Archive for the ‘Motorcycle’ Category

Every time we watch Isle of Man race coverage on HD Theater, the travel bug strikes me big time. Notwithstanding the fact that it would cost us over a thousand dollars per person just to get ourselves there, it remains one of my top travel destinations. The primary reason that I want to win the lottery is just so I can travel as much, as often, and to as many places as I want to. I have a long, LONG list of fantasy vacations, some of which I’ve planned in as much detail as if we were taking off tomorrow. It’s a depressing thought that I will never see as many places as I want to in my lifetime.

Bill and I went to visit Grandpa Ed in the hospital last night. We got there right before they were planning on moving him out of the ICU and into a regular hospital room. He was asleep when we got there, opened his eyes and acknowledged us a few times, but for the most part was pretty much out of it. We talked to him and held his hand, but didn’t want to stay too long as he was obviously very tired. He’d been awake and talking for most of the day. He’s obviously still very ill, but moving out of the ICU is, of course, a very positive step.

According to Bill, we’re going to be motivated today. The truck needs washing, the house needs cleaning, and I personally want to clean up the back patio so we can sit out there and enjoy the weather without gazing upon clutter. I’m really hoping that we’ll take a couple of motorcycle rides this weekend – food destinations provide for an excellent reason to get out on the road. Joe’s Farm Grill is about ten miles away from us, and I’ve been wanting to head out and check them out ever since I read the review on Feasting in Phoenix. Then, of course, there’s Cien Agaves in Scottsdale, our go-to place for the best tacos on the planet. They’re about fifteen miles away from us.

Really, I just want to be out in the great weather, on the bike behind my husband. Any destination will do.

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Ben!

Posted: August 30, 2010 in best things, Friends, Motorcycle, photography, vacation

One shot of a million billion zillion.

Ben Spies during practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, 8/27/10.

Ben Spies during practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, 8/27/10.

Oh my FUCKING GOD, did we have a good time. I have eight thousand things to do over the next few days, so if you’re craving recappy goodness, Taoist Biker is being his usual loquacious self over on his blog!

I have three very specific reasons for feeling bouncy today.

Before I get into them, let me just state for the record that I am more inclined, in general, to be bouncy than to not be bouncy. My husband is fond of commenting that, while he needs a specific reason to be in a good mood, I need a specific reason to not be in a good mood.

I think that’s a good quality to have in a wife, don’t you?

Anydoodle. The first reason for my bounciness is our oft-mentioned, oft-gushed about (yes, TB, you have been gushing) trip to Indianapolis to see the MotoGP race. I am STUPID excited to be meeting TB and Dys in person, finally. There’s also the possibility of seeing Heather, too (she lives a few hours away and is trying to figure out if she can come hang with us for a day). So, there will be:

  • Non-hundred degree weather.
  • Gearhead-oriented conversation.
  • Hot boys with motorcycles.
  • Hot girls who congregate around hot boys with motorcycles.
  • Meeting good, good friends in person for the first time.
  • Seeing a good long-time friend in person after a long parting.
  • Food that doesn’t contain calories because we’re on vacation.
  • Photographic opportunities galore.
  • Some good old-fashioned RACING.
  • Long days that fade into late nights because I GUARANTEE, everybody will be having too much fun to sleep.

I will be blogging if/when I can, Tweeting often from the track on my Crackberry, and posting pictures when I can. TB will be doing the same in his various on-line methods. It’s gonna be SICK.

We’re leaving Thursday morning and I have an epic ton of stuff that needs to get accomplished between now and then. Which leads me into my next reason for being bouncy. I asked my boss, and received permission, to extend my vacation by one day. So I have tomorrow off in order to accomplish all the things that need to get done, pre-trip. That I was running out of time was starting to stress me out a tad. Now I know I’ll be able to get everything done.

My third reason to bounce has got me WICKED geeked. See, you all know that I write for a photography website. The job has gotten me several fun things in the way of perks. One is the ability to rent lenses for free from Pro Photo Rental, as long as I write reviews about the lenses and mention where I got ’em. NOOOOOO PROBLEM. Because of this, I have been able to bring some fantastic photography equipment with me on many of our vacations, and I am able to bring a sweet telephoto lens with us to MotoGP. It arrived yesterday via UPS. It, and another box that I was so thrilled to see that I SQUEE’D.

