Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions and Animals on a Cold Night Walk

It was just me,
And Sophie,     (The dog)
And Moe.        (The cat)

This is a Monday evening. December 23rd. It snowed about 3 inches two days ago. It's cold! Very cold. The Weatherbug app on my iPhone said it was 15 degrees (-10 C) outside. 

Didn't stop me,
Or Sophie,
Or Moe!

Yes, our silly Tomcat loves to go walking with us, believe it or not.
It used to piss me off if Moe went with us on our nightly walk. You see, it's like this:

Walking with Sophie is fun. Like all dogs, she loves to be with us. She'll do our pace, ie that pace determined by the human. Do it gladly, unquestionably. Frequently glancing up at you to see if she is making you happy. She rarely disappoints. That's just her nature.

Moe is totally different. He has his own pace to life. And like most cats, sometimes he doesn't care about your pace, your desires or your happiness, well, you get the idea. 

You sort of have to be a bit patient with Moe when you take him for a walk. He has his own agenda. He'll lag behind a bit, then catch up and "buzz" by you, showing off. He is, sometimes a bit aloof, but he's not ungrateful, he shows his affection frequently, but it's on his own terms.

Sophie likes to stop and smell interesting things. I don't always understand the why or the what of the smells she finds, but I let her indulge.  Moe, interestingly, stops to investigate things also. Maybe not smells, not sure what the heck it is, and he takes a bit longer sometimes. After all, he is a cat. And, well....

It used to infuriate me when Moe would lag behind and make everybody wait on him. It's like, "I'm supposed to be in charge here, you need to follow my direction, do what I want you to do. Quit screwing around and let's make some tracks".

But then, somewhere along the line, I decided that maybe, just maybe, Moe might have a better idea.

Maybe it's a Carpe Diem type of thing. Maybe it is Moe's way of seizing the moment. Stopping to smell the roses? Could that be?

Who knows.

But I was thinking as we walked, that there were 3 very distinct personalities on the trek, this cold and cloudy night. Me, the human, had the leash and a flashlight, supposedly in charge, Sophie with her eager smiling face constantly observing, smelling, sensing, exceedingly happy just to be outside doing something with the rest of us, and then Moe, also very alert and observant, but with a very different goal. Not that I had any kind of clue what Moe's goal was. But then, who am I to judge. I despise people that judge others, for whatever reason. I don't even feel like I should judge animals like Sophie or Moe. I don't know what it's really like to be a cat or a dog or a buffalo or ....

But I don't always end each post of this blog with the phrase "Carpe Diem" for no reason whatsoever. You see, I really feel like each day is a gift of some sort. If you live to be 70 years old then there should be 25,550 daily opportunities for Carpe Diem. I think we ought to seize as many as we can. I bet we've all missed a few.

And to me, Carpe Diem can take various forms. Tonight as we walked, and Moe made us wait up for him for a few minutes, Sophie and I "seized" the opportunity to look around, see the sights, really take the opportunity to observe. We looked at the tire tracks in the snow, saw many Christmas light decorations, smelled aromas from neighborhood fireplaces, heard the sounds of the wind in the trees, etc.

We stopped. We waited. Instead of exerting effort at enforcing our will upon others, we paused and let, in effect, others dictate upcoming events. I'm not necessarily some sort of control freak, but I'm very used to organizing my own life. I'm not always, personally, comfortable with just "going along for the ride".

But I'm convinced that there is something to just letting life happen. You get to experience lots of very interesting sights, sounds, smells, emotions, etc, that you just might otherwise miss if you are constantly busy organizing your own destiny.

So, my resolution for the new year is to let it happen. More and more.

An extra special Happy New Year and Carpe Diem, my good friends.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Knew

Remember that little problem I was having a couple of months ago about the filler hole for Max's gear oil?

Oh, and by the way, Santa also got me a BMW for Christmas.

Ride On and Carpe Diem my good friends!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Sidecar from Finland

My brother has lived in Finland for many years.

He sent a great Christmas card this year. Thought it was worthy of a weblog post.

Thanks,  John.

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my good friends.

Oh, and the best of Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Buff or Balaclava

 On a cold day I frequently fight a cold neck. I have a balaclava that I have frequently used to protect my head from cold winds. At times I have also used a bandanna.

But now I have a new weapon. It's called a buff. They come in a wide variety of colors, styles and materials. I got a couple from REI and tried one out this morning.

Cold weather weapons laid out on Max as he warmed up this morning.

The buff is quite versatile. It can be worn in various ways and has many uses. 

This is how I wore it this morning. Keeps the ears and neck nice and warm. I discovered that the chin was slightly exposed, but only slightly

I pronounce the Buff as one of my newest favorite accessories.

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Downtown Arena

Here's a Selfie of the parental units at a recent basketball game.

And here's a pic if our kids at the same game.
They sometimes like to ham it up a bit!

Carpe Diem, my friends!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Authentic Frontier Gibberish

Let’s just dive right in. As part of her book tour, Sarah Palin spoke yesterday at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Right off the bat, I challenge you to structure this sentence:

“If you lose that foundation, John Adams was implicitly warning us, then we will not follow our constitution, there will be no reason to follow our constitution because it is a moral and religious people who understand that there is something greater than self, we are to live selflessly, and we are to be held accountable by our creator, so that is what our constitution is based on, so those revisionists, those in the lamestream media, especially, who would want to ignore what our founders actually thought, felt and wrote about in our charters of liberty – well, that’s why I call them the lamestream media.”

