31 March 2010

Bo's Egg Run 2010: Dun Laoghaire Part 2

Continuing on from my previous post, after about an hour or so of hanging around for the run to begin and looking at other people's gorgeous scoots, I realised that I hadn't put on the Malaysian legshield banner.

So, on it went and it immediately got the attention of curious onlookers as well as fellow scooter enthusiasts.

Anyway, legshield banner aside, there were still a good bunch of scooters worthy of a mention here. Heh!

A sweet specimen from the SX200 range.

The award-winning Vespa GS160 (more on that later).

This Scomadi made an appearance but didn't join in the run. Would've loved to see it on the road with us on the day.

Some scooter porn especially for my GP-craving brethren back home. I think the two here are actually Indian SIL Lammies but, still very nice looking scooters.

So, a few minutes before 2 o'clock, everyone was gathered around with the intention of getting a group photo. The idea proved too difficult to organise as people were just busy looking at scooters. I managed to squeeze a pic of most, if not all the scooters and bikes present at the pier on the day.

After a quick briefing on the route and final destination, we were off!

Apologies for the dodgy video work. I still haven't gotten my head around this video thing so, do bear with me until I eventually get it right.

Next up, the actual run itself. Woohoo!

29 March 2010

Bo's Egg Run 2010: Dun Laoghaire Part 1

The day of the Egg Run finally arrived on Saturday. Not one to disappoint the kids at the hospital, I made sure I stopped by a shop to get some Easter Eggs on the way. Thought I'd be a bit different and got some Snickers Eggs instead.

Not being familiar with the coastal route to Dun Laoghaire, I found myself lost somewhere around Ringsend but, by keeping to the basic rule of coast on the left, mountains on the right, I was back on track.

The day wasn't as bright and sunny as I'd expected but nothing wasn't going to put me off my first proper run of the season. It's starting to become a trend of late and once again, I was one of the first to arrive.

As usual at these events, there's always bound to be a few eye-catching scoots. Here's a few...

Probably the only Belladonna in Ireland. The Belladonna is New Zealand's variant of the LML as we know it here in Europe (and most of the world).

An 80's version of Skuter Hijau? The paint job is giving me ideas for my own Vespa but that'll have to wait, for now.

A very nicely done Li Special. If not for this recession, I'd be seriously looking into getting myself something similar. Dammit!

The local scene's favourite (and mine as well), the Dark Lords of the Sith themed PX. Another one for the ideas book perhaps? A Bobba Fett PX somewhere in the making? Hmmm...

Just got to love this Vespa...

And this gorgeous Li2.

OK, I'm going to have to cut-off this post here, for the meantime. I've got a couple more pics to share so, hopefully I'll have them up soon enough...

27 March 2010

Rockin Road Festival 2010

So, the Egg Run is on later this afternoon. Hopefully, it'll all go well and the organisers will get what they were looking for to help the kids. I'll try to post something up about the run as soon as I can.

In the meantime, here's another fun AND charitable event.

The event is organised by the VCI along with a couple of other bands and DJs. As the flyer implies, the event is primarily to help raise some much needed funds for the St. Joseph's Centre for the Visually Impaired. The centre, like most other places has been quite severely effected by the recession. The government funding cuts don't help either.

Charitable aspects aside, there aren't too many family-type events organised by the scootering community in Ireland so, I'm looking forward to going to this with my wife and kids. Should be a fun day!


25 March 2010

When I'm feeling down

OK, the results over the weekend got me off to a horrible start to the week. Even my wife’s exceedingly delicious Moroccan Chicken after the match couldn’t drastically change my mood. There was a sudden feeling of vertigo, as if I was a school boy again, staring into that big monsoon drain.

Yes, it’s bad enough that Liverpool lost to arguably, our most bitter rival but more importantly, the chance of Liverpool getting into fourth place was obviously, dramatically reduced. It also meant that, having no chance at the title at all this year, we didn’t even do our bit to dent United’s hopes of getting theirs.

That feeling was made even worse as the guy sitting right in front of me in the Thirsty Bull was wearing a United jersey. Not just any jersey though, it had written on the back (where the player’s name would normally be) FACT with the number 18 right under it. Just a little reminder of how awfully close United are to beating Liverpool’s proud record. B**tard.

