Breaking Bad in controlled doses

So I’m starting to gain an appreciation for why I shouldn’t watch too many “Breaking Bad” episodes in a row. I’ve always been too easily influenced by the characters and stories I watch or read. Any particularly good book that gets me identifying with the character will strongly influence my emotions as I read it. If the character has a high self confidence or is strong willed I’ll find myself enjoying those parts of my personality more and more. If the character is weak or unsure my own doubts will plague me just that much more. If the character I’m identifying with is feeling lost and rejected, I’ll very easily feel the same.

I’ve known this for a lot of my life. I keep meaning to use it to my advantage but it only really works if I’m becoming engaged by the character for the first time. If I’m re-reading a book, or re-watching a movie, the effect is much less pronounced. It becomes much less about identifying with the character and much more about visiting an old friend you’re very familiar with. Re-experiencing a story can still influence my mood, but the influence is fleeting and lacks depth.

So it only really works well with new books, and I’m never guaranteed how well I’ll identify with the characters of a new book until I’ve read it. So I’m aware of the effect, but I can’t predict it.

I’m starting to see a pattern with Breaking Bad, though, and it’s making me cautious. Walter, the main character in Breaking Bad, is brilliant and resourceful. He’s also at the end of his rope, facing cancer and financial ruin he turns to cooking up meth to make money to leave for his family after he’s gone. The lies and deceptions he engages in to make this work without getting caught are diabolical and complex. They twist and weave and keep the viewer on the edge of his or her seat at all times. He dances beautifully and we admire him even as we wince at the choices he makes.

Breaking Bad

Don’t mess with him… he knows chemistry

We can identify with him easily. He’s in a job that’s beneath him in which he’s not only underappreciated but often derided or villified. I have to wonder if being a high school teacher isn’t as depressing as being a dentist sometimes. So many of the kids range from just not wanting to be there to becoming outright hostile that I have to wonder how so many people manage it from day to day.

Anyway… Walter… he’s at the end, emotionally. He’s hit the bottom and can’t see anyway up except to make increasingly villainous decisions. The American health system he’s forced to rely on… doesn’t exist. He’s stuck making it on his own and ventures further and further into the shadows to do it. Each step makes him harder, tempers him like iron in a forge, and you cheer along with him as the spineless high school chemistry teacher starts facing down insane drug dealers while outmaneuvering the local and federal police agencies. Every time he faces a wall he bluffs and batters his way through it. Despite the sentence of death, and quite likely because of it, he dares more and more, gaining strength of resolve along the way.

But he also loses, more and more, easily as much as he gains. I’m down to the last few episodes of season two (it’s taken me this long to work through it) and he is becomng increasingly fractured in his personality. The dark is grinding up against the light to the point where good news has him flailing in anger while dangerous threats are exciting him.

And this is the point where identifying with the main character becomes a chore for me. After watching an episode of Breaking Bad I have to restore myself with something much lighter. Big Bang Theory is always good for it, but Eureka is even better. Was. Was better. Eureka is over, and lord I’ll miss it.

Tangent:

The problem with any story, any truly good story, is that it ends. I’ve said it for years, held onto it as a personal phylosophy: All stories have to end or they go nowhere. That’s the simple rule of stories. If we ever become truly immortal we better have mastered space travel as well because no finite little ball of mud will ever hold enough mystery to keep us engaged for eternity.

In television series “going nowhere” gets identified by “jumping the shark”, reaching that point a story where there isn’t any more worth adding but producers still force writers to churn out episodes in vain attempts to rake in the cash.

So, if a story is good, it has to end. Unfortunately, we become attached to some of these stories and having them end can feel a little like losing a whole circle of friends. Eureka was one of the best.
:End Tangent

I just finished three episodes of Breaking Bad, watched them back to back this evening. I fell victim to the entertainment version of “hand-to-mouth”. Each episode ends on a question, or a big reveal, or a cliff hanger of some sort. Something to keep you on edge for a week and eager to see the next episode. But if you already have the next episode in hand there’s nothing to make you wait that week and you just fire it up.

If you’re not careful you can wind up watching some shows until four in the morning. Worse, you’ll find yourself debating on whether that two hours of sleep before work will really be worth it or if maybe you should just do a few more episodes and finish off the entire night.

