Tuesday, January 31, 2006

omigod

"nucular." twice.
I am going to be so drunk by the time this is over.

lying sack

my voice is hoarse from yelling at the TV, and the speech has only just been going for a few minutes.

And in other news, smoking is bad for you

Is there anything "technology" can't do?!

(and how can Haliburton get a piece of this action?)

boredom

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
No.
2. Do you close your eyes on rollercoasters?
No. Well, unless my contacts are popping out.

(what happened to 3?)

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone??
Paul. He keeps the ghosts out, and the monsters from coming out from under the bed.

5. Do you believe in Ghosts?
no. unless Paul is not sleeping next to me.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
I hope so, if not in the ways people expect.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
uhm, yeah. duh.


8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Angelina is way hotter, but if I had to guess at which would be nicer to grow old with, I’d guess Aniston. What the hell doI know? More to the point, why should I care?

9. Can you honestly say you know anything about politics?
I know something about politics. If you don’t care about politics, you’re a fucking moron, and you’re lying to yourself.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
I used to. My fourth grade teacher taught us how to play. He also bought a craps table for the classroom. I don’t really remember how to play that either.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
yes, but I’m too old for that stuff now.

12. Do you kill bugs that are in the house?
I try. Particularly cockroaches and spiders. Yeesh.

13. Have you ever cheated on a test?
no. Oh, wait, yes. Online traffic school. Is that really cheating, or just boredom?

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night,& no ones around..do you go through red lights?
I have, but not as a rule. If there’s a vehicle-activated sensor, yes, I’ll run it, since it’s probably calibrated incorrectly. If I’m in the fucking ghetto of West Oakland, yes, I’ll go. If I’ve been riding all night and I’m about an hour out of Arvin at 1am and the train light and gate are down, but there’s clearly no train, yes, I’ll run it.Otherwise, I’ll just wait my turn. I’m pretty sure most accidents and tickets are the result of people thinking they’ll just break the rules because there’s no one looking, there’s no one in that lane, there’s no oncoming traffic when they’re making that left turn. Considering the first thing is always “I didn’t see you,” I hate to chance it, and end up being the dumbass who just didn’t register something.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
Probably.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Why should I care?

17. Have you ever ice skated?
yes, but I was never good at it.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
about four a week, but usually I forget them within an hour or so.

19. When was the last time u laughed so hard you were crying?
I can’t remember.

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?
yes.

22. Do you believe in love at first sight?
no

23. Do you know who Ba-Ba-Booey is?
no. It sounds stupid though.

24. Do you always wear your seatbelt?
yes.

25. What talent do you wish you had?
bitchin wheelies! Actually, more charisma might be more useful. But bitchin wheelies carries its own kind of charisma, doesn’t it?

26. Do you like Sushi?
yum, vegetarian sushi. But only from Blowfish. Other places I’ve had it have been kind of ick.

27. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?
probably on a daily basis. I narrowly missed severe liver and pancreas damage, does that also count? I guess that wasn’t an accident, so much as a surgeon’s laziness.

28. What do you wear to bed?
port spilled on the duvet, chocolate melted to my fingers, and a smile

30. Does size matter?
well, having a nice small bike sure has worked out for me. Smaller is better! Screw you, Hummer sitting in traffic! I laugh at you circling the block looking for parking! On the other hand, “It’s not the size of the ship that matters, it’s the captain’s ability to stay in port until all passengers have de-boarded.”

31. Do you truly hate anyone?
I wish I could say no. No one I know personally. OK, no hate. I guess hate wouldn’t be the right word. So, no.

32. Rock and Roll or Rap?
Buttrock

33. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Isn’t Paul famous?

34. Do you have a relative in prison?
Currently, no.

35. Have u ever sang in front of the mirror like your favorite singer?
No, but I do sing fairly constantly when I’m alone.

36. Do you know how to play chess?
mechanically, yes. Strategically, no.

37. What food do you find disgusting?
mushrooms. Slimy. Fungus. Why would you eat that? Oh, and Hot Pot. And numerous other things I was exposed to in Beijing.
38. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine,if you show me yours?"
heh, yeah?

39. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Yes, but never anything other than what I say to their faces. Hear that, Charles? I totally make fun of your Bullet when you’re not around!

40. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes. Yes. Yes. We must.

41. Have you ever been punched in the face ?
No

42. When is the last time you threw up from drinking too much?
If I remembered, I probably wouldn’t have been throwing up? I think it was the morning of the SFMC 100 year anniversary party, which I dragged myself to despite the raging hangover. Yay!

43. Have you ever walked out on a movie at the theater?
No. I wanted to walk out on Napoleon Dynamite, but I was there with a really cute guy. Normally, I can’t walk out becauseI assume that “this has to be going somewhere,” but in that case, I realized early on that there really was no goddam point. What a shitty movie.

44.Do u ever sit through a bad movie, to see how bad it can get?
If I’m in a theater, I’m optimistic that it must get better. If I’m at home, I just consider it a drinking game.

45. Would you consider yourself obsessed with anything?
Motorcycles. And occasionally costume, historic, otherwise.

46. Have you ever met someone famous that you really wanted to meet?
no? I don’t think I’ve ever met any famous people. Except for William Vollman, who is only famous if you are a literary geek, which actually, I am not, but I very highly admire is work. Oh, and Phil Douglas, who is totally a hero to at least some of us. Is he famous, or just really really cool? I also met that guy who did Dakar, that’s pretty neat. And my aunt who is “famous” in the cancer-survivorship circles. That’s swell also. Celebrities? Who fucking cares?

47. Have you ever been stood up?
Yes; I used to date a speed freak.

48. When's the last time you screamed at the top of your lungs?
Recently. Who doesn’t scream in their helmet from time to time?

49. Did you ever do something that you didn't want to?
That’s a stupid question. Yes.

50. Do you consider yourself "the biggest fan" of something?
I adore my family, but I don’t know that I could be a bigger fan than my siblings. I may be the biggest fan of the idea of doing the Cal24 on my DRZ400. Oh, I’m the biggest fan of the smelly cat downstairs at Paul’s house.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mandarin 12B 1/30/06

tonight's "goofy" count: 3
mentions of eating dog: 1
threats that "chinese people will be 'ha, ha, ha'": 1

says here, I'm equivalent to stupid

Saturday night we stayed up until 2am or so playing Katamari Damacy. The only reason I didn’t play all day Sunday was that my thumbs were totally sore, plus I promised Paul we’d spend time at his place so he could work on the yamabago while I dutifully practiced my Mandarin.

What was the highlight of the weekend? Well, probably the Dakar presentation at SFMC. Or maybe the ice cream on Sunday afternoon. Perhaps watching drag queens scurry in from the rain at a café Saturday night? Watching videos of wombats online Sunday night after watching Shanghai Triad? (I actually was able to pick out words I understood. Not enough, but SOME)

It certainly wasn’t the time spent Saturday morning trying to get a check in British Pounds Sterling for our home stay at Isle of Man. The lack of math skills in this country is fucking frightening. It’s a good thing our culture is proud of stupidity, because otherwise, I don’t know how we’d be able to live with ourselves.

Maybe you know that I didn’t finish high school. I was b-o-r-e-d and insulted and just generally wasting my time there, so I ditched it after my junior year. To go to college. You have to take this test, the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam), to obtain your Equivalency Certificate. So, if it’s equivalent, I suppose that this test represents what they expect a high school grad to know.

It was horrible. I guess most of the kids at the test that morning were just high school dropouts who couldn’t hack it (which is saying a lot, considering how low our standards are) and were making a last-ditch effort to get out of high school with SOMETHING.

Instead of reading comprehension, the questions would ask for a direct quote from the preceding passage. No synthesis was required, just search and repeat. Multiple-choice made it even more insulting. Wait, it gets better. The crown jewel of the test was the multiple-choice question “What is 100% of 32?” I just don’t know. You see a question like that, and your immediate reaction is “This has to be a trick question.” “Am I reading this wrong somehow?” It’s like someone walking in off the street and handing you $100 for no reason. You feel a little suspicious.

