Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shorts with Chaps

This guy went on a motorcycle ride that I was part of last week. He showed up wearing boots, a Harley t-shirt, and a pair of ugly plaid shorts with chaps over them.

I admire his courage. And, as usual, nobody said a thing. His legs were protected, and he had boots on... so as long as he didn't take off those chaps, I guess he was alright. But man, if you're going to wear shorts under chaps, find a pair of plain-colored shorts. Those plaid things have got to go! LOL!

Life is short: wear leather and boots when riding -- no shorts (alone!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can Straight Men Wear Cowboy Boots?

Okay, another internet search landed a visitor to my website.  The question was, "Can straight men wear cowboy boots?"

That's a different take on what searches usually direct to my website. Usually, the question are whether gay men "can" wear cowboy boots.

Okay, inquirer from Iowa, USA, I am here once again to disabuse the notion that there is any relationship at all between one's sexual orientation and what he chooses to wear on his feet.

Yep, straight men "can" wear cowboy boots. Go ask a rodeo cowboy or working cowboy if he is gay or straight, then determine whether or not he "can" wear cowboy boots.

I keep putting the word "can" in quotes, because it really is not a matter of whether it is possible for a man (gay or straight) to wear cowboy boots, but whether in the opinion of some people overly-influenced by the internet and garbage they hear or read due to stereotyping that a guy should, could, or would wear cowboy boots.

Get over it. Guys wear boots -- especially in Iowa! Come on! Whatcha smokin'?

Life is short: wear boots.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Living a Less Connected Life

I almost titled this, "I live a less-wired life," but then I realized that at home, my computers are all connected wirelessly through a super-secure internal network. Regardless, I realize that I am among a dying breed: those who deliberately choose to "turn off and tune out" often.

Here are examples of the less-connected life I lead:

1. While I do have a cell phone, and it came with a feature allowing connectivity to the Internet, I have blocked that feature. I really don't need it, don't use it, and don't want to pay for it. (I know how it works because at one point in my life, I had a Blackberry that was web-enabled. The slight convenience that I had with it wasn't worth paying US$45/month [including taxes] for the data package that supported that feature.)

2. I do not receive text messages nor send text messages. Texting is, to me, something like an Instant Messaging system. There are expectations that if someone sends a text message to me that I should reply quickly. I have other things to do.

3. I do not have an i-phone or i-pad, a Droid, or a whatever-the-latest-gadget is. I don't need or want one. While as a kid, I always loved a new toy, I find as a middle-aged man, I am not that interested. Sure, those things can do a lot of things, but I manage to do what can be done electronically using other resources.

4. I use a computer almost all day for my job. My desire to use more computer resources outside of work isn't there. Last thing I want to do is spend more time on a computer. (Let me make it clear, I only use my work computer for work-related things, and don't fiddle around surfing the 'net, playing with Facebook, etc., while I'm on the clock. My work ethic won't let me do that.)

I did not say that I am completely disconnected. Far from it. I'm just "less connected." I have a traditional desktop computer and a laptop that I travel with. My partner has a desktop computer, too. When we do things on the Internet, we use one of these computers. I update my website, write this blog, check and respond to email, and so forth from home. But I strictly limit my hours on the home computer -- about 1.5 hours/day, at most. Often, less than that.

If someone sends me an email after my dinner hour, I will see it the next morning and reply then. I choose to sign off and shut down the computer before dinner, then prepare our home-cooked meal. After that, I either go to a meeting in the community or stay home and sit with my partner to do what he wants to do (watch TV, read together, play the piano, or relax in our back yard.)

And you know what? The sun rises the next day and the world begins anew. Life goes on, even if one isn't connected to the internet 24/7. It's refreshing, relaxing, and better for the mind.

Life is short: turn off, tune out, and relax.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Being Out At Work

A study titled, "The Power of 'Out'," published by the Center for Work-Life Policy (and summarized here) indicates in no uncertain terms that those who are out at work flourish, while those who remain in the closet languish or leave.

It's not 100% one-or-the-other, but the study shows that LGBT people who hide their sexual orientation from co-workers -- an estimated 52% of them -- feel stalled in their careers. A whopping 75% feel isolated at work, and even moreso if they are men.

I'm not criticizing other gay people for making a decision to withhold their sexual orientation from co-workers and their employer, in general. I know from my own experience while employed somewhere else where I was supervised by several retired Army colonels that I felt that I would be chastised, discriminated against, and otherwise held back because of what I assumed to be the perceptions of retired military about gay people.

My problem was that I was making a lot of assumptions. I never gave my bosses a chance. I just hid that part of my life. I focused on my job, and tried to develop relationships with co-workers, but I remember how badly I felt about hiding the truth. It hurt. It wasn't right. I had these ongoing feelings of being hypocritical and feeling like I was a liar.

Granted, no one asked me directly if I were gay, and I did everything I could to hide my sexual orientation. I never talked about my partner or our home life. My partner and I would go on some marvelous trips to various places around the world, but I never would show photos of those trips to co-workers because I didn't want them to see me smiling with my arm around a man's shoulder (in many, many photos.)

Many colleagues assumed that I was straight because I rode a motorcycle to work, wore the boots and gear of a biker, and behaved in a masculine manner. While those characteristics are fundamentally, "me," (being a masculine guy and a biker), there were other "guy things" that I hid really well. Like I always had a good excuse to avoid playing on the company softball league. I avoided acknowledging remarks some men made about women. I found ways to avoid talking about "the game" (whatever game-of-the-previous-night it was) by timing myself well. For example, they always talked about Sunday's football games for a few minutes before the start of every Monday staff meeting. I would intentionally arrive three minutes late, huffing and puffing out-of-breath, sighing, "I'm sorry I'm late; I had to get off the phone with (some fictitious but important person)."

