4th of July Status

Things I didn't do this holiday weekend:

  1. Ride my motorcycle
  2. Start building bookcases
  3. Hang out with friends
  4. Go to the Monday CrossFit workout

Things I did do this holiday weekend:

  1. Finished installing the new baseboard
  2. Made lavender simple syrup
  3. Took the wife out for a lovely lunch at Salt
  4. Cleaned up the garage just a tiny bit
  5. Cooked a bunch so we'll have lots of easy leftovers
  6. Went to the Saturday CrossFit workout and still can't walk straight

I call that a win overall.


So, the big push was a fairly resounding success (as much as these things usually are), and I'm happy and relieved. Enough about me, though, really. How have you been?

Some topics for discussion:

  1. Have you seen the Big Picture blog at Boston.com? It's hot -- both in the "that's sexy" way and that all the cool kids are talking about it.
  2. Speaking of cool kids, my buddy and former coworker, Rod, got all internet famous last week with his fake script for Indy 4.
  3. This is totally ghey, but skip to the 3 minute mark and it's a least a little amusing.
  4. Speaking of ... erm... Yeah. Did you guys see the Turkish wrestling spread in ESPN the Magazine? Yeah, neither did I. I hear it's totally macho, though.
  5. More macho is Sasuke -- or as it's called on the G4 network, Ninja Warrior. Holy crap that show is awesome! Makoto Nagano is my hero.
  6. I like plurk a lot. The Interface is light years ahead of Twitter. And if you're into either of those jammies, check out ping.fm -- right this second "letmeping" should work as a beta code.

Other stuff of note:

  • My darling Ma has teamed up with some cohorts to start a giant dog rescue. We're talking Danes, Newfies, Mastiffs, Wolfies, and so on. Wow.
  • Think I'm gonna ride the motorcycle into work a least a couple days this week. Turn the stress dial back a couple clicks.
  • Oh, I am so getting an iPhone 3G in July. OMG!

G'night, kids.

Long Weekends Should Be Longer

Not that I'm greedy or anything. It just that I once again managed to let a holiday weekend slip by without doing anything worth mentioning. I got back on the exercise horse with short, awful runs on Saturday and Monday and Bowflex action on Sunday, but so what? I dipped to a new low weight for this weight loss effort, too, but bounced back up a pound or so.

My mother had a nice deck party on her brand new deck on Saturday -- that was pretty much the highlight of the weekend. She and her cohorts are now talking about starting a rescue not just for Danes but for all sorts of giant dogs. (I figure that'll make Miracle Ed smile.)

After Ma's I went to check in on my friend David's birthday party, but apparently it had just broken up after BJ Penn beat up Sean Sherk. Since the party (and DJ) were winding down, Erik and I went to his house to throw darts and play a little ping-pong. Yep. We're wild.

Sunday was a failure, as I decided not to ride my motorcycle figuring I would do that on Monday. Well, Monday turned out rainy, so no Bonneville time for me. This bummed me out since Erik had come over last week to help me get the Bonnie running well after a long bit of garage rest.

So it goes, eh?

A couple media notes:

  1. Don't waste your time with Revolver. Gah.
  2. Sweeney Todd, by contrast was good times. On Helena Bonham Carter -- Me: "I wonder what she's like day to day... You never hear much gossip." Wife: "Yeah, I don't know. I was just thinking she's got to be the oldest goth chick around." Me: "Still totally hot, though." Wife: "Well, yeah."
  3. Also, if you're cooler than me (by which, in this case, I mean you own a Blu-ray player), you might be interested in Amazon's Blu-ray sale.

Stuff and Junk

Firstly, it's worth noting that The Mother-in-Law has a new dog. Molly is a blue heeler mix of some sort. She's really sweet, though a bit crazy and fairly untrained. We're hopeful, though, since Australian Cattle Dogs are in the top ten for dog breed intelligence. ;) Next on the docket are the mighty Rockies. Now, I'm not a baseball fan. I root for the Red Sox on principal alone. But c'mon! Who doesn't love a "hometown underdog does good" story? Best of all, I know one Phillies fan who is an extremely sore loser. This could be fun.

