Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cliff’s Cycle Center

Cliff’s Cycle Center, I think, is the largest dealer in Bremerton Washington. I visited to mainly test ride a bike. I made a discovery walking through the entrance hallway. You can’t miss it.

I didn’t know they had a small collection of older bikes on display. Basically it's like a mini museum. It’s some classic stuff and is worth the trip.

If you get a chance, you should visit.

Cliff’s Cycle Center
1200 Navy Yard Hwy
Bremerton, WA 98312
(360) 377-5568

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track

I just completed reading Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track by Nick Ienatsch.

I have to say that of all the printed training materials and books I have read to this point, I got a lot out of this book. Having years of experience writing for magazines like Motorcyclist, this author knows how to be comprehensive. This is a book where the words chosen were used for a reason.

Well written and extensive concepts are sometimes lost on beginning riders. More things are clear after you have some rudimentary basics down. A good time to focus in on this book is after a basic riders training class.

This author set priorities on what should get priority in the beginning. If a beginning rider just focuses on chapters two and three and with some quality supervision, he has an unbelievably high percentage chance to move from a beginning level riding ability to an intermediate level. These chapters cover breaking, steering and using your eyes.

Some, but not a thorough list, of the highlights this book covers are:

 ◾ Turning and Braking
 ◾ Apexes in corners
 ◾ Use of the eyes
 ◾ Counter-Steering
 ◾ Track riding
 ◾ Safety inspections
 ◾ Urban survival
 ◾ Situational awareness
 ◾ Protecting yourself on the road
 ◾ Protecting you from yourself
 ◾ Group riding protocols
 ◾ When to use your high beam
 ◾ Great photos

We all buy books, read them, store them, and then eventually ferret them off to the used store. This is one that should be read, stored and then pulled out later and revisited.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.

This video from CNN has Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraging students to get concealed carry gun permits. I agree with his overall points like good people with firearms is better than bad people. Gun control works about as well as restricting access to harmful drugs.

However, his presentation was poor and he's not a good public speaker. I would have kept the focus on people with ill intent and not generalize all Muslims. I suspect he just meant those who mean harm, but with his choice of words the interpretation is open.

Many public places are gun free zones, especially Colleges. That makes them easy targets. If he hasn't already, he should clarify his comments. I feel he wasted a real opportunity and sent the wrong message.

HT: New Leaven

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

While this may seem like a late review, I did that on purpose. The book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell was released many months ago. It was controversial and I wanted to let things blow over a bit.

Critics claimed, even before the book was released, that the author tosses Hell and other beliefs dear to the Christian faith under the bus so to speak. The book was panned as heresy before its release by people who couldn't even read it. It hadn't been released yet.

After its release critics seemed to crawl through the book looking for statements they could use to support their claims. Bloggers would admit to crashing through the book rather quickly and rush out an "authoritative" review. The primary claims was that the author set out to erase hell and embrace a universalism view. The latter view being we all will be reunited with God, in a good way.

Here's what the deal is. The author talked about a real hell, what the Christian Bible says and what it doesn't say. Frankly, its not much. If you use the New International Version, Hell is mentioned only 15 times in that translation. In the King James Version it uses the word 54 times. Its extra use of it is mainly in Genesis through Malachi (Old Testament) for a realm of the dead, not a fiery inferno.

Bell's view is that a message that is all about avoiding hell and not sinning is missing the main points and could lead to a "toxic" belief system. After reading this book and contemplating, a few groups with toxic belief systems do come to mind.

At the books conclusion I wasn't without questions. While the focus was a God of love, the Christian Bible is very clear that its God is also a god of wrath, judgement, etc. I felt Bell didn't present a complete Biblical God if that makes any sense. What I sometimes find with the two extremes of the Christian faith is, they're selective in their use of Bible passages. For example, one group will view God as a God of love while another may view him as a sovereign Lord and judge. They use the parts of the Bible they want while discarding others.

Any person or written review that claims the author stated that hell doesn't exist in this book...simply hasn't read the book. The truth is Bell just may not have the same view of hell as they do. Another point to clear up is that faith blogs kept fouling up the universalism claims. Bell didn't embrace a universalism view, however he doesn't condemn it. His case is, while the Bible talks about an eternal punishment, it also hints at temporal punishment and everything being renewed at some point. You could tell he really likes the everything renewed view. I'm not saying Bell is right, I'm just trying to be as accurate as possible to what the man believes and the book stated.

Another interesting point was an observation by Bell. Bell stated that Christians who make the afterlife their main goal don't really do much in this life for others. Those who have a lesser focus on the afterlife or rather don't make it the main focus, do more for others in this life. You can make the call whether he is right on this or not.

