In any case, as a result of the end of a 3-year relationship, I decided to do something I've been meaning to do my whole adult life: learning to ride a motorcycle.
I went to the DMV and got my permit. I took advantage of a sale at one of the local gear shops and bought a nice jacket and some armored jeans and knee pads. I went to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course and passed with a perfect written score and a near-perfect applied skills score (-1 point. ONE FRICKIN' POINT!). And then I bought a motorcycle. A ratty, 'well-loved', 2000 Kawasaki Ninja EX250, a little 250cc sportbike that seemed like a great point to start. So since I can't work on vehicle in my parking space (my condo doesn't have a garage, just a carport), of course I rolled it into my living room.
Well, turns out it had some problems. Luckily, WhiteFox offered to help me out, not only in retrieving the bike, but in getting it working again. First off, it was hemorrhaging oil. A little work showed some irresponsible former owner had stripped the drain plug, gouged the bolt hole, and used the wrong washer. So we put in a slightly larger standard-sized bolt, got the OEM washer, and sanded down the bolt hole. While I was at it, I did my first ever oil change in any vehicle. Wow! Not only that, but this was more hands-on vehicle work than I've ever done in my whole fucking life.
While we had all the farings off, we did a once over, and Whitey decided to check the cylinder compression. Uh oh. No compression in the second cylinder. So we pulled it apart (yikes), and found that the valves were all gummed up, probably because the idle was set too high. So we cleaned that off, and then the head sat in my kitchen while I waited for a head gasket to come in.
While I had the bike apart, and since I had downtime, I decided that I didn't like the rattle-can red that the original bike was, and hell, let's make this bike mine. So I sanded everything down while the bike was sitting, gutted, in my living room, including the ratty exhaust, and then I primed all the plastics.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get enough airbrush paint, so I ended up only getting two solid coats on the parts. And then, deciding I wanted to be DIFFERENT, I decided to do a paint job based on "Talon", the raptor-god from Primal Rage.
So the head gasket comes in, and I had that Friday off, so we put everything back together. Then we took it apart because we lost a screwdriver in the transmission, and then broke the end of a magnetic tool off in the transmission trying to recover the screwdriver. :P YAY MECHANICAL WORK! Eventually, everything got back together, and Whitey re-timed it and adjusted all the gaps. Really fascinating stuff; I had no idea that's how an engine worked! We never touched the carbs, though, which I think is fortunate. But by this time, I was REALLY damned antsy to get out on the road. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the headlight, and after tearing off all the farings again, Whitey came to the conclusion that it was probably the relay needing to be cycled by the engine turning over. Which I was NOT going to do in my apartment. So I pouted, went to Frolic @ Bootie, had a mediocre time at a shitty Drunken Bro-Club, and wanted to be back home working on the bike. Sunday morning rolled around, I put it back together, took it out, and voila, the headlight worked after it started. So at ~3pm on Sunday, I rode my own motorcycle for the first time.
I rode for an hour and half, on everything except the interstate. It was amazing. The only reason I stopped was because the bike was overheating. Turns out that I didn't know you had to burp the coolant lines. So I did that, made a mess in the parking lot with splashed coolant, then did a second ride. All was well.
Yesterday was the maiden commute of the motorcycle. And it went well, if a bit harrowing! And for some reason, when I got on the bike in the afternoon, I forgot how to ride it at first. That was an annoying spin around the parking lot with annoyed bank workers stuck to my ass as I tried to remember how to operate a clutch. :P
I'll need to redo the paint job at some point, too. The clear coat from a can just isn't cutting it, and I didn't get enough coats of the red to be comfortable with it. The paint chips off pretty easily, so I'll probably see about a second go at it at some point. We'll see!
In any case...that's how I've been!
PS - Yes, I know, be safe, don't kill yourself. I'm already a paranoid driver, and that should translate well into the bike. :P