Sunday, June 20, 2010



My family went on a 14.5 mile bike ride yesterday. It took three hours. According the Principal's GPS, our fastest speed was 30 mph (that was for maybe three or four minutes on an awesome downhill stretch).

The amazing thing to me is that I'm not dead today. I should be. A year ago I would have been. But I'm lazing around doing slow Sunday things, and the fact that I rode half a marathon just doesn't seem to matter.

I'm still so flabby (weight loss to date: 30 lbs; somehow, I don't think I'm going to make the 100 in one year goal), it's hard to remember or even realize that I'm actually in better shape than I've ever been.

The Principal and I are planning on riding a century sometime in early December. A century, for those of you who haven't caught the cycling mania, is a 100 mile bike ride, usually done in one day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ambition for Wealth

There are some books I shouldn't like that I read for fun. The most recent example is The Millionaire Next Door. I can tell as I'm reading it that it's on the dry side and the authors certainly didn't have me in mind as their audience, but it's interesting and (to me) enjoyable.

Other books I've not-so-secretly read include The Courage to be Rich (so-so) and The Total Money Makeover (awesome!).

And from these books, I've drawn certain conclusions.

1-I'm poor.

2-I would like to be rich.

3-Becoming rich is hard.

4-Staying rich is harder.

5-It's easier to look rich than it is to be rich.

6-Most things you have to do to become rich are boring.

7-So are the things you do to stay rich.

8-Writers usually do not become rich.

9-Sadly, I want to be a writer more than I want to be rich.

10-Rich people usually act poor, especially during the becoming rich stage.

11-Writers traditionally are poor, so no problem there.

12-It would be cool to live in an RV park, wouldn't it? It would be like living in a nomadic village. And Jane Austen said that a small village is just the thing for a writer.

13-Sorry. Sidetracked.

14-I'm going to be a writer and rich. So there. Feel free to call in forty years to ask how it's going.

Friday, June 11, 2010

An unProfessional Opinion

I plan to be professional, which is why I capitalized the p instead of the u.

Last night after reading most of Stephenie Meyer's new book, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (I think that's right) (and it should be against the law to be forced to leave the bookstore when you only have a quarter inch left to go), I informed my parents that the Twilight Saga is an unfortunate blip in Stephenie Meyer's career but that with time she'll overcome it. (I'm assuming that she wants to. I could be wrong. I don't think I am. We'll have to wait and see.)

They laughed at me. How serious I am is directly proportional to how hard people laugh at me. (But someday they'll be sorry... they'll all be sorry.)

But seriously. By a random fluke of chance, Stephenie Meyer's first book (and its sequels) hit it big time, not only making it onto the bestseller list but gathering a cult, fans, and establishing a firm place in pop culture.

This is not a good thing.

I've already talked about how awesome The Host is. Possibly the difference between The Host and the Twilight Saga is that The Host is adult fiction. The Twilight books are YA fiction. Have you skimmed the YA section recently? Do I really need to go farther? (If I ever, of my own free will, write YA fiction, by law I'll have to scratch the 'of sound mind' part out of my will.)

But I think it's more than that. Twilight was Stephenie Meyer's first book. A very good first book, but still a first book. That Twilight was published and basically won the lottery (so to speak) is an unfortunate fluke. The Twilight Saga is basically Stephenie Meyer's learning curve, out there for the whole world to see. And like any learning curve, it went off the road in places. (I know about going off the road even if I'm note technically qualified to give a Professional Opinion.)

I was worried that Stephenie Meyer would never overcome this. Sure, she wrote The Host, one of the best books ever (yes, I am aware that it's a romance; shut up) but that was a while ago. I had nightmare visions of an endless series featuring Bella and Edward and their kid (what was her name?). I mean, all the main characters are immortal- there's no reason the story ever has to end. Besides the fact that, you know, stories that don't end lose everything that made them good when they started.

It's happened. Look at Anne McCaffrey and her Pern books. If you watch anime, remember OnePiece and Bleach. None of those stories were allowed to end because they hit it big, won the lottery, whatever, and success strangled all the good out of them.

Having read most of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner puts my Stephenie Meyer fears to rest. Because I know how the book ends. Bree dies. There isn't a happy ending for her. Knowing that should make it easy to say 'oh, it's time to go? I'll put this down then'.

They practically had to pry my fingers off of it. My parents have their evil moments. (Sure, I could have bought it, but I let go of money even less willingly than I let go of books. I'm going to wait for it to go to paperback. And you just lost all sympathy, didn't you? I can tell these things.)

But if someone can write a book about someone who's going to die, and you know they're going to die, and still make it next to impossible to walk away- well, that person knows how to write.

