31 March 2008 – A nice day for a ride

MotoGP Spoiler Below

I went to fire up the MTS1000 Sat night just to make sure it would be ready for the ride yesterday. The OEM battery was toast. I don’t mind dead batteries so much, but I do hate the expense. The darn things are getting painful to replace. Fortunately, I have a stack of them on the shelf. One of the primary reasons I have this business is to have parts to repair my own bikes. I installed a new battery and went over the bike for the ride on Sunday.

Suzi was out with the girls Saturday night, so I put the finishing touches on 3 articles for MCN to beat the deadline of today. Whew! Another deadline met.

Yesterday I met Ron at Bagelheads for the ride. We stopped off in Milton to pick up 4 of his friends. They were all on heavyweight sport tourers. I lead they through Blackwater. The weather was perfect, the roads were empty and I had a blast. The MTS is a brilliant bike. It isn’t much fun at high speeds, but at sane speeds and in twisties it rules. The Power Card works flawlessly on it, and the new exhaust valves eliminated any hint of popping. I could ride the MTS all day. I love the riding position, and the legroom is perfect. Even the wind protection is suitable for highway speeds. Now that I’ve ridden the MTS for the first time in a few months, it’s time to exercise the rest of my air/oil cooled Desmos. Spring is upon us. I only have the month of April to enjoy the local roads. The Army and MCN will occupy most of May, and then the heat of June-Sept makes me Duck for cover.

Well, Jerez was interesting. Casey’s ride reminded me of some of Bayliss’s races where he ran off and then stormed back. I hate to say it, but other than Casey, the Ducatis don’t look competitive on the track right now. It’s going to be a long season, but the Yamahas and Hondas look much more competitive this year. Lorenzo looks like the real deal. Somebody tell him that new guys are supposed to ride in the middle of the pack.

Enjoy your Monday.

30 March 2008 – Early April Fool

Today’s edition of stump the chump is brought to you by my shopping cart. The last order I show coming in was yesterday at 2:00 PM. Sometimes I’ll go a day between orders, so I didn’t think anything of it when I checked this morning and no new orders were in the shopping cart. But wait… I logged into Paypal to check the account, and it’s showing 3 new payments in paypal, complete with shopping cart transaction numbers. When I go to my shopping cart and plug the transaction numbers in, the shopping cart tells me I’m crazy, and that no such orders exist. So, I’ve emailed the customers that I have their money, but don’t know what they’ve ordered. That’s for the paypal transactions. As far as the credit card transactions, I have no record of anybody ordering anything since yesterday afternoon. The good new there is that my shopping cart merely captures cc info right now, and doesn’t process anything. Or should I say, my shopping cart ignores credit card orders, and doesn’t record anything. I’d say this is an April Fool’s joke on me, but it’s two days early. So, if you’ve ordered anything in the past 24 hours, pls contact me or forward me the shopping cart items you want. Ain’t technology grand. I mean, it ain’t like I’m asking my shopping cart to compute traction control parameters for chrissakes.

 Afternoon Update – The Shopping Cart is sorted and I got all the orders just fine. Tech Support works!

29 March 2008 – Yard Day

While I was away, the oak trees decided to shed their entire quantity of leaves onto the ground. Today, I’ll don a respirator, mount the John Deere, and suck up all the leaves. I did a bit of it yesterday, and didn’t think I’d need a mask. I was coughing and sneezing all night from breathing in all that crud.

I’ve been bitching about prices going up, but I have had the opportunity to actually lower prices on a few things — billet 999 reservoir covers, billet round reservoir covers, and oil filters will also be going down. I’m ditching Perform brand oil filters due to price increases. They’re now the same cost as K&N filters, and the K&Ns have a nut on the bottom to simplify installation and removal. I’m also stocking another brand of oil filter – HiFlo. I cut open a Perform and HiFlo and couldn’t see any different… except the price for the Hi-flo is about 2/3 that of the Performs. Imagine that. I read some reviews of filters, and find the K&N and Hiflo get thumbs up.

MotoGP is tomorrow in Jerez. Let’s hope some of the other Ducatis perform better. Thus far, Stoner is it in terms of a competitively-ridden Ducati. I saw the transcript of the interview with Rossi. When asked if he had the opportunity to stuff anybody like he did to Gibernau several years ago, who would it be. He responded that he would stuff Stoner, but only because he’s the champ.

28.5 March 2008 – Time to Ride

The weather has been gorgeous, and it’s supposed to continue through the weekend. Sunday looks good. I’m riding. Brad and Mark are out of the AO, but I’ll ride solo if I have to. Destination unknown, but having breakfast with Suzi at bagelheads at 0800, and then riding afterwards.

