the hot russian chick from work had made so many references to firefly which were immediately followed by me looking at her quizzically and saying "i've never seen any of the episodes", a month or two ago she finally shoved the dvd boxset into my hands and told me i had no choice but to watch them. which i dutifully did. (she's russian, after all.) i can no longer say i'm firefly-ignorant. what did i think? well, i'm not falling all over myself fawning about the show like some people, but it was pretty good. i guess maybe i'll have to watch serenity again sometime, since i now have the back story for it.
sometimes being a biker can be tough. for example, last weekend i decided i needed to get a few things from office depot. like large plastic containers. it was a nice day, and i figured i could carry everything on my bike. plus it's only a few blocks. large plastic containers don't always nestle into each other very well. and they didn't have any large plastic bags that could hold them all. i ended up with them on the tank between/on my legs, while i used my chin to compress it all together and keep it from falling to the side. my arms also had to kind of reach around everything to get to the handlebars. but i took mostly back roads and made it home without any disasters.
wednesday night, on the other hand, i was in precarious situations both going to and coming home from the radio show -- neither of which were my fault. on the way to the show i was driving down westheimer toward montrose. now, westheimer has pretty narrow lanes, so that makes it a little dangerous in general. but in this instance, i was in the outside lane in one of the tight doglegs when a shiny new silver corvette who was being stopped behind traffic on the inside lane decided a corvette just shouldn't have to sit. the grey-haired, probably mid-50's, upper-management-class driver popped his tires to the right and burned rubber to jump into the outside lane...where i was about to be. i slammed on my brakes and my back started sliding to the left. fortunately he had gunned it so he moved out of the space i was moving into as i slid. i gave him a friendly gesture as he took off. i don't think he even knew what he did to me. then he had to stop at the light at montrose. he whipped lanes and pulled up next to a somewhat older yellow corvette that was at the light, which i pulled up behind (glaring at him the whole time). he started waving something in a baggie toward the other corvette until the guy rolled down his window. i guess his need to jump into my lane was so he could offer his fellow corvette enthusiast a sticker for his window. the light turned green, they were still talking, so i revved my engine and the yellow corvette started moving. the silver guy took off slowly, then he gunned it and took both lanes in the dogleg by katz's. then he slowed down again and waited for the yellow corvette to get up beside him again. classy guy.
on the way home, the danger wasn't as immediate, but still could have been bad. being a biker, there are certain places you drive often where you know people do stupid things. either because the road/signage/whatever is weird, or because people want to naturally do things there that don't match the road rules at that point. the alabama/shepherd and alabama/greenbriar intersections are two of them. at alabama/shepherd, coming from montrose there is no left turn. what had been a left turn lane now goes straight through the intersection, along with the outside lane. in the opposite direction, there is one straight lane and one left turn lane. first, a person making a left may think you are in a left turn lane if you are on the inside. second, the road shifts a little to the right in the intersection, so a lot of people in the outside lane going straight assume the inside lane is turning left, or they go straight and end up splitting both lanes and choose to take the inside lane thus blocking you off or pushing you into oncoming traffic. but that's not where my problem was. the alabama/greenbriar intersection from shepherd has two lanes going straight, a left turn lane, and one lane heading toward shepherd. the other side has a left turn lane, one forward lane, and two opposing lanes. people going toward shepherd love to move over into the left turn lane right after the intersection, or sometimes before it. as i was coming up to the intersection, a big suv was coming down the left turn lane with their left turn signal on. but they didn't turn left. they came straight through the intersection into the left turn lane i was in. they saw me and had enough time to jump over in front of the car that was beside them (and in the single proper lane), but i would have gone to the right anyway because i was halfway expecting it. still, it's not fun to think about a head-on collision at 35 or 40 mph when you're on a motorcycle. (even with a helmet. which i wasn't wearing.)
i'll cap the biker stories off with another one that is my fault. thursday night i decided to go the grocery store and buy some soy milk. just one 0.5 gallon of soy milk...the bike is a fine choice for such a lovely evening. but of course i didn't just get the soy milk. i was aware i was on the bike, but i picked up a 6-pack of juice drinks and a pre-made salad. this all required two bags. which didn't fit on my tank very well. and immediately began sliding to either side as soon as i started going. each object almost fell out of the bags at multiple points. and my driving was about as good as if i'd been rather intoxicated. using the clutch was difficult. most of the way i drove with one hand. good thing it's only a few blocks! i got home and hit the driveway, and the soy milk immediately fell to the ground. i pitched the other stuff to the grass and parked my bike. no food losses. no bike losses. no body losses.
