Rider’s Edge #2

Written Saturday morning at 5:30 AM.

Its dark and I just woke up. Willingly. Normally I have to drag myself out of bed at 8 AM in the morning. Today I woke up at 5 AM an knew there was no going back to sleep. Guess I’m excited.

Last night we covered protective gear and motorcycle controls. Protective gear study included going to the Harley store and looking at gear. You were to try on different parts and write down your size. I need a large in jacket, an extra large in gloves, and probably a extra large in helmet. They didn’t have any extra large full faced helmets sitting out so I’m not sure. They really didn’t have that great of selection in anything but jackets. I tried on a couple of jackets and found I like the synthetics better than the leather. I tried on a Joe Rocket jacket that was mainly padding and very light weight and didn’t feel all that protected. I like a jacket that is somewhat thick all over and has extra padding/armor.

We went over the controls of a motorcycle. I head knowledge already knew them so it wasn’t that new. I did learn about the fuel switch that lets you turn off the supply of gas to the engine and also controls a reserve amount of fuel in the tank.

Jerry told us when you want to turn left you push left. So you are actually steering right. Seemed wrong and I just didn’t understand it. So he made me sit on the motorcycle and try it. The most important piece of information you need is that all turning by motorcycles is accomplished by leaning. One you understand that you can feel that in fact turning the wheel right leans the bike left. It still feels a little wrong, but he says that the way you’ve been doing it on a bike for years. Its one of those things you aren’t confused about till someone explains what you are doing to you.

Well I better get going. Don’t want to be late.

Rider’s Edge Night #1

Last night was the first night of the Rider’s Edge course I’m taking at Mancuso Harley Davidson.

First off I was late. I hate being late. It’s the kind of thing – the hating of it – they attribute to your zodiac sign. I’m a Capricorn and I don’t know if they are suppose to hate being late, but I was and do. I left work early to make the trip, but it was stop and go for most of the way and then I decided I needed to get some food. Went through a drive through and was late. Did I mention I hate being late? And then when I showed up I’m carrying my food – they said it was OK to bring food – and no one else was. I eventually ate during a video.

On to the class. The first thing in the class was Harley Propaganda. When I got there the class was circled around a Harley salesman who was showing them the parts of a motorcycle, of course it was a Harley. This was part of the tour of the facilities. Next we walked through the garage. Its the largest Harly repair facility in the tri-state area. (What are the tri-states when Texas is one of them?) The amazing thing to me was just how clean everything was. When you go to a car repair shop things are dirty. Here everything was spotless.

In the back of the garage were the Buell Blasts we are going to be riding. The mirrors and signal lights have been taken off so when it falls over they won’t be broken off. The sales guy has a couple of people sit on them. I wasn’t one of them because my hands were full and I didn’t want to, but they sure seemed low.

Next we went to the conference room and actually started the class. They divided us into pairs and each of us had to introduce the other. There were a series of questions you had to ask. My partner is Stephanie, a single mom with a 3 year old. She, like me, has no experience with motorcycles. We had to tell our concerns about the course and hers was that she would orphan her child. We also had to tell what kind of bike we had/wanted. Stephanie wants a Bonneville, which I had never heard of. As you know I want a sport bike. I’m the only one in the group that does.

Let me give you some of the cast of characters in the class. There are 8 of us. 2 women, 6 guys. The instructor is Jerry Sun, whose been riding forever and taught over 1300 students. There’s another instructor who will show up on Saturday and Sunday for the road course. I’ve already introduced Stephanie. The other woman is a redhead named Marsha and a self-proclaimed “bitch”. This means she rides on the back of a Harley and wants to learn to ride. Her partner is the The Obnoxious Guy Mike. He’s done motorcross and just got a V-rod, his first street bike. He’s having it shipped to England and will be touring with a buddy there.

For some reason Obnoxious Guy Mike decided he needs to needle Marsha. Which annoyed me. He’s a skinny red skinned guy and she’s a rotund redhead with a voice made for radio. And after a couple of jabs from Obnoxious Guy Mike it was obvious Marsha wasn’t the kind of woman who was going to take and give like a man. Obnoxious Guy Mike kind of figured this out, but couldn’t keep up saying backhandedly nice things. And unfortunately for Marsha this guy is her partner.

