Sunday, October 31, 2010

No Halloween This Year

No, the holiday of frivolity and fun has not been canceled.

However, this year, I am on business travel and thus will not be at home -- so no Halloween for me.

My partner is at home, in the dark, not answering the door and not giving out treats.  He hates that kinda stuff anyway and in years past, I've always been the one to dress up in some "costume" (usually full leather or a fetish uniform) and greet kids at the door.  Just not this year....

Have a Happy Halloween without me!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How To Tell If You Have Vintage Frye Boots

Note: the information below is about Men's Frye Boots. No postings on eBay or Craigslist that link to this post are authorized by the author.

I have worn Frye (brand) boots since I was 13 years old... ahem, a "few" years ago ... like 40 years.  Back then, Frye boots were the coolest boots to wear. They had taller than usual heels, and made a boot clunk sound like none other.

These boots are highly valued by collectors, and many pairs of these boots appear on eBay and Craigslist with claims of being "vintage." True "vintage" Frye boots were made in the USA and the claim "vintage" is for a pair of boots made in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s, featuring heel height and label described below. Vintage Fryes were made of entirely US-obtained materials, including the leather. They were mostly machine-produced, but the process at their facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, required a lot of hand-labor throughout the bootmaking process.

Today, the boots are all machine-made and assembled, with little hand-labor involved. The quality of the materials from which the boots are made are of lesser standard. And the company even states on a stamp on the inside of the campus boot style shaft, "made in USA of U.S. and imported parts." That's a crafty way of saying that it is likely that the leather is from a country such as Pakistan which has a reputation for selling inferior leather. Frye boots available today in styles other than the campus boot are likely made in China.

Update: Information on how to distinguish vintage Frye boots from modern-day Frye-labeled boots is here on the Boots Wiki.

If you come upon a sale or auction of "Vintage Frye Boots," how do you determine if the claim of the boots being "vintage" is valid? There are three major things to look for:

1)  The height of the heel.  Pictured here is a heel from a Frye boot made and worn since the early 1970s.  The actual heel height is 2-3/8" including the rubber sole plate.  True "vintage" Frye boots have this higher, stacked heel.

Frye boots made since the 1980s have a 2" heel, including the sole plate.  The difference is noticeable in pictures on eBay listings, for example, but if the listing doesn't say the actual heel height, you should send the seller a question to ask.

2) look for the Frye label on the inside of the boot shaft -- or look for pictures or statements about the label.  True vintage Frye boots have one black label on the inside of the right boot (only) sewn in gold, with the words "handcrafted" in red and "SINCE 1863" in gold.

Frye boots made since the 1980s have a label in both the right and the left boot.  The label is white with the word "Frye®", under that a steer brand company logo, and the words "Since 1863" under that.

While looking at the label, look at the printing under it.  Does it say, "Made in the USA" only?  Or "Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts?"  The latter is a clear give-away that the boots are not vintage.

3) look for the brand logo on the heel.  If there is no brand logo stamped into it or if there is the word "Frye" in letters stamped onto the heel, then the boots were made in the 70s or before.

If you see a logo of a steer head stamped into the heel, then the boots were made in the 1980s or after, and do not qualify as being labeled "vintage."

More information on the history of Frye Boots is on the Boots Wiki, here.

If you're looking for true vintage Frye boots, I hope this information is helpful to you, so you don't mistakenly bid up the price of a pair of Frye boots that are not of vintage standards and quality.

Life is short:  know your Fryes!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Internet Searches That Land Here

Every now and then, I look at what people are entering into search engines that drive visitors to this blog.  Most of the searches are real, honest-to-goodness questions.  But some of them are, um, "interesting."  The latest examples are below, with my attempts at answers.
  • can you spray leather protectant on boots and walk in the rain (California)
>> well, you "can" but the question is, will it work and will it cause damage to your boots?  If your boots are all leather and are dark in color, then it won't change the color.  But what this stuff does is clog the pores in the leather, making it eventually become hard and brittle.  Don't use it.  Instead, use a good quality leather conditioner and a good polish.  If the boots get wet, then allow them to dry naturally (out of the sun) in a place with good ventilation.  That will prevent mold.  Then shine 'em up again.  And don't wear boots made of exotic skins like snake, alligator, crocodile, etc. if it is raining.  Those skins are made of scales which will curl when they get wet and won't "uncurl." 
  • how to wear male cowboy boots  (North Dakota)
>> Well, I didn't know that boots had a gender.  Hmmm, gotta think about that one.  Otherwise, if you're asking how a man wears boots -- quick answer -- on his feet.
  • do men still where [sic] cowboy boots (New Jersey)
>> Yes, men "still" wear cowboy boots.  Where?  Again... on their feet.  Just look down.  Or read this recent blog post.  Perhaps not as many men in New Jersey wear boots as in other states, but real men "still" wear boots.  Try wearing a pair.  You'll look good and it's likely you will get plenty of compliments on the boots, but perhaps not your spelling.
  • how do you wear boots for men  (Jacksonville, Florida)
>>hmmm, how to wear boots "for" men?  Well, men like to see other people who are wearing boots standing tall, smiling, and looking confident.  Regardless if they are gay or straight, a woman or a man wearing boots and who walks proudly and stands tall gets appreciation, interest, approving looks, and respect.
  • best motorcycle boots that don't look gay  (San Francisco, California)
>> gee, this is an interesting question, particularly considering where it came from.  I already answered this as recently as this post dated September 8, 2010.  Check it out -- then get over your hang-ups about "boots looking gay."  I really would like to know sometime about what motorcycle boots "look gay."  They look like boots to me.  And I've never seen boots making out with each other, but perhaps boots act differently on the Left Coast.
  • meaning of tucking pants in your boots   (Oklahoma)
>> Okay, here's the secret -- only a guy with a huge boot collection like me knows the real answer.  Glad you asked.  Here goes.  Ready?

It means that the guy likes his boots and wants to wear them so people can see them.  That's all.  Period.  End-of-story.  Don't read anything else into wearing jeans tucked into boots than is there.  Nothing is there.  Okay, done.  End-of-rant.  Again.  Or see this recent blog post.
  • the correct way to walk in cowboy boats [sic]  (Texas)
>> Yep, they have a lot of cowboy stuff in Texas, and while I have visited that state on many occasions over the years, I have yet to see a cowboy boat.  I guess the answer is: walk carefully and hold the handrail until you get your sealegs.
  • why to gays were cowboy boots [sic]  (Leesburg, Virginia)
>>this just illustrates so much... but I'll refrain from making statements that would lower me to this guy's level. Suffice it to say, there are some people who could be better educated.

