Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2011

Each year of this blog's history, I have posted an analysis based on painstaking collection of data on what the "Top 10 blog posts" have been during the year.

This year, the Top 10 posts are...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of Motorcycle Boots By Style

I ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and I always wear motorcycle boots while riding (never sneakers). I own a lot of different styles of motorcycle boots, and have worn all of them (one pair at a time LOL!) while riding.

Following is my opinion of the best motorcycle boots of each of these styles: engineer boots, harness boots, "shortie" or tactical boots, and patrol boots.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year Planning

As 2011 is quickly drawing to a close, I am making plans for 2012. I am not one to make "new year's resolutions" as so often these are made then go unfulfilled.

My personal plans for 2012 include, in no specific order...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Maintaining Shiny Boot Shine

One would think that with the extensive boot collection that I have, I may spend a lot of time shining them. Actually, I don't. Most of my boots are worn "as is" and perhaps the boots show a little dirt. To me, that is "character."

However, some boots are made to shine and be kept shiny -- Chippewa "High-Shines" and All American Patrol Boots are some examples. How do I maintain the shine on these boots -- especially if I don't have much time (or like to spend time) shining them?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wesco Boots -- Discount!

This post has been removed. The content on it is outdated and the discount referenced is no longer available.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is Christmas Hard for Gay People?

I found this search that landed a visitor to this blog on Christmas day: "Christmas hard for gay people."
This search provoked a random stream of thoughts, which I will share.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Breaking In New Boots?

Was Santa good to you and brought you a new pair of boots?  Perhaps you're not accustomed to wearing boots that often, and want to know how to break them in?  Take some simple tips from a guy who has been wearing boots for well over 40 years as his exclusive form of footwear....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Family Christmas

Okay, I know I said the other day that I wouldn't be back until after Christmas, but I had to post this photo that was taken yesterday. Great Uncle BHD with his twin great nephews....

I rode my Harley on Friday to visit them. 100 mile round-trip in 48F (9C) temperatures. The sun was supposed to come out, but it didn't. Kinda chilly, but manageable in full leathers and tall boots which kept me warm.

The ride home wasn't nearly as cold as the ride on the way there due to the warmth in my heart from time spent with my family. I am so lucky to have the family that I have. Warm, generous, loving, thoughtful, and caring people who warm my heart every minute of every day.

Fortunately, my partner is stable, but still not well... but he was able to rest at home and I felt secure enough that I could leave for a half-day to visit family and that he would be okay (and that his mother would keep an eye on him.)

Merry Christmas to all... see you after the holiday!

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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tidbits, Updates, and Pause

Best wishes to visitors of my blog, returning or new. Things have been kinda topsy-turvy at the ol' BHD household, so this post will hold until after Christmas.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Positive Focus

So yeah, my last post on this blog was a bit of a downer and uncharacteristic of my usual nature in writing more positively and/or instructively. Sorry about that; nobody likes a gripey sourpuss, myself included. However, it is my blog, and it serves as a bit of a catharsis to write about how I am feeling.

I received some direct email messages as a result of that blog post, and I appreciate what my friends had to say in expressions of concern.

Where do we go from here?

A Different Christmas

This year, everything is different. Priorities have changed, the feeling of being on pins and needles, tiptoeing on egg shells... all that. And more. Yep, this year, it is a different Christmas.

What is different?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa's Boots

Santa is getting ready to make his rounds. Have you been naughty or nice?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boots Make the Man

This is an expression in the boot community, "Boots Make the Man." There are various explanations of where it came from and who said it first. Regardless, I agree with it. When a man stands tall and proudly in a pair of tough, masculine boots, his confidence is evident.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do All Bikers Have Tattoos?

Interesting question that landed a visitor to this blog... for reasons unknown to me (that is, why direct a visitor to this blog)... anyway, someone googled the question, "do all bikers have tattoos?"


Thursday, December 15, 2011


It is rather sad, but not uncommon these days, that various forums on the 'net allow anyone to register and use a pseudonym to say things that they would never say in public or if they had to reveal their true identity.

Sometimes these thoughtless dolts link to my website, and say...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comfort of Snakeskin Boots

Someone entered a question into a search engine which landed on my website. The question was, "how comfortable are snakeskin boots?"

And the answer is...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

39 Years of Caroling Craziness

This past Saturday afternoon, my partner told me that he knew that my usual "old neighborhood" Christmas caroling event and party was being held that night, and he wanted me to go. He heard me tell a friend on the phone that I was not going to attend it this year because I did not want to leave my partner's side when he was not feeling well.

My partner would have none of it. "Go! You need to do this!" After some more conversation and assurance that my partner would be okay, I agreed. I was especially relieved when a sister offered to come over and stay with my partner while I was gone. (I sure have a wonderfully supportive family!) Off I went...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cop Boots -- Discount Coupon at Stompers

This post has been removed. The content on it is outdated and the discount referenced is no longer available.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stompers Boots Discount Code

This post has been removed. The content is out of date and the discount has been discontinued.


My partner had an uneventful day yesterday, and felt good enough to help me finish decorating the house for Christmas. We put up our Christmas tree and put up the lights visible from the street.

I had four senior pals stop by to help decorate the tree -- two are Jewish, one is Muslim, and one is Hindu. I enjoy sharing our traditions and they share their traditions with me. It's great living in such a multicultural area.

This is a photo that I took last night of our house, at an angle so you can see both the Christmas lights as well as the full moon rising. It was a fantastic, yet peaceful, sight.

Life is short: share joy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Priority Number One

This time of year is always a challenge with events leading up to Christmas. Requests to attend parties, visits with family and friends who come to town to visit their family, and my ongoing focus on my senior pals, all have demands on a limited supply of time. And that's not to mention decorating our house, which is something my partner truly enjoys as he likes to have our house looking cheery, particularly to brighten the spirits of his mother who spends Christmas with us.

