Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Kids Rock

It's late, and I'm tired. I haven't posted here in a very conspicuously long time. I wish I could say that I'm here because I've had some wondrous breakout moment leading up to the delicious prose you're about to read...sorry.

I have a son. His name is Jackson. He Rocks.

That is all.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm back?

I haven’t written in this blog in…er…yikes, it’s been a long damn time. I wish I could say that I’m back, and ready to fill these ‘pages’ with better-than-ever prose (better-than-ever in this blog is not a Herculean accomplishment, I know) on a regular basis. I wish…well, let’s face it; I could say it, but I want it to be true, and my past would seem to indicate that it ain’t gonna happen.

So why am I here? Because if even one person sees this post, I want that person to follow the link below. Really good writing is not easy to find in the Blogosphere (I KNEW I’d get to use that word someday). Here is some great writing.

No, not here here, here, as in at the link.

I’ll try.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is this thing on?

Wow…it’s been almost a year since I posted to this thing. Sorry about that, blog…I’ll try to come around more often.

It is my personal opinion that all manner of organized religion is now, or has been at various times, responsible for countless wackos perpetrating all sorts of stuff including wars, bombings, institutional rape, cover-ups, self-preservation at the expense of all else, thievery, dishonesty, hypocrisy, institutional mutilation, genocide, racism, slavery, class discrimination, and so on. Of course, there is a very strong possibility that the same wackos would just find some other justification for their wacko activities if it weren't for religion...maybe that means "responsible" is the wrong word in that previous sentence, but I can't think of a better one at the moment.

If folks want to have a conversation about how, in general, all religion is, or is not, a negative influence on the world and all of the people in it, I'm game. But, for believers in Christianity, which I personally see as not materially different from Islam, Judaism, or whatever else, to wholly condemn Muslims as evildoers is plain silly and almost comically myopic. Just because at this particular time there are more Muslims than Christians killing people in the name of religion doesn't give Christianity (or any other religion) a free pass, an ivory tower, or a high horse upon which to sit.

Does this mean that I think Christians are evil? Definitely not. All I’m trying to get around to is that I’m about at the end of my rope with this self-righteous “Oh ya, ‘the religion of peace, eh? That cabby didn’t seem peaceful to me…” bullshit that seems to surround me wherever I look. The guy was a nutbag thief weirdo, end of story. If he were Catholic, the story would not have been the national sensation that it was.

How is it not common sense for people to not condemn 1.2 billion people as the result of maybe 100,000 of them who have wacked out views?

I am continually surprised by the fact that the Christian conservo (do they come any other way?) folks I argue with about various stuff seem to repeatedly fall on the less compassionate and understanding side of almost every issue we ever discuss. Why is that? Gays? Can’t stand ‘em. Muslims? All evil, all the time. Murderers? Kill’em all. Now.

Where are the liberal Christians?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Top 5 Albums You Might Not Have Heard

I’m in the process of cleaning up my house to get ready for sale (more on this later) and I came across a CD that I hadn’t listened to in years…and wow it’s still great. That’s what inspired this list. To be honest, I have lots more than these, and really it’s not even the true Top 5, but it’s 5 good ones, I promise.

  1. Bomb: Hits of Acid

  2. Paris: Sleeping with the Enemy

  3. Human Sexual Response: Fig. 14 (Fig. 15 is the CD re-release w. an additional track)

  4. Diane Schurr: Music is My Life

  5. Frank Zappa: Over Nite Sensation

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I’m thinking of writing a book called “Everything You Need to Know About Motorcycles.” I know, it sounds ambitious, and more than a little egotistical. I promise you, I’m under no delusion that I actually know everything about motorcycles…not even close. But, I do know quite a bit, and I think I can find out the stuff I don’t know. Besides, it’s “Everything You Need to Know…” not “Every Single Freaking Possible Thing…” so I think I’d be ok.

Is this a good idea? I doubt anyone ever got rich writing a motorcycle book, but I figure it would be good book writing experience, and I’ll learn some great stuff about motorcycles that I don’t know now.

Speaking of writing…I am obviously struggling to write in this blog on a regular basis. I have trouble with convincing myself that various thoughts or topics are worth writing about, so I keep ending up here…writing about the writing of the blog. It’s super lame, and I’m not going to do it any more.

