16 October 2013

I Call It Research

Yeah. I'm out of control.
I just bought one.
It's a Honda "Valkyrie"...
A "GoldWing without the Tupperware".

Here's the deal:
I truly am sorta doing research.
I bought "Pizza Bike" thinking the engine would be smooth and it would be a great touring bike.
I was wrong.
It isn't all that smooth. Sara Jean won't ride pillion because it doesn't have a backrest.
I should have sold it a year ago.
But I LOVE the thing. When I show up at some motorcycle rally, I'm the only guy on a Guzzi. That leads to conversation with interesting people.
"I've NEVER seen one!"
"I used to own an Ambassador."
That sort of thing.

(One of the things non-motorcyclists will never understand is the feeling of brotherhood among bikers. What a pity. Oh well, on with the blog.)

I love my wife, (like her too, MOST of the time.)
I want her to want to ride with me.
She wanted a BIG motorcycle. She wanted a backrest. She wanted comfort.
I bought a GoldWing. It was a four-cylinder, 1200cc beauty.
Then I bought another... a six-cylinder 1500cc behemoth with AM/FM stereo, CB radio, reverse gear, and electronic cruise control.
I refer to it as our "two wheeled automobile", because it weighs over one thousand pounds with both of us aboard.

(I then sold the four cylinder 'Wing.)

GoldWings are covered in plastic. Some like the look. I don't.
If you want to adjust the carburetors on the thing, you must first do over an hour's work just to expose them so you can touch 'em.
It's a wonderful, smooth, comfortable means of conveyance.
But you cannot see what makes it work. And that has troubled me from the moment we started riding 'Wings.

I've done more "research".
I bought a couple old BMW "Airheads"... a 1000cc, which I rode a few months then sold to a friend for what I paid, then an "R80RT" 800cc which still resides in my garage, (but is now for sale. Interested?)
I love the simplicity and relatively vibration-free engineering of the old Bimmers.

I bought a 90-degree V-Twin Suzuki 650.
For a twin, the bike is so smooth it's scary.

Fast, too.
But it's a chain-drive, and my ride in Hurricane Agnes convinced me I don't want a chain-drive bike for long-term use.
My son is now riding it in Arizona. He loves it.

Two months ago I bought a 650cc Yamaha VStar Classic.
It looks like a mini Harley-Davidson.
Sounds a little like one too. We LOVE the looks of the thing.
For a V-Twin it is relatively smooth.
It gets great gas mileage.
Its final drive is a shaft, not a chain.
But it's not great for two-up riding for long.
We're taking it to friend Cary in Arizona next month, where it will hopefully live happily for quite some time.

On the way home from that trip we'll pick up the latest acquisition...
The bike you see pictured above...
It's a '99 Honda Valkyrie. It has been living in a little town outside Dallas, Texas.
It has the same engine as the GoldWing we're presently riding, so I fully expect Sara Jean will also be able to snuggle into that pillion seat and nap just as she does with the 'Wing.
And with the "Valk" I can see what makes the thing motivate...
It's not covered in plastic!
We'll bring it back to Destin for more research, and I'll try desperately to keep the moisture and salt air from attacking all that chrome.
(Wax. Wax. Wax. Wax. Wax. Elbow grease.)

The 650 Yamaha will be with Cary in a couple weeks.
The 800cc BMW is for sale.
The GL1500 GoldWing is for sale.
Pizza Bike will stay, for solo riding (and attracting attention).

We're already talking about more "research" however...
We'd like to bring Lucy riding along with us.
To that end we think a sidehack outfit (sidecar/bike) would be neat.
I'm watching for another BMW Airhead, or maybe a new/used Ural would fill the bill.

Research is fun.
How can I work out being paid for this study?

12 October 2013

"Pay" TV

That's what they used to call it "way back then"...
Pay TV.
We lived in a rural community. We had FOUR channels-
CBS, ABC, NBC, and an independent channel that showed some locally produced stuff, old movies, old TV series, and on Saturdays... WRASSLIN' !
What more could we ask?
What more could we possibly need?!
What on earth could anyone offer on TV(!) that would entice someone to actually PAY for it when we had four channels, for FREE?!

Well, here we are.
At home we have "Dish Network". We've subscribed to their basic programming and have added one upgrade to get some programming we HAD to have:
The Velocity Channel for me. The Hallmark Channel for Sara Jean. I'm ashamed to say I can't even tell you what I pay monthly for the service, but I think it approaches $90 per month.
But, amazingly, we frequently find ourselves bored by the 150+ channels offered to us there, and resort to watching something we have recorded on the DVR provided by Dish Network.
As a matter of fact, we sometimes find we have filled the hard drive on the DVR and have to erase some programming we recorded (but don't really want to watch) in order to record some of our "Must see's"... the latest episode of "Deadliest Catch" or "Sons of Anarchy".

Now we find ourselves in our Southern Digs. "Cox Cable" is what we get in this condo complex.
What's offered is pretty basic stuff... local TV stations, and a few of the most popular cable offerings, (including SJ's beloved QVC!)
We missed our Dish Network. We missed our option of recording stuff to watch later.

Someone suggested Cox Cable might be able to help. "You should call them and ask!"
So we did.
The nice lady at Cox said, "Sure... we offer a DVR, and with it you get additional programming AND many channels in HD, all for a minimal charge!"

"How minimal?"

"Just $28 per month."

"But what about "Sons?" asked my beautiful wife, in a voice bordering on whine.
I went and picked up the machine.
We are now wearing it out, and find ourselves fast-forwarding through programming so we're sure it will have disk space to record stuff we ABSOLUTELY have to watch. Sound familiar?

$90/mo. back North. $28/mo. in Destin.
Ouch again.



09 October 2013

Oh, The Horror!

My wife is a twin.
In light of the controversy about the "Washington Redskins", she realized she has been quiet too long.
She's offended by the lack of respect shown by Minnesota toward twins.
We're considering contacting an Attorney to sue for damages.
Stay tuned.

03 October 2013


For longer-term readers some of this is review, then update.

On 1 July this year I felt as if I looked like the guy in the photo above.
Ascending a flight of stairs would result in a noticeable change in my breathing.
I got on the scale and was shocked when it said I weighed more than I had before in my life:
Two hundred twenty-six pounds!
Through previous research I knew every extra pound I was carrying meant my heart was having to push blood through another mile of conduit. My "fighting weight" these days (best guess), is around 185 pounds.  If I had the discipline to drop that avoirdupois I could get rid of 41 miles of vessels my heart was struggling to pump blood through. I'm now 66. I'd like to live, healthily, into my 90's.
Ashamed of myself, I made the decision to act.

I have never had problems losing weight when I make the decision to lose. On two different previous occasions I have lost more than 35 pounds through diet and exercise.
Obviously, either I found those lubs again or they found me. How could I lose the weight and keep it off?

The answer, for me, is to weigh in on a daily basis. Getting on the scale at the same time, under the same conditions every morning indicates diet progress or setback, and gives me an immediate indicator as to what works and what doesn't.
The other thing, (once again for me), is that diet alone doesn't work. If I'm not working hard to get the weight off, it is too easy to poke something into that hole under my nose. If I have walked four miles or done some other strenuous exercise in the last few hours and I get tempted by a Dairy Queen Blizzard, I'm forced to remember how much work I'll have to do to get that ice cream off my waistline.

So, on 1 July I established my starting point. Sara Jean felt she wanted to drop a few too, and joined me in my eating/dieting regimen. A couple friends had independently recommended The "Sacred Heart Soup Diet" so we shrugged our shoulders, said "Why not?", and brewed up a big pot of soup.
We were surprised to see it suggested a BIG baked potato WITH butter the second night of the diet.
How can you lose weight eating a big potato?
But we were already weighing in daily, and the morning after all the soup we wanted to eat AND the potato, we had both lost two pounds.

Three bananas and skim milk day followed on day four.
Day five allowed 20 ounces of beef (!) or chicken, and more tomatoes than you care to eat.
Day six... more beef/chicken.
Day seven is a flush day... soup, brown rice, unsweetened juices, and all the veggies you can stand.

The morning after day seven we were surprised to see we had BOTH lost 10 pounds!
No hunger pangs... no cravings.
By the end of the week we both WERE a little bored with eating the soup, but we didn't hate it.
And how can you argue with this result?

After two weeks we swapped the Soup Diet for Atkin's, which we had both had success with previously. On it we continued to lose...
I lost four more pounds, Sara Jean lost another two.

We have been trying to walk at least two miles a day. Time and weather permitting, we double that distance.

Daily weighing has been interesting-
Up a couple pounds one day, (sometimes after cheating, sometimes, surprisingly not).
But seeing a pound on the scale you didn't expect makes it easier to dedicate a little more effort to that day's exercise program. And it's hard to describe the feeling of satisfaction to look down and see a pound, or two, gone.

So here we are at the start of October. My "before coffee and newspaper" weigh-in this morning showed 195 pounds... a loss of 31 pounds.
I intend to drop another 10 pounds, then confer with my wife and evaluate the situation.
I don't want to lose so much as to look gaunt and unhealthy.

Daily weigh-ins will, necessarily, continue for the rest of my life. I look better. I feel better. I'm wearing clothes I haven't worn in YEARS. And I can climb stairs without my heart pounding and my lungs burning.
If I gain a pound I'll starve for 24 hours if necessary to get that pound off.

How's your health?
Do you look like a Wal Mart shopper?
Is it time for a change?
My friends, it's not all that hard.
Click the link above and get started, then let me know how it works for you.
And Good Luck!