Saturday, January 29, 2005

A rather spectacular light show came to Melbourne the other day. I tried a few methods to get a pic of the lightning, but a long shutter worked best...
posted by thr at 7:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Envy is a red sunset.

First sunset at the new apartmento in St Kilda.
posted by thr at 1:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bike Cliches for 2005

At this time of year, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the new bikes at Intermot, local shows and shops. But how much thought are you putting in to the your overall package? Sure a new bike is nice, but what are you do about accessorising? Queer Eye For The Straight Guy might not be you cup of lemon scented tea sweeties, but that doesn't mean you are immune from its central thrust (oooh err!)- Get it together fashion wise!!
Of course we motorcycling folk do not attend the same church, so here is an individual guide to your own particular clichéd branch of our subculture. We’ve got the cliché type, bike of choice for 2005, music to listen to, rider style guide, pillion style guide, what to do and wear when it rains, conversation starters in the pub and what’s in and what’s out!

Rider cliché: 600 CC boy racers
Bike of Choice: GSXR 600
Music: The Darkness, Jet, The Datsuns.
Rider Style: $1000+ new helmet every 6 months, Full leathers (vented), white boots, new (unmarked) knee sliders.
Pillion Style: Varies, but is always terrified.
When it Rains:: Clear plastic rain suit.
In the Pub: Tales of inspired late braking manoeuvres at “the island”, “the creek” etc. Also tells everyone: “600s are the new 750s”
In: Track days, cut slicks road or track, day-long rides, sore arses, raised rear sets (whether needed or not), race glass, bike trailers.
Out: Revving below 12,000rpm, non-radial brakes, speed limits, double white lines, 11 demerits.

Rider cliché: 250 cc road bikes (esp.: learners/p platers)
Bike of Choice: CBR 250RR
Music: Triple M, Australian idol, REM, U2.
Rider Style: Alpinestars stunt jacket, replica of a replica of a race replica helmet, Levi red tab jeans, Nike basketball shoes.
When it Rains:: panics, crashes.
In the Pub: Talks about other riders they saw passing them and near hits from that day.
Pillion Style: Illegal for L/P platers; so usually last seen running off into bushes when cops appear.
In: MotoGP (esp. 125 class), slip on race pipes (no retune), redlining every gear (on 3/4 throttle) squared off tyres, no demerits.
Out: Two strokes, riding alone, improving riding skills.

Rider cliché: 1000 cc sports bikes jockeys.
Bike of Choice: R1
Music: Thumpin' techno, hard house, NRG, happy trance, ticking clocks, redlining bikes.
Rider Style: 3/4 Shorts/baggy jeans, Jack Daniels t-shirt with race gloves, race replica helmet (obscure riders like DuHamel/Eric Bostrom preferred), car-racing booties.
When it Rains:: Panics coz wants to sell bike as "never ridden in rain".
In the Pub: Wouldn't be seen dead in a pub, but if there complains that jukebox doesn't have any Ministry of Sound.
Pillion Style: Wears as little as possible- bikini top, cut down jeans, g-string poking above shorts, backpack with nothing in it, badly fitted helmet. Always dressed like this, and usually is female.
In: Personalised number plates, Ghost Rider, short and near out of control 1st gear power wheelies, pillions, riding in packs of 5+, lane splitting at 150km/h, cocktail hour, organ donation.
Out: Ride days, going outside metro zone, cornering, mid week riding, 4th gear and above.

Rider cliché: Naked/Street fighter maverick riders
Bike of Choice: GSXR 1100, with tail end off an NSR 250, front end off a FZR 750, dials from a GSXR 1000 K3, etc.
Music: The Cult, Bon Scott, Neil Young.
Rider Style: Black everything- down to the jocks, race gloves tucked into jacket, tinted visor day or night, black jeans, army boots.
When it Rains:: Gets wet.
In the Pub: Talks in a voice so gravelly and deep the low frequencies cause bowel disruptions in others. Drinks bourbon- neat, no ice.
Pillion Style: No seat for pillion, but pegs remain for stand up wheelies.
In: Stunt days, turbos, nitrous kits, Elf Racing fuel, Simpson drag racing helmets, riding alone, stacked headlights, wheelie light, Renthals with cross bar and pad, stand up wheelies, rolling burnouts, off street drag racing, more than one paint colour on bike, not repairing crashes.
Out: Methanol, Track days, MotoGP, Race replica helmets, clip ons, fly screen, all other riders and all nodding.