The “essay” questions, holy cow… #1 was “What would you do if you won a million dollars?” Gee, I remember writing arguments and supporting material into essays. Essentially, this was a laundry list question. I don’t remember the second question specifically, but I remember it was about television.

Amazingly, I managed to pass this test. I shudder to think about those who did not pass. I remember finishing the test, looking up, and seeing some sweaty palms and nervous kids. This terrifies me.

OK, so back to what I’ve been up to: This weekend was mostly relaxing, but we got some stuff done and saw some folks at SFMC on Saturday.

Prior to that? Tuesday we had dinner with Marisa and Luke. Monday I started my second semester Conversational Mandarin class. Which is very bizarre. Suit came in wearing jeans, which totally confused me. Pole-clown apparently has given up her burgeoning clown career to become a student, and the instructor spent 20 minutes talking about prostitutes in China. One guy appeared to be taking notes diligently at this point, “so, if you ask for a xiaojie, it’s going to be understood that you want a prostitute?” Hey, language class ought to be useful, right? I know how to say, “I don’t speak Mandarin.” And “I’m vegetarian.” Can I quit now? Oh, yeah, and “I want a prostitute.”

Last weekend we were in San Jose with my folks, and went to see Lion King on Saturday. This is the production by Julie Taymor, who made Titus, one of my favorite movies. The visuals effects and costumes are very cool. The story and music suck donkey balls. I HATE Disney. Oh, I get it, the lion, courage; oh, it’s so touching.

But time spent with family is always good time. My dad broke out the wine and chocolate, and we all got loaded. We’ll actually be back down there this weekend. I plan to drink as much wine as I can.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blah

The weekend was grand.
Friday was the party at my folks’ house. I got to drink a whole bunch of wine and see my family and friends that I see rarely. Saturday we hung around the Turner Compound with my family in the morning, then went to SF with my brother and his wife to visit their friends in the evening. It was nice to visit SF as a tourist. We drank a lot of tequila?
Sunday we returned to SF and then Berkeley after Ben & Megan went to the airport, and watched an older Errol Morris movie, Gates of Heaven. Which was subtly hilarious. Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

I am finally getting things out of my house that I intended to get rid of months ago. I’m tired of all the clutter! Make it go away!
Last night, I got some freecyclers to take away four garbage bags full of clothes, and also the old Mac and peripherals. The old Mac (and its peripheral cadre) took up a TON of space; I am so glad it went away. And the clothes, well, I pretty much only wear the same stuff these days, and am pretty sure I don’t need those old dominatrix boots for riding.

In fact, I need LESS CRAP in general, because I’m beginning to think I’m going to spend another ten years in this apartment. I think it will be eleven years this March. So there. Rent Control. I guess I’ll never get that garage, but if I move right now in the City, it would probably run me about $1200/month for a studio with a garage, assuming I could find a suitable one. I’d rather spend that extra $530/month on my 401K, or possibly ice cream.

I'm reading a tome about finances, which my mom gave me, not really for me, but so that I could read it and help my sister with finance. I thought it would suck, but it's actually a good read. On the other hand, I should have saved more when I was 22. I could have stopped now and still come out ahead. Damn. Can I have a do-over?
It turns out that I can't ever own a house, is what I'm gathering from all of this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Look, Jackass

You're fucking sick. Quit walking into my office.
Send me an email, pick up your phone, holler, whatever!
Just stay the hell out of my office.


grrrrrrr...

Helmets are only important if there's something to protect

Dumbass

a.) I'm glad a motorcycle thief got caught.
b.) Riding a stolen motorcycle without a helmet is like wearing a giant neon sign "Pull me over!"
c.) "The motorcyclist ignored the order but surrendered after getting caught in traffic" What a moron! That's exactly where you're most likely to lose the cops! by LANESPLITTING. Article doesn't say what kind of vehicle the cops had, but, duh! OK, one moron off the street, for a little while.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bird Flu

I don't have a lot to say about bird flu in general, because I'm just not convinced it's that important. Killing a few people is NOT an epidemic. So maybe it might mutate, possibly becoming an epidemic. Then we can worry. For now, we have plenty of actual current epidemics to worry about. Besides, we could pretty easiy prevent this possibly future epidemic right now through smart handling. Not that I'm holding my breath for that, but...
Yay fear tactics!