Life is short: watch what you search for -- your search could end up getting quoted here!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cop Uniform Halloween Legal?

Phrases like, "is it legal to wear a cop uniform on Halloween?" are pouring in lately from search engine to this blog.  I understand why.  When I posted "You Want To Wear A Cop Uniform on Halloween?" on this blog last year, that post continues to draw a lot of visitors with questions like that.

Visit that post or check out the complete instructions on how to assemble a uniform on my website if you want to know how to assemble a cop costume for Halloween.  I also address the issue about whether it is legal to do so, but I'll repeat that info here for convenience.

Yes... it is legal to assemble and wear a cop uniform (if you're not a cop) with some provisos:

1. Don't wear the uniform representing an agency that has jurisdiction where you are. For example, if you want to wear a California Highway Patrol (CHP) motor officer uniform, don't wear it in the State of California. That's illegal as noted in California state law.  I live in a county in Maryland.  I wouldn't wear a uniform that looks like the same uniform my county officers wear. Even if I don't wear the insignia of my local police department -- it's "too close for comfort" and technically, while it's not illegal to wear a uniform of the same color and appearance as a local PD as long as it doesn't have that PD's insignia on it, the "second rule" of making a choice to wear a uniform comes into play.

2. That "second rule" is a question: "could a real cop think I am trying to impersonate an officer?"  Impersonation of an officer is a civil crime, punishable by fines and/or a jail sentence.

You can wear a replica police officer uniform as a costume.  Just don't go around acting like a cop.  Impersonation is measured both by what you're wearing, but also by what you do -- how you act and behave.  Don't try to pull someone over, write a citation (a ticket), handcuff someone in public, or do other things that you see actors-as-cops on TV do.

If you keep the uniform appearance to look like a uniform that is not worn by real cops in your area (town, city, county, or state), and if you keep the cop-acting behavior behind closed doors, then you'll be okay -- and probably have a lot of fun, too!

Straight guys as well as gay guys like to wear a uniform -- and Halloween is a fun "excuse" to wear one.  Just be cool, and think before you act.  It's dumb actions that get you in trouble.  Don't be stupid -- like wear a uniform that has the same insignia of your local or state cops, or carry a gun, billy club, baton, or other weapon, and don't say foolish things (like you might hear on some TV shows) and you'll be fine.

Life is short:  have fun, but be safe, sane, and sensible.

DISCLAIMER: All the information and photos contained in this post are provided solely for the benefit of those who wish to assemble and wear a replica cop costume. In no way is it intended for use in any attempt to impersonate any law enforcement officer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Runnin' Around In Leather

I make no excuses: this time of year, I like to wear leather.  The weather is cool, the leather is comfortable... it's time to gear up!

I have blogged a lot over time about wearing leather in public.  Some guys are reluctant to do that because they are afraid about what other people may say or think.  I'm long over those feelings.  I wear what I like to wear.  As long as my gear is not "suggestive" and I don't wear my chaps & boots with nothing else... it's fine.

Lately, it has been ideal "leather weather."  I am wearing a pair of leather jeans, instead of blue jeans, on most days.  I pick out various leather shirts from my gear closest -- goodness knows, I have several from which to choose.  Then I go about my regular business.

"Milk Monday" at a local grocery store finds me there, as they reduce the price of milk by half of what it costs on other days. This store also has very good produce, so it's worth the trip.  Full leather?  No sweat!

Tuesday, I took a senior pal to her doctor's office and waited for her to finish, then brought her back home.  I was dressed in a pair of leather jeans with a lightweight cotton shirt, as it was unexpectedly warm.  Boots, of course. 

I also went about completing other errands, from visiting my aunt to delivering some plans to a fellow civic leader to review, and even attended a meeting on Tuesday evening ... and by then it had cooled off, so I put on a leather shirt to go with my leather jeans.

I mean, it really is no big deal.  Nobody -- NOBODY -- gives a darn or says anything (at least not to me).  If you have leather, wear it!

Life is short:  'nuf said... wear your leather.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Cool Ride Shots

Here are some photos that were taken on some motorcycle rides that my club goes on.  I didn't take any of these photos because I wasn't on these rides.  The rides were too long and too "spirited" (that is, too fast) for me to be comfortable, within my riding limits, to go on.  Nonetheless, it's great to see the scenery and the fun.

In one way, I'm gonna miss being photographer for the club next year, because you get to see all these great photos.  However, I've announced that I don't want to continue in this position for a fourth year.  The job isn't as much taking pictures, but it is gathering them, assembling, cropping, editing, resizing... it takes many, many, hours and to be honest, I'm kinda burned out.  Time to turn the reigns over to someone else.  

Meanwhile, enjoy some cool ride shots taken by some of my friends.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Last Ride of the Season

I went on what I think was the last group ride (for me) of the season yesterday.  I say that because it is predicted to rain a lot this coming week, so I won't be able to ride mid-week.  This coming weekend, I'll be so busy I won't be able to ride.  Then the week after that, I will have my hernia repaired, so I will not be able to ride for several weeks after that.

Today's ride was rather "spirited" -- meaning it was rather fast for what was supposed to be short, casual, non-highway ride.  And there were a lot of us in the pack -- some 21 bikes and 25 riders (that means four passengers).  I was planning to have a passenger, too, with my friend LC, but he wasn't feeling well and wasn't able to join me.  I am sorry that he couldn't make it, but some of the turns and some of the riding was challenging to ride on my own, much less with a passenger.

So there I am, in full leather -- started off with a t-shirt and leather shirt with my motorcross jacket, my leather riding pants, medium-weight leather gloves and while you can't tell from this photo, I had on my 17" Chippewa Hi-Shine boots.  We stopped along the way for riders who got divided by a tough road crossing to catch up.  While stopped, I took off the leather shirt, as the temperatures were climbing, and put my jacket back on with thinner Damascus leather gloves.