But… breaking bad. Walter. He gets under my skin when I watch him. The actor is brilliant. Too brilliant. I subscribe to his reality wholeheartedly, but his reality isn’t good. It’s too much. Too much trouble, too much bottom, not enough top. His successes just lead to more trouble and even his most ardent supporters end up working against him.

He makes me paranoid. His psyche meshes in seamlessly with my own insecurities and I begin seeing the shadows and dark corners a little more clearly every time an episode ends. He is still the hero, he still strives and succeeds, but as one of the characters mentions even the good news isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just more tunnel.

I want to be inspired by his stoic strength, his grim determination to succeed, but I end up wallowing in fear and dispair with him as I watch him turn ever more dark and violent to overcome each new hurdle.

I have to watch the show, though. I have to watch it because it is just so damned good. But I have to be careful. Like taking some psychadelic drug I have to be careful to not dose on an episode of Breaking Bad when I’m already down or struggling. It won’t improve my mood. It will just make it worse, possibly even undoing any positive steps I may have already taken that day.

I admire Walter. He’s an everyman caught in a terrible situation and struggling with heroic efforts to overcome, to survive. I admire him, respect him, and possibly even love him a little. I just never, ever want to be him, or anything like him.

GMobileSync makes me popular

Sometimes when an applications says “Beta” in it’s title it means “Warning, will blow up, do not touch”.

I’ve been trying to find a way to update the calendar on my smart phone directly from my Google calendar without having to first update my outlook calendar before plugging my phone into my laptop. I’ve got a direct data connection, I should be able to communicate both ways without some intermediate hardware or clunky manual manipulation. This is the information age, isn’t it?

I like Google Calendar because all of the principle people in my life use it to schedule their major events and we all get to see when each of us is or isn’t available. It’s central and convenient. I want to extend that convenience to my phone. If I want to plan an evening out … okay, had to suppress a chortle there… I haven’t planned anything myself in months… but if someone wants to invite me to something I want to be able to a) find out if I am indeed available that evening and b) book that time directly through my phone if I am. Then I want that information to show up on my Google Calendar right away so other principle people in my life will have access to that info right away without having to wait until I get around to updating my laptop first.

So, to that end, I did a bit of searching and found what I thought was the perfect solution: GMobileSync. It’s designed for Windows Mobile and will synchronize your Google and phone calendars both. If you have something on your Google calendar that you don’t have on your phone, it will update your phone. If you have something on your phone that you don’t have on your Google calendar, it will update your Google calendar.

Perfect.

Except… well, it’s in Beta right now. There are some… quirks.

The first time I ran the application it updated my phone with events from my Google calendar. But it didn’t just grab *my* events, it grabbed events from every single calendar my Google account is subscribed to. So it grabbed events from friends’ calendars as well as public group calendars. Suddenly my phone was telling me I had to volunteer at some school this morning after which I’d be taking a firefighting course. It also reminded me that I was hosting a monthly meeting in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Okay, so… madness. Not helpful.

The application itself has no option for choosing which specific calendars you want information from so I tried changing a few settings in my Google calendar to see if I could somehow prevent the application from copying *everything* from *everybody*. Inconvenient, but I was willing to put up with a little less flexibility if I could make the two way updates work the way I wanted them to.

Well, the second attempt was more convoluted than a Marvel Comics Super Summer Special retcon plot line.

Since the appointments already on my phone had no indication of ownership beyond just being on my phone the application assumed they were ALL mine and very helpfully uploaded them all back to my Google Calendar under my own account. Then it went through and checked to see if there were any new events on the rest of my calendars. Finding a whole bunch recently added, it very promptly downloaded them back to my phone again.

Okay, so… Monster Madness. And considerably less helpful. Now my phone was bulging with hundreds and hundreds of appointments, none of them actually mine.

Some of the principle people in my life were starting to poke at me, wondering what the hell I was doing in Vernon BC this Saturday and why I hadn’t told them. And why was I getting a massage at 3 in the afternoon?

So, jaw set firmly in grinding teeth mode I set about systematically deleting every single appointment from my calendars, both Google and phone.

Automation is so very helpful, sometimes, and other times it just likes to magnify your mistakes. In this case the magnifying was set to full on burning ant mode and was bigger than the Hubble telescope.

