Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bug Trap

Unlike most people I know, and especially my mother-in-law, I LIKE spiders and bugs. Well, I don't roaches, no matter how clean entymologist tell me they are. And gnats and flies are definitely off the list too. Whenever I find a spider, I have my husband put it outside so that it can live and eat more of the bugs that I don't like.

This past March, my son received a bug house as a birthday gift. Now this must be the most annoying, worse bug house I have ever seen. At first I thought it cute with it's decorative bugs and inside lanscaping. It has a button you can push that plays the most annoying bug sounds I've ever heard. And inside are three bugs that light up. Instead of looking like fireflys, they look more and more like radioactive roaches to me.

Well, spring has come and so have the bugs. Some big wolf spider thought it would find a meal in my bedroom and, instead of tossing it outside, I decided to put it in this bug house. It was all for naught because the bug died a mere 24 hours later. All dead bugs are icky and nasty so I had to have my son clean it out.

And just a week later I found another large wolf spider! My kids were thrilled and hit that noise button a hundred times. I'm sure all that ambient noise drove the spider insane; either that or it was scared of the radioactive roaches that occupied it's cell. Whatever the cause, it found a hole in the handle and never came out. I'm sure it's shrunken body is still in the bug house.

It was only a day later when we discovered another spider! I put the spider in the bug house and instantly regretted it. This one was probably going to die too. I used to save spiders and now I'd inavertly been the cause of two deaths. A third death was quite forseeable. So I took the bug cage outside and put it on it's side with the top off. Surely the spider would crawl out and escape.

Six hours later the idiot spider was still there. It happily had strung a couple of web lines and was sitting on one of the radioactive roaches. Since I couldn't just leave the bug cage outside for the kids to steal, I decided that spider had to go by force. So I took the bug and shook it upside down- and the spider was still there! I banged it against the wall and banged it against the ground to get that spider out and back into it's natural habitat.

How does the story end? Well, I killed it of course. You see, as I banged the bug cage on the ground, the spider fell out. But I banged it again and accidently smashed the spider as I hit it against the ground.

So the bug house of death has been retired and I will no longer try to catch bugs for my kids to see. They'll just have to catch their own bugs.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Search is Over

I have missed out on the opportunity to buy a couple of motorcycles since I couldn’t just go running off whenever I saw a deal. School has to come first, especially since it has been such a rough semester.

I finally had the time to go and look last weekend. Here is the description from the online Cycle Trader. The image was of a showroom lined with many rows of neatly lined bikes. I have seen that sort of thing before. Some places don't bother to keep up with photos of all the bikes they sell and just have a stock picture they use.

2001 YAMAHA FZ1, blue, 14K miles, very clean, new tires, $5,000, obo, All Texas Powersport, McKinney TX, 972-XXX-XXXX

I called and talked to a man about a bike. Sounded good. Not “too good to be true” good. It just sounded like a good deal. He described the bike as being in great shape with custom tribal graphics job. 14k on the odometer isn’t too bad either. He slipped and told me it was $4500, not the $5k from the ad. I took advantage of the offer and made arrangements to go first thing in the morning.

When I was about an hour away from the shop, I get a call. He asks me how much he had said it would be. I reminded him that he had told me $4500. He told me that the price he had quoted me was for another bike he had. He started to ask for me to meet him in the middle somewhere on the price, but changed his mind quickly and left it at, “If that’s what I told you, that’s what you’ll pay.”

Up to this point I have had different bells and whistles sounding off one warning after another, but I had determined to check this bike out all the way.

The shop is on the southbound feeder, but I saw it and the bike out front from the northbound lane before I exited and made the u-turn. Excitement mounted when I saw the bike, but then I realized something was amiss with this shop. It wasn’t a bike shop. They sell trailer homes there. There is a guy out front that likes to work on bikes and 4-wheelers and occasionally sells a bike or two. There is no showroom lined with bikes of any kind. Just a shack.

Remember the ad at the top? The description says “very clean.” When I walked up, this is the bike I found.

