Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Just can't wrap my head around this.

I sit here in front of this computer trying to figure out what is going on with the world. Every day I see kids being kidnapped, raped, and killed by various methods on my screen.This morning a nice looking young couple was arrested for having enough explosives to take out an apartment building. Every time I drive I get cursed out, cut off, and almost killed by someone talking on their phone. I keep asking myself how did we as a nation get so self centered that no one else matters.I just can not wrap my head around where we are.

My grandparents went through tough times in the 20s and 30s. Raising three children when the only food available was what you grew yourself. If you needed to build a house or barn all the building materials came from the woods. If you didn't have the proper tool or equipment and the neighbor did it would be readily shared.I remember my grandma feeding homeless people on the front steps, not table scraps but as good a meal as we were eating. Neighbors would stop by and chat and it was a common occurrence to just go over to someones house and just visit, see how they were doing and make sure they didn't need anything.

We were not coddled or helicoptered or forced to endure the embarrassment of having your parents shouting at umpires at games. If you wanted to play a sport it was up to you to figure how to get there and back. We were taught respect for everything, people, animals, tools (guns were included in this category). My grandma even told me that you should respect your well. It took until later life to understand what that meant. But if you lived in the country and you used too much water and the well went dry things went to very bad very soon.

As a crusty OFG I don't have all the answers or even some of them but it seems to me many of our problems could be solved with Grandma's advice RESPECT..try it you might like it.....

Sunday, December 23, 2012


I have thought about writing a post for over a month. I wanted to talk about Bicycles, dogs, my kids, sailboats and all the other stuff that runs in a whirlwind in my old mind. The one thing that emptied out all the other thoughts was the passing of my father.

At 85 a few weeks before he left this earth he told me he had accomplished everything he wanted to and in his words had done it all.

I have thought about his life a lot since his passing, what did it take to feel like you had accomplished everything.

Sadly my memory has failed me on lots of the details of my youth, but what I remember is him being very busy doing the things he liked. We were complete opposites as far as what we enjoyed doing. He enjoyed things that grow and I enjoyed mechanical stuff. In some ways it seems like we never got a chance to get to know each other. I never convinced him that bicycles, motorcycles, sailboats and building things out of wood were good ways to spends ones time. When I set out to sail from Upstate NY to Florida he wouldn't come to see me off cause he thought he would be dead by the time I came back, he lived for two years after I returned.
Even with all our differences of opinion I still miss him every day and would give anything to see that cranky old fart one more time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Big Storm

Being retired I get a fair amount of time to do whatever I feel like. Most of the time during good weather I parse out my days between riding my bicycle, Harley and hitting the road with the RV. As the weather turns to crap like it seems to every year about this time I have to look at different ways to keep entertained. Just when the weather was going south the news media announced a big super storm coming our way. I thought this should keep me entertained for a while.

Holy crap, watching the coverage on the tube was mesmerizing, people in matching LL Bean coats and pants dancing in the storm waves while telling us not to go near the water. I watched for two days as the storm moved in and plodded away.

I think that as humans we have seen too many reality shows where people face all sorts of challenges and then at the end of the show everyone is ok.

All of the news folks seemed well fed and watered so why not share some of your media millions you are making by bringing some truckloads of water or food with you when you are showing someones house that they have worked all their life and is now a pile of firewood. How about bringing some extra hands to help grandma find the only pictures she has of her husband. Or bringing some diapers for the young couple with two kids that were barely scraping by before the storm. Just a thought..

Next in my rant is the politicians, they are receiving and spending buckets of cash to get elected, why not divert some of that cash to helping the victims of the storm. Even one days budget for the advertisements  that make me want to shoot my TV would go a long way towards helping out.

Maybe we should get a bunch of us old guys together and bus us down to help out.

Ok I've got that off my chest.

One good thing, I have seen is people riding their bicycles as cars and trucks just can't get around.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Unexpected Niceness

As rule I try to ride one of my bicycles every other day, sometimes I hit the trails on my project bike and other days it's time for road miles. I am a pretty friendly guy so I try to say hello to people I see along the road or trails. One thing I have noticed is people in their yards or walker/runners will usually say hello. Bicyclists seem to have an aversion to acknowledging me, not sure if it's because I am an OFG or they don't notice me but over the last year I have given up for the most part on even expecting a nod.

Yesterday was one of those days that I was supposed to ride but had zero urge to ride. I finally said ok I have to do this so I will do my 12 mile loop that is short but has some decent climbs. About 8 miles out I hear a voice say I am behind you. At first I thought that my pace had slowed so much that the runners were catching up but a quick look showed another cyclist behind me. Wow this is different. Then the guy started commenting on my bike and how it was pretty similar to his. After we made the turn for the final 3 miles of hills he pulled alongside and we chatted the whole way up the hill (with me huffing and puffing). At one point I told him I was thinking of stopping and he said please don't do that I am in high gear and couldn't get started if we do. I was in my low ring so I decided I better just keep going. I admit I had to look over and see if he was in high gear, and he was and just pedaling along like he riding on the flats.

