Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018/01/01 - Happy New Year

2017/12/31 - My 2017 Cycling Stats

My 2017 cycling stats are in!

For the second year in a row, I completed my cycling goal of averaging 100 miles/week. The following stats are screen shots, taken straight from my Strava profile:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017/12/31 - Crazy Love

Diane was a young 24, and I was 32. My life at this period in 1982 was a complete train wreck. Amidst mounting financial problems, my wife moved back home to her parents to go to law school, leaving me with all the bills that we couldn’t afford to pay with both our salaries. 

I was drinking too much, smoking too much, and I was spiraling downhill.

And then Diane burst into my life (see previous post). 

But she was even more messed up than I was! Only a few months before we met she was rescued from a car wreck by jaws-of-life and had facial reconstruction. It happened on the way home from a drunk night at the local Texaco bar. 

Needless to say we were perfect for each other, although we never actually were boyfriend and girlfriend. After that first crazy night, she just moved in, and stayed at my house for a couple of months. But she left after our first argument, and took all the stuff that she bought for the house while she was “playing house”. 

That pissed me off royally, and while it was so sweet for her to upgrade my shower curtain, stove top burners, window curtains, towels, bed sheets, etc, it drove me fucking insane when she took them away when she left. And then she demanded I return the radial arm saw which her dad so generally gave me. 

But the icing on the cake was the slap in my face in front of all the neighbors when I returned the saw. 

Little did she know, that slap sealed the fate of any future for us. There was no going back after that. 

I never had, what we had, again. It was crazy love. Maybe the best kind. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

20012/12/30 - Diane

My carpool dropped me off at my van, which was parked at the Katona exit off of 685. The locks on the doors of my piece-of-shit van were broken, so anybody could have gotten in. When I entered, I saw the note.

It read “Steve, you may not remember me, but I was one of the secretaries who worked in your department. I’m on a leave of absence break. If you want to get together, here’s my number... , Diane”.

I held on to the note for a few days, but eventually I couldn’t resist the temptation. When I called her, she said “Okay, I’ve already made the first move, so why don’t I just come over your house.

I said okay.

I peaked through the shutters of my kitchen windows as her car approached my house, thinking that I made a huge mistake. 

But No... As I watched her leave her blue Honda walking towards my back door, I saw a beautiful young slender woman with blond hair. Oh my god, this was just too good to be true!

She was carrying a six-pack of beer, a pint of peppermint snaps, some grass, and a little hash. Her plan was to seduce me, and I was ready and able to comply. 

She kind of moved in with me, in the sense the she didn’t leave, but I didn’t mind. I was having the greatest sex of my life. 

I’ve always wished we could have gotten it together otherwise. 

2017/12/29 - I have two dogs now

“I have two dogs now, twice a many as last year”. 

This is something I’ve been repeating, almost like a zombee. Two months ago on my birthday, I asked for a puppy. This alone should qualify me for an intervention, for anybody who knows how insane my life has become since rescuing my dementia mom from her abusive asshole husband, getting a puppy is crossing the line. 

I forgot how crazy life becomes with a puppy. I know a human baby is much times worse (cause you can’t just put them in a cage), but a dog is a good second. There’s the barking, the chewing, the diarrhea, the whining, the wake-ups in the middle of the night, the smell of dog shit, the cleaning of poop on the shag rug, the biting with the razor sharp teeth, the neighbor’s complaints, and the scratching with razor sharp claws. 

If you are following me, please know that I’m on the brink of insanity.

But then, each morning, when I let the the little monkey out of her kennel, and she jumps on my bed and madly licks my face, it become all worth while. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017/12/28 - Zeh and I are Gay?

I am laughing out loud right now.

My best friend Zeh (who coincidentally is my step-daugther’s father (figure it out)), is having a visit from his older brother Pedro and his nephew Gabriel.

I walked into the room full of Portuguese words and laughter, and the old man of the house asked “What’s going on?” My beautiful wife answered “Pedro thinks that Zeh and you are gay.”

Later on this evening’ after they left, I asked Val “Why did Pedro say that?” she replied Pedro said “Zeh talks about Steve like he’s in love with him”.

I had to laugh. It’s so nice to have a good male friend, who’s nearby and available, at this stage of my life. I feel like we are the same age (he probably doesn’t), but he is 23 years younger than me, young enough to be my son. 

There’s no way that I ever think of Zeh as a son (actually that would cross the line in my mind as being too weird, let’s face it, our relationship is already weird enough), but if he was, he would be a fun son. 

