Monday, October 8, 2012

So You Want To Date My Daughter?

(sent to me by a friend via Facebook)

If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Remove your hat when entering my humble abode. I may think you have something terrible under it and will do my best to exterminate it quickly, efficiently, and fatally.

You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.

I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist. I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is “early.”

I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me. Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy outside of Chu Lai. When my Agent Orange or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home.

As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car.

There is no need for you to come inside.

The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dental Prosthesis

It’s been an odd afternoon and evening.

I had teeth added, then hair removed.

The haircut is inconsequential, really. The teeth are the important part. Over the last two decades, my teeth have been steadily degenerating. Decaying, abscessing, hurting, being pulled, and in some cases falling out on their own. Luckily, only one of the ones missing was visible, and only if I smiled really big.

Last year, I began the process of repair and damage control. I had a filling done and several stubs of molars removed. Just when it was time to start the fitting process for partial plates, I found out my dental insurance had paid out the maximum for the year. So I’ve been chewing without the aid of molars for a year now. Apparently, through my employer, I have really great medical insurance, but very mediocre dental insurance. Which is part of the reason I’d put off dental care for so long. A lot has been paid out of pocket, but it’s become necessary. At any rate, I’m getting it finished now.

After several “fitting” sessions, I brought my new teeth home with me today. I love the fact that I’m going to (eventually) chew normally again, and that I’ll look somewhat “normal”. Well, as normal as I get, anyway. I understand that it’s going to feel odd, because I’ve gone years with most of those teeth missing, and now it feels like there’s something in my mouth. I understand that’s going to make me talk funny for a couple of days. (Please: hold all the Daffy Duck jokes….)

Here’s the odd thing: when I chew with my teeth, I can feel the pressure. I know teeth don’t have sensation, but maybe it’s vibration or pressure transferred to the root nerve or something. The artificial teeth, however, are totally freaking weird. They push down on the food and there’s just this odd, disjointed pressure on the gums. It’s a completely different feeling from “normal” tooth sensation. It’s kind of how I imagine it feels to walk on a prosthesis. You wouldn’t have normal sensory input from the foot, ankle, calf, and knee. You’d just feel pressure on the bottom of what’s left of your leg, and that’s how you’d know weight had been transferred to your artificial foot.

Only in my case, food gets trapped under my prosthesis.

Odd, disjointed, detached from my food. Yeah, this is going to take some getting used to……

(Please don’t misconstrue my analogy of the prosthetic leg to mean that I think losing teeth is ANYWHERE NEAR losing a leg. It’s just a literary comparison to illustrate my initial impression; not a belief that they’re equal in any way.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Daughter, Steve

The Other Half was pregnant, and we were excited about the new baby coming. Like all expectant parents, we had that running conversation that gets dropped, then picked back up uncountable times over the course of nine months: What do we name our child?

Picture the scene: The Boy Child (eleven years old at the time) was up for the weekend. We were all hanging out in the pool, and Other Half and I picked up said conversation once again, just playing a sort of verbal tennis, lobbing suggested names back and forth. She wasn't even showing yet - we had no idea if we were going to have a son or daughter at this time.

As we're bouncing names off each other, out of the blue Boy Child hollers out "Steve!"

Me: Huh?

Boy Child: Steve. For the baby. Steeeeeve!!!

Me: Son, you do realize we're talking about names for girls, right?

Boy Child (Big, mischievous grin plastered on his face): Uh huh. STEEEEEEEEEVVVE!!!!

At which point, I called him some silly name or other, then picked him up and threw him toward deeper water. Good thing we were in the pool, eh?

From that point on, no matter what name mama and I were thinking of, to The Boy Child, his soon-to-be brother or sister's name was already Steve. Even when we found out we were having a girl, he insisted on referring to his expected sister as Steve.

Even now, after she's been in the world for over a year and a half (Wow! Has it been that long already?), I think he may have referred to her by her actual name once or twice.

She's simply "Steve" to him.

And you know what? I  hope she always will be. It's their thing, and I really hope they can hold onto it for life.
Their first meeting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Do people really, truly still fall for this? I got the following email. I have two comments:
  1. Just because it says Ghana, did the senders really think people wouldn’t see it as the Nigerian email scam? How stupid. At least TRY to be original…
  2. I’ve had emails from friends get filtered into the spam folder, so how the hell did this make it past the filter and into my inbox? Way to go, Yahoo. Way to go.
Here’s the text of the email:

Dear Future Partner,

It is my wish to select you among Billions of People around the World to partner with us on this profit-oriented transaction that will better our lives if properly handled and trust this offer may interest you as you read below.

