Monday, July 27, 2015

a quiet place

I was talking with a friend a bit ago about refuges...those places that you go when you need a bit of peace, recharging, solace, isolation. It made me think of one I had a long time ago, back in a different life, a place that still sticks with me today. It was a weird little add-on room at the back of a small 800sqft rental; a sort of sunroom, but definitely hand-made [and sooo not to code]: bare wood 2x4s framing it, big sheets of clear plastic nailed to the wood for walls, a rough roof, and a gravel floor. I added a rug, a futon, a small lamp, and a CD player, and it became an awesome little hideaway. Since it was in the back of the house, it never got direct sun; most of the day was just filtered light and dappled shade. Lots of time spent back there curled up on the futon with a book, music playing softly, sipping tea or hot cocoa, maybe with a scented candle lit [probably vanilla, knowing me].

To this day, I haven't been able to replicate that little was an odd little oasis carved out of an even odder space. The best ones tend to come about organically, a happenstance of location and configuration. And that little room was as awesome as it was unexpected...not bad for a janky little add-on to a small little house in a tiny community along the coast.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I love German engineering

The car I mentioned in my previous post [I'm still getting used to the sound of a flat me, it sounds much more awesome when you stomp on it]:

confessing to the ether

Been in a funky state of is a mix of good things, bad things, and awkward things, and I think my brain is tired from keeping it all sorted out.

Good things: My car finally came in after nearly seven months of waiting [Porsche Targa 4S, with the Carrera Powerkit upgrade, of course]. Will and I are still pretty much retired, still loving spending time with each other, still appreciating life and what it took to get here. The landscaping is settling in nicely [yay for drought tolerant planting], animals [dog, cat, and snakes] are doing well. Been doing cool things with some very cool people [drives with good friends! lunches and dinners with like-minded people! indoor skydiving! car enthusiast gatherings! cheering on friends at motorcycle races! track days!].

Bad things: One of my closest friends continues to deal with the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis...I'm lucky to have them in my life, and it's so damned frustrating to see a good person have to go through this crap, and I feel helpless. In my own life, I keep running into the repercussions of my twice-broken and many-times-sprained ankle...some days it just locks up and won't cooperate, other days it radiates annoying sonar pings of pain from the sight of the most recent bone damage, and sometimes the muscles/tendons are just weak enough to keep me from being very graceful [cue zombie lurching]. A nasty bout of food poisoning that took both of us out for a couple of days, though poor Will got hit much, much harder by it.

Awkward things: This 3-4 month period is always odd for me [at least from 2009 and on]. A few close friends have fallen off the radar as their lives evolved...a natural progression of life, but it still aches. I've been missing my parents a lot lately...Mom would love the car and the back patio, Dad would love the house and the animals in the area, both would love Will and what we've built together. A thousand random things that still cause those pangs of nostalgia and loss, and for some reason they've been compounding lately.

Another awkward thing: A friend of ours is going through a divorce. Never pretty, rarely easy, and this one has some familiar circumstances: they'd been together for a decade or more, the other strikes up a close friendship with someone at work, ends the marriage, says it was a long time coming and they just need to be alone, then a suspiciously short time later is in a relationship with the work person. My friend is dealing with a lot of the same stuff I did, but with added complications: a child and life in the era of social media. I still remember that awful night when I found some pictures online that I wish I hadn't, confirmed suspicions I didn't want confirmed, and learned that someone else was using the same pet name for him that I multiply that by Facebook and the resulting web of friends and acquaintances and it gets really, really painful for my friend. The weird Venn diagram of "people who knew about the affair" and "people who didn't" and "people who enabled it and covered for them" and "people who aren't okay with it" and "friends caught in the middle" gets even worse when social media is involved. They are amazingly resilient and will come through this an even more brilliantly independent and self-aware person, but damn, it sucks to see them going through it. And it sucks to see the same stories repeating over and over and over...

So yeah. Good stuff with some weird stuff thrown in, which then makes you feel guilty for being down when there is so much good stuff in your life. Luckily I've got myself surrounded by folks who understand that you can be down even when things are good...that makes it easier to feel it, acknowledge it, and then move forward. I can honestly say that this period in my life is one of the best for the people I have around me...good, strong friends who have traits and abilities that I admire and I aim for in myself. So now, in large part because of lessons learned from my past, I can appreciate what I have in the present, even when I'm feeling out of sorts. It's not so much a "quit your whining" situation as it is a "whine as much as it takes to get it out, then enjoy what's out there".

[And sometimes "enjoying what's out there" can be as simple as a mid-afternoon nap on a grey and drizzly day. :^) ]

Monday, March 23, 2015's true.

So Darwin just started growling and barking at nothing...we tell him to hush, send him to bed.

A little bit later: sharp boom, then a shock that rolled from one side of the house to the other.

Good dog. We're sorry.

[Earthquake hit a little bit ago. Small one, currently estimated to be only M2.94, but it was centered only a mile or two from us...neat.]

