Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Polish Ghetto Resistance, what can be learned?

The boy darted across the street, running between the soldiers and the line of people who were walking in a line, waiting to board a truck. He carried a loaf of bread in a basket, neatly covered under a scarf, his face dirty from not bathing for days.

He looked up to see his father standing in the window of his home, looking on, with a grave expression covering his face.
The boys hand reached out to touch the brass door knob, he knew he was not to look back but he could not resist, and he cast a glance over his shoulder, he saw his friend frank a boy sharing his same age of twelve, smile and wave then his father would lift him into the back of he truck, where his mothers outstretched arms would pull him to her breast, kissing her boy in a loving embrace.
"Anzelm in the house now" he heard his fathers stern voice thru the door and he ran inside, his mom was at the stove handily making a stew. "father where are they taking them" Anzelm would ask. "To their deaths" he replied his face still filled with concern.
"Dont be silly my dear Lech, they are merely taking them for relocation" his mother would say humming as she cooked near oblivious to what was happening around her.
"My dear" Lech Replied "why do you think they would take them? Did you notice it is only Jews who go?" "Its not just Jews" Anzelm said "I saw them taking away the gypsy families at the end of town today too" he would sit in a kitchen chair legs dangling watching his father intently.
"Something must be done" Lech said as he watched the doors close on the trucks.

From July to September 1942 300,000 predominantly Jews in Warsaw would line up and be taken to concentration camps, despite popular belief the gassing was not always just to eliminate them, rather Nazi Scientists would study intently the results of the gases.
Medical Experiments were also very popular with many Prisoners having their arms and legs amputated and a prosthetic attached, a month later the prosthetic would be removed, the wound cut open and the nerves studied for he results of healing.
Various birthing methods were tried, one of the worst was to tie a woman's legs together and to put their bodies in various positions, with scientists sitting in chairs looking on carefully taking notes the results of course would be death.
Thousands were lined up over trenches they themselves would dig, and would be shot and buried.

Many Groups popped up to stop the Massacre of their people information provided to them largely by those who had escaped.

The Jewish resistance group Z.O.B would strike back, It would be led by a brave man named Mordecai Anielewicz who would rally a handful to fight back. In April 1943 they would fire at Nazi Police and Soldiers as they herded humans made into little more than cattle onto rail cars and into trucks.
The Resistance was poorly armed, most only with pistols some grenades, Molotov cocktails and three rifles. The resistance would be short lived with the Nazis Exterminating the remaining by the end of May in the same year.

With calls for more restrictive gun control in the works, the lesson from this as with many other atrocities is simple, allow the people themselves to be armed and well trained. Anti Gunners say you have nothing to fear, history however paints a different picture, in the past century Millions of innocent people were slaughtered by various Regimes, from China, to Russia, to Africa to Cambodia innocent people disarmed by their governments would perish.

I would ask those Anti Gunners, if their is nothing to fear, why do you want my guns? why do you after every crazed lunatic strike, go after not the weapons used in the attacks, but those only weapons and ammunition which would give the people if nothing more, a basic fighting chance? Fact is there are over 300 million firearms in America, 99 percent of those owning a firearm are peaceful people, some hunters, some collectors, preserving our heritage and history, some target shooters, and others relatives like mine, were slaughtered at some point in history, like mine you say? Yes, I had relatives in Serbia, most escaped as refugees, others were slaughtered in the usual senseless conflicts of the area, you would know the most famous of our time being that perpetuated by Slobodan Milošević.

I ask only that you consider this and think closely about what you push for, stop with rational mind and gather your thoughts, your senses, and do not dishonor those who have died to give you the chance to even push forward draconian legislation.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

And the Jungle would Cry

She beat on the Table and Proclaimed "they must be Eliminated, they have to go" her eyes wild with fury "with them eliminated our problems will be gone" the cabinet minister sat back in her chair, looking at the rest of the cabinet, lights shown dimly on her dark eyes as she surveyed the group, hoping they would agree with her presentation. The Cabinet talked, debated, drinks were shared, fists beat on the table, and it was decided, they must go. Over the next few months Government preparations were made, weapons ordered, the regime being somewhat broke would order Machetes from China, but they needed more actual physical weapons. Those weapons would be acquired from Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Minister of Egypt who would later be Secretary General to the United Nations, would supply the regime with gernades, rocket launchers, Mortars and Ak-47s. Militia loyal to the government filled out paperwork for the Assault rifles, cheering and firing into the air as they acquired the firearms. Grenades were handed out freely, but most would end up with a machete, they would hold it their sabers high letting the light bounce off the blades as they proclaimed their hatred for the dreaded enemy, they would no tolerate peace talks from their own people, traitors they must die, and 30,000 men would gather, make plans and soon would stock thru the Jungle, looking for their hated enemy. They would find sympathizers to the dreaded peace talks, screaming those siding with peace were dragged from their homes and hacked to death. Then they moved forward, and in a wide swath the killing commenced, villagers would run, only to be gunned down, arms and legs left their owners bodies as the energy from grenades pulled them apart. Mortars would crater the roads, and people would fall, crying, screaming, mostly unarmed and helpless they would hide anyplace they could, their hands tearing at friends and family members clothes who ran away as their bodies felt the blades of Machetes cutting into their flesh. Militia would lay in ambush jumping out of the jungle and cut down those running, rushing others, women were raped, arms cut off, left to live and be slaves or killed, it did not matter, children's hands cut off, meanwhile 2500 UN peacekeepers looked on, helpless ordered not to engage only to observe. Some fought back, rebels would take up arms with whatever they have and already having somewhat of an organized resistance they did what they could. The killing lasted for days, and when it was over nearly one Million people would be Butchered, most hacked to death. Their Bodies overwhelmed the countryside, some were burned, some scavenged by animals but most were pushed by Bulldozers and front end loaders into mass graves. The Killing was Ethnically motivated, but many claimed to have had visions of blood provided them by the Virgin Mary giving them cause for the Massacre, in this war at least, Muslims would be the ones who would hide and shelter those from both sides. Everything within this story is at some point true, this is the Rwanda Massacre perpetuated by a twisted Government and aided of course from a Man who would later go on to work for the UN, this my friends, is why the Second Amendment exists within the United States, to give its citizens a chance at least of surviving such nonsense.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve, lost in Paris.

I found myself on Christmas Eve standing in front of a sign in front of a restaurant trying to read the sign which may as well have been written in Klingon, a couple came out of the door, dressed for the night he was in a nice suit jacket, and she an attractive blonde with a pearl necklace, both wearing trench coats would stop look at me, say something to each other, and then me in french, I just stared blankly and the woman said in English "Are you alone, do you need someone to spend Christmas with?" holy crap was she serious, surely she was, a gentle smile on her and his face came forth, and it ocured to me that they must have thought I was a man of the street, standing there dressed in blue jeans, worn leather motorcycle jacket that had thousands of miles and all elements worn on it, bandana, long hair, ya, I was a child of the street alright "no" I replied fighting back a tear at their generosity "I am just out exploring my lazy friend is back in the hotel and Im just trying to figure out this damn menue" was about all I could come up with, they bid me a Merry Christmas and walked off her arm tucked neatly under his, so much for Rude French I thought. I gave up with the menue and decided to walk about. It was cool and crisp, oh so quiet, sometimes gentle christmas music would float from a closed door, I came upon a phone booth and began calling friends and family, chatting with my not yet departed Friend Scott "Ahongus" Goforth a woman came by whom I had asked directions from the night before at a bakery. I hustled out of the booth leaving the phone hanging to speak with her. We chatted quickly an she said she was on her way to a Party and I could walk her there if I like. Well hell yea I would like to walk a French girl to a party, oh shit Scott was still on the phone "Hello, hello, wtf" I heard him say "sorry dude, wish the mom a good Christmas ran into a girl gotta go" and the last thing I heard him say just before the phone touched the receiver "right..get some for...." ok so I will leave the last part out being Christmas and all. Off we strolled, her curly dark hair bouncing off her scarf as she pointed here or there and telling me a little about the history, cobblestone streets echoed our foot steps off of buildings centuries old. We walked up a windy road to a fountain, where she would give me a tender kiss an bid me a good night, then she would ask if I knew where I was. "Come on, I am a man, I have a built in sense of Direction" I would reply. She smiled "This is old paris, the streets go all directions and make no sense, just go that way and walk to the light" ok well that made sense, she gave me a tight hug and her bright red lips would brush against my neck as she would walk off. And there I stood looking about, just realizing it was foggy and the fountain was where a half dozen other roads came together. "Are you fucking kidding me" I thought looked at the fountain dark and gray in the fog wondering where to go, deciding on a road directly behind me thinking it may be the one I came up. I woul walk along as the road twisetd and turned, sometimes I could see a glow thru the fog far down below, so that is the way I went, always choosing the road which seemed to go in that direction, soon I the fog would lift as I came off the little hill, and there with the river parting around it would be Notre Dam acting as my tower of light. I sat there on the banks of the river Sien looking at the Old Church, gargoyles looking menacingly a scaring away any evil that dare approach, lights dancing off the dark water seemingly keeping the fog at bay,. I would take my time going back to the hotel, watching as lights here and there slowly blinked out from apartment windows, listening to the last trace of Christmas music drifting to me. I would walk past couples kissing tenderly on stone benches along the river, lights reflecting off the dark water as promises were made to each other. Soon I found myself back in the old hotel, not to be greeted by some beautiful french girl waiting for me in my room but to Curt "Wtf dick turn out the damn light some of us are trying to sleep here, not like there is anything to see on christmas eve here anyhow" I took a look at the piece of paper we had hung on the wall, on that paper would be our Christmas tree, drawn with little packages about it, "Nope, there was nothing to see at all" I would say as I would tuck myself into sheets thinking of all the spirits walking about remembering what peace there was, what peace there could be on the streets of Paris.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Europe adventure, Mass and Sinning in the Vatican

