Category: me


I have decided to move my blog off the free WordPress site and over to my own domain that I have been paying for for years, but have left sitting dormant.  This move will allow me to have a lot more freedom with my blog.  For instance, I can customize the theme and add fun little widgets that the free site did not offer.  All of my previous posts will be transferred to that site.  I will be doing a giveaway pretty soon too!

Last month at the Libertek’s Smalbany conference, Rose and I met Michael Haley from Squiggout.  He runs a local hosting company in Clifton Park, and made a great impression on us when we spoke with him.  His products were quite impressive as well, and we decided that we would give him our business.

So, I am going to be migrating over to that site over the next few days.  I will keep everything here and check in from time to time, but future posts will be written over there.  Please be sure to subscribe while you’re over there.  See ya soon!

Last Tuesday, I found myself up in Clifton Park while running some errands. I had wanted to stop by Menneto Powersports for a few weeks, but just hadn’t had the time to get there. Since I was in the area, I popped in to see the Victory motorcycles they had in stock, and to talk to them about possibly taking one (or some) out for a test ride.

We were only in the dealership for a few minutes when John came over and struck up a conversation with us. He was very nice, and within a few minutes of telling him why I was there, he was offering us a test ride. I declined because I wasn’t properly dressed to ride, but promised I would be back the next day to take him up on his offer.

While we were there, John told us all about the bikes Victory had to offer and what made them great bikes. He truly believes in what he sells. That is a dream job to me. Having something that you believe in makes selling it a breeze. He had us sit on a few bikes and get a feel for them, telling us the features and benefits of each bike we sat on.

On our way to our weekly ride on Wednesday, we stopped back in to see John again. He was ready for us and asked what i wanted to ride. He said that he had three Victorys available for demo and I was welcome to ride one or all three. Fantastic! Sign me up! We didn’t have time to do all three, so I agreed to take one out, and when I got back, if we had time, I would take out another.

The first bike I rode was the 2010 Victory Vegas (red & white in the distance). I liked the seating position and the footpeg locations. They fit my 5’7″ frame very well. The ride was smooth and the power was adequate for the 100 inch motor. Victory doesn’t give specs on horsepower, but I found a few spots on the web that say it’s around 85hp.

When I got back with the Vegas, John came right out and got the Vegas Jackpot ready. This one was a 2008 demo and had a Stage 1 kit and a pipe added to it. The pipe gave it a tiny bit more volume over stock, but wasn’t loud by any means. Another big difference with this bike was the 250mm rear tire. It threw me off a little moving through the parking lot, as it functions quite differently than the 180mm tires I am used to.

After I got it out on the road, the tire wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. I just had to remember that it wasn’t a 180 and take that into consideration in the corners. After a little bit, I had forgotten all about it.

The extra punch from the Stage 1 kit and the pipe upgrade was a nice improvement. The bike had a little more get up and go and it sounded a little better too. I really enjoyed riding it.

If you’re looking for a Victory, be sure to stop up and see John Pamper at Menneto’s on Route 146 in Clifton Park. They are practically giving these things away. The 2011s will be here any day and they are making room. I can’t wait to try out the new ones. I hope to try the Vision and the new Cross Country. Be sure to look for my review on them in the next few weeks.

**Photo by Rose**

The folks at Spider Camera Holster were kind enough to send me a Spider Pro System to try out.  At first, I must admit that I was a little nervous to hang my dSLR off my belt and walk around with it swinging, but it proved to be quite a nice piece of equipment.

Last week, I put it to use at the University of Albany athletic fields.  The New York Giants hold training camp here in August and I decided I would go down and practice my sports photography while trying out the Spider Pro System.

As I arrived at the athletic fields, I grabbed the heavy duty belt and clipped it on.  My first thoughts were that the material and the and the buckle were both very heavy duty and made me feel a little better about hanging my camera from it.  I then noticed that the clip that closed the belt not only had two finger releases to open it, but also a third release that wasn’t going to let the belt slip open and fall to the ground.

