I took the new ride to my LBS, received a variety of advice and helpful information, took the bike home, disassembled its headset, reassembled its headset, readjusted and found it wholly improved. Having said that, this bike still just isn't right, and I have neither the time nor the money to go on tweaking and upgrading right now.
So I pulled various and sundry parts off it and reapplied them to the old whore and resumed riding her everyday.
God, I love the old whore.
I hung the new ride in the rafters next to my dusty mountain bike and resolved to revisit that project later.
It took me some days to overcome the feelings of disappointment deriving from this episode. You see a frame. In your mind's eye you build it up. You fantasize about riding it across town. You spend hours trying to decide between the black cranks or the chrome. You spend money. You toil away in the shop. (I should digress here to make clear that what a mediocre bike mechanic can do in about an hour, takes me a full week). Eventually and finally you have a bicycle you can ride. The joy of the moment is immense, the realization of a dream.
And then the bike isn't right. Your LBS tells you that the frame is not as awesome as you thought. The steerer tube may have "ovalized." A panoply of improbable mechanical solutions are offered, all of which are beyond your ken and budget.
My wife says, "Well, it was a good lesson to learn, right?" And though she's right (she's ALWAY FUCKING RIGHT), the disappointment lingers. You will one day make something good of that frame hanging from the rafters, but it cheapens your dreams, fills you with doubt.
There's nothing for it but to ride the bike you DO have. Until your legs want to give out.