Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Latest Activities

Welcome to the first blog post from my new computer. Not much different, eh? Well, it's working, and if I can only find a printer driver that is compatible with a 64-bit Win7 system for my 10-year-old all-in-one printer, I'll be all set.

My blog posts of late have been hit-or-miss with most of them previously written weeks or months ago, scheduled to appear as a new post appears each day.

What I really have been doing is caring for my 95-year-old aunt. Last Tuesday, I had to had to call an ambulance and have her transported to the hospital. She had become dehydrated and was hallucinating due to effects of a new drug her orthopedist had given her for pain in her back caused by old bones compressing in the spine, pinching a nerve. The pain was so overwhelming at times that it was all she could think about. She said she was not hungry, and wouldn't eat or drink ... thus the dehydration.

She was hospitalized for four days. Her orthopedist led us to believe that he was going to do a minor surgical procedure to help alleviate her pain. However, last Friday morning I learned that he decided not to do that, and released her from the hospital.

Friday was a day of frenetic activities. Due to her state of Alzheimer's, we really wanted her to return to her home and familiar surroundings. Had she gone to a nursing home, she would have been so bewildered and befuddled, we think she would have given up and death would soon follow.

Her sons who live out of state were always on the phone with me, but I had to take on the actions and activities to enable her to return home. They couldn't do it from afar. I called in dozens of favors from my senior legion who live in the same community where she does, as well as some family members.

Her pantry and fridge were restocked. A hospital bed was delivered and another friend bought new linens to get her bed ready. A company we engaged to provide companion services stepped up and organized providing around-the-clock care from personal attendants who could help my aunt physically: get her out of bed, help her use the toilet, prepare food for her, and make sure she takes all of her meds as scheduled and in the correct dosage.

I had to argue and take a strong stand with her orthopedist's office to change her pain med, since we couldn't have any more of these hallucinatory situations that were potential life risks. (My aunt was seeing imaginary boxes on the floor and trying to step over them.) The simple act of changing her med took several hours and many phone calls. Man, such a hassle... but her orthopedist just didn't seem to care or think about the consequences of his non-communication and inaction on my aunt and me, as her primary caregiver, custodian, and guardian.

Hospital personnel got her into my partner's sedan, which I used because there's no way my aunt could get up into my truck. When we arrived in the parking lot outside her condo, friends met us with a wheelchair and helped us get inside. And that's no easy feat, as my aunt's building has six stairs and no elevator between the outside and her unit. Those six steps are like Mt . Everest when you're trying to get someone who is frail and weak past them.

Another nephew of my aunt took out her old big double bed and cleaned her room. He even brought the mattress and box spring out and took care of disposing of them.

The new hospital bed was late in delivery, and I couldn't get my aunt settled into it until 7pm. The first caregiver for the round-the-clock shifts arrived at 8pm. My aunt settled into a deep slumber.

Unfortunately, the bed had a mechanical defect. It would suffice for the weekend, but on Monday, the owner of the medical supply company returned and replaced the bed with a new one that had all parts working. He really was good about it, though this unplanned situation was yet another challenge to deal with.

After my aunt was softly sleeping and her caregiver was oriented, I came home, and called my cousins to provide an update. Then I explained it all to my partner, who was worried about how I was handling all of this, since a couple days before I had my own visit to the hospital E.R. for treatment of a severe bout of colitis. Must have been the nerves and anxiety.

Throughout the weekend and the past few days, I have visited my aunt many times each day. I have oriented each new caregiver as she began her shift. I encouraged my aunt to eat, to drink, and to communicate with us.

Bless her, she remains cheerful and pleasant. She is not one of those Alzheimer's patients who gets mean and angry. She spends most of her time resting, but when she is awake, we get her talking, walking, moving, eating....

I feel that this is my calling for now... to care for my sweet, lovely, aunt. In a way, I am glad I have the time since my job ended in early June so I can do all the things my aunt requires to live out her life comfortably, at home, in familiar surroundings, with care by her side all the time. I can now relax somewhat, and get going on projects for home repairs on my own home as well as some of my rental properties, and re-start my job hunt.

Could I have just told my cousins, "send her to a home" and be done with it? Sure... that was an option, but not one that my conscious could let me live with. My aunt has the resources to afford to pay for around-the-clock care. Her condo is safe, comfortable, and suited for her needs. Years ago, I installed grab-bars, better lighting, and many other safety features that enable her to remain safe. Sending her to a nursing facility would have provided the medical and physical care she requires, but her life as she knew it, would be over. I couldn't live with that.

I am confident that my aunt will live what remains of her life in a manner suited for her needs, and preserve her dignity and quality of life. That, my blog readers, is what it is all about.

While the immediate crisis is over, the ongoing supervision of her care remains top-of-mind, with actions that carry out one of my frequent closings to this blog:

Life is short: show those you love that you love them. Each and every day, in every action you take.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Backing Up Toward a Terabyte

I am backing up my old office computer that I bought in 2002 in preparation to retire it. At the time I bought it, was state-of-the-art. Too bad that state-of-the-art is ancient the first time you turn it on (LOL!)

My old computer had a whopping 80GB (gigabytes) of hard-drive storage space and a whiz-bang speed of 2.53 Gigahertz.

And to think, my first PC back in 1987 had an unheard of 12mhz processor speed with a 'huge' 40 Megabytes of hard disk space.

For the non-math oriented, a bit is either a zero or a one. Put eight of them together, and you get a byte. One byte represents one thing, like a letter of the alphabet, a character, or pixels in a photo. ... and so much more.

1,000 bytes = 1 kilo (thousand) bytes. (abbreviated KB)

1,000,000 bytes = 1,000 KB = 1 mega (million) bytes (MB)

1,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000,000 KB = 1,000 giga (billion) bytes (GB)

1,000,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000,000,000 KB = 1,000,000 MB = 1,000 GB = 1 terabyte, or 1 trillion bytes.

We went from file sizes of 100KB (kilobytes) which you could easily store on a "floppy disk" (remember those things?) for portability.

Now it's not uncommon to work with files that are 20MB for something like a complex PowerPoint presentation with numerous graphics.

It also is quite common now to store files on a "thumb drive" (also called a "flash drive") which uses electronic memory and can store gigabytes of information on one small, portable devices. I have collected dozens of these things as give-aways at conferences and such.

Actually, our computers (my partner has one and I have two) are all interconnected through a hard-wired network (for security) and each of them get backed up automatically every time we power them up. A few years ago, I bought a whiz-bang 300GB backup device onto which all of our files are stored on our respective machines, in case any of the computers crashes. This device has all of my documents, photos, html and web-based files, my blog, and so forth, all safely stored and protected. Also, about once a month, I transfer all of these backups to an offsite storage area that is part of the service I pay for website hosting. I have "oodles" of space, and the fee is the same each month whether I use it or not, so why not use it?

