Post Mortem: Kawasaki Demo Day

Had a blast at the Kawasaki Demo Day yesterday. The crowd was pretty full because the weather was poor on Saturday. Kawasaki had about thirty bikes there to demo. I signed up for the Versys and the KLR 650 since I am currently most interested in a dual sport at the moment. I wanted to get a ride on the Contours, but it was booked up until the late afternoon and I didn't want to wait that long to ride it. The day was already long enough as it was. 

The demo ride was about 20-25 minutes long and first up was the Versys. After the ride I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. It has a very standard seating position and a sporty overall feel. Ergonomics were great on it, but I can't say I was a huge fan of the instrument panel. Personally I think the dual speedo/tach is the most perfect of designs since everything can be very easily read at a glance. The Versys however had an analog tach with a digital speedo. I am not sure if it was just my newness to the bike or not, but I just couldn't make my mind click with it. Granted I only rode for 20 minutes. One other minor gripe was the positioning of the foot pegs. They were set so far forward that I had to put my feed on the ground behind them. All just a minor annoyance that has more to do with my personal habits more than anything else. Overall though I could see myself owning this bike. It is a perfect size for someone who is 5'8" like me and has the bones to do longer trips. 

The second ride of the day was on a KLR 650. Having demo'd the BMW F 800GS last fall I was prepared to try and handle a bike that was too tall for me. To my surprise however I was able to get both feet on the ground, although tip-toed. Everything about this bike surprised me quite a bit. It is only a single cylinder engine, but it had plenty of "git-up" in it. It won't be winning any speed races, but it cruised along about about 70 mph very easily and I was able to mostly hang with the other cruisers in the group ride. The bike setup was also a very standard riding position that was incredibly comfortable. The KLR is definitely more of a dual sport than the Versys and it showed in its suspension. It is a very tall bike that rides high. I can see how people take this thing across the country. The only minor gripe I had with it was that the turn signal indicator was a single light for both signals. There was one instance on the demo ride where we had to make a right and then left very quickly and I wasn't quite sure which way my blinker was going.  Overall though super appealing and I came away a little more interested in it than perhaps the Versys. 

With the riding position so upright on these bikes and both having fairly high suspensions hoping back onto my ZR-7 at the end of the day sort of felt like getting onto a toy cycle. Bike ZR-7 isn't small by any means, but it is comparatively small to a bunch of these other bikes. 


April 2012 Videogaming

This past month has been pretty crazy. Spring is here which means that outdoor and housework have come in full force, so I haven't had an opportunity to get a lot of gaming in. After completing Mass Effect 3, I found myself back in the world of Skyrim and I eventually got around to "beating" the game. Now I don't think anyone ever really beats an Eleder Scrolls game, but I can say that I completed the main story and then just continued to play. 

At this point I am basically just wadering the world, which seems to still be satisfying. I never really took to the previous Elder Scrolls games that much, but this one is sticking with me for some reason. 

A couple of a days ago I also started playing Splinter Cell Convication. I believe this game came out sometime last year. I never was into the Splinter Cell games before because I honestly don't have the patience for stealth games. This one started out frustratiing for me because at its core it is a stealth game. After spending a few days with it thoug, and learning the mechanics I am beginning to understand how it works. Can't say I am really enjoying it, but I am determined to finish it through to at least see how it plays out. 

April 2012 Reading List

For the past couple of months I have been working on a book called Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. A co-worker lent it to me and said he learned a lot about running from it. I wouldn't exactly call myself a runner, but I am into fitness and gave it a try. 

I thought the book was going to be a chronicling of the author and his spiritual journey as he lived with this ancient Mexican tribe that was known for running. Unfortunately the book more focused on the concept of long distance running and how different people were doing it. Overall it wasn't the book for me, but there as a rather poignant moment when one of the main characters called Caballo Blanco was found dead just a few weeks ago.

I am still slowly working on The Books of Skyrim and I have also just started reading the Philip K. Dick Reader, which is a collection of short stories from none other, than Philip K. Dick. So far that is a good read so far. 

