Pandemic Reflections: Surrender as a Survival Technique

I’ve written a couple of pandemic teaching reflections recently that I’m not going to publish because staring into that abyss isn’t doing me any good.  What I have put out acknowledges the difficult situation we find ourselves in, how poorly it has been managed and what we can do to fix it, but I don’t know that fixing or improving education is on anyone’s radar in the Ontario government at the moment.

At best, our current government’s interests seem to be driven entirely by making education as cheap as it can be.  At worst I fear the intent is to drive public education into such a state of disrepair that private charter schools will suddenly appear as a solution to this managed failure, but privatization produces a whole new set of problems and charter schools often result in poorer performance at greater cost.  I always thought Ontarians deserved better, but perhaps we don’t.

Meanwhile, we stagger to the end of this absolutely terrible school year that began with the former minister of education telling us our children will learn resiliency by being abused in large classes and ended most recently with the current minister demanding the use of banned software that breaks a number of Canadian privacy laws.  In between this government has belittled and attacked my profession at every turn, and yet they still managed to lose the battle for public support, though that didn’t stop them from forcing a contract on us that degrades system performance in every way during an unprecedented health emergency.

With no end in sight frustrated teachers are rightly complaining about a lack of engagement in this remote learning situation where expectations change week to week, digital divide issues remain largely unaddressed and there are no consequences for a lack of participation.  But we shouldn’t be surprised, ineffective pass rates are the rule in remote elearning – making marks meaningless is the only way the system can push an entire generation of students through the system.

Ask any teacher who has done remote elearning and they’ll tell you that a two-thirds credit achievement rate is about as good as it gets – and that’s in a group of students who volunteered for remote learning and all have the ability to access it.  Attrition is more common in elearning than learning is, they should call it eAttrition.  This is the kind of false economy the repeated demands for mandatory elearning will give us – it’ll look cheap on the surface but high drop out rates will make it more expensive in the long run.  The fact that any Ontario students are still engaged at all in remote learning is a testament to the thousands of teachers doing back-flips to try and reach them by any means available in a system that seems intent on doing it poorly.

While all that’s going on, proudly trans-illiterate teachers are still sniping at the situation and blaming everything on the fact that the medium they grew up with isn’t the medium literacy is delivered in half a century later.  If you can’t navigate the medium, you can’t fully comprehend the message – this is one of the basic foundations of media literacy, yet there are is a majority of righteous teachers intent on protecting this dated idea of what literacy is.  Instead of putting their outmoded concepts of literacy on a pedestal, perhaps it’s time to learn something new and accept that the society you grew up in fifty years ago has moved on significantly.

We’ve always had a hate on for changes in medium, life long learning is just such hard work.  Instead of moving with the times, these Luddites will cling to their habits to the end.  That they’re usually senior teachers in leadership positions with the most secure jobs and highest pay says a great deal about how well our system is able to adapt and stay relevant in a constantly evolving media-scape.

As we stagger to the end of this absurd year I’m just trying to keep my head above water.  I had a momentary sense of traction the other week when we were finally allowed into our school so we could put together some computers that we had sitting in there and get them out to teachers who desperately needed them – over 8 weeks into this remote learning crisis.  Getting out and doing something felt good, maybe too good.  It reminded me of the multi-dimensional approach to teaching I’d always adopted, doing work both in and beyond the classroom, school and even my board to help improve our practice in as many ways as I can.  After getting a taste of it for a day it was difficult to go back to the do less with less mandate of remote learning.

Instead of engaging in this simple and inexpensive solution to minimizing the digital divide on a system wide scale, I’m back at home repeatedly hearing about a digital divide that no one in management seems to want to acknowledge.  Only about one third of our staff responded to our short survey of who needed tech at home.  Even though we resolved the digital divide for those staff members, two thirds of them in our building may very well be trying to remote teach without the right tools.  In other schools across our board and across the province we could be addressing the digital divide in terms of a lack of technology access for staff.  Suddenly finding myself back to doing less isn’t how I approach my profession and is a source of constant frustration that I have to let go of less it drive me mad!

