As I sit here this morning, the tv weather folks predict 3 successive waves of ever-increasing rainfall for us here in the Northwest. All I can say is welcome back home! Yes it is dreary but all that moisture is what makes this area so green and lush. And it is that very rainfall which makes the clear and sunny days so glorious up here. Unfortunately for you, you weren't here to enjoy what was all in all a very nice summer with lots of opportunities to ride without rain gear! The rainy days we're now experiencing are the price we have to pay for the really nice days we have in the spring and summer. You just missed out on the payoff! Hanging out down south with all that smog and congestion is sort of a mind-tricking experience. Sure you get days in the 70's and 80's, but could you actually see the hills surrounding the LA basin? I think not! I fly into the LA area a lot and if you look at the hills you can see what decades of smog have done to the hillside vegetation. The appearance is much like toilet bowl ring! I concur with several of the other responses to your posting, go out and blow up some 7.62! Nothing like gunfire to clear the head up! As far as 999 Ducati styling, I haven't had the opportunity to check one out in person. The articles I have read though, lead me to believe the question is really over form versus function. Every article says the bike is at the very least as good if not better functionally than its predecessors. Additionally, the ergos are such that guys my size (6'0 and 230#) can actually stand to be on the bike for more than 25 minutes at a time. This brings the bike into the realm of possibility (just barely given the bucks involved as well as those interesting desmo valve adjustment intervals!). The only negative comments are about its looks (and sounds). OK, I've never seen a 916 Ducati so I don't have a reference to judge it by, but are prospective buyers planning on hanging their bikes in a prominent place on the den wall or are they going to ride the things? Anyway, that's the opinion of a guy that got a BMW R1150GS for its capabilities and ergos.