Saturday, November 26, 2005
Does anyone play MotoGP2 on XboxLive anymore? I suppose it has dwindled in popularity since the release of MotoGP3, but I still like it a lot.
Anyway, here's my plan. Wednesday, November 29, I'll be online starting at about 9 p.m. CST. My gamertag is Tim Kreitz. Let's race!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
November 20, 2005: The day I fell off
After a 17-year stretch of accident-free motorcycling, I crashed last Sunday. Hrrrmph.
To keep a long story marginally reasonable in length, I low-sided my ZX6R in a corner while making a deep right turn at about 30 miles per hour. On a cold Sunday afternoon, on cold tires, and with a dull thud of a headache that I hadn’t been able to shake all day, I tucked the front end and went face-down onto the asphalt.
Well, not face-down literally. My right ribcage and head actually took the majority of the impact. As I felt the front end (and all control) go away, I instinctively let go of the bike. I just caught a glimpse of it sliding away from me on the right-side frame protector and exhaust canister as I quickly attempted to get onto my back.
“Cool,” I thought as I stared at the sky, waiting for my body to come to a stop. “The frame protector and exhaust canister are totally going to protect the rest of the bike!”
Wrong. Well, somewhat wrong, anyway.
As I picked myself up and walked toward the Red Sled, I began to notice that the frame protector had broken off. My sweet, crimson mistress lay pitifully on her side, her lower right fairing cheesed beyond repair.
I was definitely feeling pain in my right side, but felt good enough to pick the bike up and put it on its sidestand. I then took a few moments to calm down and inspect the damage, which was not nearly as bad as I had expected. The right lower fairing was shaved, scratched and gouged -- as was the canister -- but only minor scratches could be seen on the bar end, front break lever, mirror, and front turn signal. The rest of the bike was quite literally UNSCATHED. There was no damage at all to the rearset, tailpiece, tank, engine covers, upper fairing, tank, seat, or anything else. Talk about fortunate. A few minutes later I started the bike up, rode it home, and immediately called my insurance company.
Which brings me to the subject of Progressive Insurance. I’ve been with them for 4 or 5 years now, having never made a previous claim, so I wasn’t sure how things would go. Well, I can now say that Progressive kicks ass (as insurance companies go, you understand). By 4 p.m. the very next day, the bike had been adjusted, and I had a check in my hand.
The parts I could fix myself have been fixed (bar-end, mirror, and turn signal removed, sanded smooth and repainted; brake lever ground and polished), and I challenge anyone to find evidence of the damage (I could’ve been a body man, I tell ya). Although admittedly, I did take off the symmetrical pieces and prepped and painted them to match the fixes. I then removed the exhaust canister, lower fairing, and frame sliders and ordered new parts to replace them (along with a new tank bag with some of the leftover fundage). By this time next week, she’ll be as good as new again.
Now, on to my screw-ups.
Firstly, I shouldn’t have been riding at all that day. I didn’t feel good and I was having trouble concentrating. In fact, I had made the decision about 5 minutes before crashing that I needed to head home. The “feel good” rule is a personal statute that I’ve been violating regularly lately out of sheer overconfidence in my abilities, and it finally bit me in the ass. Lesson relearned -- and I’ll NEVER break it again.
Lastly, there wasn’t enough heat in either my tires or the asphalt to be cornering as deeply as I was. That dynamic, combined with the fact that there was a layer of fine, almost invisible dust coating the road, added to the equation. Again, these are the kinds of mental errors you can potentially make when you’re not feeling good.
As for me, I’m fine. I have a few bruised ribs that hurt like a mofo, but that’s it. My protective gear did its job. No road rash, no head injuries, no blood. Of course, my Tecknic jacket and KBC Airborne helmet are both essentially ruined, but who cares? That’s what they were there for.
Oh well. Here’s hoping I never fall off again. And in the spirit of humility and best wishes, I’m posting this article so that other riders -- noobs especially -- can learn from my 1600-dollar mistake.
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Sunday, November 13, 2005
A mere 87 miles from my driveway is the single best shrimp restaurant I've ever been to.
Out in the proverbial middle of nowhere, surrounded only by mequite brush and pumpjacks, lies the much renowned Shrimp Store of Imperial, Texas. OSB MC made a ride to this most unlikely spot for a world class shrimp farming facility yesterday, consuming much crustacean.
Here are a few photos of the fun...
