October 22, 2000

random updates.
I finished up the "non-fiction" section of the books page tonight. Lots of ranting and raving, especially about Storm; that book really drive me apeshit. So, yeah, go check it out. I also added a "motorcycle-friendly" section and put my two new electronics books in there. They're not motorcycle-specific, but I bought them because I'm reading about my bike's electrical system, realized I knew next to nothing about electricity, and so bought those two books. So, they're motorcycle-related to me, but not to everyone. :)

It's funny, being a software engineer and all, I'd been meaning to actually learn electricity and electronics for quite some time now. It's sort of ironic that I've put it off (even where it'd have made my job easier) until I saw how it related to motorcycling, and then I was all over it in a heartbeat. So far the most impressive thing I've learned is that a current is formed in a copper wire when an electrical force is applied to that wire, because the force causes the electrons around the copper atoms to break away from their orbits and jump to the next copper atom, and then the next one, and the next one, etc. This jumping from atom to atom by the electrons (now called "free electrons" because they're not in orbit anymore) is what's known as a current! Cool! Hey you there in the back, shut up. I'm only in the first chapter of the book, ok? ;)

our new workshop.
So, I still need to change those bearings in my steering stem. I had fully intended to do this today. Then, while waiting for someone to wake up and help me get the bike on the centerstand (shut up!), I decided to actually *read* what I would need to do. Apparently, to change this one little thing, I need to: Remove the front wheel, which includes removing the brake caliper, which involves removing the brake hose, which involves draining all the brake fluid out of the bike. Remove the instrument panel, including disconnecting all of the electrical connections to it. Remove the headlight. Remove the horn. Remove the handlebars, which includes removing the mirrors, unattaching the brake and the clutch, and the aforementioned disconnecting of the electrical system. Remove the front forks. Remove the steering stem. Now, finally, I can replace this part, and, of course, put all that crap back together. I totally cannot wait to do this, which was unfortunate since, as you might have guessed, it didn't happen today. After I woke Peter up for the third time asking him to help with the centerstand (you're a very good sport, dear), he got dressed, came outside, assessed the situation, and very wisely said, "are you *sure* you want to do this today?"

So, instead, he cleaned out his entire garage for me (he'll claim that I helped; in reality, I think I carried a couple of boxes and held up a mattress once), and made room for us to work on the bikes inside the garage, once it starts raining. We cleared off a table that's actually mine (my apartment is the size of a shoebox, so I store some stuff in his garage), and have made it our extremely small workbench. We went to Kragen's Auto Parts and bought a shop light and multi-purpose grease (whee!). Peter found some strong rope and looped it over a big beam in the ceiling, so that once the bike is there and on the centerstand, we can raise the front end up off the ground (I'm not sure what he has against a big block of wood under the engine, but he was very excited about this rope, so, OK. He's the one that cleaned out the garage after all.). So, once it starts raining, we're going to do the bearings on my bike and then totally re-haul his -- he needs to check the valves and the carbs and other little innards that'll be really fun to do in the nice warm, well-lit garage on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

My boyfriend kicks ass.

speaking of kragen's.
We had a funny little incident at the auto parts store. As we were checking out, one of the teenaged "I'm a hip young macho auto dude" employees came up to us, saw our helmets, and said, "So, what kind of bike you guys ride?" Peter answered, "I ride a Honda VF750," and I followed him with "and I have a Honda Nighthawk." The kid blinked for a second and said, "you have two *different* bikes?" Peter nodded and said, "yeah, we're here buying stuff for her to work on her bike with." and I explained, "I need to replace the bearings in my steering stem."

Apparently, this made our friend need to one-up this staggering anecdote. "Well," he said, "I have a friend who was just in a big accident!" "That sucks," we said, and meant it. "Yeah, he over-revved his engine and let out the clutch too fast and the bike just went WHOOP! --" he made a loop-de-loop with his hand "-- and he flew head-first into a POLE!" "Ow," said Peter and I. "And he wasn't wearing a helmet!," said our friendly Kragen employee. "Um. That's why you wear a helmet," Peter pointed out. "Is he in better shape than the bike, at least?" "Uh, yeah," squirmed Kragen Boy. "Oh, good," Peter said, nodding.

This was apparently not the horrified reaction that Kragen Boy was looking for, so he continued. "Our manager was just in a motorcycle accident too!" "Oh yeah?" "Yeah! He broke his leg! Landed right on his knee!" I was all over this one. Nodding to Peter, I said, "see, that's why I need to get those pants with the armored knee." Turning to Kragen Boy, I lectured, "See, if you fall on a bike, chances are your knee'll hit the ground, since it's bent while you're riding, right? Well, eight pounds of pressure breaks a kneecap, so if you're riding along at even, say, 40 mph, your knee'll be totally shattered." Kragen Boy was looking uncomfortable. "Eight pounds of pressure?" "Yup," said I, who remembers my Kung Fu teaching from high school. "If you lay down and drop something weighing eight pounds on your knee, splat. It's shattered." And on that happy note, we left, leaving Kragen Boy with a slightly altered view of his own universe.

Once we got to the parking lot, Peter mentioned that during this entire conversation with Kragen Boy, the girl who had checked us out was rolling her eyes and giving the "boys and their toys" look at Kragen Boy and I. I was oddly flattered by this.

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