By the way, Big Doings® are afoot. I can’t go into detail now, but life changes are on the horizon.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

People Called Romans They Go The House

I just read a really great make-your-writing-better blog entry here. Every point in there is exactly on-the-money as far as I can see, and it made me think a little bit about my own writing. Oh, and while I’m sending you elsewhere, I found that blog entry because I read Wil Wheaton’s blog. Wil is far more interesting than I am, and sometimes when I read my stuff after I read his, mine seems to take on a certain, well…sucky quality.

If you read my initial blog entry, you know that most of my motivation for writing in this blog is the writing itself. I’ve always wanted to write, so, umm…I’m, like, writing…and stuff. I’d like to be better at conveying ideas, coming up with interesting stories to tell, choosing words, and all the other things that it means to Write.

To that end, I do edit myself as I write, and once I finish a post, I go back and read it through, as a last-chance edit, then I post it. Once it’s posted, I won’t ever go back and edit except for mistakes like spelling and grammar, or factual errors. The idea is that I want to be able to see my progress (if any) over time. I hate reading bad writing, and I’d really hate to think I’m supplying more of same via my blogs, so I’m working on it.

Why am I telling you this?

If anyone would care to comment on my posts purely from a writing critique perspective, I’d greatly appreciate it. I have another blog here which is specific to my motorcycle racing hobby, and you should feel free to comment on my writing there too, if you like. Heck, let me know if there's something you'd like me to write about, and I'll do it. I think that would be a fun excercize. Hell, if nothing else you might save yourself from reading another post like this one.

Disclaimer: if you take a look at my racing blog, you might notice that I crashed last weekend. As a result, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 6 days, but I’m making up for it by eating Vicodin as if its Good ‘n Plenty. Please excuse the mess.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Random Thought at 3am, the Night Before Leaving for the First Race of 2006

“It’s better to burn out than fade away.”

That’s what Neil Young told us, wasn’t it? Live fast, die young, etc. While the sentiment is well-placed, and resonates with most everyone at one time or another, it’s, well…not for everyone. The flame that burns twice as brightly may very well burn half as long, but there’s something to be said for burning twice as long, albeit with reduced intensity.

Then again, as the great Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “Being shot from a cannon will always be better than being squeezed from a tube.”

He was right. Fast is better.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mr Pibb+ Red Vines = Crazy Delicious

Ya ya…I’m sure I was the last person on the planet to see this, but it’s good enough to post, just in case you haven’t seen it.

“You could call us Aaron Burr,
From the way we’re droppin’ Hamiltons.”

I don’t care who y’are, that’s funny, right there...

...unlike the unfunny guy who says “I don’t care who y’are, that’s funny right there.”

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tool Guide

Here is my guide to tools, shop supplies, and misc. other stuff for the non-mechanic. When you ask mechanics what tools to buy, they often suggest impractical choices for the casual user because their perspective is different than the average person. A mechanic needs tools that don’t break, and are the very best that they can be. We, well…don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand tools that don’t work, and that’s the point of this post. Over a lot of time and trial-and-error, I have learned what tools are worth dropping the big money on (not many) and how you can get by when that isn’t the case. I will come back here and keep this page updated, so feel free to make suggestions, and to link to the post.

Tool Vendors

Craftsman: or your local MegaMall…Sears tools. You can order on line or go to the store and buy them. One cool thing about Craftsman hand tools is the lifetime unconditional warranty. If you bring a 10 year old screwdriver into a Sears w. a broken tip, they will exchange it for a new one, right on the spot. Cool, eh?

Harbor Freight: or there are retail locations. These are cheap tools, but lots of hard-to-find stuff. Also, this is Shangri-La for specialty tools, and power tools that you won’t use every day (see my drill press note below). They also sell many tools that they will warranty on the spot, but it’s not all of them. I refer to them as “HF” sometimes.

Home Depot: Good selection of quality power tools, for hand tools, typically Sears or H.F. is better.

Snap-On: This is the white truck you see driving around to mechanic shops. You can stop in wherever you see the truck, and they will be happy to lighten your wallet for you. Top notch tools for an extremely large amount of money. If you want something from the Snap On guy, go to your local garage and ask them when the Snap On guy comes…he’s on a schedule. Meet him there, and bring a fat checking acct. balance.

