Cute furry things, eastside sushi, and geek stuff

I took two foster buns and my piggy Cappy to the vet today. One of the buns is Whitney, who was found hopping about homeless in someone’s yard on Memorial Day. She’s a very pretty, plush rabbit.

While I was there, this beautiful fawn was brought in in a printer box.

She had been found down in a well near 56th and Arlington with a fox perched at the top watching her. She made cries like a lamb when the vet touched her; she was cold and in pain. If warming her and giving her fluids and pain meds can get her strong enough to stand, there are several local deer rehabbers, but young deer imprint strongly on people and tend to become nuisances when subsequently released to the wild because they are too comfortable around humans. Animal Control showed up, also having been called by the cop who brought her in, and I suppose it was lucky for the fawn that she was too ill to go with them to be immediately euthanized. Even if that’s her likely fate at the vet’s office, fewer transports to scary places are a little better. I would also expect that the vet and techs are gentler than an ACO.

David and I tried a new restaurant last week, Oishi Sushi. Would you believe it’s at 10th and Shadeland? Not an area exactly known for its exotic flavors. They don’t have their liquor license yet, but the food was very good. Someone ordered WAY more food than I did…

It was formerly a Chinese buffet that was formerly a Ponderosa (noted by the pines on the awning) but they’ve redecorated appropriately.

New computer! Which I’m not using to type this.

David got it up and running (with a little patient-diagram-reading from me) the same day the parts arrived, and has been kind enough to test it out on the plasma TV with his games using a wireless keyboard from the couch! I haven’t actually touched it yet.

Specs for the geeks, like Grandpa who always wants the best system:

ZALMAN 9500A 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler

GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM

SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B – OEM

EVGA 512-P3-N861-AR GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

PC Power & Cooling S610EPS 610W Continuous @ 40°C EPS12V Power Supply

LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

I’ll hook it up with my current monitor, speakers, keyboard, etc. I can’t believe this old computer has lasted me six years! Upgrades aren’t really worth it anymore. I shall report back once I get to actually use my new system.

How much is that puppy in the rearview

The driver’s view when Walt rides with us:

After drooling on our arms he eventually takes a nap.

Siblings, seated: my aunt, uncle (in the funny hat) and mom at the annual family Memorial Day picnic. Uncle Gary is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his heart transplant! Those folks at IU sure knew what they were doing.

We ate a lot of junk and some folks played ladderball, cornhole, and softball. I was lazy this year and napped in a lawn chair. Four dogs and a bunny were also party-goers.
My brother can be seen in the distance going for a ball. This is much better than exactly a year ago when he was in the hospital with his busted leg.

Note my new Tevas, because Walt ate my old ones last week.

We wore them out!

It was MEEEE

This morning I found squashed dog poo in the dining room, right next to David’s work boots, so I warned him that he may have stepped in some and I cleaned it up (thank goodness for hardwood floors). Except I didn’t think about the fact that it wasn’t there until right before I left for work, and he hadn’t worn his boots since the previous day.

I got to work and smelled something funny. It was on MY shoe.

Operating theory: it fell out of Casper’s butt after she went out this morning. That happens with her fairly frequently; I think it largely has to do with the amount of paper she ends up finding and eating and the way it just doesn’t come out very efficiently. Then I stepped in it, blamed David’s boots, and went to work where my nose finally noticed. I hope it’s not in my car.

Nothing like scraping your shoe with a plastic knife and Windex in your cubicle to start the day. I got most of it but I keep getting ghost odors and the people around me keep teasing me.

I picked up about fifty bunny poos this morning, but they don’t stink! Ah, what a shitty life I lead.

Fried chicken experiment

No fried chicken for vegetarians, right? Well, after craving some for awhile, I finally made the Al Gore challenge recipe, but I did it in an electric skillet like my parents always used. It seems slightly healthier than dunking the chik’n in a vat of oil (and easier to clean up too).

Coating the chik’n (I added some paprika to the recipe and reduced the nutritional yeast)
Vegetarian fried "chicken"

Frying, mmm. For those who were confused, this is FAKE chicken!
Vegetarian fried "chicken"

Not sure if this qualifies as a healthy meal, but it could have been a lot worse!
Vegetarian fried "chicken"

David actually liked it, and he’s a pretty harsh critic when anyone cooks. I think I’ll brown the chik’n a bit crispier next time and maybe tone down the batter, since it was more seasoned than I used to eat. But it was still good! The basic concept should apply well to my family’s chicken tenders recipe, too. And I’m going to try beef burgundy soon!

