29 April 2011

Did somebody get married?

Biggest non-event in recent history was the 'royal wedding'. The breathless coverage would have made me turn off the news (if I watched the news). I gave it all the attention it deserved: about 8 seconds of photo review.  I thought the bride looked lovely and her sister looked great. Definitely shag-worthy, which is pretty much the nicest thing you can say about a bridesmaid. Pretty much.

Big Cheese sent me the video below. Enjoy it in HD for maximum coolness. BC is getting married later this year. (I'm in the wedding, if you hadn't heard.) No word on the bridesmaids but I'm +1 for that gig if I can find a date. Problem is I'm not sure four months is enough time. No I am not kidding.

I especially liked the music, so if you want more of that, go here for Jonsi.

Marc Morera 2010 from Marc Morera on Vimeo.

27 April 2011

Develpmentally disabled cat (2 out of 3 cat posts is a mini trend)

Insert 'crazy pussy' joke here. Or not. We're all adults.
My friend's girlfriend's cat is autistic. Since they live together (him and his girl and the tardcat), I get to visit with them fairly often. I'm not sure it's clinically possible for the cat to have autism so it's more accurate to say that it exhibits many of the behaviors associated with autistic people: it doesn't like to be touched, is socially unaware, does weird rubbing behavior with its paws, freaks out about stuff that (in my experience) cats usually handle quite well.

It's a bummer for the girlriend because she really wanted a cat to love and be her friend, and what she got was a bizarre oddball that makes a mess and hates being petted and pretty much sucks as a companion. It just wants to eat and then maybe sit in the same room as you. Not touch you, but definitely keep you in the vicinity. Unless it's stuck on the roof (again). Then it wants you to help it get down, sooner than later. 

Oddly Predictably, tardcat and I have always gotten along rather well. I love cats because they have wildly different personalities and tend to be independent. Also, you have to meet a cat on its terms. The cat will come to know you in its own time, or not. So it was downright weird when tardcat decided to come plop next to me on the floor and allow me to scratch her neck yesterday. Only her neck, mind. Actual petting? No way. (She's put on a little weight, but who are we to point that out? She looks good with a fuller figure.)

Dead bird in the intake

No photo of actual bird. Should have gotten one but it was kind of sad. And gross. Mostly gross.
This is the air filter from my orange motorcycle. Why are there feathers all over it? Because a tiny bird flew into my intake and died. No idea how long the guy was in there, but he was pretty well cured by the time he got, umm, set free removed today.

Best part is I had no idea he was stuck in there. It's been months, at least. Tuner says he has seen rats and mice in old bikes, but never a dead bird. First time for everything. Funny because my bike is mostly immaculate. I mean, immaculate except for the dead critters stuck in the intake. Duh.

Speed vs. stealth

Generally not a fan of animated GIFs on the blog but we're making an exception today.

I liked how the tortoise had a bunch of hair in his mouth after the assault.


22 April 2011

The motorcycle post you've all (not) been waiting for

Vrooom! (Yes that's really me on the bike.)
I know The Readership is not, as a whole, enamored with the motorcycle-related blog posts. So I try and keep them to a relative minimum, reporting back only when there's something that might have a wider, more general appeal. Sometimes I even succeed. This is probably not one of those times.

Took the new-to-me bike (2007 CBR600RR) to the track this week, rode it around as fast as I could. The drive up to Buttonwillow Raceway was a bit of a hike, especially with a trailer (speed limit: 55, actual speed for most of trip: ~64), but I had good company in the truck and we didn't hit much traffic. When we got there we checked into the palatial Motel 6, which was well equipped with security cameras and less well equipped with pillows and similar. A not-very-good night's sleep later we were up early for registration and tech inspection.

Tech consisted of the guy admiring the zip ties I used to attach my front plastics (race ready, bitches!) and checking that my throttle wouldn't stick open. Once that was done it was time to hit the pits and warm up the tires.

For the first session all the n00bs had to follow an instructor. We would trail him around the track and get a feel for the layout, and maybe the racing line (or not, since my instructor was useless). It was clear from the start that my instructor didn't know what the hell he was doing. We did one lap at a tedious pace with no regard for the proper line. That's no help at all. For the second lap our instructor decided to take off at a pace so fast we caught the group in front of us. Umm, why is this dipshit even out here? Once we caught that group they pulled in, and the instructor caught the NEXT GROUP too. What the rush was I do not know. I do know that it was complete rubbish as a first session and I was annoyed when I got back to the pits. 

Session two we went out on our own and things were better. I got a feel for the track, found some rhythm, and picked up the pace. After session 2 I got tips from my riding buddy and actually started turning some decent laps. I only got passed 3 or 4 times the whole rest of the day. 

At one point I passed a guy on a fancy Ducati on the outside in a sweeping turn; got a big kick out of that. I could have passed him under braking but it's more fun when you're actually in the corner.

Next time I hope to go faster.

Persevere - Olympic Friday

I love a good Olympic story. I don't know why they appeal to me so much, but they do.

