I’m selling my starter

I’m selling my starter bike to (among other things) buy the black-and-silver, or maybe black-and-blue Aerostich suit that I’m gonna wear. I started the bidding at $75.00, and it’s been climbing slowly every day. Bidding has now surpassed the Kelly Blue Book value for the bike, which makes me realllly realllly happy. (Note to bidders who are reading this: it’s still a bargain.)

link to the auction

…and, when you’re done looking at the auction, check out the BEST SCOOTER VIDEO EVER MADE. Seriously, go watch it. Stop reading this, click the link already.

I’m selling my starter

Yellow card! Yellow card

Yellow card! Yellow card for the husband!

Kate took me to the Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale at Christie’s last night. I’ve been to one evening sale before, which are the main event of a particular auction: that’s when all the highest-value lots are offered. The people-watching is fantastic at Christies, because it’s a rich art crowd. You get to see all the sartorial nuances of the privileged classes. I’ll list all the types of which I saw at least three representations:

  • Art professionals, male: Skinny; tight, double-vented suits; windowpane-check shirts in yellow or celadon; white handkerchief in the lapel; large, vulpine heads, big artistic hair.
  • Art professionals, female, under 40: Tall; long, flowing dresses; expensively coiffed long hair; dominatrix heels.
  • Art professionals, female, over 40: Short; tailored suits that cost as much as a German sports car; bobbed haircuts that cost as much as an Italian sports car.
  • Rich clients, both genders, employed: Blue or gray suit; standard-issue business tie or scarf, somewhat bewildered
  • Rich clients, male, independently wealthy: short gray hair, square black nylon windbreaker, European man purse.
  • Rich clients, female, independently wealthy: Boxy shantung Mandarin jackets; chiseled artificial jaws. Tiny cell phone in a tinier purse.
  • Art students, female: Ripped jeans, tight Old Navy shirt with plunging V-cut neckline, large cell phone in large purse.

  • Finally, Christie’s professionals, female, under 40 (NY Office): Alert, conservatively dressed, deployed in a hoplite phalanx in the center of the main lobby. Duties: to scan the crowd for VIPs and alert the specialists of their presence (see art professionals, over 40 above.)
  • Christie’s professionals, female, under 40 (Philadelphia Office): Elegant, intelligent, funny, blindingly beautiful, good-natured about picking you up at the train station when your motorcycle won’t start. Duties: pass along tidbits of information to clients that give the auction an insider frisson. “The same group of Giacomettis was offered at Sotheby’s last night, but it didn’t sell. This one is painted bronze, so it’s rarer.”*

I had a great time seeing the art. When a famous Cezanne is presented at the far end of a room filled with hundreds of people who regard it as an object of desire, there’s a movie-star thrill to seeing the painting in person that you don’t get in a museum. And it was entertaining to see the art go for millions: A Degas Petite Danseuse sold for approximately ten point two bazillion dollars. The auctioneer, Christopher Burge, was tall and impeccably elegant, and owned the room with his plummy British accent. “Two million two hundred fifty thousand? Well, since you asked so nicely…”

We drove home, getting to West Chester about midnight, so I left my car at the train station. Bringing my total number of vehicles at the station to two, or 66% of my available vehicular inventory. Kate set the alarm with enough time to get up and give me a ride to the station, but I committed a husband foul this morning: I neglected to set my own alarm, getting up at her scheduled time and blocking the bathroom with lots of gargling and yodeling. Ach, du lieber! That’s a marital yellow card, I believe.

* Duties the other 98% of the time: fill out paperwork, arrange shipping, and politely field any number of inquiries from sellers who would like to consign the “genuine Picasso” they discovered at a garage sale.

Yellow card! Yellow card

Mein Motorrad ist ein Teufel-Rad.

Mein Motorrad ist ein Teufel-Rad.

My big, black, Teutonic motorcycle wouldn’t start last night when I got home to the train station. That’s partly my fault, as the bike is so new to me that I don’t have any twistgrip mojo yet. More gas? Less gas? Goose it when it catches, or after? Mostly, though, I suspect the big, white, Teutonic battery that seems to be original — that is, 25 years old.

Kate cheerfully picked me up at the station, and we went off to have dinner with my dad and my aunt, who was in town to visit this year’s Vassar Show House. Until several years ago, the house belonged to my great aunt Ann Chandler. Aunt Ann was my paternal grandmother’s sister, and a great favorite of mine. Kate and I met at her funeral, in fact.

The Vassar Show House web site mentions nothing about the coolest feature of the house: a convoluted attic that seemed to be to be the spiritual twin to the big, rambling country house in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In fact, there was a suit of scowling samurai armor on a stand thot would scare the bejeezus out of you if you came around a corner at dusk. Plus all sorts of other dark, cavernous furniture that clearly led to other worlds. I’m glad that the house has been restored, though I have mixed feelings about all the peach throw pillows lining the wainscoting.

After dinner I drove back to the Exton train station and pulled the battery. I put a rain cover over the bike and left, though now I’m plagued with visions of German bike thieves, chattering to each other about Kraftwerk as they load my beloved R100 into a black Unimog.

The battery is in Bob Smith’s garage right now, on a 2-amp trickle charger. He’s in France, so I’m kind of winging it. In fact, I had to get out of bed to make another trip to his garage when the Haynes manual belatedly warned against “…a risk of explosion if the cell cap covers are not loosened.” Yikes!

I’ve put a plea out for advice to the Airheads Beemer Club mailing list, so I should have a good recommendation on a new battery before the blond bike thieves can get me. Careful, Hans! Don’t get motor oil on your black turtleneck!

Mein Motorrad ist ein Teufel-Rad.

I went ahead and bought

I went ahead and bought the bike, but I won’t talk about it much right now, as my Blog will feature little else for a long time. Some preliminary pictures are here.

Kate and I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday at the Howard County Fairgrounds, about twenty miles west of Baltimore. It was the most fun I’ve had all spring. There were all kinds of sheep, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits, shearing demonstrations, sheepdog exhibitions, contests, all kinds of stuff.

If you have some time to kill, check out the Ofoto album that we uploaded (without any captions, but it’s probably pretty self-explanatory.)

If you don’t have an Ofoto account, you can login with username: guest@tikaro.com and password: tguest

I went ahead and bought