Sunday, 8 February 2015

T-Max gets a new belt (again)

Well the little light came on on the dash to tell me it was belt change time. So I pulled the paneling off the side (as per the manual) and took off the cover and (as directed in the manual) pulled the belt from the pulleys (sheaves) by inserting 2 50 x 6mm screws into the slots and separating the halves of the secondary sheave (that would be the back one).

As last time the belt looks immaculate ... absolutely no sign of wear either visually or according to the spec.

I compared it to the new one and even on a flat surface (Engineeringly flat surface btw) there was no discernable difference in belt width (measured at the back of the belt btw).

Here is the old one.

Looks perfect to me, with not the slightest indication it would fail.

The folks who sold me the belt (I bought a Dayco, as Yamaha wanted twice the price and didn't have any in stock ) said something like:
Jezuz what is this belt out of? A snow mobile??
Which confirms my opinion that  the belt is well over spec for its needs. I can only assume that Yamaha expect the users to totally punish the belt (can't imagine how in an automatic bike) or that maybe the 20,000Km inspection interval may just rurn out to be 10 years for some people. For me its about 2.

The entire job (including driving over to the belt shop to show them the extracted belt - which was pointless because they are all just afraid to say anything meaningful ... PC shit) took about 3 hours. With about 10 min involved in struggling the belt off and another 10 struggling it back on.

If you are the faintest bit mechanically apt its all do-able with the manual and a few basic tools. I've noted though that many scooter owners are at their mechanical limit putting air into the tyres...

So having gone to all the trouble to pull it down I put the new belt in and have my head to scratch about the whole thing. Myself I reckon that for how I use it, that 20,000 is more the inspection time. Assuming it passes inspection, just leave the thing in place and save yourself $100 and the extra struggle. While removing the belt you need to remove and clean / replace the belt areas air filter, so its good to pull it down anyway. Assuming you're doing the work yourself I'd reckon that it'll last 40,000Km or more.

Or course if you were taking it to a workshop you may feel awkward about paying for two hours labour (or about 2/3 of the total cost) for nothing more than an inspection ... and besides, Yamaha gets to sell you a $200 part.

One note, since replacement the belt makes a "squeal" or "whistle" rather like a deeper version of fan belt slippage but only on rolling off the throttle (that would be slowing down). I can't recall if it did this last time or if its part of the bed in procedure.

I'll report back.


Belt has been returned to Dayco. They think there was something wrong with it. Meantime their technician inspected my older belt and confirmed that it looked perfect, and they would have no hesitation with refitting it.

So I did and its perfect ...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

learning to love the life I have

Its been some time since my dearest Anita died (it was in August 2012). I have made learned many things since that time and while I still feel her loss deeply I have some things to share which may be of benefit (or may not).

Perhaps I was lucky to be struck with a post operative infection from a heart valve replacement surgery (which was performed 6 months or more before she passed away), but with no sense or irony I say that having to struggle for my life - wanting to be dead but not being dead - becoming aware of getting better and (out of habit) fighting to struggle for regaining my personal fitness has proven beneficial.

Like joining the "Foreign Legion" to forget a broken heart the struggle to survive (even reflexively) has shown me that I go on. Has also perhaps helped me to accept in some ways that is not altogether bad.

Most certainly I have many down days, where I just lay on the couch in my not at work times. I avoid doing things which I know should be done. I feel pain at doing things (which we did together) alone.

However I have come to see that while there is sadness and loneliness there are actually glimpses of happiness and on occasions I feel OK about those things which are not related to what we shared together.


I have reflected a LOT on things including what would happen if by a miracle she appeared alive at home and we could start again. Would I still be able to be the happy person she loved or would my suffering have made me into a person whom she would grow tired of?

If we are to meet in the after life I feel that it is my job in this life to heal myself to be that person whom she loved and respected.

If there is no after life then what harm can come from healing myself in preparation for our (it won't happen) meeting anyway?

my only answer so far

I have come to feel that the pain and fatigue that I feel in the memory of her and what has gone before her death is simply a burden I should carry. I should carry it for I am the primary vessel of her memory and of her spirit in this world.