I realized years after I left that job that most of my colleagues had figured me out, but were being respectful and didn't say anything. Those to whom I have fully come out now -- after I left -- are even better friends than they were co-workers.

I am out where I work now. But as I have said before, I do not run around and wave the rainbow flag, or brag about "my partner and I did ... this-n-that" or talk about gay-related things. I keep focused on my job, am pleasant to colleagues and co-workers, but don't socialize with them (except perhaps for an occasional lunch.) They know that I am in a relationship with another man, and when appropriate, it comes up that I talk about him.

I feel more relaxed and much more productive at work, because I don't have to find ways to hide who I am and what composes my character. I have always believed a great deal in personal integrity, so by being out at work, I can maintain a higher level of personal integrity, which does two things for me: 1) it earns me more respect from co-workers and management; and 2) I don't have to waste a lot of time creating stories or finding ways to avoid certain situations. I can apply the time I spent activity closeting my behavior on doing the job I was hired to do. Thus, I am perceived to be more highly productive than almost anyone else. It even resulted in a bonus last week.

Life is short: be who you are, and be honest with yourself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gay Firefighter?

Because this blog is visited regularly by people who search for such phrases as "masculine gay man," "gay cop" or "gay firefighter," I am aware that many people have questions as to whether a guy can have what is considered a traditionally masculine job and also be gay.

For me, I work in an office doing work related to my profession. There are some gay men where I work -- most men are straight. I figure the proportion of gay and straight co-workers is about the same as it is in the general population, though the predominant sex of those I work with is male -- what I do has been traditionally a male profession. (Granted, there are excellent females who I work with, too. My profession is open to all, but in general, there are more males than females who choose this line of work.)

There are some professions, though, where the persona, bravado, and behavior of males who occupy positions in the profession do not align with perceived traits or behaviors of gay men. The perceptions that straight people have comes from stereotypes, where they anticipate feminine behavior and physical weakness.

As I was catching up on email related to the wide span of interests that I serve in my profession, I found an article written by a firefighter who came out to those he works with that he is gay. His story is here. It's a good read. It affirms that gay men can have and be successful in jobs that require physical strength and are considered "traditionally male." It also demonstrates that it is easier to be "out" at work, and not hide in the closet.

I was also made aware by the email that I received of a website titled, "Coming Out From Behind the Badge." This is an excellent resource that provides information about and for people who work in the fire, EMS, and law enforcement communities about what it's like to be gay and work in those professions. It also gives guidance to LGBT people on how to come out and continue to do a good job in his/her chosen field and profession.

I really wish that all that stereotyping about gay people would stop, but that ain't gonna happen any time soon considering the political environment of the United States, and the influence that organized religion plays on people's thoughts, decision-making, and perceptions.

Life is short: be who you are, and be honest. That's what coming out is all about.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Who "Gets" To Wear Tall Boots?

Here's an interesting question entered into a search engine that landed a visitor to my website: "Why do women get to wear tall boots and men can't?"

There are a lot of interesting conversations all over the web on this topic, but I'll share my own perspective.

Yes, women wear tall boots. It's kinda funny that women took over "ownership" of tall boot-wearing back in the 1960s. In the days of the Civil War and all across the globe in the 1700s, 1800s, and through the mid 1950s, it was very common to see men wearing tall boots. Then when women began to wear boots as fashion statements in the 60s, men began to perceive that they couldn't wear tall boots any more because, to them (especially in conservative areas), wearing tall boots was considered a sign of femininity. A man doing anything that was considered feminine became linked to being gay, due to the very inaccurate but pervasive social stereotyping that "feminine" = "gay."

I am a man -- a masculine man -- and I could give a rat's ass about other people's perceptions. Those who know me as the man I am wouldn't say that I behave femininely. Yes, I am gay, but I'm a guy. Period. Done. End-of-story. (I guess you can say that I've grown up to be a man, not a coward.)

There are many styles of tall boots made for men. Who "gets" to wear them is a choice made by the person wearing them. Contrary to social stigmas on the topic, men "can" and DO wear tall boots. Go tell a motorcycle police officer that only women can wear tall boots. Ha!

But besides positions where tall boots are worn regularly by men -- not only motorcops, but also loggers, linesmen, working cowboys, and the like -- there are a lot of us bikers who wear tall boots often.

Speaking for myself, I have long gotten over being worried about what other people may say or think about me or the boots or clothing I wear in public. It is not feminine to wear tall boots, especially if the boots are decidedly rugged: buckaroo cowboy boots, or a biker's tall engineer or harness boots.

If you think for one moment that permission is granted by some Social Lord who "allows" only a certain gender to wear tall boots, then you're mistaken. If you are reluctant to do so, ask yourself why you feel that way. If you are concerned about what other people may say or think, then you have two options:

1. Get over it. Pull on a pair of tall boots, stand tall, and proudly. If someone says something about the boots, learn how to say, "thanks. I think they're cool. I like how they look and feel." Period. Demonstrate your masculine independence.

If you can't do that, then there's always Option Two:

2. Put on sneakers, sandals, flip-flops or crocs, and crawl back into the cowering position of having society dictate what you wear, where you will wear it, and how often.

I know that sounds harsh, but honestly: nobody cares except you.

