Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birdseye to Oh Shit

Took these from work

Unfortunately I went out there to this yesterday. An oil leak, still dripping, coming off the exhaust pipe near the engine/transmission union. Checked the oil and it seemed a little high, even after cooling for 5 hours. No visible leaks from the top side. I'm hoping this is just excess oil being purged. But I haven't changed or added the oil in a while and it just started doing this. It could also be tranny oil (uses motor oil). I wont be driving the Desoto anymore until we move so I can get a good look at it on level ground. I hope it's nothing.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Major Award

My prize for getting 1st Place in the Chop Cult biker fiction contest for my story "Grandpa's Tools" came this weekend. I got a Biltwell helmet, beanie, shirt, stickers, and an old issue of Garage magazine. The Biltwell helmet makes me look like The Great Gazoo from the Flintstones but looks great on Lori.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cashing In Those Karma Points

After a summer of just bad news and things not going our way, we seem to be in the middle of a luck streak. Obviously, we got a house in Oakland exactly in the neighborhood we wanted. When we first looked at the house it was staged with the previous owner's things and the basement was FULL of all their possessions, much of it nice stuff. Our friends had talked to the new owners (sons) during a garage sale they were having and asked about the stuff. They mentioned they might just give it to the next owners. Which is us. And that caused a red alert in our brains. As the paperwork has progressed, we mentioned to our realtor about all the stuff in the basement possibly going to us. So she had been working with the sellers' realtor. In the end, it seemed they had already decided to keep most of it and we might get the old stove. A bummer, but one we could live with.

Like I said in an earlier post, we met one of the owners and had a fantastic conversation with him. We also wrote them a letter telling them how much we couldn't wait to move in and how we planned on keeping the original charm, and would love to have a picture of the previous owners, and some other things if possible. As of Monday, we only were possibly getting the stove. Tuesday morning our realtor called and informed us we were getting everything. EVERYTHING.

Our jaws dropped. Beds, furniture, dressers, dining room table (all dark hard woods), and a ton of vintage equipment and appliances. More than I could possibly list here. The house will close a week before we move in. We will need to spend that entire week going through the pile and deciding what we want to keep. give to friends, sell, and donate. Because we have a huge pile of our own crap that's coming. But I couldn't think of a more awesome cherry on top.

But there's more! This week the house appraisal came in and was $8,000 less than our offer. The sellers accepted selling us the house for $8,000 less. At this point I'm hoping we didn't just drain our karma bank account. Stay tuned for pictures of the haul in a couple weeks.

Friday, August 27, 2010


One of the last days I'll get to drive the Desoto to work.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I got lucky and picked up a few old books on Craigslist. The lady had worked in a BMW motorcycle shop and had bought one of the books and displayed it in the case at the shop. Apparently an old timer saw it and brought her 3 more. But she didn't need them anymore and I was lucky enough to get them. These are the first items for the new house and I'll be displaying them on the mantle. And reading them too! They're all first printings.

Bert Wilson's Twin Cylinder Racer by J. W. Duffield - 1924
Motorcycle Chums In New England by Andrew Carey Lincoln - 1912
Tom Swift And His Motorcycle by Victor Appleton - 1910
The Speedwell Boys On Motorcycles by Roy Rockwood - 1913

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Uncle Kev

Kevin at work watched our dogs for 2 weeks. They scratched up his floors. Jumped his fence. And all he got was this lousy t-shirt. FYI, he loved every second of it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Red Vs Giants

Saw the game last night where Giants smoked the Reds 11 to 2. Lori asked me if we have to become A's fans since we're moving to Oakland. I have no problem doing that if we get free A's tickets. But I'm concerned her boyfriend Tim Lincecum would have a problem with that. Too bad he didn't pitch last night, but Matt Cain did great. And Lori wants a panda hat.