Tanking up on espresso at the Starbucks in Odessa before leaving. OSB member Jimmy "Six" Abney and I parked our bikes up close to the patio, trying to get them a little shade:
I'm totally loving Joe's ZX12R. This bike was previously blue, but has now been decked out in Kawasaki Lime Green and RC Components wheels. Dig it:
Waiting for some stragglers to catch up on the way. Here we are at a deserted intersection, waiting for a few riders who left late. Someone forgot to tell Carl and I that Michael Jackson references aren't cool anymore:
You want us to cook how much shrimp? The girls at the counter must've been a little surprised when we called ahead, telling them to have about 20 pounds of shrimp on deck for us. Here they are upon our arrival, still somewhat dazed and confused by the whole ordeal:
Let's eat. Here's a pic of Carl, Matt, Sky, Spooner, Dirty, and Tami, sitting at the west end of the table:
What's that 'train' sound I'm hearing? On the way back, most of the group went through the Girvin sweepers before returning to civilization:
As for Matt, Sky, and I -- we had to get home. Matt had a poker game and I had a date with my wife. Rather than doing the Girvin excursion, we headed straight north through the sandhills at supersonic speeds. They broke off in west Odessa and I continued my burn into Midland. I can't remember the last time I rode so fast for so long.
I made the 87-mile return trip in 47 minutes, spending most of my time above 140 miles per hour indicated. Don't try this at home, kids. I rarely try it myself. Besides, we keep seeing these strange animals all over the place lately. Does anybody know what this thing is:
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Friday, November 11, 2005
Another free Tim Kreitz MP3
I've been busy in the studio, as usual, with work and personal projects. My latest recording is another cut for the Covercraft LP. It is a version of Some Kind of Wonderful that puts the funk back in "Grand Funk Railroad."
This song is dedicated to my wife, by the way, who has made the past 17 years worth living. Enjoy!
And as always, there is lots of free MP3age at my website:
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005
More nonsense from another non-motorcyclist
As motorcycling popularity in the U.S. peaks at a 25-year high, pseudo-intellectuals from all walks of life are stepping up to tell us everything they don't know about the practice of street riding. This week's featured 'writer' is Michelle Groh-Gordy. Get a load of these gems:
"In a nutshell, lane-splitting in California is legal if it is done 'safely and prudently.' Unfortunately, this philosophy leaves a lot of room for interpretation."
'Safely and Prudently' is standard language in thousands of traffic statutes across all 50 states. It is a purposefully ambiguous piece of legaleze, usually worded as such so that law enforcement officers will have more leeway in making traffic contacts -- which in turn leads to more revenue for the government. With the above quote alone, Groh-Gordy has managed to immediately dismantle her own argument.
"The oft-referred to comprehensive study on motorcycle safety, coincidentally named The Hurt Report, concluded that motorcycle riding between lanes tends to be slightly safer for a rider than if they were subjected to frequent stops along with the rest of the driving population. I would feel more comfortable throwing my hat behind a more current study, however. It seems to me that traffic conditions might have changed just a smidge since the 1970s, when Harry Hurt was doing his research."
Don't bet on it. American traffic control systems are exactly the same as they were in the early 1980s when Dr. Hurt released his study. The only substantive changes are to be found in the existence of additional congestion in a metropolitan areas, along with the perpetuation of urban sprawl -- both of which would tend to further bolster the Hurt findings. My guess is that Groh-Gordy hasn't even bothered to read the causal data in the study.
"My side of the coin comes from an admittedly narrower perspective: that of a vehicle driver who never manages to actually see the motorcyclist that is cutting between the lanes until the roar of their engine is in my ear and their bike has already passed by."
Because she's probably talking on her cell phone, ignoring her rear views, practicing poor lane discipline, and generally pretending that her SUV makes her goddess of the roadway. The attitude that motorcycles deserve no special consideration in traffic is typical of the average Starbuck's-slurping, XM radio-dazed commuter.
"According to published California DMV statistics, in most accidents between a car and a motorcycle, the driver of the car is at fault."
Damn straight. Because the vast majority of them are 90-IQ lemmings who view their car as an appliance, rather than a vehicle to be piloted.
"I truly have no issues with motorcycle riders in general..."
Perhaps that's part of the problem. People don't want to be bothered with any condition more than 5 feet in front of their hood ornament while driving these days. Every driver should adopt as a personal issue that motorcyclists are to be given, not the same amount of attention and care as other motorists, but ten times as much. And until motorists are willing to adopt that mentality and attitude, bikers will continue to be creamed in silly ways.
"I'm afraid that I look at lane-splitting as the adult equivalent of running with scissors -- you just can't help feeling that sooner or later something bad is going to happen."
Well, you're wrong, Michelle. You see, lane splitting is more than a congestion reducer or a convenience for road denizens who are willing to accept and manage more risk by motorcycling. It is a tool that can literally save a biker's life, especially in situations where we're being tailgated, crowded, or flat-out ignored by others. Furthermore, lane splitting is such a proven tool that Texas is currently considering legislation to legalize it, which needs to happen, since all motorcyclists must do it from time to time anyway as a point of simple survival.
Yes, we get angry at articles like yours, Michelle. And if you want to truly understand why, become a motorcyclist.