A song came to my mind some time back by Bob Scott: He ain't heavy, he's my Brother.

I feel now that the burden I feel in her loss and absence is made more profound for me simply because I have no training in carrying it.

Like all fitness training, it just takes time and will power to become strong enough to be able to "lift that weight" or "run that marathon" or "do that maths".

So I do not try to turn away from the pain, or down play the love that I still feel for her. Instead I try to carry that with me and still be able to bring the memories of her to our friends without being struck down. Without making everyone feel uncomfortable.

I've been trying to walk this path for a year now, and while I'm still in training I am getting stronger. There are times when I can laugh with my friends about things we (meaning all of us including my wife) shared.

So while it is indeed "a long and winding road" to "who knows where" I thought I would share this with you so that any who are reading this and suffering grief of your own you can also pick up your load and carry that love forward.

The love we shared should not be a thing which can be overwhelmed by just her passing. She ain't heavy ... she's my lover.

I wish you peace.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Australian de-capacitation

Happy New Year ...

Its been quiet on the blog (well I've been engaged in social things and making some more discoveries on managing my INR).

In Env Sci we discuss "capacity building" as teaching (mainly) 3rd world peoples how to have the capacity to use the science and engineering of modernity for the betterment of their community.

I have begun to see that a Newtonian balancing act is occuring in the west with a decapacitation of the population - meaning we are making people both dumber and unable to cope with modernity - occuring to make things even.

The driving force in both instance is the profit motive. I have been trying to tune my hot water system for summer to minimise electricity costs and I measured the temp of my water this morning at 50°C. I thought that this may be a little low, so I did some digging on Legionella and found this in a Government Publication:

my first thoughts were:
  • no shit Sherlock, hot water can scald
  • to lower the temperature, simply turn on the cold tap .... 
I'm stunned that this needs to be made clear to people. Further I'm (sadly not surprised) stunned to read that the solution is to install some extra technology other than just use your cold tap and your brain.

Its even easier if you have modern mixer taps.

King Wang is increasing his hold (with the blind leading the blind)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

whats missing from (psychologists) understanding grief

we all know the phrase "well it depends on where you stand" .. its one of those classic cliches which we utter to explain when we disagree and we feel vaguely that the other person doesn't see our perspective.

At first glance the shot below (which I took near Franz Joseph glacier)  looks like a shot up a mountain pass.

but it becomes quickly apparent that there is something wrong, its framed above with grasses. Its when you make the connection that I've photographed the reflection in a lake and turned it upside down that you see it for what it is. Indeed it becomes clear if you view it upside down.

So what's this got to do with grief?

Well it seems to me that almost nothing written in the 'academic' realm about grief seems to go past the concepts of loss. ... Oh ... loss ... well I'd never thought of it like I'd lost something.

Wow, thanks for clearing that up, I'd thought my nose was just blocked by a flu... Seriously I'm in the wrong game if people can get paid hundreds per hour to write rubbish and dispense rubbish.

To me I feel now that what's missing from the psychobabble on grief is comprehension of love and the enduring ties that love has. Perhaps this failure in identification stems from the possibility that most of these writers have never felt love.

what is love?

Love is probably the most misused word in the English language. Its brought to bear on everything from how much you like an ice-cream on a hot day to feelings of lust. Even having sex is called "making love" when (if literature and the visual arts are much to go by) it really means "getting your rocks off". In contrast I feel that Love is something which grows. Like growing living things it is not always going to grow and it may indeed die. But like all things in life, it is a continuum ... some people have a great capacity for love, others have none.

I think that the love parents feel for their children is an excellent example. Some parents deeply love their children while others simply exploit their children or see them as an extension of their own lives and choose to live vicariously through them.

I reckon that an important and neglected aspect of grief is dealing with something which is still existing - the love you have for your spouse.

run away ...

one of the pieces of advice given to those suffering from grief is to "move on" ... what stupidity is that? Grief over the loss of the one you love is something you can't ignore, runaway from or escape.