My new home computer has a terabyte of hard-drive storage. Heck, with three computers and all the files we have, we're not even close to 100GB (1/10th of a TB) of every file we've ever written for the past 12 years, every photo we've ever stored, every web page I have ever written, every blog post I've prepared, and so on. Why would I ever need 1 TB of disk space?

Who knows? Back in the day, I thought 40KB of hard drive space was more than adequate. Fortunately, I don't think I'll run out of physical storage. Backups are so incredibly important. I know several people whose computer "crashed" and they lost everything, all for lack of saving their files on a backup system somewhere.

There are on-line backup systems available for those who would like the security and ease-of-use of an off-site backup. These systems are inexpensive nowadays and are designed for home use just as much as business use. They are analogous to an insurance policy. You pay the premium and hope you never have to make a claim, but if you have a loss, you will be happy that you did because some things cannot be recovered.

Onward with a hard physical backup of everything on my "old" machine. Once the new one is working and I'm confident that all the old files are readable on the new machine, then I'll destroy the hard drive in the old machine and e-cycle the rest of the innards.

Life is short: backup your stuff!

Monday, June 28, 2010

How You Know Your Other Half Isn't a Biker

Here are some signs to confirm that your other half is not a biker:
  • It's sunny and warm, and the other half presents a list of honey-do projects around the house, with demands to have them all completed by day's end.
  • You say that you have to go see your aunt to check in on her... same sunny day... you go change into motorcycle boots and jeans. The other half looks at you and says, "you're taking your bike? Really?" ... no, I'm walking. Of course I'm taking my bike!
  • You have been getting pledges of support for a charity motorcycle ride. The big day comes. You get up early and put on your full biker regalia (jeans, club colors vest, biker boots) and the other half says, "we have to go grocery shopping, then to the home center to get stuff for the backyard project, then ... " (the list goes on.) Ummm... I have prepared you for a month now that I am leading a ride of hundreds of bikers today. It's on the calendar. I'm outta here. (other half mumbles, "but we have all these things we "have" to do!) Uggghhhh
  • Time for the family dinner rolls around on Friday night. The other half seldom goes with me, and isn't going tonight. I change into biker gear and begin moving the Harley out of the garage. The other half says, "where are you going?" ... to the family dinner. "On your bike?" ... no, I'm walking. Of course I am going on my bike. Why not?
  • Rumbling of a Harley is heard out on the driveway. A buddy has come by for a planned ride to the riding range for group practice. Other half asks, "where are you going?" ... to the range... it's on the calendar... it's planned. "Why? You know how to ride." ... yep, but practice makes perfect.
  • An elderly friend calls and asks for some help moving some furniture in her apartment. I head to the garage, getting the Harley out. The other half asks, "are you going to her place on your bike? Why?" ... why not? I don't have to carry tools or equipment. Why not ride the bike to get there?
  • and the last way you can tell your other half isn't a biker is a classic when he asks, "can't you wear those boots you have on your feet for your ride?" ... as he looks at a pair of dress cowboy boots worn with dress clothes for work. ... nope, smooth-soled boots don't work for motorcycle riding. That's why I have so many pairs of motorcycle boots. The right boot for the right job...
There are times when I really wish my partner rode his own bike, but even when he could ride with me as a passenger, he was better at remembering what bikers do. He has forgotten that a biker will "think bike" any time he can ride it, even if not for a motorcycle-related event.

Don't get me wrong: I love my partner. He's not a biker, but makes up for it in many other ways.

Life is short: ride whenever you can!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Frayed Jeans and Frye Boots

The style back in high school was to cut off the ends of your bell-bottom bluejeans and let the ends fray by tumbling them in a dryer until the horizontal threads came out and you had strings, or "frays" at the end of the jean's legs. Then pull on your Frye boots, which had a higher heel so the ends of your jeans wouldn't drag on the floor. Then casually stroll along, listening to the distinctive Frye boot clomp. There is nothing quite like that look or the boots.

I have a dozen pairs of original, or "vintage," Frye boots that I have owned since the early 70s when I bought my first pair. The company has an interesting history, which is documented in a tutorial that I wrote, here.

I know I am not the only one who has a nostalgic feeling about Frye Boots. Someone who found a vintage pair of Frye boots at a yard sale bought them, then contacted me for more details after she found the information that I had written on my website about my Frye boot collection. She wrote an interesting and heart-felt post on her blog about her find and her communication with me. I appreciated finding that. I'm glad that I contributed to her interest and passion for these boots.

Fryes age with a distinctive patina to the leather. Instead of getting dull, the boot color gets darker. To me, it just looks more interesting that way. I still wear my Fryes from time to time. I had these "oiled" Fryes on yesterday, and a guy stopped me in the store and said, "hey, I remember those boots! They're Fryes, aren't they?" ... and then we had a nice conversation, reminiscing about our respective high school days. He said that he doesn't have his Fryes any more, and regrets it. (Poor fella, he was wearing sneakers.)

Now-and-then, I'll become nostalgic for the Fryes of yesterday, and the style that goes with it.

Life is short: enjoy vintage Fryes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

The stresses of this week have built to the point where a chronic health condition of my own reared it's ugliness, requiring a visit to the hospital emergency room for treatment. I have mentioned before that I have a very restricted diet. Almost anything I eat can make me sick, and when I'm stressed, it all comes out -- literally. I remember that I ate a salad with a variety of tasty veggies... oops. That's what tipped my intestines over the edge.

I was treated and released in four hours. It's amazing what an I.V. and some drug to kill the intestinal spasms can do. I must remain on a liquid diet and see my regular doc next week, but for now, I am resuming my attention to my beloved aunt. She was released from the hospital yesterday, and I have arranged 24/7 home health care for her, though it took quite a bit of doing in a short time. Fortunately, my senior pals rose to the occasion to help me again, and after a long, long day, it was all arranged.

Life is short: keep moving on.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gay Boots

I see internet search engine searches direct visitors to this blog and my website. Lately, for unknown reasons, there have been a number of searches for "gay boots."

As Blogger is owned by Google, the most widely-used search engine, then "blogger blogs" come up rather high in search results. Thus, this post, so I can say, once and for all,


Boots are inanimate objects. They cannot possibly fall in love with each other, have sex with each other, or otherwise be "gay." Boots are not "straight" either (unless you count that the boot shaft is straight.)