Which is where I’m at on this lovely Saturday morning.  Not caring eases the anxiety and frustration, but it also means the clowns running this circus get to sell it off to their cousins who happen to be starting up charter schools.  In the process we will have sold Ontario’s children to these greedy bastards and made things worse for everyone.

Even though I’m exhausted and feeling defeated by this today, I’ll be back when I’ve had a couple of days away, because I have an important job that it’s important to do well.  I may be playing dead right now (and I’m not even doing that particularly well), but I’m just waiting for an opportunity to move when we have a chance of winning Ontario education back from the hands of this circus that a minority of mis-guided people elected.

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Hot Weather Riding

I tend to run hot, body temperature wise, and find that I can ride well into the single digits without too much worry.  My people come from a cold, wet place and that’s what I’m built for.  Heat, and especially humidity, are my achilles heel.  I’ve gone to great lengths to try and find hot weather riding gear that will allow me to ride when it’s sweltering.

Currently my go-to hot weather gear is a Fieldsheer mesh jacket in the lightest colours I could find.  I’ve never understood why someone would go with a black mesh jacket.  It defeats the purpose of trying to stay cool, unless you’re just aiming for the other kind of cool.

This jacket is brilliant.  It keeps the sun off you while feeling like you’re not wearing a jacket at all.  I think I’m actually cooler wearing this than I am in a t-shirt; much less likely to burn anyway.

The pants are where I’m having trouble.  A few years ago I found the most ventilated pants I could from Twisted Throttle.  These Macna vented pants do a great job of running air over my legs, but do very little where I need it most around my crotch.  To supplement those pants I got some riding shorts with a crotch pad, but they strangely disappeared, leaving me to ride with regular cotton underwear which is not remotely up to the job.

One of the great things about the convertible Roof Helmet is that you can swing it open for some wind on your face.  Even in that configuration the visor covers most of your face protecting you from Canadian sized summer bug impacts.  I just wish Roofs were a bit better ventilated across the top (the newer models might be, but they won’t give me one to test).  An adventure/off road styled Roof with a roomier chin bar and more ventilation across the top and back of the helmet would be a must-buy for me.

A long time ago I found the Alpine Stars vented SMX-1 boots and have never looked back.  I’ve put tens of thousands of kilometres on them and beaten them senseless, but they still do the job so well that anything else on my feet doesn’t feel right when changing gears.  They also keep my feet cool and are even good for walking around in (though they are very broken in).  When and if these ones give up the ghost I’ll go get another pair just like them.  The lightest ones now have a touch of Valentino yellow on them, which is no bad thing.  They keep changing the colours, so maybe I’ll get lucky and have a shot at some Lucifer Orange ones when I need them.

I’m focusing on fine tuning the bike/bum interface.  The best time of year to buy summer gear is the fall, and this fall is no exception.  Klim gear is usually a bit too rich for me, but I was able to find some vented Klim Savanah pants for under $200CAD.  I’m looking forward to seeing if the Klims really are all that.

I’m also replacing the biking underwear that wandered off.  It isn’t cheap, but a good pair of technical underwear was the suggestion from many people when I asked.  Sixs makes a wide variety of riding focused sports underwear, so I went with the butt padded, seamless boxers.  The other pair I had looked a little less fancy, so I’m hoping this will be money well spent.  Their range of gear covers everything from top to bottom, so this might be the first of many purchases.

In order to keep the dreaded monkey butt from rearing its ugly head during hot weather riding you need moisture wicking underwear.  On my long ride last weekend my cotton boxers were soaked when I got back and I was so sore I couldn’t sit down.  You do not want to get sweaty and wet under there, but your butt is on a black, vinyl seat so it’s going to trap heat.  I’ve been looking into options to introduce some air under me.  Adventure Bike Rider Magazine mentioned Cool Covers a few issues back, but they don’t make a cover for my fifteen year old Tiger.

