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I've wanted to make a long post for a while but I've been busy with other things. So hold on, this might be it.

I was going to post about my going through performance car withdrawal. The Cavalier is gawd-awful and the vans aren't all that much fun either. I'm sick of mushy brakes, slack throttle response, comically bouncy suspensions... Commuting is such drudgery in that Cavalier. I would have gone insane last summer if I had had that instead of my RX-7.

Before that I was going to post about the Stealth. As in, they finally were able to fix it. The cost was high, very high. $1,516.00. I'm still reeling from that, believe me. My broker in Minnesota is not happy. It's about $600 above my tax refund. Just kick me in the groin next time, okay?

Now though, I can post about my drive home. Yay! Finally back in the saddle of a great ride. I was starting to feel like a soccer mom. The car feels incredibly solid, stops very well, and still handles like it's on rails. It's so amazingly sure-footed and long-legged. I mean, it's not exactly a news flash that a Dodge Stealth Turbo is a better ride and more fun than a Chevy minivan, is it?

Today I picked up a lady and her three kids in Ponder. She was really cool. She plays AD&D, but not the "tabletop" variety I'm used to. No, she has a group (similar to the Society for Creative Anachronisms) that goes out and PLAYS AD&D! We were talking spells and Scarborough Fair and 3rd Edition Rules by the time I dropped her off. The fact that she had 3 kids seemed incongruous.

10 days till allergy season begins.

The Sheila Divine had a new album out yesterday. A must-have. Their last, New Parade, is an album that speaks to the condition of being an aging twenty-nothing in 21st Century America better than almost any other.

I have an addenda to the "reasons manuals are better than automatics".
�In addition to being able to downshift so as to not press the throttle as hard to achieve better fuel efficiency, it's also possible to UPshift sooner to find the best cruising gear and to go into neutral going down a hill
�Most manuals have a tachometer, many automatics don't
�Manual transmissions weigh less
�A skilled driver can shift a good manual transmission quicker than an automatic transmission will shift
�Manuals are faster!

Rhakka (not Reakwon) was understanding about my reasons for not being able to be his captain. It was sure hard to say no!

That dumb bitch Laura Miller is gone for the final week of Charley's vacation... in her place? Ernie Brown!! Woah! I haven't heard him in lessee over 2 years at least. He did a really good job with the show that was on right before Charley's when Charley did the Overnight.

Seen these Levi's commercials with the worst singers in the world trying to karaoke to "Karma Chameleon"? Am I the only one who finds these a tad audacious? No scratch that, they annoy the hEll out of me! And I'm decidedly not being sold on their clothes, either.

How many will Michael Schumacher win in a row? He's up to 6.

While we were searching for duo's bike, we were trying out all kinds of floor models. I tried one out and as soon as I sat on it I was shocked! The seat was so soft--shock absorbers under it, great full shape, lots of gel inside. My bike has about a millimeter of padding on the seat. They have upgrade seats and I'm seriously thinking of one. Then there were the brakes. Now, the brakes on mine are barely adequate. The back brake isn't even connected and the front only slightly affects speed. I was totally unprepared for how amazing the brakes were on this store bike. I yanked the brake and did a stoppie in the store!! I tried it again and did another!! The lady thought I was a stunt rider. No, just phenomenal brakes. duo's bike is your basic one gear, coaster brake (no hand brakes), 20" wheel no frills starter bike. It's insanely maneuverable. I feel like I'm on a hoverboard or something on it, it's hard to describe. It just goes where I think of going the millisecond I think of it. I can wheelie it at will (probably not good for it), it turns on a dime, and it's geared extremely low for torque. I can lean it back and forth at obscene angles. Fun machine. He's already learning all the tricks.

They're doing those fun rolling blackouts in California again. I saw a news bit about SoCal's overpopulation problems and all its other problems, and I'll tell you, you couldn't pay me enough to live there. One shot of the highway was like looking at a Photoshop-powered exaggeration, but it was real...

I continue to find all kinds of great areas to go riding in through my job. I have a list. The job is like research. It really doesn't feel like work, except I have had one pretty busy day where I had to rush around trying to find the best logistical solution and appease everyone... And I got a paycheck. Which felt great.

Before their last loss, the Mavs had won 6 in a row, very convincingly. This is a STRONG team. I'd say they're in the top 5 right now.

My assessment of the Chevy Venture/Pontiac Montana minivans: the handling is passable--road feel through the wheel is better than a few cars I've driven but worse than most--you can tell it's a unibody rather than body-on-frame, but you can also tell it's got cheapo suspension and a way too high center of gravity; the suspension leaves a lot to be desired--heavy body roll, hurlinducing reaction to bumps on the freeway, no signals that the limits of adhesion are being reached; the throttle response is a joke, but there's evidence to suggest that if this were a manually-shifted vehicle, harnassing the power would be much easier; ergonomics are actually pretty darn good--the controls are well laid-out, the seat is not near as bad as you might expect in a soccer mom van, the instrument panel is excellent, and the sound system rocks; brakes..... SCARY--there is very little feel, the things fade at the drop of a hat, the balance is extremely awkward (feels like braking force is weighted toward the back), ultimate braking force is very low, there's no bite, and everything just mushes along--I'd guess stopping distances are about twice what they are in the Stealth. Too bad they don't have an Impala or Bonneville or even a Malibu to drive.

Hmm, someone left a newspaper cutout on my door. It concerns the model year closeout at the Italian bike shop in Dallas. I've never been, but I should check it out. It would be worth it to see the Ducs and the Prillers. It says on this ad, "Ducatis starting at $5995!" Unfortunately, the Monster 600 started at $5895 in 2000, so I'm not sure which bike they mean. The picture is of a Duc SS900, the very same model I see every Monday night on my walk to class (except that one's red). Anyways, whoever this was, thanks.

I'll cut this short and continue Thursday evening. But here's the return of the bike pic of the day. It's the concept bike for the new Yamaha MT-01. Is that not a tough looking bike? And those exhaust pipes double as bun warmers.