Seriously now, there are no particular brands or styles of boots worn by gay men that are different from what other men wear. Period. End of story. Boots aren't gay. You won't "become gay" if you wear a certain brand of boots like Wesco Boots, platform boots, dressy ankle boots, or tall boots with your pants tucked into them. Some insecure dolts may apply a label and engage in name-calling like kiddies in gradeschool by saying, "those boots are gay" or "you're look gay in those boots" or "that's so gay." Bull. That's all kiddie stuff. Man-up and get over it.

Cowboy boots are not worn exclusively by straight men. Gay men wear cowboy boots too. Both straight and gay men can behave in a masculine manner, or not. Masculinity and sexual orientation are not directly related, no matter what some who fear gay people think or say.

Motorcycle or biker boots are not worn exclusively by tough-guy straight bikers. Some of us who ride motorcycles are masculine men who wear boots for protection and style, and who by the way, also happen to be in love with another man. Yeah, "ho-mo." The world isn't going to end if gay men ride motorcycles or wear boots.

And there is NO SUCH THING AS GAY BOOTS. Get over it! Wear what you like, dress as you please. Be who you are, and stop obsessing over whether an article of clothing will label you as gay. If you're afraid of such a label, you have other issues going on that have nothing to do with boots.

Life is short: wear boots.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Wear 'Those' In This Heat?

"Why wear those in this heat?" ... so remarked a guy in his 40s who was walking next to me from the parking lot toward the hospital which we both were entering to visit respective family (in my case, my aunt for whom I care.)

He was pointing to the jeans and cowboy boots I had on. He was wearing shorts and flip-flops.

He asked his question with a tone of incredulity and an emphasis on the word "those." Yeah, it was well over 90°F (32°C), and the temperature was predicted to climb even more. He looked at my cowboy boots with a bit of of a sneer.

Instead of reacting negatively, I just said, "they're comfortable, and don't get hot."

He continued to walk along next to me until we reached the door, where the sign said, "no flip-flops allowed for health reasons." I gently pointed out the sign and said, "I have an extra pair of boots in my truck" and smiled back warmly.

He just shrugged and said, "maybe they won't notice" and walked in the door. I wasn't going to argue with him. I entered and said hello to the volunteer at the front desk. I knew her from some of my own volunteer work. She smiled, handed me a visitor's pass, and asked me about my aunt. I briefly answered her then went to the elevator and up to my aunt's floor.

When I got to my aunt's room, I looked out the window, and saw Mr. "why wear those?" walking back toward his car. I guess they wouldn't let him in.

Boots beat flip-flops, two - to - zero!

Life is short: wear boots!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Road

A buddy of mine took some pictures of me while I was riding my Harley last Saturday. I frequently choose to "ride sweep" which is the last one in the pack. It has a nice view of the bikes ahead. Here is what my view looks like:

And here is how I look when riding:

And again (look closely -- I meant it when I said that Chippewa Firefighter Boots are the most comfortable boots I have worn while riding my Harley, especially on a hot day like it was when this photo was taken.)

And during a riding break:

That thing by my left cheek is a microphone, which is attached to my radio which I use to keep in contact with the ride leaders and other riders.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Divided Between Duty and Dream

There a tune sung by Steve Wariner that talks about the responsibilities one takes on as an adult, yet feeling the urge to carry out his dreams, as well.

Currently, I am in that position. I dream about visiting "Down Under" again; I dream about taking time with my partner and go away together -- anywhere -- just the two of us with no phones, no computer, no meetings, etc; or simply taking some time to go ride my Harley.

None of these things are happening for various reasons. My partner cannot travel. I have obligations that I have taken on to care for my beloved aunt whose physical condition is deteriorating rapidly. No time to ride. No time to travel. Gotta stick close to home and help.

Life was simpler before. Alas, this isn't the case now. But I feel I am exercising my calling to provide care that's needed. Now. Perhaps after the situation settles with my aunt, I can climb back on the saddle of my Harley, at least.


Life is short: show those you love that you love them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Parting with a Pair of Wesco Boots

My website was built to organize my boot and leather collection so I would know what I have, and give me a hobby -- writing web pages and doing web tricks -- which is fun and interesting when I have the time. It was not created to promote or sell boots. From time to time, I get inquiries that have asked, "how much is such-and-such pair of boots in size X?" I have replied saying, "my boots are not for sale. This is a display of my personal boot collection."

However, someone saw a page on my website about an old pair of plain Wesco Boss boots. He noticed on the page that I said that I do not wear these boots much. Since they were stock and the calf circumference was tight on me, I wasn't wearing them. He offered to buy the boots from me, and I thought about it... and agreed. The boots will be worn with pride in California. I'm glad they got a new good home.

Again, I'm not in the boot selling business, but there are some pairs of boots that I don't wear very often because my size has changed. From time to time, I will sell a pair of boots that someone else makes a decent offer to purchase from me.

Life is short: stay booted!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stupid Is What Stupid Does

Can you spell o-u-c-h or b-u-r-n with permanent leg damage? Not to mention broken ankle territory? The sneakered foot of the passenger was this guy's daughter. (Great example Dad set for daughter, huh?) Pic was taken yesterday of someone on a motorcycle ride with which I was involved.

This manner of dress on a motorcycle: How sad, how very silly. Dumb. Stupid.

Okay, catharsis over. Check back tomorrow for more regular stuff.

Life is short, ankles and legs are burnable and not expendable: WEAR LONG PANTS AND BOOTS!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Did You Ever Want to be a Cop?

Many little boys, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, say, "a firefighter" or "a police officer." These professions are admired for the honorable and hard work that they do. They get into tough situations, save lives and property, and do honest public service for pay that often is not commensurate with the challenges of their high-risk profession. They rise to a higher calling to care for others and protect public safety. They put up with a lot of crap from the public who think only about themselves, not for others' safety, or don't think anything bad, like a home fire, could ever happen to them.

As I was growing up and considering my options, I moved toward education with a focus on public safety. That's what I do. That's what I know. That is where I have been trained, and have assumed various leadership positions to pass on skills and knowledge to others to help them be better at what they do.

Why not be a cop? Well, for one, when in high school and college, I was still a very klutzy, non-athletic kid. To this day, I still trip over shadows and non-existent obstacles. Some of the guys I knew who entered respective police or fire academies were naturally athletic. That left me out. I honestly didn't think I could pass the physical tests that new recruits had to go through. (I watched a cousin go through his physical tests for the police academy, and even though he was "Mr. Jock" in high school, he still had trouble with those tests.)

