A Mentos-y way of getting

A Mentos-y way of getting Mentos

I visited 810 deli for the last time yesterday (for the last time, because my office at [My employer] is moving downtown to 25th street and Park Avenue.) Anyhow, I bought a roll of Mentos for a programmer I was working with, in case he needed fresh ideas while he was troubleshooting code. The guy behind the counter bagged up my BLT sandwich while I had my back turned; when I grabbed the bag, the roll of Mentos was still lying on the counter. There was a guy standing at the counter; I brushed past him, said “excuse me”, grabbed the Mentos, and walked out of the store.

Of course, when I got upstairs, I found my Mentos already in my bag. Just call me Arthur Dent.

A Mentos-y way of getting

I blame New York City

I blame New York City

Of the dozens of everyday moral choices we make, few are more poignant than this: the decision whether or not to reach for the elevator’s “door open” button. It takes a hardened heart to watch a hapless office worker run towards you through a narrowing stainless-steel frame without reaching for that button — or does it? This morning, three people — myself and two others — stood at the back of the elevator car, staring blankly at the stockbroker jog-trotting towards the closing door with a mute plea in his eyes. We didn’t do anything; just stood there as the opening narrowed to a slit, then closed completely inches from the lapels on his Today’s Man jacket. And the other people in the elevator were not-for-profit staffers; one was carrying a guitar, for Christ’s sake! If they weren’t the kind of people who would lunge for the button, who would? What horrible miscarriage of human compassion was this?

I blame the city. If New York City specializes in one thing, it’s that kind of hardening — witness this horrifying downward spiral captured through a series of twelve consecutive mug shots.

I blame New York City

Last weekend, I borrowed a

Last weekend, I borrowed a copy of Jupiter’s Travels from Kate’s dad — it’s written by Ted Simon, a hero of the motorcycling world, who in 1973 set out to ride 78,000 miles across the planet on a Triumph motorcycle. Frankly, one of the things I was mesmerized by the most was the picture on the cover. Holy cow, is that an antidote to cubicle claustrophobia or what?

It seems that every motorcycle rider has a Ted Simon story — about how they met Ted at a rally or got involved in his trip, so naturally I wanted a Ted Simon story of my own! 26 years after the original trip, he’s setting out again (this time on a BMW.) I volunteered to help out on the site, www.jupitalia.com, and am writing a photo album script in PHP so that the pictures Ted takes can go up right away. You can see March’s photo album here.

Last weekend, I borrowed a

I picked up my motorcycle

I picked up my motorcycle this weekend! Kate and her dad came with me, and we rolled it up a 2×10 plank and into Kate’s dad’s van. He lashed it up straight with webbing, and we drove away with Arlo Guthrie’s “I don’t want a pickle” playing on the stereo:

“I don’t want a pickle

I just want to ride on my motorsickle.

And I don’t want a tickle

I just want to ride on my motorsickle

And I-I-I-I don’t wanna die,

I just want to ride on my motorcy…


Later on, as I repeatedly stalled the bike at a redlight facing uphill, the situation was less idyllic. I managed to keep my cool (barely), gunned the bike, made it across the light, and finished my very first foray into traffic with no harm done. It’s just exactly like learning to drive stick for the first time in my mom’s Mazda station wagon. In moments of frustration or inattention, though, the station wagon didn’t have a habit of rolling slowly onto its side. Anyhow, I made it back safe, and I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer!

I picked up my motorcycle

Votes for an Aerostich suit

Votes for an Aerostich suit

I’m taking this purchase of an Aerostich jumpsuit very seriously, as it’s not every day that you get to select your own futuristic armored coveralls (my co-worker Jason Robinette mentioned the seminal jumpsuit film The Running Man, pictured at right.)

Votes so far:

  • Red with silver trim: My stepfather Robin Staebler, who has seen plenty of motorcycle accidents in the emergency room, so he gets extra votes.
  • Grey with black trim: My Mom, who will learn by reading this that I stole her book on “Professional Stage Hypnotism” when I visited her in Maine, and am committing it to memory. I’ll give it back soon!
  • Grey with silver trim: My co-worker Ken Courtney.
  • Grey with red trim: My co-worker Asad Khan. “…you have to match the bike, in my opinion.”
  • Grey with red trim: My co-worker Jason Robinette. “I think hi-viz with red would be a good Devo/Radiation suit look, though.”
  • Hi-Viz Yellow with Red Trim: My co-worker Bob Russell, who used to be a physical therapist and helped many people recover from accidents. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to get over that whole Ronald McDonald aversion I have to the yellow and red suit.

  • My dad had this to add about my new status as a badass motorcycle rider: “At our rancher-type house in south Austin (near Crockett High), you would go tearing down the short driveway toward the garage door and then expertly veer away at the last moment — so how can a motorcycle be much different, or more difficult?” Hurrah, thanks for the vote of confidence!
    The photo on the right is one my mom sent me today — she took it as I was rolling down our driveway at colossal speed (You’ll notice that I had to take my Zips off of the pedals, I was going so fast!) Click on it for the bigger version!

    I need your advice! Take a look at the Regular Colors and
    Custom Colors on the Aerostich website, and Let me know what you think!

  • Votes for an Aerostich suit

    Well, I took the plunge

    Well, I took the plunge and bought a motorcycle! It’s a 1982 Suzuki GS450L. I’ve heard this kind of bike referred to as a “UJM”, a “Universal Japanese Motorcycle.” It has 5100 miles, and is scrupulously clean. I think it’s a really good deal! Now I can start acting extra cool (sarcasm.)

    I’ve been looking for protective clothing, and have been fascinated with Aerostich suits. They’re made out of Gore-Tex and heavy cordura, are waterproof for 30-45 minutes in a heavy downpour with no fairing on the motorcycle, and are reinforced with body armor! How cool is that! So I’m looking at colors, and I need your advice. Should I go with the hi-viz yellow and silver, so I’ll look like a Danish highway patroller, or should I get the gray suit with the red trim? Let me know!

    Well, I took the plunge

    I finished Motorcycle school today,

    I finished Motorcycle school today, and … I passed the tests! Only one student scrubbed out today – a tall stockbroker who owns a Triumph racing bike (the same as in Mission Impossible 2), and a really cool Arai helmet. During the stopping portion of the skill test, though, he hit the brakes too hard, skidded, and dropped the bike. Seven of us were left – when the test was over, our instructor Phil walked over to us. Phil’s a short, peppery Freemason, retired lawyer, and Harley tourer. ‘I’ve got good news and bad news for you’, he said, shaking his head. ‘The bad news is that we’re gonna give all you bastards licences!’

    I finished Motorcycle school today,