Test riding a BMW S 1000 RR

December 2, 2011

Christmas in the city of San Francisco. The  Civic Center in festive look at night. Christmas is around the corner.

Only two questions here:

What is it and who wants to give this to me????

The dream factory played havoc with my mind. Test ride scheduled with this one!  Stay tuned for the detailed report.


Audition in Los Angeles

February 6, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a production company in Los Angeles. They found my application for a game show online and were interested to hear if I am still available.  I responded without any delay or hesitation with “of course” and answered a couple of general questions before I hung up the phone.  

A game show- interesting – have I ever done this?   NO – this is definitely a missing piece in the chain of all my adventures and activities.   That evening I went home, checked out the dates and location and decided to go.

The audition for the game show was scheduled for February 05 in Anaheim, CA to be exact at Disneyland. The last time I set foot into Disneyland was in 1986 as a must see for a newcomer to the country.

I booked my airplane ticket with some of my remaining miles and put in a rental car reservation to bring me from LAX to Disneyland in Anaheim.

Saturday Feb.05

My alarm clock was ringing at 5 AM. That moment I thought – maybe I should blow this off. What an ungodly time to get up on a Saturday morning. I got up.

I was at the terminal at the airport at 6.15 AM. The Flight left as scheduled at 7.30 AM. While I was going through security I was made painfully aware f the fact that my drivers license and its extension was expired.  Oh – shit – what happened to my usual efficiency on this one? I truly forgot…..

Ok – I continued to travel with the Green Card. Whew – now, without valid driver’s license I couldn’t rent a car. Next best thing is a shuttle. There was no timely shuttle in sight. This was the second time I thought to blow this off and just enjoy myself in good old Los Angeles for a day. 

Waiting was no option. The next best thing was a Taxi.  I had to swallow several times when the cab driver told me the rate but I made a decision. I took a taxi for this long ride fighting through the congested Freeways of L.A.  . This was probably my most expensive taxi ride I have ever taken.  Period.

Nevertheless I made it to the audition in Anaheim at 10.25 AM. I checked in as number 154.

At 11.30AM I had my first interview.  After filling out more paperwork I had  a 1 minute chance to verbalize everything I had written down already 5 times.

I was pulled out of the group with 10 others and brought into the next room. More paperwork!  More detailed questions this time. A little guidance from the casting people and off to the next room.

Good news was – I made it to the next round….

The next round was rather nerve- wrecking.  Five minutes in front of running cameras answering questions.   I made it – was quite happy with my performance. I was talking about my book, motorcycles, travel and Tae Kwon Do…..

Back to the second room – more paperwork!  This time a stack with around 50 pages!  I filled them out handed them over.  I  AM IN!!!   They have picked me as a contestant with a fair chance to win 50 thousand dollars connected with fun, excitement and valuable time on national television.

More details about this opportunity will follow.

I had to work my way back to LAX. Another taxi was just waiting there. He gave me a better rate but still it was expensive. I arrived at LAX at 4 PM. I met a friend for drinks. I walked over to the domestic terminals and jumped on my plane back to San Fran at 7 PM.  Touched ground, picked up my car and was back home at 9 PM.   What a day……

I am looking forward to hear back from the production company in Los Angeles. The next trip down to L.A. will be a much more serious one.   The story will continue.


¡México lindo y querido!

September 17, 2010

I am not sure if it is global warming, general climate change or just shitty weather all year long but we just phased from spring straight into winter again here in the Bay Area. It is grey and foggy, it drizzles, it is cold,dark, wet and uncomfortable. 

There is only one thing I can do,other than being depressed about not having any sunlight and that is to think about the places I had lived and visited where bright sunshine and beautiful colors ruled the planet…. Ahhh – I truly miss it.

Here is an excerpt from the book’s Chapter 19 ” Tales of Mexico”  when we were roaming around down south in the state of  Chiapas. The visuals will help to explain what sunshine can do to the spirit although Chiapas also has a dark side…  despite the accident we still had enough time to enjoy the beauty of the state and visited the Cascadas de Agua Azul  and the huge waterfalls of Mis-Hol-Ha.

