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Kuolleiden purjehduskenkien seura

Aug 2nd 2015

A shoe is a shoe is a shoe, but isn’t

17:31

This is a story about a man and a pair of shoes. A pair of shoes, that at the time of purchase seemed to the man like any other ordinary pair of shoes. Little did he know, what kind of adventures the shoes would lead the man into, or the depths their relationship would eventually reach.

Mein Name Ist Parker

Our story begins in Berlin, more specifically in the Mephisto Shoes store on Kurfürstendamm, in the part of the German capital known as Charlottenburg, some time in the early 2010's. Our hero picks up a pair of Mephisto Allrounder Parker shoes. Because they look and feel nice.

Today, years later, these same shoes are still our hero's most favourite shoes in the whole world. His greatest fear, each time he wears them, is that they will break, and he can wear them no longer. Thus he seldom wears them, to keep them from falling apart, which is sad, because the effect is the same as them having fallen apart: our hero is shoeless.

Allrounders

As the picture maybe shows, despite its mediocrity, the shoes are well-worn, having accompanied our hero for many, many miles in several countries. They have attended many parties, and been the sole of nights in bars on many occasions. They are also the shoe of choice when a pair of conveniently packable shoes is called for. Their compact size really makes them ideal for the purpose.

One of our hero's greatest regrets in life is not buying several pairs of these shoes when he had the chance.

Dwindling Quality

Fast forward some years, until 2013 to be exact, and several pairs of Allrounder shoes. Our hero is once more shopping for shoes, and to his delight has spotted a very near revival of his favourite shoe. This time, not wanting to repeat his earlier mistake, our hero buys two pairs at once.

And the shoes are good! They are nearly as conveniently sized as his all-time favourite, just as comfortable, and they even look pleasant to the eye. Sadly, neither of the two pairs is no longer with our hero.

The first pair suffered a torn seam almost immediately and was returned to the factory for a check up, never to be seen again, to our hero's great disappointment. Being wiser, when a shoe in the second pair tore a seam, our hero took it to his local cobbler for repair. And the cobbler did a good job and the shoes were whole again, as was our hero.

Allrounders

As the picture maybe shows, despite its mediocrity, as time went on, our hero became good friends with his local cobbler, due to his frequent visits when seam after seam eventually let go in his near-all-time-favourite shoes. Eventually, to our hero's great dismay, this unfortunate pair of shoes suffered a tear which rendered them irreparable.

Once more our hero was left caring for his only pair of his all-time favourite pair of shoes.

A Big Mistake

Despite having suffered great disappointment, our hero, being the loyal kind, still decided to invest yet once more into a pair of Allrounder shoes. After all, they had in general given more pleasure than caused displeasure.

This time, however, he decided to try a pair which weren't all leather. As is customary when buying shoes, he bought a pair that were just a bit not-quite-but-very-nearly comfortable. The adage being shoes should be worn comfortable, not bought. This decision would haunt our hero later on, when after tens and tens of agonising hours later, the pair of shoes are still undistinguishable from medieval instruments of torture.

Allrounders

As the picture maybe shows, despite its mediocrity, the shoes are still looking nearly as new. Our hero believes this is not likely to change any time soon, as wearing them is not likely to inspire loving verse and song for a long time.

Constant Renewal

It's understandable that shoemakers feel the need to constantly create new designs, even our hero can understand the sentiment, but he still feels it is ridiculous: The Parker was already perfect, and improving perfection can only result in an inferior outcome. Instead it should have been made a staple, a permanent model.

If there is a moral to this story, it is to act when you have the opportunity. Like everything else in this world, opportunities are by nature fleeting, and you might not have another one.

In the end our hero was lucky. Living in the internet age, he found a pair of correct size Allrounder Parkers for sale in a far-away land.

Shorts

May 7th 2012

Ramblings of a beginner motorist

17:03

After putting it off for years and years I finally got myself a motorcycle driving license last fall, along with a motorcycle to go with it, of course. Now, after putting it off for months and months, I thought I'd jot down some words for generations to come to liven up this nowadays very stale blog of mine.

This is a posthumous recounting of my complete (albeit still fairly brief) career as a motorist, so it's a bit on the lengthy side.

The bike

I wanted a classic, that much I was sure of. Something with as little plastic as possible. But at the same time, something reliable, because I neither enjoy nor am very competent at repairing stuff. That, I thought, spells "japanese motorcycle", because of their reputation for being virtually unbreakable workhorses.

I had previously been looking at a Honda CX, but my memory failed me by one letter and I ended up window shopping for a Honda CB instead. Which was a fortunate memory lapse, because I really prefer its' appearance over the CX's.