It was a fine, unexpectedly sunny, very pleasant day.  The temps by mid-day were 75°F (24°C) -- absolutely wonderful on a great autumn day.

While I was rather tired by the time the group pulled into a parking lot at the destination late lunch stop, I was jazzed because we all had a good time, including me.  What a great end to my riding season.

Life is short:  RIDE!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Funeral Tribute By Air

A close friend with whom I went skydiving a lot back in the '80s and '90s died on Thursday of last week after a prolonged illness.  I was saddened of his passing, but appreciated that he was finally relieved of his suffering.

His wife asked me to be a pall bearer, along with three of our skydiving companions.  So yesterday, we suited up in our skydiving gear and I got out my parachute (which took me hours to open, clean, and repack correctly since I haven't gone skydiving in about a year), and arrived at his funeral by air.  Well, actually, we arrived via parachute!  [Photo by the pilot using a cell-phone camera; I'm upper left].  We landed right on a ballfield next to the church where the funeral was held.

After landing, we quickly stashed our 'chutes in a van and met the hearse at the church, and escorted our friend's casket into the church for the service.  This was the first time I have served as a pall bearer in skydiving gear and jump boots, but that's how my friend knew me and my friends, and that's how we wanted to appear -- as he remembered us best.

One of my fellow skydiving companions gave a very fitting and mostly humorous eulogy, and closed with the words that my friend always said, "you can't seem to get rid of the butterflies when you skydive, but you can teach them how to fly in formation!"

Rest in peace, my friend...

Life is short:  show those you love, even in death, that you love them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How to Win Friends (or not)

Having a boot-and-leather oriented website and blog (this one), it is not unusual to receive messages from people who see the website or blog.  However, contrary to popular belief, I don't get that many messages from people I don't know.  That's despite having an average of over 2,500 unique visitors to one or more pages on my website each day, or over 500 daily visitors to this blog.  The vast majority of visitors reach my website and blog through the use of search engines like Google.  Some, however, have found it via links from my YouTube Channel, or links from profiles on,, and a few other places.  To be honest, I forget where I've linked it over the past five years.

Anyway, a way to "win friends," or to build a friendship with me is to communicate in a sane and rational manner.  Sure, like anyone else, I appreciate compliments, but I am not seeking praise nor expect it in order to make a friendship.  What I look for is normal communication that demonstrates respect, kindness, and intelligence.  I admit, grammar and spelling is important to me.  If someone cannot spell (and English is their primary language), then it tells me something.  A typo or two is forgivable.  Writing to me in "text-speak" with all those abbreviations is not.  Email is a form of written communication -- like a letter -- and isn't a text message.  Learn the difference!

I understand that a number of my visitors live in countries where English is not primary, yet they try to communicate with me in English as best they can.  I am very understanding about that, and accept that nuances of American English are not well understood, and are not handled well by on-line translators.

I will give three examples -- two good and one bad -- of some recent contacts.

1.  A guy from New England who rides a Harley contacted me.  He had been reading my blog, and sent me a message describing his interest in riding Harleys, told me about the boots he likes to wear when riding (and thanked me for information about the boots that he found on my website), and gave me some suggestions on riding in the Canadian Maritimes about which I had posted on my blog a desire to ride sometime.  He was cordial, friendly, and normal.  His message was describing his interests and talked about some of mine, as well as helped me pursue one of my motorcycle touring interests.  We have subsequently exchanged dozens of email messages about a variety of topics.  He's straight, I'm gay -- so what?  With his permission, I posted a couple of his messages recently as a "guest blog."

2.  "LC" contacted me through my website complimenting me on it, but also describing his interests in leather.  His message was brief, but well-written.  We began a conversation and I was pleased to take him on a motorcycle ride recently.  What led to our getting together was an exchange of email that indicated to me that he was safe, normal, intelligent, and that we share some common interests.  Yeah, we're both gay and we both really like leather, so there's the beginning of the conversation, but not the end to it.

3.  The bad example is a recent one, that said, "Hello Dear how are you? you have great pics, love all your boots I would like to be your partner just to have you wearing those boots 24/7, I am 34 very handsome and masculine Italian looking, I am serious i really want to be you please let me know?"   As I was reading the message, I was asking myself, "is this guy nuts?"  Right out-of-the-blue, he's proposing partnership.  He wrote with incomplete sentences -- he wants to "be me" or "wants to be you(r partner)?"  Huh?  I just delete messages like this.

Let me assure you, I seldom get messages like that, but I do... sometimes, and into the electronic "trash" they go.

I try to answer all legitimate messages that I get.  I like to make friends, and talk about mutual interests.  I don't care if you're gay or straight or ride a motorcycle or not... what I care about is that you're normal, safe, sane, and can carry your half of a written conversation.

I am pleased to have developed some wonderful friendships by starting off with an email exchange.  My friends, "AZ", Kevin, Clay, Bama-David, "John Smith", Steve, and some others initiated friendships with me that way.  My life is much better with them in it.  We enjoy our frequent email contact, and occasional chances to see each other in person when travels permit.

So in summary, communicate well, and you'll win friends.  Make off-the-wall proposals, and you won't.

Life is short:  communicate.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Unexpected "Date Night"

Yesterday my partner called me during the day -- which caused my heart to skip a beat, because he never calls me on the phone unless it's an emergency.  He said, "change your dinner plans, put away whatever you got out to make.  I'm taking care of dinner tonight."  And he wouldn't say much more....

When he arrived home from work, he handed me a bouquet of flowers and pulled out some bags from a restaurant up the road that we both like (though don't go to but maybe once a year.)  He said, "it's a date night... let's enjoy dinner and snuggle after."

He pulled out the china and set the table in our formal dining room.  He plated the meal and seated me, held my hand, and told me that he loved me.  We toasted each other with our respective glasses of water.  

Awww... how sweet.  For no reason at all, he brought me flowers and dinner and wow, was he ever snuggly! 

Damn, I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend.

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boots, Breeches, Chaps & Jeans

I got to go play hooky yesterday and go for a motorcycle ride with some friends.  Typical attire among bikers:  me in leather breeches, companions in chaps, one in jeans, and all of us in boots (I was wearing Dehner patrol boots).

Though a bit cool and overcast, it was great to get out for a ride. Our riding season is drawing to a close, so I am trying to take advantage of every opportunity I have to get out when I can.