Every time I deleted an appointment from my phone calendar it would very helpfully send out a notification to all participants that said appointment was canceled This happened whether the appointment was actually mine or not.

So today I’ve been fielding e-mails from a handful of group calendar moderators asking why their members have been receiving helpful notifications from MY Google account stating that a variety of upcoming events were being canceled

Joy… now we’re into Lovecraftian Madness with just a smidgen of public humiliation.

So, I entreat you, if you ever happen across an application called GMobileSync, DO NOT install it. At all. Ever.

And if anyone has a suggestion on how I might actually do this correctly on an HTC Touch I’d greatly appreciate the suggestion.

Now I return to writing my apology e-mails…

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The Spirit Review

I think Neil Gaiman expressed it best. I read him reiterating a point the other day, explaining his opinion with a little more precision. He felt that movies based on comic books tended to be the most successful when they most accurately emulated the look, feel, and spirit of that same comic book. Not, he corrected, when they simply look and feel like a comic book, but when they look and feel like the very comic book on which they were based.

In this way, he noted, movies like Spiderman and Sin City were very successful, whereas movies like The Spirit are not.

I think that theory will be put to the test with the upcoming Watchmen movie, but that’s yet to be seen.

The Spirit as conceived by Frank Miller

The Spirit as conceived by Frank Miller

The theory works very well for The Spirit, which unfortunately means The Spirit had very little chance of being a successful film. It was The Spirit as drawn and written by Frank Miller, not The Spirit as drawn and written by Will Eisner.

At best the movie comes across as a very schizophrenic patient with split personality disorder, except the two divergent personalities keep trying to express themselves at the same time.

There were a lot of points throughout the movie where I literally felt embarrassed by the dialog, nervously looking at the floor or other theater seats, not quite sure where I should be looking but certain that I didn’t want to be watching something quite so uncomfortable.

The Spirit as he was meant to be, originally conceived by Will Eisner

The Spirit as he was meant to be, originally conceived by Will Eisner

The feeling was very much like watching high school theater, with the kids taking the roles and production so very seriously yet completely oblivious of how ham handed and awkward their performance is. You feel sorry for them, when you have the compassion, or you feel like making fun of them when you don’t.

And there were plenty of times when myself and the other audience members where laughing out loud at the film, and not because the scene was meant to be funny.

On the way out of the theater I came to the realization that the whole film felt like it was done by a first year art student with the backing of a budget and a studio. All the people involved in making the film were seasoned professionals, from the lighting director on down to the actors. The whole film had the polished feel of the elements having been produced by people who not only knew what they were doing, but were accomplished artists in their field, but the overall construction being done by someone who had no idea of what they were building.

Like a Ferrari being put together by a mechanic fresh out of community college. He might know how the parts are supposed to go together, in theory, but the actual precision and experience just wasn’t there. So while you end up with something that might actually run, it’s not likely to win any races.

The only truly convincing moment of the film was when Scarlet Johansson, in her role as Silken Floss, proclaimed “Oh I don’t really care about all of this, I’m only doing this for fun.” Which, if you took it as a statement from Scarlet herself instead of her character, made a lot more sense.

The film is fun, honestly, in that so-bad-it’s-kind-of-funny way, and there are very pretty moments, but for the most part it feels like a high school play with a budget and studio.

Loving a dark room

So I have this application on my laptop called JDarkRoom. What does it do? Well… quite simply… it’s a text editor.

Why would I bother with yet another text editor you ask? Because this one is special. Or, more precisely, this one is simple. Incredibly simple.

It does NOT: check spelling, check grammar, offer helpful advice in the manner of an annoying animated paper clip… or even, for that matter, allow you to format text into tables, columns, paragraphs, or different fonts.

What does it do? It allows you to enter text. It allows you to search and replace text. It allows you to save that text as a text document. Period.

Why is this so important? I mean, I could do this with windows notebook too, couldn’t I?

Well, yes I could, but it does one other thing that windows notebook doesn’t: it takes over the entire screen with nothing but the text you’ve written. No window, no menus, no arrow to be moved out of the way, no default white background meant to mimic a page of paper, no annoying animated characters trying to help you write your letter…

Nothing but black background with lightly glowing text.

I love it. It’s exactly what I need for writing: less functionality. If there were any less functionality I’d be using a typerwriter. Or pen and paper.