Obnoxious Guy Mike’s antics encouraged our other Obnoxious Guy Angus to needle Marsha as well. Now Angus looks almost middle eastern. But he’s spitting into a cup, which marks him as a good old boy, and his last name is Davis. Obnoxious Guy Angus is also a talker. He asked most of the questions and would interrupt any time he felt like it. His partner is Rikus The European. Rikus is from Norway. His English is excellent. He said the rider training in Europe is much less compressed. Instead of 4 days it would be 45 minutes 1 time a week for 10 weeks.

The last two guys are Kevin and, I think, Steve. Steve rode for a number of years and was hit by a drunk driver in the early nineties and hasn’t ridden since. He’s taking the course to get his confidence back. Don’t remember much about Kevin.

The core of the class is out of the MSF Rider’s Handbook. We made it through the first section which is on risk assessment. It was interesting.

This is getting long, so I’m going to just add some highlights.

They changed the course times. Now I have to be there are 7 AM instead of 8 on Saturday and Sunday. We should be done on the course by noon. Jerry said they made the class earlier because of the heat on the course. Apparently riding a motorcycle in long pants and long sleeves on white concrete in the Houston sun is really hot.

Go figure.

There won’t be class on Monday. Class also ended a little after 8 instead of nine, which was nice considering how far I had to go to get home.

While at a Harley dealer our instructor rides a Gold Wing. His longest ride was 9600 miles. His day rides are normally around 600 miles. His wife has taught the class with him before.

Met the owner of the dealership, Joe Mancuso. Seemed like a really nice guy. Must be in his 50s but he still drag races motorcycles. He was much more up front about his Propaganda. “If you don’t have a motorcycle please let us here have a chance to sell you one. It helps keep me in my nitro habit.”

Going to leave earlier tonight so I’m on time. We’re doing the “shopping trip”, which means we are going to try on helmets and gloves, which should be fun.

Memories

It is amazing how blogging brings out old memories. I was surfing around and ended up at A Californian’s look at her new Mid western life – boy that’s a keyboard full – and found a post on weird names. And it reminded me of a dentist I had at least a decade ago. He was in Abilene Texas, but I can’t remember if it was the first time I lived there or the last. Either way it was a long time ago. Really the only thing I remember about him was his name. Dr. Savage.

Move Along People

There are no pictures of Morgan Webb naked. At least that I know of on the Internet. And there sure as heck aren’t any here!

Obviously I’ve been looking at my referrer list. I tweaked it to show more items. And save more items, in hopes of seeing more real referrers and less search engine ones. But there are only so may real ones and a crap load of searches. And the vast majority of them are wanting pictures of Morgan naked.

Sheesh. I’m not saying I’d mind, but they don’t really seem to exist and I don’t deserve all the attention. But I’m not the only one. Cat talked about that being the #1 search on her site too yesterday. I’m #1 on google for “Morgan Web pics”. And this guy who is #7 doesn’t like it either.

So how do you tell Google it is wrong? Well it seemed to figure out the nude iraqi women, maybe it will figure this one out too.

Cool site of the day

Ray sent me an email turning me on to the discussion of Motorcycles and Laptops on Macintouch. But I haven’t made it through the first response because I’ve been checking out the guys website, the downward spiral. There are a lot of cool motorcycle related stuff. He rides a Ducati and his wife/SO rides a Honda. At least that’s what I think based on the pictures.

Photography and Me

Thought I’d give a little personal history with photography.

You know I used to be a professional portrait photographer? Really, got paid for it and everything. Here’s the story.

I have a degree in Mass Communication Radio/TV from ACU, which means I was trained to be a journalist, specifically a broadcast journalist. Now when I was getting this degree I wanted to be a film director, but that’s a story for another time. As part of that training I took photography. There I learned the basics of how to use an SLR.

