Monday, February 28, 2011

What Do Motorcops Wear Under Their Boots?

Another search using Google landed on my website with a question, "what do motorcops wear under their boots?"

As I believe the only "dumb question" is one not asked, here's the answer.

Ready?

It's mysterious...

Really ready?

Okay, here goes:

Socks.

Yep, socks.

Any special kind of socks? Boot socks? Cop socks? Tall socks? Short socks?

... seriously, just plain old regular socks do just fine. If the boots fit well, then all you need are a good pair of cotton/poly blend socks that you can find in any retail store or on-line. I wear "woolverine" socks that I buy via BargainOutfitters, but you can find them on-line easily almost anywhere. The socks are thick, but not massive. They are comfortable and absorb sweat.

Boot socks are called that because they are longer than regular socks. But honestly, you don't need to go to the extra expense to buy boot socks. Regular socks do fine. But always wear socks -- not bare feet. Your feet actually feel warmer if you do not wear socks, and there is also a much greater chance of developing blisters if you wear boots without socks.

Regular socks come up high enough to fit with motor breeches, so you do not need longer socks -- like boot socks -- up to the knee. As long as the socks are long enough to meet the ends of breeches (or go over the ends of breeches as shown), then regular socks work just fine.

Now you know.

Life is short: wear socks with your boots -- motorboots or otherwise!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Back to Reality

My brief visit to a warm, tropical island is over.  My return home was uneventful, but (as usual), delayed.  And by a new-to-me reason:  the gate from which my connecting flight was to take off had been set up for international flights, and they had not set it back to handle a domestic flight, so my flight was a half-hour late in taking off.  Oh brother... gotta love it, or go nuts otherwise.

I rolled in the door at midnight on Friday night, and found my partner waiting up for me.  We crawled into bed and dropped into deep slumber.  We didn't awake until quite late -- 7:30am -- almost two hours later than usual!  We snuggled closely, held one another, and caught up with each other.

My partner told me that during my absence, our State Senate passed a bill to make it legal for same-sex couples to get married.  The bill is now before our state's House of Delegates, and is expected to pass.  However, there will be more political fall-de-rall by the conservative negative noodles, so we haven't won ... yet.  More work to do. (I didn't have the heart to tell him that I already knew, having read about it from various emails and updates on Facebook and such.)

I rose, showered and dressed (in leather and boots again, yippie!)... and prepared a big breakfast.  Then I went about attending to the needs of my senior pals.  We had fun shopping, visiting, and allowing me to make some repairs in their homes of things like a leaky faucet and a broken door hinge.

I came home to have lunch with my partner. After lunch, my partner and I went to my aunt's condo to finish cleaning it out.  It didn't take too long ... and now after a final trip to the dump, the place is all empty. It echoes like the hole in my heart. While I miss my aunt, I know that I did all that I could to make her last years safe and happy, as best they could be considering her frail health and Alzheimer's condition.

I prepared a great dinner of fresh fish, then afterwords, the evening found me snuggled again with my partner.  We listened to the piano and relaxed, holding each other close. Reunions are so sweet in the arms of the man I love.

Life is short:  enjoy every minute!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pakistani Leather Vendors

Man, these guys won't give up!  They barrage me with email begging me to buy their stuff, or serve as a U.S. reseller for their junk.  Another one has been creative, and has attempted to leave comments on this blog that has an embedded link back to a company's website -- the company being a cheap leather vendor in Pakistan.

I do not recommend cheap leather goods from Pakistan because the quality is poor, the leather is blemished, and the construction is bad.  At least that has been my observation for any leather gear I have seen from there.  That's why I don't recommend leather vendors like leatherup.com and jammin leather, whose products (most of them, anyway) originate from there.

If you want the good stuff, invest in quality gear from reputable vendors in the U.S., Canada, and Germany, for example.

'nuf said... I have much to catch up on upon my return from business travel.

Life is short:  don't bother with cheap leather goods from Pakistan.

Friday, February 25, 2011

More Work

This post has been deleted.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Working

Yes, this IS work!  Random shots taken yesterday. I found a way to download them from my camera.


And this creature startled me when it crawled over my boots. It is an iguana, and lives here. It made me jump such that I almost fell into the ocean! LOL!


Life is short: love what you do, and admire hard work of many who make good things happen and protect and serve others.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Arrived and Busy!

I arrived safely at my destination with three flights, the last one being in a very small plane landing at a very small airstrip on the southern far western coast of an island called La Isla del Encanto -- the enchanted island, the most populated U.S. island in the Atlantic.  Figure out where I am?

And man, is it ever enchanted here.  I love the people and the energy they bring to life.  The primary language is Spanish, spoken with great gusto and rapidity.  While I understand the language, it takes me a couple days to jump back in by re-tuning my ear. 

Despite a snowfall that greeted me yesterday morning (brought on by the witch doctor conjuring of a biker buddy who lives in New Hampshire), it was not too bad.  I left an hour earlier than I usually would to drive to the airport.  I am glad that I did, as traffic was light but very slow.  I made all of my airline connections, and lots of "local friendlies" helped me every step of the way.  That included picking me up at the final destination airport because everyone in the world knows that I get lost so easily.  Woo-hoo, I do not have to drive!

Today as you read this post, my firefighter boots will be planted on sands of beaches where some exercises (not physical, but tactical) are taking place and that I am officially observing.

I brought my camera, but forgot the cord to connect it to the computer, so my posts from this location will be sin fotografĂ­as.