Authentic frontier gibberish. If the Michelin Guide handed out stars for the world’s finest word salad, that quote might top the list. It’s one long sentence and she somehow bumper-pools her way from John Adams to the Constitution (John Adams wasn’t a framer of the Constitution) to accountability to charters of liberty to the “lamestream media.” It’s like she was reading from Mad Libs’ Derp Edition.

Sorry, I just had to post this somewhere!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Motorcycles in the Mist

I was fondly remembering a "Far Side" cartoon this morning.  It was entitled "Chickens in the Mist".

This morning I changed the subject matter a bit.

Motorcycle Only Parking near my office

I was really looking forward to a couple days of riding this week. Monday and Tuesday were supposed to have tolerable temperatures, but it was expected to turn very cold later in the week and stay that way. Then on Monday morning I was greeted with dense fog in the morning. I thought, "That's okay, the weather will be better on Tuesday".

Then what do you think there was on Tuesday morning?

More Damn Fog

I saw a scooter and a motorcycle on the way in to the office this morning, but, I decided it was not meant for me. Done it before. Keith would probably not be held back from riding.

For me though, there will have to be another day.

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my good friends!

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Shirt ride today. Just around the neighborhood. Lots of trees in our area and in the Fall season, lots of leaf.

Carpe Diem and ride safely my good friends.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for the reminder today that it's easy for us to forget what is really important in our lives. It's so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of work, responsibilities and constantly striving to do all the things that we think other people want us to do.

I got news for us all. A lot of what we strive for is just bull$5it. And we take a lot of things for granted without realizing how important and meaningful they are.

Money? Well you can't take it with you.

Fame? Only lasts for awhile. 

How about the sounds of birds singing? When was the last time you really stopped and listened to them. How about the feel and touch of a loving and warm hand from a companion. Did you look into their eyes? I mean, really look? Really feel the moment?

I died almost 3 years ago. 


My body had actually reached a state where it could not sustain itself any longer. My heart had stopped. My brain was starving for the oxygen it needed. I had literally lost the battle for my life. It was only through the quick external actions of others performing CPR and using defibrillator paddles that I was revived. The realization of what happened is very sobering.

The priorities in my life are now a little different. 

Life is pretty amazing. It's easy to forget that.

There is this wonderful woman in my life. She is responsible for some of that CPR I previously mentioned. We have shared almost 35 years together. We have two fantastic children. We are lucky to have a decent home. There's lots to be very thankful for. And the world surrounding us, even with all of the problems there are, is full of beauty and wonder.

So, this Thanksgiving, when you are with your families, I invite you to make that hug with your relative last a little longer. Look a little deeper into someone's eyes. Take an extra moment to listen to a bird sing. Think about the things (like Jayhawk basketball) that are truly meaningful to you.

And Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Carpe Diem, my good friends.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Some Things Worth Doing are Worth Doing Twice

 It wasn't necessarily the Best of Times.

It wasn't necessarily the Worst of Times

Some things went very much according to plan.

Some things I thought that would be difficult, weren't

Some things I thought would be quick and easy, Weren't!

The first task was to clear off the workbench a little bit. The summer and Fall residue of various projects that didn't get all the way put back to normal were all over the place. One of the drawers to the cabinet needed a little repair. Got that Done!

Messy Work Bench littered mostly with "stuff" that just needed to be put away.

Then there was the "stuff that I wanted to get done.
1) Change Motor Oil
2) Change the Spark Plug
3) Change the Radiator Coolant
4) Change the Gear Oil

Here's the Lineup!

Castrol this and that, the NGK CR8E, and something called Silkolene for the radiator.
I like to do things for Max with the tools I normally carry on Max. That way when I'm on the road I should have most of what I need if something happens. One exception to that is a feeler gauge that just stays at home.

I also like to do the harder tasks first. Here, I thought that changing the plug would be the most difficult, so I started with that.

The shop manual calls for a .8mm spark plug gap. Of course I don't have a gauge blade with exactly that gap. But I did find a blade with a .381 width next to a blade with a .405 width, so put them together and what do you have? Something close enough for government work.

Putting two blades together to get the result I wanted
And here's a page from the shop manual, displayed on the Nook Tablet, free from the Internet. SYM apparently felt sorry for those of us now without dealers (their sales network collapsed), that they made the owners manuals free for the taking off the web

Anybody Speak Chinese? Actually the manual is pretty good!

The gap is easy to set. I just barely needed to change the gap on the plug.

You wouldn't think a little gap like this is so critical, but it sure can be.
 I was easy to get at the old plug without taking most of the bike apart. Now if I wanted to adjust or check the valve clearances, then a lot more parts would have been on the garage floor. But the plug itself was fairly easy to get at.

I compared the old and new plugs.Old one had been in for 3,000 miles. It looked to be in pretty good shape. Just normal wear, nothing unusual or threatening.

Bought the new plug at Auto Zone, was identical to the old plug. Note the hairy knuckles?
Here's the new plug installed. Swapping out the plug really took just a few minutes, easier than anticipated.

Only one panel (easily removed) to get to the plug.
 I didn't even take any pictures of the oil change. It was simple. The drain plug is underneath the center stand on the left side. The filler hole on the right side. Measured out 800 cc of oil per the manual and  filled the reservoir. I have a special sort of plastic drain case for the oils I drain off. I took the oil (back to Auto Zone) to be recycled after I completed my work.

