Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bike Punks

I've been working on my bike lately. It was way neglected and needed alot of time and money to get it right. It's racing bike which is French for Expensive Bike. Over the last month I've been buying the needed tools and parts whenever I had money from this bike shop in the city.

The guy behind the counter hates me. HATES ME. He's dressed like a bike messenger all the time in tights and the European Bikers Hat but just works behind the counter selling bar tape and extra tubes. He doesnt remember me from each visit but rejudges and hates me anew with each visit. He snears when I ask him if they carry various parts....Chain Ring Lock Tool?....replacement Aerobar Pads?....Kevlar braided tires? He hates my business clothes, my shiny shoes, short haircut, my gut.

If he was a waiter he'd pee in my soup, he'd spit in my soda, and rub his johnson on my sandwich...but he cant so he defiles me with his eyes and annoyed attitude.

He's wondering what this weekend warrior could possibly know about real biking. Who the fuck has this kind of time to be a bike snob, when he's never pushed himself so far and hard that he wept as he peddaled. He's never been so past his limits that he's fallen to sleep while riding. He's never suffered. He just has the clothes and that stupid fucking hat.

Why I'm Tired

A month ago I realized that my priorities were screwed up. I've been doing thing that are urgent but not things that are important. Just putting out fires and babysitting myself through life. Just get me through the day until whoever owns this life shows up.

I have lists and lists of projects and promises that are partly done, unfinnished or incorrect. They eat at me, and give me a feeling of powerlessness.

So I've taken up the task of finnishing off those things....just getting them done and closing the door. Every day I have several scheduled to get done. Finnish a logo for a friend, build a website for my sons Scout Troop, installing a new ceiling fan, writing letters and making phone calls I should have made a long time ago.

Sure, there are new things added every day but the backlog was effecting my mental health.

Sure playing ball with your son is important, but I've been blowing them off because I'm too busy....and I was! Now when they ask I say 'Yes' first and make everything else wait....They were always the priority in my heart, now they are in my life.

I'm far from a perfect Dad, but I'm committed to improving. Paying better attention. Thinking about what I really what them to learn during their childhoods...what's important?

So I've been staying up late to get things off the list and getting up early to do the same.

Leave them alone

They announced Terri Shiavo's death within the last 5 minutes. The news websites have premade graphics up already with her face and 1963-2005. They love this shit...leave these poor people alone. They were not sent by God to be your exclusive interview, and God certainly didnt make a her a vegetable 15 years ago to Champion the Pro-Life movement as Tom DeLay so famiously has stated. Let them bury the dead and get on with their emptiness.


Apocolypse Now Redux came in Netflix yesterday. I got 2 hours into it last night, when I bothered to look how long it is. The freaking movie is over 3.5 hours long!!!

So like a jackass I stayed up and watched the whole thing. Didnt get to bed until 1:30 or so, when what I really needed was one night of good sleep. Just one...this exhaustion is getting out of hand.....

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Yup, Three Boys and some egg dye..

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hello Shitty

You really gotta wonder about people sometimes. The other day at lunch it was raining pretty hard here in Philly. The streets were full of water and the wind was blowing.

There's a girl in her 20's standing in a parking space. It's the first space from the corner, and I assume she's waiting for the light to change and will cross the street like I will.

The light turns green, and I start to cross, she stays.

A guy in his 50's pulls his Monster Lexus SUV past her and taps his horn. He starts to back into the space she's in. He sees her and continues to back up slowly....beeping...backing up...beeping...slowly the SUV comes into contact with the girls and she's screaming at him. He contiues to backup and is now pushing a girl that might weigh 100lbs with a car that weighs over 6000lbs.

He pushes her a foot or two and finally lowers his window now that she's slapping his windshield.

"I'm saving this spot for a pregnant woman, please go away!!!!" She screams through the downpour.

Now this asshole probably has a wife and kids and keeps his lawn green. He has a executive type job and a nice car. At what point did he become so disconnected from humanity that he could bully a stranger like this and think nothing of it.

He could have just lowered his window in the begining, and said "Hey, I wanna park there, can you move?"

BullMoose, ANOTHER strange quirk, alcohol related again...

I cant believe I didnt think of this when I was listing all of the other compulsions I too

I havent drunk beer, not even a sip, not even when I was trashed, using my right hand since October 1991...almost 14 years!