Sometime lucky I am, usually without even knowing it. We were bumming around with two girls from Canada whom I menioned previously in my last blog and a girl from Boston. Looking for sights in Rome after being bitterly disappointed with Venice and the stinky Canals and horrible pizza we were wanting redemption in Rome, and it would come in arguably the best known place in Italy, even though it is its own country, the Vatican. Now of course we were going to see it but we were taking our own sweet time, but the Canadian girls pointed out to us that Today would be Mass, now not being a Christian this did nothing for me but one of them said "hey it is the Pope, you have to see the Pope" true true I had to see if he had the same silly slouched over wave like you see on TV. We would arrive early and tour St Peters Basilica, which was quit amazing, but I could not help getting out of my mind that the place was built and inlaid with gold, at a time when most of Christs Followers were starving to death, but I pushed that aside and enjoyed the coolness, I was also pressed into taking a Number for Mass in the Basilica although the man who gave it to me spoke no English, I assumed it must be important. So we hung out and acted like the usual early twenty travelers, tossed stones at pigeons, oogled at the hot Italian women and waited for our chance. Soon, what seemed like an Eternity for me since I wanted to keep sight seeing that time came way to slow, but alas we were ushered in in front of a line of Devout Christians waiting to be blessed. We would stand at the very front against the railing, I have to admit all the Pomp and Circumstance was very amazing, and I said so "this is fucking cool" I was smacked by a Canadian and Curt stammered "You cannot say that in here" "But dude" I replied "This is fucking awesome you have to admit" another hit to my shoulder, wide eyed looks from those around me waiting for lightening to hit and Curt sure I was "going to hell for swearing in the holiest of places", he was wrong, that would be where Jesus ascended to heaven I was safe. The Cardinal did his thing, I was blessed and of course forgiven for blasphemy which I would continue to do and need more blessings all the while getting disgusted looks from those who obviously felt they were more deserving of Direct blessing, whatever, didn't they hear my mouth? So mass came and went and I uttered a few more choice words that Sailors only understood securing my place in the Netherworld's and we wandered out for the Man himself, the Pope John Paul number I give up, 54? to do his thing. I received lots of "now watch your language this time" from our traveling partners and we waited in abatement for him to appear, and waited, and waited, then a carpet fell from a window, and another, someone pushed me and I told them to go to hell getting another prompt punched from a Canadian girl eager to repent for her nights in Rome I am sure. Finally another carpet or tapestry whatever formal language you prefer came out of a window and 20 more minutes of anticipation later The Pope number 51 appeared, he waved just like on TV, looked just like TV, hunched over, only arm waving, a microphone held to his feeble mouth as he uttered prayers in Latin, the Canadians sighed in releaf as they were forgiven for their previous nights sins and I oogled some more of that fine Italian girls, well, you know. Then it happened, the moment every Italian waited for, the TV crew to come and interview he obvious Americans and Canadians with the Canadian flag sewn on everything to not be mistaken for Americans they were trying to sleep with. The microphone came forth from he eager hot Female reporter as she asked "how did you like the tables"? We looked at each other, tables? "uhm yea I said, the tables were cool" so wanting to do the loony circle with my finger but deciding that would just not look right on Italian TV. She tried again and again and we all kept telling the goofy woman the Tables were cool. Finally the Camera man said "Tablets, how did you like the Tablets" ohh the Ten Commandments we all exclaimed! Yup she had the microphone shoved way to close to our mouth's again and said "can you say them?" Well yea, everyone knows the ten commandments, and there we stood, four of us "though shalt not, uhm, steal" "yea yea that's one" and "uhm though shalt not uhm commit sexual adultery" nothing more but lots of looking at each other came out, the TV crew undoubtedly decided we were typical Canadian sinners and IM sure that is what she was saying into the Camera and we moved on just proud we would pollute Italian homes with the Canadian Flag representing all of our ignorance on this one, what you ask, I am an American, that is true, I am, however the Canadian girls had Canadian Flags on their packs and sewn onto their jeans ;)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Traveling to Paris, sleeping on loafers.....

Traveling to Paris, sleeping on loafers.....
Riding the train throughout Europe was quit exhausting, mainly because I would stay awake watching for signs and get off points while my then traveling partner Curt would sleep pretty much constantly. However Paris would be a different story, France was in its usual state of Upheaval as Angry frogs rioted and went on strike.
We had traveled previously with some girls from Canada who had been kicked off the train and had to pay 100 dollars each to ride to the boarder argg. But we lucked out, it would open again as the French needed Christmas tourism money like anyone else, and we would take the last train to Paris before the Rail Lines were again closed during Christmas.
. Sitting in a Euro train normally had eight seats per car and you would face each other, sometimes crammed in side by side and this particular car was no exception.
I was seated across from some woman from Portugal who was intent on teaching me Portuguese, she was in her early 30s, with jet black straight hair, tight pants with her legs open allowing me a good tracking view, but I was tired.
I dont get it, I had just sat down, never saw the woman in my life and there she was insistent on teaching me Portuguese. Mind you this was crazy boring, coupled with my usual two or three day lack of sleep the last thing I remember saying was "lady I could care less" then lights off, I simply fell asleep hard.
My mind would dream of whatever odd things a mind thinks about, in this case total blackness.
I would awaken to someone kicking me on the back, I slowly opened my eyes not had Immediately realizing I was in not a room sleeping on a pillow or even on a bed, the strange pillow & bed would both be lacking, well comfort. Something was jabbing me in the Ear, and my arms were wrapped around what felt like leather, where the hell is the fabric and goose feathers? And the bed, there was no cushion, it was only cold, hard, and grooved.
My Eyes slowly opened and as I lifted my head slowly I looked down to see pair of Loafers as my pillow, that would explain the musty smell and leather taste, they were nicely coated with a small puddle of drool. I looked up at the wide eyed owner, dressed in a nice Armani suit was scared witless, his mouth was trying to stammer for words. I heard my travel partner Curt yelling "Holy shit I have never been so Embarrassed in my life" With a brief apology and compliment on how comfy his loafers were I simply replied to Curt "why would I care I will never see any of these people again" we would gather our bags and I would again thank the Terrified man for allowing me to sleep on his loafers. In retrospect I should have at least offered him a couple of dollars for a shoe shine to rid his shoes of my Drool Stain.
The Portuguese woman was no where to be found, endurably she would assume her unwilling student to not be worthy of her linguistic teachings.
Customs would prove interesting as French people have the strangest accents. “Wuut Brins you to Parus” she would ask.
“Wut” was my sharp witted reply.
A little frustrated with her poor English she would try again “Wut brins you to Parus” well at least it was not Chinese with the rolling Rs”
“Vacation” and she would stamp and off we would go. Silly question, why the hell would they ask us why we were in one of the biggest tourist destinations of the world?

We found our hotel right in Down Town paris, we would check in and then scavenge out on the city to see the famous sights, the Eiffel tower being our goal for this fine evening.
Curt was insistent on taking a picture of the massive structure when it was merely a pin prick in the night sky, "nonsense" I would tell him "lets make this worth our while and get a close shot". Which made even more sense considering his camera was simply a cheap throw away camera without any zoom capabilities beyond the manual zoom of walking closer.
We were a few miles away from the first time we tried to take a picture, as we walked closer about every half mile or so Curt would again stop & bring his camera up to get a picture, I found this absurd and told him"why it will be little more than a dot on your film" I would continue to tell the lunk head, you would understand if you saw his head. “
His reply "But what if they turn the lights out?" Now how silly could he possibly be, turning the lights out on one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world? nonsense was not going to happen and I said as much. He would look worried as we continued on, his brows wrinkled as he focused on the light slowly taking shape and gorwing larger. We finally were simply across the canal from the iconic figure, he would stop, raise the camera hi finger posed ready to take the shot of a lifetim, a mere few hundred yards away across the river she stood in all her Magnificence "there is your shot" I said as I pointed he lifted the Camera and as his finger rested upon the button the lights on the Tower would go out. We stood there in Amazement, wondering what had happened "What the F*#@&" he exclaimed!
I replied confident "Its only a power outage give it a minute" or two, three five, or ten, shit lights still not back on. Frustrated I would ask a passerby why the lights were out, "we turn the lights off at midnight to conserve energy" he proudly stated.
Well that was that, walking back and listening to curt stammer in my ear how he never should have listened to me, and my reply, "We have a few more night, IM sure you will get your shot" but no, he would not as the next nights would be foggy and visibility poor, eco tourism sucks.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why voting for either of the big parties is a loss to liberty

