Friday, June 29, 2012

Hall of the Piston Rings

Pick me up

Here's what helps with the tickets...

Ticket Shock

There must have been an Alanis Morrisette song playing on my way home from work, my last day, yesterday. After 5 years of commuting by motorcycle, I got a ticket on my very last day. $180. Basically to avoid lane splitting for a 1/4 mile, I used an exit lane to by pass the traffic and take a break. Apparently this is a big no-no. A motorcycle cop pulled me over. The guy was super nice. Maybe that's his way of making so people don't rage on him. We talked about kids, how it was my last day, his years in the CHP. Still, he didn't let me go over it. Like I said, $180. This is karma for being an asshole, I guess.

So in the last month:
$105 for blocking a sidewalk at 8PM in San Francisco when I dropped off our dogs.
$500 deductible for the hit and run on our car.
$180 for this ticket.

I might as well work for free. It's a good thing we only have half our income now. Seriously, it's extremely depressing. I don't think I'm going to leave the house for a month.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last Day Ride

The entire time I've been working here, I never left for a lunch-hour ride. I got a bug up my butt and decided to explore a little and go check out Pilarcitos Lake. Well, it was bust for the most part. The cool frontage road along Crystal Springs Reservoir was closed due to construction. And then when I took the road to get to Pilarcitos Lake, it was gated up. I made it as far as I could past the No Trespassing signs. I possibly would have been a bit more adventurous and would have kept riding south on Skyline Blvd but I forgot my wallet. Anyway, I was bummed about Pilarcitos Lake being closed off. I came back and looked it up. I'm about 50 years too late.>

I still took some photos. I'm a pretty pathetic adventure rider.

End of an Era, The Beginning of Another

Today is my last day at my job. I've been here 5+ years, the longest I've ever been employed by one company. Lori and I are home together for one week and then she goes back to work. And my job as full time stay at home dad begins. Way back when we first started talking about it, I was all excited about being able to have all the house chores done, dinner cooked, time to do freelance art, and time to play with my motorcycles. Then Max came and the reality set in: there is no free time anymore. I was amazingly naive. Max is 100% full time gig. During the time when he isn't feeding, or playing, or being cranky, he may nap for 30 minutes to an hour. And the cycle repeats about every 3 hours. And that possible hour is not enough time to do much with other than sit down and relax for a few seconds. For that reason, I've decided to just put away my toys for the foreseeable future until Max gets to an age where he is just a little more self-sustaining. I might be able to wheel and deal a few hours a week here and there, but for the most part, if I want to be a responsible daddy, I need to focus on him. Once Lori gets home from work it's time for me to work on art gigs. It's going to be interesting. So expect less motorcycle related posts, but hopefully I start posting more art-related things. And of course, lots of MAX!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know - guitar instrumental

I had just got my full of this song until I saw this video. I've been playing for 20 years and I want to cut my arms off after seeing this.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

As The Maxwell Turns

It happened and it's exciting to us. Max rolled over for the first time yesterday. We've been waiting quite a while for it to happen, but he's been stuck on what to do with his bottom arm. But yesterday, while I was at work, he rolled over for Lori. He got to where he was normally stuck, lifted his head, and ALLEY OOP. He had a big smile of accomplishment. Now the kid can't stop rolling over! He was 3 months and 10 days on his first rollover. So it begins!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Atomic Garden

Instead of growing vegetable this year I planted wildflowers sometime in April. My babies are growing up so fast! There's still a few odd looking plants that haven't bloomed yet, I expect it to be amazing.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

She Lives... AGAIN

Using my alloted 30 minutes of free time a week, I stared intently at my XS and willed it to start. That didn't work. It had spark, but it seemed erratic and weak. I looked at my wiring diagram time and again. I have a later model alternator with different colored wires to hook up to the CDI. I had to look up online which wires connected to what. Well, apparently the advice I read was the exact OPPOSITE of what I needed to do. I swapped 2 wires and I had a huge spark jump off the plug. That's a bingo!

It should come together fairly quickly from here on out if I can get a good chunk of time to just sit down and clean everything up. My original idea of using a teeny battery isn't going to work. It's junk. Waste of $20. I might use the smaller one I've been using, but if anyone has an even smaller alternative, message me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy First Father's Day to ME

I got to sleep in until 9:30 AM. Lori made me chocolate chip pancakes. She brought out Maxwell with a "My Dad Is Rad" onesie. And we had mexican food picnic style by Lake Merritt. I'd say it was a successful first Father's Day. By the way, Max had his 3 month checkup. He's 15lbs 7oz (78%) and 26" long (98%). He's dropping down in the weight percentiles gradually, but he sure is staying lanky! My mom and dad also broke through their technological bubble and Skyped with us for the first time. It makes me happy my mom can see him now on a regular basis, even if it is video. Max makes me happy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I wanted to get the head off Lori's CL450 as soon as possible so it could dry out. I pulled off the carbs and took a peek... eep!
I began disassembling the head only to be reminded you can't pull the heads off these without removing the whole engine. What a crap design! I'm not wanting to have yet another disassembled bike in the garage, so it's just going to have to wait and I'll deal with the damage when I get to it. I really need to finish up the XS first. The Triumph is on "who the fuck knows?" timeframe because I can't seem to have my parts dealer send me the $1000 worth of parts I ordered. Maybe I'll do the CB750 and 450 at the same time. Ya know, with all the free time I have.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You be the judge

from Born Loser...