See, about a week ago on a whim, I contacted the folks at Lensbaby to see if they had a lens that I could borrow, in order to write a review. I have always been interested in the Lensbaby line, and though I intended on buying one myself, the timing wasn’t right to purchase one for review purposes any time in the near future. Lo and behold, they wrote me back almost immediately, and said, “Hey, here, let us give you stuff for your very own! When you write your review, let us know!”

They sent me a Lensbaby Composer. AND an accessory kit that includes a wide-angle and a telephoto adapter, plus creative apertures. For my very own. To keep.

How cool are they??? Fantastic and generous and their customer service ROCKS. I spent a happy hour geeking out and playing around with this cool little lens system. It’s so creative and unique and CLEVER. I can’t wait to write a review about it. I’ve got a thousand ideas.

If you’re not familiar with Lensbaby, check out their photo gallery to see what their different products can do. I plan to own as many lenses, optics, and accessories as I can get my hands on.

So! Any one of those things is enough of a reason to put anybody in a good mood, right? Let alone all three!

Today is a good day.

First and foremost, please wish my darling Calvin a very, very happy birthday!

downwithunderpants
Down With Underpants! (This was in Whistler back in ’05.)
(I WAS going to post this picture but he would have keeled me ded.)

———-

Dyskinesia and Taoist Biker came through for Calvin’s birthday present in a BIG, YOOGE way.

So, back when TB and Dys went to this year’s Red Bull Indianapolis GP, they called my cell phone from the track and left a voicemail message of the sound of the motorcycles going by. Which made me and Calvin thirteen kinds of jealous.

Once they were back, I IM’ed with TB about their trip (September 1st, it was), and I mentioned that Calvin and I would love to go, some year. He started telling me about the arrangements they’d already made to attend the 2010 race. I asked him if we needed to book this far in advance, if we decided we wanted to go. He explained about how repeat-attenders get first preference on the seats. I asked how I would go about getting tickets to the race, and he was all, “I CAN GET TICKETS LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.”

All of this took place in a 337-line IM conversation, mind you. You may not realize, we’re wordy sonsabitches.

He called, and then faxed, the race organization and said he’d like to add two seats adjacent to the ones he had already pre-reserved. It wasn’t totally a sure thing because those who have attended previously get first preference, and someone else might want those seats – so he listed second and third preferences for nearby seating locations.

THEN Dys got involved and extended their existing hotel reservation to add an adjoining room for us. I’d called, myself, but they weren’t taking reservations so far in advance – but Dys had an “in” with them, and the hotel was all set up for us while TB and I were still IM-ing back and forth about the particulars.

That’s as far as the planning could go, at that point, and I had a WHOLE MONTH that I had to discipline myself into NOT saying anything to Calvin. Meanwhile he’s watching Moto GP events on TV and saying, “Gee, it sure would be fun to go someday…” Bit my tongue bloody, I did.

THEN Dys called me yesterday afternoon, and conferenced TB in, so they could tell me together that they got confirmation that the seats we wanted were available and YOU GUYS we’re sitting, all of us together, in one of the PENTHOUSES.

I printed out this year’s Spectator Guide that TB forwarded to me, circled the location we’ll be sitting in during next year’s race, and gave it to Calvin last night (I couldn’t wait, okay?) as his birthday present.

He. Was. THRILLED. TOTALLY excited. He kept saying, “Oh, cool” with this huge grin on his face. Of course, Mr. Instant Gratification will have to wait a solid eleven months to enjoy his birthday present, but the practice in patience will be good for him. Besides, it gives us both something great to look forward to for a good long time.

So. It’s happening the last weekend in August, 2010. Look out, Indianapolis. We are going to TEAR UP THE TOWN. A weekend of motorcycles, photography, friendship, whisky, and general geekery as the four of us finally meet “in real life”. Indiana may never recover.

Some of Dyskinesia’s pics from the 2008 race:

100_4056_sharpandboost

100_4009_sharpandboost

100_3905_sharpandboost

676156-R1-00-24A_sharpboost

She’s a pretty kick-ass photographer, yes?

Man, we are WICKED stoked.