Tool Guide

Allen wrenches: Harbor Freight - ultra cheap, and do the job. They do wearout if you use them alot, but they cost about $8 for a set. I have (2) setsof T-handles from there I've had for 4 years that I think cost me a total of$30. NOTE: If you do lots of work, you might want to get one set of betterkeys from Sears...but the Sears T-handle ones are no better than the HF onesand they're x2 the price. Oh, another NOTE: if you want a set of T-handlesthat are really good on the cheap, Google up the Motion Pro set. Not toospendy, and high quality. Also, when your allen keys wear out, you can grind off the last few mm off the end and poof new allen key w. sharp edges!

Canopy: Sam’s Club – for $210 they’ve got the EZ-Up Encore II. This is by far the best value in pop-up canopies going. It comes w. (4) zippered sides, a nice, thick top, and a very sturdy frame. The $100 special at Wal-Mart is false economy (don’t ask how I know this). Spring for the $210 one. Oh, and if it does break, schlep it back to Sam’s Club and they will exchange it. Really.

Compressor: HF - no place on Earth has as large a selection of perfectly good, cheap as hell compressors, hoses, air tools, and accessories awesome selection of hoses and attachments). A while back I bought an air-powered body saw (like a mini saber saw) and cut (60) 12 ga. sheet metal panels with didn't break a sweat, worked perfectly, and cost me all of $19 with (4) blades. Try that in the Snap On truck. Oh, and if you watch the sales, compressors can be had for a song. I bought a 25 gallon stand-up model (the w/ oil kind) on sale for $94.00 last year...shipped to my house. I then went to the HF store and bought a 30' hose w/ reel, quick connect kit, and a few chucks for a total of about $30.

Cordless Drill: Sears or Home Depot - watch the sales. I tried a HF one and it was crap. Then I bought a Black & Decker 12v one at Home Depot on closeout for $30 and it rocks. For what I do, the 18v ones are overkill, and I don't like the substantial extra weight. The 12v one will drive a 4" #8 wood screw right through a pressure-treated 4x4 w/ no pilot hole. Do you really need more than that? If you’re someone who needs the best then buy Makita (the blue ones) at Home Depot…kinda spendy though.

Drill Press: Harbor Freight - in case you're noticing a trend, if you need tools that would normally be too pricey for the non-mechanic to buy (air tools, machine tools, etc) this is the place. They regularly have a floor-standing drill press on sale for around $120. I bought a multi-speed bench-top model there last year on sale for $49, and I've used it alot (drilling for safety wire mostly) probs. Hell, I paid more than that for my cordless drill...oh, no I didn’t…but still ( .

Motorcycle stands: Handy Industries or Pit Bull - H.I. for ultra-cheap ($99 for a front and rear stand together) and Pit Bull for the quality (I think it's about $250 for the set these days. The Handy stands work fine, but aren't as stable as the Pit Bull's. In fact, they don’t compare at all (but they do work). The Pit Bull ones are very solid…like, your grandkids will pass them on when they’re too old to need them any more.

Multimeter: HF again - I'm sure I'll hear about this from electricians everywhere, but I'vehad the same El Cheapo HF digital meter ($12 at the time IIRC) for 5 or 6 years, and it works fine. I also have a very expensive one (that looks suspiciously exactly like my cheap one) and I’ve compared readings of the two more than a few times…always spot on.

Pliers: HF again - get the complete set for $12 or whatever. If you do a lot of electrical stuff, go to Sears and get some good dikes though. Note that no-name vise-grip knockoffs suck. If you want Vise-Grips, go to Sears and get good knockoffs, or buy the real thing.

Ratchets: Craftsman and HF- ratchets are the only tool I've worn out a few of, and they're always cheap-o's. I have one Craftsman that is 15 years old, and still works fine. However, if you need one bad, and you are poor, go to Harbor Freight, where you can buy some for about $6. My exact strategy is that I have (2) good Craftsman 3/8" ones because that's what gets the bulk of the use. Then I bought a bunch of specialty ones at HF for cheap (stubby ones, flex-head, etc). This has worked out well re: always having the tool I need at a low investment level.

Ratchet Extensions: Harbor Freight - they work fine, and you can fill an entire drawer of your toolbox for about $15. Get a set of the wobble-end ones…they rock.

Screwdrivers: Snap On - I swear upon all that is sacred to me that you will never regret this will have them forever, and the handles are the best in the biz. If you can't afford it ($115+ for a set), skip all the way to Harbor Freight. None of the ones in between are worth bothering, and they have some that have Snap On knockoff handles...not as tough, but stillgood for gripping. It has been my experience that if you pay close attention to making sure you have the proper size screwdriver for the screw you're wanting to turn, this is about 90% of the battle re: not stripping the head...even if you have cheap screwdrivers.

