Photos of readers

May 19, 2020 • 2:30 pm

Today’s reader is Terence Geoghegan, who posts under the name “Brujo Feo.” He sent two pics and commentary (indented).

Be sure to send in your readers’ photos as well (maximum two per submission, and don’t forget a short commentary). Over to Terence:

In response to your “reader photos” invitation, here are a couple. As the file names attest, neither is recent.

The first was from about 23 years ago, outside my law office in Ventura, CA. From an interview by a local reporter.

The second was nine years ago at the Willow Springs raceway near Lancaster, CA. I had to wait a year for another racer to retire and give up that license plate number! The tower announcer would announce me as Terence “The Pagan” Geoghegan (it rhymes–Irish spellings…), which didn’t exactly make sense theologically, but it was whimsical enough for my tastes.

Both that violin (a lovely Harold Meissner) and that motorcycle (one of my favorites–a 1990 Yamaha FZR 400) went up in flames in the Thomas Fire of December, 2017.

54 thoughts on “Photos of readers

  1. Sorry to hear about the fire! Damn!

    Fun photos. I assume you are into martial arts as well.

    Love the plate and “Pagan Geoghegan”! 🙂 (That’s the only way I’ve heard your last name ever pronounced: In various spellings; but always the same pronunciation.)

    1. “…into martial arts as well.”

      Yeah, a lot of people reach 1st Dan, and getting a black belt apparently their goal, more or less retire. At some point I guess I realized that I was a lifer. This pic was probably from ’91, so I was about to test for 4th. A few years ago they kicked me upstairs to 8th (as good an expression of the Peter Principle as you’ll see), and now I’m the Senior VP of the US-ITF (one of the two charters of the International Taekwon-Do Federation in the USA), and the ranking umpire for international competitions.

      That being said, after the death in ’02 of General Choi Hong Hi, widely regarded as the founder of TKD, the organization predictably splintered, and now there are AT LEAST FOUR “ITFs.” I’m not supposed to say that, of course; I’m supposed to have drunk the Kool-Aid and blindly recite that OURS is the only “true” ITF, and all of the others are traitors and carpet-baggers and worse. (Sound familiar? Martial arts orgs are as bad as religions. <>)

      1. That was supposed to be “sigh” in between double chevrons. I guess that I triggered some html code with which I’m unfamiliar…

        1. Correction…the zebra stripes indicate 4th Dan and up, so this would have been January of ’95, when I was getting ready to test for 5th.

    1. jblilie wrote: “…a Henry Meissner…”

      Oh, damn! I guess that I had a senior moment! It was indeed Henry. And I shouldn’t have made that mistake. Yes, it’s a violin in the picture, but I’m mainly a violist. (My B.A. was in Viola Performance, from Cal State Hayward. I make the feeble joke that I only play violin when they give me enough money to do it.

      Henry was (he died many years ago) also a violist, and he and I were stand partners in many gigs over the years. So thank you for the correction.

  2. That was a bad, bad fire. I had colleagues at the time who were living/working in Ojai. They were luckier and didn’t lose their property. Another colleague lost his home in the Camp Fire the year after your loss.

    1. Thank you, Miss Ironfist–so sweet of you to say!

      Actually, the thing that I like most about that pic is my bow-hand position. In ’86, IIRC, I got stupid around the chain on an ’80 Suzuki GS1100E, and lost the top joint on my right thumb. After I fiddled (so to speak) with various unsatisfactory prostheses, an archetier in Toulouse, France (where I had lucked into a gig with the opera orchestra, Mouvement Douze) suggested building out the leather grip on the bow, carving a cup in it for my stump, and wrapping it in baby goat skin–flexible enough for the task. I’ve had that done to all of my bows since then.

      But my bow hand often looks a bit awkward due to the compromised geometry. But this pic? I look like an advertisement for how to properly hold the bow. And that doesn’t happen too bloody often, so I’ll take the rare win.

  3. Those are a couple of cool pix.

    I always thought Brujo Feo was your real name (and I thought it was a cool name). LOL! Though Geoghegan is pretty cool too…esp. Pagan Geoghegan.

    California’s wildfires in recent years are beyond depressing. Sorry about your bike and violin…I’m sure you lost a lot more than that.

    I have a friend who was getting new license plates at a DMV in Reno. He was standing in line and a DMV worker yelled “anyone want a license plate with 666?” I guess a bunch of people passed on it and they wanted to get rid of the evil plate. Anyway, my atheist friend was more than happy to take it.

    The best plate I’ve ever seen was in California on a cherry red vintage Mustang; it read: SATAN. I drove by (we were on I-80) and gave him a thumb’s up. I don’t know if he knew why, he probably thought I was praising his car, but that plate cracked me up.