My final take? An very interesting and challenging read.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General

In Killing Patton the authors have written a compelling and retelling of a portion of the second world war. The events surround American General George S. Patton, directly and indirectly. Leaders such as Eisenhower, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin are also covered in some detail.

This books, like past works, seeds doubt about the official story for General Patton’s death. It’s rumored Patton was killed for his views on Joseph Stalin and the communist army in Europe. A federal government worker, Douglas Bazata, later claimed he was part of the murder of General Patton. Bazata has never been taken seriously.

In the end, this book covers and touches on things most other histories do not. The most shocking part of the book was the “encouraged” gang raping communist soldiers performed. When the Russians entered Berlin, its believe they raped over 100,000 German women. Adolescent, elderly and pregnant were not spared this horrific abuse.

“Audacity” was a method Patton lived by. This books author has done no less. This is a highly recommended read and I suspect like I did, you’ll learn something new about the second world war. This book is a reminder that we nothing to grant the freedoms we have now. We’re just the caretakers.

Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General

Monday, November 16, 2015

How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

I completed a book by Professor Bart Ehrman titled How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. As you can tell, I've been going through a few religious books lately. I hope that is alright.

Ehrman writes from a perspective of looking at the Jewish figure Jesus, so he says historically, rather than theologically. He often falls in the category of a critic, which makes him unpopular with some. How Jesus became God looks at the development of Jesus and the potential evolutions to his deity, that includes all Pagan theory's and possible influences.

There’s no other book like this that I’ve found. Often critics of Christianity’s version of monotheism place their view of one God in doubt, due to the belief of God as a trinity. However, you find a similar theme in ancient views of Judaism. That is before Judaism started defining itself as distinct from Christianity.

Within ancient Judaism, you find a belief of two powers or a plurality of two within their monotheistic one God. Today some have traded this view out for God appearing as multiple emanations, emanation as flowing out from a source or origin. The point here is when Jesus started being viewed as a divine person within the one God, it wasn’t the first time the masses heard something like this. It wasn’t a foreign view back then like it is today.

Ehrman is not a Christian. Nor does he desire to support mainstream Christianity. This leaves him with his detractors in that group. If you are alright with having what you believe challenged, it doesn’t mean you have to change your views. There’s a lot of historical information for armchair historians that you may enjoy.

There might be better books out there on this subject. I haven't even scratched the surface in my brief mention concerning the bulk of material that this book contains. For that reason, I'm going to hold off on recommending it. Your choice to read it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

I Will: Nine Traits Of The Outwardly Focused Christian

I completed reading the book, I Will: Nine Traits Of The Outwardly Focused Christian. Friends were the cause of my interest in this. Looking online, it was a book that I could not find one single negative review on. More or less, the book is an autopsy of the American church. In the authors view, its how we got there and now, what to do about it.

The primary issue the author focuses on is people looking to get served, instead of serving. Its how we've all become generation "me," my words. Frankly, I think this isn't just a defect in the Church community, but a defect in out entire western society. It goes beyond western Christianity. However the authors focus and intent was the American church. A recommended read.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

When You Don't Follow The Law!

When you don't follow the law, especially when you're on travel roads, you may knowingly set events in motion. While many times this won't create a danger for you, you may put someone else in harm's way. Let me provide an example.

Last week I was waiting to enter a crosswalk. A vehicle driven by a young driver stopped her car right on top of  the crosswalk. She's oblivious to everything around her. Why? Because she's engage in a mobile phone conversation while driving. Cell phones without hands free is generally illegal.

I need to cross, so I walk behind the vehicle. I should have crossed in front. This resulted in the a vehicle in the opposite lane not seeing me. I was mindful of not just walking out and stopped.

Most cars in the opposite lane stopped for me. For some reason one waited until the last minute. Maybe they didn't see me. They applied their brakes in an emergency fashion.

After I had almost completed my crossing the vehicle that skidded to a stop floored their accelerator pedal and almost clipped me. I jumped out of the way just in time. The start chain of these events was someone needed to be on the cell phone while driving. I could tell by the giggling that it wasn't an emergency call.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Betrayal (Precinct 11)

Copied from prior blog.

Tyndale House Publishers was kind enough to send me a reader review copy of The Betrayal (Precinct 11) by Jerry B. Jenkins. To comply with FTC blogger guidelines and disclosure, I received this book free of charge with the expectation of a review.

If the authors name sounds familiar, that’s probably because he co-authors another popular series of books called Left Behind. If I understand right, this is one of others stories in the Precinct 11 world.

