BigJimmy's Brain

It is almost, but not quite, completely unlike tea.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A mystery, solved!

I love a good book.  I tend to over-buy just a bit when it comes to books (as my shelves of not-yet-read volumes amply illustrates).  I usually stay out of the old books, though, not knowing that much about them.  One book that I've had for several years has always been a bit of an enigma for me, though.  It's a slim paperback volume titled "The Pocket Book of Verse."  Mine is a first printing from 1940, but it is in remarkably good condition for such an old paperback(!).  I have read many of the poems within it, and I always wondered if this copy had a story to tell.  Since it was produced in 1940, I imagined that it might have accompanied a young GI on his travels across the European continent.  Alas, the only written note to be found in the entire book is a single word on the title page: "Poetry."  Thanks, guys, really helpful.  Today I hit a jackpot though, while doing research on a bunch of books I'm trying to tell.  I googled for the exact title, and found a page dedicated to this very book.  What more could you ask for?  It turns out that the book was a white-hot seller from the moment it was released, selling through 23 print runs in 5 years.  It was also a hot commodity among GIs, especially those confined to POW camps during the war.  Mystery solved -- my guess about the book's past was probably correct.  A history book is a fine thing, but a book with a history is even more interesting.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A little visitor

So I bought another bike last night. It's not mine (honestly!) though, it's for my dad. He has been looking for a dual sport with lower seat height, and I recently happened upon an older KLR 250 in the paper up here. Based on the color scheme, can you guess the year? I'll leave it a mystery for now. Wendy noted that it's not much smaller than my 650 (seen in the background). While it is a bit shorter, the radiator / fan assembly adds some bulk to counter the smaller engine size. Another clue for the age guessers: it's kick-start only. Now if it would just run... but that's for another blog post.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gear I Use: Aerostich Evap-o-Danna

When I'm doing research on the internets about stuff I want to buy, my favorite find is a personally written review of the product.  Therefore, I figured I ought to write one or two of these things myself to give a little back.  Enter the Evap-O-Danna from Aerostich.  This item seems odd to me, since it's sold by a Minnesota company but is much more suited to the climate of the Southern United States (where I happen to be).  It works like this: you soak the fabric in water (it holds a lot), wring it out, and attach it around your neck via velcro.  As you ride, the water evaporates and cools off your neck (home to some big blood vessels, and therefore a good place to keep cool).
I used to think one of those neck tube thingies would be neat, but they just look... girly.  This looks more like something a cowboy would wear.  My beloved wife bought me the competition model, which is double-layer and can hold ice between the layers.  If you ride where it's hot, this is a handy item to have in your tankbag.  Stay cool!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bikes and Borders

You might have seen this in my old blog, but I got a new bike (maybe I'll remember to post about it here sometime). Sadly, that meant that the old bike had to go. I finally found a buyer last week, with just one quirk -- he was in Canada. He said he'd handle the shipping and import/export stuff, so I figured it was just like a local sale for me. Ha. Ha. Ha.
The fun started last Friday afternoon, I got a call from the import broker. "Hey, the truck is 100 miles away and it'll be there in 2 hours, eh." Luckily I was already out of the office, so I finished prepping the bike and rode it to my old office (which has a semi-height loading dock). I got to the dock around 3:45, and waited for the driver to arrive. At 5, I hadn't heard from anyone so I called the shipping company, who said they'd have the driver contact me. He finally did -- and that was when I knew this wasn't a local sale. I'm pretty sure he said his name was Gennady, but beyond that I wasn't sure about 2 out of 3 words I heard (and I'm pretty good at decoding poor English). I eventually discerned that his computer wasn't giving him good directions and he wanted to know how to reach me. I tried to figure out where he was at the time, but that just didn't work so he asked for my ZIP code. Satisfied with that, he said he'd call me back.
Call back he did -- about 45 minutes later, to tell me that he was at "Pilot." It's about a mile from the office, so I was happy to give him simple directions from there to here. Unfortunately, simple is a relative thing -- he couldn't understand that he would be going under the nearby interstate, rather than onto it. 10 minutes of saying, "No, don't get ON, go UNDER" still left me with an uneasy feeling, but I figured I wasn't helping by keeping him on the phone. We said goodbye, and you can probably guess what happened next. 20 minutes later, he called to say that he was on the interstate and several miles south of the office. I resisted the urge to throw my phone in his general directions, and instead gave him the even simpler updated directions to our office (literally, exit and make 2 right turns). Another 15 minutes passed with no sign of the truck, so I walked to the corner for a look. I could see what looked like a trailer parked about half a mile away, going in the other direction. He called to say that he had taken a left instead of a right and was having some trouble turning around on the narrow road. I didn't have a lot of advice for him except that he was on the right road and needed to go in the other direction. Another 10 minutes and I finally saw the truck headed down the road towards me. I was cheering like Mickey for Rocky by this point, until I noticed something: the truck wasn't getting any closer. Cars were driving around it. WHAT??? He called, and I started yelling like a crazy man to "keep going, you're almost here." So, to cut the story off abruptly and for no reason, he finally showed up and we got the bike loaded into the truck. I left the dock around 7:15 -- 3.5 hours after I got there. Whew!

Let this be a lesson to you, kids: when all else fails, blame Canada.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

good ole mom

Earlier tonight, I was reminded of a time when the greatest trauma I knew was waiting to have a splinter removed  from my finger.  β got a splinter in her finger while playing at a friend's house earlier tonight, and it fell to me to get it out.  Remember that I ranked this as one of the greatest traumas of my young life, and this is one of my progeny.  I will say this: for a girl, she put up a pretty good fight.  In the end, though, sanity  (and my stronger hands) won out and the splinter was removed.  Oh, and she got rocky road ice cream as a reward.  I don't remember that part from when I was a kid!  I do, however, remember that Mom was pretty calm, and I usually ended up laughing because it tickled.  Thanks, Mom -- I never knew how tough that part was.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How to Lose Friends and Abuse People

Steps are as follows:

  1. Unzip
  2. Let 'er rip
  3. Speak cheerfully about the current rainy weather
Party on, Wayne.

Party on, Garth.

Meet the new blog, same as the old blog

This is the new blog.  The old blog is done.

After taking a little heat for guest blogging on my wife's blog whilst my personal blog sat neglected, I decided to get my blog mojo in gear.  The old blog will be going away soon (and with it the service from whence it sprang), so I've got new digs.  Don't worry, you'll get the same mix of programmer nerd trivia, motorcycle stories, and general stupid humor you've grown accustomed to reading.  Huzzah!