I am representing the Number One Citizen of Republic of Ghana to source for a reliable person or persons that can work with us to evacuate a cash sum of US$97.3million that was concealed in a 6 Trunk Boxes and deposited with G4S Securities in Ghana. If you are interested to collaborate with us in this very transaction, we shall offer you 40% of the aforementioned funds as your benefits. Kindly send via email your Private Telephone Numbers for discussion of this offer in full details while the Transaction Road Map will be send to your email for careful study.

Kind Regards.
Dr. Yerimeh Konteh

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Wow. “You don’t get pregnant from legitimate rape”, “You don’t get AIDS from heterosexual intercourse”, “AIDS came from having sex with monkeys”.

What the hell, Republican Party? It sounds like we’re right back in 1982, believing a bunch of total horseshit that has since been proven WRONG.

I thought election year was the time to try to look smart. The time to try to appeal to the swing voters, and those in the center. Is the GOP trying to lose elections? Or just looking to see how far they can push backward thinking?

Next, they’ll be telling us that a woman’s place is in the home (doing what her husband tells her), and that “separate but equal” is a good thing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Freedom OF Religion is Freedom FROM Religion

They should’ve said something in the Constitution of the United States establishing a separation between Church and State. Oh, that’sright!They did:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Motorcycle Boots For Sale

I'm trying to sell a pair of boots, slightly worn. I've had them about a year and a half, but they're barely broken in.

These boots are the Combat Lite Touring boots sold by Aerostitch/Rider Wearhouse. Here's a link to the catalog entry on their website:

Check them out, and read the user/customer reviews.

You can see from the site that these boots are priced at $297.00. They're made of very thick, sturdy leather, using as few pieces as possible to limit the amount of stitching required. This results in a sturdier boot, since the stitching would be the structural weak point. The few seams and thick leather combine to make these boots very water resistant. Aerostitch makes no claims that they're water proof, but if you read through the customer reviews, you'll see that with a little oil or other leather treatment, they become waterproof. In my limited experience, I'll agree that they are very sturdy, and definitely water resistant. I haven't had occasion to wear them in anything more than a light shower, but my feet stayed completely dry.

I'm selling these boots because they're just too much boot for my needs. They're fairly heavy, they're stiff, and they chafe my heel. Part of the reason for this is that I have issues with finding footwear that fits me properly in the first place – heel slippage is common. So I wouldn't hold it against the boot. Also, my riding is done on streets, highways, and back roads. I commute by motorcycle, so I also need to stand on a concrete floor for 8 – 10 hours a day. I was attracted to the boots because of the water resistance. I used to have “daily wear” boots, and a pair of waterproof touring boots (that just weren't comfortable for daily wear), but I wore out the waterproof ones, so I thought with these I'd get two in one. But they're really designed for the adventure touring rider. Someone who'll ride until the pavement stops, then ride cross country.

These boots are excellent for the adventure rider. The thick leather will protect from underbrush and rocks thrown up by the front tire. They have speed laces (I had to replace the laces, because I trimmed them too short, but this doesn't affect the "speed"), and a buckle on the outside at the ankle to keep them securely on your feet. The water resistance part is nice, too. They also have a nice wedge sole for traction.

There is a little wear. You can see where folds/creases have formed from being worn, which is of course perfectly normal for leather boots. There are some scuffs on the toes, especially the shifter toe. There's minimal wear on the soles.

The boots are made by Sidi exclusively for Aerostitch, so you can't get them anywhere else. They should last you years, maybe the rest of your life. Aerostitch sells replacement laces, buckles and soles.

These are labeled European size 43, but I've looked at more than one conversion chart online, and there doesn't seem to be a lot consistency in the conversions. Looking in the print catalog, I probably ordered a size 9. I just bought a pair of Red Wings work boots that are size 8 ½, though, so there may be a problem with the conversion. My problem is that I tend to fall between sizes, especially with shoes made in Europe or the UK. I had a pair of Dr Martin's that never fit me exactly right, either.

I'm asking $200.00, because really, these should last a lifetime. The price includes shipping UPS. If you have a Post Office Box, we'll negotiate from there. I'd rather not ship internationally, but if you're willing to negotiate shipping costs, we can discuss it.

If you're interested in the boots, contact me through this blog, and we'll exchange email addresses and go from there.

Friday, August 10, 2012

You Know You've Spent Too Much Time On Facebook When:

  1. You're reading an article in a print magazine/newspaper and you try to click on the picture to make it bigger.
  2. You look for the “Share” button at the end of that article.
  3. You read an email, and don't have a full reply in mind, but want to let the sender know you've read it, so you try to click “Like”.
  4. When you run into an old friend you haven't seen in a while, instead of shaking their hand or hugging them, you poke them.
  5. You don't understand why you got arrested for vandalism. You were just posting on your friend's wall.
  6. There are hundreds of people you've never met that you refer to as “friends”.
  7. You complain when things get rearranged, even though they're free.
  8. You have no intention of ever stopping using the free product/service.
  9. You dread the next “update”.
  10. You try to tag pictures in your old photo albums.
  11. You find yourself smugly convinced that everyone is wrong and that it's up to you to set them straight.