I was taken to dinner by some colleagues at a casual restaurant.  They even accommodated my crazy "earlybird" lifestyle by eating very early -- at 6pm.  Their usual dinnertime is about 9pm.  While I remembered to say, "sin tomates y cebollas" (without tomatoes and onions), I forgot how to say "sin ketchup."  I thought catsup/ketchup was some other word in Spanish.  I forgot to tell them to leave it off. Unfortunately, I cannot eat that, either, without setting off my chronic illness.  Oh well, I scraped off as much of it as I could.  That was the worst of the experience ... and if that is the worst, than it really has not been a bad trip at all.  :-)

I love my job.  I love what I do.  I am a happy man in boots -- but I have to tell 'ya, no leather.  It is 85°F (29°C) and humid -- too warm for leather.  But not for the warm smiles greeting me everywhere.

Life is short: love the energy in all parts of your country, and the people and the places and what brings you to these places!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Break for Busy

Well, friends, as I predicted ... my job has picked up in intensity. I find myself working 12-hour and longer days.  That's fine, I enjoy being busy.  I also have a lot of business travel to do, including a trip that begins today.

That is provided I can get out.  I've so annoyed a biker buddy who lives up north that he conjured a Witch Doctor to make it snow, and according to weather forecasts at the time I am writing this post, he has succeeded.  My flight today may or may not depart on time... we will see.  However, being the preparedness guy that I am, I have loaded lots of music into an iPod that I got as a gift recently, and have plenty of books to read.

Because I have been so busy with work, I have less free time.  My free time is committed to caring for my partner, family, and legion of senior pals, and then doing community volunteer work and civic activism.  I also make a big effort to continue my walking routine for health, exercise, and weight management.  I am walking for at least an hour each day.  After all these things, if any time is left, then I compose blog posts. There just isn't time right now for blogging, as much as I would like.

Further, I have run out of ideas to write blog posts about.  My home life is fine, my work life is busy, my community life still goes on.  But there is nothing of any consequence to write about.  Rather than fill space, I'll just take a "break for busy."  However, I am always open to ideas to blog about, so if you have any, let me know.

Thank you for your continual readership. If I get internet access where I am going, I will blog again with some photos and stories, perhaps.

Life is short:  enjoy "busy!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Large Family ...

I have mentioned before on this blog that I have a large family.  Larger than most, and very involved with each other.  We truly try to help each other out when we can.  Not only my siblings, but also my cousins, nieces, nephews, and greats... literally, hundreds of 'em.

This past weekend has found me involved with family up to my eyeballs.

Friday night featured our regular family dinner.  About 40 of us gathered at a sister's house to enjoy a meal, lots of talking, banter, and familial camaraderie.  I only go for a couple hours -- pretty much only enough time to eat and chat for a little bit.  But seeing my family once each week really means a lot to all of us. I rarely miss a Friday night with the fam, unless I'm away on business travel.

My partner and I spent most of Saturday cleaning up and cleaning out my aunt's apartment (the aunt for whom I cared for so many years and who died three weeks ago).  I promised her sons -- my cousins -- that I would do that.  It was a lot of work, as my aunt had more stuff squirreled away in places that I never knew she had -- and I thought I was very familiar with her small apartment.  Nonetheless, the place is empty, and it matches the hole in my heart.

During dinner Saturday evening, the phone rang.  I seldom answer the phone but the caller ID showed that it was from a cousin who rarely calls, so I thought something was going on.  Turned out that my cousin's son had fallen and he was alone at his parent's house.  His parents were away on vacation to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  I ended up taking my cousin to the emergency room for an x-ray. He broke a rib.  The doc gave him prescriptions for pain meds and sent him home.  I took him back home, and did not arrive at my home until 1am on Sunday.

Sunday all day involved more family stuff.  It began by going to church to see a couple "great-greats" get baptized.  These children, actually, are grandchildren of first cousins, so technically that makes them first cousins twice removed.  Whatever... I spent time with another branch of this large family tree.

Then I did a short presentation that my boss asked me to make and had been pre-arranged.  After that, I returned home and prepared lunch for my partner, then took off to attend not one, but two birthday parties for more "greats" (grandchildren of a brother and a sister who are twins, and these grandchildren are twins... pretty odd, but not all that unusual.)

How was I dressed? Casually -- boots, jeans, and leather jeans throughout the weekend. Nothing different or unusual for me. I did wear a nice pair of slacks to church and to make the presentation on Sunday, and wore a good pair of dress cowboy boots. But when I returned to "my own time," casual wear returned to leather.

My family is important to me, and I spend a lot of time with them.  I feel that to be part of a large family, you have to spend time with them.  And believe me, in MY family, there are always opportunities LOL!

Life is short:  love your family!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flying Without an Airplane

I was musing with my friend Bamaboy as we were discussing... um... well, it's personal, but let's say that it has to do with how bodily functions shut down after abdominal surgery.  Been there... done that.  Painkillers cause constipation, and when your body begins to return to function, ... let's just say that a lot of gas is involved.  It ain't pretty.  Might even cause the terror-finders to bring back that silly color code system again.  :-)

I explained to him that after I had gone to Puerto Rico after several hurricanes, doing disaster relief work, there was not much food available on the island because the resources had been depleted.  All that we could find was rice, beans, and tostones (plantains).

I tell 'ya, while millions of people enjoy that kind of food, it doesn't work for me.  My body reacts to it so violently that ... well ... I developed enough "natural gas" that I could have flown home from those assignments without an airplane.