Anyway, life goes on. And, it did. Monday came as quickly as usual and as soon as I knew it, I was back in my boring old routine at work. Even the heavens seem to be sharing in my pain as the weather changed from the glorious summery sunshine to dreary grey rainy days. OK, I’m being a tad bit dramatic there but basically I wasn’t in good form. At all.

Until Tuesday that is. Sometimes it’s surprising how the smallest of things changes your mood from bad to good in an instant. Most times it’s my wife for just being herself. Normally, it’s my kids. They’ll go DADDY! DADDY! DADDY! as soon as they hear me at the front door. Or, by just doing something plain silly. I’ll try not to laugh but most times I just burst out in laughter. Poof! Bad mood gone.

Sometimes it could even be something as little as the grocery bill adding up to an exactly round figure at the cash register-no change needed. Wow! (OK, OK, I get it. I need to get out more)

This time though, it was my Vespa. Well specifically, the ride on my Vespa on the way back from work that wet and grey Tuesday evening. Let me explain...

I’ve never counted the amount of traffic lights I have to go through on my daily commute but, if I was going by the Navan Road, I’d say at least 10 sets of lights. Well to my surprise, ALL of them were green on Tuesday. ALL of them . Maybe one was probably errr...a reddish-yellow tone but I went through that one anyway so, it counts as green in my book. Of course, I didn’t realise this as I was whizzing by each and every single one of them until I got home. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! A 10 mile city centre/suburban journey without a single stop.

The frown was gone and was replaced by a smile. Suddenly, fourth place seemed possible again...

23 March 2010

The small world of scootering

I just love this globalised world we live in sometimes. I can order parts from Germany, UK and even from far flung places such as Vietnam and the US any time of the day and have stuff delivered right to my doorstep in about a week or so.

Why just last week I received a special 2010 legshield banner (along with some freebies thrown in as well) from a seller on a Malaysian scootering forum. A small piece of Malaysia in Ireland. Brilliant. Thanks Goofball!

Of course, I do realise that as a Dublin-based scooter enthusiast, I do have a responsibility somewhat to support the local scene and when it comes to buying parts/accessories, local dealers. I’d be OK with that of course but for one reason:

The only decent scooter shop in Dublin is the biggest rip-off merchant ever.

I refuse to even put in a link to their site here so that the place can get the benefit of some free publicity.

For example, when asked about Michelin Airstop tubes, they quoted €15 per tube. That’s per tube NOT some sort of package deal where you get a set of two or three. Then there was a time when they were selling Cuppini mirrors (complete right/left set) for over €80. You’d get the exact same ones for at least half the price from our German friends and that includes the delivery costs! The list just goes on.

But, the final nail in the coffin has to be that when asked why prices are so high, their only excuse is that the shipping to this island of ours costs them a fortune.

Really? I suppose, goods sent to the shop are shipped with an ultra high security escort, wrapped in gold-plated bubble wrap and stored in bomb-proof containers. It’s either that or the guys at the shop think Dubliners are just complete eejits...

Personally, I’m just thankful that the scootering community here watches out for newbies like me so I had been warned well in advance. So, when in Dublin, don’t by stuff at that shop on the quays unless you really have to.

21 March 2010

Will Liverpool win today?

They haven't been giving you any ammunition, have they, eh?

That comment was made by a colleague at work. A United fan, sometime last week. Losses to Wigan followed by Lille that week didn't help me. He was right, ammunition wise.

As much as I try to avoid something as relatively small as football effecting my life, I just can't avoid it. The mood does turn a bit sour until at least, the build-up to the next game. I tend to avoid talking about it never mind mentioning it here.

So unashamedly, after another week (and wins against Portsmouth and Lille in the return leg) I'm all smiles and more optimistic about the future. Not that I'm not normally optimistic. I'm a Liverpool fan after all.

I have to be optimistic especially when you hear idiotic comments made by so-called experts on TV. The Idiotic Comment of the Week this time goes to the guys over at 3E. After news broke of Albert Riera's negative comments about Benitez, the TV station latched on to this in their preview to the Lille game.

Rafa Benitez's future now hangs in the balance after Riera's comments on Spanish radio...

Something along those lines anyway.

