Saturday, July 31, 2010

Change of Priorities

Yesterday was bright, sunny, and the humidity which is prevalent in the DC/Maryland area was non-existent. My mother-in-law is on her way home. The week's visit wasn't that bad. I'll miss my partner, though, as he drove her back to her home and will spend the weekend and return Monday.

The "honey-do" chores are all done, and I have the whole weekend to myself! Woo-hoo! Time for this biker to pull on his boots, leathers, and get out for a ride!

But wait... my heart strings were pulled when I visited my aunt in the morning. There she is, confined indoors when it's so nice outside. Instead of riding to nowhere just for me, instead, I gently got my aunt into her wheelchair and took her for a walk. Well, let's say I did the walking, but she enjoyed the outing! There I am in leather jeans, biker boots, and a leather shirt, smiling as I stroll along with my aunt. She's so sweet. I think the fresh air did her good, and her smile is all I need to warm my heart.

By the time I got back home, I had to do some consulting work and before I knew it, time had flown and it was too late to go for a ride. My priorities changed, but for the good of my aunt's health, and my own happiness.

Tomorrow, though, this tall-booted leather-wearing guy is definitely going for a ride! It's about damn time!

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

Friday, July 30, 2010


Regretfully, I took a page off my website that was being linked to from a forum that shall remain nameless. However, since I can't see what they're saying about me because it's a password-protected site, and with the huge number of hits on my website coming from it, the safest thing to do was to take the page down and redirect visitors to another website which may suit their interests (or at least take their interests off me).

That's a bummer, but such is life on the internet. Thanks to my web stats program, which revealed the source of this unwanted link.

Okay, whoever you are, go away.


I really like my new Retro Biker Chaps that I received recently, which were custom-made by 665 Leather of West Hollywood, California, USA.

The chaps came with four types of closures: a belt with a "665" buckle, a belt with a traditional D-ring buckle, a plain black band, and four snap-on D-rings that are closed with a long leather lace. Each of these closures snap onto the inside of each side of the upper part of the chaps at the waist onto two small snaps.

I guess that type of variable closure system is great for guys who wear the chaps to pose in. However, if you will wear them which actually riding a motorcycle, then the snaps that hold the front closures on are poorly made. The closure unsnaps much too easily. Swing your leg over the saddle of the bike, and you hear, "click," which is a snap unsnapping. Walk 20 paces and hear "click" again. Sit down or stand up... "click" ... "click". Before you know it, the front closure has come undone and the chaps open up/fall down.

I thought of returning the chaps to request better quality snaps. However, it took so long to get them in the first place, I was worried that it would take months again to get them fixed right. I thought of taking them to my favorite leather repair guy to request better snaps, but re-thought the whole matter.

How will I wear these chaps? With a belt. Will I wear any other of the closure options? No, not really. So I fixed the problem myself.

I permanently attached the belt closure ends onto each side of the front of the chaps with rivets. Yes: plain, ordinary, rivets. They work great. I rode my Harley with the chaps on and closed with the riveted belt, and they felt fine. Better yet, they didn't open as I swung my leg over the saddle, while I was riding, or when I dismounted.

Life is short: make adjustments that work for you and your style.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gay "Lifestyle" vs. Sexual Orientation

I do not hide the fact that I am a man and am in love with a man. That is my sexual orientation: male-male. I was born that way. Of course, I didn't know my sexual orientation as a child, but as I grew older and explored my sexuality, I realized that I liked men for more things than just being buddies. I liked women, too, but kept the relationships as friends, but had no sexual interest in them.

Recently, I received and read an email from someone I know who is going through a tough time in his life. In that message, he said that he was going to "live conservatively and be straight." He said that years ago, he "crossed to the other side" when he lived with a man as his partner. But now he has "nothing against the gay lifestyle (for me) BUT he is now going to live straight."

Oh criminey. This guy is confusing issues which probably has to do with what he reads and hears from media reporting about sexual identify, sexuality, and sex. In my opinion, he was saying things that confuse two basic human characteristics: one's sexual orientation and one's choice of how to live -- one's lifestyle.

My lifestyle, as I described it to him, is that I am "a fairly conservative living, politically liberal-leaning, community-oriented, faithful family-oriented caregiver who happens to enjoy riding a Harley and likes to wear boots and leather." This has nothing to do with my sexual orientation and that a man is my mate, and I choose to have sex only with him (that choice is called monogamy).

He had no idea how offensive it was to me for him to refer to someone's sexual orientation as a "lifestyle" as if I could have chosen to "be" gay or "be" straight. I am who I am and my sexual orientation is what it is.

I think this is the fundamental core of the ongoing debate and rage in society, where Bible-thumping conservatives think that one can choose his sexual orientation, or that someone who has a same-sex sexual orientation can have it changed to an opposite-sex orientation. I truly do not believe that is possible (or healthy) -- at least with me (and my partner.)

I do make the choice to be in love with one man, and to have sex only with him. There are other gay men who play in wider circles. That's not for me to judge, as I request that they not judge me for the fact that my partner and I keep our sex lives to ourselves.

Life is short: don't refer to something that someone is born with as a choice, when it is not.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are You Alive?

The doctor quickly felt my forehead, and re-read the blood pressure results ... 91/54. "Are you alive?" She looked at me with grave concern.

This happened actually while on a visit to the doctor with my aunt. I have had to take her to weekly follow-up visits with her regular physician. It's quite an ordeal, as my aunt can barely walk, yet we have to navigate six steps to get her out of her building and into a wheelchair. Once in the chair, then we take her to a car, then transfer her into it, then go to the doctor's office on the other side of her complex.

Yesterday, the doctor wanted to know my aunt's blood pressure. As the tech was preparing to wrap the blood pressure cuff around my aunt's arm, my aunt reacted with alarm, "what's that???" I reassured her that it's nothing new, nothing strange, and wouldn't hurt. My aunt was still dubious. (Damn Alzheimer's... my aunt forgot what is done to measure blood pressure.)

So I stuck out my arm and asked the tech to take my blood pressure, so I could show my aunt that it doesn't hurt. The tech complied, and the result showed on the screen of the blood pressure device just as the doctor walked into the room. I explained what I had done. The doctor glanced at the results, and then asked, "are you alive?"

For men of my height, age, and size, such a blood pressure reading is considered to be borderline "low." I do not quite know why my BP is so low, but it's better that way than being high, which requires medical attention, medication, and can lead to a variety of other problems.

I guess having a low BP enables me to remain calm when others get upset and angry. It takes quite a bit to get me upset. I have been angry, but when I am upset, I do not yell, scream, or throw temper tantrums. I write. I write and write and write. I direct my anger to its source. That seems to keep me calm. I do not know why.

