28 November 2009

1 all night wind storm + 1 terrified little black kitty curled up on the pillow = mostly sleepless night for the Person.

Add in the wind continuing all day, and you have 1 tired Thumper with 1 little black kitty Velcro'd to her all day long. I actually felt bad for him when I had to run to the store; I was only gone half an hour, but that was long enough for him to curl in a tight little ball of What's Happening?

It still hasn't really let up, but he's wandering around the house now, so I have hopes that I'll actually get to sleep tonight. Not high hopes, mind you, but I might get to squeeze in an hour or two when he's not trying to plaster himself to my neck...


20 November 2009

A few people weren't readers here when we first got the clock. It was handmade by Superman, and is probably only one of 2 or 3 non-living things that I absolutely treasure.

The original blog post is here.


18 November 2009

FInally made a space for the clockSo we moved in last January, but finally got around to making a space for the clock. We think that space was originally supposed to be for entertainment equipment; there was a shelf and there's an outlet in the back, all conveniently located over the media nook, which is apparently supposed to house a TV.

That media nook will become a kitty hangout... we just have to figure out an unobtrusive way to block the cable from Buddah's Jaws of Death.

Buddah's cheap bedSpeaking of Buddah...he has a bed. He refuses to use that bed, but we did buy him one when he was a kitten.

Once in a while he sniffs at Max's bed like he wants to get it it, but doesn't because he's smart and fears for his life.

A few days ago a pillow wound up on the floor; it was destined for the trash bin, but when I found him curled up on it, sound asleep. And he used it the next day. And the day after that. So I think we're keeping the pillow, and I don't mind that it doesn't exactly go with anything in the family room.

It's not like we've finish putting the room together, anyway.

He's a good kitty. He deserves his pillow.

How to get the clock to fitOh...

you know how you get a tall clock to fit in a slightly not so tall space?

Poke a hole in the ceiling.

Hey, whatever works...


16 November 2009

'09 Piaggio MP3 400I've been riding this spiffy scooter for the last year and a few odd months. It's still tons of fun and I'll part with it when I'm dead most likely.

The thing is, it's an automatic; twist and go, no shifting required. And because of that extra wheel, there's more contact surface to the ground, which makes it feel little less risky than riding a motorcycle. And that's all well and good, but I did learn how to ride a motorcycle and really didn't want those skills to diminish.

I also wasn't going to grab the Spouse Thingy's motorcycle and hit the streets, hoping I could shift and lean and brake well enough to not wreck.

By a stroke of luck, I was poking around online and discovered the local Harley dealer is now running a riding course, the Rider's Edge program, and this week they were having a women's only class. And there was one slot left open.

The Spouse Thingy said to go for it. So I did.

Now, I really enjoyed the MSF class I took a little over three and a half years ago, and it obviously got me onto a bike and riding. It was one 5 hour classroom session, with two 5 hour range sessions where one learns just enough to be able to get a bike and practice riding in empty parking lots. It takes you from OH MY GOD THAT'S A MOTORCYCLE to Hey...I think I can do this! in short order.

The Rider's Edge class is four 2 hour classroom sessions, and two 7.5 hour range sessions. So you get more time in the class--more time to discuss things--and the test isn't at the end of a solid 5 hour session of "Huh?" It's broken down, so you have time to read and digest the information you really need to know.

The riding portion of the class is so much longer that brand new riders have a better chance to grasp the fundamentals. And instead of being in a classroom with 30 other people, and on the range with 11 other people, I was in a class of 5 in total (there as supposed to be a 6th, but she didn't show up. Which means somewhere in the area is, in theory, a woman who didn't get to take the class because that slot was filed...)

That's a lot of individual instruction. And it helps. A lot.

The meat of the course is identical to the MSF course; same information imparted in the videos the students watch, the same text book is used. The range exercises are identical. But with so much more time dedicated to discussion--and it's more student interactive--and more time on the bikes, the Rider's Edge class seemed to work a little better.

Granted, other Rider's Edge classes will have 12 in total (this one is new, and with only one Rider Coach, there can be only 6 students) but they'll still have all that extra time learning to actually operate a motorcycle without freaking out.

Taking the class a second time gave me a whole new appreciation for how the entire process works. The women I took the class with were not riders (one had taken the MSF class seven years ago and left it partway, but was just now ready to go for it again) and they weren't even sure they wanted to learn to ride (except the one) but they were definitely going to give it a shot. I watched them go from OH MY GOD I CAN'T DO THIS to 'Dang! This is fun!' and from being terrified of shifting and leaning to getting into 2nd gear, and going through curves without panicking. They even managed the dreaded Box--two tight U-turns in a box that looks way too small--fairly well. It was just impressive all the way around to see them go from total nonriders to being able to at least appreciate the ride from the front seat.