Seriously? Hangs in the balance? That's as stupid as saying Jermaine Pennant's criticism of Benitez is valid. It's like saying Serbegeth Singh's opinion on how Ciro Ferrara should defend does actually count. No wonder Malaysian football is where its at when our best football pundit it this eejit.

Give me back Eamon Dunphy, John Giles and even Ronnie Whelan any day. I'm sorry Ronnie, you were a great player for Liverpool but as a pundit, you just come across as plain stupid.

Anyway, all ranting aside, do I think we'll win against United this afternoon? Well, yes AND No. It's never a whole-hearted YES when it comes to Liverpool, eh?

Yes, because Torres is back and more importantly, he's scoring goals as well. Gerrard has yet to hit the heights we're normally used to seeing but at least we're seeing him put in the effort over the last two games.

Equally important is that the back four has been as stable as it can be over the last few games. A bit shaky and not as solid as last season but formidable enough to blunt out most concerted attacks.

After that it all depends on the other variables. Knowing Benitez, he'll most likely go with Lucas, not withstanding the fact that Aquilani might still be out with a virus (what is this virus that's causing him so much grief anyway?). If he is fit enough, it wouldn't do any harm if he's thrown in as an impact sub at some stage.

There's also the choice of who gets to start on the wings. Kuyt or Maxi on the right? Benayoun or Babel on the left? Or a combination of any of the four mentioned? Maybe even Riera?

Whatever it is, let's hope Benitez repeats what he's done over the last few games against United and gets it absolutely spot on this time as well.

All the best to the Reds. My wife is looking forward to a cheerful week ahead.

19 March 2010

The Sunday Scooter Service: Howth

So, other than going the wrong way on a strictly one-way street, the journey over to Howth was pretty straight-forward. As I live over in Blanchardstown, my normal route to Howth (the M50 motorway by car) would be a completely different one to the journey we took on Sunday (coastal roads most of the way).

Needless to say, I’ve been missing a lot by taking the motorway route all this while. It’s a shame I don’t have some sort of onboard camera lashed on to my Vespa as the scenery on the way was just amazing especially since the day turned out to be blindingly sunny and beautiful. Hopefully, the pics below would give an idea of how beautiful it was on the day.

After a quick stop to figure out where we were going to stop for some coffee and a bite (none of us had a clue), we eventually settled on the far side of Howth Harbour.

The sun was shining and the mambo music was playing. It felt like as if we were in Havana or some Spanish coastal village rather than being only 10 miles away from Dublin city centre!

There was definitely a good vibe around the place with loads of people coming up to us taking pictures and just genuinely interested to have a chat about our machines.

Even Howth’s most famous visitors decided to greet us and pose for pictures! Yes, that's two seals you see there in the water. There were about 5 or 6 of them that day.

Eventually, we decided on heading towards the centre of Howth where there was a good Farmer’s Market. I’ve visited Howth with the family a couple of times. My wife’s favourite (and mine too) would be the Seafood Chowder that's sold in the market. Unfortunately for me, we got there too late so, I had to settle for a cold but delicious fish pie and some coffee instead.

All in all, it was a brilliant day for scootering and meeting people. Thanks to the all the guys that turned up and made this quite a memorable rideout. Here’s to the next Scooter Service!

PS: Effective but nervy win against LOSC last night. A win is still a win though and we're through to the quarter-finals. Looking forward now (albeit nervously) to Sunday!

17 March 2010

The Sunday Scooter Service: O'Connell Street, Dublin

The Sunday Scooter Service was introduced about a year ago with the aim of encouraging Dublin-based scooterists to shake-off the cobwebs and get back on the roads more regularly.

Since then, one could safely assume that if there wasn't a rally going on that weekend, there was certainly a Scooter Service which involved rideouts to spots around Dublin (with the occasional trip down to join up with scooterists down in Waterford and Cork).

Sadly for me, this one (which was on last Sunday) was only my second Scooter Service with my last one being over a year ago. No excuses really but at least I'm on my scooter 5 days a week all throughout the year!

Anyway, a pitstop at the local petrol station before the meet-up at O'Connell Street was in order. The front tyre felt a bit off for some reason. A quick check confirmed that it was just short a bit of air.

I just had to stop on the way and take a pic in Phoenix Park. I pass by this place every day, to and back from work but, I still think it's a gorgeous place. All major cities around the world should have a park like this, smack-bang in the city centre.