(Make your travel plans with UpTake!).

calvinhobbesjiveSo, yesterday turned out better than we expected. Todd from Dent Crafters arrived at 10:00 to repair the ding in our truck, caused by the motorcycle’s mirror when it tipped over. When he initially looked at it, he was skeptical (so he said to Calvin) that he’d be able to fully remove the evidence of the dent, given its shape and position. But when he rang the door bell to tell us it was done, and I went out to the driveway to inspect his work, I swear I couldn’t find any evidence whatsoever that anything had ever happened to the truck at all. Not only that, he charged us LESS than he originally quoted to me over the phone. So how’s about them apples? Arizona residents, if you need this kind of work done to your vehicle, I can’t recommend Dent Crafters enough. Look ’em up in the yellow pages!

Then the Kawasaki Superstore called us at about noon (they picked up the motorcycle with their trailer on Friday afternoon) to tell us the motorcycle was ready. All it needed was a tune-up, all work was covered under the extended warranty, and we left there with a perfectly running motorcycle and no money out of pocket.

We celebrated our good fortune with a couple of beers at Sandstone– where we were highly amused, then a little annoyed, by the antics of a young man who’d had a few (dozen) too many. Come to find out, he’d been there Friday night and dropped a $250 tab, and then showed up early in the afternoon on Saturday to drop another $300 tab – buying drinks and shots for the entire bar. Which is tiny, mind you, but still. The tiny little micro-bartendress had to exert her authority and help his friends haul him off to sober up. But before things turned south, he sure was funny.

So! That’s the news. I’ve got some more writing and photo editing to do (I’m going write for Uptake, and post the buffalo’s story that I mentioned here), and my additional goals for today include cleaning the kitchen, putting away last week’s laundry and starting on this week’s, and watching some football (WOOOOOT! Football season!). Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

motorSo, I mentioned in No Butts that Calvin’s motorcycle met with an unfortunate accident. Not, thankfully, while Calvin was on it. No, it happened in the dark, in the middle of the night, when no one was around.

If a motorcycle tips over in the middle of the night with no one around to see it, does it make a sound? Probably. GOD DAMMIT.

Somehow, sometime between Sunday evening at about 9:00, and Monday afternoon at 4:00, Calvin’s motorcycle tipped over in the garage. It took our two bicycles with it, and the mirror struck the side of the truck, breaking it off and leaving a dent in the driver’s door. I discovered this unfortunate scene as I was departing on Monday afternoon to return the camera lenses I rented for our vacation. I opened the garage door, and stood there for a good three minutes, just staggered. My brain couldn’t process what my eyes were looking at.

I stammered, “Calvin! Calvin, come here. Oh, hell, LOOK AT THIS.” He leaped from the couch and came hustling over to me. Then he, too, stood in the doorway, staring, dumbfounded. We took turns exclaiming to each other, “How the FUCK could this have happened?!?” We looked, we examined, we walked around and around the scene of the crime, we puzzed and we puzzed till our puzzlers were sore.

Because the thing is? It tipped over on the side opposite of the kickstand. So, somehow, it had to tip up, over, and past the gravity mid-point, to come crashing down on the right hand side. Nobody had been in the garage since the night before, when everything was safe and sound. The garage door was closed. Nobody has access except me and Calvin and Marie, and Marie had gone out the front door on Monday morning, not through the garage.

I forget, have I mentioned that Marie is living with us again? Anyway…

I was to the point of tears, I felt so bad for Calvin. The look on his face… he didn’t freak out, he didn’t curse or stomp, he just… looked. Ugh. It was heartbreaking. He’s OBSESSIVE about taking care of all his vehicles, but particularly his motorcycle. He’s been riding since he was, what, three? Four? And he’s NEVER LAID DOWN A BIKE (motocross doesn’t count). Not once.

Anyway. He muscled the thing back up (it weighs, what, 800 pounds? I was muy impressed) and conducted an examination. All told, the footboard is bent, the mirror is broken, and there’s a scratch on one of the pipes. Cosmetically, not too bad. When he started it up, though, it sounded very wrong. A pinging? Clicking? Something. He thinks that something leaked from some reservoir into the internal mechanics of the motor, while the bike was on its side (he can explain it, it’s beyond me). So the bike is going to the shop today to assess the situation.

