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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The You Tube Party

I've notice this trend over the past couple of years, and maybe it started earlier and took me this long to notice, but it's a trend and it is lame. I call it the You Tube party. This is exactly how it works. A friend has a party or a little get together. We have a couple drinks, if there is food we eat, and we chat with one another. We see what's going on, tell stories, do whatever it is that people do when they get together in a group. Then, at some point someone will bring up a funny You Tube video. They will then pull up the You Tube video on a TV that has it built in, or pull out a laptop and start showing the supposedly funny video to people.  Think about it, how many parodies of Call Me Maybe have you seen at a party vs. the ones forwarded to you. After the first video is watched, it then leads to another video, and then to another and before you know it you have all just spent the rest of the evening staring at a screen watching stupid videos.

It has gotten to the point that I actually have gone to a friend's house, watched some video that he showed me, went over weeks later and he tries to show me the same fucking video. Seriously people! Get fucking lives! It is stupidity like this that convinces stupid people to video themselves being stupid and posting it on You Tube. So, if you want to sit around and stare a screen watching stupid crap, do it on your own time, and stop inviting me over to watch it. If I wanted to sit around watching stupid You Tube videos, I would do it when you forward one to me instead of deleting it like I do now.

Now go check out The Cranky Monkey on You Tube… Not really. I might have a stupid blog but for the time being, I don't have a stupid You Tube channel. And even if I eventually do start one, I won't force guests to my house to watch it. They can do it at night when they are crying themselves to sleep for being douche-bag.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

BMW Fixed?

Wednesday afternoon I get a call from one of the mechanics at Ride West. He tells me they think they have solved the problem, and that the video I provided them with doesn't have any sound. Personally, I care more about them fixing the problem, which he tells me was the injectors.

By the way, the injection system being clogged was one of the things I thought the issue might be, and one of the things I mentioned when I dropped it off, besides an electrical short. But hey, what do I know, I'm just a guy who rides a bike. They are the trained mechanics that took weeks to figure out and solve a problem.

So, today I went and picked the bike up. It started fine at the dealer, which it did before. But, I did notice on the ride home it felt like it had a little more power and was running smoother. And, most importantly when I got it home, parked it and shut it off, it restarted. Hopefully the problem is now solved and I won't have to take it back again.

Not to sound overly negative as I have been bitching about Ride West this whole time, I fell that it would be appropriately nice about them. They were all very friendly. There, my one nice thing I can say. Now, hopefully my next post will involve actually taking the thing out for a nice ride as the weather finally gets nice here in the Northwest.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

BMW Back At The Dealer

for those who have been following my motorcycle ownership adventures... After getting the bike home and not being able to start it, I did what I did previously. I put it on the trickle charger and charged the battery, but this time I kept it attached to the charger when attempting to start the bike. It took quite a few tries and didn't want to start but it eventually cranked over. I rode it in the Seattle rain to Ride West where I dropped it back off. As we were talking, of course they tried to start it, and as you can imagine it started just fine. So, I gave them the DVD with the video of it not starting for me, and headed home to enjoy an occasional warm weather day and no motorcycle to ride.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Can Repro and I Can Video The No Starting BMW Motorcycle

Nearly two weeks now since I started having problems with my motorcycle, and still the guys at the BMW service department can't seem to identify the problem. I called earlier this week to ask if they were going to give me a loaner, since it is being fixed under warranty. Here is an exact quote, "we only do loaners for one day service. If we gave a loaner to everyone who had it in for warranty work we wouldn't have any bikes." I'll let that statement speak for itself.

Since they couldn't reproduce the problem with it not starting, I told them I would come pick it up. Today I picked it up around 5:00 pm after work. I rode the motorcycle home, about 15 to 20 miles.

I then let it sit for a few hours, and went out to start it and see what happened. As can be imagined, it didn't start. This time however I created a video of it happening and will provide some snarky comments while showing the mechanics the video. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

5 Day Broke Down BMW Update

I had to leave the bike at the dealership from Sunday night until Tuesday morning, since they are closed on Mondays. Tuesday rolled around, and on my lunch break I swung by the dealership in the hopes that the bike had been stolen, which it had not been. I go to the service person and start to explain the issue. He tells me that it might be a couple weeks before they get to it, because they are so busy with the spring weather and people getting bikes out for service. He also tells me that he thinks the issue is the battery. I tell him I don't think that is the issue, and that it seems like an electrical short somewhere, but I don't argue the point. After all, he is the trained professional.