Nonetheless, the doctor advised me to see my regular physician as a follow-up. I may -- or may not -- as my last full physical was just a couple months ago and I'm okay, including my BP. My doc knows that I have borderline low BP and hasn't asked me to change anything, but to keep an eye on potential symptoms. I only have one of those symptoms, which I won't mention, but is manageable.

Anyway, I got a big laugh when the doctor asked me about how I was feeling, and if I were alive, as an outcome of reading my blood pressure. Yeah, I affirm, I'm fine. Calm, cool, collected....

Life is short: what's your B.P.?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Do you BLUF?

BLUF, the Breeches and Leather Uniform Fanclub, has been around for quite a while. It is based in Europe, where guys seem to be more freely out and open in their leather gear. Most of them post pictures in their toughest, roughest leather. Grrrrr....

I have been a fan of breeches, leather, uniforms (and boots) for longer than the Internet has been around. I wear leather regularly when the weather is suitable, and not always when I am on my motorcycle.

BLUF has some of events and gatherings in Europe, which from what I read are rather, ahem... (not "G" rated!) While I have never attended nor plan to attend any of these events, they are interesting to read about. Heck, I will not attend any similar events here in the United States, but that is not because anything is wrong with the events or the guys who attend them. It's me... just old, settled, monogamously partnered me with a partner who cannot travel due to a disability, and the fact that I do not go anywhere without him (thus, we're bound to home). Further, I do not have the energy or stamina to attend such events which start late at night and last until dawn. I just can't handle it. In addition, I am "fiscally frugal," and don't want to shell out the bucks for a trip to Europe.

However, there's nothing quite like a good-lookin' guy decked out from boots to Muir Cap in full leather, featuring breeches and a leather jacket. This captivating image is of Leatherman Paul of Toronto, Canada, (BLUF member 211) whose image completely bespeaks what I am describing, and moreso. He's a hunk, isn't he? I am honoured to call him a friend. (Photo used with permission.)

Do you BLUF? I'm member #188 ... been a member for a long time. I just recently updated my profile and photos on that site, which has been long overdue.

Life is short: get in gear. Say, "woof!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

She's Heeeere....

Every summer, my partner drives to his old hometown where his mother lives, picks her up, and brings her back to our home to visit for a week. There they are, Mom & Partner.

I'll be quite busy this week keeping her fed, entertained, fed, informed, fed, and fed. Did I mention that she eats a lot? Noisily? Three meals a day, plus snacks... and she still weighs less than 90lbs (41kg).

Oh well, life is short. This week will be long, but life itself is short. I keep reminding myself of that.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sneakers Against the Law?

I saw another google search that landed on this blog. The question entered was, "is it against the law to wear sneakers on a motorcycle?" I presume the person meant, "while operating a motorcycle."

Well, unfortunately, it is not illegal to wear sneakers while operating a motorcycle. However, in my opinion, wearing sneakers, "tennies," sandals, flip-flops, or bare feet while operating a motorcycle is just stupid.

I have blogged about this here, here, and here, so I won't repeat.

While I think that motorcycle operators should wear long pants and boots at all times while riding, I don't think government should pass a law requiring that. There are a number of laws on the books that address "stupid." Unfortunately, outlawing sneakers and motorcycle riding isn't one of them.

For gosh sakes, use your common sense. Repeat after me: "sneakers are for the gym. Boots are for motorcycles." Period.

Life is short: wear boots while riding. Always.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Way Too Friggin' Hot

Yesterday, the heat index where I live was 105°F (40.5°C). Today, it is projected to be as high as 115°F (46°C). This is just ridiculous. Who says there's no global warming? Oh yeah, right, you read my posts during our relentless, patience-wearing, Snowpocalypse II and its earlier brother, the Blizzard of '09.

I had to go see my aunt yesterday, and did something that I rarely do: I drove my truck and kept the AC on. I rarely use the AC in my truck, and when it's dry and sunny, I prefer to ride my motorcycle. But it was just way too hot to sit on a heat-producing bike in jeans and boots.

I did wear boots yesterday when I went out, but wore short Chip Bombers that are loose and lightweight. I have to be honest, though, as soon as I got home, I got naked. Yep, I stripped off all of my sweaty clothes, put them in the wash, and didn't put any other clothing (or boots) on for the rest of the day.

Yeah, I have AC in my house, but I chose not to turn it on. I stayed in the basement most of the time where it is naturally very cool. I also prepared some home-cooked meals that keep well. This was in advance of our annual summer visit by the mother-in-law, who arrives later today. Oh, joy... but that's another story.

I relented and turned the AC on about 7pm so it would be cool enough to sleep on the bedroom level (upper floor) by the time I went to bed at 8:30pm.

BTW, in case you were wondering, my partner left yesterday morning to drive to his mother's home in da' 'burgh, and bring her back today. Oh, joy.

Meanwhile, it was kinda fun being alone... naked... and working at the computer, catching up on some reading of professional journals on-line, answering backlogged email, and not having to do anything other than what I wanted to do.

Well, I wanted to make a video as I had some time, but I am totally out of video ideas, and it was too hot to make one outside, anyway. Oh well, perhaps someone will give me an idea for a video that isn't too strange, impossible, or difficult to do alone. My partner will take his mother back home at the end of next week, so I'll have another day to myself when she's gone to do some video work, if I can think of something, and hopefully, the weather will be more cooperative.

Life is short: it's also too hot, sometimes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back Support

Okay, I admit it, I'm not getting any younger. And as bikers age, they need more support when the ride.

Shown above is a new back rest that I installed on my Harley. I got a Harley gift card from my former employer as a going-away gift, so I used it to buy this back rest. It was easy to install once I stopped trying to decipher the pictographic directions.

I am wearing my Retro Chaps that I recently received. It's too hot to wear leather (other than boots) while riding, but I put them on for some photos for my website.

The new back rest feels great. My back definitely feels more supported as I ride.

Now... if I can only find the time to go on a ride!

Life is short: make accommodations!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friggin' Blister

Last Sunday I mowed the lawn. No big deal. But my formerly broken ankle was sore again, and hurt most where the top of my short work boots reached the ankle. So I decided to wear my Wesco Combat Boots which are a bit taller, and came above the former broken bone so when laced closed, the boots would provide more support.

As soon as I got out of my cast and could wear boots again, those were the boots I wore because the lacing made them adjustable, so they could accommodate the residual swelling. I even mowed the lawn in those boots back in April and May.

I never had a problem with those boots causing a blister. Not until this past Sunday. When I was done with the lawn, I went inside to take a cold shower to cool off as it was friggin' hot outside. When I took my boots off and peeled off my socks, I screamed in pain. My gosh, what a big friggin' ugly sore blister on the back of my right heel!

