Storypost | 2014.03.17

As I may have mentioned, Blayke B. is now an entire year old. The San Luis folks came down, D did some grilling, even Lee stopped by for a loaf of bread. Lovely day, lovely company.

thumbnail Barbecue meat

Double vest

From there it was a quick trip up the ol' interstate to attend the classy party for classy people. Chase announced early that he would be rocking the double vest. I did my best to compete with the tie/bowtie, suspenders/belt, and pocketwatch/monocle combinations, but in my hurry I neglected to adorn cufflinks, a tie clip, a belt buckle, and probably several other pieces of classiness. Neither of us had wingtips so I'll call it a draw. Still, it was a fine soiree, with wine and cheese and dom pong.

thumbnail Monocle thumbnail Beirut beer pong rear curtain
thumbnail Fire pit barbecue lighter fluid thumbnail Beirut beer pong rear curtain

Review | 2014.03.10

GP motorcycles logo

So over eight years of Ducati ownership I have had a few experiences with GP Motorcycles. Two of them were bad, to summarize:
Alright, so, 0 for customer service, 8 for workmanship although "something went wrong with the other bike we worked on" is somewhat disconcerting. This has been reason enough to drive an additional twenty miles to Forza who, despite being (iirc) owned by the same people as GP, have generally been much better to me.

Okay, well this time around Forza's maintenance openings didn't work out well for me, so I decided to give GP another shot. Josh loves them and Chris has a decent supplier relationship with them, maybe these were isolated incidents.

I dropped the bike off, told the front desk guy that I needed the usual belts and valves, and asked what else might be good to do. He read off the standard list, I let him know that it was all current except greasing the steering bearing. Sure, do that. She hadn't been running smoothly and I'd hoped something on the maintenance list would jump out at me, oh well, maybe valves would do it.

Round about COB I called them to see if the bike was done. My records showed that valves and belts ranged from 2.5-3.5 hours of labor so it seemed like ample time after the 09:00 drop off. They didn't pick up. I called shortly after, nothing. Oh well, I headed down. "You thought it was going to be done today?" *chuckle*.

Silly me, assuming three hours of labor could be taken care of in an eight hour day.

The following day they called to tell me the bike was done. Sweet, I'm pretty used to shops never calling. He told me that they replaced the spark plugs, he went ahead and did it unilaterally since they're a couple bucks each. Sure, nbd, but a little strange since I'd done them recently.

I collected the bike and got the tab. Parts cost included plugs, belts, valve shims, valve cover gaskets. Ah, relief, yes I bet a dead gasket was the issue. Alright, now, labor cost: 6.5 hours for 12,000 mile service. Wat? So help me if they flushed brand new fluids again...

I went back to the service side and talked to the guy. He sort flailed on an explanation and eventually said that he really just works the desk and doesn't do any wrenching - okay I picked up on this from a few obvious technical slipups from our previous conversations. He assured me that the work actually took more than the 6.5 hours quoted and that I was getting a seriously good deal.

Huh? What took 7+ hours? There was no breakdown on the receipt, just "12,000 mile maintenance". So I asked and the dude said belts and valves required 5.5 hours (because shims and gasket?) and assorted other things (spark plugs, check air filter, replace throttle body bleeder hose (for lack of a better term), lube chain) the rest.

There are two ways to interpret this:
To be sure, the mechanic did an excellent job and was very cool about explaining what he did, but he couldn't account for the desk guy's time assessment and the desk guy couldn't account for any of the labor.

So the desk dude initially took a condescending approach to my use of non-approved spark plugs, probably to convince me that without their 12,000 mile service my bike was in a bad way. Unfortunately, he had recently told me that my bike had four spark plugs (it does not) and that he doesn't actually work in the shop. Annoyed, I decided to call bullshit and asked for the part back so I could return it to the vendor who had recommended it to me, visibly expressing my disappointment as Ca Cycleworks had never steered me wrong before. He at least knew the name and quickly backed off the indignation and said that many spark plugs would work, but it's best to use the recommended one.

Right, so, no more GP. There was enough grey area in this last experience to leave it as an option of Forza disappears, but I'll be happy never to see that place again.

Storypost | 2014.03.08

Baby portraiture flower yard

Blayke turns one next week. We did a photoshoot.

thumbnail Black dog piercing gaze

Baby surfboard portraiture black and white red filter

It's come up a couple times recently, so I just thought I'd mention my (fairly minimalist) photo workflow:

I'm not sure how it compares to Lightroom and Picasa and such, but the dng viewer is a pretty good way to browse an image set. Thumbnails on the left, image in the center, and just the right amount of darkroom-style toolery. Adjustments can be made to group-selected images, since lighting conditions tend to be similar.

Graphics photo editing photography histogram

Not that proper exposure is unimportant, but sometimes you've zip tie a camera to the back of a motorcycle and let the matrix metering go to town. So there can be over- or underexposure.

Not to worry; raw captures light range beyond the standard histogram bounds. But you have to make sure your editor hasn't already truncated those sections of the histo.

But yeah, most editing can be taken care of right there in the viewer.