Fast forward to graduation. I just met the woman of my dreams and she is going to school in Indiana. I am looking to work with a church in Seattle Washington, but that isn’t working because I’m not getting support (which is how missionaries get paid). Then something happens that never happens in broadcasting. Someone calls me up out of the blue and asks if I want a job in Ohio. So I say yes, because it puts me a 4 hour drive from my future wife, which for a Texan is nothing, which I promptly prove by driving it every weekend.

This job was an internship and ended in a few months. I get married at that time and move to Indiana where the new wife is going to school. But I need a job. I find one at a one hour photo place. Part of the place is a portrait studio, and given my extensive history in photography, including a college degree that required learning how to use a camera, I’m the second string photographer.

Most of the time I’m just developing people’s pictures, but when there is someone who wants a portrait and Monty – the first string photographer – isn’t around, I take people’s pictures. And they get back their proofs in an hour. Mostly I sucked, but the process was pretty cut and dry, and we produced OK portraits. About what you’d expect when you go to a place like that. Have to tell the story sometime of when we shot the pictures for the local prom, but not today.

Eventually we decided to move back to Texas so I could go to grad school. We ended up spending one summer back in Indiana for her to finish up and I worked the photo lab again, but it was part time and I also worked a McDonalds, which is another story for another time. (Maybe my life hasn’t been so boring after all).

Despite my denigration of my photography career I still like producing good pictures. Don’t do it very often, but I like it. Part off the reason is I don’t have a photographer’s eye. Monty was a pro, only working at the photo lab to support the beginning of his own photography business. He could look at people and see what needed to change to make the picture better. He was creative, making pictures out of ideas. I never had that. Now is that because I don’t have enough practice, or lack some innate artistic ability.

Related to this was Monty knew what his pictures were going to look like when he took them. I often see great pictures, but when I take them and get them printed the exposure is wrong, or the focus has a different depth than I saw through the viewfinder, or a soft light isn’t so soft. This is one of the reasons I’m excited about digital photography. Because I can take the picture and see how it looks right afterwards. Then if I screwed it up I can take it again.

But then again I promised the Mrs last night I wouldn’t buy a motorcycle or digital camera in the next 6 months because we can’t afford it. So there will be no new equipment for awhile. Of course if I was willing to get a non-SLR it would cost less, and I might be able to use money I make from writing to pay for it without it having to come out of the budget. But if it is a non-SLR then can I do all the cool stuff I can with an SLR? Will I see what I’m getting ready to take a picture of?

Photo sites

Babe_on_Bike_Two_thumb.jpg
Found a few cool new photography sites. First there is the Photography Blog, a photography news blog with a RSS feed.

From it I found Vivid Light, an online photography magazine. It has some cool articles including one entitled “What Do You Say To A Naked Model?” (Not Work Safe) and “Putting Film in Your Digital Camera“. Haven’t explored it a lot, but what I’ve read I like.

The “What Do You Say To A Naked Model?” story is written by Joe Farce, a glamour photographer. The incredible image to the left is from the article. Of course I have a bias toward redheads, but the photo is just great. Hopefully Joe will forgive me for putting it on my site if you all go visit his site.

Joe’s site has information about the classes he teaches. I also have his book Part-Time Glamour Photography: Full-Time Income. I’m thinking about getting his ebook Everyday Glamour. I’m a little worried about the format, but since I have PowerPoint it shouldn’t be a problem. I’d like to learn to make good portraits even if the subject isn’t a half dressed professional model.

I wonder how many pictures he takes to get the awesome ones? When a professional photographer does a photo shoot with a model how many images is he looking to get and how many does he have to shoot? I guess how many he needs depends on how he is selling them.

In Joe’s book he talks about group shoots, where a local organization arranges for a number of models and then a whole bunch of amateur photographers pay to come in and shoot the models. He says it is a good way to get practice and meet models. I’ve looked on the net, but haven’t found anything like that in the Houston area.

Stevens and Pruett

These guys used to be the morning drive guys on KLOL in Houston. One day they were gone and I never found out why. Obviously they got fired because some manager type was doing the show, they didn’t seem to have a replacement lined up.

Anyone know what happen?

UPDATE: Here’s the official story. Related. Not much detail and it kind of screams “What’s the real reason?” They just decided to go another direction after the show on Wednesday when they had no replacements?