My high school friends who entered law enforcement had a respect and an interest in guns. I didn't. I still don't. They each had to demonstrate that, if in the appropriate and justified circumstances, they could shoot someone. I just don't think I ever could point a weapon at another human being (or an animal, for that matter) and intentionally hurt them. Does that mean that if someone were coming after me with intent to do harm that I would roll over and let them? Of course not; I would defend myself as best I could. However, I never want to be in such a situation so I did not consider entering a profession that would require carrying and perhaps using a gun.

In my civic life, I work with a lot of law enforcement officers. Most of my work is in meetings, on topics like reducing the lure of gangs, preventing "tagging" (graffiti), and making our community a safe and secure place to live, raise families, and enjoy life. I don't ride with motorcops daily, though I have had a number of times when I have been escorted on motorcycle rides by working motorcops looking after our safety.

I respect the law enforcement and firefighting profession tremendously, and do my part to ensure that law enforcement officers and firefighters earn the respect they deserve for the hard work that they do. From providing affordable housing, to advocating for pay and benefits, to helping to educate my neighbors and elected officials about hazards and how to be safe.

Some people have asked me, "you seem to like uniforms, so why wouldn't you be a cop?" My response has been what I explained above. Plus, having spoken with a lot of law enforcement officers over the years, their "real jobs" are nothing like what television shows make them out to be. A lot of their time is boring... waiting... and hoping actually that they don't get a call. To them, each call may mean trouble, and they would prefer that trouble not happen in the first place.

So that's why I have spent most of my career in prevention and education. Let's make that trouble "not happen."

In summary, I have deep respect for firefighters and law enforcement officers, and play my part to help prevent trouble as well as support what they do. We work together in our community. I appreciate that. But did I ever want to be a cop? ... well, probably when I was a youngster, I might have said that I did. When I grew up, I found my calling was elsewhere.

Life is short: support public servants!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Got No Time

Have you ever had those times when a song gets in your head and it keeps "playing"? Lately, the tune "No Time" by The Guess Who, which was released in 1969, keeps repeating. (BTW, one of my friends explained to me that "hearing a tune" and not being able to shake it is called an "ear worm." Yuck... sounds like a creepy Star Trek episode... but I digress.)

The title of this song, "No Time," is applicable to my life right now. You'd think since I'm not working at a regular job, I would have all the time in the world. Ain't the case.

Somehow I signed myself up to help with two motorcycle rides each on Saturday and Sunday. I don't know why I let that happen. I should know better. My partner whines about all the chores to do around the house and my absences for an activity that he can't join me to do. I had to back out of one of these rides. I hate making a commitment and then not being able to carry it out. But if I were gone on both Saturday and Sunday, my partner would "not be pleased." (Ummm... been there, done that... it's not pretty.)

Further, I have picked up some contracts to do some work for some agencies and companies, which is great, because I can do this work from home and make some money on the side. However, all these contracts are on short fuses, meaning the deadlines are quick and require almost instantaneous response throughout the day.

My dear 95-year-old aunt is not doing well at all, so I am spending a LOT of time at her place helping out. Even though her son has been here this week (he left yesterday), I am still spending time with him to care for my aunt and help guide decisions for her comfort.

I am serving as webmaster for two contested local political campaigns, and each of my candidates have frequent requests to update their respective websites, send blast email messages, and so forth. It is not difficult work, but ... it requires time.

Further, I made a dumb mistake. I have a very close friend who lives in Oklahoma whose husband died recently. She had bought her husband an extensive set of cast metal model vehicles over the years. She now needs money so she can move into an assisted living center. I offered (before she asked) to sell the models for her on eBay. She sent them to me ... all 192 of them! OMG! I had no idea it was that many! I have to take several pics of each one, then prepare listings for auction, manage the auctions, ship the items... arrrgggh! How do I get myself into these messes, Ollie? (And it was another "not pleased" moment when my partner saw the volume of boxes that arrived. "Where are we going to put all that?" he ululated! [BTW, the verb "ululate" clearly applies in this specific instance].)

... then there's this extensive "honey-do" list at home. These are all things that need to be done, and require time, work, and effort. I won't bore you with the list, but it's a lot.

So, I got no time...
... to ride
... to create videos or update my website
... hardly even to blog.

Wish me peace.

Life is short: too damn short sometimes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wesco Boots With Nowhere to Ride

I pulled on a pair of lightweight leather jeans yesterday morning, and thought my good ol' Wesco harness boots would be good for the motorcycle ride planned for the day. I tucked the ends of the leather jeans into my socks, pulled my socks up nice and tight, then pulled the boots on and "ta-da", there I was, all Mr. Biker. (I'm not showing the rest of me 'cause it's only a Harley t-shirt, a dime-a-dozen in my drawers).

I learned that with this particular pair of Wesco boots that I need to wear thin, not thick, socks. That way, my feet don't get hot.

... then after making my partner's lunch and kissing him goodbye as he set off for work, I turned on my computer and checked the weather. Drat -- strong storms predicted. No ride today.

But I kept the leather and boots on. A guy at the grocery store asked me tons of questions about the boots. Okay, happy to answer and give another referral to Stompers Boots. He was very impressed with the boots, to say the least. I think I met another Bootman-in-training! LOL!

Life is short: wear boots!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Getting Reacquainted with an Old Pair of Dehners

Dehner Motorcycle Patrol Boots, called "Dehners" for short, are well-known and highly admired by many. Lots of motor officers around the country wear these boots. While there remains controversy in their price (about the highest of all patrol boots), and the composition of stock boot "Dehcord" plastic shafts is also causes many discussions, there's nothing like the appearance and the feel of these boots on your legs.

The boots shown here are an old pair of all-leather Dehner Boots with Vibram big lug soles on them. They are "traditional" boots, with a bal-laced instep. I have had them for well over 15 years. They were getting tight on the calves, though, so I had to either fix them to fit me again, or not wear them any more. I didn't want to give up a pair of boots like this, so I got out my boot stretcher. Over the past month, I slowly stretched the calf of both boots, and now they fit great again! Woo-hoo!

I spent some time shining them up with good quality boot polish and slow, steady strokes with a fine brush. The foot shows a little wear where my shifter of my old Harley rubbed against it, but to me (and some cops I know), that's a sign of well-worn boots.

I'll be riding my Harley with them on again in leather or breeches. Nothin' like a good lug sole when riding the bike... great traction.

I was dressed in a pair of leather jeans tucked inside these boots with a sleeveless leather shirt when my partner got home from work last night. He thought the boots looked great and complimented me on being able to wear them again. He thought, though, that the full leather gear was a bit much. Even though it wasn't all that warm, I did get a bit sweaty during my "greeting." (LOL!) The smell of leather & sweat added something to what became a spontaneous sharing of tenderness and intimacy.

Whew... gotta find some more "old" boots and get them all shined and in good shape for more such "encounters."