Life is short: wear tall boots.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Darwin Award Points

Regretfully, this image was on the front page of the electronic section of the local newspaper. What's wrong with this picture?

  • Full face helmet (good), visor open (bad)
  • Shorts, not long pants
  • Flip flops? Oh, come on!
  • Riding to a bar that serves alcohol? Like a designated driver is going to take you home after you've been drinking? Really?
This is what I meant yesterday about the idiots who are gathering points for a Darwin Award while simultaneously giving the rest of us bikers a bad name. Shame, shame, shame.

Life is short: real bikers wear long pants and boots. Always. No exceptions. And they don't drink and drive, either.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things I Mumble in Traffic

Admit it... we all do it... we see someone pull an idiotic stunt while driving, and we make, uhhh, certain "utterances."  In my case, most of what I say is in Italian, and most of the time, it's under my breath.  That is, no one else can hear me, or if they can hear me, they cannot understand what I say. I am not one of those kinds of people who yells and screams in traffic. I usually give the other guy the right-of-way, even if he's being a jerk or she is driving aggressively. I am not nearly as important as many of the other drivers here in snoburbia. I'll get there eventually.

So here are (in English) the most common phrases I mutter when I see a driver doing something stupid:

  • Hang up and drive!
  • The speed camera will trigger a ticket for people going 12 mph over the speed limit -- not 12mph under! Speed up at least to the posted speed limit, dumb-dumb!
  • Stop checking your email and drive!
  • No, idiot in the little black sports car, just because I am on a motorcycle doesn't give you the right to blow past me in my lane! Go back to driving school.
  • appenda e guidi!
  • oh yeah, that's right. Turn signals were invented for the other guy to use. Silly me, wanting to know your intentions.
  • Stop texting and drive!
  • Luxury minivan driver from the western part of our county, you really don't need two mini DVD players, do you? Really?
  • Hang up and drive!
  • Oh goody, thanks for cutting me off so I can test my Harley's stoopid-driver-avoidance skills once again.
  • Nope, your email is still not that important. Put down your toy and drive!
  • Which lane do you want? My lane, your lane, or both? Oh, both? Why didn't you say so!
  • appenda e guidi!
  • It's right turn on red after stop, idiot -- not "right turn after slowing down to 30mph." Silly me, I forgot how important you are.
  • Stop texting -- drive!
  • Oh yeah, that's right, Mr. "my expensive luxury car is better than your dirty old truck" -- I sure hope some dirt from my truck didn't sully your car's expensive fresh-washed finish!
  • Hang up and drive!
  • Umm... umm... the light is green. Oh yeah, right, your email is much more important than actually driving. Excuse me for not understanding.
  • I just love what you've done with the fingernail on the third finger of your left hand! Show me again, puhleeze?
  • Stop texting and drive!
  • There's yet another idiot riding a motorcycle wearing a full-face helmet but also shorts and tennis shoes (insert alternatives--sneakers, flip-flops, sandals): way to go to earn points for your Darwin Award while simultaneously giving the rest of us bikers a bad name. Bikers wear long pants and boots!
  • Juggling both a Blackberry and a cell phone? Really?
  • Your left turn in front of my Harley is always more important that my legal right-of-way riding on this road. Forgive my indiscretion, and look for my family's wrongful death lawsuit when you kill me.
  • No, ducking won't avoid getting a ticket when you blow past a red light with a camera (you won't believe how many people I see speed through the lights and duck while doing it! LOL!)

These are some of the things I say... I'm sure there are more. Have you had any of these situations happen? Life is lovely here in snoburbia -- home of the most gadget-obsessed and thoughtless drivers around.

Life is short: drive responsibly, and watch for us motorcyclists!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Post 1200 and other news

More quickly than I thought, I have reached the 1,200th post on this blog -- pretty good since I've only been writing and posting on this blog since January, 2008. I have followed other blogs and am disappointed when they stop, as many of them have. I give kudos to fellow blogger Roland who started a blog a few months after I did, and keeps at it. Way to go, Roland! WescoBear blogs often, too, but I have stopped visiting his blog because I won't sit through advertising to read it.

I understand why bloggers stop blogging -- it takes a concerted effort to think of new content and to write new material -- and for me, to write and post every day. I have welcomed the occasional guest blog post, and remain open to more guest posts that have to do with boots, leather, biker gear, motorcycle riding, and being a normal, sensible, rational, monogamously partnered gay man among the mixed and unwashed masses (giggle.)

Speaking of the partner ... a news update. He and I saw his neurosurgeon. Yes, he has a brain tumor. No, it's not malignant. Yes, he will require surgery. No, not now. I will be administering some treatments as his doctor showed me to reduce the acoustic neuroma behind his left ear, and then the doc will take it out in September. Wish partner well. Having brain surgery is a scary thought, though it could have been worse.

Life is short: keep blogging and care for those you love by showing them how you care by doing something for them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Longest Day of the Year

Today is the summer solstice up here in North America -- it gives us the longest amount of daylight that we will enjoy in 2011. For us at 38° 53' North and 77° 02' West, that means that local sunrise will be at 05:43 and sunset will be at 20:37 with 14 hours and 53 minutes of daylight.

I will enjoy a long early morning walk in twilight (and not in the dark, as usual) then riding my Harley to work after the sun has risen, and then lingering with my partner in the evening, holding hands and watching the sun set. That's our tradition on the eve of the summer solstice.

Nothing special, really, on this longest day of the year. Just enjoying it!

