Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello 2011!!

Goodbye 2010

MMX flew by entirely too fast.  So many things took place...but most of them seem fairly small and almost trivial.  Compared to so many other people who have had some crazy ups or downs, ours has been fairly even keeled.  There was one horrible down...but it is just a part of life.  Otherwise, we have been fortunate for what we have and not wanting for anything.  (Except a better economy.  And World Peace.  :) )

If anyone follows Photojojo's newsletter (subscribe by RSS feed), a couple days ago they showcased Pummel Vision software (link to the Photojojo blogpost).  This app will crawl through all the images of your Flickr, Facebook or Tumblr account and create this spectacular video to host to your Vimeo or YouTube account.  It is a very interesting way to see all your imagery with subliminal message type rapidity.  It does make me realize that I love my photography, but need more closeups and people shots.  I was also struck with the fact that even though I took hundreds of images on most trips I only have 485 for 2010 on my Flickr account.  That makes my video relatively short.  And since I have only posted images for 2010, then this could be a reflection of my year on our motorcycle jaunts.

Maybe you would be willing to share yours? 

I like the app well enough, but find it could be improved in a couple of ways.  1) Let the user select images to be included by tags.  It currently just grabs them all.  I have a number of friends on Flickr that have 20,000+ images that span 3+ years.  It would be nice to have the ability to just select images taken a certain year, or images with a common tag.  2) Cannot change the music.  While I do like the music, I can now see thousands of other people creating these videos, all with the exact same music!  :)

For awhile I gave it some thought that the new and improved Windows Live Movie Maker has added a speed option and I could probably achieve a similar effect.  However, this is where I realized a major problem that I have by capturing most of my images in RAW (CR2) format.  I would have to go back through thousands of images and convert them.  Ain't gonna happen.  :)

So...I hope you can look back on your MMX and find that it had more ups than downs, goods than bads.  You are a stronger person for everything that has happened to you over the past year and just puts you on a strong footing to tackle everything that comes your way in MMXI.

Hello 2011

If sometimes you click through your photographs and wax nostalgic...think about something that will make them a little more visible.  I made a motorcycle calendar to give me something to drool over when I can't be on my bike. 




This is the second year I have made calendars to showcase the motorcycles.  Both times I have used Zazzle and have been fairly impressed by them.  The paper stock is nice and thick.  So this doesn't feel like those freebie calendars business have made up in bulk.  This year I am much more impressed with the color of the imagery.  Last year wasn't horrible, but the printing process itself left streaks across my skies.  And this year the stock is more of a glossy paper, giving more color and depth.  Last year was kinda between satin and semi-gloss and seemed to mute the colors.

So go through some of your imagery and put together a calendar.  It can help jump start the day dreams of sunshine and twisty roads while you are currently sitting in snow and freezing temperatures.

Mr. Oilburner's calendar hangs in his cube, prompting the local wolves to stop by when it is time to flip the page, and has them oohing and aahing at his adventures.  It will make people jealous of the places you have been and sights you have seen.

Happy New Year!!

I want to tell my family that I love them and appreciate you for putting up with me over the last year.  It is difficult to be so far away from those that I love and haven't seen for so long.  Just know that I am given you many mental hugs and kisses.

I wish to tell my friends that I deeply appreciate you, allowing me to share my highs and lows and letting me to help with yours.  You put up with my crabbiness and mood swings. Hopefully I am able to repay you in kind by being there when you need me and offering words of encouragement when you need them.  This goes to my local, face-to-face friends as well as my kindred spirit blog friends.  I have learned so much from your stories and advice.  Thank you for sharing and allowing me to follow along on the journey.

I must thank my partner in crime, Mr. Oilburner, and tell him how much I love him.  You have given me so much encouragement, even when I do bit the hand that feeds me.  You teach me so much, let's just hope some of it sticks.  :)  Thank you for walking along beside me.  Or racing down the road...I can see the grin through the full face helmet.

Have a Happy New Year!  I know some of you have already passed that magical marker.  And others are a couple hours behind.  Be safe.  Be merry.  I wish great things to pass in the coming year.  And I look forward to sharing them with you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow and Space Shuttles

In the Southwest Phoenix experienced a record breaking high of 80F on December 13. A record that has been sitting there since 1939.  On the other hand Atlanta experienced recording breaking cold temperatures on December 14 of 14F.  A record that has stood since 1917.

15F temp

With temps like these sitting over the South it shouldn't come as any surprise that we received some snow here.  Snow isn't unheard of.  It just isn't common.  The schedule here is about every seven years.  And this is not one of these years.  Nevertheless...snow it was.


The accumulation was enormous. We had drifts all about town at curbs (what few there are), building foundations and windshield wipers.  Drifts up buildings piled to the second floor windows.  First floor doors and windows were fairly useless.  Vehicles were bogged down and it was almost too much for these poor pieces of machinery.  The weight was unbearable and almost broke power lines.  Nay, power poles!  And lets not get started on the black ice...