Companions faces blurred to protect the innocent.

Life is short: RIDE!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black Tie? Nope...

This is the second (and last for now) of my bloggetory about invitations to and attending dressy events.  I sparked a spirited conversation with yesterday's post.

Goodness knows, I get more than ample invitations to such events.  Such is the nature of my civic work and spirited community activism.  But despite some people's thoughts that these events are enjoyable, they aren't to me.  That's "to me" -- not to others.  But the mere thought of having to dress up -- and in the case of "black tie," wearing a tux or formal wear (as my friend SJ's comment from yesterday, where a Scot may wear formal highland regalia) -- just doesn't work for me.  At all. Period.

In the last several years, I have declined all such invitations.  And I don't lie about it.  I just tell whoever is inviting me that I don't like such events because I don't like to dress up, and do not want to come. (I also have to admit that I hate shelling out money to rent formal wear, as I never would own any, though I love watching the rental proprietor's face when I tell him that I will be wearing boots; no formal shoes for me!)

To me, it's worse if there is dancing involved.  Some of these events have a band or DJ and and dance floor, inviting people to dance in whatever way works with the music being played.  Gawd I hate to dance.  I am such a friggin' klutz that everyone -- I mean everyone -- who has tried to dance with me (or teach me to dance) has run for the hills (my partner included.)  Seriously, when everyone else goes "cha-cha-cha," I go "bing-bang-boinnnng -- fumble-crash-fall -- oh, I'm sorry I stepped on your foot again."

My huge family who seem to have weddings often (the "greats" are all getting married now) kinda know that when they extend an invitation to me for their wedding, that my partner and I will show up for the church service, see the family, smile, shake hands -- then as soon as the service is over, we go home.  That's my doing, though my ever-reluctant-to-socialize partner has no qualms about ditching the reception, either.  And I don't attend weddings held out-of-town, where I can't "escape."  (One fairly recent exception, where I was Best Man for my twin brother at his formal wedding in Venice.  But even then, the minute I gave the toast at the reception, I left.  My brother and my new sister-in-law knew I was going to do that, and understood.  They didn't like it, but they understood that I would be sooooo very uncomfortable, they let me go as soon as I could gracefully exit.)

Some people think that all gay guys like to dance and are good at it, as if the gay gene is also in control of the ability to dance.  Not true.  There are a number of gay guys who don't like to dance, and there are a lot of straight guys who dance well.  The ability to dance and the interest in dancing has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation.

Plus, I don't know if all families are this way, but I see a lot of behaviors that I would rather not see after they become lubricated with alcohol which usually occurs at wedding receptions.  Tongues get loose, and people say the silliest, strangest things.  Not nasty, mind you.  Not about my being gay.  They're all long past that and know not to say things like that.  But they boast and brag and just drive me crazy because I know "the real them" and know that a lot of what they're saying isn't quite the truth.

I seriously have wondered if my choice not to attend these events has held me back in some way.  Perhaps by choosing "not to play the part," I possibly have excluded myself from being considered for a promotion or an appointment to some prestigious group, board, or panel.  I don't know what I don't get asked to do, but I do hear the a few others brag about the big gig they were invited to participate on because they attended such-and-such an event, or played golf with the big cheese.  (I'm not a golfer, either... oh my, what great lack of social ladder-climbing skills have I!)

But I digress... and perhaps am feeling that I am a bit unusual.  Heck, we all are unusual in our own way.  But my strong feeling of "ick" keeps me away from these things.  Black tie?  The only black tie you'll see on me is a leather tie I wear sometimes with a leather shirt.  That's it.  Just me.

Life is short:  learning to say "no" helps maintain sanity.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Avoidance of Pretentiousness or What?

I was speaking with a friend, as well as my partner and my brother about a situation that came up recently. I was invited to an evening event that is being held in an upscale hotel's penthouse that has a commanding view of the city of Washington, DC.  The event begins with cocktails, and is followed by dinner.  It begins "around" 7:30pm... with no stated end-time.  My partner was included (as in, "you may bring your spouse or 'significant other'.")  The dress code is "jacket & tie."

When I received the invitation, I read though it and then rolled my eyes.  This event should be something I should attend, as it as to do with my new job.  It would give me an opportunity to "meet the team."  However, it is being held in a place that is far away, late at night, in what, to me, is a pretentious atmosphere.

That is, I assert that events such as I described where people dress up to attend, that they are dressing to play a part, and the part that they play is not really who they are.  Thus, they are pretending... "putting on airs" ... and perhaps showing off.  I detest this kind of stuff.

As I was reading the invitation, my stomach was tightening into knots.  It really was making me a bit ill even to think about having to go to the event.  But... it's for the new job, so I would have to buck up, get over my reluctance to attend, suit up, and join the party.  I would have to go alone, since my partner absolutely, positively, would not go with me (and I wouldn't force the issue).

However, then I realized that the date of the event is one day after I am scheduled to have my hernia repaired.  There's no way that I could drive all the way across town to an event that runs late into the night when I am just recovering from surgery.  Surely, the new boss will understand that!  (He did.)

Anyway, I feel that I am quite in the minority when it comes to events like this.  Most people would jump at the chance to go to this venue, and be wined and dined in such an upscale atmosphere.  Am I alone in feeling repulsed by this?

The timing of these things is about as follows:  "starting at 7:30pm" means that the "fashionably late" time to arrive is 8:00 to 8:30pm... with an hour of drinking alcohol (which I don't) until about 9:30pm, then dinner with stuff I can't eat... estimating the event ending about midnight, followed by an hour's drive home.

How does one tell the new boss that he turns into a pumpkin at 9pm?  Or tell him that he can't eat what likely will be served? (don't tell me, "share your diet restrictions." Believe me, that doesn't work.) ... or that I don't drink alcohol, including wine (which makes me physically ill)... so "have plenty of water?"  Yeah, right.

Do men who dress up in a suit and tie escorting their lovely (female) spouses dressed in a nice dress to events like this behave differently compared with men who, for example, show up at a buddy's house in comfortable clothes to watch a football game?  I contend that they do... and further, much of the behavior in such costume is pretentious.

I could be wrong, and would invite comments to disabuse me of that notion.

Meanwhile, I'm just hangin' out in jeans, leather, and boots.

