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.