Another option is the Bead Rider seat cover.  I’ve heard mixed reviews on beaded seats though.  They work well on shorter rides but over a long day they start to feel like torture.  I’m still considering my options here but the Cool Cover’s futuristic look appeals more than the cabbie look of a beaded seat cover.

When I asked online, two super-stars who had just managed to complete a Bun Burner Gold very hard to do long distance ride had some hard won advice.  Everyone swears by technical sports underwear that wick moisture, so that’s an easy fix even if you just go for Under Armour or something like.  Wolfe’s suggestion of a Bill Meyers custom seat isn’t cheap but isn’t as expensive as I feared it might be (about the same as a new set of tires).  The old padding on my seat would benefit from a refresh and would go a long way towards making the Tiger all day rideable.

His other suggestion of the King of Fleece cover follows a popular bike habit of using pelts to separate your butt from unforgiving vinyl.  Sheepskin is a traditional choice, but I suspect some of the engineered solutions above might produce better results.

There are various new seat options, but not for my old Tiger, and spending that kind of money on a new seat for an old bike doesn’t make much sense.  If I’m going that route, I think I’ll be giving Bill Meyers a call.  A Canadian winter would be a good time to send the seat in.

I’m curious to see how the new undies and pants will do on hot future rides (which are only going to become more common).  The old, stiff seat may eventually get some attention, and I have a contact in mind in Bill Meyers.  You’ve got lots of options for finding ways to ride in comfort even in hot and humid weather.  Hopefully this helps you find ones that work.

from Blogger

Finally Putting The Ninja To Bed

That’s one clean Ninja! And the water isn’t solid outside today.

We got swamped with snow and very cold weather early this year, but we’re enjoying a thaw now.  It’s finally given me the chance to clean up the Ninja and put it to bed for the winter.  I fear I’ve been neglecting the Ninja while the Concours demands attention, but leaving it goopy over the cold months wouldn’t do it any good, and it really cleans up pretty.

Once I get a bead on the oil cooler situation, I’m hoping to get the Concours back in shape and then begin working on the fairings and paint.

I picked up a metal, vintage Triumph sign for the garage.

After a wash and some lubrication, the Ninja’s ready for bed.

Meanwhile the Concours is still oil cooler-less.  I’m waiting to
see if our machine shop teacher can seal the crack in the banjo bolt housing.

The Always On Motorcycle, or: to scramble or not to scramble, that is the question!

Time to put the bike away, right?  Not so much… it’s 10°C and sunny out today!

I was all proud of myself for pushing into late November on two wheels this year.  When they finally laid down salt and sand after the first real snowfall I put the Concours away and stripped it down for winter maintenance.  I like having a twenty year old motorbike, but it isn’t a hop on and go kind of machine, it needs TLC.

A bigger mistake was putting away the KLX even before that.  A newer machine with no need for heavy maintenance, it would have made sense to keep it handy just in case.  The past week I could have ridden in to work several times, but I’m finding myself bike-blocked by too early hibernation habits and a single purpose motorbike.

Riding into the frost line is a good time!
Next year I’m going to keep an iron horse
saddled just in case.
I coulda been riding in this!

I wouldn’t be going on any long rides, just commuting, but that means 2-up with my son to drop him off at school.  I got the Concours because it does this job well while still letting me fly when I want to.  The KLX just manages the job of carrying me (it struggles to run at speed on the road with my 250lbs), but with storage and a second passenger?  I think it would be fairly miserable.  Perhaps that’s what’s stopping me from hauling it out of the shed again.

It’s away too soon!  Too soon!

The Concours isn’t going anywhere, but the KLX, while a good introduction to off road riding isn’t the Swiss Army knife of a bike I was looking for.  Come spring I’m going to liquidate some biking assets and go looking for a more multi-functional alternative.