Life is short:  be who you are, not something you're pretending to be.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Ride With a Leather Buddy

I was pleased to be contacted via my website by Leather Chad ("LC"), who lives in the Washington, DC, area, near where I live.  We exchanged some messages, and in one of them, I invited him to join me for a ride on my Harley.

I've said that on some postings in various places that I like to take people either on my bike or ride with people who share similar interests -- boots & leather.  Well, I have to be honest, five years now with that message "out there," and this was the first local contact I've had that has actually worked out -- someone joining me for a ride.

"LC" is a very handsome, intelligent man who is very interesting to speak with.  We got together yesterday afternoon.  I gave him a ride on my Harley through the Maryland countryside.  The leaves on the trees are beginning to change colors, and the weather was delightful -- perfect "leather weather."  (I was in leather breeches, a pair of Dehner Boots, a leather shirt and vest.)

We stopped to take a break and talked about a wide variety of things, then rode back.  What a pleasant afternoon with a really nice guy!

"LC" had a nice pair of harness boots and a great leather jacket.  He promises that the next time we ride, he'll wear some leather pants.  Great -- but what's most important is that we will have that next time.  I enjoyed meeting him, and look forward to more rides with my buddy.

Life is short:  ride!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Boots and Breeches: Looking Good on a Motorcycle

A note from BHD: the following guest blog post was written by a friend who rides a Harley and lives in Vermont. He's a straight guy, quite witty, and has opinions that are similar to my own. I thought some of his recent email messages were interesting. With his permission, I am posting his comments below.  

Photos are of me, to illustrate the point, not of my friend.

Everything old is new again. You are just a trend setter. You know looking good is not just a, for lack of a better phrase "a gay thing". I think there may be a perception from some people that wearing boots is just for gay men and it is not.

I live in Vermont. We have had civil unions and gay mariage for so long here I don't even think about how sometimes that in other locations that this kind of bigotry still exists. As long as you are not wearing your chaps with the crotch exposed with boots on your bike on the highway, then screw 'em.

Everything is retro. You know part of the the Harley experience is being an individual. Everyone's bike is differrent. Each is customized to what the owner wants and every one wears what they want to in order to express themselves in the way they want. That is why you ride a Harley. Next time someone busts your balls about the boots, tell them if they keep it up, you will kiss them, I doubt they will say anything to you again. Include some photos of you in your boots in a biker newsletter. Maybe some other guys will ask you where to get some boots. Tell them that the women love them.

... and from another message about wearing boots and breeches on a Harley, my friend said:

I am the only one around here to wear boots and breeches. My girlfriend has a pair of boots and breeches too. During the forties and fifties most everyone riding a motorcycle wore boots and breeches. As I said I do not wear them in the summer as it is just too hot so I switch to jeans but do wear the poly breeches if it is not too hot. I have to tell you, I really do not give a darn what people think.

I do receive a lot of compliments from women about the boots. They love them and I love women, so it kind of works out. Just again the other day we had taken a ride and were walking around a country store. A woman came up to me and said, "I love your boots." I don't wear breeches with a stripe as I don't want to be confused with being an on-duty cop. If it was me and some one made a disparaging comment about my boots, I would tell them that I would just stick them up their ass to find out how they feel. Or you could just tell them to go f*ck themselves.

I would not get too self-conscious about it. Both Harley and Davidson wore breeches when they rode. Just look at some older photos and any old issue of a Harley magazine, and it is filled with riders wearing boots and breeches. They must have been on to something.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lucchese Crazy

Lately I've just gone off the deep end... such is the life of a Bootman.  I bought a pair of Lucchese Classic boots in September in dark grey, that I really like.  They are sturdy, well-constructed, and exceptionally comfortable boots.  They're for dress occasions, such as for wearing to work.  These boots hold a prominent place in my bedroom boot closet, and I look forward to wearing them to work.

The company from which I bought them, Grapevinehill, sells boots via Amazon for very good prices -- much lower than from the manufacturer direct or from other on-line sources.

I liked those dark grey Lucchese Classics so much, I bought not one, but two more pairs in brown and light brown.  I dunno, call me crazy, but ... these boots arrived last week and they are just as great as the grey ones.

What I like best about them is how rugged they are.  The leather is firm.  They don't flop around when you take them, off, as the cheaper, low-end Lucchese "1883" boots do.  They make a classic sound when you walk in them.  And I've noticed that others notice.

So for fall, I've gone with autumn colors for some new classic cowboy boots.  They'll all look good with dress clothes for work, or with jeans, which is my customary attire when I'm kickin' around the neighborhood (provided I'm not on my Harley or in full leather.)  These boots are great, but their smooth leather soles aren't suitable for the traction I require when I ride my bike.  They also don't quite match my leather (LOL!)  But I am an all-around, equal-opportunity Bootman, so I wear different boots for the different things that I do.  And because I change boots two, three, or four times each day, these boots will get plenty of use when rotated through the collection.

Life is short:  wear boots!

Friday, October 15, 2010

When Did You Choose To Be Straight?

Here is a video that was posted on YouTube that I became aware of through a friend (former supervisor).

The video is on-street interviews asking the fundamental question of random people the interviewer meets on the street, "when did you choose to be straight?"

I think that's a great come-back for those small-minded people (especially the religious wrong) who run around saying that "being gay is a choice" or "the gay 'lifestyle' is a bad choice" ... and so on.

Let me be clear:  I am gay.  I did not choose to be gay.  I was born that way.  I didn't know I was interested in having a man for my lifemate until I was much older.  I went through the usual motions of dating girls and such through high school and college, and realized that I was being deceitful.  It was unfair to the women who I dated that I really wasn't interested in more than conversation and enjoying activities together like a movie, a hike, or going out with friends to dinner.

So next time someone mouths-off about "being gay is a choice," simply ask them, as this interviewer did, "when did you choose to be straight?"  ... see what they say.  They may come to a realization of their own, from a perspective from which they had not thought before.