I was a Junior in college, and went on a road trip from NJ with some friends to some college in New Hampshire. We were partying in some dirty wet frat basement dirnking beer out of red plastic cups when somebody inducted us into the BullMoose club. Members of the BullMoose club must drink beer with their Left Hand. (not sure what the rules are for you lefties) If another BullMoose member spots you drinking beer with your right hand, they yell out 'BullMoose' and then you have to finish your entire beer.

They invented some wacky pledge that we recited and switched our cups to our left hands. I was sent to the keg to get the next round and immediately switched back to my right.

"BULLMOOSE!!" Somebody yelled and I had to chug my entire beer. For some reason that was deeply ingrained in me at that moment. Nobody else kept the pledge after that night. I'd yell "BULLMOOSE" for months after that and they eventually just refused to chug their beers. Go Figure.

For years I drank EVERYTHING with my left hand. If I was drinking a soda and holding my son, I'd shift my son to my right hand so that I hold the soda with my left. After awhile (5 or 6 years) I realized that it was being alittle silly and loosened my obsession to only alcoholic beverages. Further in the last 3 years or so, I have relaxed the rules further to the original pledge...just beer.

So why do I continue to alter my actions on sometimes daily basis a decade later for an oath made to people I dont know who didnt even remember 20 minutes later?

Because I'm a BullMoose.....

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Off the road

I love the middleground. That sounds vanilla but that is how this country was designed. People of various views hash out something and bargain to create something that is good for the people as a whole. It's legislation. I vote for your transporatation bill that I'm not crazy about, and in return you support my tax cut plan. Our founding fathers lived in an agrariian economy and understood that better than we do. You cant grow everything you need so maybe you concentrate on Corn and Cotton, and trade that to get lamp oil, tomatoes, and blankets.

Middleground isnt 'Not making a decision' or not taking a stand, it's the place where most people are. We all want similar things for us and our family, and mostly we have similar thoughts on how to get there. Some of the details may be different, but thats the middleground.

The only way to achieve the is to have a large amount of 'moderates' on either side of the fence, and then a smattering of crazies on all of the fringes to interject new ideas. In the end over time, things go in a positive direction. The problem we have today is that a pack of crazies have taken control. They are a minority.

How did they hijack control? Patience. They took the time to plan. They sowed the seeds and nuturde them. They are patient, they are vocal, they are passionate, and they are organized.

I remember back in the late 80's and early 90's seeing a guy named Ralph Reed on the cover on Time magazine. He was the president of a group called "The Christian Coalition" They lobbied like everyone else to get their candidates into office. They paid people money, a created PACs. The returns on their investments were minimal. The Republican party was happy to take their money, but unwilling to let them steer the boat. Just come along for the ride.

Ralph Reed had a different approach. The Christian Coalition was widely connected to churches and organizations nationwide. He put all of his effort into getting his idealogs into LOCAL offices. Get them elected to School Boards, to Town Councils, to Planning Boards. By getting his people in at the bottom, those with the will, connections, and aptitude would move up. And they did, that became County Representatives, and Mayors and Govenors. And then some went further, Congressmen and Senators. The religeous right no longer had to buy someone into a position, they had organically put someone in there that actually BELIEVED as they do.

This has drastically altered the Republican Party over the last decade. Those who arent of those beliefs have to play the game now, or be tossed out. Look at Arlen Spector, the Senator from PA. One of the most Senior Senators in Congress...and one of the last Republican Moderates. Nearly lost his PRIMARY last year to a nobody named Toomey who was being finaced by national level Christian organizations.

They are willing to hobble their party in the short term to achieve a party of uniform beliefs. No dissenting voices. No bargaining. No compromise. No middleground.

In this case, I believe that the Dems weakness is their diversity. How can they overcome a Majority that is a Lockstep Majority? The American way is under a serious threat.

"What you are, shouts so loudly in my ears, I cannot hear what you say"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

F You Mr Bush

Without getting into weather or not Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die, I want to point out that our Nations Lawmakers need to butt out of other peoples business. This case has run it's course in the Judicial System. The fact that they all flew back to Washington in the middle of the night to create an entirely new law is a sham and sets a horrible precident.

I dont buy the 'Culture of Life' BS that is falling from their mouths. They all care so much to save a vegetable, but took 2 years before they were shamed into providing Body Armor for the soldiers they were sending into war. Their actions tell a much truer story than their words. If they wanted to save a real life, they have opportunities all around them every day.