Sockets: Craftsman - nobody needs better (there may not be better, unless you need thin walls). If you lose sockets a lot, then get them at Harbor Freight (HF) instead…they are pretty good too.Sockets (specialty): harbor Freight - I'm talking about Torx, allen head sockets, etc. They're virtually free, and they work great.Tool box: Sears - the mid-grade rollaways are economical, well-designed, and long-lasting. I've got about $250 into mine total, and it's great. It travels to every race with me, and has held up great. I am confident it will be with me until I die.

Wrenches: Craftsman - the regular grade ones are fine, and they have the cool Snap-On looking skinnier shiny ones too...good for tight spots, but not necessary. Get a set of the ratchet wrenches while you’re there…best tool ever. One thing that sucks about Craftsman is that sometimes it’s hard to find a set of wrenches unless you want a combo set w. SAE and metric. If you only need one or the other, sometimes you’re SOL.

Wrenches (specialty): Harbor Freight – crowfoot, stubby, extra-long, etc., they have it all. Remember these tools get even less use than your regular tools, so it is not necessary to spend big dollars on them.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I have a fever today...can you tell?

How many truly great blogs go unseen? Lots and lots, I’d wager. Don’t worry, I’m not in any danger of wanting to lump my own into such a category, but the fact that nobody (except for my wife and a couple of friends…and even then, rarely) ever reads mine got me thinking about that. It’s a shame really.

More importantly, I wonder how many potentially great writings are never written because the writer gives up when he or she realizes that nobody will read it no matter how wonderful it is? Just this second as I type this, I’ve decided that this will be a focus for my ‘what I’d do with a zillion dollars’ theory (everyone is entitled to such an indulgence). If I ever get a zillion dollars, I will pay a staff of readers to read blogs and unearth the diamonds, as it were.

So many people are doing this these days…don’t you think the number of really superb writings you’re missing every day is probably staggering? Ok, maybe it isn’t staggering, but still.

By the way, that chapter of fiction is not a part of a longer work (you’re welcome). I wrote it completely at the spur of the moment…it just sorta spilled out. I didn’t even know where it was going as I wrote it. I know that sounds odd, but at least it explains the clumsiness and lack of focus it has. Then again, I think it could be part of something fun to read if I worked at it. Should I try my hand at fiction? It was really fun to write, I have to admit, but I couldn’t possibly have less of an idea what I’m doing when it comes to fiction. Hell, that was my first-ever attempt.

It did occur to me that maybe I could just periodically see if I can come up with one chapter, like the one below. The idea would be that the chapter would ostensibly be a part of a larger work, but there’d be no such work. The reader would be left to ponder what might have come before, or what came after…think of it like a solitary literary version of, “The Industrial Revolution was neither ‘industrial’ nor a ‘revolution.’ Discuss.”

Is this idea even the least bit compelling? Maybe it’s been done many times before and I’ve simply never heard of it? Or maybe it hasn’t ever been done, and there’s a very good reason for same. I’ll think about it.

Then again, does it really matter? Who’s gonna see it?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chapter 1?

Robert was stunned.

“What the fuck did you think?” Claire spat. “Did you think that this would somehow endear you to me?”

Claire’s staring eyes bore down on Robert , exerting a pressure he could physically feel in his chest, and that surprised him. It wasn’t surprising that such a vitriolic outburst gave rise to a reaction, but he was taken aback by the sudden realization that he actually cared for this woman.

“Well? Do you have anything to say? Do you think I owe you something now, or what?” The word ‘owe’ was delivered with a fierceness that made Robert cringe inside.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, Robert thought to himself.  He was really struggling to deal with Claire’s anger, but his face remained impassive. When he’d paid Claire’s July rent, he’d done so in the hopes that, yes, it would endear him to her to some degree. He’d done such things before, and to great effect. This time however, it was different. He wasn’t yet sure how, but it…felt…different.

“Well, you did mention that things were a little tight for you, right? I mean, summer semester finals are coming, and you’ve cut back your hours. What’s the harm?” he asked.

While Robert’s newly discovered feelings were distracting to some degree, he didn’t lose focus. He’d seen it before. Claire was in the self-righteous indignation phase. Any moment now, she’d move on to quiet resignation and admit to herself that he really meant no harm, and so on.