Update: This post was edited to remove political content. This is not a political blog. A comment was provided that was political in nature. That's why I edited this post, to remove my own political commentary such that the comment is no longer pertinent to this post (and therefore was not approved for posting). If you wish to comment on politics, please visit another blog.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walking Works

I went to see a surgeon the other day to arrange to have a hernia repair.  Yep, I have a small hernia which will require surgery to fix.  I got it from all the friggin' work that I do around the house and on my rental properties.  I have to face it, I'm not getting any younger.  Oh well, it's small, doesn't hurt, and for the moment, it's a good thing because it releases me from the ongoing, perpetual, long list of projects that never cease to end around our house.

While I was there, the doc remarked about my significant weight loss.  I was last weighed at the health plan office back in May.  On October 12, my weight had dropped by 30 pounds.  I knew I needed to lose weight, and the diet-and-exercise recommendation that we always hear is what did it.

When I took my "summer vacation," (that is, when I was laid off my job this summer before being offered a new one), I vowed that I wasn't going to pile on the pounds, snacking away whilst whiling away the hours on a computer.  I made a promise to myself to work at weight-loss with some of my "free" time.

That's hard for me to do, because I'm not a gym rat.  I hate gyms.  Ever since grade school where the gym teacher and classmates teased me incessantly for being a klutzy runt, I hated working out.  But I knew, deep down, that's what I needed to do.  My twin brother-the-jock gently reminded me and encouraged me on this matter.

I can't stand to use weights or machines or whatnot related to workouts and weight loss.  Call me cheap, but I will NOT pay for a gym membership.  Fortunately, the benefits of being a life member of the alumni association of the university from which I graduated, I am able to use all of their recreation facilities for free.  So I go swimming once a week.  Unfortunately, that's not enough, and I am not a runner, so running on the track was out.  Unfortunately, I can't get there during the week (open swim time for alumni is only in the evenings... too late for me.)

So I began walking.  At first, I would walk around my neighborhood.  Then I began changing it up, and walking further down the road.  I walked to my Aunt's home, three miles away.  I walked ... and walked ... and walked.  My partner bought me a pedometer so I could count my steps.  I "upped" my steps from an average of 5,000 per day to, now, an average of 20,000.  That's ten miles, more or less.  I walk up and down stairs instead of using an elevator.  Each morning at home, I walk the full length up and down three flights of stairs in my home for about 20 to 30 times.  (No "stairclimber" for me!  I do it for real, and make good use of the steps by carrying stuff, like rearranging my boots from my upstairs closet to my basement storage room.)

Diet-wise, that's always a challenge because of my severely restricted diet due to chronic conditions I must live with.  I can't eat most vegetables, salads, beans, tofu, tuna fish, yogurt, or such.  Facing multiple "runs" to the bathroom when I eat such things, I decided to forgo eating lunch instead of eating "healthy" crap that would make me sick.  I now have a small breakfast composed of a plain (home-made) roll w/o butter or margarine, and orange juice.  I drink about six large glasses of water throughout the day -- on hot days and when working strenuously, I double that.  Then I prepare a regular, but sensible dinner for my partner and me.  Dinner isn't diet junk -- it is real food, such as chicken, beef, or home-made, light pasta.  But I limited my portion sizes and left off the condiments, such as mayo (a weakness), since I can't use mustard or ketchup, relish, or anything else.  Salt & pepper add to taste, and I even keep those in moderation.

Most folks, including me, need a caffeine shot in the morning.  Not being a coffee or tea drinker, I might have gone for a soda.  I was finding that diet sodas, even Coke Zero, gave me the trots--must be the artificial sweetener.  So I just went "cold turkey" and when I really "needed" caffeine, I drank caffeinated water that my partner found for me in the store.  I don't like to use bottled water, but in this case, one-half of a bottle of caffeinated water in the morning would stave off the caffeine withdrawal headache.

All-in-all, this worked for me.  I dropped 30 "real" pounds.  I think I finally found a weight-loss plan that works for me, and I intend to keep it up, because it's part of my regular routine now.  When I get a craving, I drink water.  It fills me up and I lose my hunger pangs. 

Life is short:  manage yourself in ways that work for you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog Adjustments

So Blogger "upgraded" me to their new advanced system, which is a PITA to get accustomed to using.  It's hard to format content like I used to.  Line breaks seem to add themselves or remove themselves at-will.  But here it is and here I am, so I am adjusting.

While I was at it, I adjusted the template to a slightly newer, more readable format, and put on a new header composed of some of this summer's photos of my various activities ... boots, leather, boots, motorcycle riding, etc.  Just me, doing my "thing."

I hope readers like it, or will let me know features that they would like to see or not... leave a comment, or write a message that comes directly to me.

Life is short:  Keep blogging!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bootmen of Da' 'Burgh

This past weekend, my partner and I drove to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, to visit his mother who lives there.  My partner did a number of chores around the house to keep it in good shape (and he told me not to, so I wouldn't aggravate a hernia that I just discovered).  We also gave his Mom some company as she lives alone and gets rather lonely.

It was a quiet, peaceful, visit.  While I was "up bear," I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a friend who contacted me at first through this blog, and then through many hundreds of emails over several years.  It never worked out until this trip to be able to meet in person.  We sat atop Mt. Washington enjoying a bright, sunny afternoon on a lovely day, while taking in the view of the picturesque city skyline.

What a wonderful guy, from his comfy Justin cowboy boots to his broad smile on his handsome face.  
Life is short:  enjoy it with friends!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tied Up

I sense this will attract my buddy "SJ" from the UK who is into bondage.  Sorry, bondophiles, the title to this post is misleading (deliberately).

I'm just busier than a beaver and don't know where I'll have the time to get everything done.  But, then again, that's me.  Mr. "can't-say-no."

Last week, I replaced batteries in smoke alarms for over 50 senior pals.  I made ravioli from scratch for my partner and me, but also brought some to a friend who recently broke her foot.  I baked six loaves of bread -- also for senior pals.  I made a couple videos and updated my website.  I wrote letters kvetching on behalf of some of my friends who were wronged.  And each day, I visited my lovely aunt at least once, often twice.  I took her to get a blood test one day, which is quite an undertaking considering how frail she is.  And at almost each visit at my aunt's home, I would find a note that a caregiver left for me indicating yet something else that I had to get at the grocery store.

I did repairs at three properties that I own and rent as affordable housing to community heroes.  Fortunately, the repairs were minor and mostly preventive in nature, but nonetheless, they each required time, tools, skill, and (of course) work boots!