However, I have had a wake-up call to the demands of my time and priorities for something far more critical...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cuffed Comfort

Once again, guys... not what you think (LOL!)

A couple years ago, Shane from Eastern Oregon Leather contacted me and I learned about the products that he makes -- superbly-designed and hand-made wrist cuffs. I received a cuff from him back then, and have continued to wear it regularly. And now, I have a new one...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Lovely Office Christmas Parties

Yep, it's that time of year again... Branch holiday gathering at a bowling alley, Division holiday breakfast, agency holiday festival, not to mention several invitations from family and friends for various gatherings... yuggghhhh. (I don't know what "yuggghhhh" really means, but it sounds descriptive of how I feel about these things.)

Will I be going to the work-related events?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do Insecure Guys Turn Gay?

I thought I had seen everything, but perhaps not. Another question entered into a search engine, "do insecure guys turn gay?" landed on this blog for my post titled, Why Are Gay Men Insecure? (which was a deliberately misleading title.)

Oh cripes... short answer: NO! Insecure guys cannot "turn gay!" Longer answer...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Not All Harness Boots Are the Same

A new pair of Double H Harness boots came into my life recently. These boots are pictured here on the right, next to a pair of favorite Chippewa Harness boots.

While both manufacturers make the boots in the USA, that is about the end of what they have in common (besides general design).

What are the differences that would affect a purchase choice?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stretching Before Riding

Man, it's hell getting old.

Saturday was bright and sunny, though rather cold. It was in the low 40s (F -- 5.5C) on Saturday afternoon when I decided to leather up and ride my Harley to run some errands. I want to ride when I can, before the crap is spread on the roads when they may get icy.

Anyway, I checked the bike over for safety issues as I always do, mounted and took off.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Who May Legally Ride a Police Motorcycle

I read an interesting internet search that landed a visitor to this blog (but on a page unrelated to this question...). The question was, "is it legal to ride a police motorcycle if your not a cop?"

Good question! And the answer is....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cowboy Boots In Style for Men?

This kind of stuff makes me nuts sometimes, but when someone uses a search engine to look for an answer to, "are cowboy boots in style 2011 for men?" and lands visitors to this blog... I just have to comment.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Not Going to the Wedding Reception

One of my nieces is getting married to a sweet guy. I am delighted for them. They have been dating since high school and throughout their college years. After college, they went their separate ways, but reunited a couple years ago when their respective jobs placed them back in the same town, and realized that their love for each other was meant to be. Now they plan to take the next step and get married.

The wedding invitation arrived the other day. I looked at it, sighed, and told my partner....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Comfort Rating of Boots

Those who have studied my cowboy boot collection or my motorcycle boot collection have noticed that I rate each pair of boots for their comfort (C), look/appearance (L), and for cowboy boots, how they sound (S).

Recently, I received an email about my "C" -- comfort -- rating. The question was:
I wanted to know about the C rating you have. When a boot has a low C rating, what makes them hard to wear for long periods? What gets uncomfortable about the boot? Is it they are too stiff? Too hard on the bottom of your feet? The insides are too rough (unfinished leather)? Just curious about your rating system as I am looking for comfortable boots that can be worn for a while without the torture!
My response:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Chippewa Boots Are Made

I found the following video made by Justin Brands, the owner of Chippewa Boots.  The video gives a tour of a facility where Chippewa boots are made and demonstrates the the combination of both human attention to detail along with machine processes to manufacture mass-market boots in the United States.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mom and a Gay Son

I will depart from my usual dialogue on this blog to recognize my Mom who would have been 94 years old today if she were still alive.

How did a mother deal with the realization that her son was gay?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Out Riding Again!

Woo-hoo! I can't believe it... Sunday, November 27, and it reached 70F! (21C). By early afternoon, my partner and I had done all we could do on our home project. He said, "it's so warm and sunny, why don't you go for a ride?"

He didn't have to ask twice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Out Riding

This post could have been posted yesterday, the day before, or even on Thanksgiving (Thursday). Man, we have had a wonderful streak of delightful weather.  I am sorry about seeming to rub it in to my biker buddies in locations where the weather has not been nearly as cooperative, but whenever I get a chance, I ride...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Here in the U.S., today, Saturday November 26, 2011, it is "small business Saturday." While this "event" is sponsored by American Express, the intent is to encourage people to make purchases at small businesses over big-box retailers.

My favorite boot store, Stompers Boots of San Francisco is one of those small businesses. My friend Mike, the Founder of Stompers Boots, refers to his shop as a "pop-and-pop" shop (LOL!) I strongly support this store (as my motorcycle boot collection will attest!)

Why do I support small business?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday!  The day in the U.S. after Thanksgiving is known to be "the" day when stores offer many sales for Christmas. I shan't say "to start the holiday season" because many retailers put up holiday displays back in late August. Bah, humbug.

Anyway, what I am I doing today?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Busy, busy, busy today! I have been up and at-em since 4am, preparing for our annual Thanksgiving Holiday senior's pot-lock bash. Throughout the day, we anticipate seeing about 100 guests, 10 or so family members, some senior elected officials, and who knows what else...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Thanksgiving Means To Me

Tomorrow is the date when we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, and by those who serve our country in distant lands across the world. Whether we agree or disagree with the politics of what places U.S. Service Members overseas, we must remember that they are separated from family and friends during a time of traditional reunion. I extend my thanks to them for their sacrifice and service.

What does Thanksgiving mean to me? Turkey, all the trimmings, football games on television, seeing Uncle Whazzisname but once a year? Nope....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ostrich Biker Boot Deal!

Being a biker who is also fond of cowboy boots and the various types of skins that may be used to make them, I was intrigued to find a pair of Chippewa harness boots that have an ostrich foot and traditional leather shafts, along with good-quality Vibram lug soles.

So when I saw them on a website back in March, (continued after the jump)...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cowboy Boots Rubbing Legs

Occasionally, I receive questions from visitors to my website or this blog.