What turned out to be more of a pain in the ass than anticipated was changing the gear oil. When I did this before, my friend Lloyd helped me. He had a particularly handy little syringe that we used. I remember we carefully measured how much oil drained out and replaced exactly the same quantity. The syringe was very handy because the fill hole is particularly tiny. Don't ask me why!

I originally fashioned together a very small funnel and filled the gear oil using that funnel. Didn't work real well and I made a mess on the floor trying to fill it back up.

The measuring cup collects the gear oil.
The problem was that I realized  that I had put in the wrong gear oil. I should have used SAE 140, but instead had purchased SAE 90, which is much thinner. Not a good idea. Must have been a brain fart moment. I though I had been careful, but.....

So it was back to the store (yes, Auto Zone, just because it is nearby)

The new gear oil with a hopefully handy new little pump tool.

I would really liked to have had a little syringe to replace the gear oil like the one Lloyd had, but couldn't find one. The guy at the store thought this little pump might help and at the time it seemed like a good idea and it was only a few $. So why not! Right?


It fit real nicely into the filler hole, but turned out to be essentially worthless. Oh well, It was worth a try.
So on Sunday morning, I did the gear oil again. To Do It Right! So I wouldn't worry. And after the fiasco with the little oil pump I decided to dump out the wrong gear oil, but use that old bottle, because it has a small nipple at the top, as my new tool to fill up the gear oil. Worked like a charm. To help me remember next time, I even placed a note on the old bottle to help me.

The lineup of gear oil bottles.
I'm still on the lookout for that syringe. Anybody know where I can get one? Can't we always use a little new farkle now and then?

And I admit, I didn't have the time to get the radiator fluid changed. We had some other chores around the house that we did this weekend, and my beloved Kansas Jayhawks even actually won a football game. (We are better known for basketball)

But the coolant replace is on the list to be done. Hopefully next weekend.

BTW, Max is running really nice with that new spark plug. It's just enough difference to be barely noticeable, but there is seemingly a new little bit of energy with each fire.


Ride On and Carpe Diem, my good friends.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Maddening Moments, some Zen and a Self Challenge

I hereby swear that I am going to not drive the automobile to work as much as I have been recently. There are two "Motorcycle Only" parking areas within a block and a half of my office. I never have trouble finding a place to park when I ride the scooter to work. There is always (Repeat, Always!), a place for little old me and Max to park.

Same cannot be said about the friggin' automobile. There's lots of parking around my new office, but some days it seems like it takes an act of the divine to find a place 'close' to my office. A block away is no problem, and I do that often. But there have been days where I think I can park closer to the office only to be frustrated because there are no close places to park. And I am not really being anal about this. I do not mind the walk. What bugs me is the situation of having to change my plan and the resulting waste of time to go back to do something else. And it's really silly, because we're only talking about a few minutes at most. It seems that as I get older, I have lost a certain amount of patience with things that don't go as originally planned.


But I'm sure you don't really care about that....

But here's a Question:

If I say I'm going to do something and write about it in this here blog, Does that mean it will absolutely have to happen?

Let me explain:

Max is way overdue for some maintenance. I'm totally embarrassed about it. It is ridiculously overdue. Substantially Overdue. Criminally Overdue!

I've had good intentions. I bought some motor oil. I bought a new spark plug. I bought some gear oil. I checked and I already had enough engine coolant. Problem is, I bought all this this stuff 2 months ago, and still haven't even turned the screwdriver on Max.

Shame on Me!

I know very well how important the maintenance is for vehicles like this. The investment could easily be wasted by not doing the "little things". And it's not that I have to take Max in to a repair shop to get it done. I'm well capable of doing it all. I've done it before! It doesn't even really take a very long time. (with one possible exception, I'll explain in a moment)

But still, I haven't done it. And I'm usually not that bad about this kind of thing. Oh, I admit I'm not perfect, I may be a little late at times with certain maintenance, but usually I get it done relatively close to the recommended and appointed mileage intervals.

And I even have a pdf file that is the entire repair manual for Max. I can have my tablet computer available to me in the garage as I work to check on the location of a certain drain bolt, or verify the spark plug gap, etc, as needed. I probably won't even have to refer to it much. As I said, I've done this stuff before.

Actually, on a side note, the shop manual reads a little strange in spots. Of course, SYM is a company in Taiwan, and the manual has obviously been written originally in Chinese and then translated to English by somebody that apparently doesn't use English as their original language. The words don't always , shall we say, "flow" real well. But in the final analysis, it works, the pictures and drawings are not bad and I'm happy to say I didn't pay anything for the manual.

But one thing not really explained very well in the manual is how the plastic shroud and body parts fit together. For instance, there are some obvious seams where plastic parts come together, and there are some clip and insert tabs on the inside (not visible from the outside) of the panels that hold things together. These are not pictured well in the manual.

So here's where the "Zen" comes in:

Pirsig talks about becoming "one" with the machine, or at least that's how I interpret it. I'll just have to sit there on the garage floor. Take my time. Play with the panels a bit. Detect how they are held together. (Believe me, it's not real obvious) The fluid changes aren't the problem. The drain and refill bolts are all accessible without taking any body panels off. It's the spark plug that will cause me some grief. The two main body panels will have to come off. And I have to take some other panels off to get to the ones I have to get off, etc. It's like a vicious never ending cycle. There will be a resulting pile of panels, screws and bolts on the floor.

