Dec 29, 2010

Rain and Mud? No Worries!

The rain has been here for what seems like months and today we were blessed with intermittent hail and snow.  Not the best weather for riding on two wheels.  In order to get our moto fix Trout and I took our time away from the daily grind to rush through fields of puddles and mud.   I have the luxury of acreage surrounding my house,  40 acres belonging to the landlord (Ivan the Great) and probably more than double that behind Ivan's field.  Since the 20 acres next to me is currently planted with winter wheat I've spent countless hours racing through the unplanted 20,  mud flying off the tires and Trout running like a crazy idiot through trenches made of rainwater.  
She loves those moments in the day when it's just the two of us, the smell of the dirt and grime, the four wheeler splashing through puddles as the water nearly leaves us stranded.  Trout rushes ahead then comes back for me, happy to be allowed to run free through such conditions.

In years past I was riding the GS this time of year, but now I putt around in the company car, unable to find enough time in the day or week to ride more than just to the store.  It is these times on the four wheeler I am reminded of what I am missing.  The freedom, the wind rushing past your face, the smells radiating off the fields.

And it is times like these when I beg for spring to come, for summer to bless us once again.  In the meantime I'm starting to think about the next motorcycle trip that needs to be planned.  Perhaps southwest where the sun beats down?

Dec 1, 2010

Moto Speak: The Mice are Winning!

   

Summer 2010,  Beast with Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag
The Beast sits in the garage, mice trailing their way to it's precious pieces, as I watch the rain fall and the temperatures wane.  Remember summer?  Sweet summer with bright blue skies and warm goodness all around?  Oh how I long for summer!

It's been an uphill battle between the field mice, Trout and myself.  Winter isn't even officially here.  We have been battling over the Beast's territory...the large garage that must feel warm and inviting to the mice as their fields turn to mud puddles and the rain floods their underground homes.

After attempting various modes of mice destruction (bounce, moth balls and even electric noise makers) I slinked into despair as I laid out the poison boxes and waited for dehydration of the masses.  Ever aware that Trout is a labrador who enjoys eating anything and everything, the poison has been weighing on my mind and heart.  What if my Princess Trout were to eat some?  Would that be worth the price of a BMW that's mouse free?  Surely not.   Input from friends declared poison the clear victor, but still, I thought there must be something better and more humane.

Rodent Control, Victor® Electronic Mouse Trap and Pest Chaser Bundle, BM2524After opening the back door and watching a mouse atop the screen door, staring down at me as we did a quick show down before he jumped down and scurried behind a chair, I vowed that whatever the cost the mice would leave my humble home.  Another friend and fellow blogger gave me a good tip:  electric mouse traps.  I rushed off to the store and picked one up for the steep price of $24.00.  I thought I'd give it a try on the back porch as that's where the last mouse villain I'd stopped seemed to be enjoying himself.  I followed instructions and put in four AA batteries and placed a small amount of peanutbutter in the trap.  I turned it on and went inside the house, sure that the electric trap would be my salvation.   A couple hours later I stepped outside to a blinking green light, which meant the trap had caught it's first victim!  Elated, I opened the trap and took tally for the night.  Mice: 0.  Me: 1.

I reset the trap and went to sleep, blissful that finally my mouse problem would be gone and the Beast would be safe once again.   Excitement purged through me and at midnight I crept outside and was elated to find I'd scored another win!  Mouse number two lay still in the trap!  Mice: 0.  Me: 2.  I reset the trap and drifted off to sleep knowing full well that I had finally found the perfect solution to all my woes.  When I awoke, to my disappointment, no mice had found my trap.  Still, I thought it worked well so I moved it into the garage near the Beast.

Today I donned my warm weather gear and walked out to the detached garage.  The first couple days of hunting I failed to kill any mice in the garage.  That would mean I'd only killed two mice, at approximately $12 bucks each given the price of the trap.  But still, I kept the faith.  It's been at least a week since I checked the trap.  I opened the garage door and expected to see the flashing light that would notify me of my victory.  Instead I saw nothing.  A still trap, an empty box of poison and another full box by it's side and a garage floor still littered with Bounce dryer sheets and moth balls.  And a Beast, still ashamed and wearing a pair of black panty hose filled with moth balls around it's middle.  The injustice of it all.

Hmmm, I ponder now, do I buy another electric trap?  Is there some type of special scent mice give off when they are electrocuted?  Why don't the moth balls and Bounce sheets work?  How long must the Beast wear panty hose and suffer the indignities?  Are country mice just smarter than city mice?  Clearly all the mice are smarter than I.

Here I am, beaten by the mice again.  A cat is starting to look better, day by day.  Now if only I can find one who doesn't eat, poop, walk on cars, sleep on motorbike seats, shed, go to the vet, or need any attention.  I'm sure that will be easy, right?

Weather and Visibility

Spot the motorbike!
Driving home from work yesterday, buzzing down a rainy I-5 from Portland to Aurora I spotted a motorcylist in my rearview mirror.  Huge Harley, bright yellow jacket soaking up the rainwash from my tires.  I was filled with envy as I wondered how much of a pansy I was for being in a car while someone else was out riding and enjoying their bike, weather bedarned!

As he passed me I was finally afforded the view I never get to see...exactly what it does look like when a crazy motorcyclist decides to ride in the wind, rain, and low temperatures.  And guess what?  It looks dangerous!  The motorcycle flew by and became a blurry streak of nothing, the yellow jacket barely visible.

I thought of all the times I've ridden in weather like this, braved the cold, the wind, the pounding rain that feels like pellets smashing against your heavy gear as if you have nothing on but a pair of thin tights.  And to think I've been doing this in a black and gray (or blue and black) jacket, my visibility turned to nil.

I decided to do a little research and this is what I found (compliments of Web Bike World @ http://www.webbikeworld.com/Motorcycle-Safety/safetypage.htm).  Basically this is what I learned:
    Low conspicuity may increase the risk of motorcycle crash related injury. Increasing the use of reflective or fluorescent clothing, white or light colored helmets, and daytime headlights are simple, cheap interventions that could considerably reduce motorcycle crash related injury and death.

     _______________________

    Be safe and be smart this winter if you are one of the brave riding!  I'm starting my Christmas List and what's on the top may be a brighter helmet and a jacket with reflective strips.  That is, if I can just quit dreaming about a new BMW!

    Nov 4, 2010

    Food Porn: Bend, OR: Old Towne Pizza

    Location:  118 NW Greenwood Avenue, Bend, OR http://oldetownepizza.qwestoffice.net/
    Bmwgsgirl's rating:  9 out of 10 (improved beverage choices would earn them 10)
    Price:  $$$

    Combo #2
    In Bend to watch the EVIL DEAD MUSICAL (if you don't know what Evil Dead is, don't bother asking, you'll never be cool enough) we stopped by Old Towne Pizza before the show.  I haven't eaten pizza from a parlor in forever and the last time I did, I wasn't all that impressed.  Lately I'm finding I can make a better pizza at home with my Trader Joe's dough than I can buy.  Given that, my expectations weren't very high.  I figured if I could get the greasy piece of cardboard in my mouth and not choke to death on the dry toppings I'd call the night a win and grab a margarita after the show.  Optimisitc, eah?  