    (Yes, I've been guilty of every one of these...)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ring, Ring

I’m 43 years old, I spent the summer I was 20 sailing the Persian Gulf in the Navy. I’m an international officer in a three-piece-patch Motorcycle Club that I’ve belonged to for twenty years. But when my 18 month old daughter handed me a toy phone today, I answered it. And I don’t know who was on the other end, but you can bet your ass we had a nice little chat.
I’m 43 years old. I spent the summer I was 20 sailing the Persian Gulf in the Navy. My arms are covered in tattoos. I’m an international officer in a three-piece-patch Motorcycle Club that I’ve belonged to for twenty years. But when my 18 month old daughter handed me a toy phone today, I answered it. And I don’t know who was on the other end, but you can bet your ass we had a nice little chat.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In Memorium, Nearly Twenty Years Later

Let me tell you about a brother named Jingles. His given name was Mark McNeal, but nobody, not even his wife, called him Mark. He was Jingles.

He had served in Viet Nam on a helicopter crew. There’s a belief that if a bell is dedicated to someone, then every time you hear that bell, a piece of them is with you. He got the name from wearing a bell for every fellow crew member he’d lost in that war. There were thirteen of them. I’m sure he made quite a sound walking around with all those bells jingling and jangling, but sadly, by the time I’d met him, his walking days were over.

Jingles had previously ridden with the Viet Nam Vets MC, but had left over several philosophical disagreements. One of those was that his wife, who rode her own bike, wasn’t allowed to ride in the pack. Of course, that’s not the case with the Gypsies. He and his wife had joined Gypsy long before me, and were well known throughout the club by the time I came around.

Also, by the time I came around, Jingles had had a lot of serious medical trouble. Between Agent Orange and Diabetes, he just couldn’t catch a break. When I met him, he was riding a wheelchair, but had to be pushed because he couldn’t see anything more than shapes and lights.

A story to emphasize how attached he was to his road name: His wife told me about a time he was in the VA hospital for some sort of treatment or procedure or surgery. (Damn my memory, I can’t remember the specifics, but it’s been twenty years…). Anyway, while there, and not yet under sedation, he started having a flashback. He thought he’d been taken prisoner in Viet Nam, so he was fighting the medical people. Well, all the medical staff starts yelling, trying to calm him down. Funny thing about yelling at people: it doesn’t usually calm them. Also, they kept calling him “McNeal”, which of course is what he was called in the Army. Needless to say, this didn’t really help end the flashback. His wife stepped in and hollered “Jingles! Cut the shit!” At the name “Jingles”, he immediately relaxed, back in the present reality.

At the time I was prospecting, I was on a bit of a gin kick. Apparently, Jingles liked gin, too, but wasn’t supposed to drink. Once in a while, he’d lean over toward me and ask “Is Phyllis looking?” I’d say no, and he’d say “Quick! Hand me your bottle before she sees!” I knew it wasn’t good for him, but I figured how bad could one shot every once in a while be? Especially when he seemed to enjoy it so much.

He had been a Harley mechanic before he lost his sight. One of the members of the chapter I prospected for told me about rebuilding his bike in Jingles’ driveway. Even though he was already blind, Jingles told him step by step what to do, down to saying things like “now look to your left and take off that bolt”, even though he couldn’t see the bike being worked on. Once, he and I were sitting in our camp during the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre rally, when a bike I’d never seen pulled up. Jingles called it – Ironhead Sporty, and he called the year, only missing it by one.



Once Jingles had to stop riding, his wife mothballed her FXR and a special sidecar was built to attach to his FHL and she took over pilot duties. The back of the sidecar was a ramp on a hinge. You lowered it to roll the chair in or out, then it locked into the up position. There were clamps in the floor of the sidehack to lock the wheels in place in the sidecar.

Blind. Wheelchair bound. Dialysis every few hours. Most people would crawl into a hole of self pity and wallow there the rest of their lives. But Jingles made more runs and rallies in that wheelchair than most healthy people made on their healthy legs riding their comfy dressers. I remember showing up at a poker run in January and it was 29 degrees (I knew because I’d just passed a bank with a thermometer). Jingles and wife were there. He was in a leather jacket and chaps like the rest of us, with a blanket thrown over his legs. And yes – he made the entire poker run.