Thank goodness my next visit there next week will not be for relief work.  I hope to be able to find foods that do not collide with my chronic health condition.  Fish would be nice.  You'd think an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other would have lots of fresh fish.  Well, they do, but mostly for the touristas.  Thank goodness I will have understanding local hosts who will help me, so when it comes time to return, I will sit in an airplane and not be self-propelled.  LOL!

Life is short:  love your work, your travel, and the wonders of the world.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Common Problems When Wearing Cowboy Boots

This was an interesting question entered into a Google search and landed on my website, at the tutorial on how cowboy boots and jeans.  There is not any information on that tutorial about "problems" that happen when men wear boots.

I am not a podiatrist, and don't even play one on TV, but I have opinions....

To be honest, the most common "problem" is what other people sometimes say, like wisecracks such as "where's your horse?"  This happens in areas of the United States where men wearing cowboy boots is not common, such as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.  Honestly, this is only a "problem" if you allow it to be a problem. 

Other problems do occur, namely:

1.  Blisters:  caused by the boot rubbing on softer skin of the heel and foot.  If boots do not fit well, or slide, or are poorly constructed such that threads or interior leather components cause rubbing, then blisters may occur.  Solution: a) if you have blisters, do not wear that pair of boots until the blisters heal.  b) use moleskin, found at a drugstore, to provide cushion between the tender parts of your feet and the boot.  c) thoroughly examine the inside of the boot where the rubbing happened to feel if there are rough parts, and try to remove them or use sandpaper to smooth them out.  d) get good quality boots made by reputable manufacturers based in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Spain, not cheap Chinese-made junk.

2.  Foot pain:  usually in my experience foot pain happens when there is not enough support for the arch.  Good quality insoles can help.  Better quality boots will also help.  See above.

3.  Toe squeezing:  contrary to popular belief, pointed-toe cowboy boots have plenty of room in the foot at the toes for human toes to fit.  However, there have been reports about toes being squeezed together too tightly in some cowboy boots.  Solutions: a) get pointed-toe cowboy boots a half-size larger so they are longer in the toe, or b) get boots that have a rounded toe so there is more room in the toe box.

4.  Trips and falls:  some people are not accustomed to wearing boots that have higher heels than typical dress shoes or sneakers.  It is not unusual for a guy new to wearing boots to strike the boot's heel on a stair or sidewalk and fall down.  Solutions: a) practice walking in your boots on a smooth surface.  Seriously -- practice indeed helps!  b) lift your feet rather than glide along.  c) get boots with "walking heels" rather than higher, underslung heels.  Most men don't take well to high heels, myself included.

5.  Wearing cowboy boots for the wrong application or at the wrong time: most cowboy boots have smooth leather soles. Because of that, the boots have little traction. If pavement is wet -- or worse, if pavement is icy -- then it is very likely that you could slip and fall. I do not recommend wearing cowboy boots on wet, icy, or snow-covered pavement. Doing so is a recipe for disaster, IMHO. Further, if you operate a motorcycle, I do not recommend wearing cowboy boots with smooth leather soles, either. Again, it is a traction issue. If you like the cowboy boot design and wish to wear boots of that design while operating a motorcycle, at least get them with rubber soles. If you have a pair of cowboy boots with leather soles that you would like to use on a motorcycle, then bring the boots to a cobbler to have rubber soles (or at a minimum a sole and heel plate) applied.

I think these are all of the common problems when wearing cowboy boots that I can think of. If you have more, please comment. That way, other people will see your comments when they read this post, or find it later which happens often thanks to search engines.

Life is short: wear boots!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Saweeeet....

I had one of those all-afternoon meetings for work yesterday.  But I was actually looking forward to it, because I could ride my Harley to work... and park free... and enjoy temperatures in the low 70°s (21°C).  And what made it even sweeter is that I was told, specifically, to come "dressed casually" as the meeting was going to be an "offsite" -- this is a term for meeting somewhere other than the office.  In this case, the meeting was in a restaurant.

I wore a nice pair of leather jeans with a regular shirt and my Chippewa Firefighter boots all shined up.  Put on my lightweight leather jacket, gloves, and full-face helmet and off I went... cruisin' down the road.

It's great to pull into the public parking lot near my office and find designated motorcycle parking that is free.  I worked darned hard to get legislation submitted and passed that provides free motorcycle parking at our county's public parking lots, and I am still enjoying the results of that work (yeah, I'm cheap!)

And for the fashionistas who would go nuts about a man attending a professional meeting and interacting with colleagues and co-workers while dressed in a pair of leather jeans and boots -- well, fa cosĂ­ sia! Not a problem! My colleagues listened to what I had to say, not gaped at what I wore. They respect me as a fellow professional. I don't wear leather inside the office, but if we're going to meet at a casual restaurant and I was told to dress casually, ... then ... so be it. BTW, one of my colleagues was in boots and jeans, too. (Though I'm the only biker of the bunch.)

Overall, if you have to have a long, work-related meeting, it makes it better if you can get there by Harley and wear your leather.  As I said, "saweeeet!"  I love my job.

Life is short:  love what you do!

P.S.: to my buddy from NH: again, I do not mean to rub it in (too much!). We often get these short teasers this time of year where us bikers get out our bikes and think that we're ready to begin the riding season when wham! - bang! the bottom will drop out of the thermometer and ice and snow return. But when these teasers happen, I want to take advantage of it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Leather Influences

I wonder if I have influenced my cousin to wear leather.  Doesn't he look great?  I snagged this pic from Facebook, which is how I keep up with my large family these days.

He works as a model and an actor.  He is happily married to my closest (in age) first cousin's daughter (so does that make him a "first cousin once removed in law?" LOL!).  Really great guy.