  • Engine cases scuffed and gouged from a (some?) fall/slide(s).
  • Fairing sanded off from sliding.
  • Crash evidence on levers.
  • Crash evidence on Jardine CF muffler.
  • Worn, rusted, and un-maintained chain and sprockets.
  • The clutch cable, likely the original piece, didn’t look like it had ever been lubed.
  • Tires were low quality and improperly sized. Though claimed to be almost new with a couple of hundred miles on them, they had signs of wear and age.
  • Brakes were poor. Though there was lots of pad left, they were probably aged or glazed to the point of not working, nevermind the fluid probably being the OEM stuff and needing to be flushed and bled. These brakes are straight off Yamaha’s finest performance motorcycles. This bike felt like it’s brakes were made of wood and had about as much stopping power as a jelly doughnut.
  • The whole bike was covered in scuffs and scratches from someone probably stunting it and climbing around on it.
  • Custom tribal graphics? More like stickers to cover more scratches.
  • Behind the seat on the tail of the bike was an Evil Calvin peeing on something.

I took a test ride and can say that the motor is probably good, but that’s about it. We parted company after I explained that I didn’t want to buy a fixer-upper, especially so close to blue book value. His boss was probably just as happy that the bike didn’t sell so he could try to get more for it anyway.

With dark clouds hanging over us (literally and figuratively) we were homeward bound, empty-handed. We made a pit stop at a random fast food joint next to the highway and headed off again. I noticed a Harley Davidson dealership on the feeder next to the onramp and thought out loud that sometimes bike shops cluster together, and wondered if there happened to be a Japanese dealer nearby. Just after getting on the on-ramp, I saw it: a big red wing on the side of a large truck. That isn’t a common sight outside the realm of biking. I made it back around to the Honda dealership so I could look at something shiny and forget the earlier trauma.

When I walked into the Honda dealership there wasn’t much in the way of used bikes out. I asked if they had anything in the back. They didn’t, but they had another dealership about an hour north. About five minutes later the salesman comes back and tells me they have an ’02 FZ1, and if I was interested, they could have it at their shop in a couple of hours. I walked into a Honda shop and walked out with a Yamaha.

So, long story short(er), after all the hassle, I now have a shiny ’02 FZ1 in blue with a very noisy pipe. I’ll have to fix that one.

Mexican Women Want Their Men Back

I might have called it hillarious if it wasn't so true. Some Mexican women sent a letter in for publication stating they wanted their men to come back home. They wanted them home to help raise the child, till their corn fields, and work on the jewelry. The money they send home isn't worth living your whole life without your husband or your father.

Quote from

Not all Mexican women want to have “anchor babies” in the Unites States. The real Mexican women of Tecalpulco want their migrant men to come back home and take care of the babies they left behind. “Close the U.S. borders!” they say. “Send our men back home!”

Tecalpulco is a small village in Guerrero, Mexico, on Mexico’s southernmost border. It is just north of the city of Campuzano.
Tecalpulco is famous for hand-made craft and jewelry. There is an internationally known artisans establishment there called ArtCamp. Vacationers know the place. The artisans run a coop, and they’re subject to the pressures of global market manipulation.

But their men don’t care. They’ve all moved norte, to join the mass trespassing movement in America. And the women of southern Mexico are tired of this nonsense. They have expressed their protest to, where a number of pieces on Mexican issues have been posted in recent weeks. has received direct mail from the artisanas campesinas, the women who make the famous jewelry.

I’ve gotten permission to post this correspondence. The women write from the heart in imperfect English, as one might expect.

Here is the first, from May 4, 2006:

When our men went to the United States they were young and adventurous; They have had their adventure, now we want them to come home to us and to their families and to their home country. Close the border so that the ones who are here do not leave. We have work now and the men can help us to sand-down and polish the jewelry.

Our group is of women from the village of Tecalpulco. The tradition of our village is handcrafted fashion jewelry. Since the men have left, we women have organized a good business of fashion jewelry production in cottage industry. The men can help us, they don’t have any excuse to stay [in America].

Thank you very much from the hearts of the women of Artesanas Campesinas.

Rosalinda Mejia Baron
Eva Albavera
Viveros, Contact
Telefonos:001 762 62 73481001
762 62 22758