One of my favorites is the story of Al Oerter, who was impossibly, absurdly great when it mattered the most. He threw the discus, and he won four gold medals in four consecutive Olympic games. Each winning throw in each of those games was an Olympic record.

There is another angle to that story that I read in Sports Illustrated. I forget the names, but the facts are as written in an SI retrospective from about 11 years ago. Here it is:

In 1956 in Melbourne, Al Oerter was 20 years old, and he beat a man in the discus to win the gold medal. That man already had a son, and he was raising him up strong. He taught his son to hurl the discus. The son was good and qualified for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, where he faced the aging Al Oerter. Al beat him, and everyone else, to win his fourth gold medal in a row.

Here's another great story that I hadn't heard, courtesy the Guardian.co.uk:

5) "I'm here to learn" – The greatest sporting comeback of all time? (1948)

The Olympic gods were not smiling down on Károly Takács during his early career as a pistol shooter. His talents demanded a place in the 1936 Olympics, but the Hungarian authorities refused to pick him as his status in the army – he was a mere sergeant – was not considered high enough. The rules were relaxed after those Games, and he was looking forward to competing in the 1940 Tokyo Olympics. But even before the second world war could get in the way, fate dealt him another hammer blow: in 1938, a faulty grenade he was holding during army training exploded, shattering his right hand to pieces.

It looked over for Takács, but he decided to train himself to shoot with his left hand instead, and see where that took him. Remarkably, after training in secret, he won the Hungarian pistol shooting title a mere 12 months later, and was part of the Hungarian team that won the world championships in the same year. A decade later, aged 38, he qualified for the rapid-fire pistol event at the 1948 Games. Finally, he would get to compete on the world's biggest stage.

The favourite was the exotically named Argentinian world champion and world record holder, Carlos Enrique Diaz Saenz Valiente. "What are you doing here?" he asked Takács. "I'm here to learn," came the reply. In the event, Takács took Diaz Saenz Valiente's world record from him, beating it by 10 points. As the gold medal was placed around the neck of the first physically disabled competitor in Olympic history, Takács heard a mutter from the silver podium. It was Diaz Saenz Valiente. "I think you've learned enough."

21 April 2011

20 April 2011

Posts have been a bit thin lately

I've been busy doing this and that. I've got some posts I'm working on and I'll get to them before the end of the week. We appreciate your patience here in the blogosphere. Not least because no posts is bad for traffic. I've got a readership to support.

I'm re-running my all-time favorite cartoon because it deserves to be revisited. I want to put that last frame on a t-shirt. So much joy.

More tomorrow. 

17 April 2011

Crocs don't make very good riding shoes

You could hit the canyons in all your gear, or you could just run Mulholland in Crocs and a sweatshirt. On your step-through.

Odd that he sticks the leg out when he's not even wearing proper shoes. Was that for balance? We'll never know.

Would it have been funny if he fell over the guardrail after he stands up? Maybe a little, but only if he wasn't hurt.

15 April 2011

Well allow me to retort - Reader responses, part IV

It's like a little man on a hanger
Bit short on news this week so we will respond to reader feedback.

Reader Shannon (NMSNSS) says this about the most recent international financier post:

My little man in Peru (http://www.kiva.org/lend/214210) paid his loan back so now I'm looking for someone else to loan to.

I love giving to people who are trying to make a living by handcrafting or using their talents or gifts.

Kiva rocks.

I agree! I have not yet selected who I'm going to loan the monies too, mostly because I like to have all the monies in before I loan them out again. Kiva doesn't like when I do that, but it makes me feel better to loan a slightly larger quantity, get the ball rolling on the funding.

Reader Katie says this about one of the recent posts re: the dog that I live with:

It would make me so happy if Baby Girl is actually the doggy's name :)
That's what we call our baby girl too!

Aww, the dog's name is actually Betty, so she responds to Bets, or Betty. But she also responds to Baby Girl, which is what I call her almost all the time, unless she's being bad. And by 'being bad' I mean she's trying to knock over a houseguest with her friendly enthusiasm. Not the most gentle creature, is Baby Girl.

Big plans this weekend: headed to Buttonwillow Raceway Park to ride my motorcycle as fast as I can. Hence the picture of the one-piece race suit I'll be wearing. The best part about the suit is that when I showed it to a friend of mine she said, "Aww, that's cute! It's like a little man on a hanger." I laughed. The best part about motorcycle racing is that it gets me out of the house. Ahh I kid. Kind of.

13 April 2011

Just about exactly what you'd expect

The subtleties of the budget fight were well articulated by the New York Times in an editorial this past week. Social legislation, especially abortion funding, were the big sticking point. Reproductive rights for women in the United States? Republicans won't pay for it. Trillion dollar wars in the middle east? No problem! Abortions are wrong, but killing heathens in oil-rich countries is A-OK. Yeah I don't get it either.

The good news is that you were well represented during the budget battle. Wait... no you weren't. Sucker!

Lobbyists Won Key Concessions in Budget Deal


08 April 2011

Perfect for a Friday. Kind of.