March Donation: The Water Project

This month's donation goes to The Water Project. It is an organization online that helps to bring clean water to people living in rural Africa. 

Nearly one billion people have no access to clean, safe water. The dirty water they do have makes them sick. It robs children of hope. But it doesn't have to be that way.

We know that access to clean, safe water changes lives. We know that when a well is installed for a village, girls return to school.

Women begin small businesses. Men are no longer too sick to work. Fields are watered and food supply becomes more reliable. Health returns and children grow up to be productive members of their community. The cycle of poverty is broken. Lives change. Access to clean, safe water isn't an end, it's a means.

The money  you donate can go to a couple of different projects depending upon what you chose, but it mostly goes directly to building wells in Africa to allow people access to clean water. After the donation the website will provide you a link with information and the location of the well you are heloing to build. The well that my funds were donated to was Rwanda Well #3043.

If you would like to donate, get involved in other ways or just find out more information head on over to their main site at or over to their "Get Involved Page"

March 2012 Video Gaming

Just finished up playing Mass Effect 3 last night. I have to say it was a pretty good game. A very fitting ending to sequel for the most part. You can read my Giantbomb review. It does have spoilers so if that is a concern for you don't read it. Not a lot to say to the game that my review doesn't cover. On the whole the game was pretty good. Minor technical issues became frustrating and the ending does have some serious problems with it. Overall it is a well put together game though. 

The other games I played this month were a smattering of things over on Onlive. Some of them were a smattering of indie titles that they had as part of a indie game awards promotion. The two that stood out the most for me were Zombie Atom Smasher and Capsized. There was also a Dreamcast pack that they released feature Space Channel 5, Sonic, Crazy Taxi and a few others. Amazingly they were all terrible. I couldn’t even get Space Channel 5 to work properly. 

I also gave Major League 2K10 a go for about 15 minutes. Since when did baseball games become such hardcore simulators. After striking out on nine pitches while up to bat and giving up a home run on my first pitch I decided this game was not for me. 

I did check out a game called A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda though which appears to be a nice little Metroid-like. It is by no means a perfect game, but it has some good foundations going for it.

Ridelog: 03-11-12 - First Ride of 2012

View Ride Log: 03-11-12 in a larger map

The weather in Chicago this weekend as fantastic. Mid-fifties on Saturday and mid-sixties this Sunday. I had to bring my motorcycle into M&M Motorsports yesterday to get some new tires installed. I purchased some Metzeler Roadtec Z6 tires and ran over to the mechanic at around noon yesterday. At first I wasn't expecting to get the bike back yesterday since he seemed booked. To my surprise though they called me a couple of hours later saying they got the tires on. I have to give some big props to them and Mark over there. He commented to me that since the weather was supposed to be nice today they wanted to get me back on the road. That was really great of them to do that. 

As for the ride itself today, it was great. Just a good farm road ride. It is unfortunate how boring most of the roads are in central Illinois since everything is on a grid. 

January Donation: Bat Sanctuary -

As I mentioned in my 2012 Goals post, one of my objectives this year is to donate at least $100 a month to a charity or cause that I find compelling. I decided to begin doing a monthly post on these donations to cast some light and awareness on them. If anyone else out there would like to donate to them as well I will provide links to their sites in my posts along with information about the cause. 

For my first donation of the year I chose to go with a seemingly unknown animal sanctuary call Batworld. As you might expect from the name they are an animal sanctuary for bats that for some reason cannot make it back to the wild. To be honest I cannot remember how I first came across this organization, but after reading up on them it seems that they have recently come upon some hard times due to some legal or defamation issues. They just felt like the right place for me so I made a donation. 

There are several ways you can donate, but perhaps the easiest and most heartwarming is their "adopt a bat" program". For $40 ($30 for a class I think) you can adopt a bat for one year to help pay for food and medical supplies for the sanctuary. I chose to go with Beene'. As a result they sent me a nice little informational packet in the mail and a wonderful picture of the bat that I plan to frame.

