HR1 Handlebar Riser on 2012 Yamaha Stratoliner S

The handlebars that come stock on the Yamaha Stratoliner/roadliner can wreck your back  on long rides.  Leaning forward slightly to reach the bars really did a number on mine, and I’ve had my bike for about 1 1/2 years now.  I also am not up for replacing the cables and the electrical cord mods simply to pull the bars back a bit.  After searching around, there’s not much of a selection unless going with ape hangers.  That’s not something I want to do right now with my bike, so I went with a less expensive alternative:  HR1 risers by Refined Cycles.  Yes, Baron also sells risers, but they are nearly double the price.  They look a bit different than the Baron model, but to me it doesn’t matter.

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I did not do the installation myself, since I was at work most of the time.  I took my bike to a shop near me, so I thought I’d share my experience.  I won’t drag names through the mud, however I will say that the shop I took it to tried to take an easy out.
They told me that the cables weren’t long enough, and I had to get extension cables which would be about $1,100 after installation.  I pushed back, telling them if they released the slack in the cable with the supports and such everything would be fine.
Another day,  and the same. The electrical was too short and nothing could be done.  I went there the following day with the instructions straight from the manufacturer on how to perform the installation… on my specific motorcycle.
The next day, nope… not going to fit, requires extensions.  I was resigned and just went there to pay for the time they put in and pick my bike up so I could waste my weekend working on my bike in my carport next to my neighbor’s 5 barking dogs… but alas, I got there to pick up my bike and everyone acted like I was acting silly, and telling me my bike is done and will be pulled around.

Yes, it was done but be careful of the shop you go to.  Nothing wild or crazy was done, just following the instructions.
It rides great, with my weight more on my butt and leaned back a bit.  Steering is different, more upright with more body leaning.  I love it.  I was able to take a ride 50 miles north for a burger in Black Canyon City and ride home, all completely fresh without any back pain.

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This is how it looks from the front through my windshield.

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This is what it looks like directly from the top.

This will fit the 2012 Yamaha Stratoliner/Roadliner, don’t let anyone tell you different.

Next comes exhaust, then suspension.

Bash – Returning more than just a code

I do most of my scripting in upper level languages, however recently I was tasked with “fixing” a bash shell script another person wrote where I work.  Naturally that meant I had to rewrite it since it wasn’t up to par.  I grew tired of using global variables since it leaves the entire namespace limited.  After research, I found a way to return a string from a function to the calling function/main script.  I figured I’ll share.

Here’s a simple example of string returning that is quite useful when applied in returning comma or colon-delimited strings of data for parsing.  This example returns a couple of comma-delimited variables in a string:

main.sh:

#!/bin/bash
declare VAR
source ./common.sh
var_grabber VAR
echo “VAR is: $VAR”

 

common.sh:

#!/bin/bash

function var_grabber() {
local output=$1
local VAR1=”var1″
local VAR2=”var2″
local string=””

string=”$VAR1,$VAR2″
eval $output=\$string
}

As main.sh is run, the return is:

$ bash main.sh
VAR is: var1,var2

In this example, main.sh sources the common.sh script to allow the function to be used.  In a nutshell, call the function with just the name of a variable that will hold the data, without the dollar-sign.  In the function, pass the first argument (the variable name) to a local variable, and pass the reference to a string to the local variable holding that variable name.  (output, in this case)
The eval sets it up properly, and in main.sh the VAR variable will hold the string.  From there it can be parsed and used as needed.

I figured I’d share this since it allows the ability to apply message-passing logic to bash scripting, for those that are used to it.  I know there are many other ways to do this, but this was closer to Perl style which I am used to.

Finding (and removing) ^M in files

I know I’m not the only person who works in multiple operating system environments, and gets ticked off when finding a ^M saved in the newline of text files or scripts.  Windows/MSDOS uses ‘\r\n’ and Unix/Linux/OSX uses ‘\n’ for newline at the code level, and we see the Windows \r as ^M.  An easy to way to work around this at the Linux/Unix/OSX level is rather simple.

To find files that have the ^M at the Linux/Unix/OSX prompt, type the following:
grep -r $’\r’ *
or for a single file
tr -d $’\r’ < filename

To remove all ^M in a file, type the following (replacing filename with the file in question):
sed $’s/\r//’ -i filename

I figured I’d share this since it’s something you don’t do all of the time, and it’s just one of those things.

New To Straight Razors, First Time Use!