Rider cliché: Old Farts.
Bike of Choice: Z1000. Looks just like the Goose's bike from MM1 if it had been ridden hard for 27 years and left out in the rain. Has some moss. Doing up a GS1000 as well- since ’87.
Music: Nothing new since '78. All music on vinyl, 8 track or reel to reel tapes. Eagles, Creedence, Floyd.
Rider Style: Same as last year- Cracked leather jacket/ old denim with patches. Moleskins/ jeans, mid 70's touring boots, more badges, matt black helmet with stickers- most peeling off. Any new items must be second hand. Bike has lots of cable ties and gaffa tape. Has sheepskin seat cover, unwashed and wool-less since '85. Ancient, faded, holed Gearsack.
When it Rains:: Whacks on a Dryzabone and gaiters, then rides faster.
In the Pub: Repeats old stories about races at Bathurst while wearing Akubra hat. Tells "hilarious" anecdotes about accidents and celebrity cock-ups.
Pillion Style: In sidecar, so unable to see what they are wearing. Person in said chair invariably a dog. Blue heeler preferred, but think twice about bandana.
In: Waving to all other riders, beards, bike- political activism, breaking down in the rain, spending hours looking for and installing parts.
Out: Modern racing (post W Gardner), car ownership, new bikes, new parts, new tyres, new anything.

Rider cliché: Urban Scooter Crew
Bike of Choice: Is not sure, "I just walked in, pointed at one of them and handed over the platinum card"
Music: Club dance tunes, Chill out, French House and "simply adores" John Butler. All on Ipod.
Rider Style: Income above $70K. Business suit on bike. Open face helmet with clear full-face screen and Dolce and Gabanna Sunglasses, Ipod. Male or female; impossible to tell.
When it Rains:: Public transport with Ipod on.
In the Pub: By accident. Asks for a macchiato, oyster shot or Asahi. Takes Ipod.
Pillion Style: None. Fresh foods from the market under seat, new hair products fill top box. Room for spare Ipod.
In: Ipod, Failing to acknowledge nods from other riders (no idea what they mean), lane splitting in stationary traffic, Ipod, four strokes, crashing at slow speed, walking away and Ipod.
Out: Two strokes, Getting another bike, old Ipod, the car, fuel bills/premium unleaded,, getting scooter serviced, performing own repairs, filling oil, tyres or "radiator thingy"

Rider cliché: Yuppie Harley riders.
Bike of Choice: New orange V-Rod with all factory extras.
Music: Beethoven, adult contemporary mature rock.
Rider Style: New leather vest, new Thomas Cook boots, DKNY Jeans, fingerless gloves, open face helmet, prescription glasses.
When it Rains:: Considers trading bike in on a newer, clean one.
In the Pub: Tries to engage other Harley riders in conversation. Gets punched.
Pillion Style: Wife who has absolutely no interest in bikes. Rides once a year and says, "That’s enough for this year". Says same about sex.
In: Rimless prescription glasses, after market pipes, revving in neutral, waving madly to other Harleys, handle bar tassles.
Out: The MV Agusta 750, Ducati Senna and all clothing or accessories worn last year.

Rider cliché: Ducati Riders
Bike of Choice: 999s, but there is a 916 in the garage.
Music: Andrea Bocelli, Guns n Roses, Joss Stone
Rider Style: Knee down on public roads, Dainese one piece suit.
When it Rains:: Slides the back end a bit more.
In the Pub: Is silent, contemplating the bike, which is parked in the foyer.
Pillion Style: Never, ever. One seater.
In: Pirelli Super Corsas, Desmosedici road model, Ducati rider club, Ducati rider website, Ducati t-shirts, jocks, keyring, bottle opener, toothpicks.
Out: Aprilia, Dunlops, Bayliss.
posted by thr at 2:13 pm 2 comments links to this post

Larry Walters- still a hero!