Snow pellets

So the bikes have been tucked away in the garage.  Their little footsies are cold.  They aren't directly on the cement floor, but the scant 1/2 inch separating the tires from floor doesn't prevent the cold from radiating up towards everything warmer.

But the clouds cleared away on Sunday.  The sun warmed the ground enough to dry up the rain and hidden ice.  The temperatures were a chilling 40F, but one could survive outside.  So we dusted off the bikes, gently blew a little air into those frigid dancing shoes and went through the labors of suiting up into our death and flexibility defying cold weather riding gear.

We stupidly hoped the promised mid- to high-40's temps would come earlier, instead of later.  So we foolishly just zipped the liners into the jackets and went on our merry way.  Not so merry...  If we had just been riding on regular side-streets at standard speeds it probably would have been fine.  But our destination was way on the other side of Atlanta and we were taking the interstate to get there.  So the liners proved insufficient at highway+ speeds.  It wasn't so bad that we had to pull over instantly...but we knew arrival at our destination meant we would be unzipping those useless liners and suiting into the heated Gerbings.  Why oh why do we shun you dear Gerbings??  Actually I know, but that is a story for another time.

So stopping and changing our clothing at our destination gave us a pause.  See...we were following the lead on our local tag game.  The current tag had been sitting in situ for awhile and people on the boards were starting to whine.  Warm weather wussies wanted it to move, but didn't want to be the one to move it.  Insults were flung back and forth!  It was getting nasty and degenerating into some rank name calling.  Then someone put forth that the group was just a bunch of girls.

So...OK...  If they were nothing but girls, it was gonna be a girl that kicked their ass's.  But as I said, changing clothes at this particular destination was disconcerting.  This location just happens to be Travis Tritt's driveway...

GA Tag - Travis Tritt's

I could just imagine what was going through Mr (or Mrs) Tritt's mind as they 1) wondered what these motorcycles were doing in their driveway and 2) why are they dressing in their driveway??  Mr. Oilburner and I kept waiting to hear the whine of an electric motor rotating some remote camera around to keep us in its sight.

Because this also turned into a day that the Tritt's residence was a stopping point for many motorcycles.  (It seems the warming trend in the weather had a couple more people out on their steeds visiting the same locale.)  But I won!!  HA!

I wasn't planning on being too original on where I was going to move the tag to.  I was just making sure it moved to stop the whining and shove it up their noses that it took a girl to move it.  Mr. Oilburner and I were going to visit some nearby relatives and we would just place the tag in a nearby landmark.  A well known landmark that would be one more nail in that coffin of vindication.

But on that way to that landmark I spied something infinitely more suited to my tastes.  I finally managed to get an image of my bike in front of the Space Shuttle.


The McNASA McShuttle!!

Admittedly it isn't quite the Shuttle that I would have liked to image my bike in front of, but it is better then nothing.  Seems this one wasn't launching anytime soon.  Just like that other one sitting down at the Cape.  (In case you haven't heard, the same launch that RichardM and I had hoped to witness is currently schedule to fly no earlier then Feb 3, 2011... Poop!)

In all, it was a lovely day.  We never did see those high-40's temps.  My temperature gauge bounced back and forth between 38 and 44.  The Gerbings was making it bearable.  Earlier I alluded to a problem with my Gerbing's, which I am still not going to go into just yet.  The current result is that I am not able to use my jacket at 100% effectiveness.  But the cold was kept at bay.

We found a wonderful shanty of a restaurant with great food.  The staff was friendly and used to seeing their regulars.  We were identified as strangers and treated as such.  Meaning that they talked our ears off about who we were and what we were doing and when would we be coming back.  The food was really, really good.


Philly Cheese steak with onions and peppers.  YUM!

Pulled pork BBQ.  The sauce was wonderful.

The place is actually Benson's Grill.  They haven't yet changed the name on the outside.
After the food and festivities there are always the people.  We did see quite a few bikes on the roads.  As we were leaving Benson's we waved to a few going by.  We joked and laughed, wondering if they were on their way to go visit Mr. Tritt's house.  (Turns out one of them did!!  LOL)

There was also the guy in the truck at some intersection that was intent on getting my attention.  Mr. Oilburner saw him and returned his thumbs up.  But he wasn't satisfied with that and needed to get my affirmation too.  I did have to smile at his enthusiasm and wonder if he was happy to see the bikes, or to see a girl on a bike.

Then we had our familiar obligations...  We said our hellos.  I worked on posting my pictures of that tag while Mr. Oilburner sucked down large quantities of Hershey Kisses.  We chatted and discussed Christmas plans for awhile.  Then excused ourselves as we wanted to get home before the sun went down and the cold came back with a vengeance.  The older generation of the household wanted to see us ride away, as they hadn't seen us on bikes.  (And one secretly still believes that I can't possibly ride...)  The cold kept them peeping out from the window.  But it makes one painfully aware of just how long it takes to stow sundry laptops and cameras.  And redress in the required safety gear of gloves, helmets and jackets.  And to get said jackets properly plugged in.  And to get the steed mounted and ready to move.  And there wasn't any possible way I was going to make a u-turn in this walking path they call a street because you could be guaranteed that I was going to do something foolish or stupid since loved ones were watching.