How in the hell did that happen? Probably the old socks I was wearing were the culprit. They had worn thin at the heel. Pushing the mower up our small hill is where I think the blister happened, as I was causing the boot to rub a lot against the skin of my heel. Damn, when I first felt a little tingle that is a sign of a blister, I should have stopped right away and taken care of it. But no.... I kept going and much to my dismay this damn blister happened.

I'll survive. But I tell 'ya, it's hard to find a pair of boots to wear that do not cause my heel to hurt like hell. I am now wearing a bandage, moleskin, and two pairs of socks over the blister. I take all that stuff off at night so air can get to it so it can heal. I am choosing boots that I don't wear as often because they were big on me. But with two pairs of socks and those layers over the blister, I need larger boots to accommodate the protection.

Meanwhile, I am walking with a distinctive limp ... again ... sigh. Oh well, as I said, I'll survive.

Life is short: blisters happen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm taking a brief aside in this post, to discuss matters related to community advocacy and action. Most long-term readers of this blog have noted that I engage from time to time in activities that benefit the neighborhood, community, county, and state where I live. (I didn't mention "city" because I do not live within the boundaries of an incorporated city.)

Most of my engagement is by bringing people together to discuss issues of concern -- from crowded roads, to public safety, to zoning for development, to density of growth (planned or unplanned), to environmental concerns, and so forth.

One does not have to have a degree in political science or have served in public office to do this type of work. Being able to work with people, to listen, to learn and to study, and to be patient are key requirements. In order to be effective at advocating about issues, raising concerns, and making your community a little bit better, I have found the following activities helpful to achieve success:

1. Find out who else in the area has similar concerns. Bring them together at a meeting. (Offer food at the meeting, and get better attendance.)
Try to achieve consensus or agreement among your neighbors about the issue. Your message is much more powerful if you can say, "WE (emphasis added) all agree on this...".

2. Accept the fact that everyone does not think the same way you do. Listen, listen, listen. Hear what other people have to say and seek out the input and advice from those you think may oppose you. Yeah, that's right: you have to hear what "the other side says" so you can have a better grasp of the issue from all points of view, even if you disagree with it.

3. Do your homework. It is highly unlikely that the issue about which you are concerned is brand new. It is more likely that the issue has been reviewed, debated, and discussed in the past. Find past public records, archived newspaper articles, and people who were around "back then" and learn the history. There is a lot of "re-inventing the wheel" that goes on in public advocacy that doesn't have to.

4. Try working with and through staff first. That is, before you fire off a letter to your State Senator or County Commissioner, my advice is to find the administrative department that is responsible for the issue and make some phone calls. Ask questions. Perhaps they have already resolved the matter yet haven't implemented it yet. Give the staff a chance to explain positions and situations first, before running amok and sending letters that ultimately get turned over to staff anyway. Usually, staff know about specific matters more thoroughly and can answer questions directly rather than going through an intermediary, such as an elected official.

5. Keep the issue within the correct level of responsibility. For example, if you are concerned about a state road, then you have to bring your issue to the correct department at the state level, not your local city or county transportation department, or your local elected officials. They will all say the same thing: "not my job." I can't tell you how many times I have advised colleagues not to go to the county about such-and-such an issue because it's a state matter, or vice-versa. So much time is wasted that way. Find the right place to go first, rather than spin wheels and get turned away because the person you're asking literally cannot help.

6. If you run into red tape, push-back, recalcitrance, excuses, or other lame fall-deroll from staff about an important issue, then it's time to approach elected officials. Begin by finding out which elected official serves your district (where you live), or serves at-large. You will probably find multiple elected officials who serve you (usually one or two for your residential district, and all "at-large.") To refine the list further, look for information about which committees these officials serve. For example, if you have a transportation issue, then ideally the best elected official with whom to communicate is a representative who serves your district (or at-large) and serves on the Transportation Committee. Think about it, if your district rep serves on the Education committee, then he/she won't be as much help.

7. Again, before you fire off that letter or make that phone call demanding to speak only to the elected official, instead, ask to speak with the staff person in the elected official's office who deals with that issue. It is not widely recognized, but most elected officials, even at the city and county level, have staff who specialize in certain matters. One person may handle schools and public safety, while another handles development and transportation. Call the elected representative's staff first! I betcha they have already dealt with the matter, and may have information and answers -- all available just for the asking.

8. If the elected officials' staff don't have the answers you seek or if the elected official is considering a position on the matter before a vote, then by all means, ask to speak with that official. And yes, I mean "speak" as in "talk to." Don't just write a letter and think you're done with it. Communicate with the official in person or by phone. It never ceases to amaze me how often local elected officials tell me that the public seems to be afraid to talk to them, so they don't always know what people want or are thinking. Look at it this way: you (and your neighbors) voted in the last election which put these people into office. Even if you didn't vote for that person, nonetheless, they are serving in public office and therefore represent you. Communicate with your representatives. It is your civic duty and their responsibility to communicate with constituents.

9. Follow-up verbal communications with a polite letter saying "it was nice to speak with you on (date) about (subject). Here is what we agreed on (item, item, item). Thank you for your support." Confirm it in writing. Elected officials communicate with hundreds of people each day. Unless they know you personally, it is not likely they will remember your name or the specific conversation when a vote comes up. But they will remember better if they have something in writing to refer to.

10. Whenever a major issue may be considered by a body politic, they will hold public hearings. Find out the schedule of the hearing and plan to attend. Get on the schedule to testify. You do not need to be a registered lobbyist to testify at a public hearing! I am not a lobbyist, but I testify often. Why? I care. I prepare by writing down what I want to say. I find out if there are limits to the amount of time allowed for testimony. Usually, it's 3, 5, or 10 minutes. Write it all out, then "present" it to your neighbors, family, friends, or anyone who will listen. Use their input to refine your points and get it to be within the time limit. Then go say your piece, and provide written copies of your testimony so it can be part of the record.

11. Follow-up, in writing. Write a short, polite, letter to each person who heard your testimony thanking them for their time and their service, and for listening to what you have to say. Even if you think they may vote contrary to your position, you will be considered highly among the officials and their staff by paying attention to details like this. Believe me, written follow-up doesn't happen often, and when it does, it makes an impact.

12. Avoid veiled threats such as "you will lose my vote in the next election if...." or "I'll tell all my friends what a loser you are if you don't vote the way I want you to." Elected officials have heard that before and will hear it again, and have learned not to pay attention to such threats. Making such threats doesn't help, and often hurts by damaging a relationship with someone elected to serve (even if their position isn't yours).

13. If a vote doesn't turn out the way you want, continue your advocacy by collecting information on what the impact of that decision has had on "real people" -- your neighbors, and those who are the constituents of those elected officials. Provide that feedback to the elected officials. Again, "impact statements" are seldom received. Most people think "what's done is done" and it's all over. Believe me, it isn't. If you don't like how something turned out, it can be changed. You just have to continue to pursue it and share information persistently. I have a record of getting some positions reversed simply by collecting and providing those "impact statements."