The Betrayal is solely written by Jenkins. I have never read a book in the Left Behind series, nor have I read any books by Jenkins. I’m entering into his work and writing with a first time perspective.

The story this far is a detective is shot while protecting a witness. This witness is needed to “bust” a Chicago crime gang. He suspects an informant is on the inside and that’s where it starts to get interesting. Other then that, I don’t want to give out any spoilers.

The story doesn’t have an aversion to Christianity. God comes up in this book a lot. The story draws you in because you want to see what’s next. That keeps you reading. I understand there’s a Precinct 11 release before this one. I am now interested in checking it out.

Jenkins seems to be a good writer and storyteller. Once this book gets going, it’s hard to put it down. If it wasn’t for my lack of time and busy schedule, I would have easily finished it sooner. If you like police, detective or crime mysteries, you may want to check out this book.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Winter Motorcycle Agenda

Copied from prior blog.

I'm usually an all season rider. This winter is being extremely harsh. We just had one of the coldest days we've had in three years. Without being able to even occasionally ride, I've decided to catch up on maintenance. I've also decided to treat myself to some new accessories. This way my bike will be ready to go for spring. My to-do list has been (some of it is already done):
  • Oil Change
  • Scheduled Service Check
  • Battery Health (just had to replace)
  • New Accessories
  • Setting up with a quality smart charger
  • Check tire health
You don't have to forget about your bike during the cold. I don't. If you give your bike attention during the winter months, your bikes health will be exponentially increased. If you do need to let it set for awhile, here's what I would do.
  • Setup your battery with a smart charger.
  • Store your bike in a somewhat heated garage. (At least out of the weather)
  • Drain the gas tank. (or at least use no ethanol fuel for storage, and/or pour in a quality marine grade fuel treatment.)
  • Every 3-4 weeks move your bike. (So the tires don't develop bad spots)
  • I also might occasionally start it and let it idle for awhile to full operating temperature. (fyi, some bike won't charge the battery with this kind of idling)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Victory Cross Roads and the Kingpin

Copied from prior blog.

This weekend I participated in Victory Motorcycle's Go Break Boundaries test ride. I road a Cross Roads and a Kingpin. I had prior test road and reviewed a Victory Kingpin here.

The Cross Roads

My first ride was a Cross Roads. I was attracted to this motorcycle because of the storage options. The luggage carrying capacity of this bike is huge as you can see from the photo.

My first riding impressions was a bit baffling at first. Counter steering in turns didn't immediately come natural. The handlebars were set back and that felt odd at first.

The problem was I think, I was in town and unfamiliar with this bike. This bike is best meant for the open road and long distance riding. The set back handle bars would be more comfortable on a long distance haul. Due to the set back feel of the handlebars and the size of this bike, be prepared to spend a little riding time getting used to the unique feel.

The engine power was excellent. The storage/luggage options versus other bikes is uncontested. The stock seating comfort was more than acceptable. For a long distance trip, this bike, a Cross Country or a Cross Country Tour would be a great choice.

The Kingpin (again)

If long distance riding is only an occasional happening, then look to the Kingpin. This is a "bridge" bike. What I mean by bridge is, it's good enough around town, and good enough for a long distance ride. In fact this thing is a hellion in twistys, and it had floor boards!

Everyone who got off this bike after the test ride, got off with a big smile. This bike has fair to good luggage options, but no where near what the Victory "Cross" series offers. The power is excellent. Accelerating on the freeway without a windscreen felt like I was going to fly off the bike. The gas mileage is pretty good. I think it's 40+ highway.

Would I like to own both bikes? Yes. At this time, I prefer the Kingpin. If I was going to do a lot of long distance riding, then one of the "Cross" series bikes would be what I would want.

I haven't test road a Vegas. Hopefully I'll get to do that soon on there next trip out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Delmore Schwartz

I've always been captured by this line from Delmore Schwartz.
"Time is the fire in which we burn"

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Victory Kingpin and the Triumph Thunderbird

Copied from prior blog.

This summer I test road a Victory Kingpin. On the same day I test road a new Triumph Thunderbird. So how did Victory's gangsta bike compare to Triumph's bad bird? Rather than spending time with specs, here's how the rides felt.

Victory Kingpin

I road the Kingpin in the morning first. This was my first ride on a large V-Twin engine. The stock exhaust sound was nice. The dash lights and gauges are the easiest to see and use on any current cruiser bike. The throttle felt smooth. The engine responded just how I commanded it and I was unfamiliar with this bike.