It's not a problem, either, to go to bed before it is dark outside. Usually, I'm in bed before dark during the month of June and half of July. No biggie -- fortunately, light doesn't prevent me from getting to sleep.

Life is short: love it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lugged Fryes Go for a Ride

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I was given a pair of new Frye campus boots by a cousin who thought that I coul weather them while riding my motorcycle. Well... after having Vibram 100 lug soles added to them, I could.

Sunday found me going on a motorcycle ride with a group of buds, wearing those new-to-me Frye boots with new-to-them deep lug soles. Unlike the leather you see on my legs in this photo, I wore these Frye boots with regular blue jeans and a t-shirt, as it was warm and humid, so it wasn't leather weather.

We had a good ride. The boots enjoyed it, too. (Though, as usual, no one said a word about the boots. Seldom does that happen, especially to a biker. I mean, most people expect bikers to be wearing boots, so why would anyone say anything?)

Life is short: go for a ride!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Thinking of my Dad today; I sure miss him. I learned a lot from him in the 12 years that we shared together on this planet.

Those of you who still have Dads don't know how lucky you are. Go give him a hug, or if you're far away, at least give your Dad a call.

This past blog post explains a bit about my Dad if you care to read it.

Meanwhile, today will find me going on a motorcycle ride, and I think I just may find myself going to one of my Dad's favorite places on my way home to sit, think, and smile in honor and memory of a wonderful man.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oops, Our Mistake

This is one of those frustrations that gay couples encounter ... a true story ... just happened to us.

Many years ago, I set up a small company that handles my rental properties and the costs associated with renovating and maintaining them. When my partner and I became a couple, we went through the legal shenanigans to have him added on as a co-owner of the company, so that if anything should happen to me, he will have ownership rights without having to have the company's assets go through probate.

Two weeks ago, I bought a small house to renovate and make available to a community hero. The company handled the transaction. However, late yesterday afternoon, I had to take care of some legal work related to it, and to make sure that my partner's name was shown on the company's filing for the title to the house. I went to the courthouse on what I thought would be a routine matter.

When I was filing that form, the clerk looked at it and said, "the company co-owner box can't be marked "male" if the owner's box is marked "male."


Turns out that old habits die hard, and when computer systems are set up for defaults, it presumes that properties cannot be owned by a same-sex couple if the primary "owner" is an entity like a small business.

I know this is complicated, but it points out that there still are some old assumptions that pervade computer systems -- and as we all know, "garbage in = garbage out."

The clerk was very good about it, apologized, and called a supervisor over who looked at it, apologized again, and promised to get an I.T. tech to fix it permanently. I just wonder how I could be the first person to encounter this situation.

Oh well, no harm, no foul. It's all legal. Now, to move on to get the renovations completed so I can concentrate on my partner's well-being and care.

Life is short: make sure legal matters are accurate.

Friday, June 17, 2011


When one has a major medical issue, such as my partner's brain tumor, one has to hope for the best while preparing for the worst. We'll know on Monday when he and I go to see a neurosurgeon who will interpret results of an MRI and biopsy, and advise next steps.

Meanwhile, we're taking all preparedness actions that we have to take, which includes little things like having access to on-line banking for personal accounts to big things like legal matters -- updating a will and stuff like that which we don't want to think about, but must....

Having legal docs in place is so incredibly important, especially for gay couples who are seen as strangers to each other by the law. Medical proxies, Advanced Directives, Powers of Attorney, and a will with a codicil is important for anyone to have, but especially for gay couples. We have those documents in place, but my partner wants to update his will, which we will do this weekend.

Gosh, this is an incredibly difficult time, as we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That type of thinking comes from my professional background, but applies directly to our personal lives as well.

Life is short: think happy... but be prepared.

Suited and Booted

Regular readers know that I abhor dressing up, but there are times when it becomes necessary for my job.  I had a major presentation to do for various big and bigger cheeses, including some international visitors.

So I broke out the suit -- well, not really a suit because I do not own one -- but I have a jacket and pants that match, though made by different manufacturers. The material in both the jacket and pants are the same, so it looks for all intents and purposes like a suit.

To appease my inner leather soul, I wore a blue leather tie.

To appease my feet (and my head, as I absolutely cannot wrap my head around the idea of wearing dress shoes), I wore some very nice, clean, well-shined, Lucchese Classic goatskin cowboy boots.

While you see me with a cowboy hat on in this photo, I didn't wear it for the cheeses. Nope, my head was nekkid (giggle.)

So, it is possible for me to wear a suit. I am just thankful that I don't have to wear one but once in a blue moon.

BTW, I had to attend a funeral of a friend the other day. What did I wear? A dress shirt, no tie, clean denim jeans and a different pair of cowboy boots. Why not a suit? I fear that the little old lady who I cared for -- the deceased -- would strike me with a bolt of lightning. She knew very well that I'm not a suit guy, and never saw me in anything other than shirt, jeans, and boots. Period.

Life is short: do what you have to do, even if you don't like it.

P.S.: please do not write to me and tell me that I look good this way. One may put on appearances, but the real guy is not that guy. Not me. Not suits. No way.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are There Any Normal Masculine Gay Men?

A question like the one shown above drive occasional visitors to this blog. "Are there any normal masculine gay men?"

Hmmm... what's "normal?" I wonder if the person asking the Internet this question has met masculine gay men who behave strangely, or what? I don't know. Without context, I will refrain from over-analyzing the question.

Look, gay men are all different, as straight men are. Some are calm, cool, collected, have a sense of purpose, work for a living (or are retired), care for loved-ones, and "have a life." Doesn't matter, gay or straight.