    Imagine my surprise when after ordering the pizza what came to us was the most awesome pizza I'd had in years. No joke!  We had two different types, a Canadian bacon with pineapple and a combination number two  (which includes pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, onion, black olive and Italian sausage).  The Canadian bacon arrived first so everyone grabbed a slice.  My first impression:  it was good.  Then the combination arrived.  This is the kind of pizza you almost have to eat with a fork (I know, blasphemy!) because there's just so much going on it that if you pick it up things are going to start falling all over the place.  Not one to ruin a good pizza with table manners, I heaved the slice up with the most delicate of hands and took a bite.  I was rewarded with flavors I didn't expect.   The onions were sweet and played off the spice of the sausage wonderfully.  It was as if some higher power had come down and tailor made the perfect pizza pie just for us. Each bite was as enchanting as the last.  And, despite the fact that I was full and ready to burst, I couldn't stop.  I just had to eat one more.  

    "extra" toppings on top!
    The pizza server (Rusty, esteemed brother) made a joke about the fifth piece of pizza coming off being the best one since all the "extra" toppings that fell off the others would be on that piece.  Oh lucky day!  I got that piece!  I was in heaven as I picked up the slice, sausage and olives dropping to the plate below, my mouth watering as the cheese and salami joined together to create bliss.  Yummmmy!  

    Pizza Heaven is what Old Towne Pizza should be renamed.  I'm adding this place to my list of "must stops" when I visit Bend.  In all fairness, I'm adding them because their pizza rocks.  What I didn't like was their choice of beverages.  No Pepsi!  And, furthermore, they have beer and wine but nothing for those of us who prefer something more refined...you know, like a margarita or a Mike's Hard Lemonade.  So, I was stuck with iced tea while everyone else sucked down beer.  Another thing to note is this pizza is not for the man who's looking for a cheap date.  The XL pizza in the combination runs a steep $31.50.  The medium runs $21.15.  I can't help but think of everything else I can get for $31.  Maybe that's the price of pizza these days and I'm just out of touch.  I can tell you this, the price, as steep as it seems to me, isn't going to keep me away.  This is a pizza worth the price.  

    Oct 12, 2010

    Food Porn: Trader Joes: Maui Ribs

    Let's talk Trader Joe's (http://www.traderjoes.com/) and their Hawaiian Style Maui Beef Boneless Short Ribs.  The label is misleading to a rib fanatic who's expecting a big thick chunk of beef.  It's not actually a "rib" per say.  It's a strip of meat that's been lounging around in this fabulously fantastic Hawaiian style marinade. These bits of beef are easy to grill and I've found that there's really no wrong amount of time to cook them.  I've bar-b-qued them to perfection, burnt them to perfection, and even undercooked them to perfection.  Seems as though there's no way to ruin these morsels.  Well, I'm sure I'll find a way, but as of yet, nope.  These ribs are good by themselves, with mashers, with chips and especially good chopped up and on a salad.  Rush on out and grab yourself some Maui Beef Boneless.  They will make your head spin like
    the Exorcist.  Well, maybe not that much.

    Now that I hear Salem is getting their own Trader Joe's, this is probably a good time to mention the cheese.  Trader Joe's has a huge selection of cheeses from all over the country and world at affordable prices.  They have Wisconsin cheddar in sharp, extra sharp, mild and medium.  I'm sorry Tillamook Cheddar, we have been besties for so long, but I've gotta move on to the Wisconsin.  And, I'm even cheating on the Wisconsin with some fancy French stuff that spreads on pita chips and has a garlic and chives.  Yummy.

    I know, some of you think Trader Joe's is just for the yuppy rich.  Let me tell you that the prices ARE affordable.  And, if you don't at least give it a try you are surely missing out on something wonderous.  At the very least you have to go try a bottle of $3 buck Chuck (aka Charles Shaw).  It's affordable wine that is made with grapes "largely" from California and is actually good. I hear they've used some Willamette Valley Grapes as well.

    So, rush on into Trader Joe's and gets some good, healthy, high quality food.  And, go ahead and bring me some Joe Joes or some wine.  Really, I'd appreciate it.

    Oct 3, 2010

    Moto Gear: Mice and Bounce Part Duex

    In a continued effort to keep the mice away from the Beast, my second love, I cleared a space in the garage.  I stapled Bounce dryer sheets to the lower part of the walls and spread them around the floor and on the seat and boxes.  I was proud of my work and impressed with my devotion to the cause.  As Trout and I checked on the Beast's progress we noted mouse droppings on the Bounce sheets on the seat...and on the boxes...and on the tank.  Frickity frackin feck.  Those mice don't seem to have any regard for the cost of the BMW or the fact that repairs aren't fun.  All those mice care about is play time!  They run up and down back and forth, climbing on and in the seat nibbling on the wires and the tool case.

    Here are some terrifying facts.  Field mice typically move indoors during the colder months.  Hello October my evil friend.  Apparently mice can enter buildings through a space as small as a dime.  The average mouse lives up to one year and can have litters up to six times.  And, the worst news is that the average litter size for mice is 6-8 and it only takes 19-21 days for gestation.  And, sob, mice will be sexually mature after a month.  That means there are a whole lotta little buggars in the garage or waiting to move in, ready to eat the Beast piece by piece by next summer.  

    Dryer sheets clearly aren't working and will not solve any issues, especially given that the population is growing as I write.  In fact, the most disappointing thing about dryer sheets is that Trout seems to LOVE them!  Every time I open the garage door Trout rushes over and rubs her body all along the walls where the dryer sheets are stapled.  She smears her face along the sheets and comes up smelling springy fresh.

    I guess the only logical thing to do is to get a snake.  A big, long, scary looking thing that will live in a heated cage in the garage and eat mice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Yep, I'm going for it.  If you can't beat them, join them.  I will start feeding the little buggars, plumping them up, and then I simply open the cage and Mr. Snakey will come out and play. 

    Oh, wait, I hate snakes.  And cats, they come in a rung lower on the ladder than snakes.  I guess I will have to just break out the poison and destroy the colony one by one.  (Insert evil laugh here)  Revenge will be mine!  Wait, I can't stand the thought of the little mice mamma wondering where her poor defenseless child disappeared to.  They probably have a mouse underground police station with my face on a wanted posted on the wall already.    May not want to start an all out turf war.

    So today I started moving EVERYTHING out of the garage.  May be overkill, eah?  I figure if there were nothing but the Beast in the garage then it would be easier to see the little devils, right?  Rigggght.  As I'm moving Ivan's stuff to the pump house, an organ here, a saw there, I stop to put some burgers on the barbie.  I glance over toward the pump house and see a tiny little buggar (i.e. mouse) run into the pump house.  I rush over, Trout and Lab (the yellow stray who's temporarily adopted us, um, he's a Labrador, wink wink) following closely.  I catch a glimpse of the mouse behind the gas can in the corner.  I grab Lab and point in the direction of the mouse, anticipating a full force strike.  Instead Lab sniffs once then quickly loses interest while the mouse runs behind a pipe then back to the cans.  I grab Trout and instead of rushing forward she looks at me and I swear her eyes are asking, "Well what do you want me to do about it?"