It lets me focus on the writing without having to strain to look at the screen and without getting distracted by fonts and formatting. It’s just text.

Of course, I can always use a good spell checker, but that’s something I can do once I’ve finished typing.

In updates, as gifted_spirit already posted we’re having to maintain treatment for Carmen. She’s having kidney function issues much like Gargoyle did, but unlike Gar she’s fighting the hard fight. Unfortunately she’s fighting pretty much everything right now, including me trying to give her medication. The thing that gives me hope is just how much strength I have to use to keep her head still. I mean, if she can force me to use some serious strength just to hold her head still she’s not weak or dying.

To throw my geek out there, she reminds me a lot of Yoda versus Count Duku. She mutters and wines, limping her way around, but once she’s in a fight she’s a whirling force to be reckoned with.

Ironically enough the one thing she doesn’t fight is the IV injection of fluids under her skin. I’m more than a little wigged out by having to jab my kitty with a needle every morning and pumping 100 ml of fluid under her skin. But unlike the appetite stimulant pill or the goopy food supplements she just stands there and takes it. The only time she even complains is the one time I forgot to warm the liquid first. She didn’t care much for room temperature fluid being pumped under her skin.

I’m really hoping she takes well to treatment. The biggest problem right now is making sure she eats something. She refuses to eat whatever I offer her but I’ve seen her nibbling at the food tower.

And now that my lunch is nearly over I should post this and pack my stuff up. My pickups start in 15 minutes.

Movies, Motorcycles, Banana Bread, and Job Interviews

Okay, so… Ghost Rider.

*sigh*

I kept my expectations low, and they were met. Barely.

My biggest disappointment was/were the fight scenes. Whoever wrote them had the imagination of a ten year old. I can see them scripted now: Demon grabs Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider blasts demon. Ghost Rider rides away on flaming motorcycle.

*yawn*

I mean, it might have been kinda cool if it looked like Ghost Rider might actually be in some serious trouble at some point, but you never got that impression.

The graphics were cool, and occasionally Nicolas Cage had some quasi-humorous lines, but for the most part the movie was… forgettable. I mean, the best fight “moment” in the whole film was when Ghost Rider roped the helicopter. When a throw-away (hah, pun intended) gag like that is actually more entertaining than the battle against the big bad guy, you know you’ve dropped the ball somewhere. And I feel they could have improved it somewhat if they’d just given the skull some animated features. Just because it’s a flaming skull doesn’t mean it can’t be as motile as Jack Skelington. In fact an animated skull probably would have communicated the idea that he’s actually a demon himself without having to be blatant about it.

Come to think about it, the actor who played Mephistopheles could have used some animation in his face, too. (holy cow, I just found it out was Peter Fonda. Dude, stop the botox! You face looks like it was stolen from a wax museum!)

I can’t blame the movie, though… Ghost Rider has been a difficult character to write ever since he was first conceived. While he looks really cool his “Raison d’Être” has always been rather shallow and short sighted. He was created by Satan to collect souls and has powers to punish the wicked. He has flames, he rides a motorcycle. That’s about as deep as it gets.

And while I will always have a fond place in my heart for the character I’ve pretty much given up any and all hope of him being… well, sophisticated.

Still, being that it was a pretty picture I’m glad I got to see it on the big screen. And I’ll probably buy it when it comes out. My geekdome kind of requires it.

It was also nice to see the previews for 300, Grindhouse, Resident Evil: Extinction, and Spiderman 3. I’ll probably wait until Grindhouse is on DVD to watch it, if at all, but the rest I’m going to see as soon as they’re in the theaters.

On Wednesday Dianne and I made banana bread and watched Kinky Boots. It’s a great film and I recommend it to everyone. I do hope we get to see Chiwetel Ejiofor in other roles, and soon. And it would be kind of nice if someone could explain how to pronounce his name. Right now I just kind of mentally mumble over it whenever I see it. Actually, is it just me or do others agree that he could also make a fantastic voice actor?

