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Perceptions


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One thing that I always find interesting is how different the world looks from a motorcycle. In a car, you are really no more than an observer. The windshield sometimes acts like a TV, filtering the world and making it fit neatly into set dimensions.

See last night I rode into two states just to go to the bank! OK, so it sounds a lot more interesting than it really is, the actual trip is about 40 miles each way. So last night I aired up the tires on the Honda and took off after work. So I started the ride chasing the sunset.

Out through Saint George down through the Virgin River Gorge. And this is where the thought comes from. The picture above is from one of our earlier trips though the area. And it does the trip no justice. There I was last night, chilled and riding the highway through the Gorge. This was the first time I have ridden the Goldwing out through there. And while I figure if I took the trip a couple of times, it would get mundane pretty easily, that first trip was spectacular. The mountain looming overhead. I was part of it, I was not just an observer in a container.

Free from the dreaded demon Nicotine!!


So now that I have done the stupid prerequisite, “I am so happy I quit smoking!!” garbage, let’s get to the truth.

But yes I did, after 20+ years of smoking I have been off them for almost a week and a half. I don’t know too much about the science or the figures. I started the habit when I was pretty young still (under 10), but started in earnest when I hit my early teens. Now if you do the math, I am still relatively young in the big picture. But this also means I have smoked for 2/3rd’s of my life.

If you are a smoker, you already know just how damn good it can feel to light up. And you already know about the physical and emotional hooks. And you probably have gotten all the rotten lung, bad teeth, failing heart crap too.

And if you are like me, it didn’t really matter. I know what I did was bad for me. But it was sorta hanging out with the motorcycling, drinking, and other bad health choices that I make on a daily basis. No better, no worse.

Then this economy came around. And my steadily more expensive vice, that has been unfairly taxed to death (haha, I made a funny), suddenly became the target of every state’s economic recovery. So last year this time, I paid about 4 dollars a pack in California. Now that I am in Utah, I am paying about 6. So my 40 something dollar cartons are now at 60. And the best deal is in another state where I can save maybe 3 or 4 dollars a carton.

So let’s do the most generic math. I smoked a pack a day. That meant a carton lasts 10 days on average. With a generic number of 30 days in a month (yes I know there are more days and less days, but let’s work it from this angle). I am spending 180 dollars a month. So over the course of a year I was spending at least 2100 dollars.

I guess what happened is that smoking has finally gotten too damn expensive for me. I was finally priced out of one of my favorite pastimes.

So it’s been 11 days as of this writing since I stopped smoking. And I have a few observations I would like to share. I am not scientist, nor am I a doctor. Instead I am a smoker that is trying to stay away from cigarettes.

Don’t overplan it. Why? Because you won’t do a damn thing. Next month, next week, maybe tomorrow…. We have all used it. And when that deadline came around, we had another one. If you are serious, do it. Maybe give yourself a day or two, but don’t give yourself too much rope to hang yourself with.

Avoid advertising it. First it makes you sound like a punk. And second, it makes you sound like a punk. Yoda once said “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Wise little muppet.

Cold turkey works the best. Huh? What? You heard me. This isn’t the first time I have tried to quit. And every time I did the whole Tell the world, stock up on something with nicotine crap. So here I was sucking on gum, lozenges and all that other garbage. You know I felt like I was on a Methadone treatment. Shaky, nervous, knowing I was still putting nicotine in me, but it was not enough!

This time I just ran out and didn’t get more. And it sucked for a few days. The whole can’t think, bad sleep, grumpy nervous crap. But it does pass. And without the crutch, it passes faster than with the smoking aids.

Just realize and accept the fact it’s gonna suck. That’s right. This sucks. I am not happy about it, I am not feeling free of the demon. Now, I know I am doing the right thing, both physically and financially for me and the family. But like hell am I feeling self-righteous about it. It was something I had to do. And right now I know the difference between my head telling me to have one and my head telling me I have almost made it two weeks. I am now at the point where I can get the urge and make it through. But really, when that feeling does come around, I don’t like it. I know what I want to do. I am just not doing it.

Now, this isn’t to say that it isn’t better at all. But don’t believe that crap about the whole two or three days later and the urges will be gone. Or give it a week, or two. The truth is, if you are like me, you have been at it for a long time. I smoked when I was happy. I smoked when I was sad. I lit up every time I worked on a car, went outside, took a trip, got the mail…

You see, smoking held a regular part of my existence. And to think that it will be easy to cut it out and just go into normal non-smoker life is ludicrous. But it does get easier. And who knows, maybe in a few more weeks I can honestly say that the urges have gone away.

A week with a Kindle.


But I don’t feel a flame.

