Thursday, 24 December 2009

Bah humbug

Yup, it's that time of year again. So why am I humbugging?

The commercial crassness of it.

I'm not going to lie, I enjoy spending my money as much as the next bloke. Not much use having it if you don't spend it - as they say, you can't take it with you. But Christmas seems to be more about spending than anything else these days, and spending LOTS!

Various religions arguing about it.

Christians celebrate Christmas, and other religions celebrate with a gathering of friends and gift giving, but at different times. Then each mob argues that the other mob's interpretation is wrong. Who cares?

Endless atheists vs religion articles in the media.

Haven't they done these to death already?

Being called a hypocrite if you take the break and enjoy the celebrations and you aren't a god botherer.

OK, a bit of disclosure. I'm not a god botherer, but I do celebrate Christmas. I celebrate the opportunity to see family and friends that you haven't caught up with for some time, and enjoy a few beers (or twenty) and a good meal (or twenty). I think this is a good thing. I think humans need these periods of mass relaxation to remind us who we are - that we're not not just worker bee consumers.

The true meaning of Christmas

Which true meaning do you subscribe to? There are quite a few to choose from. Christian, Pagan, etc.

Double demerits

I don't believe they work. And I think that the frustration caused by someone travelling well under the limits "just in case" ends up causing more accidents than double points prevented.

Peace and goodwill. For some.

Unless we're bombing/invading/being rude to them because they have a different religion to the local one. Sigh.

Who am I kidding?

But really, I love Christmas. People are generally friendlier, despite crowded roads and shopping centres. I love the looks on the faces of children when they receive their gifts, and I love the way that real littlies can get more fun out of the box or wrapper. I love Christmas when it's so hot the tar melts, and you can poke holes in the bubbles with a stick to release the water trapped inside. I love it when it's so hot you can barely move. Sadly, this year looks like it will be wet. Oh well, maybe next year. ;^)

So to anyone who happens to pass by, I hope you have a really good Christmas and a great New Year. Eat too much, drink too much, fall over, whatever, but have fun. If you don't celebrate Christmas or the season, be sure to have fun anyway - whatever floats your boat.

See you next year.

Ho ho ho - Merry Christmas!

Monday, 24 August 2009

council clean up day

Hard rubbish day, junk day, too big for the bin day, call it what you will, but it's the ultimate in reccycling.

All weekend I've been slowly carting old junk out the front. It really has been old junk - a broken bicycle frame - repair cost more than the frame. old hose that I've had sitting around unused, for years, cupboards and drawers, also unused, a broken motorcycle pannier that was cheap when new, and didn't include the frame. Various bits of metal, a suitcase, a heater, a cheap print in a cheap frame that I scored when it was being thrown out from the office way back in the 80s - or was it the 70s? I liked it, but it was falling apart, and hadn't been hung on wall for over 5 years.

I reckon I'll chuck out some more before the collection occurs, but the pile will be quite small when they do the pickup. How so?

Well, all weekend the roads have been busy, cars, utes, trailers, trucks, driving around and, well, we used to call it scabbing, but call it what you will, they're picking stuff up. Some of these people are locals, some are clearly professionals - few locals would pick up a trailer load of CRT TVs, unless they were in the business of repairing, restoring and selling.

At first I was a bit miffed. I put this stuff out to be collected, and these thieving b&^#$^$s are stealing it! Hah. Not really - most of what I put out, I hope will be re-used by someone who has the time or inclination to make something useful out of my junk. And if a professional junk collector picks it up, then melts it down, or sells it for a profit, I couldn't care less. Good luck to them.

To me it was rubbish taking up much needed space, to the collectors, it may bring some cheer around the house, or put some more dollars in their pocket. Either way, it has been recycled, someone will get some benefit from it, and it's much better than becoming landfill.

Wins all round, I reckon.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Living with the 848

Still not run in, but by crikey I'm enjoying it so far! I'm in the second phase of run in now - phase 1 is keep it under 6000 rpm for 10000 km, and phase 2 is keeping it under 7000 until I've done 2500 km. Trust me when I say there's plenty of performance available even with that restriction.

From Ducati 848

I had the rear ride height adjuster fitted at the initial service, and it's improved comfort even more - I'd now say the riding position is very similar to my old Falco. No tourer, that's for sure, but not unbearable.

Unfortunately, there was a problem. I'd also asked Fraser's to back off the pre-load at the rear - it was feeling a bit rigid, and I was getting bugger all sag when I hopped on. Well, they did that OK, but came to report to me that the shock was shocked. When they wound of rebound damping - OK, when they wound off compression damping, the little adjuster just turned and turned. Nothing else happens, the adjuster just turns. It's borked, and that means a new shock, which will be fitted under warranty when it arrives in a couple of weeks.

Rather ironic that the first problem I've had on my Italian motorcycle has been with a Japanese component (Showa shock). ;^)

BUT... despite the problem, the shock feels far better - although I can't help but think a lighter spring might be worth it. It's still quite harsh, but I'll reserve judgement until the shock is replaced and compression can be adjusted.

This bike is serious fun to ride quickly, yet commutes reasonably happily. With run in restrictions, I'm getting 19-20 km per litre - vs a best of 16 km/l for the Aprilia - that's an amazing 25% improvement! A smaller front sprocket will reduce the gearing so that I can use 6th gear when I'm not on the freeway, and will improve acceleration elsewhere./ Might reduce fuel economy as well, but we'll see. I'll get that fitted when the shock is sorted out.

From Ducati 848

Saturday, 14 March 2009

it's been a long time

since I last posted anything. No matter, I haven't had anything to say.

But now I have.

I made up my mind and bought a new bike. Then I was sleeepless, worrying about my choice, but it was too late - deposits paid, and delivery arranged. I've been nervous all week. Then it was Saturday. Today. And off we went to Frasers Wollongong.

There it was, sitting just outside the service bay, waiting. Waiting for me. Oh yeah. In we go to speak to Dean, the salesman, and also my chaperone on numerous test rides up and down the Wollongong escarpments. He's ready and waiting and leads us into the office, where we finalise payments and paperwork. Before long, we're gathered around the beast and going through the controls, run in process, start procedure, etc.

My nerves have gone, and I feel excited. seeing the bike again makes me sure I've made the right choice, even though I've flip flopped completely on what I said I wanted. This is one sexy motorbike.

We wander back into the shop to book in for my first service, and start looking at some of the knick knacks for sale. I look again at the leather jacket on special, which I had earlier decried for being too flashy, too lairy. But now I've bought the lairy bike, it seems much more suitable. Jann likes it, and tells me to buy. I do.

Back at the bike, I transfer stuff I brought down and been given by Frasers into my old pack from my new Fraser's pack. It's a clear day, and I won't need the wet weathers, or jacket liner, they can go back in the car.

I fire the bike up, smiling as the digital dash tells me what model it is. Yep, a Ducati 848. I just couldn't get into the new Monster, and the 1098, while brilliant, was much more than I can use, leaving me worried that it would bite when I let my guard down. To quote Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry - "A man's got to know his limitations". The 848, on the other hand, just screams "use me, USE ME!" It's sweet, and a surprisingly comfy ride - much to my surprise, moreso than the Monster 1100. Run in is going to be hard, it just wants to go. ;^)

A nice ride home through Picton, Camden, The Oaks, Silverdale, Wallacia and Penrith, until the heavens open 5 minutes from home. I arrive home soaking wet, but happy.

Tony F