Archive for Everything else

DubFx, Not the Usual Human Beat Box

I am trying to keep up with a number of demands these days and at the same time prepare for the big move to northern Virginia. Most of my Internet time activity has been relegated to late-night surfing and listening to other people’s podcasts. In among the usual Stumble-upon ad-supported sites I happened upon this Vimeo video of DubFx. He is an Australian named Ben Stanford. Credit goes to geeksaresexy.net for compiling several of his performances. This is a seven minutes sample of what he does, a little long, but stick with it and you will hear something unique.

Dub FX ‘Love Someone’ on Vimeo.

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Denver’s Vintage Moto Gets News Coverage

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I mentioned this museum, Vintage Moto (closed in 2013) in a post after my last trip to Denver. A few days ago, a local Denver TV station did a story on the owner Jim Dillard. He has an amazing collection of small displacement Italian motorcycles from the 1960s. You can see an article about Jim at the following link.

Good News…for me.

I have been pondering this post for the past week. It was about this time seven days ago I accepted another dream job. However, like owning a vintage Vespa, it comes with both risks and rewards. Those of you who know me might say I am a professional do-gooder. I have always worked in social services and in the past ten years, probably through sheer persistence or luck have become a minor celebrity influential in advocacy and politics, mostly  in Virginia.

In August I will be moving to the Washington DC area to continue my do-gooder ways, but it means leaving the Richmond scooter community behind. To some of you, this means nothing, but you must understand that old Richmond has a traditional southern village feel and outsiders are not easily welcomed into the grits and fatback circle that is the south. Amazingly, the Seven Hills Scooter Club is a southern anomaly. It is a curious combination of carpetbaggers, old-timers and young southerners who all flock together around our love for scooters. Regardless of your ride or your scoot-cred, you are never an outsider and anyone who shows up, dues paying or not is treated like a member.

Many thanks to Chelsea, Rick, Ed, Brendan, Dave the Mechanic, the myth legend known as Munn and many more club and ScootRichmond patrons for support of Scootercast and being so kind to an outsider. I will be attending my last Friday night parking lot scoot-in tomorrow night at ScootRichmond to witness the movie madness of “This is Spinal Tap” and revel in one more inclusive event that welcomes even an aging, slightly socially inept scooter nerd like me.

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Scooting Back into Your Life

If I were Catholic I would be saying, forgive me father, it has been four weeks since my last post. For those of you waiting for the disparaging words of self loathing and apologies, forget it. The fact is, I have a busy life and the best I have been able to do is store up the scraps of notes I have been making in anticipation of a soon to come barrage of insights, reflections and clever anecdotal scooter stories. All I can say is you’ll have to be the judge of that.

One point of interest in my life has been the travel I have been doing over the past few months. I have been out to Denver, where on my way to check out the new Ducati Streetfighter

Ducati Streetfighter

I stumbled upon a basement motorcycle museum that contains almost every vintage Italian motor bike I have ever lusted after. While driving down Market Street I caught a glimpse of a 90cc MV Agusta out of the corner of my eye. Since Market Street is one way, I circled back around the block and pulled up beside a fully restored masterpiece. Next to the bike sat a small sign pointing to a basement entrance of a warehouse that is Vintage Motos It houses hundreds of original and restored motorcycles, including Ducati, Giliera, Italjet, Motoguzzi, Parillia bikes and more. Most are under 250cc. What makes this such a find is that in order to do a quality restoration, one the best reference points is having access to an original specimen and at Vintage Moto, they have one of just about every 50s or 60s Italian bike imported. They even have a few rare scooters, like the 1956 Rumi Formuchino (Little Ant).

MV Agusta

So here’s my returning gift to you, a new place to check when trying to source parts or a place to go to get a first hand view of what a real Italian import survivor look like. For a small fee, you can ogle, touch (if you talk nice to the owner), speak Vintage Italian and take lots of detailed pictures. Check out all my pictures from the museum  HERE.

Stay tuned for a new podcast and a recap of my recent visit to Seattle and a return to my roots in the Pacific Northwest.

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Scooter Rallies and a Pinball Championship – Episode 92

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2009 Dogwood ClassicThe 7hills scooter club rally is coming up in a few weeks. That is usually a ride out into the country, with camping and bonfires in an area where club members can stay out of trouble and avoid doing too much damage to themselves. The 2009 Dogwood Classic scooter rally will be held at Heavenly Acres Campground in Stanardsville, VA Friday, May 15 to Sunday, May 17.

Another big spring rally here on the east coast is the New York City Scooter Club block party, which is scheduled for the end of May. Their club motto is: If you have a Scooter, you’re in the Club. The block party, held in Brooklyn and attracts scoot fans from all over the northeast. I am jealous of our New York friends. They have a vibrant scooter scene and at least a dozen legitimate scooter shops to choose from in the New York city area.

