Monday, December 30, 2013

The outlook for 2014

There's no better way to prepare for the new year than by doing something totally crazy.

And here it is, the post that blows past the 100-post-self-imposed blog limit.

What's new?  2014 is showing signs of being an awesome year in the life of your host.  Some things that are on the horizon, the things that will be truly life-altering, can't be uttered out loud.

I think I'll just stick to some of the minor awesome things.  Like the recent past, for instance.

The Christmas holidays have been a blessing.  Jonathan, Lauren and Andrew shared our roof, as did Vicky, Jonathan's girlfriend.  We celebrated Susan's birthday with a gourmet dinner at one of the city's very best restaurants, Club Chasse et PĂȘche, in Old Montreal.  Bob, do you remember where we parked our bikes in the old city, right on a corner, and then went for a stroll?  Well, two or three doors up that street is where the restaurant is.  A slice of heaven on earth, truly.
Photo to jog Bob's memory
See how Bob got here
Before that, we celebrated Christmas, but on the 27th, not the 25th.  Vicky couldn't get away from Toronto until the 26th at the end of the day, so we held our gift giving and receiving desires in check until she was able to join us.

And what did Santa have in store for me?  I'm glad I asked.

Among many other things too numerous to mention, I got a state of the art Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker.  The new model with the bur grinder.  Our old Grind and Brew quit on us a few days before Christmas, after more than ten years of loyal service.  A doohickey on the grinder bit that is vital to the operation of the whole machine broke off, rendering the entire thing utterly useless.  For those who are coffee lovers, the Grind and Brew is, in my not-so-humble opinion,  the very best drip coffee maker in the world.

Did I get anything that made my rider's heart skip a beat?  You betcha!

Lauren drew me in the family-only secret Santa draw and gave me Oxford Heaterz heated grips, and a Warm-N-Safe Heat Troller.  There will be much fiddling to install them on the GTS, including the obligatory self-imposed project report.  Some dremelling has already been done, and there is more to do before the deed is done.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Lauren!!!

And there you have it folks.  The 101st blog post.  So much for arbitrary limits and self-imposed constraints.  I am a rebel at heart anyway.  It suits me better than the alternative.  I guess this means that there is no way of telling how many blog posts will happen in 2014 now is there?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One Hundred

This is the one hundredth Scootcommute blog post for 2013.
This is a blog post stew, a potpourri of random thoughts. Read on, you'll eventually understand.
      The bitter end     

On Sunday, November 24th, I put the Vespa into hibernation.

I checked the oil, checked and topped up the coolant level, checked the tire pressure, put in gasoline stabilizer, gave the bike a sponge bath, went to the gas station for a top-up, rolled the bike into position in the alcove at the back of the garage, put the cover on it, plugged in the battery tender, put away all the gear, and that was it.

The ride to get gas was very, very cold, especially on my legs because I was only wearing jeans. The odometer read 34,100 kilometers. The bike had 25,000 kilometers when I got it in March. That means just over 9,000 happy kilometers or 5,500 happy miles for the 2013 season. It should have been more. My moto tour consumed 3,000 km all by itself. But it's the commuting that really packs on the miles, and between March and November there was a lot of out of town travel and inclement weather that chewed into the commuting.

If anyone is counting, I know I am, that's 20,500 miles in the Vespa saddle for me. And I've only just begun. The 10,000 mile patch on my Corazzo jacket now feels inadequate. The next one is a 50K patch. I'm not even half way there.
      Not for the superstitious     

On Friday, December 13th, that's right, Friday the Thirteenth, I had tooth #18 (top right wisdom tooth, for the non-dental professionals among you) evicted.

My dentist had been recommending the eviction for years now. But, a tooth, is a tooth, is a tooth, no matter how unwelcome and useless it might be. I had done my level best to save it (actually to have my dentist save it). But in October it started acting out. And Stan did some creative work on it, against his better judgment. He said his last ditch effort "could last a week, a month, or a year" but he repeated his advice "it's time for that troublesome tooth to go".

Push came to yank when the on-and-off pain became distracting. When I went to see Stan fresh from a weekend of throbbing, he said "ready to get rid of it?" Sadly, I was.

The only appointment at the dental surgeon was for Friday the 13th. No surprise there. The fact that I leaped gleefully at the opportunity, tells you how meddlesome #18 had become. Other events had made me select the same day as the record date for all my company's year-end filings with securities authorities here and in the U.S. Now, if I were superstitious, that would have been the fate-tempting decision of all time. Adding a little tooth extraction was only putting one more dicey egg in that trouble-inviting date-basket.

As I write this on Saturday morning, it looks like I dodged the fate bullet. Friday the thirteenth, bah humbug to you! Hello Saturday the 14th! I'm under Susan's orders to lie low. She doesn't want my head to blow up. Fourteen hours post-op, and I'm feeling semi-human. But my mouth feels like Vancouver fourteen hours after the 2011 NHL riot.
      WTF - (Why the fuss?)     

It's now Wednesday, December 18.

I think I'll make this the last 2013 post, and cross my fingers that nothing crops up that begs to be shared between now and the very end of the year. Uh-Oh! What if Santa delivers Gerbing gloves on the 25th? What if I figure out how to make a four-way flasher circuit for the Vespa? What if Santa gets me new armored pants...?

If something does crop up, I think I may fiddle with this post to add to it, and in that way keep the Scootcommute to 100 posts for 2013. Ok, ok, that's kind of cheating, I know.

But 100 is such a nice round number. It's also a fairly ambitious undertaking. Just under two posts a week, on average. After all, I don't think I want to hold myself accountable for producing more than 100 posts in 2014. I certainly don't want this to become a chore. Something that makes a negative contribution to my life. And if I do blow past 100 posts, I'll never get to another decent, respectable target or cap. The next semi-worthy stop is 150, and that's a lousy cap. It's like one-and-a-half. 125 is worse, that's like one-and-a-quarter. Like some small ingredient in a recipe. Like cornstarch, or cream of tartar, or baking powder.

I enjoy writing blog posts. I never once thought I'd commit so much 'ink' to any topic. At least not to the Scootcommute. I did begin to write a spy novel. I haven't touched it in about five years, it seems. I tell myself that it's like wine in an oak cask. It's maturing. I'll come back to it when I get myself down to one day-job. I'll have a fresh perspective then. A better sense of my narrator's voice.

The Scootcommute has given me a little more confidence, at least as a writer. How pretentious does that sound? A while back I was in a cute little shop, full of cute little stuff. One thing was a small book of insults. One insult that comes to mind was suitable for a book reviewer. "That's not writing, that's typing!" Ouch!

If you're into insults, but you're already immersed in the spirit of the holidays, have a listen to You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch!. The version I have is off the Glee! Christmas album of a few years back, sung by K.D. Lang and Matthew Morrison. I don't want to spoil it too much for you if you haven't heard it, but "Your brain is full of spiders" is a personal favorite. Now Dr. Seuss, he was a writer.
Well, that's enough musing for one last post, if you ask me. Besides, there's an even chance I'll have to return and dump in more stuff to keep the total down to one hundred.

Time will surely tell.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.