Thursday I went to what I thought was going to just be a job fair and wound up being a fairly positive job interview. Although the interviewer kept trying to warn me off, telling me numerous times how it was a high pressure job and wanting to make it absolutely clear that it was a high pressure job and did I realize it was a high pressure job… I don’t blame him. My past jobs haven’t been what most people would consider “high pressure”, and it’s one of the many reasons I never wanted to work in tech support. But the pressure in an IT “support” position comes from trying to figure out the mysteries of an insanely complex system that may or may not be giving you hints as to what’s wrong. (*glares pointedly at increasingly annoying wireless router*) The kind of pressure he was talking about was the pressure of a race. While there will no doubt be variables to it they won’t be anywhere near as archane or mind bending as a tech support job. I’m quite confident I can handle it.

And that’s about as detailed as I want to get into that lest I jinx it. He did say they’d be contacting me for another test (I already wrote one just prior to the interview and scored %96… trust me, given the test that’s not worth boasting about) and so far they haven’t called. It’s quite possible it was just his way of putting me off gently or some such. He did thank me for coming in and said he actually enjoyed the interview, which was nice, but I’ve been told that before. “We really enjoyed having you in this interview”, or variants to that effect, have been said to me in the past only to turn out to be “I had a lovely time, I’ll call you” kind of polite PFO’s.

Time will tell. I’m trying not to get my hopes up about it.

Thursday night Dianne and I drove out to Brooks to see The Messengers with Ronya during her 24 hour shift break, and to deliver a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread while we were at it. While the movie did build up the tension from time to time, where I was in fact reluctant to look at the screen at moments, it turns out that a PG-13 horror movie is much like a can of sugar free, decaf cola: what’s the point? Beyond a slight similarity in flavor there really isn’t any reason to consume either. And the characters were just plain stupid. If a monster, or collection of monsters, has just reached out from a pit to drag someone down, the last thing you should be doing is standing right next to the pit. You move back, out of reach. Now… IF you’re stupid enough to remain within reach, and those same monsters grab you and try to drag you down, it’s your own damned fault. And if your family manages to rescue you from said monsters’ evil cluches… then PERHAPS the THREE of you should MOVE AWAY FROM THE PIT before having your congratulatory hugs. Honestly, the whole family should have just died right then and there.

As an extra bonus… IF you finally discover the house IS in fact haunted, and not the product of your daughter’s fragile psyche, and in your discovery you witness one person dragged to their presumed death just before you yourselves are attacked AGAIN… perhaps the SMART thing to do would be MOVE OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE! The stupidity of the movie’s ending was just… insulting, honestly. It felt like being mentally assaulted by a poorly hacked Disney plot. I felt that each member of the audience (or at least each of the five of us holding our hands up in stunned disbelief) should have been allowed to personally destroy one print of the film each to make up for having had to endure what pretty much amounted to a 90 minute knock-knock joke with the comedian butchering the punchline.

At least I got to see the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer trailer… although that looks to be about as deep as Ghost Rider, and about as pretty.

Today I attended my first motorcycle class, the sit-down written portion of it. I did in fact learn stuff, and they presented us with lots of material to review over the coming weeks. My actual first on-bike class won’t be until the 19th. Still very much looking forward to it.

Updatr

Time for an accounting of my adventures over the past few days.

I spent several hours addicted to this game yesterday. Just couldn’t quit playing. I kept trying to go for the next level, getting that upgraded drill bit or that larger fuel cell… it was very addictive. Especially when I discovered the game writers had placed bones and religious artifacts in the lower layers. And the game keeps hinting at some nebulous, faceless threat out killing other hapless miners on the planet and I confess I was curious to find out what it was.

I guess it’s that simple kind of game that keeps me entertained the most these days, games without too much… “work”, I guess.

I’m canceling my City of Villains account. I haven’t played since sometime before Christmas and I can’t see myself ever getting back to it. While that little mining game may have had me addicted for a few hours, that’s the *most* time I’ve ever had for solo game playing at all in the past month, and January is typically the “slow” month. I just don’t have the time to commit to an in-depth game, let alone an online community. Heck, I also haven’t touched my copy of The Elder Scrolls for months, and I’m damned curious to see where that goes.

No time for gaming. Who knew it would ever happen?

So what else have I been doing with my time? Oh, a number of things, I guess. Relaxing quite a bit, really.

