Sunday, August 30, 2009

Have BlackBerry will Twitter.

This afternoon I went for a brisk walk to Cheesman Park. I kept the pace up on the way there in an effort to flush the sludge out of my heart and arteries, and raise my HDL levels. I took a slower pace on the way back and used the BlackBerry to take a few pictures. The camera in the BlackBerry is certainly not a high end camera, do in part to the small lens, but it can be used in a pinch.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A lighter Feathers

I've lost 20 pounds since receiving a rather stern letter from my Doctor after I failed my last Cholesterol test. I haven't set out to loose weight, in fact I'm telling myself that I am not on a diet, but I've been changing what I eat. I've cut out breads and other starches, fatty foods, and most sweets. I do try to calculate a rough estimate of how many calories I take-in but only as an aid to controlling my eating.

I miss having Spaghetti with Ice Cream on top.

Coming back to work after taking a "mini-vacation" was a bit of a shock. I was the senior person in charge of the shop for a week while the Big Boss was away. I got to crack a few heads together once and tell a few people "No!" a couple of times. That's mostly what I do anyway - there was just more of it. Last week I had to fill in for one of the technicians; I had forgotten how to do a few things but I was finally able to figured it out. I really don't like doing technical work any more.

I was elected to be the new Dispatcher (Webmaster) for the motorcycle club last week. I've been doing a lot of work on the clubs web site since taking over the position. The very first thing I did was to update the schedule of activities, then I went about fixing some formatting and font problems on some of the pages, changed the color scheme, added a logo and removed the border from the frames. I would like to eliminate frames all together but they are being used to provide page headers and footers and navigation. Generally Frames are not browser, device, or search engine friendly but eliminating them will be a big job.

Web technologies have evolved a lot since I built my first web site. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and XHTML didn't exist when I put my first site on-line. The sites I have are fairly static so they don't need very much maintenance, as a result, I haven't needed to keep my skill set up to date. I need to bring my skill set up to date and learn CSS and XHTML. CSS can be used to replace a lot of what had been done using the TABLE, CENTER, and FONT elements and tags, and it makes standardizing the look and feel of your site a lot easier. Time to head to the bookstore.

I attended Carlos's 60th birthday celebration last week. Carlos has been very involved in the GLBT community for many years. He knows a lot of people and has a lot of friends, and he really knows how to set out a good spread. There were a lot of people there and the food was great! Allan and Carlos's back yard was immaculate - with lush plants and flowers and a beautiful Koi pond. It was a beautiful evening.

I've felt like I was living on borrowed time ever since my odometer reached the 30 year mark; reaching the 60 year mark is almost unimaginable but I'll make it or die trying.

I cut back my cable TV service by eliminating all of the premium channels. Those channels aren't running anything I care to watch so there is no reason to pay for them. I almost always watch PBS (yes, I send them a contribution every year - sometimes twice.) I have no interest in mindless movies about drug lords with big guns or crazed mass murders. Lately I've been watching the "Inspector Lewis" series starring Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox; earlier there were a couple of new installments of "Poirot" starring David Suchet. That's my kind of TV.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A weekend on top of the Rockies

August 7-10, 2009.

I just returned from a terrific four day weekend motorcycling around the "Top of the Rockies" in Colorado. I can't remember the last time I had such a good time!

Turquoise Lake Colorado

A member of the Motorcycle Club invited club members to spend a weekend at a Condominium in Breckenridge that he has access too. Those who didn't go missed out on a fun weekend.

We started our trip Friday morning from Cheesman Park in central Denver and proceeded west on Interstate 70 to the Frisco exit then south to Breckenridge. We unloaded our gear at the condominium, ate a Power Bar, drank some water then headed back out.

This excursion took us through historic Leadville Colorado, around picturesque Turquoise Lake, over Tennessee Pass to Red Cliff Colorado. After a short rest in Red Cliff we continued north through Minturn to I70, back to Frisco and Breckenridge. There is a historic picturesque bridge just outside of Red Cliff unfortunately there wasn't a place to pull off and take a picture. Except for loosing my water bottle, when I hit a bumpy spot in the road, this was a wonderful tour.

We stocked the refrigerator with groceries then fixed burritos for supper. I ate 2 extra large burritos and drank 2 beers. This may explain why I woke up at 3AM.

Saturday was a laid-back day. We got up when we got up. After packing a lunch we headed over to Dillon to watch sailboat races. We didn't see any activity that looked like a race but we all enjoyed kicking back and doing nothing but watching the lake. After eating our pack lunch we rode over Swan Mountain road back to Frisco where we toured the Art Street Fair (nice but expensive stuff.)