A recent question was, "do any of the cowboy boots that you own rub your legs and cause sores or blisters?"

My answer to that question was...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grrrrrr!ay Leather

I had a chance to take a ride yesterday while the weather was sunny and pleasantly cool. It was about 50°F (10°C), which was perfect weather to break in my custom gray leather jacket and my matching gray leather pants that I bought earlier this year from Johnson Leather of San Francisco, California, USA.

These leathers are thick and warm, and are made for cold-weather riding. They are very comfortable, and look great. Funny thing happened on the ride, too....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sports-Talking Seatmates

On a recent airline flight, I was seated at a window and two other guys were next to me in the middle and aisle. These guys knew each other, which was easy to tell by their familiar form of speaking with one another.

As the plane was loading and took off, they continued chatting. They asked me a few questions about routine stuff. I politely answered questions like, "where are you going? What will you be doing?," and so forth.

Then their conversation turned to sports.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm Surprised They Let Me In

Recently, I traveled to a conference and went through four airports along the way -- my home airport, Philadephia, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, then back to my home airport.

Throughout my travels, everyone -- I mean everyone -- had some sort of smart phone and was fiddling with it to check email and use various applications.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Conversation Topics for Gay and Straight Guys

Somehow a search for "conversation topics for gay and straight guys" directed a visitor to this blog.

In case you are a new reader of this blog, or just stumbled upon it, I am a middle-aged gay man in a monogamous relationship with another man, and have been so settled for over 18 years. I consider myself to be a regular masculine man, with various likes and dislikes -- like anyone else.

The topic is interesting to me on several levels.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Boot Daddy

Sorry, fellas ... not what you think. This time I am writing about something that a friend brought to my attention -- the marketing of a line of products (boots, hats, and cologne) for men that has been named, "Boot Daddy." My first thoughts?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Clean Up Well

I truly enjoy public speaking. It is as much of an art as a science, getting important points out, emphasizing information that is critical to the audience, while making adjustments on the fly as needed based on a reading of the audience's information needs and interests.

Travel for events like this once was common for me to do -- 70 or so times each year to some 50 or so cities and towns across America. These days, I don't travel nearly as much as I once did, which actually I appreciate since traveling 35 weeks/year was grueling.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Read More>>

Sometimes I am late to the party, mostly because I am what is known as a "slow adopter." I look at various technologies closely before deciding what to do about them -- implement, delay, or ignore. Finally, after two years, I have implemented a rather simple technology here on this blog -- used on many other blogs -- called a "jump break."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What "Woof" Means

The following photos are of my partner. These photos demonstrate what, in my opinion, is what "woof" means when one guy says it to another.

My partner is wearing a new pair of Mr. S leather jeans that he wanted and with which I presented him on his birthday yesterday. These jeans fit him perfectly. Woofity-woof-woof!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Milestone Birthday

Today is a milestone birthday for my beloved partner. I will be devoting the entire day to bringing joy to his life, and showing him how much I love him. I have a few tricks up my sleeve...

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today, November 11, is known as Veteran's Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in Canada and the Commonwealth Nations, and Armistice Day in other countries. It recognizes the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.

Today is a holiday, and in the U.S., it is used to recognize veterans of military service. I also use it as a day to recognize the heroes in my life, who protect and serve me, my neighbors, and residents of the community, county, state, and country where I live.

My heroes are...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cities with the Most Masculine Gay Men

This was an interesting search that landed a visitor from South Carolina on this blog, "Cities with the most masculine gay men."

I do not know if any city in the United States, or the world for that matter, has more masculine gay men in it than any other. Honestly, I do not think masculine gay men use sexual orientation and masculine behavior preference to choose the location where they will live.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Before Thanksgiving?

I so much agree with this cartoon that I "stole" from a friend who posted it on Facebook. Whatever happened to recognizing and sharing autumn holidays like Halloween and (U.S.) Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When a Stroke Isn't a Stroke

Sunday, my partner and I were tending to routine fall outdoor cleanup chores when he suddenly complained of being very dizzy and became nauseous. His speech was slurred and one eye was dilated while the other was not.

I kept my calm, but seriously thought he was having a stroke.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Masculine Gay Men Find Attractive

A search appeared on my blog reading (sic): what masculine gay men find attractive?"

I found that very interesting, and a different take on the usual search for where to find masculine gay men.

So, as a masculine gay man, let me describe what I find attractive in a masculine gay man:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why Would a Gay Man Wear Cowboy Boots?

Yes, another lovely internet search landed a visitor to this blog, with the query: "why would a gay man wear cowboy boots?"

Man, I have blogged about this a lot, but in this post I will avoid jumping to conclusions about implied stereotypes and answer it seriously.

Why would a gay man wear cowboy boots?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Do Gay Guys Wear Under Jeans?

Here's another internet search that landed a visitor on my website.  "What do gay guys wear under jeans?"

Answer: underwear. Yep, us gay guys wear underwear like anyone else.

Boxers or briefs? Answer: yes.

Life is short: ubi sub sub ubi. (An expression in Latin for "always wear underwear" LOL!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hilarious Internet Search

Readers of my blog know that I look at how people find this blog, and I often comment on some of the more interesting search results -- some of them are serious, and some are downright silly.  Here is an example of the latter:

Yep, you read it right -- the inquiry was, "how many pairs of jeans does a cow make?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hol(e)y Leather!

They always say to look for sales in the off-season. Such advice led me to find a sale on a pair of perforated leather jeans that go well with a perforated leather shirt (photo left) that I bought via eBay from NCBootdude in early 2011. I bought a pair of perforated leather jeans from CJ's Leather in Denver, Colorado in September and received them, custom tailored to my size, in October.

What is perforated leather?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dehner Boots Go To Work on the Harley

When I woke yesterday morning at 4am, I felt chilled. I reached for the remote control to adjust the thermostat for more heat while snuggling closer to my partner for one last warm embrace. Dayum! It felt like winter. I'm not ready for it. Not ready at all.

