Wednesday, May 31, 2006


so i made it out to talimena with some friends. it was gorgeous! View from Talimena Pass

it was my first long ride, a day out and a day back, and i really enjoyed it. i wasn't too sore or tired at the end of it, but i will NEVER forget to put sunscreen on my neck again!

we stopped along the way at some little town that had a neat-looking old building in it. it was apparently an old storefront of some kind, and was quite dilapidated. i took off my helmet and set it down in the shade on top of some old steps that now only carry the traveler up into the air. my best guess is that they used to lead up to a side porch or loading ramp of some kind.

LoneStar Helmet That's my shiny new helmet. Ok, it's matte black, so it's not shiny. But it IS new. And it's got a very sexy steer and barbed-wire theme going for it, not to mention an almost-but-not-quite obnoxious Texas Lone Star graphic on the side. *swoons*
Storefront Oh, yeah, that building. It really was neat-looking... And it had some really odd surroundings. Like this jar of pickled peppers that I photographed for my baby sister. I've got no idea how old these things were or why they were sitting on top of a defunct camper shell in front of this ramshackle storefront in the middle of nowhere. My baby sister and I share a love for all things pickled, but I doubt either of us would be brave enough to take on this jar. Pickled Peppers! Anyway, speculating about their origin, their destination, their purpose and their suitability for consumption gave me something innocuous to dwell on for the next several bike miles. As a bike passenger, you have to be pretty self-entertaining, so the pickled peppers were a great find.

We lunched in Clayton, OK at Judy's Place, where they served sweet tea and yummy home-cooked food. I wished I'd had a camera with me when I used the bathroom, however, because there was a sign posted on the wall and I would have LOVED to put up a picture of it. To the best of my recollection, it read (emphasis mine): "Ladies, please do not put paper towels, feminine napkins or toilet paper into the toilet stool or this bathroom will be closed to the public! Thanks, Judy" I ask you, gentle readers, what are you supposed to do with the toilet paper if you don't put it IN THE TOILET?!?!?! No answer was forthcoming, and I didn't really want to take it up with Judy. She seemed to have put some thought into the sign, as it was very neatly hand-lettered with no spelling or grammar mistakes. I didn't think she'd be as amused to receive my critique of her logic as I was to think it up.

From Judy's place, it was a short ride up into the Kaimichi mountains, and the scenic Talimena Pass. We stopped frequently at the overlooks along the way and took some pictures. Here are the bikes: And this is me as "cargo" on my friend's bike: Kim and Rose and Yami She rides a 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe, which I point out to you only because I'm really bad with names and I've gotten it wrong pretty much every other time I've tried to tell someone what kind it was. I just copied that out of her (patiently worded) e-mail correcting me on the make and model, so I thought I'd share it with y'all. Maybe now that I've written it out I'll be able to remember it. Hey, does it look to y'all like I'm a conehead in that picture? Another thing about bikes: they lend themselves really well to either very long or very short hair. It's the helmet-head thing. I can stuff my hair up under a do-rag like the one I'm wearing here, and most of it becomes Very Flat. However, there are significan portions of it, notably around the edges, that remain Obstinately Fluffy and Curly. What to do? Well, for your protection, I've hidden it behind the do-rag, but that is subject to the vagaries of wind, so it's taken on a distinctly non-head-shaped shape for this picture. Ah, well. It's not a beauty contest...

And that's all I've got. There were a few more photos, so I may come back and post them in another update. For now, it's time for me to scoot.

holy funny stuff, batman!

This article cracked me up. My very favorite part was when he explained leetspeak, thusly:

Unintelligible spellings: When you see things like OMG the pwn3d haX0r is the ghey LOL!!11!1 you are reading the language of people who consider themselves elite computer users. Translation is possible, but unnecessary; nothing ever said in this tongue concerns you. At all.

k, that's for you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

i <3 the muppets!

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

and, as a side note, a hypothetical question: when you've had a job interview (or three), but no offer has been presented, and you get a phone call from the human resources department of the company in question requesting the preferred spelling of your name so that they can create your e-mail address, should you open the champagne bottle immediately? or should you wait for a formal offer letter to materialize?

i'm in the "wait for a formal offer" camp. readers? comments?

Friday, May 19, 2006

not dead yet...

hey, i'm not dead!

i had that interview. it went great! the guy wants to offer me the job. i've met his boss before in a previous incarnation of my career, and he's seen me work at the sort of tasks i'd be doing here. so that guy wants to offer me the job, too. yea! now it's just a matter of getting approval up the chain as needed. unfortunately, this could take from one to SIX weeks.


it's a darn good thing i'm employed and haven't made any plans to jump ship. i was a bit sickly the day after the interview, so i took a mental health/sick day. it was just what i needed, i slept 6 of the 8 hours that i would've otherwise been at work.

in other news, my darling little nieces were "Dedicated" at church last weekend. i tease with my friends that their parents called into "Love Songs With Delilah" and dedicated a sappy love song to them. seriously, though, it's basically a baptism, but without water. my sister and brother-in-law have promised to raise their kids Christian, and i was proud to be there to support and record for posterity. there were some really funny moments, like when the minister was reading the blurb on the little girl whose parents described her as "a social butterfly" just as the girl had a shyness attack and hid her face behind her hands and then burrowed into her mother's skirt. also good was the moment when the minister asked the congregation to bow their heads and pray and my sister swiped a cheerio from her husband's shirt pocket in an attempt to quiet one of her girls. got it on camera!

anyway, i'm roadtripping this weekend on the motorcycle with my friend, so i'll post pictures when i get back.

