Monday, April 13, 2009

Cherry

Me and My Victory

Photo by: Karl P.

I said I would post pictures of my new bike, whom Suna has named Cherry. One of my uber-conservative friends snapped the picture this weekend when I stopped by his house.

I had to ride the bike through gusty winds on an overpass today. The crosswinds were almost unnoticeable. The bike cut through them with little or no effort.

So far, I only have two complaints:

  • It is belt, not shaft, driven.
  • The shifter is toe-only. (I got spoiled to a heal shifter on the VTX.)

Now I promise I’ll stop going on and on about the bike.

So that brings me to what I am grateful for this week, and it’s not the bike. This week I am grateful again for Suna. She encouraged me to get the bike even though she generally dislikes them. She then blogged nice things about the bike, even making it her Wednesday Wonder! She makes me happy in thousands of little ways, just by being the nice person she is. Thanks for being so nice to me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Food for Thought #11: Acceptance

OK. This image is kinda the opposite of acceptance. But how important is acceptance?

Image source: Gritty Art

I am posting this week’s “Food for Thought” a little late, but then I’ve been late with all my posts this week.

This week’s idea stems from the Men’s Linguistic Society meeting. Some of the men from church get together once a month for lunch and a friendly discussion. Usually Rev. Chuck reads a passage from one religious leader or another to get the discussion going. This time he read a passage from Howard Thurman who postulated that everyone requires some form of acceptance and the acceptance and God’s acceptance is the ultimate.

Being good UUs, we first had to decide what the word acceptance meant. We did not try to find consensus on the meaning of God. That would not have been possible in the amount of time we had, namely a single lifetime.

So here is today’s menu. The code for the questions appears in the first comment.

Appetizer: How important is it for you to attain the approval of others?
At this point in my life, the acceptance of others is both more and less important to me than it once was. With life experience, I believe we grow less reliant on others to determine our own self-worth. I agree with Thurman’s initial point in that there is always someone whose opinion matters beyond our own self-image, someone or some group whose acceptance is critical in forming our own self-esteem. It is just that with age, we become more and more selective in whose opinions we choose to value that strongly.
Soup: Do you seek everyones approval the approval of a select few or not really give a damn?
I am more self-reliant as regards my self-esteem than when I was younger. I care less about the opions of most people. At the same time, a few people matter extremely to me.
Salad: Whose approval is most important?
Suna’s, distantly followed by my family’s and a few friends.
Entré: Whose is least?
Just about everyone else’s
Dessert: How important is it to attain you boss’ approval?
Much less than it once was. I think that as we get older, especially given some of the work experience I have had, I invest less in the opinions of my boss than I once did. I recently had a contract with someone who was an abuser. Her opinion mattered only in that I kept working, but not so much that. I think had that person offered me a permanent job, I would have declined. I know my value as a contributor. If someone else can’t see that or tries to undermine it, I know I can find a better match elsewhere in the market.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Victory

Victory Vision Tour

Photo source: Victory: The New American Motorcycle

I bought a new motorcycle this week. Just earlier this year, I was thinking about selling my bike and giving it up, but now I’m glad I didn’t.

I looked at Harleys last year, but I couldn’t make myself turn loose of the money for one. Again. When I bought my original Honda VTX 1800r, I bought it because it was so much more motorcycle for the money than a Harley. This year, I didn’t even look at a Harley. I know what they look like. They haven’t changed.

I wasn’t even going to buy a bike. I had decided to keep my old one another year or two, and took it in for new tires and a state inspection sticker. I was fed up with the larger dealerships, so I took it to the Victory dealership near the church. That was a big mistake, at least so far as my wallet is concerned.

You can’t go to a dealership without looking around. It’s like eating one potato chip or stepping on the same piece of water twice. It just can’t be done. So I looked.

And I saw the most beautiful motorcycle I have ever seen in my life. I made myself leave it alone. Suna and I stopped by on Saturday to see if my bike was ready. It wasn’t, but she got a look at the bike, to. She said, “You can park that in front of my house! It’s so pretty I might even get on it.”

Monday, I called the dealership and asked the to prepare an estimate for trading in my old bike on the new one. I test drove the demo and fell in love with the bike all over again. It’s as if it were made for my body. It’s powerful and big, but it still has a low center of gravity. It turns like a dream.

We came to terms, and I picked it up on Tuesday. I’ve been driving it for a couple of days now, and I just get more impressed. I was buffeted by strong side winds going over an overpass on my way home from choir practice Wednesday night. I would have had to wrestle my old bike under those conditions. The Vision just shrugged them off as its aerodynamics seemed to adjust the bike to the turbulence automatically.

Have I mentioned how good it sounds? Not too loud, it has a deep, throaty rumble than Suna calls manly. It is the perfect motorcycle.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bruuuuuuce, Tooooooo!

OK. It’s really Bruce!