Most people will cast a vote based on a flashy smile and a great speach, yet there so much more to what we vote for, that truly people should look deep into the "soul" if you will of that person you vote for. We can only do so by looking into their past, present, who they associate with and most importantly what laws they vote for or present, something most people will look past. Both Romney and Obama support unconstitutional wars, they also support greater government spending as well as reduction in the wrong areas. Neither candidate has taken any real interest in rebuilding Americas crumbling infrastructure, and neither candidate has taken any interest in pushing science or education. While Romneys position is still somewhat unclear on science, however Obama spoke loud and clear when he gave over the task of maintaining our Satellites to the Russians and effectively killing Our space program costing thousands of Jobs within NASA and its contractors, now mind you I never have been a big NASA fan, but it only needed guidance, which is what a leader is supposed to do, not give it the axe. Republicans like to blame the bailouts on Obama, but fact is they began under President Bush when he blatantly threatened congress to pass the first bailout bill. Obama happily carried it and expanded upon it from that point on, so nobody with a straight face can seriously say that democrats do not support big business. Bush passed the Patriot act, a bill which allowed the surveillance of Americans in the name of terrorism, making literally every single stroke of your keyboard traceable as well as all your phone conversations, Obama happily signed an extension. TSA was started under Bush with congress supporting the violation of your wife, mother and children, giving away their dignity and allowing them to be seen naked and even touched by a stranger, how can any man seriously support that nonsense? Obama of course expanded it with check points on highways. One lone man stood against it and that man was Ron Paul proposing the "Human dignity act" he was ignored. The feds have never been friendly to states rights which is why we are constantly bombarded by the first totalitarian Regime Lincoln and his war against state rights. Following that forward Obama, a supposed Laid back liberal who is an Amitted college user led the charge as Federal Officers raided Legal Montana Medical Marijuana dispensaries, Ironic since his administration sold firearms to Mexican drug cartels. So I ask you, is this what you want for the future? Remember, voting is quit literally deciding your fate, and your families, personally I want it to stop, so I will vote Libertarian, while by no means the complete solution, getting a party in that will actually recognize state and individual rights is a big start.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just what is Gods word anyhow?

This is something that has troubled me since probably my third time reading the bible when I was still a child, so many conflicting things within it, yet my father really wanted me to have religion under my belt so I made the agreement with him to study and be confirmed under the Lutheran Religion. And I did, at 16 I received my confirmation, the family was proud, on my fathers side at least, as my Moms side was Orthodox so of course wanted me to know that side better. At that moment I said this makes no sense and read absolutely everything I could get my hands on, I read about Demons (originally they were not bad ya know) lots of Native American Ideology, more Pagan religions than I could even begin to Imagine. Eventually in an argument over the Qur'an I was told I didnt know what the hell I was talking about, and he was right, I didnt, I only knew what I was told on TV and a quote here and there, so I read that book and actually liked it, but still was no satisfied, I recently began digging into Hinduism, holy cow talk about a deep religion that would easily take a lifetime to learn. But what I did find is everyone thinks they know God, or the Gods word better than the other guy, so much so they will kill the other guy to prove it. Christians are so sure they are right there are over 40 different types of Christianity all professing their version is gods word, wait what? I thought Gods word was absolute? So why would there be any conflict if this was the case? Christians want to convert Muslims, and Muslims want to convert Christians, yet both their religions end up at the same exact place, but disagree on how exactly to get there. Then you have the Jews, they just know they are right, and the bible even says they are the chosen ones, hell Christians believe the Jews are right and go out of their way to defend the "chosen children" but not so much as to believe as the chosen ones. But the Muslims know the Jews are wrong so they hate the Jews, the Jews know the Muslims are wrong so they hate the Muslims, and since Christianity is well similar to the Muslims they dislike them but tolerate them since the Christians kiss their ass. Religion is right on every level, just ask em, so right are they that each religion has one major thing in common, the enslavement of their people for the overall gain of Religion aka Monetary gain for someone up top, but do not question them for you are to follow them and if you are bad, you will go to a horrible place nobody wants to be, but if you are good you will go to where everyone wants to be, yet both are so vague that is all anyone really knows. So they throw in more crap, you get multiple Virgins if you follow us and die for your religion, ohh you get to float on clouds and all your Relatives will be waiting there with arms wide open just for you. But wait, what about the Judgement? I thought God was supposed to come down and kill everyone who didnt side with him, hold on, I thought we were not supposed to be afraid of death and dying was the only way to find the promised land, grrr, what the @#$%. Ok so Mormons got it figured out, so they make magic underwear since your clothes are evil if they touch your skin, well shit I kind of like the feel of some stuff, although maybe they all originally wore wool that is why they were so itchy. All of them seem a bit adverse to certain foods, so much so that in both the Bible and the Quran you get an ass kicking for eating the wrong things. Hindu's were not excluded and you cannot eat cattle who are very important to society and are ok to eat their produce they try to sell, if you are bad in Hinduism you merely have a shitty next life, well that is refreshing, does it get better if I just walk the tight rope? Yes apparently then I have a great next life, but what is all this waiting crap? I dono, it is all so damn confusing, so in the meantime cant we all just well, admit we really dont know and just get along?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Animals and death

I just watched Hatchiko, a movie about a dog who for a decade went to the train station waiting for his deceased master to come back to him. While that is the extreme case, animals do indeed sense the passing of someone they care about as well, It seems they mourn all be it in their own way. The latest for me, and I would like to say the last would be my mothers dog Alphe, who would come running to look into the truck as I came to my sisters house, where mom had been staying, he would jump over my lap every time we pull up looking inside the car then giving that quizzical look of where is she? He would run into her bedroom always looking, and still looks out the door waiting for her to come home. Dads dog Zack whom I took in about three years before dad would die, seemed to take things a bit better, when his old companion Bobbit, my hound took her last ride, he looked out the door and laid there just looking for a bit. He would do the same thing when dad would not come home, look past me and lay on the rug just looking, I would wonder what goes on in their mind, but Im sure its something like ours, they know they are gone, but still hope for them to come home. It is not only domestic animals who mourn, there is evidence that crows actually hold funerals, crazy yet true. I remember a deer dad shot once, dads health was not good enough to make it up the mountain so I would climb up to finish the deer, the doe and buck who it was with I had to chase off, the doe would sniff his stiff body and still they only stood just in the trees and watched as I cleaned the animal. I guess it is just part of the cycle of life, it almost makes one want to be a vegan, yet there is also evidence that plants react to death as well, so were the Indians right and we are all connected? Maybe, but one thing is certain we surely should respect that of which we care for, as it most certainly respects us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What have we become?

Today I am reading about an elderly woman being held at gunpoint face down in her house while police raid her home in search of a family members pot plans. The police even shot her dog in the process, which I dont know about you, but my pets are quit literally my children. Reading this I was outraged, as I am sure most other people were who read it, but the reality is this, things like this happen every single day with increasing frequency and we do nothing about it. We sit back and in our minds justify the actions (well they should not have been breaking the law, but ignore that in most cases, the government are the ones breaking the laws, and they are the ones breaking the most important laws. I ask you, what is more important, the fact that 80 percent of all people will lose their pensions do to a corrupt stock market or the company they work for folding up, or would someone selling a plant that makes people happy, laugh like a retarded Hyena and consume massive amounts of junk food, which I may add, contributes to the economy. Is it more important that someone be arrested over something trivial, or the government violating your rights in regards to search and seizure? At some point in this county we got everything all twisted around, we truly became little more than serfs supporting some strange new and twisted form of control. IF you call it communism, you would be wrong, if you call it fascism, you would be wrong, it is its own new form, as it always is. But the one fact remains, whatever you may call it, that it quit simply borders on evil. Nay Sayers will point to the somewhat blessed life we live and ask, isnt that enough? ya know, not for me, having taken a good dent out of this world traveling I have yet to find a rich person who is happy, and a starving person who is not. I guess it comes down to who has the most burden, and who is thankful for what, a rich person only wants more wealth for their pretend life, and a poor person only wants health and happiness for those they love. The last should be the most important to us all, at some point we need to truly vote and make a difference, we need to vote for those painted as wack jobs, for those Ron Pauls who truly stand up daily for our rights. We need to quit voting for two parties which are in truth the same, for under each party the simple fact remains, the Government has grown bigger and stronger, so much so that the United States Government is the worlds largest employer, thats right, more than communist China a country of over a billion people. Be active in your community, go to town hall meetings, spend just a half hour each day reading about politics, I know many of you hate them, hell I do to, but being involved in politics is every persons civic duty, and the more involved you are, the more of a difference you can make in your own life, your community, and ultimately the future of your children.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Flight Lessons, learning to land, yea not so much

