Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2017/03/28 - Post Truth Era

I'm in the process of negotiating for a new car. I absolutely love my Nissan Leaf (fully electric), but the range (90 miles) is severely limiting. Running out of power, and needing a tow this winter while taking mom to the doctor's office in Littleton was the final straw. 

I hate talking on the phone, especially with salesman, so when I contacted the dealership by email, I told them I had a speech disorder and could only communicate my email.

Now that we are in a post truth era, I'm taking full advantage. My new motto is "If my president can lie, so can I!"

Later,
Steve

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017/03/23 - Chess

I play a lot of chess.

There were times when I played a lot more, but for the past three years of retirement I've only played 2,818 games according to my online chess club: chess.com. That averages out to about 3 games per day.

They say you are supposed to get worse as you get older, but that's not happening yet to me. In fact, as of today my official Blitz chess rating is the highest it's ever been. 

And oddly, that's part of the reason I'm writing this now, to avoid playing another game and risk ruining my high score. Does that sound crazy? It does to me, but I know two people who have stopped playing rated chess games altogether for fear they will lower their good rating. And these are people who love chess!

So three games a day for the past three years comes to about an hour every day that I devote to this addiction. For me this is like maintenance, because there have been times when I was playing too much and had to quit cold-turkey for fear the stress was ruining my health.

Ah yes, the stress of chess... I like to play speed chess. That's where each player gets a specific allotted amount of time to think about moves. I play 10 minutes games. That's a slow game by speed chess standards. It gives each player ten minutes of thinking time for the entire game. So while a player is thinking about a move, their 10-minute time is counting down, but when they make the move, their clock stops and their opponent's time starts counting down.

In speed chess you can win in two ways. You can win buy checkmating your opponent, or you can win when your opponent's time runs out. Conversely, you can lose in two ways. You can be checkmated, or your time could run out, even if you are winning the game!

I could be a good chess player. This my sound like conceit, but flaws in my personality destine me to mediocrity. Well actually a little bit better than mediocrity, I'm currently at the 80.0% percentile within the club of 486,000 players. 

Unfortunately a combination of impulsiveness, attention deficit, cockiness, and inability to strictly follow a proven thought process keeps me from getting to the 90% percentile. 

And I can forget about getting higher that that. I think that group has a touch of autism.

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017/03/17 - Still Alive and Kicking

Yes I'm still alive. 
But I've been having difficulty writing in this blog, as you may have noticed.
Lately nothing seems interesting enough to write about, but then after enough time passes, so much has happened that I don't know where to begin. And when I finally get motivated, I'll read what I've written and it all sounds stupid. 

My life have been a blur of cycling, taking care of mom, looking for a bigger house, playing lots of chess, cleaning fish and turtle tanks, reading news, playing with the dog, getting the backyard ready for spring, cooking, housework, napping, and blissful sleep, the ultimate escape from it all. 

The saga of Horace, Alex, and Lucile has come to an end, and I really need to wrap up the story soon before I forget the details.

Later,
Steve

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

2017/02/01 - Certified

I almost forgot... Yesterday, I did a short ride due to high wind. I rode to and around the Golden Bike Park. 

There is this one steep intimidating bump in the bike park that I have always avoided out of fear. Many times I've ridden up to it thinking "today's the day", only to punk out at the last second. 

Well yesterday I finally did it, and as I rode through I had a big smile on my face, and I said out loud "Today you are a certified asshole". 

Later,
Steve

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017/01/31 - Freddie

When I was 13, I lived two houses down from a pedophile. I didn't know he was a pedophile, I just thought he was a cool older guy, about ten years younger than my dad. 

We lived on a busy city street with lots of people, cars, trucks, and busses going by. It wasn't unusual for people to hang out on their front stoops.

It seemed as if Freddie was always sitting on his front stoop smoking cigarettes when I walked by. He was super friendly and before long I was stopping and talking with him for a while. One day he asked me if I wanted to come in his apartment for a couple of beers. I jumped at the opportunity. 

We were on our second beer when he asked if I wanted to see some cool pictures. I was totally blown away! He had an album full of pictures of himself with real movie stars at events like the Oscars. I was impressed, and getting real high from the two beers. 

He was sitting right next to me on his sofa and had the picture album open between us when I felt his hand creeping up my thigh. I jumped up, walked towards the door and said "Freddie I think I need to go." 