Which, in turn, will cost us money. If it’s more than our deductible, we’re filing a claim (we took a bunch of pictures, but they’re on the camera, and I don’t want to depress you with images of the carnage). Homeowner’s or auto, we’re not sure. They’re with the same company, anyway. The dent in the truck is getting repaired tomorrow. Like Calvin said, “It’s like one of my favorite vehicles was smacked with another one of my favorite vehicles.” The Trailblazer is the nicest truck we’ve ever had, and the Vulcan is the nicest motorcycle Calvin has ever had. Fuckin’ figures, don’t it?

(Title blantantly stolen from Taoist Biker. I believe he would like me to apply his words to this entry, sympathetic as he will surely be to the whole motorcycle situation.)

1iconlaughinlizard1. So, I had phone conversations with my tax guy, and the IRS, this morning. This year’s Federal return will wipe out the balance we owe to the IRS from ’06, with a little left over. This will also terminate the monthly automatic payment we’ve been making (yay). This year’s State return is a good amount, too, and will go toward debt.

2. Yanni tickets went on sale to the general public on Monday, and I secured five tickets for the June concert in Glendale (I got the CD/DVD of “Yanni: Voices” in the mail yesterday and I am LOVING it). Accompanying myself and Calvin will be Marie, Michael, and Michael’s girlfriend. We will get dressed up all fancy and go to a nice restaurant beforehand, and make An Occasion out of the whole thing. I am looking forward to this to a stupid degree.

3. I’m investigating a road trip to Yellowstone for this summer, instead of a trip to Sturgis. My reasoning: Calvin and I will be participating in Arizona Bike Week activities coming up in the next couple of weeks. We’re not SO hard core that we’ll want to do the same thing all over again (albeit in a different state) in a few months. However, I think we’ll still drag the motorcycle up to Yellowstone if we go – I can’t imagine better scenery to ride among.

4. I’m still planning on that long weekend with Heather in July.

5. The Tempe Festival of the Arts is this weekend, an event I always look forward to. My idea of a perfect day is to wake up early with Calvin, perhaps get some nookie in (heh), grab some breakfast somewhere, and spend a day strolling hand-in-hand, people watching and perusing stuff we’d never buy. Plus, Mill Avenue = easy access to beer. Should be a good day for taking pictures, too.

The upshot is, I’m maintaining a positive attitude. The only thing that continues to loom over my head is upcoming layoff announcements that effect my department. They’re making the announcement in May of who, specifically, will be impacted, and we’ve known that it’s coming for a few months. Things have been stressystressystressy around these here parts, to say the least. My boss maintains that he’s “cautiously optimistic” that our group will escape unscathed, but my skepticism remains: “If it MIGHT happen, it’ll WILL happen to ME.”

If I can get past THAT, well, I’m eligible for my second Sabbatical as of October 5th (194 days and FALLing…). I’ll probably wait until next May/June or June/July to take it, but damn. Just knowing it’s THERE and waiting for me goes a long way towards making my life a bit brighter.

Coupla.

Posted: February 24, 2009 in Calvin, Family, Motorcycle, photography, TV, Video

1iconflowerI’ve got another contributed article up over at Bodies in Motivation, if y’all are interested.

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I talked to my sister for a good hour on Sunday. There are times where it seems like we’re not only attached at the brain, but we have the same bodies as well. We have the same skin, and the same hair. He had her gallbladder removed recently, as did I a few years ago. We, apparently, through a conversation that involved WAY too much information, have the same digestive systems. AND, get this. She has plantar fasciitis too, right this very second! So I sent her a pair of the heel cups that I’ve been wearing, and a photo copy of the care instructions my doctor gave me.

That’s not all, though. Last week she was house sitting for a little old lady in her neighborhood. Since my sister doesn’t have cable, she was indulging in some programming while staying at the lady’s house. So she says to me, “You know, I really like that Barefoot Contessa lady. I saw a show where she did these steaks in an iron skillet and now I REALLY want to try it.”

At which, of course, I boggled, since Calvin and I were planning on making those very steaks that very night. We “No WAY!”-ed for the next half an hour over that one.