I woke up today and knew right off what I wanted to do, so I made the call to the same place I had taken my last lesson from. That took some convincing on my own part, lots of talking to myself as the plane had many problems before it even took off, and well lets face it, things like that are not what you really want to deal with in the air, I will reflect back on that gem of an experience in my next blog. I made the call and the instructor was unsure who I was, he sounded a little groggy, hung over perhaps? I dono but I knew he was the only person I knew who was willing to take me up on a couple hours notice, yea, this is beginning to sound like something out of a movie, young novice wanting to learn to fly, goes to bar, finds old drunkard flight instructor and takes up his barely flyable plane. Ok well not quit that bad but, well it does cross your mind during the conversation "how many hours you have again" Me "well I dono I guess two in a plane" I still have no Idea why the count the helicopter, comparing the two is kind of like saying a wolf and a hours are similar since they are both land mammals. "ok well we will work on turns" and then I just heard "blah blah blah" cause I did plenty of that last time, damn it and I mastered it, so lets move on. I jumped on the motorbike and with a twist of the throttle and some kick ass lean angles going thru the canyon I was there, my first adrenaline rush fulfilled. The day was windy and smokey, I probably could have picked a better day but what the hell, I was excited, my man genes kicked in and all I could think of was the bragging rights once I had finally got my pilots license and the fun I would have today. We decided I would work on landings today since I just couldn't be bothered repeating and practicing what I had learned last time, I must learn to land I determined. And off we went into the wild blue smokey yonder, off I go, into the sky "quit lolly gagging and pay attention" he snapped, ok yea well so much for day dreaming "turn here, throttle down, flaps down, nose down, NOT LIKE THAT YOU WILL DRIVE US INTO A WHOLE IN THE GROUND" yea ok that is helpful as If IM not nervous enough "keep the nose down when we are 50 feet from the runway then pull up" R you serious? fifty feet from five thousand? wtf is wrong with this guy? I pull up, "ok now count to ten give it some throttle" which I do and I am buzzing right along, waiting for the plane to magically lift off itself "pull up pull up your running out of runway" now this is not what I remember from last time when he said "they just kind of take off themselves" obviously not if I have to pull up before I start mowing the pasture. "Hand on the throttle, quit taking it off" yea uhm ok "why are you looking at your gauags, quit looking at your wing" ok damn it, last time he said to look at the wing so I could figure the horizon "Quit pulling up so high or you cannot see the mountains" Now this I do not understand, I dont need to see the goddamn ground in front of me I want to look into the sky as far as I am concerned as the mountains are miles upon miles away and there is no way in hell they will be a problem today. So we circle back around with him barking orders, me lollygagging wondering what in the hell I was thinking, especially with the damn turbulence today, obviously I should have just rodeod at least then I only had to hold on for eight friggin seconds. Now we are going nice and parallel and iM looking at the runway "Ok hold on, watch that passenger jet where it lands, we cannot land in the same spot or the turbulence will flip us over" Ok now I am sure this was not the best thing I could think of doing for today being in a plane that can flip over in turbulence left from the previous flying elephant? this sucks!!! So In I go lets see, throttle down, nose down, Rutter down, feel it, feel it, guide it to the runway, oh hell no, not with the invisible wind pushing me from side to side and him "Steer the damn thing it wont land itself" yea that is encouraging nothing like positive reinforcement. I manage to scrape out a landing, I am at this point only happy we did not as he put it "dig a hole in the ground" but soon we are back up again, getting bucked around some more, with me having trouble with the throttle. Yup that is right, the damn throttle kicked my ass, since I was a child every tractor and piece of equipment I have operated had a lever you PULLED for more throttle, nooo not on an airplane, the builders had to make a throttle you PUSHED like a friggin peddle instead, this would be my Achilles heal on this day. Now I am ready to land again, but yet another passenger plane landed in front of me, are you friggin serious? the wind is still bucking us all over the place and every friggin time I land has to be behind a flying elephant? But it went well, the next one was ok, and the last one was fine. All in all I left a bit unsure on this, I am glad he was strict, it goes with my old theory while flying "there is no place to pull over up there" but after today I'm not so sure this is something for me. I guess I would like to finish it out, get my license and at least have that notch in my belt for experience. At some point i should take up something a little less dangerous, perhaps extreme origami?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On the anniversary of Moms passing.

One yea ago today I received a call that mom had been in a car accident, everything in my mind is still vivid about that day, the sites, the smells, the feelings.
I would write about it again, but I believe what I wrote that day and following are the freshest and best left alone, so I shall move forward to the now.
Since then I have gone thru many emotions, one which is a completely new one is one that people had said would effect me and in a way it did, being an Orphan.
Now it seems kind of silly to think that at 40 years old being an orphan would effect you, but it kind of does.
You are used to having your parents around by then, used to their annoying visits or phone calls telling you something silly, or some crazy Idea only a parent could come up with.
But its not, you reach for the phone still to call them, but they are not there, you lose the one aspect of a parent people really take advantage of, having someone around to take care of stuff when you are gone.
For me its not so much sadness as resentment in mom dying, I always hear her voice resonating in my ears on driving to fast, & wearing your seatbelt so you can arrive at your destination safely. The real irony here is at the time of the accident mom had called a friend maybe a half hour before and was "buzzing along at 80" which was unusual as usually she would say "I am doing just fine at 65".
Speeding may have been irrelevent had she not carried forth an old attitude that frainkly, I would like to see gone in this world, one where the old people magically have more wisdom than someone younger than them.
Mom was not a good driver, she believed she was but simply she was not, and I would tell her that, and as a professional driver I would give her tips, she would shrug them off simply because I was younger and "could not possibly know as much as her" and she would do her thing. .
The conversation I last had with her in person was her insisting on driving from Vegas to Kalispell so many times, and for me it was ridiculous to not fly and take one of my cars when she got here, or to  buy another cheap car and leave it at her home in Kalispell.
"Oh craig I will be just fine"
I would reply in frustration "look mom, we have been thru to much with dad dying, we cannot afford to lose you too, for peace of mind, humor me and take the damn plane"
She didnt, and wouldnt for unkown reasons, and that unfortunately led to where we are today.
People talk about the emotional scars of when people die, and in some cases those do exist, but beyond that at least for me is the process of dealing with the reality of the situation.
Maybe I could grieve if I did not have all their bills, all their problems dumped into my lap, taking away time for sorrow, instead making you simply work thru a problem.
It is a reminder for everyone, have a clean and concise Will, have your monitary affairs dealt with, and do your absolute best to get rid of as much access crap as possible.
The system is not set up for families, the system is set up for bankers and the government, no government or bank has more of a right to your families belongings than you do.
Yes I am a little frustrated thru this all, really I am, I do miss her of course, I respect her wanting to travel all the time, and that of course is something I never discouraged, merely how it was done.
The one good thing about this is to me she is still traveling, and I do sometimes expect her to call.

In that regard my resentment goes away as she was doing what she loved, even if it did irritate me so, it is always best people live their own lives, and it is up to the rest of us, to accept their way, whatever it may be.
Mom is still traveling, buzzing happily about from place to place, while her physical presence is no longer known, her spirt always breathes upon our shoulders and her  musical voice as she sings rings to our ears always. She still sits on the couch laughing to the point of tears as we watch a movie together, and I will always hear her voice get excited over the smallest little things, fondly I will thumb thru all those postcards she sent from somewhere, telling us every little detail of her trip, some relevant, some, well, I just will never know as they were her thoughts :), but it was her, and all her emotions came forth at the stroke of a pen to be carried as if by magic to our mailboxes trying her best to have us share in her adventure.

you are missed mom

A loving Son always.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Importance of self protection

After the recent shooting in Colorado there are calls for gun bans and more security, if only we had more protection, if only other people did more for us............
If only he did not have an "assault rifle" if only he was not wearing a bullet proof vest, if he did not have access to such things surely this massacre could not have happened?
People saying such things seem to look past bus bombs, they fail to remember that the sword has probably killed more people than any other weapon on earth to date.
The simple fact of the matter is there is nothing you can do to stop a determined attacker but you can be prepared when he strikes & that happens first in the mind.
In isreal people have mentally been trained to not be victims, some time ago a man walked into a wedding party with an M-16 and a grenade launcher, logic says he has the upper hand, but not in isreal, he was rushed and beat to death with folding chairs.
Would that happen in America? Probably not although people are not always the sheep the media makes them out to be.
In an oregon school shooting well over a decade ago a young hero recognized the type of .22 rifle being used, he hid around the corner and counted the bullets, when he knew the attacker must reload he tackled him.
In one of the Pennsylvania shootings a principle had a pistol in his car, he retrieved the weapon, stopped the shooter and held him until police arrived, a man who owned a cafe nearby also came with a shotgun.
We do not need to be victims, find out your local laws and get a concealed carry permit, but most importantly take a class on firearms safety, then take another on how to properly use the pistol, hell, take more than one class, and practice practice practice, besides its fun.
If you do not wish to own a gun, maybe get a knife and again, take a class in how to use it, take a self defense class if that bothers you, carry pepper spray, carry a taser, anything to not be a victim. 
In the end the only way this will stop is for us to not give the media the ratings it wants, quit tuning in being glued to the channel when something like this happens, it is tragic, but move on, care for yourself and others, the more attention you give these nutjobs, the more you enable the next one.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why Anderson Silva will fall

Last night an apparent unbeatable man nicknamed "The Spider" stepped into the octagon and destroyed his competition in the second round.
People voice he is unbeatable and maybe he will retire as such. But I disagree, he is by no means the first, nor will he be the last to be an apparent unbeatable fighter who's cryptonite will be discovered.
There were scores of others, but once upon a time there was a fighter so large, people no longer wanted to even watch him fight as his fights rarely ever got out of the first round, so devastating he carried the name Iron, and people believed it.
Then one evening in Japan with a record of 37-0, before a silent crowd a huge underdog managed to send him to the canvas forever changing peoples view of him.
He would come back and destroy eight more people, before again having another fighter pick his number, forever changing his career and he went from being unbeatable, to people asking he please not fight again.
His name was Iron Mike Tyson.
Silva like all other great fighters before him will fall, he will stumble, and some other great fighter will emerge.
That is how it always has been, and always will be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Preparing your house for wildfire

As fire season screams upon us a month before normal I thought I would share as someone who has been on call for forest fires for nearly a decade how to help prepare your home in the event this may happen. It really takes prior planning and being proactive more than anything. I am assuming your home is already built so here are some things you can do.

1. Keep grass well trimmed and shrubbery away from home.
2. that means grass in your field as well which may be close to your home, fire lines cut are often 12' wide, you want to keep at least that much as a buffer zone.
3. Old outbuildings must go, modern homes are actually fairly fire resistant, but obviously only to a point,  as that old barn catches fire the heat and flames often blow on a house causing it to start fire.
4. No wood pile against your house.
5. If you are in an area where there is already a fire, get your things packed and be prepared to leave in a moments notice, make sure you have all your important papers and belongings, but in the end remember NOTHING is more important than your life and well being.
6. Do not try to be a hero, if a fire gets to close take the authorities advice and evacuate.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Epic Glory in my Mind

Monday morning Dave would call at about nine thirty to see if I was awake as he puts it.

Silly, I wake up normally by five and have already done the dishes, swept the floor, and rebuilt an engine by the time he even sniffs coffee.

"Where we going today?" he would ask

"Back side of Stucky sounds good, awesome ride and I haven't had a chance to downhill out on that end yet, looks like it would be a blast" Sipping my Coffee the mental Image of me absolutely stuffing him on the downhill would take over, knowing full well that a podium, champagne and hot trophy girls awaited.

"Isnt that private land?" he would ask in his usual less than confident voice in my Ideas

"yup but I think we have permission I will text and see"

After a couple of hasty texts to other Mtn biking friends it was determined that thru Association of the person who originally got permission, that the granted permission was all encompassing and we would be fine.

I would relay the information to Dave who I could hear doing his normal uncomfortable shuffle thru the Phone, and of course would belay his next excuse "So where are we going to park?"

This blew my mind, the absurdity of actually driving two miles ON ASPHALT to go riding was just beyond me "Dude, its all of two miles, before we hit the dirt"

That would seal the deal, off we would go and as it turns out it was exactly two miles to dirt, sometimes I am amazing like that.

Off we would go on the climb, the start of our uphill battle of just over three miles an hour was to begin.

The climb was nice although the air was not moving much and at about the halfway point we would stop and strap the helmets to our packs, we would also take this time to offer nutrients to the surrounding foliage via our Bladders.

We would then continue, with the speed of two turtles after a piece of lettuce we would jockey for position before the next nonofficial stop.

Near the top I would point to what I knew was a hike a bike hill "Go get em lets see what you got"

His eyes would widen a bit as he would ask "You guys made it up that?"

Now one of the most important things in life is to learn how to properly ask a question, yes we did make it up that, but no we did not peddle very far up it.

"Yup go for it"

Off Dave would go, eager to prove he still had enough energy to show me up.

He would not make it far at all, but as he dragged his bike to the side his foot would drag a clear line in the dirt.

"So I guess you dont think I can make it past you"

He was defiant as he leaned up on his bike "Nope"

I clipped in and headed forward, my short legs spinning as fast as they could, wind from my legs would part the grass on both sides of the trail, bending the stems mightily in my wake.

I would easily pass his mark, my legs spinning I doubled his distance up the hill and called it good.

I would lay down the bike and beat my chest like the superior being I truly was, for we all know, he who is king of the hill has bragging rights and should be fed free beer all night.

You might want to write that down its important stuff.

Deflated he would hunch his shoulders and look up the hill, not looking forward to the hike a bike he knew was coming, it was also at this point he realized I had led him on yet again and that there was no way in hell that hill could be peddled.

"Its ok, no point in going further" I would say to lift his spirits" the good downhill is the road we just came up, let us tear it up"

And down he would happily go, while I can climb the steep stuff better than him, he usually downhills faster than I, and he knew it, eager to redeem himself he would tear off before I even got clipped in.

But I was feeling it today, especially since Saturday I had cried like a school girl denied her Iphone on a climb because well It started to snow and my Tush got cold.

I took off, determined to catch and stuff him, the wind would tear at me and in my aging years all I could ask myself was why in the hell did i forget to put in ear plugs again damn it.

But I didnt, and more important matters were before me, corner after corner I would slowly gain on him, I would pick better lines and peddle where he coasted.

Finally my chance came, about a quarter of a mile from the bottom a sharp right hand corner was coming, I grabbed a fist full of rear brake so I could slide in under him and better position the bike, but it was mush and barely grabbed.

Now I was in the position of merely trying to save my ass from dropping off the other side, and I would shoot past him just missing his rear tire and hitting the corner wide.
I would manage to carry myself thru with my tires skidding along the 500 foot straight cliff drop (slight exaggeration on the cliff part) and I would still manage to press and pass him just before the bottom even with almost no back brake.

I stopped and looked around at the gate at the base, and to my surprise, there was no podium, and there were no Trophy girls, the only white bubbly I would drink would be my slightly foaming mineral water *sigh* only the ride home awaited.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Let us end the notion in western society of age

Every day I hear people go on about "well you are 40 now its down hill from here"
Now mind you I do seem to notice aches and pains a little more, but then again I have always punished myself physically so I think that has always been the case.
On the news we constantly hear about sports figures being washed up by the time they are thirty, oh they simply can no longer go on, they are used up garbage.
Yet for some reason we ignore people of ability at ages we now seem in our lazy western society as ages of impossiblity.
 The Media only breifly mentions the sports figures who competed well past their thirties, Randy Couture comes to mind as well as George Foreman regaining the heavyweight title at 42 and retiring at 48.

Jack Lalane Arguably set the standard, at 54 Jack Lalanne beat a 21 year old  Arnold Schwarzenegger badly in a informal body building competition.  for his seventieth birthday he towed 70 rowboats across the San Francisco bay, shackled.
Samurai warriors would consider retiring in their fifties. 
Recently in the Philippines a man in his sixties climbed a coconut tree to grab me a fresh coconut so that I may enjoy the milk from it.
Personally my family has stayed active into the elder years, My Grandpa Sundberg  worked on our small ranch until he was 80, riding horses, wrangling cattle, and fixing fence. Work that most young kids today would still find exhausting, granted he was slowing up, but he was still out there doing it.
My Grandpa on my Moms side played golf until he was 89, still being a pleasant figure to talk with being of sound mind, he only took a baby asprin a day as his only medication, believing no matter what you did, you simply had to stay active and everything in Moderation.
Recently My Cousin died in his mid eighties, he too had a small ranch and on his way out to butcher a beef he finally collapsed, his life still went strong, he himself still rode horses and sawed his own wood.
My great grandmother split wood until she was ninety for the wood stove in her home which btw she still used for cooking as well.
Myself at fourty I am now in the best cycling shape of my life, and only getting better, so I wonder, where does this notion come from that we are washed up in our thirties?
I think most of all society has changed so much people are not very active, that and they injest poison into their bodies at alarming rates.
Most people as I wrote in a earlier blog are horribly dehidrated which causes more body pains as well as increases the aging process. Ask yourself this, how long does a plant last on minimal water and care?
The poisons in our body make it hard for us to process and live normal, with lack of excersise you are not sweating out toxins and of course with not enough water those toxins are not being flushed in your body thus making you feel horrible as they are stored inside your body.
Diabetes used to be called the middle age disease as that is of course the time most people became susceptible to it, now every other person in America has it with children being quit literally plagued by it.
Record liver transplants are now happening for our children as well who are suffering from fatty liver disease caused from a high fat Diet. This is not surprising, every day I see children lined up outside the dairy queen near my house, nearly every kid walking down the street has a big gulp soft drink in their hand.
The really sad thing is most will go home to eat a meal out of a cardboard box filled full of preservatives.
When they ask for candy, give them fruits instead people, it is their future, as a parent it is your job to raise them and teach them to the best of your abilities. 
Come on people we can do better, our lives are not over in our thirites, we are not washed up useless machines as the media would have us believe. Get out and be active and treat food as a fuel for your body, you would not consider putting bad gas into your automobile, something that can be replaced, so why on earth are you ingesting it into your body?

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shoutingHoly shit, what a ride!”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Miracle water or just over priced salt water?