See, straight guys can wear leather, and look terrific in it! Now, all I have to do is get him out of flip-flops which I see him wearing much too often in family photos. I can't tell, but I don't think he was wearing flip-flops when the above photo was taken.

Life is short:  wear leather!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When a Boot Sale Isn't a Boot Sale

I tell 'ya, it isn't easy receiving email after email from my favorite boot stores offering this-n-that deal.  A few companies send email about once each quarter offering what truly is a sale price on certain boots.  Since I have them all (LOL!), I just check out the photos and surf on.

It does get annoying, however, when Sheplers sends email almost every day pleading, "only 6 days left -- all boots on sale" ... then when you check a week later, it's the same darned so-called sale with the same prices, with yet more pleas saying, "only 3 days left!  Hurry!" (insert breathlessness).

As they say, "caveat emptor."  Especially caveat those Sheplers people.  I like them and their products, I just don't like their pricing policy with the list prices for their boots being marked up so the "discount" brings the boots to a price that is about the same as other retailers' regular prices.  I also do not like the frequency of their email.  Every day, really?  Don't they realize we can see through their ploy?

Don't get me wrong -- Sheplers has some great boots at competitive prices once you work through the hype and pricing techniques.  Their shipping charges are the highest in the U.S. western boot retailer industry, which is a major consideration.

Anyway, I recommend when shopping around for boots to get the exact name and style number of the boot that you want and then enter that into Google.  You may find the boots at a significantly lower cost elsewhere. (This past blog post gives some tips on shopping for boots on the Internet).

Caveat Emptor -- Let the buyer beware.  It was true back in Roman times when the term was invented, and remains true today.

Life is short:  compare and shop before buying! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Different View of Civility

I very rarely delve into political matters on this blog, leaving those comments to other blogs and places that I consider to be more appropriate for a discussion of that nature.

Let me make it clear, though:  I am a gay man and I am in a relationship with another gay man who I consider to be my partner/husband/spouse. We have been together now for almost 18 years in a dedicated, supportive, monogamous relationship which we want to be recognized by our state through a marriage. Yes, marriage.

Why marriage?  It's a matter of fairness to me.

Why should my partner have to have a copy of a full Power of Attorney in hand when I go into a hospital for surgery? While my state has a provision in the law that specifically allows same-sex partners to be involved in decision-making in medical affairs should his partner be hospitalized due to an accident or injury, there are still some places where same-sex partners are not consulted and estranged parents of the injured partner are asked important medical questions. This is absolutely unfair, and the horror stories about this issue abound.

It's also a matter of fairness in economics, as well.  There are hundreds of laws and rules that provide tax and survivor benefits to married couples that we can't get, even though our relationship is the same (except that it's same-sex.)

Some specific legislation has been passed in our state that allows us to pass certain, but not all, of our estate to our partner without tax consequences -- such as our house which we own JTWROS.  But there are many other things that we cannot pass to the other without the other incurring huge tax burdens.  For example, I own eight properties that I rent as affordable housing.  I own those properties under an LLC (small business).  My partner cannot inherit that business (and the value of its holdings) without humongous tax consequences -- which wouldn't apply if we were recognized as being legally married in our state.  My problem is that I set up the LLC before I met my partner, and adding him on later would be equivalent only to something like any other third party whereas if he were female and I claimed him as a wife, he could come on as a legitimate partner in the business and receive ownership of its property upon my death without having to pay taxes and transfer fees for each holding within it immediately upon receipt (that is, upon my death.)

We have had to engage the services of an attorney to prepare documents related to our relationship and our respective "estates" to minimize the tax consequences when the other dies.  However, we shouldn't have to do that ... but we have had to because we are a same-sex couple.  To us, that's fundamentally unfair.

Some people who are against gay marriage get all a-dither about children and raising children by a man and a woman.  They say stupid, unfounded, emotional things about how badly children turn out when raised by same-sex couples.  There are as many proofs that children raised by same-sex couples turn out fine as they are proofs that children raised by opposite-sex couples turn out badly and become criminals, sex offenders, and such.  But that issue doesn't apply to my partner and to me, as we do not have children and do not plan to adopt any.  I have adopted enough in my nieces, nephews, and greats, thanks.

Marriage is NOT a religious institution.  It is a civil institution.  There is nothing in state law that says that one must be married by a member of the clergy and have the marriage recognized by a religious institution (church, mosque, synagogue, etc.)  I don't want the Pope's blessing.  I want my state, simply, to afford us (my partner and me) the same civil status as my neighbors.

I do not feel that this is too much to ask.  As my state's legislature ponders a bill before it that may, this year, afford us the ability to get the civil recognition that we want, I remain steadfast in sharing personal stories to educate my elected officials about how their actions impact the residents (and taxpayers) of our state.  I feel that it is my civic duty, as well as my personal quest, to do that.

... and don't get me started about DOMA and how it affects U.S. federal government employees in same-sex relationships. If you don't know what DOMA is, don't ask. It's awful and will be faced in another fight on another battlefield but not anytime soon, especially in the current political environment.

'Nuf said.  Let us marry.

Life is short:  civil marriage is a civil right.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

This is a simple subject -- but important to me. I am blessed to have someone who I can call "my valentine" and it is with pleasure that I will surprise him later today when we both get home from our respective places of work. I have prepared some nice treats, selected a card that says just the right words, and will keep this darned computer turned off tonight while I sit by his side.  Holding hands.  Being close.

If anything in my life goes nuts, occupies my attention, and causes me to become upset with ... whatever ... I step back and remember what's most important to me.  The answer?  My funny valentine. My lover. My best friend.