BIG-TIME UPDATE: Those of you who've been following the drama concerning this article via Usenet are aware of the fun, but here's a rundown of the happenings as of 9 p.m. on November 11, 2005:
1. Someone claiming to be Michelle Groh-Gordy posted to both Usenet and my private email account, threatening immediate legal action if I did not remove this article. If only stamping out bad reviews were that easy, aye?
2. I responded to both e-mails I have for Groh-Gordy, explaining that quoting media for review purposes is called journalism, does not violate copyright law, and that I most certainly would not remove the blog post, nor is it even possible to delete a Usenet post once it has been archived.
3. Five whole minutes later, I get an email claiming to be an attorney at NetEnforcers.com, telling me that I will be sued if I don't remove the article. I tell them to fuck off, call my attorney, and copy the email's header to Reeky to be traced. As it turns out, the email is a complete forgery, having not originated from NetEnforcers.com at all.
4. The fraud is exposed for what it is, a poorly executed hoax in violation of federal identity, fraud, and spam laws.
5. There is a sudden, calm silence throughout the Force.
We'll probably never know if the person who sent the messages was even Groh-Gordy at all. But she's been made aware of the situation via carbon copy.
Finally, I notified the Rutherford Institute of the emails, just in case this thing is for real.
Note to writers, actors, and musicians the world over: You can't yell "copyright violation" just because you don't like how someone reviewed your article, movie, or song. It's called free speech, and it's what makes America great. If you're into censorship, I recommend China or Syria. They'd love to have you.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: It has been confimed that the real Groh-Gordy had nothing to do with the Usenet posts. Which means that someone has made a felon of themselves for the purposes of attempting to fool Reeky. Some people have truly sad lives. Our imposter is indeed one of them.
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Monday, November 07, 2005
The winds of change smell like poop
Ah, the AMA Pro Racing off-season -- as much a relief as anything else, these days. I've been purposely laying low as the obligatory rule changes, rider swapping, factory antics, and schedule mutations collectively hammer nail after nail into Superbike's teetering coffin, edging it ever closer to its seemingly unavoidable plunge into the dark chasm of fan apathy.
But alas, the time has come for me to offer my predictably cynical take on all this nonsense, adhering closely to the dejected blogger's manifesto. Here goes:
Move along, Mr. Mladin.
Okay Mat, you've won six AMA Superbike championships in the last seven years. Mission accomplished. Congratulations. Yes, you are a total badass. Now have a little respect for both yourself and the AMA series, and move along. You now need to take your talents to either World Superbike or MotoGP and engage in the traditional cycle of progression that is expected of every champion rider. You're starting to look like the school bully who's been held back in 6th grade for 4 or 5 years. Sure, you can beat up every other kid in your class, but it just isn't impressive anymore. In fact, it's a downright predictable bore. Do us all a favor and graduate yourself to the next level. After all, it'd be fun to see if you can hang with the big dogs.
Hey, AMA! Newsflash: You only need two premier roadracing classes!
Want to race liter bikes? Cool. Your class should be AMA Superbike. Want to race 600s? That's cool, too. Your class should be AMA Supersport. 'F' Formula Xtreme. 'F' Superstock. Feel me? Let's get all the factory and satellite teams actually competing with each other again. And for the love of all that is good and true in this world, redeem the Daytona 200 by getting FX bikes the hell out of it. I've never done illicit drugs before, but watching last year's 200 had to be the equivalent of being on a bad acid trip. While looking for a lost contact lense. In a funhouse.
Eric Bostrom, what in the hell are you doing?
I fail to see how extracting yourself from Superbike is a good career move. Hell, you could've stayed with Kawasaki and saved yourself two years of anguish if all you intended to do was race a Superstock bike. Honestly bro, I still love you and everything, but this is no way to do business. It's time to fire your management company and align yourself with an organization that can help you achieve your goal -- which, in case you've forgotten, is to win a Superbike title.
Utah? Errr, okay.
When I first heard that the series was going to Utah in 2006, I was as puzzled as I've ever been. Do the mormons even allow motorcycles up there? Furthermore, isn't the population of the state, like, seven? Someone fill me in, here. I mean, I admit my obvious bias, but Texas is where the AMA should've come to replace its stop at the soon-to-be-demolished PPIR. But hey, Utah, whatever.
And speaking of the PPIR travesty...
You can thank the corporate vampires associated with NASCAR for blackballing, dismantling, and otherwise liquidating a perfectly good racetrack solely to eliminate it as competition for the great, undead beast that is American stock car racing. Now, little rednecks, repeat after me: "NASCAR is good. NASCAR is my friend. NASCAR cares about motorsport." Now get to Wal-Mart and consume their cheap, Chinese goods without any thought for the cummunist-fed monopolies you're supporting.
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