Actually, it won't be all that bad probably. The problem is mostly my own personality and my own difficulty in dealing with things that don't go my way the first time around.

The problem is not the bike, or the panels or the damn spark plug.

The problem is me!

In self diagnosis, seemingly I have a mental block about getting this work done. There is no excuse. It has to be done. I am the only person to do it! Why the hell am I procrastinating?

So, my post today is an attempt to sort of "trick" myself into getting this work done! By the powers vested in me, I pledge that I am going to get this work done this weekend! I'm going to psyche myself up, similar to John Belushi in "Animal House". I'll rally around the house and then run into the garage and get on the floor and get started.

So, back to the original question, if I write about it in this here blog, Will it happen?

It friggin' better!

So here's the deal! If I don't have another post up by, say, next Wednesday, with maintenance pictures and the like, and a description of how it went, feel free to email me, comment me, and tell me what a goofball I am. I'll deserve any and all criticism.

Like John Belushi, I'm going to rally the forces this weekend and do this.

Let's Do It!
Let's Do It!
Let's Do It!
Let's Do It!
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my good friends!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


"Here's to the crazy ones.

The misfits.
The rebels.
The trouble-makers.
The round heads in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.
But the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. "

~ Jack Kerouac

Friday, October 25, 2013

Going Back in Time

What if you had a chance to go back in time?
Ignore the practical impossibility and just assume it could happen.

What would you do?
Where would you go?
Would you like to go back and see some spectacular sporting event? Maybe the Boston Celtics back in the 1960's in game 7 of the NBA finals. Or Babe Ruth hitting some infamous home run. 

Maybe you'd like another chance at catching that pass you dropped in the end zone in high school. Or that layup you missed in the 7th grade.

Would you want to go back and see a loved one that is presently deceased? Lots of interesting possibilities there.

Would you want to go see an old girl friend? Or boy friend? Ignite some old passion?

Would you just like to visit an interesting or fascinating period in time? Sort of like a tourist. See how the Egyptians actually built those pyramids? Maybe even visit Jerusalem in the time of Christ? Mayans? Aztecs? Nazis? Hmmmm.

How about going back in time to right a wrong? Could you prevent the murder of JFK or Martin Luther King? Maybe something without that kind of impact. Maybe a littler thing. There was that girl I said some very mean things to when I was about 15 yrs old. I was mad at her for something, but I didn't have the facts straight. I think she has probably despised me ever since. Can't blame her. I was a total jerk and should have apologized, but never did. Could I undo what I did?

Would you like to go back and try to prevent something from happening? I thought about the motorcycle accident I had a few years ago. It wasn't my fault, not nearly so, but in retrospect, had I  been riding in just a little bit different manner, the accident might have been avoided. I was sort of in a blind spot in the road. Ever since then, in similar situations, I try and make myself a little more visible on the roadway.

All of this thinking is the result of watching a sort of quirky little movie called "Safety Not Guaranteed". It's on Netflix in the critically acclaimed section. A fun and entertaining movie. The movie wasn't so much about going back in time, as it was about the dream of the possibility of going back in time.

What would you do? Where would you go?

Ride on and Carpe Diem my friends!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Out of the Mouths of Cartoon Characters

Buzz Lightyear has it figured out!

Monday, September 9, 2013



Been thinking about that word a lot recently.

Did you happen to see Sarah Horn get invited on stage at the Hollywood Bowl to sing a duet with Kristin Chenowith and sing "For Good" from the musical "Wicked"?
Here's the link for the video:
Turns out there were about 5 minutes of "Extraordinary" there.

Did you hear about Lindsay Vollmer, a track and field athlete from the University of Kansas? Her event is the women's pentathlon, 7 events over 2 days. She won the NCAA championship in her event this last spring. Noteworthy, even by itself, that she won, but, to me, what was remarkable was how she did it. She recorded a personal best in 6 out of the 7 events.
Unreal! I'd call that "Extraordinary"!

How about Dr Sandy Billinger? She and her son walked, yes walked, across the entire state of Kansas this year. Why? To raise funds to buy equipment to do research on strokes. Why? Because she thought it was important. Real important. 23 days and 570 miles worth of important.
The passion she has is extraordinary, don't you think?

Then there's Bob Leong.(aka BobSkoot) He's a motorcyclist and a  blogger from Vancouver BC that I'm acquainted with. He just recently and safely completed a motorcycle trip across the continent and back this summer. It was a longtime dream of his. Almost a bucket list sort of  thing for him. He's in his 60's, but that didn't stop him, or even remotely slow him down. Decidedly Extraordinary.

And just a few years ago, another blogger that I am acquainted with, Gary France, from England also did a motorcycle odyssey across America. Something he also had always wanted to do. He made it happen! Here's a link to the book he wrote about it.

All, Very, Very Extraordinary!

How fun it would be to do something extraordinary. Makes me want to do something. I've thought about many possibilities.

What do you consider to be extraordinary?

Running a marathon?
Bike Across Kansas (the pedaled kind of bike)
A long scooter or motorcycle trip?
A long hike? What about the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in France and Spain.
Something physical? Maybe, maybe not.
Something with the family? Or by myself?

