Ashraf Ali

My motorcycle is my medicine

I’ve been coughing up a lung, feeling quite sick for the last few days. My fever has lingered like a bad girlfriend, refusing to let go. I’ve ingested smoothies, cereal, and medicine to quell the symptoms. So far, it feels like there is a road to recovery. My illness is slowing down. But it’s not quite there yet.

The clock was ticking this morning. I had to get into the office. It’s been a week since I got on my relatively new bike, a 2001 BMW R1100R. The bike was calling my name, beckoning me to ride.

I pull on my gloves, strap on my helmet, turn on a song in my headset, and get on my bike. The BMW is large, a monstrosity with cool, curvy lines running through its body. Its black paint is stained with scratches and streaks. The odometer read barely over 10k, a sign of a bike still yearning for more road time.

I mount the bike, trying to get my leg over the saddle and on to the peg. I shift the weight of the bike, gripping the handlebars. I feel like I could drop it at any time, the 500lb beast. But, like rocking a child gently, I balance the bike between my hips, and press the ignition button. My BMW begins rumbling, waking up without a fuss. I shift into first gear and slowly release the clutch. I flash back to my motorcycle class, “Open the mouth, feed the baby. You’ve gotta do both at the right time.” I twitch the throttle, let the clutch out, and ride off to the stop light. I wait at the red light, the music playing through my headset. I’m mouthing a countdown, a few agonizing seconds with a voracious engine between my legs.

Red. Red. Red. Red. Red. Just as I feel the impatience crawl under my skin, I get the green.


I let the throttle rip. The RPMs jump from 1000 to 4000. I’m hitting 3/4ths to the rev line when I shift to second gear. I slam into third. I let the engine roar. The wind is exploding past my helmet. The MPH gauge reads 40, then, 50, then 90. It probably went higher but I didn’t dare look down. I flex my bike on a sweeping curve on the George Washington Parkway. I flash my right signal for a fraction of a second before I lean into the lane. The music in my helmet rocks with the rhythm of the road.

I go over a small bump and feel its reverberations past my lower back. The bike stays compliant. The chassis is responsive and agile, willing to play at the tug of a handlebar. The BMW gets louder and louder as I rev higher and higher. I let out a laugh, and smile, remembering how much I love motorcycling. I trim my vehicle past cars, curving along the exit to get closer to my destination. I pull up to my workplace and kill the engine. I lower the kickstand, push the bike into Park, and pull out the key.

I take off my gloves, turn off my headset, take off my helmet. My hair is in a tussle, wimpy strands that need a band to hold them back. I walk in to work and gave my morning salutations to Mrs. Gloria, the front desk assistant. I went into the elevator and felt my heavy breath. The adrenaline, my blood rushing, the smile that I couldn’t wipe off. I walk into work knowing that today, inshallah, was going to be a good day, cough and fever be damned.

Another day, another awesome Apple Music Favorites Mix. Yesssss

“I wear a time only analog watch to actually feel a sense of time.”

I love this perspective by Om Malik, a small nugget in his analysis on the Apple Watch.

I haven’t thought of watches as a reminder of time’s passage. I always just pulled out my phone for the time. But, this consciousness, a slow down of time, an awareness of time, of time’s passage…hmm. Interesting.

Follow God. Work. Provoke no one.

Oh my, quite a lot of data I used this month on my home internet.

Tranquilo by the kilo.

Some weeks, it’s a miss, but most weeks, man, the Favorites Mix on Apple Music gets me in the right mood.

Helloooo Massive Attack. Teardrop, the smasher.

How does Bohemian Rhapsody still give me goosebumps?

This video on the science of hearing helped me to appreciate my ears and my brain for what they do, turning all my sounds into signals in a moment’s notice.

Please do not leave children unattended in a library

Eid Mubarak! 🌙

Having issues with Facebook Videos or Ads not Autoplaying on Android? Try disabling your power saver mode.

I recently noticed that in the Facebook app, none of my videos were autoplaying.

So I went through the following processes:

  • Restarted my phone
  • Force quit the Facebook app using the App Switcher
  • Force stop using the Settings app
  • Clear the Cache Data using the Settingas app
  • Uninstalled and reinstalled Facebook
  • Installed an older version of Facebook via sideloading
  • Checked my battery level
  • Tried keeping a plugged in charger
  • Checked my WiFi (and tried it on/off)
  • Checked my Data connection
  • Checked my Facebook app settings to make sure videos were autoplaying on WiFi/Data. I tried toggling the settings and trying in each condition.

None of these tactics were working.

One thing, curiously, that was working was in the Chrome browser. I saw that videos were auto-playing in the feed. But whenever I tried to preview an Ad from Creative Hub, the videos would not load in the browser. In addition, Canvas ads don’t load in the browser either.

When I snuck around the Facebook settings again (woof, there are so many), a line of copy struck me: Facebook Settings Screenshot

Earlier in the day, when I hopped on the train, I switched my S9+’s Power Saver settings to MID. I turned it off and now my Facebook videos autoplay again. Woohoo.

Alright, let’s see how this Acela trip goes. My 1st!

“No Scrubs” got me going.

Don’t you wish all typography was thought out as well as reforma?

Never thought I’d appreciate the design of Group FaceTime so much.

Alrighty, time for me to switch back to iPhone, yesssss

That WWDC in T-minus 11 minutes :)

Kanye’s new album, is, yikes. Good and yet, yikes. Just yikes. Okay, plain yikes. yikes. ye

Still Drinking is one of those hidden gems on the web. And his latest foray into comics hits home as a closeted introvert. Note: you can still be an “outloud kind-of-guy” and an introvert.

The Dissect podcast is reinforcing how much I love Frank Ocean as an artist and an inspiration.

Coffee was once outlawed. interesting read

Okay, apparently I’m the first to hear of this feature but Photoshop includes an AI-driven Select Subject tool. PetaPixel details it here.

It’s a one-click trick to auto select your subject, even through complex backgrounds. I was shocked with how well it works! Adobe, bring on the AI.

Issues with "Can't Load Video Stream" error in After Effects? Revert back to 15.0

Hat Tip: If you are trying to open a JPEG2000 encoded .mov file in After Effects 15.1 or 15.1.1, you might get a “Can’t Load Video Stream” error.

That’s because Adobe is deprecating support for Quicktime frameworks in its effort to transition to 64-bit. Apple deprecated 64-bit support for Quicktime frameworks, leaving developers in a bind.

To solve the problem, you can either convert the files or revert your After Effects to 15.0 which still has support for these (and other eclectic) formats.

By the way, reverting is pretty easy in Creative Cloud. Open the Cloud Menu. Scroll down to After Effects. In the Bubble Button labeled Open, click the little down arrow next to it. Select Other Versions and choose the version you want to install. Woohoo!