14. Finally, be patient. The wheels of local, state, and federal government turn very slowly. Most people give up, and that's something that elected officials expect. Those who persist and continue to fight for what's right eventually see a positive result. For example, I fought for eight years to get a bill passed in my home state to prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. The bill finally passed, although watered down, in 2010. My next work on this issue will be to strengthen the bill. I haven't stopped my advocacy just because a nudge in the right direction finally happened.

Well, enough for now. Advocacy, community action, service ... call it what you will. It's not rocket science, but is the fundamental right of an engaged, Democratic Society. This is why I love America. Right or wrong, we can all engage and have our voices heard.

Life is short: engage!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Must Be Nice

I had a number of errands to run yesterday and consolidated the visits to stores along a busy roadway, "the pike." I was riding my Harley, as usual, on a warm summer's day.

I was dressed in typical "biker attire" -- Wrangler jeans, Chippewa engineer boots (pants over), and a Harley t-shirt. It was way too hot to wear leather (other than my boots.)

One of the things I was doing was making sure that changes I had made to the bike all worked. I was given a gift card from my former employer, and decided to buy a back rest for my Harley with it. I installed the back rest on Sunday, and it works great. I also relocated my GPS, and found a way to connect its audio output to the bike's audio input for my CB radio, which connects to two little speakers inside my helmet. So now I can hear the GPS-lady yelling, "recalculating" as I make (yet) another wrong turn. LOL!

Anyway, I pulled into a parking lot at a store and parked. A guy about my age was getting into a panel truck that was parked in the space next to me.

He looked at my bike, and said, "it must be nice." I didn't say anything, and he continued, "you guys here in [snoburbia] have it all -- time off during the day to ride your big-ass Harley wherever you please. It must be nice."

He wasn't the kind of guy with whom to get into a discussion. It was obvious from the tone of his voice that he was jealous, or at least unhappy, that he had to work and drive an old beat-up truck and I show up on my nice shiny Harley.

Well, you know, I worked for my bike. Every penny I paid for it was earned by my own work. I didn't take out a loan. I saved for years to have enough money to pay cash for the bike when I was ready to get it. So yeah, it IS nice, but is the fruit of my labors. I don't travel (for fun), I don't even go on vacations. I don't eat out. I am really rather conservative with my cash. Even though right now I am "between jobs," I have saved sufficiently to live my usual life. I don't depend on my partner to cover my share of our expenses while I'm not working. I saved, invested, and have carefully managed my money.

I realize that this guy probably has worked hard all of his life, too, and may have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay and taxes and bills, etc., etc. I have expenses too. I've been fortunate to plan and to save and to be financially prudent so I can have at least one "thing" that cost a fair amount of money. Okay, so be it. "It must be nice." Yep.

Life is short: enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Can I Wear Cowboy Boots on a Horse?

Duhhh... no, on a rhinoceros.

I just had to laugh at this google search that ended up on my blog. This question can be taken a number of ways:
  • Can I wear cowboy boots...: yes, you can. The question is, do you want to?
  • Umm... "on" a horse, or while riding a horse?
  • can you, personally, wear cowboy boots, even though you are not a cowboy? Or may only real cowboys wear cowboy boots?
Sorry, I could go on, but you get the point. I will never cease to be amazed and amused by the things that people type into search engines that end up on my blog.

Life is short: wear boots! ("on" a horse, or while riding one, or not! LOL!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Fam

I see posts from time to time on the Internet in various places where people express their thoughts about their relationship with their family. Unfortunately, many of those posts have one theme in common: complaints.

Am I blessed to have the family that I have? A large, raucous bunch that above all else, holds close? You betcha!

There is an 18 year age difference between the oldest and the youngest among my siblings, and I'm second-to-last on the chain of offspring. Unfortunately, both of my parents have long since passed away, so we have no matriarch or patriarch holding us together. We are all involved with our respective lives, children, grandchildren, employers, civic work, and so forth. We are ALL different, each one of us, despite the fact that there are several multiples (twins and triplets) among my sibs -- my own twin, J, included.

Do I consider my family special? You bet I do. Are they different from anyone else? Probably not, in the grander scheme of things. Do we bicker like the adult children in certain television dramas? Well, some of us think differently and have differing opinions, but we're not so dramatic about it. If we disagree, we say our piece then move on. Love and blood really do triumph over positions on certain topics.

I was touched and honored when two siblings commented on a blog post that I wrote yesterday. They didn't comment as much about the content of the post itself as they commented about me. Totally unrequested, unprovoked, unnecessary. But their commentary demonstrated once again several things: 1) my siblings love me unconditionally; 2) my sibs accept me for the man I am; 3) my sibs don't judge; and 4) they read this blog! (oooooooh!)

I am honored, truly honored, to have the family that I have. We are different men and women. But as I said, we respect each other and love one another without question. My life would be much less -- less interesting, less valuable, less accomplished -- if it weren't for my siblings' unflinching support and the lessons that we learned and have applied from our parents.

So yeah, I am truly blessed with a wonderful, close, caring, thoughtful, warm, and loving family. I wish everyone could have siblings as I have. I wouldn't read any more complaints on the internet about dysfunctional families. I would read more stories like this, about how great a family can be as children mature and develop adult relationships, as we have.

A point of clarification: I don't call any of my siblings a "friend." The old adage says, "you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family." That's true -- and in my case, even if I could pick a family, I couldn't have selected better.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them. Unquestioningly. Nonjudgmentally. Enduringly. When it all comes down to it -- family is your blood. I respect that, and extend my love each and every day in many ways.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Defining Myself, As A Man

I received an interesting email the other day from a guy who read my blog post titled, "Androphilia and the Gay Man." In it, he described his personal thoughts and feelings about being interested in masculine men and not having an interest in femininity. He replied in a subsequent email message that he's open to hearing more from other guys who feel similarly, so if you wish to communicate with him, let me know and I will forward your message to him.

What he described is something about which I have written a number of posts on this blog over time: I'm a guy-guy, and my best half is a guy-guy, and that's the way I like it. That is, I am a man -- a masculine man -- and so is my partner. That's the type of guy I like: a man who is strong, virile, confident, secure, and has a head on his shoulders. He manages money appropriately, and doesn't spend what he doesn't have. He can think for himself, act accordingly, and respect himself enough not to be careless in thought, word, or deed. He is my equal, not subservient nor domineering.

If I wanted an effeminate partner, I might have married a woman. Femininity is fine -- for the female sex and some gay guys who prefer to behave that way. I just am not interested in femininity. Face it: I like men. Period. Nothin' wrong with that. I am a healthy, masculine guy who prefers the same.