There was a prediction the night before for some rain. I thought, then, that with wet roads and cold temperatures, that riding my Harley to work would not be an option.

We threw off the covers and went about our morning routine. As I dressed, I pulled on a pair of cowboy boots to wear with my dress clothes to work.

I stepped outside to retrieve the morning newspaper, and thought, "hmmm, it doesn't feel that cold. It didn't rain after all!" I went back inside and checked the thermometer. It was 43°F (6°C) -- above my riding threshold. Change of plans for the vehicle to use to drive to work -- the Harley! "Switch to motorcycle boots" was my immediate thought.

I went back to my bedroom, pulled the cowboy boots off, and as I was putting them away, I saw my tall, Vibram lug-soled Bal-Laced Dehner boots in the closet and said to myself, "sure, they will be perfect!" I pulled my socks up over the ends of my pants, then pulled the Dehners on over my pants. Comfortable! Great traction! Terrific feel!

I went downstairs to the kitchen. I handed my partner the lunch that I made for him, wished him a great day, and kissed him goodbye as he ran out the door to get to the Metro for his job in the city.

I got my lunch and other stuff that I needed to bring with me to work and went into the garage to get the bike ready to ride. I pulled out my truck and rolled the Harley out. After my usual T-clocs safety check, I donned my thick leather chaps, warm biker jacket, put on my full-face helmet, warm gloves, and off I went.

Okay, some of you may be wondering, "did he really wear his pants tucked into his Dehner boots around the office?" While I did tuck my pants into my boots before taking off on my ride, I did that in order to keep the pants clean. Somehow, road crap tends fly around and make my pants dirty, even if covered with chaps. However, when I parked the Harley and took off my chaps, I pulled my pants out of my boots and pulled the ends of my pants down over the boots. That way, my boots look much like laced dress shoes, and unless I sit across from someone and cross my legs, no one is the wiser.

It is possible, therefore, to wear Dehner boots at a typical business office with dress clothes and not have the boots be noticed (as an ostentatious display.)

Sorry for no photo -- I tried taking one with my cell phone, but I could not download it directly into my computer due to some technical problem which I do not have the time to figure out, and I am not about to pay the carrier's exorbitant fees to send photos to myself. (I will not pay for a data plan or a per-usage fee.)

Life is short: wear tall boots to work!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Boots and Suits Reprise

A recent internet search on this question [sic], "can u wear cowboy boots with a bussiness suit?" directed a visitor to my "How to Wear Cowboy Boots" page on my website.

Well, yes, a guy can wear cowboy boots with a business suit. No problem.

But whoever searched this question needs to learn how to write and how to spell. Oh well, with so many people texting these days and using abbreviations, I can understand (though I still dislike) using the letter "u" to represent the word "you." However, if the guy can't spell "business," then he should just go back to wearing his boots with his jeans and return to school.

Life is short: lern hw 2 spel n compleet sentensses (nd uz apostrophe's rite. Employerrs notis itt.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to my blog visitors. This is an odd American holiday, marked by story-telling, tales of ghosts and goblins, and children dressing in a costume and going door-to-door in the evening to collect candy by yelling "trick or treat!" (Either you give them a treat or they play a trick on you).

Many adults enjoy doing something for Halloween as well. Some dress up in costumes and attend parties, usually held the weekend before October 31. From the number of visitors to this blog, many are curious and interested in dressing as a cop.

This year, my partner being the usual recluse that he is, did not want to go to a party on the weekend. Two of my friends invited us to attend an adult party, but ... nahhh... Partner didn't want to go and be around people. He hates that. I did not go anywhere not only because my partner did not want to go, but I also cannot stay awake past 9pm. I'm the party-pooper in this case.

We were invited to a family get-together yesterday afternoon, where the kiddos were dressed in their Halloween costumes and us uncles (and aunts) brought candy. I went (my partner didn't -- again, noisy kids are not his choice). We were encouraged to wear a costume, too. I went as a "biker dude." Simple enough to construct an authentic costume without going to a lot of trouble and expense. I was thinking about riding my Harley to get there, but was reminded that the mild storm that occurred on Saturday brought down a lot of leaves which remained wet (and slick) on the roads. I didn't want to run the risk of riding on wet leaves, so I drove my truck.

Tonight, I will continue the theme, dressed as "biker", when neighborhood kids come to our door and I distribute candy to them. Then we turn out the lights precisely at 9:00pm and go to bed. If kids can't complete their rounds before 9pm, they're probably up to no good anyway.

Happy Halloween!

Life is short: go with the flow.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Applying "Shoe Rules" to Boots

Sometimes I am annoyed when I read these on-line "style guides" whose authors have made some statements that are derogatory about wearing boots in particular situations, such as in a business settings. Oh well, their loss; some of them just don't get it.

Anyway, I found a silly "25 Shoe Rules" on the website, and thought I would offer a Bootman's perspective. Below, the "shoe rule" is in regular type. My suggested "Bootman's Rules" are in italics below each "shoe rule". Enjoy!

1. Your shoes should be darker than your pants.
Your boots should be darker than your pants if wearing dress pants. Otherwise, boots that contrast with jeans look great!

2. Your shoes should be the most expensive part of your wardrobe.
Your boots should be the most expensive part of your wardrobe.

3. No socks with sandals.
Men should not wear sandals. Period. Nobody wants to see your feet. Nobody.

4. Buy new flip-flops each summer.
Never buy or wear flip-flops for any reason. They are unsanitary, unsightly, and just plain wrong on so many levels for adult men.

5. Be careful when wearing sneakers with khakis, you run the risk of looking older than you are.
Wear boots with khakis for an interesting appearance of style and fashion.

6. Your socks should be a nice bridge between your shoes and your pants.
When you wear boots, no one will see your socks. But always wear comfortable socks that are part wool, part cotton, and part synthetic, to have the advantages that these materials offer (absorption of sweat, comfort, and durability).

