Monday, July 30

100%, baby

That's what I scored on my written motorcycle safety test I took this evening. Phew! I have to say, I wasn't all that worried about the written test. You just needed 40 out of 50 to pass. I probably could've done that before I even studied. A lot of the questions were common sense.

Now, if I just pass the riding test on Thursday, I'll be a happy camper.

Sunday, July 29

my i don't have to run day

Today was pretty busy for a Sunday. Before I get into that, I need to start with last weekend. Brian and I were going to go for a ride last Saturday when my bike stalled and wouldn't start again. This has been happening since I got it, so we decided to take the carburetor apart to see if there were any problems with it. I'll bet you didn't know we were mechanics! Well, we weren't until we bought this bike...Anyway, there was some gunk in it, but everything inside seemed to be in working order. So, we cleaned it up and put it back together. We had to order a new gasket for it so we couldn't put it back on the bike until this weekend. Brian did that yesterday, but we didn't have time to finish the job because we had to go to John's house for supper. So, we set our alarms for early this morning and got it put back together. Surprisingly, the bike still runs! Time will tell if there are still issues with it, though. It did seem to be running better for Brian when he tried it out.

The reason we got up early today is that Brian went to a motorcycle rally in Morgantown, WV this morning. One of the other cub scout dads is a "biker" and invited Brian to go with him and his family today. He invited Jake and I as well, but we had other plans so we were unable to go. Brian had a great time. The only downside was hitting a thunderstorm on the way home this evening.

While Brian was at the motorcycle event, Jake and I went to visit my parents. They were away much of last month on a trip out west and we hadn't seen them in about a month so we went over there for a visit today. My mom made a yummy lunch and we hung out for a bit. Then we went to see my cousin Chris's new house. Her husband pretty much built it himself over the course of the past year. It was very nice. And very big.

On our way home from my parent's, we had to pick up some groceries. Once we got home and got everything situated, I kicked back on the couch for 30 minutes and took a little snooze. After that, I started working on my "homework" for my motorcycle safety class. In the midst of that, Brian got home. After talking to him, I finished my homework and we met downstairs to work out. Our neighbors are having a fire this evening and we're all invited, so it's time for me to head over there as I will be the last one from our household to arrive.

Saturday, July 28

happy birthday, viola

We spent an enjoyable evening at John and Viola's. In case you couldn't figure out from the title of this post, we were there to celebrate Viola's birthday. Dinner was great--they did up these pork and veggie kebabs that were delicious. There were also a number of tasty side dishes. In fact, they had so much food that I didn't even get a chance to taste everything.

I could have just as easily titled this post "puppy fever" because they got a new puppy yesterday. It's a lab/rottweiler/doberman mix, but it looks just like a dobe. It is so cute! Jake had a lot of fun playing with it. So much, in fact, that he now wants a puppy. I mean, he really wants a puppy. I sometimes think I want a puppy, then I remember what a pain in the neck they are and I get over it.

man on fire

Where have all of the movie reviews gone, you might ask? Well, I cut our subscription back to two movies per month in the summer and we rented a couple episodes of The Wire since the last movie we saw, hence the lack of reviews.

This was the kind of movie we like. It was a movie about vengeance. And it starred my man Denzel Washington. How could it not be good? The start of the movie was a little slow, but that was necessary for the plot. The ending was so-so--Brian felt cheated, but I thought it was ok. I like a good action movie and this movie definitely fell in that category.

Thursday, July 26

half way there

I completed my 2nd riding class this evening. That's it for the week. We practiced the dreaded figure 8 tonight. Some people totally couldn't do it, others did well. I managed to do one properly. I'm sure that'll be the first and last time for that. It'll be on the test next Thursday, so hopefully I won't screw it up too much then. I'm glad to be half done with the class. I'll be even happier next week when I'm totally done with it.

Tuesday, July 24

motorcycle safety makes me tired

I started my motorcycle safety course last night. The class runs for two weeks. On Monday nights, there is a classroom class from 6-8:45 and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the class is taught on motorcycles, from 6-8:30. Last night's class wasn't particularly illuminating--I think this is because I've been reading about motorcycle safety ever since Brian started riding a few years ago. This is not a bad thing, though. And since I've been riding since last month, this evening's course was a little slow (the course assumes you've never ridden a motorcycle before). By the end of the evening, we did make it into 2nd gear, though. Once tonight's class was over, I realized I was exhausted--it makes me glad I didn't sign up for the weekend riding course. While there are only 2 riding classes for that, they are 5 hours a piece!

Anyway, there are definitely some things I need to keep in mind while I'm riding so that I don't develop any bad habits. The riding portion of the class will help me with that. I'm looking forward to having an evening off tomorrow, if only to rest. I even took a half day off work today so that I wouldn't get stressed out about my lack of "evening time" this week. I guess I should have spent some of those hours taking a nap.

Sunday, July 22

stupidity level=high

Yesterday afternoon, I let Lizzy outside to do her business. Soon after I let her out, she went into a barking/squealing frenzy because someone was walking their dog down our street. I reeled her in and put her in the living room with Alice, who was also barking excitedly. I waited for things to die down and then let Alice outside. She was only out there for a few minutes when Lizzy launched another barking/squealing frenzy. I looked outside and the same people were walking their dog down the street again. What the heck? Anyway, I went outside to get Alice who wasn't even barking. But, as soon as I let her in the house, she launched her barking routine (presumably because Lizzy was in a tizzy). Ridiculous.