Life is short: wear boots!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Trials of Replacing the Home Office Computer

The "honey-do" list at home has expanded beyond belief. I spent much of yesterday morning planning home repairs. My partner was off work and he helped a lot. We spent much of the time acquiring materials from various building supplies retailers. Then it got so hot and oppressively humid, we retreated to the basement to keep cool.

I finally admitted to myself that my 8-year-old Gateway desktop computer had seen better days, when it took me better than an hour to get that thing working yesterday. I also have a laptop, from which I am writing. The Gateway performed well, but has become so slow and bogged down, and uses outdated software no longer supported that my partner offered to go "half-sies" with me on buying a replacement.

Man, it used to be fun to shop around for a computer, but nowadays, the systems are so complex and the options are so many from which to choose, it's mind-boggling. I think I figured it out... and then spent about an hour hunting for coupons and other money-saving options. I was able to save about $100 by finding those coupons, so it was worth the effort, though exhausting.

Ahhh... the good old days before the internet, and using MS-DOS, ... not like today when computers at home run so much background stuff that you have to find and turn off. Just give me the good old > prompt, and I'll be happy. Um, I guess, until I need the internet LOL!

Wow, just to think, I wrote a whole doctoral dissertation on what I thought was a lightning-fast machine that had a 12mhz processor and a 1200 baud modem using WordPerfect 4.0. Man, I'm dating myself, aren't I? I still can't stand MS-Word, which is such a burden to use and to format documents correctly without it automatically changing fonts on you every two lines. Oh well, "progress" so-to-speak. The progress makes things much slower, in my book.

Life is short: fix things.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Live Free and Ride!

Yesterday, I was involved with a charity fundraiser for the families of law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty. I led the pack, riding wing to the overall civilian event organizer. The wing position is second, to the right of the lead rider, who is on my left. (To make this very clear: I am not a sworn police officer. I was the lead Road Captain for a group of riders who belong to the same organized motorcycle rider's group as I do. There was another man who was the overall event organizer for the supporters of this charitable fundraising event.)

What you see above is my view of the motor officers who escorted our ride. They ride ahead to stop traffic at intersections so the entire ride can ride through without stopping, and also to watch for our safety.

What you see to the left was my occasional view as an officer who had stopped traffic for us let the group ride past, then he rode past us on our left to catch up to the group of officers escorting us. So every now and then, we would hear a "whoop whoop" of a siren, and then see a motor officer whiz past us. Nice sight!

What you see below was a "behind me" view of what it looked like in my rear-view mirror. Pretty cool! I enjoy leading the pack, especially for a good cause.

For views of the some of the patrol boots that I saw, see last night's post.

Life is short: live free and ride!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today's View

I took a little break from caregiving today to participate in a charity fundraiser. Some pics here were some of my view. See this post for the full story.

Yahoo Email Cut-Off

For about the past eight weeks or so, I have been receiving spam only from Yahoo email accounts from people I know from the Boot world. They have put my email address in their respective address books on their Yahoo email. Then some hacker or spammer grabs the list by penetrating some vulnerability unique to Yahoo, and sends links that if clicked on, could introduce a virus, spyware, or other nefarious stuff.

I've had enough of that. It only seems to be associated with Yahoo email addresses from men in the Boot World, and nowhere else. Thus, I have blocked all email from Yahoo accounts except for just two email addresses from close friends (including my eighth brother). If you have a Yahoo account and try to send me email, don't be surprised if it bounces back saying "recipient has blocked this email address." Sorry, but this situation has gotten to be more serious and persistent, and I don't have time to clean that crap up every morning.

I strongly urge Yahoo email users to abandon Yahoo and migrate to gmail, which has much stronger hacker resistance and anti-spam features. The email of old, on Yahoo, Hotmail, Lycos, Excite, and a few others, is not being maintained to prevent spammers from doing bad things. If you won't give up your Yahoo email, at least change your password to a very difficult one that includes numbers, capital and lower-case letters, and special characters. Then run a complete spyware scan and virus scan of your computer. Yahoo email sucks, and if you won't give it up, then in order to communicate with me, you'll have to use my on-line "Write to me" page.

Life is short: advance with the times to a decent free on-line email service like gmail.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good To Be Back Home

All this past week, I was teaching at a federal government facility north of me. The students were great, the bureaucracy was typical, the paranoia was normal, the food was awful, the bed was lousy, but... it was good to be back teaching at this national facility again. Who knows, I may return. Keep my cred up.

I arrived home in the early afternoon. I grilled some steaks and caught up with my partner on our lives over dinner on our deck. It was peaceful, calm, and quiet: just the way we like it.

Last night, I curled up with my partner on the couch, snuggled close in his arms, and "tuned out." We listened to some soft instrumentals, while getting reacquainted. Before I knew it, I was sound asleep with my head against his chest. He only woke me because his arm was falling asleep! LOL!

Life is short: cherish home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pop Music Conundrum

The other day, my fellow blogger StraightJacketed posted a video by Lady Gaga that featured men dancing in boots and leather.

Also a few days ago, my buddy Clay remarked about being excited to watch something that Lady Gaga performed.

Last week, another gay friend remarked how much he enjoyed music by Madonna.

... and all you heard from me (if you heard anything) was a low grumble. I can't stand pop music that most LGBT people like. Screeching by Gaga and Madonna is like nails on the chalkboard to me. Arrrggghhh!

Since the advent of rap music, with occasional pop music additions like I mentioned above, I have pretty much stopped listening to anything. Rap is awful throbbing garbage, IMHO. Pop music doesn't do a thing for me but give me a headache.

I grew up in a very musical environment, and learned to play banjo (since all other instruments were "taken.") I love music, but "real" music. Classical music played and/or sung well is relaxing. But I have a wide and eclectic mix of music I will listen to on occasion: country, rockers of the '70s, vocalists like Anne Murray and Tony Bennett, ... but not Pop that the vast majority of LGBT people enjoy.

I guess once again I'll have to turn in my gay card.

Oh, that's right! I'm not gay! I'm androphillic!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Biorhythmic Conflict

I am convinced that I am strange. Or shall I say, "very different" in a number of ways. I like people but don't like to go to parties, restaurants, or bars. I wear leather often, but do not like to go to Men's leather events (been there, done that... enough is enough.) I own a cell phone, but I hate the cell phone for its cost and seldom use it. I also don't text, and block that service as a money-saving measure. I am in a wonderful relationship with a great guy, but "we" don't have guests over to our home or go visit others, because my partner is very antisocial.

