Friday, May 24, 2019

Will It Run? 4

Well yes. It runs and I drove it around the block (3 x 3 block) today to prove it. Now it needs some minor stuff like a new turn signal relay and to figure out why the headlight doesn't work. The lamp that came with the bike seems to be undersized for the retainer ring, and the other one I picked up is way over sized.

The last bugaboo seemed to be a pair of hopelessly fouled spark plugs although cleaning out the float chambers and jet passages can't hurt. The insides of the carbs looked quite clean.

Runs nice, sounds nice, and even idles thanks mostly to having the right switches on the handlebars. Makes me wonder if the original voltage regulator is in fact good after all.

At this point I could get insurance and a plate for it. Only problem is that the DMV is closed for the weekend.  Oh well, Monday. Meantime I can work on the petty details.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Will It Run? 3

I got the left hand switch set today and hooked it up. It sort of looks like it won't work completely until I've cleaned  it out as the switches feel like they've been lubricated in tar. Nevertheless, I get spark, fuel pump working, and starter function so I'd say I'm pretty close to hearing it run. If only the tiny battery was a bit bigger.

Top to bottom: H-L beam, Turn, Horn. Horn does not work yet.

Top to bottom: Run-Stop, Fuel tank on/reserve, Starter

Bloody damn cold in the garage too. The passing polar vortex left 3" of snow (officially) and got the temps down right next to freezing. Currently in the mid 40's and projected to stay there until Friday when we'll see 70's. Springtime in the Rockies.
The right turn signal switch gets me flashing on the right front and left rear. The left hand switch gets me a plaintive buzzing noise from the general area of the signal relay. I'm not seeing this as a big problem. The headlight still doesn't work under any circumstance. I need to soak both switches in some sort of solvent, then lube them with conductive silicone oil.

The fuel pump comes on with the key and there is now an odor of gasoline in the garage so it's going somewhere. A squirt of ether got me a couple of pops but no sustained running so there may be petrified fuel in the carbs although I was assured that the bike ran last year.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Springtime In The Rockies - Fine Scottish Morning

The Pedals and Pints group* has scheduled a bike ride in my neighborhood, coinciding with the arrival of the latest cold front that has dropped feet of snow on the Sierras. At start time it's to be 52 deg and overcast while we have out warm-up beer at Blind Faith Brewery. We then take off riding the uphill part South along the Platte river to Living The Dream overlooking the Platte Valley. By 3 PM we have only a 15% chance of rain for the return trip which might end at Locavore or might end at Jackass Hill Brewery which at least is on my way home.

If I get home soaking wet and freezing and thus die of pneumonia, I'll post about it.

*Happily combining the pub crawl with the urban bicycle tour. A fun group.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Will It Run? 2

Found the right hand switch set and that's on the way. The gas tank cap I got with the bike fits almost every Yamaha ever made, the exception being the one I got. Finally found the part number for the right one: Price = $182. It can be had for as little as $112 if you search but gee, that seems a bit steep for a gas cap. It also seems that when someone got the bike and found he had no key, he used the screwdriver on everything, leaving the filler neck slightly egg shaped. If he would only come around and bring that screwdriver, I could show him one more place where it could be used.

Money For Nothing

I was riding my bicycle along the Platte a couple days ago and discovered a brand new hobo encampment along the river. These things are becoming more and more common as Denver works hard to outdo Seattle in its welcome to ihe professionally indigent. The sight of one fellow with his shopping cart piled high with bicycle wheels finally set me off and got the wheels to spinning so here, to the tune of Money For Nothing, is my tribute to folks who make their living sponging off the rest of us:

Now look at them yo-yo's that's the way you do it
You camp by the river in a little tee pee
They ain't workin' that's the way they do it
Money for nothin', welfare checks for free

Now that ain't workin' that's the way they do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

Wage slave or salary man workin for a living
Gotta be there 9 to 5
We gotta build disposable doo dads
You need 'em badly, gotta make you believe

See the little beggar with the shopping cart and cardboard
Yeah buddy that's his own beard
That little beggar got his tarp tent and camp site
That little beggar works 2 hours in a day

Wage slave or salary man workin for a living
Gotta be there 9 to 5
We gotta build little plastic doo dads
You need 'em badly, gotta make you believe

I need a sign that'll tug at your heart strings
All I'd need is a Sharpie and a box
Look at that hobo, standin in the median
He's got a bit of Merlot in a little paper box
And he's down there, what's that? Bottle of Mad Dog?
Suckin' on the bong like a chimpanzee
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin' get your checks for free

Wage slave or salary man workin for a living
Gotta be there 9 to 5
We gotta build disposable doo dads
You need 'em badly, gotta make you believe

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Will It Run?