As I expected, I'd be one of the first few to arrive at the Monument...

 ...and was soon after joined by the VCI's Il Presidente with his all-new Banksy-themed PX200. The scooter is still very much a work-in-progress but even at this stage it's fairly impressive and refreshing.

A few more scooters later and I was already starting to feel like we were either the centre of attenton on O'Connell Street OR being looked on as circus freaks or something. Unsurprising really, since a combination of skinheads, punks, mods and one slightly lost looking Asian bloke would certainly catch one's eyes.

Mick's 30-year old Mod P125X was literally a crowd-puller and soon enough...
...curious onlookers along with tourists coming over from around the world for Paddy's Day were queuing up to take pics with our scoots.

Finally, after about half an hour of waiting around, we set-off on our journey to the coastal town of Howth.

More Howth pics to follow! 

15 March 2010

Now that we're men

It was just an innocent stroll into Currys with the kids while my wife went off to get some groceries she had forgotten to buy just the day before.

The house is pretty much TV-less these days with only a small, pink 14” CRT TV as the family TV. Desperate, I know. So, every chance I get, I’d pop in to a TV shop just in case there’s any good bargains around.

This time around, it was straight to the back of the shop where they kept the new, sexy and slim LED TVs. No chance of them going on the cheap but I suppose, I can always hope. As I was slowly making my way, my 7 year-old daughter gave me a tug.

Daddy, can I go watch some cartoons over there...?

She was pointing at the other end of the shop while my 3 year-old son was jumping up and down, obviously delighted to go along with his sister rather than hang around with boring old Daddy.

Fine. Go on ahead...but don’t speak to strangers and scream your head off if anyone dodgy bothers you.

At least that’s what I thought I said to the kids. Some sort of fatherly words advice, of course.

Anyway, after a couple of minutes of browsing around, I gave up my search of finding a What Hi-Fi award winner for nothing and recalled that I had two other kids (the third one couldn't get away from me as he was strapped in on his buggy) that were glued to some TV somewhere in the shop.

OK come on kids, let’s go find Mummy!

After waiting for what seemed like an age for a reply, the zombie like answer finally came.

Wait...Daaadddyyy...we’re waaatchiiing thisss...

My daughter raised her hand slowly and pointed towards the TV screen in front of her. It was just SpongeBob and Patrick jumping around somewhere in Bikini Bottom but then, the tune made its way into my ears...

Now that we’re men, we have facial hair
Now that we’re men, I change my underwear
Now that we’re men, we got a manly flair
We got the stuff, we're tough enough to save the day!

Aaargh! The tune was now embedded in my head like an X-Factor Xmas single. I couldn't get rid of it. There was no escaping it. It was like an extremely infectious airborne disease...

OK, just a quick note to say that I made it to the Sunday Scooter Service rideout yesterday. I hope to have pics of this posted in the next few days.

13 March 2010

You dirty old thing

I’ve just realised that my Vespa hasn’t had a proper wash since last summer. That's pretty much close to a year now. I couldn’t be bothered really because before the arctic spell, we had the pleasure of some great tropical monsoon weather (minus the heat). Basically, nature took care of my Vespa and it cleaned itself on my daily commute.

Now, since the sun’s out (with no grey clouds in sight), I might just have a go at cleaning it up. What worries me most is all the grit and salt that’s been accumulating from the roads that might just eat away on the rims and the underside of the frame. The rust is definitely having its way on the exhaust as it’s hanging on by a thread. I think there are a gazillion microscopic holes in it at this stage.

Seriously, I look like Darth Vader’s bastard son (not that gay Luke fella, another one) at traffic lights with smoke seeping out of all directions from my exhaust. Scares the s**t out of 6 year-olds at the back of their mom’s Opel Zafiras.

Conveniently, this might explain my Vespa’s lack of power these days. Of course, this has got nothing (absolutely nothing) to do with my surge in weight over the winter months. Yes, my trusty Vespa needs to get re-acquainted with a Sito Plus sooner rather than later or better still, maybe a PM Tuning pipe. Hmmm.

Yes, a wash is definitely in order. I might get around to this later today. Just in time for the Sunday Scooter Service on errr...Sunday! I’ll most probably have to give the Egg Run itself a miss so, this Sunday’s ride out to Howth might be a good alternative.