    Meanwhile Mr. Mouse rushes out the door and behind it.  I push the dogs out of the way and grab the biggest thing I can find, which happens to be a piece of plumbers pipe that's about three inches wide and open on both ends.  I have instant flash backs from the last time I tried to hit a mouse and the thing ran UP the pipe so I toss that and grab a rake.  I look behind the door and the mouse freezes and looks up at me.  Didn't expect that.  Now we are both standing by the door and it's like a western movie, both of us glancing at the door pondering who can make it inside first.  I slowly start raising the rake and the mouse catches me and bolts for the door, head ducking under the door and disappearing from sight.  I rush to the other side of the door and into the shed.  Stupid mouse runs for the corner again behind the cans.  I chuckle because I suddenly have the upper hand.  I'm ready to pounce and smash the mouse to little pieces when the Tiger rushes toward me, obviously deciding it's better to die fighting.  I drop the rake and scream like a sissy girl.  Didn't expect that either.  The mouse runs between my feet and disappears into the corner where I've already stacked a bunch of stuff.

    Well, it is Ivan's stuff.  And it is in another building away from my moto.  I guess I've fought another battle, strong and valiant.  And then got upstaged by another mouse.  I'm not bitter though.  Well, at least not about that.


    Sep 28, 2010

    Moto Gear: Jesse Bags and Xplorermoto

    Explorermoto is the USA's exclusive distributor for the famed Jesse Luggage Systems.  I recently helped a friend acquire a set of the Jesse Odyssey II bags for his BMW  650 GS.  Initially, he thought the bags were too wide for his uses although he liked the design (they have up to 5" of adjustment capable, moving them forward and back).  His major concern was the bags limiting his ability to weave in and out of traffic and other obstacles.  The hardcases have a width of about 39" where some soft bags come in at a width of 10 inches less.  However, what you gain in width you also gain in carrying capacity.  The Jesse Odyssey II bags have a total of  90 litres capacity, compared to about 50 litres or less of a softbag.

    Recently a soft bag convert, the friend had everything loaded up on his BMW to head to Canada and on to Alaska when he realized the soft bag just wouldn't work for this trip.  Hours before his visa was set to expire he installed the Jesse bags (it only take about an hour and a half to do so, mounts and all!) and headed for the border.

    After in Canada for a spell said friend took off to Alaska, traveling through mud and grime, side trekking though creeks and trails and riding the bike like there was no tomorrow and meeting chicks, ever impressed by his travels and new bags.  Through it all the Jesse bags remained waterproof and secure.   A few spills on the bike minorly dented one side of a bag but the mounting held without an issue.

    According to the website for Xplorermoto (http://www.xplorermoto.com/) the bags are made of 2mm thick stainless steel, hand welded parts.  The bags are well made and will fit a wide range of bikes including BMW, Suzuki, KTM and Kawasaki.  The bags come in black, silver and charcoal and have optional lid loops you can purchase for only $15 for 4.  The Jesse bags can be purchased through Xplorermoto for roughly $995 to $1500 depending on the bike and the price includes mounting hardware and instructions.  Xplorermoto also sells other items including liners for the Jesse bags, Rok Straps, compact tool kits for a variety of bikes, lighting systems and Wolfman soft luggage bags.  Rick at Xplorermoto is a great guy who was very helpful through all my questions.  If you are going with hardcases, go with the best.  You won't find a better box anywhere.

    Food Porn: Astoria: Astoria Brewing Company, Wet Dog Cafe

    Dog inspired wines
    Location:  144 11th Street, Astoria (their website is not up and running)
    Bmwgsgirl's rating:  8 out of 10 plus a bonus for a happy hamburger
    Price:  $-$$

    Stopped in for a burger today at Astoria Brewing because, well, the sign said Wet Dog Cafe.  I couldn't resist a place with "Dog" in the name.  I walked in and was shocked to find that the Cafe is actually a medium size restaurant with a huge seating area, bright spaces, a full bar and even an area for purchasing specialty items...mostly items that represent dogs!  I loved it.  They had wines with dog names and photos (what a great gift for a dog lover!)  I bought a cool pint glass that reads, "Bitter Bitch Imperial IPA" and has a mean looking dog on it for only $4.95!  I also picked up some cool coasters (5 pack for only $1.25) that advertise the names of some of Astoria Brewing's beer like DaBomb Blonde Ale and Kick Ass Stout.  (Sorry, I was working so couldn't try any beer!) They have t-shirts and sweatshirts, paw print pastas and even dog biscuits.  And, for those of you who aren't as cool as I am, they even have some cat pasta and other cat friendly items but I'm trying not to hold that against them.

    Hello Burger!
    I ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a Pepsi to go.  The service was fast, the waitress and bartender very nice, and the price was reasonable for a sit down place.  I think in total I paid around $12.00 for the meal.  What I didn't expect was to open the bag and see a burger face looking back at me.  I have to admit it made me chuckle.  The burger itself was thick, I'm guessing at least 1/2 pound of meat and has a special sauce that tasted great.  I'm giving the burger itself a 8 out of 10 only because I don't really like shredded lettuce, but it was at least larger chunks so not as messy.  The fries were thick and wide and plentiful.  Since I'd gotten it to go I was also pretty amazed and thankful that they gave me ample ketchup, a packet of mayo and even mustard.  And, not only that, but it came with a handiwipe and a piece of candy and a fork and knife wrapped in a napkin.  I know, that doesn't mean a lot, but frankly I found the extra touches to be a sign of how much Wet Dog Cafe cares about it's customers.  You don't see those kind of extras every day.

    I will definitely be stopping by Wet Dog again when I head to Astoria.  In fact, I'm recommending it to everyone because it was such a cool place.  I can't wait to try something else on the menu, like a salad or pasta or maybe even some chicken.  They have everything.  And, the place is on the wharf, so it's around cool shops and a great little shop for buying fresh seafood and crab.  And, well, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, inside the Wet Dog is a small area for purchasing fresh seafood.

    And, hello!  Dogs!  I may even stop by for some gifts for the holidays.  I'm sure my Mom would love a bottle of wine with a corgi on it.  I mean, who wouldn't?



    Sep 23, 2010

    Moto Gear: Bounce and Moth Balls

    Earlier this summer I found a mouse in the garage that had gotten into a garbage can and couldn't get out.  He was barely moving and my guess was he'd been in there for days and he was dying of dehydration.  I delicately dumped him out onto the soft gravel and turned the hose on...letting little drips fall on his face, encouraging him to  drink and save his life.  He didn't seem to get it and his body shivered and convulsed (perhaps because I was drowning him) and then finally he stopped moving.  It was a sad moment for me.  Trout, who was barking in the mouse's ear, screaming for it to live, was very moved by the moment and she ran around me non stop as I did a funeral march to the trash can.

    Lately the Beast has had a fair amount of mice droppings on the seat, tank, bags, and even tires.  Don't get me wrong, I think the little guys are cute, but the Beast hates them so they must go.  I Googled how to fix the issue and was informed moth balls do the trick.  The idea was to put the moth balls in nylons and hang the nylons over the bike.   I couldn't stand the thought of doing that to the Beast so instead I poured moth balls all over the cement around the bike.  They worked awesome!  In fact, they work so well that instead of being on the ground and occasionally getting on the Beast, the mice decided to stay ON the Beast and just hang out there all the time.