Jingles was well known and very respected throughout the biker community. When he passed, there were Gypsies who traveled all the way to San Antonio from Oklahoma and even New Mexico, to see him off. Many other clubs attended as well. There was even a write up in Easy Riders magazine about it. There were so many bikes, and so many cars behind the bikes in the procession, that after a second, graveside service was performed, his casket had already been lowered into the ground before all the cars were even parked.

I spent a lot of time with Jingles while I prospected. He taught me a lot about club life and motorcycles. By his example, more than anything he ever said or did, he taught me that you can have a good time even when everything around you tells you you can’t.


Rest In Peace, my brother, you are Gone But Never Forgotten.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quick Efficient Warranty Work

No, this isn’t a short story or any kind of fiction. It’s true, and it’s good to know that businesses still honor their word.

I own a Kershaw Leek assisted open pocket knife. A few weeks ago, the assisted opening function stopped working. Somebody told me they have a lifetime warranty. I didn’t realize that, so I looked up on their website how to handle warranty returns.

They have a form to download, print out and fill in. I did so, and sent the knife off. UPS picked it up June 29th from my work. Today is July 20th, and UPS delivered the repaired knife to my house. Awesome. They even restored the factory edge that makes a new razor blade seem dull.

I’ve had two multi tools replaced under lifetime warranty in the past (Gerber Multi-Plier and Buck X-Tract). Both were timely, no questions asked replacements, which is great. But the neat thing here is that Kershaw repaired my knife. It still has all the worn spots, nicks in the finish, scratches, etc, from me using it. It’s kinda cool that I got my knife back, good as new, instead of a sterile, new replacement.

Thanks, Kershaw!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quitters Do Win!

Today marks 1096 days (three years, one was a leap year) since my last cigarette! Happy Birthday to my lungs!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Mark Of A Good Meal

Tonight, the Other Half made one of (if not the) my favorite meals. Jerk shrimp, black beans cooked with onions and cilantro, and cucumber salad.

When you find yourself missing a meal hours later as if it's a friend who's gone away, that, my friends, is the mark of a damn fine meal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Attention Custom Bike Builders and/or Riders

I follow several bike blogs, and see a lot of custom stuff. Most good, some not so good. Some just not my taste, but probably good anyway.

Then, there are some real head-scratchers. Things that make ya go "Huh?"

Can someone please tell me what the current fascination is with the narrow-ass handlebars? Some of them aren't as wide as an old school peanut gas tank. It doesn't look like you'd have much leverage, and if you have any shoulders at all, it just seems like you're gonna look like you're grabbing hold of a pogo stick when you ride.

Seriously. Someone please explain it to me.

New Me At 43 May Update

... a bit late, eh?

Sadly, I fell flat on ALL fronts this month. However, my parents were just here for a visit. What does this have to do with it, you ask? I'm glad you asked.

See, my dad was always a bit "round" in the middle, and I teased him about it most of my life. Not in a mean way; just jokingly.

Well, it's backfired. No, I didn't find out he'd been taking it wrong and I'd been hurting his feelings all this time. It backfired in that he's lost weight. And. I. Now. Outweigh. Him.

Only, he's a few inches taller than me, which makes my fat that much worse.

So, the upside is that I have new motivation. And if I'm gonna be motivated with the weight loss, dammit, I can do the same with the rest of it.

Stay tuned. I may even not post Junes' update in such a procrastinatory fashion.

Yes, I made that word up. Sue me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy National Bourbon Day

In honor of National Bourbon Day, which I just found out about today (thanks, Banyon), I'm issuing a rare re-blog.

I took this from: and none of it is to be believed to be my original work.

Happy Bourbon Day, y'all! Celebrate with the original, all-American spirit.

Favorite whiskey myths debunked.

All of the following statements are false, although many of them are widely believed. (The statements in parens are true.)

Bourbon whiskey must be made in Kentucky. (Bourbon may be made anywhere in the United States.)

Kentucky is the only state legally allowed to put its name on a bourbon label. (No such law or rule exists.)

To be called bourbon, a whiskey must be aged at least two years. (Two years is the requirement for straight bourbon. Although the rules say bourbon must be aged in new charred oak barrels, they don't say for how long.)

Jack Daniel’s cannot be called bourbon. (Not true. Its owners just prefer to call it Tennessee whiskey.)

A bourbon mash must be at least 51 percent corn and not more than 80 percent corn. (The 51 percent floor is right but there is no ceiling. The difference between bourbon and corn whiskey depends on the type of barrel used.)

Sour mash whiskey tastes sour. (Sour mash is a technique for keeping whiskey mash at the ideal pH from batch to batch. It does make the mash taste sour, but not the whiskey.)

