The musings of a cantankerous over the hill greasemonkey who, though already old, is rather old for his age. I'll bust greasy knuckles out in the garage or argue politics with anyone who will stand for it....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The New Basis of Civilization

"In a wholesale transformation of the old Puritan moralism, expressed by Benjamin Franklin (admittedly no Puritan) with the motto "Be frugal and free," the early twentieth century saw the moral legitimation of spending. One symptom Lears points to is a 1907 book with the immodest title The New Basis of Civilization,by Simon Nelson Patten, in which the moral valence of debt and spending is reversed, and the multiplication of wants becomes not a sign of dangerous corruption but part of the civilizing process. That is, part of the disciplinary (emphasis mine) process. As Lears writes, "Indebtedness could discipline workers, keeping them at routinized jobs in factories and offices, graying but in a harness, meeting payments regularly." Robert B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mechanic's Feel

"There's what's called, "mechanic's feel," which is very obvious to those who know what it is, but hard to describe to those that don't; and when you see someone working on a machine who doesn't have it, you tend to suffer with the machine." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Moral Victory

I had an awesome week away for a little Western UP snowmobiling and friend time which is always a therapeutic exercise. My time upon the return before heading back to the saltmines today was spent largely examining my bellybutton and trying to gird for my return to the ranks of the gainfully employed. I did allow myself a little shop time Monday to mock the motor into place on the hardtail project. I set an old superglide tank on just to make the bike look a little more like a bike for imagination's sake. The plan is to run 3.5 gallon tank shift fat bobs but setting the motor in place made the process seem a lot less impossible. I'm happy....

Friday, February 15, 2013


"I like the word "gumption" because it's so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks like it needs a friend and isn't likely to reject anyone who comes along." ~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Student

"The college student interviews for a job as a knowledge worker, and finds that the corporate recruiter never asks him about his grades and doesn't even care what he majored in. He senses that what is demanded of him is not knowledge but rather that he project a certain kind of personality, an affable complaisance. Is all his hard work in school somehow just for show- his ticket to a Potemkin meritocracy? There seems to be a mismatch between form and content, and a growing sense that the official story we've been telling ourselves about work is somehow false." ~Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sentries of the Past

"It's strange how old, obsolete buildings and plants and mills, the technology of fifty and a hundred years ago, always seems to look so much better than the new stuff. Weeds and grass and wildflowers grow where the concrete has cracked and broken. Neat, squared, upright lines acquire a random sag. The uniform masses of unbroken color of fresh paint modify to a mottled, weathered softness. Nature has a non-Euclidian geometry of her own that seems to soften the deliberate objectivity of these buildings with a kind of random spontaneity that architects would do well to study." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Mentor

"His Orange bus, with wheel wells cut away to accomodate large off road tires in the back, was a chaotic treasure trove of superb American handguns, Snap-on tools, and VW parts. The darkness behind the cab carried a sharp note of Berryman's B-12 Chemtool on top of a more subtle smell that is generic to mechanics-- a mixed up aroma of various petroleum distillates that had been oxidized by combustion, thickened with road grime and ripened on a substrate of shop rags to the point of acquiring substance." ~Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft

Transmission Mock Up

Set the transmission in for fun. The Ratchet top gets a little tight to the oil tank but it'll loosen up with the hand shift top on...

Friday, February 1, 2013

An old Hardtail Project

Six or eight years ago, I started putting this together and got sucked into the current of "Project Drift" I think I started thinking about all the tweaks that would make it more "cool" and the desire to impress made completion elusive. I wish I would have just bolted it up and put a plate on it back then. That won't happen again. Once you get comfortable with your inner dork, this shit gets easier...


"To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top." ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance