The Aprila RS 50: My Dream Motorcycle

Here in Colorado, low powered scooters under 50cc pay almost no registration, no insurance, and can be parked on the sidewalk. Now I ride motorcycles so I couldn’t be caught dead in a 50cc scooter… except this one.

The Aprila RS 50 with a 49.7cc displacement and a top speed of 30 mph. Maybe with a sprocket change and full tuck it’ll hit my neighborhood speed limit of 35 mph. The RS50 looks like a “real” motorcycle and it’s also from a respected motorcycle brand unlike those Chinese scooters you see imitating motorcycles. It’s a motorcycle that I could park on my front porch and ride around downtown Denver without looking for parking. Just one problem, they’re rare. The RS50 in the featured image is modern and we don’t get that version in the states. They were only sold in the states from the late 90s to early 2000s. For $2500 one could probably snag a low mileage CBR that would be more reliable and more powerful than this thing but there’s something ridiculous about this motorcycle that makes me love it. If anyone sees one for sale, especially in Colorado, please let me know. I have a weird dream bike.

Is this a Real Vintage Rimowa?

I’ve been obsessed with RIMOWA since I decided on doing that traveling livestyle all those vloggers are into. Rimowas are basically aluminum cases that get dented as you travel. Put a few stickers on there and boom you have a lovely travel patina of sorts. Now-a-days Rimowa sells carry ons and check ins that pretty much match any other except for their distinctive aluminum exterior. You can even buy them without that exterior but I wouldn’t do that, if you can afford a thousand dollar plus carry on bag you can afford the extra weight fee. The new ones are nice and sturdy but that’s not the one I want. Each Rimowa boutique has a display with a donated vintage Rimowa suticase, not for sale, I asked. The look of the suitcase appealed to me much more than the bulky modern ones with wheels and extendable handles (convenient as they may be). So I took to ebay.

That’s when I found this. A 1970s-ish? Vintage Rimowa suitcase for $300 with shipping. For those of you that know Rimowa, that’s actually pretty cheap! And it’s in good condition. Now for the question you always have to ask with luxury items on ebay: is this real?

Well I contacted Rimowa and they told me they don’t authenticate suitcases. I then asked them for an archive I could perhaps look this model up in, they told me they didn’t have one. Rimowa if you’re reading this I know you have a $100 book for sale with photos of old Rimowas don’t tell me you don’t have an archive.

So it was up to me. I took a real close look at the logo, it’s consistent with their older design. The handle looked familiar, it was the same handle as a background on their website (the featured image of this post). But that wasn’t good enough. So I took to their instagram and scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled until…

Ah hah! I think? They have the same blue lines around the side and the same latch locks. The center lock of the center suitcase is off. So close to a perfect match. Would it really be out of the question for a company to change lock designs over a decade though? Did Rimowa ever use this lock? Well I googled vintage Rimowas and scrolled… and scrolled and scrolled… no really this took hours… until…

A match on the lock! A post from another blogger looking through a Rimowa exhibition. Though the ebay Rimowa doesn’t have that handle or that exterior.

So either someone frankensteined a fake Rimowa by looking up very obscure pictures of real vintage Rimowas or this Rimowa was made before the handle update and after the lock update.

I pulled the trigger and bought it. The seller said it came from the 80s but I think it was from the 60-70s when they had the old handle. Fittingly the suitcase also made an extensive trip shipping from the Kiev to my home in Denver. I stole the Turkish cargo sticker from the packaging to put on the suitcase. I bought a few Rimowa stickers as well. They’re beautiful but so expensive, $10 a sticker! If I were to purchase every city I’ve been to on their sticker collection it would cost me $160… in stickers.

And here it is! Ready to join me on many more adventures. The first stickers are Orange County, Madrid, and Paris.