Julians Big 'Ol 50

I did not get to work on my XS at all this weekend. All I need to do is hook a couple things up to see if it's running... but I did get to ride my RD for 30 minutes Sunday night, help my neighbor work on his bike, drive my Desoto to get groceries, and had a pretty major awesome ride in the Livermore rural area on Saturday. My buddy Julian (big RD nut) and his buddy Will both celebrated their 50th birthdays and had a small attendance old man ride. I rode my KLR, and I got Mittens to join me. I was quite shocked just how amazing some of the terrain is out there. Windy as hell, but amazing. It really makes me wish I had a Go-Pro camera to catch some of it, as I only got a few shots while we were stopped.

Will's ram air Ducati frankenbike

RZ350, mostly.


After that we had a private tour of the Blackhawk Museum, but that's another post.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mr. Mom

Big news. I just handed in my resignation at work. 3 months into the pregnancy we decided that I should be the stay at home parent. My wife makes more money, has more potential for advancement, better insurance, and a more interesting career and can work from home when needed. I have a long, dangerous commute on a motorcycle, have a job with little potential for growth, etc. We estimated child care would be half of my salary, and it only made sense to have me stay home. I will also be freelancing (potentially for my current company) but also trying to re-kickstart my fledgling freelance art/illustration career. Basically I'll be doing a lot of hustling. Also, since I will be home maintaining the house, it will give our weekends more time to enjoy family time. Not only that, to help with easing Lori's lack of being around Max, I can go to her work and have lunch during the week. Win-win for everyone. The toughest hurdle we forsee is losing just shy of half our income. We've ran the numbers many times to make sure it can work. I am very excited about my next life change.

Max Turns 3 Months

Yesterday was Max's 3 month birthday. We of course celebrated with a onesie to commemorate. We can't believe just how big he is getting. A little giggle monster. We love the little dude!

Click for bigger

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Thank you Mr. Drug Dealers, Thank you

While I was in the city picking up Lori's bike, I got a call from her informing me that a drug-deal-gone-bad had just resulted in our parked car being hit. Awesome. Here's what apparently happened...

Our neighbors saw two cars parked in front of their house. There was a black Chevy SUV parked in front, and a gold BMW (with 2 children in the back eating ice cream) blocking their driveway, parked behind the SUV. He walks outside and memorizes the SUV's license plate. It's filled with 4 young black men with dreadlocks. My neighbors see them hand a white powdery substance to the owners of the BMW. The drug dealers then see my neighbor staring them down and freak out, jump in their SUV, plow into our parked car, do a u-turn, and take off down a side street.

I got back home and we waited for the police. The cop informs us the plate came back as a rental (swapped plates?). It would take 2-3 weeks to get the police report. I was upset with myself for parking the car on the street (I needed to get in the garage), but I was glad it wasn't the Desoto. Actually, if they hit the Desoto, their SUV would probably have bounced off. Lori is upset because we just paid off the car. But I wasn't too upset, insurance would take care of it.

I wasn't upset until I learned that we have to pay a $500 deductible. And apparently we didn't have car rental insurance.

I swear our neighborhood is getting worse. It's been changing for the better, but recently it has taken a big dip back down. Lots of shootings, some murders, lots of burglaries. We can't seem to keep the animals out. Is this where we want to raise Max? But can we really afford to live anywhere else?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sometimes They Come Back

It came back home... Lori's old CL450. Recently an ad appeared on Craigslist with a bike that looked JUST LIKE Lori's old CL; a landlord in San Francisco put an ad up saying his tenant had left behind a motorcycle and to make him an offer. I immediately tried contacting the guy I sold it to call the police. He had told us it had been stolen 2 years ago (he has since replaced the bike with a Triumph). Long story short, apparently it was a series of miscommunications, something about unpaid parking rent, and it has sat outside for 2 years. I went and looked at it. Poor thing is rusted up all over, the spark plugs were gone (crackheads love using them to smoke out of or smash car windows) which means rain probably made it's way in the engine, the registration sticker was peeled away (more scumbags), but it was all there, including the black plate, and it rolled and turned over freely.

I bought it back for pennies, in fact I'll say, $200. I had originally bought the bike for $100, put about $300 of carb rebuild kits, fuel line, battery, and tires into it. Lori rode it for a while, and then I sold it for $1000. It came with a box of new parts (wheel bearings, regulator, Lucas tailight which is going on the CB750).

It's a 1968 CL450, engine and frame. At some point someone put blue 1972 gas tank, side covers and front fender and bars on. And the pee shooter exhaust is from I believe a Black Bomber or early CB.

1968 CL450

Now that we have Max, he'll be riding on the back in a few years, so Lori needs to get back on the horse. Like I need another project, right? Since we got it for so cheap, I'm going to do it up nicely for Lori. New tires, new controls, new cables. I'm going to get a nice set of new VM32 carburetors. I'm also going to rebuild the head (and check out the jugs for water damage. While I'm at it I'm going to paint the tins a nice metalflake ruby, and she'll be named Ruby Reckless.

Here's a gallery of all the pics.

Saturday, June 2, 2012