Friday, May 05, 2006

dog on head

so i had a terrible night with my asthma last night, and it's primarily my fault. i had a job interview (or so i thought) for which i was supposed to pick up the interviewer at his hotel and go to a dinner interview. i knew i had to clean out my car for this, but i didn't get time to do it until yesterday afternoon on my way out to the interview. so i just grabbed my backpack and my suitcase (which was still in the car from my weekend in phoenix) and threw them on the floor of my apartment and headed off to be interviewed. i was running late because i'd been detained at my day job, so i called to let the interviewer know when to expect me, and that's when we discovered further proof (as if we needed it) that I Am Not Good With The Fixed Construct The Rest Of You Call "Time". the interview is, in fact, NEXT thursday.

so, yea! i'm all dressed up with no place to go, so i called up a friend who was headed to Chick Happy Hour (CHH) in dallas and i got directions to the bar. CHH is a great concept, analogous to the Guerrilla Girl Bar they have in L.A. and austin and some of the other major metro areas around the country. it's a once-a-month grassroots bar invasion that aims to enable flirting, socializing, and networking outside the limited array of full-time gay bars. great concept, but i suspect the grassroots organizers don't adequately prepare the bars we invade. the bar chosen this time around was plenty big enough for all the people, but the parking was pathetically inadequate. anyway, i made my way over to the designated bar, found some reasonably safe-looking parking a block away, and went in search of my friends. found 'em, had some frosty libations, socialized, watched the volleyball players, discussed jumping into the pool fully clothed (the bar was called "the back yard bar" and was set up to resemble -- a BACK YARD!), and then felt the heat and the smoke and the crowd cutting off my airways.

i queried the available friends, friends' friends, and friends' friends' friends for a rescue inhaler and came up empty-handed. by this point, i was wheezing pretty badly. i got an over-the-counter inhaler at a grocery store up the road, but those things are really inadequate for a full-blown asthma attack and further, the medicine BURNS when you inhale it. that calmed things down for long enough for me to get back to my car and drive home to get my prescribed inhaler, but it was neither pretty nor fun. by the time i got home, my extremities were numb and tingly.

then, to make a bad day worse, i went out for whataburger after the medicine did its thing and i was breathing easy again. whataburger is not what made the bad day worse, despite what some of you may think. i had my mouth totally set for chicken strips dipped in gravy from whataburger, and i made the mistake of not looking into the bag when it was handed to me. i just drove home to eat it, and when i got home, discovered i'd been delivered a double-meat hamburger. bad day. worse.

even worse yet, it was storming pretty hard last night and my dadgum dog climbed on my head no fewer than five times. usually, i like storms. i like the sound and the thunder and the light and the rain and the atmosphere of the things. my dog, she does not. and she expresses her displeasure by putting her feet on my head, neck, shoulders, and face. so, dog on head, i struggled to breathe, and eventually was pulled down into sleep.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Molly and the Red Shoes

Last night, I tried out Molly's new dog shoes. They were NOT a scintillating success. The process of getting them on her was actually quite painless and she adjusted to them very quickly. She didn't try to pull them off, but she did take a very strange gait for the first few minutes she wore them. It looked like she was trying to step out of them, lifting her feet very high, like a Tennessee Walking horse. Once we got past that, she was her old romping self and we went on down to the river. There, the shoes failed. On the way down to the water, two of the shoes removed themselves from Molly's feet. I don't know if poor shoe design, poor dog design, or poor fastening technique is to blame. In any case, I tightened up all the shoes before she went into the water, to no avail. After the first fetch, she came back with only two shoes on. Both the back ones had come off, either in the grass or the current, I can't say which. I checked the two front shoes off and on over the course of the walk, but even with that, we lost another front shoe. By the time we got back to the apartment, Molly was down to one shoe, and that one had a blowout where the sole was detaching from the upper part of the shoe.

My inclination is to blame poor shoe design. I did purchase the cheaper of the two varieties of shoes offered at my local big-box pet store, but in my defense, they were a third the cost of the other variety. I'm going to look into buying something online that has a better design and a moderate price. The ones I had were merely slippers with a velcro strap that tightened up around the narrow part of the paw. Basically, sling-backs for dogs. So, hopefully with a more athletic shoe, I can protect Molly's little feet from the broken glass and other dangers of the river.