Drink this cocktail, it is the Miracle water that will help cure everything, it will reverse aging!
Ok so I have many friends buying into this new product and they all say the same thing "well if it helps" Yea well it probably will, but to understand why we have to look at the product itself.
First the Product is water with Sodium Chloride added to it, you know it as Table salt.
How is this beneficial to you? Simple, most people in America are terribly dehydrated,  so if this product makes you drink more water all is well. A little Salt added to your water (otherwise known as mineral water) helps you hydrate better.
Hydration is Important as water Lubricates your joints, if your joints are lubricated, the soreness will  leave. So Is Asea a Scam? Yes it is, yet another product praying on the ignorance of Americans little different than the snake oils which you all cringe at which were pushed forth in the 19th century.
It is honest though, all you have to do is look on the label to know what it is made from, and understand the rest is merely marketing.
It also makes no claim to have its supposed scientific testing verified by the FDA or a credible organization.
Would you buy Soda if it said "absolutely no health value whatsoever but it will rot your teeth and increase your odds of diabetes" Probably not, but with flashy imagery backed by celebrities you will.
Think with your mind, not with your heart, if you want to feel better, drink more water, if it does not taste good to you, then add some lemon to it or a tiny bit of salt.

Be careful people, if it sounds to good to be true, it almost always is.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Korean Tour

I landed in Korea after quit literally passing out on the airplane for 13 straight hours, the worst part about it I didn't feel like I had just slept that long. My eyes were dry, my mouth sore, and my thoughts muddled, well some would argue the later is normal but Its my blog and I am genius damn it.

Korea is a country of ultra modern clashing with cultures of old.
People still bow their head to you, a man cleaning the restroom was on his hands and knees scrubbing, talk about devotion and discipline.
The people seem to be incredibly fit and slim for the most part, Im not sure if it is a healthy diet or lots of exercise but most of the men seem to be ripped.

I would have a twelve hour layover in Seoul, I had thought about changing my ticket so I could spend more time here but I have a rule that one day is all that is needed to get the gist of any capital city.
So I stuck to that rule, exchanged some cash and started web surfing to see what the city had to offer, and well surprisingly enough, the searching was not so good.

I knew this could not be true as this city has to be rich in heritage so I decided to just go hail a cab and see how much it would cost me to have him drive me around the major sites.
As it turned out there were two separate agencies offering city tours, the extended would be six hours, the short would be two hours.
They would verify your flights to make sure a tour would work for you, how can you lose out?

I went ahead and booked the tour, not something I usually do as I am not much for formal traveling but with only one day, not speaking any of the language, and reading their boards like a two year old staring at a chemistry book.
The tour was excellent and I would visit the Chang Deok Gung Palace being to me one of the main focuses, what an amazing place and is one of the five important palaces in Korea.
We would also visit the Cheonggyecheon stream which is now a park but preserved and honoring a time when people would visit the stream to wash their clothes. The top part of the walkway was a bubbling brook with statues lining the rest of the stream which lit up at night.
We would have lunch and I would become a Fan of Old style Kim Chi, a fermented food which is buried in pots and very popular in the county and are yummi!!!  We also had the choice of a main dish which I chose Bulgogi which is pork, noodles and vegetables boiled.
The best part of the lunch was it was included in the price of the tour.
After lunch we would have time to do a little shopping where I would purchase a wonderful hand fan which was hand painted, I absolutely love items which are personally crafted with fine materials.
We then would visit the Jogysesa Temple which is a buddist temple. The area was amazing, covered with paper lanters your mind was simply in bliss as you walked beneath them. In the temple people were praying everywhere, they were putting out prayer mats and enjoying buddism myself I thought I would say a prayer, however seconds into my praying I would be tapped on the shoulder and asked to leave, apparently the mats were reserved for actual Monks.

After the tour I would stop at a cultural center and listen to some performers dressed in traditional garb play traditional instruments.
Things like this honestly bring a tear to my eye, I find the old instruments of the orient to be hauntingly beautiful, like the wood is truly singing they play. How absolutely relaxing, and then you browse thte gift shop and your hands touch what you should not, soon you ar at the cashier buying something else you should not buy, sigh, thus is

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Leaving Paradise

This was a much needed trip with lots of adventure in one of the most unusual countries in the world, where you can walk past a Home made of nothing more than a few pieces of tin held together with wire, scrap nails and rocks on the roof, and only a minute later to walk past a modern home painted with colors that compliment the flora of the area.
  To ride in a crowded Jeepny with the emissions control of a Model A, to a 2012 toyota air conditioned cab. To use a toilet which is only a bowl without a seat, that can only be flushed with a pale of water sitting next to it, with another bucket of water which is the sink, and then at the next stop to use a western toilet with a seat that gives one the full understanding of where the name "Throne" came from. 
The opportunity to once again do things I had always only dreamed of, Swam with the Whale Sharks, snorkled in world class waters, getting to see my first sunken ship, swam among reefs. Got the chance to meet some old friends from the internet,  to replace flesh with what before was only a voice and a picture.
 Didnt get the chance to visit a couple of others I would have liked to, and to make some new ones on the way.
 And the opportunity to share it all with one special friend. My old rule used to be to visit each country only once, yet this country is so rich with history and nature each time I walk thru one door, there is yet another begging to be opened.  It is easy to see why for centuries this paradise was a place sailors always looked forward to. 
It may by modern standards no longer be the Pearl of the Orient, but the remnants are still there, and the ability to regain what once made it great is there, ready for the people to make a change, for the right leader to take charge and make it so.
Special thanks to my Wonderful friends at home for making this possible, without your support, encouragement and true devotion this dream would not have come true. It is easy to see why the poorest people in the world always have the biggest smile, they have what really matters, each other.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

From snorking the old wreck to watching someone nearly drown.

Today started off as usual in paradise, to awaken to another amazing sunrise.
 I had been promising to meet a friend but sometthing would keep happening, today would be no exception and I am ashamed to say light cloud cover kept me on this island for one more day. Light cloud cover you ask? well ya, I got a sunburn nearly a week ago, it is peeling now and the cloud cover gave me a chance to go and enjoy one last snorkle adventure in one of the most amazing dive/snorkel areas in the Philippines and I jumped at the chance.
I would start out merely snorkling around the private beach/cove of the resort I stayed at. On the previous day I had observed much in the line of reefs and some basic sea life so I thought it would be a good start. And it was, I saw a coupple more things I have never seen before, like the Hairy Crab and some scary orange jelly fish which chased me like the blob. I enquired about the jelly fish at breakfast and was informed it did not bite and was harmless unless you touched it, then you had a problem as its skin was toxic.
 I was not buying the harmless part as it chased me and had toxic skin, how can that be harmless?
With the advancing storm clouds and armed with the knowledge that Orange Jellyfish are cranky I would book a dive boat, at roughly 20 dollars to take me to key dive sites how could I not?
 The first site would be the old japanese ship, the guide was old and his english as basic as my Spanish, but that much I understood, further questioning him over how the boat sank, if it was sank or scuttled ended with a confusion and the repeat "It sank in the war" I think should I have fully understood him it would have been "Look jack ass it was sank in the war what part are you not getting?" Oh well unimportant anyhow and off I would go, I have to admit I was hoping for something like on TV, with a fully I Identifiable boat with turrents and the like, but this was a ship that had been bombed so being in pieces scattered around the ocean floor in 20 feet of water made sense. Diving a wreck is like visiting an old fort, your mind races with images of the final battle, you can almost feel the wreckage.
I had no real desire to touch it, only to dive around it and watch the sea life growing on it slowly claiming it to the point it would no longer be identifiable in a few more decades.
We then would move on to some reefs where I would watch clown fish darting about and see the amazing colors of other exotic fish explode.
 It is simply amazing how bright their colors can be. The final dive site would be in an area with strong currents among jagged rocky out croppings that promised the possibility of squid and maybe if I was luck ya shark. First in the water I would not notice tthe current so much until dragging my friend who was wearing a life vest was almost like dragging an anchor, and the ocean floor seemed to move at inches rather than feet. This concerned me as the penalty for failure as we rounded the first set of rocks were razer sharp barnacles or worse being sucked under into some sort of erosion cave.
But I was pretty experienced with river s norkling so I did feel confident with thte current, I held to the rule of swimming into thte current first and letting it carry you back so your muscles could rest.
 I would let her go only once so I could photograph a cave, we were on the other side of a rock and out of site of the boat, she drifted away at a predictable speed and within a minute was a good fifty feet away, undoubtedly wondering what the hell was happening. I would swim back and take her to the boat, she was beyond grateful to feel the outrigger again and climbed aboard the safety of the vessel.
 I would take a small rest and then head out again, determined to see a squid, but nothing, just more caves and colorful; schools of fish darting about. I would retreat back to the boat to rest when he would inform me that the water had increased to about 3 knots, thata is a pretty hefty current and it seemed to be getting worse. It was at this time when another boat would shop up filled with Filipino many wearing life vests, not a good sign.
Our guide would yell over at a the young dive guides about the danger of the current, and that they were dropping anchor in a dangerous spot.
 His warning would be ignored and a young diver without flippers would enter the water wearing only a mask and a grin from ear to ear.
His grin would leave quickly as the current took him away, he yelled and the boat panicked with the young guides not sure what to do.
I grabbed my flippers and my mind raced wondering if I could cover the couple hundred feet in time before he would drink to much water but was grabbed by my guide "Let them handle it" and they would in third world fashion, they let out more rope from the anchor and put out a long pole for him to grab.
 His time was running out though, he was flailing frantically in obvious panic just at the end of the pole.
 I was ata this time at the nose of our boat pulling on my second flipper when he would finally grab the pole anad be pulled to safety. They left as quickly as they came, their happy day ruined with a minutee of near horror.
I tried one last dive myself, but coming back to the boat was difficult as the current had picked up more in just a few minutes.
This is the problem with diving in an area like this, bad communication from the guide and no knowledge of the area myself could have lead to problems for many people, lesson learned but a dream day for us non the less.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Swimming with thee Banded Sea Snake

