Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016/12/29 - Horace, Alex & Lucille continued, 100 mi/wk goal

As the months past, caring for Lucille got easier and easier. Her Alzheimer’s symptoms seemed to lessen, and Alex started to suspect that she might not have Alzheimer’s at all, that she may have had a stroke, or a mini-stroke. One piece of evidence supporting this suspicion was that on the day that her symptoms began, the right side of her upper lip started drooping.

Over the past few months, her doctors removed her Alzheimer’s medication, then her high-blood pressure medicine. After that, her confusion and fear stopped and she started acting more and more like a normal 87 year-old. And once her appetite came back she started gaining weight and strength. Soon she was going up and down the stairs multiple times a day without assistance.

This was all great for Lucille, but Alex was starting to realize that he was in for the long haul. The woman that came to him four months ago looked like she wouldn’t live out the year, now it looked like she might outlast Alex.

But Lucille still could not be left alone, and Alex and Aida started to feel like prisoners in their own house. Sadly the stress was weakening an already shaky marriage.

Aida felt like she was loosing her life and that Lucille was slowly taking over her place in the family. Arguments between Alex and Aida became more and more frequent until finally she came to Alex saying, “I want a divorce”.

Alex thought of a scene from "My Cousin Vinny".

…..

Today I achieved one of my 2016 cycling goals; averaging 100 miles per week for the entire year. It was only a year or two ago when my friend Carol was congratulating me on my first 100-mile week and I thought it was a big deal.

I have to give credit where credit is due. If it weren’t for the amazingly good weather in Jefferson County Colorado, this never would have been possible for me.

I’ll post my entire 2016 cycling stats on January 1st.

Later,
Steve

Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016/12/25 - Christmas Eve, Dad's mind, Blowing smoke

Ho Ho Ho... Merry Christmas. Actually I think Jesus would be turning over in his tomb (that is, if he hadn't risen into heaven) if he knew what was going on in his name. I can just see him at Wallmarts on Christmas Eve yelling "STOP!"

Here's a picture of our living room after last night's present opening session:


















.....

Card games are so challenging because normal people find it impossible to memorize 52 cards, especially game, after game, after game. 

But there are some people who can. 

My dad was one of them and it really sucked to play cards with him. We would play Gin Rummy and towards the end when I would think I was getting close to knocking or to getting Gin, he would know exactly what I had in my hand and say something like "Don't think I'm going to give you that Jack you need for Gin". 

I'm not just blowing smoke up his arse, he eventually achieved the title of "Grand Master" in bridge. 
.....

Have you ever wondered where the expression "Blowing smoke up your ass" originated? 

It turns out that years ago blowing smoke up someone's ass was thought to revive a person from drowning. There were even stations along some river in France, containing a pipe and tobacco specifically for this purpose. 

But afterwards when it was proven to be unfounded, it became a common joke. 

Later,
Steve

Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016/12/24 - Holiday people, Peas, Doctor Joe

People come out of the woodwork on holidays. I'm seeing whole classes of people in my local King Soopers supermarket that I never see all year long.

Yesterday this guy was ahead of me on line for the register and he looked like he walked right off of a James Bond movie. He was actually the best dressed man I've ever seen in King Soopers. I felt like taking a picture of his casual outfit for future reference, but that would have been way too gay.

My guess is that he was from out of town visiting his parents for the holidays.

I'm also seeing people who look like old hippies or meth addicts, people you would typically see at Walmarts before dawn. I'm not sure what is bringing these people out in daylight during the holidays.
....

Have you ever wondered how they split the peas?
.....

Yesterday I read some alarming news about my veterinarian, "Doctor Joe". I'm actually still in shock. I've known Joe for over 15 years, and have always thought of him as a kind gentle man. He was loved by the community, in fact the whole town of Nederland donated funds to help pay for his many surgerys years ago when he caught a flesh eating virus  in the hospital.

He treated my dog Satchmo all his life and we cried together when we had to put him down.

But I also knew he had a history of addiction, and easy access to serious drugs. That's a scary combination.

Funny thing, the last time I saw Joe was about a year ago for Trixie's vaccination. As a loyal customer, and friend, I still travel all the way to Ned just to see him. He didn't look good. He looked a little sweaty and nervous. I actually whispered to the nurse afterwards "Is Joe all right? She replied the he was just getting over the flu. I suspected he might have been "off the wagon."