I think I’ll clear $1000 on the XS1100 I’m currently fixing up, and I think I’ll be able to get what I bought the KLX for ($2000).  Getting the $600 back I spent on the little Yamaha should also be possible.  With $3600 on hand I have some interesting choices when it comes to a Swiss-Army knife bike I can keep handy for multi-surface riding while also being able to ride 2 up while commuting.  The 650cc dual sport class of bikes has three contenders worth considering…

$1700  sitting in Kingston.  an ’01 with 55K, well maintained,
KLRs are cheap and plentiful.  It’d also be more generally
usable than the KLX.

I’m thinking once again about a Kawasaki KLR650.  A tank of a bike.  Not fast, but fast enough, able to carry two up, and rugged.  If looked after it’d hammer along for a long time.  The KLR is the darling of the cheap adventure rider and has an awful lot of after market accessory clobber as a result.

$3400 over in Waterloo.  Top of the price range, but it’s an  ’05
in immaculate condition with 24k on it.  Nice photography too!

Honda makes an equivalent bike, the XR650.  It looks more off road focused, and it’d be my first Honda.  Other XR650s hover around $3000 with low kilometres.  They seem a bit more expensive than either the KLR or the Suzuki, but Hondas are famous for holding value like that.

An ’05 with 33k out in Brockville going for $3200…

I looked at a DR600 last year, but shied away from such an old bike (this was an ’89 in poor condition).  The DR600 evolved into the DR650 which is still in production today.

All three of these 650cc dualsports have enjoyed strangely long production runs with minimal changes.  That gives them a deep and well supported parts availability though.

I could creep into the adventure bike genre proper for about twice what I’ve got.  At under ten grand I’d consider the current crop of mid-sized adventure touring bikes, especially the ones with some off-road capability.  The Honda NC750x rolls out for just under $10k.  Suzuki’s V-Strom 650 is five hundred bucks cheaper, and the Kawasaki Versys 650 is a grand under that, though it isn’t much of an off-road machine.  The Honda CB500x rolls out for seven grand, making it an even cheaper option.  These bikes tend to put on the airs of an adventure bike without delivering any real off-road abilities.  Being new they’d all handle the job of an always-on/Swiss army knife bike better than the venerable Connie though.

Triumph’s new Bonneville Scrambler is a pretty thing.
Yep, we look good on that!

At just over ten grand I’m into Triumph Scrambler territory.  This would scratch both the classic itch as well as the multi-surface riding itch.  I’m not interested in MX riding.  My off roading would be dirt roads and light trail riding.  Staying away from the brightly coloured, long shocked dirt bikes would be OK with me, especially if I were on a classic looking Scrambler.

My kind of off-roading… very civilized!

The Scrambler genre has picked up as of late, with Ducati and BMW both entering the fray.  Yamaha is also doing it (though overseas), and Scramblers have long been a favourite of the custom crowd.  But unless I can make more space, a home made custom isn’t the dependable always on machine I’m looking for… though that hasn’t stopped me before.

Rather than just jumping into another dual sport that puts function before everything, maybe I should just start working toward the Scrambler I’d rather have.

However, the adventure bike rabbit hole goes all the way to the 1%er land.  On the way to Silly-Rich World you’ve got some multi-faceted mid-level adventure machines that are both stylish and capable.

With much disposable income I could go with the new Triumph Tiger 800cc XCx (about $16k).  With more cash on hand I’d be onto the new Triumph Tiger Explorer (north of $20k) or perhaps Honda’s newly re-released Africa Twin (maybe $17k?).  In this territory you can get a stylish, long-distance able, off road capable machine.

Once you get into the high end adventure market things get silly quickly.  Suddenly you’re thinking about Ducati Multistradas and superbike fast KTM Super Adventures.  Bikes with more computers than a moonshot.  Every time I read an article about these bikes they are described as fantastic, followed by a long list of all the things that broke on them but were covered under warranty.  I guess that’s an adventure of a sort.