I must add that last night could possibly have been the nicest weather I ever experienced in San Francisco.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I would like to thank the people that voted for me. I won! I'll be getting a tshirt, beanie, and a new helmet!
Chop Cult Biker Fiction Contest


I got suckered into doing a team exercise month activity at work for September. I probably need it since I'm a lardass again. Anyway, we all own dogs, so I drew up a quick sketch for our logo, which I'll do a final line drawing of later.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Friday we had our house inspection. As we expected there were very few and mostly minor issues with the house; the most important being the water heater venting was poorly installed. So yesterday we had 3 HVAC dudes come over to give estimates on repairs. Just so you know, these guys make a killing on very minor repair work. Anyway, after the inspections our friends (and now neighbors) came over to look at the house with us. We were wrapping up when one of the 3 owners (sons of the previous owner) stopped by to move the garbage bins. We were both surprised to see each other and finally meet. We got to talking, expressing how much we love the house and can't wait to make it our own. That we were keeping the original charm and could feel the love that was in the house. He seemed on the edge of tears seeing that house was going to someone who would appreciate it and couldn't wait to tell his brothers.

Also, earlier we had seen our older neighbors across the street pulling out their driveway in a '49/'50 Ford coupe. When we were about to leave they pulled back in, so I ran over to introduce myself. I quickly told them we were moving in, and that I owned a '53 Desoto, about cruise night on first Friday, etc, etc. They seemed enthused to see another gearhead moving in. They informed me they had lived there since 1988 and how much the area has changed and improved, that we were moving into a great neighborhood. As I was leaving they called me back over and told me they had our back if we ever needed anything, and that's how the neighborhood worked.

Can I get a Hallelujah on our new neighborhood?

Lazy Sunday

Lori snagged this one of Harper chillin.

Only 5 in the world!

Damn, my 2 door '53 Desoto sure is RARE! I'm not too sure this guy has his facts straight, but the deal looks pretty good.

Craigslist Ad
Jalopy Journal Ad

Saturday, August 21, 2010


One of the hardest photo shoots I ever had.

Friday, August 20, 2010

RD350... 4 years ago

Today marks the 4 year anniversary that my RD350 engine blew on the Bay Bridge and I almost became road pizza. From my archives:

Let me preface this story with a picture of my sweety.

Geez, what a horrible conclusion to what I thought would be a wonderful day. I was looking forward to riding my motorcycle in town and Marin with a friend today. I was booking along on the Bay Bridge going 80mph in mad, angry traffic... and suddenly my bike made a funny noise, the engine died, and I started dropping speed like crazy. I signalled with my arm that was coming over, emergency style. Kind of like a karate chop type gesture. I was heading to the right side, but the bridge's huge flaw is there is no emergency lane! I had no where to go!

80-90mph traffic coming from all lanes, I was slowing down fast and was signalling to come over frantically. The caged machines just were not happy with me. I was getting swerved at, screamed at, honked at. Can these people not fathom a vehicle in distress? What has happened to humans to make us such evil people, especially when in a car? I was coming over whether they liked it or not.

I managed to get all the way to the right in direct path of traffic. I was completely resigned to the fact that this might be my last few seconds. A lone, small biker on an 8 mile bridge full over assholes in death machines blazing down the road. Yup, there was guaranteed to be one person not paying attention and I would be on page 10 of the newspaper tomorrow burried under a burrito ad. "Motorcyclist: Hit On Bridge." Tragic. Short. Nondescript. Gyped. That would be the end of me.

I got as far over as possible, and I just grabbed my bike and ran as fast as I could. Cars screaming by, no courtesy. Forget it! Run! Treasure Island was just a few hundred more yards and I got my last bout of energy. I sprinted the last hundred yards screaming "FUCK FUCK FUCK!" I got off the exit, pushed my bike to a shady spot, and sat down. Holy shit, I can't believe I almost became a pancake! I started cursing people loudly. The ringing sounds of cars flying by filled every bit of the world at that moment. Doppler effect times 1000. They couldn't hear my screams at them. I pulled the sweat drenched helmet off my head and sat down to try to think of what to do.

I called my friend to cancel. I called my roomate for a ride home, and then he reminded me that I have AAA. "Sweet Jesus, he's right!" I called AAA, and talked to some extremely friendly people wanting nothing more to help me. Triple A is the best investment I ever made. Hands down. Well, maybe my capo for my guitar is up there.