*******

 Chiapas is truly the heart of Mexico, with its beautiful countryside and the largest population of Mayan natives. In the late 1990s, the revolutionary “Zapatistas,” a serious political movement guided by their always masked and never recognized leader “Subcommandante Marcos,” were fighting for the attention of the government to voice the concerns of the poor and suppressed in Mexico. As admirable as the cause was, their actions were not the noblest ones. With many guerilla fighters roaming the area, it was certainly not recommended to hang out there as a foreigner, since we were the number-one target for kidnapping. The countermovement to the Zapatistas was the government military police, so the presence of uniformed people was incredibly high in this state, and the chances were above average of being pulled over for all kinds of controls.

Juan was driving along the little windy roads thru the thick brush of the Chiapas rainforest. His driving had gotten better since I had met him, but like the majority of drivers in Mexico, he had no official driver’s license and never received any formal driving lessons. Hence, he was still a madman behind the wheel. Even with my own daredevil track record, I was unnerved. He could be far too reckless in his inexperience. I regularly took naps in the car when he drove so I wouldn’t have to see what he was doing. There we were, out in the jungle roads not even fit for donkey carts, and as usual, Juan was taking the curves a tad bit too fast. In the middle of a right turn, he stopped moving the steering wheel. I yelled for him to watch out, and he shouted back, “I can’t steer and the brakes won’t work!” while, at 60 mph, we headed straight for a wall of thick bushes and trees making up the Chiapas rain forest. We both had our eyes wide open and positioned ourselves the best we could to prepare for the inevitable. With the muffled sound of impact, we ended up entangled with banana trees and other exotic fauna. 

We weren’t hurt but trapped in the car by the foliage around us, that’s how oppressively thick it was out there. I couldn’t even open the door. As we struggled to get out through the driver’s side of the car and I grabbed for some shoes, I realized the engine was on fire. Not again! What was it with cars on fire in my life—was there a hidden message I wasn’t getting, so the same situation kept coming back over and over to haunt me? I had no idea about the cause of the fire, but that moment the cause didn’t concern me, getting our belongings out of the car and extinguishing the fire was a lot more important. The flames were fighting already through the cracks of the closed hood we had to open first before we even were able to squelch them with the mini fire extinguisher I had bought in calculated foresight. The car was buried and stuck headfirst in thick greenery and it was difficult to reach the front of the hood. In hindsight, maybe we also should have brought a machete to clear our way through the jungle in situations like this.Once Juan was able to reach the hood, it was already so hot that he couldn’t touch it anymore. Passersby had stopped and did their best to help to get the car cleared from the brushwood. Somehow, we all managed, the fire was out, and finally, it was over…what was left to see was my expensive car battered and in shambles.


Cider tanks and paint fumes

July 15, 2010

Time management is back on track according to my new schedule. In my capacity as writer/editor/proofreader I am working on the final touches.

 Here is an excerpt of Chapter 5 of the story when adventure seeking led me into a huge hall of dirty cider tanks in Italy where I thought some visual stimulation would help to show what this was like. Three month of hard labor, paint fumes and no safety measures whatsoever. The pictures show the tanks AFTER we were done with them. Not bad!

 

Chapter 5: The Essence of Serendipity

 

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things

which escape those who dream only by night.

~ Edgar Allan Poe ~

 

This was a big job. We walked into a huge hall with a stack of metal cider tanks three stories high running along both sides of the aisle. Each tank had a twenty-one-thousand-gallon (eighty-thousand-liter) holding capacity and a diameter/height of thirteen by thirteen feet (four by four meters) and a length of twenty-six feet (eight meters). The tanks were built before the brick walls and roof were constructed around them, and as a result, they were dirty and spattered with hardened concrete. Our work team consisted of four guys and me.