And hearing Pedro’s reply, just strengthens our bond. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017/12/27 - Hands in the Cookie Jar

There were two times in my life that I can clearly recall  getting my “hand caught in the cookie jar.”

The first was way back in 1982 when I found myself “single” again, after my first wife left me. My new girlfriend Melinda and I started dating after meeting at a TAC party (see a previous post titled  “Melinda”).

Melinda an I both worked in this huge Texaco headquarters 4-story complex in White Plains NY. And as young lovers might often do, we planned to “accidenty” meet somewhere in the building.

On this day we coordinated meeting in the elevator, and once alone, we started kissing madly. And when the elevator started to slow down, it was our signal to separate and pretend we don’t even know each other.

Unfortunately fate presented a different plan.

You see, I was a professional NewYorker, wearing a 3-piece suit with jacket open and a dozen buttons streaming down my vest. She had about the same number of gold chains dangling from her neck.

Needless to say, the chains and the buttons got all tangled up, and as the elevator door opened to a group of familiar co-workers, we were frantically trying to get untangled.

Amidst laughing, someone in the croud said “Someone’s got there hands caught in the cookie jar!”


The next time was with Deb. Ironically she was the first woman that I dated after my my next marriage breakup. My ex and I had filed for an uncontested divorce and were in the middle of a 90-day “cool off” period required by Boulder county. Needless to say, Deb and I were trying to keep our new relationship secret so as not to look like I was cheating, or that she was breaking up a marriage.

We planned to meet in this small restaurant, in this little mountain town, in the middle of nowhere.

Now Deb and I were both very prominent and popular mountaineering instructors in the Colorado Mountain Club. Everybody in the “hard core” group knew of us.

There we were, waiting for our food in this secluded restaurant in Wonderviev Colorado, holding all four of our hands across the table, lovers in love.

Meanwhile a party of 6 was being seated in the big empty table next to ours. Unbelievable it was a  CMC group, going for food after an outing. And seated right next to Deb was Ginger, another prominent member of the club, who smiled and announced “Someone’s got there hand caught in the cookie jar!”

I’m always surprised at how stupid I can be. For some reason I thought that my friend Ginger (who I had actually dated twice, 15 years earlier, when she was a hot 49-year old rock-jock, and I was between my first and second marriage) would keep our secret, a secret.

My next girlfriend was also in the club. Not wanting to gossip, I purposely never mentioned my last girlfriend (Deb) to her. In my stupidity, I was totally surprised  when she told me that she knew I went out with Deb. I remember telling her “I didn’t think anyone knew”, to which she replied “Steve, EVERYBODY knew!”

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017/12/21 - Tommy Red

The year was 1964. Tommy was my best friend. I was downstairs in his basement. He was in “prison”, a term he jokingly called the punishments that were dealt out by his cruel insane father.

I was allowed to visit him, which I thought strange, since I was always the one he got in trouble with. Maybe they thought I could “reach” him, unfortunately they were mistaken, and he took his life 5 years later at 19.

Some people just don’t mix without trouble. We were simple volatile. High fives, and laughing our asses off were the standard. There were so many times that Tommy and I got into trouble (including police) that I can’t honestly remember which one was the exact “crime” he was in “prison” for, in his basement that night when we were 14.

But I do remember him turning me on to this new British band, the “Rolling Stones”, and he played their new album for me.

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over losing Tommy. And I don’t mean losing him when he committed suicide. I lost him a few years before when he got hooked on heroin. 

I lost him when he started hanging with the hep croud at Winters ice cream parlor, and was just too cool for me. 

I’ve always hoped that there is an afterlife. If there is, I know Tommy will be waiting for me on the other side, along with Julius, and my Dad. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017/12/20 - learning Guitair

Throw my ticket out the window.
  Throw my suitcase out there too.
Throw my troubles out the door,
   I don’t need them anymore 
Cause tonight I’ll be staying here with you. 

That’s my latest  Bob Dylan guitar song. After a couple of glasses of wine, I start sounding good, at least to myself.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017/12/18 - If I got rich, I’d be just like him?

Today I heard the most convincing argument as to why poor people like Trump. He said “Trump talks just like me. He’s the rich person I would be, if I got rich.”

BTW... I’m listening to a new book, written and narrated by Katy Tur titled “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History”. I highly recommend it. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017/12/13 - Life’s user guide

I wish life came with an up-to-date user manual, not the 2,000 year-old one that we are still using. 