The Kingpin chewed up the corners and curves with much more aggression and ease than my current bike. This bike was almost saying "give me more," "give me bigger challenges." The braking power was excellent. The Kingpin felt more planted to the ground than other motorcycles. Is this how all Victory's feel?

Triumph Thunderbird 1700

I climbed aboard Triumph's big Parallel Twin Thunderbird that same afternoon. This bike took some getting used to. It's exhaust sound is quiet. I noticed it didn't have immediate response in corners. That was probably due to the bigger front tire. You get used to it. Like a traditional cruiser, the dash lights and gauges are on the fuel tank. This causes you to break from the most talked about rule in basic motorcycle training. To view them you have to take your eyes slightly off the road.

The big parallel twin responded how I wanted from the very smooth throttle. The Thunderbird doesn't have the Kingpin's feel of aggression, but the bike rides so soft that you wonder if your up to speed. Don't get tricked by this bike. Briefly taking your eyes off the road to look at the speedometer, I saw I was almost at 80 m.p.h. in a 60 zone. The braking felt spectacular, and just in time.


An American versus a British take on the cruiser bike couldn't be more different. The one oddity is I ended up on bikes practically the same color. Now comes the hardest part. Which one did I like better? Well, I guess it depends. To say one bike took the other down wouldn't be correct. Unfamiliar with both bikes, I was able to take off on the Victory and shortly it felt like the bike was already an extension of me. With that, the easy viewing controls and being the easiest cornering cruiser I have ridden to date, says to me Polaris Victory has put a lot into its usability.

The Thunderbird took some getting used to, however I felt the Thunderbird's braking ability gave me a greater feeling of confidence. The clutch lever on the T-Bird felt easier. It's balance feels easy for being such a heavy bike. Heavy is probably what makes this bike such a smooth highway ride. This cruiser takes a pass on a gangsta look. I like that.

While I would use words like "power" and "aggressive" to describe the Kingpin, "art" and "finesse" come to mind for the Thunderbird. Where the Kingpin shines is in the corners. This is where I was pulled towards this bike. Where the Thunderbird shines is on a busy freeway and also in stop and go traffic. This is where the Thunderbird's finesse and breaking ability pull me towards this bike. Both are an easy speeding ticket.

Which one do I recommend? Both. I love them both.

Additional side points:
  • Victory's cruiser luggage is better than Triumph's. There's no debate here.
  • Triumph has more dealers (in the USA) to support you than Victory, but that may change soon.
  • Need a Triumph part from the United Kingdom? Be prepared to wait.
  • Need a Victory part from the United States? First, you have to find a dealer.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Riding in the Rain Clinic

I attended a free "Ride in the Rain" clinic. It was sponsored by Eagle Leather, Washington Motorcycle Safety Training, and Puget Sound Safety. The purpose was safety when traveling in less than optimal conditions. I have to say that I'm reassessing my skills. I don't want to ever be at a point where I stop wanting to learn.

I consider myself an all season rider. The conditions I don’t like to ride in are down pouring rain (if I can help it), extreme cold, ice and snow. I know some may claim that you aren’t a "real motorcyclist" if you don’t ride in unsafe conditions. Personally, if your uncomfortable in certain conditions, don’t ride in them! I sure don’t, but getting caught in the rain is going to happen.

We covered proper braking, common braking errors, proper lean angles, ABS brakes and group riding. I know the real purpose for Eagle Leather (in Lakewood, WA) sponsoring this is to sell gear. I have to give credit where credit is due, they are the best motorcycle gear store I have experienced for fitting gear. They are one of my go-to recommendations for helmet fitting. They're one of the rare stores that have a staff that can actually fit you a helmet!

While the clinic was free, Eagle Leather deserves our patronage. If you live in the Puget Sound area, their stores are found Lakewood and Auburn.

Lakewood Location: 10222 South Tacoma Way Lakewood, WA 98499

Auburn Location: 1407 Auburn Way So. Auburn, WA 98002

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Spring 2011 Ride & Ghost Towns

Copied from prior blog.

April 17th was the first reprieve from the cold and rain the northwest brings. I took a ride on my motorcycle through an area that once was the town of Tono, Washington. Tono was an old Washington State mining town.

Today it’s listed as a ghost town. There’s not much left. This house may not have even been part of the original town, but its on the outskirts.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Motorcycle Safety Training

I must confess I’m disappointed with motorcycle safety training. I now understand why some riders never take a training class. I understand why some disparage training. A longtime bona-fide rider should be excellent with danger management and technical precision. With that said, I’m stunned with behavior I find in supposedly professional "experts".

