Monday, September 7, 2009


Classes are over, fall is beginning. I've been sick for the past week and a half, I lost a couple days to pure sleep.

I've decided to retake the GRE, and I'm aiming for above 1400. I don't have very far to go on the verbal part (60 points), and I'm perusing the GRE vocab for words I don't know or that have other meanings that don't readily spring to mind. I was caught off guard last time I took it by how many words I was unfamiliar with, as I usually think of myself as an expert-user of the English language. I've got a bit further to go on the quant part (140 points), and I'm finally putting the practice book I bought so long ago to use. I laughed when I realized that I've had it for five years, and I'm just now starting to use it. Nevermind that the math in it is all high-school level. I'm finding it exciting to solve puzzles that are based on simple concepts but are nonetheless challenging.

I'm going to register for a test just before classes start, so I'll be all set for phd applications. I need to figure out who I can get letters of recommendation from. It turns out I waited to long to talk to Dr. Bickle, he's moved to the University of Mississippi. I need to follow up with Dr. Minai!

My motorcycle is undergoing an overhaul. I brought it up to dads, and I'm in the process of disassembling it. Thus far I've succeeded in fixing the timing (which I'll probably have to do again later), cleaning random parts, and breaking off two easy-outs in incorrigible nuts. Hopefully I'll be able to grind those out with a carbide bit...

It's a fun opportunity to learn a mechanical system and to buy parts for it (which is somehow satisfying). I've ordered replacement engine bolts, a gasket set, a tune up kit, a carb overhaul kit, a tail light, and I'm bidding on some of the original mufflers. I need to get ignition coils (probably) figure out what I want to do with the seat and tank, and figure out how to install rear-sets. My dreams were filled with images of painting the engine all black and grinding the edges of the heat fins so that they're sharp and silvery. For some reason that idea really captivates me. I'm also thinking of getting the frame powder-coated either silver or black. That may be overkill, but might as well do it up right while I'm at it, eh?

Rick's motorcycle is languishing. I put a new clutch cable on it (my old one), and I've been trying to fix the master cylinder. Turns out I need special-special pliers: the clip ring that holds it all together is uncommonly deep in the part, and the clip-ring pliers dad has won't fit. The required pliers apparently cost $30. Its also refusing to start now, which is odd since it started effortlessly when we picked it up. The starter motor seems to have somehow died while it was sitting, but I don't know how that's possible. Seems more likely that the gasoline decayed and varnished the carburetors, but that doesn't explain the failiure of the starter motor to turn it over. The kickstarter turns the engine over, but to no avail.