Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just a Little More Industrious.

My stepdad once told me that to become more industrious and handy, one must just throw himself or herself into a project. It's often a learned process and not some ingrained, instinctual trait.

Admittedly, I am by no means a handy person. I've always wanted to be. I like the feeling of accomplishment, especially one that involves tools and greasy hands. A couple of weeks ago, I set out to hang up several frames and posters in my room. Seems like a simple task, right? Wrong. See, I constantly second guess myself, which I'm trying to get better about. So, I ended up with one, two, and three misguided holes in the wall and crooked frames. Maybe it's all because I like using my cordless drill (a highly recommended and practical purchase), but it's really just because I'm not that adept at certain calculations. The whole project took me the better part of a day (hey, it was a lot of shit), and I did eventually get everything hanged correctly. But it made me take a step back and realize that I need to throw myself into a project, for the sake of confidence, if nothing else.

This is somewhat paralleling Justin's post from a few months back about installing a clutch in his truck (and we're all still very proud of you, Justin). However, Justin is inherently handier than I am because he grew up in the wilderness of northern California where he had to cut down trees, ford rivers, and hunt to survive. You know, just like in Oregon Trail. Anyway, I've never really been tested, and I grew up on the westside of Cincinnati with a silver spoon in my mouth (not really). So as one of my summer goals, I've set out to get this bastard of a moped running.

Some of you may remember me purchasing this thing back in '07, and I admit that it was probably not the wisest purchase I've ever made. First off, I bought it broken and not running, which is a big no no for someone who really had no knowledge of transportation and the steps needed to get it moving. Mopeds are relatively simple machines, so I should have initially just dove in myself (I had much more time in '07 and much less to do with my life) and started tinkering away with it. Of course, I relied on others to help me get the thing sputtering, which it did for a short time last year, however sad and pathetic it was. Well, it's back in an idle state again. So now, I'm determined to upgrade this thing to operational. Thus far, I'm actually somewhat pleased with my progress.

Basically the thing's got some wicked rust in the tank, and I'm taking the necessary steps to rid it of all the evil that lives inside. I've taken the carburetor off and apart and cleaned the fuck out of it. I've stripped the gas line and drained the ancient premix out of the tank. The next step is to de-rust. Obviously, that's the biggest step because the rust is what's clogging up the carb and causing it to run like garbage or just not run at all. Regardless, and I know this seems sad, I'm impressed and happy with myself for getting this far. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'm going to get the thing running by mid-June, and then I can go on to upgrade it cosmetically to the point where it looks like a semi-decent two-wheeled mode of transportation.

Hobbies are the best, and I do feel like I have my fair share already. But I wouldn't mind becoming some sort of an adolescent grease monkey because, as was stated before, who doesn't love the feeling of accomplishment that a couple of greasy, dirty hands brings? Since moving to Chicago, I've already gained a little bit of this feeling from what I've learned about bicycles themselves. I'm by no means as knowledgeable as Zach Thomas, nor do I think I ever will be. Cycling is more than a hobby to Zach, which I greatly respect. On the other hand, it is nice for me to know how to change a flat if need be.

Basically, I just want to feel like I don't need to refer to an "expert" with certain shit (cars, motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles). It'd be nice to have a facility that doesn't involve sports or Seinfeld trivia. It's obviously a practical skill to be able to maintain your particular modes of transportation, but for me, it'd feel a little more worthwhile. This is mainly because I would have taught myself through the painful (and I'm sure it'll be painful) process of trial and error. Here goes nothing.

It's been tough to listen to music recently because I've pretty much devoted my free time to working on this fucking moped and catching up on old Lost episodes in extreme anticipation of the sixth season (get into it, Justin). However, I have managed to fall in love with St. Vincent (yes, in that way) and gain a new found respect for ambient black metal.

St. Vincent - Actor
Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade
Julie Doiron - I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day
Transistor Transistor - Ruined Lives
Deer Tick - War Elephant


edwardallen said...

i'm so very proud of you. when i come up there next (mid-late june? july?) i want to ride side-by-side with you on a motorized two-wheel mode of transportation. since i don't have one to offer, you're going to have to get the moped running.

R. Zach Thomas said...

You're a kind and gentle soul and if there'll be any reward for you, it'll be a running moped.

Remember, at one point, I was kinda handy with machines with engines. If you need a hand with the moped, I'd be tickled pink to help.

Heidi Lynn Bragg said...

I would just like to point out that kevin used the word "forge" to describe going through a river. Justin thinks it's "ford". He is wrong.

Zach B. said...

It was "ford" in Oregon Trail.

I'm working on being industrious myself. My 79 year old grandfather finally gave it up and decided I was worthy enough to mow his 20+ acres.

There must be more redneck in me than I care to admit, because driving around a John Deere was the most fun I've had in forever.