However, this article caught my eye:
Bird Flu Claims 3rd Turkish Child


"The doctor said the youngsters most likely contracted the virus while playing with the heads of dead chickens infected with the disease. The children had reportedly tossed the chicken heads like balls inside their house in Dogubayazit, near the Iranian border. "They played with the heads for days," Sahin said. "They were in very, very close contact with the dead chickens.""


playing for days with a dead chicken head? Am I missing something here?
Oh, to be 15 in Turkey, and totally enthralled by a dead chicken head for days at a time. Maybe American kids' obsession with video games is not so bad after all?

Epiphany

My left thumb was bruised, so Paul came over and played Katamari Damacy for me last night. It was downright pleasant having him around.
My brother and his wife are in town for the weekend, for the Epiphany party tonight.

For those of you who don’t know, Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas. There, so now you know where that annoying song came from. As a kid, we would celebrate “Little Christmas,” by leaving our shoes out or having the “wise men” filling our Christmas stockings. For the past many years, my family has had a party on January 6th. I can’t wait to get the hell out of work and go see my family.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Whoa. I have become “that guy.”

The one that sits in front of video games all day and night. I hum the Katamari Damacy tune when I’m at work. I want to roll everything up. Make it bigger. What a nice Katamari! This one feels… snacks-ish.

So, considering the half-day we had at work Friday, I had a three and a half day weekend. What do I have to show for that? Not a lot. But my Katamari is so beautiful!

Saturday we went walking around SF with no plans, bumped into coolness, and followed it to a bar where some friends were spending the evening. Best part? None of that overpriced, long-line New Year’s Eve racket bullshit. I don’t care if it is December 31st, I refuse to pay a $30 cover for a club I normally wouldn’t even visit if it were free. And, fuck a lot of that fixed price (fixed-overprice is more like it), reservation-only crap. Your restaurant is empty. I’ve eaten there on several occasions for half that price, what’s the fucking problem?

We went to a tacqueria and that was just fine. The cashier was totally skimming the till. Hah.

So, yes, we went to a bar, it was free, drinks were had, there were home-made brownies there, and I got to see people I like, and at times it was even quiet enough that I could talk to them.

I’m all trying to be overly nice to people who created hang-ups about me out of nowhere. Women are weird, and their weirdness really just makes me think less of them, but I try to put on a little show. I can’t help your self-esteem issues. Not truly, but I’ll give it a whirl. How was that?

Sunday we slept a lot before venturing out into Union Square. Dinner was crap, cake and coffee were nice, we looked at crap in stores a little, and then headed home, where we proceeded to play We (heart) Katamari, like, way, way too much. Which continued on Monday, when we didn’t even leave the house until after 5pm, to go to the East Bay for Priya (yum) and watch some weird Chinese movie (Not One Less). I’m trying to watch Mandarin movies to just sort of pick out words here and there and pickup some culture or something. A lot of these movies are just weird and depressing. Mostly you just look at it and go “that’s fucked up!” I don’t know if this is making me more, or less, sympathetic. Fingers are firmly crossed. Class starts again in 2.5 weeks.

I read somewhere (maybe it’s a famous quote or something, I don’t know) that while men tend to fixate on being a woman’s first (see also: centuries of fetishizing virginity in women), women are smartly focused on being a man’s last. I’m not too hung up on who came before me. I mean, it’s part of a story, a story that I’m very interested in. I glean tidbits of history, glimpses of personality, and understanding of fears and hopes, needs and dislikes. But there’s a reason things are past tense. I am PRESENT TENSE. Oh, yeah! The past is full of suckers, as far as I’m concerned. Your loss!
I do not know what guys think about this, but here’s a glimpse into the way chicks think (I think. Then again, maybe I don’t really understand women)

Ending #1: he dumped the ex, so I am better than her. But that also means she desperately wants him back! Oh no! That bitch!
Ending #2: She dumped him, so she does not want him. But he is pining for her. That bitch!