28 March 2008 – When I get to heaven, Saint Peter’s gonna say, how’d you earn your living boy, how’d you earn your pay.

Last friday at this very hour I was running in formation at Macdill AFB with over 500 officers and senior NCOs from SOCOM. Our PT uniform is a snug fitting yellow jersey with black shorts. The tight fitting jersey must be so that the CG can spot any fat bodies. The occasion last Friday was the monthly SOCOM run, lead by the Commanding General. We ran on the streets of the base and then onto and around the flightline. It was a full moon in the early morning, C5s were taxiing on the runway and the sounds of every section yelling cadences echoed against the large hangers lining the airstrip. We only ran 3 miles, and it was at a 10 minute/mile pace, but the whole point of the run was to remind everyone that every staff section is part of a something more important. I’m digging the assignment thus far.    

Well, I plowed through another week. Hooray for me. Yesterday I did some wrenching and packing, ordered more parts, talked to suppliers and got my teeth cleaned. I collapsed at 8:00 PM after a 12 hour day. I don’t see me keeping up this pace of career juggling into my 50s. When I hit 20 years in the Army, I’ll have to decide whether to ditch the DT thing or the Army thing. I’m 5 years away from having my 20 year letter from the Army. It takes upwards of a year to get the letter, so you don’t stop your duties until you get the letter.

SOUP is reporting a big shakeup of AMA leadership. That’s not a surprise after the deal they did at Daytona. I think it’s a good thing. I can’t imagine them screwing up roadracing any worse than they have. I heard some of the dirt execs quit too though. Hmmm. Damn recession is hitting everybody.

I’m getting tired of ordering parts, and then having to immediately go into the website and change the prices because of inflation. Whoever said core inflation is down is full of shit. Every time I order belts, even the ones from Bucci, the price goes up. The OEM belt prices are getting more stupid by the day. I also just ordered more LED tail lights for Monsters — a 20% price increase, more Vee two hubs – a 10% increase, more gunson gastesters – a 10% increase, and on and on and on. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen a raise at my main gig in 2 years. Let’s hope the recession isn’t long and prolonged, but I think to correct the situation, we indeed need a deep recession. Time to start stocking up on the ramen and quit it with the bling.

27 March 2008 – Troy

I had a chance to watch 4 of the 6 episodes of the Troy DVD. It’s a good view. It does nothing to dispell opinions of Bayliss as an affable chap who only know one way to ride – like a scalded cat. I had heard he got a late start to racing, but that isn’t exactly true. He raced dirtbikes as a kid, but didn’t start roadracing until he was out of high school. He’s worked his ass off to get where he is. Compared to other legendary riders, he doen’t match up well in terms of titles won. I’d hate to bet against him on the track though.

While watching the video I put the finishing touches on the How to Purchase a New Bike article for MCN. That has to go out on Monday, along with a few product reviews.

I’ll try my hand at wrenching a bit today. That is, after the dentist has a turn at picking at my teeth. It’s time for a routine cleaning. Gotta keep those teeth looking good. Dying with good teeth is a desired attribute, sure to be commented on by the one writing my epitaph. “He had a bunch of Ducatis, was in the Army, taught college, and had good teeth”. Yup, that sums me up.

Enjoy your Thursday.

26 March 2008 – Barnett… again.

I’m up at 0500 again, but today I’m not scrambling to pack boxes or throw my Army ACUs on. Life is good. Since I’m only staring at a few new orders, here’s a recap of backorders

  • Bourke – Clutch tool — ETA next Wed.
  • Parsons – Sidestand Switch – ETA this Fri
  • Lane – Sprocket Nuts – ETA today
  • O’Leary – Barnett Clutch – ETA tomorrow
  • Brachet – Sprocket Cover – ETA next Wed
  • Youngblood – DS1000 Cam Belts. ETA this Friday
  • Norcross – Speedymoto Pressure Plate and Billet Clutch Hub – ETA on PPlate next Wed. A few weeks out for the clutch hub — had to order another batch from Vee Two in AU.
  • Berger – Sprocket Nuts – ETA today

On the product front, Barnett again redesigned their clutch packs. The friction material looks tougher, and instead of a band of material, they cut it into small sections. It looks much more like a Ducati OEM or Surflex clutch pack now. I think the design will be a winner. Time will tell if the new friction plate setup works better. None of my bikes have the new stuff, and they work just fine. The true test of a clutch pack is whether it can stand up to launches. At MCN we always fry Ducati dry clutches doing the 1/4 mile performance test. Few people, other than racers, subject clutches to similar abuse. All of the clutch combos started shipping with the new Barnett setup last week, and all the Barnetts I’ll have on the shelf will have the new setup.

People are asking where the new decals are. As I mentioned in a comment last week, I yanked them from the website. I noticed that the sticker I put on my Avalanche bubbled after getting wet. Soooooo, it seems the decals I was sent work great on a notebook or the refrigerator, but NOT on a bike that sees rain. Mark and I thought of a marketing ploy for the sticker. It’s a special sticker that detects moisture in the air. When the sticker bubbles it indicates that you need to get your Ducati under cover to protect the electrical system. Kind of like a radiation badge. I’ll be giving the stickers away for free, cause most Ducatis see a few drops of rain now and again. I’ll order proper waterproof stickers when I get a chance… Glad I wasted enough money to purchase a set of race bodywork. Shiiite…

Enjoy your Wed.

