25 April 2008

Where I work* ...

No Smoking!

Sam's dad stops by the shop the other day on his way to work. He comes in and lights a cigarette. "How long before she gets here?" He asks.

"About 20 minutes," I tell him.

"Good idea," Indian says and lights one up, so do I.

Backstory: Sam is very anti-smoking and no one is allowed to smoke in the shop while she's there (the little pain in the ass). Sam's dad isn't allowed to smoke at the house either and he has to hide his cigarettes. So in the mornings before she gets to the shop, we smoke like chimneys to get our blood nicotine levels up to carry us through the 3 hours she's there in the morning. Sam's dad stops by sometimes to commiserate (he went to high school with the Indian). Fine.

"Your daughter is a pain in the ass," I tell Dad.

"You're telling me?" He says. "I'm not safe driving down the street in my own car."

"What, is she following you?" I ask, laughing. Sam can be a pit bull when she latches onto something.

"I don't know," he says. "But the other day, I was driving down the Avenue, happy as a clam, radio playing, enjoying a Marlboro, when I see this green Pathfinder in my rear view mirror."

"No shit?" I laugh.

"Dude," he says. "I see her swing out, go around two cars, and get along side me. I see the passenger window go down and I hear 'put that cigarette out, daddy'. And then she passes me and speeds off."

"Sucks to be you," I say.

He laughs at me. "Don't talk, pal," he says. "Look at the three of us. Grown men scared of a teenage girl."

"Damn straight," Indian says, keeping an eye up the Avenue for a green Pathfinder.

Heh ...

*Part of an ongoing, semi-regular series.

19 April 2008

I call "Bullshit".

I used to be a crazy bastard in my day, I can not get on a motorcycle, period.

For me, there are only two throttle positions, OFF and ON.

All The Way On.

The following article doesn't surprise me a bit.

Modern bikes will easily do a hundred fifty miles an hour.

They are marvels of modern technology.

The part I am calling bullshit on is ANYONE reading and remembering a fucking license plate that is three inches tall and six inches wide as it goes by at a hundred fifty fucking miles an hour.

Nice try fella's.

I can see getting on the radio and telling dispatch there is some crazy fucker on a bike going down the freeway so fast you barely caught what color it was and then another cop ahead nailed ya , but reading the license plate?


18 April 2008

The Game ...

It's that time of year again where New York State tries to increase their revenue from independent shops by sending undercover cars out to make sure inspections are carried out correctly. If you'll remember, I got banged a year and a half ago.

Well guess what?

Yesterday they sent the same guy who got me last time. I don't know, maybe they think mechanics are stupid, but to send the same guy that cost me a lot of money is ridiculous. He's damn lucky I don't make sure he isn't eating the rest of his meals through a straw. I put him off yesterday (I acted as if I didn't recognize him) and made him an appointment for Tuesday morning. I'm still debating whether to let him know he took a big risk coming back or not, or just ripping an eyeball out of his head and skull fucking him until his brain leaks out his ear.

A word to the state inspection program. There's a buncha bigger assholes than me in the business. They pull this shit with some of the guys I know, they'll find their 'undercover agent' floating in the harbor and their car in little pieces in the county dump.

Update, Tuesday 22 April:

Mofo didn't even show up today. Scumbag.

10 April 2008


There seem to be millions of these converted, customized school buses in Panama. Some of the custom work is really good.

They have their own unique brand of taxi in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas too. There are hundreds of these converted pickemups who make a living taking passengers from the cruise ships in the harbor to the downtown shopping area during the high season.

Click pics to embiggen

06 April 2008


This is a heads-up to Britbike enthusiasts and a movie review of sorts. I was skiddin' around YouTube the other day as I am wont to do whenst seeking relief from politics, and I ran across this video:

Through the miracle of the mouse, I went straight to Brittown and ordered it. It came in three days, which I think is pretty good for a pre-release order!

You can read what they have to say about the film there. Here's what I have to say about it.

The movie basically depicts "Meatball" as he strips and rebuilds a Triumph Bonneville, interspersed with some vintage racing scenes, general ridin' around, some bars and the bands who play in them, and some babes.

One scene made me cringe. I've been a Triumph mechanic for almost forty years, and I'm no stranger to the vices and vicissitudes of the 'home tuners', but this guy owns a shop and I've never before seen a shop mechanic attempt to remove the crankshaft pinion by prying it off with screwdrivers! I damn near dove under the couch to get away from the awful visual! They don't come off that easy, as he discovered, and to his everlasting credit he admitted he needed 'to get a new pair of chopsticks'. Later they showed him using the proper puller, which is unique to the application and pretty essential.

I was also a little dazzled when he sent the engine parts out to get cleaned. I've cleaned thousands of motorcycle parts, but I never knew you could farm this out any further than the 'shop gunk' AKA the 'lot boy'. The parts went to some machine shop that had a special Sunnen hot-soapy-water machine. The wonders of the modern age!