Happy Valentines Day!  May you share joy with the one you love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Riding to Clear the Head

I just got out for my first ride of the season when the temperatures climbed to the low 50s (F -- 11C).  I spent time checking out my Harley since I have not ridden it since before I had my hernia surgery in November. The controls, lights, cables, brakes, and tires all were fine, though I double-checked the air pressure in the tires to be sure. The trickle charger that I kept on my bike all winter maintained the battery so the bike's engine started on the first try, and rumbled to life with its throaty Harley roar.

I donned my Dehner Field Boots to break them in with a pair of lightweight CHP leather breeches (and I have to admit, I wore longjohns underneath!), and my Taylor's Cop Jacket, gloves, and full-face helmet.

Riding alone is a good thing when you need some "me time."  It gave me a chance to think about my aunt who recently passed away and enjoy the scenery, as stark as it was (grey, snow mounds still on the side of the road.)  But it was GREAT to get out!

Sorry, good friend and fellow biker in New Hampshire (you know who you are), I do not mean to rub it in, but when we have that occasional warmish day in winter, I'll get out and ride when I can.  I thought of you and had you with me in spirit (if that helps!)

Life is short:  RIDE!

A Shirt and Hat?

Here is another one of those amusing internet searches that landed on my "wearing cowboy boots" page on my website:


What to wear with cowboy boots and jeans?

Well, ...

... a shirt and hat would be nice. Not sure why someone from Bronx, New York (USA), would ask that, and as I frequently say in response to these things, "if you have to ask..." LOL!

Life is short:  wear boots with jeans and....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working on the Relationship

Someone asked me once, "have you ever become so angry with your partner that you've thought of breaking up and going your separate ways?"

The quick answer to this question is, "no, but..."

The longer answer:  my life with my partner is not all wine and roses.  Like all couples, we have our differences, and sometimes we argue.  I remain fairly calm and don't yell.  Yelling doesn't do anything for anyone.

We seldom argue, but when we do, we both feel very uncomfortable and in the past, we have said some things that we both have regretted.

These days, we hardly argue at all.  We both know what sets the other off, what bothers him, what makes him angry.  We both work hard to avoid having anything like that happen.  We avoid conflict as best we can.

Sometimes we avoid conflict by not doing something we want to do: for example, when my partner gets on a tear about spring gardening, I don't even mention that I'm anxious to go for a motorcycle ride.  I just suck it up and work with him on the gardens until he's happy. My partner also doesn't do some things he wants to do when I want to do something else -- it works both ways.

And I think that's what makes our relationship work:  we understand each other well enough to know what not to do, and then don't do it.

Further, when either of us senses that we are getting close to creating a tense situation, we stop and think.  We reform our thoughts and are careful about what we say.  This is an indication that we both work on our relationship every day.  We think about the other person in our life who means the most to us, and think about how we can avoid saying or doing anything that will cause the other to become upset or angry.  We work on ourselves, which makes our relationship solid and steadfast.

Some people get into relationships based on other factors.  In fact, a recent study showed that over 2/3 of all relationships begin with sex, and 1/3 of those relationships continue only with sex being the primary driver of staying together.  Then when sex hits the skids (for whatever reasons), couples realize that they have nothing else in common.  They begin to understand that they don't really know the other person at all.  Then they do things that cause significant arguments and sometimes results in breaking up and divorce.

For my beloved partner and me, as different as we are and as quirky as we behave sometimes, we have taken a lot of time to listen, to understand, and to maintain our bond of friendship which forms the basis of our relationship.  Sure, sex is a part of what keeps us close, but never was and even today is not "the only thing."

We both work on our relationship in little ways every day.  We trust and value the other's opinion.  We think about what we do and say and how that may affect the other.  Truly, to have a good, long-lasting, fruitful and beneficial partnership as a couple, we both realize that our relationship takes work.  We invest in that work often.  The payoff is significant -- together, forever, we make the bootprints of our journey.

By the way, I think this applies to both straight and gay couples.  I see my siblings in marriages of 30, 40, and (almost) 50 years.  Marriages that have lasted that long have to have been built on a very solid relationship that is made to last by continuing to work on it.

Life is short:  work on your relationship.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How Tall Should Motorcycle Boots Be?

Another internet search landed a visitor to my Motorcycle Boot Guide.  In the search, he asks:

How tall should a motorcycle boot be for a cruiser?

For non-motorcyclists, a cruiser is a style of motorcycle designed for riding on the street. I owned and rode cruiser-style bikes for a number of years, and enjoyed the style and the ride.

I learned from my experience riding cruisers that knee function is essential -- that is, you have to bend your knees a lot to operate the controls and when stopping and maneuvering.  Thus, the height of motorcycle boots is important -- boots should not be higher than the back of the knee.  Otherwise, scraping and chafing of the skin on the back of the knee happens, and is painful.

That's also why I do not own or wear boots that are higher than the back of my knee.  Some people enjoy what's called "crotch-high" boots -- that is, boots that are super-tall, and come way up on the leg.  Wesco Boots are available at that height, and are worn by boot fiends (fetishers) who present quite an appearance in them.  However, boots of that height are not practical for use when operating a motorcycle.  Boots that go well over the knee make the knee harder to bend, and especially for a cruiser, makes the boots unsafe to use while riding, in my opinion.

How tall should boots be when riding a cruiser, or for that matter, any motorcycle?  As tall as you want, but only up to but not above the back of the knee.  You will see boots in my motorcycle boot collection as high as 19", which for my height and lower leg length, are as tall as I can wear them -- up to but not above the back of the knee.

