Friday, January 11, 2013


I honestly have no where else to turn to vent some things.  Right now, I am dealing with feelings that I can't just stuff down and hope they go away. They've been there for a solid 6 or 7 years now and just won't go away. I'm not writing this for anything more than to vent.

About two weeks ago, I found out that a friends mother had died. When I was in high school, I had 2 friends who I was closest to, Jackson and Steve. We were (are) the best of friends and did absolutely everything together. That friendship perseveres to this day with Steve and I. He is in Seattle while I reside in Richmond. Jackson is, however, conspicuous by his absence.

When I moved to Richmond in 2004, there was a going away/birthday get together between the 3 of us and their two girlfriends. It was made awkward by Jackson's girlfriend, Noel, who needed the spot light constantly and could not share time with everyone else. She became belligerently drunk and was driven home by Steve's girlfriend (now wife), Brooke. During the drive home, Noel said several things that were alarming pertaining to her relationship with Jack. After mulling it over, Brooke shared this information with Steve and I several months later when I was home for a visit. Essentially, Noel had confessed that she was not in love with Jack and was only with him for stability and financial security. When you are drunk, the truth is often the first thing to come out before the vomit.

Steve and I had an intervention with Jackson over this when it became apparent he wanted to marry Noel. Was it the right idea? I'm not sure, but having the knowledge that his girlfriend did not care for him and that he might spend the rest of his life with that person convinced me that telling him was the right choice. I stand by it to this day.

After the intervention, things went south. Jackson and Steve had a huge falling out and, within a year of that, Jackson and I spoke no more. That was nearly 7 years ago. I've spoken to him once in those seven years when I was visiting his mother in 2007. I haven't seen him since 2005. Jackson is currently married to Noel and they have 2 kids together living in South Carolina.

Jacks' mother died September 14, 2012. I spoke to her last in July of 2012. She told me that she had neuropathy and that it was terminal. It was heartbreaking. She said the doctors were giving her a couple of years as a prognosis. She would be dead 2 months later. I tried to call her several times between September and December only to have a never-ending answering machine. In late December, I tried to call to tell her merry christmas but the phone was now disconnected. I feared the worst. On January 3rd, I found her obituary online.

As it stands, Jack's father is in a nursing home that I have been unable to locate. He is in the final stages of dementia so contacting him would be futile regardless. The memories of his folks will always be with me and I still tell stories about them ( His father's insistence that Jackson not go out in the cold one night is legendary and is not done justice in must be heard to be appreciated) and think of them all the time.

I sent Jackson an e-mail today. I expect no return correspondence but it felt good to pass along my sorrow about his mother. Everyone keeps telling me that time will heal the wound, but I know it won't. I've never been this sad for this long about something. His mother dying has made it worse and to know that we can't talk about it over a crappy Krystal burger and milkshake is indescribably painful.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cold Weather

When I lived in Georgia and was married to my first wife, I spent an entire year riding a motorcycle daily. I bought the bike in April of 2001 and rode it daily until October of 2002 when my divorce took place. I learned a lot that year, firstly that my ex-wife was much better as an ex, but mainly that I enjoyed riding a lot. In that year alone, I racked up 18,000 miles on a 2001 Yamaha R6. Whether it was raining or sleeting, I rode the bike to work everyday and then to the mountains on the weekend when weather permitted.

After my divorce, I had to sell the bike to keep my finances together. I bought another bike a couple of years later, but that was for track use and I never rode it on the streets really. I sold it before moving to Richmond and haven't had a permanent bike since about 2004 until this last year when I bought the Beamer.

As the weather has shifted to cold, I've not had a chance to ride. In fact, the bike has sat in my garage for the better part of 2 months. I start it up here and there to keep it from killing the battery and gumming up the fuel lines, but the last "ride" I got to take was in October when I rode down the VCU and back. Yee-haw.

Thursday, the new issue of my BMW MOA magazine came in the mail and as I flipped through it, I had the urge to ride. Seeing as the temperature was about 30 degrees in the west end Friday morning, that was pretty much out of the question without me getting up at 6, suiting up and riding to work. I instead opted to drive home at lunch when the temperature was in the low 50's, meaning I would be able to wear less clothing and take less time to get ready.

I had forgotten how much cold weather riding can be. While 50-51 isn't super cold, it's pretty chilly on a bike. I wore my jacket with the inside layer zipped in, my polar-tec gloves and jeans (as it was jeans day at work). The ride home was fun as I had forgotten to wear my Arai with a clear shield and instead wore my AGV with a smoke shield. Half of the trip was done with the shield up so I could see in front of the bike in the dark.