“What’s the…Jesus Robert, I barely fucking know you at all. When did we meet? May? June even? We’ve been dating for a few weeks, and suddenly…Jesus…” she sighed, and her voice trailed off as the anger drained out of her. She sat down on the couch in that all-at-once way that people only do when they’re running out of steam. She was softening.

Robert put his drink on the counter, and walked into the living room. “Look, consider it a loan, ok? I didn’t mean to step on your toes. You owed Frank the rent, right? Ok, well, now you owe me the rent.” He smiled softly, and in a mocking tone, he said, “And, you’ll pay up too, if you know what’s good for ya.”

Claire looked up at him and smiled. “What are you gonna do, break my legs?”

Robert returned Claire’s smile, and said, “Look, I understand that I shouldn’t have acted without asking you first. I am sorry. Really.”

Claire’s smile broadened, and she gestured for him to sit beside her, which he did. He stretched his arm out and wrapped it around her shoulder. As she rested her head on his chest, Robert closed his eyes and smiled as he ran his fingers through her short auburn hair.

“Of course I won’t break your legs.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Forging Ahead at Your Expense

I swear I have been trying to write more regularly. After all, I’ll never be a writer if I don’t write…right? The problem is that I have a conscience. If I don’t have something bashing its way out of my brain, demanding to be written I simply don’t write. Why is this a matter of conscience you ask?

Well, it seems to me to be…rude maybe, to write something that you are absolutely certain isn’t the least bit interesting to anyone. If it isn’t rude, it is at the very least, incredibly self-indulgent. I mean, what could possibly be more self-indulgent than writing, as I am right now, for absolutely no other reason than to write. Ok, technically it’s not indulgent of anything until I publish it to the web, but I know I will, so there you go.

Can you forgive me?

In other news, the Oregon State Supreme Court upheld that state’s assisted-by-a-doctor suicide law. I understand the theoretical implications of allowing doctors to perform this service, but is there really a good reason for assisted suicide to be illegal? Are we really that worried about euthanasia turning into a Fox Special Report; When Good Docs Go Bad TV episode?

Do we not have ultimate control over our very lives and therefore, our deaths? What is more personal than one’s own death? I’d say that by definition, nothing is more personal than that.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

'Tis the Season (almost)

Racing season is fast approaching. You’d think I’d be all jazzed up, but mostly I’m stressed out. I didn’t even realize it until Carrie pointed it out to me tonight. I told her I wasn’t stressed, but I am.

Well, like I said to her; it’s not actual stress, it’s hobby stress. Actual stress is finding out you’re getting laid off in 3 days. But, sometimes the absence of real stress leaves a vacuum, and peace of mind abhors a vacuum. Isn’t that what they say?

Anyway, I have 57 things I need to do to my truck (including possible transmission work), I have to get my new (to me) bike, and I have to get all of it back and forth to Atlanta for graphics, all before I leave for AL in 5 weeks for the NESBA weekend, followed by the WERA season opener. This is what I mean by hobby stress.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t seem to be in the proper frame of mind to write anything good (don’t say it), but it’s been too long since I wrote anything at all, and I swore to myself I wouldn’t let the blog sit idle and rot. So, here’s hoping that ‘this’ will slow the decomposition at least a little bit.

For those of you (as if there is a ‘you’ at all…I can pretend, right?) who care, I will be starting a racing/motorcycling-specific blog shortly. I plan on starting out at the beginning of January, and documenting my entire season, up through next December. We’ll see how that goes.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Quicky #1

The Tuft Of Flowers by Robert Frost is one of my favorite poems. I linked to that site becasuse you can scroll around on that one page and read lots of good stuff.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I really loved Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity." I'd link to it for you but I'm, well...lazy. Anyway, read it. It's great. The protagonist in the book makes lists out of everything, and this is used to wonderful effect throughout the book. I'm not writing a book review here, so I'll just say that the lists are hilarious and important at the same time, and umm...ya. Read the book. Here is High Fidelity Tribute List #1.

Oh, please note that unlike the lists in the book, mine aren't likely to be well thought out, compelling, justified, or even defensible in any way. They aren't likely to be in any particular order either.

Top 5 "People" Things I can't Fucking Stand

1. People's laziness and lack of forethought becoming my emergency.
2. People who labor under the misconception that their priorities are, by default, my priorities.
3. People who think their morality is my morality.
4. People who are too stupid/brainwashed/lazy to formulate carefully considered opinions.
5. People who can't mind their own business.