Photo source: Carnage and Culture

OK. At Tim’s request I’ll talk a little about the actual performance. It was simply awesome. BS pulled off moves at sixty that would have hospitalized me at thirty.

High energy and stiff, he was still able to pull off the move where he leans over backwards with his feet flat on the stage and the mic stand protruding from his crotch in a weird phallic symbol. His back was perfectly parallel to the stage, about a foot above the stage supported only by holding onto the mic stand. That part was physically amazing.

For the rest of it, what can I say. It was Bruce. The concert started an hour late and lasted almost three hours. The break for the intermission lasted less than five minutes. The encore comprised at least five songs, including two sign requests after Bruce said his final goodnight. Of course, the band didn’t know all of the songs; Bruce has too many.

The most bizarre part was when he took a sign request that was written on two gum wrappers. He held the wrappers to the camera so that the audience could see “Sherry BabyDarling” on the monitors. He then ate the wrappers and played the song, even though I have been told it was only the second time he had every performed it in concert. (I doubt that because he remembered all the words, but you never know. He is a smart man.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bruuuuuuuuce!

We went to see Rambo last night!

Photo source: Online Tickets USA

We went to see the Springsteen show last night courtesy of good friends. The show distracted the geek in me. There were around 11 people on stage, most of them with an instrument and all of them with at least one mic—and not a cord to be seen.

When I look at wireless mics, they have an A/B switch—two channels to choose from. Springsteen can obviously afford better equipment, but I didn’t even know that you could have 22+ wireless devices on the same stage. That lead us to joke at work that they were using 802.11BRUCE technology.

Another thing that distracted me during the show was the sheer number of support staff: dozens of roadies, a hand full of guitar technicians, engineers, camera techs, and so on. Then there were literally tons of speakers, hundreds of amps, stage-mounted TV cameras, handy cams, floor cams, at least three boards…. Based on the ticket price and the number of people, the gate had to run between $300-600 thousand. And I couldn’t help but wonder if the boss broke even on the show.

So this week I am grateful for good friends who are willing to share the music.

Oh! And I like Duffy, too.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Day in the Wilds

This bee was having a good time on what Suna tells me is ice flower. The larger version on Flickr would make a nice desktop.

Calling Central Texas is a bit of an exaggeration. Would you believe a big exaggeration? All right, it’s an outright lie.

Suna wanted to go for a ride today. Her main objective was Old Oaks Ranch, a place where they raise their own alpacas and make their own yarn. It has a yarn shop (no big surprise there), and they give lessons. We watched a woman show how to turn a pile of raw alpaca fur into a felt fedora. I placed some pictures of the alpacas and other pictures of the ice flowers with bees in a Facebook album.

Then we went to Wimberly, which has become something of a tourist trap of late, in search of a guitar shop that seems to no longer exist. Wimberly is a town that was built to hold about a thousand people. Probably two-to-three times that number are there at any given moment on a weekend.

Finally, we went on our lovely drive through the hills. We didn’t take any pictures of the route, just enjoyed the vistas and wild flowers.

We wrapped up the date with dinner at the new Monument Cafe in Georgetown. The food is as good as ever, and they have expanded the seating. The exterior of the building looks exactly the same as the old one. One interesting design choice: instead of men’s and women’s restrooms, they have a series of large private restrooms. While nice, I don’t see how this choice can do anything other than raise operating costs. I would rather they worked on keeping the prices reasonable than try to become some hoity-toity spa-like thing.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Food for Thought #10: X-Men in Your Life

Me trying to walk around at work

Photo source: Comic Vine

This week’s menu stems from the fact that I am always getting shocked at work. It seems I can’t touch a metal object without hollering in pain and surprise. That led Douglas to say, “It’s like your super power. You could wipe out technology all around you.”

And I’m apparently not alone in this talent. The Office Scribe blogged about a similar problem back in February.

If you’re not into X-Men, feel free to use whichever superhero mythos you like.

Appetizer: What is your X-Men name?
Static. I didn’t know it at the time, but there is an X-Man named Static. But in our conversation at work, we made up our own characteristics for the character. (I’m the wrong gender for the original, anyway.) There is also a later character named Static in some other mythos (the illustration for this post).
Soup: What is your super power?
I can deliver an EMP that takes out all electronic devices around me. So I can’t drive a car newer than something like a Nash Rambler. OK. So I could drive something as late as—maybe—the 1970s.
Salad: Are you good, evil, neutral, or chaotic?
With a name like Static, I’d have to be chaotic or evil. Evil is kinda blasé, don’t you think? It’s so Bush. So I’m chaotic. That’s more in keeping with my real nature anyway.
Entré: What is the first thing you would do with your new super power?
I don’t know. Crash a server somewhere? Cause a getaway car to stall?
Dessert: Who is your nemesis?
Rain? Since water discharges electricity. Or maybe Rain would be my compadre who make me stronger—like lightening. But then I would be Storm.