I attended a public hearing and several other meetings with community groups concerned about certain local matters.  I tried to make peace, or if not peace, at least let each side be heard.  I missed a meeting of officers for a group in which I participate, as my aunt's needs had priority.

Then I packed up with my partner and went to visit his mother in "da 'burgh" this past weekend and while I am writing this before I left, I am absolutely certain that I was quite busy and enjoying very noisy meals (giggle).

I am anxious to begin working at my new job ... my start date is imminent yet not precise.  Meanwhile, the honey-do list grows twice as long for each item that I scratch off.

So, this is my form of bondage:  to my community, my family, my partner, my friends, my home, my investments, and my hobbies.  Not bad things... just BUSY!

Life is short:  keep out of trouble!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tucking Pants Into Boots

Search results that brought a visitor to this blog
Another google search using the question "is it gay to tuck your pants into your boots?" directed a visitor to this blog.

Oh cripes, gimme a break.  Insecurity rules among young-uns.  Go tell a motorcycle police officer this stuff....

This is what Kevin described in his comment to last Friday's post on this blog. This type of query on the internet is another indication of "fear of label" -- that is, homophobia by fear of being called gay, simply by tucking jeans into one's boots.

Sheesh, this is absolutely ridiculous. I learned from Kevin's remark, and believe it, that some guys are really afraid of having that label applied to them because it can very well mean trouble. Name-calling has led to some vicious attacks resulting in bodily injury and death -- simply because someone is "accused" of being gay by the way he talks, walks, or what he wears. This must stop!

If you've got a hang-up due to "fear of label" about wearing boots with jeans tucked into them, then don't.  But if you have courage enough to seek more information and if you're man enough to wear your boots with jeans tucked into them and with pride, then see this page on my website: Jeans and Cowboy Boots.

Life is short:  grow up if you worry about such matters.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thanking My Community Heroes

It's the last day of Fire Prevention Week here in the good ol' USA.  Throughout the week, I have been doing a number of things related to fire safety.

Last Saturday, I went on a major motorcycle ride in honor of fallen firefighters.

On Sunday, I brought my partner to the bedroom, blindfolded him, and turned off the lights.  Then I yelled "fire" and we practiced our home fire drill.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I visited senior pals and changed batteries or entire smoke alarms as needed.  Smoke alarms last only ten years, so if the alarm was older, I put up a new one.  

Also on Wednesday, I had a chimney sweep come to our house and clean our chimney, and a service technician check over our furnace as winter heating season will soon be upon us.  

On Thursday, I dropped by my local fire station for a visit, and to thank the firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics who are there every day protecting us.

On Friday, I blindfolded my partner again... oops... not for fire prevention activities....

Life is short:  thank a firefighter!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Homophobia Hurts Straight Men, Too

I thank my friend Kevin for pointing out the following opinion piece in a recent edition of The Christian Science Monitor whose title is:  "Homophobia Hurts Straight Men, Too."  The full article is here.

The main point of the article is made at the top, where it says, "men rarely sustain intimate, long-standing friendships with other males after childhood. And the reason might surprise you: According to a large body of research, they’re afraid of being seen as gay."

The article describes a time, not that long ago, where it wasn't strange or uncommon for adult men to enjoy physical closeness: a hug, holding one another with arms around shoulders, etc.  But not today.

Today, you can barely shake another guy's hand before he steps back to establish a large physical distance from you.  It saddens me that men have distanced themselves physically and emotionally from each other for about the past three decades -- for fear of being labeled as gay.

The article further demonstrates how name-calling from school carries into adult life.  In school, kids call each other all sorts of names.  But none are intended to be as hurtful as being called "gay, queer, or fag."  The expression, "that's so gay" refers to actions or behaviors -- anywhere from wearing jeans tucked into cowboy boots to having another guy ride as a passenger on a motorcycle operated by a guy.

A paragraph in the middle of the opinion piece spoke directly to this matter.  It said, "But to fight intolerance against gay boys, we also need to acknowledge its toll on straights – and our entire culture. Homophobia hurts all of our boys, by driving a wedge between them. Sharing your deepest feelings with another man? That’s so . . . gay. Or so we’ve been taught."

That's what bothers me a lot about the straight guys I know.  I sense that they would like to be more open and demonstrate greater sensitivity, but society has taught them through homophobia to back off, clam up, and "be a man" by being the strong silent type.  

Oh cripes, gimme a break.  Guys have feelings too, and should show them (besides losing one's temper.)

The summary of the article is so true, and telling:  "And you can hear the message still, at any school or playground, where they call each other homo, fag, or queer. That hurts the gay kids most of all, as the awful death of Tyler Clementi reminds us. But it hurts the rest of us, too, by limiting the ways that men can act and feel. And that’s bad news for all American men, and for anyone – male or female – who loves them."

Come on, straight guys, GET OVER IT!  You can't and won't "become" gay by associating with other men who are gay, or by enjoying physical closeness with another guy beyond a handshake.  It's okay, being gay isn't a disease and isn't contagious.  A boy is gay when he is born, as I was (though I didn't realize it until adulthood.)

Life is short:  get over your hangups, and enjoy close camaraderie with other guys!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cookin' Up A Storm

Here I am, doing what I love to do... spending a rainy day in the kitchen with my partner making pasta, sauce, and bread.  I love to cook and prepare meals that freeze well for the busy week when I don't have as much time to cook our dinner.  

I believe in making our own food when we can, or at least preparing a meal from ingredients we harvest from our garden or buy at the grocery store.  I prepare a hot meal every evening for my partner and myself.  

We never eat out.  It's too expensive and wasteful.  Further, with my odd assortment of food allergies, there are so many things that I can't eat, preparing my own food ensures that I don't accidentally ingest something like mustard, which can throw me into anaphylaxis. 

Life is short:  prepare your own food! (and wear leather while you're at it!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A-List Gross-out

I am writing this post on Tuesday evening, whilst my partner is making me suffer through viewing a show on the Logo network called "A List: New York."  The show was composed of several interviews of "fabulous" gay men in New York City who are so full of themselves and "who they know and where we go" (to select parties, nightspots, etc.) ...

...that it just made me sick.  Gosh, if these guys are supposed to be the trend-setters, then send me back to Oklahoma in my jeans and cowboy boots, whilst riding my Harley.