7. Your dress shoes should always be shined and looking good.
Your dress boots should always be shined and looking good.

8. The darker your suit, the darker your shoes.
The darker your suit, the darker your boots.

9. No flip-flops at work. Unless you work at a surf shop.
No flip-flops, period. See revised rule #4.

10. Match your socks to your shoes.
This is repetitive. See revised rule #6.

11. Know how to shine your shoes, and if you can't do it, find a professional shoe shiner. You'll get great looking shoes and an interesting conversation.
Know how to shine your boots, and if you can't do it, find a professional shoe shiner. It will probably cost a bit more to have boots professionally shined, but you WILL have a great conversation (as those guys rarely have the chance to shine men's boots).

12. Always spend money on shoes rather than shirts or pants.
Always spend money on boots rather than shoes, shirts, or pants.

13. Loafers go with just about anything.
Repeat after me: loafers are what you find sitting on the couch. Boots are what you find on your feet.

14. When in doubt, go conservative over edgy.
When in doubt (about wearing boots), go conservative, but stop obsessing about what other people think. Wear boots!

15. Always choose fit over style.
For boots, always choose fit over style, even if that means having boots made custom to your size requirements.

16. Cowboy boots don't work with suits. Unless you are a real, honest to God cowboy.
This is bullshit stereotyping. Cowboy boots DO work well with a suit, regardless of your employment. Get over the self-imposed fear and learn that dress cowboy boots go quite well with suits! (proof here).

17. Be fitted for running shoes if you're going to push yourself.
Be fitted for tactical boots if you're going to push yourself.

18. Wingtips are cool again.
Wingtip boots are cool again.

19. Make sure you have one great pair of boots.
Make sure you have at least two great pairs of boots so you can let your boots breathe between wearings. As you obtain more pairs of boots, you can donate your shoes to charity.

20. Your shoes should match your belt.
Your dress boots should match your belt.

21. Replace your workout shoes at least every six months.
Replace your tactical workout boots at least once a year (boots last longer than sneakers.)

22. Don't wear sandals if you have gross feet.
Don't wear sandals at all. See revised rule #3.

23. Buy a nice pair of brown oxfords, they go with almost anything.
Buy a nice pair of brown dress cowboy boots to alternate wearing with your black dress cowboy boots. They go with almost anything.

24. Splurge once a year on that pair of shoes you really want.
Splurge once a year on that pair of boots you really want.

25. Try out the new athletic shoe trends before training with them.
Just cut to the chase, and buy tactical boots to wear if you will be engaging in sports or running.

So, there you have it -- a Bootman's take on silly "style rules for shoes."

Life is short: wear boots! Dump the shoes and never, ever, wear sandals or flip-flops.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Decision-Making for a Motorcycle Ride

As my regular blog followers know, I ride a Harley. One may think that given the opportunity, I would be out there riding all day, every day.

Well, not quite. While I ride during the week to commute to work, that's about all the riding I can do during the week due to time constraints. During the summer after work, I may ride my Harley to get to a meeting, but if I do not have a specific place to go, then the Harley remains in the garage and I stay home.

That leaves weekends. My motorcycle club offers a lot of rides from which to choose every weekend. But then again, my partner "offers" a number of activities that also have to be done to maintain our home and the rental properties that I own. My senior pals need some attention, too. Such is life with competing demands on one's time.

Fortunately, the rides that my club offers are scheduled far in advance, so if there is a ride that I want to go on, I can negotiate the time for the ride and get time off from my partner's never-ending list of "honey-do" projects when I know a date certain.

As I consider rides to go on, I think about the following factors:

* Where is the ride going? -- I enjoy discovering new places that I have not visited before, or riding on new-to-me roads.

* How long will the ride be? -- an estimate of the distance and time of the rides from which I have to choose is provided. If the ride is scheduled for the whole day, then I usually cannot go. I have a lot of things that have to be done crammed into a tight weekend and cannot spare a whole day and leave my partner at home (who will do lots of work while I'm away, making me feel guilty that I was not there to help him.)

* Is it an overnight ride? -- as I have mentioned before, I do not go on overnight rides. The guys like to sit around and drink after dinner. I don't drink alcohol, and though I don't mind if others do, what I do mind is that their tongues get loose when they get intoxicated, and they say things about gay people or about women that I just don't want to be subjected to hearing. So I avoid being in such a situation.

* What distance will the ride cover? -- distance is a major issue for me. Rides over about 200 miles are out. I have a physical condition that tires me faster than the average bear. Riding when tired is unsafe. I will not put myself in that situation.

* What is the purpose of the ride? -- is it a casual ride on back roads and byways, a ride to support a police or fire charity or memorial, or is it a poker run sponsored by another club? I like the casual back roads rides, and have supported more than my share of memorial and charity events. But I don't like poker runs and will not go on them.

* Who is leading the ride? -- every ride leader brings his or her personality to the ride. A ride leader known to "ride aggressively" is not someone who I want to ride with. I don't have any fun trying to keep up all the time. I realize that my riding skills are not the same as others, so I want to "ride my own ride" -- relaxed, casual, and unhurried. I will not go on a ride with someone who I know to ride too fast for my liking.

* What roads may be involved? -- I have learned my lesson. I will not (deliberately) ride on roads that are unpaved, covered with gravel, or that involve stream crossings over fords. I also will not go on rides where I know there will be turns that are too tight and impossible for me to handle. (Believe me, I know my limits!)

* Safety factor -- implied in the above considerations is how safe I think I will be on a ride. That's based on my health, the road conditions, and what I know about the ride leader's attention to safety.

* What's the weather? -- always a last-minute decision, but if I want to enjoy a nice, casual ride, I want to do it when the roads are dry and preferably when it is sunny. I won't go if the roads are wet or if it is raining or rain is predicted. I also have my low-temperature threshold. I will not ride when it is lower than about 40°F (4.5°C). That's about as cold as I can take it, despite all my leathers and gear.