We ate a huge spaghetti dinner for supper Saturday night. We were also fortunate enough to be in Breckenridge on the night of their 150th celebration and were treated to a great fireworks display! Breckenridge is 150 years old.

Sunday we were back in Leadville for the Leadville "Boom Days" Celebration and annual Burro races. Leadville Colorado, steeped in history and draped in beauty, is truly a magical place. I will seriously consider retiring in Leadville. Pot-roast, potatoes and veggies for supper.

Carlos, Allan, Todd. Leadville, Co. Aug. 9, 2009

Monday morning we set about cleaning the Condo, doing laundry and re-making the beds. After setting the Condo right and packing our gear we headed out. We took Swan Mountain road over to Keystone where we joined old US6. US6 took us past Arapahoe Basin and over Loveland Pass to the Loveland Ski area where US6 re-joins Interstate 70. We stopped at the top of Loveland Pass and took pictures.

Clyde and Todd. Loveland Pass Co. Aug 10, 2009

This excellent weekend came to a close as we rode back into Denver. We waved good-bye as we each went our separate way. Total mileage was 455 miles.

Some might shrug off a weekend like this as "no big deal" but for me it was. Many things came together to make this a memorable and enjoyable weekend.

I haven't actually taken a vacation in many years. My parents use to have a summer home in Wyoming - set back amongst the Pine Trees next to a flowing creek - but the family had to sell that special place when Dad died. This was a "mini" vacation - not too long but not too short. There was also the joy of Motorcycling and going someplace I've never been before but more importantly it was relaxing and recreating with good friends and good food.

Slide Show

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A big bug says a little prayer

Praying Mantis

I spotted this Praying Mantis outside the office this morning. It was between 4 and 5 inches long.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Reflections on a year with a motorcycle

Getting a motorcycle was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I have had the bike for a year. What a year it's been! I've done things in the past year that I've never done before and wouldn't have considered doing before getting the motorcycle.

In the past year I have: taken a motorcycle riding class (actually 2), ridden Golden Gate Canyon Rd and Cole Creek Canyon Rd, been to Red Rocks, rode in the Cruise Against AIDS run, been to Buffalo Bill's grave, ridden down Lookout Mountain Rd, rode in the Molly-Dharma run, rode at the head of the Gay Pride Parade, been to Breckenridge and South Park, got rained on in Roosevelt National Park, rode in the KSL run, rode to the top of Mount Evans, rode through Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road, and rode to the top of Pikes Peak. Before getting the motorcycle I would never have done any of these things.

This raises the question "Why haven't I done these things before now?" None of these things require a motorcycle.

The answer is both simple and complex but the root cause has always been Fear. I haven't done these things before, not because I'm lazy or disinterested, but because over the past 35 years I've gotten comfortable with my routine, now I am afraid of moving beyond my comfort zone. This has nothing to do with motorcycles.
  • I am afraid of being uncomfortable. Does anyone like being uncomfortable? No, but most people learn to grin and bear it.
  • I am afraid of the unknown. Most people are afraid of the unknown but some people live for the unknown.
  • I am afraid of looking like a fool. There was a popular song in the 70's titled "Everyone Plays the Fool Sometime", it must be your turn.
  • I am afraid of being unprepared. Who said anything about being prepared? Just go with the flow.
  • I am afraid of being labeled incompetent. So what? Everyone starts out as a novice.
  • I am afraid of loosing control. You never were in control; believing you're in control is just an illusion.
It's true that a motorcycle comes with some elements of risk but so does all of life. Some risks we have to accept, some we can avoid, and some risks can be managed. Most risks associated with a motorcycle are manageable; those risks that are not manageable must be accepted or avoided. Moving beyond my comfort zone, as with life and motorcycles, comes with some elements of risk but most of those risks are imaginary and the rest are manageable.

Not only has the motorcycle rekindled an old spirit, that died out over 35 years ago, and renewed a once forfeited liberty, it was via the motorcycle that I discovered the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club of Colorado where I have made some new friends. I hope they will be patent with me, maybe even lend a hand, as I struggle to push beyond my comfort zone and over new horizons.

The motorcycle and I will have our first anniversary on August 7, 2009 but the year isn't over yet. There are a few adventures yet to come: a weekend in Breckenridge CO; a weekend in Saratoga WY; and a weekend in Amarillo TX. That's a lot of riding!

It's true I could end up getting killed on the motorcycle but it's just as true I could die of a heart attack tonight. All I need to do is manage the risks that can be managed and accept the rest. Like President Franklin D. Roosevelt said "There is nothing to fear but fear itself."