is a pile of bits

Summer Madness
summer came and went in a flash

Spring and Summer happened. I’m still in shock that they’ve already gone by and Autumn has arrived.

I haven’t been keeping record of my doings and thinkings, which now seems short-sighted. Let’s use this post as a TODO, marking up the activites of warm weather that I need to write about!


Last winter was awful, but when spring finally showed up it was glorious. I took PTO from work over the week of my birthday (which is in April) and started running. My goal at the time was to simply get to the point where I could run an entire mile without stopping – a feat I’d never before been capable of. I managed it, and I’ve kept slowly increasing the distance every week since. At the time of this writing I can regularly make 2.5 miles, and have made it to 3 miles in a single run.

My new goal is to surpass a 5k (3.1 miles), and to register and complete a real run before the end of Autumn.


Uggo was properly re-assembled and has been running great! I re-re-disassembled her carbs and properly chemdipped them. That did so much good I feel like a fool for not doing it this way the first time. Uggo has, since I purchased her, new clutch plates, new brake pads, new brake cylinders and seals, new master cylinder and braided line, new oil filter and oil, new coils, new spark plugs, a new battery, a new fuse box, new center stand, a repaired airbox, a new air filter, new bars, new grips, new mirrors.

She has a new front disk as well, which I need to mount. She’s been taken for a few test rides, and that old disk seems to have a deformity or very uneven wear – braking is a very shuddering and exciting event. But holy smokes does she run!

I intend to make her into a gift for my sister, as soon as I get the last few tweaks made. There’s a bit of a wiring issue with the left turn signal, and the headlight is being obstinate. Also, the radiator fan is unplugged and needs an inline fuse. But then that’s it, I think. Maybe a clear-coat for her metal tank, and black for the plastics. She’ll be lovely!

TODO: more pics, maybe a new video


Tux has been such a trooper, as always. I removed her intake snorkel and wired her up with a PowerCommander-V. I played with fuel maps for a while to get her happy with the new exhaust. There aren’t any shops around here that are willing to let me tune her on a dyno, unfortunately. The Harley place (Ray Price Harley Davidson) flat-out refuses to work on anything they don’t sell, and they’re the only remaining shop that is certified for PC-V dyno tuning.

Other than that, Tux has been a perfect trooper. Great gas mileage, zoomy and fun. At the time of this post she’s up to 15600 miles. Not bad for a 2013-model motorcycle!

TODO: maybe a new video, and post my fuel map and some new pics

Python Hacking

I’ve been poking around Python internals this past month, working on a module I’ve named withscope. It lets you push lexical scopes onto an existing block. It’s a total hack, and apart from the weird factor it’s absolutely useless – awfully slow and confusing to use if you aren’t already expecing your namespace to be modified.

I’m still making modifications to it, trying to make it into the best representation of this crooked idea. I’ll probably have a last commit ready in a few weeks, depending on spare time.

It’s worth noting that Python 3 has a nonlocal statement, for declaring write-access to freevars, something that Python 2 cannot do without some hackery.

TODO: write up a doc about variable scoping in Python 2, and how co_names, co_vars, co_cellvars, co_freevars, and the frame fast_locals work.

Tomos Targa

My daughter turned 11 years old at the start of this month (October). She’d been wishing for two major presents since Christmas – an iPhone and a powered bike of her own.

Of course she got both. She now has a better phone than I do, and an awesome little 49cc, 1.5HP moped – a 1994 Tomos Targa! It starts, it goes, it stops, it’s the cutest thing. Zoe loves it already, and has been zooming around the cul-de-sac.

When she went off to visit her mother, I decided to take a look at the guts of the thing. It has some serious gear whine, and had a bit of a hard time starting. I wanted to see if there was something obvious that I could fix.

Well, first off it was filled with regular motor oil rather than transmission fluid. Not a huge deal, but something to change. Then I took a look at the clutch and saw that the first gear clutch pads were entirely worn away.

What is it with craigslist bikes and worn clutches? Uggo was the same way, all the friction material just gone.

Second gear clutch was a bit chewed up, but still present. I ordered a new set of OEM first gear pads, as well as the clutch-cover gasket.

I found bits of the starting engagement spring while I was in there. Ordered a replacement for that as well. The bike runs without one just fine, but not having it there can cause the kickstarting ratchet to rub every now and then. Nothing serious, but if I’m already in there fixing things I may as well replace it.

The front light didn’t come on when I bought it. I took that housing apart and discovered it wasn’t properly plugged in. Easy enough. The front left turn signal cover was smashed up. The bulb and electric worked just fine, it just didn’t have an orange lense over it. Ordered that from ebay.

I found that the carburetor had been covered in some sort of liquid gasket material as well, where it joins to the cylinder. Possible air leak there? I’ll check that gasket fitment when I reassemble. I’ve got the carb off in prep of dipping (since it sat for a while before I bought it).

The exhaust was collecting some serious grime and rust. I cleaned and sanded that down, and painted it with some high-temperature rustoleum.

The chain was sticking a bit, so I’ve got a new chain coming from Amazon. I managed to destroy the pin on the master link when I attempted to take the old one apart. I never was good with those.

I’ll run some cleaner through the brake and throttle wire lines, hang ‘em up to drip, and then put some teflon into them. That should smooth the actions of those up nicely.

My daughter wants to paint the whole thing blue, like Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. It’s currently an awful white and red/brown. I’ve ordered some rattle-cans of light metallic blue paint. I figure I can give it a quick sanding job and just spray it over. It’s a moped, it hardly needs to be show-room quality, and to be honest I’ve always favored a little bit of the rough and beaten look on a bike!

As of July 1, 2015, North Carolina law requires that mopeds be registered with the DMV. This was a surprise to me! Once it’s running again I’ll have to go and get that taken care of, and mount a license plate. Not a huge problem, but it makes me wish I could lock the ignition on it. There’s a steering lock in place on the neck, but it didn’t come with any key – I’ll have to keep an eye out on ebay for one of those. I wonder if I could wire something up so that the start switch circuit was only closed when the neck was unlocked?

I need to find a print copy of the service manual and parts list.

TODO: put together a Tomos Targa project page!


I discovered a new place to hang out, a little Bar & Arcade downtown. A brilliant venue, really excellent atmoshpere. They had a Galaga in great condition, and I worked my way up to where I could reliably get to 1 million points. I also got a lot better at 1942, with my personal high score now sitting at just a bit over 1.25 million points. I spent so much time there this summer. I’d hop on tux and ride into town, and play games and sip beer all night long.

But the real reason I was going wasn’t the games, or the beer. There is a bartender. A brilliant woman, a clever woman, a beautiful woman. She was my age, and her smile set my heart thudding. I’d go just to sit at the bar and chat with her. She had such an interesting view into the process of thinking, of dealing with emotions and the directions of life. I became ridiculously smitten with this treasure of a human being.

Of course, it was never meant to be. She’s unavailable, and even if she were I’m hardly a “catch.” The situation makes a mess of my head, as if it weren’t enough of one already. “Limerance” the affliction is called, bothersome malady. So I’ve been dealing with that; trying to distance myself from the place and the woman and the disappointment.

TODO: Get over her and find someplace else to hang out.