After I made my donation I had a pleasant email from the foundation as well that just sort of made me feel good. 

Dear Matthew,

It looks like you may have accidentally sponsored Beene' three times. Let me know if you meant to only sponsor her once and I'll refund the extra donation you were charged.



No I did actually want to sponsor that amount.  You can use the money towards other bats or whatever, but the $1XX is all yours.

Matt Supert.


Dear Matthew, Thank you so much!!! This is so very generous of you. Our organization faces a continual uphill battle in securing the financial resources it takes to rescue these misunderstood animals. Your contribution will make a difference in the number of lives we will be able to save in the coming months. 
Again, thank you, on behalf of all the injured, orphaned and abused bats who will be helped due to your compassionate support.


So I hope people find this organization interesting and if you are looking to adopt a bat with your kids, learn a little bit more about bats or perhaps do something for one of your classes definitely check out to learn more. 

First Time Snowboarding

So I traded in my skis this morning for a snowboard. I have never been snowboarding before. Wow, is it a different experience. On skis you are moving forward and leaning side to side. On a snowboard you are moving sideways an leaning front to back.

The first couple of hours we're pretty rough, but I eventually got it. Man did I fall hard though, and a lot. My rump and shoulder took the brunt of it and I have a splitting headache. Can't say yet whether I enjoy snowboarding yet since it is tough to compare four hours to my 10+ years of skiing. There seems to be a smaller margin of error though.

Winter NAMM 2012 Surprises

Well Winter NAMM 2012 kicked off this past week and my initial thoughts at the beginning of the week were that it was going to be a bust. If trends mean anything (and apparently they do not) I was under the impression that NAMM was going to be stuck in the perpetual cycle of iterative software announcements. To my pleasant surprise however, we got to see a whole bunch of interesting hardware announcements. 

Waldorf Pulse 2

This is one of three serious analog synths announced at this year's NAMM. Analog seems to be back and in a big way. The Waldorf Pulse was the one that excited me the most, mostly because of its form factor. I can see this little guy sitting very nicely next to a Blofield and a DS Evolver. 


Perhaps garnering the most attention at the show was the Arturia Minibrute. This was a surprise for everyone since Arturia has never produced a hardware synth, let alone an analog. I have seen many a talk over at with excitement about the fact that there is a control for every parameter here. The steiner-parker (no idea what this means) filer also is garnering a lot of talk.

Moog Minitaur

Personally I am not excited about this one, but it has the Moog name on it and is MSRP'd at ~$650. I suppose that is enough for a Moog. 


Akai also seems to have come on very strong this year with a bunch of MPC stuff. The MPC Renaissance is a full on controller for the PC. The MPC Fly looks like a very interesting hardware interface bringing MPC pads to the iPad in a clamshell type case. They also have a nice grouping of Midi controllers that seem to be stepping up the level a notch.

Nektar Panorama Controller for Reason

The final piece of gear that surprised me was the Nektar hardware controller for Reason. We have seen over the past couple of years a lot of dedicated controllers for Ableton Live. It makes sense that Reason would eventually get one too since it has such a constant interface. I am personally not a Reason user, but this controller has a really solid look to it. 

Goals for 2012

A couple of weeks ago my wife metioned that we should outline our goals for 2012. She got this post idea from one of her favorite blogs, a Beautiful Mess. So here we go, here are my goals for 2012. 

  1. One Song a Month
  2. Learn about Buddhism 
  3. Skydive
  4. Finish furnishing house
  5. Personalize office
  6. Donate at least $100 a month to charity  
  7. Learn to rock climb
  8. Cross country ski
  9. Be a better husband
  10. Zen
  11. Go on a date once a month with wife
  12. Go see a musical  
  13. Pickup model building again 
  14. Goto a concert 
  15. U of I football game 
  16. Ride more motorcycle
  17. Don't look back in anger 
  18. Replace valves in other 2 toilets 
  19. Build a workbench
  20. Take more quiet time
  21. Expand my musical repitoire
  22. Be patient