      1. “cell phone…666…”

        After the fire we moved, and I got a new Ooma phone number, xxx-666-xxxx. I’m going to port it to my cell.

    1. My phone number begins with 666. For a while my recorded message was delivered in diabolical tones: “Welcome to the vestibule of hell. Please leave a message”

    2. “I always thought Brujo Feo…”

      Mi novia, who is chilanga, has always called me Brujo Lindo, or Brujis, so this is a joke on that. It’s been my nom de plume for like forever.

      BTW, for non-Spanish speakers, the words “brujo/a” are just as sexist as they are in English, since the closest translations would be wizard and witch. Except that calling a woman “bruja” in Spanish is just a wee bit uglier than calling one a witch in English.

      1. Thanks. Once, a friend of mine from Venezuela explained the words never to be uttered in the presence of a Spanish-speaking man. Important information.

  4. Tnx for the pics and backstories. You live in a really magnificant part of the country going from ocean through mountains and into high desert for a weekend race. I spent some time in lancaster and environs while on travel to nasa dryden (now armstrong) flight research center in the 80s and 90s. High desert is really unique place.

  5. Isn’t it about time we had some new pics of the ducklings? I can see they’re growing but no details.

    1. Tomorrow my friend: readers’ wildlife in the morning will be all of my ducks and ducklings. I’ve been busy with them but now had some time to download pics, put videos on YouTube, and so on.

    1. Oh, Jeebus, Kevin, then you don’t want to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, “the REST of the story.”

      On the way out the door, I grabbed both violas (a 1978 James Cave, a 44cm monster with a voice to match, and my new Luis and Clark carbon fiber one. Also the Meissner. I also had a $300 Chinese fiddle–ah, fuck it, I said–I’ll come back for that. Or not.

      Five days later, I’m driving down the road, and it hits me like lightning…recently, I had had a paying violin gig, and since the case with the Chinese fiddle was lighter, smaller, cleaner…I had switched cases. I rush home, open the Meissner’s case…and there’s that fucking $300 Chinese fiddle.

      I also lost a ’73 Gibson Gospel acoustic and a 1973 Gibson L6-S, both of which I bought new in 1973, when I was 17 years old. And a recent Chinese Fender Strat, worth not much but damn, did it have sweet neck on it. Amd an original 1973 or so Peavey Bandit amp, and countless effects pedals, etc.

      And the house, of course. But that’s replaceable. The Meissner and the others not so much.

      1. Dang, that is a big viola.

        One of our local (Minneapolis/St. Paul MN) violists (I think MN Orchestra) played a free warm-up, before a Leo Kottke concert, during their strike a few years ago.

        He played the biggest viola I’d ever seen (outside of the Hammond Ashley shop in the Seattle area, they make Yuge ones, to be played vertically, resting on long end pins). His Viola was, something like the 44cm you mention and the ribs had to have been at least 7-8 cm tall. Yuge. It was the height of the ribs that really caught my attention.

        Man could that viola (and violist and bow) speak! What a growl.

        I see the violist (after a search online) was Sam Bergman; but none of the photos I find of him online show the big viola.

        1. Yeah–44cm is on the large side, but nowhere near what you would need to get the balanced projection of a violin, which would be an unplayable (to anyone outside the NBA) 53cm or so.

          Which is why there have been many attempts at work-arounds, probably the best known of which is the Rivinus Pellegrina. (See I played a couple of them when Rivinus had a show at the Metzler Violin Shop in Glendale a few years back, as my neck vertebrae, especially C4-5, were starting to go, making the Cave painful to play for extended periods. (25 years in the ring, getting kicked in the head by experts, will do that to you–not to mention a few motorcycle crashes.)

          I loved the Rivinus, but there was a two-year waiting list, and it was twice as spendy as the Luis and Clark I finally settled on.

      2. Heavy heart to hear of these loses. I’ve eight different stringed instruments. I decided years ago I could lose them all even though I love them. Reminds me to enjoy what I’ve got when I’ve got it.

  6. Reading that the bike was lost to a fire brought a tear to my eye. I’m sure it was a blast riding that on the track.

    1. darelle: oh, it was. After my rookie year, in which I rode my daughters Kawi Ninja 250 (also lost in the fire), it was time to move up. Most of the younger crew moved into the 600 class, but not me. I had a ’98 CBR600F3 which I had ridden on track days, and I knew that that class was WAY too fast to race in. The 600s would hit close to 150 mph before Turn 9 at Willow. Too fast for me; people died in that class. (In fact, the Rookie of the Year in my first year, Pancho Spain, died the next year at Turn 8. Although Spain, a 600-class champion, actually died in the 1000-class race,, the 600 class was more dangerous.)