Friday night a small group of us went out to see Pan’s Labrynth at The Uptown. Sadly, because the bar upstairs (The Marquee Room, which apparently has it’s own myspace) was hosting some kind of fund-raiser with a “suggested” cover charge of $20 we ended up going to a pub nearby afterward instead and didn’t get to hang out with Scott. Because Ronya had to head to work the next morning we ended up going home before he was off work, too.

Pan’s Labrynth is Very Good in that Very European way… in other words, it’s harsh and edgy in the way that says “You’ve been molly-coddled all your life, and now we’re going to dish you a heaping plate of sharp, rusty Realism”. While half of it is a movie of escapist fantasy (in a more literal sense than I was expecting) it is also an unapologetic movie about post-war Spain as it’s citizens tried to deal with a rather totalitarian government. I’m completely and utterly ignorant of Spain’s history, in it’s entirety, but my impression from the movie is that the forties were a rather bleak time for that country. Some of the violence seemed a little… gratuitous, but it definitely gave you a stark picture of the sociopathic captain and his casual rationalizations for his terrifying black and white perspective. It was very telling, to me anyway, that while we could easily watch and analyze the child-eating monster with the eyes in it’s hands we were considerably less eager to discuss the violence of the captain. The monster was fantasy and easily shelved, mentally, while the captain and his regime were all too real.

Any more than that I’m pretty sure I’ll be spoiling the movie. Just trust me that it’s a movie worth seeing, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to see it more than once.

Oh, and I’d love to sit down with folks and get everyone’s impression of the ending. As with many of the best films (and most often with European films) the ending could be interpreted in many ways, and some of the interpretations could being concurrent and equally correct at the same time in my opinion.

Friday also saw the arrival of our new king size bed which has been installed in the spare room downstairs. The room is now known as no mere bedroom, but rather The BED Room as the bed pretty much takes it over. Not only isn’t there any room for *any* other furniture in there (we’ve had to revise our plans of buying a couple of stand-alone lamps for each side as they would completely crowd out the corners) but we’re going to have to switch the bedroom door to open outward just so we can close it.

Luckily we chose a bed frame that includes it’s own drawers so we won’t need our dressers downstairs when we move there for the summer. The plan is to use the king size in the basement over the summer and the queen size upstairs through the winter. Seasonal clothing will stay in their respective rooms as well. Then when we have guests they can use whichever bedroom we’re not. Knifty, eh?

Saturday morning Ronya rode off into the sunrise to start her four day rotation. Dianne and I, when we finally got up, spent much of the day wandering around the farmer’s market, after which we gave the giant bed a nice try-out with a much appreciated nap. The mattress is just right for me, which is to say it’s damn near solid. My back didn’t ache at all. Definitely need to get that door moved before we have any guests spend the night, though. When the furnace kicks in it’s like trying to sleep at the end of an airport runway.

Saturday evening I drove out to Brooks to have supper with Ronya before snuggling down for a few episodes of Desperate Housewives with her. Since Ronya’s work partner got her hooked on the show she insisted I get myself up to speed so we can talk about it. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but I confess that I’m getting into some of the deeper plot-lines, not to mention many of the characters make for interesting and in-depth discussions. Bree, in particular, provides much fodder for discussion.

I’m only up to about halfway through the first season, though, so don’t spoil anything for me. Rex is just back from the hospital and Bree is just starting to date the pharmacist. Lynette and Tom have just let their nanny go for being just too darned cute and sexy (and, honestly, she was waaaay cute and sexy) and Gabrielle just handed Carlos’ passport over to their lawyer. I’m not really sure what Susan is up to as I barely pay attention to Teri Hatcher’s character. Honestly, I find her far too embarrassing to care much about. Oh, right, she just gleefully figured out she no longer has any feelings for her ex-husband. Wee.

On a weird sort of side note I recognized both Doug Savant and Richard Burgi from the minor parts they played in Firefly. How geeky is that? Oh, and then I also realized that Doug played Sergent O’Neal in the American version of Godzilla. I’m sure I’ve seen other cast members in other films, but it’s all about the sci-fi geek to me. If they played even some minor role in a favorite sci-fi movie or series I’m sure to pick them out.

Sunday I slept in waaay late and then, as I said, got hooked on that drilling game. I also cleared off my MP3 player and re-stocked it from scratch. I tried out that leveling program last week and so far haven’t had any complaints. I filled the player up to the brim and created a couple of playlists, one for working out and one for relaxing. I’m listening to the chillaxin tracks right now and so far everything seems a-okay.

