?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

What I did with my winter break.

Classes start tomorrow: Excited! I always love the spring "Science, Technology, and Society" course, and even the "Foundations of Technical Writing" course is satisfying (doing two sections). Also doing a couple of Advanced Technical Writing and Editing sections, but they're very small this semester, and they'll be helping on projects I need to write anyway. Plus one or two independent study SF students. So, overall, WAY fewer classes and students than last semester.

So what did I do with my winter break? First and foremost, recovered from a semester wherein I taught 10 courses (three large, three medium, and an assortment of courses with 1-3 students in them). What was I thinking? Well, I figured that, because most of them contained only a student or three, it would be no big deal. WRONG. If you are a teacher, DON'T EVER DO THIS. A class is a class, regardless of how many people enroll, and often those 1-3 person classes consumed more an hour every week. Now add three sections of technical writing (16 writing projects times 70 students) and the others, and WHOA. Oh, and I do try to have a writing career and life in there, too. I'm learning better how to say, "No." That's a toughie for me.

So after recovering a bit (this included watching the box-sets of Harry Potter, among other things), I did a lot of neglected house, garage, and yard-work; tinkered with the vehicles; hung out a bunch with people; and did finally build up enough reserves to get some writing done. This included tons of outlining, scene-writing, and other work on The True-Life Space Adventures of Jack and Stella; lots of thinking and outlining on my keynote talk for the University of Central Oklahoma's Liberal Arts Symposium on science fiction and the liberal arts; and even resumed work on my memoir, Stories from a Perilous Youth. I didn't finish any writing projects, but them's the breaks when working on book-length things.

Yesterday I got my 1978 BMW R100S up and running again! Took some create effort to reassemble the frame (I had to disassemble it to remove a dead battery), do some rust and wiring repairs, and get the fuel system operational again, but it was still in the 50s yesterday afternoon when I went for a ride. ON MY MOTORCYCLE. IN JANUARY. I'm just sayin'. Awesomeness. Even got a photo when I visited some friends who had never seen the bike running before. That's satisfying. Next up: painting and installing the vintage Hannigan fairing I picked up a couple of years ago. I've decided to go with red to match the tank and seat frame rather than the color-fade orange of the front fender (and side-panel lettering, thus likely the original color). I have other (evil) plans in mind, too, that involve giving this bike a bit of Mad Max character... bwahahahaha!

A few days ago I had to carve the lock out of my back door. Long story. Let's just say that a variety of power tools, pry bars, and other implements were involved. This could have been an awful experience, but thanks to [profile] chernobylred, it actually turned out to be an adventure. One I needn't repeat, mind you, but an adventure nonetheless. I can't tell you how much fun it is to Sawzall a much-despised sliding-glass door. The having-to-replace-it-now part is less fun, but I'm thinking of going all Mad Max with this, too, using steel plates and an absurdly over-the-top lock while I consider back-door options. Video of the carnage to come (seriously).

And in honor of a winter we have yet to see 'round these parts, this: A crow sledding down a snowy rooftop:



Hope your holidays were wonderful, too. Happy New Year!

Best,
Chris

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
normalcyispasse
Jan. 18th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
Hey, congrats on the bike! You know I have my '82 CX500 Turbo back on the road, right? And a garage full of other bikes? :)
mckitterick
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks! You temptor with your garage full o' bikes....
normalcyispasse
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
I spent the bulk of today working on the KLR, trying to figure out why the hell I was getting loud, obnoxious backfires on compression braking.

After disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the carburetor -- as well as cleaning and oiling the air filter and making numerous other adjustments -- I found the problem.

It helps when, especially on a single cylinder engine, you have both exhaust fasteners. When one of the exhaust nuts has fallen off and allowed the pipe to suck air when exposed to a vacuum condition (e.g. compression braking), gee, it sure does like to cause problems.

All that work and the culprit was just a single 12mm nut.

mckitterick
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Yeah, we all have those days (weekends) spent doing unnecessary work to fix what turns out to be a simple problem. On the other hand, now you have clean parts, and that's a big deal. I'm glad I tore apart my BMW's carbs, because 1) the floats were sticking and 2) I discovered other grimy bits. But they didn't need quite the teardown I gave 'em.

An exposed exhaust could cause problems, indeed. But who'd start there? I think I might, now ;-)

And hooray about your vintage turbo bike! I'm toying with the idea of mounting tiny turbos atop each of the BMW's cylinders, each with its own tiny air-to-air intercooler, stacked Mad-Max-ey and mounted to the crash bars. Heh.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
Did you sell your bike when you moved?
siro_gravity
Jan. 18th, 2012 09:24 am (UTC)
dang! You are starting so LATE!! I'm already in week 2!

10 classes.
You young whippersnappers can do that kind of craziness. I did 6 one quarter and thought I would rip my hair out. I totally get how a 3-person class is more work than you thought it would be!

I am snagging that vid. Man, I love crows!! They are just so amazing!! I think one of the very first comments I made in your journal involved that crow who made a tool. The sled is so cute!! and even cuter because it's not for food. It's just for fun!!



Edited at 2012-01-18 09:25 am (UTC)
mckitterick
Jan. 18th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
I know - I think they shortened our semesters last year, by a week, which messes up my syllabi.

I haven't been called a "young whippersnapper" for lo these many decades, thanks ;-)

Isn't it great? It's TOTALLY just for fun, and the crow is keeping that sled for later fun, too. I had to share.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )