Refurbishing the triple tree on the 250, adding flushed turn signals. The ZX7 is getting new body panels due to some road rash, and I might just order a set of flushed signals for it, too. I'm not really interested in "pimping my bike," but those stick-out turn signals are so easy to whack that I'm just waiting for one of them to break, again.
On the ZX7 the turns are rubber and just rest inside the fairings. When I bought it, one of these was broken, apparently as a result of careless handling of a stroller. Not one week after replacing it, $wife and I were sharing a parking space, and when we went to leave, and when she threw a leg over, her right foot smacked the signal, knocking it out of the fitting. Luckily, it just popped back in, and wasn't damaged.
The 250 is a different story. The 250's turns are harder plastic. They don't break away like the ones on the ZX7. So when I bonked the turn signal, it acted like a lever and actually cracked the fairing. The crack is about seven inches long. This was particularly shitty, as when it cracked, it revealed that the previous owner had painted over the Kawasaki green OEM paint with this black and maroon job. Only they didn't sand and primer it or anything, they just sprayed over the paint. It's really kind of a miracle the paint is still on the bike. At any rate, the flushed signals are going to be much more difficult to break off the bike. I don't think I'm going to bother replacing the fairing, as the fairing is over $500 (my guess is this is because it's a newer bike – but only by five years , and I certainly wouldn't be able to recoup that costs. Furthermore, I can't replace it with the same paint job due to the idiot painting over the OEM color. I'd really have to replace all the body panels, which would run me more than I paid for the bike.
29 January, 2009
What do novels about a journey across post-apocalyptic America, a clone waitress rebelling against a future society, a world-girdling pipe of special gas keeping mutant creatures at bay, a plan to rid a colonisable new world of dinosaurs, and genetic engineering in a collapsed civilisation have in common?
They are all most definitely not science fiction.
Literary readers will probably recognise The Road by Cormac McCarthy, one of the sections of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway, Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood from their descriptions above. All of these novels use the tropes of what most people recognise as science fiction, but their authors or publishers have taken great pains to ensure that they are not categorised as such.
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway has just had its paperback release, and is a tour-de-force of ninjas, truckers, Dr Strangelove-type military men, awe-inspiring imagery and very clever writing. It's also undeniably science fiction. Harkaway is an unrepentant fan of the genre, but his publishers William Heinemann have taken a lot of care not to market the book as such. Harkaway himself said in a recent interview: "I suppose the book does take place in the future, but not the ray-guns-and-silver-suits future. It's more like tomorrow if today was a really, really bad day."
That last line is particularly nice. I'm not going to criticize Harkaway because frankly, I haven't read the work. I just think the line is particularly misleading. Would we consider Total Recall to be Science Fiction? How about Blade Runner? It's bridging on the silly, but what about Idiocracy?
The only reason the piece irks me is it seems that they're trying ever so hard to distance themselves from Science Fiction, that plague on literature. What exactly is so horrid? (that is to say, that makes it more horrid than any other genre)
28 January, 2009
25 January, 2009
And once the contract has been negotiated, the serfdom of the workers is doubly increased; or to put it better, before the contract has been negotiated, goaded by hunger, he is only potentially a serf; after it is negotiated he becomes a serf in fact. Because what merchandise has he sold to his employer? It is his labor, his personal services, the productive forces of his body, mind, and spirit that are found in him and are inseparable from his person - it is therefore himself. From then on, the employer will watch over him, either directly or by means of overseers; everyday during working hour and under controlled conditions, the employer will be the owner of his actions and movements. When he is told: "Do this," the worker is obligated to do it; or he is told: "Go there," he must go. Is this not what is called a serf?
Actually, I suppose it would make me more of an anarchist, but I'm not really a true anarchist. I'm also not an antitheist, and not even really agnostic. From my past I might consider the term "panentheist" or "enentheist," but hongwanji buddhist works equally well and doesn't disagree with either term (yes, en-en-theist). At any rate, the quote is Mikhail Bakunin. Kind of a shady character as philosophers go, but the above quote has pretty well nailed the particular stone in my sandals of late: you're fucked.
Those two words sum it up even better than Mr. Bakunin, but he of course puts it more eloquently. How am I to do anything else in my life but what I do, if I must pay to do something else, and in order to pay for it, I must do what I do? If I wish to become a painter or cement-layer, I must stop what I am doing ("computer stuffs"), learn the trade of the cement-layer or painter, and then proceed from the lowermost-ranks of either trade to the point where I've achieved income parity with where I am today. Of course, it's taken me more than a decade to get to my current income level, and I think there's room for improvement there, anyways (really, I'd rather stuff cost less than my income increase, but I know I can affect one thing and not the other).
I can't interview for positions that the square-pegs-square-holes people think I'm not capable of because I'm clearly already a Unix dweeb. What do I do? Throw the résumé out, show up at a school, cash in hand, to learn either trade? How do I finance that? Do I expect my wife to be able to sustain both of us as I transition from "being mostly fucked" to "being less fucked"? Is that reasonable?
Frankly, all those things I was taught as a child, except for very vague generalizations, have been shown wrong, one by one. Every single thing. From "college degrees mean more money" to "drugs are bad" or even "geeks are de facto not cool," they're all patently false. Those very vague generalizations – basically grouped into: don't get hurt, don't get caught, and do what makes you happy – are pretty hard to go wrong by. But if people had told me when I was fourteen that the world was basically the worst-case scenario, that I was a pessimist and hated everyone, but in reality the world was far worse than even I thought back then, I'd have corrected a number of idiotic pursuits.
Why do people persist in telling these lies to eachother, to the next generation? Stay in school, or save X% of your income, or get a good job, these are all pretty stupid. On contemplation, I have to believe that the only reason people perpetuate these lies – there, I've said it – is their abject fear that the world is not what they wish to see; the world is in fact as bad as they fear; the next generation is aided whatsoever by your attempt at procreation; telling children lies fills the empty space between their ears, as John Locke tells us, but it does not make them fitter, better, happier people. It does not build character, and the notion of "building character" itself is a fucking sham. "Character" is what other people perceive you to be, not what you are. What you are is subjective and only quantifiable from your point of view, and that point of view is exactly the opposite of relevant to anyone else. So, let's just throw the notion that one can change the way other people perceive them right the fuck out the window.
Can we move along now?