This was something so unexpected I am still reeling from it. I was just floating along the edge of some Reefs looking for schools of fish and hoping to see a Manta Ray. Then out of the corner of my eye it came, I do not know the length maybe five feet I suppose and there it came, right underneath me. My mind scrambled to remember if they were aggressive or not, all I could remember is they were extremely venomous so I didn't want to tangle with it. I took in my air via large gulps thru my snorkel, tried to slow my heart and then took a couple of crappy pictures before deciding I should takae a video. So I would follow it for about a minute on video, this is something I really never thought would happen and a dream come true for sure. I was so crazy proud of myself for catching a sea snake on video I needed an extra arm to pat myself on the back. But bitter disapointment awaited me at the beach, as I scanned thru my pictures there were only my two crappy pictures of the snake to be seen. Apparently in my moment of incredible bravery I pushed the wrong button so a video did not happen. Oh well, still another dream come true, if I get to see a Steve Erwin Killer I will be beyond happy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ran over by a Whale Shark

What seems like an eternity ago I took the opportunity to swim with these gentle giants in Oslob Philippines. Staying in Cebu the way to Oslob was easy via riding a bus.
Now riding a Bus in the Philippines is an adventure in itself, the streets are crowded, the traffic is measured by inches and the only traffic law being you just use your Horn and communicate via apparent SOS signals.
Oslob is only about 70 miles from Cebu, but in Filipino time that equals four hours of stopping bumper to bumper traffic and roads in desperate need of repair.
The bus dropped us in front of a stretch of road where various former fishermen turned tourist guide advertised their services by big colored flags, each service had a different flag.
 It was noon when I arrived at Oslob Philippines for my swim with the Gentle Giants, my only information of the area came via a Email to an apparent city sponsored website which had replied to my question of "what are amy lodging choices and how much to swim with these beasts" The reply being something quit common in the Philippines "There are no hotels just come and you will find someplace to stay" and low prices being listed which sounded to good to be true' turns out they were.
I would be informed that swimming with the Giants ended at 12pm, I had just missed it, frustrated and quickly finding that extra money would not buy me the happiness I demanded I settled upon a room at a house near the diving guides.
The room was amazing and I wish I had known to cancel my Room in Cebu or I would hvae stayed for a few days. The entire house waas made from a red hard wood which looked like Mohagany, I have never been in someplace so clean before. The owner was from America haven lived in this poor quiet area for some 30 years, he was also a boat builder and I would have the pleasure of seeing his latest sail boat skeleton.
He would talk my ear off as he apparently missed American company, explaining the only Americans he would see were the occasional backpackers which stayed with him.
The night would rain hard, and would be my first experience with a tropical storm, thte sound of the rain was absolutely deafening and as I tried to sleep I wondered if it would ever stop, and if my dream of swimming with the giants would come true. It would, in the morning the rain had stopped, water still dripped from the palm trees into puddles below which would reflect the rising sun in their ripples.
 I would attend a small briefing on how to properly swim with the giants, the smell of the clean morning damp air deep in my nostrils I found it hard to make it thru even the short lecture as my mind raced about the experience to come.
 We would then Board a fishing catamaran turned tour boat operated by someone at either end, on one would be a child of maybe twelve paddle and determination in hand he would push forth hard as any adult, on the other was another kid, maybe 16 years of age.
The water would push lightly under our bow as the air skipped gently off the turquoise blue water. my first sight of the Giants would be a fin sticking up slightly out of the water, a giant mouth poking up ever so slightly as it followed a "trick" boat which was feeding the animals, ensuring we would have a show.
I was still struggling with my new snorkel and mask I had just purchased, the small task of peeling off stickers and attaching my snorkel seemed nearly impossible with my hands shaking with excitement.
 Finally we would stop and I would slip into the water, looking thru the clear water I still could only see maybe 30 feet, and within seconds my first sighting would come.
 The first beast was following a feed boat, its body seemed to never end as it drifted past me, camera in hand I struggled to remember which button did what, the fact it was a new camera didn't help but really, it was only a matter of pushing three buttons, even a monkey could do that.
 I would tap into my primal instincts and find the shutter button taking my first picture of the giant streaming by. my concentration so deep at the last second I would see a giant mouth open wide filtering in its food. Now let me just say that the knowledge of these giants not attacking people does not help when a mouth that looked more like a cave is coming straight at you propelled by a 30foot body, the theme song to jaws would play lightly in my head, just so I could stay comfortable.
We had a half an hour with the animals and it seemed like all day, I would swim about darting under tour boats and the laughing passengers within.
Finally I would come to rest at my boat, chatting with my guides, a gentle Giant would swim to me, his mouth open at the surface I struggled to get out of the water, the guides would start yelling do not panic stay in the water however their quivering voices were less than reassuring, what would I do? Its body was actually above the surface as the water rose against it, I lifted my legs and said a prayer to Poseidon as the beast would travel just under me.
 I wondered if this was a game to it, how did it perceive me, was I just a big shrimp in its eyes? I would let go and follow the beat for awhile, they swam slowly and it was easy to keep close to them only slightly losing the speed battle.
 Another would come at me getting far to close, in our instructions they told us not to touch the animals, but I really had no desire, I was only worried about getting hit by its rear fin, I cannot Imagine the energy that would carry. I decided they were being a bit to aggressive for my liking and I headed back to the boat, intent on not being the first Human attacked by a whale shark.
Again I would relax hanging off the side of a boat when another shark would come at me, again my guides yelled at me to stay calm and to not touch it, lol yea right there it was right at me I lifted my feet high only to have its dorsal fin slam me into the boat, just enough to leave a mark up my leg and arm, I had officially been rana over by by a 40 foot beast weighing 20 tons. I had enough and happily crawled into the boat what aa day, getting to swim with one of the largest creatures in the sea and having the battle scar to prove it. Scratch one more off the Bucket list, but add more, heading to another island to swim with the thresher shark next, one thing about the Philippines, it seems to slowly make each dream come true.

Monday, April 30, 2012

What is an Epic Journey

For all of my life I always thought an Epic journey to be one big adventure, traveling from one exotic location to the next, always trying to go to someplace new, never the same place twice. So here I sat planning my next trip, going over my usual roadblocks as little ever goes to plan. Mentally I placed myself in Vietnam, my mind took in everything it was, everything that it would be. I read over travel reports, looked at various locations, with each one I Imagined what it would feel like to be there.
South East asia is amazing, the flora and the fauna absolutely explode in your brain. Sites inn the philippines almost brought me to tears, if there was a garden of Eden surely it was somewhere nestled in Asia. I took in the sites of Hanoi, In my mind I rode on creaking trains which bounced back and forth on the tracks, bumped into crowded people, and road on boat thru a bay where rocks jutted up thru the water. But when my mind came to the legendary water puppet show I felt something was wrong.
I sat there and looked about the crowd, scanning over the faces as they looked on in wonder. The crowd would laugh, clap husbands smiled as their wives arms weaved into their own. I looked down at my own and saw nobody there and I knew what the next epic journey had to be. You see I have always got to do things others did not, I rode trains thru Europe, hiked an active Volcano in the Philippines, stood on Red Square in Russia, and pushed thru street Vendors in shady Mexican Border towns.
But all the while I did it alone, now don't get me wrong, it was amazing, but each time I had someone to greet me when I came home. My friend Scott picked me up at the airport after Europe, kept me out of jail as he held me from splatteringn a cooks nose across a grill at a greasy truck stop over a burnt steak and rubber eggs.
 Dads always seemed to be home when I would call from some crazy location, he would always ooo and aww at what I told him, and tell me how much he wished he could be there. But each time I came home there was someone to greet me, someone to carry my luggage with the secret intent of seeing what treasure I had brought for them which lay hidden inside. But this time I knew as I stood at the water puppet show in my mind, there was no one, no one to share all those great experiences with. Dads voice would not be there when I called to report in. Scott would not be at the airport, both of their souls were already in heaven, they had already made their final journey.
So it brings me round to what is the epic journey, I guess it is whatever makes you who you are, for me it has always been Travel hands down, for most it is family. You see people look from their own life of monatany at those of us our exploring the world,, they take in every word in the story we weave of our trip. But they forget their own Epic journey lays in family, they to often take for granted the kids running around their feet, those times spent alone with their partner holding hands at a theater, and finally watching their children graduate. That is lifes epic journey, merely experiencing what life is, be it a rocking bus driving down a rutted road in India. Or helping their children pull in their first trout from a cold Montana Lake.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why the Zombie Apocalypse will happen