Later,
Steve

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016/12/21 - Pictures from Mom's Birthday

Here's two shots from the little party we had for mom's 87th birthday last Sunday 12/18:






Later,
Steve

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016/12/20 - A Scary World

We live in a scary world. A world where corporate and government agencies have equations to learn more about you. They have algorithms that try to figure out if you could be a terrorist, or learn your political and religious affiliations. They figure out what products you might want to buy and ads for you to receive. They may determine if you are a credit risk, or a health risk. They can influence your entrance into a job, a university, or your release from prision.

But for me the scary part is that some of these equations have gotten so complicated that they are impossible for humans to understand and the results from these black box algorithms may not agree with the moral and ethical values of our society.

I just listened to a great TED talk given on the subject by Zeynep Tufekci titled "Machine intelligence makes human morals more important". Two quotes stuck out for me:

"Artificial intelligence does not give us an a Get-out-of-ethics-free card".

"We cannot outsource our moral responsibilities to machines."

Later,
Steve

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016/12/11 - Guinea Pigs

Many many moons ago when I was into running, I did a few overnight stays in cities hosting marathons the following day, and I attended some of the pre-race gatherings where all the running nerds shared their marathon stories and training secrets. 

At one of these events I learned that some runners were using a drug called Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DSMO) that was topically used on farm animals to relieve muscle and joint pain. It was something that was just rubbed on sore knees, or hips and the pain instantly went away. The product was not approved for humans, and was traded on the black market, especially at events like this.

It didn't sound safe, and I never used it, but one thing I heard one of the runners say that stuck in my head was that immediately after you rubbed it in, you could taste it in your mouth. I guess I never realized that stuff you put on your skin got absorbed into your whole body. 

This point was made clear again when recently I listened to a "Stuff You Should Know" podcast "How Makeup Works". It said that a woman using makeup on a regular basis absorbs 5 pounds of chemicals through her skin each year (think of a 5-pound bag a sugar for comparison).

And if this is not scary enough, cosmetics DO NOT have to pass the same government restrictions and regulations that food does. In fact, in the US cosmetics can be sold to the public until they are proven harmful. This is the opposite of how they are handled in Europe, where products have to be proven save before they can be sold to the public. In other words in the US, the people are used as Guinea pigs. 

It scares me to think of all the cologne I've slapped on my face, or all the deodorants and bug repellents I've used, without any concern of what chemicals were in them. As a kid I can remember Stripe toothpaste had a catchy jingle touting "Hexa.... Hexa... Hexachlorophene" until it proved to cause cancer. 

According to the podcast, there are currently dozens of known carcinogens in the cosmetics legally sold in the US today. 

Very scary stuff. 

Later,
Steve 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2016/12/07 - Ritchie

Around the same time that I was avoiding Donnie, I met another psychopath, this time in school.

I started high school at 13, and in my mind high school was the entry into manhood. I was now a man and able to do all those things that men do.

So I started smoking the first day of school. The back half of the Q64 bus that came to my corner at 7 o'clock was filled with Edison High students, and the last 3 rows, two of which faced each other, were unofficially reserved for smokers. Without saying a word, I took a seat in the back, grubbed a Lucky Strike from one of the guys and quietly listened to the conversations, which were mostly exaggerations about escapades with girls. 

Thomas Edison High was an all boys school, mostly vocational, but there was a small technical section offering majors in electronics, chemistry, or mechanical engineering. I was in the mechanical engineering section because my mother wanted me to become an engineer. She had absolutely no idea what engineers did, except make good money. 

I still remember the clothes that I was wearing that first day. I wore a blue and white checkered tab collared dress shirt, a thin black fake leather tie, black chinos, and shiny black shoes. I had prepared this "look" for a week beforehand. 

I guess teenage boys need to establish a pecking order, and it didn't take long for this guy Ritchie to come forward to prove himself. Ritchie was a young Irish kid of average height, a strong build, and a face that looked like it belonged to a prizefighter. His nose had obviously been broken at least once, and it had a crooked twist to it. 