Spider Belt

The main part of the unit was a base called the Spider Pro Plate.  This plate comes with a built-in Allen wrench for attaching it to your camera.  When you are done with it, simply slide it right into the plate until you need it again.  It’s a great design idea!  The plate has a Spider Pin attachment that connects your camera to the belt.

Spider Plate

Spider Pin

The Spider Pro Holster Box allows you to slide the Spider pin into it and lock it into place, assuring your camera wont pop out.  There is a small latch you can flip that locks your camera into the Spider Pro for safety.  Once in there, it will stay put and wont come out.  Releasing the lock is just as simple.  Just flip the latch the opposite way, and your camera comes right out.

Spider Pro

I really enjoyed testing this product.  It was a very useful tool in the field.  If I needed to free up my hands to talk to someone or set up a shot, all I had to do was clip the camera into the Spider Holster and I was free to do what I needed to without having to set the camera down on the ground or back in my camera bag.  I would highly recommend adding the Spider Holster to your collection of photo gear.

The Spider Camera holster sells for $109.99.

***Images courtesy of Spider Holster***

Last night, I caught the season premiere of American Chopper Senior vs. Junior on TLC. I don’t know what it is about this show, but it’s like a train wreck. I can’t stop watching it. I don’t know why you would want to air your dirty laundry out there on TV, but people eat it up. And I guess it wouldn’t be reality TV if there was no drama.

In the new series, they pit father against son, as they both compete to see who can build the best bikes. It should be interesting, as Paul Sr. doesn’t do much building and Paul Jr., who has a great eye for design, came and went as he pleased and held up a lot of bike builds.

I am pretty excited about this show, as it will really expose the people who make the bike builds happen. I have always liked Rick a lot. He is an incredible fabricator, and seems like an all around good guy. Vinnie is coming back to work with Paulie, with fears about the abuse he took when he worked with OCC in the past. Both of these guys are amazing bike builders, and I think they kept this company going. If it weren’t for them, I am sure quite a few bikes would never have been completed.

It will be cool to see how things progress as the series goes on. I imagine there will be some pretty cool bikes that come out of this, and hope that it doesn’t end up being the predictable ‘father and son make up and re-unite” scenario at the end. That would be a huge let down.

What do you think of the show? Who’s side will you be on – Junior or Senior? Love it or hate it?

Yesterday, I attended the Liberteks Smalbany 5th Annual Small Business day at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.  I was invited to be a Guest VIP Blogger and take some pictures for the event.  I didn’t get to take many pictures, but I did get to sit in on some pretty good seminars about how social media can help grow your business.

I was going to sit down and write a long, drawn out blog series about what was said, by whom in each seminar.  I decided against that, because almost everyone said the exact same thing:

Your business needs to be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

As someone who has been using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for a few years, this was not news to me.  For those looking to drive more traffic to their company, this was an excellent place to spend the day learning how the web can work for you.  It was nice to see that these methods have been effective for many other businesses and continue to drive business to their sites.

I wanted to highlight some of the key parts of the seminars that I thought would be of importance to my readers and keep this from being a novel that no one wants to finish.  So, here are some of the best parts, in my opinion, of course.

The first speaker I heard from was Lisbeth Calandrino.  She was full of spunk and looked nothing like her claimed age of 70.  Lisbeth told us that being partners with your customers is a must.  She also mentioned that Sam’s club asked their small business customers what they need to stay in business, and they replied “money”.

Lydia Kulbida led a panel of bloggers and also offered a very important piece of advice for using online media to sell your product – Read it out loud to yourself.  Would you want to buy it?  Great advice.  Plus, she like LOST, so she’s OK in my book!

Mary Darcy from All Over Albany backed this theory up by saying “would you tell this to someone else?”  I really enjoyed Mary’s feedback on how she gets information to post on the AOA blog.  I wish she had more time to talk, as it was not only informative, but very interesting.