I also have motorcycle boots of various shorter lengths -- 17", 16", 14", 12", and even "shorties" at 9". My most comfortable motorcycle boots are "shorties" -- Chippewa Firefighter boots.

I wear all of my motorcycle boots (one pair at a time -- LOL!) for various reasons and choose which boots to wear based on weather and ride length.  If it is cold, boots that are tall and leather lined provide comfort, durability, protection, and warmth. Wesco boots fit that bill.

When the weather is moderate and I want to wear breeches, then I choose motorcycle patrol boots, from Dehners to All American to Chippewa to Hartt -- all of 'em look great with leather or cloth breeches.

When the weather is warm to outrageously hot, then I choose shorter boots, such as my Chippewa Firefighter boots, as well as standard biker harness boots.  Harness boots have a bit wider calf circumference so they breathe and let my feet get some air so sweat evaporates.

In summary, I recommend that serious bikers have choices of boots to select from -- for the weather, road conditions, and comfort.  But not taller than the back of the knee.

Life is short:  wear boots -- especially when riding a motorcycle!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Changes

Every now and then, I check out other blogs and when I see something I like, I may make it happen on this blog.

I really like MC's blog (motorcopblog.com) for its design as well as some interesting and witty posts from a cop's perspective.  His friend, "Happy Medic", is a whiz with geek-blog-stuff, and has helped MC create some interesting features on his blog.  That, in turn, has influenced my blog.

One feature that MC uses on his blog, Wibiya, which creates a bar on the bottom of his blog that enables connections with other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, was something that I tried for a couple months.  However, I found that it was "blogging the blog" -- that is, making it work slower.  I also got a complaint from a loyal reader that when he tried to view a post or two of mine, that it caused pop-ups for Facebook and eventually caused his computer to crash.

Wibiya was not bringing more visitors to my blog, but perhaps was making it more difficult for some visitors to view it, so I took that off.

Blogging is an ongoing thing, experimenting with features and functions that work -- or in some cases, do not work as I had hoped. 

Enjoy the slight redesign that you see -- with a new feature, "slideshow."  You'll see that on MC's blog, too -- and his slideshow includes an image of me with a motor officer friend of mine who serves the county where I live.

Life is short:  happy blogging!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scents of a Leatherman

Here is another internet search that landed on my website, on my Complete Guide to Leather Gear:

"Do all leather men not use deodorant?"


To clarify, this is what I said on my Guide to Leather Gear:

Real men don't wear scents. Leathermen prefer the smell of leather and other men -- not smelly stuff from a bottle. Do not wear after-shave or cologne with leather. Before you go out, take a shower with unscented soap, and if you use deodorant, use an unscented variety. Men like how clean men smell -- not dirt or grunge, either.

I did NOT say that leathermen should not use deodorant -- I just said that men in leather prefer other men in leather not to smell like after shave or cologne, and they don't like the smell of grunge, either.  If your sweat stinks, by all means, use deodorant.  Just use the unscented variety.

Life is short:  when you wear leather, let that be your scent.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why Do Bikers Wear Boots?

Sometimes the most fundamental questions entered into a search engine land here on this blog.

Someone from Olathe, Kansas (USA), searched:

Why do bikers wear boots?

I will share my opinions.  I am a biker, having ridden motorcycles for over 30 years, with hundreds of thousands of miles on highways, byways, and back roads.  As a biker, I truly feel that operators of motorcycles need to wear boots.  Here is why I wear boots when I ride, and why my smart fellow riders do, as well:

1.  Strength and stability for fragile feet and ankles.  The foot and ankle are easily injured by the stresses and strains of motorcycle operation. Maneuvering a bike while stopping, moving into a parking space, or just in and out of a driveway puts enormous forces on the ankle.  The bones in the ankle are fragile -- believe me, I know!  Boots provide more strength to the foot and ankle, reducing the possibility of injury by bending or flexing those bones in directions that they were not made to go.

2.  Protection.  Motorcycles produce heat.  Stuff flies up from the road.  Skin on feet, ankles, and legs is thin.  That skin is easily injured by heat from hot pipes and the engine, as well as road hazards.  It is not uncommon for rocks, glass, or sticks to get kicked up by the front tire and hit your lower leg with strong force.  Boots will protect the leg from those things, as well as provide insulation from pipes that can cause a second-degree burn on contact.

3.  Appearance.  You know, Marlon Brando and James Dean weren't outfitted in boots when they were riding motorcycles just for fun.  They looked cool.  Bikers in boots look cool.  Bikers in tennis shoes (sneakers, trainers) look (in my opinion), dorky -- like the wife expects you home at any time to do chores, or take the kids to the park.  You get it -- it's fine to wear sneakers when you're not riding a motorcycle, but it's dorky-looking, not to mention stupid, if you do wear sneakers while riding a motorcycle.  Sneakers provide no protection to a biker's feet, ankles, and legs while riding.  And don't even get me started on even the thought of wearing flip-flops, crocs, or other open-toed footwear on a motorcycle.  There must be a word in English that I coin from the Italian, "dorkissimo!" 

4.  Function.  Each type of footwear has its function.  Dress shoes function with a suit (for guys who wear them).  Sneakers provide function when playing sports, running, or walking.  Motorcycle boots provide function, as well.  A good tread on a motorcycle boot will afford better control of the bike.  Period.

If one has to ask, "why do bikers wear boots?" ... then I wonder if it is a research question at an institution of higher education, or a general question out of curiosity, or to enjoy the various results that come up from such search engine entries.  Now this blog post is part of that mix.