      The 400 was perfect. I could get it to MAYBE 125 mph on the front straight, if the wind wasn’t up; maybe 110 or so if it was. Fast enough for me.

  7. Sorry for your losses.

    Dad and mom had a 36 Chevy, for 16 years. I was born in 39. Il License plate was 600-066.
    When it was first assigned, they decided they liked it, and requested it upon each renewal.
    No one ever called attention to the magic 6’s as far as I know.

  8. That was dratted bad luck losing two of your favourite things in that fire! Life sure can suck. Have you replaced them, Brujo? I trust you’re still practising martial arts.

    1. Yes, still doing TKD, although at 65 this year not as strong or flexible as I once was. Now it’s all teaching and umpiring and admin stuff.

      The last time I competed was at the California State Championships in February, 2000. I was 44 years old, and I won both of my fights that day. But the first guy was. albeit a bit lighter, much faster and more flexible than I was, and most annoyingly, kept kicking me in the head. The second guy was bigger and slower, but a bodybuilder, and Jeebus, you do not want to get hit like THAT too many times.

      So I got to retire as California Men’s Heavyweight Black Belt Sparring State Champion, and I thought: “yes–let’s do that.”

      I’m not always that smart. I mean, 10 years and more later, I was still crashing motorcycles. Like they say: “if you’re not crashing, you’re not racing.”

      1. And yes, I found a sweet ’05 CBR600F4i with 7K miles on it to replace both the FZR400 and the CBR1100XX (a middle ground, as it were) and for the touring as opposed to sport aspects, recently picked up an ’06 BMW R1200RT with–I am not making this up–1,569 original miles on it. It’s gorgeous.

        I found another L6-S and another Strat, and the Gospel I replaced–as much as that could ever be–with a beautiful Taylor single-cutaway.

        The Meissner was a bit more difficult. But a friend in my symphony died last year, and I bought his fiddle from his widow. It has a label that says “Venezia, 1796,” which is bullshit. It’s probably mid-nineteenth century German. But who cares when and whence? She needed the money, I needed a decent fiddle, and this one has a really sweet sound. Not to mention the optics are gorgeous.

        I could post pics of these things, but I don’t know how to do that…

        1. If you have the photos at an online location, you can just copy and paste that address into the comment box (with some words of explanation, WordPress seems to reject a comment that is only an html link). That will (eventually) cause the photo to show up in the thread.

  9. I like bikes. I haven’t raced but did many track at a couple of Australian tracks.

    I have been aware of Willow Springs for many years, from reading American motorcycle mags and from doing Australian Superbike School, based on the California Superbike school, based there at Willow Springs. I met Keith Code when he came out here.
    I always wondered what it was like.

    Now, with the amazingly accurate driving sims I have been able to experience it in computer land.
    It seems to be a pretty nice track for bikes.

      1. Yes, Willow is a pretty nice complex of three tracks (ignoring the little cart tracks). The main track, called “The Fastest Track in the West,” is nine turns in 2.5 miles. The tighter Streets of Willow (where I took a race class with Reg Pridmore) is about the same number of turns in 1.8 miles.

        And then there’s the Horsethief Mile, 11 turns in one mile, with serious elevation changes. The only time that I rode it was on my ’02 CBR1100XX Super Blackbird (license plate: DMNTRXX–also lost in the fire).

        It was ridiculous. I don’t think that I ever got it out of first gear–85 mph was just plenty on THAT track.

        1. About 2004 or 2005, on a dare I took a Hayabusa to Jennings GP. Jennings is a nice 2 mile track with 14 turns said by some to favor 600s. I set the Bus up for the track as best I could, raised the rear about 2″, the front about 1″ and rebuilt the forks. It was a blast. The real issue wasn’t the weight or the wheelbase, it was ground clearance. The Hayabusa is very wide at the bottom instead of a sharp V like a real track bike. You rub fairing / engine case around most turns because there’s still plenty of tire left when they make contact. I actually did quite well with it that day.

          After that I took it to Daytona International and rode with Team Hammer on the “Old” 200 course. Also a blast, though I did end up binning it on the first turn of the international horseshoe, because I was stupid. I had been running down a rider in front of me and was closing. He was on an actual track bike much more suited to the technical turns in the infield. I shouldn’t have tried to catch him on that series of 3 turns. There was room to follow a survivable line but I would have lost a little ground. Instead I tried to follow the fastest line. Got a little too comfortable dragging fairing and put a little too much pressure on it. Stupid.