Some say that guys like me are wrong, mentally ill, or otherwise. Those who believe that rubbish continue to spread it. The vile hatred of homosexuality has become more subdued in its expressions over the last 50 years, but it is still there (notwithstanding the "religious wrong" zealots, but I forgive them for their sins, as they know not what they are talking about).

The snide, off-the-cuff comments about gay men are still heard. The silly comments that thoughtless, rude nitwits attempt to make on this blog or my YouTube channel continue to happen occasionally. I'm man enough to take it (and delete such comments since all comments in all of my public venues are screened before posting).

I hear expressions by men about women in settings such as over lunch with straight motorcycle riders, or how those guys express lusting for women or parts of their bodies -- as if all men feel the same way (we don't). I'm just used to it, though I still don't like it. I've quit trying to correct the world, because there are better battles to fight than "open mouth, insert foot" antics by men who are supposed to be adults.

I assert that homosexual men who like masculine men are among the latest to "come out" and some never do. Often, they feel alone or that they're the only ones to feel the way that they do. They see, as I have, the frilly gay guys who appear in Gay Pride Parades and on some TV shows where their "gayness" is parodied. They feel, as I have, that the stereotype of gay men -- into fashion, home decorating, frolicking, and wine tastings -- is all that there is.

It isn't. Let me assure you, my partner and I are not the only gay couple of "equal men." And there are masculine gay guys out there who for various reasons, are single. I know several of them, including some of my closest friends.

Each man defines himself in three ways: as others see him (or how he thinks others see him), by how he observes others behave that imply he should behave similarly (and if he doesn't then something is 'wrong'), and by how he acts both toward himself (self-respect) and toward others.

What defining oneself as a man all comes down to is self-perception. If one has a healthy self-perception as a secure, confident man, who also happens to be interested in other men who are the same way, then that's sorta what begat this post in the first place: androphilia.

It is possible for a man's man to have an equal, loving, and caring partner who is also a man's man. My partner and I are living proof.

I define myself as a man, because I am. I do not define myself by my sexual orientation or by subtypes within the LGBT community. That is, I do not affiliate with labels such as "leatherman," "daddy," "bear," or whatnot. There are so many labels. Who I am is who I am and I don't waste time labeling what makes me who I am. I'm a man. My sisters are women. So what? The difference is our gender. (Thank goodness we do not have differences of opinion regarding acceptance of my sexual orientation. My family loves me for the man I am.)

Life is short: be who you are.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Leatherman Biker

Or am I a "Biker - Leatherman?" Either way, or as the kids say, "whatever...."

I have always enjoyed wearing leather. I wear leather clothing regularly, and not always while riding my motorcycle. Leather is an investment. Good quality, custom-made gear isn't cheap. There's no sense in having the gear if you only wear it once or twice each year to a leather fashion show or stand around posing in it at a bar.

Most guys have a leather jacket or two, and wear them regularly. Some guys (with or without a motorcycle) have other leather garments: chaps, pants, vests, and shirts. Yeah, I've got it all... and wear it when the weather is suitable.

The other day, a box arrived at my door. I had been waiting ten weeks since I ordered it -- a new pair of traditional "retro" motorcycle chaps. Chaps are great for wearing while riding a motorcycle, as they provide warm and protection, and look good, too. (Info on why bikers wear chaps is here.)

My first leather investment besides a jacket was a pair of chaps from a guy who called himself "The Leathermaker." He made custom-to-fit chaps that had a solid band across the back, and a custom closure across the front. The chaps zipped closed on the outside seam, which bikers like me prefer because an inside zipper is liable to scratch a motorcycle's paint.

I loved those old "Leathermaker" chaps. Alas, my size has changed since I bought them in 1977. Yeah, 33 years later, it was time to upgrade. I had always wanted another pair of chaps just like those, but since D. Lyn Sterling, the guy who made those chaps, died in 1987 (reference), I thought chaps made like that were history.

Well, not... while surfing the 665 Leather website, there they were. At the time I was looking, 665 was offering a 15% discount off of any one item. It was time to act.

These chaps are hot. Woofity-hot. And really cool-lookin', too. I can't wait to go out and ride with them... soon.

Life is short: wear your gear!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Intoxicating Smell of New Leather

Okay, I admit it: on those occasions when I have visited a store that specializes in selling leather gear, such as jeans, chaps, breeches, shirts, and such, I find the smell intoxicating. Same is true the very first time I open a box in which new leathers arrive -- the aroma is quite something.

Some leatherdudes take it up another notch, and describe a certain reaction that they get below the belt line. I'm not that way. I'm not saying that reacting to the smell of new leather with a rise below the waist is bad. I'm just saying that the smell alone doesn't cause me to have such a biological reaction. Perhaps it once did, years ago, but now that I'm in my 50s, I ... (digress....)

The look, the feel, and the smell altogether takes a leatherman to a different dimension, at least momentarily.

...then you try on your new leathers, look at yourself in the mirror, and take it all in. How they feel, how they look, how the leather creaks as it breaks in new creases, and how it smells. Yeah, quite the feeling as the senses of touch, sight, hearing, and smell all come together.

I didn't mention taste, 'cause I really am not into that. There are all sorts of chemicals with which leather is treated during the tanning and finishing processes to make it shiny and soft, and those chemicals aren't something I want to ingest. So I don't.

But four senses out of five are great to have working for you when you're experiencing new leathers. Come back tomorrow and find out what I got!

Life is short: wear leather!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hot Weather Biker Boots

If there is a "more traditional" boot worn by bikers, it is the engineer style boot with one strap across the front, and a wide, round toe. I have a number of engineer boots in my collection that I often choose to wear while riding my Harley. They're comfortable, take abuse well and look, well, "biker-worn."

Last week, a new pair of engineer boots entered my stable. I found a good sale on a pair of Chippewa "Bomber Jacket" boots. These boots are brown, which is unusual for an engineer boot, and is one of the reasons why I bought them. Also, they are 11" high. All of my other engineer boots are 17" high. I usually prefer the taller boots; however, when the weather is toasty hot, then a shorter boot is better because it's cooler, yet still protects my ankles and legs.

The only thing surprising to me about these boots is that the top of the boot shaft was actually narrower than any other engineer boot that I own. I had to open the buckle at the top so I could put my foot into each boot, then re-buckle it to close. Frankly, I prefer just to pull my boots on and yank 'em off, so having to unbuckle and re-buckle them is a pain-in-the-ass feature that I don't like.

Also, while the boots came with an insole, the supplied insole was kinda cheap and soon became uncomfortable within the first hour that I wore these new boots. I replaced the manufacturer-provided insole with some good quality gel insoles, which made the boots feel much better.