He spent a few days sizing up his classmates and on the first Friday morning of the first week, he "called out" four or five guys which he perceived as possible threats. In the early 60's calling someone out meant challenging them to a fist fight. 

Since I was the tallest guy in the class, I was one of the guys that Ritchie called out. He approached me before class and said "I'm calling you out. Meet me outside after school".

I had some experience in getting my ass kicked in street fights and I knew that was actually more humiliating than painful. Not that it didn't hurt, but the embarrassment of taking a beating surrounded by a huge cheering crowd is worse. But even worse than that was punking out. Not showing up would be admitting that you were a coward and face being picked on for the rest of high school. There was no way that I wanted that. 

And like I said, the pain involved in the beating was the least of it. The only weapons were fists and the fights always ended with someone just saying "I give". Of course you had to try, and someone usually gave up when it was apparent they lost. 

I have a painful memory of getting my ass kicked when I was 11, right in front of my house with all the neighbors watching. After a few punching attempts the fight turned into wrestling, and after a while my bigger and older opponent had me on the ground with his knees pinning my arms, all the while slapping my face and asking if I was ready to give up. He kept slapping and I kept trying to get my legs up and around his head. Eventually I wore myself out, gave up, and walked home in shame. 

Back to the Richie story, I spent the entire Friday scared shitless, waiting to get my ass kicked once again in front of a crowd outside of my new school. 

The time came and I walked outside looking as cool and calm as I possibly could. There he was, waiting for me in the middle of the street. But as I approached him, instead of raising his fists to fight, he offered his hand to shake, saying "You're OK". 

It turned out I was the only guy out of the ones he called out, that showed up. 

If I wasn't such a coward, I would have taken advantage of this obvious sign of weakness, but instead I shook his hand and that was the beginning of my friendship with a psychopath. 

Have you ever had a friend that you were really afraid of?

Ritchie lived about a mile from me, across the street from Aqueduct Racetrack. He invited me over his house one Saturday afternoon. I rang the bell and he answered the door and led me into the kitchen. Then he called out to his mom to get us a couple of beers. Without saying a word, she went into the refrigerator and brought out two beers. I was shocked. We were 14! Then he offered me a cigarette, but I had my own. 

Ritchie's father was absent and his older brother was in prison. He lived alone with his mom and it looked as if she was as afraid of him as I was. 

The following Friday night I got to meet some of his friends and they were about as scary as Ritchie. I remember walking with them to the schoolyard where they hung out. We all had a pint of Gypsy Rose wine hidden inside our jackets, and we took sips of this cheap rot gut along the way. 

It was my introduction to alcohol, and I loved it. With my first sip, I drank almost a third of the bottle. I remember the warm feeling as it went down and the laughs and the acceptance I got from the other guys. It all felt good. 

In all honesty there was a certain advantage to having Ritchie as a friend in high school. No one ever messed with me again. 

It wasn't long before Ritchie went back to "reform school". One summer day he and a friend decided to steal a car, rather than take the train back home from Rockaway Beach. In those days some people actually left their car doors unlocked with the keys in the ignition. It didn't take long before Ritchie found one. But as they were driving away, he hit the owner who came running out of his house after them, and proceeded to crash into a telephone pole. 

I was a senior by the time they let him out. The phone rang and it was Ritchie. "Hey Steve, Where can I get some of this new shit LSD?"

Later,
Steve

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016/11/30 - Wasted Time

I struggle with my place in this universe. When I was a child I was at the center, but have drifted further and further away as the years have passed. 

If you are reading this, you are one of just a handful of people curious enough to know what's going on in my life, to take the time to visit me here. You are a very special group, one I'll call "my favorite people". I dare use the word "friend", for that word has lost all meaning to me. 

The dictionary defines the word "friend" as a person that you know well and regard with affection and trust. I think I should have used this definition when I friended people on Facebook. Maybe I wouldn't have developed this false sense of popularity. 

But you don't want to insult someone when they send you a friend request, so you accept requests from people who are hardly acquaintances, some who collect Facebook friends like baseball cards.  

The first time I joined FB, I accepted friend requests from my 14erWorld contacts and that got out of hand very quickly. So I deleted my account and started over, this time being a little more selective in my "friends", but not exactly meeting that dictionary definition above. 