I guess it's a little depressing that the first of what I hope will be many HFTL's is so negative, but is. Whacha gonna do. The catalyst for this list is a song lyric that, for whatever reason, has been echoing in my head all day today.

"When you believe in things that you don't understand, you're a sucker." - Stevie Wonder

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hey, Kool Aid!

Last night I briefly touched on my raging addiction to motorcycle road racing. As it happens, I'm pretty much a motorcycle nut all the way around (not just for racing), so I thought I might use this space to recount my personal history as a motorcycle enthusiast. This will happen in many parts over time, and is likely to be interrupted by whatever other inane ramblings I decide simply can't be kept to myself for another second...but I will write it all, eventually. Think of it as my Moto-memoir.

Ok, don't do that. And, if the word 'memoir' ever appears here again, somebody kill me.

I only remember a very few things from my early childhood. I remember my evil 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. O'Brien. I remember my Grandmother playing Cheevers on the kitchen floor with me (if you really want to know what 'Cheevers' is, use that as an excuse to add a comment). I remember my dog, Thor. And, I remember my Dad's 1968 Olds Cutlass 442. That's about it.

That 442 was a pretty bad ass car, and my Dad brought home more than a few trophies from the local dragway with it. Even at 4 years old, I knew that there was something pretty cool about stuff that goes fast. And, as I got older, I turned into a right and proper gearhead. I loved muscle cars, but I also was drawn to performance driving. I read Car and Driver magazine religiously, studying every driving technique article I could find, I bought books about driving, and I practiced my technique around the family farm. It is a minor miracle that I never totalled any of the family vehicles, but I managed to keep myself and my Mom's 82 Celica in tact. By the time I was of legal driving age, I was a 100% dyed-in-the-wool driving enthusiast.

This is the part of the story where I should relate a fabulously witty and interesting anecdote about how some magically transforming event happened, and I was reborn a motorcycle fanatic. Sadly, I have no such story. My good friend Tyler had a dirt bike when we were kids, and I had fun riding that, but mostly, motorcycles were cool things not at the forefront of my daily thoughts. If I go back to my middle school years, I remember my Dad picking me up from baseball games on his CB750, but even this, while lots of fun, failed to really make an impression. Wierd, eh?

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that I had a little bit of money saved up, and it was burning a hole in my pocket. I decided that buying a motorcycle was as good a way as any to both spend the money and irritate my parents (I was 18 at this point), so I went on a mission to do so. I checked out the local newspaper classifieds, and there was exactly one motorcycle in there that was both street-legal and within my budget. I drove across town to check it out, asked a few questions (which one is the brake, how does it shift, etc.), plopped down $400, and it was mine. I was now the proud owner of a 1978 Honda CB400T Hawk. It was orange, in pretty darn good shape, and had period-appropriate fiberglass saddlebags on it (these were Kool Aid tight by the way...more later).

I rode that Hawk all summer, and never crashed it once (another minor miracle). I had no Earthly idea what I was doing as far as riding a motorcycle. I had no idea how it actually steered, I didn't know about how the front brake is so important, and I definitely didn't appreciate the idea that there might be more to safety than a good helmet. But, luck was on my side, and I get to sit here today with all of my limbs and functions in tact. Looking back, all I can say is "whew."

However, even though I was without skill, I did my best to make up for it with enthusiasm. Never in my short life had I experienced something as scary, exciting, fun, fast, scary, and, (I know, enough with the fifty cent vocabulary...sorry). I was completely hooked. There is no feeling quite like the one you get the first few times you ride a motorcycle, particularly if it's your motorcycle. I was absolutely stunned by the intensity of riding, and as soon as I was able to think anything other than "wow," I realized I'd found more than a simple diversion.

And ya, for all you jaded S.O.B.'s reading this, those feelings were generated on a 25 hp 400cc 2-cylinder motorcycle...really.

Oh yes, I did say that I'd get back to the Kool Aid thing. One of my best friends had shaved his head that August, just a few days after I bought the bike. At 6'4 and over 20o pounds, Don was a big guy, even at 17 years old. Don needed a ride to town one day, and I let him know that I would be working until 5pm or so at my house painting job, but I'd be along after work to pick him up.