It helps that they were fun...they all knew each other and I was the odd person out, but they never made me feel that way.

I did learn a few things in the class, too; things I "knew" but had kind of shoved to the back of my head. I uncovered a potential bad habit. And I realize I am still comfortable enough on two wheels, complete with shifting, that if I take the Spouse Thingy's bike out for a spin, it'll be all right.

This could have been a mind-numbingly boring weekend, but it turned out to be a blast and was worth every penny.

And now I can say for sure...if you want to learn to ride and have the choice between a MSF class or a Rider's Edge, opt for the latter. You learn exactly the same things, but you'll have more time to absorb them. It's definitely a pro-Harley atmosphere, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I got to sit on lots of bikes (something you don't get with the MSF) and had some lengthy one on one discussion about the center of gravity on some bikes, and how it can make some of the really big bikes easier to handle than some of the smaller ones.

That will translate to other brands. Good info to have.

I still have the written test to take on Tuesday, but since I already have my license it's not a worry. And when we're done with the test and we all pass (because we all will) we "graduate." And there will be snacks! I'm going just for the snacks... ;)


11 November 2009

It's not about politics; it's not about taking potshots at the President; it's not about venting your viewpoint about the wars; it's not about pushing your personal agenda. It's about remembering those who have the guts to do what you likely don't--so that you can continue to take potshots and vent and push--and honoring them for their efforts. To those who served, and who continue to serve, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


9 November 2009

More randomness...

  • After my first book was published, I would get an odd email here or there from people who had stumbled upon Charybdis and had something to say about it (usually good, which gave me warm fuzzies.) With each book the odd emails have increased...not a flood, mind you, but enough to give my ego a little jolt. But with the advent of the Kindle, I'm hearing from a lot of people, and my warm fuzzies are damn near hot flashes. It's cool, in a Sally Field You like me, you really like me! way. More awesome than the ego-stroking hot flashes are the reviews; I've been getting a few, and they've been more than favorable. The King and Queen of Perfect Normal has gotten some stellar feedback, and I think my head might explode.

  • Speaking of which, I have a few print copies on hand, and am willing to autograph and make them freaking invaluable. Oh yeah, because someday, I'm going to be a literary giant, and you'll want that signed copy ;)

  • Week two of NaNoWriMo hath begun, and I'm so far behind I might as well surrender. I should be at about 15,000 words and I'm at 2,250. It's possible to catch up, true, but I'm finding that the story line that settled into my brain needs more time to percolate, and the main character deserves to be better fleshed out, lest she become a caricature of a giant douche. Because really, she's just a little bit of a douche.

  • My laptop is fairly new, just a couple month old, and the freaking keys are sticking and falling off. This annoys me, as it requires me to go back and look for all the letters that just didn't show up. I'm tempted to create a post in which I just leave things as they;re typed, so that everyone will feel sorry for me.

  • You would feel sorry for me, right? Because sticky laptop keys are just wrong...


8 November 2009

If you have a dream in which Jillian Michaels is in your face screaming "It's not enough! It's not f@#$*&% enough!" there's probably a subconscious message there...right?


2 November 2009

Oddz N Endz Part 1,452,976.5

  • The Spouse Thingy has jury duty tomorrow. He would not mind, but it fell on his day off. And who knows how many days in a row he'll be needed?
  • This upsets me because I had plans, dammit!
  • I wanted to go for a ride, and then go bowling. And not alone.
  • I may start painting the kitchen instead.
  • I will have kitty help.
  • NaNoWriMo started yesterday, but I didn't not start writing until today. I should be able to get 50,000 words by the end of the month. They will be words riddled with suckage, but that's the whole point...just get the bones out. The rest can be fixed in subsequent drafts.
  • If I don't paint tomorrow, I will write.
  • Or do both.
  • Maybe even at the same time.
  • I think deep red cabinets would go with the bright yellow the kitchen walls will be when I finish painting them.
  • Since we'll eventually re-do the entire kitchen, I figure red won't hurt for now.
  • I have not broached the idea of deep red with the Spouse Thingy.
  • Surprise, Spouse Thingy!
  • Yesterday he got up after only 3-4 hours of sleep to go see the Boy in Grease. He agreed with me, it was worth it.
  • If I go see it one more time, does that make me a stalker?
  • I hope he auditions and lands another role soon; it's only parental pride to say he's good. He really is good.
  • I ate no candy this Halloween.
  • Go me.