Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ride To Work, Work To Ride

It's a sad fact that most people commute in their cages cars, insulated from the world around them, listening to morning "Zoo" shows on the radio, trying in vain to find something humorous in their morning routine, all while subconsciously focusing on the dread they're feeling for their workday. They make disparaging comments about Monday, and spend all week willing Friday to hurry up and get here already.

Pitiful, really. These people are defining their lives by their work, and they wish 5/7 of Life away, eagerly anticipating those 2/7 where they then use at least part of their minds to dread the Return of Monday.

We Who Ride get to escape that. Other than knowing what time I need to leave and the route I'll follow, I hardly even think about work before arriving. After breakfast, coffee and computer time, I put on my riding gear, kiss My Girls (The Other Half, and Baby Girl), and head to the garage, where my mistress motorcycle waits. Honestly, other than your lover's or child's voice and laughter, there's not much better sound than the sound of a garage door rolling open followed by a motorcycle engine firing up.

You dread your "morning drive time" (in the jargon of radio programming). I enjoy my daily morning motorcycle ride. You fight traffic on the way home; I enjoy my daily evening motorcycle ride. Seriously - I feel sorry for those who don't ride motorcycles to work. I mean, I get to enjoy my hobby/lifestyle/obsession twice every workday. How freakin' cool is that?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ride 'em Don't Hide 'em!

Two pieces in two separate motorcycle magazines, related only because they both referenced Vincent motorcycles got me thinking today.

One was all about the history of this one particular specimen. (Apparently, there are some avid Vincent enthusiasts out there who archive every detail they can about every bike the company made). It goes on about an American and his quest to own a Vincent, then the current owner's quest to obtain it. It was a pretty interesting article, but I won't go into details, mainly because I haven't bothered to get any authorization from the author or the magazine. Anyway, decades after the original owner parked the bike for his last time and covered it with a tarp, it was bought, and brought back to life. The decision was made to leave it as is, with the original tires and everything. Now, I respect not wanting to tart it up and try to make it look like it just rolled off the dealership floor. But the sad thing, which really upsets me, is that there is NO intention of riding it. Blah, blah, blah... need to preserve blah blah blah ... future generations ... yada yada yada...

Come on, by my estimate (which is based on absolutely no real information), approximately one quarter of all Vincents ever made are being "preserved for future generations to appreciate". Fuck that. It's a motorcycle! Ride the damn thing or sell it to someone who will. It wasn't designed and manufactured to be preserved. It's a machine, and taken out of its context, it loses its identity. It becomes statuary. If you want a sculpture of a motorcycle, hire a sculptor; it's probably cheaper than buying and restoring a Vincent anyway.

The other was a letter in another magazine, referring to a previous issue. This other magazine had run an article on Falcon Motorcycles, who created a sweet custom bike based on a Vincent. The letter writer was offended that the builders would desecrate what he considered to be some holy grail of motorcycle perfection by modifying it. Guess what, dude? People have been modifying motorcycles since the dawn of motorcycle time. Hell, the existence of motorcycles is owed to people modifying bicycles!

Again - a bike is not a relic, it's not a museum piece - there are plenty of those already. If you have an antique, ride the damn thing or sell or give it to someone who will. I can understand not making it a daily rider due to reliability, comfort or parts availability issues, but don't turn your garage or living room into a shrine.

I understand some folks want to hold things like antique motorcycles sacred, but let's be honest: sacred cows make the best burgers. Anyone hungry?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bumper Sticker Stupidity

I passed a car today with a bumper sticker which read:

Socialism is for lovers.
Capitalism is for haters.

How freaking ironic can you get? The bumper sticker was designed, manufactured and sold to make money.
The car was designed, manufactured, and sold to make money.
It runs on fuel, and uses oil that are sold at a profit.
So……the entire existence of this bumper sticker, and the bumper it rides on, is owed to the capitalism which it so inanely derides.

Stupid should hurt…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Abbreviations vs Stupidity

“OMG”, as an acronym, was created to abbreviate “Oh My God”. In other words, to shorten the phrase. So lately, why the hell do I keep seeing people typing “Oh Em Gee”?

They're typing out phonetically an abbreviation that's as many letters long as the original phrase! What's the point? Why don't they just use that original phrase instead?

I don't get it.

Seriously, Double-u Tee Eff?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't Tell Me "It Could Be Worse"

I know. I understand. I get your point. To a degree, anyway. But seriously, lay off. When somebody’s down, sad, depressed, hurting, however you want to word it, it’s really no comfort to remind them how much worse off they could be. When you do that, you’re not comforting - you’re diminishing. You’re telling them they don’t have the right to how they feel. And that’s not right. You have no idea how much they’re being impacted at the moment. And whatever it is that’s bothering them may seem trivial to you, but obviously it’s not a small matter to them.

I’m not saying to have pity, necessarily. But don’t condescend, either.

Just because there are people with broken legs and soldiers who have lost their legs to wounds, doesn’t mean a sprained ankle hurts any less.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Navy Day

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Navy!

Me, graduating from Basic Training in 1987.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seasonal Headscratcher

This thought recently occurred to me, and I honestly don't know what to do with it.