Every year I tried to fit in one training class, but some of the trainers the US Motorcycle Safety Foundation is sanctioning are not very good. Nothing is perfect but with all the training happening along with, better bikes, better gear, the accident stats aren’t improving.

I believe training can be better, or more accurately the trainers. In the years I’ve been attending training classes I’ve experienced the following personally or witnessed it happen.

The brand of bike

Making disparaging remarks towards the motorcycle a student road to class, needs to go. Cornering a student and asking, “So, what made you buy foreign?” “Um…I got a good deal on a used first bike?” The response… “I’m a proud union man, and it’s why I ride American.”

The gear

Stopping class to make remarks about a student’s gear; with taunts like “I’m a true American” as a reason to not buy foreign gear. It’s especially puzzling when the instructor rode a Honda to class. Most all gear today is made in China or somewhere close.

The "not in my club" attack

There's all different kinds of riders. There are commuters, thrill seekers, and long distance travelers, etc. I’d place my rider type in the “commuter” category. I’m not into being gansta. An instructor giving favoritism to fellow tough guys or ex-military should go. Sending a person out with an endorsement and the overconfidence that his “brother” helped him pass may put that rider in danger. Especially if they're a new rider.

Anger issues

Visible anger issues with the instructor when a student makes a mistake are not healthy for the class. Instructors asking for post class feedback and training improvements should be charitable with feedback. When an instructor hears something they don't like or agree with, they corner and verbally attacks the student after class. That should go to.

Weird gesturing

Don't do odd and strange out of the norm gestures out on a training range. When an inquiring student asks what’s going on, now were onto the next phase (insert instructor anger issue here) where the student was expected to be a mind reader.

Name calling

Calling students stupid, numskull, etc. creates resistance and builds learning barriers. This isn't a boot camp. Calling competing instructors from other schools incompetent f*cks or other like names is childish.

To you professional "experts" who I looked up to, you ruined my confidence...thanks. I’m done with financially subsidizing this kind of behavior.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oil Change Saturn Car

Two things that I do whether its a bike or a car; before I drain the oil, I make sure I have both the drain bolt AND the filter loose before I drain anything. That way, if one or the other won't come loose, and you have to take it in for service, its just a matter of tightening one thing up and no oil has been drained.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang

So I've read another biker book. Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. According to the book, it was written by the law enforcement agent who performed the undercover work.

The focus of the investigation is the Mongols Motorcycle Club. They are mostly a California group. Like all clubs, I’m going to stay out of the debate whether they are just a club or something else.

William Queen an ATF agent, then known as Billy St. John, joins the club and becomes a full time member. He even rises to a chapter vice-president. The thrilling parts of the book is the ride through subterfuge, deception and avoiding woopies that almost expose him in his ride to a full-patch member.

The evidence gathering was enormous and before the tech world that we know now; iPhones, drones, National Security Agency info gathering, etc. Towards the end Queen as Billy, appears to have developed a close relationship with his "brothers." It feels like it’s hard for him to take them down. ATF and other law enforcement agencies descend on that fateful day and gather up more than 50 members on multiple charges.

I don't know why, I couldn't put this down.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why?! why?! why!?

Why is it whenever I want to check the air pressure on a tire, the valve stem is always positioned in the hardest to reach place?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Motorcycle Tires

Originally posted, April 23, 2011.

I’m one with the motorcycle. On the road it’s an extension of me. I don’t think of it as something that just accepts my commands, but more like an appendage. It’s me with wheels.

This is the first motorcycle I’ve owned, though I rode a few before I bought this one. That is, if you could count what I knew then as riding. I’ve been feeling for some time that the front tire seems to skid out easily. I just accepted that it was because the tire was skinny and not big like what you commonly see on a Harley-Davidson bike.

The June 2011 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser had an interesting article about tires. It contained much more than I really needed to know, but a fascinating tidbit was how to read a tires date code. Decoding my codes says my tires will soon be six years old. I haven’t owned the bike that long. I bought it used.

I then remembered from reading “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles” that you should occasionally inspect your tires. So with a pin light, that’s just what I did. My front tire was loaded with micro cracks. The rear one has them also but not as bad.

I immediately took my bike it to the local dealer for their opinion. Their observation was the tire rubber is old, turning hard and cracking. Soooo, I’ve saving my pennies for new tires as soon as possible. I think I can have them put on in the next few weeks. Moral of the story, it’s good to read sometimes AND inspect the tires.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Born to Ride (2010)

A friend convinced me I needed to see this biker movie Born to Ride. I feel compelled to write this review and warn you against this movie. This is 90 minutes of my life I will never get back. I really believe now my friend just wanted to share the pain.

