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The new Mitzi

My last bike died a long, slow and painful death last year and I didn’t get around to replacing it until this weekend. Say hello to Mitzi 2.0, a 2005 Kawasaki Concours. Going to test it out properly next week.

Skyscraper – the movie for our time.

We went to see Skyscraper at the weekend. Excellent, brainless fun. Great overly-clichéd The Rock movie. The first five minutes gives the whole thing away, you know who the bad guy is going to be, you know the secret to saving the day. Everything is obvious but still great fun. Go see it.

But why is it the movie for our time? It teaches us an important lesson. Long ago, Sean Connery showed us that if you want to take over the world, you shouldn’t have an unnecessarily long and complicated way to kill the secret agent. Especially after you explain your evil plans in depth.

Since then baddies the world over have learned from this. Want to take over the world? Shoot 007 in the head and we’re good. Slow death with sharks? You’re going to prison.

Now the new lesson is best shown with this diagram.

Are you planning to take over the world / destroy the world / steal something?

So why is this the movie for our time?

Well these guys didn’t look at my handy flowchart.

About to get their asses kicked.

 

About to kick asses.

Real men don’t do dishes

A man’s place is not in the kitchen dammit, it’s in front of the tv, drinking beer and watching sportsball. So when I bought a house and discovered dishes didn’t clean themselves it was time to earn man-points and not do them. As herself wasn’t going to do them, there was only one thing for it, a robot beer glass washer. A robot’s place is in the kitchen.

So we checked the internets and found a dishwasher on sale and waited for it to come in. “We offer installation” said Lowes. At a price. No Real Man ™ would need that. We have tools and things. We have YouTubes. We can do this. I looked at the video, it looks easy.

So then it arrived and the instruction manual was in some kind of kitchen speak. I don’t know, my place is watching sportsball, not washing dishes so I don’t speak kitchenspeak. Anyway it was a lot more trouble than the two minute video I’d watched on the Google machine.

I called Lowes back. “Oh we don’t install them, we just replace them.” I called a place that repaired them. Nope. No one installs dishwashers. Sure, they’ll charge you a hundred and seventy bucks to swap one out, but a new one? Nope.

So I found the longer video. Manly plumbers with tool belts and ass cracks that go through it step by step. I made a trip to Home Depot for a T-junction pipe. And then another for a thingey-ma-bob that connects a 1/4″ line to a 3/8″ line or something like that. And then another for a GFI socket. I tripped switches, I created sparks as I wired things, I connected hoses. Leaks were sprung. I found it wouldn’t fit because my counter was 1/4″ too low. I bought my first angle grinder, a fancy ass one with a diamond blade and filled the kitchen with dust. Next up is a robot dust remover machine. I pushed, I shoved. I cut some more and grinded some angles and shoved it in. I discovered what PTFE pipe tape is.

Leaks stopped, taps got turned on. Things were plugged in. Sparks stopped sparking. Dishes were given to my cleaning robot and a day after I started things got cleaned.

Just a manly guy with power tools having a beer and thinking about sportsball while robots clean the dishes.

Best Wife Ever

Once again Urs has outdone herself with the Advent Calendars. From beer advent calendars to beer and Star Wars Lego advent calendars we now have the whiskey calendar. Each day has a 30ml bottle, sealed with wax for that authentic feel (and to piss you off as you try to remove it), of an American whiskey.

Since I’m leaving for Ireland on the 21st I have to start early. Last night’s Balcones Texas Single Malt was quite good. Cheers.

whiskeycalendar

What was I thinking?

10 miles? Really? What the hell was I on? I even decided on this before California decided to legalise weed.
Anyway, I’ve been training for it. Mostly. I built up to 3 miles and then just hit the wall constantly. Which isn’t meant to happen at 3 miles. Using the same plan as I did for the half marathon 2 years ago in Vancouver. This time though I had extra time to prepare and it’s not working out. Managed 5 miles on Sunday before I stopped due to rain. And I’m going to run in Ireland?

Now relying on Ireland legalising speed / coke and replacing the water stops with lines. It’s going to be a tough 10 miles.

Couch to 10 miles

I’m going to be back in Ireland for Christmas and what better way to work off the turkey and meet up with people than running 10 miles. So I signed up for a race, a 10 mile in Ardagh, Co Longford on the 27th. Want to come join in the madness torture fun? You can sign up here.

So now I have to start training, the full Couch to 10 mile. I’m looking at the Hal Higdon plan here. So far I’m just back from a weekend in Canada, sitting around, drinking and eating. So I have the couch part of the whole plan going well.

I may get boring…

… So I’ve created a new blog. See the link at the top for Silver Streak. Well that’s this trailer that I’m going to be fixing up,  attempting to fix up,  OK wasting my time on for the next while and I may blog about it. Very boring unless you like that kind of stuff.