It is hard not to let television shows, movies, and gazillions of websites affect one's thoughts and judgments. Often, as far as "gay things" go, the flamboyant, radical, loud, frilly-froo-froo gay men are more visible in these media. Think about it -- if a regular, down-to-earth guy with good style sense remodeled a room in someone's home using moderate colors and casual furnishings -- would he get as much attention compared with the gay guys who have TV shows that feature wild colors and oddball choices for furnishings and accessories? Not...

And I won't go into what results when one enters anything related to being gay into an internet search. The vast majority of results demonstrate the extremes of gay culture.

Well, anyway, to answer this question: YES! There are "normal" masculine gay men. They don't wear a sign; they don't have websites or TV shows or blogs (for the most part, myself being an exception). I have already described where one will find masculine gay men -- that is, not in typical places that gay people go to (bars and restaurants that cater to the LGBT community, and Pride events). Nope, you will find "normal" masculine gay men intermixed with the rest of the population -- at church, in the grocery store, at the office, watching or playing sports, enjoying clubs and activities. Just anywhere. Trouble is, these guys blend in with anyone else, because they are secure in themselves and their masculinity.

Granted, some masculine-behaving gay men are living solidly in the closet. These guys have various reasons for not wanting other people to know about their sexual orientation. I will not judge. I've been there. I know what that is like and why some men make that choice. I'm glad, now, that I don't have to live in the closet. As I often say, "those who know me know, but I don't wave a flag or wear a sign." My life and my business are my own, and I abhor quidnuncs.

Judging what is "normal" or not is a completely different issue. As I am not a shrink, I will refrain from further commentary (giggle.)

Previous blog posts that relate to this topic:

Life is short: relax and be who you are.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Caring for the One I Love Redux

I'm having trouble keeping up with email and tons of love shown on Facebook, so let me give a quick update: my partner's initial diagnosis indicates a non-cancerous brain tumor. We meet with a neurosurgeon next week to determine next steps, which probably means surgery.

I am looking on the bright side: it's not cancer, and he is not in pain. In fact, he asked for some of my famous homemade chicken soup for dinner -- a recipe that one of our family's favorite uncles was well-known for.

The hospital staff and physicians were very good to both of us. While we have legal paperwork in place so that I could formally advocate for him if I had to, we didn't have to produce that. They treated me as his spouse and consulted with me that way.

More to come... but pardon me for a break, as I'm caring for the one I love. Each minute is precious.

Remember: life is short ... show those you love that you love them.

Caring for the One I Love

My beloved partner hasn't been well ... long story, and I don't want to get into much detail, but today perhaps we will find out what's going on as he has exploratory brain surgery to explore what's up. Mood swings, left ear deafness, severe tinnitus -- all indicators of a brain tumor. A CT scan picked up a shadow. Blood tests reveal nothing related to cancer, thank goodness.

An MRI-led biopsy will be performed today. We don't expect to get the results until he sees his doctor later this week. Meanwhile, we're hoping and praying that a resolution can be found for this severe health crisis.

I'll post again when we know what's up. Meanwhile, your kind thoughts and prayers will be appreciated.

As I often say: life is short; show those you love that you love them. Each day with the one you love is a precious gift.

No Cop Boots?

Someone wrote an email to me to ask what boots I was wearing when I went on a police-escorted motorcycle ride on Sunday.  "Must have been hard to choose between your Dehner, Wesco, All American, Enforcer, Chippewa, and Intapol boots," he remarked.

First of all, I am impressed that the writer of the message was thorough enough to have reviewed my website (or this blog) and knows the variety of makers of tall police patrol boots that I own.

But let me burst a bubble: I didn't wear patrol boots on Sunday. Why? I wanted to wear lightweight khaki BDUs, because it was darned hot and humid out. These BDUs wick away sweat and keep me cool. I tucked the BDUs into my Chippewa Firefighter boots, which still remain a frequent choice to wear when riding in hot weather. Great boots: comfortable, durable, and the lug soles provide great traction.

It is very uncomfortable to wear boots that hold breeches close to the legs on a hot day. I don't know how some cops can stand it. Plus, I am sensitive to the fact that cops take a dim view of non-cops who dress like they do -- even if we have no insignia on a shirt or stripes down the leg -- there are some who take second-looks and make judgments. In my civic life, I work with some of the cops who led the ride for us yesterday, and didn't want to have conversations take a diversion to discussions about what I was wearing -- I had other things that I wanted to speak with them about.

Sure, I'll wear breeches and patrol boots when tooling around the 'hood in pleasant weather, and even wear leather breeches and patrol boots when the weather is cold. But I refrain from making a statement around people who are sensitive to fetish issues. Cops, military (including vets) and bikers with whom I ride regularly are generally sensitive about this matter for various reasons, so I don't "push it." Plus, overall, I prefer to be comfortable, particularly on a longer ride. Now 'ya know.

Life is short: be comfortable. (And wear boots when riding a motorcycle!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Motorcycle Fun (Instead of Pride)

Yesterday was the date of the Gay Pride celebration in Washington, DC. As is typical for this time of year, it was very hot and humid. Last place my partner and I wanted to be was standing around on a hot asphalt street in the city. I don't need to go "be proud" -- I am proud as I am, in who I care for, what I do, and who I love. See last year's post about why this event is not interesting to us.