As you can see, no matter what, the ex is a threat. That’s where the comparison to the ex comes in:

ex #1: She is so much less successful/smart/charming/whatever-I-think-my-boyfriend-values than I am. I am so much better. That is so cool.
ex #2: She is so much MORE successful/smart/charming/whatever-I-think-my-boyfriend-values than I am. I am so much less. I am so insecure. And I’m fat. And I have a shitty job. And I can’t ride my motorcycle for shit. I’m too tall, I’m too short. And I haven’t read as many books, and I can’t cook, And I don’t have a nice car, And and and... (well, it just gets worse and snowballs. Mostly having less to do with real differences, and more to do with the insecurities the girlfriend already has internally)

Ex #1 will still make insecurities, but it takes another step, wherein girlfriend realizes that since they are so different, the ex must have had something she does not. That bitch!

So, net-net, you are doomed.

Anyway, it’s sort of a pattern that my exes’ following girlfriends have ranged from not liking me, to breaking into screaming fits on street corners at the sight of me (hi sarah! Or whatever name you’re going by now). I am totally evil. Well, and yes, I’m still friends with most of these guys.

Boo. Lame. I have several female friends. Women I truly admire and enjoy. They don’t exhibit these traits, to my knowledge. Insecurities are human, but you gotta own them, and stop taking them out on other people. Somehow, women are usually poorly trained to do that.

Here’s a final clue: Anyone who can’t see that I am completely, utterly happy where I am now needs a head-check. I don’t want (whoever it is)! I am smitten on all levels, and completely out of the game. Your boyfriend likes you, and would probably like you even more if you weren’t full of hang-ups. (Shit, even if he was totally pining for me, it wouldn’t matter. Have you SEEN my boyfriend? He is The Hottness!) If I’m bothering you, just say so. Chances are, it’s a mis-understanding or a bunch of funny feelings manifesting themselves as such. Get on with your life.

Oh, and if you’re dealing with ex #2, whose fucking fault is that? Get your shit together.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hey, I'm kind of, not-that-late this year!

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
Seriously took up studying a new language.
Did a couple of little wheelies in a parking lot.
Saw fireflies.
IronButt!
Went somewhere completely foreign, where I couldn’t even begin to make sense of the language.


2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any resolutions (never do), but I did vow to pay off my bad debt and start paying down my student loan. I did those things, but have now re-focused on savings rather than student debt.
Will I make any for next year? I normally don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but I have set some goals for myself financially, and hope to involve my sister so we can keep each other on track.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
Italy and China. And Vatican City (I’m trying to wipe it from my memory)

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
A new place to live.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Um, maybe June 11th. I rode more than you that day. I passed a cop doing a buck-twenty, got looks of pity from a bunch of beemer guys, saw a guy skiing in June, experienced Arvin at 12:00 am, and ate pizza. At 3am I watched a bunch of guys in Aerostiches running on the beach in Pismo Beach. By 5am, I had worked up an anticipation of King City after watching the sun come up over Lake Naciemento. Where were you?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
-world travel
-learning some basic Mandarin


9. What was your biggest failure?
-not seeing friends

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
-nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
-my iBook. Finally, I joined this century.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
-Paul’s. He is so patient with me.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The gubmint’s. Here are a bunch of guys who fetishize things that aren’t necessarily alive at the expense of those that definitely are alive, and then have no problem fucking killing people and destroying the quality of life of those they wanted so desperately to keep breathing. Here are a bunch of guys who swear to uphold the constitution, but then wipe their asses with it, and say it’s for our own protection. But who is the MOST appalling? Not the scoundrels, it’s the apathetic idiotic general populous for buying what they’re selling. Kudos to you, sleepwalking America, “you’re doing a heckuva job.”


14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent. Food. Bike. Debt. Pretty boring stuff, really?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
World travel, and my new computer, and my incredibly hott boyfriend.

16. What songs/bands will always remind you of 2005?
I hardly listen to new music anymore. I’m afraid I might catch something. (fuck you very much Sony) So nothing, I guess. I did pick up a really cool Klezmer CD for Christmas.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Happier.

ii. thinner or fatter?
Fatter.

iii. richer or poorer?
Richer (I have less debt, and a better savings plan)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Riding my motorcycle.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Working. It is such a waste of my limited time…


20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it with family, same as always. But this time Paul came, which was so very nice.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
I’m still falling in love.