But most of all, what has made me "most different" for my entire life, is that I am a morning person. I mean a "very early" morning person. It is quite common that I rise during the week at 4am, and crash no later than 9pm, or earlier if my partner will allow. On weekends, I may sleep a little later, like until 5am (what a lazy bum I am!)

Living on the biorhythms that dictate my being awake, functioning, and active so early in the morning directly conflicts with how most others (gay or straight) are "wired." Most of my family and friends are on a schedule of rising with great reluctance at about 6:30am, plod to the kitchen and make coffee, then go to work and arrive about 8:30 or 9, work until 4:30 or 5, get home, and have dinner about 7pm. They stay awake until 10 or 11pm.

For me, I bounce out of bed, frequently with a song (seriously, I am one of "those people" who sings in the morning!) -- and don't drink coffee. Can't stand the stuff. I am mentally alert and full of energy in the morning, anyway, so the added caffeine isn't needed. When I was working, I was in my office for about two hours before most others. I arrived home early enough to prepare a home-cooked meal each evening, and serve it by 6pm. (That way, I can leave to attend community meetings that begin at 7 or 7:30.)

When there are times when I have to stay up late, I try to find time to take a nap, because I actually have fallen asleep in a restaurant, or while riding in a car late at night. (Fortunately, I have not fallen asleep while driving, but I know "drowsy driving" is a huge hazard, so I take all measures to avoid it.)

I am so very thankful that my partner is an earlybird, too, or we would be like ships passing in the night.

I wonder, though, if more gay people are typically late risers (and stay awake late into the night) than straight people. I ponder that on two levels -- for how typically gay people show up at bars or restaurants very late (much later than straight people). Second, I get a huge spike in visitors to my website late at night from U.S. visitors who are surfing the web between 11pm and 3am. The volume of website visitors who surf my site that late at night never ceases to amaze me. Are gay people sleepless and surfing? I haven't a clue, but wonder about it.

Nonetheless, I recognize that I am different, and I am okay with it. I realize that I don't engage when others do, and miss some opportunities sometimes, but that's how things have been, and how things are.

Life is short: live.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Androphilia and the Gay Man

My partner and I recently watched the movie titled, "The Butch Factor." The film was released in 2009 and just became available on Netflix, which we can view by streaming video at home. It was recommended to me by my friend Kevin.

This movie interviewed a number of masculine, homosexual men who behaved and engaged in rather rugged activities, sports, hobbies, and jobs, as well as contrasted some of these men's opinions with two other gay men who were more effeminate in their nature.

We found the movie interesting and it sparked an excellent conversation, both right after it was over as well as on Sunday morning when we were snuggled closely watching the sunrise.

One of the interviewees was Jack Donovan (aka Jack Malebranche) who wrote a book titled, "Androphilia: A Manefesto" in 2007. This was the first time we had heard of this man and his book. While he had the shortest interview during the entire film, some of the points he made rang close to the thoughts that both my partner and I have: that we have a healthy male-male attraction, and that we reject some of the labels and stereotypes brought with the label "gay."

We believe that the male-male relationship that we have is consistent with our own behavior and masculinity, which Donovan described as "androphilia." That word is derived from the Greek, "Andro" (Man) and "philia" (Like). Donovan's contention is that "gay" is:
...inseparable from connotations of effeminacy and "a whole cultural and a political movement that promotes anti-male feminism, victim mentality, and leftist politics."
While I don't agree about the swipe at "leftist politics," I do generally agree that the label "gay" causes lots of negative thoughts (and actions) by the straight world. In particular, many (not all, but many) in the straight world have a common misconception that all gay men are frilly-froo-froo queens, and cannot look, act, or behave in a typical masculine manner. My partner and I, among several of those interviewed in this film, are here to disprove that notion. (And let me tell 'ya, being a masculine man whose sexual orientation is male-male, I have encountered a number of times when straight guys are confused as heck by me. So be it, they need to learn that not all "gays" are the same.)

Kevin said to me, "I think he proposes that there is no gay archetype or identity for that matter and to attempt to build one's self perception around something as basic as who one is sexually attracted to is limiting." I absolutely agree, as does my partner.

The narrator in the movie said that "Androphilia" caused a lot of controversy in the "gay community" (however defined.) Perhaps gay people who read it didn't like the opinion that "gay" is a label or "catch-all" phrase whereas people who are male and like other men do not all fit in one certain "catch-all" mold.

My partner and I never quite knew what to call ourselves, and generally used the term gay for lack of something else. Face it, we're "homosexual" and a label by any other name is just as sweet (pardon the mixed metaphors.)

Life is short: continue to learn about yourselves.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Boot Stare Funnies

This is how I was dressed and booted yesterday whilst running some errands. Two funny things happened along the way.

1. A guy in a car next to me pulled up and stopped so his window was next to where my boot was on my bike. He stared gape-jawed. He was staring so hard at my roughout brown/burgundy Wesco harness boots that the guy behind him had to beep his horn at him when the light changed, because the guy was so distracted (mezmerized?) by my boots! LOL!

2. I went to a grocery store and walked down the aisle featuring canned goods. There was a nice-looking guy (wearing well-worn work boots) stacking cans. He turned and looked at me, then my boots. He also became gape-jawed and knocked over the pile of cans he was stacking! LOL! I stopped to help him capture the cans rolling this-way-and-that. He thanked me, and then complimented me on the boots.

Life is short: Boots happen!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Day of a Dozen Pairs of Boots

On Saturday, I just couldn't get the boots right. When I first got up, I pulled on my Champion Attitude ostrich/biker boots, but then decided, "nahhh, I've been wearing them a lot" so I pulled them off and said, "I haven't worn Wescos in a while!" So I pull on my tall black Wesco harness boots.

No sooner had I walked into the kitchen to make breakfast than my legs felt hot. Ooops, these boots just aren't good in hot weather. Even in air conditioned comfort, my legs were getting uncomfortable. So off with those boots! But I thought, well, perhaps it is that pair of boots, so let me try my tall brown Wesco Harness boots. They fit a little less tightly on the legs.

However, during breakfast, my legs began to feel just as uncomfortable as they did when I was wearing their black brothers. I quickly pulled them off and put on the closest boots available -- an old pair of Justin Palamino cowboy boots.

I pulled those off right after breakfast. My feet hurt. Today just wasn't going to be my day!

I then put on my tall black and blue Olathe buckaroo boots. They looked good, and felt okay. My partner and I picked up some senior pals and went to the grocery store. I also checked in on my beloved aunt who I look after. But I have to be honest, by the time I got home three hours later, my feet were sore again! Off with the boots!