3 hours later of being stuck on a loud rock between the bay and San Francisco, Eddie the tow truck driver showed up in his yellow "Mickey's Towing" International flatbed. A scrawny asian man with mangled, gnarly teeth. But he was a nice dude. He managed to survive the hour of traffic it took to get to me.

We loaded up my bike, me telling him how to load it right. Apparently a lot of tow truck drivers don't like getting motorcycles, as they often get damaged. Owners complain about scratches. I told him I did not care about scratches and showed him the right way to tie it down.

The ride home was relatively calm. I took a few more glimpses of his gnarly teeth and noticed a stack of asian cds and a pack of Wrigley's Spearment gum on his dash. I concluded that his Billy Bob teeth probably put off quite a pungent smell, which he compensated by chewing the gum. Attack the symptom.

He dropped me off and I parked my bike. So what happened? I'm currently praying it's a fried spark plug. I really don't want to have to open the engine. I'll have to wait until later this week to look at it. Luckily I have the old standby XS650, which I have affectionately named "The Gaping Maw."

Uncle Advice

My niece is turning 16.

I don't think she can beat a 1985 Dodge Daytona Turbo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From the vault

While at home in Ohio I dug out some old vhs tapes and watched them with Lori and my folks and had a good laugh. One I was especially interested in finding again was a tape from 6th grade. The public broadcast network had a tv show called "News 6" which featured 6th grade classes from around Ohio. Our school was selected for the episode. Everyone submitted ideas for clips and mine was one of 3 selected. This is a video of me in 1989 when I was 12 interviewing my dad and his model sail plane hobby. I recorded it off the tv with the camera, so the quality isn't that great, but it shouldn't stop the laughs.

Like father like son is up again!

The forum was down for 2 weeks with no explanation from the hosting company. But it's back up. So get back in there!

EDIT: And it's down again! I'm getting PISSED.

EDIT: And now it's up fo reelz.

Gold Wing'n It

While in Ohio, Dad took me on a ride on his Gold Wing. Talk about riding in comfort and style!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Big News

So we're back from our whirlwind family visits. In the last 2 weeks we've gone to Arizona to see Lori's parents and family, then last week we flew to Chicago and drove to NW Ohio to see my family, then back to Chicago to visit her brother's family. We are exhausted. And I am absolutely over traveling for a while. I can't handle being cooped up with obnoxious, annoying, stinky plane passengers anymore.

So the big news. For 6 months we've been looking at houses and putting in offers in a very specific and competitive area of Oakland. Possibly, even, the last affordable area of Oakland in an up and coming neighborhood. Our offers have been declined over and over. We had just about given up hope. While we were enjoying family time in Ohio, we got the call that our offer had been accepted. We are now in escrow and things are about to get crazy.

The house is a 1920 Craftsman, with all the original hardwood fixtures. We even have a full basement (soon to be motorcycle workshop)and a garage for the Desoto! To say we're excited is an understatement. And this is the reason all my projects are about to come to a screeching halt. More pics and news to come as it comes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

On Hold

My new goal is to have it done by the time I'm 40.


We've been spending some time with our families. It's been a whirlwind trip. We were in NW Ohio this week to visit my parents and siblings. And now we're in Chicago area visiting Lori's brother's family. Lots of exciting things to report when we get back. But in the meantime, it looks like our dogs have forgotten us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


How does the Fluid Drive shift? I still have no idea.

Club Coupe

Husband, Wife, 1953 Desoto

From my personal photograph collection

Monday, August 9, 2010

Keep Votin' For Me!

Vote for my story on Chop Cult!
It is seriously the LEAST you could do for me, to click a few buttons and type in your registration.
Help a brother out and help win me a helmet! You WILL need to register. It will only take a minute. And please, let me know what you think of my story "Grandpa's Tools."

Lorita's Birthday

Yetserday was Lori's Birthday and we spent it in Arizona with her folks. I got her a care package.

Lori loved her mustache.

Our gardener thought she was pretty damn cute, too.