I was a regular contributor on Usenet back in the 90’s. Usenet, for the uninitiated, was an early online forum which predated the World Wide Web by a good decade. Google maintains an archive of Usenet posts going back to the 80’s that I have been rereading to get a better feel for my younger self. As a result, I am going to try to do something that has never been attempted in a COAL before: Instead of trying to describe this ride using my modern biased recollections, I’m going to use my own words that I wrote and posted on Usenet 20+ years ago.
Behold the oldest Usenet post of mine that I could find using Google Groups. It is certainly not my oldest post (I started posting in the late 80’s), but it is the oldest one I could still find in Google’s incomplete index.
Even though it is almost 25-years old, I would say my advice is still sound today. One should run native apps on your Mac, and not emulated Windows versions.
As my last several COALs indicate, in the mid 90’s I was developing an ever increasing appetite for speed. No longer content with either Integra (the 91 GS or the 94 GS-R), and unable to afford vehicles with significantly greater performance, I did what many people do when looking for cheap speed: I turned to motorcycles.
Several coworkers of mine rode, and after listening to them continually sing the praises of riding, I decided to take the plunge myself. They took me dirt bike riding a couple of times just to get the hand of the clutch and transmission, and I considered myself good enough for the street. (No MSF course for me!) In the Summer of 1994 I got my first bike: A well worn 1987 Honda CBR600F “Hurricane” very similar to the one pictured below.
It wasn’t my dream bike – in fact, I cared so little for it that I didn’t even bother taking pictures of it (and I take pictures of everything), hence the representative photo above. In 80’s sport bike fashion it was blocky and chunky, with massive fairings and a front fender that was too large. It already looked dated by the early 90’s when I got it. The fairings had road rash from previously being laid down. It didn’t bother me, because I figured I would probably do the same thing, and I wouldn’t feel so bad about messing up the body when I did.
I just didn’t realize how soon that event would occur: The day I bought it, on my way home, I low sided it on my first significant left-hand curve. Well, I’ll let my 1995 self take it from here, in a post I made to rec.motorcycles in March of 1995:
After that incident, I rode several thousand miles the rest of that summer incident free, so I decided I was ready to graduate from the training wheels. of So in the winter of 1995, I sold the Hurricane (for close to what I purchased it for, as I recall) and rewarded myself with what I really wanted, a 1992 CBR600F2 (pictured below).
Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, the colors are indeed black, blue, and yes, pink. The pink didn’t bother me in the slightest. I in fact thought it was a sharp color combination, especially with the white wheels (which were impossible to keep clean, BTW).
Back to Usenet, and my 22 year younger self: Here I am in 1995 (almost to the day, eerily), answering a question about the 600F vs. 600F2 in rec.motorcylces, a subject I felt uniquely qualified to comment on having owned one of each. Note the coloquial nickname “goof2,” since the “6” in 600 kind of looks like the letter “G.”
As I was quick to point out in 1995, the 600F2 was a little faster than the 600F, but not enough so. I immediately went to work on everything I could do to eek a little more speed out of it: I jetted the carbs, reduced the gear ratio with a smaller front sprocket, and installed a slip-on exhaust. Other than the tank bra, I left the appearance largely stock. Just like my cars, I dislike spoiling my vehicles with stickers and add-on accessories.
Professionally, a lot was changing in my life around this time as well. I had advanced about as far as I could at a tiny company like Telefast, so when a former schoolmate of mine suggested I join him up in Detroit contracting for Ford, I jumped at the opportunity.
I would be doing C++ programming, which at the time I had no experience with (Although I had done some C programming at Telefast), working as a contractor in the world headquarters building (aka the Glass House) in Dearborn. I would also be billing for the then astronomical rate of $45/hour (albeit as a 1099 and not W2), but still far more than I was making at Telefast.
So I gathered up the GS-R and the bike, and headed off to Dearborn, Michigan. I don’t recall trailering either vehicle, so I must have made two trips.
After spending the better part of a decade working in a small company, and before that growing up in a small family business, I developed what is sometimes referred to as the Midwestern work ethic. You show up, do your job, and do it to the best of your ability. Going to work at the second largest company in the world was an eye-opener, to say the least. I was not prepared for the amount of political infighting and corporate backstabbing that I would witness. I couldn’t believe the amount of wasted effort that was applied to these and other non-productive tasks. It was literally like working in a real life Dilbert cartoon (before Dilbert was even a thing).
Here is basically the recipe that our project followed:
- Pick any random manager to implement the project.
- Give them a bucket of cash.
- Let the manager decide on the platform based on personal prejudices rather than than what is actually deployed in the field.
- Allow for unlimited use of contractors with oversight of contractors by other contractors, and no accountability.
- Have them start coding.
- Throw around FoMoCo’s muscle to get vendors to provide the latest development tools that are in Beta or Alpha testing, even if they don’t work.
- Come up with a design.
- Fire all contractors and hire new ones.
- Repeat steps 5 thru 8
- Repeat steps 5 thru 8
- Have a last minute crunch to get a workable solution.
- Cancel the project when you finally a mostly usable system.
- Write $13MM off the books.
While Ford may have been hemorrhaging cash, I was doing all right for myself. We’ll see where that leads me on my next COAL.