Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quick update for Spring

I haven't done an update in a while, and I apologize. I've been quite busy, which is a good thing: I'm doing another short-term contract, this time with TechSoup. I'm blogging about what over on my professional blog. It will last through May. Keeps me busy in the mornings, with plenty of time in the afternoons for long-term job hunting. How's that going? Sigh...

I've been getting regularly inquiries into my CV consulting biz however, which has brought in enough money to buy all of the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics (who says I don't have my financial priorities in order?!?).

The Japan disaster has dramatically increased my Google Ads revenue, because of this page, so I'll be donating everything above my goal for March and April - which will total only about $25, but still -- to an organization working in Japan on relief efforts. I had to put a hold on all my donations to organizations, with the exception of Bpeace; that hold stays put until I have a full time gig, or a short-term gig flush with cash.

In some recent evening downtime, I uploaded more photos from past trips, namely Ireland 2001 (when I met some German dude I later married) and my first trip to Egypt, in 2002.

We've ridden twice this year, far, far less than we had by this time last year. We haven't ridden even 200 miles in 2011. Here's our latest day trip.

We've been so bored we got up early on a Saturday and drove to Mt. Angel to watch a building be burned down. No, Stefan is STILL not a volunteer fireman in the USA - that's probably the biggest reason we are looking to MOVE.

Enjoy my NCAA brackets. A whole lotta red there....

We're headed to Mexico on April 2. I'll be there until April 10, and Stefan will be there until almost until the end of the month (for work). Can't wait to see Reb, who I haven't seen since my wedding!


Looking for that perfect gift? My colleague Gunda continues to work with an Afghan businessman producing gorgeous leather bags and other products. You get a beautiful, unique purse, backpack or other bag, AND you help a business in Afghanistan (and more employment means less violence!).

Here's why I love dogs and elephants more than people.

How stupid are we Americans? Pretty freakin stupid (I got four of the questions on the test wrong - I'm not brilliant, but I'm certainly not stupid).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Portland Metro RV Show - a motorcyclist's perspective

Why would two motorcycle travelers who love tent camping go to the Portland Metro RV Show at the Expo Center? Because it was too rainy to ride bikes and because Stefan is tired of hearing me say, when we are camping, "Do you think those people would let me look in their RV/caravan if I asked real nicely?"

We don't want an RV. We don't want a caravan. At least not any time soon. I've just been really curious about what's inside them. I really wanted to see inside these trailers-of-luxury. I wanted to see in the huge ones. I wanted to see in the tiny ones. I wanted to see the flat screen TVs and ovens and washing machines and dryers and bathtubs and faux fire places. I wanted to see inside small caravans that supposedly sleep 16. TV shows and web sites give you a hint of what's inside, but you can't get a sense of space unless you are actually there.

We spent four hours at the show. And what did we learn? Mostly, that we still don't want a caravan or an RV any time soon. But in addition to that:
  • There is as much diversity among RV/caravan users as there are among motorcycle riders - maybe more. The luxury RVs had music playing - something along the lines of the "Girl from Ipanema." The luxury caravans designed to provide you every opulence and provide a place for your motorcycles or ATVs in the back were playing "Back in Black."

  • There is an RV/caravan for every economic class in the USA. No, really, EVERY economic class. Used, I'm sure some of the things we saw would go for less than $1000, and you could live in one (though you'd have to go outside to change your mind). Most expensive one we saw? More than $300,000.

  • The word luxury is not overused when it comes to certain caravans. But not only are there caravans for old and very rich retired people, there are dream caravans for people who want to schlep around their motorcycles or ATVs in luxury, with a back room that has plenty of space for a group gathering when the bikes are parked outside, as well as a fridge and easy chair - that's just in the BACK room (don't even get me started on the rest of the place with it's bar, dining table, huge bedroom and TWO bathrooms). I believe this was the Fuzion Model 405 - 2011 Model Year... which costs about what we want in a HOUSE.

  • For those who can't afford that crazy kind of toy-hauler, Coleman makes a folding camper that comes on a trailer with room for TWO motorcycles! No photo available online, that I can find - apparently, it's quite new.

  • Air Streams are oh-so-beautiful, and now that I have, at last, seen inside one... they have lost all mystique for me. I have no idea why they are worth all that money. One trailer we saw was four times more than a comparable non-Air Stream. Yes, the Air Stream was gorgeous inside. I'm sure it wins oh-so-many design awards. But when I'm camping, do I really freakin' care about award-winning aesthetics?

  • Trailers that affix to the back of pickup trucks have come a LONG way in 30 years. And, really, provide just about everything you need if you are going to forsake a tent. Even small ones can come with a bathroom and shower. On a rainy and/or cold night, I could stay comfy in one for a week.

  • I might have fallen out of love with the Air Stream when I saw the price tag, but I'm now totally in love with the Aliner. The Aliner Sport, to be specific. I thought I'd prefer the Tear Drop-style camper, but after seeing such, forget that - the Aliner Sport is it, the one caravan I would consider giving up the tent for when car camping. And we could pull it behind the Honda Fit! It's sooooooo roomy inside! And the guy took it down and put it up for us - less than five minutes. Incredible.

For now, and for at least a few years to come, we'll stick with motorcycle camping. And I hope those RV campers keep offering us coffee in the mornings.