If I haven’t mentioned it, one of the best inventions ever is the rice cooker. I rank it pretty close to the top, which includes the internet, tampons, and pay at the pump.

Speaking of the pump, Dawn asked in the bike commuting comments about the emissions and money saved by my recent biking. The calculators I’ve found online assume a gasoline-powered vehicle, and I don’t know how much worse my diesel vehicle spews, but the basics for the 50ish miles I biked last week (instead of driving, not “extra” miles at the gym) led to about 2000 calories burned, 50 pounds of toxic emissions not spewed (25 lbs CO2), and about $5.50 saved in fuel. No, not drastic numbers (I do have a very fuel efficient vehicle and that savings is not what spawned this), but I feel healthier already. I hope the planet does too. I liked the bumper sticker I saw today: Live like you live here. Much more positive than this other one I saw (I think that’s a gas pump handle):
Gas noose magnet

ETA: For the 50 miles vs. my SUV, which I really only drive to haul stuff but did bring to work today so David could use the Jetta for errands which required a lot more driving, I would save $11 in gasoline and 58 lbs of CO2 in the atmosphere. And David’s truck would have used $18 in gas and spewed 94 lbs CO2. Amazing how much difference there is from one vehicle to another!

A couple of biking calculators: Bike Geek,

My butt hurts

I rode about 50 miles to and from work on my bike in the last week since I started this little commuting project. Observed:

    One catcall and one general holler
    Two cheery guys with booze in paper sacks
    One muskrat
    No crashes (did almost fall off this morning and saw one person fall over with a clip incident)
    Four trips before I even noticed a McDonald’s along the way
    One chunk of broken TV on the giant bridge
    Two wrong turns
    Felt short in my compact car after riding so much perched on the bike
    No near death experiences
    Zero flats, hooray
    Twenty-plus pounds of gear in my backpack!

Without my laptop, the backpack isn’t that heavy. Well, I guess it still is, but not so painful. I leave a lot of shower and clothing items in the locker room at work, but I do tend to overpack no matter how I’m traveling. I discovered the way in is 150 ft negative elevation change over the whole route, which means riding home is really hard work to recover that (not to mention the up and down of the bridge both ways right by work). That isn’t a huge change in elevation, but when you suddenly weigh 180 lbs with all that stuff on your back, you have knobby tires, and there’s a headwind, it can take almost an hour to go seven miles! I am ready to get a rack and/or panniers to help with the load. I can probably leave the heavy U-lock behind because no one is going to cut a cable lock at my security-controlled workplace populated with upstanding people. I hope to get a new cross strap for my Timbuk2 bag and just carry it messenger style like it was designed, instead of inside the backpack. I must learn to part with more things.

For Bike to Work Day this morning, almost thirty of us left from a bike shop in Irvington to ride together downtown. I was riding just behind the people in the video in the local paper’s sidebar coverage. Riders from 11 points in the city met at the circle for breakfast, press conferences, free bike parking… pretty much all of which I missed because our eastside group arrived late at the circle, and my coworkers were leaving together for our plantsites then.

The ride in: Michigan Street

Waiting forever for a train

It was a nice mix of people: racers on road bikes in team spandex, random people like me on mountain bikes, and regular joes in jeans on cruisers. I don’t think those groups mix a lot otherwise, but the point was to highlight bike commuting and riding in a group provides safety and camaraderie, even when you don’t know anyone else.

I liked this shot of my coworkers converging at corporate headquarters for a group picture (which I don’t have). I noticed a lot of them are carrying backpacks too so maybe we just need a lot of stuff at our jobs!

It was a gorgeous day today and I spent more time on the bike trail for scenery, but the ride home still hurt with all that crap on my back.

Big cleanup

Today, our company organized multiple beautification projects around the city with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful as part of a global day of service. I helped paint an urban wall with a colorful mural. I found software on my computer that stitched three separate photos pretty well! Our department mostly painted from the tuba player to the violin player.

I’m the dork in the white shirt.

Other employees worked on other wall murals, planted trees and flowers, cleared brush, walked to raise money for MDR-TB programs, and built Habitat homes around the city, while employees around the world at our other sites participated in their own local projects. The Indy group was listed at eight to nine thousand people participating! There was some attempt at a world record too, I think for largest paint-by-number.

