I've started taking creatine lately. This is after reading about it from several sources. It seems to be of particular benefit to vegetarians. So... we'll see how it does!


This weekend I'm off to St. Louis. This will be my first substantial trip on my motorcycle, though I have been out for some ~40 minute rides in the middle of the night lately. Those have been really fun. I've discovered that verything is beautiful in the middle of the night on a motorcycle... but I intend to keep this trip within daylight hours. I've been glancing at maps, and it looks like I'm doing the historic route 66 from Joliet to St. Louis. My bike is still in the break-in period, so I shouldn't take it out on highway 55. To be nice to the engine it looks like I'll be averaging 50-55 mph. Which is cool. Ride within my limits and all... and also, remembering the wind farm in Indiana... no idea what I might see that you can't see from the main highway. Must bring a better camera than my laptop!

Kallisti studying how to draw...

Kallisti has begun studying how to draw from xkcd (http://xkcd.com), which is just awesome.

Oh, also XKCD related, when driving back from visiting family in southern Indiana we drove through this huge windmill farm. It was very surreal. I had no idea these huge things were out there. They were beautiful but also just very... unnerving. Something about the simplicity of their form and their enormous size.

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And then I came across this XKCD, so right on: http://xkcd.com/556/

Busy day

Kallisti and I went downtown today. First thing we parked in the loop and, after chasing a few pigeons we went up to the L. We got on and rode around the loop and back. When we got off the conductor asked if we were going to the sears tower, he was surprised that riding the L was the reason we were in the loop. We looked up at the Sears (or ahem, Willis) Tower, but trains are more fun.

From there we went to China town to buy some candy. One of my classmates was supposed to hang out with us, but she cancelled due to some personal drama. So we just got the candy and went on to the field museum.

We were there primarily to see dinosaurs, but wandered around aimlessly from exhibit to exhibit. We kept getting distracted on the way to the dinos, it was much fun. I like the way they've done the dinosaurs now, in context of overall life evolving and talking about extinctions. As a kid I just remember them being haphazardly arranged in a big room. Kallisti had us sit and watch all the video clips, she especially liked the ones about "brontosaurus".

After the museum we went out and rolled down hills outside :-D

Need proper motorcycle gear

So I threw on my leather jacket and helmet (of course), and got out on a rural highway to check out what it felt like travelling at speed. The bike felt great, my jacket, not so great. It's a lightweight leather jacket, and at that speed it was flapping in the wind like crazy. I could feel it pulling back on me, making me and the bike feel less stable. I imagine a proper fitting motorcycle jacket would make a huge difference at those speeds. Also, I left without my gloves... which was just silly. My fingers are frozen!

Got my license

I passed the written and riding exam this morning so now I've got my motorcycle license. Lots of time was spent preparing in from of my house. I borrowed my daughter sidewalk chalk to draw out parts of the course on the street. She also helped me practice by riding the course I marked out with her bicycle ;-D

I'm still signed up for the motorcycle riders course, I'll probably pick up some good tips and it is good for the insurance rates.

Anyway, I'm pretty proud of myself and glad I don't have to worry anymore.

Next weekend, or the weekend after depending on the weather, I'll be off on my first road trip down to St. Louis. I'm still in the break-in period on the bike, so I'm not supposed to rev the engine up to highway speeds, so I'm looking at taking other routes to get down there. I'm excited.

Meh, don't need motorcycle instructor...

Whee, I've got my Ninja. It is very green, a Kawasaki Ninja 250. Learning to ride, watching vids on youtube. This morning I actually drove to a gas station and filled it up, whee. $5 of 93 octane fills the tank about 3/4 of the way. It is a lot of fun. I just got it Monday. Except for the gas station I'm just riding around the neighborhood. Maybe I'll be ready for the license exam this weekend. I feel totally comfortable on it, the handling is totally intuitive. Only problem is I still haven't got the clutch mastered. Every now and then I get it backwards and release the clutch while braking and thus stall the bike, but I'm making that mistake less and less.

I signed up for the JJC riding program, but the only standby seat I could get was in June, I'll almost certainly have my license by then, but completing the course may help insurance...

Need a motorcycle instructor

If anyone knows someone than knows how to ride, please contact me. I want to get my license and get a bike in the next two weeks but I can't find any classes until April... Help! I'd be willing to pay in cash or drinks or...?

Should we help people pay their mortgages?

Yes. Within reason, and from all I know Obama's plan in well within reason, yes. Am I bothered that we are "encouraging bad behaviour?" No. I've plotted a course in my life that has paid off and we can make our payments, but there was quite a bit of luck involved. I just saw that rant on CBS by that Santelli asshole... fucking asshole. You know what? Traders aren't a cross section of the populace. Traders are fucking assholes. They're the ones that have been running this economy into the ground. It is their fault, the market's fucking fault that companies are driven to self-destruction for short term gain. It is their fault that these people have lost jobs and it is their fault that people were encouraged to get mortgages they can't afford... just fucking pisses me off.

Anyway, yes, I'm one of those people that can pay my mortgage and I think this plan is an excellent idea...

Unexpected plumbing

So I look like I've been fighting with cats. My arms are all scratched up... but at least we have running water again, and not running on the floor.

Sunday evening I decided to replace a leaky shutoff valve on our water heater. It had been leaking since it was installed about six years ago, about a drop a minute or two. That was enough to make some serious rust around where the pipe goes into it. When I went to disconnect the old valve, rather than unscrewing from the tank, the pipe going into the tank twisted around, breaking down inside the water heater. I didn't realize how screwed I was at the time, and went about replacing the valve, and doing a pretty shitty job at it too. (I hate working with copper pipe. I used to think it was neat, but I hate it now.)

Anyway, I get the valve hooked up and turn it on and it leaks out of the top of the tank, all around where it is rusted. So I get some epoxy to try to stem the tide... to no avail. So I skip work and class yesterday. We go to home depot and order a new water heater installed and I start working like a madman to rip out all the old iron pipe I can. I just barely was able to rerun the water to the heater in time to hook it up. Yay, for CPVC! It took until about 8 pm last night before everything was hooked up again. I'm getting pretty good at this now. Unfortunately I used the wrong glue on most of the pipes I've put up, but oh well. It is holding and not leaking, so I have little motivation to replace the joints right now. Maybe in a couple months I'll get back to it and finish taking out the iron pipes. *whew*

So this is another random skill I am building up. Whee.