He got the hint.

One night, a couple of years later, there was a crowd in front of Freddie's house with men screaming for him to come out. I never got the details, but there was some incident with a young kid who lived around the corner. Now his father, older brothers, friends and onlookers were outside his house screaming and banging on his apartment door. Freddie never came out, but the whole neighborhood saw the incident and soon after Freddie moved away. 

Fast forward 20 years. I was living in upper Westchester County, hours away from my old neighborhood and dating a woman who, at the time had a 16 year old brother, Billie.  

One night she told me that her parents were worried about Billie. He was hanging out with this older guy that owned a bar in Manhattan. Then she said he recently took Billie to the Grammys. That got my attention and I asked if she knew his name. She said Freddie, and I almost fainted. She also say that she had a picture back in her apartment of Billie and Freddie sitting at a table at the Grammies. I couldn't wait to see it. 

Looking at the picture I immediately knew it was him, even though he had aged considerably. It sent a chill through my body knowing he was still out there and still on the hunt for boys. 

Sometimes it a small world. 

Later,
Steve

Monday, January 30, 2017

2017/01/30 - The Little Rich Bully

The year was 1960, the location was Queens, NYC. Tall maple trees lined streets shading the the daylight sun from kids playing below. On summer days the street on my block was like a playground. Girls were jumping rope. Boys were playing ball. Little kids were spinning tops or playing skully with bottle caps. Some rode bicycles, some rode roller skates. Some just drew pictures on the blacktop street with colored chalk. Every once in a while a car would pass, interrupting the activities, but that was okay. Meanwhile parents watched from their stoops and porches. 

This may sound like heaven for kids, but there were also bullies and fights. 

South Ozone Park was a white Italian neighborhood with a mafia element, spotlighted in the movie "Goodfellas", in an era when street gangs were being romanticized by movies like "West Side Story".

I was 9, and my cousin Gary was 11, and we were playing in the street when a group of kids rode up to us on bikes and started a fight. I don't remember much of the fight, except hearing afterwards that Gary gave one of the smaller kids "nuggies" while his friends rode off in defeat. 

But the very next day when Gary had gone home to his own neighborhood, I saw that smaller kid walking towards me with his older brother who was even older and bigger than I was. The younger boy was pointing to me, while his brother started attacking me, saying I needed to "pick on someone my own size". There were street fighting rules. 

So he proceeded to kick my ass in front of the whole neighborhood. I don't remember too much of that fight either, except it ended with me on the ground with him sitting on top of me, holding down my biceps with his knees, freeing up his hands to hit my face.

I remember I kept trying to reach up with my legs to grap around his head, and almost succeeded the first time, but just wore myself out trying again and again. Meanwhile he kept slapping the sides of my face again and again and again, telling me to "give'.  

The funny thing was that the whole neighborhood was watching from the sidelines, kids and adults, and no one even tried to break it up. I deserved that beating, it was sanctioned, and I was totally humiliated. Eventually I gave up, and walked the 100 feet to the front door of my house in shame. In retrospect I realize that beating humbled me and taught me a good lesson about being a bully. 

I thought about the story today as I read the latest Donald Trump news. Ironically the Donald and I are only a few years different in age and he actually grew up only 5 miles away from me. 

I wondered if the little rich bully ever got his ass kicked like that. Probably not. 

Later,
Steve

Friday, January 27, 2017

2017/01/27 - Scream therapy, Orange no more?, Orientation

Ok I'll admit that I'm a little bit strange. One of the things I sometimes do while I'm riding alone and out of earshot is sing, especially songs with a little bit of screaming. For a recommendation, "It Ain't Me Babe", by Bob Dylan is a great starter song. 

It's great therapy. 

So today I'm riding along, feeling high, feeling strong, singing along with my Trekx Titanium headphones to the song "Fools in Love" by Joe Jackson. And I'm belting out the line "Fools in love, are there any creatures more pathetic?", not realizing two women were walking ahead of me, just around the bend. 

I instinctively shut up hoping they didn't hear me, but as I passed, one of the woman said "Sounded good!" I said thanks, but was totally embarrased. 
.....

Has anyone noticed that Trump's hair is turning from orange to gray/white?
.....

Sexual orientation = who you make love with
Gender orientation =  who you make love as

Later,
Steve