Only some American whiskeys are sour mash whiskeys. (Although not every maker puts the words 'sour mash' on the label, they all use the sour mash method.)

Whiskey made in a pot still is superior to whiskey made in a column still. (The two types of still are different, but in the end what they do is the same.)

Canadian whisky contains neutral spirits. (It doesn’t. The base whiskey in Canadian is the same as in blended scotch, nearly neutral but technically whiskey. The base spirit in American blends is neutral spirit, i.e., vodka.)

There is some reason why Scottish distillers spell their spirit whisky while most Americans spell theirs whiskey. (No reason. Whiskey is just one of hundreds of words that Americans and Brits spell differently. The spelling difference means nothing.)

Moonshine is un-aged corn whiskey. (Moonshine is any distilled spirit made illegally. Most of it is made from sugar, making it rum.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The God Flow Chart

(I didn't create this chart. I downloaded it from tumblr. I would credit the creator of it if I knew who it was. Thank you)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Veteran or Ex Military?

Ever notice how two terms can mean the exact same thing, but sound different?

In movies and on TV, whenever someone is referred to as “ex military”, it’s done in a way to make him (or her, but almost always him in Hollywood) sound like an outcast; definitely dangerous, most likely armed, and possibly even sinister.

On the other hand, the word veteran almost always sounds like the hero. Ready to save the day. Or, he could just be the old guy in the nursing home.

So there you go. The shifty guy with the conspiracy theories and the hidden cache of weapons is “ex military”. Your grandpa is a “veteran”.

Why the hell is that?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

You Got a License For That Marriage?

So, my mind just wanders off into "What if...?"  territory a lot. The last couple of days, here's what I've been wondering.

Several states have amended their constitutions or enacted laws saying that they will not only not allow homosexual marriages or civil unions, but also that they won't recognize such marriages performed in other states.

Are we really at that point? Where a state tells the citizenry of another state "We don't agree with your system of marriage licensing, and we won't acknowledge your marriage"?

If so, then what's to stop a retaliation? For example, Massachusetts could now say "Fine. We also won't recognize any marriage performed in North Carolina as valid in our state, so if you marry in NC and move here, you won't be allowed to visit your 'life partner' in Intensive Care or make critical medical decisions for him/her in a crisis."

And then, where does it end? Refusing insurance bought in other states? Not acknowledging driver's licenses from other states? Invalidating birth certificates? High school diplomas?

All this stems from imposing religion onto law, backed up by intentional ignorance, and bigotry.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Blog

I've decided to make this the place where I post my opinions on life, politics, theology, philosophy, or "miscellaneous". There's a new blog authored by me that will focus solely on motorcycles and the lifestyle that surrounds them. Check it out:

I'm also feeling new motivation for writing, so hopefully you'll see more from me here, and more regularly.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April's Progress Report

For those (very few) who have been paying attention, yes, I skipped the three month progress report. Sue me.

Anyway, here are some bullet points:

  • Social network activity: Still progressing there. Baby Girl and The Other Half were gone for a month, due to a family emergency involving Other Half's mom. All is well (or hopefully soon will be - cross your fingers), and my girls are back home. Anyway, the point is that I was a bit more active on the social networks while they were gone. The point of getting away from them partly was to spend more time with the family, who was gone for a month. I guess I fell back into some old patterns, as evidenced by today, but I'll get back where I need to be. It's just a matter of breaking bad habits.
  • Weight Loss/Fitness: Utter and complete backslide here. No excuses, just laziness. Mea culpa, and all that. Check back next month.
  • Clutter: Aha!! The clutter. I'm pretty proud here. During the month my girls were gone, I went through the house from top to bottom, and cleaned and organized. I even cleaned the garage. I went through the storage room, even emptying and cleaning and reorganizing contents of the multitude of plastic storage bins.
  • Attitude at work: Still fluctuating. I just have to keep remembering "illegitimi non carborundum".
  • Writing: Obviously, I haven't done any, eh? I have a lot of stuff I've made notes on - I just need to stop losing my motivation to write by the time I get home. Also, I've decided to add another blog. I have a second blog, where I post photos I've taken of bikes. That's just a photo blog - hardly any writing at all.  I write in this blog about motorcycle stuff, and also opinions and personal stuff, but I think I want to move all my motorcycle related posts to a new blog, and keep that one more focused. Hell, maybe even eventually make money off it, who knows? Once I set it up and get it going, I'll post the link here.
  • Projects: There were two main projects I wanted to get done. One is still waiting for some items I had to order. Once they arrive, I can begin assembly, and I'll post about it here, complete with photos. The other, I'm proud to say, has finally been completed. For years, I've been keeping up with three cardboard boxes of photos from my life going all the way back to when I was two or three years old. I'm happy to announce that while The Girls were gone, I managed to get them all into photo albums, even roughly in chronological order! I do have a couple of other things I want to pursue, but they're not specific things I want to accomplish, so much as interests I've said for years I wanted to pursue. So, that's what's next on the list. If I find myself getting involved in it, you'll read about it here.