Car drivers are stupid (mostly) when the weather is perfect. Give them darkness and their IQ drops like a Kardashians clothes when money is involved. I need to take a cold weather trip outside of Richmond, not straight down into the city. Hopefully, this winter will give me some more chances to actually ride and enjoy what cold weather has to offer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A general rant regarding pretty much everything...

I write this stupid blog because it's a good way for me to blow off steam and be, in my way, creative at times. I don't do it for attention and I don't do it to sound smart or act smart. Most of what I say and think is usually kneejerk and that is a stupid way to be. But it's me, always has been and always will be. I have a few things I want to rant about because it will just make me feel better to write it out and not sit on it anymore. I'm foul mouthed and I try really hard when using social media to tone that down. I am certain that the foul mouth is also a very deep part of me so it pains me to censor myself at times, but in this case, I might be more readable if I do. Just so you know because if you keep reading past this, I might drop a few bad words here and there. IF you don't like that, then don't read it. That's not meant to be pissy sounding, it's meant to be true.

Traffic. Really Richmond? Honestly? A few stop lights go out and all of a sudden, your driving IQ (which was never high to begin with) drops from a sub-human level to that of a bacteria. Stop lights that are not lit up because of power failure become 4 way stops. When you get to the light first, you go first. When you get there last, you are last. How is this hard? Why is this so difficult? I cannot count the number of times people have blown through the light and nearly hit me. I can't count it because in 4 days, I've lost track from the trauma. It's not a joke, I'm seriously peeved. I had a boyfriend offer to throw down with me today because his girlfriend blew through the stoplight at Monument and Horsepen, nearly hitting me. She was inches from my bumper and acted as though she didn't see me. When I gave her the horn, the finger and dropped the F-bomb and the C-bomb MULTIPLE times out my window, the boyfriend offered to fight me. Because his idiot girlfriend, devoid of intelligence and accountability, very nearly took me out, it's my fault. Sure, some of you might say I shouldn't have yelled...whatever. Had it happened to you, you would have been just as angry. I happen to be of the orientation that I don't let people run over me, literally and figuratively, so I told her what I thought. Where was a police officer to stop warn her or ticket her? No where, so I exacted my revenge. It made me feel better and it pointed her out as being the stupid-ass who doesn't deserve a license. I learned to drive in Georgia, the stupid capital of the driving world. Seriously, I think Richmond has captured the title. Honest.

Cyclists. I hate you. Period. When I see a car with a bumper sticker saying "Share the Road", I want to smash that persons window. Yet another group of people wanting some special rights that they are no way entitled to. Ok, bicyclists want to ride on the same roads as cars. In a subdivision, this makes sense. A cycle is capable of keeping up on the road when the speed limit is 25 mph...oh, wait, no it isn't. A bicyclist isn't capable of keeping with the flow of traffic ANYWHERE. How much fun is it when you get in a 45 mph zone like, I dunno, Monument Avenue, and there are several bikers riding in either lane going 10 mph? It's awesomeness is only eclipsed by their disregard for those behind them as evidenced by their continued path at the same speed as opposed to letting you by. Bicyclists are really good about stopping at stop signs and stop lights just like we are..oh wait, no they don't. They blow through them, and not at the rate cars do either. They look both ways and keep many car drivers have you seen do that lately? Show of hands? I thought so. Bicyclists are fair and don't lane split, risking life and limb while riding between cars that are waiting at said stoplights..oh wait, yes they do. Out side of California, no other states allow lane splitting so the a-holes here in Richmond who love to ride by my car while I'm sitting still like I'm supposed to at a stop sign or light are breaking the law, just like they do when they blow through the light that is holding me up. I'm all about people riding bicycles. It's healthy, it's environmentally conscience and it's a load of fun. I'm just for these people being held to the same standard I'm being held to when I am in my car or on my motorcycle. Am I stereotyping cyclists? Is this my blog and my opinion? Why yes it is, and I reserve to right to generalize anyone and anything I want to. Call it small minded, I simply call it calling a spade a spade.

Family. Yes family. Who has a family member that, despite your attempts to make them happy or help them out, continue to shit on you? How about family that you go out of your way to help only to find them lacking the desire to help themselves? I am in the process of helping a family member now who, in the past, has shown very little inclination to help themselves in any way. What I've helped with is, by far and wide, enabling, and I know that, but this family member has others who depend on them so it's my duty to do what I can, when I can. This family member would rather be at home playing then here helping me to help them. It's sad and aggravating, but in the end, I have to do it because others depend on me to do it. I'm not just angry at this person, I'm disappointed.