So there you have it -- how I, personally, choose to go on an organized motorcycle ride (or not.) Every biker is different. Some have more time, some have better skills, some don't have a non-riding other-half with a long honey-do list. Most of all, the motto is, "ride and have fun." If I think the fun would be limited for me on a ride due to its purpose, destination, choice of roads, ride leader, or the weather, then I may go for a short ride by myself, or stay home and tackle the honey-do list.

Life is short: make your choices.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stunning Photo of My Brother

My twin brother, J, sent me this photo that his wife took of him on their recent extended second honeymoon throughout Europe during September. No, my brother is not about to walk into the Mediterranean from an island off the coast of Greece, but it looks like that.

Isn't the setting gorgeous? What a stunning photo! My sister-in-law has quite the eye for photography!

Life is short: celebrate joy and happiness with family!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unto Every Biker's Life Falls Some Rain

I work with a bunch of meteorologists.  You know something is wrong when they say, "oops, seems that 'they' got the forecast wrong." Yep, despite a forecast of rain later in the evening yesterday, it began to rain hours before I was scheduled to leave the office -- on my Harley -- for my commute home. Yuck. I hate riding in the rain.

Fortunately, traffic was rather light and people were behaving. That is, I kept a good distance between me and the vehicle in front of me, and no one cut me off. Thank goodness.

I rode steadily. I had plenty of stopping distance for traffic lights. I applied the brakes slowly and evenly when I had to stop.

I came up behind a cop along my way, and began to follow him. He saw me, and drove steadily and slowly such that I could follow safely. He went almost completely on the route to my home, so I felt safe.

I was wearing good, solid boots with lug soles (Wesco Motor Patrol Boots), so I had good traction. The boots resisted road spray so my feet and legs did not get wet. I wore thick leather chaps and a solid leather jacket, with my full-face helmet. I didn't get wet, though my bike sure will need a good cleaning after the rain and road splatter dries.

Oh well... weather is not as predictable as one may think -- even meteorologists get it wrong sometimes. And reading the commentary on my Facebook posting about this situation (from a bunch of meteorologists and allied professionals) is hysterical.

Life is short: ride safe!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Three Things Bikers Expect

I ride my Harley as often as I can, which includes my short commute to work on busy suburban roadways.

There are three things that other drivers do that could kill me if I were not prepared for their thoughtlessness:

1. Three lanes of traffic, riding in the middle lane. A bus is up ahead in the right lane. People keep driving along but as soon as they see the bus slowing down to make a stop, they dart into the middle lane without looking. Some may say that they scan their rearview mirrors, and they might just "scan" but they don't really look. So yesterday, like many other days, I avoided getting clobbered by a nim-nose-ninny by expecting him or her to cut me off. Without fail, they will.

2. People yapping on their cell phones while driving. Despite that behavior being against the law in my state and many others, in their minds, the law applies only to other people. You can often tell who is doing that, because they drive 10mph below the speed limit. Then they react suddenly, or may swerve into another lane (my lane) when they discover that another car is in their way or traffic is slowing for a light or whatever....

Please, hang up and drive! Do not talk on a cell phone while driving. Even if you have a hands-free device, you are still distracted and your driving abilities suffer -- and sometimes us bikers "suffer" the consequences. Turn off your cell phone while driving a vehicle. Honestly, you are not that important, and neither is that call!

3. Animals. Yep, particularly this time of year, it is quite common in the early morning for herds of deer to be along the side of the road. They see your headlight, and you think, "they realize it is a vehicle so they will stay away." Not so. Just yesterday morning, like many mornings, a deer darts into the road, followed by the remainder of the herd. Those animals are dangerous, and won't watch for you so you have to be extra alert to watch for them and be prepared to stop or take evasive maneuvers.

I don't know which is worse -- the four-legged or the two-legged animals that make driving hazardous. I just wish the two-legged variety would pay attention -- completely -- to their driving while operating a 5,000-lb death machine on the road.

Hang up and drive. Really use your mirrors. While your taxes pay for the road so you own it, my taxes do too, and I have as much of a right to use the road safely as you do.

Rant over.

Life is short: pay attention!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bates Patrol Boots

I was the lucky winner of an eBay auction a couple weeks ago, and scored, rather inexpensively, a new-to-me pair of Bates Patrol Boots.

I have not seen any cops wearing this particular brand of boots in a long time, so I figure that this style of (tall patrol) boots haven't been made for several years. I visited the Bates website, and found that this style of tall patrol boots is not made any more. They only make short tactical and military boots these days. Further internet searching indicates that Bates was bought by the same company that makes boots under the Wolverine brand in China... so there goes another quality bootmaker down the drain.

But I digress.... These Bates patrol boots are similar in construction to Chippewa Motor Patrol Boots. That is both a good and bad thing. The boots are made of all leather, which is good. However, the leather is rather thin. I estimate the leather is of 4 to 5oz weight. Perhaps that makes a lighter-weight boot, but it also poses some problems with durability and creasing with wear. (Notice in the photos how the boots are crinkled -- and they should not be that way when worn with motor breeches.)

The boots have a bal-laced instep. They also have lacing on the outside of each boot shaft to adjust the fit. A different feature of these boots is a leather-covered expansion band found at the top of the inside of each boot shaft.

What I dislike most about these boots is that they have a seam both down the middle of the front as well as the back of the boot shaft. To me, that seam is both unnecessary and unsightly. The boots also have a cheap nitrile rubber sole, so the traction offered is not all that good. Fine for a dry day, but probably not when the roads are slick with rain.

Oh well, I got these boots inexpensively. They are okay, but I can understand why Bates does not make these boots any more. They were cheap to make, and look it.

More photos of these boots are here.

Life is short: know your boots!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I had a very busy day yesterday catching up after returning from a week-long business trip. I did a lot of work around my house, took care of six senior pals by doing various home repairs for them, took four senior pals to the grocery store, and returned home to do more home maintenance.