Instead of sweating to death in the city with a huge crowd of people, I joined a police escorted motorcycle charity fundraiser. A video of what it looks like from my Harley is below. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Progressive Parade to Celebrate "The Greats" Achievements

Four Great Nephews graduated high school recently, and all celebrated with parties yesterday. The family arranged it such that we went to one house, spent a couple hours, then another house, spent a couple hours, and another and another until we reached the last one at the end of the day. 58 miles between each of the four celebrations, plus travel to and from put 100 miles on the Harley.

I shared joy by taking each graduate from his respective party to the next celebration on my Harley in this "progressive parade" of family celebration. I was the bad-ass-biker-Great-Uncle (again! LOL!)

At first, I wasn't sure I could make it, as I was ill most of Friday night with a rather bad Crohn's attack. Fortunately, it abated in time for me to get the Harley out. Good, too, that the storms in the forecast didn't happen. The progressive parties were a lot of fun -- and filling!

Way too hot and humid for leather. Jeans, t-shirt, lightweight Chippewa engineer boots without steel toes ruled the day.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lug Soles for Frye Boots

Someone in my family gave me a pair of 14" black Frye campus boots a couple weeks ago. He said that he had ordered them, and then didn't like them once he wore them a couple times. He said that they weren't like the Frye Boots that he remembered back in college (in the '70s).

Yep. New Frye Boots, even though they are made in the USA, do not have the same characteristics (quality, heel height, sole composition) as their Vintage cousins. That's because they are not made by the same company any more. The name is now owned by Li & Fong, one of the largest shoe retailers in China.

Anyway, my cousin who didn't know any better thought that I could wear them while riding my Harley. He did not realize that a smooth leather sole would not be suitable for that.

However, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I brought them to a cobbler and had Vibram 100 lug soles added to them. They look good -- better than I thought -- and are NOW suitable for use while riding the Harley.

Sorry for the quick pic -- I really haven't had time to take a decent set of pictures of them for my website. This pic was taken in my office on the day I picked them up from the cobbler.

Life is short: adapt!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Linking to .jpgs

I found a way to determine what websites are linking to images directly on my website. When they do that, it causes my photos to appear as if they are theirs, and "charges" me for transfer -- that is, it places a call on my web resources for one of my images to appear elsewhere -- and "charges" my website each time one my pictures appears somewhere else.

Now that I know how to detect that, I also have come up with a way to stop it. I simply change the file name of the image on my website and adjust the code on my website that calls for it. Thus, it is available, as always, on my site, but disappears from the other site.

I also learned how to block certain followers. Sure, I enjoy having public followers, but I had one begin to follow me last week, and when you clicked on his profile, it led you to a website that was promoting products for sale. This is a very sneaky way of doing what I don't allow in comments: embedding a link to a commercial website from this blog. When I see that happening, I remove it and block it. I do not allow third-party marketing of any sort from this blog (unless I write it myself!)

I don't like it when people are sneaky. I'll continue to actively monitor such behavior, and do what I can to prevent it. You want to see images on my website? Fine -- then visit my website. You want an image of mine on your site? Hello? ASK ME. I'll probably say yes, but please ask, don't behave like a lowly scumbag and steal it. Thanks.

Life is short: act honorably.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Who Do I Look Up To?

Almost everyone has at least one other person who they look up to -- for inspiration, admiration, and in respect. A regular blog reader sent me an email saying that I have served as a role model, in a way, to him. Aw shucks, golly, gee whiz. As I have said often, I have no idea who I touch with my rambling writings.

I thought I would take a spin at this -- from my perspective -- to state who I look up to and admire, and who serve (or have served) as role models for me.

First and foremost, my parents were my role models when I was growing up. They were respected members of society, contributed to the health and welfare of many people, and by observing their service to others, I modeled many of my own behaviors after them in what has become natural for me to do -- to care for others in various ways.

It really bothers me a lot when children cannot say that their parents served as role models. I am blessed and fortunate to have had marvelous parents who led the way.

Current-day role models for me are not well-known; rather, they are people who are good mentors. A mentor is someone who is patient and kind, thoughtful and guiding, and who educate without telling you what to do. They lead by example. My mentors look forward, not back. They look for the good things in others, not the bad. They find hope when the outlook is bleak. They choose to smile, not frown. They don't complain or harp on what's wrong or what someone else could have done differently. Sure, they recognize that sometimes things go wrong and people do bad things -- but overall, they have abilities to rise above that, and continue to point out the good in others, and inspire positive direction in choices of actions that I take.

Every hour of every day, one is faced with many choices. Those who serve as role models for me are those who I ask myself, "What would he say? What would she do?"

I cannot say that I have always made the right choices. I've screwed up, made many mistakes, and caused anger and hurt. No, I'm not perfect; no way. I think the difference with me is that I (try to) learn from my mistakes, and take measures to prevent them from happening again.

I have to credit my parents with allowing me to make choices and sometimes have them turn out badly, so I could learn from that experience. It hurt when that happened, but I learned far more from trying to do something myself than being told about it by a parent. (I know it is very hard for parents to let their kids do something that they know won't work, but the lesson learned from that is so much more valuable, and "sticking.")

So who do I look up to? When I was about 20 to 40 years old, I had four primary mentors: one elected official who served in local office; one older, wiser woman who became my "West Coast Mom" as I was completing my graduate studies; one leader of an organization for which I volunteered; and my twin brother. (Seriously, he meant that much and continues to mean that much to me.)

Two of these mentors have died, while two others remain close in my life, in my heart, and with whom I have almost daily contact.

