me was the feeling of being able to be in a big city for a short while. Being able to have my own quiet house and garden and garage is comforting and really home for me, but the closeness and energy and opportunity that big city living affords is pretty energizing as well. I took the El all around town - even in from O'Hare for the first time. I walked 11 blocks down Brian's street, and passed 3 elementary schools. Just a few blocks off that street was the Hollywood beach on lake Michigan, right at the top of Lakeshore drive. I walked down the street to have a starbucks. In a way, I find that 'ease of use' of a densely populated city terrific. I know it has its drawbacks as well: our 3rd night there a high-speed chase up Lakeshore ended in the alley behind our walkup with a window-rattling crash. It woke me bolt upright at 3:15am, and I went out the back to see what it was, but couldn't see anything so went back to bed. The TV crews and news reports in the morning were the first indication of what had happened.

The other weird big city moment came when we walked into the "Taste of Chicago" festival and were greeted by the Jews for Jesus. I swear, these guys are doing a full court press.


Festivities aside, the food was good, the friends in good spirits, and the beer was cold. The lake was too cold to get in the water, but the skies were blue, and the horizon clear. I think that its one place where I really could live for a while. I ignored the signs that said "No Parking on this street when more than 2 inches of snow".

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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