A father's son (Mike) makes a surprise discovery about his dad. Something you think will be followed up on later in the movie, but never is. The deceased fathers classic bike is refurbished for a trek to the famous Sturgis motorcycle rally. Of course, there is derailments along the way.

Mike and his partner end up in a weave of political blackmail and a stolen tape recording of the evidence. They are chased on their road trip by the bad guys. Just when it starts to get interesting the movie just sorta drops off, summarizes everything and ends. It is horribly acted. A trip into the unimaginative. Two stars on Amazon is a crime. One is barely deserved.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ridin' High, Livin' Free: Hell-Raising Motorcycle Stories

I completed another book by Ralph Sonny Barger, Ridin' High, Livin' Free: Hell-Raising Motorcycle Stories. This book is a collection of brief stories. The stories themselves are an eclectic mix.

The start of the book stated that there’s reasons to believe these stories are true, and reasons they aren’t. It feels like many could be from throughout his life with certain people. Most of them center on a person that’s quite an entertaining character. I suspect he’s blurred some details for personal reasons.

The stories cover everything from spiritual experiences to bare-knuckled brawlers to topics “not safe for work.” I don’t desire to live the life of a rebellious biker, or an extreme rebel period. I don't want the pay cut.

This book isn’t for everyone. If you want to explore a different genre of book, this one shouldn’t disappoint. I also wouldn’t leave it laying around our modern politically correct workplaces. Did I mention some stories are not safe for work?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ubuntu Fails To Convert

From the TechRepublic,

Politicians in a German city that switched from Microsoft Windows to Ubuntu Linux are wanting, at least on their laptops, Windows back on w/Office. The complaints are over a lack of word processing software, office packages, video calling and conferencing software, etc. While I know these exist in the English speaking world, apparently they're not so numerous in the German language.

The city migrated to Ubuntu to save money. That worked, but it appears to have come with another type of cost. Lost productivity. While Linux has some of the industries best tools and software for network hosting and security, the OS overall is still struggling in the consumer and enterprise office area.

Ubuntu has probably been the best answer to the usability departments and deep software library of Microsoft, Apple and Google. It looks like there's still work to do. At least in the German language area.

Surface 3 and Surface 3 Pro Docking Stations on sale at Amazon

If you have need, Surface 3 and Surface 3 Pro docking stations are on sale at at this moment, here and here.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Face the Music: A Life Exposed by Paul Stanley

This year I finish reading Michael Sweet’s book, Honestly. To take what some might view as going in the opposite direction, I’ve just completed reading Paul Stanly’s book, Face the Music. Oh my, this is not a youth friendly or sensitive reader book. Sex, drugs and Rock & roll…and pedophilia (not him), it’s all in there. And Paul survived. Many around him didn’t.

Some of the lessons in the book which meant a lot to me were around the insular bubble that can sometimes be built around you. Coddling and being taken care of, takes away your autonomy and independence. That allows you to be controlled by others. He wasn’t talking politics, but this rolls into some things that weaken western society today via political policy.

Another was dealing with a certain type of person. While you will choose to be responsible, and take care of your affairs (be an adult), others around you will dump on you what a tight-ass (money) you are. They will engage in self-destructive behavior and convinced themselves YOU victimized THEM. Like saving someone drowning, some will pull you under if you try and help. I’m not talking about not caring or being unhelpful, you can give all the caring in the world and all the help to some, and it just makes some resent you more. Some valuable lessons.

Money, fame, popularity, sex according to Paul, isn’t where it was at for him. In the end, he found his way back to…get this…a traditional family. And he now is positive toward faith, like Judaism in particular. I'm envious of his success, and path he found.

Coming from a maltreated family who survived the Second World War Holocaust, the odds were not in his favor. I almost want to recommend this book as a back to back read with Michael Sweet’s book, Honestly. There’s a lot of interesting, but different, parallels.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Freedom: Credos from the Road by Sonny Barger

I finished one Barger book, only to read another; Freedom: Credos from the Road. In this book, Sonny Barger presents some of what he lives by. Some he learned on his own, and the hard way.

While many of the credos are from inside the motorcycling community, they can apply outside as well. The author gives perspective on dealing with overbearing people, existing in a community of people, the politics of people, etc. I didn’t know what to expect with this book.

A few of the credos might seem cliché. In the book they are given examples and backing. Having too many chiefs (leaders), being on time and better, early…learning from how people treat you, being an individual, and most of all, live your life, are just some of the ones that spoke to me.