With all that going on, I had no time to write a blog post. Check back tomorrow for another story on ...

Life is short: doin' whatcha gotta do!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Men's Footwear at Airports

I flew home yesterday from Seattle and had to change planes in Chicago. I looked at what guys had on their feet.

I know going through security is a pain-in-the-butt; however, it is so routine now -- all you have to do is slip off your boots (or if you must wear them, shoes) and run them through the x-ray. But so many men (and youngsters in their teens and 20s) do not want to do that, so they wear the most awful crap on their feet. I saw more guys wearing flip-flops at the airport than I have seen wear those things on a beach. Ugggghhh! And it was cold, too. Wearing crappy footwear like that must be uncomfortable.

Oh well, I wore my cowboy boots, took them off before security, and got two "nice boots" comments from other guys when I was putting them back on after security. I doubt anyone looks at a guy wearing flip-flops and says, "nice feet." (LOL!)

Life is short: wear boots!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Headed Home

I had a long but productive week in the Seattle area. I had a chance to speak, to lead, to facilitate, to write, and to learn. I enjoyed seeing some of my long-term colleagues and friends who have made me more of the person and professional I am.

After a rather dull day yesterday, I became energized again by meeting a friend and her partner for dinner. This friend did a lot for me. She picked me up from my conference location in Outer Slobbovia, took me to dinner at a really nice restaurant, then brought me to a hotel where she made a reservation for me. The hotel is very close to the airport, so my departure for my early flight will be simple and uncomplicated with traffic delays.

My friend and I caught up on each other's lives, then began to "talk shop." She picked my brain and I picked hers. At the end of a lively conversation about geeky stuff, my friend surprised me by saying that her boss authorized her to pay for our dinner. How nice! (Her boss is someone I also have known for a long, long time.)

I am glad to end the week on such a high note, but man, I am tired and I really miss my man. Time to head home, snuggle close, and get reacquainted with the man who means the world to me.

Life is short: enjoy life where you are and make the best of it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Restricted to Two Pairs of Boots

During my business trip this week to the Seattle area, I "only" brought two pairs of boots. I packed one pair in my luggage and wore one pair.

What boots did I bring? Lucchese cowboy boots -- dress black and brown wingtips. Both are comfortable and fairly lightweight on my feet.

However, for a Bootman like me, this "restriction" to "only" two pairs of boots for a whole week is driving me crazy. For example, I wanted to go for a long walk in the morning, but these boots aren't really suitable for hiking. The weather was nice most of the week, but began to rain later in the week, and not having Vibram soles for better traction bothered me. I do not want to risk a slip and fall caused by wearing boots with smooth leather soles.

During a short few-hour break on Thursday afternoon when I went into downtown Seattle with some colleagues to stroll around and have dinner, I wore a pair of lightweight leather jeans, and would have preferred to wear a pair of black motorcycle boots with the jeans, but ... I only had black cowboy boots so they are what I wore.

Yeah, I own many pairs of boots. My usual custom is to wear 3 - 5 pairs of boots each day, changing my boots depending on what I am doing and where I am going, and how much walking I will do, or what transportation I will use. Having "only" two pairs of boots with me while traveling does not offer me the choices of boots to wear for various activities outside of my meetings.

Oh well, I'll survive.

Such is life of a Bootman.

Life is short: wear boots!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Engaging Activities

Reporting from (near) Seattle...

I am having meetings all this week at a federal agency facility north of Seattle. Kinda funny -- each time I enter the facility, my cowboy boots set off the metal detector at the door. I just turn to the guard and say, "it's the boots" and he laughs and lets me go through.

The meeting that I am engaged in facilitating is going very well. So well in fact that we're getting done earlier than anticipated. I expect that we will be "done" for the day today (Thursday) by noon-ish.

I will be picked up by a friend who is a local big-wig in my profession. We will have lunch and then she and another friend and I will go into the City of Seattle and be touristy. Unfortunately, the weather is degrading, so I expect some rain during the only time I can go play tourist. But that's okay -- it's the company that is most important.

I transfer locations to support another all-day meeting on Friday at a laboratory where research is done about hazards that can happen on U.S. coastlines. After the thrill of the conference is over, another friend (a former student of mine 25 years ago) who is a big-wig now in her own right will pick me up and take me to dinner with her partner. I will enjoy catching up with this friend who I have admired and supported for so many years.

I will stay at a hotel close to the airport so it will be quicker and easier for me to catch my very early return flight home on Saturday morning. I can't wait to return home to my man and get my life back into its usual routine.

One benefit or shall I say, consequence, of facilitating a meeting well is that I have been invited to return to speak at two more events next year back on the West Coast -- in California and Oregon. Sure... happy to help. It's what I do.

Life is short: be engaged and love what you do!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peddlers From India Try Too

Tell me what about the following commenting policy statement on this blog is so hard to understand:
All comments are reviewed prior to posting. If you do not have a Google ID or Blogger ID, you may use the Anonymous ID option, however, you must type your name with your comment. Comments without a way to know who wrote it may be rejected or deleted. Comments with embedded links to commercial websites WILL BE DELETED--NO EXCEPTIONS!
Unfortunately, about once each week, some boot or leather peddler from India attempts to leave a comment on this blog. (I also get them about once each month from Pakistan.) The comment is usually worded as a compliment, though often includes significant errors in grammar and spelling. One would think that the country of the world that has the largest English-speaking population might have people who can write coherently in the language.

I digress...

Despite my warning against it, inevitably the commenter from India includes a link back to some website offering cheaply-made, inferior boots or gear.

Delete...delete...delete... those kinds of comments are gone. Always. That is what "comments will be deleted ... without exception" means.

Here is a recent example of the source of one of those types of comments -- and how I can tell where the commenter came from:

I will not be a party to cross-promotion of junk.

