Friday, November 30, 2012

You're Not Gonna Believe This

What a close friend did for (to) me on my birthday.

Just Click on this link:

Jimbo Doing Gangnam Style
Ride On and Carpe Diem my friends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Cold Ride, The Edge of The Fiscal Cliff and a Right Wing Prius

Okay, so I put in all the liners in my jacket and pants this morning. I had been putting this off and with the recent relatively warm weather (Hell, it is almost December), I had been able to survive on the bike without all that extra gear. But this week has been colder, in fact the overnight lows had been in the 20's (wind chills in the teens) and I admit to having wimped out a couple of days on riding to work.

Now I have often thought of myself as a "Rounder" (a year round rider) and unless it is really cold (by my definition, single digits and below), the cold weather doesn't usually stop me from riding.  This morning the temperature was below freezing, but just barely and  it was sunny with almost no wind. Very nice! But I did take more precautions against the cold. I got out the fleece glove liners and even the nylon balaclava. Both liners in my pants and the fleece liner in my jacket. Max started right up like it was any other day. I think he actually likes the cold weather.
The winter gloves with the liners next to my Ride To Work bandana.

And I took out onto the street fighting a bit of fog in my visor, not bad, just a bit annoying. But I had this nagging feeling that I had forgotten something. With all the extra stuff I did this morning to get ready for the ride I knew it was likely that I would forget something, but at that moment I couldn't figure out what it was, and maybe it was nothing anyway.

At one of the first stop light intersections I pulled up behind this little Dodge something or other with a frosty back window. I thought to myself, Fantastic, Not only do I have to watch out for and fight people trying to talk and text on their cell phones, but now I have to watch out for people who are too damn lazy to even scrape off their windows. Oh well, I try a zen moment to calm myself, after all this is is supposed to be fun, and it really is.

And just next to the Dodge was a Prius. And the only reason I noticed it was because of the bumper stickers on it, one of which I couldn't read very well (small print), but the other was a "Fair Tax" sticker. Now it is never safe to generalize about anything and people will always surprise me but I was struck by what appeared to me to be a sort of incongruity between the concept of a Prius and the concept of the "Fair Tax". What I was thinking was that it might be more common for a Prius to be driven by a quote "liberal" person, you know, someone that believes in global warming, wants to save the planet by not using too much in the way of fossil fuels, etc. And then to see a "Fair Tax" sticker which I would associate to someone with more of a right wing sort of conservative bend to their political beliefs. Well it just seemed a bit odd. Probably just me.

Then, as it were, the Prius and I seemed to kind of parallel each other down the street on the way downtown. At some stop lights I would arrive first, at others the Prius would get there first. It was a woman driving the car, but I could never seem to get her to look over at me, she always faced away. (Bitch!?) Then I was thinking, "Okay, who is really trying to save the environment here today?" You in that Prius, at times traveling silently, but probably getting maybe 45 mpg as you move along toward your destination. Or me! Having a blast on my Taiwanese scooter, in cold weather to boot, but probably doing about 75 mpg.

Huh?!   Who's the Environmentalist Now?!

Then I take another deep breath. (Ommmm)

I remembered listening to NPR as I shaved this morning and they were interviewing various people talking about the upcoming "Fiscal Cliff". Now I remind you that I am a tax accountant. I am very aware of the changes that will or will not happen at the end of the year this year. I even spoke at about 15 little mini-seminars about this very subject. And you know what? In my humble opinion, all the politicians are crazy and don't have a clue. Most of them have no business calling themselves statesmen and I really would not be surprised that we just end up careening off the end of the cliff because the silly bastards won't have the guts to do anything about it. And you know what else?!

The world will not end!
Generalissimo Francisco Franco will still be dead!
The Kansas City Chiefs will still Suck!
And I will still try and ride to work on a mostly year round basis.

So There!


Oh, the things I think about as I ride to work some days.

And as I arrived at the parking garage this morning and was taking off my helmet and gloves, one of the people who work for the parking lot company saw me and yelled at me about it being "Pretty cold to ride a scooter on a day like today".

I said, "Naah! It's a great day to Ride!"

And it was! And it will be this afternoon when the temperatures are expected to be in the 50's. I might even get hot with all those liners being used.

And then I remembered that nagging thought that I had forgotten this morning. And I realized it was my office keys that I had forgotten. Oh well.....
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Something I Have Been Eyeing, (Just For Fun)

I think this is a pretty cool looking bike.

750cc is a nice size, Don'tcha Think?

The 2013 V7 Stone

Courtesy of the Moto Guzzi Website
Drool, Drool?
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Really Matters

Ran across an article in the paper that gave a pause for some thought. Part of what surprised me was the depth of the article. What also surprised me was the author of the article, a person that I wasn't sure had the capability of such deep and thoughtful expression.

The author is a recently retired columnist from our local newspaper. She was a fashion and society columnist and her writings were lighthearted and fun for the most part. She was considered a bit silly by many people, not exactly known for her serious nature. Some people didn't think a lot of her writings, but I generally enjoyed her column just because it was unique and fun.

She had an essay in the paper today and the subject was surprising to me. The sub title was:

"Why can't we, all of us, remember that every day is precious?"