Ask Mr Bush which US Govenor holds the record for signing the most Death Warrants.

Friday, March 18, 2005

All that is left

My Father's Father died when I was 4. I have no direct memory of him, but have heard many stories from my 19 cousins and their parents. It is an amazing thing the influence this man has had on my family, even 30 years after his death. He was feared and respected and is talked about like some kind of legend.

I hear stories of cruelty and of kindness that just dont seem to fit together, but isnt that just like a person? I mean really wacky stuff. (I smell another Blog entry)

I have wondered what is passed down. What traits do I have that have been given to me from him? What learned behavior did he give my father, that my father taught me?

Here are the only 2 pieces of advice that I can attribute to him...and I will try to phrase them exactly like I learned them from my Dad.

"Keep a machine lubricated and it will run forever"

"Take good care of your feet. Keep them dry, ALWAYS cut your toenails strait and never curved. Even if you are poor, spend the money to buy good shoes."

What strange information will my sons retain from me? What will they pass on?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I'm from Jersey

I have this theory that I developed back in college. I was riding a bicycle accross the United States (no, really), and in almost every state, in very unexpected circumstances, I'd meet someone from New Jersey.

Now when you're bicylcing accross the country you dont spend alot of time shaking hands with people asking them, 'where you from?' You spend most of your time outside, alone, wet, cold, burnt, famished, and very very tired. None of which put you in the mood to meet people, which is fine because you tend not to smell very popular.

I adore people but fear and dislike meeting new ones, so the fact that I met anyone at all is notable...but there they were, leasing cabins in Idaho, taking photos in South Dakota, Serving Burgers in Montana. These Expats genuinley thrilled to meet us, and gushed with the chance to talk to someone who knows about Toms River where they grew up. People who have walked the same boardwalk. Gone to the same schools. All of them love the State. None of them ever want to go back.

So my theory is that people from New Jersey are repopulating the world.

Lets guess why:
* They are in the witness protection program
* They were asked to leave
* People from New Jersey are huge backers of Panspermia theory
* New Jersey is nicer to be 'from' than 'at'

I've met New Jersians in Hawaii, Australia, and England. These people get around!

I love the state, and hope I'll never live there again. Some traits of New Jersians:
We are angry agressive drivers
We talk louder than the rest of you
We are better looking than than you
We are modest (in a loud, agressive in your face kinda way)
We have excellent tomatos (this is true) - not that bullshit that they sell in the winter that is grown in some hydroponic chamber in California. We're talking juicy f'ing tomatos of a sweetness and texture you break somebodys fingers for. Apparently our fertile soil combined with hot summers and acid rain are exactly what they need. Our corn is pretty good too. I grow some awesome Eggplant, but I wont share my success with the rest of the State....

Unbeknownst to all of you there is also a major identity schizm (thats right, a schizm) between North and South Jersey. When people talk about New Jersey, they are refering to North Jersey. Nobody talks about South Jersey. It's actually a complex issue that will require an entire blog entry to explain! I spent 2 decades in the North, and 1 in the South, so who better than me to disect the situation, and make fun of the south?

So here's the final thought. I have roughly 65.5 years till my scheduled death (another blog entry) I plan on living outside of New Jersey till then....however I think I will always say "New Jersey" when people ask where I'm from....and proudly!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"All of your base are belong to me"

Animae Schmanimae

Monday, March 14, 2005

Another Quirk

I count bottlecaps. When I'm drinking beer out of a bottle, at a party, I have to put the bottlecap in my pocket. If someone brings me an open beer, I will thank them, and then work my way to the kitchen to find a bottlecap to put in my pocket. I dont have this compulsion with cans or at a bar or even when I'm at home (unless it's a party at my house).

All of this started 13 years ago when I would keep a running count in my head of how many beers I drank and then subtract the amount of hours ago I started, to know when I was legal to drive. Once I was in the working world and could afford bottles instead of kegs in the basement, I was thrilled to not have to keep a conscience count. Just collect the caps and you have a correct number.

Most of the parties I go to now, I walk to, so it's not even an issue any more. Some Saturday mornings I'll pick up my pants and be amused by rattling from the night before..."oh THATS why my head hurts!"

Thursday, March 03, 2005