11.11.2005

Moved to Xanga

Well, I've decided to pick this blogging thing up again, so call this a bread-crumb trail for anybody trying to look me up these days.

8.15.2005

Even A Geek Needs A Breather

I can really identify with this article. I spend 8 hours a day dealing with technology and everybody else's problems. By the time 5:00 rolls around, I'm ready to set my computer on fire. Maybe I'll come out of it in a few weeks and get back to business as usual.

7.05.2005

Trinity and the Immaculate Conception

Disclaimer:Believe it or not, this post has nothing to do with religion, but the same old irreverence applies.

That being said, I'm going to tell you about a little 4th of July miracle that happened in this house.

It all started when we adopted a 3-legged cat. What POSSIBLE use could one contrive for Hopalong Kitty? I guess she's more useful than a robot cat, but I guess she would be a good candidate for a cyborg kitty. Her given name was Elvira (lame) but we decided to re-name her Trinity on account of the three legs.

We figured out she was pregnant about a week ago. All the telltale signs had me putting my fingers in my ears and screaming "LALALALALALLALALALALALALALALA!" but no amount of denial or fear of babies would stop what was already occuring. What was MORE odd was that she has not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES been exposed to a male cat while in our care. We were even told when we got her a couple of months ago that she was fixed. That left me with two possible conclusions:

A)She was already pregnant when we got her.
B)Immaculate conception

Fuck. Not only did we have NO NEED to add another cat to our already happy and well-adjusted two-cat family (females), but now we have the god-damned Virgin Mary to deal with. Not only that, but I have pedophobia (not to be confused with pedophilia), human or otherwise. Luckily, there's a 4-step hypnosis program that should take care of my fear of kittens. None of my childhood pets were allowed to give birth...they were fixed as soon as they were old enough.

This was a responsible decision on the part of my parents, but definitely not good for my development. I even managed to be absent the day they showed The Miracle of Life in Health class. I have terribly retarded mental development when it comes to children, much to the confusion and dismay of my wife.

Trinity went into labor on the 4th of July. Thankfully we had no plans and were home all day, so we got to be in on the whole process. Trinity had 5 kittens, one of them didn't make it, so the official head count was 4. She's been a caring, loving mother and we're certain the kittens are going to be well-fed and healthy.

We've decided to keep one and name it Jesus.

I don't know that it's really sunk in or that this crash course in birthing will prepare me in any way for children or that Trinity's Immaculate Conception has bolstered a belief in any diety, but it didn't hurt.

6.20.2005

Introducing Gundam Prototype Unit 3 (GP03)

So I bought a motorcycle. Here are some thoughts after my first week and a half of riding:

The Ninja 250R is a very capable bike. I have no comparison at present, this is just my opinion on the everyday usefulness (and pleasure) of riding. I've commuted down quiet small-town streets and endured rush-hour traffic, increasing my familiarity with the basic controls and control input combinations in less-than-friendly conditions. I've nearly been creamed by a "cager" (car-driver) on two occasions. I've swept down country 2-lane and got to experience the bike's managability at speed. I've "got my lean on" with seductive local twisty roads and grown to appreciate the physics at work when one is riding on two wheels...countersteering, throttle discipline, looking ahead to what's around the bend, and shifting one's weight and putting Sir Isaac Newton in the driver's seat.

Curiously, as the word gets out I have a bike, the frequency at which I am present when a distant relative's plumber's girlfriend's hairdresser's brother's recent motorcycle accident is discussed has increased tremendously. Then there's the uneasy glances where your comrades contemplate your early demise and you KNOW they're doing it. Then when you start asking questions, like "Were they drinking?" or "Were they wearing a helmet?" or "How long had they been riding and what were they on?" are met with blank stares. What do they expect? A sudden conversion, some kind of grim realization that if I bite it I'll be served up at the Roadkill Cafe, Soilent Squid-style? Yeah, I think about it. Yeah, I know the odds aren't in my favor. So? Now when someone starts in with a story I ask if it involves an accident. Then I promptly tell them to shut the hell up.

I control what facets are under my control and don't worry about the rest. As usual, there's a Heinlein quote for every occasion, and I find myself repeating this one often:

Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament - it is possible to be both. How? By never taking an unnecessary chance and by minimizing risks you can't avoid. This permits you to play out the game happily, untroubled by the certainty of the outcome.
--Lazarus Long


Riding a motorcycle is partly counter-intuitive. One does not want to grab the front brake in a panic stop because you'll likely lose steering control and/or drop the bike on its side. One does not want to lock the rear brake in a stop because it'll fishtail, or worse, if you LET OFF the rear brake in a lock-up your rear wheel will gain immediate traction while not in line with the front wheel and the rider will be catapulted over the handlebars in true Medieval crossbow fashion with expected results. NOT accelerating DURING A COMPLETE TURN will cause the bike to become unstable or worse, not turn, and you become a permanent fixture in the form of a tiny cross (or whatever athiests do instead) by the roadside to mark (quite unnecessarily) the crater you created on impact. The oddest thing is the way the wind tugs at your helmet at speed...that's gotta be the most disorienting thing about riding fast. Serious contemplation of the physics involved is mandatory, if you're an over-analytical geek like me.

But I try not to think about it. :)

Motorcycling isn't THAT difficult to do. If you can play video games, you can acclimate yourself to a new set of controls. It's difficult to do WELL. A trained monkey can twist a throttle. A good rider is one that carefully weighs risks, can stay within their skill level with respect to the bikes they ride and the way they ride them, can recognize the difference between what the bike's capabilities are and what the RIDER'S capabilities are, knows how to not put anyone at unnecessary risk, and can avoid getting caught by local law enforcement when they want to push the envelope.

This entire past week has been a very Zen experience, especially out on the country 2-lanes by myself. Riding with my buddy Jon is fun, but nothing beats the experience of riding alone. Pre-ride jitters are growing less intense. I'm starting to get my braking distances down. Shifting has become smoother. The initial uneasiness is starting to pass.

I can't wait til next weekend.