The boots run a little large -- common for Chippewa engineer boots -- so there was plenty of room for a good quality gel insole. It took up the extra room anyway and made the overall fit better.

I like these boots. The appearance is different. The color of the leather is interesting. The leather itself is as soft and grainy as an old, well-worn bomber jacket -- thus the name.

Life is short: wear boots!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Website Downtime

For the third time in less than a month, the server that hosts my website went down last evening. Back on June 16, the server was down for well over four hours. That's disappointing, because thousands of people visit my website every day. When the server is down, people get an error message due to a "timeout" and go somewhere else.

Oh well, the world won't end. It's not like I have an on-line store and rely on sales from visitors. I just get disappointed when this happens, because the hosting service ordinarily is exceptionally reliable and has offered 100% "uptime." This is the same hosting service that Larry of has used for about 12 years, and he recommended it highly.

I have been so pleased with their service and features that I am hosting five other websites on their servers now. I am hoping that I don't have to migrate all of my websites to other servers due to this company's servers becoming unreliable.

Meanwhile, if you have visited my website and experienced a timeout error, please come back.

Life is short: have no downtime.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Come on!

Do you ever find yourself at your computer saying, "come on, come on, work already!" This happens to me more often when I look at certain websites that are slow to respond. My patience wears thin waiting for it to load. If those websites only had ears. LOL!

My internet connection is very fast, so that's not the reason for slowness. Some websites are hugely complicated with internal functions that cause them to be very slow to load. For example, Lycos email, which was one of the first free web-based email systems out there, recently "upgraded" to "Zimbra" email which is absolutely horrid! It is so damn slow, it frequently times out and you can't get anything done. I have finally migrated totally off of all of the old "free" web-based email systems that I once used (that includes "Excite Email" which has also been ruined by "Zimbra"). The nitwits that run these systems have destroyed their ease of functionality, not only with stupid "upgrades" that don't work, but also with advertising that comes with sound. Arrrggghhh!

Fortunately, my Apache2 server on my own computer is humming along great, along with my network and other applications, so no complaints there. But web-based applications that are function-heavy? Fuggetaboutit!

This is one major reason why my website is written pretty much in straight HTML with just a few small javascripts and CSS style sheets. The Boots Wiki is written in PHP, which functions rather quickly, even though the scripts are large. But I am trying to keep it simple, so pages load quickly and the site doesn't bog down, driving visitors away from frustration. I aim at the lowest-common-denominator, which includes people who still have dial-up internet access and who use outdated web browsers like Internet Explorer.

An early tease: I am seriously contemplating a total re-design of my website, so if you have suggestions about what you want to see, don't like, or new features to add, let me know. Thanks.

Life is short: no time for slow internet applications. If you can't make it load fast, then don't look for me to use it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Post-Work Benefits

I went to a meeting yesterday morning, then checked in on my aunt, but as soon as I got home (about 11:30), my partner and I got busy on more projects. Work-work-work, but we were productive.

We ordered a new sofa for our family room a couple weeks ago. It will be delivered in another week or two. Meanwhile, the delivery service does not remove old furniture, and it was in such bad shape it wasn't suitable to donate to charity. (It was literally falling apart.) Being the frugal sort that we are, we didn't want to pay someone to pick up our old sleep sofa that the new one will replace. Instead, we dismantled it, and I used my power saw to break it down into smaller pieces so it would all fit into my truck so we could take it to the transfer station (most people call it "the dump," but in snoburbia where we live, we call it a "transfer station.")

Thank goodness I had the foresight to bring the sofa outside before cutting it apart. When I used the saw on it, the stuffing inside the seat and back started to come out. Small yellow clumps of sofa stuffing started blowing everywhere. We were able to contain most of it, but I sure am glad we didn't have the sofa disintegrate inside the house, or it sure would have been a mess to clean up.

We got the sofa taken completely apart and stuffed into the back of my truck, and off we went to the transfer station. It was amusing, and perhaps reminiscent of an old I Love Lucy episode, because some of the stuffing was flying out the windows of the truck as we were driving down the road.

Anyway, we got it unloaded fairly easily. We were sweating like crazy, so we decided to take a shower when we arrived home. We enjoyed our two-headed, two-man shower. Ahhh...

Life is short: enjoy the benefits of your labor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weight-Loss Benefit of DIY

"DIY" means "do it yourself." I'm that kind of guy. I do a lot of construction and repair work myself. I'm pretty handy at carpentry and electrical trades, and haven't (yet) caused a flood from plumbing work.

Lately, I have been diligently knocking off items on my partner's famous "honey-do list." What's that? "Honey, since you're off work, do this, do that...." That's the list to which I referred in yesterday's post.

I have repaired one of our decks, by removing old, rotted boards and replacing them with a wood composite product. Each new board has to be precisely cut to fit its location. Lots of bending, lifting, sawing, screwing, etc.

I replaced a roof over a porch on one of my rental properties. I installed new windows on the first floor of another rental house. I repaired some leaky plumbing in yet another.

All-in-all, when I am not spending time with my aunt, I am working. Despite the heat. Despite the physical discomfort.

The side benefit of all this work is that in the last six weeks, I have lost 22 pounds -- without even trying. This exercise helps a lot. Plus, I continue taking hour+ walks every morning, and swimming 50 - 75 laps on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. That, and I am in better control of what I eat, as far as foods that put on pounds. And with all the heat, I am drinking A LOT of water, so the weight-loss isn't all water-weight. In fact, if I were not so "well hydrated," I probably would weigh even less.

My jeans are riding much lower on my waist. My boots don't feel as tight on my legs. My jowls don't appear as pudgy. Though my mid-section needs to loose more, at least what I am losing seems to be evenly distributed, and not from the areas that don't count (face and legs.)

I do not tolerate lectures about "healthy eating, diet, and exercise." I know all that. What's "healthy eating" to many is not so healthy for me, due to a chronic condition that I have. I can't eat most vegetables or fruits, so what's left makes it harder to choose foods that also aren't loaded with calories. But I'm trying... and that's the best I can say.

Life is short: when tired and sore from doing repair work, try to remember the "side benefits" of DIY.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Keeping The Peace By Forgoing Fun

Relationships, even one as rock-solid as I have with my partner, require work and attention. They require ongoing, clear communication. They require flexibility, understanding, and a willingness to listen and resolve differences.

Lately, I've been torn between trying to find time for even just a little bit of fun, such as taking a ride on my Harley, with the onerous, exceptionally long list of projects to do at home. You think I was kiddin' the other day when I said that the "honey-do" list grows longer with each project that I complete? Not true... it really does.