In the meantime, those of you who find yourself with an uncontrollable urge to litter, please get help. Carry your beverage conveyance (I KNOW it's inconvenient, but putting shoes on a dog is more inconvenient, I promise!) until you get to a garbage can, and if it happens to blow out of your car/hand/bag/etc., pick it up and chuck it back in. Thanks. Oh, and Molly thanks you, too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fish Tank Goodness

So, i managed to get out to PetSmart finally and buy shoes for Molly. yea! She has cut her little paws too many times down at the river, and she needed some protection. So, last week on Tuesday, my friend and I went down to PetSmart and bought Molly some shoes. She looked a little funny walking around in the one I put on her to check the size. However, she always walks a little funny when something like that is on her foot, and I'd rather she be walking funny because of shoes than because of bandages. Since I know you're all DYING to see how they turn out, I promise I'll post some kind of update on the progress of the shoe situation when I get a chance to try them out. Molly spent the weekend with her cousin-dog Orenda at my sister's house, since I was out of town. And here, of course, is the segue into the subject line...

I was in Phoenix over the weekend for a friend's birthday party. Supercoolfunstuff... yea! When I got back, my fish were not having a good day. I had shut off my computer when I left on Friday, because we were having storms and I wasn't entirely sure that my flight would actually leave. I didn't want to tempt the Wild Little Green Men in the sky into zapping my computer with lightning while I was gone, so I shut off the computer and everything else when I left. Of course, the filter and air pump stayed plugged in for the fish, but I did leave the tank light off. My apartment gets indirect daylight a-plenty through the mini blinds, so I figured that would take care of my fish while I was gone. They're tropical, and I've read in the books that they need to have a well-lit tank. It never says what happens to fish in a poorly-lit tank, though, and it doesn't really explain how lit a tank has to be before it's considered well-lit. This is probably heavy-handed foreshadowing, but that information would have been REALLY USEFUL LAST WEEK.

Anyway, when I got back from Phoenix, I noted that the coloration of all my tetras was "off". They usually look like this: Healthy Cardinal Tetra My fish, however, did NOT look like that. Their blue top stripe looked very dark blue just above their side fins, and pale blue everywhere else. Ordinarily, the whole thing glows a uniform blue that varies from deep indigo through teal, depending on the lighting. Also, their red bottom stripe, (which is usually the color of freshly oxygenated blood) from mouth to tail was completely missing. They were translucent with a barely discernible pink tint. Finally, as if their coloring wasn't bad enough, they were effectively lying on the bottom of the tank behind the rock they usually hover above, and "gasping". That's what it looks like, anyway, they work their gills hard and rapidly and it looks like they're struggling for air. Errr... ummm... water. Which has air in it. So, air. Yeah, my fish were gasping for air. There were two that kinda stirred about, but the other four were only occasionally and spastically moving their fins, just enough to keep them from colliding with each other in the faint current at the bottom of the tank.

EEEEEP! Knowing how fragile fish are and how challenging it is to bring them back from illness, I set my friend to researching tetra illnesses online while I began trying to figure out what I'd done different lately that could explain this. I was gone all weekend, and I left them with a weekend fish feeder tablet. I haven't changed their water in about two weeks, and I just got some plastic plants. It's the first time I've used a weekend feeder since I got the tetras, so I decided giving them their regular flake food might fix this. Maybe the tetras weren't eating the fancy krill and spirulina so lovingly time-released by the tablet. So I turned on the tank light to let them know food was forthcoming (because fish appreciate the warning) and I opened the tank and sprinkled flakes in it. Well, the zebra danios (who were perfectly fine, by the way) gleefully ate almost all the food. The two tetras that were kinda swimming around made weak lunges at some of the food bits, but didn't appear to get much. In the meantime, I'm hearing terrifying things about sporatozoa and necrotic tissue being read to me from the internet.

I settled in to watch the fish and listen to the disease descriptions coming from the computer, and noticed that the most active of the two active fish suddenly had a red flush over parts of his belly which looked like it was slowly spreading. His blue color was never as bad as the others, but it seemed to be almost back to its normal distribution, not concentrated above his side fins at all. I thought that maybe since he'd gotten some food, he was perking up, so I tried the food again. Alas, the four at the bottom still didn't stir, but the two who were out got more of the food and seemed to be improving by the moment. Knowing you can't force-feed a fish that's less than an inch long without traumatizing it to death anyway, I resigned myself to writing off the four at the back and decided I would have to find an alternate weekend fish feeding arrangement. Bummer.

About five minutes later, I checked in again, and the two active fish were totally back to normal. Better yet, the four at the back of the tank were moving around and their color was returning! But they didn't get any food... at least not that I could tell when I was watching the others feed.

Newsflash: tropical fish need light. Lots and lots of light. Especially the kinds that "glow" when the light is shining. I thought that enough ambient light was getting in during the daytime through my blinds, but apparently, I was wrong. Food or no food, after about 20 minutes under the lights, all the tetras were back to their zippy old selves, and their color had completely normalized. *WHEW* And that, my friends, is Fish Tank Goodness.