Then I started this blog and I put a lot of work into it. I collected and displayed all my favorite images from my mountaineering days, my peak lists, and put together a little bit of my history of my interests and accomplishments. 

I was excited and anxious to share it with my FB friends, but hugely disappointed when hardly anybody bothered to check it out. It was as if that extra mouse click separated my FB friends from my real friends. And it wasn't just a fluke. I tried this experiment over and over again with the same results. 

There was even one FB friend who was a nurse and asked in a FB message for details of my bicep injury. But when I told her to go to my blog for the details, she balked. I guess she wanted me to type it all over again just for her. 

So before deleting the new FB account, I told all my friends who followed me that I had a blog, and I mention it at the bottom of all my outgoing emails. Everybody who knows me, knows where to find me. 

The moral of this story is to know who your friends are, and don't waste your time on people who don't give a shit about what you are doing. 

Later,
Steve

Monday, November 21, 2016

2016/11/21 - Yesterday's BBQ, Boo

The adult table at yesterday's BBQ.
Clockwise starting with Jeanne on the left, Kristen, Hector, Veronica, Kara, Sue, Bill, and the back of Val's head.


.....

Imagine yourself standing amongst a huge crowd, surrounding a platform on which stands a holy man with a huge axe, next to his only son, tied down with his head on a chopping block. And the man announces to the throng: "I'm killing my son so that your sins will be forgiven".

Would you question this logic? Wouldn't some people be saying "Wait, that's not necessary"? Would some people be booing?

But isn't that one of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity? That god sacrificed his only son so that our sins would be forgiven?

Boo...

Later,
Steve  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016/11/17 - Donnie

I've often wanted to write down my story about Donnie, and have practiced it many times while riding my bike, but the story always seems to lose it's energy before going to print.

When I was 13 my parents moved to a new neighborhood in Queens NYC, one which was a better commute to their jobs in Manhattan, but was riddled with street gangs. One such gang, "The Chessmen" hung out in the grammar school yard on the corner of my block. 

The Chessman were actually a combination softball team and street gang. They weren't actually sanctioned, or part of any league. They strictly played street softball with other street gangs. Often the games ended in a gang fight and cars parked alongside the schoolyard would loose their antennas during these fights, as they became handy weapons. 

To say the least, these softball games were exciting, and people came from all around to watch. There was hardly a spectator's gap in the chain link fence surrounding the yard. Even the cages surrounding the first floor school windows had dozens of people sitting on top. 

And the people came to see the star player, Donnie. 

At the age of 16 Donnie weighed about 250 pounds. He was shaped more like a gorilla than a man, and with his weight behind the ball, he could easily hit an automatic home run over the outfield fence. Donnie was the only player I ever saw do that. He was also the only player brave enough to retrieve the ball in the backyard of a psycho old man. 

In Bizarro World, Donnie would have been the star of his high school's baseball team, destined for scholarships, but in the real world Donnie was a psychopath, destined for prison. Aside from soft ball, Donnie's favorite pastime was getting high on booze and/or drugs and battering innocent passerbys late at night, sometimes sending them to the hospital. There was also rumors of his involvement in gang rape. 
.....

I had a friend in school who worked part time at the Lefferts movie theatre on Liberty Avenue. He would let me and my friends in the backdoor for free whenever he was on his shift. 

In my desperation to make friends in the new neighborhood, I mentioned this perk to one of the Chessmen, and before I knew it, I had a few takers, including Donnie. This could have solidified my entry into The Chessman, but instead it backfired and got me on the bad side of Donnie. 

It turned out that my friend at the theatre got fired (for letting people in for free) and we got turned back. But Donnie got angry, and told me "I have a bone to pick with you now". Those words still ring in my ears today. 

I should have taken the warning and stayed clear of the Chessman and the schoolyard, but I didn't. A foolish kid desperate to fit in, I kept coming back. What else could I do? This was my world.

It didn't take too long for Donnie to pick his bone with me. It was the 4th of July and the streets were full of people watching the fireworks that the people were shooting off in the schoolyard. It was dark and noisy as I walked across the street, out of the corner of my eye, l saw Donnie and his sidekick Joey coming towards me. 