Later that day, I rolled into the driveway, spare helmet tucked into one of the saddlebags, and there was Don waiting for me. The moment I saw him, two things became immediately apparent. First, Don had clearly been out in the sun all day, judging by the bright scarlet color of his freshly-shorn scalp and the accompanying look of misery on his face. Second, Don's giant mellon (he rides bikes himself these days, in a XXXL helmet) was not going to be happy being squeezed into the size medium open-face helmet I had with me, a situation certain to be exacerbated by the radiation burn science fair exhibit that was his scalp.

I parked the bike, hopped off, and opened the saddlebag to get the helmet. Upon opening the lid, I learned that my bags were water-tight, as proven by the gallon of red Kool Aid that had previously occupied my Thermos. The capless Thermos was now afloat along with the included drinking cup and cap, a Boston Red Sox hat, and my passenger helmet.

Sadly, there was nothing kool about the red mixture of sugar, water, and saddlebag grime, as the bike had been parked in the sun all day, and the black bags did a fine job of bringing the sweet soup up to 120f or so. I reached into the hot liquid and retrieved the helmet. Of course I dumped the Kool Aid onto the ground, but the padding in the liner was saturated. I tried very hard not to appear amused as I held it out for Don to put on.

Nothing in this world is as simultaneously hilarious and tragic as watching your hairless, sunburned friend squeeze his giant hairless sunburned head into a 3-sizes-too-small hot-Kool Aid-soaked helmet. Even the cascade of liquid refreshment pouring over his face couldn't hide the exquisite agony he was experiencing. I like to think that the Kool Aid somehow soothed the sunburned flesh as it was squished out of the foam liner like dirty water from a wrung mop.

I did learn an important lesson here. If you're going to give a friend a ride, make sure your Kool Aid is properly iced. From what I was able to gather form the expletive-laced tirade Don unleashed in betwen gasps, coughs and yelps, warm Kool Aid apparently doesn't feel too good on a freshly sunburned scalp.

On a side note, the helmet was an open-faced red number, with no face shield of any kind. Ironically, beween the horrible sunburn and the red helmet, Don bore an uncanny reseblance to the Kool Aid guy in those old commercials. Funny, that.

Anyway, we made it where we were going that evening, incident-free. Looking back, I am very thankful for my luck that summer because I gave crash-free rides to many of my friends, and I had not even a shred of a clue what I was doing. As Autumn drew near, it occured to me that there was really only one possible course of action.

I needed a bigger bike.

Jonesin' Big

Anyone who is actually reading this knows that I'm addicted to motorcycles. This addiction has taken on a few different forms, but the most recent, and thus far, most intense manifestation of this addiction is road racing (see pic). Well, in case you haven't noticed, it's WINTER! Damn, I hate winter.

Normally, I can feed the monkey by performing unnecessary maintenance to my race bike, but I'm currently suffering from empty garage syndrome. I've recently sold my newly acquired SV650 racebike to make room for the R6 that will take its place (more on this later). But, as I don't yet _have_ the R6, I'm jonesin' big time.

One saving grace is that I sold my van and trailer, and bought a box truck to get to the track next year. It's a work-in-progress for sure, but the idea is that the front half of the box is for sleeping and getting out of the rain, and the back half is for bikes 'n stuff. I've pretty much gutted it, so as to set it up just as I want it...this work will have to hold me over. Stay tuned for truck pics, and for details on my racing plans for 2006.

Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in.

Every year, I flirt with a temporary 'maybe it's not that bad' attitude towards the holidays. And, as time marches inexorably toward the zero-hour that comes Christmas Morning, I'm inevitably reminded that it is, in fact, that bad. The details of what in particular reminded me this time are unimportant.

I’ve dreamed of a world where December was removed from the calendar since I was a kid. “The Holidays” have not traditionally been my favorite time of the year, and I’m not sure why that is. The leading theory is that after my parents divorced, I worried too much about whose house I was at for how long, on which days, etc. so as to not insult or irritate either of my parents. Before you break out the Kleenex, I'm not about to blame anyone, or cry a river about how my childhood was crap and nobody loved me. My childhood was fine, and plenty of people loved me. However, the stress a kid is subjected to when parents are divorced is undeniable, and formative experiences related to it are unavoidable. Is my loathing of Xmas the result of one or more of these experiences? I don’t know, and I don’t care, really. If I ignore possible age-old causal factors here, and just think about what bugs me now, it seems pretty clear.