These kinds of bikes wander into more than just disposable income.  If I’m buying a bike like that I’d better be at my leisure.  Dropping upwards of $30k on a motorcycle that can handle dirt roads (but needs expensive TLC every time you do) should mean you’ve also got a stable of a dozen other bikes and lots of time to ride them.

Back in the real world I’m motivated to expand my riding season and have a machine on hand that can do more than one thing if the Connie is feeling her age.  Come spring I’ll be considering options to scramble or dual sport, but it’ll be scrambling unless I can afford an actual adventure bike.  If I’m going to look for a multi-purpose always on bike, I’d also like to get one that tickles an aesthetic itch.

Metacognition In COVID19 Isolation

The mighty Peter McAsh shared a link to Yale’s most popular course: The Science of Well Being, which is designed to address the psychological misconceptions we all labour under that have produced some of the worst depression in human historyLaurie Santos, the professor running the course, describes the course (which has since become Yale’s most popular) as a necessary response to the plunging rates of happiness in her students.  It’s free on Coursera right now.

I’m only a day in and it has already raised a number of interesting questions around how I approach things.  I’m currently watching Martin Seligman’s TEDtalk on positive psychology:

It’s worth your time.  Seligman was a pivotal researcher into applying psychology to finding happiness rather than just treating illness.  I’ve since been sucked into Dan Gilbert’s The Surprising Science of Happiness.  Dan’s book was suggested in the course.  In his TEDtalk he’s hard pitching the idea that our reflexive over estimation of outcomes to our choices makes us select things that make us less happy – we overestimate the opportunities choice gives us and it seldom makes us happy.  He gives the example of Harvard students who select a course that gives them more choice, but those choices produced a lot of unhappy students.  This has some interesting ramifications in a world where choice is considered a sacred right, whether it’s choice of government, partner or anything else.  We’ve designed our society around choice, but choice is a mechanism that defies happiness.

If we’re pre-programmed to select for choice (which I suspect is another word for control), and more choice makes us less happy, then we’re pre-set to make ourselves less happy.  Our consumerist economic system and our democratic systems are designed to make us less happy – and they’re working.

That I’m looking at this at a time when everyone feels hard done by due to their individual freedoms being curtailed by the COVID19 pandemic is pretty ironic.  Perhaps people will find some happiness in their lack of choice, but soon enough that’ll all be forgotten as we struggle to restart all the social systems that are strangling us.

Some post apocalyptic music by Sturgill Simpson helps frame the situation…

Make Art Not Friends

Lookin’ out the window
At a world on fire
Flames see the end is near
Seen all the sights
Tired of the lights
So you can let me off right here

This town’s getting crowded
Truth’s been shrouded
Think it’s time to change up the sound

Yeah, the wheels keep turning
The flames get higher
Another cycle rolls around

Face in the mirror’s all skin and bone
Bloodshot eyes and a heart of stone
Never again, I’d rather be alone
Think I’m gonna just stay home
And make art, not friends

I love saying “No” to all the “Yes” men
Just to see the look on their face
I love how everybody knows what’s best
But nobody knows their place

Sucker every second, stack ’em up to the sky
For every winner there’s a hundred that die
So you get yours, stay out of mine
Here’s to the memories, where do I sign?

Face in the mirror’s all skin and bone
Bloodshot eyes and a heart of stone
Never again, I’d rather be alone
Think I’m gonna just stay home
And make art, not friends

Oh it’s getting hard to find a good friend
So close the door behind you
Falling when more come in
Nobody writes, nobody calls
Nobody bother ’cause I’m over it all

Face in the mirror’s all skin and bone
Bloodshot eyes and a heart of stone
Never again, I’d rather be alone
Think I’m gonna just stay home
Think about my friends

from Blogger

Micro Ninja

I picked up a Celestron digital microscope/camera a few weeks ago.  These are surprisingly cheap and let you take some astonishing video and photography on a micro level you might not otherwise get to see with a normal camera and even the fanciest macro setup.  