Bullshit friends. I said it, yeah. Everyone has them. Mine's no different. I sold a friend a car dollie about 2 years ago with the agreement that, if he decided to sell, he would sell it back to me. He asked me to take some pictures of it today as I was picking it up to use it. When I e-mailed the pictures to him, I asked what he needed them for thinking insurance. He wrote back saying he was selling it and, to top it off, for 3 times what I sold it to him for. I gave him a great price 2 years ago because he was a friend and now, he not only completely screws me as far as a sale, he takes advantage of the break I gave him. I flip cars and know how the business goes. But how do you stick it to a friend like this guy has? It wasn't business when I sold him the dollie, it was a favor. What happened to honor?

There. I feel a little bit better. Not a lot, but some. I'll sleep on it and hope that things are better tomorrow. If I'm one thing, it's optimistic.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Meatball

It was with great anticipation that I took the Meatball down the Tail of the Dragon on Sunday. What's that you ask? What's what? The Meatball or the Dragon? Ah yes, read on and it will be explained.

I've been drawn to quirky, out of place cars since I was a kid. The Meatball is a 1990 Saab 900 Turbo, also referred to as a C900 for "Classic" 900 because it was the last of the Saab built 900's before GM came in and ruined everything. Since the car is Swedish (duh), it's the Meatball (double duh).  I bought it for $450, drove it home and have since done little to it other than have the paint restored, a wheel bearing replaced, new(ish) tires, a tune-up(sort of) and the a/c sorted. I bought it with 150,000 miles on it from the son of the original owner and have since driven the hell out it. It's been to Georgia twice, all over Richmond, Northern VA and DC. On Sunday, it traveled to North Carolina/Tennessee and took a trip down the Tail of the Dragon...

The Dragon is a stretch of road on US 129 that runs from North Carolina into Tennessee near Maryville. It's 11 miles long and is purported to have 318 curves. I last rode down the Dragon in 2004 in a 2004 Scion xA with 3 friends, coolers and a few hot dogs in the back. I rode it on my motorcycle in 2002, 6 months after I had a bone breaking wreck. The trip was fun both times and quite memorable. The road was not any different this time around.

To get to the dragon from Maryville, you have to take a 20 mile hike down the less windy part of US129. It's fun and if you aren't careful, you will fly down the road. Like I did. And get pulled over. Like I did. I haven't had the blue light behind me in several years. I managed to do it yesterday TWO times. That's a feat I never accomplished as a younger, faster guy. I was let off with a warning for going 62 in a 40. You have to pay attention to the road and not the lake next to it. Lesson learned.

To take a 21 year old car down the Dragon is pretty stupid. Having your wife, a dog and all your luggage in the hatch adds to the stupidity. If the Saab's suspension isn't the original, 21 year old shocks/tie-rod ends/balljoints/etc, I'll eat my shoe. While suicidal, it was stupid fun. The first pass was pretty quick. The wife never got sick (or the dog), no one got in the way and there were no tractor trailers. We pulled in at the NC state line to the resort, took a potty break, got some Dragon loot, and went back. The second pass was a little slower. I got stuck behind an arsehole in a pick-up truck who was all over the road. At one point, he swung over into the other lane and nearly nailed a biker, a biker who redlined his bike and told the trucker who number one was. If you've never been to the Dragon, it's hard to imagine anything else being any curvier anywhere. Switchbacks after's insane. You really have to be careful...fortunately for those of us who, ahem..., like to drive fast, there are roadside areas where the slower folks can pull over. The trucker pulled over for me and I was able to catch 2 bikers who were not going as fast as they probably could, but could destroy a slow, 21 year old car if they really wanted to.

In the end, the Meatball did the road two times and lived to tell about it. The suspension spent most of the time being bottomed out, the tires were screaming and the photographers who take pictures of the folks on the Dragon were having a ball watching an old, swedish pig muscle it's way through the curves. In a few months, armed with new suspension components, tires and less crap in the back, I will be taking the car to see what my fastest time is down the road. I suspect this old $450 "luxury" car will whip the ass out of several cars that cost more and are newer. We shall see...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Skunk Alley

I've decided that the area starting just southeast of Knoxville and running to Rome will henceforth be referred to as skunk alley. On my last drive through, at night mind you, I was privy to not one, not two, but a half dozen dead skunks on the side of the road. Have you not had the privilege of smelling a skunk? Well, take a swing through the area. Stopped up nose? Sinus issues? Dry eyes? Overweight? Dead skunk can and will cure all of those issues with one whiff. Breath in deep and your sinuses magically clear! Inhale the aroma and your dry eyes are POOF!!! watering, wet eyes! Bite off a taste and your appetite is a thing of the past!