It only took one person being nice and not worrying that I was less fit or skilled to renew my faith in mankind. I am looking forward to meeting up with David on another ride.

And for Tim Joe, guess what, he lives in a trailer park.....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My friend Tim Joe the Trailer Park Cyclist sent me an e-mail today reminding me that it had been over a year since I last posted on my Blog. He also rather firmly reminded me that everyone has interesting things going on in their lives. Sometimes I forget that to keep a friendship going it has to be a two way exchange. to anyone that looks at my bloog I apologize for not keeping in touch, I will try and do better.
One of the major things that has been going on for the last year is my Dad has stage 4 prostrate cancer. It's hard to even think about much less write about it but maybe writing about it will help me come to terms with it all. When the doc gave him his sentence or diagnose depending how you look at it he looked him in the eye and said ok, how long should I expect to live. The doc mumbled and talked about treatment options and such.. My Dad told him that after watching my Mom get cooked with radiation and chemo and still dying he was having none of it. Then to add insult to injury the doc told him if they cut off his testicles that could add a few months to his life. I didn't hear what he said to that but I'm pretty sure it was something like are you crazy. So now when I visit him and ask how is he doing he always responds with I'm dying what do you think. Now I understand why I am such a cantankerous old coot I come from a long line of them.
After being retired for a while it has finally sunk in that making half of what I used to make working in academia can impact your cash-flow. So we decided to sell my beloved 1968 Pearson wanderer sailboat. The boat is all payed for but the yearly fees suck you dry. So far no one has come up with the cash but it's only a matter of time.
Ok that was depressing now for the good stuff I have been riding my bike or should say bikes every available hour  and still really enjoying it. The new trek I bought last year gets the lions share of the riding doing about a thousand miles since last August. But I also got addicted to trail riding as well so I bought a couple of used MTBs for Karen and I. The MTB I ride is too funny, I went to look at it from an add on Craigslist, guy said it was perfect and a late 90s.. Hmm..turns out it was a 94 Trek 8000. Great bike when it was new that was before it went to war or something like that. It had two flat tires, brakes so hard I thought they were rocks, cables loose frayed and sticking, the chain was so loose it was just hanging down. I asked the guy how much cause I thought the add said $200 and that couldn't be for this bike. He said yes that was correct. I actually laughed at him. I said lets get closer to reality. When I explained how much it would cost to make this hunk of aluminum into a bike he just looked like I just kicked him. He said his wife just had a baby and at some point she showed up with it. I wanted to offer him $50 but I have been in a tough situation where you have to sell anything you have get by. I told him I was being stupid but I offered him $100. He looked like he just won the lottery. Yes I payed way to much for that old bike but every time I ride it  I think about that big red haired kid with his red haired baby and maybe it helped them a little..

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pretty cool week

Last Saturday I got Karen to go to the LBS with me to look at bikes...And after looking at all sorts of bikes I finally ordered a Trek 1.5 with the 60cm frame. Took a while to pry the credit card out of her hand but finally got it.
The guys from Kingsbury Cycles in Elmira NY did a great job of fitting the bike to me which was a real tough job. If you remember I am 6'2' and weigh in at 262 and an OFG. The bike arrived on Wednesday and was ready for pickup the next day...Now I need to ride it a bit before the Tour de Cure on Saturday.
The Tour de Cure was a ball even if I only rode 10 miles. The longest I had ridden was 26 miles so I was unsure if I could step it up to the next level of 35 miles.. Still was fun..
In the days after the ride I rode a 24, 12 and 7 mile ride... not so much..Today I woke up and said today is the day of the long ride (for me) I rode 34.8 miles at an average of 10-11 mph. Doesn't sound like much but for an OFG it was a victory. I forgot my bike lock and when I stopped at Micky Dees to P and there was a state trouper eating lunch. I walked over to his car and asked him if he would would watch my bike while I went inside...He was a little reluctant but finally agreed I bet he never had that happen before..
Well I am home now resting my sore butt but all in all it was a pretty good week..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Clear out the crap

As I ride my 14 year old bike I have come to realize that that is old and it was not a high end bike even when it was new..Being a semi-broke retired guy I have pondered on how to upgrade without cutting back on food or beer..
The answer was right in my garage, I have so much crap that is left over from projects and toys I no longer play with that I can sell off some of the excess. I put a bunch of antique tools on craigslist and people started e-mailing me within minutes. Next I have to haul all the scrap metal left over from my blacksmith days to the scrapyard. Then I will sell off some of the ham radio gear that has been collecting dust. Maybe somehow I can gain some cash and free myself from all this clutter.
I have no idea what kind of bike I will be looking for maybe something in this century and it will be a road bike. My hybrid is ok for town but it is so heavy and clunky out on the road I want something a little lighter and maybe faster.