The model I got takes 4mb images and does high-def video at high frame rates (for smooth slow motion).  After messing around with ice crystals and eyeballs I turned the it on the Ninja.

I’ve always thought the petal type rotors on the Ninja are a nice feature, and up close they take on an abstract modernism that is really beautiful.  I couldn’t help but critically exam them while they were under the microscope, they seem to be wearing very evenly.

Looking at the chain up close was another matter.  What I thought was a clean, well lubricated chain didn’t look so clean under a microscope.  The road grit that gets caught up in the lubricant is obvious at even low magnification.  I suppose the only time your chain looks nice is before you use it.

The radiator fins made another interesting closeup.  These look perfectly formed and even to the naked eye, but up close the folds in the cooling fins look like they were made by hand.  It’s another world when you get to micro-photography.  No corrosion and they look to be wearing well though.

The small-print on the tires are very sharp considering that they are branded into rubber.  The sidewalls look to be in very clean shape after my first season too.

What was freakier was looking at the micro-detail in the treads.  Motorcyclists have such tiny contact patches on the road, they tend to be much more tire focused than four wheeled vehicles.  With the naked eye the tires on the bike still look in great shape, but under the microscope they made me nervous.  Don’t look at your bike tires under a microscope unless you’ve got a strong stomach:

That’s the narrow end of one of the tread cuts on the rear tire (not quite a season old) of the Avon Storms on the Ninja.  Once again, they look in great shape to the naked eye, but tires are the sharp end of the spear on a bike and up close they show their wear in the tread grooves.  In this case it looks like the contact patch is in good shape but the rubber in the grooves has dried out.

As a photographic exercise the Celestron digital microscope/camera was a lot of fun to play with, and at only about fifty bucks it might also make a handy diagnostic tool (the photos are jpgs and the videos are avi, so you could easily share them with people too).  In video mode it could create high-def, high frame rate (slow motion) images as you scan over an area and show cracks or damage in fantastic detail.  It would be interesting to run this over internal engine parts after high mileage to get a sense of how they wear.


It’s that time of year again.  Dreams of escape surround me.  If I left right now I could get in and out of Tuktoyaktuk on Canada’s north shore before the snows arrive (just).  I might have to bomb up there in a van just to get out in time, but then it’d be heading south across the Americas for months, chasing the summer.

The west coast as autumn falls would be glorious.  As the snows start to fly in Canada, I’d be into Mexico and Central America.  An unrushed few weeks working my down through the many border crossings would be much less stressful if I didn’t have to be somewhere somewhen.  Crossing the Darien Gap from Panama to Columbia is five days on a boat and a chance to take a break from the saddle.

The boat lands in Columbia.  Once in South America I’d find somewhere to bed down over the holidays in Colombia or Ecuador before rolling south into the South American summer.  Spending Christmas on an empty Andean shoreline facing the never ending Pacific would be glorious.

I’d push south and see Machu Picchu after the holidays and then try and catch at least one stage of the Dakar Rally as it thunders around Peru in January.  A Peruvian desert stage would be awesome.

As summer wore on in the southern hemisphere, I’d continue south to Ushuaia on the southern end of Argentina.  After going from arctic to antarctic, I’d work my way back up to Buenos Aires and start the process of packing up the bike for a trans-Atlantic crossing to Cape Town.
…for what it feels like to peer over the edge into a never ending ride.

from Blogger

The Bike Hole is Completeth!

The bike hole is done!  From an unfinished, uninsulated garage, I now have a bike hole that’ll warm up to room temperature with a small space heater.  Not only is it warm, but it’s also organized!