    So I went back to Google and did some more research.  Turns out using dryer sheets works for keeping mice away from classic cars.  I went and bought a jumbo box of Bounce (since rumor has it Bounce works best) and envisioned my garage mouse free.  But first, I decided to clean up the garage.  I thought if I could clean things up and take everything out of that part of the garage then the mice wouldn't have a place to hide.  There are some items in the garage that are Ivan's so they've been there for awhile and the mice LOVE them! I started moving things and a mouse ran out from under a dresser and almost gave me a heart attack.  It jumped into a box and then couldn't get out.  I tried smashing it with a plastic pipe but it jumped into the middle and tried to shimmy up my arm then ran out of the garage.  The whole time I'm screaming like a little sissy and jumping up and down, waving this plastic plumbing pipe to and fro like a recently escaped mental patient.  Unfortunately for me there was a man outside the garage fixing the windshield on the work car.  I swear he looked around the corner and then slowly went back to the car.  He may have been laughing.  Probably not though, right?
    Mouse hiding in the doorframe

    After a bit of work I wrestled the dilapidated organ from the corner and another mouse ran out from under it and ran into a pile of discarded window blinds.  Like an idiot I moved the blinds and the mouse ran toward me!  I jumped up and down and scared the poor thing.  It ran into the garage door and shimmied it's well fed body into the frame of the garage door. I kept opening and closing the door, sliding it back and forth, and the mouse would peek out every once in awhile to see if I was still there.  When the door was closed and the mouse was closer he'd tuck under the bolts and hide from me.  He was so darn cute I almost forgot either him or his siblings had been under the motorcycle seat chewing on my wires.

    Finally I went into the house, having screamed enough, jumped enough, and tormented the mice enough.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get the dryer sheets out and have the garage cleaned.  Today I decided to just sit back and drink a margarita.  I mean, it's not easy battling vermin and scaring windshield replacement technicians.

    Sep 19, 2010

    Moto Gear: Aerostitch Darien Pants



    When I was first looking for motorcycle pants it was important that I have something waterproof, comfortable, easy to put on and take off, reasonably priced and above all, something that I knew had a good reputation.  I did a little research and ended up talking to a motorcycle cop from Eugene, OR who wore Aerostitch (http://www.aerostich.com/).  Turned out all the motorcycle guys on the force wore Aerostitch.  I thought if Aerostitch was good enough for them, surely they were good enough for me.

    I bought my first pair of Aerostitch Darien's (http://www.aerostich.com/darien-pants.html) about four years ago.  After about three trips to the post office and two calls to Minnesota to get the sizing correct, I was happy to finally have a pair that fit.    I found I needed about two sizes larger than I thought, especially if wearing jeans under them. It is recommended that you wear something under since the fabric will get hot during a slide (sorry, can't test that as I haven't and don't plan on wrecking that severely anytime soon).  Since my purchase Aerostitch has initiated a policy of shipping the pants for free if you need a different size.  Kudos to them.  That wasn't an option when I purchased, but after writing them a brief letter they did refund half the shipping costs to me. 

    The Darien's come with zippers that go all the way down the leg enabling you to totally open the pants on either or both sides.  I sometimes use the zips as air vents since the Darien doesn't have any, per say.  The Gore-Tex Cordura fabric is at first very stiff but eventually wears in and is comfortable and durable.  In the four years I've had the pants I've crashed once in the gravel and the pants were no worse for wear.  There are reflective bits on the bottom of both legs that have velcro under, thereby allowing you to cinch the legs in when needed.  There is also a snap at the bottom of the leg, but honestly, I never use it.  The zipper doesn't have any issues staying put.  

    The pants come with a velcro optional map pocket,  a waist gusset (for those days when you eat too many cookies or drink too much beer) and a removable belt.  The pre-bent knees with removable armor are comfortable and large enough to cover the entire knee, above and below.  These pants are comfortable while riding and comfortable while walking around, eating lunch, or just hanging out.  

    The only issue I've had with the pants is the pull tabs on the zippers. The pants are still usable without the tabs but a bit inconvenient.  I have put key ring circles into the tabs and those seem to work great.  And, as a bonus, they are easier to grip when you have gloves on.  After the years of riding with the pants the only real noticeable wear is near on the inside of the leg where my boots rub.  And, to be honest, the waterproofing isn't working anymore in all the right places.  I don't blame Aerostich for that, as when I first got the pants, and probably for the first year, all I did was wash them.  I wanted to make sure they were clean after a big ride.  What I didn't know at the time was I wasn't washing them in the proper stuff.  I later learned if I used Nikwax Tech Wash and Direct Wash In (http://www.nikwax.com/en-gb/index.php) which I found at various retailers for around $7-9 a bottle, the waterproof life would last longer.  

    It's time for a new set of pants and you can bet I'll be going back to Aerostitch for a replacement pair.  The pants are a reasonable $297 and come in black or gray, sizes 30-46 and in long or regular length.  Aerostitch also makes a Darien Light that come in black, tan or gray and are made with a lighter Gore-Tex fabric.  

    Aerostitch has a website full of other tasty morsels, including the Darien Jacket, silk scarves, and smiley face puppets.  And who doesn't need a smiley face puppet?

    Sep 15, 2010

    Food Porn: Canby: Canby Grand Central Station

    Location:  101 N. Elm Street, Canby, OR find them at:   http://canbygrandcentralstation.com/
    Bmwgsgirl's rating:  9 out of 10
    Happy Hour:  Yes! 4-6:30 PM
    Price:  $$   (Happy hour apps start at 4 bucks, dinner runs from $8.50-28)

    First, let me issue an apology because my words will never do Canby Grand Central Station Steak House and Seafood justice.  It's a quaint building on the corner of Elm that has two outside seating areas, a lounge and a main dining area.  You walk in and instantly are amazed at what you see. It's beautiful.  There are two corner couches in the lounge, swanky tables, comfortable chairs, and a fine array of beverages to be tested.  You may think a place that has that much class on the inside is going to cost you an arm and a leg...but Grand Central caters to many different tastes and pocket books.  Of course you can buy that bottle of wine for $198 but you can also get a more local flare for a reasonable price.  The food menu offered a huge variety, ranging from burgers to prime rib.   And wines...if you are into wines they have a list that goes on for days and stock wines from Oregon (of course), France, Italy, New Zealand and California.   But wait, you know I'm not a wino...so I tried the skinny margarita (um, did I say skinny?) and when I told the waitress, Kim, that I didn't like it, she sent it back and brought me one of the best margarita's I've had in ages.   Thank you, Kim!
    Irish Nachos
    My visit today was at the tail end of happy hour but still I managed to snag a plate of Irish Nachos (one of my must tries wherever they are offered).  They use crisps and their Irish Nachos have a special sauce and green onions and bacon!  The happy hour menu was extensive and ranged from wings to a fish plate.  Dinner was the reason I was there and I chose a beautiful BBQ brisket with buttered mashers and fresh veggies.  I eat veggies only under duress, but these were good.  They were firm and well spiced.  My dining companion (Allison, who took the photos) had the mahi mahi.  Both were fantastic.  But wait, there's more.  Did I mention the bread?  It was undeniably the best bread I've tasted in a restaurant in forever.  It was a simple white bread (maybe not but I'm no expert, how about this, the color was white) but the crust was just as soft and wonderful as the inside. It was like biting into a marshmallow and with their honey butter (just enough sweetness for you to notice) the bread was perfect.