Ultimately, I got myself a Honda CB750K7 (1977), drove it for a week, after which it was stolen. Thank goodness for insurance!

A month or so later, I bought my second Honda CB750K7 (1978), which I still own today.

The bike is essentially in original condition; cosmetically worn but runs very well. The side covers have been replaced at some point, though, and are of the wrong colour.

Gearing up

Beginning motorcycling is expensive, really expensive. But initially going cheap, and later replacing substandard gear is even more so. Thus, I decided I wouldn't cut corners based on price - after all, it's all about my own safety and comfort.

But finding good quality gear is not easy, however, and it's increasingly hard when you're as vain as I can be. I wanted something that matches the feel of the bike I ride, and to make it even more difficult, something without huge brand marks printed on the chest or back - a much too prevalent feature when it comes to motorcycling wear.

Eventually I found Halvarsson's Classic Thunder leather jacket, and Halvarsson's Morgan Classic leather trousers to match. A comfortable outfit with protective armor, and, most importantly, which also matches my other criteria.

The new season arrives, with no spark in sight

With the amount of daylight increasing by minutes every day and the remaining snow receding at an accelerating pace, I was eager to get the bike back on the road. In early April, I performed spring maintenance on the bike, installing new filters and replacing brake fluid and engine oil. But unfortunately the battery had died during the winter. An unfortunate incident which delayed my start of the season, because during easter no shops are open.

A week later, I swapped in a new battery and fired her up with a "single push start," as if she had been sitting under a palm tree all winter. And even though it was a very cold day, that couldn't keep me from aimlessly riding around for a few hours, as I knew I could thaw my frozen body in the sauna afterwards. The most important thing was that the season was now officially opened.

Fixer-upper

For this season, as it is my first full season, I've decided to do only minimal work on the bike. Just enough to keep it in good running condition, but nothing more, and mostly just concentrate on the driving. Perhaps next spring will bring along bigger overhauls and repairs.

I did replace the shitty aftermarket mirrors one of the previous owners had fitted, with aftermarket replicas. Not only an improvement in appearance, but a gigantic functional improvement as well! The ones I replaced had a silicone lined joint (which looked like some DIY magic) which caused the mirrors to vibrate to the extent of being completely useless already at very low speeds, whereas the aftermarket replicas vibrate only slightly at highway speeds. Marvellous!

Also, I fitted a chrome visor on the headlight, because I can. Now she's officially a custom bike :-)

For those interested, I keep a gallery of snaps from my day-trips.

Feb 21st 2012

Fluent I/O from Down Under

08:20

I stumbled upon an article about Fluent.io, a product in the making by the guys who brought you Google Wave, Google's now discontinued attempt to radically renew collaboration and real time communication on the internet.

After reading the article and watching the promo video, I must say Fluent.io looks promising - I certainly welcome the innovation and any attempt to improve the status quo. Especially the search looks impressive - a feature where the otherwise lovely GMail falls short in ways I can't even begin to describe.

But at the same time I can't help feeling a bit concerned. While there is potential to make using e-mail a smoother, less painful experience, the stream UX is likely to lower the threshold to send short spur of the moment messages, wherein lies a risk of making e-mailing too similar to instant messaging or commenting on Facebook. A trait I feel would be counter productive as that would hardly reduce the number of e-mails received, and I'm sure anyone would agree todays torrential stream of e-mail is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, reasons e-mail is as unusable as it today is in the first place.

The problem would probably not be apparent to the one using Fluent.io, but rather to the one who isn't. Using Fluent.io you will most likely get all the messages intelligently grouped as a single item, perhaps even merging sequential messages for the same subject as a single one, while the one sticking to a non-intelligent client will simply get an inbox full of stub messages. A similar phenomenon probably occurred when GMail gained popularity, but I believe this effect has since diminished by the introduction of integrated Google Talk, as well as the wide adoption of Facebook for inane communication.

But there probably isn't reason for alarm, because there seems to be no plans for a free subscription - who the hell pays for anything anymore these days? Or have you heard of anyone using Flowdock?

Shorts

Nov 2nd 2010

Greetings from Sweden to the citizens of Helsingborg^H^H^H^Hfors

14:42

Vickan och Daniel

Pitihän sitä nyt käydä katsomassa kun herraskaiset soivat meille alamaisilleen ystävällismielisiä eleitä ja muutaman sanan.

Niille jotka eivät päässeet itse paikalle tein simulaattorin jolla voi fiilistellä paikan päällä vallinnutta hurmosta. Taustamusiikin avulla voi kohottaa tunnelmaa entisestään.

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