"Can you sing?' They said they were starting a band, but I  knew this was bullshit and braced for the worst. They were drunk and I was scared. Donnie put his arm around my shoulders and said "Come on, hit a note for us!' I watched his other hand closely and when I saw it make a fist, I squirmed out of his hold and ran for my life. 

Now Joey was on the track team in John Adams high school, and I knew he could catch me, but fear is a great motivator and I ran like the wind. I also knew the backyards like the back of my hand, and quickly cut into a driveway. Soon I was hopping fences faster then he could catch me. 

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I closed the front door to my parents apartment and sat in the stairway catching my breath. That could have turned out bad!

Minutes later I met my dad in the kitchen and he asked the unbelievable: "Could you go down the corner and get me a pack of cigarettes?" There was no way I could go back to that corner, and no way I would tell my dad why I couldn't go. So I said "Sure dad", and walked six blocks in the opposite direction to the next nearest store that sold cigarettes. 

For the next two years I lived in fear and stayed clear of the schoolyard and Donnie. I was always looking over my shoulder. 

And then one day I heard the news. Donnie and Joey, high on LSD, beat up the wrong kid sending him to the hospital. The kid's older brother was a badass member of a motorcycle gang and the word was out that they were after Donnie and Joey. 

The cloud was lifted, it was like a new day. I never saw Donnie again.

And to this day I've not let go of the fear and hate I have for him, and I never will. 

Later,
Steve

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016/11/13 - Loser, Dirty Bismarck with Mitch

I've had a lot of trouble continuing my cycling biography, because my next bike met a tragic ending, and a guess I really never forgave myself for being such a loser. 

That bike was a Chordia, a brand new pretty yellow ten-speed. It was 1970 and I was in college. I was young and I was strong. I knew absolutely nothing about cycling but as I raced through the streets of NYC after dark, I dreamed of being in the Olympics. It was a fools dream I never dared share.

I started riding my bike everywhere, especially because I had already crashed and totaled the beautiful sports car my parents bought me for college. I even rode from Queens to Scranton PA (145 miles) two summers in a row, once with my friend JaggerDog and the next time with my friend Little Steve.

One summer day I rode my bike from my home in Queens to Rockaway Beach, 108th Street. I met a lovely young lady and started drinking wine with her and her friends. At the end of the day when everyone was packing to go home, I suddenly remembered that I rode my bike there, and I was drunk. 

I remember riding across the Cross Bay Bridge and going too fast on the downside, and then the next thing I know, I woke up in a firehouse surrounded by fireman, laughing, and shouting, "He's come to!" I had crashed and gone unconscious for a while. 

In the corner of the firehouse was my Chordia, a mangled mess of metal. The clothing and skin on my shoulder, hip, and thigh were shredded. The firemen tried to keep me there, but I assured them I was OK, and walked to the nearest bus stop. 

The bus was crowded and I had to stand. I remember catching the passengers staring at me, a bloody mess, and a total fucking loser. 

I didn't buy another bike for 15 years. 
.....

Did the Dirty Bismarck with Mitch this morning:


Me and my new ride

Mitch


Later,
Steve

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016/11/09 - My New Ride, My time is important?, Lesson Learned

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29


.....

While waiting for nearly 20 minutes for Kaiser Permanente to connect me to the Memory Clinic, I listened to the same recording every 60 seconds "Your time is important to us, please hold for the next available agent."

I thought to myself, they should change the recording to "Your money is important to us, but we don't give a shit about your time. Just keep holding for the next available agent".
.....

Lesson learned: Never underestimate the power of celebrity.

Later
Steve

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016/11/08 - Crash and Burn

I fell again yesterday during my ride.

A few days ago I discovered a new thin single track trail close to my house. It’s a short course, only about two miles, but a nice addition to the beginning or end of my daily ride.

Yesterday I discovered a variation to my new trail, and with delight, I cruised down it. Near the bottom, there were these two old gray short 2X4’s, with a half inch between them, spanning a two foot wide, but very deep crack in the trail.

Normally I would have stopped and walked across, but it was so short and I just went for it. I did it, and for about a tenth of a second I was joyous, but immediately afterwards my front wheel fell into a deep hole obscured by weeds, and I went flying over the handlebars.

As I lay on the ground taking inventory, once again I said to myself “I’m getting too old to be falling like this”.

