Tag Archive for phantom

Customer Service: Round 2

Got the call from Grayboy today, four days earlier than expected: my air filter came in. Sweet.

I went out to Peoria Heights to pick it up, and found the in-person service as friendly and helpful as on the phone. They got some more money out of me as I purchased an oil filter, filter wrench, and oil. Tomorrow I get to play amateur mechanic.

While I was there, I browsed the showroom. The Phantom, unfortunately, did not look quite as sharp in person. The Fury, meanwhile, looked much better, especially in black. Here’s a look at the Fury:

Still may not be the bike for me, but I do dig it. It was like the Harley Iron 883: the black denim didn’t grab me in photographs, but when I walked past one in a bar’s parking lot, it really caught my eye.

Which reminds me, I need to take a ride out to the local Harley dealership to sniff around sometime…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

On Customer Service

Customer service is simple: make it as easy for customers to hand you money as possible, and make them happy to do it so they keep coming back.

A local bike shop doesn’t seem to understand that. I bought my helmet there, happened to see Lenore at the same time, and bought her about the same time. Those were a matter of convenience and luck, respectively, and by the time I added new tires and saddlebags to Lenore, I dropped a good buck there. Return visits have been for simple things, but asking simple questions about those simple things appeared to be an inconvenience for the owner.

This week I cracked open Lenore and decided I need to replace the air filter. I called the same local shop, asked if they have them in stock, and got a quick negative and the guy started to hang up. I asked if he could order it. An impatient yes. I said I’d stop down and order it, and the answer was pretty much “Okay, *click*.”

Alright, then. Time to find someone actually interested in my money.

I called Grayboy on Prospect in Peoria Heights, got their parts department. I told the guy what I needed. He asked if I needed any other parts, then checked their stock. When he returned he politely informed me it was out of stock but he could have it in three or four business days. I asked if he could order it right away, and he said I could order it over the phone. They even had my name in their system already from when I bought some gloves a few years ago.

Now I’ll be stopping in there on Tuesday to pick up an air filter and spend even more money on oil, an oil filter, and an oil filter wrench.

That wasn’t so difficult, was it? I don’t need my ass kissed, but I’m more than willing to hand over money to someone who’s willing to find a way to take it.

What’s more, it will give me a chance to drool on a 2010 Honda Shadow Phantom:

I have no reason to upgrade yet, but I kinda dig that blacked-out look. I’m just reserving judgment until I see it in person.

Word is they have the Fury in stock, too. The faux-custom thing doesn’t do much for me — I prefer a beefy cruiser to the stripped-down chopper — but it might be fun to kick the tires.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Itching to Ride

I think the motorcycle obsession has finally taken hold.

Every time I pass Lenore in the garage, I feel the urge to fire her up. Wet, cold Illinois weather is not always conducive to riding, however, especially for a relative rookie. I can’t tell you how jealous I am right now of friends like Weston Ochse, Nate Southard, and Paul Legerski, who all live in comfortable riding weather year-round. Note I qualified that as comfortable riding weather. If I have to dress up in layers of clothing just to get on two wheels, that’s just not a good trade-off to me because lugging and stowing all that extra gear would be a pain in the ass.

Right now the idea is to explore my limits of comfortable. After an unusually cold Halloween, we’re now getting a bit of an Indian summer. Last weekend the temps crept up to the low 60s, so Saturday morning I zipped up my leather jacket (probably the first time I actually unsnapped and closed the lapels), busted out the leather riding gloves for the first time since my riding class, and rode Lenore out to breakfast and then to karate class.

It was probably around 50 when I took off, and a stiff wind blew across the fields. I thought I’d feel most of it in my legs, but as it turned out the worst was a cold spot along my jawline. The wind came right in under the rim of my helmet, concentrated on that one spot, and after just a few minutes it started to sting. The few minutes of irritation was worth it come that afternoon, though, as temps climbed up to 68 and I spent a little more time on the road.