In general, Autumn is upon us. The transition seasons always get me fired up in one way or another.

The Wife and I are taking a lot of long walks with Mingus to try to shed some pounds and keep the dog happy.

I've barely been on the Bonneville this year, but it's OK. My favorite riding time is now, so hopefully I'll get in the saddle at least a few times. I wish I was like these guys.

I'm itching to start a home project or a woodworking project (or both) soon. Updates when I do.

Don't Wanna Pickle

The motorcycle gods are conspiring against me this summer. My social calendar has been packed (for me) lately, and the combination of that with a) trying to get back in shape and b) fairly regular afternoon thunderstorms (or at least the threat thereof), and c) projects around the house has kept me off my Bonneville for the most part. I've only had the poor thing out twice this year and that was in the Spring.

I'm not too worried, though. I'll get my chances eventually. Plus, I much prefer riding in the transition seasons than in the blast furnace that is Summer in the Denver metro.

In other news, I'm going in to talk to Fish about my next tattoo in a couple weeks.

Hi. How are you?

So the big news of the past few days is the hot water heater saga: Last Thursday evening The Wife and I went out in Boulder to the Rio with a gaggle of my new coworkers. After a lovely evening discussing the possibilities of attending a roller derby, a mixed martial arts bout, or a minor league hockey game (or all three) with the company founder's wife, we came home to discover that we had no hot water. A quick trip downstairs revealed that our twelve-year-old tank was done and dead and pissing itself on the basement floor. Off go the water valves, and I know what I get to do Friday (hardly a worthwhile day off work, if you ask me).

Long story shorter than it might be: We actually had the funds on-hand to do the upgrade to a tankless water heater like I've wanted to do. Now I'm a proud owner of a Rinnai unit hidden away in my crawl space. The old space for the water heater is now only filled by a wall-mounted control panel. Best of all, I can take a shower all friggin' day long if I want to.

There are couple downsides: the hot water is mighty slow to come at first; the hot water pressure is noticeably lower than that of the cold water. But neither of those bother me much -- the continuous nature of the hot water (I can now happily take my shower after everyone else in the house!) more than balances them out, IMO. (Oh, and I guess I get $300 next tax season...) Also worth noting: David at Oasis Plumbing rules me - highly recommended.

Other News:

Frozen Thighs

As I mentioned, I had to have my Rodeo towed to a mechanic this past Saturday. Well, today I needed to get the keys to said mechanic so that they could actually work on the thing. (I didn't see any key drop box at the shop on Saturday.) The Wife is working, so that left me with my second vehicle: the Bonneville.

I wasn't that worried because the last forecast I saw said it would get up to 50 degrees. Sadly as it neared noon, my thermometer still read in the twenties...

The good news: my riding jacket is awesome with its liner in.

The bad news: I don't have cold weather-appropriate gloves or pants. Wearing jeans on a motorcycle in sub-freezing temps is very much like wearing jeans to go skiing/snowboarding -- Many of us have done it, but few of us would want to ever do it again (in fact, most of us went out and bought proper gear right after the experience). Brrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

The Weekend that Was

The big event of this weekend was of course, Matt & Jen's wedding. Some highlights from our perspective:

  • The entire wedding party was looking as sharp as ever. The happy couple were especially foxy.
  • Speaking of foxy, Matt's mother, Mary, was looking dynamite. She was representing her Italian roots in full effect.
  • Matt told me at some point during his bachelor's that we were to be seated at the so-called "Fun Table". Of course, that comes with some downsides:
    • For one thing, we were among the last to get "released" to the buffet.
    • For another, our table was actually sacrificed for room on the dance floor, so we lost it all together.
    • Finally, there's the pressure to perform, which turned out not to be a problem -- I really hope someone with a good sense of humor has the job of going through the disposable camera pictures...
  • The Wife has always had a problem coordinating outfits with me when we've gone to things like this. I would often get annoyed because our outfits would often even clash -- it's one thing to not match, it's another to go all black & white while I'm in earth tones... ;) Well, this time we worked it out: I wore my brown sharkskin suit with a red/purple shirt that matched Hezzy's top fairly closely. It paid off, too. The Wife was super-pleased by all the comments we got about our outfits -- the best of which was when one of the photographers came up to us and said "You guys are without a doubt the best dressed couple here." Score! So let that be a lesson, ladies: Treat your man like an accessory and take the time to coordinate his kit to yours (at least a bit).
  • At any rate, good times were had by all. Congrats to Matt & Jen on a fine wedding.

