5 stages of grief: Blur edition

As anyone who has lost a scooter can tell you, it’s not easy on your mental health. Luckily, I had comprehensive insurance (if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, get it, right now), and at least it was a replaceable modern bike that was stolen and not one of my treasured and irreplaceable vintage scooters. So, after 30 days pass (in case it turns up) I’ll be shopping for a new scooter. In the meantime, I’m following the five stages of grief, trying to decide what will fill the sad emptiness in my garage left by my beloved Genuine Blur 150.

  • Denial: The answer is obvious, I want another Blur. Another orange 2006 Blur. They’re long-gone from dealers, but I can find one somewhere. I loved that bike at first sight, it was just right for me, it had amazing brakes and handling, I like Genuine Scooter Company, and nothing but another Blur can replace it, at least nothing within my budget.
  • Anger: But that won’t be MY Blur. It’ll never be the same. And if I’m resigned to a used bike without a warranty, maybe I can find something better. Something even weirder and faster. Good morning Craigslist. What’s that? A 2-stroke Gilera Runner for 3 grand? With a title!? Dangit, that’ll sell WAY before I get my check. Let’s check eBay. A Peugeot Speedfight 100cc 2-stroke? With WRC graphics? for $1800? Damnit, mykrrr bought it.
  • Bargaining: I know Phil hates the Vespa S. And it’s got plastic chrome and I know PiaggioUSA is hopeless. But man, that’s a great-looking bike, I’ve been coveting one since the moment I saw it. And maybe I could even find an orange one! Sure, it’ll be at least $1500 more than I’ll get from the insurance company, and that doesn’t even include racing stripes. but Vespas have good resale value, right?
  • Depression: There’s no way I can spend an extra $1500. Especially since I need a new helmet, too. Everyone loves that Sym HD200. It’s ugly, but the price is right. I don’t deserve to be happy. I shouldn’t even buy another scooter, I have two other ones I neglect as it is. I should just spend the money paying off our equity loan or something.
  • Acceptance: I’m not there yet. We’ll see.

Top Five of the 90s

Thinking about my sad role as the only idiot to have attended all fourteen Slaughterhouse rallies, and having a little free time since I barely lifted a finger to help this year (Thanks Kathy!), i started thinking about how rallies have changed. I don’t want to get all misty-eyed or retro or elitist, and I definitely enjoy the current scene, scooters, and people just the way they are. I just thought it’d be fun to come up with a list of five things I miss from the early 90s, and five things I don’t.
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Slaughterhouse Thursday

Slaughterhouse is once again, almost upon us, and for the first time since Slaughterhouse 1, I had nothing to do with planning it. If you’re in the rally mood early (very early), come to Motoworks at 7am Thursday for a live gymkhana telecast on FOX News Chicago, who will be the first television news outlet to cover Slaughterhouse before it happens, which makes a lot more sense than running a story afterwards, when you think about it. Here’s some video of last year’s gymkhana for reference. Thursday night, the official Slaughterhouse party is Delilah’s 15th anniversary party* with DJ Chuck Wren of Jump Up! Records, or check out The Organization’s “Hard Mod” night at Holiday Club**.

* Oh, Crash Palace, how I still miss you, but Delilah’s has certainly grown on me, especially after Mike let me DJ once, back when he was desperate for customers, an unforgettable night when some wag asked me “Do you have anything good?” Sure, I brought a dude nearly to tears by playing the long version of Throwing Muses’ “Soul Soldier,” so you win some and you lose some. Anyway, congrats on 15 years Mike and Delilahs, and good luck with the new Bottom Lounge, which I haven’t checked out yet but it sounds like a great venue.

** Once at Holiday (well, at the old location, ten years ago, ha) a waitress snidely refused to take my friend’s ten dimes as a tip on a $1.50 glass of soda. Sure, he may have been short on paper currency at the moment, but a 66% tip is is a 66% tip. I liked the DJs (Kristine DJed my wedding!) and some of my friends were bartenders there, but that was lame and I kinda stopped going there after that.

UPDATE! Ryan will be shuttling people (on his BV200) between the two bars for the low price of one british pound sterling. Phil has offered a rival service priced at 15oz of any liquid. That name again is Mr. Plow.

2sb meets the Breeders

I alluded to this a few times in the past, but I can finally share it:

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been completely infatuated with the Pixies since “Gigantic” came out and I bought “Pod” by the Breeders the morning it was released. Many of you remember my dear departed evil cat Cannonball. Many of you have seen the Vaughan Oliver posters around my various dorm rooms, apartments, and now my house. A few years ago, my company was asked to record, design, and sell the Pixies’ reunion concert CDs, and I even got to design an official t-shirt for the tour and work with Vaughan Oliver a bit on some Dead Can Dance CD packaging. Even better, I got to stand onstage at Lollapalooza to watch the Pixies’ set. I thought it’d never get any sweeter than that.

Well, last year, I met a great designer from Dayton named Chris Glass. We hung out at the ludicrous Creation Museum in Kentucky when I was home for Christmas, and he took his leave saying he had to go meet with “the girls about their website” and said something about “you know how rock stars are.” I didn’t know what he was talking about at the time, but later on, I figured out that he was talking about Kim and Kelley Deal.