Baby Girl is a dog's dog
Been doing some heavy reading lately. I don't mean econ textbookery (though I'm reading that too), I mean articles about being honest and telling the truth (which don't always go hand in hand), health care and end of life care and re-reading books about dying dogs. Frankly I'm not sure it's healthy.

I'm sure it makes me do a lot of thinking.

Every morning my roommate leaves for work at about 7, and I snooze for another hour or so, until Baby Girl decides it's time to get up. She comes downstairs, lets herself into my room and sticks her nose in my face until I pet her. Then she stares at me excitedly until I say 'ok'. At the precise moment the 'kay' comes out of  my mouth she jumps into my bed and makes herself comfortable. She doesn't even pretend to go to sleep, she just hangs out until it's time to get up and brush teeth (my teeth, not hers). It makes me smile, every time. I smile now, thinking of it.

There is no overarching point to any of this, except to say that you should take your pleasures where you can find them, because life is uncertain.

Yay for life lessons!
Thanks for reading.

07 April 2011

Great Job All Week (i mean it)

I wrote a whole blog post about this and that. It was heartfelt, revealing, honest, and really boring. And that's boring for me, which is saying something, because I have a much higher threshold for boring than you, the Anonymous Reader.

So I scrapped the entire thing (the Delete button is a writer's best friend) and instead I have a song I liked. It's not much, but it'll have to do for today.

06 April 2011

Everything old is new again (REPOST)

No idea if I already covered this, so I'm covering it again.

The Oatmeal delivers funny like nothing else on the internet. Cyanide and Happiness is also genius, but The Oatmeal has better artwork. Here then are 7 Reasons to Keep Your Tyrannosaur OFF Crack Cocaine.

Look at that Tyrannosaur! He's got earmuffs on! If you didn't at least chuckle when you saw that then I don't know you. (Actually, I probably don't know you, but whatever.)

Image copyright theoatmeal.com.

04 April 2011

Problem exists between keyboard and chair

My friend's mom has some computer issues. She sent him the following email detailing her difficulties. (He didn't post on his deal because his mom reads his blog.) Exclusive content!

This is unedited. It's like someone wrote a caricature of a help desk complaint, except it's real.

How are you? I have been having some serious challenges with a lot of things, but one of them is my computer at work. I am hoping you can give me some suggestions to help out the tech support people. This morning something attached to my computer from the internet that made pop ups come up from everywhere and infected the computer. We have ran three different antivirus programs and although the pop ups don't come up on the screen, commercials come through my speakers like it is a radio station without the music - only the ads. Silence for a while and then pop - another commercial. Any ideas how to get rid of it, without the tech people taking the computer out of my office? I have tons going on, and I need the computer. I told REDACTED I could live with the commercials, just turn the speakers down, but he said it would keep getting worse, so it has to be fixed. He can't find where it is coming from.

How was snowboarding - probably a great weekend. Hopefully you didn't get too sunburned from the snow. I love you! I miss you!

01 April 2011

I'm in training

Been on a training program because my friend needs some before & after photos to promote this exercise plan he's trying to sell. I believe in the plan, and I like to exercise (read: I ain't got shit to do) so I signed up. Anyway, when that's done I need to start training for my trip to Chicago in August, which I explained to my friend Emily thusly:

I've already mapped out my Chicago prep workout routine. it's mostly push ups and sit ups (so I look good with my shirt off) followed by shotgunning 8 beers (to prepare the liver). I call this routine 'the college', as in, 'I can't meet you for lunch on Saturday, I'm doing a college'. it's like crossfit, but for people with a social life

America: F*ck Yeah

The cat is out of the bag


Called my mother yesterday to say hi. We have a challenging relationship: she finds being nice a big challenge. (Is it funny because it's true? Not sure.) Anyway, called her up, said hey mom what news? And right when she answers the phone I can tell something is up. You know how when your mom gives you that weird tone, like there's some kind of issue? You know the one. Don't even pretend you don't know.

So something is off right away but I am well accustomed to this shit by now so I proceed as though nothing is odd. We get through about 80 seconds of small talk and she says, "So, how long have you been riding a motorcycle?"

Backstory: I ride a motorcycle. I opted not to tell my mom because she a) has no interest in motorcycles, b) has shown an alarmingly consistent ability to make irrational decisions about pretty much everything, and c) she would worry unnecessarily, to no good effect. That's the long version. The short version is that I didn't tell my mom I ride motorcycles because she is crazy, and I didn't want to feed the crazy. My sociopathic sister does enough of that all by herself. So.

No idea how she found out, but it's not like it is some kind of secret. I just didn't mention it.* The unfortunate part is that she felt hurt because she heard about it from someone else. I feel badly about that, because she thought I was keeping it from her for some weird mean reason (which makes sense if you're used to interacting with a sociopath, as in prev. paragraph). I assured her that was not the case, and apologized for the hurt feelings.

And then I mailed her a signed 8x10 of the above photo of me at the track, because I'm awesome like that.

* Sort of like how I didn't mention that I now own two motorcycles. What?!? It didn't come up! What was I supposed to say? I have two bikes that go so fast they will melt your face off? Don't judge me!