Life is short: think before you act, and act responsibly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NoBerry for an i-Nothing

Have you seen the automated signatures on some people's email, that says, "sent from my Blackberry handheld" or "send via my iPhone"? Oh please, gimme a break.

I once was forced to have a Blackberry in a previous job, and I know that those devices come with software that you can use to delete that canned signature line, so you do not have to tell everyone how important you are because you can send email via a wireless device.

I have modified my email signature to close with, "sent via my NoBerry for an i-nothing." Seriously, I'm not that important.

I find that those who live where I live in Snoburbia, things like this -- having a personal Blackberry or an iPhone, and using that standard signature -- is de rigueur. However, most people who are above playing those status games and who are not out to impress others turn that automated signature off or delete it.

I find it amusing that adults play these games. Honestly, life is good out here in the quiet, disconnected Universe. Try it sometime... you'll like it!

Life is short: have a NoBerry for an i-Nothing, and enjoy saving lots of money instead of paying the monthly ransom that makes rich companies richer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Life of a VUP

I do not travel nearly as much as I once did. Back in the day with my former employer, I would travel, on average, about 150 days each year and go to about 70 cities both large and small across America. I might also have traveled once or twice a year internationally.

I would try to choose the same airline, so I could build miles and status to receive perks like early boarding and an occasional free upgrade to first class.

My travel is not nearly the same any more. I travel domestically about 5 - 8 times each year, which is a bit more than my travel was between 2005 and 2009. I have to use different airlines. Thus, I have no status on any airline and am like anyone else. When I do fly, I wait for the cattlecar placement on the plane.

Take, for example, the recent boarding experience that I had for my flight to Seattle yesterday:

Passengers who were boarded before me include active duty military and first class; 1K mileage, platinum, gold, silver, bronze, iron, steel, aluminum, tin foil; the airline's credit card holders, ransom-payment "express" payers, and holders of today's whatever-special card-of-the-day is; families with babies, disabled people, people with wide-set eyes, purple left thumbs and green feet, then everyone else.

"We are boarding by zones. Only board when your zone number is called."

Everyone queues up anyway. (But the agent enforces the "boarding by zone" rule.)

The gate agent calls, "Attention, we are now boarding Zone 2" (which by the time all other priorities are called out, it really is about Zone 90 in sequence).

Finally... That's me. I am a "very unimportant person (VUP)". This is now when VUPs board the plane.

"Sir, we have run out of middle seats in the back of the plane. Would you prefer to be strapped to the right or left wing?"

Ummm... I guess the left. I do not have it in me to be a right winger.

"Okay, sir, step out here. Good! Straps nice and tight? That's great! (Who says you're not into bondage!) It may be a little windy, but the view is excellent!"

This is a joke. This is only a joke. For the above post, this blog tested your bad joke deciphering system. This is only a joke. Actually, I got to sit on the tail...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Leavin' ...

This is for my man... I will sure miss you while I'm away in Seattle for business!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Motorcycle Helmets

I have been riding a motorcycle for some 35 years now. Throughout my riding experience, I have acquired, owned, and used a number of motorcycle helmets.

Before I bought my Harley-Davidson Road King in 2008 that comes with a built-in windscreen, I had a H-D Low Rider, which is a cruiser that does not have a windscreen. All of my previous bikes also were a cruiser type without windscreens.

Because wind is not a biker's friend when cruising down the highway, I would wear a full-face, DOT-approved, helmet. I found of the different models out there that Shoei helmets fit best, were well-ventilated, and comfortable. Particularly for long rides, comfort is important. Nothing like getting a headache from having the head squeezed by an ill-fitting helmet.

When I got my Road King, my partner got me a new helmet painted to match the bike's colors. It was a great gift!

But as I looked around and spoke with my biker buddies who ride Harleys that have windscreens, I noticed that almost all of them wore 3/4 helmets because the windscreen takes away the full frontal assault of the wind. These types of helmets cover the sides of the head, but are open in the front. One wears motorcycle glasses (like sunglasses but with rubber fittings around the eyes to keep the wind and bugs out) for eye protection when wearing such a helmet.

I did some research, and spoke with some motorcycle police officers, and found that Seer (see-er) helmets were highly recommended and worn by many cops. So I visited the SuperSeer website and ordered a 3/4 helmet -- and had it custom painted to match my bike's colors.

I like that helmet a lot. It is comfortable, well-fitted, and well-ventilated. It accommodates a microphone attachment for my radio so I can communicate with other bikers when I am on group rides. It also has two speaker fittings inside so I can insert speakers to hear the radio. Using earbugs is against the law, and also a pain in the butt. Speakers inside the helmet allow me to hear the radio but also hear sounds while riding (like other vehicles, sirens, etc.), which is important.

I will wear my full-face Shoei helmet that my partner got for me when it is really cold out. It keeps my head warmer and provides better protection from cold, biting winds. (I know, some bikers wear a neck and face fleece warmer, but I don't like feeling choked as those things make me feel when I put one on then zip up my jacket and close the neck opening tightly.)

You will never catch me riding without a helmet, even in states where helmet laws are not in place. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid. To me, riding without a helmet is both "uncool" and idiotic; begging for death or permanent brain damage if struck by a cage driver. Also, I don't wear a half-helmet, because I don't think they block wind noise that well, and I don't want to wear ear plugs. And I'd never wear something stupid like a "skid lid" (aka "beanie") that provides as little protection as not wearing a helmet at all.

A little-known fact about motorcycle helmets: the interior shell degrades with time. The shell is made with soft foam and resins that can be affected by vapors of gasoline. I do not store my helmets in my garage, because gasoline vapors from my truck and my partner's car can cause the helmet interior to degrade faster than it should. I store my helmets inside the house, away from the potential damaging vapors in the garage.

Also, helmets don't last forever. The industry recommends replacing them often. I get a new helmet about every three years. I may use an old helmet for an occasional passenger.

Following are some more photos of me riding with my favorite helmet.

Life is short: ride with a helmet secured to your head -- always.