Other than that, I didn't do much. I ended up riding the Bonneville for about 70 miles yesterday, so that was cool.

Betty's a Popular Girl

[Yes, all I'm talking about these days is my motorcycle. I'm sure it'll pass eventually...] This morning, while I was stopped at the light at Huron and 144th, a stoner/meth head in one of those ridiculous Volkwagen Rabbit pickups filled with all manner of junk pulled up into the left turn lane and we have the following converstaion:

S/MH: Hey DUDE! Right on! It's not a Harley! Me: Ha! That's right. S/MH: Harleys suck!! Me: Hahaha! S/MH: That's cool. I like the Triumph. Me: Well, thanks.

So there you have it, Triumph motorcycles: Harley-hating meth head approved.

Oh, and for the two of you who ride bikes in my area and might read this, the new northern extension of Sheridan is a short, but sweet ride up to Hwy 7.

Long Ride

My buddy Erik and I went for a nice long ride today with me on Betty the Bonnie Black and Erik on his 1980 Honda 250 dual-sport, which probably made us an interesting pair. We rode for a bit more than 60 miles all told, putting my milage up to 276. That means I'm only 24 miles away from the end of the "break-in" period for the engine, which means I can stop worrying about varying the RPMs and just ride the thing. We even ended up on some gravel roads and the Bonnie did just fine, though I certainly didn't test it. I just kept the speed down and did my best to go straight. ;)

We made a gas stop near Longmont and a couple Harley guys (Christian Riders, I think...) gave the Bonneville a long hard - and seemingly approving - look. But then one of them came in the store to remind me I had left the key in the ON position and my light was on, so I lost all my cool there...

Then after stopping by Erik's house, I ended up at the Huron/120th light with a couple of Harley dudes and they loved the bike:

Harley Guy #1 to Harley Guy #2: "Hey, check it out... Triumph!" HG1 to me: "How do you like that?" Me: "I love it!" HG2 to me: "What year is it?" Me: "Brand new - 2006." HG2: "Noooo SHIT?! Cool!"

Though certainly not a long ride by any stretch of the imagination, it's the longest one I've had so far. My back's a bit stiff, I have a blister on my throttle hand under my Order of the Engineer ring, and the arid Colorado air has dried me right up. My new schmancy Triumph gear did alright: my jacket was well vented and comfy and my gloves were nice and cool, though they pressed on my knuckles quite a bit. Just a little breaking in due there, I hope.

Black Bonnie

As of this Thursday, I will be the very proud owner of one gorgeous 2006 Triumph Bonneville Black. This is, with the exception of some crazy chopper I'll never have, my dream bike. I mean, if it's good enough for Steve McQueen, right?

I can't wait to ride it (first around the neighborhood, then to the coffee shop, then to work, and so on...). I also look forward to tricking it out with some of these sweetass accessories from Triumph's new sixty8 line.

Mad props to Erik for convincing Matthew at Foothills BMW/Triumph (with whom I could talk for days!) to shave a few dollars off the deal (I suck at negotiating...) and for being general moral support. And for getting me started on riding bikes in the first place!

CL350 - Progress Marches On

Last night, Erik and I changed the front tire. Went on easy-peasy. In the mean while, we've taken to calling the bike "Rocket Man" because the Elton John song keeps coming on Erik's radio while we work on it. Erik is convinced the gas tank need sa pin-up girl on it. Of course we find all of this hilariously ironic, since the CL is A) no rocket and B) not a pin-up worthy chopper.

Good stuff if you ask me. Like a guy on a Vespa with a Hell's Angels jacket.


