Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Little Bit of Elbow Grease

I got the chance to clean the rust off of the 1972 Schwinn Suburban! With some really fine steel wool and Brasso (as a rust remover/polisher), it turned out very, very nice! It went from a 38 year old rust bucket to a 38 year old museum piece! Okay, maybe not that clean yet, but it is huge improvement.

So far, I've taken off the fenders (which were the cause of 90% of the noise), the chainguard, replaced the front and rear brake pads (stops on a dime now!), and just cleaned the bike up a bit. Very good improvement.

Things I still need to do:

-Replace tires
-Repack the wheel bearings
-Find a drop handlebar to replace the bars on now
-Ride it more
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First Day of Many Days to Come

Today was my first day at Keyence. I barely got any sleep, but I lasted the 10.5 hours at the office today. Yes, the first day on the job and it went from 7:30am to 6pm. Overtime from the very beginning...sweet!

Keyence is a company based in Osaka, Japan, that primarily makes sensors, machine vision systems (the eyes of the production line), microscopes, and various other electronics. Keyence is #1 in Japan in the automation industry and has a firm grasp of the market. It's trying to gain the same kind of market share in the US...that is why they hired me and two other guys!

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, I am working full-time at Keyence as a Senior Vision Support Associate in the Machine Vision department (first Keyence employee with this title). One of the other guys is also in the same position as me and the other is going into Sales. We will all be training together as a group for the next 3 months, then we will split up to do our own specialized training.

I have a feeling this overtime business is going to last for a while. But hey, they bribed me with overtime pay and amazing benefits...I am truly lucky to find such a job in this economy.

So I have 3+ months of training ahead of me and a product launch to meet. The training looks extensive, but stimulating. My seniors at the company are all amazing people and you can tell they know how to work. I can't help but be happy about a company with a clear goal and a bright future!
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

1972 Schwinn Suburban

So this bicycle has been sitting in my garage since...I don't even know. It used to be our old neighbors and they gave this and a matching color Schwinn Breeze when they moved away. It really hasn't been touched since. Today, for some reason, I woke up to a beautiful morning at 6:30am and decided to take this bicycle down and clean it up.

Turned out to be an amazing ride! There's a lot of surface rust, but after some cleaning, lubing the chain, and filling the tire with air, it was road-worthy. Did about 15 miles with a few friends and it was a blast.

I'm new to the bicycle scene, but I really like how those road bikes look. I'm thinking about getting a drop bar to replace the handlebar that's on there now...but I'm not sure if it will be comfortable or work. More research needs to be done.

The tires and brake pads need to be replaced first...the tires are dry rotted and the brake pads have turned into hard plastic. Even though they are in that condition, they both survived, and functioned, over the 15 mile ride.

The quality of these old Schwinn bikes are amazing. Even after 38 years (yes, this bike is 38 years old), the bicycle still functions with minimal effort. More to come!
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Did you guys hear about that huge sinkhole in Guatemala? It's so deep, light does not reach the bottom. It's amazing how a gap is noticeable. Oh wait, what? I haven't blogged in nearly a year? That is very noticeable too.

The funny thing is, I started a HUGE blog post about my trip to Japan...the trip was in August, the blog post in October. It never published.

Something was happening then...a change in my priorities. Blogging left the top 10.

But now I'm back, furiously trying to get that feeling back. That feeling of leaving myself a footprint I can follow later; a message not only to myself, but one that can be shared with others.

Since July 15th, I've gone through a lot. I finished my internship. I went to Japan. I graduated from college. I've frantically looked for a job. I've been jobless. I bought a new bike. Jobless still.

This terrible economy has left quite a few of us stranded...the upside to a ridiculously low income is the time that comes with it. It's hard to say why the last 6 months have flown by, but it's easy to say that it is the 6th month of the year.

Why the picture of my bike, wheel-less and floating? Only because I took that picture today...and it was a job well done.

I'm hoping my future can be as steady as the work being done on my bike. I'm SURE that effort pays off. It is definitely paying off in all of my do-it-yourself's sure to pay off with the rest of my life. I have what it takes and I'm sticking to it.

Thunder is crashing down outside, breaking the hum of my computer and the keys clicking. So comforting.

I haven't written my thoughts almost directly translated from my brain to the computer in a while. How could I forget this satisfaction?

Well, there will be more to come, my friends. I have a feeling something big is about to happen.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1000 miles in 2 and a half has my life changed?

Today, I rode my 1000th mile on my Ninja 250. How have things changed in these 2 and a half weeks?

Looking around my immediate space, my desk is filled with motorcycle stuff: some documents from the insurance company, instructions on how to clean the carbs, the duplicate key to my bike. My leather motorcycle jacket rests on the same chair I'm sitting in and luggage for my bike lay on the floor...I've been engulfed by this motorcycle.

Taking a step away, my commute now is much more exciting. On days that have no rain in the forecast, I won't think twice about hopping on the bike. The strongest coffee can't wake you up as well as a 25 mile commute through downtown Chicago on a bike can. That was a whole lot of sentence, but then again, this little bike is a whole lot of bike.

The Ninja 250 is becoming an extension of my body; a second set of legs. Its agility and ability to move where I want it to is becoming second nature. This bike is eating me alive.

Taking a bigger step away, I've opened myself to another set of people. It's brought me together with friends from the past and friends I've just met.

Old friends give me advice with their knowledge of riding. All of them completely support the choice I made and it is a very welcoming feeling.

But the new friend are just a wave away. This community of motorcycles is an exclusive one, but the people in it are not exclusive to one another. Whether it may be a Harley with straight pipes or a Yamaha dirt bike with mud on its side, a little raise of the left hand to the oncoming bike generally yields in a wave back. Catch up to another motorcycle going the same way and you can spring up a conversation, motorcycle related or not.

I'm starting to realize the joy in all of this, the addiction riders have. I'm constantly thinking of where to go and how far I should go next time. There are a lot of roads out there, but the sad truth is, I won't be able to see it all. It's a good thing that this Ninja 250 is up for any task and it's begging for it. It's just waiting for me to catch up to it.
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