Having been using safety razors for some time now, I’ve grown to enjoy the blade and respect it.  After feeling comfortable with using my safety razors and finding them very reliable/inexpensive to maintain, I’ve decided to go the route of straight razors to experience them.  The reason is mainly because safety razors have a slight issue with cutting hair on the scalp after it’s grown more than 2-3 days due to clogging of cut hair between the blade and head of the safety razor.  It’s entirely possible, but requires quite a bit of rinsing with every short stroke of the blade and takes a large amount of time.  Que the straight razor, with no other surface than the blade itself… and no protection.  It’s definitely a no-frills creation.  I’m not too terribly hot on buying a $100+ new blade simply to try it out, so I purchased an old-school used blade that was reconditioned.  Very well reconditioned, I might add.  It’s a 1930’s German Solingen straight razor with elk antler scales (handle) and looks brand new.  I also picked up an English bridle leather razor strop to maintain the straight razor since it needs to be stropped after being used almost every time.

razor

After receiving the razor, I was impressed by how even after approximately 80 years it was so well conditioned.  The metal is carbon steel, which is different from most nowadays being stainless steel.  Stainless is less forgiving than carbon steel, requiring stropping more often.  It was honed, and ready for use immediately.  The razor strop was in perfect condition, with a little dirt on the fabric section but that has no consequence to stropping.

I will admit, it takes quite a bit of self-training to do properly.  Having never used one before, I researched angle and such beforehand.  Most I’ve read said to use a 20 degree tilt, but I’ve found it varies depending upon which area of the scalp I was in contact with.  The first time (the only time so far) did hurt due to my lack of skill, however the hair removal was done very quickly compared to any other method I’ve used.  I also learned the hard way, always move with slow certain motions.  The blade merely tapped the tip of my ear, and left quite a marking that will take weeks to heal properly.  I used a brand of waterless shaving lotion named “EZ-Blade” which actually works very nicely.  After I removed most of the hair from my scalp, I used my trusty Feather brand safety razor to smooth everything down to the skin.  I noticed that the straight razor (so far) isn’t terribly good at creating a baby-butt smooth scalp, but is wonderful for mass removal.

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This straight razor will be kept as a beauty piece, since I also purchased a relatively inexpensive 1960’s Soviet-era straight razor from the Ukraine which should reach me in a couple weeks.  I will be using that one as the main workhorse, and allowing the German model to be the pretty face of the area.  I’m going to try and continue using the straight razor method to see if I can strengthen up my scalp and allow the blade to make contact without such sensitivity.  Mind you, not bleeding or scarring, just sensitivity.

On to more experimenting!

2 New Ragdoll cats

I took my trip to Ragnarok Cattery just outside of Riverside, CA, and had a good time talking with Dave Chambers (the owner) while I was there.  Since he’s retiring soon I  figured I’d take the chance to hear some of the history and stuff he’s gone through.

Version 2

I originally went for a single Ragdoll breed cat, but once I was there I decided I’d get two.  They’re great cats, just being the first day and being stuck in a kennel cage for the 5-6 hour trip made them a little grumpy and antisocial for the night.

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They’re so docile, it’s amazing.  I do need to really take some time on their fur though, since it sheds everywhere.  The only downside I’m having is not with them but with Ashes, my black kitten.  She’s not liking them in the house and has turned severely aggressive towards me and them.  I know it’s a territory thing, but the problem is that Ragdoll cats aren’t aggressive at all, which makes them open to abuse.  I’m hoping she’ll calm down over the next few days because I’d hate to have to adopt her out 😦  She’s a wonderful cat, just has issues.

 

UPDATE September 26, 2016:
After a little over a week, the attitude with Ashes has calmed down and she’s become very close with the grey ragdoll, Aria.  Both constantly play and lay together.  This has changed Ashes’ personality immensely, as now she’s more like a normal kitten.
Unfortunately though, the white ragdoll, Crystale, is still a very shy cat and has trouble not having her body enclosed in a tight area for protection.  2 times I’ve pulled her out of hiding places inside of my couch and inside of the box spring of my bed.  Once she’s in my arms, she clings tight and nuzzles while purring but right now she can’t stand a room with any noises or motion whatsoever.  I’m going to get another cat bed, litter box,  and food dish for the extra bedroom and put a light talk radio in there to acclimate her to hearing noises without being attacked/harmed.  I have a feeling she’ll take some time to get her ducks in a row, but once she does I think she’ll be a very loving cat.