Come on God... Please update your user guide. I know you are busy, with all that other stuff in the universe, but things are getting a little crazy down here.  

I’ve always been torn on how to live my life. Should I have the most fun I can possibly have, or should I strive to be the best person I can possibly be?

That’s a lie. I’ve never been torn on this issue, I’ve always chosen the former, but with a side of the latter. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017/12/12 - You never know what will give you your break

The year was 1981 and I was working at Texaco headquarters in White Plains, NY. Texaco was one of IBM’s best customers, and as a result we had all the latest IBM hardware and software. One new software that IBM introduced was a user reporting language called ADRS2.

Texaco also had its own IT department, with strict procedures and ADRS2 became a nightmare for the IT professionals. Now users with little or no coding experience could produce databases and computer reports for their department. Now departments had their own programmers, and no longer had to deal with the IT department and its endless analysis meetings and timely procedures.

I was one of the users developing applications in ADRS2 for my department. I taught myseft the basics of ADRS2 over a weekend, and the next Monday morning I was showing my first "Hello World” program in ADRS2 to my boss. It was simply a progtam the spelled out “Hello World” on the B&W computer monitor’s screen. At the time, it was like a miracle, and my boss was very impressed that I picked up this new language so quick.

But I was limited with the functions that ADRS2 provided, so I learned the language that ADRS2 was written in (APL), and now it seemed like I could do anything. And the APL code within the ADRS2 functions was open, so you could make a copy, tweak it, and save the modified function under a different name.

APL was a very weird sientific language that used all the Greek symbols as primitive functions. For example, the Greek symbol Iota “i’ creates a vector of integers from 1 to R. So if R = 6, then iR = (1 2 3 4 5 6).

The problem with APL was that once you “got it” nobody else could easily read your code, because there were so many ways to do the same thing, and users created their own unique functions by combining elements of the primitive functions. So reading someone else’s code was difficult and maintenance was nearly impossible. Programmers would rather rewrite a function, than try and modify another programmer’s code.

About this time IBM introduced the color monitor. This was cutting edge and my department ordered two off them, one for me, and the other for Michael Scaff. Now Michael had is ALL over me. He was a better programmer and he knew the business. All I had going was ambition and creativity.

Also about this time, one of my coworkers got promoted to another department and I inherited one of her responsibilities, managing the department’s hardware. She had done a very poor job of this and was extremely happy to relieve herself of this responsibility. With a smile on her face, she plopped a 2-foot mess of papers and files on my credenza, and said “Good luck”.

So there I was with a new IBM color monitor, APL/ADRS2 skills, and a new responsibility. A perfect storm for the creative mind.

I proceeded to create a relational database with tables for all the different types of equipment, each table storing all the elements of information relevant to the type of equipment.

Then I made a screen representing the floor plan of the department, showing each office with icons representing the different equipment in each office.

A mouse click on any icon pulled up a screen with all the relevant information about the office and equipment.

I created a GUI interface that knocked the socks off my boss. He was blown away. He was most impressed the I had no direction on this project and it was totally self-motivated.

A few months later my new girlfriend broke up with me and I asked for a transfer to Texaco’s Denver office. The Denver office called my boss, before flying me out to Denver for an interview. My boss sent them a copy of my hardware application, saying “I didn’t even know he was working on this! He’s a self-starter!”.

That was enough to get me the job interview in Texaco's Denver office.

The rest is history.

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017/12/08 - Replacing a bicycle casette

I bought my latest mountain bike about this time last year for 6K after Boulder tax, pedals, and a new helmet.

The bad thing about buying an expensive bike is that the maintenance is expensive, especially if you insist on replacing components with the original ones. As a result, I’ve gone through many years of $400 plus expenses on my Stumperjumper FRS Expert 29er. 

So last year when I bought my new Stumperjumper FRS Expert Carbon 29er, I promised myself that I would learn to do all the maintenance myself.

So far after 5,000 miles so good, but I’ve only had to replace tires, tubes, pedals, disk brake pads, and a chain. 

Today I tried to replace a casette. For those of you who may not know what a cassette is, it’s the group of gears on the back wheel of your bike. 

I watched multiple YouTube videos showing how to replace my type of casette, and in each one, it looked so easy!

So I bought the casette for $110, and the tools for $40, thinking that I was saving a fortune over the shop repair price. But when I tried to turn the casette tool, it wouldn’t budge. And I tried, and tried, and tried. 