Because he’s a biker guy, or a one-percenter, or ex-con, don’t let that discredit this book from going into your leadership toolbox. Not everything will of course apply. Some of the principles presented in this book, are ones that are disappearing, and/or reserved for expensive leadership training. A highly recommended book!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed by Michael Sweet

I completed Honestly: My Life and Stryper Revealed by Michael Sweet. This book was very engaging. It was hard to put down and a fast read. Michael Sweet has wrote a “no holds barred” account of his life and his time in the rock band Stryper.

Stryper was one of the first bands that showed success fusing God and early 80s hair metal. In the beginning things are innocent, and pure. Then success sets in and like everything, here comes the challenges of success.

I found this book, and strangely, very encouraging. No matter your failures, or your low points, keep going. You never know where life’s road will take you. It may even be a God path. A recommended read!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hell's Angel by Sonny Barger, Keith Zimmerman, Kent Zimmerman

I completed reading Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. This is Sonny’s very open history and participation in the founding of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC). This book is not for the squeamish. He tells it from a no apology perspective.

I must admit, I know little about the HAMC. That was until I read this book. While some consider them an organized crime syndicate, others just a club, I won’t be taking sides with that here.

One thing for certain, the primary author Barger is not dumb. In this book he shows himself as a calculated and visionary leader. He and others (he shares the credit) took a small California MC and laid the groundwork for a worldwide organization.

Membership in these clubs is an honor that is jealously protected. The thing that stuck out most for me and what it means to be a part of a club like this, is the commitment. I enjoyed the trip down history lane and how modern motorcycle design was influenced by these early HAMC garage customs.

Whether you like what he’s accomplished, or not, he’s not going to care. He helped build an organization that is going to be around for a long time. A recommended read for those curious about that side of the motorcycle world.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Motorcycle Camping Gear

This is my gear list for what I take when I do a motorcycle camping trip. I've segregated it into my must haves versus optional items. I'm currently camping on a Triumph Thunderbird 1600. I generally take all of this, but if its your first time or you have limited cargo space, the optional items don't have to be taken.

Small Tent
Sleeping Bag
Phone/Extra Battery Power
Can Opener
Hatchet for wood
Wear Boots
Extra Cloths / Toothbrush
Rain Gear
Air Pressure Gauge for bike
Mosquito repellant
Carry bag
Bug bite
Toilet Paper

Small Portable Camp Stove (Optional)
Cook Set (Optional)
Sleeping Pad (Optional)
Fire Starter (Optional)
Camp Chair (Optional)
Extra Optical Glasses (Optional)
Tough Tent Stakes (Optional)
Tarp (Optional)
Warm Foot Wear (Optional)
Backpack (Optional)
Extra gloves (Optional)
Hand Warmers (Optional)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Total Recall - My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenegger's recent book is spectacular! This one of the more entertaining autobiography's. It is a tell all book covering the highs and lows of his life. His achievements, and even right down to his mistakes.

His early memories are told first; Austria, the Cold War and his time in Germany. As a youth, Arnold became fascinated with America through bodybuilding and fitness magazines. He immigrated to the United State and became a competitive sports figure, movie actor, politician and activist.

The lessons from the book, which the author attempts to impart, are a plan, hard work, commitment and not letting your mistakes define you. It's very possible for anybody to succeed in America. That's especially true for someone who's first and primary language isn't English. However, a key to his success, was learning English and building relationships.

Throughout his careers, you'll find relationships are a real key. He closes out with some very important lessons. I've confidently added them as lessons for me to learn.

  • Never let pride get in your way.
  • Don't over-think.
  • Forget having a plan B, operate without a safety net.
  • You can use outrageous humor to settle a score.
  • Work, don't waste your time.
  • Reps, reps , reps. Goals, no shortcuts, no second takes.
  • Don't blame your parents (you do it because you feel needy and vulnerable.
  • Change takes big balls.
  • Take care of your body and your mind (the mind is like a muscle, you should train it too).
  • Stay hungry, success, make your mark, help others.
  • Live a risky life, and a spicy life.
  • Never follow the crowd (freeway full at rush hour, restaurant busy at dinner, don't go where the people are).
  • No matter what you do in life, selling is part of it.
  • Inspire to work out, pass on junk foods, use your will and vision.
  • Trust yourself, break some rules, don't be afraid to fail.
  • Avoid naysayers.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Oysterville Washington

I love visiting the coast of the Pacific Northwest, especially Washington's. Currently, one of my go-to spots is the Long Beach area in Pacific County. Its part of the Columbia River Valley. There's always someplace new to explore. One of my new discovery's was Oysterville.