    I can't imagine that I've driven by this place so many times and never thought to stop.  Do yourself a favor and make a special trip.  You won't be disappointed.

    Happy hour anyone???

    Sep 14, 2010

    Food Porn: Astoria: Custard King Drive In

    On the job for Oregon in Astoria today.  Driving past 
    1597 Commercial Street my attention was stolen by a tiny little purple and pink building on the main drag.  The Custard King Drive In has apparently been an Astoria icon since it's opening in 1951.   Current owners, Susan and Paul have been proprietors for the last ten years. Susan says the place had a bad reputation previous to their ownership, but she's mum on the details.  They've changed a few things since they've owned it, but mostly Custard King remains the same.  One of the notable changes is the additional menu items, some designed based on customer requests and kept on the menu now like treasured friends.  They still have your standard burgers but now also serve the "Dragon" which is two half pound burgers and four (yeah that isn't a typo) slices of cheese.  The "Maiden burger is a 1/4 pound of meat with swiss, cedar and pepper jack cheeses.  Apparently they like their cheese.  The "Tower" burger includes ham and cheese, the "Blacksmith" sounded delish with ham, bacon and cheese!   I can't forget to mention the "Queen" which comes with 1/8 slabs and a bun in the middle. Custard King also proudly serves beer battered onion rings, breaded zuchinni sticks, breaded mushrooms,  chicken strips, BLT's and grilled cheese on sourdough.  And, since it's at the coast, you can't serve food without adding cod and  halibut to the menu.  The sign out front says "Open 11 to 6-ish" making this clearly one of my type of places.  But don't expect to sit and watch passers-by.  There's one wobbly plastic white table off to the side with four metal folding chairs.  
      
    I'm trying to be good with my food choices, but with a place like this I couldn't resist.  I ordered up a bacon with cheese, fresh cut fries with fry sauce and a Pepsi (cause a burger isn't complete without a Pepsi) which put me back a pricey $9.10.  Wow.  But just look at the photo and tell me you could resist.  The bacon was crisp, the fry sauce splendid, and the fries...the fries are how I imagine they were back in the day.  You know, when things were less complicated and more wholesome.  When a man's word meant something and a handshake was all you needed to seal a deal.  

    The food, how was the food?  Well, I have to admit I was impressed with the cook as you order vibe, enchanted by the fact that they have a selection of ice creams and shakes but I doubt I'll order another $9.00 heart attack.  It was good, and I recommend stopping by but the price scares me.  Maybe I'll stop for a milkshake just to support the local economy.  I mean after all, that's neighborly.  It's the least I could do.  You know, if I have to, for Oregon.  


    Jul 20, 2010

    Canada to Portland, OR July 20, 2010 760 Miles

    Bid ado to Surrey, BC this morning around 930AM. Stopped at the liquor store but it wasn't open...waited about ten minutes and decided Mike's Hard Lemonade could be replaced by Tequila and limes.

    Rolling in around 3:30 PM means I made good time and the four stops were short enough to not derail my agenda. On the way home I stopped at a new farmers market that boasts barbeque. I stocked up on ribs, beans, cole slaw and a side of pulled pork for later consumption. America at its finest.

    When I pulled into the driveway the slice of cheese and bagel I had at 9:00 AM had worn off and I was ready to chomp down on the ribs. Trout was tucked inside the house and didn't bother to say hello until I opened the door. She must not have heard the motorcycle and she barked profusely until she realized it was me...then jumped up on me and kept licking me until I fell on the chair. Dog sitter (Allison) was still at the house and I heard stories about her "dinner" at my house which apparently turned into a drunkfest. She couldn't remember details but it was humorous just the same.

    There's something about coming home that makes a trip that much more fun. Turning off the freeway my feet start tingling as I glide past the fields of peas and rows of corn. As I near my driveway I'm welcomed by tall strands of hops reaching toward the sky and the trees wave in the wind as if to ensure I know I've been missed.

    I've been entertaining a long trip...quitting the job and just taking a few months to travel around the States just for the pure joy of doing so. I'm not frightened by what lays ahead but by what I may miss while I'm gone...the trees changing colors in Fall, the hop harvest and the tomatoes turning red on the spindly plants in my garden...the Trout kisses and riding the 4-wheeler around the fields, her chasing me or me chasing her, Trout smiles wide enough to fill a heart that's spent a lifetime breaking.

    Maybe I'll ride off into the sunset. But even if that happens what I'd be looking forward to most is the homecoming. Because home is where the Trout is and the friends are. Thank you all.

    Jul 19, 2010

    Vancouver BC Day 2

    Riding through Vancouver on the back of the Beast heading toward yet another meeting with a friend of a friend I glance up and see the blue sky and the clouds like painted whisps from the Heavens. The sun is slowly fading and my belly is full of a Vera's Burger , more specifically the Canukian Bacon Burger. Yummy. Burgers with another friend of a friend just met earlier at their penthouse loft with a great view of the water. I met Neil from Onewheeldrive.net (http://www.onewheeldrive.net/) and Kevin and immediately thought "Wow, these guys are fun!" Lots of motorcycles in the basement garage and lots of motorcycle gear in the loft yet an amazing amount of personality from both. Best part of the trip thus far as the laughter flowed like fine wine.

    On the way back to the hotel I found myself thinking about how people ride. I started pondering the way I ride. I wondered what the best way was. I would assume someone who has ridden more and been more places knows how to ride better than I. I mean, I've been in my backyard essentially. But then I wonder if being all over the world really should be the deciding factor in your riding ability. I mean, it's easier to say someone who has ridden farther is a much better rider than I will ever be...but maybe being a good rider doesn't just encompass where you've been. In my mind it should also include how safe you are, whether the decisions you make are sound and reasonable, and maybe how many drivers you piss off by simply being on the road.

    Being all over the world gives someone an automatic gold star, sure. But maybe it's only by the grace of God that they made it that far. And, well, it does give bragging rights that I'll never have. But still, I say it's a bit of a cop out. I mean after all, just because you do something doesn't mean you're good at it.

    Just sayin!

    Jul 18, 2010

    Vancouver BC Day 1

    Viewed Vancouver BC from the back of the Beast today. It's a good thing that I already know how to ride because if I didn't, I wouldn't dare get on a bike again. Riding on the back, trusting your life to someone else, sucks. It's a lot like being on a roller coaster that could go anywhere at any time that brakes at the last minute. Weaving in and out of traffic, no turn signals, tires screeching, people glaring, pedestrians running, holding on for dear life thinking, "why isn't anyone as pissed as I am?" Finally a yuppie in a Toyota Landcruiser gets cut off and honks his horn not bothering to slow down and almost landing me on his hood. I want to turn around and thank him for honking and ask if I can have a ride back to the hotel.

    I had no idea the Beast could maneuver in such a manner. I also had no idea you could whip around a 20mph corner at 55 with a rider on the back, slide between cars with an inch to spare on each side, and basically use your turn signal only when YOU personally think it's warranted. And, well, it's apparently not warranted when you slip between two cars who are cruising at 45 mph with not nearly a car length between them. Yep. Color me freaked. My thighs actually hurt from straddling the bike with all my might and the prayers I said and promises I made while under duress will keep me being a good girl for years to come.