 

The world started to spin around me, though, while I worked one day. I felt trapped in a bubble where my heartbeat was loud and dominating. Other people’s voices and the music blaring from the radio fell silent. I raised my arms in slow motion and watched my feet slipping in fresh paint sliding downward as my body was slowly pulled into the narrow crack between two tanks. Suddenly, someone grabbed me and stopped me from slipping down into the darkness. It was my first experience of being high on paint fumes, and I was hanging on for dear life, nauseated and dizzy. It was Bill who saw I was losing it and who rushed up to the third floor to save me. He dragged me downstairs, and we sat outside in fresh air for a while so I could come to my senses again. I couldn’t even imagine in my wildest dreams that this state of mind would be appealing; if I ever wanted to experience new heights of being high, I would always choose adrenaline as my preferred drug.

I had to admit that this was physically hard, dirty work, but I liked living away from home in a different environment; plus I got to see a little more of Italy on the weekends. Our weekdays were dull; there was not much going on in Meran and on top of it, we all had no real desire to do any extracurricular partying because we were rightfully tired, like old people.


In[w]hale – ex[w]hale

June 17, 2010

Last week I spoke about the bear tracks in Alaska. This week I go back to my times in Mexico.

Chapter 21, titled “The Spiritual r[E]volution”, talks about my time in Guadalajara, Mexico. We spent many weekends in Puerto Vallarta for sun, fun and beer on the beach.  One New Year’s we spent several days savoring the intense sunshine and we also decided to see the whales. A big party Yacht took us out to the open sea. There they had little sea kayaks. I took one and went out to explore the ocean.  

It was all nice and relaxed when suddenly I felt a surge of water coming at me and saw a huge shadow swimming by only inches beneath the water’s surface. I was worried. This was a shadow of the size of a small island. The surge turned into full blown waves, the kayak bounced around in the ocean like rubber duck in the bathtub. I inhaled and watched the eerie shadows in silence– seconds later, I was sprayed by a shower of water from a jet as high as six feet, leaving me soaking wet: a whale had exhaled! I had the front row seat to see the spectacle of a family of  whales crossing my waterway. It was exhilarating and scary; my little wobbly sea kayak against the biggest marine mammals in existence. That moment I felt small and insignificant. The family passed by, pushing forward the waves they created with their huge bodies propelled by the incredible tail fins. I was privileged to be at the right time at the right place to have seen this so close by.

Unfortunately this picture only captures the aftermath of the experience.


Pink is “IN”

April 15, 2010

I like pink. I am really not the pinkish girly type but I think pink is a color everyone should adopt and bring into his or her life in one form or another.  Usually the color pink is found in the world of fashion – pink ties, pink shirts, pink stilettos, pink tank tops, pink hair ribbons or pink lipstick. In my rather edgy world I invited the color pink to my everyday live the way I saw fit.

I had no pink lipstick – butI had a pink race bike.  I bought this bike from an ex-national champion and it had the classic HONDA race colors of red-white and blue. It was a hot bike from the beginning but just too dull for my taste and in the spirit of self promotion and attracting sponsorship possibilities I had it painted in sizzling hot pink.  It was a girly bike all right and that was what gave the racing scene the edge. Which guy wouldn’t want to chase a pink bike??? You tell me.   

Many years later when my path carried me down south to live in sprawling Mexico City, I found the perfect car for me in the midst of 20 million other cars racing around that place. The same way I found my boyfriend Juan down there in the midst of 25 million inhabitants – but this is an entirely different story.

I decided to play it cheap and found an old, classic, remodeled Volkswagen Beetle (year 1978) – in fluorescent pink.

 When I saw it for the first time, I knew that this vehicle would be my loyal companion throughout my stay in México. I had to hand it to Alberto, the man and previous owner who uninhibitedly created such eye candy in a predominantly  ridiculing machismo culture. He sold it to me. I was the perfect person to come along as the white and tall “gringa” chick.  So, I ended up driving around Mexico City in stylish pink. Chapters 18 and 19 of the book are talking about live in México.