I am pleased that I have surrounded myself with many people who inspire me, lead me, and help me to be a better man to this day. My partner, my twin brother and my siblings, my very close friends (you know who you are!), and the spirits of my parents, my Uncle Charlie and Aunt Lee, and my Uncle Joe. I am indebted to them for the lessons that they helped me teach myself. Yep: that is a good indicator of a great role model -- one who inspires you to learn from your mistakes, pull yourself up from the bootstraps, and move on.

Life is short: appreciate those who provide positive influence in your life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gearing Up to Ride the Harley to Work

How I get to work these days in the downtown of my home town.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why I Don't Blog on LiveJournal

I was reading my buddy WescoBear's blog the other day, and when I first entered his blog, I got a popup with some video-based advertisement, along with this message: "Once the ad ends you'll be returned to your LiveJournal experience."

Fooey! I ain't gonna sit through some ad before reading a blog post. I don't care if it's a free site and they have to earn their support from ads. Fuggataboutit.... If I'm going to be forced to sit through an ad before reading a blog post, I'll surf elsewhere.

That's one reason, among others, that I won't use LiveJournal as a blogging platform. I won't be a party to having blog visitors be subjected to advertising. If Blogger (my blog host) starts doing that without my expressed consent, then I'll migrate elsewhere. As difficult as that would be, I want to ensure that "the experience" that my blog and website readers get when the visit either of my sites is not riddled with ads for products and services.

You may not be aware, but I constantly turn down offers to place advertising on my blog, website, and YouTube channel. Sure, I get offers to make money by accepting advertising, but the small income stream isn't worth aggravating my visitors. Further, I won't want to have a product or service that I don't endorse (or even know about) advertised on any of my sites.

Life is short: keep control.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gave Up Motorcycle Riding For...

Saturday was a stunningly beautiful day; the Harley was begging to get out. On top of that, a buddy and regular reader of this blog sent me a message advising me to get out and ride.

However, I promised my partner that I would take whatever time was needed this weekend to build him a multi-tiered planter for an odd corner of one of our decks. We can store things on inside shelves, and grow herbs and flowers on the outer shelves.

So that's what I did this past weekend... pretty boring stuff, but when you're in a relationship, sometimes you give a little to get a little. He will "spring me loose" next weekend when I will be going out both days to ride.

My partner is very happy with it, as am I.

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

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekly Pakistani Spam

I have to give the Pakistani leather vendors credit. They sure are aggressive and love to use search engines to identify places to market their poorly-made, low-quality, leather products.

At least once each week, sometimes more frequently, something like this appears in my email:

Respected Sir / Madam

Greatings with the wounderful name of Lord,

I am representative of [name of Pakistani Leather Company] which is situated in sialkot pakistan, we have a wish to introduce serves as a leading Exporter/Manufacturer of leather sports goods due to our fine and valuable competitive price. We have a plus character in the world market of leather motorbike/leather garments/leather sports goods etc, our products are as fallow !
__Leather jackets
__Cordura jackets
__Fashion jackets
__Safety jackets
__Safety protectors
__Working gloves
__Saddle Bags

Our Objectives
__Provided quality in cheap price.
__Honesty is our pride.
__We want introduced our product to all the markets.

For your trust give us opportunity to serve, we will serve you, will good manners. If you trust us and purchase our products then we will give you. Discount price more then the markets. We also work on party design. So I request you do business with us, I am very hoppy to serve.

Well, at least this one was entertaining. "We also work on party design." Giggle. So if I won't buy cheap junk from him, he will organize my next party? What's with that?

"I am very hoppy to serve." The Easter Bunny would be pleased to know that.

It comes via my "write to me" page on my website -- where it clearly says,

If you are from Pakistan, do NOT write to me to sell me stuff. I am NOT interested!

اگر اپ سے پاکستان میں نہیں. مجھے نہیں کرنا
چاہتے ہیں خریدنے کا سستے کباڑ.

The language is Urdu, which is the predominant language of Pakistan. I guess the people who go to the trouble to send me their messages cannot or refuse to read, or choose to ignore, "if you are from Pakistan, I do not want to buy your cheap junk."

Life is short: callin' 'em as I see 'em.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What Do Gay Mens Boots Look Like?

Once again, an internet search asking, "What Do Gay Mens Boots Look Like?", directed a visitor to this blog, specifically, here: "Why Do Gay Guys Like to Wear Boots?"

I've quit trying to figure out why people look up stuff like this, but nonetheless, there they go ... again ... and here's my reply.

First of all, gay men who wear boots choose to wear boots like any other guy who's man enough to wear them. If you have to obsess about what "gay mens boots look like" (perhaps because you're afraid that you don't make a "mistake" of wearing a pair of boots that will cause people to question your sexual orientation) ... then just go put on a pair of flip-flops or crocs.

Second, in all honesty, there are no particular styles of boots that gay men prefer over any others. I can say that from a base of knowledge: I am gay and I wear boots. So what?

Some gay guys like tall boots, some like shorter boots. Some gay men like cowboy boots. Some like motorcycle boots -- heck, some of us like (and wear) both styles. Some gay men like boots with a Cuban or underslung heel, while others like boots with higher heels, low heels, or composite heel/sole combinations. Some like "retro Beatle boots" or platform boots or cavalry boots or jump boots or lace-up boots or Timberland work boots or logger boots or police patrol boots or tactical boots or military boots or ... you get the picture: Uh-oh! That means that you will find all kinds of "gay mens boots" or (more likely): gay men wearing different types and styles of boots.