    On second thought, maybe not. But still, I learned a valuable lesson. Never let someone put you on the back of your bike. It's your bike, you ride it. Because really, no one rides like you do.

    Canada July 18, 2010

    From Portland, OR the ride to Canada is about 5.5 hours. I'd like to say it's a scenic ride but trudging up I-5 and through Seattle traffic is a lot like going to the dentist and having a root canal. Nonstop traffic once you are outside of Seattle and all the way through town. By the time I was through it both my wrists were burning from the constant shifting and braking. My allergies and asthma were acting up due to the smog...cars bumper to bumper zipping in and out of lanes as if moving one over would accomplish some great feat.

    Past Seattle the road narrows again and until you hit the Peace Arches at the border it's smooth riding with small towns and trees lining the way. And the border on a Saturday around 4:00 PM is a five minute wait. The questions are quick, "what is the reason for your trip? How long will you be here? Have anything on board you're selling? What's in the bag?" All for naught since clearly I could have brought in an army worth of guns and no one would have noticed. They did make me remove my sunglasses so they could "see if my picture matched" but frankly, on my passport my face shows an extra 15 pounds and make up that I never wear.

    Riding into Surrey, my destination, my first stop is a liquor store where I buy two 4 packs of Mike's Hard Lemonade with Vodka. That's the reason I love Canada. I get back to my bike and realize I really don't have room for that much booze on the bike. I take them out of the boxes and shove them into whatever crevice is available in my sidebags. I'm ready to roll when I realize I'm parked on such a slant and the bike and gear weigh so much that I don't have the strength to push the bike upright. Great, another opportunity for failure. I get off, put the stand down, and slowly start pushing the bike backwards so I can get on more level ground. The kickstand is scraping along the asphalt and everyone is staring at me wondering what the heck I'm doing. I can almost hear them saying, "look at the dumb american who bought a bike that's too heavy."

    Of course, I knew the trip wouldn't be complete without at least one episode of me being a dumbass. Last time I was here I asked if they were closed for Memorial Day. Um, the USA Memorial Day. Coincidentally that was also at a liquor store. Maybe I need to stay out of liquor stores, stay out of Canada, or just wise up. But, now that I ponder it, I'm glad I didn't disappoint.

    Ride on.

    Jul 15, 2010

    Trout

     
    Posted by Picasa


    This sweet little adorable chocolate lab is Trout. She's actually a nightmare in training. Well, I guess she's out of training and now is into the graduate program. Her favorite thing is the kiddie pool in the backyard and she runs to it every time the back door opens. Unfortunately she's really good at sprinting back inside the house before the door shuts.

    Somewhere I heard dogs were easier to have than children, you know, the whole you can lock them in the backyard thing...well I am finding that's not true. And in fact, not even close..because at least the kid will eventually grow up, start mowing the lawn and doing other chores and move away. This little devil isn't going anywhere.

    Jul 13, 2010

    Moto Gear: Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag

    Wow. Someone hand me a cigarette. Just got back from a ride using the Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag (http://www.giantloopmoto.com/)and the experience was that fulfilling.

    At first glance the bag is a bit of a concern for a rider who's been using strictly hardbags. But let me tell you, the Great Basin is a rider's dream. The mounting is done in a quick and easy manner simply by looping the 5 straps around a point on the bike and pushing the strap through the fastener. Easy Peasy. The "U" shape of the bag allows it conform nicely on the rear seat and yet hang at an angle which didn't affect my riding. Their website touts "rides like it's not even there" and well, they aren't kidding. I had to turn around to make sure the bag hadn't fallen off.

    Probably the best part is the weight of the Great Basin. Coming in at 50 liter volume and having an empty weight of only 8 pounds (on my home scale) the bag is light and has enough capacity for a day ride, commuting for work and even a weekend trip. And, it's light enough that even a child can lift it, carry it, and maneuver the bag without an issue.

    The width of the bag when on the bike was about 29" as compared to my hardcases which are about 40" wide. The Great Basin has compression straps on the side so the width can change, and even when not completely full there isn't flapping in the wind due to the location of the straps and the compression ability. And speaking of flapping, not an issue in the world with drag, which is a common thing with my huge hardcase panniers.

    I had the bag fully strapped onto the bike and realized I'd forgotten to put my purse in for my test ride. There was no problem with opening the zipper and just pushing it in because the zipper runs far enough down the edge of the bag to enable access. The zippers are strong and durable which is a good thing considering on most my gear the zippers break first.

    Per Giant Loop's website the bag is made of waterproof material but the seams need to be sealed. This isn't a problem for some riders as their bikes are stationary until the rain stops. I ride all year round but I welcome the opportunity to test the bag in the weather.

    My only real concern with the bag, given my type of riding, is security. In the set up I currently have the bags are locked to the bike and have locks keeping everything inside secure. The peace of mind I get from that is a big bonus. With the Great Basin there is essentially no security. Sure, you could use a Pacsafe but that's an extra expense. Of course, even with the extra expense of a Pacsafe anti theft system the Great Basin comes in at a reasonable price of only $399. That's less than a quarter of what I paid for the hardcases. A lot less.

    Overall the Giant Loop Great Basin bag is a winner. I'd use it and I'd love it. Now about a tank bag....

    Jul 11, 2010

    Oops, I did it again!

    The other day I decided to put the "rubber to the road" as all the cool motorcyclists say and ride the bike to Salem. It was a hot day for Oregon, about 98 degrees, and I was wearing all my gear like a good little girl. My driveway is just long enough to pick up momentum before turning onto the road and I live in the country where there's not a lot of traffic. I hit the end of the gravel driveway and start to make my turn onto the road when I notice a truck coming down the road. I slam on my brakes and the Beast comes to a sudden stop. Unfortunately, not before I put my left leg down to catch it. The foot peg slams into my calf and I nearly drop the Beast. It's then I again re-evaluate my mode of transportation and consider if I were on my last bike, the F650GS, I'd not have almost 600 pounds of bike to pick up and try to manage. Damn my ego!

    Today I'm sporting an awesomely sized battle wound bruise on my left calf. It's a reminder to stop being an idiot on the bike, a precursor to things that will come if I don't start paying attention and stop acting like a girl when I ride.

    But, oh what good stories I can tell simply based on my stupidity.

    May 25, 2010

    Yellowstone May 2010

    Rusty, Jess and Jerry
    I took a two week vacation this May and rode my bike to Yellowstone with two of my favorite riders, Jerry (on a BMW) and Rusty (on his recently rebuilt Honda 650 dual sport).  Our journey began in LaPine, OR.  We headed east toward Ontario, OR,  passing over a huge section of straight, barren roads that offered nothing in the way of scenery.  We stopped the first night at a "campground" which was straight out of a Deliverance.  I swear I heard pigs squealing in the distance as I set up my tent. The campground was more of a permanent home for the slightly underprivledged.  The trailers and cars were all dilapidated, some on blocks, some on bare rims.  There were bathrooms but the smell of the water was somewhere between vomit and manure.  Horrifying but entertaining.  We parked out bikes near the tents and it was a miracle they were still there in the morning.

    We took off early and headed northeast, making a minor pit stop when Rusty's turn signal started breaking.  He fixed it using a tube of Superglue from a local store.  Sweet!  Everything after that came up roses.  If only that were true.  We hit the first condo (hey I ride a BMW and we went in style) and it was a nice place but a little small.  Rusty and I slept on the floor and listened to the snoring from the other room.