My pink Volkswagen and I were inseparable. It carried me every day to work and through all my travels across the whole country. It survived bad gasoline, pot holes on the streets of the size of crater lakes, many flat tires, a number of fender benders, it was my shelter when nothing else was available, it protected us from the monsoon rainfalls when stuck in the Mexican rainforests and it was stripped and broken into so many times – I was surprised it was never completely stolen.  

 I cherished it and I loved it. I never would have given up on its spirit but a rude awakening forced me to part with it a lot earlier than I ever wanted to. With all its imperfections and age, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, it caught on fire due to a short circuit and burned down to the ground. All I had left was the carcass of a Volkswagen beetle, torched by a sea of ugly flames and spit out as a pile of pinkish/black stinking debris.

My loyal companion, my beloved pink Volkswagen had died a tragic death, left beyond recognition or any hope of repair. I sold it in parts for 1500 Mexican pesos. It was a great car.


Spark Plugs vs.Cosmetics

April 8, 2010

NGK vs. Maybelline, Champion vs. Rimmel, Bosch vs. Revlon, or should it be performance vs. beauty?

Let’s bring it to one common denominator.  Performance and beauty. Two characteristic words describing power and elegance honed in strictly defined and different worlds but easily interchangeable.   Beauty can be found in performance and performance can be beautiful. Every which way is possible.      

It all happened in Germany.The first four-stroke gasoline combustion  engine was invented by Mr. Nicolaus Otto in 1876 and 20 years later  two still very  famous gentlemen, at least by name,  Mr.Karl Benz and Mr.Gottlieb Daimler patented the first  so-called “automobile” with the  Otto-cycle combustion engine concept . This was the beginning of the car revolution as we know it today, pioneered by the brand of Mercedes-Benz.

 Every little component in an engine is interdependent and positioned in precision to its interactive and specific job duties.  A spark plug is one of those components. It is an absolute “must have” to make an engine run. The embedded electrode produces the spark and carries the current to ignite the air/gasoline mix in the combustion chamber.   If there is no spark – there is no running engine – as simple as that.  A spark plug is as old as the combustion engine itself and it still looks pretty much the same since 1876. The only thing changed are the materials and its now rather slick appearance, hence it has changed its makeup. Nowadays we are talking about V- Power, G- Power, and Iridium, Laser Platinum or High Power performance spark plugs as the new breed of beauty in performance.  

This picture was taken during a race event in 1984. In my opinion, every woman should be able to change spark plugs. Why not?  So, it happened that I was pretty entrenched into the spark plug world.  A world I knew and I felt comfortable in.

Always up for exploration,despite my spark plug fetish, I became adventurous and broke into the world of modeling and feminine beauty. Beauty in appearance that is!  Unknown instruments like mascara, lip stick or an eye shadow brush was a totally new world for me.  It took utter concentration on my part to apply makeup the right way and after my first attempts my face looked like a crayon drawing produced by a four-year old…..  there was a lot for me to learn. Already the terminology of super lustrous, illuminating, pink twinkle, disco gloss, and creamy feel, long-lasting, shiny, comfortable or forgiving seemed funny to me. Everything was gibberish to me.

So I went from the race track to the runway performing the cat walk. With 5’9  (176 cm) and 130 pounds (58 KG) I was far too short and hopelessly overweight for this scene but as long as the makeup looked good the show went on.  

This  picture shows my debut in modeling around the same time. This photo never made it further than into my desk drawer, but here it is – out in the open.   The picture is proof enough that makeup can be magical.

For many years spark plugs dominated my life, then spark plugs and makeup overlapped for some time and by the end there was only the makeup left.  

I have a feeling that the conventional spark plug as we know it will not survive another 134 years with the rapid development of alternative technology trying to eliminate CO2 emissions. The electric engine generation is knocking on our doors and sooner or later will take over. Makeup on the other hand is never going to die. It always will be every woman’s best companion to transform her into something radiant and beautiful.  It never crossed my mind to buy a spark plug just for the fun of it but I understand the world of beauty better now and I make sure to find the specific, age defining, forgiving, illuminating and lustrous products to make me feel fit into the world.  Now it is only about beauty.