11 March 2010

Un prophète

I must've read about this movie somewhere and had wanted to watch it for some time now. The chance came along last Friday night. After watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the kids (and getting them to go to bed), I was ready to get into something serious.

Well, Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup and friends definitely didn’t disappoint.

Without giving too much of the plot away, A Prophet has got nothing to do with religion. It has so-called Muslims in it and I think the Union Corse thugs are nominally Catholic but that’s about it. The movie is an in-your-face gangster film. OK, it lacks the suits and sophistication of the Godfather, is not as hip as Guy Ritchie’s offerings, definitely not as clear-cut as Goodfellas and is definitely not as gangsta-certified as Scarface.

It’s just a very good, rags to riches gangster flick. Obviously, being a movie about gangsters, there’s violence all around. Oh, and it’s in a combination of French, Corsican and Arabic so, if you don’t like reading subtitles, too bad. Watch it anyway.

And, before you complain that there are no scooters in it, I can confirm that the only thing close to a scooter in the film is Brahim Lattrache’s bike. Sorry, if you want scooters, go watch Quadrophenia instead.

Seriously, watch it.

09 March 2010

Know your local douchebag

They’re all over the place. There even seems to be an over-concentration of them in Malaysia for some reason, most of them in politics or are brown-nosing wannabes in the corporate world. In Dublin, the ones that concern me most are the ones that annoy me the most: douchebag car drivers.

Here are a few common characteristics of these road douchebags:

1. Male (yes, unfortunately one of my own species)

2. Between late 20’s and mid 30’s

3. Above-mentioned male drivers have small willies

4. Above-mentioned male drivers have egos the size of houses. This is natural considering they are making-up/covering for their smallness

5. Normally married to a wife that has a more successful career. She’d rather work flat-out than go home. There really isn’t anything to look forward to (if you don’t get it, see #3 above)

6. Works 9-5 in some sort of god-awful and unfulfilling white-collar job (e.g. accountant for funeral directors)

7. Drives really boring cars like older models of the VW Golf (the base model with no add-ons whatsoever because Mr. Douche is too cheapskate), a Seat Ibiza (because the loser can’t justify to his wife why he deserves that fully-loaded Golf GTI) or an Audi A3/A4 (not the latest model but a really old model)

8. Above-mentioned cars are normally unwashed and generally, needing a bit of TLC. Occasionally seen with wobbly hubcaps for some reason

9. Above-mentioned cars normally come in black or a very dull grey that was once metallic silver

10. The car can occasionally be filled with kids as Le Douche is responsible for school runs because wife has to go to work early (probably just to avoid facing said douche at home)

So, if you haven’t had the displeasure of encountering one of the above, consider yourself lucky. Douchebaggery can be triggered after being overtaken by anyone or anything but is often made even more severe when the vehicle overtaking the DB is a puny Vespa, bicycle or even a tiny Micra.

The DB will unleash the douchebag in him and try his best to re-overtake the said vehicle even if it is quite impossible (stalled traffic, two lane traffic reduced to one and half, etc.). Eventually, DB does catch-up and overtakes dangerously, endangering oncoming traffic as well as the small vehicle that bruised his ego.

The act is made even more complete when the DB gives the driver/rider of the small vehicle a dirty look for having the audacity to overtake him in the first place. Oooh, I’m trembling in my pants.

Obviously, because of traffic, the DB’s victory doesn’t last that long and he's once again overtaken (in slow motion) by his sworn enemy(ies). Acts of douchebaggery intensifies and repeats itself until he is finally exhausted or gets shouted at by his kids at the back who notice that their Daddy is acting like a 3 year-old throwing a tantrum when his Lego blocks go missing.

Beware the douchebag and ride safely.

07 March 2010

Credit where it's due

I’ve been unfair of late. I’ve been unfair because of my persistent ranting about the weather here in Ireland. It’s not that bad. Really.

I had what I considered to be a good week at work last week. One of those weeks where most things go as planned and even if some didn’t, it worked out for the better. Added to that, I was so psyched-up to get things done most of the work for the week got done by mid-day Wednesday.

After that, I was in cruise control mode and got to enjoy more of the little things around me. One of these little things was enjoying the views and general feel of my journey back from work. Last Friday was the first time in an age that I managed to get off work at 5.15, on the dot.

