Monthly Archives: September 2006

It’s all broken down

On Wednesday, I was minding my own business, just riding along on my motorcycle, when it started making an odd ticking noise. I listened to it for a while, trying to decide whether it was a serious enough new noise to merit pulling off the road and enduring the hassle of taking off my helmet, gloves and earplugs and examine the noise.
While whizzing down the freeway at an astonishing speed, I leaned over and looked at both sides of the engine, and didn’t see anything flapping about that wasn’t supposed to, and it looked like all the parts I could recognize were still right where they should be.
But when I pulled in the clutch to see if that would make the noise stop, the engine died. Shocked and saddened, I put on my blinker and moved over to the right lane, and off onto the shoulder and coasted as absolutely far as I could. Motorcycles are kinda heavy, and even though I’m ultra strong and fit, I still don’t like pushing them for miles on end. In fact, when I’m shopping for a new bike, one thing I check is how easy it is to push it across a parking lot. If it’s too heavy, it gets left for someone else, no matter what the salesman offers.

So anyway, I coasted to a stop just before the freeway exit. Cars, trucks, and big rigs zoomed past me, barrelling on down the onramp. I didn’t think for an instant about shoving my dead motorcycle in front of them to guarantee its death, but it did cross my mind that any one of these crazy morons could come spinning off the road and cream me and my TL.
I didn’t want to push it up the tiny offramp with these people zipping by – there might be asian drivers eager to run me down! – so I looked for an out.
To my left was the freeway, and certain doom. Straight ahead was the offramp, and near certain doom, along with a long, tiring push uphill to a stoplight without crosswalks or sidewalks. It was already warm, and I was wearing my full suit, which wasn’t designed to be worn while working out or pushing motorcyles uphill.
Behind me was nothing but shoulder and freeway, and so I didn’t even bother looking behind me. You know what they say – you can never go back.
So I looked to my right, and saw that the fence running along the freeway stopped and turned, and left me a nice lane, wide, nearly flat, and well groomed, better than a Roman highway, leading me to safety.
I turned and pushed the bike along the side of the overpass in complete safety, yippee! Even better, it was pretty quiet down there, so I was able to make a few phone calls to people who couldn’t come get me, and I could take pics of the incident for blogging.
So I eventually got back to work, and retrieved the motorcycle later that night. I haven’t been able to take it to a shop yet, so don’t know how bad the damage is. Hopefully it’s the type that requires me to replace engine parts, and since aftermarket high-performance parts are always less expensive than OEM replacement parts, I might get trapped in souping up the TL, just to get it back on the road.
Oh well, it is what it is.

At least I don’t have to sell it for scrap and get a minivan to make room for the new baby.

A few happy links

When me and the kids discovered this video Saturday night, we watched it over and over, laughing our guts out. Then we put our guts back in, and watched it some more. I’ll tell ya, Weird Al has some smooth moves. I wish I had half the groove he does. He moves like smooth butter on ice skates.

Secondly, while beer is great for getting dumb people to do even dumber things, occasionally it produces works of genius, such as this Miller Lite Beer Cannon, which shoots out two cans of Miller Lite at whatever they put in front of their target. Impressive destruction is the result. It actually brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Um, I think I was going to post some other stuff, too, but I need to go finish reading Kim’s most recent update. I will return!

A book update

Since I last wrote about finishing a book, I’ve finished nine more. In a nutshell, they are:

The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton. Written as a series of conversations between three young people with a financially (very) secure barber, he imparts the wisdom of sure-fire financial strategies that are guaranteed to give you a high standard of living by retirement age. The key is to save at least 10% of your money, no matter what. Invest that money in stable mutual funds, and you’ll be rich. The earlier you start, the better. He also covers wills, life insurance, investing, home buying, and a few other things.

It’s a very entertaining read. I learned that I need to start saving, even though I’m not out of debt. This’ll help us have cash on hand to cover emergencies, instead of paying for emergencies with credit, and then paying them off all over again.

The barber recommends several other authors for more information. I chose Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People, by Jane Bryant Quinn.

Quinn is also an entertaining author to read, and turns financial advice into an interesting conversation with the reader. She focuses on the same type of savings plan as Chilton, and also covers home buying more in depth, gives lots of info on simple and productive investing, and other financial strategies.

The common theme between both the books is that the best financial plans are simple. You set them up, and they run themselves. You don’t have to wake up at 4:00 AM every morning to read pages of stocks and then buy and sell all day. You simply set up your bank accounts to make automatic transfers to your savings and investment accounts. And then you simply let compound interest and dollar-cost averaging make hundreds of thousands of dollars for you. If done for 30 – 40 years, it’ll compound into the millions, all without you having to do much more than the initial set-up.

The third book was Behold, I Come Quickly, by Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr, and it covers the events leading up to the Second Coming, the Millenium, and beyond. It’s a super interesting read, and is based on an amazingly vast collection of quotes from general authorities and the scriptures.

I’ve also finished reading Le petit Nicolas et les copains, by Jean-Jacques SempĂ©. It’s the second book in the petit Nicholas series, and covers a fat wad of adventures Nicholas has with his elementary school friends. SempĂ© is great at telling a story from a kid’s point of view, explaining how sensible everything is that kids do, and marvels at how oddly parents, teachers, and other adults react to it.

Lastly, on a lunch break a few weeks back, I wandered into Borders looking for an interesting manga to read. I discovered Death Note, and have read first five books of it over the course of multiple visits to various Borders and Barnes and Nobles around the east bay. It’s a very cleverly written story, with numerous twists and leaps that keep you from guessing what will come next – and I mean that for reals, not like normal stupid movies where it’s the same thing every time but the movie reviewers say “Unpredictable – you never know what’s going to happen next!”

The Death Note is a notebook carried by death spirits, who use it to kill humans and steal the human’s remaining life span. One of the spirits drops his notebook to earth, where it’s found by the super-smart son of a police chief. He uses it to start killing criminals, and when the cops and a super smart detective start tracking him down, he starts killing them. But unlike most stories where there’s a pre-set number of characters in the story, this manga keeps bringing in more in unexpected ways that are sure to keep you, the ernest reader, eager to buy the next book for $7.00.

Which is why I read them for free in the comfy chairs in the back of the store. I can’t wait to find a store with book 6 in stock!

A couple more items

I think I’m getting into the groove of this blogging thing. I’ve got blog entries just rolling off my fingertips in into the internet!

Yesterday, I learned that a certain sister-in-law in Salt Lake is so white, that she puts BBQ sauce on her taquitos, instead of salsa. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t say anything because I’m too polite, but hey, this is the internet and I’m blogging!

Here’s a cool video of a really happy cat!

Kim sent me a letter

Kim sent me a letter, but she forgot to write anything on the piece of paper. It was folded very nicely in tri-fold, but utterly blank. Not even a signature or a greeting.

At least she had the decency to enclose it in one of those fancy-schmancy self-adhesive envelopes, the kind where you peel back a strip to expose the adhesive, and do not require licking.

This brought me much joy because, like Cindy, I secretly enjoy sticking tape to my fingers. The single greatest thing about working in shipping and receiving is having access to an unending supply of tape. Sometimes I’ll spend an entire morning working my way down a strip of packing tape, working every inch with my fingers until there’s no stick left on it.

On the other hand, I can’t stand having hands sticky from icky gooey stuff. If I get syrup or baby drool on me, I’ll go wash or wipe it off, and avoid touching that baby anymore. I don’t know what I’d do if they started adhesivizing tape with maple syrup. That’d drive me bonkers.