Later that afternoon he calls me up and tells me he checked the battery and it is fine. He plugged it into the diagnostics machine and nothing came back, and that the bike is starting just fine. Of course it is, I think, isn't that always how these things work.

"So, what could be the issue?" I ask.

"I don't know, right now there doesn't seem to be a problem."

"Well, why don't you ride it home for lunch today, and when you can't get back to work because it won't start, you will experience my issue."

He doesn't see the humor in my commentary, and says he will keep checking it.

The rest of the week goes past and I call Friday to get an update. This time I talk to another mechanic, who was on vacation when I dropped the bike off, and all he has to go from are the notes from the first mechanic. I explain the issue and through the conversation he brings up the idea that it might only happen with the engine is heated, some type of electrical short with the starter possibly. Hmm, I think, someone should have mentioned to the first mechanic the possibility of an electrical issue. He says he will try riding it around and see what happens, but it might be a week or two since they are so busy, and the first mechanic is on vacation.

Call me crazy, but if everyone is suddenly bringing their bikes into the dealer for service with the now warming weather, it seems like an odd time to be taking vacation. We do, after all, have eight months of rain and cold here in Seattle, eight months that might be more well suited for a motorcycle mechanic to take a vacation. But that's just me, being logical and all. And, as pointed out, also not a motorcycle mechanic.

I can't wait to see what next week will bring.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Motorcycle Troubles Day 2

First thing Sunday morning I decide to start troubleshooting issues with the bike. I put it on the trickle charger, just to be sure that isn't the issue. Even though the battery is only two years old, it could be an issue with the battery. I add some Sea-Foam to the fuel system, thinking maybe I got some bad gas at some point that was clogging the fuel injection. And I get out the owner's manual and start checking what limited information it contains, and I can actually access on the complicated machine.

After it is all done, I start it up, and it starts just fine. So, I let it sit for most of the day, when I decide to take it out and see how she runs. This time to Seattle, and a well populated area with phone service and nearby towing companies. I start the bike up, it starts fine and sounds fine, so I cruise on down to Seattle and meet a friend for some food. After we eat, I walk back to the bike and nothing. Not even a slight showing of wanting to start. We try the push and pop the clutch method that worked last time, but get no response from the bike. I'm thinking some kind of electrical connection issue at this point. So I call AMA Roadside Assist again.

Representative: Thank you for calling roadside assist. Are you in a safe place to talk?

Me: Yes

Representative: Do you in need of tow service?

Me: Yes.

Representative: Can I have the address please?

Me: I don't know the address

Representative: Is it okay if I use GPS services to locate your location?

Me: Yes

Representative: I'm showing you are at ….

Me: That's close to my location I think. The address across the street from the parking lot is….

Representative: Can I have the address of the destination.

Me: I don't know the address. It's Ride West BMW can you look it up?

Representative: I'm showing they are at …

Me: that sounds right.

We go back and forth just like the previous day, I get put on hold forever while I watch the battery slowly drain on my cell phone. I eventually hang up, and call my roommate for a ride to come pick me up, but he is drunk so he calls another friend of ours, and the two of them plan to meet me at the dealership. The roadside service calls back and tells me they found a tow-truck but it's an extra $45 dollars to the driver even though it's within the 35 miles included in my roadside assistance. I agree to pay it, just to get the bike to the dealer. The driver shows and we load the bike up and drop it off at the dealership. Leaving it in the parking lot, praying that it will get stolen at some point through the night. My friends arrive, and around 11:30 at night I finally arrive home and go to sleep to get a few hours before going to work the next day.