After removing the mouse nest from the toolbox and getting rid of three garbage bags of nonsense, the garage is now a workable space.  Thanks to a tsunami in Japan the upstairs is a workable storage space (instead of a week in Japan I spent days putting flooring into the attic).
Motorbike prints from Norfolk!
Between prints and some well done motorcycle 4×6 photos, I’ve managed to make a motorbike maker space without a single poster and some inspirational images for a long, cold Canadian winter.  With all the mess organized and stored in the attic there would be room for a couple of bikes in there comfortably.
The current list of things to do:
  • take the fairings off the Ninja and refinish the frame
  • find an old project bike that I can break down as a learning exercise
  • find a good introduction to motorcycle mechanics’ text

Learning On A Knife’s Edge

I’m still struggling with my Mum’s recent, sudden death.  While that is going on, I’m dealing with a previously signed up for teaching qualification in computer engineering, and a series of slanderous attacks on my profession.  I can’t help but be self-reflexive about how I’m dealing with the role of student; I fear I’m not doing it very well.

Culturally, I think I’m on the Ridge

I’ve felt thin since that phone call on June 1st.  The North American manly thing to do is dismiss anything to do with it and proceed with a steady course of denial.  I suppose the stiff upper-lip English thing is to do something similar.  Since being dumped somewhere in the mid-Atlantic as a child, I’m having trouble adopting a social convention to follow.

The thinness I’m feeling has made for some awkward moments with time management.  On the first weekend, when I should have been plugging away on our first big assignment, instead I ended up going to the cottage and passing out on the couch.  It made for a stressful Monday when I returned, but one of the things about being thin is that there isn’t enough butter to evenly cover the toast.

I feel like we’re over the hump in the course now.  I’m finding old habits returning around hard focusing on specific tasks instead of just directionlessly wandering through the material we’re covering.  I’m a good student, even when I’m incomplete.  The deadlines have been difficult to handle, but perhaps their imminence helped me get my mind off subjects it wouldn’t let go of otherwise. The fact that the emotionally turbulent month of June is slowly receding might be helping too.

I’ve had students who have gone through emotional crisis, some of which make mine look like a walk in the park, yet we still come at them with curriculum expectations and demands.  I’ve always tried to step lightly in those cases, out of a sense of compassion.  It’s a difficult thing for a teacher to deal with.  In some cases a student who has gone through trauma is best left with space, but in others, giving them something else to focus on might help move them on emotionally.

No clear answer to this one, I fear.  Some days I’d be driving down to the course with tears rolling down my cheeks because of a song on the radio, right now I’m feeling pretty solid.  It comes and goes.  I guess the one take-away from all this is that you can’t make an algorithm or develop a system for dealing with emotional crisis; each person experiences it differently, and coming at it in a curriculum orientated, systemic manner is a recipe for disaster.

A good teacher will remember their own ups and downs and differentiate not just in terms of what a student is capable of intellectually, but also in terms what emotional focus they can  bring to bear.

In my own case, I’ve been trying to change my mind, but when it runs deep, it’s not always a matter of conscious choice.  In the end, if I can remember where I am now with my students in the future, I’ll be in a better place to respond to their needs.

Pretty Calipers

The brake caliper rebuild moved into the ‘nerd-lab’ downstairs where my son does his lego and I usually focus more on digital tech.  With Why We Ride playing on the projector I got to enjoy HEAT while I rebuilt the rear caliper.

The only time I had to go out to the garage was to blow out the caliper pistons with compressed air, otherwise it was some light bench work while watching a very pretty film.

I’m still monkeying around with 3d modelling tools.  I’m trying different resolution settings on the Structure Sensor.  I also tried using itseez3d instead of the factory software.  It made for an interesting variation (itseez3d uses the ipad camera to take a lot of texture photos which it mixes into the model).

It only took me a couple of hours to sort out the fronts and have everything looking sharp.  Blowing out the pistons was a bit trickier as there are two on the front and the smaller one (less surface area) didn’t come right out with the air.  I’m worried that I scored them too much removing them.  I guess I’ll see when I put them all back on the bike.

The front calipers are cleaned up and blown apart, waiting for their rebuilds, probably later this week.
3d model of the rear caliper reassembled.
Compared to the rusty lump it was before, it’s night and day.  I can’t wait to feel the change.
The rusty, pockmarked disk bolts got dremelled clean and repainted too.