Saturday, July 21

pj & lisa

Our friends PJ and Lisa came over last night. I think everyone had a really good time. I did up some BBQ and we ate and drank until it got dark. And then we huddled around the chiminea--it was rather chilly last night--and drank some more. As a side note: I really like how our back yard area is turning out--it's very nice for entertaining. The new table, chairs, and umbrella I purchased this year aren't hurting anything. I guess I'll just have to keep chipping away at it until it's exactly how I want it.

One thing I like about PJ and Lisa is that we can talk politics with them. I don't normally like talking politics because it is hard to find people who share your views. And, there's no use in talking to people who don't share your views unless you like a good debate. I, myself, do not, so I tend to keep my mouth shut when the subject comes up. It's just nice to be able to talk to someone other than Brian about politics, is what I'm trying to say.

But, we had plenty of other things to talk about, too, and that's what made it a fun evening. Well, that and the booze...

Tuesday, July 17

chili's

Brian's parents got us a Chili's gift certificate for our anniversary this year, so we went there for supper this evening. We even took Jake. We're nice like that. Luckily for us, Chili's sufficiently passed their health inspection such that I would eat there. It was our first time there. The food was pretty good, but not much appealed to me on their menu. Maybe it was because I went to their site to check out their menu beforehand and I came upon their 'nutritional info' sheet and found that most of their meals offer enough calories for an entire day. At any rate, both Brian and I ordered fajitas and had enough left over for tomorrow's lunch, so we'll call it a good deal and leave it at that.

Sunday, July 15

the weekend

Nothing much went on this weekend, but as a whole it turned out to be pretty productive. Friday and Saturday, the usual stuff happened--washing clothes, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and the like. Brian and I did manage to sneak in a quick motorcycle ride yesterday. That was fun, but entirely too short. Today, Brian installed the window trim in Jake's room. It turned out great. In between helping him with that, I did some work around the house and ran Jake across the street to St. Clement's annual car show/festival. We checked out the cars and Jake spent his money playing crappy games for crappy prizes, so he was happy.

After this evening's storm, we went outside and did some maintenance on my bike. Seeing that the bike is 20 years and the maintenance history is unknown, we're doing everything in the book. My plan is to complete all of the maintenance before we have to put the bike away for the winter. There's a lot to do and we're done with all of the easy stuff, so the rest will be a little more time-consuming.

Another weekend shot to hell. I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow.

Thursday, July 12

before you eat out again

You might want to consult this list. You can look up any place in Pennsylvania that serves food and see how they fared with their health inspection. After looking at the list for Cambria and Somerset counties, I know there are some places that I won't be frequenting again. Blech. If only I would've had this list before I got food poisoning last fall...

Wednesday, July 11

dinner tonight

Judy graced us with her presence for dinner this evening. It had been a while since we'd hung out, so I invited her over tonight. As usual, we had a good time catching up on things. As I always say, we should really do this more often.

Tuesday, July 10

like a fish

Brian's parents were bound and determined to teach Jake to swim this year. He's been there a few times already this summer, but today was the day he finally swam. They used the old standby, bribery, in order to accomplish their task. Jake's big thing with swimming is that he doesn't like to put his head in the water. So, they told him they'd give him a pair of swimming goggles if he did just that. Last night, he did it. And today he was swimming. Apparently that was his last big hurdle. Jake even called us this afternoon to tell us how well he was doing in the pool--he couldn't wait for this evening so that he could show us. I could not believe how well he did. He was even swimming under water. It was pretty cool. I'm sure he'll get even better as the summer goes on.

Saturday, July 7

gewurz and shiraz

Last night we bottled two batches of wine. The gewurztraminer turned out great--it's probably the best white wine we've ever made. I was quite pleased with it. I can't wait to see what it tastes like once it's had a chance to age a little, not that it needs it. The shiraz was good, too. It had a nice, smoky taste. But, the red wines never taste that great at bottling time, so I'm sure it will benefit greatly from aging. My wine racks were looking a little bare, so this happened just in time. I have two more kits sitting downstairs. I guess I'll need to get on those soon.

Thursday, July 5

blaze

This is Stephen King's latest book. It was written under his Richard Bachman moniker way back before Carrie hit the pages. I have to say, it was a quick read. I guess you could say I, uh, blazed through it.

I love Stephen King's ability to create a 3 dimensional character and this book did that quite well. So many books I've read have 1 dimensional characters in them. Any time I read a book where the character is fleshed out, I normally enjoy it no matter what the genre. This book did not fall under the horror category, either. It was a story of a mentally challenged guy who kidnapped a baby in the hopes of collecting a large ransom. As you can imagine, the story ended badly for one of the characters, but I won't say who.

This book made me remember why I've always liked Stephen King so much. I only wish he was still writing stuff like this. Beyond the Dark Tower series, I haven't been enjoying his books as much as I used to. Still, a bad Stephen King book is better than most of the other stuff out there.

Wednesday, July 4

the 4th

We didn't have any plans for today and that's just how I like it. Brian had to work today (his boss is a real bastard), so Jake and I spent the day doing whatever it is we do. After supper, we took a ride on the motorcycles. I went out onto Goucher Street for the first time. We mostly rode around the side streets, though. Things went pretty well, but I'll feel a lot better about things once I have a bunch of experience under my belt. Jake's waiting for the fireworks to start. The guys are planning on watching them from the porch roof. I'll believe it when I see it.

Two more days till the weekend!

Sunday, July 1

the prestige

Zzzz. This movie wasn't terribly interesting. It wasn't terrible, either. Maybe I just don't find the lives of turn of the century magicians all that interesting. The twist at the end was rather unique (Brian missed it because he fell asleep), but I think they could have cut a lot from this movie and it would have made it better.