NYC Scooter Club Block Party

Here is taste of what they have:

epclogo250black In my world, scooters are connected to many of my other interests and activities. One of those interests is a life long fascination with pinball machines. Nick Bennett happens to be one of those fellows whos life is dominated by pinball. I came across Nick’s website a
Nick Bennett few months ago, while referencing the Las Vegas Pinball Museum and later heard from him in an email about this summers European tournament. Although a bit of a digression from scooting, I think you will find this conversation interesting and most likely will see some similarities in Nicks passion for pinball and our passion for scooters. Listen to the podcast for all the details

Music for this show is by Telling on Trixie a New York based band that has gathered a big web. I first heard about Telling on Trixie two years ago at podcamp New York. Checkout their website.

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Back from WordCamp Denver

BarCamp/WordCamp Miami 2009
Image by seanosh via Flickr

This is my first post since attending Wordcamp Denver, where I was encouraged to write more about what I believe. Over and over, speakers talked about how “influence is not created by how many people you know, but by how freely you share your ideas and connect with people.” I have known for a long time that “knowledge is power” and when I was traveling a few weeks ago, this proved to be very true. It has been a day of bad weather on the east coast and my original early morning flight out of Denver on Delta was canceled. According to the ticket agent I wasn’t going to get home until midnight the next day, if I was lucky, so I should give up and come back the next day. I stood looking at hundreds of people standing in line, some yelling, others crying, most resigned to having sleep in the floor, eat crappy airport food and have their lives be miserable for the next two days.
You might say, “so what” this is air travel these days and even if it is uneventful, it sucks. But with millions of air-miles under my belt I have learned that there are a lot of secrets to traveling. First, I never believe what the ticket agent says and second I aways smile and say “yes sir/miss”. In this case I backed away and jumped on my wireless laptop and pulled out my Iphone to call Delta. The search was on for an alternative flight. Within 15 minutes I had purchased an affordable flight through Dallas/Ft Worth and began dreaming of sleeping in my own bed.
Another truth I have learned is that in many cases “those who know don’t say and those who say, don’t know”. Realizing this has made me rather intolerant of people withholding information. Although it may be revered in business as “a competitive advantage”, I think that in everyday life it becomes a way to demean others and neglect another truth I believe in, that we are all responsible for “the greatest good”.
Sitting in the airport last week, I calmly clicked to confirmed my ticket on line thinking “knowledge is power”. The Delta airline employees herd hundreds of people around, yelling, “stay in line. This is the only way to get re-booked”. As I walked away, I pulled a mother with two kids aside and said, “use you cellphone, call the Delta desk while you stand here, rebook over the  phone. You have to take care of yourself, they aren’t going to take care of you.”

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The Vespa 180ss and Going Back to Denver – Episode 89

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Spring is fast approaching here in the capital city of the south. This has meant working hard to get all my scooters running. My favorite scoot is the 1965 Ferrari red Vespa 180ss, but for most of the winter it has had suffered from the sniffles and congestion along with a loss of power when ever I leaned into the throttle. The other problem was it wouldn’t run without being choked into unconsciousness. What do you think? bad petrol, clogged jets, bad points, an air leak…the possibilities just get worse from there. I took it to ScootRichmond and Dave asked about my tinkering history with the little beauty. I had removed the carburetor, cleaner the fuel screen, replaced the carb/case gasket, pulled and cleaned the jets, flushed the air cleaner and adjusted the air/fuel mixture. But what I hadn’t done is completely disassemble the carburetor. When I pick up my scoot, Dave showed me the float and bowl which was still covered with grime and rust, a remnant from the old rusted gas tank. Once again, a great example of a job halve done.

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wordcamp-denver

I am headed out west this weekend to attend the WordCamp Denver. The conference is created for enthusiasts, users, developers, designers, and fans of WordPress, an open source software platform that functions as the backbone of many websites like SCTRCST.  WordCamp will cover a lot of technical stuff, but also offers a track on blogging and content development. Hopefully a full day of geeking out with other bloggers will inspire and teach me a few things about writing and communicating with readers.

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Thanks to Erik, Steve and all the other Denver fans who have been emailing invitations to get together. The members of the Misfit Toys Scooter Club even offered to hound Sportique Scooters into put me on a scooter for their Sunday ride. Unfortunately, I get to Denver mid-day Friday, I’m in Camp all day Saturday and then up early Sunday to catch a 7 o’clock flight back to the east coast. If you are not already doing so, follow me on twitter we might be able to do an impromptu tweet-up. If it doesn’t happen, I am planning to be back a month or two in time for the spring thaw.

