Month: July 2012

Really… suggestions for bike

Hungover.  For the first time in a very very long time.  Just learnt that I live in a guild-infested conspiracy nest.

And… I really do need some suggestions on which bike to buy.  My current train of thought is a relatively small engine… somewhere around the 600cc size, and pretty cheap – thinking I’ll upscale when I’m ready to do a bit of a tour around Europe (or the world).  Also – I seem to have a ‘thing’ against the ubiquitous Honda/Suzuki/Kawasaki – although I’d be happy to be talked out of that.  And I’m also thinking I’ll pay the overhead to buy from a dealer… so I’ve got somebody to go back to if there’s issues.  So… current potentials…

  • Old school Triumph – bigger engine, but it doesn’t look too powerful, so it can’t be… right?
  • Little Ducati Monster Dark – I’m a little intrigued by this one, seems rather small – not as practical as others… but looks fun
  • Old school Motoguzzi – I’ve been hooked by blue motorcycles after I saw one on the way back from my final license test.  But this one – also the ‘classic’ styles…
  • Triumph Trident… again, steering away from the ‘sports’ style…
  • Triumph TT – a more sporty one – although superficial, I’m not sure on the yellow
  • And another Triumph – the Speed this time

So – any thoughts?  Anybody?  I really could do with some advice… it’s decisions like this where my indecisiveness/fence-sitting really kill me.  I’ve already thought of excuses to put this decision off for weeks.  And I also know… I need to buy from somewhere which has some choices… as once I go somewhere to look at/try a bike – I’m going to buy something… I’m not going to shop around.

Help!  Somebody decide for me.

Oh – and there is a new comment on my rant about snakes… with approximately the same mind-bending use of the english language as “evan smith”‘s.  An entry claiming to be from “facebook sluts110″ – which on first read appears to be a job offer, but with a link which leads to a Tumblr page teaching “The ultimate way to Be Successfully facebook of sex Single”.  And just try reading what the ultimate way is.  I can’t get past the heading without my head hurting.  I believe this kind of thing would normally be prevented by the Junk/Spam filter, but I can’t bear to condemn this one.  It’s just the perfect level of random crazy.  I particularly like the juxtaposition within point/suggestion #6… one sentence starting with “Getting facebook sluts…”, followed by one commencing “Prepare brownies together with the kids…”

Tying off loose ends

So – I’m about to start a new engagement with a new client… which will be at least six months long, and is out in Kent.  My commute is about to switch from a 25 minute walk, to a 1.5 hour bus/train/bus – or hopefully, a 1 hour motorbike ride.  Which I guess means 1 hour less sleep, plus 1 hour less free time – 5 days a week.  Not cool.

Also – it means I have to try and finish, or hand off, the 6 other projects I’ve got going on currently.  Which I figured was impossible when I was supposed to be starting the new job last week.  Now – I’m due to start next week – and it’s looking feasible, but only if I essentially work through the weekend.  And somehow learn how to “get off the fence”… I’m supposed to be writing a document providing an independent review – essentially I’ve gone and audited another company which does what we do.  Their customer is hoping for me to write lots of nasty things so they have an excuse to either switch companies, or get a refund, or something.  But, I am most certainly not the right guy for that particular job.  What doesn’t help, is that the only thing the company in question has done wrong – is be “too nice” for the customer.  And the customer now has unrealistic expectations.  And I’m trying to figure out how to say that – in a way that the customer will actually take the whole thing seriously.  Okay – I’ll try to stop whinging about work.

Gigs – the day I wrote my previous update – about not having many gigs scheduled for the rest of the year – I then went and bought a whole heap of tickets… my calendar now has 27 gigs in the 2nd half of the year.  One of those was the very night I wrote the last update… I bought a ticket at the last minute, and headed along to M. Ward at Koko.  It was good – I can only find one video from the night.  I guess the kind of people who go to see M. Ward are typically intolerably ‘hip’ tweesters who like to think of themselves as music afficianados – and wouldn’t ruin a gig by holding up a phone/camera through the whole thing.  And he is known to discourage that sort of thing, and nobody wants to disappoint M Ward.  But it was a good gig.  The video above doesn’t do it justice… he’s got a rather good voice, and some rather good songs.  I was a little disappointed there were no special guest appearances… I believe it was the final gig of his tour, and having Zooey Deschanel, or Conor Oberst, or Beth Orton, or Cat Power, or Jenny Lewis, or Neko Case, or somebody come out for a song or two would have been a nice bonus.

A little while after that – was Of Monsters And Men.  I actually bought a ticket to this via one of those legalised/legitimised scalping websites – for about double face-price… just because I was so damn keen to go.  I had kind of heard the name, I think – maybe on the avclub… but hadn’t listened to them… until I spotted the CD at Keflavik airport – leaving Iceland.  I bought quite a bit of Icelandic music while there, as it tends to be rather good.  And this album was really, really good.  Check it out – I guess it’s kinda like the Icelandic equivalent of the Naked & Famous.  An ensemble of intolerably young, unfeasibly happy, talented musicians.  I believe they won the Icelandic version of Rockquest, or whatever it’s called… and have started getting a bit of an international following since.  They are good.  This gig was at Scala – which is tiny.  I suspect it was booked before they started getting any recognition, and this gig was sold-out long ago… they also announced a date at Electric Ballroom later this year – much much larger venue.  Which I’ve bought tickets for also – but with extra, to drag some people along to see them.  It’s worth it.  Oh – and the support act was fairly good also – Bear’s Den – I think I bought their EP.