I was planning on padding around barefooted, but my partner asked me to grill some burgers for lunch. Since the grill is outside, I had to put boots on again. So I grabbed a pair of Frye campus boots. Ooops, wrong choice. They felt fine in the foot, but the right boot was very tight on my once-broken leg, so I had to take it off and try again... this time, with a pair of Nocona Rattlesnake boots.

Wow! They felt great! I thought I had the boot-feeling-foot-sore problem solved. Then I decided to run to the wireless phone store and get rid of the Blackberry and downgrade to a regular old cell phone, which I am only keeping because it's a requirement when leading rides for my club, or otherwise I wouldn't have one. I decided to go to that store using my Harley... so guess what? The smooth leather-soled cowboy boots had to come off.

On came an old pair of tall Chippewa engineer boots. Off I rode, exchanged the phone, and returned home a half-hour later.

Keeping score? eight pairs... so far, and by then, it was only 1:00.

The Chips felt just fine so I thought that I would wear them the rest of the day. Then "oops" ... I was using the hose to water the garden, and believe it or not, the nozzle came off and the hose fell onto my leg, filling my left boot with water. Honestly, I didn't do that on purpose!

I pulled off the boot, drained it, and hung it upside down to dry while I went inside to find another pair of boots. I put on their brothers, my non-steel toe engineer boots. They felt just as comfortable as their steel-toed brothers.

I ran some more errands, looking after some of my elder buds, when one of them asked me to meet him on the Bocce course. Time for another change! Engineer boots wouldn't cut it for Bocce. I needed something more "tactical." So I quickly changed to my Chippewa Firefighter boots, met my buddies, and had a great game while chattering away in Italian.

When I got home, my partner muttered, "you're dropping dirt clods on the carpet again!" Oops... I picked up dirt from the bocce course. Mud and grass were embedded in the thick lug soles. Off with the boots, to the laundry sink for some cleaning! On with a pair of Dan Post black cherry cowboy boots that I wore while preparing dinner.

All was well until my partner suggested that we watch a movie called "The Butch Factor" on TV after dinner. He suggested that we "get ready" and handed me a pair of boots that he wanted me to wear. So my All-American Patrol Boots were pulled up over a pair of chaps. Those boots look great with leather, and have wide enough of a calf circumference to accommodate leather tucked into them.

Life is short: wear boots -- many of them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dude, that's basically awesome

"Dude, that's basically awesome," so said the kid who once occupied the workspace outside my office when he saw a photo of me on my Harley. (Anyone less than half my age, even if he is a college graduate, is a "kid" in my opinion if he continues to speak as if he is still in junior high school.)

When he's not abusing "basically," every other word is "awesome." They say that the younger generation always comes up with meaningless expressions that drive the older generation nuts. This is one such experience.

The word "basically" has replaced "umm" and "ahh" as a space-filler when speaking. Most people are, like, basically, afraid of, basically, dead air when they speak, so they like, basically, fill the void with "basically" just to have some noise. Isn't that awesome?

I know that I say expressions such as "that's great" or "that's neat" instead of "awesome, dude." Used sparingly, "awesome" isn't basically so bad. But "basically" is. Hardly anyone uses "basically" to mean "fundamentally." It's just awesome, however, when they do.

Life is short: basically be comfortable with a pause of silence if you need to think while speaking. That would be basically awesome, dude!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


There I go again... the gay police are gonna come get me for sure... I forgot that it was "Pride" time again in DC. I had to check the website when a good friend who lives in Pennsylvania sent me an email and mentioned that he might be dropping by the Pride Festival on Sunday, June 13.

I dunno why I didn't remember it was Pride time in DC. I am a plain old disassociated gay guy, I guess. Perhaps it is a result of living with a recluse. Or perhaps it is because I don't like to stand around among crowds. Capital Pride has events scheduled from June 4 to June 13.

On the last day of this series of events, tens of thousands of people gather in downtown Washington, DC, at the Capital Pride Festival. They listen to speeches and watch stage performances, mill about various booths and displays, and check out the other people there. Usually, it is hot, sunny and unpleasant (weather-wise). My days of wanting to watch lithe young things with shaved chests wearing boots have passed. Frankly, I would rather be out riding my Harley.

Actually, my forgetting about Capital Pride has more to do with the fact that I am an out, open, regular guy. I don't need a day, week, or set of activities in which to "be proud." I am a proud man as I am -- proud of my accomplishments and my service to my community. And I'm not talking about the LGBT community. I am talking about my neighbors -- the area where I live. The area where I provide service by engaging as a civic leader. The area where I am respected for who I am and what I know, not because I am gay, but regardless of my sexual orientation (or the boots or leather that I wear). And that's how it should be.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous "I Have A Dream" speech that he desired that his children would "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." This dream is a reality for me as a gay guy. I don't hide in the closet. I don't run around waving the rainbow flag, either. I am who I am, regardless.

... and that's how it should be.

Life is short: be proud of who you are, as you are, where you are, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cowboy Boots at the Office

I am still asked from time to time by curious and perhaps self-conscious men questions like, "do you wear cowboy boots to the office?" or "how do you get by wearing cowboy boots at the office?" or "you're a manager of other people. Don't you think wearing cowboy boots to work sets a bad example?"

This blog post came to light when I found a discussion on the professional social network "LinkedIn" titled, Do you wear cowboy boots to the "office". The responses on that discussion were about as I expected: a few respondents said, "yes, I do," but most said that they did not, or do not recommend doing so, with a few having very strong opinions about it.

I agree, there are some industries and office environments where the dress code means quite a bit, and people make judgments based on how one complies with a stated or unstated dress code.

While my office work environment has a written dress code, the dress code is fairly relaxed. Essentially, if you are wearing a shirt with a collar, pants made of cloth but not denim, and closed-toe footwear, then you are in compliance with the dress code. No ties are required, much less suits. However, men wear suits when they have out-of-office meetings. Otherwise, we can relax and remove the noose from the neck.

It's that "unstated" dress code, though, that people worry about. Some people who want to get promoted, be recognized by the boss for his work, or otherwise want to be judged as an person worth of considering, tend to worry about what he wears, down to his footwear. I have one of those in my office. This kid wears a suit almost every day, even though he has no reason to do so. I sense he is a bit insecure, but he's new. He will figure it out eventually.

Yes, I have supervised and managed people -- all while wearing cowboy or nice-looking patrol boots. They may initially have some questions about "who's the cowboy who is now my boss?" but when they work with me, they realize it's what I know, not what I wear, that matters.

If I were one to be ultrasensitive to the conservative nature of men's style and clothing choices in Washington, DC, then certainly I wouldn't wear casual clothing, open-collared shirt, and cowboy boots to work. I probably would dress up more. But I have learned that I can succeed without worrying about other people's opinions, stated or unstated. I have moved up in my career regardless of the boots on my feet. I have also left or lost jobs based on factors unrelated to my clothing, but more related to the funding for my work. That's the challenge of working in a non-profit field. Sometimes, the money isn't there.