———-

Observant readers (hi, TB!) will have noticed by now several motorcycle pictures up in my Flickr account. Ever since I posted this entry and provided a link to the details of Calvin’s motorcycle, he’s been on me to post a “real” and “good” picture of his baby. Because the stock photos weren’t good enough (as you can see, ours has a bit of customization over the stock model), I give you the following. And, have I mentioned how much I love my camera? And my tripod? And my remote shutter release? It was almost dark outside when we took these – the better to see the frame lighting.

vulcan5
Exposure: 10 seconds. Aperture: f/8.0. Focal Length: 33 mm. ISO Speed: 400.

vulcan6
Exposure: 10 seconds. Aperture: f/8.0. Focal Length: 18 mm. ISO Speed: 400.

vulcan4
Exposure: 10 seconds. Aperture: f/8.0. Focal Length: 25 mm. ISO Speed: 400.

vulcan3
Exposure: 10 seconds. Aperture: f/8.0. Focal Length: 25 mm. ISO Speed: 400.

Calvin wishes for you all to imagine it without the backrest. I think it looks just fine with it on. I know I need it for my own comfort, for even short rides. The motorcycle has air suspension which isn’t as comfortable as normal shocks. Calvin will probably correct that with technical mumbo jumbo, but the upshot of it is, mama needs a sissy bar.

———-

Finally, I must say the Oscars have renewed my obsession with Hugh Jackman. What a talented guy he is!

At practice:

The show:

Le sigh.

Total pickle weight.

Posted: February 18, 2009 in best things, Friends, Motorcycle, Pimp, work

innuendoI just grabbed a six inch sub from AcronymCo’s cafeteria.  When they put “extra pickles” (hi, Dys!) on it, as requested, BY GAWD they meant business. Total sandwich weight – 2 lbs. Total pickle weight – 1.5 lbs.

MTAE’s going to make that into something dirty. I know I can count on him for the pithy comment.

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On a related note (TB + Dys = related), Taoist Biker recommended in yesterday’s comments that I ride Calvin’s motorcycle as a means to combat boredom. To which I respond thusly:

  1. BWA! BWA HA! BWA HA HA!
  2. Calvin would KEEL ME DED.
  3. The bitch (a Kawasaki Vulcan 2000) weighs a good 800 pounds DRY. I could barely deal with my 900’s weight (about 550 lbs.) when I had it.
  4. V. Twin. Engine.
  5. BWA! BWA HA! BWA HA HA!

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Overheard just now from two gents walking down the isle near my cubicle:

“It’s small!”
“Small?”
“Yes! Small!”
“Like…?”
“Small, like your head! Your head is small.”
“Oh! Ah… yeah.”

Sometimes, it’s amusing to work in Cubicle Land.

———-

I have a shite-tonne (that’s a technical term, right there) of work to catch up on, and I only took ONE day off. I’d like to think it’s job security, but really I suspect they’re just having me do a lot of senseless tasks. A common source of amusement around here is to print out Dilbert cartoons and replace the text with AcronymCo appropriate wording. You’d be amazed at how few words actually need to be changed. For instance:

dilbert

That’s so true to life around here that it makes me want to cry a little.

kanji_healthHi gang. I’m re-bandwagoning on the whole fitness and nutrition thing, as is the rest of the planet. SparkPeople is running a bootcamp to kick off the new year, which I recommend if you need something to get you back in the habit of taking care of yourself. If you’re a member, sign up! If you’re not a member, become a member (it’s free, it’s useful, it’s handy, it’s easy), and then sign up! And then tell me you did, so I don’t feel so alone. So very, very alone.

(I posted about this in more detail at Op::Goddess, too, where I’ll be referring all fitness related whining from here on out.)

———-

So, yeah. The Cardinals won yesterday (sorry, Kim, about the Colts). I was shocked as hell.

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Calvin and I are planning on taking a trip to Sturgis this August. We’re thinking of getting up there a few days before bike week begins so we can see the sights without the crushing crowds, then leaving a few days before the end of the rally to avoid the end-of-week craziness. We’re going to drive up in the truck and tow the motorcycle behind, since 1260 miles is a bit far for my ass to be hanging out on the back of the bike. I’m a bit of a puss – my Uncle is riding over from Maine on his Harley, and it’s 2030 miles from New Gloucester to Rapid City.

He da man.

So, anyway. Anybody ever been there? Any recommendations for a place to stay? We’re thinking we’ll stay in Rapid City, which is about 20 or 30 minutes away from the rally site. Any other thoughts on what to do for a week in South Dakota? Besides the required visit to Mount Rushmore, that is. Advice is appreciated!