Monday, September 08, 2014

coastal cruising

An awesome day yesterday. We had a relaxing morning just chilling together, then we geared up and took the new bike out. We headed south down 17 to Santa Cruz, up Highway 1 along the coast, lunch break in Half Moon Bay at one of my favorite places, then back along 92 to 35/Skyline to 9 [the classic route]. Ended up putting about 120 miles on the bike, and it was a blast...while it's definitely the biggest sub-four-wheeled vehicle we own, it is surprisingly maneuverable and brilliantly made for cruising, with serious power to vroom and pass and hit the twisties [which is quite interesting on a huge bike like that]. Though for folks who've seen the CHP do amazing things on their R 1600 motorcycles [the less-commuter, more-business version of ours], that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise... :^)

We've even managed to fit Will's car and all five bikes into the garage in a way that requires minimal shuffling to get something out when we want to, at least until January, when everything is thrown into chaos again and the game of Tetris to fit things in becomes more challenging. Crossing fingers the second garage gets finished in good time...

Saturday, September 06, 2014

additions to the stable

Been a busy few weeks for the two-wheeled part of the Lawton stable...traded in one for another and added two new rides.

The trade-in just happened today: we traded in the Ducati Diavel Strada for a BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive edition [basically a package edition with bells and whistles included]. It's a beastly big thing, but is awesome for two-up riding [as we found out today, and will confirm tomorrow :^) ].

The new rides are "300cc Italian bikes"...aka Vespa scooters. Breaking my ankle again caused some permanent soft tissue damage in my left ankle, so I'm kind of screwed when it comes to shifting or trusting my ankle to support me and a bike at stops [it gives out randomly, sadly]. That left me with the option of retrofitting a paddle shifter to an existing bike, going with a CVT/automatic [like the Honda CTX700], or getting a scooter. I'd ruled out scooters entirely; I need to be able to hit highway speeds, which pushed me towards the 500-600cc range [BMW, Bergstrom, etc.]...and those were too wide for me to flatfoot comfortably with my bad ankle.

Then a friend told us that Vespa had a 300cc sport edition with an 80mph top speed, so we checked it out...and ended up with two of them, one for me, one for Will [who had been looking for a smaller-engined bike to go with his others, something that he could ride all the way to the edge and just go nuts with].

Vespa GTS 300 Super Sport SE
[vroom vroom]
Things are getting a bit cramped in the garage right now, so "Project: Second Garage" is in the works, with "Project: Remove Cabinets in Current Garage to Make Room Until Then" ["Project: Make Room" for short] scheduled to happen some time in the next few weeks. We've got one more trade-in/trade-up coming [which is why the new garage is needed, so everything that should be sheltered can be], but that won't be happening until January-ish...we don't think the new garage space will be ready in time, but absolute worst case, a couple of the motorcycles can take a place of honor in the game room in the house until it is. :^)

Now I just need the weather to cool down a bit so I can get out there and get some miles on the scooter...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

our first commissioned painting

Back in June, Will and I headed to Vegas to have dinner with Scott and Ken of The Crystal Method and some of their close friends and family, before we all headed over for their show at Drai's, celebrating their 25th year of doing what they do. It was an awesome time, with Ken's mother, father, wife, and brother joining the group at dinner, along with their manager and some close friends and collaborators.

During the various conversations of the night, we found out that Ken's brother Frank was an artist who had done some paintings for the band and their album inserts in the past. We kept in touch with Frank after the event, and I talked with him about helping us commemorate that awesome evening...ideas were traded back and forth, inspiration struck, and then it was time to wait and see the finished product.

It arrived today:

Original oil painting, 24"x48", Artist: Frank J. Jordan, 2014

Around the table you'll see me and Will at the front right and left, Ken and Scott [next to me], Ken's wife Janine, their manager Richard, Ken and Frank's mother and father, their management rep, some of their close friends and collaborators, and the artist himself playing the waiter.

Serious thanks to Frank J. Jordan for the patience, talent, and time he put into this...I can't think of a cooler way to commemorate an amazing night.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

that wasn't the cat shaking the bed

Fairly good size quake [6.0] about half an hour ago...time to watch the Facebook feeds blowing up. :^)

[Will's going to be bummed that he slept through it. <grin> ]

Friday, August 15, 2014

dragons and dwarves and zombies and soldiers

Hanging out with my people in Las Vegas for SOE Live...first time here, having a lot of fun. It's very cool to meet people in person and put a face to the screen name, and the panels and gatherings are chock full of good info and upcoming stuff to get excited about.

Ooo, and freebies. Geeks love their freebies.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

a good way to spend a day

Spent the afternoon at a Porsche event, driving a 911 Turbo S and the upcoming 918 Spyder on Sonoma raceway.

The camera angle doesn't do it justice. That engine bay behind the seats is sex on wheels.
Fun. So much fun.