Well, to make an already long story a little shorter, Chris finished Breeders Digest and my friend and co-worker Steve Delahoyde, also a big Breeders fan, asked me to ask Chris if the band needed any videos for their new album. Chris talked to them and they said “Sure, as long as we don’t have to be in it.” Chris leaked us a few songs, we picked one, agonized over some ideas, scheduled a shoot, then delayed it so long that we got to shoot some footage when they played here in May. We met Kim, Kelley, Mando, and José, and they were fantastic people who did their cameo perfectly in one (long) take, even though they weren’t actually aware we were rolling (it was a four-minute-long cameo). Steve edited the four separate videos, then we messed with the flash interface for months, then waited a couple more months, and at last, I’m ecstatic to share it with you. I hope the video does justice to the song, and I hope you’ll check out their incredibly great not-so-new-anymore album Mountain Battles (get it on LP, it sounds great and is packaged as beautifully as usual by Vaughan Oliver).

Thanks to the band, Chris, Richard, 4AD, the actors and crew, and especially Steve, who put WAY more work into this than I did. Embed this sucker everywhere you can (a link to the “embed” code is next to the Breeders’ logo), I’d love to see Steve’s phone ringing with more video work.

Oh, to keep it scooter-related, all the “running” scenes were shot by Ryan Taylor from my Genuine Blur 150, he was strapped to me with a tie-down, facing backwards. Luckily no one got hurt. The scooter was parked in the background in one scene that got cut, maybe we can get that up on YouTube sooner or later.

Righteous Rotenburg Rally

This is the kind of race/rally weekend I can get behind: a DSSC meet in Rotenburg, Germany. Ryan, who sent the video, points out that all scooter rally raffles should be immediately replaced with “throwing shit.” Oh, and DEBASER. (Keep an eye out for some exciting sorta-Pixies/2strokebuzz related news coming Monday.)

WKRP, and merciless demolition with 2SB

This weekend, of course, is the WKRP Rally in Cincinnati, and 2SB will be there, as always, probably with stomach flu. Here are two non-sanctioned events that 2SB fans might want to check out (we’ll be at both):

  • Saturday evening, early enough that you can still make it to the Comet in plenty of time for the raffle, there’s a Demolition Derby out in Hamilton, OH. We went last year, too, and it was great.
  • Sunday at 1:00, the 2SB-sponsored Merciless Tigers FC are playing their first outdoor-league match somewhere in the vicinity of Winton Woods. They accidentally got put in an over-40 league (they have only one player over 40) and their center-back “Number 2” tells us “‘Over 40’ means we’ll be playing guys that have probably been playing together for 20 years and can pass circles around us.” It’ll be a bigger bloodbath than the Demolition Derby. The Tigers need a good cheering section, and if you’re headed back to Chicago or Indy, it’s sort of on your way home. I’ll try to get the exact address ASAP, or ask me about it at the rally. Bring a mug of “coffee” and your MT replica jersey.

The rally itself has become the official kickoff to the Midwest rally season, it’s always huge and always great, see you there.

Layer Tennis

At my real job that pays me money, we do this weekly design “contest” called Layer Tennis. It usually features two well-known designers or illustrators taking turns with a Photoshop file, with commentary by a well-known writer or design critic. Last friday’s match was the first to be based in Adobe Flash, and thus include animation, and since a very-well-known humorist/web gadfly got stuck with jury duty, I was given the opportunity to provide the commentary. It’s not scooter-related at all, but if you enjoy my writing (and who doesn’t), check out Coudal Partners’ Layer Tennis, Week 10. That’s me in the left column, you can see each volley by clicking on the numbers under the main image. I also serve as the referee each week, my most important role being the coin flip the day before the match.

Thanks giving

It’s the obvious blog-world thing to do, but today’s the day to give thanks. First, thanks to everyone who reads and contributes to 2strokebuzz. I just re-found a stack of letters* I got when I was still doing the ‘zine (1996-ish) and many of those people that wrote to me back then are still good friends today. I also read some kind words from Jeff Lillie in Kickstart and also from Scoot! Magazine in their 10th anniversary issue, it’s amazing that many of us have been doing this stuff for such a long time and still enjoy ourselves and still believe in the awesomnicity of motorscooters. Thanks also to the science and/or providence that protects us as we zip around through traffic at 50mph on rusty 30-year-old machines with dim taillights.

Pickitup pickitup pickitup pickitup…

I have this whole rant about how parents today think they’re so badass and hip and enlightened, when they’re really just forcing their embarassingly lame 20-year-old values on their poor kids just like every other parent before them (They Might Be Giants and IKEA are actually several notches down the hip scale from Shel Silverstein and avocado-colored appliances). But today I’ll spare you that lecture and pretend it’s cool that my Debbie-Harry-obsessed daughter watches a kids’ show that runs stuff like this.

That’s Parker Jacobs’ nifty animation for a nifty GoGo13 song that appeared on Yo Gabba Gabba, a show produced by one of the Aquabats that often features Mark Mothersbaugh and Biz Markie, neither of whom are nearly as hip as we’d like to think. But we love the show and the seeds for yet another wave (is this the seventh?) of ska are sown, and my little peanut will do anything a brother in an orange jumpsuit tells her to.

Car Show


A month ago, I saw some flyers around the neighborhood about an Oktoberfest at the park next to my house. I noticed that it would include a “Car Show” and I figured that a) it wasn’t very well-publicized, b) it was being run by amateurs outside the car-show scene, and c) entrants were required to pre-register in person or by mail, all three factors that would probably pretty seriously limit entries. So I mailed in an application to show my “award-winning” (ha) Vespa Primavera, mostly just for fun, but also secretly in hope that no one would show up and I might win something. Once you get a taste of sweet, sweet trophy, you want more.

Plus, I broke my other trophy.

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