Archive for April, 2013

Malaise, motorcycles and guns

Right, then…

So, I haven’t been posting much so far this year, as I haven’t done much so far this year.  I attribute this to a combination of injuries and poor weather.  But then again, we’ve had some really good weather in The Bay Area the past few weeks, so even that isn’t an excuse, really.  In fact, it isn’t an excuse because folks – me included – have gone out and done stuff in bad weather and fared just fine.

So – what the hell’s going on with me?  Well, if I look at my activity levels historically, I peak and trough with varying frequencies and amplitudes.  I reckon I’m in a trough right now.  The irony is that my work schedule has been light so far this year, affording me gobs of time to go and do stuff, yet the energy/motivation has not been there.  The year started out quite nicely – I was hitting the gym 3 times a week and running to train for a ½ marathon (which incidentally was held today; I did not run).   Then in February I fell hard on my ass while snowboarding.  I didn’t bruise the tailbone, but did enough muscle trauma back there I had to stop hitting the gym for a while.  After my butt got better, I then developed IT band and hip issues on my right side.  Sigh.

I find that I go through this pattern:  I get in to a nice groove of working out and eating right, then something happens – injury, illness, vacation, work schedule, visitors from out of town, alien abduction, LSD-spiked Cool Whip – and I get knocked right out of the groove, which leaves me in a funk (see:  Malasiness).  It then takes forever to get back in to it again.  So, here I am, in funkytown.  I know I’ll get back to it, eventually.  If nothing else, I’ve applied for a lottery to get put on a list to see if I can even get permits to hike Half Dome in September…that’s going to require some training. 

I have been getting involved with the motorcycle however, as of late.  This is for two reasons:  1) Without running and cycling and gym and rock climbing and whatnot, I now have time to ride, and 2) I expect to pick up a 3 day a week gig which will require an 80-mile round trip each day – so it’s much more economical to ride than drive (or take BART, for that matter).  Also, I enjoy riding.

What I’m doing now is getting more into the maintenance/repair part of motorcycling, as well.  It used to be whenever I’d need work done on the bike, I’d drop it off at the Triumph dealership in Mt. View and pay the freight to get things sorted out.   Recently, however, I discovered a place about 15 minutes from home called Moto Shop.  Moto Shop is a cool concept – basically, it’s a do-it-yourself repair shop.  They set up several repair bays with lifts and tools and compressed air and such and then rent them out by the hour.  What’s better is that they give DIY classes – basic maintenance, front fork rebuild, suspension adjustment, chain and sprocket replacement (which is what I’ve taken), brake repair, engine rebuilding (I hope to get in on this in the future), valve adjustment and a couple of others.  With these, not only do you get your bike fixed/maintained, you also learn how to do it – which will save you a small fortune the next time a repair is needed.   Also, the owners and the customers are cool, which is important. 

So, with my re-discovered hobby, I rode up to see some friends about 60 miles away this weekend.  Many years ago, we all lived on the east coast – I lived in central New Jersey; they lived in Delaware.  He and I worked for the same company back there and were effectively going through work-related hell, to put it mildly.  So, to help keep our sanity, about once a month I’d go down to their house and we’d do “Mafia Weekend”:  I’d make nine-hour spaghetti sauce, we’d drink booze and watch mafia movies.  Some days, we’d watch non-mafia movies, but there was always spaghetti and booze.  Now that we’re back in CA and our lives have changed for the better; we still do mafia weekends, but now there’s less booze (he doesn’t drink as much and I quit altogether).  If nothing else, it gives us the opportunity to hang out and catch up.  

Recently, my friend has gotten in to guns.  Now, before we go any further, this is not an editorial for or against gun control.  Yes, MIMW2 owns a gun, but it does not define him (even when he’s referring to himself in the third person).  The same goes for my friend – he owns guns, but to him they are a hobby.  So while I’ll spend money on boat stuff or SCUBA diving or motorcycles or bicycles or whatever, he spends it on guns and shooting supplies.  With that, we headed to the gun show.

Gun show.  To be honest, I was a little apprehensive, as I really did not know what to expect.  I was bracing for hyper-aggressive, anti-Government, super right religious in your face, jam-it-down-your-throat folks.  I could not have been more incorrect.  Everyone was polite.  Everyone was friendly.  No one tried to pin my down on my stance on the political issue of the day (If they did, I was going to channel Frank Zappa and reply “Never discuss politics in a disco environment” and leave while they were still stunned).  In fact, the only cause for agitation was the sheer volume of people as the place was packed – and that’s because of me and the gray squishy thing between my ears.  Other than that it was…well…boring.  There were some older weapons that were interesting to look at.  A couple of shotguns and a machete piqued my interest, but that was about it.  That being done, we headed to the gun range for about an hour of shooting.  It was good to shoot as I hadn’t done it in a while…at least 5 years, if not longer, I’d guess.  He’d gotten a couple of new guns, so we tried them out.  It was a good time and we determined that if paper silhouettes’ ever attack us, we’re going to be perfectly fine.  

The rest of they day was general catch up:  Talk, check the sauce, watch James Bond films (like I said, we don’t always watch mafia movies), check the sauce, watch for helicopters, more movies, eat, watch Big Bang Theory, talk, sleep.  This morning was less ambitious as we didn’t go through the effort of loading the DVD player and we just flipped through the channels, had breakfast and watched the season starter for Moto GP (A duel between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez for second and third place might have gotten my friend hooked, so I’m thinking we should plan spaghetti weekends around the race schedule, now). 

It being Sunday, the end of Spring Break for the kids and the end of vacation for him, they needed to get ready for the week.  I wanted to get on the road as a) Watching motorcycles gave me the itch to ride, and b) regardless of how much I love these people, I had my fill of human interaction for a bit and wanted the peace and relative quiet of wind noise and engine sounds.   I took the longish way home:  Across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, down across the Golden Gate Bridge, along the coast to Pacifica and then over the hill to home where dirty clothes were washed while I engaged in a brisk nap. 

The cloudy cold weather we’re having is expected to blow out by Wednesday or so, giving us something in the high 70’s to low 80’s – could be a good day for a walk or a bike ride.  I’m thinking that with a little bit of luck, this might have been enough to knock me out of my funk.


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