1965 22' Silver Streak

Poetry

There are 2 egg and sausage biscuit sandwiches at the breakfast buffet. You need help with this decision? I wrote you a poem

Eenie meenie, miney mo,
Pick a sandwich, then you go,
Or take two, but you’re too slow,
So get the fuck out of the line.
I have to get to work.
Today jackass, today.

Days out in LA 7 – Arizona?

Not sure if my geography is off here, LA is a big place. With a job offer in the bag and a few weeks off I cleared out on my bike. The original plan was to go to Mexico to Ciudad Juárez. Christina McMahon from my tiny hometown of Carrickmacross, Ireland,  was going to fight for a world boxing title. I packed my Irish flag and a tent and set off.

Packed on a beautiful morning. There’s almost room for me.

Mistake number 1. Bad geography. It’s called Death Valley for a reason. While it might be in the middle of a rare bloom from some rain it’s still a) the desert and b) hot.

Mistake number 2. That small windshield doesn’t do much. It has a crack in it. I can just get rid of it.

People go fast on the highways in California. Really fast. Over 60mph on a cruiser without a windshield it gets to be more work with all the wind. At 75 mph you’re just holding on and you get tired really quickly. When it’s 100 degrees in the shade in death valley this makes it tough going.

Day 2 I woke up in a campsite in Arizona in bits. A combination of trying to hold on to the bike while not drinking nearly enough water left me feeling like I’d been doing the 12 pubs of Christmas and fell a lot. I tried to keep going but after an hour I was pulled in at a Starbucks near Phoenix weighing my options. I could

a) try and keep going

b) rent a car for a few days and make the easy 450 mile drive to El Paso to walk across the border

c) try something else.

Me. At some cliff dwellings.

Once that decision was made it became much easier. I turned left instead of right and found a nice campsite. The next day I  saw some ruins of cliff dwellings, lots of desert, rocks, national parks. Ate a lot of meatloaf, met some nice people. One thing about Arizona is the snakes and insects. There’s signs at all the rest stops warning about them. So when I found this at a campsite, well, it was a good thing I had packed more pants.

Snakes on a plane bench

Fecking thing was rubber. Well played some random kid, well played.

I was heading up to Sedona, I’d been there before, it’s a beautiful place. I hadn’t counted on it being Spring and in the mountains. It was cold in Sedona. Also full. All the campsites were full. The queue in to town was about 4 miles long. I saw it on my way out and heading to Flagstaff. Where is was even colder. I checked the weather forecast and it was expecting 28 (about -2 in real numbers) and very quickly my plans turned to forget camping, I’m getting a hotel.

This place as famous for it’s pies

Found a nice sports bar to watch the fight. World Title Boxing? Nice beer? What could be wrong? Oh yeah, women’s boxing isn’t on TV. Though I think the foxy kind was on a pay channel in the hotel. OK, I had some more meatloaf. I really got into the meatloaf on this trip.

Flagstaff is on Route 66. Or what’s left of it. Headed west as quickly as possible and once I was below a mile in elevation the weather picked up. Another slow day bouncing along what’s left of 66. Lots of tack, sorry, Americana. If your license plate falls off your car it’s rubbish, so recycle and put it in a store on Route 66 with a $20 price tag on it.

Someplace real cold on Route 66

Still, it was a nice ride, a lot just off the highway, quiet, scenery changing from the high elevation to desert and in between. Some road was barely passable, I did about 10 miles on one part in an hour, mainly on the gravel at the side of the road. The potholes had joined to form landscape.

Another night in a hotel, this time at a Casino in Luaghlin, Nevada. Why pay ~$30 for a campsite when I can stay in a hotel for $22. With a voucher for a free coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Best deal I made on the trip.

Then the rest of the long ride home to Pasadena before leaving the next day for Vegas with herself. All in all, a great trip.

Somewhere a bit warmer on Route 66

 

Mad lane splitting

Lane splitting on a motorbike is legal in California. Like most of the world. Most of the rest of the US and Canada don’t like it though. I missed it in Canada, pushing to the front of stopped traffic at a red light, I mean, who wants to wait in traffic?
Of course, this being California they go nuts. The rules on lane splitting, like rules about using your indicators, speed limits, driving sober are just things to be ignored. I can be driving at 80mph the speed limit down the freeway and a motorcycle will zip between me and the truck next to me, doing 90 mph. It’s crazy and scary, even in my over-sized SUV when they do that.

I do like it when I work in Burbank. The 12.1 miles, nearly all 5 or 6 lane freeway can take over an hour. Or on a bike in the stopped traffic about 20 minutes. This morning, riding in to work I noticed another motorcycle coming up fast behind me. Since he was much more used to this than me I swung in to the lane proper and gave him a nod to let him pass me. Which he did with a little wave. They’re all real friendly out here.

Then as he sped away he leaned back to stretch out both arms. In a spot where traffic was moving again, so traffic is maybe at 30 miles an hour and he is on the white line between lines of cars and trucks doing 40 or 50 with no hands.

Respect, you mad and crazy biker, respect.

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