In the spirit of numerous You Tube videos, here's my Will It Run project.

I had about decided that my 84 Honda V65 Sabre was getting to be larger and heavier than I wanted to horse around any more. Driving to work on the freeway was a treat, but I don't do that now, just run back and forth to the hardware store. So here's this 87 Yamaha Virago 535 at the bargain basement price of $400. Looks to be nearly all there, and allegedly ran last year but currently having some electrical problems. Complete with a clean title. Just what I wanted, having been a motorcycle mechanic in the distant past, this should be a relatively easy fix.

Not bad for a 32 year old bike, no? The "clean" title turned out to be in the name of the original owner when the bike had but 2 miles on it and the finance company had released its lien, so it was clean. The owner had even gone so far as to sign off as the seller and whomever got the thing had never bothered to transfer the title. Fortunately they had also not bothered to sign anywhere either so I'm the second owner. The title formats have been changed several times since this one was issued, and the wife was convinced I'd be lucky to get out of the DMV without handcuffs, but it went through although it did take more than average amount of consultations with higher ups.

Spiffy aftermarket seat and handlebar grips and a headlamp dangling from the wires. Should be no big deal to get up and running, right? Closer inspection, after I got it home, revealed that the fuel pump was a NAPA aftermarket unit attached to the stock wiring harness but not turning on. Also the original ignition switch had been turned with a screwdriver, the key having long since gone missing, and cut out of the harness leaving 3 short wires peeking out at me. It also had 2 cables hanging out with large connectors on them and no obvious connection points.

So far I've found out that the handlebar switches are from a larger/later model Virago and while the cables plug neatly into the rest of the harness, the pin assignments do NOT match anything which is why the ignition module begins humming when you signal a left turn. Also the wiring on this is unique to 87 and 88 only in this displacement so finding a workable set of switches could be difficult.

The gas tank, which looks stylishly small, turns out to be only a cosmetic shell. Notice no gas cap. The actual tank is under the seat. The cap is missing, and the neck looks like it was resized a bit with a hammer.

Shorting a wire to the starter spins the engine over smartly so that's good although there's no spark or fuel pump running. Wires for that are routed through the handlebar switches which pretty much don't work yet.

Found a left hand switch set at Sunshine Motorcycle Parts and it's on the way. Still need the right hand set. Spares that came with the machine included an ignition switch with key and the wrong connector, the handlebar switches from the wrong model Virago, and grips that fit way too loosely.

More as it develops.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fun With Headlines

Who writes these things anyway? This one was too good to not mention. From The Wash Post:

Washington Post: Cory Booker ‘Stands Athwart’ the ‘Pitchfork Populism’ Against Big Tech

Visualizing Mr. Booker athwart a pitchfork, I have to admit, brings a smile to my face. Story here.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Plant Life

Can't all be sturm und drang now can it? I've got a couple of Juniper trees in the back yard and one of them is producing some interesting fruit. Normally all one sees on those trees is the little blue berries that are reputedly used for making Gin, but this spring one of them produced some large black  nodules with soft spikes on them. About 1/2" diameter, plus the spikes.

Today the nodules have "hatched" and the black spikes have turned into orange bananas, albeit, rather small ones. Here's the side of the tree:

That's a petal from the apple tree next to it
You can see a blue Juniper berry in the upper left. 
Here's a close-up of one of the fruits:
The center is about the same color the original spiky ball was

Here's a close-up of a large one, just about to pounce.

I've never seen my tree do this before, so any ideas? If you eat a bowl full for breakfast, do you gain super powers or just turn into Groot?

Update! Ask and ye shall find! This is Cedar (or Juniper)-Apple Rust Fungus which grows on the Cedar (and Juniper!) and spreads to the Apples within a few hundred feet. Harmless to the Juniper, it degrades the quality of the fruit from the apple although the apples are still OK to eat.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Highlands Ranch Shooting

The school in question is only about 4 miles from me, about the same distance as Columbine so I'm beginning to wonder if there's actually something in the water around here or if we just have an abnormal population of whack jobs in the general population.

As of right now, little enough is known that a detailed story isn't possible BUT unlike most of these things, both shooters are in custody and only one person is dead so detailed information may actually be forthcoming.

So far Gov. Polis has not issued a carefully prepared statement calling for more gun control, but I expect that will happen very shortly if not today.* What is known about the shooters is that the 19-year-old male (the adult) is a vehemently anti-Trump liberal, and the 18-year old (the juvenile ) is a female in the process of transitioning to becoming male. Both of them sound like perfect candidates for the Red Flag process which becomes effective(?) in January of next year, maybe.