But wait… there is still more to come in this saga, as the bike is still at the dealer who can't seem to find a problem with it. Tune-in for my next post.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

John "The Gay Moralist" Corvino - Sodom and Gomorrah

Breakdowns and My Fancy BMW Motorcycle

Spring is arriving here in the Pacific Northwest, and with our first nice weekend, I texted a buddy to take our bikes out for a ride. First thing Saturday morning I'm up, doing my pre-ride checks and ready to roll when my buddy R. showed up. The route involved heading north out of Seattle via some back roads to the lovely little town of La Conner, across the Deception Pass Bridge, and back to the city via the Mukilteo ferry: similar to this route that I posted a while back.

A funny aspect of living in the northwest is how when the weather starts getting nice, everyone pours out of their homes and hibernation to enjoy the little vitamin D we get each year. The back roads to La Conner were packed with people out for a nice drive, and fellow riders running the winter fuel out of the gas tanks that had sat for so many months. So, after a few wrong turns through the farms on the way, we made it to La Conner, with the crowds and lack of parking, and found a place for lunch while we rested our sore asses. And my buddies sore balls, because he rides a crotch-rocket, and we exceeded the 20 minutes that a person can ride a crotch-rocket at any given period.

The La Conner Pub was a fantastic place to make a stop for food. We sat on the balcony watching the river flow past while I ate a chili burrito, something that I can't believe more restaurants don't offer. A burrito with chili on top are the perfect combination of foods, and this place makes it well. When we went back to the bikes, mine took a couple of attempts to get started, maybe the battery needed more time on the trickle charger I thought, or maybe the gage was wrong and I needed to fill up. If it was the battery, I wasn’t too worried since the alternator should be charging it while we rode. So, we stopped at station and I topped off the tank, which was about half full, and we were off to Deception Pass Bridge.

chili burrito

At Deception Pass the parking lots were ridiculously crammed full of cars and people, all with the same goal of enjoying a quick walk onto the bridge and snapping a few pictures, without being rained on.  One of the many advantages of motorcycle ownership, of course being, it is easier to find parking, We parked the bikes and walked for a few photo moments. Walked down to the beach area and checked out the asses on the occasional chicks that walked past, and enjoyed watching people skipping rocks with children in the sun.
Busy Road
The Beach from the bridge

Back at the parking lot, after piss breaks, we were ready to make the trip down to the ferry for the ride back to Mukilteo; when my not-quite three-year old, under four-thousand-mile, BMW motorcycle wouldn't start at all. Just like the earlier. I gave it a few more tries, we attempted to push it and pop the clutch, but with not even a slight kick of showing a desire to start, we began pulling the bike apart. Most motorcycle manufactures have the battery under the seat. This makes accessing it pretty easy, as a rider only needs to remove the seat. BMW however makes things a little more complicated. In involves removing the center fairing, via 6 separate screws. Two of which are kind of a pain in the ass to get too. The battery connection was fine, and the wires to the ignition and fuses looked were good. We couldn’t check the spark, because between the two of us, and a few other bikers who stopped to help, none of us could actually find where the plus were on the overly complicated BMW. The Harley guys sure enjoyed making fun of my non-running BMW while their Harley bikes were starting just fine.

After a while, we gave up on it and decided it was time to call my AMA Roadside Assistance. My T-Mobile service had no connection. Not a surprise, as they are known for the lack of coverage. R.’s Verizon phone had one bar of service, and after walking around the parking lot, climbing a hill, I got through. But the call dropped. So I tried again in another spot and was able to actually get a representative.

Representative: Thank you for call roadside assist. Are you in a safe place to talk?

Me: Yes

Representative: Thank you for call roadside assist. Are you in a safe place to talk?

Me: Yes

Representative: Thank you for call roadside assist. Can you hear me?

Me: Yes, I hear you.

We go back-and-forth and through a spattering of me yelling over the car noises and the Harley’s leaving with the unnecessarily loud exhaust, I began trying to tell her my situation when the call dropped. So I called again.

Representative: Thank you for call roadside assist. Are you in a safe place to talk?

Me: Yes

Representative: Thank you for call roadside assist. Are you in a safe place to talk?

Me: Yes

Representative: I am having a hard time hearing you.

Me: Yes, I know.

Representative: Can you change locations?

Me: don’t you think I would have if I could. I was just talking to someone and we got disconnected.