And those were the only two gigs of the month.  I have Eddie Vedder on the 31st – but it’s been a rather quiet July.  I guess I’m supposed to be going to festivals and the such – but the only festival I was bothered with got cancelled, innit?  So instead – I’ve spent the last couple of weeks finally following through with trying to get my full motorbike license.  My ‘CBT’ expires next Thursday – and unless I get my license by then, I have to spend another hundred quid or so, and a day of my time – learning the basics all over again.  So – I hired an instructor last weekend… rode around for a couple of days.  Did my ‘Module 1′ on Tuesday… where I had to prove I could ride very very slowly, around figure 8s, and doing a U-turn – without putting my foot on the ground, etc.  And that I could swerve quickly, or stop quickly – when travelling at 50km/h.  My one fault I picked up was that the speed-trap put me at 49km/hour before my ‘emergency stop’.  Also – I very nearly failed – when the tester chap said he was happy with my figure-8s, and called me over to him to get ready for the next test… as I changed direction to slowly ride over to him, I lost balance, and put my foot on the ground.  Was rather angry with myself – but he came over and said “don’t worry mate – as far as I’m concerned I’d told you that test was finished, you’re all good”.  Hugely relieved.  A single foot on the ground during any of the ‘slow riding’ stuff is an immediate fail, and needing to rebook the test for another day.  But – I passed, and only hurdle left is the “Module 2″ – essentially riding around for half an hour with a tester following me – making sure I don’t do anything stupid, and that I’m constantly checking mirrors, looking over the shoulder, etc.  Which I’m pretty good at – as I can’t understand why people don’t do that shit everyday anyway, even when walking around the city.  If you’re going to suddenly change direction/speed/anything on a sidewalk used by other people – be aware of what/who is around you!  It’s pretty easy.  Somebody asked me a while back what really annoys me – and my answer was “lack of social spatial awareness” – or something like that.  I’m still trying to tie down an appropriately wanky way to describe it… but yeah, people who just walk around completely unaware of other people around them… stopping to extend suitcase handles at the very bottom/top of busy stairs; suddenly stopping to talk with somebody in the middle of a busy sidewalk; turning off suddenly in front of me; or even just meandering in wide lazy zig-zags closing off huge portions of the footpath.  People…. argh.  Pete and I had a good old-fashioned old-man whinge about this very thing when he was last in London.  I was relieved to find I wasn’t the only person to get in such a rage about such things.  And Pete’s from Arsetralia, where there aren’t even any busy sidewalks – just outback.

Anyway – suggestions on what kind of motorbike I’m going to be buying?

English Summer

Summer has officially started.  This means I have now stopped wearing a jacket/coat to work – except when I have to be all suited up.  On Saturday afternoon, I sat outside the pub alternately shivering uncontrollably and shivering slightly in a rather cold wind, soaking up sporadic periods of sunshine.  And this morning, walked to work in the rain.  With less and less sunshine from now until December.  Summer… gotta love it.

The first evening of summer was spent at Brixton Academy, to see Jack White.  I hadn’t bought tickets to this, assuming I was going to be in South-East Asia, but luckily Jess had bought some – so all’s good.  Unfortunately, my expectations for Jack White were infeasibly high.  Having seen the spectacles which were Jay-Z/Kanye-West and Elvis Costello; and holding Jack White high as an example of innovative genius – I probably would have only been happy if he’d brought out David Bowie on stage to do a duet version of Seven Nation Army.  Alas – this he did not do.  So – I was a little disappointed.  Which I shouldn’t have been – because looking back at it, it was a great gig.  Jack White and his backing band doing versions of songs from the White Stripes, the Dead Weather, the Raconteurs, and of course his recent solo effort – all with significant variations from the album versions.  There is no way anybody could complain this was a veritable lip-syncing of album songs.  The man himself was energetic – prancing around stage in his ridiculous tight striped trou – and fell over a backstage monitor speaker onto his ass in a fashion which suggested it may have very well been a genuine accident.  In fact – I’m pretty sure his encore was shortened – perhaps due to an actual injury done himself?  Also – this was another in a recent spate of gigs where the crowd was aggressively warned “no cameras/filming”.  The door staff were telling people, there were signs everywhere – and a guy announced it before the show, describing the rationale for this rather well… “You’re here to see a live show, it’s going to be a live show worth seeing, why would you want to watch it on a 3 inch screen?”  Which of course makes it difficult to find a video to post here, but I’m more than happy to forego that if it means I can watch a show without dozens and dozens of brightly lit LED screens in my line of sight.

And that was the only gig of the month.  With none more planned until the end of July.  Although I checked upcoming stuff – and my current calendar of only 10 gigs for the 2nd half of the year – could very easily double… just trying to prevent myself from going on a spree [edit: I failed – number of gigs scheduled just doubled].  And looking at the first half of the year – I didn’t really go to THAT many gigs – maybe even less than 25?  But I think they came in waves, which made it seem like heaps more.