A friend wrote to me and urged me to remember that the projects to do at home will always be there. The list never will be completed. There will always be things that need to be done. The question, then, is what "has" to be done "now" vs. what should be done "sometime." Meanwhile, he urged me to take a ride for an hour or two. Take some time for "me" and re-energize my inner biker soul.

I have had to reconfigure my schedule to accommodate many visits with my aunt to ensure she is well cared for and has everything she needs. I have had to postpone working outdoors when the weather is horridly hot and humid. I have had to spend more time on some projects that I thought would not take as long, thus throwing the schedule out the window. (Preferably a window that has to be replaced, so if I break it, it's no big deal [small joke].)

Meanwhile, my partner comes home after a long day at work and observes what, to him, is not much progress. He complains and feels stressed. His mother will visit at the end of the month, and he wants everything done at our house "now" before she visits -- so everything will be perfect.

I have learned that arguing or justifying delays doesn't get me anywhere. Instead, I pick my battles: what I really "have" to get across, vs. just sucking it up and letting him relieve his tension.

He may verbalize his concerns in a manner that isn't fit for a G-rated blog. However, I observe an hour later, he has internalized an understanding about what's going on and is then able to have a calm conversation about schedule adjustments. Rather than fight, I choose the right time to talk about it. Not when he is emoting, but when he has figured it out in his head. Doing that keeps the peace at home.

However, it means I give up a lot of what I might rather do. I'm not riding. I'm not doing much with my hobbies or interests. I haven't even attended a public hearing on community issues in over a month. I don't even respond to email on the day I get it much any more (unless it's urgent or related to an income-producing project). I never had time for chat boards or IM, and thank goodness I have not developed that expectation among my friends, because there is no way I could do that.

When am I writing this post? At 4am... I have an hour's quiet time before my partner rises... then the day moves into work.

Keep the peace, keep the relationship solid. Adjust, give... and it will all work out. It's not easy juggling these tasks with trying to have a life. At the moment, my life is on hold until after the MIL visits... then perhaps I can have a little bit of a break. Perhaps....

Life is short: choose your battles.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How To Get Really Tight Cowboy Boots On

I was scanning what entries into Google bring visitors to my website, and I saw a visitor from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, enter: "how to get really tight cowboy boots on." I guess this strugglin' cowboy is having some trouble as he prepares for the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede is a series of events (including a huge pro rodeo) held every year in Calgary. This year, the Stampede is July 9 - 18. My buddy Clay who lives in Calgary has told me a lot about it, and I have vowed one day to have him take me to it. But not this year, dang it.

Anyway, back to the question: how do you get really tight cowboy boots on?

Quick answer: you don't. If the boots are so tight that you can't pull them on, then they ain't gonna fit. Period. End-of-story.

There is a long-told myth about placing your feet into plastic grocery bags, then sliding them into the boots. That may work when trying on new boots, but not for regular wear. Plastic doesn't breathe. You put your feet into plastic bags and then into boots, and you're asking for trouble. Your feet will bake and swell if you actually try to walk around with bags on your feet inside boots. If you struggled getting the boots on, you'll practically have to cut them off when you're ready to remove them. Don't fall for that old trick -- it really doesn't work.

If the boots are only slightly tight and are made of all leather, it is possible to have a cobbler stretch them. But a cobbler can do only so much, like 3/8" (1cm) max, and it takes weeks to do it right. Boot stretching can't be done overnight. If your boots need more of a stretch than 1cm, then you just have to face it: wear another pair of boots. Tight boots cannot be stretched much.

By the way, it is also a myth that squeezing on tight boots and walking in them will stretch them. The boots may become more flexible at stress points, but they won't stretch by wearing them.

Take it from a guy who has worn boots exclusively for more than 40 years, and who owns and wears a lot of cowboy boots. If the boots are too small, you need to get a larger size. I figure if you're in Calgary for the Stampede, there are a lot of places to buy boots locally. Get a new pair. I'm sure they will look great.

Life is short: wear boots of the proper size.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hot Boots!

Yes, there is a website by that name, and I beg the forgiveness of the website's moderator, Larry, for taking a tangent on the title.

I am referring, of course, to the weather. This week where we live, it has reached over 100°F (38°C) each day, with humidity of over 70% -- meaning that it's just a sauna outdoors.

I am doing my best to avoid it and remain indoors where it is air conditioned, but I have work that has to be done to repair our decks, errands to run, on which I go using my Harley, and my aunt to take care of.

Most guys I see are wearing shorts and sneakers, but some wear those dreaded sandals and worse: flip-flops. Not at the beach, mind you, but around town. I abhor those things, not only for how silly they appear, but how dangerous they are. But I digress....

Some people have asked me, "you say you wear boots all the time: even in this heat?" Yes, I do. Even when it is hot as blazes outside. Of course, I wear boots while riding my Harley, but also as I go about my daily business.

With a boot collection of the size that I have, fortunately I have many choices so I choose boots that are light on the feet, and have plenty of "breathing room" around the calf. A padded insole and cotton/wool socks help absorb sweat. (Yes, I always wear socks: actually socks keep your feet cooler by absorbing sweat than wearing boots without socks do.) But even with lightweight boots, my feet still get hot.

What do I do? I change my boots often. I'll run an errand, then change boots. I work on the deck, then shower and change boots. I may change my boots during hot weather six to eight times each day. Why? Mostly for comfort. Dry, cool boots are comfortable. I heat them up when moving around, then take them off and put them in a place with good air circulation and out of the sun. The insides will dry naturally, while I wear another pair during waking hours.

This week alone (since Sunday), I have worn 40 different pairs of boots. Too many to name all of them. I vary from biker boots while riding my Harley to cowboy boots when I am not to work boots when working on the deck. It's all good.

They say that you should "rotate" boots regularly. I don't know that turning them around and around does a thing, but changing often sure helps. (giggle. I'm always a stickler for exact definitions of words in American English.)

Life is short: wear boots, and change them often!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First Time for Dehner Boots?

So you made the purchase of a cool pair of Dehner (brand) police motorcycle boots. Very handsome boots, for sure! Congratulations on your selection of a great pair of boots.

As a Dehner-boot wearer myself (see my collection), let me share some insights on how to break in these boots properly, so you can wear them for years, comfortably, and laced right. (I can't tell you how many times I've seen non-cops wearing bal-laced Dehner boots that are laced wrong -- either tied like sneakers with laces in an x-pattern, or tied at the top, not in the middle.)

Dehner boots are classics, but the stock boots, which are most common, have plastic shafts (the company calls it "Dehcord," but plastic is plastic) which if not broken properly at the ankle, may break wrong and cause problems with comfort by rubbing and causing sores on the back of the ankle.

I have created a tutorial video that explains what to do right after you open that Dehner box, pull out those tall black boots, admire them, but before you put them on for the first time.