We should be seeing mid fifties and sunshine this week, so I ordered myself a simple balaclava to keep the wind off my neck and jaw. Another rider friend, Eric Masek, rides all the way down into the 40s, so I’m going to give that a shot as long as it stays dry enough. I spotted a pair of fleece-lined, Kevlar riding jeans that may help keep me on the bike longer, too (I’ve never been a big fan of long johns, but I suppose that’s an option I should consider).

Meanwhile, I’ve got another reason to be jealous of Nate: he just picked up a Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Sportster he’s dubbed The Late Late Show. I wasn’t particularly taken with the Iron 883 after seeing it on TV and in magazines, but then I spotted one in a parking lot in Peoria and it got me drooling. That black denim paint and blacked-out engine looks much sharper in person, and I’ve been eyeballing them ever since. I think Nate also made the right move adding the forward controls, and those ape hangers look damn good on his bike.

Like I said: jealous.

Of course, now I see Honda is putting out the Shadow Phantom for 2010. With its blacked-out engine and $7999 price point, I’m guessing it’s a direct competitor to the Iron 883, and will add to Honda’s “Honda-Davidson” rep. It’s got a smaller engine but already has the forward controls and it has glossy black paint instead of the matte black the Harley sports.

That’s not to say I’m in a hurry to ditch Lenore anytime soon. The last thing I need is another payment right now, and Lenore is a solid, comfortable ride. I have a few more customizations in mind for her, too, including a set of crash bars for that inevitable day she goes down on her side.

In the meantime it’s fun to drool while I get this weather thing figured out.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

2007: Year in Review

If someone were to ask me how this year went, my first reaction would be to call it a write-off. Then I got to thinking about it, and it actually hasn’t been so bad after all. Let’s look back, shall we?

I started the year by selling the German rights to Deadliest of the Species to publisher Otherworld Verlag. The book was pitched to retailers this month, and it will see publication early next year under the title Das Tödliche Geschlecht. I followed that up over the summer with another book sale which I’m still asked to keep under my hat.

Restore from Backup, my novella collaboration with JF Gonzalez, was released from Bad Moon Books. The hardcovers sold out on preorder, but you can still get copies of the trade paperback.

Moonstone Books published The Phantom Chronicles, a prose anthology of Phantom tales including my short story “The Servants of Set”. Moonstone is also the publisher of my comic book Werewolves: Call of the Wild.

I received word today that In Delirium II is shipping. This anthology includes a reprint of “Crazy for You” by myself and Brian Keene. This story previously appeared in Crime Spree. The book doesn’t appear to be listed on the Horror Mall yet, but I imagine it will be up for order soon.

Finally, I attended two comic cons — one large and one small — and did signings at two comic shops. I sold enough comics to pay for the trip at the small comic con, and I was well satisfied with the results of the large con and the signings. I also had fun, and probably picked up a few new fans to boot.

I’d like to have accomplished more, of course, but I don’t feel I should be complaining.

In personal news, I joined the Academy of Okinawan Karate in March and started studying Shuri-ryu, a style of karate. I climbed the ranks from white belt through yellow and to blue belt, and I’ve learned a lot of cool things. Between classes and home exercise, I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds and I feel better than I have in years. I’d have to say that’s the best accomplishment of the year. My class and workout schedule may have put a dent in my writing productivity, but I feel like my health improvements will keep me writing for years to come.

I joined an active Flickr photo group called 52 Weeks, where users post a picture a week for a year. I did fine for a while, but the last few months I’ve fallen way behind. I would like to have posted an honest week 1 and week 52 pic right now, but it’ll have to be off a little bit. You can, however, see my contributions so far right here.

Finally, I expanded my computing horizons by picking up a MacBook at work. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about it in the future (and I’m writing this post on it now), but this gets me closer to being a triple threat in desktop computing.

There are a few things I wish I’d accomplished or wish I’d done better, but hey, that’s what next year is for. Overall, I’m content to call 2007 a win.

Onward and upward.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.