I biked to the mural site and passed several other groups of volunteers. When I biked home, I found miles of brush piles and trash cleaned up from Pleasant Run Stream. They even managed to keep it out of the road and bike trail, and the city crews were already working on mulching the brush.

It was nice to be out of the office for the morning (though I had to stay late the night before and skip lunches to catch up) and help our community. I love urban murals, and I never realized how much I’d benefit from the clean up, but I bike along that stream all the time!

I feel like I’ve been surrounded by a lot of negative people lately, and combined with my general worries about life/politics/planet, it can drag me down. I’m trying hard to be positive and not feed into that undercurrent of crankiness. Getting out with a paintbrush helps sometimes.

Bike commute

Today my hippie leanings came closer to full circle when I commuted to work on my bicycle. I thought about it a week or so ago when the cycling club at work was trying to attract interest in a charity ride and Bike to Work Day, which is next Friday the 16th. I figured it sounded like a good idea, what with my wish to lose the perpetual five extra pounds, my tree hugging (spewing fewer diesel fumes daily has to be a good idea, no matter how efficient my fuel mileage may be), and what the heck, why not set an example for other drivers who are feeling the fuel price pinch? It hasn’t hurt me yet, but I might need this backup transportation someday. Also I saw what I guess was a muskrat, which has to be a good sign for the day. Or something.

I happen to live at one end of an underused greenway (and parkway) that follows a meandering creek. The greenway and parkway are inefficient for cars with all the creek-following, but it makes for a pretty ride and the lack of cars is great for biking on the road. One does risk serious corporeal damage on the divided highway that makes up the rest of the route after the greenway ends (if Indianapolis would just finish the planned greenways I’d have one all the way to work, but I’m not holding my breath on that one), so on the advice of another bike commuter who has taken this route for years (and who was hit by a car last month), I just took the sidewalk in that area. The highway goes to the city dumps, industrial areas, and the airport, and there is so much debris-dropping large truck traffic that it’s the one area I’m uncomfortable taking the pavement. No one was on the sidewalks so it all worked out. Hey Indy, how about some bike lanes on Raymond?

I waited for a few lights and had to navigate security gates at work, but other than that it was a direct route of about seven miles. I predicted the one rude/dangerous thing a car did, turning in front of me with no signal, and I didn’t need my pepper spray for any dogs or thugs, so I’d say it was a success. I was in the showers at work within 45 minutes of leaving home.

Of course now I’m thinking of all the doodads I would like to buy for my bike, a Gary Fisher I purchased several years ago but I haven’t mountain biked in the last few years. I’ll probably go for Kevlar-belted commuter tires rather than the knobby ones I currently have, panniers to replace my backpack, and I need to finally learn how to change a flat. I had all the stuff to do it but now the tire levers are missing and I never have had a flat for practical experience. Would my roadside assistance come? They say as long as I have my cell phone I can be in any vehicle…

Bike to Work Day (and bike month) is observed all over the country. Indy has events planned for next Friday. Will I see any of you on Monument Circle for breakfast in spandex?

Michiana readers: your bike to work week is June 2-6 because you are pussies about May weather.

Book release: the most famous person I know!

Nicole and I went to the book release party for Half-Assed: A Weight Loss Memoir on Saturday. It just so happens that the author, Jennette Fulda, lives here in Indianapolis and also has a blog. The difference is that hers is internationally famous and she got a book deal! Jennette is very down to earth and Nicole and I were happy to be at the release party. We all had dinner together with Mymsie and friends a few months back just because we got in the habit of reading each other’s blogs and decided it would be fun to meet. It was the first time I met someone on the internet NOT for the purpose of dating! Much more fun to have dinner out with fellow bloggers. Anyway, congrats to Jennette for losing half her body weight, running a mini-marathon Saturday morning, and then celebrating the release of her book in the afternoon!

And here we are with the author, posing with her giant pants promo materials, Jennette signing our book (I haven’t read it yet so this post will be lacking a review!), and posing with our “Pasta Queen” scepters.

ETA: Set your TiVo to record Jennette on the Today Show on Mother’s Day!

I didn’t mean to cut off poor Jennette’s head there. The new blog software’s thumbnail feature does it automatically, and I’m not yet smart enough (i.e. I haven’t visited the help forums yet) to fix it. If you click on the thumbnail you do seem to get the real, uncropped pic, at least.

I came home to find the dogs having a meeting.