'nuf said. Gay men are like anyone else. If a gay guy likes to wear boots, his boots will look like anyone else's -- cowboy boots, motorcycle boots, harness boots, engineer boots, classic Frye boots... whatever. Boots are boots and men are men, and some men wear boots and some guys obsess too much.

... end of rant.

Life is short: wear boots.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Safe and Unsafe Bikers

As I was stuck in a cage, which is what a biker calls a four-wheeled vehicle, riding in my partner's car while going to Pittsburgh and back over the last weekend, many motorcycle riders were passing us on the other side of the interstate. On Saturday, May 28, they were headed from Ohio and Pennsylvania, and probably points further north and west, to Washington, DC, to participate in a big motorcycle event held on Sunday, May 29 (you know, the event that the former half-gov of the largest U.S. State appeared at for a photo op -- not to commemorate the real reason the event is held.) Many riders returned on Monday, May 30, when I was riding in the opposite direction on my way home.

Most of the motorcycles that passed us in both directions were big Harleys, like mine. And I am happy to say that most of the of the bikers were riding safely -- dressed appropriately in the right gear. While the weather was warm, most were wearing long pants, boots, and a helmet.

What bothered me was watching some of the motorcycle riders pull over just as they crossed from Maryland to Pennsylvania, and removed their motorcycle helmet. Yeah, while a helmet is not required by law in Pennsylvania, nonetheless, in my opinion, the difference between a realistic biker and a potential Darwin Award-winner is whether the operator of a big, heavyweight motorcycle keeps his helmet on regardless if the law requires it.

Sure, it was hot, but a well-ventilated helmet actually keeps the sun off the head and helps keep the rider cooler. But to the helmetless unsafe rider, "it's not cool" to wear a helmet, and they only wear one in Maryland and DC because the law requires it. So sad, really.

The real Darwin Award-winners were those who not only removed their helmet at the rest stop (or worse, along the side of the road next to fast-paced traffic), were those who changed clothes. I saw at least a dozen men remove their boots, take off longer pants, put on shorts (or reveal shorts under the long pants), and put on sneakers instead of their boots.

In my opinion, I feel badly about guys who choose to ride like that.  A realistic, safe biker will wear the proper gear when operating a motorcycle for his protection. Sure, the helmetless shorts-sneaker clad unsafe rider thinks "nothing has happened before and nothing will happen now," ... but it only takes one shard of glass or sharp stone kicked up by a tire in front of him to cause a severe injury to unprotected legs, or an ignorant cage-driver cutting him off, causing him to crash and fall on his unprotected head.

Life is short: wear long pants, boots, and a helmet when operating a motorcycle. Period.

P.S.: this post may generate comments. Comments are accepted, but moderated to ensure compliance with this blog's commenting policy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three Million

I am amazed... according to my statistical logs that track my website, yesterday the "three millionth" visitor came to my site.

The vast majority of visitors are driven by search engine results. I am amazed and pleased that many pages of my site get ranked within the top 10 by Google -- without my even trying. Lots and lots of guys (and women) look for information about vintage Frye boots, cowboy boots, motorcycle boots, and leather gear, while some obsess about whether to wear jeans inside cowboy boots or not. Many others enjoy photos of motorcycle police events about which I have posted a number of galleries.

My website got started in early 2005 -- first on "free space" offered by my ISP -- then I migrated it to its own domain and web host in April, 2006. That is when I began to collect statistics. (A previous blog post describes why I created the site in the first place.)

In the first partial year, I had "only" about 20,000 visitors. But as the years moved along and the website expanded from about 20 static pages to now over 780 pages (included over 360 on the "Boots Wiki"), from about 200 pics to now about 8,000 -- the site gets a lot of traffic. But I'm still amazed that has happened, considering it is only a hobby site.

Happy Three Millionth, The original, the one and only, and not to be confused with my friend's YouTube channel by the same name. (That's okay, C, I forgive 'ya and know where to direct the occasional person who confuses the two of us, and enjoy our annual visits.)

PS: Congratulations to a visitor from Gottmadingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, who was the one who visited my Guide to Motorcycle Police Patrol Boots and tripped the log counter to the 3M mark.

Life is short: wear boots!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No Sneakers, Sandals, or Leather

As typically happens this time of year, we are in a full-bore summer heat and humidity onslaught. Air temperatures for the past few days have been in the "feels like" range of about 100°F (38°C), with relative humidity in the range of 50% to 70%. It doesn't take long when exposed to this heat and humidity that one begins to sweat profusely and it saps all energy.

As I look around at my neighbors and others in my home town, I see many are wearing lightweight, comfortable clothing, which usually includes shorts, sneakers, and sandals (or those heinous flip-flops or crocs). I understand why they choose lightweight attire. It really is hot out there.

As for me, I am "dressing light" too -- lightweight cotton twill pants for work with a short-sleeve cotton shirt.

What am I wearing on my feet? Boots, of course. I am riding my Harley every day both commuting to my office as well as running errands after work. Always, always: long pants and sturdy motorcycle boots. I am not among the Darwin-Award winners who choose to put on sneakers with shorts and climb aboard a heavyweight motorcycle.

When I get home, and will be home for the evening, I may just run around inside my house in a pair of shorts -- nothing else. While I enjoy wearing leather, this is not the season. I do get leather out of my gear closet from time to time, though, to clean it and treat it, so it will be ready for the times I will wear it when it's cooler.

Meanwhile, I'm being practical and trying to keep cool.

Life is short: wear long pants and boots when riding a motorcycle, despite whatever temperature it is outdoors.