Then again, I know some extraordinary things have already happened in my own life.
In 1974, at the Kansas Relays, i narrowly missed clearing 14 feet in the high school pole vault. (Okay, that was a really long time ago, and probably not extraordinary, but certainly different)
I survived a type of cardiac arrest with only a 5% survival rate. (Not wanting to repeat this)
I used to own a VW Bus. (Okay, maybe that doesn't qualify as extraordinary)

I married someone absolutely extraordinary.
& I've got 2 extraordinary children.

The point is, I think that perhaps we are all surrounded by "extraordinary" and just don't always notice it.

Maybe it is time to open up those eyes and really look around.

What do you see?

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Word of Caution, Long Shadows

Oh, that sun, this time of year, on that morning commute, is pretty low in the sky.

If you travel west in the morning, like I do, then the sun isn't in your eyes, but it still can be a problem because those traveling east have to look at the low sun and they might not be able to see you.

Long Shadows in the morning
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Finally, The Rain Has Backed Off !

We've been in a pretty bad drought here. It was worse in western Kansas and other areas, but the nearest Army Corps of Engineers reservoir was at 62% of capacity just a few months ago. We get some of our drinking water from that lake and city planners were starting to worry.

We also had unbelievable heat the last 2 summers. Last year wasn't as bad as 2 years ago, but still not fun.

This year though,

Temperatures have not been as hot

and it has rained....

and rained....

and rained....

and rained....

It has had an effect on my riding ability. Now, mind you, a little rain while riding a motorcycle/scooter isn't really all that bad, but I prefer not to. I've said this before: It's not the water that bothers me as much as the lightning. I hate lightning. I have a "thing" about lightning. I might be sort of a "tough" guy, but when it comes to lightning...... well you get the idea.

And the rain we've had was mostly thunderstorms (with, you guessed it, lightning). Storms at all times of day and night. Sort of blowing up at random, raining a bit, then pooping out only to start up again a few miles away. Very unpredictable.

For the past 3-4 weeks it has rained almost every day, at least sometime during the day or night. We might receive 1/4", sometimes 1/2", other times 1", even a few times where we received 2", 3", even 3 1/2" of rainfall. The cumulative effect is well into the double digits of rainfall in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, I haven't ridden hardly at all because of this.

Yeah, I know, the people in the pacific northwest will tease me for being a weenie, and I deserve it. But as I said, I have this "thing" about lightning. I hate lightning! I hate it a lot! And if it is raining, I figure that somewhere there has to be some lightning associated with the rain. Here in Kansas, there usually is associated lightning. Hence, part of my justification for not riding much lately.

But the weather forecast this week is, shall we say, much better! Temperatures near normal! Rainfall, nonexistent!

For the next 7 - 10 days!

Officially, the drought has been declared at an end for the immediate area. That nearby reservoir I mentioned is now over 90% of capacity.

I may be able to ride all this week and well into the next week. I don't have to tell you what a positive effect that has on me. I like riding! It's good for me!

Maybe I'll see you on the road!

Ride On, and Carpe Diem, my friends.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rabbit Scooters

And now for something completely different:

Ride On and Carpe Diem My Friends

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Digs

Part of the reason for not posting as much to this blog recently is because we just moved the office.


Double Ugh!

Remind me not to do this again in the next 10 years.

On Friday the 28th of June, the movers came and did the "heavy" stuff.

We're still sorting and putting things away, but we are here now.

We are on the second floor
Just east of the main downtown area is an older warehouse district where many of the buildings have been converted to offices, restaurants, bars, condos and other uses. It's been pretty successful and this part of town has become much more dynamic than the core downtown area.

This is my first day to ride to the new location.

Jack Riepe would like it here. This shop is on the first floor of our new building.
Airbus has a rather large engineering facility in the area. Sort of remarkable because Boeing was such a fixture in this community for so many years. They are phasing out and moving people to Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Lots of people don't want to go, so some of the employees have latched on to Airbus here.

There's even some archways over some of the streets

But when it comes to parking there are some options. There's an outdoor lot dedicated for motorcycles near the front of the Airbus building. It usually has 4-5 cycles parked there. But a block away is a parking garage, also with dedicated motorcycle parking. I opted for that spot. 

Indoor motorcycle parking. Max was a little lonely first thing in the morning


There didn't seem to be many people, first thing in the morning,  parking their motorcycles indoors and then walking a way to their offices, but later that day........

But later in the day Max wasn't lonely at all.
Only problem with this spot is that there are pigeon roosts in the ceiling.
Might have to watch out for that.

 And finally a view inside.

And finally from inside my new office.


Ride On, and Carpe Diem, My Friends

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Went for a bicycle ride this morning. Nice weather. Almost 14 miles, average pace about 12 mph. Not bad for a 56 year old with a heart condition. But that's not what this little essay is about.

I realized a few minutes after I left the house that I forgot to put up the flag. I was hoping that Jayna would remember it and sure enough, when I arrived back home, there it was, prominently displayed on the front of the house. But that's also not what this little essay is about.

I saw something amazing today. Or at least it was amazing to me. 

I saw a family today. From afar, they looked pretty typical, mom, dad, 2 kids. I encountered them on my ride this morning on the bike trails at Chisholm Creek Park.  The two children were small.  One on a very small bicycle with training wheels, the other in one of those big jogging type strollers with mom at the helm. Dad was a few steps away facing back to the rest of the family. 