So, that's what's going on in my world the last couple months.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Running With The Pack

Rolling in a pack. Man, it's such a cool feeling. It could just be you and a brother or sister, or it could be dozens riding to a run or a funeral. You get a real feeling of connection with your riding partners. It's hard to describe that to people who don't ride. It may just be impossible to understand until you experience it.

Hell, it can even translate into driving cars and trucks. I remember one time my ex and I were moving. A bunch of the brothers came over in their pickup trucks to help. I was leading the way to the new place in my car, and since we were all driving cages instead of riding, we got separated. However, when I signaled to exit the interstate, I looked in my mirror to make sure everybody saw me, and I'll be damned if every single one of those vehicles, separated by multiple cars, even, didn't move into the exit lane at the. Exact. Same. Time.

Every group, whether a club or just a bunch of friends who ride together a lot, develops a style, and the members of the group learn to almost read each others' thoughts. Gestures and a certain sign language develop that may not mean anything to anyone else, but can convey all kinds of things to the group.

I recently had a couple of experiences riding with brothers that brought home that telepathy that has developed within my own club. I was leaving a gathering and there was one brother who lived in the same direction as me, so of course we rode together. Now, I've never ridden one on one with this man before. We've both been in the same large pack, but never even in a small group together. Yet, when we pulled out onto the street, we fell into a certain rhythm. Hell, I think we were even shifting gears at the same time. You know you're synchronized when you can ride handlebar to handlebar with somebody for the first time and never feel nervous about it. He was riding on the left and I was on his right, and even when he needed to exit the interstate first, it was like we'd rehearsed the shift.

A couple weeks later, four of us had gone out of town and while we were on the highway on the way home, I realized that without even thinking about it, we'd fallen into riding positions that enabled those who needed to exit first to do so without disrupting the pack. The guy in the right rear had his exit first, then the guy in the left rear, etc. We never talked about it or planned it, or hell – even thought about it. We just subconsciously knew where to position ourselves.


It's such a good feeling; and those who refuse to ride in a group will just never know what they're missing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012

See, here's the thing. “Raising awareness”, in and of itself, doesn't do anything. Nothing. You have to act. You have to do something more than re-blogging, clicking a “Share” button, or even putting up posters.

We've all been aware of cancer in its many forms for centuries. We're aware of spouse abuse, child abuse, drug abuse, self abuse. We're aware of HIV, HPV, ADD, ADHD, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Our awareness hasn't made any of them go away, has it?

“But it's the least I can do.” Yup. Clicking your mouse and clacking your keyboard really is just about
the least you can do.

For one thing, the organization that's sponsoring the whole mess seems a bit fishy. Read this:

The US already has about 100 troops in Uganda to help. Kony has been indicted, and the free world is looking for him, he's just apparently good at evasion. Bin Laden was behind the worst ever attack on our country, and look how long it took us to find him. As for civil rights violations, yes – Kony is a sonofabitch and should die painfully. But what about North Korea's oppression of its people? That affects many more than Kony has the ability to. Realistically, which should be prioritized higher?

So, go ahead and reblog, “share”, retweet, and put up your posters, bumper stickers, and fliers. Just don't expect it to accomplish anything.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Everything Happens For A Reason

…. if “Because” counts as a reason.

People, face it: Sometimes shit just happens. Sometimes it’s bad shit. Awful shit. It doesn’t mean it’s part of God’s plan. He’s not testing you. He may not even be watching your channel at the time (yes, I think we are TV for God). Seriously - bad shit happens. Deal with it. Accept comfort when shit happens to you. Offer comfort to those who are experiencing the shit. But don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s part of some grand cosmic and/or divine scheme.

Man plans, and God laughs.

You may continue your regularly scheduled evening.

Thank you and good night.

"New Me" Progress Report - Month Two

Two months in. Plus a week or so. I'd procrastinate, if I ever got around to it. Anyway, time for a progress report. It's a mixed bag this month, folks, but mainly positive.

