Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring Fever?

Spring is lazily approaching after a LONG winter. I was ready for winter to be over around November 1st. That makes for a LOT of chilly nights in anticipation. Despite (or maybe because of) having lived in Indiana my whole life, most of my hobbies involve warm weather in some shape or form. I love to golf, walk or run outside and of course, I salivate at the thought of riding around the country on my motorcycle.

This year we've planned to attend a few motorcycle rallies. I've never taken my cats with me on any of my trips, (that would just be weird I think) but I would really like to take Sasha (the dog) with us this year. Once I know for sure that she'll always come back to me when I call her and doesn't feel the urge to bark at every leaf, squirrel and pedestrian to cross her path, I think she would have a great time and be a great travelling companion. I know I've seen several other rally attendees with their little dogs, but I decided to do a little web-browsing to if there might be any way to take along my big(ger) dog. Hold onto your butts, ladies and gentlemen. Before you know it, you'll be laughing them off at all the great motorcycle gear I found for my precious pooch! Apparently I am not the first one to want to take man's best friend on a motorcycle adventure!

Does your dog think safety is number 1 and wouldn't ride anywhere without a helmet? No problem! The good people at Zoomer Gear can fix your dog up! They claim that the helmets can even accomodate dogs with non-floppy ears, but that I would like to see!

If you're safety conscious, you don't want to forget about those adorable puppy eyes. Aerostitch makes the perfect doggles (yes, that's right! doggy goggles!).

Beast Riders Limited makes plush, fuzzy carriers that fit on the pillion (passenger) seat so that your dog can ride behind you and feel the wind in his fur. You know how dogs love to do that!

...But hands down, by far, my favorite doggy motorcycling accessory HAS to be this pink "Born to Ride" motorcycle jacket. Yes! That's right! It's PINK! I'm certain to make a name for myself among the biker crowds I frequent and I'd bet all the money in the world that Sasha may never forgive me, but I think she just HAS to have it! She's just adorable already and would be traffic-stopping outfitted in this lovely jacket. Besides, we'd match! Ha Ha Ha Ha

Monday, February 23, 2009

Books #16 and #17

#16. "A Single Thread" by Marie Bostwick - Cheesy, but a very quick read and it'll make you feel good.

#17. "The Man Who Planted Trees" by Jean Giono - Very short and sweet. It'll make YOU want to plant trees!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am simultaneously furious and floored!

What gives? As a student of human behavior, I am often completely dumbfounded.

For instance, every day commuting to and and from work, I take the same routes. Both the inbound and the outbound routes basically consist of a 4-lane, one-way road that is a) quite busy during the rush hours and b) poorly lit at night or in the early morning. To make it even more complicated, there are several school zones and the more-than-occasional car darting across the road from one of the adjoining neighborhoods. The routes are about 5 miles long and pass through some questional areas where there are often more houses boarded up than occupied. This is obviously a place suitable for only the quick and the nimble. Then why is it that at least 5 times a week I encounter pedestrians who are wearing jackets with large hoods pulled up over their heads, stepping out into traffic without looking and then MOSEYING across the road as cars barrell at them at over 40 miles per hour?

The cherry on top when I encountered one of these people on my way in this morning was his response. Did he quicken his pace as he heard the press of the cars? No. Of course not. Even though his foot was still on the white lane line and I had to swerve into the other lane a bit in order to miss hitting him, he didn't show me that courtesy. Instead, as I had to brake and honked my horn at him, he stuck the cigarette he was holding into his mouth, turned toward me, stepping BACK into the lane and the path of other oncoming cars and raised both his arms (and middle fingers) at me. I think he was also yelling something at me, but by then I couldn't hear and didn't really care what he had to say.

So, here's my question? Why does one feel compelled to act in such a way? I don't see this happening in my neighborhood or some of the more suburban areas despite those roads being LESS dangerous. Do the people who act this way have such little regard for their own lives? Or is it that they truly think they are so important that the universe revolves around them and that we should feel obliged and obligated to patiently wait while they mosey their asses across the road?

Unfortunately, encountering this kind of behavior so often is leading me to become cynical. I hear on the news about a pedestrian getting hit by a car and I often wonder who really is at fault.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

There's no simulator in the game of life.

After a 3 week blog entry hiatus, (actually I was just way too busy, but a hiatus makes it seem like I was vacationing on some tropical beach), I am back to post my thoughts and opinions on everything under the sun. I'm sure most of you were beginning to experience symptoms of withdrawal without my witty repartee. Well, at least these are the things I tell myself before I float off to sleep at night.

Recently it occurred to me that there are a great host of things in this life that we, unfortunately, only get to learn while in the process of actually doing them. This occurred to me while I was trying to shimmy my car down a snow-laden street in my neighborhood. As a life-long resident of Indiana, (well there were those three months in college, but everyone has to experiment, right?) I have driven on my fair share of snowy streets. In fact last winter I got my car stuck - REALLY stuck - across the street from my house. It took hours to get it out. I've learned my lesson and now I'll be parking in my garage until May!

After 19 (egad!) winters of driving in snow and ice, I feel like I've finally figured out the finess and just the right touch it takes in order to drive safely in bad conditions. But that wasn't always the case. I'm sure there were times that I drove too fast or pounced on the accelerator too hard only to find that all that did was spin my tires and, often, dug me even further into my icy auto prison. I came out of my learning period pretty much unscathed, but that's not always the case for new drivers or at least drivers new to the conditions. Unfortunately, (at least to my knowledge) there's no icy road driving simulator. The only way to learn how the car reacts is to actually be out in those conditions driving. That means danger for the driver as well as all of those in that driver's path. I don't have any children, but my heart goes out to the parents of new drivers who are out there driving in the snow for the first time. I'd probably worry myself into old age pretty quickly every time that my son or daughter walked out the door.

That's how life is though, huh? Parents don't usually get a dress rehearsal or try-out before they start raising their children. Couples, even those that live together, don't really know what marriage is going to be like until they're in the thick of it. Often times if we choose one path, there isn't really time or an opportunity to take another if it doesn't work out the way we planned. There are too seldom do-overs in life.

After riding a motorcycle for 4+ years, I am in awe every time I get on it that I didn't seriously and permanently hurt myself or others while I was learning. Sure, I broke my arm, but that's practically as good as new and I rode thousands of miles with very little experience under my belt. Now I look back and think, "Wow! I didn't know anything about riding and they let me on the road." ......and I'm sure in another 4 years, I'll look back on now and think, "Wow, I thought I knew what I was doing, but in reality I was clueless!"

So life is dangerous and scary and most of the time we're playing for keeps. Why, then, do we not treat it as such? Why aren't we more careful about handling our cars, our bodies, our tongues and the hearts of those we care about most? How can we be reminded of the fragility of these things before we are confronted by damage or injury or disease?

I don't have any answers.

I guess that's why I'm asking the questions.


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