Upon impact with mother earth, I could feel my entire skeleton crunching together. I could feel old familiar joint pains. I wiggled around a little to see if anything was broken, and then got up to survey the damage to my bike and my skin.

It’s funny, the first thought that came to my mind once I realized I was OK was “Good thing I didn’t hurt my back before my new bike arrived. I would be torture if I couldn’t ride it”.

I felt a little soreness on my right side and I couldn’t bend my left thumb without pain, but other than a few small cuts, I felt OK and rode another 10 miles.

I must have bruised a kidney or something internal, because there was blood in my urine the next three times I peed. That scared me, but I’ve been “running clear” all day so far, so I guess I’m OK.

I’ll keep you posted.

Later,
Steve

PS: I just got a call from University Bikes saying my new ride is ready!

Monday, November 7, 2016

2016/11/07 - Horace, Alex, and Lucille continued

A month past without any word from Horace. Alex was wise enough to know that this was too good to be true, and as expected, the monster reared its ugly head again. 

It's funny, as time goes by, some people can forgive themselves, and forget the ugly deeds they do, and can return to the table as if nothing had ever happened. 

Alex was starting to realize how futile it was to continue arguing with Horace. He was dealing with a man who was in total denial of the wrongfulness of his actions. 

He was dealing with and old spiteful man with anger issues, who forgives himself and forgets his deeds. 

Either that or he is a pathological lier. This possibility came to light when Horace was still denying his guilt in the safe deposit box incident, even though indisputable evidence was produced. 

Alex had a quick temper and tough guy attitude, but inside he was a softy, with an enormous capacity to forgive. 

But he wasn't going to forgive someone who was denying his guilt, and would except NOTHING LESS than an acknowledgement and sincere apology for every dirty deed, along with some reasonable offer to make amends. 

In reality, Alex and his mom didn't want any monetary compensation for her valuables that he gave away or kept for himself, they just wanted an apologetic confession for disrespecting Lucille and her property, along with an offer of penance. 

Alex was so puzzled as to why this path back to his mom's heart was so difficult for Horace to take, and why he would rather send police to Alex's home for "welfare" checks and make threats and offer bribes. 

But then again, he was dealing with and old spiteful man with anger issues, who forgives himself and forgets his dirty deeds.

To be continued...

Later,
Steve

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016/11/06 - Blowing in the wind

You gain a certain freedom when you lose your vanity. 

About a year ago I decided to get a short crew cut, about 1/4 inch long. 

Up until this point I was like the anorexic woman looking at herself in the mirror, not seeing the reality of her reflection. All I had left on top were thin remnants of a once thick crop of hair, but now it was looking more like a feint hologram. 

The slightest whisk of wind would blow it out of place, and I was constantly combing, patting, and fixing. What a relief it was to give all this up! 

Then I went one step further and decided to wear a uniform, which I've been wearing for about six months now and no one seems to have noticed. At least no one has mentioned it. 

It's black short sleeve tee shirt, Carhart jeans, black cotton athletic socks, black briefs, and a pair of sneakers. I have enough of each to put on a clean uniform every day and I'm ready to go. Very simple and very easy to reorder the items on Amazon. 

It's nice to have ten of the same clean black tee shirts hanging in my closet. I can snatch a fresh one a few times a day without anyone noticing any difference. 

Now the next time any of my (five) blog followers see me, they are going to jokingly ask "Didn't I see you wearing the same outfit last time?" And I'll respond "Thanks so much for following my blog". 

Later,
Steve

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016/10/30 - Justified

For almost a year now I've been wanting a new bike, and for three days now I've been trying to write a justification to post here on my blog. 

Unfortunately each time I read my justification, I realize I can't even convince myself of my need for a new bike.

But the key word here is "new". I have 4 bikes that are well maintained by most cyclist's standards, but I really only like to ride two of them. 

Both are over 6 years old and have very high mileage by anybody's standards, and I feel like each is just one ride away from something else breaking. 

Just click on the link to my 2016 cycling stats on the right hand side of this page, and you'll see that I ride a lot. 

So having a new bike that I can ride for a year or so without having to replace anything but chains and break pads sounds wonderful. 

Humm... that sounds like my latest justification.

Screw it, I don't care what you think, I just bought a new Specialized carbon 29er. 