23. How many one night stands?
Zero!

24. What were your favorite TV programs?
Simpsons? I hardly watch TV. I only get three channels, and they come int very poorly. There was that one night we watched Chinese television on channel 26. That was cool.


(what happened to 25?)


26. What was the best book you read?
I haven’t been spending enough time reading this year. Your Money or Your Life, of which I have only gotten through half, but it’s been a pretty good experience. I would very much like to recommend the December issue of Esquire, which is very inspiring.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
It’s not exactly a musical discovery, but now that I have an iPod, I’ve been downloading and listening to free lectures from Stanford. Mostly about Democracy and stuff. VERY interesting stuff. And free, did I mention FREE?

28. What did you want and get?
A new computer.
And that freaky Mao watch at the Silk Market in Beijing.
Oh, and a new suspension for the SV. Phil rocks!

29. What did you want and not get?
Dirt riding. No Sheetiron, even. Feh. And I wanted to see that Francis Bacon and the goddam Vatican museum. I’m still looking for the perfect cupcake.

30. What was your favorite film(s) of this year?
I don’t go to the movies much…I can’t even remember. Did I see any movies? I think we went and saw The Merchant of Venice. I can’t remember anything else, so I guess that was the best? There must have been something else…

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Paul took me to this horrible middle eastern restaurant where they had a scary band and fucked up floor show, and fezes. It was surreal. Then I think we went drinking or something? I turned 28.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More time in the hills with my friends. Or more time in Italy, but only if Paul came too.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Concept? I guess every year it gets a little simpler, more utilitarian. I used to be so much more interesting, but what’s the point these days, with nowhere to go, and the necessity of riding gear? I guess my concept now is to go to work (professional clothes), come home (lounging clothes), and occasionally go out (I still own a few skirts, but only for days when I’m being picked up in a car). Most times, it’s limited to what will fit under the riding gear, and over the boots. As of this year, I now own sneakers or tennis shoes or whatever you call them. Shoot me.

34. What kept you sane?
Paul. And my family. And my motorcycles.

35. Which celebrity/public figure(s) did you fancy the most?
I’m still pretty impressed by Bill Clinton. I don’t know about “fancy.” I’m not much of a celebrity-follower. I dug that Manxman who won the Endurocross.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
See also, “aclu.” The greatest threat right now as I see it, is the shift in values from one of the Democratic Experiment of equality and freedom and opportunity, to the rollback of civil liberties, of the very thing that makes our nation great, in order to supposedly protect ourselves from terrorists. It’s a lie, it’s a sham, and it’s tearing down the only thing that ever made this nation great. Give me liberty or give me death. No, really. I don’t want to trade in my freedom and privacy for a chance to perhaps maybe prevent a suicide bomb. I think it’s short-sighted, and I think it’s pathetic, and I think it sells out the very reason for this nation to exist.

Most of all, I think it is a lie.

37. Who did you miss?
Charles.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Did I meet any new people? I liked that little old Italian lady we met while waiting on the doorstep of our B&B in Florence. She was trying to give us a Watchtower magazine, and when she realized we were American, she rather excitedly pushed us a German-language version. It was beyond explaining, as she spoke no English. So charming, and of course I still have that German Watchtower.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
It’s worth getting in the car with someone who speaks no English, to drive and hour and a half away, who may or may not wait for you to take you back, if you get to see something amazing in a place you may never return to.
I can totally ride 1000 miles of fucked up roads in 24 hours, as long as I stop for pizza somewhere on the way.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I don’t know. Something sappy, that alludes to the fact that with Paul and my family lined up in my life, I have found freedom and foundation to do all sorts of things, like travel and learn a new language. There ought to be a really bitchin guitar solo in there somewhere too. And some beatboxing. Or maybe just something that goes "tra-la-laaaaa"

Prince is strong. That is so cool.

I never really thought of myself as a video game person, but we hardly left the house this weekend. The culprit?
I <3 Katamari
My thumb hurts, I accomplished nothing with my 3.5 day weekend, I keep humming that damned song, and I can't sleep at night because of the visions of stuff that just.needs.to.be.rolled.up.