Representative: Let me try to connect you to that person. (Long pause while we watched the battery on the phone drain) The other representative is assisting someone else. It looks like you need a tow.

Me: Yes. I’m at Deception Pass Bridge.

Representative: Do you mind if I use GPS to find your location?

Me: That’s fine.

Representative: I’m showing you are at something, something on I-5

Me: No, that’s not close at all. I’m at the south-side of the bridge parking lot in Deception Pass

Representative:  Reception Pass?

Me: No Deception?

Representative: Where?

Me: Deception Pass Bridge. Deception, like you are deceiving someone.

Representative: Do you have the address of your location?

Me: No! It’s a bridge. Like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Except for it’s in Washington, and it’s called Deception Pass. If you send a tow truck from Anacortes or Oak Harbor they will know where it is! They can’t live here and not.

We go back and forth before getting cut off again. I hop on the back of R’s bike and we ride down to a nearby gas station, where we find a super helpful clerk who lets me use his phone.

I call again, and go through my story again, explaining that I don’t have an address again, or the address of the destination just the closes motorcycle dealer I can think of, because apparently they can’t look one up for me. And, she says she will call me back. Eventually I get a call, and find out that the only tow-truck that they can find is going to charge $145.00 per hour for a three hour minimum and it’s not covered by the 35 miles in my roadside assist program. So, after wasting literally hours of time, and as it is getting dark we decide to go back to the bike, give it one more try, and if not leave it, and come back Sunday with a truck to load it up, hoping that overnight someone will steal it.

Me: (To the clerk at the store) If you know anyone who happens to be interested in a motorcycle, there is a blue BMW that will be sitting overnight.

Back at the parking lot it has cleared out, so we decided to give it one more try with pushing it and popping the clutch. R. who is a heavy smoker starts pushing and huffing, and we get it going quick, I pop the clutch and it sputters and dies. But, with that hopeful sign we decide to give it a few more tries when some guy comes up and offers to help. Between the three of us, and a few more sputters and dying we finally get it running. It’s running like crap, but it is running. So, we head down to the ferry in the hopes on making it home. On the ride to the ferry the bike starts to run better, and sounds pretty good by the time we arrive. But, I still refuse to turn it off to the ire of the people working on the ferry, but, after explaining to them that my shutting it off might block cars getting off the ferry the let me off.

I make it home, well after dark and exhausted, and put the bike in the garage to deal with the next day. More to come on the next day.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Anger on a Plane

A post from occasional contributor FoxyNic

I don't always understand why I have the urges to be uncooperative or violent, perhaps It goes back to the animal instinct in me that just hasn't died out quite yet. Or perhaps it is in conjunction with lack of impulse control that follows anger issues. All I know is that there seems to be only two options, just accepting my fate or doing something about it. Now this is where it gets tricky; I could accept my fate and let the resentment built like the pressure behind a hose where the nozzle is off but the water its turned on full blast, this will most likely yield poor results as understood by how physics works eventually the pressure will become too much for the nozzle and blow shooting it off potentially maiming or even killing someone. Or the even more dangerous option: action. This only results in danger if the state of mind is in an irrational state. Although even rational people do irrational things. Sometimes I wish I had better control over how I responded to a situation. 

Case and point, here I am sitting on an airplane and after consuming a beverage in the morning to get me alert and able tolerate this four and a half hour flight, now at this point my bodily functions have alerted me that it is now time to void my bladder yet the flight attendant is currently passing out more beverages blocking the very narrow isle. This causes two problems for me; one, do I get up and use the restroom before they come possibly missing my chance to get a drink or do I wait until after they've passed by and I've finished my ginger ale? The rub here is that even after my drink is consumed; the process of handing them out takes much longer and now I am stuck to either wait as my bladder builds pressure and a possible infection ensues, or I can try my luck at using the first class lavatories. Unfortunately those are guarded just as tight at knox, which brings me to my inevitable irritation with the whole situation. Clearly first class passengers pay more for certain luxuries; larger seats, warm towels, better service, priority boarding, more room in general and closer lavatories. But why do they seem to get exclusive rights to the front lavatories, how many first class passengers are there in ratio to coach passengers; that's a lot more bladders and a lot more urine. So i sit here contemplating my options and i think about what might happen if i try my luck at the first class bathrooms; of prior experience, the stewardess will tell me i need to go back to my seat or try my luck with the rear bathrooms as these only for select passengers.

