April 11, 2001

me and brad.
It is with great joy that I welcomed Brad into my life this afternoon. Brad is helpful and nice. Brad is the guy who works afternoons and weekends in the parts department of the Honda Ducati dealership right by my house.

I had called the dealer with a relatively simple request: I wanted to order a new locknut and lockwasher for the Nighthawk, to replace the ones that had grown bored and walked off during their 3-month stint in Peter's garage. I also asked if they could order an adapter for a torque wrench that would fit the steering stem adjust nut, and if not, if they could just let me know how large said nut was, so I could order the adapter from Sears or whatever. Brad thought these were fairly simple requests as well, and he promptly disappeared off into Honda Factory Microfiche Land. Then the problems started.

"Huh, OK, there are a lot of washers in that area of the bike," Brad said when he returned. "What was the one you needed again?" Uh-oh, thought I. "The Clymers manual I'm using refers to them as a 'locknut' and 'lockwasher.' If I remember correctly, they go above the steering stem adjust nut." "Um," said Brad. "I don't see anything by those names here." And then our fun game started. Poor Brad would squint at the 1986 Honda 'fiche and rattle off Honda's names for different washers and their approximate location, and I would hum and hrm and erm and say, "no, I don't think that's the right one." Brad and I hung out and played washer games with each other for about 20 minutes. It was actually pretty fun. Both Brad and I were pretty fluent in the language of the steering stem, but it was like I spoke French and he spoke Quebecois. We more or less understood each other, but there were definitely conceptual gaps. Apparently, the Honda microfiche has a rubber washer and a "rubber piece" (Brad: "I can't believe that's the official name on the fiche") above the "steering cone." Above the rubber washer goes the triple clamp and the "main nut" which holds the handlebars and etc together. This is all interesting, as the *Clymers* has the steering stem adjuster nut above the bearings, and then a lockwasher and lock nut, and *then* the triple clamp and main nut.

Finally, Brad and I realized that our relationship wasn't going to progress anywhere at the current rate. So, I have a date with Brad at the dealership on Saturday afternoon, when I will go in, Clymers in hand, and we will attempt to, together, figure out the immense clusterfuck that is my steering stem situation.

Aside from my blossoming relationship with Brad (I can't keep typing that without making a Rocky Horror joke. Consider this it, and we'll all move on), this is a bummer. I'd really hoped to have the Nighthawk finished by this weekend so we could start on Peter's clutch. Feh. Now it'll be Saturday before I can even *order* the damn parts, assuming, of course, that Brad and I figure out what the hell it is I even need. I'm beginning to think that maybe, somewhere, there could be a Twilight Zone episode built around this steering stem.

stuff that goes in your ear.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a thread on the SV mailing list I'm on about ear plugs. I decided, heck, I wear ear plugs when I sleep, why not when I ride? Apparently wearing ear plugs is very good for you and cuts out lots of wind noise and blah blah. So I went to the store, and bought some ear plugs solely because I liked the little orange container that came with them. They aren't the squish-and-put-in-your-ear foam ones, but little rubber ones that don't squish. You reach over your head and adjust your ear and then just sort of shove the ear plug in. OK, anyway, I'd been carrying these ear plugs around with me for a while, but kept forgetting to try them. I tried them out on the way home from Peter's last night. It took me about 5 minutes to actually get them in my ear so they wouldn't fall out (I'm really used to the squishy foam ones); ultimately, I think it was just my helmet that was keeping them in. On the freeway, I didn't notice any difference in wind noise at all. Like, at *all*. When I got home and was puttering around in the driveway putting the cover and disc lock on, I could definitely tell that I was wearing earplugs, since all those little noises were muted, but what the heck good does *that* do me? OK, I can't hear the cover whishing around, but all freeway road noises are still just as loud?

So this afternoon, I dragged my coworker Chris back to the drug store with me, and I bought some foam squishy ear plugs. They're still different from the ones I sleep with -- those are cylindrical-shaped, and these new plugs are longer and more bullet-shaped, but they're fun tie-dye colors. You can see where my priorities lie. I tried them on back here in the office, and found that they cut down on the noise of my coworkers being annyoing around me, so that's good so far. I'll try them on the bike the next time I ride, and will report back.

blah blah blah.
The black yuck seems to be gone off the brake disc and rims. When I put the cover on last night, I noticed that the inside of the bike cover is sticky and yukky too, so maybe that contributed. I should wash the cover.

I'm playing phone tag with Janet over at Meriwest again. Damn, and I thought there was a Rocky Horror joke with just Brad above. Yeeks. Anyway, she sent me some paperwork about a month ago, which included a reminder that I need to send them a copy of my insurance policy proving that I have a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. I called Progressive yesterday to ask where the hell my policy mailing was (I made this change like 3 weeks ago), and found out that "it was just procressed yesterday." Feh. Apparently, this loan paperwork needs to be in by the 15th, and is ambiguous as to whether I need to include a check with it or not. So I called Janet, and left voicemail, and she called back and left *me* voicemail saying she has no idea what paperwork I'm talking about. You know you're a procrastinator when you take so long that even your loan officer forgets what you're doing.

Someone on the SV list mentioned that he carries a disposable 35mm camera around on his bike, just in case. I thought that was a great idea, so I bought an $8 camera while Chris and I were out buying ear plugs. It's funny, I bought it so I could pull over and take pictures of pretty scenery whenever the mood struck me, but everyone I've since mentioned it to has said, "oh, cool, so if you're ever in an accident you can take proof pictures right away!" I'm not sure what this says about me, or, for that matter, about my friends.

The SVS hit 900 miles last night. Less than 100 to go before it's totally out of break-in. Huzzah!

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