    Rusty being really really safe. 

    The next morning we mounted up and headed to a condo at West Yellowstone.  We spent three nights there, Rusty sleeping in the living room and Jerry and I cozy in our own private rooms, finally able to stretch out and relax.  We bought over priced liquor and had martinis and cranberry vodkas before sleeping peacefully.  The next morning we took a leisurely ride through Yellowstone, seeing buffalo, elk, eagles, and all kinds of wilderness.  We sat for what seemed like an eternity waiting for Old Faithful to burst, listening to a family from Florida discuss the merits of an RV.  Back at the condo, after a full day's ride, we ate like kings, drank more, watched basketball and laughed at Jerry's stories. It was a perfect day.   The next day we were off to Butte, MT to meet one of Jerry's old co-workers for lunch.  We met at a restaurant that is famous for it's breads (sorry, can't remember the name) so we bought huge cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning (which we forgot to eat).
    Apparently the weather wasn't as happy about our trip as we were and the storms were moving in as we slept.  We decided to head home as soon as we were packed since we had a couple passes to conquer.  As we rode from West Yellowstone the hail and snow assaulted us.  I screamed into my helmet, "Bring it on!"  The weather Gods were not intimidated.  Right before the first pass Rusty's trusty Honda started leaking oil.  I thanked my stars for a good job and a new BMW.  We stopped constantly to add oil.  We had a few miles of good pavement then the rain started...and kept coming...then turned to snow....then turned to hail and snow...and all the while I"m screaming into my helmet, "Bring it!"  because I figured it couldn't get any worse.  Then it did.  Really.  More snow, thick on the windshield and all over the helmet.  My temp gage (Yeah, I know, spoiled, but it IS a BMW) read 32 at one point and I almost felt my fingers freeze.  You couldn't see with the visor down and when it was up, freezing cold water smashed into your face like a sledgehammer.  Wonderful.  Luckily I had a heated jacket while Rusty, meanwhile, was forming icicles on his privates.  Good gear goes a long way to making happiness.   (My apologies while you try to remove the visions of Rusty's icicles from your mind.)

    Right before quitting time the rain stopped and Rusty ran out of gas.  He pushed the bike until a woman came outside her house and offered to give him some gas to get him to the next station.  It was the one bit of luck we had that wasn't bad.  She told us about the next town and how to use the gas pumps even though the station was closed.  We found the hotel and when we rolled up helpful man told us the proprietor was off having a birthday dinner for his wife.  We hit the pavement looking for dinner and found a Chinese cafe nearby (ok maybe it was one of the only places to eat other than the gas station).  During dinner the motel owner came down and found us, saying he'd go back and prep the room (turn on the heat since we were clearly cold and miserable) and even took money off since Rusty would have to sleep on a rollaway.  Nice town and wonderful people... if you can excuse the giant white elk with it's butt facing the sky on the roof of the hotel.

    The next morning we ate two day old cinnamon rolls and and headed for Oregon.  And, wait for it, another pass with SNOW!  At this point I wasn't even trying to be entertained.  I was feeling sorry for Rusty and his bad gear, thankful for my nice waterproof pants and jacket, gloriously excited I had a heated vest, and beyond words thrilled about my nice gortex BMW gloves.  That night we stayed in a motel in a one horse town.  All I can remember is the one restaurant closed early, the motel was possibly used for a mass murder at one point in it's life, the words "clean" did not exist in the vocabulary of the staff, the floors creaked, the sinks leaked, but all I cared about was climbing under the dirty sheets and snoring.

    That morning we rode a few hundred miles to LaPine and were home.  I took the next week off from my vacation to have a vacation at the beach.   And the week at Yellowstone?  It was a wonderful trip, a rider's dream on some roads, a nightmare on others. There's something about riding a bike through a snow storm and watching buffalo walk so close you can reach out and touch them, that bonds you.  So next year, I say we head...south.  To the sun and a beach.  Let someone else touch the buffalo.  I just want to touch a margarita glass and leave my heated jacket at home.

    May 8, 2010

    Blossoms

    It's 2 AM on a "school night" and sleep fails me. Memories of who I once was and hoped to be fly through my mind like whisps of fog then dissipate. I only catch glimpses which lead simply to confusion instead of clarity. If I think really hard I can barely remember the girl who dared to dream. She would run though fields jumping over fences and chasing lizards. At least she did until that one day when her foot caught on the bottom barb wire and she crashed down chest first into a rock, left winded with just a lizard tail in her hand. Gasping for breath, watching the lizard run away merrily, half expecting it to turn around and taunt her. That girl, she is long gone. Time and experience have changed her. For the better or worse remains yet undetermined. What is known is that dreams that grew from childhood innocence still rest like fruit blossoms on a tree with roots that wind deep around her soul. Every so often she will see that tree and look at it with contempt. The tree is a reminder of what could have been; of things wanted and hoped for but never dared for. As she looks in the mirror she notices the lines across her face and watches a breeze pluck one of the few remaining blossoms and send it flying into the air. She is at the precipice of life. Standing there watching her bridges burn, the flames flickering around that tree of dreams...and she wonders...is it too late to chose a different path?

    Apr 10, 2010

    Holy Mountain and Lola's Room

    Kat and I went to work on Friday night at the Crystal Ballroom, Lola's Room (http://www.mcmenamins.com/crystalballroom). There was a "cd" release party scheduled and our task was to video someone who was attending. Kat and I are investigators.  Really.  


    This is that story. It is a true story. 

    We started the evening with food at McMenamins...tater tots, cheeseburger, and whatever Kat had that was healthier (does't really deserve mention since it wasn't beef ha). The doors to the event opened at 8. Festivities to start at 9. We headed over around 730 and the bouncers, if you can call them that (I could have taken them with a pinky), viewed our ID's and sent us up. We should have know how the evening was going to go when they commented something about "join the 15 people!" Not easily swayed, we head up the stairs, through the hallway toward a darkened room where two people were already leaving. Not a good sign when people leave before it starts. 

    There's a bar on the west side, which is a good thing, if you can drink. Again, we were working...but I could have used a big drink. I decided later that a drink wouldn't have been tangible anyway since it could get roofied... So we find a nice table with a view of the room and do a quick scan. The room is dark, clearly no video will be taken tonight. There are about 15 people in the room, mostly dressed in black and not clearly recognizable. Not like I'd recognize them anyway since I tend to personally steer clear of those parts of town.

    We spot the chick we're looking for as she mingles. She's clearly fine. Begs the question, how long do we wait. Oh, I haven't mentioned it as of yet, but, well, a big part of the evening was the music. You'd think that. But, the bigger part of the evening for me was the people watching and the "movie" playing on the big screen the entire time. Through my keen investigative skills I learned the name of the movie. It was a 1970's flick by a South American dude who clearly had issues. The movie is called Holy Mountain. Look it up. Nothing I can tell you about it will change your life like actually watching it. Really. All I can say, because honestly, I'm still a little frightened about it...is the movie will change the way you think about film. Really. Oh, and the man who I spoke to about the movie, well, the entire time he was talking to me he had his hand over his mouth. Hiding something. Just saying. 

