Thoughts On The 2013 Z1000

Last week, I brought this lovely little lady home with me. Meet Zoey, my new 2013 Kawasaki Z1000:Image

I thought about writing a post about my new ride as soon as I received it, but I realized that I wouldn’t have much to say with only a single ride home from the dealer under my belt. Well, now that I’ve had this motorcycle for over a week and I’ve already put over 400 miles on it, I think I can talk more about it.

My previous ride was a 2005 Ninja 500, so this jump from a 500 cc engine to a 1000 cc engine (actually 1043 cc, if we’re being picky) is a pretty big one. The Z is quick; really, really quick. It’s quick off the throttle, it’s quick to get up to speed. Everything about it is just that fast. It’s awesome.

I went with the 2013 model over the new 2014 Z1000 for two reasons. First, I wasn’t crazy about the price increase; the 2013 Z’s MSRP was $10,500, while the 2014 is about $2000 more. Since this was last year’s model, I was able to pick it up at a really, really nice price, which was a big bonus. Furthermore, I really don’t like the look of the 2014. I think the gun-metal grey with the green accents just isn’t as striking as the 2013’s full metallic blazed green paint job. Seriously, this thing sparkles in the sunlight. It’s very striking.

My favorite thing about the Z1000 is the upright riding position. I’d already gotten used to sitting upright on a bike since the Ninja 500 has a very upright posture considering its sport bike class. I’ve been on a few other sport bikes with more aggressive, over-the-tank postures and I didn’t care for it. The Z’s seat is really comfortable and it’s nice to sit upright on the thing. It certainly makes tooling around town more comfortable.

The puny windshield means that the wind above about 80 mph gets pretty intense. To be honest, I didn’t realize that the little windshield on the Ninja 500 was doing that much to deflect wind, but the difference is noticeable. I don’t mind the wind, honestly, although it’s a bit of an upper arm workout to hold on at speed, it’s not unbearable. Also, it really adds to the feeling of going Warp Nine when you’re really moving.

Really, I love everything about this bike. Whenever I think about it or someone asks me about my new ride, I get an absolutely ridiculous grin on my face. Riders will often talk about “smiles per mile” as a metric for value when it comes to their rides. In that regard, I think I’m getting my money’s worth, many times over.

Getting Back To It

The difficult part about the end of December is that the multiple of holidays rolling into one another tend to create a feeling of inertia that makes it difficult to return to normal. But now the holidays are well and truly over; it’s long past time for the fake tree to come down and get stuffed back into its box for another year. Time to dust off the blog and think about what I want to say.

Originally, I planned on doing a post about what 2013 meant to me. A lot of people are going on the record as saying that 2013 was the worst year ever. That might be true for them; I don’t think it’s true for me. 2013 had its ups and its downs, although overall, I think there were more ups.

What will 2014 be? I’m hoping it will be a good year. I’m going to try and publish my book (at long last). I have a few other writing and editing related opportunities that I can’t discuss in detail (out of respect to the privacy of the client) but that have me very excited. I cashed my first check that I earned from editing last week and it was glorious.

The urge to spend it all on a new laptop instead of building up my ravaged savings account was almost overwhelming. Right now, the desire to save is winning . . . but we’ll see how long that lasts.

One thing I’ve been discussing with myself is the direction I want to take the blog. Over the past year, I tended to write about whatever struck my fancy . . . and that included a lot of political and opinion posts. I’m uncertain whether I’ll continue that trend. It did provide me with something to talk about but it also meant that sometimes I went looking for things to get annoyed at just so I could have something to write about. I think that tendency skewed much of my writing towards the Cynical end of the spectrum. If 2013 was the Cynical year, I feel compelled to make 2014 the Idealist year.

Expect posts about adorable kittens and puppies falling asleep EVERY DAY. Ye be warned.

Final Post For 2013

2013 is firmly in the rear-view mirror at this point. It’s been an interesting and productive year for me personally. It’s also been an odd and frustrating year, again, speaking personally. I finished my novel rewrite. I started grad school. I started a new blog (this blog, in fact).

I’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of the previous year’s posts:

Most read post of the past year: Myers-Briggs And RPG Classes 

I feel conflicted about this. On the one hand, I’m pleased that something I wrote is bringing in so many new readers, even if they don’t all end up sticking around. On the other hand, I think that this first attempt to bridge the MBTI types and RPG archetypes was flawed and rather poorly executed. The comments for that post are the best part as several of my regular readers rightly called me to task for mistakes in my analysis. On the positive side, however, those comments led to a far stronger post in the form of The Psychology of WoW Classes.

Most controversial post of the past year: A Mountain Shrine, Dénouement

Although several of my posts brought out some detractors, I think my defense of the decision to not remove the religious shrine on A Mountain brought the most heat. It’s certainly the argument that sticks out the most vividly in my mind. My various jabs at Men’s Rights Activists brought out some interesting commentary, but with only a few exceptions, it tended to veer more towards trolling than anything else.

Personal favorite post of the past year: Thoughts On Tauriel

It didn’t attract the most page views. It didn’t spawn a large number of comments. It wasn’t even the most deeply personal thing I wrote last year. But there’s something about that post that’s been sticking in my mind all year. I did see the new Hobbit last week and I plan on doing a follow-up to that post and a discussion about how Tauriel ended up being portrayed. Regardless, I think the words I wrote in that original post still ring true. They’ve become the backbone of my feminist discussions lately and they’re a codification of why I think it’s important to argue against white male privilege in fiction:

In short, let’s hope for sci-fi and fantasy created that cater to people of all demographics, not just mine. ‘Cause, you know what? I had  plenty of heroes who looked like me growing up. I got to have Han Solo and Luke Skywalker and Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne and quite a few other heroic characters to identify with. I was spoiled for choice. A lot of kids weren’t, though. A lot of them were ignored or marginalized.

There are enough stories and characters that everybody should have someone. And don’t tell me it’s unimportant; growing up, these are the stories that provided the lens through which I engaged the world. These are the stories that helped make me me.

My stories told me, over and over, that I looked like the hero, the protagonist, the main character, the star. If you wonder what privilege looks like, that’s it right there.

Thank you for reading my blog. See you in 2014.