Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sorry Nancy, not sure I can explain it actually.

Nancy asked me recently why I like doing these odd (solo) motorcycle trips. Got me to thinking, though I'm not sure I can come up with a completely satisfactory explanation.

I like the solo bit because I'm self centered, and going with anyone else inherently involves compromise. Compromise on when to stop, where to stop, where to go. Since I like not having an agenda (or even a pre-planned route), that part I do get.

Beyond that, here's what I could come up with.

1 - pause and reset. Almost impossible not to get caught up in the day to day minutiae while in the middle of it. Stopping, trashing my normal routine and taking an objective (fresh) look can be invigorating.

2 - Reset. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I've found that I have a new appreciation for how rich and full my life is when I live (even for a bit) without some of the things which I love so much... family, wife, work, home.

3 - adventure. Having not become repetitive about any of my trips, they're all new (to me) and interesting in part because I've not done it before.

4 - Riding. At the core of my getaways is spending some quality time on the bike. Don't ride as much as I might like (largely my fault through laziness, inertia or fatigue) and it's awesome to get a chance to focus entirely on finding those choice roads which bring that inexplicably free feeling.

5 - Tourism. I relish the opportunity to see some new things, do a bit of people watching and check out some new parts of the country. Gotta keep marking off those states on them map! (

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Let Go or Be Dragged

One of the thing which has happened for me since my kids were born is the gradual evolution from "who I used to be" to "who I am". Like all transitions, it's often small things, silent in their nature which combine to signify the change.

I realized in conversation with Nancy a couple of months ago that I'd not ridden a dirt bike in so long I couldn't remember the last time tires touched dirt. Never intentional, wasn't taking a respite or anything, just didn't fit with the lifestyle of having two small children, working a lot and just not having a lot of free time.

Nancy's supportive of my continuing to ride in some capacity (probably couldn't roadrace again, since the commitment there is huge), but it'd just dropped off.

Startling realization, since prior to moving to Virginia I'd been riding several times a week, including one day a week where I left work early to ride motocross under the lights.

Building on that, I've sold the truck and my commuter (Scion) and bought a Subaru WRX. Plan is to get a trailer and use that to get the bike(s) around, so I should still be able to ride sometimes. As a friend has already noted ... I'm on a slippery slope!

Let's see if tire can touch dirt in 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Since you asked, Top Music of 2008. Totally subjective, as it oughta be.

Was joking about poking holes in the Top 10 lists which always come out at this time of the year, and someone asked what would be in mine (assuming I had one). It was something I did when I wrote for Maximum RocknRoll years ago, so interesting to think about.

With little forethought, and even less qualifications, here it is.

(I know some of this came out before 2008. Whatever. It's subjective! If I didn't 'discover' it until this year, it didn't exist before this year for me anyways.)

** No Order. That'd require way too much thinking and might hurt someone's feelings. **

Jay Reatard. Singles 06-07. Scuzball garage punk without apologies.

Trans Am - Surrender to the Night. Crazy stuff, especially with headphones. I immediately bought everything else they've done. (which is also good, but didn't hit me as hard).

These Arms are Snakes - Tail Swallower & Dove. Like most of their stuff, ranges from crap pop to more atmospheric metal. No real understanding of why I don't hate it, since I would have guessed that to be true.

Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling. They don't seem to release crap ever. Another amazing, anthemic, "Listen in the car where I can go LOUD" release. And they're about to play in Kuala Lumpur. Whoa.

MC Frontalot - Nerdcore Rising. Rapping about ASCII art and Star Wars makes me laugh. Gotta problem with that?

The Mall - Emergency at the Everyday. Totally solid release from this defunct band. Hooks, loud guitars and song titles which you can't really pronounce. goodbye, band.

The Ocean - Precambrian - Enormous, wall of noise sludge metal. Slow enough to drone on and on, loud enough for it to not matter. And reminds me of Chuck Sumner every time I listen to them, which is worth money to me.

The Sword - Age of Winters. Listened to this about a thousand times this year. Yeah, it's old, yeah, they have something more recent, I know. This was still the standount. I'm saving the new record for 2009 maybe.

Torche - Meanderthal. Felt almost sophisticated when my favorite music podcast (Sound Opinions, which is generally right on) named this the second best album of the year. Agreed with their first choice as being awesome as well. Maybe I'm getting smarter.

Tim Fite - anything. Credit to SoundOpinions for introducing me to him. I've plowed through everything he's done this year, in part because much of it is available for free on the web. (Punk!). He rules, even if Nancy has said "it sounds like the Grateful Dead", which is obviously meant to shame me somehow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

1989 revisited!

Interesting week, as I've had a number of old, old friends come back in contact. It's been especially interesting as I think about the contrasts from when I was a 19 year old punk floating around WITR with Lucien in Rochester, going up to visit Shauna in Manhattan and buy Doc Martens on St Marks..... crazy times.

Think the thing most poignant about all of it is how different things are now (which certainly isn't a bad thing). I'm about a million miles removed from almost everything I did then into new (and entirely different) activities now.

Crazy how life evolves in a way you couldn't plan or predict. My weekends now are chasing children through county fairs , riding motorcycles, playing xbox after everyone is asleep and fiddling with photography, computers and all the other things which have been consistent the whole time.

It's a wonderful life indeed!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Was one of the legions who picked up a iPhone 3G after they were released. Generally, pretty happy with it. Think it's great for reading (email / web) but crap for typing. Still find the blackberry better for typing, though it's lousy for anything else.

Also a bit disappointed my car stereo didn't recognize it as an ipod. It's been finicky in the past (i.e. didn't recognize a first gen nano either), so can't be too surprised. With the commuting I do (~30 miles each way), I consume a lot of podcasts.

I've been following the App Store with some interest, since it holds a lot of promise. Favorite apps so far ... Twitterific , facebook , twittervision (which can be totally fascinating), and the ign game reviews.

Update :: Firmware upgrade on my car stereo, and the iPhone is an iPod to it. Nice. Add the wireless podcast syncing, and I'm stoked. As I said to someone else, it's Tivo for the radio! (Especially nice when you have a long(ish) commute.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy (belated) Birthday Maximum RocknRoll

Wow, 25 years. That's nuts. We're all getting older every day, but it's things like that which really push me over the edge. Had the same weird nostalgic "holy shit" feeling a couple of years ago when I realized that I'd seen Black Flag 20 (!!) years previous in Syracuse NY.
Good stuff either way... lots has passed, there's been some good times, and I can't complain.

Footnote : As my friend Tom recently commented, my taste in music hasn't changed much in 20 years. Not sure if that's good or not, but quite true....