Which is far more important than any number of fans or movies. I'm glad that Stephenie Meyer isn't going to let the bestseller list get in the way of success.

(But I hope she branches out more. I'm getting just a little tired of vampires. Why doesn't she write something about witches? Or vampire hunters? I would totally buy a book about vampire hunters. Especially if it's about the hunter that kills Edward. I don't like him, Sam I Am.)

(On a not completely unrelated side note, there were parts of the later Twilight books that I enjoyed. They weren't completely evil. I liked Jasper. And Seth. And Jacob, right up until the last half of the last book. I don't hate you, Stephenie Meyer! Write more awesome books! End of side note.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Poor Baby

The more I get to know Bayan the more I love her. We went to the park this morning, and enjoyed an idyllic ride on the (mostly) flat stretch of road. And then we turned across the dam to face my enemy together for the first time.

The Hill.

The Hill looks harmless. Hills usually do. But The Hill is crooked, so it looks soft and gentle and then you turn and all there is in front of you is more stinking hill. I've gone up The Hill on Old Busted. The bike came to a grumbling stop about fifteen feet from the top, and I had to fight my way the rest of the way up. Old Busted doesn't like hills. At all.

Bayan mocks hills. She laughs at them until they droop in shame. She doesn't walk up hills- she dances up them. She chews them up and spits them out and jumps up and down on them.

I don't dance up hills. I wheeze and puff and wonder if I'm about to have an asthma attack. But Bayan is a nice bike to have on hills, and someday I'll be able to dance up with her. (Clarification: I never got off the bike. I never felt like I had to, or was about to have to. I just wasn't dancing.)

But then tragedy struck (and it didn't even strike on The Hill; life has no sense of appropriate setting).

I took a wide turn, wobbled (have I mentioned that I'm an inexperienced cyclist? it would be hard to find someone who knows less about what they're doing than I do), went off the road, tried to get back on the road because Bayan is a road bike and I was given dire warnings about what would happen to her offroad, but nothing very bad happened because at that point I fell over. Happily, I was next to a nice paved road and landed on some nice soft pavement. Bayan mostly fell on me, and I'm softer than the road, so that's good.

I scrapped my palms and my elbows but other than that (and the embarrassment) I'm fine. But Bayan's chain popped out of the gear or whatever it is, so she's temporarily out of commission. If I knew anything about bikes I could probably fix this in ten minutes. I don't know anything about bikes. The Principal knows about bikes, so I'll ask him to fix it.

And the next time we go to the library, we're getting books on bike maintenance and repair. I need to know how to take care of Bayan.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

All About Bikes

I have a new roommate. Her name is Bayan, which means 'rich with beauty and goodness', and is from I Rode a Horse of Milk-White Jade. She's a beautiful white and black road bike, a Trek Pilot 2.1.

The Principal has been excited about biking since early this year, but I wasn't really all that wild about it myself. A month and a half ago, he rented a bike for me to ride and see what it's like to ride something that's the right size, and honestly, it was like riding music. This morning the Teacher took me to the park to learn how to shift, which moved my opinion of biking from about a four to a seven.

And then about two hours ago I met Bayan (I hadn't named her that yet) and after three laps around the parking lot, seven became a nine, and then after six more laps it became a nine and a half. (I would say I'm at a ten, but I'm still an extremely inexperienced cyclist and there's always more room to love something even more.) Bayan weighs fourteen pounds. (At a guess.) Bayan goes fast (I can already tell she doesn't believe in speed limits- you can break the speed limit on a bike- especially this one).

Bayan is my graduation/birthday present. She's beautiful.

When the Principal was strapping Bayan into the back of the truck I told him he had to treat her nice because she's a lady, and after that, I had to pick a name for her. It was that or have everyone calling her Lady, which is okay, but really not original, and I value originality.

I'm not usually the type to name inanimate objects (calling the Teacher's purse the Purse of Authority doesn't count), but it didn't seem right to call Bayan it. She's definitely a her, and moreover she's definitely a high-class her. But after I started talking about naming her, the Principal decided he needed to name his bikes too.

He declared that his road bike was now Old Busted and his recumbent was New Hotness. The Teacher also has a bike (acquired yesterday in Houston) which is red and yellow and cute but she's just calling it the trike.

I kept looking over my shoulder to admire Bayan on the way home. It was twilight and she seemed to shine out in the darkness, but I'll stop this sentence before I humiliate myself. On the way we went over a rough low water crossing that rattled the truck hard. I whipped around to check on the bikes (okay- really just on mine) and breathed again when I saw that Bayan was still there.

The Principal said "The bikes are still there."

I said, "I know, I just checked."

And then they laughed at me. Some people have no respect for a girl and her bike.