Mike Huber led a panel called Local Social Media and Your Customers.  He asked about blogging and tweeting – why would you want to do it, and why would people care?  Sonya Stark said to create lists.  People love lists.  Lisa D’Aquanni and Vic Christopher shared some great  information about blogging and what it can do for your business.

My favorite panelist was Rev. Al Rudnick.  I am not huge on religion, but he explained how people are using Twitter and Facebook during church and how they encourage it.  They even project it on a large screen so people can see it and participate.  I think I will try this on Sunday.  I bet the people in our church wont be as accepting…

Rhea Drysdale from Outspoken Media put on a great presentation about the Mobile revolution.  She detailed how Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare play a huge part in the mobile arena.  Rhea mentioned that you should protect your brand.  Make sure you get your company name on every outlet you can.

Alexis Grant (@AlexisGrant) held a great seminar about Using Social Media For Your Job Hunt.  She recommended three ways to make the web work for you;

Facebook – They are more likely to help you because you are already friends.

Twitter – Network outside of your friends.  Prove yourself as an expert.  Make connections with companies and employers.  Connect with people through Twitter that you might have been too intimidated to talk to at a job fair.

I think this event was a huge success.  It offered many great ways to promote your small business with social media.  Thanks to Tim Cronin and Larry Zimbler for letting me be a part of this event.  I hope to participate again next year.

Yesterday, I went to the Lia Car Show in Schenectady.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of cars that were on display there.  Not only were there some amazing classics, but there were also a couple high-end sports cars.  Here are some of the pictures I took at the show.

See ya soon!

The great folks over at LowePro have granted my wish and sent me two bags to compare for my next review.  I am really excited about this review because they are not only two totally different bags, but the are not backpacks.  I have always tried out the backpacks until now, and this will give me a chance to expand my horizons and share another option with you.  Here’s what they sent me;

LowePro Classified 160AW – This bag is a shoulder bag that will handle a DSLR with a 70-200mm lens, 1-2 extra lenses and a flash.

LowePro Outback 300AW – This bag is dubbed a ‘beltpack’.  It will hold the same camera and lens as the Classified, but also has room for 3-4 lenses and a flash.

I am off to try them both out and will have a report for you in a few weeks!  See ya soon!

The first pepper to start growing in the garden!

Over the past few weeks, I have posted information about my garden.  I decided that instead of posting heights and counts, I would write about what I have learned about gardening in my first attempt.

I was a little nervous starting this venture, as I had never so much as grown a single food-producing plant in my life.  Sure, I’ve kept the Christmas cactus and a few other household plants alive, but they were bought at a store and all the hard work was already done.  All I had to do was water them.  No big deal, right?  Here’s what I learned…

-Zucchini plants take over a garden.  We got this tiny plant from Hewitts and it couldn’t have been more than 6 inches long with one leaf.  Now, it is a massive, 3 foot round, 3 foot tall monster covering a strawberry plant and a banana pepper plant.  Next time, I will give it a very large area to grow in and make sure none of the smaller plants get shaded out.

-Tomato plants get HUGE!  I gave them about a foot and a half in between, but they still have grown so big that I can barely walk between them.  They are also almost up to my chest in height.  Next year, I will plant them about three feet apart so I can walk between them to pick the tomatoes when they are ripe.

-I also need to put some type of weed control down.  Not a chemical, but maybe weed cloth.  I have kept up with the weeds for the most part, but some have grown a little more than I would like.

-I need to work on a compost pile.  I was told that the pile will help to enrich the soil and make it much more fertile.

-Putting something down (grass clippings, leaves) around the base of the plants will help keep the moisture in the ground for the plants.

The first zucchini from the garden

So far, the garden has been a success.  I have harvested two large zucchini, a grape tomato and a cherry tomato.  There are two small sweet peppers starting to grow as well.  A lot of the other tomatoes have started to grow, but aren’t quite ripe yet.  One thing is for sure – I am going to have tomatoes out the wazoo pretty soon!  Guess I better learn a little bit about canning!

Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?