Friday, April 20, 2007

A Motorcyle Tale

Originally posted one year ago in Myspace

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kawasaki Ninja and the San Fran Commute
Current mood: awake
Category: Travel and Places

One of my purchases since moving to California was a Kawasaki Ninja. Besides the BART, (Bay Area Rapid Transit) it is my main source of transportation.

Purchased with 13,000 miles, this bike was once totaled. I gave it the name Lucy after the oldest hominid discovery.

As a motorcycle commuter, I am not influenced by traffic because it is legal for me to drive between the lanes. Danger is always a factor in my daily life. I could brag about living it but I was brought into my situation through necessity. Ride or die

The winter rain can soak you to the bone. But northern Cali weather will allow a person to ride a motorcycle year round.

Everything you need must be able to fit into a backpack or take up no more space than a toaster oven. This was a fundamental change for me to: grocery shop, work out, or be a designated driver. =)

Ive been in two accidents. Both of these Ive had to ride home from.

On days when the rain is pouring, I sing to myself to ignore how cold I am or how I can hardly feel my rain soaked fingers; the song is always the chorus of Godsmack's

Most importantly, understand that I am not a weekend rider. I force these city streets to make room for me and the nimble way I trickle through traffic. Happy 420

Originally posted in Sept on my Tripod site.

The Skinni on the DUI

If your reading this, I consider you to be in my circle of trust

I just got back from my court appearance and will need to return again on Oct 12th. My court appointed counselor moved the date back in order to renegotiate my settlement.

I got pulled over for erratic driving (or ridding as the case may be) while heading home from a friends high school graduation party. I blew a .09 and was hauled off to the drunk-tank where I sat next to two bums for 5 hours until I was released at 5 o’clock in the morning. .08 is the legal limit and I passed my sobriety test w/ flying colors. Just food for thought as I tried not to smell the homelessness.

The goal now is to negotiate my sentence down from Driving Under the Influence to Reckless Driving. In the long run, it is better for my driving record and I can live it down w/ a fine and community service. My brain started turning in the courtroom and I do a lot of volunteer work for a not-for-profit called the San Francisco Fog. If I can convince the judge to accept my man hours web publishing, then I can continue doing work I was already doing and having count as community service.

The only way to pull that off is to sell the Fog story in the courtroom. I am going to get the opinion of other counselors that I know. Everyone who is reading this should know exactly where to find the fog on the web.

I am only allowed to drive to and from work. Any other place is in violation of my replacement license, a pink piece of paper which was given to me at the time of my arrest. My license was taken from me and my bike towed while I watched from inside the patrol car.

As I waited for my time to stand in front of the judge I was reading Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML and XHTML and my next project has never been touched by anybody in the Myspace community. Since all of the code tweaking is CSS, I can create a remote control to allow the user to switch between design styles ON THE FLY! I can’t get into the details too much, but if you want to see this in action, visit CSS Zen Garden. My old martial arts school had the same remote control; alas I don’t think they are on the web anymore. =(

Well, that’s all for now. I am putting my Ninja back together from the mechanic’s session that started earlier in the week. You’re in the circle of trust so you better have a damn good reason for sharing this link with anybody.


P.S. Cops never found the joint I rolled up and tucked away in the padding of my helmet. More food for thought while sitting in the drunk-tank. ;)

The road to getting my license back.

My DUI class is a current weekly reminder about my indiscretion from last June. It is the source of humility. It affords a real perspective on freedom. The ripple effect in my little pond will lest ten years in terms of insurance costs. I still haven't satisfied the court's requirements.

In San Francisco a public defender is better than hiring a lawyer. A hired lawyer will do the same paperwork but it will cost an average of $2,000. My lawyer and I negotiated a $1200 fine plus attend a first time offenders program. This is a negotiation from the following infractions:

  1. Expired Tags

  2. Driving on a suspended license

  3. .09 BAC

In September, my motorcycle was taken for driving on a suspended license. It was the bone headed move of driving without renewing the tags for my license plate. That's why they pulled me over, they towed my bike away because the cop takes your license from you and you have 30 days to rectify this or else you are driving on a suspended license.

The cost of getting my bike out of the tow yard cost more than the bike was worth. And I became dependent of public transportation.

This did not play well in the court room. My lawyer was going through the motions trying to negotiate a better deal during this time.

So in addition to the DUI, I had another court appearance to deal with my suspended license ticket. I converged them to the same day. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I ping ponged down the halls of 850 Bryant until one judge merged my cases into one room.

Afterwards, I walked into the courtroom, everyone was gone with the exception of lawyers and the judge. They were all waiting for me to be dealt with so they could go home. Scary.

This pissed off the DA who no longer wanted to deal with me.

Typically, the strategy for a public defender is to use the pre-trails to request evidence from the DA in order to build a case. The idea of a trail is not desirable to any party involved. The more evidence that gets submitted to the courts, the more the possibility of a trail comes into focus. The DA will lower the settlement requirements in an effort to avoid a trail.

So my strategy took one step forward and two steps back after the DA considered the new suspended license infractions.

The result is my public defender kept plugging away with these pre-trials stalling. I did put all my trust in her abilities and decided that going with the flow was much easier than trying to command action from my lawyer.

For about 8 months I had to take time off of work put on my one good suit, and get ready to be sentenced for my crime. Seriously, after a while I became desensitized to the process. The first time in court, I was expecting a gavel to bang, then justice would be served.

We get to the final pretrial. My anticipation switched from getting a sentence to dealing with an actual trial. This was much worse. A trial means a jury of twelve, guilty or innocent. And higher stakes. Settlement would have been off the table at that point.

There was one thing about public defenders that bothered me. At least in my case, my public defender was incredibly hard to get a hold of. Her voice mail in box was always full, I never got her email address after several tries. I was being lead into a trail without adequate consultation.

Fortunately the public defenders office is right next to the courthouse. I could send one way communications in the form of written letters.

Final pre-trial came and I am one meeting away from going to trial. I haven't consulted with my attorney during the month and I was nervous. I was taken aside and had my meeting with my lawyer to discussed the impact of my decision. A choice I was being consulted on 10 minutes before I was to make it.

I introduced my thought process into the conversation. When the words, “I intend to settle” came out of my mouth, I was given a high five. Only later would I find out though first offenders class that I had gotten a great deal.

Given the elements of what I was on trial for, it was learned in education that I, “Hit one out of the park.” others would share stories of spending thousands on lawyers who simply filled out paperwork and did not fight on behalf of their client.

So now I've completed the educational part of the school. A six week lesson that lasts two hours. Once a week, I sit and listen and participate in discussions. Everyone attends this class in the beginning regardless if you are sentenced to the three, six, or nine month program. It's here where all the new people meet and discuss the steps to reattaining their drivers license, the probability of re-offending and the potential life-altering consequences of your actions.

Although the public transportation in this city is world renowned, I still need to get away from this city. I have a goal of riding to my favorite coffee shop in half-moon bay. The coffee is nothing special. Pacific Highway 1 and Skyline blvd on a motorcycle is the real treat.

not my bike, but definitely my wet dream. =P~

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