As I approached I was thinking what a neat idea it was to take the kids out on this bike trail on a 4th of July morning. And they were a fair ways away from the trail head. They had been at it for awhile. I slowed down a bit as I approached and said "Good Morning, How You Doin'!" Dad turned toward me and responded enthusiastically and said something like "Great, How About You?"

But as I rode past I noticed something really unusual.

And incredible. At least to me.

Dad had 2artificial legs. 

Think about that for a second.

There they were on a family outing on the bike trails, all 4 of them looking like they were having a fantastic time. I was impressed.

I had to wonder about what had happened to Dad. Iraq? Afghanistan? I have no idea, but suspect something like that. 

But here they were out on the trail, having lots of fun and not apparently letting the misfortunes of life get them down. In fact, they seemed to be aggressively enjoying the day.

I admire them. Pretty amazing sight on the 4th of July.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Second Opinions

Never hurts and might save some big bucks.

The local Subaru dealer recently diagnosed the cause of a broken belt to be due to a bad air conditioning compressor and quoted us over $1,000 to fix it.

We got a second opinion today. 

It turns out that the system is perfectly fine after replacing the belt and performing a diagnostic test of the system. 

It's particularly distressing to us because we really like our Subarus and recently bought our 8th Subaru from this same dealership. Our experience with the sales personnel was pleasant. They were helpful.

But that service department is, well, it's difficult to say anything nice about them. Felt like we were treated like meat, skewered and cooked to smithereens. Didn't even run a test on the system, just looked at it and decided that it was an opportunity to fleece their customer. 

Since when does it make good business to treat your patrons with a lack of respect and try to take advantage if them at every turn. If I ran my own business that way, I guarantee I wouldn't be in business for very long.

BTW, the scooter is running great!

Ride On, and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Friday, June 7, 2013

It's Art Dammit! Enjoy It!

What passes for public artwork sometimes surprises me. Sometimes I like it, like this Black Bear Bosun statue known locally as "The Keeper of the Plains" near downtown on the river.

The local Riverfest has been occurring this week. On Thursday night a favorite local event known as the "Cajun Food Fest" was held. This volunteer was undergoing the transformation from an older gentleman to a crustacean.

Then some assistance with the headgear...

Then help with the gloves, or is it claws...

Then the ceremonial sunglasses...

And finally the end result...

What a way to earn a living! Oh, I forgot, he's a volunteer.

We are getting ready to move our office to a place in a converted old warehouse district.

The landlord is doing some remodeling for us. Eventually this room will be my office...

And then some more artwork. This one is hard to explain and maybe typifies the title of this post. You, the gentle reader, may have a different opinion.

And finally this....


Ride On, and Carpe Diem, My Friends!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Finding A Proper Balance

I'm talking about the balance between aggressively tackling some sort of task directly in front of you versus the use of caution, maybe some careful analysis and the utilization of common sense when faced with that same task.

Okay, so before you start thinking that I have gone off the deep end and getting all philosophical on you, just relax. Today's subject is mountain biking, but there is a pretty clear analogy to life in general. I'll let you, gentle reader, draw your own conclusions and see what you want to see in these words. I'm flexible in that regard.

For you see, I did do a little Singletrack riding yesterday. I was aggressive at times. There were times I wasn't aggressive enough. I was also cautious at times, other times not cautious enough, and maybe a couple of times where I was just plain stupid. Yup! I'll admit it! 

This continuum happens all the time. Sometimes you don't have a lot of time to make a decision. Or more accurately, you don't take the time to better study and analyze a decision. So at times you respond aggressively, other times cautiously, and then (here we go off the deep end again) the process results in a data bank of experiences that you draw upon later to make future decisions. (Too deep for ya?)

Here's what happened.

With my daughter, her husband and a friend, we visited a Singletrack park we had never been to before. We heard it was hard which led to a bit of anxiety for me. People like me, 56 yrs old with a heart condition.... (What did I say about stupid?) maybe shouldn't..... But then again...... 

To put it simply, the course wasn't all that bad, parts of it really fun, a few parts of it not so much fun, and just a very few parts where it was like, OMG, how the hell are supposed to get around that!

I had a great time, but did have a small (that's a relative term) accident and sort of a big "scare" out there. And the whole series of events revolved around that little continuum (isn't that a neat word) that I spoke of previously. (Aggressiveness, caution, decisions, stupidity)

We did one of the loops twice. I generally lagged behind all the others. My age is my excuse. My daughter would regularly hold up and wait for me to catch up, just to keep an eye on me (remember 56 yr old & heart condition). This worked well.

The first time around the course, I was somewhat cautious, largely due to the initial unfamiliarity with the course. I recognized places where I would need to be more aggressive, or cautious, or even OMG, avoid that spot at all costs. There were lots of twists and turns, some short but steep uphills (and corresponding downhills), just a few rocks (which I hate) and only a couple of OMG moments. 

Theme there's that second time around the course. You're older now. Wiser now too (or at least you think you are, see where this might be headed?).

There were a couple of spots where I wasn't aggressive enough the first time around, that I successfully managed the second time. There were spots I continued to be cautious about. There were spots that I exerted myself harder the second time because I knew better what was ahead, felt more confident, etc (are we at stupid yet?).