Music for this show features Ben Hammond and is from the Pod safe Music Network.

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Super 8mm Isn’t Just for Home Movies

This is “The Morning Run – Mizuno Ad“, Patrick Barry’s promo for sports company Mizuno was shot on 10 cartridges of 200T Vision 2 negative film stock with a Canon 1014E camera. Go to www.bluellamastudios.com for more on Patrick’s work. I happened upon this while looking into a post on scooters and retro-technology. What makes this fascinating is that this and a whole world of 8 mm camera fanatics are out there making beautiful clips, while the rest of us (me included) are fiddling around with little flip video cameras. Check out onsuper8.org where “The technology of yesterday becomes the artform of today”

Kodachrome 40 KMA464P Super 8 Cartridge
Image via Wikipedia
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About Scooters and More Important Things – Episode 85

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Some of you know that my politics lean a bit left. At one point in my life I think my family might have worried that I was part of the weather underground. Over the years I have morphed into a passionate community organizer. This was a good week. It started with an old fashion rally at the State capital that drew more than 500 people. Later that same say, people with all kind of disabilities flooded the committee hearing and demanded a voice in determining state budget cuts. Watching it all I thought to myself, this is the right thing to do.

After all the excitement and several long days, it was good to get back home and be able to retreat to the garage. I spent most of the day Friday, fashioning a new ignition coil, but even with the extra work I get no spark. This is another caution, before you take on restoring a piece of forty year old junk, triple check the availability of parts. I figure that I have two options, I either wait and hope that a new stator emerges from some dusty shelf or I go see if Dave the mechanic can construction some form of hybrid solution.

I have been noticing a number of scooter blogs that have started up in the past year and then have gone silent. So what happened? I think I know. I get focused on other things and all of a sudden it has been a week since I have posted. The other thing I rediscover is that bloggin and pod casting is work. You have to be disciplined, organized yourself and set a schedule or it just doesn’t happen. On January 29th I will have finished two years of blogging and pod casting. Come to think of it, thats a lot of talking (writing).

Webpicks

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  • Copart is a leading online remarketer of vehicles including scooters and motorcycles, selling more than 1 million vehicles per year.

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  • A very popular scooter post this week had to do with a Portuguese craftsman Carlos Alberto who hand built a beautiful wooden Vespa

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Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network and features The Plastic Soul Band

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Scooting Today? But Baby it’s Cold Outside – Episode 84

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Cold weather doesn’t start in Richmond, VA until January and is usually over by the end of February. That’s not a season, that’s cold snap. So scooting here is mostly a matter of bundling up and staying warm. My prep consisted of purchasing a new riding suit.It is a First Gear one-piece, medium weight, lined and has reflective material sewn into the suit. It is large enough to step into and to fits over any of my other riding gear, without feeling like a wet suit. You know, the kind that you have to peel off? If you order one, be careful not to go too large, they are big.

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The new and old bike both appreciate a little winterizing with Sta-bil. The treatment is good for running in cold damp weather and if you are going to store your scoot for any length of time as it keeps adatives in the fuel from detriorating and removes water that might get into the tank through condensation.

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For other other old weather riding suggestions I am going to suggest a David Westman post at the SQREAM scooter Club. David rides his scooter all winter long and is the founder of the Denver SQREAM (Scooter Queers Riding Everywhere and More). He writes about about clothing, scooter maintanance and riding/road conditions.

This Weeks Webpicks

Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network and features the Brendan Boogie Band

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The Mother Ship is Down but Episode 82 is Up

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I got the blue screen of death last week when I went to power up my main computer. I was trying to think green and powered it down for the first time in months. It is still down, so I turned to my laptop to produce this week’s podcast (sorry about the audio quality). I have gotten a few comments and emails about using the scooter forums and on the show talked about my point of view.

In the spirit of open communication most of the forums are very lightly moderated. This means you get all kinds of information and feedback, sometime very critical feedback. Don’t you love the ones that end with “you suck, die you idiot”. So who do I believe? I always suggest that you first develop friendships in your local scooter community. This is a significant for me to say, because I tend to be a real loner. But you need these contacts with people you can trust. I like the web and count on my internet friends, but it doesn’t take the place of sitting down with someone while you are stripping an engine.

As for the other big question, “do buy local or buy on the web?” I say, it depends. Since I have a local scooter shop I know from experience that I can trust their recommendations. I also know what they can’t do for me. Around here, it can take forever to get some things done or to get parts, so I have gotten comfortable in going to the web for things I know I can’t get locally. The trick is you must know your own scoot, do your research before you buy and never spend more on an internet purchase than you can afford to loose.

Scooter Web Picks

Music for this show is from the Pod safe music network. Featured are Kick and Holler by Dare Dukes and Keep Movin Jaik Miller Band