Sunday, August 7, 2011


What with the weather being the equivalent of a fat man's underwear, hot, smothering and very damp, I've had to hide out in the basement the past few days and get a few things done. One of those to do items has been putting the bulk of my CD collection onto ITunes so that I may continue enjoying the smugness that is mobile, digital music on either my IPod (which is so 2010 I know) or my phone. I've managed to burn about 1000 songs onto my folder so far which is only music for which I own the physical CD. There are about 200 songs purchased from the never ending money hole called the ITunes store as well. A thousand is a lot...until you realize that I have about 1200 ALBUMS to pull you can see the wall I am up against.

Anyway, it's been refreshing to sit back and enjoy some of the old music that I haven't had to listen to in a while and the memories that come with them. While at the Goodwill yesterday (a place where the name of the store is in direct conflict with the actual state of customers minds), I picked up the Pink Floyd: Pulse DVD. We watched it last night and today it was one of the CD's that I pulled music from. I bought it at Blockbuster Music in 1994, the day it came out, and have replaced the AA batteries that keep the light blinking in the case several times since then... it's a gimmick, I know, but it helps the disc to stand out and remind me of buying it.

Burning that started me to remembering when and where I bought most of the CD's I had. I picked up Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues, and remembered buying it at Turtles in Rome, Georgia when I was 9. Ben Levy, a kid I went to school with, introduced me to them and they have always been my favorite band. When Beastie Boys: License to Ill came out, I had to censor the tape myself (at 11 years old) so my parents wouldn't confiscate it. Yeah, I put tape over the holes, forwarded it to the bad words, pressed record for a split second, and voila...a censored tape worthy of the Vatican. Well, maybe.

Stone Temple Pilots: Core was memorable. That was the first concert I ever went to that was cool. The Butthole Surfers, STP and the opener was The Meat Puppets. I even had the honour of making a girl mad resulting in my being drenched in her soda. Cool.

It's fun to also get the albums out with one or two songs that you like. Am I really going to burn the entire Mothership compilation from Zeppelin? Well, yes I am actually. But there are so many albums that I bought for just one song hoping that the rest of the album would be ok or I would find several more tracks that were awesome. That tended to be the case with the hair bands from the 80's. Who could forget Trixter, Kix, Every Mother's Nightmare, Danger Danger?... Well, apparently everyone can but me it seems.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A few notes from my recent trip...

I had a few things I wanted to mention that I didn't from my trip, mainly sightings that didn't really go with the telling of the trip as a whole.By sightings, I think most people would interpret things that occurred or were seen. For me, that would be, for instance, a bumper sticker reading "If you want to do the crime, but not the time, try FLORIDA", a not so subtle reference to the Casey Anthony trial.

While traveling home, I had the best opportunity to see things that would help to write this silliness I call a blog. as I rode through Chatsworth GA, I saw a business called "You BAWT WHUT?". For the non-southern, this is the vernacular for "You purchased an item and I am shocked over what that item is!". Whether the place was still open or not, I failed to check, but it was an interesting sight nonetheless.

Further up the road, and still in Georgia, was "Booger's Flea Market". Booger. I'll say it again. Booger.

As I rode into Knoxville, I lost track of my route and traveled a little further north than I needed to. As I passed under the bridge that was I-40, there was what appeared to be a fight going on. I rode by too quick to really get a good look, but on my way back (because I got turned around AGAIN), the guys were still going at it. The rest of the crowd was standing around while these two swung and missed, swung and hit a shoulder, pushed and slapped. There was no blood from what I could see, but being on a bike and in a very vulnerable position, I rode on not wanting to press my luck.

In Bristol, the Virginia side, I rode by a group of Harley's parked on the side of the road leaving what looked like a diner. Anyone who rides knows that it's polite to wave at oncoming fellow bikers, regardless of the brand. I waved and the one guy who saw me gave me the American sign to screw off. Delightful!

In Radford, Virginia, as I took a short break at a Sheetz, I did some people watching as I sat outside on the table. I counted 6 Virginia Tech t-shirts (Expected as Blacksburg is right down the road), several people wearing jeans despite the 100 degree weather, at least one airbrushed t-shirt professing love for a boyfriend/husband/one night stand and all the bikini's I could ever want to see. 3 bikinis and two of the women needed at least another bikini apiece to go with the one they were already wearing. Why? Because a) there was more flesh than bikini in ALL the wrong places and b) I'm pretty sure they violated at least 3 local ordinances and several constitutional rights for anyone who saw them.

I'll have to take my camera next time I go anywhere. I wish I had pictures of it all (minus the banshees from Radford. Yech...) so I could look back on it and enjoy it all over again. Maybe that will be my next investment, a good camera that's weatherproof and can make me look good all at once.