As far as the rest of the rebuild went, he built it for speed with hotter cams, lighter valves, a flow job, and some aftermarket parts like a Morgo oil pump, a QPD belt primary drive, and an ARD magneto. Apparently it was the last magneto ever built by Alan R. D'Alo, whose name was misspelled in the credits if memory serves. Those magnetos were the gold standard for Triumphs for years.

While ol' Meatball was buttoning up his Bonnie, his buds were all standing around drinking his beer (heh!) and betting on how many kicks it would take to start, like 'first' kick, 'second' kick and so on. Heh, youngsters! There weren't any old farts like me there who know the sure way to bet is on the kick that we know will start any motorcycle in the world, which is the 'last' kick. I'll leave ya in suspense on that one, but start it did and ran down the road just fine, as you saw in the video above.

The vintage racing scenes were like old home week for me, although I raced at some of the venues before it was called 'vintage' racing. I will sob for a few minutes...

Meatball raced his old BSA singles, a B50 (or maybe a TR5MX, mox nix) at the Elsinore Grand Prix, and flattracked his B44 at Perris Raceway. I own one of each of those and have raced both venues. He raced at Willow Springs as well. I've been there, mostly to aid and abet roadracing friends, but I always thought dirt was for racin' and pavement was for gettin' there.

There's a scene of him riding his Tiger Cub to a saloon out in the desert. Been there, done that. I've got two of those.

The general ridin' scenes were about what you'd expect from a buncha bozos who like to ride English machines that are often older than they are. Or motorcyclists anywhere for that matter. Everybody who sees this movie will recognize all the players as guys much closer to home than Southern California. These are just reg'lar guys who like to slick their hair back and gas it. Just like the rest of us.

As far as the bars, bands, and babes, pretty much good clean fun. The gals are pretty, all the music in the film is by no doubt local bands, none of which anybody outside SoCal ever heard of 'til now. All part of the depicted lifestyle, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If this sounds good to you, click it up and order it. The price is commensurate with the low volume and rarity of an indie niche flick like this, but I doubt if you'll be seeing this one at the video store or Netflix any time soon, if ever. It's reasonably priced and good value for money. I've never seen anything else quite like it.

It's a 'must have' addition to any English bike enthusiast's collection and I'm glad to have it.

Also check out the filmmaker's blog, Motorcycles And Moviemaking Mayhem.

05 April 2008

Your Opinion Is Welcome

This to me is so far off the scale of illegal search and seizure I can hardly find the words to express my outrage.

California: Police Raid Car Enthusiast Gathering, Generate Revenue

Police raid Riverside, California parking lot to issue modified car tickets at local car enthusiast gathering.

Using $503,000 in federal and state gas tax revenue to pay for overtime
, nine police agencies in Riverside, California sent more than one hundred police officers to surround a gathering of automotive enthusiasts. Owners of imported sport compact cars had gathered at the Canyon Crossing shopping center on Friday night to swap stories, talk about their passion for cars and show off the latest enhancements to their rides. At around 11pm police surprised participants by blocking all exits with fifty police cruisers. Officers then began a warrantless search and interrogation operation of the 150 vehicles that were present.

"If you're not into street racing, why would you need that?" Riverside Police Traffic Sergeant Skip Showalter asked an enthusiast during a similar crackdown last year. "Why would you want more power going to your car?

Police issued a total of forty-eight tickets for "engine modifications" with police accusing the owners of the parked vehicles of being street racers.

snip, my emphasis.

Someone please explain to me just how this is anyones business but the owner of the vehicle?
As long as the engine meets emission standards,how is it against the law to put performance enhancing parts on your own vehicle? And how is it possible to be street racing while you are in a parking lot full of cars?
This is so far over the top I can't believe there aren't going to be several lawsuits stem from this.I know I would be in contact with the ACLU the minute the doors opened the next day. Class action against every single police department, the state AND the federal government for civil rights violations, illegal search and seizure, harassment and whatever else they could find.Turn the whole toolbox over and throw everything in it at them.This is outrageous.

Another fifty tickets were issued for paperwork violations, dark window tinting and lack of a front license plate. The most revenue, however, will be generated from the fees imposed on twenty vehicles that were confiscated. Despite labeling the parking lot raid as taking place at a "street racing venue," Riverside Police offered no evidence that any street racing actually took place.

Across the state, gas tax funds are regularly used to fund similar crackdowns that generate big revenue. In 2004, the California Highway Patrol issued a total of 101,553 "modified car" citations worth $10.5 million according to CHP data obtained by TheNewspaper.

Other law enforcement agencies participating in Friday night's raid included the California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff's Department, and police from Baldwin Park, Fontana, Irwindale, Moreno Valley, Ontario and Mount San Jacinto Community College

The original article is here, I found it courtesy of Fark and I am just about speechless that this can in anyway be considered legal.

Cross posted at Outta The Cornfield and Ornery Bastard