We all like to believe that it’s really the thought that counts when giving presents. Here's an experiment for you. Go home to your parents (or substitute any 2 gifting-level peers in your life) and give one of them a plasma TV, and give the other one a pair of Reeboks. Please video tape the resulting facial expressions and send me a copy. Thanks.

Yes, this is a tired subject. Nobody thinks that the “commercialization of Christmas” is good (well, except maybe the anchor stores at the local mall) but this isn’t quite exactly what bothers me. Besides, I don't blame the people receiving the gifts...hell, I am not immune to the same feelings. If my Mom bought my brother a new car, and bought me a pair of pants, I'd be pissed for at least an hour or two- I admit it. This is exactly why I hate this holiday so much. Ok, maybe I do blame the people receiving the gifts.

Why am I reduced to this? What happened to me? I was so irreverent as a kid…how the hell did I get sucked in? One minute I was laughing with my bestest cynical buddies at the idiots stuck in the Xmas rush mall traffic jam, and the next I’m trying to figure out how I can make sure everyone perceives me as successful, and at the same time, is shown how much I care, by way of the presents I buy. I’m fairly confident that I’m not alone on this, but it’s ok if you’re in denial…it’s hard to be honest with yourself about such things. Maybe it’s too much like admitting defeat.

I’m not stupid. I know full well that none of this crap is the fault of The Holidays in particular. These sentiments exist for everyone, all year long. It’s just that during the four weeks between 11/27 and 12/25, we’re forced to deal with them front and center. I suppose acknowledging all of this stuff is a pretty good step towards overcoming it, so it’s not all bad. Then again, it might be easier to lead a campaign to have December removed from the calendar.

Another gem from Pat R.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."

My good pal (ok, not really) Pat Robertson busted out with the above quote in a recent broadcast of The 700 Club , and you can read an article about it HERE [**oops...dead link. If I find another I'll post it**] . The whole thing boils down to Pat's belief that God will shun the townspeople (and the town itself, apparently) of Dover, PA because they have ousted some members of the local school board who support the teaching of 'Intelligent Design' in public schools.

I don't think it's necessary to go on about how I don't believe in any form of Creationism, or how public school is no place for religious indoctrination. Rather, I'm concerned with this formidable threat put forth by Pat.

Let me get this straight. If a disaster smashes my town and we've rejected Intellignet Design in the school system, I can assume that God won't be stepping in to help me clean up the pile of crap that used to be my house?

I have to wonder how many Christians groan and want to hide under the covers every time the latest inane blathering from this guy makes it into the mainstream press...

The Plunge

How ironic…or something. Here I am, writing my first ever blog entry, and I’m doing it in MS Word. My php/WordPress installation didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, and I absolutely had to write tonight. You see, I’ve been telling myself since the Reagan administration that I wanted to be a writer. ‘A writer writes’ as they say, and by this definition I’m not a writer at all. So, I promised myself that no matter what, tonight I was going to sit down and write something.

Well, at 11:52pm EST, I realized that technically speaking, ‘tonight’ was running out fast, and I hadn’t written anything. Actually, this isn’t entirely true, as I did write an email to my web host support that goes something like this:

“Please help me get WordPress installed and working. I am lame, and as such, am unable to figure out how to fix it my self. Thanks.”

Anyway, I’m sure I’m no different than the other 57 bazillion people on the planet who want to write, but never seem to get around to it. We bumble around every day, doing the things that people do, and all the time there’s a tiny part of us that watches…dunno what exactly, but it’s watching. It’s watching, and storing information, in hopes that when we get around to the writing, all of this great stored-up info will be available for inspiration.. I don’t know about all of the other potential writers out there, but I seem to be unable to tap that store, and the times I feel like I want to write seem to necessarily coexist with the times I’m least able to come up with something that I want to write about.

Why is this? I have no idea, but today, around two in the afternoon, I decided that I wasn’t going to wait for Inspiration any more. When I was 15, I really thought I was going to be a writer of some sort. I’m 38 now, and so far, umm…not so much with the writing…and not to put too fine a point on it, that sucks.

So, here I am, writing about wanting to get started with some writing. And, here you are, reading about it. I can’t decide if this is interesting or tragic, but what the hell. I’m writing, and a writer writes.

Thank you for reading.

In the Beginning...

I actually started this blog a few weeks ago on Yahoo 360, and I've since discovered that Yahoo 360 sucks. So, here I am. The post dates of the first few dates are the same because that was me moving my posts.

Thanks for stopping by!