Friday, June 12, 2009

Food, Inc.

Click to view the movie trailer:

Read a brief but very insightful "Newsweek" interview with Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. [Link dead.]

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Tempted by the new R1200GS

Lester and Jeff pose by Jeff's new R1200GS (well, actually, Jeff soon selected an upgraded model)

I called Lester over at Frank's Motorcycle Sales and Service in Essex Junction to see if he had a chance to change over the pannier locks yet. Jeff was trading in his 2005 R1200GS for the new model, but rather than trading in his barely-used Vario panniers, he and Lester agreed that I would take these panniers and instead turn in my old, fairly beat-up panniers. The only thing Lester would have to do is exchange the pannier locks.

But when I asked him, there was a slight hesitation. Actually, he has a buyer for Jeff’s GS, and the fellow insisted the panniers and tank bag come with the bike, so Lester had to give in. I told him it was no problem – “you don’t owe me anything, Lester.” He felt bad though, and so did Jeff. But I insisted this was not a great disappointment. I am no worse off than I was prior to all this. BUT, Jeff’s new bike had arrived and was being set up. It will be ready Monday.

So I said I’d come by to pick up my old panniers. Jeff and I took our bikes – a nice warm day for a ride. Under the shop lights, Jeff’s new GS almost looked “peach” in color. It looked good. We took some photos. Lester was still trying to figure out how to make it right with me, and said he’d trade me for some slightly banged up aluminum Adventure panniers – I would have to buy the mounting system however (which no doubt is $100s.) I’m not so sure I want to do that. I like the fact that I can stow my helmet in the Vario panniers (though that’s the only advantage I can think of.)

We left it that I’d decide when we come back for Jeff’s bike next week. Meanwhile, Jeff really wanted me to have a new BLUE GS!

“Let me buy this for you.” He was quite serious. The guy is not happy unless he’s buying something. Doesn’t matter who it’s for. I gently pointed out that he is crazy.

Lester was quite amused by our antics. He directed us to another new gray-colored GS in the showroom. This one had added features: traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. In very short order, Jeff decided he wanted to take this upgraded model, and asked Lester if he could "make it yellow (switching out the few colored plastic components.) Lester said "no problem." (He's so flexible!) Simple.

I said to Jeff, “you can’t buy me a motorcycle, but you can buy me lunch.”

We made the unfortunate decision to go to "Longhorn" again. I am quite convinced the restaurant chain is on a downward slide. Their indifference is evident in the restaurant building, food and service. It appears corporate headquarters plans to simply cut costs and milk it for profits in the short term, then sell it, hopefully cashing in before the chain loses whatever “good will” assets they have accumulated. Jeff said, for the first time, he saw a TV ad for “Longhorn”. Another sign of decline. We both had “Black and Bleu Burgers”. I later regretted the selection. Didn’t sit well – heavy, like a lead weight in my stomach.

A "stimulating" ride back to Waterbury, speeding along I-89, at times reaching 100 mph. At home, Jeff remarked “this will be the last GS I buy.”

Assuming my best Teutonic pose, I try out the new blue GS

Who could turn their back on a free motorcycle. Then I remembered "nothing is free."

This is where you'll find me - most days

Seated at Jeff's dining room table, surfing the internet.