  • Social Media: Still chipping away at this one. I'm probably generally at the same level as last month, but I feel I'm making slow progress at reducing my time spent there. Still spending too much time in front of the TV, but The Other Half and I were talking about that the other day. We're both going to make an effort to reduce our TV watching. More time reading and (for me) writing.
  • Weight loss/Fitness: I can actually report good things here. I've lost around 10 pounds. Not great, I know - I'd like to lose at least another twenty, but it's progress. I've cut out almost all my workday snacking (aside from the occasional slip in willpower). I also finally motivated myself to fix the tire on my bicycle! I've only ridden a couple of times, and not at a level that I would consider a "workout", but anything burns more calories than riding the couch, right? Plus, every time, I was sore the next day, so I must have been working some muscles, eh?
  • More work done on the clutter. Got some books boxed up and we're putting them on Craig's List. Also, moved one bookcase (of three) upstairs to the bedroom to de-clutter the living room a bit. While we were at it, we moved the entertainment center and the coffee table to the garage to give Baby Girl more room to develop her burgeoning walking skills. Losing three major pieces of furniture from our small living room really opened it up. 
  • I've managed to keep a much more positive attitude at work, too. Sometimes it takes an exertion of willpower, but I'm hoping the "not hating" will become second nature soon.
  • Again, about the writing. With The Other Half also committing to less TV, I think it's going to be easier for me to motivate myself to write more. Knock on wood, cross fingers.
  • Drinking. Ah, that. Well, I think I really spoke too soon on that "resolution". I don't think there was a need to go a year. I had one night where I lost control, and I believe I over reacted to it. I went 60 days without a drop of alcohol, and no urges for it. I believe I proved to myself that I don't have a problem, and that's all I really needed to do. I've been drinking again for about a week, but not even every night. Judge if you want, but like I said, I only really need to answer to myself.
  • Also - one of my projects that I've had on the back burner for a long time is near completion. I'm waiting on parts, so to speak. I'll probably post about it once it's complete.

So, that's it for now. I'll hopefully find time for some bicycling and bring down my weight some more, and I'm pretty sure there will be many more posts here before it's time for the next monthly update.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beautiful World?

It seems semantically silly to me to say that “Life” or “the world” is beautiful. “Beautiful” is both a subjective and a comparative word. Something can’t really be said to be beautiful, unless there are similar things that are more and/or less beautiful.

With no comparison, we can’t really say that the world is beautiful.

It just is.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


…is not a city in China!

If you can’t afford to tip, stay home, or go to McDonald’s or a liquor store.

Good rule of thumb: If you can hear your tip hit the bar/counter/table, you’re a cheapass.

Don’t think it’s okay to not tip your bartender because you only got a Coke. It took more time to pack the ice and pour the Coke than it would have to open a beer.

The bill/tab is for the food and/or beverage. The tip is for delivery.

Random thoughts from a previous life as a barback.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"New Me" Progress Report - One Month

I’m one month into my “New Me At Age Forty Three” endeavor.

So far:
  • I have indeed managed to spend less time on social media. However, I’ve only made progress on one project that I had planned. Seems Netflix has taken all the time I was spending on social networks. So, I need to work on that one.
  • I’ve lost a couple of pounds. I’m not saying how few, because I’ve been slack on the exercise part, so it’s a bit embarrassing. I need to replace the tube on my bicycle tire and get back to riding that like I did last year before Central Texas became a Blazing Inferno Of Hell.
  • My diet is … well, let’s say I probably still need some work in that area.
  • Thirty one days into my self imposed year of alcohol abstinence. I find myself wanting a drink, but not in an “Oh my god, I have to have a drink now” way. More like in a “I want pizza for dinner” way. And honestly, the urge to eat pizza is stronger than the desire for a drink. I quit smoking recently enough to clearly remember what withdrawal feels like, so I don’t think I have a drinking problem. However, I’ll still make more progress on my goals for the year if I don’t drink, so it is what it is.
  • The clutter: I actually got started on that point last night. I’ll continue cleaning, organizing and paring down. It feels better already, having just started.
  • Work hasn’t changed much. I just have to realize that people are never going to have respect for the organization of “my” Receiving Room. I just have to accept that the first part of my day will always be cleaning up the mess the closing shift left the night before.
  • Finally, writing more. I’ve actually written less this month, I think. Maybe the lack of alcohol? Not that bourbon does my writing, but liquor is called a social lubricant for a reason - it gets conversation started, whether that conversation is spoken or written. Plus, the TV/Netflix thing again. Maybe I need to schedule a time for blog writing.
So, there’s my progress report. I wonder how I’ll be doing eleven months from now?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Looking For A Job & Still Getting Paid

So ... why is it that all these Senators, Representatives, and Governors can run for a higher office while still holding their current office? Who's doing their job while they're off campaigning? Not them. Yet, they still draw their salary. And you and I are paying them to ignore what we elected them to do while they try to change jobs.

I wish I could go around filling out job applications and interviewing for new jobs while on the clock at my current job.

Talk about out of touch...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Potential Vehicular Project

I have a 1996 Ford F-150. It’s tan. It will never be considered a looker; too boring body shape, too boring color.