Life is short:  wear boots when riding a motorcycle.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is It Hard for Gay Men to Socialize with Straight Men?

This is an interesting question that was entered into a search engine:


"I am a gay man and find it hard to socialize with straight men."

While I am continuing my series on what interesting searches end up on this blog, I'll depart from my previous line of being bemused to address an issue that, to me, is a a serious concern.

I am a gay man, and yeah -- sometimes I find it difficult to socialize with straight men.  What makes it difficult for me are these things:

1.  The "rules of engagement" are different.  Bro-hugs and handshakes aside, most straight men keep a firm physical distance from any other unrelated guy, and extend that distance into the lines of discussion.  They will talk about mutual interests, such as sports, motorcycles, cars, politics, and so forth, but they will not talk about feelings or emotions (usually, though, tongue-loosening occurs in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed.)

2.  What we have to talk about is more limited.  Sure, I have a number of straight male friends, but our discussions are limited to what we do together or have in common:  motorcycling, community activities, construction trades, and such.  I am uncomfortable around straight guys who are watching or playing sports because I do not watch, follow, or enjoy sports like football, baseball, basketball, etc.  If that's all they talk about (because it is least threatening), then I'm bored silly and return to feeling like I did in grade school, that is, being chosen last to play the position of "left out."

3.  I don't like what some of them say when their tongues get loosened by alcohol.  At the risk of sounding like a prude, I have found that when straight guys drink alcohol, they are more likely to say things that are offensive to gay men -- often without realizing it.  I am beyond being "politically correct."  What I am referring to is two things:  a) talking about women suggestively and sexually -- I'm not interested and find that kind of talk degrading to women;  and b) they use terms of expression that become pejorative about gay people.

Yes, to me, it is hard for gay men to socialize with straight men sometimes -- BUT -- it is harder for me as a monogamously partnered gay man to socialize with only gay men.  I hate to say it, but in my experience, when you put a bunch of gay guys together, the conversation sometimes becomes catty, full of gossip, or goes into topics about things in which I have no interest, either (theater, arts, design, fashion, etc.)

Please understand, I am NOT saying that all gay men talk about the same things or that all straight men talk about the same things, either.  Everyone is different.  There are a number of gay guys who like sports, cars, motorcycling, etc. and can carry a conversation about those topics quite well, as there are straight guys who enjoy theater and so forth, too, and can handle a conversation well.

In my opinion, in the general mix of things, I find socializing with straight guys to be difficult sometimes, but not impossible.  I am selective about what times and locations I may choose to do that.  I try to avoid social occasions where alcohol is involved, to minimize the chances of the "tongue-loosening" problem to which I referred above.  I do not hang out at sports bars or attend "super bowl" parties (such as with my family) because I get tired of feigning interest in something I am not interested in.  My family becomes tired of trying to explain it all to me.  It is best for me to stay away from such situations because it makes both me and my hosts uneasy.

I am uncertain where I am going with this, other than to commiserate with the person who searched this question.  I am open to comments and ideas about this issue, so please leave a comment or send me a message.

Life is short:  know your limitations.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Football Avoidance

Today, February 6, is the date when a football game called the Super Bowl takes place.  This year, it will be held in Arlington, Texas, which is near Dallas and Fort Worth.  I am explaining this in such detail because over half of my daily blog visitors come from other countries (though I venture to say that many of them know about this game.)

What will I do today?  ... well, I will be among the few in the U.S. who will not watch the game.  I honestly don't care.  I do not understand it, and do not wish to try to figure it out.  Some watch the game to view new commercials, which are supposed to be funny.  Certainly, if a company will spend US$1,000,000 or more on one 30-second (or shorter) commercial, then it should be about the best there is.

Anyway, I have many other things to do to occupy my time.  Honestly, what will I do?  I have to go to my aunt's apartment and meet some of her caregivers who are taking some of her furnishings.  I will also stop by some senior pals' homes to collect info I need so I can prepare their income tax returns.  Later, I will try to catch up on some of my work, which is interesting to me and I have a lot to do before going on additional trips related to it.

If you are among those who enjoy the game, I hope you have fun.  If you drive to watch it at a friend's or family member's home, enjoy the camaraderie and the fun.  Watch, however, the amount of alcohol you drink.  Many law enforcement officers will be out looking for people driving under the influence.  National stats show that "Super Bowl Sunday" results in a huge number of arrests for drunk driving.  That is to prevent a worse outcome:  having a collision in which you and other people may be injured or killed.

'Nuf of the gory stuff.  Just have fun, and be safe!

Life is short:  there is more to it than football.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Should I Get Wesco Leather Lining?

This Google search from Canada asks:


"Should I get Wesco leather lining?"

Owning and riding my Harley with a dozen pairs of Wesco boots, both lined and unlined, I have some opinions.

While it is more expensive, leather lining will make the boots stand up on their own after they break in, last longer, as well as provide a bit more protection from the heat of a motorcycle engine.  If you intend to wear the boots while riding a motorcycle, then I definitely recommend coughing up the extra bucks to get the boots made with leather lining.

If you may wear the boots while engaging in linesman work, wildland firefighting, logging, or other outdoor work or activities, then I also definitely recommend leather lining.  The lining adds to the overall comfort as well as provides better protection for the ankles and legs.

If, however, you intend to wear the boots to knock around the neighborhood for casual wear, and never use them while operating a motorcycle or engaging in outdoor work where protection is necessary, then the choice is yours.