It seems that the author had been recently corresponding by email with a longtime friend. The friend's husband had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The author was troubled with how to respond appropriately and express her sympathy, concern, etc. The author was surprised and impressed by what her friend had expressed about their situation and her husband's terminal illness.

Her friend said, " Currently we are living life at full speed and greedily taking the time for ourselves. We accept the timeline given to us, but we will not accept the slipping away of life without living." Every day is now precious to them and their love with each other has been reignited.

What about those days, when you don't feel very well or it seems like many things have gone wrong? It's easy to fall in bed after a bad day and think " Thank goodness this day is over!" On the contrary, how hard it is, after the same type of day, to fall in bed and say "Thank goodness I had this day, and I can start again with a new day tomorrow!"

The timing of reading this column was a bit ironic to me. Yesterday had been a frustrating day. I was dead tired when I went to bed last night. It wasn't a totally awful day, I was able to get a few things accomplished, but I wanted to get a lot more done. In my frustration I became angry and lashed out verbally a few times. I admit thinking that I was glad the day was over as I literally collapsed into my bed last night.

I know, it's just an attitude. The desire to remain positive is obviously desirable, but frequently difficult. And as many of us know, when faced with health issues that can be frustrating, sometimes that positive attitude is elusive.

I was glad I saw this column in the paper this morning. It helped. I have a new respect for the author. She obviously "gets it".
How about it?
How about some life at full speed! (Or Full Throttle!)
Sounds good to me!
How about you?
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Far East Can I Go? Perhaps New Jersey?

I have to admit that as I rode this morning, at least a few of my thoughts were about our "Twisted Roads" friend in New Jersey. Having experienced a close call to a natural disaster in my lifetime (Topeka tornado 6/8/66), I know what it is like to have a little fear. We are glad Jack is okay and probably bitching up a storm of his own. But I was thinking about Hurricane Sandy this morning. I was also thinking about Jack's new book, which was ordered but not yet received, and was supposedly on its way. I feel a book report is coming on.

Like lots of times I took off with a sort of preconceived idea of where I wanted to ride this morning only to change my mind shortly after leaving the house. I hadn't been riding the bicycle much lately due to a very sore shoulder and neck from a slightly out of place and inflamed spinal cord disc. Riding the bicycle sort of aggravates the problem, but it was much better and a ride sounded like a good idea. Plus I needed the exercise.

I have written about this abandoned rail road line before. It has been converted to a jogging/bicycling path. It starts very near downtown Wichita and heads mostly east but also a little northeast from town. I heard you can ride a long way, but wasn't sure how far. Also the riding is rather tough because the path is rough consisting mostly of large pieces of gravel. I decided to hit the trail with the intention of seeing something new today.

I had not been any farther east on this trail than just the other side of this bridge where an interstate highway crosses over the path. I wondered how far I could go.

It was a beautiful morning, about 50 degrees, but very sunny and almost no wind. Ideal conditions. I was only slightly bundled up in a warm outfit and was sweating a bit very soon after leaving the house. I can catch this trail about a mile from home so I headed that way. I stopped to take a few pictures while wondering how far I could take the trail. One problem is that it is pretty much an up and back trail. I would have to come back mostly the same way. Also because the trail is rough, the going would be slower than usual.

Looking east on a Sunday morning, the view is a bit rustic, even a bit lonely, but very pretty, quiet and  peaceful. The sounds of the mountain bike tires on the gravel is most of what you hear.

There were times when I noticed how isolated it was on this trail. I encountered maybe 3 joggers all morning and no other bicyclists. Some housing developments back up to the trail where I could see the back yards of some fairly nice homes. Then a little way down the road it would just be farm fields by the side of the road. I thought about what it would have been like to ride a train on this line. I'm sure this was mostly a freight line, not a passenger line.

I wondered about what would happen if something happened to me. How long it might take for someone to find me. Should I carry some protection? They have a new firearms carry law in Oklahoma. Not exactly a comforting thought, but what the hell, This is Kansas! How dangerous can it be?

Occasionally the rail path would cross over a stream or a creek as I rode eastward. The scenery would change a bit. Oh, the scenery isn't what you would call fantastic, but it sure was a nice day. A good day to be out absorbing some vitamin D and feeling the sun beat on you a bit. Isn't that part of the point?

There's a little drop off on the side of the path here. Lots of trees and lots of leaves.

The sounds were mostly very quiet type sounds. My breathing was noticeable. The sounds of the tires on the gravel was the noisiest sound to be heard. I would say hello to the occasional jogger and usually, but not always, got a kind response. I thought about many things as I rode along.

At one point I stopped to take a picture and heard this unbelievable racket of birds above me. They must have been discussing the upcoming election. It was obvious they were not all in agreement.

I quickly realized that it was taking me much more time to get anywhere fast and when I reached the county line road to enter Butler county, I decided that I would turn back to Wichita. All in all I probably didn't broaden my experience in this easterly direction by but a few more miles, but that was only part of the point.

You could say that at this stage in my life, everyday that I can experience something as enjoyable as this is pretty important.

At my turn around point I encountered this sign, obviously decorated by some sort of small town hoodlum.

Eventually hunger controlled my thoughts and I headed back to town to see what the other family members might have on their minds for lunch time activities. I had worked up a bit of an appetite.

Lunch was the new priority. I'll check out more points eastward on this trail another day.
Ride On and Carpe Diem my friends,