Oysterville was a community and town founded close to Long Beach Washington, near the Chinook people. Newcomers started arriving around the mid 1800s. I'm not sure if anyone knows an exact incorporation date anymore.

As the name indicates, oyster farming was one of the community's strengths. According to stories, that made the community rather well-off. Popular writer Willard R. Espy grew up there. Today, its an unincorporated community. Some use the term a small village for what exists now.

This is one of the old towns and only still standing Churches. It was a Methodist Church. During the day its open to the public for visitors.

Inside the church is well kept. The pulpit, pew and Bible are ready to go. Upon entering, the Bible was opened to the Psalms.

This is one of the still standing schools. Its an old style one-room schoolhouse.

Many of the building have be lost and succumbed to time. This house looks next.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Harley Davidson Test Rides

2014 was a unique year for me. I've ridding a motorcycle for a number of years. I've test road a lot of different types. However, I've never ridden or test road a Harley Davidson. Until now.

The reasons that sent me on a different path were typical. Walk into the local dealer, and receive rude treatment. Then look at the price tag after the rude treatment. Walk out and never come back. The brand isn't the issue and that can happen in a lot of different motorcycle stores.

Fast forward years later. I'm happy with my current ride, but it just seemed wrong to not have tried out a Harley. My first test ride was a Fat Bob. That's the one based on the Dyna frame.

For those uninformed and it looks like H-D has all these confusing models. They don't. They have about five frames they're working with; Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod and the Touring one. All their bikes are built around these frames.

The Fat Bob being a Dyna model handled easily. Phenomenal really. It's a smaller frame with a very powerful engine. Its not so torquey that you are constantly concerned.

Later, I rented a Street Glide. That's using the Touring frame. My impression with the Street Glide is comfort and hauling capacity. It was an older and very beat up bike and it still handled well.

I did video on both. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What motorcyclists can learn from a cat

Now how do I get down!?
Cats are sometimes curious things. Especially when they speedily charge right up a ladder, and then unable to get down. Curiosity is sometimes blamed for cats mishaps. In an amusing sense sometimes target fixation seems like an obvious issue for a cat.

I think motorcycle riders can learn some things from our little furry friends. More often than we would like to admit, we're often guilty of some of the same behavior. The commonality is charging full speed ahead into something without taking time to pause, and then look around over the ramifications. We charge ahead into corners, bunching up too close behind traffic, moving into tights spots with no exit, or angry exchanges with drivers.

Cats are known to have 9 lives. They have close calls. They have woopses. They get into something and they need your help. I sometimes find myself having an occasional close call. In between my daydreaming as a ride along, sometimes something slips in my way, or not looking out far enough ahead, I ride into a challenging circumstance with a car.

I don't want to use up my 9 lives. When I ride into a pickle, there's no one to help me out of it. I don't have an owner who feeds me and cleans my litter box. It's on me, and it always will be.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns

I've started reading a fascinating book by Dr. Peter Enns. It's called The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It. While this book centers on the Christian faith, people from different walks may find it beneficial.

Enns appears to have gone through the gauntlet many go through in modern systematic Christianity. Everything's fine, but he has questions. He then takes it a step further. You question, and then you're removed, dismissed or decreed you're no longer part of the tribe.

He feels people have missed the point of the Bible. That specifically viewing the Bible as an instruction manual, rulebook, hard and rigid Word of God. While the Bible can fill that on some level, he believes that's all a setup for failure. He now prefers a Bible where you can meet God.

He says, “I believe God wants us to take the Bible seriously, but I don’t believe he wants us to suppress our questions about it.” Of many questions is the stark difference of how God is presented in the New Testament versus the prior. One explanation is the more ancient authors of writings who were tribal often connected through their deity as a warrior God.

Approaching the Bible through cultural context is nothing new. Authors like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Dr. Michael L. Brown, J. Michael Matkin along with many others, have done similar. They've also receive their share of lumps for it. I think Enns has done it in a new easy to read approach.

Cultural context has helped me to understand many parts of the Bible's perceived inconsistencies. Setting up the Bible as an inerrant and infallible authority in everything, sets up expectations the Bible may not live up to.

Many readers are claiming the book to be life changing. The books shatters the literal inerrancy of scripture. That's sure to be controversial for some.

Those wanting systematic certainty in an inerrant and infallible Word of God, will probably find this book disturbing if not heretical. Fundamentalists are sure to question the author's motives. While I will draw no conclusions on this book for you, any Bible bibliophile should find this book a very fun and informative read.