Leather-lined boots can be a bit warmer than unlined boots, but only if the boots fit snugly on the legs.  If the boots are made custom so there will be a bit of space between the legs and the boot shaft so the boots can "breathe," then you probably will not notice the boots feeling hot to wear after a long period.

On very hot days, I do not wear Wesco boots while riding my motorcycle.  The leather of Wesco boots is very thick, durable, and solid.  Those boots get hot when worn in hot weather.  Instead, when riding on hot days, I choose to wear Chippewa Firefighter Boots or (unlined) Engineer Boots instead of Wesco Boots.

To summarize:  "should I get Wesco Leather Lining?"  Generally, my opinion is, "yes, you should" but answer the question about how and where you will be wearing them -- while operating a motorcycle or doing outdoor labor -- or casually without requiring the added protection that leather lining provides.

Life is short:  wear boots.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Can You Wear Jeans Over Motorcycle Boots?

Here is another Google search that landed on my website, but not on a page that addresses this question:


Well, Inquirer from Seattle, the answer is "yes you can" as in yes, it is both possible and it is also customary, or typical, for bikers to do so.

I ride a motorcycle and wear boots when I do.  Always.  You won't find me wearing sneakers or worse, flip-flops.  I am not stupid enough to wear something that will not provide protection for my feet, ankles, and legs when I ride... but I digress....

Most guys who ride a motorcycle wear jeans over boots.  While I personally like to show some of my tall boots by wearing jeans or breeches tucked into my boots, I realize that most bikers do not.  I ride with lots of guys, who show up in jeans and boots, with jeans over.

So yes, you "can" wear jeans over boots when riding a motorcycle.  The real the answer to this question is, "you should wear boots when riding a motorcycle."  Always.  No question.  "Jeans over" is most common, regardless of how tall the boots are.  See this post about how to wear biker boots and this guest blog post about looking good on a motorcycle.

Life is short:  wear boots when riding a motorcycle.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is It Gay to Wear Boots?

This is the last in this series of "is it gay?" blog postings for a while.  I swear, these internet searches all were done on the same day and end up here on this blog to one post or another that I have written over the past three years.

So here goes: is it gay to tuck pants into cowboy boots?

And this one: is it gay for a guy to wear boots?

And this one: is tucking you [sic] jeans into boots gay?

All of them are from various parts of the United States.  I guess that these searches were done by young guys who are concerned about what other people think about whether wearing boots -- at all or with jeans tucked into them -- is lame, dumb, or in their words, "gay."

All I can say, as I have been saying, is: "oh brother." (BHD rolls eyes.)  I could say something a bit more profane, but I will resist.  It just goes to show that there is a LOT of insecurity out there among a lot of young guys.  They will become more secure as they grow older and more mature.

Meanwhile, those of us guys who have grown up and are secure in our masculinity and self-perception -- derived from our own sense of self-worth and acceptance of ourselves in our own skin and clothing (and boots) -- do not worry about what other people think.  We will look at our boots in our closet when we dress, and pull on the boots we would like to wear that day -- with our jeans, our leather, or our business attire.  Whatever we choose, it is our choice, because we don't give a flyin' frig about other people's opinions.

Life is short:  be your own man and wear boots!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frye Boots Gay?

It is regretful that this series continues about certain styles or brands of boots and questions entered into search engines asking if those boots are "gay," but here is the third internet search -- found on the same day as the one about harness boots and engineer boots being "gay":

Again, I remind readers that kids today have adopted the term "that's gay" to refer to something that is, in their opinion, lame or dumb.

Once more, being concerned about what other people say about what you wear on your feet is a sign of youthful immaturity.  Eventually, these guys will grow up and learn that what other people think about what they wear is immaterial.  When they become a man in their own right, they can choose to wear Frye boots if they wish.

I do have to say, though, that the Campus Boot style of Fryes is universal in design, and is worn by women -- that style of an unadorned foot (no straps or buckles) with a higher heel (2" to 2-1/2") is considered by some people to be more of a women's boot than a man's.

But read my recent (straight) guest blogs, "Frye-ography" and "Observations From a Frye Boot Fan" to consider that to guys in the 60s and 70s, Fryes were the style of boot to have and to wear -- different from cowboy boots, which were not as acceptable and prevalent on the U.S. East Coast, or combat boots, which reflected something that draft-eligible men were concerned about.

To some of us "more mature" men, Frye boots bring many fond memories of our turbulent youth in the 60s and 70s and we're man enough to wear them today.

Life is short:  wear Frye boots!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Travels Again

Portland, Oregon, finds me pursuing my work with great interest and vigor.  I arrived on Monday to participate in several days chock full of meetings.  It is a very beautiful area, with exceptionally hospitable and friendly people.  The light rail system is great and very convenient, as well as half the cost of DC's Metro.

Considering what I have been through this past week with the death of my aunt, having a business trip come up now is actually very good timing.  I needed a break and since I enjoy my job so much, this is a great way to change my thinking totally and to focus on learning new things, meeting new people, presenting information about what I am doing, and networking with professionals from the entire United States, including our Atlantic and Pacific island territories and Commonwealths.

I will be confirming site visits along the California coast in late March, and Hawaii after that. (No, this is not a junket ... seriously ... but any trip from CONUS to Hawaii is always considered a luau. I have many interests on several Hawaiian Islands that I need to see in person.)

Further, while I am here, I will confirm arrangements for a site visit to Saipan, and perhaps Tinian, which are part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, later this year.  Meanwhile, I am brushing up on my Puerto Rican Spanish, as I am having dinner with colleagues from P.R. tonight.

Life is short:  get busy!