Yo me llamo Tyson

<IMG src="/images/14229-13631/winter.jpg”><IMG src="/images/14229-13631/protest.jpg”>

Winter has finally hit Toronto.  It’s been so cold for about the past week that I’d rather be slapped in the face than go outside.  It may not be minus 42 like Winnipeg, but minus 30 (with wind chill) is bad enough.  I wonder where all the homeless people went?  Before the cold snap, I used to see people sleeping outside all the time.  I haven’t seen a single homeless person in days.  It wouldn’t take long to die of hypothermia in this weather.

Despite the cold, thousands of students in Toronto (and across the country) staged a protest against high tuition fees today.  Their route took them past my building on Bay street before they ended up at the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park.  I’m impressed that they braved the frigid temperatures to make a statement.  I for one can feel their pain.  My tuition was almost 18,000 last year.

In other news, as you can infer from the title of this post, I have started taking Spanish.  I hope to be able to have a rudimentary conversation in Spanish before I set off for South America. 

A couple of weeks ago, I also started taking a motorcycle maintenance course taught by a mechanic at a local bike shop.  The reason I took the course is so that I’m not helpless if my KLR650 breaks down in the middle of nowhere. 
I really enjoy the classes.  There are three of us in the class, and the other two guys are firefighters who have been riding motorbikes since before I was born.  Tonight we took apart a carburetor and learned electrical system basics.  Last class I learned how to do a 40 point safety inspection.  Next week we are going to give a motorbike a tune-up. 

I can’t help but make comparisons between what I’m learning about humans by day and what I’m learning about motorbikes by night.  There are advantages to working with humans: they can tell you were it hurts, how long it’s hurt, what makes the pain worse, what makes it better, whether the pain radiates, how severe the pain is, etc.  Diagnosing a human is 80% based on getting a good medical history.  The physical exam and lab tests often only serve to support a hypothesis. 

In contrast, a motorcycle can’t tell you what’s wrong.  You rely way more on the “physical exam” and your powers of observation.  The biggest advantage of working with motorcycles is that you don’t have to make repairs with the engine running, as you do with humans.  Motorcycle repairs would be much harder if you had to hook them up to a surrogate engine (heart and lung machine) while replacing a valve or a piston, for example.  You can leave the bike in the garage until a spare part arrives, and do the replacement at your leisure (with no risk of rejection!).

There are also similarities between the parts of a motorcycle and various organ systems in humans.  The piston is obviously akin to the heart.  The oil filter is like kidney or a liver.  The circulating fluids (oil, coolant) are like blood.  The brakes are like joints, because the pads wear with age.  Eventually the pads will wear right down to the metal.  The metal grinding on metal will start eating away at the brake rotor, just as bones eat away at each other when the cartilage between them wears away in osteoarthritis.  The exhaust system is like the gastrointestinal tract.  The fairings are the skin.

I’m sure you can see the analogy.

Cuidado.

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One thought on “Yo me llamo Tyson

  1. Thanks for the credit to our artic lifestyle in the ‘Peg. In followup to our conversation yesterday, I was listening to the radio on the way to work today and they were saying it was -38 with the wind chill, but not to worry because it was “a dry cold”.

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