Archive for May, 2006

Too Hot to Blog

94F here in Pittsburgh. Also had some chores to catch up on, after the excitement this weekend. Details to follow tomorrow.

Seat modification

Photographed by denovich

The stock seat on my CBR1100XX, is pretty good… but clearly could be improved.

First, the pillion's seat is angled forward a bit too much. This makes it difficult for the passenger (Deb) to keep from sliding forward when braking, or over bumps.

The other significant problem is that the “ledge”, the backedge of the rider's seat/ leading edge of the pillon's is too far back. This leaves a significant gap between my rear and this ledge. When Deb slides forward she get's stuck sitting on this ledge. When I'm riding solo and I goose the throttle, I feel like I'm going to slide off the rear. Moving the ledge forward would give me a more positive backstop.

A replacement seat from Corbin (the biggest name in aftermarket seats) is north of $350, and while it makes it more comfy for the passenger, it's wider shorter, and harder than the stock seat for the rider (had a Corbin on my FZ600… hated it for exactly those reasons.) Other shops that modify the stock seat have long lead times, aren't cheap, and I'd be out of commission for at least a week or two, unless I bought a spare seat.

So I dicided DIY was the answer. Although, it was with great anxiety that I started removing the staples that affixed the cover to the seat. I was sure I was going to ruin it. Just about everything on the bike is perfect, so my usual half-assed work wasn't going to be good enough.

I started by working on the passenger seat, using an angle grinder to carve away foam. I was able to angle the seat area back a bit, which also resulted in a lip near the front to help hold the passenger in place. Initial fitting suggests the shape is a bit more comfortable too.

To move the ledge forward I had to add foam. I couldn't think of where to easily find the appropriate foam… fabric and crafting stores had foam that was too soft. In a moment of inspriration I checked the garden department of the local home store. There I found sheets of foam used for gardening knee pads. I used a saw to cut the pad to shape, and affixed it to the seat with spray contact adhesive. I used a 80 grit pad on a sander to form this piece into a compromise shape… one that fit me, but also one that I hoped wouldn't pose fitting problems when I put the cover back on. It took about 2 hours to get things how I wanted them. All that was left was to re-cover.

My stapler had a hard time fully seating the staples when I reattached the cover, but it got the job done. The end result looks pretty much stock. I'm very pleased.

Now to go test my handywork…

For the Record: I am outraged

I'm proud to be an American, but I am ashamed and outraged by the legislative body that governs us.

The NSA Wiretap/phone database scandal is just the latest in a litany of attacks on our civil liberties, and what it means to be an American. The press is happily reporting that 65% of the public approves of domestic spying (despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that this spying has made us safer, with plenty of evidence to the contrary.)

I believe the continued tolerance or even approval, by the public, of these transgressions is the result of a mixture of ignorance and naivete. Ignorance of what is really being conducted under the guise of public safety. Ignorance of the law and of the constitution on which it is based. The naivete based largely in the assumption that the government's ethical and moral values are similar to our own… that the government is one of us. However, we have plenty of evidence to show that the ethical and moral behavior of organizations can differ dramatically from the individuals that make up those organizations. Unsafe mining conditions, toxic waste emissions, substandard airplane parts, inhumane nursing homes, bungled response to natural disasters, domestic spying, concentration camps, war these aren't the result of one person or some evil cabal… although it might be convenient to think so. They are the aggregate results of thousands of individual actions… individuals just like us.

Therefore, we must remain vigilant. We must be outraged when the organizations we enable fail us. We must understand we all are diminished when one of us is victimized by the system. It is our responsibility to learn from history, to think critically, and act ethically in our long term best interests… we must demand the same from our government.

Off the soapbox for a moment:

Our recent survey of local and national TV news was truly saddening. I encourage you to diversify your sources of information. A sampling:

[Reason Magazine](

[Bruce Schneier on Security](


[Lawrence Lessig](

[Electronic Frontier Foundation](

Weekend Wrap-up

Photographed by denovich

The weekend started early… After a pleasant evening of fishing Thursday, and the promise of even better weather Friday, I excercised some of my PTO, and headed back to the stream.

Despite some obvious feeding activity on the surface, I had no luck with dry flies. A switch to live bait ended the drought, and I caught 4 trout before Deb got too anxious for lunch.

We ate a MadMex, and capped the evening with a play at the Comptra playhouse. I'll probably never actualy look forward to seeing a play (I blame school for making sure I have no pleasant associations with the theatre) but the play was enjoyable. I also got to see a nice boob at one point, thanks to our elevated seating position.

Saturday and Sunday saw some productive activity around the house. I finally sorted out the power steering in the Lexus. I was having problems with the fluid foaming, despite numerous attempts to flush the air out, and trying better ATF (as indicated by the manual). Hoping for a lucky quick fix, I tried some dedicated power steering fluid that claimed anti-foaming properties. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked. $3 and about 15 minutes of easy labor. Hooray. Feels like a luxury car again.

I took care of the fuses (old school euro-style ceramic fuses) in the Spider too. I found some decent copper ones (the aluminum ones are fucking garbage) at NAPA, and took the time to clean all the contacts in the fuse box with a tiny wire wheel on a dremel. I think this will finally put an end to my intermittant electrical woes.

More random progress: The basement was cleaned, weeds were dispatched, a few bikes and cars were washed… the Triumph moved into the basement pending it's eventual sale, and the Spider was tucked away into the garage.

My mom came in for the evening Saturday. We had a nice dinner out (Rose Tea Cafe) and some good bullshit in. The next morning, after some eggs Benedict, I took care of the power antenna on her Lexus. Mom headed for home to be replaced a few hours later by Deb's parents. They came over to use our scanner, and stayed for a most excellent dinner featuring pork tenderloin, smashed potatoes, and green beans. Recipes to be posted shortly.

Nights have been nice too. The temperature has been perfect, and I've been sleeping like a champ. I'm fully rested, recharged, and completely unmotivated to work. Is it the weekend yet?

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