The advantage of that is that I get to see my surroundings in broad daylight. And, what a difference that makes. So amazed was I with seeing Phoenix Park in such good weather, I stopped my Vespa and relaxed for a while on the side of the road, looking as the traffic went by.

OK, it wasn’t actually t-shirt and shorts type weather (it was probably just above 5 degrees) but it was great to have the sun shining and everything relatively dry. Great. More of the same please!

05 March 2010

The Battle of Dublin...?

So, there I was at work looking at my laptop, wishing it was time to go home. Need.to.focus.on.work.

It was then I noticed that an email from a mate of mine was in my inbox. Hmmm...probably nothing other than the usual mindless online banter (that I thoroughly enjoy by the way) but, something caught my eye immediately.

blah blah blah...RATM...blah blah blah

Rage Against the Machine? Rage Against the f***ing Machine?
F.F.S. That's so f***ing typical. I wait most of my adult life to see them play live and then, all of a sudden they pop up in Dublin without me noticing. Tickets were probably gone at this stage especially since their Xmas chart-topping exploits over in the UK.

Note to self: Need to subscribe to Ticketmaster.

After some online cursing via email to everyone on the email thread, another email popped up, this time addressed solely to me.

I've got a spare one, you interested?

OH YES! Came the answer. Thanks man. I can't thank you enough.

OK, so the tickets aren't actually perfect. They're actually in the seated area of the O2, not right in front of the stage. The type of seats mak ciks get when they go to watch Westlife, Michael Buble, Siti Nurhaliza or Zaiton Sameon because they can't bear to stand for 4-5 hours. Mak cik or no mak cik. I'll take them anyway.

There was no way I was going to miss this one. Now, here's hoping my wife hasn't thrown away my fifteen year-old Rage t-shirt...

03 March 2010

Football money league

So, the latest figures have been released and unlike the actual Premiership league table, the one below has been finalised at least, until another season.

The information was extracted from a European-wide study of football clubs' finance. As much as football fans try to avoid associating off-field wealth with on-field footballing achievements, the table below (based on annual revenues) doesn't seem too far off the Premiership's league standings over the past 4 or 5 years.

That's just the reality of football these days. Money actually does buy sucess. OK, Newcastle are in the mix but the club's recent bad fortunes are not down to money but more down to severe mismanagement of the club.

The good news is Liverpool have gone up a ranking in the European Top 20 standings thanks to a 167% uplift in sponsorship revenue. Although this says a lot about Christian Purslow's efforts to date, it also reflects on the inadequacy of the old Parry regime that never did realise Liverpool's full potential as the global brand that it is.

Now, hopefully the funds for the new stadium would come along so that we can up the game to next level. As of the previous report, Manchester United makes approximately €80m more than Liverpool on matchday takings alone. That's just matchdays. Imagine what we could do with €80m more...?

By the way, here's the official European Top 20 (revenue figures quoted are in millions):

01 March 2010

The Green Vespa at work

I work in place that has close to 1,000 employees. It's a great place to work (I'm not saying this just because I think my boss would be reading this, it really is) and there are some perks, both tangible and intangible. To focus on a tangible perk, I get my own parking spot. Even the big boss here doesn't get his own designated spot and has to rough it out with the other minions...

OK, I admit, it's really not mine but since, out of the 1,000 people or so, I'm the only that comes into work on a scooter (what they REALLY meant when they painted Motorcycles on the tarmac), I consider the parking spot MINE. As the famous Vespa sign goes: Vespa Parking Only-All other vehicles will be crushed!

So, to re-balance this awful imbalance in benefits to me, the office has introduced some counter-measures. More recently I have been joined in MY parking spot by this annoying blue Honda learner-legal type bike. I don't have a thing against bikers but this one in particular annoys the s**t out of me. The guy seriously thinks he's Valentino Rossi or something...

Also, not content with providing me with an annoying co-worker biker play buddy, they also added some additional facilities to MY parking spot. I now get 2 or 3 industrial-size bins close by, providing me with fragrant smells as I make my way into work.Nice touch.

PS: Good week for the Redmen. Got Unirea out of the way plus a good 3 points at home against one of Fergie's minions.

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