Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It happened so suddenly...

It's been a few weeks of craziness around the house, and finally I have a few moments to sit and write about what's been going on. First things first:

We've suffered a small loss in our family.

Our guinea pig passed away. When they got up, one of the older girls tossed a bowl full of greens and carrot in, and went on their way. When I checked in after an hour or so, he hadn't come out of his plastic igloo. Not normal behaviour at all. When I opened the cage and moved the igloo out of the way, I found him stiff and still -- he had passed sometime in the night.

We inherited Mister Squeakers from a family on Bolling AFB -- they were headed to Saudi Arabia and couldn't take their pets with them. He came fully equipped with cage, igloo, several water bottles, a hay manger, food, and a few books about the breed. We promptly tried out any number of new names for our new addition to the family. Monaco GP (guinea pig), Piggie-Boye, and several less popular ideas. I personally liked Mixmaster GP, envisioning him wearing a large gold medallion and shades.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On Wheels

So the latest storm of the century has passed, the weather has improved (somewhat), and I'm back in the saddle again. It's only been a week and a half, but I have missed my time On Wheels. I always come off the road feeling much calmer and relaxed -- which I suppose must seem odd, given the nature of a previous post on riding here in the National Capitol Region. Despite dealing with the usual high-speed-outtamyway-ers and clueless prats, it was very nice indeed to get back out on the pavement. To reuse the cliché yet again, owning a motorcycle is cheaper than therapy. The view's certainly better...

I've been debating taking the Long Road Trip since early last year. I've read some of the impressive trip stories of those magnificent bastards over at the Iron Butt Association. I've thought about starting out with a SaddleSore 1000 (that's 1K miles under the wheels in 24 hours) or Bunburner 1500 (15oo in 36 hours) or BunBurner Gold (1500 in 24 hours) and then working my way up to a 50CC (Coast to Coast in just 50 hours). I find the whole idea to be somewhat intimidating, yet very intriguing. To step in the Atlantic surf in Maryland, and then do the same on the Pacific coast just over two days later. Magnificent indeed. I'm keen to give it a try. I'm just not sure if Val and I could really travel from one coast to the other in 50 hours -- the one fellow I met up at Bob's one Saturday afternoon who'd done it accomplished the feat on a modified K1200RT (among other tweaks, he replaced the passenger seat with a 5 gallon fuel cell). The only modification I'd make would be to add some sort of throttle lock -- Bob's have a nice one that's not too expensive. Of course, you have to buy the other side to match. There's a less-expensive alternative from Schneider's called the Flip-A-Lever that I'm also considering. Cheap is good.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Pirate Looks at 40-something

So, another year older and (theoretically) wiser -- It's Birthday time again. A chance to reflect on what's gone on in the last year and what's to come in the next. Or something like that. It's been a year of excitement at work, what with a near-move to Huntsville AL and possible forced retirement in the works. Personal issues? We've always got personal issues around here. Kel's health could have been better, but it also could have been much worse. Mom was in and out of hospital and I handled it badly (as usual). All in all, not a lot of excitement, a quiet year. Could have been much worse.

So it's a party today, in our own unique way. We read the paper together, had coffee and Kel made breakfast (not the usual thing). The older girls back from their sleepover at a friend's place and the traditional passing out of the presents. Not a bad deal this year, as they hit all my interests: Booze, software, music and books:
  • From Mom-in-VA a gift card to B&N for books (and boy do I have a wish-list for books)
  • From Emma, a new t-shirt with the Guinness logo on it. Drink Guinness, Builds Strength!
  • From Amanda, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Hoo-boy, but I've been waiting and wanting and lusting after this for a while now. I've already warned Kel to get used to looking at the back of my head for a few weeks -- as per usual for the Elder Scroll series it's supposed to be a very immersive and detailed world. Can't wait to get started. Mind, I usually wait for the price to drop, which is why I'm usually playing games for the first time that most other gamers have been-there-and-done-that'ed over a year ago. Only change to the rule was Dawn of War. So that's why this is a Good Thing indeed -- I'm too cheap to pay full price for it, and wasn't expecting the chance to get to play until it dropped under $30. Hooray!
  • Carolyn, picked me up a copy of Blue October's Foiled. The Deep End of the Ocean is my current earworm du jour, so hopefully with enough repetition I can remove it and move on to another song.
  • From Kel, a bottle of the Good Stuff: The Balvenie Double Wood 12-year-old. Seriously Good Speyside Single-Malt Scotch Whisky. When it comes to Speyside I prefer Tamdhu, The Balvenie, Abelour, and The Macallan. Highland single malts would be Glenmorangie and Oban and Isle of Jura (which I know is an Islands whisky but tends to get grouped in with the rest of the Highlands lot). For Islay, I adore Laphroaig and (to a lesser extent) Lagavulin.
So, another year, more grey hair -- debating whether to shave the mustache and rid myself of a lot of grey or keep it and start dying. Good grief already -- going thin, going grey, going all old-ish. But not TOO old, thank goodness. I read someone else's blog earlier where he was feeling a bit off -- following behind some tender young things, he found his mind wandering from where he thought it should be (frank consideration of appearance) to a querulous rant about them shuffling their feet in their Ug boots. I'm in agreement with the general impracticably of the boots -- hate them with a passion, personally. Having teenagers about the place has kinda put me off the whole girl-watching thing for an entirely different reason. I have kids that age now. Oy vey and where DOES the time go?

I may be older, but I'm not that old yet -- not quite at the "Hey, you kids get off my lawn" stage. Still life in the old fella yet. Grey, thinning, wrinkles and all.

Ostensibly Yours,