And now my shoulder screams if I hold my arm up above my head. 

It really sucks being 67. Twenty years ago I could tumble down a snow slope laughingstock the way, today I can’t play pickleball without tearing a bicep, or working on my bike without hurting myself. 

Wa wa wa...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017/12/07 - Melinda

It was 1982, before the dawn of the DUI in Weschester County, New York. In those days everyone drove a little drunk sometimes, at least I thought so. But then all of a sudden the police started cracking down on drunk driving. 

The way I saw it, the goverment found a way of making a fortune out of American’s loving of alcohol. The DUI was a fortune maker for lawyers, courts, and prisons, but a real downer for civilian fun. 

The Texaco Athletic Club (TAC) party was a huge event in 1982. Hundreds of Texaco employees attended. I remember my friend John Swolphs coming into my office and jokingly asking if I was entering the “speed drinking” or the “marathon drinking” competition for tonight. I told him to enter me in both events. I was 32. 

The TAC parties had become a huge event. The Monday mornings at the coffee machine after a TAC party were filled with wild story’s of crashed cars, hookups, and fights. 

This night was no different. This was my first TAC party an I was newly “single” after my first wife left me. I was also the driver of a van full of party animals for the party that night. 

Now in those days I was a dancer and lucky for me it was the only way I could pick up chicks, because I was pretty shy otherwise. Melinda was a dancer too and she was the most beautiful woman at the dance, but with a bad reputation. I remember Ellen Koslowski saying “She must be up to the H’s now” when she found out we were dating. But that night we danced until we were sweating and needed to get outside to cool off. And that’s when I suggested going into my van. 

Nothing really happened that night between me and Melinda in the van, except a whole lot of kissing, but at the end of the dance when my idiot friends started banging on the side and back doors, they laughed and teased us. Melinda exited the van totally embarrassed, but I kissed her good night with a little smile on my face. 

The following Monday morning when my carpool van arrived, I was totally embarrassed when all my friends started clapping their hands as I entered. I guess my debut to the TAC party was a success. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017/12/06 - Goals

It was only about three years ago that I was proudly telling my friend Carol that I did my first 100 mile week in a long while. I was proud and I thought that it was a big deal, but later as I got into cycling, I realized how easy that was if you have the time.

And once it got easy, I made a goal for 2016 of riding 5,200 miles, for an average of 100 miles/week. 

At this point, I must point out the distinct difference between a goal of 100 miles/week, and a goal of 5,200 miles/year, because it is a world of difference. 

A 100 mile/week goal means riding 100 miles/week in winter, which for me is outside my comfort zone, whereas 5,200 miles/year allows me to build up a excess of miles in summer to use in winter months. 

As December rolled around in 2016, I paniced! I had a few dozen miles “in the bank”, but not enough to keep me from going out on days that were no longer fun. I managed to finish the year with 5,261 miles, meeting my goal, but promising not to let this happen next year. 

Here I am now at the end of 2017 with 25 days and 180 miles left to finish my goal. It might sound easy, but once again I’m panicking!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017/12/02 - Tommy

I was in college. That in itself was a miracle because I was the worst student on the planet. I spent all of my pre-college life trying to get out of school. But that’s another story.
So I’m studying for exams and the door bell rings and it’s my friend Tommy. Tommy used to be my closest friend, but I lost him to heroin. Now he hung out with the cool crowd, and he was too cool for me. 
Tommy and his friend Scotty ask me if they can use my parent’s oven to dry a pound of pot.
Now this is way out of my league at the time and I don’t even understand what or why the need to do this. But as a stupid teenager, I don’t want to look uncool, so I say sure...
While the marijuana is heating in my parents oven, Tommy an Scotty, one at a time, need to use my bathroom. Now noone needs to take 15 minutes in the bathroom, unless they are sick, or getting off on heroin. Both of them took much longer, and when I started to smell smoke, I realized the pot was on fire in my parent’s oven! And when I opened the oven door, a huge billow of pot smoke filled my parent’s apartment. 
This is the kind of crazy shit that happens when your stupid friends do drugs.
I kicked them out of my house and opened all the windows hoping that the smell would be gone before my parent’s got home. 
Now this is the wierdest turn of events... About 30 minutes after my fine friends left, the doorbell rang. It was my family priest! Could this day get worse? Of all times for him to drop by. 
I’m sure he smelled the pot, and I’m sure he knew I was stoned, but he never acknowledged it.