25 March 2008 – I hate packing

Tuesday is supposed to be a shop day, but I was determined to get all the orders out. I made that happen this afternoon. Of the 95 orders I’ve received in the past 2.5 weeks, all but 5 orders shipped. I got very lucky and only stocked out of a few items. Clutch tools (again), gold sprocket nuts (on the way), and a few other items. I also ordered a bunch of stuff today to restock. I’ll be adding a few new products in the next few weeks.

  Above: The Prius can handle 2 week’s worth of shipments in the cavernous back. How cool is that.  These packages will make a lot of Ducatisti VERY happy.

I had the Prius’ windows tinted today. It’s probably the first mod Floridians do to their cars. The tinting place is only a mile away, so I drop the car off, run back home, and then run back when it’s ready. After picking it up, I had lunch with Mark and then finished the day packing.

A goodie package came yesterday from Editor Dave. Inside was a DVD on the life of Troy Bayliss. I’m going to look at it later this week and do a review for the mag. Dave knows just what I like.

I’m hoping that I can get my act together in the next few weeks, get caught up on things, and plan ahead. I’m tired of putting out fires and keeping things afloat. Floating is good, paddling is better, blasting along in a speed boat would be better still. Too bad I don’t like water.

24 March 2008 – I’m back, sort of….

I’ve been at Macdill AFB the past few weeks. Mark has filled in for me admirably on the old DD. Since getting back Sat afternoon, Suzi and I have been filling orders. The problem is that I received 3x the normal daily volume of orders. As a result, there were over 80 orders sitting in my shopping cart. I got up on Easter at 0330 and started plugging away. We have 2/3 of them packed up already, but it will be tomorrow before all the orders made prior to today to ship. I only stocked out of a few items, so I’ll be contacting people to let them know if there will any further delays.

I took a break yesterday from packing duties and headed to the inlaws with Suzi in the Prius. I averaged 54 mpg on the ride home from Tampa. The onboard fuel economy gauge is very pessimistic. Yesterday 6 different people drove the car. Everyone was awed at the array of computers and screens in the car. I think it’s a blast to drive. Instead of driving like a maniac trying to get from point A to B in my Avalanche, I make it a game to see how smoothly I can use the gas. On the way home yesterday Suzi noted how many SUVs were on the highway. They camped out in the left lane, cruising 80 mph. My tipping point for cost on the SUV thing was $3.00 a gallon. It wasn’t the cost per se, but a realization of all the space I was wasting for most rides. I packed out my Avalanche a lot in the 7 years I had it, but I’m guessing 70-80% of the mileage was just me, the SUV and a whole lot of emptiness. It was a waste, both on my wallet and on the gallons consumed. I’m not exactly a tree-hugger, but if it’s a win-win for me and the planet, so be it. Nevermind the nay-sayers who say green cars generate as much of a CO footprint at SUVs. The Pruis ain’t sexy, but I’m saving $50 per fill up at the pump. In 6 years I’ll have achieved payoff compared to keeping my old Avalanche. Hmmm, so much for economics.

No news on the product front other than I’m trying to restock everything. April is my catch-up month. May and June are looking grim for getting things accomplished.

Enjoy your Monday…. 

23 March 2008- 69 degrees today…life is good.

(by Mark) LT is baaaacck, at least physically. He’s dumped the double D on me yet again. Mind you, he can’t actually force me, but when Uncle Desmo gives me the key’s to one of his bikes and says “keep it” as a “thanks!” it will be worth it. Hell may be frozen at the time, but who really cares?

😉

I had dinner with him and Suzi yesterday at Chili’s. He was sporting his new ride and boasting of his 54mpg hand calculated fuel economy. Hmmm, same fuel economy as my ST4S…interesting. It’s a sporty MV silver but has yet to be branded by any Desmo Times paraphernalia. I would expect that tomorrow as he takes a break from getting out 80+ orders that came in while he was away pretending to actually work…when in fact he was car shopping, at least that’s my story. He should note that as I was returning home I spotted another Prius and it was towing a small trailer with a ride-on lawnmower loaded. I’m guessing the power train was cursing it’s owner and the mileage was not a sparkly 48. I will admit this though, that damn car would be a bitch to steal unless you were familiar with how to start the thing. It’s not a simple turn the key and go but stops short of actually having to stick a body part in a receptical. Prius envy? No, not me. Suzi has it though.

If it’s Sunday morning and you’re reading this then I’m out on a ride. I’ll go about 120 miles in beautifully sunny 69 degree weather on my trusty ST4S. It’s got to be warm and sunny somewhere to ride…it might as well be here.

LT? He’ll be polishing a knob on his prius. You see, he’ll be showing is prius to relatives today while playing a game of hide the Easter egg so it’s got to sparkle. Heck, anytime I’m gone for a couple of days much less a couple of weeks, you can be sure I’ll be asking a loved one to pay my prius some attention.

😉

Happy Easter!