          1. That sounds terrifying, and I mean before the crash. But then, the only bike I ever got comfortable dragging bits on was my ’97 GoldWing GL1500SE, which I managed to find radial tires for. I think they were specced for some Triumph.

            Anyway, yours wasn’t nearly as stupid as what I saw a guy do at Laguna Seca several years back, when I went up to take a couple days’ classes with Keith Code. We get there, and the rain has just stopped, and the track is WET. So you slow down, right? And here comes this guy an a brand-new Duck, whatever was the latest and fastest was at the time, fire-engine red, and on the FIRST lap he bins it in Turn 11, because apparently it never occurred to him that dry track and wet track were two different things. SO much Tupperware. SO many tiny little shards.

            And then he had to pay an extra $500 or whatever to rent one of Keith’s Kawi 636s for the rest of the session.

            1. Was I mistaken about where Keith Code was based or was it a different time?

              I didn’t mention the tracks I rode, one a little known Melbourne one, Calder Park and another at Bradford and the best one at the well known Philip Island. A greet place when the weather is good.

              It has a great last turn on to the main straight, overlooking the ocean (don’t look too much) and into the super high speed turn one.

              I had the new 96 Suzuki GSXR 750 then. No scratching, but before that we used to say “let’s go for a scratch” as most bikes did touch down and it was a sign you could ride, or be stupid.

              Even my 75 Ducati touch the exhausts both sides. Well before track days for me though.

              Such great fun when there are no obstacle to slide into if you make a mistake. I did on the road but not at the track.

              Twin discs on my Ducati 860, little knowledge, charging corners, panic breaking which is ok with crap brakes but twin cast iron discs and instant lock up.

              Live and learn.

              1. I wish Keith Code or someone like him in Aus was around when I was young, it would have saved a lot of money and pain.

              2. Back in the early oughts, at least, Code was running classes at various venues in the U.S. It doesn’t surprise me that he also did so internationally; as you note there’s a big market for it.

                I actually got more out of the class that I took from Reg Pridmore, on the Streets of Willow. One of the things I took away was that the object should be to be smoooooooth…once you can do that, speed takes care of itself. I was riding my ’83 CX650 Turbo at that class, and you kind of had to be smooth, because the brakes were easily overtaxed. My buddy was riding his ’98 CBR600F3, and we traded bikes for a couple of laps. When he got off, his face was white and his hands were shaking. He told me: “your bike has no brakes!” Actually, those were pretty good brakes for 1983; just nothing like his bike had fifteen years later.

                Anyway, one of the perks of Reg’s class was that if you made a donation of like $50 to his charity (something about pediatric brain tumors), he would take you for a ride around the track on his (IIRC) VFR 800.

                Reg was insanely fast, even with me on the back, and insanely smooth. I don’t recall really feeling him accelerate OR brake–he just went around the track like he was cradling a baby chick in his hands, at a zillion mph.

                As I recall, at the time I was the Editor-in-Chief of *Citations*, the monthly magazine of the local bar association, and I wrote an article about that class. If you send me your email address–message me on FB or something–I’m not sure if we’re allowed to put email address here–I’ll send it to you.

              3. Yes, smoothness is the key.

                I’m not sure I would like riding an older “classic” bike on the track. I became spoiled with a modern R1. You just sort of suggest what you want it to do and it does it.

                Compared to a couple of Ducatis I rode in the early 80s? They looked good, if the styling was to your taste, but handling? You had to force them to do what you wanted. Though I have to say the modern era Ducatis ride beautifully. Still expensive to maintain though.

                Michael, Philip Island? I am envious. I’ve never been there but it sure does look gorgeous, both the environs and the track.

              4. I’d heard of Pridmore also at some stage.

                I think smoothness is one component while also understanding all the other components.

                Keith Code broke the whole situation down into individual components which made understanding what was going on easier.

                I had already heard of counter steering but I found that formalizing that and also breaking down ‘attention’ were the main takeaway’s.

                That and visual references, looking ahead and around and avoiding tunnel vision.


                My 70’s era Dukes were hard to turn in but once turned they felt like they were on rails compared to the Japanese bikes.

                Yes, Philip Island. It’s great. Ii is mostly high speed which I prefer and the low speed ones are interesting.

                Especially MG where you come hurtling over Lukey Height, cranked right over as you crest the hill, down a fairly steep short bit into MG.

                I better stop talking as this is getting many fond memories and juices flowing.

                Brujo I will look you up on FB althogh I don’t use it really.

                Perhaps Jerry, hi Jerry, if you read this could pass my email on to Brujo.

                I’ll wait a bit and try FB

                Thanks all.

Leave a Reply