Toy Run season is about to be upon Those of Us Who Ride, so I guess that's why I thought about it.

Most bikers are politically conservative, and in all the online debating, postulating, and general talk, I've heard plenty of outrageous comments from both the Right and the Left. One of the comments I've heard more than once is in reference to public assistance for people who can't afford food and/or health care. At least two people have said the exact same thing, verbatim: "Not my problem." Okay, I get where you're coming from - it's not your responsibility to provide for anybody outside your own family.

What confuses me is the inconsistency in the coming months. Toy Runs are seen as nearly obligatory by people in the biker culture. The thought is "These poor kids won't have a Christmas without these benefits we do." And that's true.

So...... it's "not your problem" if they starve or die from an otherwise easily treatable ailment the other 365 days of the year, but by god, that one day, they'll have toys to unwrap.

If you don't care about kids starving, why do you care whether they have toys? Are Toy Runs just to make us as a subculture look a little better in the public eye? Dammit, I sure hope there's more to it than that.

I'll be participating in the Toy Runs, just like I always do, but I'm confused by what I see as inconsistent attitudes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not-So-Good Advice

"“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
                                         - Steve Jobs

How inspirational. And it would be great if we could all live like that. No disrespect to Mr. Jobs, or to his memory. However, there are very, very few people who are able to live this way. Maybe 2% of us make a living doing something we would spend our last hours on earth doing. For the other 98% of us, this quote is terrible advice.

If I truly lived every day as if it were my last one, I'd spend all my time on the phone with my parents, hanging with my Other Half and my  kids, going for a long bike ride, then drinking too much and trying to take my lady to bed.

In other words, work, paying bills, even eating well, would be the furthest things from my mind. About a week of living like it's my last day alive would have me unemployed, broke, evicted, hungover, and living in a box under an overpass.

Better advice is to live every day as a teaching legacy and a mental snapshot of your life for your loved ones. Be responsible enough, have fun enough, show your children how to enjoy life now, while also ensuring that continued enjoyment. And sometimes that means doing the absolute last thing you'd do if you knew you were going to die at the end of the day.

Carpe diem, as much as you can while also illegitimi non carborundum.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hey, Bro!

"Bro" is short for "brother".  Some of us take that word seriously.

Don't call me Bro unless you can call me Brother.

Don't "bro" me if you don't know me.

In other words, don't call me Brother unless you can treat me like we have the same mother.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Would you read a book and try to drive at the same time? How about a letter?

Would you try to write a letter while driving in traffic?
Of course not.

So, why the HELL do you risk the safety and lives of everyone around you by trying to read, type, and send fucking text messages while you're pretending to be in control of a car? You can't even stay in your own lane half the time.

DWT (Driving While Texting) just might be worse than DWI. At least drunk drivers try to pay attention to their driving, asshole.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ironic Protest, Part II

So, I was talking about the whole Wall Street protest thing with the Other Half, and she made a very good point. I don't remember her phrasing, so I won't even try to quote her (except that the final line here is hers), but here's the gist of it, with my verbose expansion.

True political protests have potential to make a change. Why? Because they're about political change. Public policy. Law. War or the cessation thereof. Politicians want your vote when it's reelection time. So, if you make enough noise, and convince them that enough voters are behind your cause, they take note and make changes so that they can keep their jobs.

The problem with the Wall Street protests is twofold. For one, it's just that: protestS. Plural. There's no cohesive, specific unifying message. Just "We don't like that you make too much money".  The other problem is that these executives don't have to answer to the protestors for anything. The protestors are already ensuring the executives' continued employment, because they keep buying the products and services. If they want to make a difference, they need to suck it up and organize boycotts. If that means not using ATMs so that banks lose revenues from the fees, so be it. If that means cancelling cell service or internet service, not buying computers, etc., so be it. That's how you get to a CEO: affect the bottom line. Make a difference in the P&L report.

Vote with your wallet.

Ironic Protest

Anybody else find it funny that these people protesting in New York are tweeting and facebooking about it? I mean, they're using smart phones and laptops and cell service ALL purchased from publicly traded companies. They're paying money -directly to- the companies they're accusing of making too much money. Kind of like protesting lack of health insurance by exposing yourself to a disease...
To truly protest a thing, you kind of have to not use it or risk being called a hypocrite. For example, if I'm going to protest that liquor companies get rich off an addictive substance, it would sort of be wrong for me to camp outside a brewery with a case of beer and a few bottles of whiskey and drink the whole time, eh? I'd need to get sober first. The protesters in the 60s didn't have social networking, but they did what they felt needed to be done, and they were able to make themselves heard.
Why criticize those who make money when you're one of those who paid them? The gain was the incentive for creating. If it weren't for the potential gain, people wouldn't quit their jobs and live on Cheetos for a year while inventing the next generation computer/motorcycle/cell phone/gizmo for us to enjoy. They'd stick with punching their time clock and getting a nice, safe, guaranteed, hourly wage, and we'd still be writing letters with fountain pens, using rotary phones (the operator would have to dial long distance for us), and listening to radio shows instead of watching 300 cable channels. 

This isn't so much a statement for or against the protestors or their cause, as it is a snarky observation of the irony of the situation and their methods.