As I am sometimes wont to do, I have been hiding under my rock lately.
Jes and I are still settling in here in New England, and I am still adjusting to my new job. It's looking more and more like Spring, and the shop is getting busier. I'm definitely glad I had a few months to get used to the place before the riding season hit, because if the last few weeks are any indication, it's gonna get really nuts soon.
Strangely, working at a Vespa / Motorcycle dealer has increased my self-censorship on scooter blogging. I really expected the opposite. But I'm discovering huge aspects of the culture (particularly pertaining to motorcycles) of which I am pretty ignorant. This experience has caused me to shut-up and listen at work, and I guess that is carrying over to blogging. It has also inspired some thinking about the differences and similarities of scooterists and motorcyclists, but I'm still fine tuning those thoughts, so you can look forward to them at some point in the future.
Sadly, Quell, the Steampunk Vespa, has been stuck in the stable for several months. His plates expired in November, and he needs to be registered and insured here in CT. Since Jes and I are still recovering from our moving expenses, and the last months haven't been amenable to riding what with the snow, and ice and sand and salt, getting the trusty steed legal hasn't been a top priority.
Also, when I was putting Quell away for his long Winter's nap, a couple months ago, he had a slight mishap. His center stand has always been a touch woppy-jawed, and the floor of his shed being uneven hard-packed dirt, he fell over into a wrought-iron plant stand. It was basically a minor mishap, but the front brake lever broke off, and the right-hand mirror was destroyed.
So, as yesterday was one of the first temperate Spring days I've had off, I spent it installing an after-market reinforced center-stand, and new black control levers. These were both mods that I'd been wanting to do since I'd gotten the P, so no harm done. Except bolting on the new center-stand was much more of a pain-in-the-ass than I'd expected.
I also removed the cowls, fairing, and top case for some more painting. But more about that as it progresses. I haven't replaced the mirror yet, it was a strange 70s aftermarket design that I've not been able to locate, and I haven't quite found the perfect replacement. I'm hoping for something rectangular with black stems, as I have almost completely eliminated chrome from the scoot. All-in-all it was a good day, as wrenching and tinkering on the scoot is a close second to actually riding.
Speaking of tinkering, Jes recently brought home a couple hand-me-down laptops, which just needed a little love to become productive and useful members of our household. One is currently acting as Jes's sleepytime DVD player, and solitaire machine, after having its OS reinstalled. The other I'd set up with pdfs of 1st edition AD&D rulebooks, and a few DOS DM tools... before it had a very final crash. I don't think the harddrive is really dead, it hasn't made any of those horrible grinding noises which make a geek's heart sink faster than hearing, "I just want to be friends." But there is some proprietary weirdness going on somewhere between the BIOS, CMOS chip, and HDD. I've been running it through some low-level disk utilities, with the hope that I can get the factory restore disks to recognize the HDD, or at least load Ubuntu on it.
More on that as it happens, but I do want to recommend the amazing Universal Boot CD. It's a great collection of freeware and shareware utilities on a burnable, bootable disk image. If you can get your sick PC to boot from a CD, you can run a metric shizzle-ton of diagnostic and repair programs. Only they may take awhile. I've been running a low-level disc scan for three days now...