All I can say is yuck, ick, sucky, gross....  definitely NOT me.  The only thing these gay twits "set" is not trends, but stereotypes.  I finally insisted that he turn it off and watch something else.  It was that bad!

The review of this show in The Washington Post ended with these two paragraphs, which in my opinion, clearly describe what's bad about this show:
The message in "The A-List" is that it's too easy for gay men to get caught up in whatever status war happens to be available, and nothing is quite so withering as the dismissive sneer from an A-gay. You get all the way through the torment of being gay in small towns, high schools and churches, move to the big city, and find, as Karen Carpenter sang, we've only just begun.  No one really talks about why gay men can be so strangely cruel to one another, nor do they ever talk about how gay cliques might inhibit the broader effort to win equal rights.

"The A-List" is, of course, a poor excuse for a social study. Like all reality shows, it quickly turns its attention to the Jacuzzi, and here, at least one measure of equality is achieved: Gay men turn out to be just as distasteful and empty-headed as all the straight people on reality TV.
Life is short:  read a book.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Anthracite Is the New Grey for Boots

I am absolutely the last one to be obsessed with fashion.  In fact, if you ask me, "what's in style for men these days," I'll give you a blank stare.  Who cares?  (Sorry to offend anyone who does.  I don't.)

Anyway, I occasionally come upon some great boot finds.  A couple weeks ago, I found a great deal for a pair of dark grey Lucchese Classic cowboy boots which will be great for my new workplace. 

I've always liked grey cowboy boots.  Back in my early work career at a University, a couple of students showed up for a meeting, both wearing grey cowboy boots.  Man, I couldn't take my eyes off those boots!  I got myself a pair, and subsequently have almost worn them out.  

As I surfed around looking for an affordable pair of grey cowboy boots, I discovered this pair of Lucchese ostrich cowboy boots that looked grey in the photo, but the color on the listing was called "anthracite." 

Anthracite?  What's that?  Oh yeah, it's a form of coal.  I looked it up on line, and the natural rock is grey.  I even sent a message to the company selling the boots, and their response was the same, "it's grey."

So, "anthracite" is the new "grey" for boots.  Just so 'ya know ... particularly for the more fashion conscious among 'ya.

Life is short:  wear boots!

Monday, October 4, 2010

How To Wear A Boot

Why on Earth would anyone enter the question, "how to wear a boot?" into google?  But that's what two people have done in the past two days.  Here are some answers:

1.  Sit down.  Pull up your pants leg.  Identify your left foot.  Identify the left boot.  Pull it on the left foot.
2.  Repeat with the right leg and foot.

3.  Stand up.

You're done.  So that's how to wear a boot.  Well, actually two boots, but you get the gist.  :-)

Option two:

1.  Do the procedure as in Option one above, but begin with the right leg and right foot, and repeat with the left leg and left foot.

2.  It doesn't mean a thing if you put your boots on starting with one leg or the other.  Some guys are left-booted and some guys are right-booted.   

Option three:

Answer:  on your feet.  Boots look better than than on your hands, for example.

Life is short:  wear boots!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Paying Tribute

I led a motorcycle ride yesterday of a small group that joined a much larger group to ride to a national memorial in my home state where we paid tribute and gave thanks to firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty.  Firefighters protect us every day, and we should be thankful for their contribution to helping us be safe and take care of us when fires and other emergencies happen.

It was a lovely day, weather-wise. Perfect for my leather riding pants, leather jacket, and comfy Chip Firefighter boots.  The tribute was meaningful and moving for the thousands of us bikers who gathered and rode in memory of those who have died, and in tribute to those who protect us.

Life is short:  pay tribute.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bullying and Gay Bashing

Lately the case of the suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, has made world news.  It is alleged that Tyler's dorm roommate and his girlfriend secretly captured webcam video of Tyler kissing another man and then broadcasted the video to a wide audience.  Tyler committed suicide soon after he found out about the internet broadcast of a very private, personal situation.

This is a clear case of cyber-bullying, and it just has to stop! 

I have blogged about how I felt as a kid in junior high -- always picked on and bullied.  But the bullying was done in person by name-calling and physical attacks when teachers, other adults, or my taller "protector super-jock" twin brother weren't around.  I was picked on simply because I was an easy target.  I was small for my age.  I was weak and undeveloped.  I took everything personally.  I was easily hurt.  I couldn't hold a "poker face" so the bullies knew they were getting to me.

They would call me names like "fag" but I really didn't take it as being related to my being gay.  I really meant it when I said that I never really knew about my sexuality until much later in life.  I really was a "late bloomer."  I wasn't interested in girls or guys when I was in my teens.  But I know that's not true for lots of teens who have active sex at young ages, and some of those sexual encounters are with someone of the same sex.

Nonetheless, I guess I was lucky that Al Gore hadn't invented the internet when I was in junior high school, as assuredly I would have been picked on via social networks and other ways had those methods been available when I was 13 years old.

A commentator on TV said that the problem with the Internet is that bullying can continue, non-stop, and inside someone's home -- where he (or she) feels safest.  That scares me.  I think Ellen DeGeneres statement says best about how I feel about this situation, too.  I have embedded it here:

Life is short:  be civil.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Today Begins the First Step

Today, October 1, my home state of Maryland finally begins moving in the right direction by having a law take effect that prohibits talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving.  You'd think this is a no-brainer, and the law would have passed long ago.

The new law is weak and requires much work.  For example, unlike in California, a cop can't stop someone just for yakking on a cell phone.  He/she has to see the driver commit another infraction and stop them for that before a citation for a meager $40 is given for the yakking infraction.  Further, the penalty is way too low. 

Texting while driving has been against the law in my home state for over a year, yet I haven't seen it enforced nor make any difference.  I see people texting while driving all the time.  Scary!  Us motorcyclists have enough to worry about ignorant drivers who don't see us anyway than to worry about their distractions causing them not to see us.

What is it that talking on a phone all the time is so critical?  I promise you, the world will NOT end if you let a call go to voice mail, or if you have to take a few minutes to pull over to a parking lot to place a call that is important to you at the time.

I am remembering my friend who died while out riding his motorcycle and was creamed by a cell-phone-yakking yuppie.  His children and all of his friends and family still miss him very much.  

Life is short:  hang up and drive!