Yep, that's right: don't pull them on your feet right away. Watch this video, follow these procedures, then be very happy with your new boots.

Life is short: break in your Dehner Boots right!

If your browser does not handle this embedded HD video well, See it on my YouTube Channel.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh Officer?

Ooops... it finally happened. I had someone confuse me with a motor officer. Here's the story...

Last Friday, I rode my Harley while going about errands and grocery shopping for my aunt. I also wanted to break in a new pair of lug-soled Dehner patrol boots. It was comfortably warm, so leather breeches would be too hot to wear. I chose a pair of cloth breeches instead. I wore a t-shirt and a vest on top. Nothing I was wearing had insignia of any law enforcement agency on it. However, I do realize that striped breeches inside motorboots gives a message that others may misinterpret.

While in the grocery store, I was moving rather quickly up and down the aisles to get the various items that my aunt needed. After gathering all the items, I went to the self-checkout register and began using it.

A woman came up to me, and said, "gee, you're fast. I saw you and kept trying to reach you, but you moved to fast to catch up with. Officer, I have a question...." then she prattled on about something regarding what the police do with mentally disturbed people. I swear, she didn't even pause to take a breath.

I finally had a chance to get a word in edgewise, and said, "Ma'am, I'm not a police officer, but I understand the breeches and boots might have confused you."

She stopped, then looked me up and down and said, "well, I thought you were, because my brother is a motor officer and wears a uniform like that."

I really didn't want to get into a prolonged discussion, so I just said, "well, again, I'm sorry for any confusion. These are indeed police motor breeches and boots, but you see, I am not wearing any insignia and I'm not a cop. I ride a motorcycle almost every day, and find this clothing to be comfortable and practical, which is why cops wear it. It just works for me, that's all. Again, sorry to cause confusion."

She replied with, "well, you even had your sunglasses propped up on your head like cops do, your hair is cut like theirs, and you walk the same way they do, so no wonder I thought you were a cop." Then, believe it or not, she kinda bopped me on the shoulder and said, "I wish you were a cop. You have a nice smile, and you're making time for this old lady to ask you a dumb question." With that, she spun on her heel and walked away. ... left me with my jaw dropped and wondering what just happened.

The customer in the lane next to me said, "hey, man, those are nice boots. They look good with those ... what'd you call 'em? Breeches?"

Hmmm... he was a very nice looking guy.

I finished checking out as he did, and he walked with me to the parking lot. He admired my Harley and asked a bunch of questions about the bike and the boots. [Hey, Stompers, I think I sent another customer your way! LOL!]

I mounted up and rode off with a smile on my face, yet with some bewilderment, too, regarding the incident that started the whole series of events.

Life is short: wear what you like, but don't intentionally misrepresent. If someone makes an assumption, clarify!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Today is Independence Day in the United States, marking our nation's 234th birthday. Happy birthday, America! Here's a recent photo that serves this day well (that's me on my bike in the background).

This morning, I will accompany two friends to be sworn in as our nation's newest citizens. I coached them as they studied for their citizenship test. These friends have worked hard and have been very patient -- one for ten years, one for twelve -- to earn the privilege of becoming a U.S. citizen. Their ceremony will be held at Ft. McHenry, which is in Baltimore. Nothing is more special than to have such a ceremony than at the location that served as the inspiration for Frances Scott Key to write the poem that became the lyrics to our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.

Unfortunately, after the morning celebration is over, I have to rush right back home and get to work on that long-list of honey-do projects around the house. The Warden requires it. So no crab feast at my brother's this year. I'll miss it, but I'm doing what I have to do.

Life is short: celebrate the birthday of the United States!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dehners' First Ride

For a long time now, Stompers Boots of San Francisco was offering a great price on Dehner Patrol Boots. I figured that the sale would have to come to an end, so I decided to buy a pair of these boots with a 1" wider calf and lug soles on them. Stompers doesn't carry Dehner Boots with lug soles, but can arrange to have the Dehner Company put them on and have the boots shipped to the buyer directly.

I like big lug soles on my boots because they help a lot when I need to maneuver my big, heavy motorcycle in tight spots. For example, yesterday I went to our local post office, and the only parking space available was on a slight downgrade. There was so much traffic around, I couldn't back myself into the spot. I knew when I came out, it would require a lot of strength and traction to move the bike out of the space. These boots performed superbly: like a snow tire, the soles gripped the pavement and helped me to push my bike out of the space. Had my sole slipped -- even a little bit -- it would have been very likely that I would have dropped the bike. That's enough of a reason why I wear lug-soled boots when I ride my Harley.

Now... to the video. Some readers may be "of a certain age" (like me) to remember the TV show "CHiPs" that was aired from 1977 to 1983. The show featured a couple of Dehner-booted bike cops. Every now-and-then, they would have a camera trained on one of the cop's boots from behind, as he was operating his bike -- usually chasing a bad guy.

I have that image in my mind -- of a Dehner Boot on a bike while riding. I have produced similar videos like this before, but this is the first one while I am actually wearing "Dehner" (brand) boots (not something else) on this model of Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Enjoy the "bootcam" video. Try to figure out where my camera was. I assure you, though, that my hands remained firmly on the grips, and I didn't let go. Also, I didn't have a passenger or someone riding beside me. Okay -- go figure where my camera was. I'll reveal the answer later.

Life is short: get booted and ride!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spellin Dusn't Count

Apparently to Google, spelling doesn't count. I have seen visitors come to my blog by looking up:
  • how to were cowboy boots
  • where boots
  • y were motorsikle boots
  • u were boots
  • 2 go 2 lthr prid
... and many more such gaffs. More than gaffs: to me, signs of a poor education. And mind you, these visitors were from the United States. I forgive people from other countries whose first language is not English. But for those from the U.S., I anticipate that common words should be spelled correctly.

Am I anticipating too much? Probably so. These days with texting short-hand, most kids never spell out words. They use short forms of words to get across their message. That's fine for texting, but for writing messages for email, or for papers for school or work, I come from the "old school" where spelling counts.

There is nothing I can do about it, other than to post occasional rants from time to time. This is one of them.

Life is short: learn to spell.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Boots for Work

I am catching up on a lot of repair projects around my house and some of my rental properties. Here, I am reflooring one of my decks, as the old cedar had not withstood the test of time, despite treating it regularly. I am replacing the deck floor with Trex, which is an artificial product that can better handle the wet winters we get.

Timberland boots fit the bill ... yeah, while I am always booted, contrary to popular belief, I do not always wear tall black police patrol boots (giggle). These Timberlands are tough, rugged, yet very comfortable. They don't get hot on my feet, even in hot weather. They have good insoles inside them that add to their comfort. While made in the Dominican Republic, the boots are well-constructed and stand up to hard work.

Life is short: choose the right boot for the job!