during my container buying excursion last weekend, i also was excited to see a new product -- sharpie pens. i love sharpies, but they have a tendency to bleed through paper. so i was excited to see pen models, guaranteed to not bleed through (most) paper. i got them home and tried them out. sigh. they're okay, but the ink color is much lighter, and the lines are pretty thin. maybe i set my standards too high.
this saturday i got up late and eventually left the house and ate at goode company bbq. i then dropped by yankee candle to use a coupon i had. i picked up a sicilian orange (large jar) and a fudge ripple (medium jar).
speaking of yankee candles, i finally had my first real "disappointscent". (i just made that word up. i'm so clever!) it was juicy watermelon. it smells pretty good unlit, but when you're burning it the only thing i can really think of is that fake watermelon scent of stuff like jolly ranchers. which is okay if that's what you want, but i was expecting more of a legitimate scent. oh well, i've only got about 135 more hours of it left. ; )
(as an aside, today at lunch we saw a biker guy on a chopper pulling into a parking lot in rice village. a coworker said "ooh, i bet he's going to bath and body works. to get some nice scented soaps. or candles or something." while the coworker who went to yankee candle with me laughed, i said "hey! there's nothing wrong with a masculine biker liking scented candles!")
this weekend i went back to office depot and picked up some more containers and some other stuff. after the disappointment with the sharpie pens, i felt the need to vindicate my pen purchasing needs. so i bought an 8-pack of liquid expresso pens. and i bought a 4-pack of staedtler permanent pens. (they're about like permanent sharpies, and bleed through paper about as much. still, they're nice.) i also went for the gusto and picked up a somewhat expensive cross fountain pen, along with various writing supplies (silver foil lined envelopes, brochure jackets, white antique laid paper). it seems like having nice presentation for ye olde hand-written letters is a Good Thing [tm]. now if i ever get around to writing any, i can do it in style. i'm still toying with the fountain pen. it's a different feel than most ballpoints and felt/porous tips...very smooth, and bleeds a lot. it's been a long time since i used fountain style pens.
saturday early evening i dropped by taurian and ordered 0.5 inch 6 gauge captive hoops. it's a ritual, you know. hopefully they'll be ready in the next week or two. i was somewhat confused as i rode down westheimer, as there were cops blocking off most of the side streets and a lot of people milling about. i figured maybe i just missed a parade. not quite. i was early for a parade. the gay pride parade. by the time i was leaving taurian there were more people standing and sitting along the street. i didn't hang around.
saturday night jack and sue came by after a shot to hang out. except sue was groggy and walked into the house, straight to the couch, plopped down, and fell asleep. jack was coherent, but within about 15 minutes of sitting down to talk with me, he was falling asleep as well. jack thought he needed caffeine instead of driving home, so we left sue on the couch and headed to the house of pies. it was packed, i'm guessing from the gay contingent who had just gotten their pride on at the parade. we regrouped and headed to the teahouse. i had a pina colada smoothie with tapioca, jack had something with caffeine. but it wasn't enough. we got back to my house and he asked if he could take a nap. he went to my bed, and i woke sue up to tell her she could sleep on the bed if she wished. she got up and went back. three hours later, they woke up and headed home.
on sunday i ate a late lunch at einstein bagels, then i headed over to target. i bought a few more plastic containers (i'm trying to organize and go through a bunch of stuff i still have in cardboard boxes, you see), along with a silver metallic ink pad (could always come in handy), one of those punches you use to round corners on paper (i'll explain this purchase some other time), and a wooden "treasure chest" box made in india. which was very explicit about the fact that it's "NOT FOR FOOD" and for decorative purposes only. (i know using it as a food container was the first thing i thought of...or maybe not.) my treasure chest is currently going to be holding a bunch of remotes. maybe one day it can hold other things as well, like fruit, or cheese danish, or jello. but for now, the remotes pretty much fill it up.