Tag Archive: life


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?

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Hi all!  I wanted to share some very exciting news with you.  I have been asked to write a blog for the local newspaper.  The Times Union has recruited me to write a Biker blog and share the biker lifestyle with you.

Please head over and check it out at the Times Union site and tell me what you think.   Let me first preface your trip with this:  The banner has the default text in it and I don’t have the controls to change it from my end.  So, I will be working to get that changed ASAP.

Thanks for stopping by!

Last night, a few members of the TCRPMG went to Washington Park to apply what they had learned in the Camera Basics 101 course led by John Iannelli.  I think it was a huge success.  While we were there, I couldn’t help but grab this shot of the statue in the fountain and the amazing sky he was facing.

From where I was standing, it looked like he was yelling to the heavens, perhaps asking for rain.  The texture of the sky made it even more appealing.  I was really happy that I had been there at that exact time.

At the meetup, we discussed how light affects how your image comes out.  We also discussed shutter speed and aperture.  The main components when used together can make some really amazing shots.

We found a nice flower and took pictures of it, with the goal of having a sharply focused main subject with a blurred background (bokeh effect).  It was a great exercise and I think the members really enjoyed learning how this effect was accomplished.

Yard Sale Find

Rose and I went out to a yard sale today and I found a book that I thought was kind of funny.  It is called “How to Speak Southern” and is a dictionary of Southern speak.

The book is old and yellowing, but still in fairly decent shape.  I checked the inside and realized it was from 1976.  Wow, this thing is almost as old as I am.  It was written by Steve Mitchell and the Cartoons were done by Sam C. Rawls (“Scrawls”).  It was published by Bantam Books.

In the book, the first definition is “Ah: The things you see with, and the personal pronoun denoting individuality. “Ah think Ah’ve got somethin’ in my ah.”

There are many definitions, and most are quite comical.  Growing up in the South my first 18 years, I have heard a lot of these in person.  I can’t tell you if that is a good or bad thing.

One of my personal favorites is “fixin'”.  Like, I am fixin’ to go to the store.  That one always gets me when I am in the South.  Except most people that say it, say “fittin” to go to the store, which makes it even more odd.

So, my question to you is this;

What Northern Speak can you share with me?  What are some words that are definitely from the North?

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Yesterday began just as any other day usually does.  I got up, checked my email, my guest blog on Kristi Gustafson’s Times UnionOn The Edge‘ Blog  and then went out to check the garden and turn on the pool pump.  It was already getting hot, so I decided to mow the lawn.  I knew that we had plans later that night, so I wouldn’t be able to do it after it cooled down.  Today wasn’t looking more promising either.

So, I hop on the mower and cut the grass.  We have an acre, so it takes about an hour to cut it.  After I was done with the riding mower, I grabbed the push mower and did the areas I couldn’t get to with the rider.  When I was done with that, I was pretty hot and was sweating like crazy.  I came in the house and changed into my bathing suit, then headed out to the pool.

I dove off the diving board, and instantly felt much cooler.  As I swam to the shallow end of the pool, something caught my eye.  I looked again and saw a small animal in the skimmer.  At first I thought it was a chipmunk.  I got out of the pool and ripped the cover off the skimmer.  Then, I realized what it was.  It was a little baby bunny.  He was fighting for all he had against the suction of the skimmer.

I ran over to the pump and switched off the power so the suction would stop.  I didn’t know what he would do, so I didn’t just reach in and grab him.  I grabbed the wide mouth net and when he tried to hop up, I grabbed him in the net.  What happened next surprised me quite a bit.

Fresh out of the skimmer

I set the net down on the concrete in the shade, laid out so he could just hop out and be on his way.  He was obviously a little traumatized and out of it, so he stayed put.  I let him sit there for a few minutes while I ran inside and got Rose and some paper towels.  I picked him up and wrapped him in some paper towels.  He didn’t seem phased at all.  He just laid there.  Every now and then, I would check his sides to see if they were moving and he was still breathing.

We used what we had to give him water

As we sat there with him for an hour or two, he dried out and was still very mellow.  Rose would hold him in the paper towel, and if she moved it, he would re-position himself, so we knew he was getting a little better.  We kept him on the paper towel because he has some seriously sharp nails.  He started climbing up my chest at one point and it was a little painful.

After a few calls from friends in the veterinarian field and tons of people on Twitter giving us feedback, we put the bunny on the ground to see if he would hop away.  Eventually he did, but he started going towards the road.  I had to chase him down and catch him, which wasn’t an easy task, but refreshing, as he was moving quickly.

When I grabbed him, he made this crazy squealing noise that we hadn’t heard before.  I guess he was feeling better and that is a noise they make when they are scared.  I picked him up and took him to the other side of the yard where I released him into an overgrown area where we see lots of bunnies.  I hope he has a great life and stays away from the pool.

All dried out

McLarenF1

Back in 1992, Gordon Murray and McLaren Automotive made the fast production car in the world.  The McLaren F1 was, and still is the fastest normally aspirated production car in the world.

I remember it like it was just yesterday.  I was in London in March of 1998 and the news channels were buzzing with the story –  The McLaren F1 became the fastest production car with a top speed of 240 miles per hour.  That was straight from the factory with no mods.

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to see a few of these cars in person.  The picture here is one that Turner Motorsports brought every year.  There was also another one that came to Lime Rock that had raced in the 24 Hours at Le Mans.  That was a serious privilege.  Not many people get to see a car with that kind of history.