So just before the holidays, I got my Christmas gift from work. A shiny new Kindle.

This is the first time I have ever used an E-reader. It has never been something particularly interested. Especially at the price tag. I mean have you seen how much these things cost? That’s a lot of beer.

So the Kindle arrives and at first I am thinking, “I should probably just go ahead and Ebay the fucker.” But I didn’t. Instead after debating it, we decided to go ahead and just try it out.

Here is what I noticed about actually using the Kindle.

  1. It’s light – It really is easy to hold.
  2. The E-ink is easy on the eyes – I swear that it was easier to look at than reading off my laptop or desktop.
  3. Amazon’s system for getting content works well – Once I connected my account, everything worked like it should.
  4. It’s easy to get going – Absolutely no issues getting a book downloaded and start reading in relative e-comfort.

So you may be wondering why I didn’t really like it. Well here are the biggest reasons.

  1. I like the feel of paper – I know it’s lame, but I do. It’s a personal thing.
  2. Kindle books really aren’t much cheaper than a paper book – Not counting the freebies, there seemed to only be a 3 dollar difference in price. At least for the ones I wanted to read.
  3. I don’t read like I use to – I do so much work and school that it is very rare for me to sit down and read.
  4. PDFs show terribly – I had hoped I could use it for my classwork ( in PDF format) but the texts I could get to work were hard to read. And the Kindle doesn’t handle secure PDFs.

And here is the real kicker for me. What would happen if five years down the road the Kindle died? Could I guarantee that there would be something that could read the Kindle format?

So in the end, I had a book reader that only read one format really well, with books that were not a great savings over the paper versions, that I couldn’t guarantee would even be around in a decade. Instead of selling it off on Ebay, I decided that I would pass it on to someone that could use it. It wasn’t anyone here, instead it is being passed along to some family that were interested. Let’s hope they are able to use it and enjoy it.

Me? I would rather have gotten the cash that was originally spent on getting it instead… That would have been a lot of beer.

Murray Krismuss!!


I am not one bit of a holiday person, but it is the time, so why not give you something better than Feliz Navidad or Blue Christmas to listen to?

A true classic composition by the Vandals.Oi! To the world.

Bad Religion – Silent Night

And mebbe some Mustard Plug.

And finally some Me First and the Gimme Gimmes to see you into the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Something for the ears


Weekend happenings


As Saturday comes to a close, I figure I should catch everyone up on the happenings over the last few days here.

I mentioned last post that we have pulled up our roots and moved back up to Southern Utah. So far it’s been a month since we left, and I am liking it up here. This part of the state is not quite as pious as it was up north. Interestingly enough there is a good mix of folks. While not as religious, I have to say it is very relaxed as far as the vibe I get from the people I have crossed paths with so far.

Today I decided to fiddle around on the motorcycle some. While there is a lot I would like to do, all that costs money. So to stay in the cheap seats I just did a quick handle bar change. I had a set of drag bars for the Chopper project. But since it is still stalled, I thought I would go ahead and commandeer them.

So here is how it started out today.

DSCN2360

And after.

DSCN2361

The hardware now looks giant on it, so if I like it, I will probably start saving up for replacement controls.

On the tech front, I decided to try and sign up for the Chromium pilot laptop from Google. I have no idea if I will get picked or not. But what’s the worst that can happen? Plus I am curious to see what the OS is like.

If you’re interested, you can sign up for it here.

And I thought I would give you something else to click on.

So here’s a little Dale Watson for you all.

Life on Mars


Sometimes you just need a change.

And that’s exactly what we did.

About a month ago we packed our bags, and rooms, and tools, and projects…. And moved back up to Utah. This time we didn’t head so far north, so the winter is already proving to be milder than it was last time we were here.

Here is my three week impression. We should have done it two years ago when we initially thought moving to California was a good thing.

And yes Ziggy, there is life on Mars.

 

New music(?). For me at least.


Today I was reading a favorite blog of mine, Scouting New York, when I ran across a post with a favorite TMBG song of mine, New York City. In the post he mentioned the song was originally done by a band named Cub.

So this sent me on a music hunt of course. So let’s post up some YouTube goodies real quick here.

First off, let’s get the song that started it all. TMBG’s version of New York City. Sorry I can’t get a MySpace Video to embed properly.

They Might Be Giants – New York City

Then I had to check out the original

So here you go, Cub’s version of New York City.

Now I enjoyed that one. So guess what? You got it, I went looking for more.

Cub – Freaky

And one last one

Cub – Nicolas Bragg

Enjoy!

You must read this.


A great post on the Selvedge Yard about Theresa Wallach and Florence Blenkiron riding from London to Cape Town in 1935.

Check it out.


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