Then there was that one OMG spot, a rocky little outcropping ( did I tell you I hate rocks?), at the top of a little rise, with a big tree just to the right of the track, with a gap in the rocks on each side of about 8 inches maybe, vicious snarling lions behind the tree and the grim reaper just on the other side to take you to your eternal destination should you not successfully negotiate the little "hazard". 

Second time around, I thought I could do it! (Remember stupid?)


Now if you line up your wheels just right, you can do this. Margin of error, arguably pretty small. 

Me? .....

Well, let us just say that I wasn't probably lined up as well as.... (Oh, it doesn't matter)

I crashed!

Actually, it could have been a lot worse. I just fell to the left, fairly hard, but not awful, scratches on my left knee and forearm, but caught the brunt of the fall with my left arm and jammed the hell out of my left thumb in the process. Probably would have been a good video for "America's Funniest Home Video".

But now comes the scary part. I was briefly sort of stunned. I didn't hit my head or anything, but I realized very quickly that I was breathing very fast, felt very winded and was having a little trouble catching my breath. I crawled over the "hazard", let the bike drop to the ground and sat down on the ground. 

I then realized that I was much more fatigued than I thought I was and became a little worried. My heart wasn't racing, or anything like that, but I knew that if something really bad were happening, it would be a bit difficult for emergency personnel to get to me because there I was, out in the middle if a mountain bike course, etc....

I sat there pondering my predicament a bit, but eventually began to feel better. A few minutes later I got back on the bike, finished the loop of the course ( with a little more caution), met up with my cohorts, told them what happened, and we began to laugh about it.

After all, some people say you didn't have fun if you don't hurt yourself a little bit! (Do you buy that?)

So what, if anything, does this all have to do with the great scheme of things?

Arguably, probably not much. Just a little rant from a blogger out there in cyberspace. 

But I'll probably go back and attempt it yet again sometime. After all, it's the experiences that count sometimes. I'll be a little older, a little wiser, a little less stupid (maybe) next time.

Like I say in my sidebar, How you live is more important than how you die! 

(There I go again off the deep end)

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends (in the continuum)!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bicyclists Don't Wave

I give and get lots of waves when riding Max. I've never figured out why, but the same does not happen when riding Bruiser, my two wheeled, leg powered transportation device. It seems odd to me. Many times you can actually converse with other bicyclists, at least say hello or something like that.

Today I was on the bicycle. Took a ride east of town. Stayed on sidewalks and bike paths. Saw lots of other bicyclists. I tried to initiate some sort of wave or acknowledgement with everybody. I got one wave, one sort of grunt and a couple of people just sort of stared at me like I was some sort of lunatic. (Don't tell them I really am certifiable as insane)

But it bothers me. Why no wave? What's the big deal? It can't really hurt.

For some strange reason I like reflection pictures. I took this picture this morning at a building owned by a client of mine. Then I rode around to the other side of the building and there he was, my client, who had stopped by on a Sunday morning to check on things. We had a  good chat. 

Life gets busy sometimes. My client has twin two year old boys at home. That'll keep anyone busy. My wife and I have been busy at the office and then trying to get "stuff" done at our home on the weekends. You know "stuff" like planting the garden, endless little remodeling tasks, etc. 

This afternoon we were inundated with pretty severe thunderstorms, like we get every spring. We even took cover in the basement as there was a tornado spotted near town and the storm seemed very unpredictable and very dangerous. We don't have to take cover very often, but it happens. Today was one of those days. There was seemingly only some light damage, downed tree limbs, some broken windows and maybe a fence or two knocked down. 

A couple of hours later, it was all over

Yeah, Time seems to keep marching on.

Ride On, and Carpe Diem , my friends.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Warming Up

The weatherman this morning said that at this time last year we had already had 8 days with a high temp in the 80's (F). We did it for the first time this year yesterday.

He also said that all of last year we only received about 11 inches of rainfall. We have already gotten 8 inches this year so far. The drought isn't over, but its getting better.

I decided it was time to break out my favorite gloves, the Aerostich Hot Weather Vegans. I've written about these before. They are fantastic, but they have been stored in a little bag in the garage for the past few months. I broke them out of their confinement this morning.

My infamous Hot Weather Vegans. I've only ever purchased a very few items from Aerostich, but these gloves are the "Bees Knees"!

I thought about putting away the winter gloves, but there might still be a few cool mornings to come, you know, those days with a cold weather glove on for the morning ride, the hot weather gloves for the afternoon ride home. So I left the winter gloves on the bike. I'll put them away soon though. I did put away the glove liners and balaclava and all the liners are now out of my jacket and pants.

It was 62 degrees when I left the house this morning. Very warm. Felt good. It has been a cool spring. We actually had a little bit of snow just a few days ago. My wife's grandmother, who was one of those people that were very wise in the ways of the world, used to say that if it was a cool spring, then we would have a very good growing season. One of those little midwesterners sayings that somehow always turn out to be very true. We'll see, but I admit that things are really seeming to be greening up around here.

I have seen saw a lot more bikes out on the road the last few days.
Yep, it's warming up!
Ride On, and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Don't Want a Pickle.....

Here's what I'm feeling right now!

Been Crazy Busy at the Office!

Haven't ridden anything on 2 wheels for at least a week now.

Well the 15th is Monday.
One day shortly thereafter is reserved for a long(ish) bicycle ride.
Another day shortly thereafter is reserved for a long(ish) scooter ride.

Enjoy the Tunes!