One day at the track, I saw a lucky reporter get a ride in the McLaren.  It was every car lover’s dream.  If you’re not familiar with the McLaren, the driver seat is actually in the middle.  There are two seats that are set back on either side of the driver’s seat.  The three seats sort of look like a triangle.  That reported climbed in, got buckled, and probably got the ride of his life.  I was very envious that day.

I wanted to write this story because Gordon Murray has just released his T25 concept “city car“.  It is smaller than a Smart ForTwo and has the same seating setup as the McLaren F1.  It is a 51hp car that is said to get 61.9 miles per gallon.  That is impressive!  One of his main purposes for designing this car was to cut down on congestion and being able to park 2 T25s in a single parking space.

Their new MP4-12C looks like it has a Ferrari front end and roofline, paired with a Lamborghini lower half and vents on the side.  Not an original design if you ask me.  But with 600hp, I bet it’s a blast to drive.

When I started blogging back in January, I had two ideas in mind.  First, I wanted a blog that was about photography.  I wanted to share my love for photography with my readers, and offer help should they want it.  Second, I wanted to start doing product reviews.

From time to time, companies will send products to bloggers to let them test it out and write about them.  The logic behind this being that the blogger can get the word out about their product to many, many people with a real world opinion about the product.  It helps the company gain potential customers and gets the bloggers more traffic.

A few months ago, I started a second blog solely dedicated to product reviews.  I also post the reviews on this blog when I do them, but that blog will only have product reviews on it.  When I review a product, it goes on both sites.

I have only found a few companies so far to review products for, and would really like to find a few more.  So far, LowePro has been great about sending me camera bags to test and review.  I am trying to keep the focus of the blog to photography products, but will add motorcycle products as well.  Both genres play a huge part in my life, and I think I can bring a great deal of info to both markets.

Not only do I have my reader base, but I have Twitter and Facebook.  Along with them, I have 2,700 people that are members of The Product Review Place to share the information with.  So, the products would get a ton of exposure.  My reviews are posted on that site as well.

So, if you are a company that has a product that you need reviewed, please leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you about what we may be able to do for each other.  See ya soon!

*Image courtesy of Consolidated Freight Co.

Actually, it’s hot and I have some spices growing in the garden.  I wanted to give you all an update on the progress in the garden.  Things are really taking off, and I couldn’t be happier.  The basil and parsley are technically herbs, but that wouldn’t sound as catchy in the title.  Humor me, will ya?

With the extremely hot weather we are having, I am making sure that they are watered well, so they don’t wilt.  If you haven’t read this blog before, you should know that this is the first time I have planted a garden and (knock on wood) it is going much better than I had hoped.

There has been a slight learning curve, but all in all it is going well.  The peppers (red, yellow and cubanelle) are growing taller and I see a few small buds on a couple.  Hopefully, they will turn into delicious peppers in just a few short weeks.

The zucchini plant is getting huge and trying to take over the garden space.  I had no idea how big these things grew.  Next year, I will give it a lot more space.  I am afraid it might overshadow a few of the pepper plants around it and they might not get enough sunlight.  I have about 18 pepper plants, so losing one or two wont be a total disaster.

The tomato plants are really impressing me.  The have started to grow over the tops of the 33 inch cages I have around them.  On top of that, most (if not all) have at least one tiny tomato growing on them.  Some even have 5 or 6 green tomatoes growing.  I have a few different types to choose from when they are ripe.  I planted Big Boy, Early Girl, Jet Star, Roma, Cherry and Grape tomatoes.  If they grow and ripen, we will have more tomatoes than we know what to do with.

I guess I better learn a little about canning…

Well, obviously you can read, or you wouldn’t be here reading this.  I guess what I am really asking is Can you make time to read? A book that is.

You see, I haven’t sat down and read a book in a few years.  Yes, it’s true.  Flame away.   I guess I just get too wrapped up in the internet to take the time and get into a book.  I have the best of intentions to read, but I can’t seem to put the computer down long enough to get into the book.

A week or so ago, I was at the library with Rose and I saw a book that sparked my interest.  It was in large print, so I figured I would give it a shot and see if the larger print would help me get into it a little more.  (Insert old fart joke here!)  My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, so I figured it couldn’t hurt.

What types of books do I like to read you ask?  Glad you asked!  I really enjoy the military/political thriller fiction type books.  One of my favorite authors is Dale Brown.  He has a great series about super high tech future stealth planes called Dreamland.  He was helped out by Jim DeFelice for quite a few of those books, and when I read some of them a few years ago, I couldn’t put them down.  I am currently reading Dale Brown’s “Strike Force”.

Along the same lines as Dale Brown, W. E. B. Griffin and Tom Clancy write great books that are very interesting to me.  I guess it’s just the military angle that really grabs me.  I have always been fascinated with jets and submarines, so it’s no surprise that these books appeal to me.

I also really enjoyed Hunter S. Thompson’sHell’s Angels“.  From a motorcycle junkie’s point of view, it was a great first-hand look inside the life of an outlaw biker gang.  William Queen’s “Under and Alone“.  Queen wrote about his time as an undercover agent infiltrating the Hell’s Angels.  Both books were great reads.  I really enjoyed them.

What type of books do you like to read?  Favorite author? Fiction?  Non-Fiction?