Side Note: Happy Veterans' Day. Always keep the men and women of the armed service in your heart.

CL350 -- Rear Tire: Sorted

Yesterday evening, instead of handing out candy to children, I went over to Erik's so we could try to change the rear tire. I had ordered some riduculously cheap (but reportedly perfectly acceptable, quality-wise) Chinese tires, which arrived early last week. Between then and now we've had far more pressing things to do after work and over the weekend, so this is our firt time to give it a shot. I'd be lying if I said we weren't a little worried. We had replaced the tube in the old front tire back when we first got started, and it was an unholy mess. Worst part about the whole ordeal was the slow leak went ended up with.

So this time we were working with fresh rubber instead of 30-year-old crusty tires. We had also been tipped to use some soapy water or something to lube the bead a bit and help it get over the rim. That worked like a treat, let me tell you!

So now we've got a new patch of rubber on the rear. The front is next.

How was your weekend, Jake?

Last week ended with some work related news that I won't discuss here. Let's just say that things are in flux and the future seems murky at the moment. But then, certainty equals boredom, right? ;) Saturday was a good day. In the afternoon I headed over to Erik's to "poke a Honda" (say it out loud for the full effect) -- the CL350 was transferred back to Erik's garage when we went to Los Angeles so that he could continue to poke while I was off gallivanting in the land of swimming pools and movie stars, this explains why there have been no recent photos, as I consistently forget to take my camera when I go over there. We twiddled about for a while: getting the foot pegs fully mounted; test fitting the replacement side covers; wrestling with, cursing at, and ultimately drilling out a broken-off left-hand mirror bolt (looks like we might need to tap that now... fun.).

After that, we took out Erik's Honda XL250 (probably one of the world's most forgiving bikes) and found a big construction site with lots of flat, soft dirt. He let me bang around there for a couple hours, I'd guess. I was very comfortable on the bike even though I had my "first dump": I was riding around a ring that went over a dirt spine just to get the feel of how the bike can handle verticality, etc. when I finally decided I was done I thought I'd be super cool and drive onto the spine rather than over it. Needless to say it didn't work very well and I ended up grabbing the front brake instead of the clutch and just plopped right over. The ground was soft and I (mostly) got my leg out of the way -- no damage was done.

Sunday was spent working around the house: I mowed the lawn, cooked some chicken pesto cavatappi, downloaded some Veronica Mars torrents (Note to The Wife: This means you can watch VM on the computer! -- VM is "the new Buffy" according to my darling spouse, and yes, I enjoy it, too.), and generally farted around. Good times.

The Honda CL350 Saga (A Continuation)

So last night Erik and I replaced the taillight lens and all of the "winker" lenses. Man, is it ever nice to get rid fo all that cracked plastic! We also replaced the rear/passenger footpegs with sparkly new ones and re-mounted the main footpegs and side stand (mostly -- we're missing one bolt), which required some adjusting to the shift lever and rear brake lever so that everything had proper clearance. It's really gone beyond the "hey, that thing looks like a motorcycle" stage at this point.

Next we have replacement air filters coming via eBay as well as a new (or at least "not destroyed like the one we have now") headlight bucket that Erik ordered from the (apparently) famous Sac Cycle shop.

Oh, an I finally took my first spin on the thing once we had the pegs on it. Granted, I only went maybe 20 yards down the driveway, but at least I managed to pull a U-turn without dropping the bastard (Thank goodness for those damned box turns in my motorcycle safety class, eh?). Of course, this wasn't the maiden voyage for our little Scrambler, as Erik is so at home on motorbikes he could ride the thing without footpegs. Heck, I'm not even sure he needs handlebars.

It's not all good news, though. It's beginning to look like getting a title for this thing is going to be a royal pain in the arse. For one thing, the online version of the Kelley Blue Book doesn't even think the bike exists! And that's a fairly minor detail in the entire process. As Erik told it: "I went down to the DMV and told them that I have a bike that I've rebuilt and that I need to get a title for it... And they looked at me like I was on fire."