Frankly I see this as confirmation of my own personal theory on gun control, namely that if we simply disarm and prohibit gun ownership to all Democrats, we can at a single stroke, reduce mass shootings like this by about 95%. Given the political proclivities of criminals in general, this in theory would also nearly eliminate gun-involved violent crime. In practice however, as criminals tend to ignore the laws anyway, that aspect would probably go on unchanged.

The good news is that the male shooter was rushed, knocked down and disarmed by one of the students at the school. This is consistent with what I've been told about dealing with a shooter when you have no weapon of your own and retreat may not be a viable option. A gun is a distance weapon and is hard to aim when you have multiple assailants piled on top of you trying to disarm you. I hear the hero here is planning to join the Marines when he graduates. Sounds like he'll do well there.

UPDATE 1: Sure enough, later this same day I got a form letter from the Giffords group calling for more gun control and asking for money. No mention of any mental health issues of course as that might cut in to their voter base.

Update 2: Seems the local politicians set up a "vigil" for the one dead student in order to press their anti-gun agenda and lo and behold, most of the students dragooned into attending didn't buy in to the narrative and walked out, put off by the use of Kendrick Castillo, who died defending his fellow students, as a prop. Amazingly prominent pols and anti-gun groups were able to attend a next day event:
The event also featured two Democratic politicians, Colorado Congressman Jason Crow and Senator Michael Bennet. Moms Demand Action, a group that advocates for gun control legislation, also had representatives at the event.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Colorado Gun Laws - Monkey Motion

RMGO is announcing that they have found a loophole by which they can get our Red Flag law annulled. It seems that any law wending its way through the legislature must, if requested by a member, be read in its entirety on two separate occasions in each house in which the request was made, otherwise it doesn't count so to speak. RMGO claims this request was made in not one, but BOTH houses, and the bill was never read and is thus void.

The opposition claims the request was not correctly worded so the reading was not actually required. Who knows, they may be right. If not, then the law goes away for a bit. If it does, the first item on the agenda when the legislature re convenes will be a by-the-book passage of the bill that will closely resemble the knighting of Danny Kaye in the Court Jester. If we're lucky, the process will happen in the capitol building and not in the Dank Shaft hearing room of the Lost Superstition Mine Building between 12 AM and 6 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In any case I expect no opposition will be tolerated and the elapsed time to signature will be a new state record.

Of course if it distracts the legislature from other mischief, then good, but I doubt it will delay anything very much.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Gun Sales - NICS

Here's the April update with no surprises at all really:
Just the normal post-tax-rebate dropoff. A new record for April? Sure, but the curve normally creeps upward year-on-year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Advice in a Red Flag State

Colorado's red flag law is one of the most poorly written in the country and disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding, seems to allow anyone to "Red Flag Swat" anyone anywhere in the state, anonymously and without fear of retribution. In that light, here's a snippet from the Colo RKBA newsletter that looks like it was taken from an advisory to Jews in Germany in 1938 or blacks in the civil rights movement in the late 50's:

1) Your status as a gun-owner/concealed-carrier needs to be a secret. Most relatives, co-workers, neighbors, even friends don’t need to know. Don’t talk about specific guns you may own, particularly military rifles. Maintain a low profile. Find other things to talk about!

2) Guns you own need to be adequately secured, and always out of sight. Ammunition boxes, loose rounds of ammunition, gun magazines and other literature, holsters, rifle magazines, accessories, etc need also to be kept continuously out of sight. Casual visitors to your home, office, car should never see any of that!

3) Get rid of gun-company/ammunition-company/pro-gun organization decals, patches, logo clothing, hats, bumper-stickers.

4) Watch your language and general demeanor, in public and in private! Don’t do, nor say, things that are likely to be interpreted as threats. Don’t make threatening comments, even when directed at a third party who is not present.

5) Don’t become involved in family, nor neighborhood, spats, particularly those involving marriage issues, child custody, etc. Be very good at minding you own business!

6) Don’t invite people you don’t know into your home, including police officers (unless they have a warrant). With your door remaining closed and locked, you can talk with unknown/uninvited visitors through a microphone.

7) Keep the subject of guns and gun issues out of casual conversation. Talk about guns only with people you know well.

8) Gun-organization literature, flyers, etc need to be shredded immediately after you finish reading them. Tear off address-labels on gun magazines and shred them too. You don’t want your residence address associated/connected with guns, nor gun-organizations.

9) When carrying concealed, assure guns, magazine-carriers, etc remain discretely out of sight. Open-carry, even where technically “legal,” is a really bad idea (except perhaps in extremely remote places)!

10)  Don't make enemies! Be a polite, civil, pleasant, courteous person. Don't inject yourself into other people's business

American gun-owners have no friends among Democrat politicians, particularly those currently aspiring to be president, and they would all like nothing better than to make “examples” of some of us, welding the illegitimate power of their new “red-flag” laws.