    During the evening we were sitting at our table examining the clientele. Lots of black clothing, a trio of chicks with striped socks and glitter painted on their faces, other people (if you can use that word) heavily medicated by illegal substances . And just when I figured out what was missing...you know...what the place was really lacking...HE walks in. HE was possibly the very first vampire I've ever seen. Or, at least, vampire wannabe. He was in all black, shaggy black hair, black leather trench coat, what appears to be a leather arm band thingy that goes from the hand up to the elbow, and, get this, sunglasses. He's wearing sunglasses. It's a miracle he doesn't trip over some man's ripped and tatered dress (yes, they were really wearing that). He slinks to the bar, grabs what I can only imagine must be blood, then goes to a table near the wall. There he proceeds to remove his fancy full length jacket and show off his....black MUSCLE SHIRT. I shit you not. It was horrific. 

    Kat and I are in awe of the situation then point out that all we need is a serial killer. Then, as if on cue, there HE is. The fn serial killer. He looks somewhat normal. Ok, well, not normal by normal standards, but clearly less wierd than everyone else...well, if you can ignore the things he's calling sideburns and the funky glasses. He stands next to out table and as he turns towards us I try to look away quickly, but damn! We make eye contact. Crap. And, enough eye contact that he moves closer to our table and starts telling us a story about how he's got 4 friends who are supposed to meet him but they haven't showed up and goly what's this music...has it started? I give him a speil about how I think the guy on stage is just warming up but, but he's been doing it for awhile. He then looks at us and asks rather blunty, "Why are you here?" Ok, me, I suddenly get speechless and look at Kat. She says something about finding the music on MySpace and the serial killer seems passified, though it really seems like he wants to sit and wait for his friends. Unfortunately, we are smart. Well, Kat's smart. I would have invited the man to sit and probably tolerated him until he wanted a ride home, which of course I would have offered, and then he surely would have chopped me up into a million pieces and ate my liver with a nice wine. (I should watch more tv). 

    The serial killer walks away and Kat and I look at each other and we suddenly say, "all we need is a rapist." And holy shit if our Rapist doesn't come walking by the table about five minutes later. He's blonde and clean cut and is wearing a black pea coat buttoned to the top so the collar can stand up and make him look extra cool. He's pretty like Bundy was before the execution. 

    Oh, and, well, apparently that "practice/tune up session" we were listening to for an hour was actually the music. Yep. The man stopped playing and everyone clapped and we just looked around and were like, What the....

    Put all this together with the porn/religious flick in the background (seriously, there was an ice carving of a penis and Jesus) and what do you get? I think the answer is therapy. We left around 11:00 pm maybe. I don't remember. All I really remember is me chanting in my head "Judge not yest ye be judged" over and over and over. I pictured myself in my room later that night, fetal position in the corner, rocking back and forth, chanting that. Over and over. I don't know if I will ever be able to even drive past the Crystal Ballroom again. I do know this: Vampires walk the streets in Portland. Yep. I've seen them. And, well, if I disappear or if Kat does, you know why. It's because we saw them. "Judge not lest ye be judged. Judge not....."

    Mar 14, 2010

    E.a.S.Y.

    As I'm laying on a hospital bed wearing a pretty blue bonnet and being warmed by a blankey the male nurse, also in matching blue bonnet, asks how I injured my knee. He's wheeling me through the corridor to the surgery suite and passes by the DaVinci room saying I can have that room next time. Hopefully, I say, there will be no next time. "So, how'd you injured it?" he asks again. Persistent little nurse, isn't he? I tell him I'm not sure, but I am positive the surf machine at the Luau didn't help. He asks, "Wow sounds fun, how long ago was that?" And, sensing I'm about to be ridiculed for being almost 40 and drinking while attempting to surf, I say, quietly, "last summer." He laughs and pushes me through the door, banging the sides as we go in. I slide onto the table and the anethesiologist asks, "How'd you hurt your knee?" I look at the male nurse in his silly blue bonnet and say, "On a surf machine, when I was 21." He smiles.

    The next thing I know I'm awake, shivering as a different nurse (a female this time, without a blue bonnet) says, "You're awake! Would you like something to drink?" I ask for the apple juice and it arrives in a cute plastic cup full of ice and juice. Did I mention I was shivering???? Apple Juice over ice did NOT help. By the time they decide I can dress (in my SHORTS since I did not know heating a hospital would be an issue) my teeth are chattering and my shoulders are shivering. (Later the nurse tells me the room is cold because it slows the growth of bacteria. I tell her if she'd told me that in the first place I wouldn't have spent the last few minutes bitching...)

    We do a quick exit discussion with Marti (driver, co-worker, confidant) and end up being "shooosed" numerous times by the other nurse who is trying to talk to the elderly lady with the eye patch. Apparently we are having too much fun. Isn't that what exiting the hospital should be about...I mean, if I were that old lady I'd be glad to be leaving. She hasn't much time left.

    I am wheeled to the waiting car (Thanks again, Marti) and the nurse says I'm good to go! I, ever the smart arse, say, "Wow, with this knee fixed surely Mr. Right will come along" just as the chubby but adorably stupid male nurse who I saw constantly dropping stuff and annoying the other nurses, drops something in front of us. The nurse helping me whispers, "He's single but you could do better." Then she says, "you're funny, if I knew anyone single you'd be the first on my list." Aww, I made a friend. She helps me into the car and off we go, driving as Marti does, warp speed with me sitting there, shivering, and this time more out of fear. :)

    At home, the dogs are excited, so much so that Baits runs into the field and away. We spend a few moments yelling at him and he actually comes home on his own. Wow. Miracle. That's good because Marti was thinking about calling the neighbor with the gun, I can tell. Trout accidently bumps me only once, then notices I have a bandage on my knee, sniffs, then suddenly turns into super dog. She mellows and starts following me closer than before.

    Later Trout ends up laying by the couch as I sit with the bag of ice on my knee (hmm didn't I have a bag of ice here last week, a little higher? Damn). I think about when I can stand again, when I can shower, when I can walk, and when I can jog. I look down at my knee, bandaged up and already healing...and I fondly see my doctor's initials there. I think of how many times and how many different nurses, doctors, and probably janitorial staff walked past and asked me the same questions over and over.

    "What's your name and birthdate?" I actually mention I am wearing the bracelet that tells me that information so maybe they should try something a little more difficult.
    "Had anything to drink or eat?" No. The old lady next to me DID have something so I comment that some people don't follow directions very well.
    "Have any piercings or other jewlery you haven't removed?" No.I am curious now...
    "Any loose fillings or broken dentures in your mouth?" Um, no I tell the fifth person and I'd like it to stay that way.

    And then, my memories shift and I'm back to the doctor's initials. Hot Doc's initials. Hot doc who I will see only once again, post op appointment next week. When I'll be just some patient he used to have, just another pretty knee. And I think back to him writing on my leg. And I think back to all the chances I had to impress. And yet, me being ever the arse, instead I said,

    "Wow, I'm glad you're not operating on my head or you would have written that on my forehead." He looks at it and looks at me and I say, "ESY." And he smiles and says, yeah, just missing the "A".

    Thanks Marti for the help and Hot Doc for the memories. And, thank you male nurse for the superman bandaid I found today on my stitches. You guys are the bestest.

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