I’m always broke.

I’m looking around online, and I’m seriously, seriously considering making it an art car (truck). Just looking for a theme. I have no artistic talent myself, so it’s going to be an interesting search. If I go through with it, it will most certainly be an “interesting” result…

Possible ideas so far include having a bunch of friends come over with airbrushes, paintbrushes and/or spraycans and be artistic on my truck; let that same bunch go crazy spraying graffiti on it; motorcycle theme (sticking toys and stickers, etc on it); tattoo theme. Maybe a combination? Time will tell...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

God's TV

I've posted a lot of things in various social networking media that apparently have led some to believe I'm an atheist. I thought I'd take the time to set the record straight.

I'm not an atheist. I believe in Intelligent Design. I don't believe that it happened a mere 6,000 years ago, however. There's way too much evidence to the contrary, and I just can't accept that the fossil record is some trick question on God's Final Exam. What kind of god gives us intelligence and reason, then plants numerous items which that intelligence would lead us to believe something that would cause him to punish us eternally? Seems cruel and unnecessary to me.

I also can't believe any religious text literally. I think they all have something in them which can be used for inspiration to lift our spirits and/or guide us in our lives. I think every one of them also has a lot of useless dogma and misinformation due to being written thousands of years ago with an incomplete understanding of the world and the universe. Hell, we have an incomplete understanding of the cosmos now.

I think God put the ball in motion, so to speak, and just sort of watches. Kind of like building an engine. Once you start it and it's running, you don't have to push the pistons by hand. It's not necessary to manually pump a fuel/air mixture into the combustion chambers. Now, of course it's entirely possible to tear down an engine after it's built and inspect for damage, make repairs, or even install upgrades. It's also possible, in a metaphorical way, for components of the engine to call out to their builder. A good mechanic can hear when timing is off, or when the valves are out of adjustment. He can tell if the motor is burning rich or lean by smell. I suppose that's a good analogy for prayer. Fixing the problem is the analogy for divine intervention.

Another analogy I like to use a lot is the ant farm. God built the universe much like assembling an ant farm. He put the framework into place, added in some dirt, food, building materials, then added the ants. Now, he's just sitting back, watching the little bugs go at it. Maybe earthquakes and tsunamis are just him moving the ant farm from the bookshelf to the dresser.

So, no. I don't believe God has a plan for each of us. This is the entity that created existence with words if most theology is to be believed. If he truly had a strong desire for specific life plans for each of us, is there really any way we could avoid that path? I don't think so. We evolved with logic and reason and free will. We choose our own paths. Our paths can be controlled by others through force, but for most of us, we choose our actions. Besides, there are around six billion people roaming the globe right now. Add in the uncountable billions (trillions, maybe more?) that came before us, and even if the world ends tomorrow and the population comes to an end, that's a whole hell of a lot of people. What difference could one individual's day to day life possibly make to an all-powerful god? Why would he care? People refer to “doing God's work”. What could he possibly need humans to do for him? He created everything by speaking it into being (allegedly). There's nothing we can do for him that he wouldn't cause just by asking us to do it.

I don't know that God hears all our prayers. I don't discount the possibility of some of them getting through, though. I think he can probably focus on individuals and groups here and there, sort of like how a crowd, like in a mall, can be just a buzzing static of white noise, but if you try, you can home in on a specific conversation. I suppose a large group praying the same thoughts would be easier to hear. I do wonder, though, about some prayers. For example, praying for victory in war. I definitely understand why you'd want God's help if you're heading into battle. Ironically, by helping you, you're also asking him to kill others. Others who are also asking him to help them by killing you. I don't know what a truly worthy prayer would be. I grew up in a church who tended to ask God to do things (heal sick people, help comfort the bereaved, etc), and they'd add “if it be thy will”. I find this curious, because I'm pretty sure the creator of everything isn't going to go against his own free will. Speaking of which, if he's truly omniscient, then he already knows your wishes, and if it's his will, then he'll do it. If it's not his will, asking him won't convince him. Kind of makes one question the need for prayer at all, eh?

So, no, I'm not an atheist. I just don't think God has a plan for us, and I think his intervention in earthly affairs is extremely rare. I don't think he steps in to reward or punish. I don't think he cares where we spend our Sunday mornings, or if we drink, curse, make love, or play hooky from work once in a while. I'm sure he doesn't mind a prayer of thanks here and there, but I don't think he requires supplication, either. I really think he just kind of sits back and watches us like we're a big TV and he has ALL the channels.

In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer I had before given, that for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there. (...) There must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed [the watch] for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use. (...) Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater or more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation.
William Paley, Natural Theology (1802)