The sinister “knock-on-the-door-at-midnight” is coming for some.

Don’t be “that guy!”

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Political Science

Looking through an interesting post at Armed and Dangerous on the topic of the definitions of fascism, socialism, communism, and to a lesser extent, capitalism, I came to a conclusion which explains a number of things, primarily why lefties keep telling me that capitalism and fascism are the same. RTWT and don't skip the comments.

So the definitions of all ----isms is a socio-economic system in which harmony pervades the relationship between the governed and the governors, and happiness and prosperity are found everywhere. This seems to be the bedrock definition of all ----isms. To the extent that this happy state of affairs comes up short, the ---isms are obviously being implemented wrong, and someone is found to be at fault for this, and must be corrected/reeducated/arrested/eliminated. When the whole edifice collapses, it's then an example of the ----ism not being implemented correctly, or not "real ----ism".

Or as Robert Heinlein said:"Bad luck".

Goes a long ways toward defining why I went into engineering instead of the softer sciences since I have a lot more faith in the calculated breaking points of materials than I do in the durability of theories built on guesswork regarding human and/or divine nature.

Tangentially related: If you want to depress yourself* get up one spring morning to find a late cold snap has arrived with temps barely above freezing, settle down to read Indian Country by Schlichter, then periodically take a break from his dystopia to check the news.

*Don't know why anyone would want to unless you need some inspiration to sit down at the bench and run off another several hundred rounds of ammo.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Laws And Stuff

It's not just me, even Scott Adams has noticed the dearth of actual news lately. Aside from stuff happening in France, England and Sri Lanka, there's not much of note going on domestically. The NRA is having their annual board meeting and gun show this weekend, but they're currently tied up in internal bickering that the media can't seem to make heads or tails of, and several more people have announced their candidacy for the Donk nomination for president. So far, Hillary isn't one of them.

On the better news front I heard from Dr. Rob Natleson, a con law expert, on two items recently passed here, the National Popular Vote law, and our Red Flag Bill. He assured us that neither of them would stand up to legal scrutiny as soon as they get to the right court.

The NPV measure is in violation of a couple of items in the US constitution which means the 10th circuit would be ultimately hearing that one. Problem is that no one would have standing to go to court until someone won the presidency who would normally have lost the electoral college vote under the old rules, so there's a land mine that's likely to remain buried for a long time.

The Red Flag law would be subject to challenge as soon as it's applied to someone and would be heard in the Colorado courts. The problem with that is that the Colorado Supreme court would likely uphold a law re instituting slavery if it had been passed by Dems. They are currently looking at our magazine ban law and I expect they will uphold that easily.

Colorado has, in effect, 4 branches of legislative government, the Governor, the Senate, the House, and the people. If the first 3 branches pass something the people don't like, the people can demand that law be put to a referendum to be held at the next election. The professional pols don't like uppity peasants, so they add a clause to almost every piece of legislation they pass stating that the legislation is critical to the safety and well being of the people. This exempts the legislation from the referendum process. Needless to say everything down to adjustments to parking ticket fine amounts is critical to the public safety. Somehow they left this off of the NPV law. At this point it looks like it will be petitioned on to the upcoming ballot.

The Electoral college is currently set up to slightly over represent states like Montana, but makes up for that by over representing California. States get 1 EC vote for every representative they have, and they get 1 Rep currently for every 750,000 warm bodies regardless of what sort they might be including convicts in jail and non citizens currently residing in the state. Cali has 5-10 million (depending on who you talk to) illegal aliens who, although they aren't supposed to vote, are represented in the US House and on the E.C. This doesn't seem entirely fair to me, so I asked the good professor about a possible fix.

Back in the day when all this was being discussed, the issue of representation came up and the northern states noted that assigning reps on the basis of raw population alone effectively gave the slaves several representatives, none of whom were elected by the slaves. This led to the 3/5 compromise which kept the slave states from running the show in the house with reps they got from non-voters. When the slaves were freed and declared to be citizens, this became moot but I suggested bringing this back with respect to non citizens. I was assured that this proposal would NOT fly. It would cost Cali, and probably Texas and Florida  3-5 seats each but those would be allocated to other states who would be glad to get them.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Planet Of The Apes - The Story Begins

Transplanting human brain development into monkeys.

At least it's currently confined to China. Should any of the "uplifted" monkeys get shipped to the U.S. the field of candidates for the Dem presidential candidacy would immediately become a lot more crowded and accusations of speciephobia will be bandied about.

Might be fun to see what happens if you give this treatment to the great apes. Some of them already can use sign language to communicate and teach it to their offspring. The ability to give a coherent stump speech is all that stands between an Orangutan and the White House or at least a House seat.