Wet/Cold weather riding gear

“What is good gear? That might make a good thread at this time of year. I always thought tires should be the first consideration for bad weather riding.”

Someone posted this question on tribe, and I wrote a novel about riding gear for motorcycling in the rain or cold. Here is my response, for posterity's sake:

I ride year round, so this is a pet question to me.
1.) The tires I’m running now on the SV are Metzeler M1 Front and Z6 rear. This setup was suggested to me by another SV rider. These are SOOOOO much better than the touring tires I had before. BIG difference in the rain. On the DRZ, I run Avon Gripsters. I have never had any problem with them at all, but the key is to run them like dirt bike tires (which they are) not sportbike tires. Think 22/24 or something like that, not 32/24. Worst tires I ever ran on the DRZ? The stock set: Trailwings (we called ‘em Deathwings). UGH.

2.) Helmet. Same as normal. For cold weather, add a balaclava or one of those polarfleece neck warmer things. Keep in mind that wet weather means you will have a wet polarfleece wrapped around your neck, so a jacket with a high collar may suit you better. (I don’t usually do the neck warmer thing myself.)

3.) Jacket: I have a Marsee jacket that I LOVE. It was a lot more waterproof before I crashed in it, but it still holds most of the water out. I patched the holes fairly well with the goretex patches you can buy from Aerostitch. They say temporary, but I leave mine on for a year or so before replacing them when I re-waterproof my gear. (Techwash and Nik Wax) Worst jacket I owned? Clover. Worst jacket ever. The Firstgear I started with was very waterproof, though lacking in safety features.

4.) Pants: this is the worst. I don’t believe there is any pant on the market that will keep away the wet-crotch for real. Most successful ones I’ve had? Again, the Marsee pants are a winner. The Aerostitch does very poorly unfortunately, although re-waterproofing helped a little.

5.) Boots. Mine are sidi sympatex. I’ve worn them daily for about two years, and I can still walk through shallow creeks in them (as long as the water doesn’t reach the top of my boots, my socks are DRY.) These boots really stink, though. And I’d like to replace them with something with better armor, someday, maybe. For cold: wool socks.

6.) Gloves: again: screwed. Winter gloves suck ass. I nearly lost my finger last year, and won’t wear winter gloves anymore. I’ll take the wet hands. Other possibilities are waterproof over-glove things you can get from REI or something. I think Areostitch also sells something like this. The downside is you’ll generally find them mitten style (or lobster-claw from Aerostitch) which means you have to get used to not having all your digits separate) For cold weather, I used to have glove liner inserts (again a camping store, or any motorcycle shop) but I don’t know if they’d fit under my current gloves.

7.) Finally, the real icing on the rain-worthy cake: Frogg-Toggs. As noted, the pants will only be wet-crotch protection in a light rain, and if I really want to be dry, I put Frogg-Toggs over my gear. Jacket and pants cost like $60 or something. These are completely waterproof. Really. And they pack light, so you could even keep them under your seat if you have such a thing.

That’s my basic setup. But, I also have the following:
1.) Electric vest. You think you don’t need one. You think only old whiny guys would wear one. You are wrong. An electric vest will raise your core temperature, keeping even your digits a little more comfortable. Which keeps you safer and more comfortable. You’ll be able to move your fingers when you pull off the freeway in the freezing cold. Instead of pulling to put on/take off layers for weather changes, you just flick the switch. It’s smaller than packing three polarfleece layers. It’s NICE to be hot when it’s hailing. I am able to run this on the DRZ400 and the SV with no problem (same for the old EX500). Also available: electric sleeves and pants, and even gloves (but I would still stick to my real gloves

2.) The low-brow way to deal with that is to use those camp handwarmer things. One in each boot, one in each glove. Cheap and easy. Electric vest will do a better job overall, but these target your cold spots nicely, and are a lot cheaper and easier for those of you who don’t make a habit of being out in the cold, but sometimes get stuck in it.

3.) A dirtbike. I know, it’s cheating. But it really does handle the shitty roads and rain conditions a lot better.

Sunday, January 01, 2006