UPDATE December 14, 2016:
Crystale has been conditioned properly, and became part of the crowd.  Unfortunately though, I don’t have enough hours at home to socially interact with the two ragdoll cats.  I’m usually at home a maximum of 2-3 hours an evening due to work and driving home along with sleep.  I’ve found families for both Aria & Crystale this week, and they are being taken care of.  I am down to Ashes, alone.  He’s more independent and able to handle himself while I’m not around.  Though when I am home, he does love to lay on my chest and watch TV or my laptop along with me.  He’s a daddy’s boy, he always has been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raising my black kitten, Ashes.

My first cat I posted about a little while ago I named Ashes.  She’s a darling at times, and a terror at other times.  I believe it’s because she was abandoned at less than a month old.  After about a week of having her at my house, she began an offensive attack that most would translate as a severe defensive.  The difference is, she didn’t back off and if you did then the attack became more intense.  Slashing of claws, biting hard and shaking head as biting.  Add in feral cat sounds, and that paints the picture.

kitty

Anyone who knows me in person would know I’m the kind of masochistic person that’d put my hand into burning fire to pull something out.  With a little testing of her in certain scenarios, I found out she seems like she’s never been taught how to play properly.  At first I stayed still and didn’t move my arm/hand as she was attacking.  You could tell that severely ticked her off after a couple of seconds because her muscles would tense up and she’d grip harder with her claws and strike with her mouth wide open in different locations, eyes scarily wide open.  That wouldn’t stop for minutes, and I’d have to pull her off and overpower her.  Since that time, I’ve taken a step by step approach with her.  I don’t allow her to bite me, and when she does I divert her by putting my thumb under her chin and rubbing the back of her head with my fingers on the same hand.  Her eyes do get wide and she goes into attack mode at that point, but I’ve learned that singing lightly to her and rocking her back and forth calms her down to a light playfulness.  The biting will go away with age, since she’s only a small young kitten.  It’s helped with her trust quite a bit I’ve noticed, as well.  Before, she would be avoiding.  Now, she runs to me and knows my actions.  Above all, she knows I won’t hurt her intentionally, and that’s the biggest part.  She still bites, and I can tell it’s her attempting to be playful because if I get my face close she pulls her paws back.  I usually place my forehead against hers and she stops for a moment.

Over the last day or two, she’s become more open and wants to spend time not by herself.  I’ve been taking her to Petsmart for her vaccination, nail trimming, and to get a toy or two.  Everytime, I’ve been making sure to take her along so she gets used to the outside world and noises.  It’s been rough, but she’s starting to get used to it.  Though, attempting to walk across a parking lot while a loud car drifts slowly like they’re letting you go but not stopping and revving their engine a bit.. as a kitten is physically attaching herself more and more to your body with every rev, really isn’t easy.  (My shoulder looks like I’ve been whipped)

New Cat, and soon to be partner cat

Life has been helter skelter for about 3-4 years.  I haven’t been able to have a pet for longer than that because of uncertainties in life.  Things are starting to stabilize, and I figured I’d take the next step!  I normally have gone with dogs or ferrets due to the pack mentality.  The thing is, I’m not home enough to have pack oriented pets.  It wouldn’t be right of me to do such a thing.  I took the next step, and since I’ve never been a cat person I decided I’d get a cat.  Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?  The idea is, don’t go with cats that have a personality I abhor.  Adoptable cats never were my style, they’ve always been not my style.  I’m sure there’s a reason for that, and I’m not up for psycho-analyzing things right now.  After lots of searching, I found one that’s a perfect challenge for me!  A 1-month old kitten that was found by a couple of guys in the bushes near downtown Phoenix.

After having her for 2 weeks, I can tell she was removed from her mother far too early and needs behavior management work.  Trust issues as well.  She also has no role models in her life.  I’ve decided that she needs a partner in her life.  Instead of getting another homeless cat, I’ve decided it’d be best to go with a cat that’d be more my style and an excellent role model.  I’m picking up a ragdoll breed cat, more like a dog than a cat in behavior and very friendly.  There’s a breeder in south Cali that breeds for movies/videos, but unfortunately they’re retiring very soon since they’ve been in operation since the mid 1970’s.  Ragnorok Cattery in San Bernardino, California.  I’ll be driving over there this weekend to pick one out, and I’m aiming for a bicolor… but I’m torn between that and the blue colorpoint.  Since they are pedigree with absolutely no crossing of breed, I’ll know what I’m up against along with a lifespan of over 15 years.

These two were in the movie “Lone Ranger” in 2013 with Johnny Depp.

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