Ride On and Carpe Diem my Friends!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Philosophy and the Cold Morning Wave

Weatherbug says it was 32 degrees farenheit.

Then, the Weatherbug said it "felt like" 32 degrees farenheit.  (obviously no wind chill)

But you and I know that on 2 wheels at 30 mph, even if it says it's 32 degrees farenheit, it will not feel like that when in motion. It feels much, much colder!

I was about 2 miles on my way (part of a 5 mile commute) and riding in fairly heavy traffic this morning. The sun was very low in the sky behind me as I traveled west. As I rode, I noticed up ahead, a few blocks away, another person on a motorcycle, turning east onto the street. Knowing we would pass each other, I identified an opportunity for a wave.

So I did my usual, left arm extended out just a bit, index finger slightly pointed to acknowledge the other rider. It was quick, just a couple of seconds, traffic was busy, other things to keep an eye on.

He responded with an almost identical quick wave (hardly a wave, just like me, a slight extension of the arm).

Whole incident, probably no longer than 2 or 3 seconds in length.

So, why was that brief little encounter meaningful?

Was it because it was cold outside, and we recognized each other to be adventuresome and hearty souls of some sort?

Was it because we both saw each other as crazies?

Was it because there was some sort of "connection" with each other in the vast realm of the cosmic universe?

All I know was that it was nice. I liked it. I have always liked the wave. Not everybody does it, but many do, and I just like it. It's fun!

I'm excited for this week. The weather looks fantastic for the rest of the week. Highs in the 70's later on this week. Lows in the 40's.

That's Real Good!

Zehr Gut!

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Joy of Two Wheeled Travel

I can never say that the ride home from work in a cage is "fantastic".

But I sure can say that when riding Max!

Take this afternoon:

Temperature in the low 60's (F). Almost no wind. Sunny skies! I was almost overdressed, but I didn't care.

For much if the way home I followed this enormous black Lincoln Navigator. What a monster! Probably gets 10-15 mpg. I get 75 mpg. Dark tinted windows all around. Can't see in, probably can't see out either. What a shame. No feel for the smells in the air. No feel for the breeze. No feel for the little twisty as you gently swerve, just a bit, to avoid a small pothole. No feel for the road.

Nothing like riding on 2 wheels!

Nothing at all like it!

Did I say the ride home was fantastic?!

Ride On and Carpe Diem , my friends.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Something a Little Different

Don't think I'd want one,

but sure is unique and interesting.

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Looks Warmer Next Week

Been a little difficult to ride this week. Over 20 inches of snow in 2 storms about 5 days apart. Unusual for us.

The possibility of riding looks much better next week.


Ride On and Carpe Diem My Friends!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thwarted by the Threat of "Freezing Fog"!

Could anything be more ominous than "Freezing Fog"?

It just sounds deadly doesn't it!

It doesn't look awful, but visibility was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile

I was really excited last Sunday. Looking at the weekly forecast on my iPhone App called the "Weatherbug", it looked like I could get a lot of riding in this week. No rain in the forecast and temperatures would be reasonable, at least for February. I knew I had to take the car on Monday for a doctor's appointment, but the possibility of riding 4 days in a row looked good. Real Good!

I rode on Tuesday, a little chilly in the morning, but lovely in the afternoon. A nice and uneventful ride.

You have to understand the workings of parking in my garage at home. If I'm riding the scooter the next day, then Max gets parked behind the "Famous Canadian Subaru", (the one with the heated seats), for a quick getaway the next morning. Otherwise Max gets parked in front of the cars.

So for Wednesday morning, Max was parked behind the Subaru, ready to go when called for duty. Alas, when taking the dog out first thing Wednesday morning to get the newspaper, I opened up the front door to see a pretty thick fog. It was warm out, but foggy. Also not predicted by the "Weatherbug". Now, I've ridden in fog before, but it's not my first choice, (definitely not the wife's first choice) so when it came time to leave for work, I re-arranged the vehicles and took the car.

The tallest building in Wichita from a block away, heavily obscured

Then on Thursday morning the "Weatherbug" predicted fog and rain, and the "Weatherbug" turned out to be 50% correct, there was rain, but no fog. And I've ridden in rain before also, but again, not my first choice, and particularly if it is a cold rain. I hate cold rain! Alas, the car was called into duty again that day, but as I came home Thursday evening, hope was welling up and I paused and re-arranged the garage lineup in order to take Max to work on Friday morning.

All evening long I dreamed about the potential of a glorious Friday morning ride. Well, maybe not all evening long. Okay, maybe I was just momentarily looking forward to it. But, you know what I mean.

View from the "Cage" of a "Scooter in the Fog"
Is that like the old "Far Side" cartoon "Chickens in the Mist"?

So Friday morning arrives (a really nice looking day predicted by the "Weatherbug") and I look outside just before venturing outside with the dog, and what do I see?


Not only that, but it's pretty cold outside. The weatherman on the television said that streets could be slick because, you guessed it, the Threat of Freezing Fog!

Oh My!

Not, (gulp), Freezing Fog!

Well, as you might imagine, the "Famous Canadian Subaru" (the one with the heated seats) was pressed into service again. But I was so worked up about it that I took a few pictures. Seems as if other riders braved the elements this morning even if I did not. Out of 5 days in the week, at least I got to ride on 1 day. Better than none, and it is February.

Oh Well, Time to get to work!

Ride On, and Carpe Diem, my friends!