Now i wouldn't say i have a short fuse or that i am some kind of psychopath but after being put through the song and dance that is now our airport security, the fact that i have to bag up my tiny little bottles of "liquid", remove my shoes, pay extra to check my bag, and get visibly molested by full body scanners I'm definitely worse for the wear. Not to mention when i get to my gate instead of a nice civilized line its some hoard of people all trying to force their way on to the plane first, the so called order they try to apply to boarding gets lost as there are a million exceptions to the rules so that half of the passengers that weren't supposed to be seated are already on the plane taking up overhead storage space. Don't even get me started on the price gouging the comes mid air with internet access and horrible plane food that one can barely stomach in the first place at prices that would cause riots back on land. This all on top of my other neurosis in my life; am i going to do well at my new job, will i survive the weekend with my family, will i get any sleep with the time difference, what will become of my relationship.

However even after being called the weaker sex i can still manage to not to lose my shit, literally. Although the pressure on bladder is persistent and all i can imagine is throwing a fit in the front when the attendant refuses to let me pass; i imagine cussing at her and the front passengers exclaiming loudly about the unfairness and then popping a squat in the middle of the isle and pissing all over the shitty fabricated "carpet" feeling such a sense of vengeance and relief. The pure carnal satisfaction of relieving my bowels where i know it is wrong, yet so right. Now we all know per the world wide news from the breakdown of mental faculties in other individuals that this behavior would cause an immediate landing and most likely a spot on the no fly list. Since i like to travel, especially to see my family, i can only fantasize about this outburst in my mind. Smirking about how wonderful it would be to right a so ridiculous wrong with out the grave consequences to follow. 

Yet i continue to sit here typing away instead. This is my solace, instead of suffering in silence i let my imagination complete the horrid task the impulses in my primal brain, the ultimate offense and yet the most baser need of a human. Which is why i say no exclusive bathrooms, not in public buildings or restaurants and not in air planes. Though i don't have any control over my imagination and all the sick and twisted things that go dancing about in my brain i do however have some control of my body; besides the fact that i have to ask two people to move out of their seats before i can even reach the isle. So inevitably and rationally i wait with out complaint or snide remark for my seat and cell mate to get up and politely as ever used this opportunity to use the bathroom as well. Unfortunately to him this was an excuse to try and become chummy with me, and if you are like me the last thing on your mind is to have a meaningless conversation with some stranger that you'll never see again on a tin can with the words Alaska Airlines plastered on the outside. Especially when you feel as if your bladder is about to pop. So. Mr. Chatty and i make our way to the rear of the plane and wait in the accumulating line of people who also had to make that difficult decision to wait or not to wait.

They might be trying to engineer a new, cleaner, more streamlined bathroom for new planes and let me tell you it isn't happening soon enough. I suppose you'll have to pay more for a ticket to use those puppies too, as if this world isn't racking one large bill per person already. Soon it'll be like the movie the lorax where large corporations make bottled air a commodity and give ads men job advertising it to rubes. So i complete my business; relieved and ready to get out of the tiny stinking closet and trying to avoid getting get that nasty blue "liquid" on my pants, when i step out only to find the trash pickup cart heading my way and as i look around i realize there is no where for me to get around it. The result is realize myself and the four others who just wanted to get back to the cement block that is our seats have to stuff back into the sewer boxes to allow the cart to pass. So i curl back behind the door keeping is cracked slightly as not to plunge into complete darkness except to get by the stewardess with the cart has to forcibly shut my door to jam the damn thing by trapping me in the lavatory. If you can imagine the fear and disgust when faced with no escape from this flying disease trap and my urge to vomit was very strong in those seconds that felt like an hour. Finally free from the tiny hole i made my way back in line with the other sardines in row 22, praying to the diety of flight that i wouldn't have to use the bathroom again.