Thanks to the Discover Channel's Myth Busters show(they examine and recreate "Urban Legends"- and that defines Larry better than anything I have ever heard!) the spirit and the legend that is Larry lives on:Larry Walters!
Pilot 3: Larry's Lawn-Chair Balloon, Goldfinger, Poppy-Seed Drug Test
So, this guy named Larry Walters attached something like 45 weather balloons to this lawn chair. One of the tethers broke on the unemployed truck driver's little invention, shooting him straight up into the air. Apparently he sailed to 16,000 feet, where he was spotted by airline pilots, eventually closing LAX airport. He was finally rescued by a helicopter after he floated out to sea. Is this popular Internet legend full of hot air? Will Jamie and Adam close LAX?

The more I read about ol' Larry, the more I admire him- Vietnam Vet, aspirant pilot and while he can seem as dumb as a box of hammers- he was a dreamer- and folks we always need dreamers of Larry's calibre.
A few things I learned about Larry:
  • He did shoot a few balloons- I thought he had been too scared to do so, but I now think he wanted to go as high as he did...
  • He had 45 balloons in stacks of 12 or so. I though it was a single bunch- but Larry's design is much better.
  • He was cool and calm throughout the "flight". I'd always thought he'd been frightened half to death. Check Mark Barry's transcript of the radio communications and you'll see how cool Larry is!

There are precious few interviews of Larry and in the ones I have seen he comes across as a well spoken, articulate, eccentric truck driver. It's not that he is weird, he just says things like :
"If the F.A.A. was around when the Wright Brothers were testing their aircraft, they would never have been able to make their first flight at Kitty Hawk,"

...and when asked if he would do it again he says only if the FAA sanction his flight, coz if they would agree to do so, he'd be up there in a microsecond. He says this after his flight- after the fines, the media making fun of him and so on.
Terrific stuff!

I wonder why 20+ years after he flew above his friends house in the lawn chair people (like me!) still find Larry's story so interesting (and in my case inspirational). Initially I think people find it funny, stupid, insane and Larry a figure to make fun of. But read Mark Barry's full story and buy the DVD of Myth Busters and I think a new opinion of Larry will emerge: he is a legend and a pioneer. Sure, people had flown in balloons many times before- but Larry was not Sir Richard Branson or any of the other billionaire balloonists going around the world - no - he was an ordinary guy with big dreams that he fulfilled. How many of us can say that we lived out our dream?:
"I didn't think that by fulfilling my goal in life -- my dream -- that would create such a stir," he later told The Times, "and make people laugh."

And while no one can truly understand the reason for Larry commiting suicide on that day in 1993, I hope he didn't die thinking he had lived a wasted life.
Larry you are one for the ages and I salute you!!!

Larry! pics from Mark Barry's excellent site!

Myth Busters
Mark Barry's webpage about Larry
posted by thr at 10:55 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

You know you are old when...

  • You go camping for New Years
  • You enjoy the peace and quiet
  • You go to bed before midnight

Ahh well, I am 33 now and life slows down a bit... NOT!
Rachel and I camped on the Broken river, some kms from Mansfield, on my cousin Peter Reynolds' property. It was rather pleasant, but for a few minor irritations:
  • The tiger snake that appeared about a minute after we got there. Gave me a fright too!
  • The grass seeds that got into everything- socks, shoes and skin.

But enough whining- it was very nive to get away, relax and read a book, drink a beer and otherwise do sweet FA. Life I tells Ya!A Cocky takes flight - New Years Day 2005

Pictured right is a rather fortunate/flukey pic I got. I was walking along the river bank, trying to get a snap of a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo that had taken up position on the top of a dead tree. As I got closer he did a runner and this pic is the result. I am uncommonly pleased with the outcome.
A Happy New Year to all!
posted by thr at 1:13 pm 2 comments links to this post