They say the key to happiness is to always have something to look forward to. My bike comes in in two weeks!

Later,
Steve

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016/10/25 - Oh Carol, my favorite new blogger

Every time I think of you, this song comes to mind:
https://youtu.be/YW0cVp0WWkk

PS: One minute into the video I caught myself dancing on the kitchen floor.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016/10/18 - Final Facebook Bashing?

As many of you know, I've had a problem with Facebook for a long while. Just a quick scan through my postings here on my blog will confirm that.

But I think I've finally decided to remove my Facebook ID forever.

I've stayed away from Facebook for a while now, trying to avoid the election propaganda, and to avoid knowing which of my "friends" are Trump supporters, as it upsets me almost to the point of unfriending them.

But after a while away from FB, I've kicked the habit, and any short visit back confirms my actual dislike for the application.

Connecting with old "friends" is fun, especially seeing what they look like nowadays, but most of these people weren't actually a friend, they were more like an acquaintance, and the ones who were actually a friend of mine, stopped being my friend for a reason. Aside from family most all of my FB friends fit into either of these two categories.

People come in and out of your life, that's normal.

So why do I want to connect or reconnect with these people? Why do I want to look at their family pictures?

Once my initial curiosity as to what they look like nowadays fades, I'm done. And I'm sure that these old "friends" are done with me too as soon as they see what I look like nowadays. 

I'll ask these friends to come to my blog to read a story and NOBODY COMES (except for my few real friends that come here anyway without prompting). So I don't feel so guilty leaving my FB friends. Sorry....

And 99% of these "friends" never actually say anything. They just show family pictures, or vacation pictures (without identifying the people in the pictures), or they pass along the words of other people, or news propaganda that suits their ideology.

I'm not going to lose any of my real friends by quitting FB, they know how to get in touch with me and I know how to reach them.

Truth be told, I'm already saddened by the way "friendship" seems to be disintegrating in real life in our society. Most of us don't have time for real friends anymore. We are too busy and we substitute face-to-face interaction and real connection with shallow shit like Facebook and Twitter.

So goodby, adios, sayonara Facebook!

BTW... Did you know that you can download your FB information to your computer? The download is in the form of a local web with links to all your pictures, posts, friends names, etc. Very cool.

Later,
Steve

PS: My good friend George from Long Island NY is in the air right now, on his way to DIA. He'll be spending a week with me and the fam. I'm totally psyched! We have been "real" friends for over 50 years. We will be bike riding every day and I'll post pictures here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

2016/10/17 - A dick or a pussy

Many years ago, early in my career in a major oil company, I was an administrative clerk and one of my duties was ordering supplies for the patent department which mostly consisted of attorneys and engineers with overinflated egos.

One of the items that I was in charge of ordering for them was briefcases.

Now there was only TWO company supplied briefcases. One was a cheap tan fake leather coated case that was available for all employees up to a specific grade level. The other was a fancy Samsonite case available to employees at and over that specific grade level.

Of course all the lawyers and engineers wanted the good case and when I told those not entitled that they couldn't have it, they would try and push their weight on me, just a lowly serf.

I got so tired of this, that I finally went to the head of the Office Services Department and pleaded my case for another briefcase option, one better than the cheap one, but not as costly as the Samsonite case.

Now the head of a department in the headquarters of a major oil company in the 1970's was a big wheel, and a good-old-boy, and I was humbled as I passed by his secretary and entered his lavishly decorated Chrysler Building office with fine old fashion wooden furniture, soft lamp lighting, and a Persian rug, the standard decor for an executive at his high level. There was even a polished brass spittoon next to his desk, in case he chewed.

Without offering me to sit down, he stood up and said "I'm going to make this quick and simple for you Steve", at which point he held out both hands to make his point. 

Holding up one hand after the other, he said "You either have a dick or a pussy, right?" I nodded yes, and then he added "Nothing in between, right?" Once again I nodded yes. Then he said "Same thing with the briefcases" and asked "You got it?" 

To this clear and concise explanation, I replied "Yes Sir!", and was excused to leave his office.

You have no idea how much I enjoyed passing on these words of wisdom (always prefaced with: "According to the head of Office Services") to all the fancy pants lawyers and engineers.

Later,
Steve