Buying Your Way Into Harvard

When people ask me how I got into Harvard I half jokingly tell them I bought my way in. Harvard allows “non-degree candidates” to take classes via their extension school for a nominal fee of three grand or so. Pass some extra hard “gatekeeper” courses with a B average and they’ll let you into a full on degree program. They’ll even let you try again (for another nominal tuition fee of three grand) if you fail the gatekeeper courses the first time, though you’ll have to get your GPA up with more classes if you fail. Any why shouldn’t you be able to? Perseverance is a virtue after all.

In all seriousness this program is excellent. It has a flexible schedule and allows those of us with less than stellar GPAs to earn our way in. Everyone I’ve met at the extension school has been brilliant. Most of them are already in a career. I’ve met lawyers, augmented reality designers, and Harvard researchers as fellow students in my degree program (ALM Software Engineering).

The secret right now with the COVID pandemic is that they’ve waived the residency requirement. Usually one must attend classes in person for at least part of their degree. If you want a Harvard degree without quitting your job or taking a three week vacation, now is the time. However, residency is a blast. If you’re under 30, I highly recommend the Summer School for your residency. It was an absolute never ending party and you get to live in the Harvard housing system.

Alright but is this a “real Harvard degree?” Honestly, the only people I’ve met that trashes the extension school are not part of the Harvard community. If your degree raises some eyebrows during an interview, tell them to forget Harvard and explain all the amazing things you got out of your education. It is after all, an amazing education.

My one complaint: the degree naming. The diploma itself is in latin so no one will be able to read it but your degree will be in “Extension Studies”. For example “Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies”. Though no one studies “Extension Studies” at the extension school and the liberal arts education of my program consisted of one business writing class outside of the other 10 or so computer science courses, this naming scheme somehow prevails with very real consequences for people who need to meet strict hiring qualifications. If their intent was to separate extension degrees from the other 11 Harvard schools literally watermarking EXTENSION across the diploma and transcript would have been a better approach than misrepresenting the concentration.

My Idol: Elizabeth Swaney

I’d like to tell you about someone who actually took one of these crazy ideas and did it, Elizabeth Swaney, freestyle skier at the Olympics. It has always been a dream of mine to be in the Olympics, despite only being semi-athletic. I guess Swaney had the same idea. Though not quite as talented as the other competitors in the event, Swaney is an Olympian. During the event she simply skied down the half pipe, no tricks, no nothing.

How did she even get there? She qualified by attending qualifying events and simply not falling, this way she would place ahead of those who fell on all of their runs. Secondly, she represented Hungary instead of the United States. Since countries are allocated a limited number of slots, only the top few from each country could attend. These factors combined gave her enough ranking to be invited. The last thing to consider is that she basically bankrolled this entire stunt. Attending events in far away countries and getting citizenship isn’t cheap.

I love this story, she is my favorite Olympian and a fellow Harvard alum. I’ve always dreamed that one day if I became rich enough I’d try to get in for equestrian, shooting, or karate kata. Realistically I won’t be rich for quite a bit of time so I chose events where older people could keep up. I’ll keep you all posted on these endeavors…

What’s the fastest way to get a scuba diving license?

I don’t dive, but my friends do. I thought it’d be fun to open this blog with a literal dive. Scuba divers need to be certified with the first being the open water certification. Usually one needs to spend about two weekends in the classroom and diving to get a certification. Becoming a diver has always been on my radar and as I moved from California to land locked Colorado I felt my time was running out to check that box. Why do I want to become a diver? Because everyone else that wears a dive watch may find out that I’m a fraud! So with less than a month before my move I looked up the fastest way to get a license.

Can anyone do it in one weekend? Seems like the answer is yes! South Beach Dive and Surf Center in Miami Beach, Florida knocks it out in two days. Seems they accomplish this by allowing you to study on your own before the course. Last time I was in Florida I did quite a bit of free diving at Dry Tortugas National Park but next time I’ll be taking this crash course in diving.

Also of note, I found a diving school here in Colorado, didn’t expect that.