Sunday evening I was over at Dianne and Shane’s place playing some board games. I brought along Gloom and Roborally and we managed to get in a game of each.

And now tonight I have to start in on all those routine chores I ignored over the weekend.

Size matters, but not necessarily in the way you think.

Went to the motorcycle show yesterday with Ronya, Scott, and Alison. Lots and lots of shiny, shiny bikes. I kick myself for not having taken the camera with me, just to get pictures of Ronya trying out some of the crotch rockets. She looks so natural on one of them. We’re definitely going to have to work on getting her a motorcycle as well. We already discussed how she could store her armor on one so she could ride to fight practice and back.

Scott was a wellspring of information on bikes and gave me lots of advice. I already fear his proclamation is true, that I will outgrow the 550 in very short order. The bigger bikes were already calling to me. Although not all of them. There is definitely a feeling of “too big” when it comes to certain motorbikes. When Ronya and I saw our first 1800 cc bike I casually joked that it was “a bike make for towing” and Ronya responded with a mock phone call telling me the Yaris had died and could I pick her up on the bike with some tow cable?

Then we saw a 2000 cc bike, which just seemed… excessive.

Then we saw not one, but two Boss Hoss 502’s. Talk about excess! A 502 horse power V8 engine, 8200 cc, on two wheels. I commented that it must have a horrible turning radius, and Scott commented that, with that much power, why would you even bother turning? Just plow through whatever is in your way. A very American attitude for a decidedly American vehicle. The thing only has an 8.2 gallon gas tank. With that engine on it that might get a person across town, if they don’t have to stop for too many lights. Definitely not a vehicle you could take out “on the road”.

I liked looking at the “dry weight” classification of vehicles and thinking to myself “Yeah, if I need to, I can lift that… or at lest lever it up.” Once the bikes get over 500/600 pounds I started to have doubts. I agreed with Scott when he said “I figure, if it’s so heavy it actually needs a reverse gear, then you might as well just go and get a car. You’re paying the same amount anyway.”

After the show we went to the James Joyce on 4th Street SW for some lupper. Pricey, but the food was nearly worth it and the company most definitely was.

I actually shelled out some excessive cash for a little bit of food at the motorcycle show itself. I was feeling a bit shaky and figured I needed some calories. I’d only had toast for breakfast and that was it, so it seemed a logical conclusion.

Well I was wrong. I ate, I drank, and I didn’t feel any different. Then I realized what I was feeling wasn’t the shakiness of low blood sugar, but rather an intensely mixed emotion of equal parts fear and excitement. You know that feeling you get at the top of a roller coaster, just as it’s climbing the first peak and about to fling you into loops and curls and upside down corkscrews? That feeling of not being in control, afraid of what’s coming, yet excited beyond reason and desperate to find out what it’s going to feel like?

Yeah, I had that pretty much the entire time we were at the show.

Scott assures me that there’s no doubt in his mind that I could make the trip down to San Diego *this* summer. I’ve been having my doubts, willing to give myself a year to get used to riding long distances, but if I make a number of intermediate trips beforehand I’ll have a better idea of if and how I’ll handle it.

Yeah, and there I am again at the peak of that roller coaster, arms and legs splayed out in a desperate grip to have *some* kind of illusion of control, and staring over a precipice so steep that I can’t see the track below.

Time will tell.

In other news, I’m gradually getting angry with my body. This is a good thing, in my mind. It was my anger at my body that got me working out on a regular basis in the first place, and I’m hoping it’ll drive me back into activity again.

Things are just getting a little harder to do, like getting up off the floor or getting and out of cars. My knees are starting to warn me of impending “issues”. My hands get cold and refuse to warm up on their own. I’m sleeping poorly. All of it can be attributed to “lessening” health. I don’t want to say “worsening” as I feel that word implies I’m ailing, which I’m not. I’m not sick, I’m heavy. The holidays were the usual level of sloth and sinful this year, which certainly didn’t help, but in all honesty this is just the growing culmination of a long trend of increasing sloth and idleness. I need to shake myself out of it, and if getting frustrated with my body will provide the push to get me to do that then I’m all for it.

Stupid body, I will punish you!