Boy, it is so much easier just opening a door and climbing into a car.  A twist of a knob and heat is blasting out some vents to warm you right up.  But there is NOTHING that compares to squeezing that tank between your legs, twisting the throttle and leaning into the speed to make up for any amount of time required getting all that gear right.  (Which I didn't actually do and my neck froze on the way home because I refused to stop.  I just wanted to get home!!  It was cold!!)  :)

I have to acknowledge special fortitude in blog friends that are tougher then I and are out riding in colder temps with much less whingeing.  CircleBlue on his Symba.  SonjaM enjoying Nella for the last ride of the year.  Steve and his scooter, camera always in hand.  Tombstone's icy mountain ride. Trobairitz and her speculations on riding weather. Twisted Roads legend making another excursion before the snow sets in.  Nikos overcoming machine and distance to enjoy some water with winter.  D&T enjoying (cough) feets of snow and prospects of foot traffic. And then there is Roger in the southern hemisphere just laughing away at our chilly temps and snowy tribulations as he enjoys the beginning of summer.  But don't worry Roger.  We will be basking in our warm, sweet revenge come April and May.  Click on those links on the right side of this page and support some friends in their adventures.

May you all steadfastly remain with two wheels on the ground and the shiny side up.  May you each enjoy the season in the best way you see fit and ride to many more adventures.  Wishing you all the best for the remaining year and robust wishes that all come true in the one to come!  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Playing in the Cemeteries

The cold weather over our extended Thanksgiving weekened gave us every excuse to be lazy and just relax at home with blankets and books.  Or sweaters and TV's based upon your personal inclination.  :)

But the stirrings of cabin fever on this cloudless and chilling day had me walking between the garage to look at my bike and the room where my gear was flung to all corners.  I was restless to the point of drawing undo attention to myself and risking wrath of being too energetic.  I started to quietly pull my gear on, but still drew queries and a riding buddy.

I didn't want to make it a long ride.  The day was getting a little long in the shadow.  So that darn Georgia Tag was going to be my destination.  It was probably 30 miles away directly through downtown and near that famous busiest of world airports.

It is quite interesting to see this little cemetery surrounded by the Atlanta airport.  There is a runway just south and a taxi-way just east and north.

Flat Rock Cemetery
Flat Rock Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia
Quite a few weenies on the forum had made noises about not going anywhere near this tag because driving downtown was dangerous enough with bullets whizzing by that they didn't even want to encounter that all endangering mini-van pilot.  (I probably used to be one of those weenies, but I have put on my big girl panties and grown up.  The devil's you know are much easier to exorcise then the ones you don't.)  I decided to be cantankerous and move the tag even farther in town, in ever more dangerous territory.   I do believe I am the first to put this tag "inside the perimeter". 

For you out-of-towners:

I-285 goes around Atlanta.  So all those pesky semi's that don't need to deliver to downtown can relieve congestion by going around the city.  Not that it helps at all since they are not the predominate vehicle on our roadways.  But I-285 marks a snobbish aspect of Atlanta: whether you live ITP or OTP.  It is becoming fashionable to live Inside the Perimeter as the height of culture and prestige.  And people that live Outside the Perimeter are inferior.  Supposedly...

So...back to the tag.  I decided to move the tag to the heart of downtown Atlanta Inside the Perimeter and alienate that many more people that don't dare set foot Inside the Perimeter.  I put the tag in Oakland Cemetery.  Mr. Oilburner says I am just evol.  (No, not mis-spelled.  Think about it...)

Civil War Monument, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA
I almost shot myself in the foot on this decision.  The narrow, old roadways have been repaved so many times that crowning is in major evidence.  I was too scared to stop anywhere else for fear of ending upside in a gutter with my bike on top of me.  So the spire was extremely easy...and safe.  :)

We hadn't eaten lunch and were nearing the dinner hour.  So we looked around for someplace to eat.  Right across the road from the cemetery was Six Feet Under.


Adorned with great mermaids. 


Wonderful seafood.  You are correct, the onion rings are not seafood.  Get over it.  :)


And then the restroom had this awesome hand dryer...

The Dyson Airblade...dun, dunh, duuuu!
Yes, I took a picture in the bathroom.  Crudy picture as I was a little self-concious about it since this other lady wouldn't leave!!  I hear they are all the rage in Scotland.  And maybe the rest of the island.  But this is the first I have ever seen them here.  My experience ranges to the Xlerator...up in a college town Moe's in Dahlonega.

Picture taken from internet
It wasn't a terribly long day, but so many new experiences and locations.  It definitely wasn't the same ol' ride.  :)