If you want to see a bad reaction, take a baby from a woman and tell her to "move on". Would you expect her to just say "oh, yes, its gone now I see that ... well then" or would you expect her to do everything in her power to get her baby back. Probably she won't try to run away from such a thing

The problem with the advice of creating distance from the pain is that it only works for some problems.

For the same reasons you loved the one you lost you can't ignore that they are gone.

The very nature of our fight or flight response is to put distance between us and a problem. However in the case of grief the problem is distance. We are suddenly distanced from the one we love and it is not in the hearts of good and moral humans to simply forget love and walk away from it.

So as I see it, a key failing in the realm of grief counseling is to fail to address this issue.

Some groups try to address it by appealing to the view that the separation of you from your loved one is simply a matter of time. That in the future (after you die) you will be re-united with them (but usually only if you believe X Y or Z).

I can see the benefit of this approach, but feel that its dependent on faith.

No matter of what it promises in the life after, it does however provide nothing to help you here and now. It offers nothing to help you with waking up alone every morning, doing things that you did together alone, having no comfort provided by the one who you were mutually in love with being there to talk to and provide support.


To those of you reading this who are in grief I am sorry that I don't have anything to offer you (or me even) to help with the pain. What I have instead come to see is that like other sufferers of chronic pain all we can do is manage it. So despite the pain there is no choice, no other alternative plan, but to face the loss and work out how to deal with it; because you can never be as you were. "We all started out as something different", life takes us on a journey which (in truth) we only play a minor role in. Part of the shock to the system in grief is seeing this truth.

"Moving On" becomes an act of learning to do things as does a paraplegic need to re-learn. It is not about attempting to forget the one you loved, indeed you should cherish that love and hold it dear to your heart. Eventually the pain becomes something to which you are able to endure, like learning to run a marathon. You can't do it at first but with training you become strong enough to do it.

Why bother? - well I have no answer for that, I wash in and out of that daily myself. But to me if you don't choose to kill yourself then one reason is to try to make your life better. I will never regain the love that I had or be able to live again what we lived, be able to share the adventures we shared and everything that went into our marriage.

Our love lives in this world only in me now. I am the custodian of that (perhaps) ephemeral beauty.

Its a hard lesson to learn. Its a lesson because I believe that its something we have to learn. Unlike almost everything else in life, there is no one to show you the way or how it is done.

A start to learning it is to understand perspectives.

Life Sucks and then you Die...

Seeing the truth of this requires an altered perspective: everything we eat comes from a living thing (sorry to say Vegans but you're still killing something). Something dies so that we can live. Mostly in our lives, its us sucking life.

Seeing this and accepting that the world (solar system, galaxy and universe) does not revolve around you (or me) is perhaps the next lesson that can be learned from our grief.

Turning the perspective around, a baby sucks milk from a nipple. The mother is giving willingly but the baby is still sucking life and nourishment from her (which takes much energy to produce). The time perspectives are longer than we consider normally, but indeed at that moment while she is nourishing her infant she is also on the path to death. She (unlike the child she is feeding) is not growing, only growing older.

Recently I had the opportunity to be a nipple for someone. I provided advice and suggestions to someone who with that advice was able to avoid having another open heart surgery and instead undergo a treatment which solved the problem for her valve. As one who has had 3 open heart surgeries , I felt very grateful to be able to use what I know to help another person avoid that particular road.

If I do no more than this from time to time then I'm doing something good. I'm helping life go on (even if its not my life) by being a supply of something for someone else.

Perhaps that can help you to feel better about living with grief, living with the loss and remaining in love with the one you lost.

I've seen gods bleeding.
I've seen worlds burn.
I've seen stars falling.
And I've seen the 'Dead Son Rising'!

We are 'The Lost' ---
Without you we are all that was wrong.
We are 'The Lost' ---
Without you we are the sigh in the wind.
Gary Numan

Best Wishes