As I am looking for another job, then sure -- I will wear a suit to the interviews. However, I will have dress cowboy boots on my feet. Why? I don't own shoes and have no intention of lowering my personal standards by buying and wearing a pair of dress shoes.

Lowering standards? Yep... you read that right. To me, shoes do not represent the standard by which I hold myself. That is my choice, and not a reflection on yours or any others' choices.

My first days or weeks into a new job -- yeah, I'll probably wear a tie, too. But only unless absolutely required will I wear a suit. And all the while, I will have my boots on.

Life is short: don't let petty fears bred by misguided "norms" to dictate what you wear on your feet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How To Put On Cowboy Boots

One might think, "why does anyone want to know how to put on cowboy boots. I mean, you just sit down and pull them on, right?"

Yep, that's right. However...

... not everyone can pull on cowboy boots all that easily. Recently, I received an email from a guy who is not accustomed to wearing boots. He bought a pair of boots via a reputable on-line merchant. He even got instructions on how to measure himself for boots before he placed the order. Trouble is, the vast majority of internet boot retailers only give instructions on how to measure the foot, not the calf.

The guy who wrote to me said that he received the boots, took them out of the box, pointed his toe into the boot and pulled ... and pulled ... and pulled, and the boot wouldn't come on. He further described that the boot shaft (calf circumference) was too narrow.

He wrote to me for advice on what to do. Short story: I suggested that he return the boots and go with another brand, or better yet: custom boots made to his specific measurements.

The guy contacted some others for advice, and someone told him to use plastic grocery bags on each foot. Put his foot in a bag, then into the boots, then pull on. Well, that works for a few people, but only to get the boot on the leg. But the bag doesn't just pull out once you get the boot on. So what do you have? Roasted ankle and foot! The plastic will not allow natural body heat to dissipate, nor sweat evaporate. Soon enough, your foot begins to heat up, sweat, and then ... da da da dum ... swell. Uh-oh! You could barely get the boot on, and now you're foot is hot, sweaty, and swollen, so you won't be able to pry the boot off with a crowbar! This is NOT a good idea! Don't believe that old folklore. It doesn't work!

If the shaft is slightly narrow -- that is, you can get the boot on but it is a tight squeeze -- then it may be possible for a cobbler to stretch the boot shafts for you to accommodate your leg. But most boots can only be stretched at most 3/8 of an inch. Sometimes that can help, but most often, it's not enough.

Some cheap boots have narrower shafts that higher-quality boots. Check the manufacturer. I have found that Dan Post, some Tony Lama, some Justin, Nocona, Lucchese, and a few others have a slightly wider instep and calf, which are more forgiving to guys with muscular (or large) calves. Word of warning: if the boots cost less than US$140, expect narrow shafts and other manufacturing short-cuts which is why they are cheap, but also may result in the boots not fitting properly.

The best bet, overall, is not to give up on wearing cowboy boots, but rather, have them made custom to fit you. I like Champion Attitude Boots for the wide assortment on styles of boots as well as having some boots that are affordable (they also make some that are very expensive. Plain and simple boots do not cost an arm-and-a-leg.)

Alternatively, try regular harness boots. While it may seem that the harness strap would make the instep tight, it does not. Harness boots generally have a wider instep and calf circumference, so that style of boot may fit you, while traditional 13" cowboy boots would not.

It is best if you can go to a western store, or even a well-stocked motorcycle store, and try on a pair or two of different styles of boots. That's really the only way to know if the boots will fit.

Life is short: wear boots!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Bizzarro Rider" -- WTF?

This guy was on a police-escorted ride to Rolling Thunder held May 30, 2010, in Washington, DC. I've seen some riders dressed in some bizarre outfits in my day, but this one takes the cake.

Words can't explain.... Just what are those things on his feet? Mid-length leather jacket ... shorts ... foot-thingies that give no ankle protection??? Open-faced helmet with sunglasses and no windscreen??? Bug or rock ===> OUCH! And this is all whilst going 60mph on the Washington Beltway!

Life is short: get in gear and get booted!

Photo from someone who was on the ride, lifted from his Facebook posting. I intentionally blurred the profile, as I didn't know this person and didn't take the photo. Note: this IS a male rider. Note the hairy legs. Unblurred facial image confirmed as well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Observations From The Road

My partner and I spent yet another lovely holiday weekend at his mother's home, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. We got there by car. It's about a five-hour trip. My Harley whimpered 'bye as we pulled out of our garage. He much would rather I be riding him on what turned out to be a lovely, warm, sunny three-day weekend. Alas, it wasn't the case, once again, as we had to do what we had to do.

Along the way, I saw lots and lots of bikers on the road. As we were driving north, they were driving east and south to join tens of thousands of their brethren who were traveling to Washington, DC, to participate in Rolling Thunder. On our way home, we saw the opposite -- bikers returning to their home, going north and west while we were going east and south.

We stopped to have lunch along the way, and to switch drivers. At lunch stops, dozens of bikers were stopped, too. I observed:
  • Most real motorcyclists kept their helmets on, even in Pennsylvania, where a helmet is not required by law (as it is in a smarter state, Maryland, where we live.) However, there were some ding-dongs observed removing their helmet at the state line.
  • Most motorcyclists were wearing proper clothing -- jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and boots. There were a few wearing sneakers, but fortunately, not many of those I call "anticipating broken ankle recoverers."
  • There were some organ donors, too -- those who were wearing shorts and sneakers and no helmet, either. I really wonder what these guys were thinking. (Sorry, oxymoron: helmetless sneaker-clad shorts-wearers on a motorcycle going 70mph aren't able to think, as they believe there is no possibility at all that they would have a crash.)
  • it was amusing to me, but as every biker I saw parked and got off his respective motorcycle, he pulled out his cell phone (or Blackberry, or iPhone, etc.) and began texting away. Every single one of them -- text-text-text. I guess it's a new trend among bikers now. I haven't really seen all the texting practice before. Since I don't text and have blocked texting service from my cell phone, I don't know why they are doing that, but they do.
  • motorcyclists were generally traveling in groups of four to eight and were going within the speed limit. That's a good thing, from a safety standpoint.
Well, anyway, as we were traveling along the highway and I would see a group of bikers, I couldn't help but let out a little sigh. My partner said that next year, he might rearrange things so I can stay home for the holiday weekend. We'll see if that really happens. So many things can change in a year's time.

Life is short: ride safely!