Thursday, February 16, 2006

Such good timing on my part...

After many decades, I will finally complete my academic career (...begun well back in the previous millennium) sometime in the next year or two by graduating as an English major, right about the time words in english will have finally and completely lost any meaning.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Agents of Entropy

"In fact, we are agents of entropy: we organize our bodies at the expense of the organization of our environment, which we digest and burn."

James Merritt, "Chaos and Complexity"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Layer upon layer

My mainstay winter riding jacket has been my old Hein Gericke from the early '90s, which has had the main zipper replaced once or twice, is missing most of its many zipper pulls, and is slowly turning the linings of its many pockets into tatters. Combined with my year-round Joe Rocket mesh pants, it gets the job done pretty well.

All of this is fine enough, but recently I've gradually become aware that despite its mass, weight and bulk, it doesn't really put too much between me and the road in the event Beast and I part company.

So when it turned cold again recently, I came up with a brilliant—if I do say so myself—idea. I wore my very oversized summer-weight Joe Rocket jacket over my Hein Gericke, instead of wearing another layer beneath it.

Much to my surprise, it seems to work out pretty well. Except for having another entire set of pockets to misplace things in, it's very convenient. Despite being mostly kevlar mesh, the JR seems to trap a layer of still air where it's needed, and contributes little weight or mass. But now I also have some additional abrasion resistance, and ballistic padding in lots of key places—which also serves to insulate and keep the wind out.

Altogether, when it's all buttoned up tight, it feels a little bit like an exoskeleton. But it's warm, snug, has good mobility, and I feel a little better with an extra layer of protection.

Plus it makes me look even more badass than I typically do.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Excelsior-Henderson, 1914

"Nervous energy is your most priceless earthly asset. Save it. Accumulate it. Replenish your zip tank every day with a spin in the country on a motorcycle. Get out in the open where there is no boundary. Enlarge your horizon. Its radius is all up to you. "

"With a motorcycle you can stick to your job till the day’s work is finished, and then in fifteen minutes put yourself out in the wide open. An hour on the road will blow the clinkers out of your lungs. See the fields once every twenty-four hours - and all day every Sunday and on vacation. A motorcycle will make this possible. You can beat it out to some heretofore distant stream, and fish for a while before breakfast - if you own a motorcycle. "

"You can be at the ballpark, root with the bunch almost instantly after you have climbed out of your overalls or closed your roll top - if you have a motorcycle. Air spray your brain by using a motorcycle. Come down to work clean and fresh on a motorcycle, and you will attack it with a vim born of fresh air and red blood. A motorcycle gives you snap."

"Men with motorcycles are live wires. They do things. They are well, and they do their work well. Their competitors fear them, because they are effective, powerful, healthy chaps. And this effectiveness is operative over a wide field, because the man with the motorcycle has no mile. He lives everywhere. His zone is practically unlimited. "

"The horse has received half his setback into the ranks of the obsolete at the hands of the motorcycle. The first cost of a good horse exceeds that of a motorcycle, and its maintenance is decidedly higher. The horse must be fed and cared for. Give the motorcycle a bit of gasoline and a mite of oil and it is at your service for a mile or a hundred miles. The horse is slow, the motorcycle is swift. The horse has a mind of his own - you are the motorcycle’s. The horse must be shielded - it is subject to exhaustion and you feel for it, and half the pleasure of your drive is spoiled through consideration for the brute which pulls you."

"Not so with the motorcycle. It has no nerves, it never falters, it is as willing at the day’s end as it was in the early hours of the morning. The horse stops on the bad hills - the motorcycle eats them alive. Gasoline is Cupid’s best friend, and the motorcycle is the little God’s choice of gasoline gigs. The twentieth century has heard the call of the motorcycle and answered it."

"Even the automobile has been forced to admit that it has a real peer in its agile little contemporary. Here is a little schedule for you - not that it is the best. It is simply given to suggest to you what can be done with a motorcycle. Up at six thirty. A five mile spin in the country before breakfast. Back in twenty minutes, allowing time for dressing, etc. You have two big healthy lungs under your shirt, both full of ozone; color in your cheeks that wasn’t there yesterday, red blood in your veins, and an appetite like a horse. Seven thirty - you are off for work with fight in your eyes - ready to meet the old world on his homeground and make him say “Uncle.” You feel fresh and clean - for there are motorcycles as clean as enclosed coupes."

"Eight o’clock - you are on the job like a glutton. Let them bring on their perplexities, their trying moments. You are equal to anything, you have absorbed enough horse power to talk you over any hill that the boss can take in his big limousine. All day long you go ahead cutting and slashing. At five o’clock you have a hundred percent day on you back track with a song in your heart."

"That is satisfaction. The other fellow wonders what has gotten into you. Let him wonder. Home to dinner, on your motorcycle, then an hour or two in the wide open, and then to bed where you will sleep like a six month old child. The next day you repeat the dose - put another dent in old Nemesis. Now multiply this one hundred percent work day of yours by six, just to get an idea of what you can do for yourself in a week, after you have taken to the motorcycle. Multiply this day by twenty-eight. Figure out where you will stand at the end of the month, and then multiply it by twelve. This gives you a line on your first big motorcycle year. It means success - a roll top and push buttons, if you care for those things. The other fellow has been lost in your dust. For the sake of your health, your chances, your balance at the bank, your tomorrow - get a motorcycle."

"A motorcycle will take you up on Easy Street. "

Excerpts from ‘You and the Motorcycle; Excelsior-Henderson’ circa 1914

DeCodeing Dianetics:

"Originally I said, hey, If this guy (L. Ron Hubbard) can figure out how the mind works, I can figure out how to ride a motorcycle."
- Keith Code interview 8/15/03

"Hooray for the motorcycle!"

"Hooray for the motorcycle! It seduces you into getting off the freeways and onto smaller roads and doing things the harder way and being aware of the countryside."

-Ted Simon, interview in CityBike June 1998

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thoughts on Oz...

...You know who the real hero of "The Wizard of Oz" was?


If Toto hadn't outed the Wizard, then Dorothy et al., would have been stuck believing in his omnipotence.

Where are the Totos of our day, bravely pulling back the curtains and exposing the charlatans?