For decades now we have had zombie movies with no real explanation to what causes the zombies, some were virus, others simply had zombies but no explanation of anything.
It became obvious to me one evening when I was discussing with a friend about the symptoms of his thyroid problem, quit literally he was losing his mind. The Thyroid controls so many aspects of your body, form your heart rate to your weight to even how you think. Its easy to see that when this goes, we could have a serious problem on our hand. Fortunately with todays medicine it can be corrected, but we should be asking is why we are exposing ourself to such a health risk in the first place? and what will the long term consequences be?
Recently I was diagnosed with a low thyroid so I began doing some research on how to correct it and what may cause it.
The obvious was radiation of course, as we all know we are to limit our exposure to Xrays, what  I did not know is there is an actual lead collar you can wear around your throat to help protect your thyroid from the radiation, never had one, have you?
My mind raced back to the last Xray I was pissed I even let the doctor give for a bone chip, seriously? I went for it like most people because you feel "doctor knows best" I wonder if that pushed me over the edge, one last little thing without the proper protection that really was not necessary and nothing more than a bank roll for hte hospital. 
At every airport we have body scanners bombarding our body yet again with low amounts of radiation, oh it will not hurt you they claim, really, I am being bombarded with enough radiation to show my willy naked but somehow it will not hurt me? No not now, but like most things we are told ok, in another ten years the danger of it will be revealed.
Those are the obvious ones, the not so obvious are of course hidden in our food, and our water.
Our wonderful government insists in many places on pumping fluoride into our water supply, and you guessed it, Fluoride is not good for your thyroid.
And of course we also have beef being bombarded with radiation so it is safe for human consumption.
Last we have nuclear plants, with the recent disaster in Japan and radiation being pumped into the atmosphere for over a year now it is obvious this will have some effect on people in certain area's as well.
And it simply is only a matter of time until yet another plant goes.
I ask, is this intentional? does this have to do when our loving and caring government smuggled  in Nazi Scientists after ww2? are we just one big experiment?
There is no logic to any of it as far as I can see, maybe there truly is a Devil and God fighting constantly.
But one thing I do know, someday there will simply be to much radiation and our bodies will have had enough.
When that day comes medicine will slowly run out, society will break down, and we will all be left shuffling our feet looking to feed...............

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Mountain Bike downhill

There  you sit looking down the trail, into oblivion, watching it snake thru the tree's like a trail to hell.
You take a breath, your nostels widen as you bring air deep into your lungs
You push off, your hands grip the bars, maybe a little harder than they should,  The break levers are given slight pressure through your gloves like the trigger on a handgun you take out a little creep for the moment you need total pressure, your feet find their place on the pedals as your knees bent slightly you support your body letting the bike work its science coming to this moment.
Nothing else is heard only the initial sound of your tires making contact on the ground, they sound like a snake hiss as you roll over the earth their tread digging into the ground like a tigers claws as it digs in giving pursuit to its game
Your heart begins to pound as your blood pushes thru your body and adrenaline gives you strength
The wind blows into your glasses your eyes begin to water slightly and the roar reaches your ears and the rush has now began.
You come off your first drop, silence, not even the wind is heard as the tires leave the ground, then you come to earth and feel your tires fangs bite deep into the terra your arms feel the sudden shock and your voice begins to work again as you howl in excitement.
 You lean slightly as you enter the first corner, inside pedal up for clearance you touch your rear brake and slide the rear end around pointing the bike where you want to go as you toss up dirt and rocks are tossed helplessly off the trail into the grass.

Now your on the straight pushing hard looking deep for your next target, your body flexed ready for anything, you pick your line and power thru the rut and grunt as your suspension gives way.
Now your looking hard at the tail of the rider in front of you, cursing as he kicks up rocks bouncing off your shins.
You look for the pass but another corner comes, you brake hard and try to look past him for a place to go, anyplace to pass.
Now the ground is flatter, your not rolling so fast and your legs begin to pump hard trying to keep you rolling fast.
The hump is over and your screaming downhill again and the world blurs around you again your eyes only seeing the trail before you. 
You rail into the next corner, looking thru seeing the end is near you tuck feeling the last bit of air pushing at your shoulders and then you roll over the final stretch, you sit up smiling, your heart begins to slow and you know that once again you are safe, but only for the time being until the next decent begins.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Evil of Home Cooked Food

Thats right, my Step Sis just dropped off some Banana Bread and Chili, oh I had at it, I ripped into it like a zombie tears into brain. Within minutes I had half a Loaf Of Banana bread ingested, oh my but the taste, I must eat more, no no, I have to stop god my belly aches.
I cursed and vowed not to touch it again, but like the fool bachelor that I am I left it on the table, right were I would have to walk by it, "oh only another bite" I told myself god its so good, just melting in my mouth, yums, but no more, NO MORE I have to lose weight and yesterdays ride would not be enough.
I put it in the fridge, next to the Chili she packed, that evil Red Headed Temptress also included shredded cheese and Onion, what the hell is wrong with her, can I really make it to lunch?
Thankfully Chad called, and needed some help, I left the house with the Chili in the back of my mind, yes, yes at least a half an hour I am away from the fridge.
A half an hour turned into an hour thankfully, but soon as I walked thru the door there was a wif lingering in the air of that homeade chili in an intentionally poorly sealed container.
My mouth watered, my stomach still bloated with banana bread rumbled it had room and I would give in, opening the door, dumping the contents into a bowl and popping it into the microwave thingy.
I spilled some, it was to be expected, my hands shook as I watched the timer count down on the microwave.
The buzzer beaped and I tore into it like Robert Downy Jr breaking into a bag of coke, I cant stop, my god it needs crackers though, "more calories" the angel on my shoulder said "shut the hell up and eat you look good fat" the devil replied and I gave into the temptation and added crackers and hot sauce, knowing the devil was right and my side profile was that of envy.
Yea, its ok I feel better, my addiction solved for the moment, maybe another small bowl, there is enough for just one more bowl.
God if this continues I will have to go into treatment at the homecooking clinic.
I have to admit though, her cooking has improved dramatically from the days I used to have to scrape the black off the the toasted cheese sandwich. when she was a child :D

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why the Health care argument on both sides fails

Everyday I hear about the healthcare argument, on Obama care will save us, or well socialied medicine fails, look at Europe.
Obama care has some major fundamental flaws, first of all it merely forces you to buy insurance or face a fine or penalty, so if you are someone who has been responsible with your money, set it aside for such an emergency you are now forced to purchase Insurance.
If you are poor, and this part is still a bit confusing, but apparently you are still covered, if you are rich it will not matter because you can afford to lose a bit more money anyhow.
It does one thing good that I can see, and that is simply to make it manditory for insurance companies to cover pre existing conditions.
It falls on its face again when it does not put a cap on Tarp reform.
So medical bills will continue to sky rocket, and your cheap insurance, will go crazy soon as those companies are of course going to want to pay for those patients they did not want to cover to begin with.
Now on the other end of the fence you have the anti socialized medicine argument, and mind you it ha its points, but it falls short right off the bat as the Obama policy is not a socialized policy with any real resemblance to socialized plans in the rest of the world, so with that in mind, is it even really necessary to talk about it further?
To me only as much as need be, we all benefit from some social programs, clean water, education, roads and of course law enforcement. When you have an educated society your bottom dollar expands, you have people who have the ability to make more money, if they can make more money they will spend more.
If you have accesss to clean water those people have a greater basic chance of staying healthy.
If you provide roads and a means to travel you have now allowed people an easier way to make money as well as spend said money.
If you have Law enforcment you can arguably keep those people safe, so we all benefit from it.
So would we all benefit from Socialized Medicine, as a modern civilized super power we can merely look at other countries with it and see what works and what does not, take from the best and throw away the bad.
You actually cover people for every single ailment and do not cry about it.
After all, money seems to be no object when we want to level a country, why the hell should it be when we want to take care of a country?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The confusion of working with todays Government

Once upon a time an Immigrant could come to America, sign their name, or someone elses, or have someone else sign their name for them upon entry.  Now that requires weeks of paperwork, interviews, blood tests and in the case of some countries, months of paperwork along with multiple filings.
After you have completed all your filings should you mess up on your paperwork it starts all over.
This is Insanity, that is like having a pro football player go back to playing flag football after a play not going right in his last game.
Oh but it continues, now lately I have been working on renewing my Federal Contracts, which requires the yearly renewal on multiple sites which consist of little more than reviewing your data and hitting the submit button.
To make matters worse contact numbers are almost non existent on today's internet so you are left clicking on link after link trying desperately to find what you need. Once you do find a number you can promise the person on the other side who is highly trained in deception and not really trained in how to help you will merely tell you their agency has nothing to do with the other agency you are trying to contact.
Wait what agency am I trying to contact again? on the bottom of the page it says if I update my information on another site is linked to this site but not updated on this site unless I hit the submit button.
I cannot hit the submit button because this site will not accept my password, "sir we have nothing to do with that site"
Really? That is amazing cause of the bottom of the site it says your name.
"what site is that?"
Yes, if you are confused at this point so am I, how the hell can you have a help desk to a web site and they have to actually ask you which site that is? Furthermore how can you have a help desk tell you they do not know of the website you are trying to enter, which on the website they claim to represent ha a link directly to said mystery website.
Now should you finally somehow magically get logged on and have updated your profile you may click submit, and then you are hit with a prompt "are you sure you wish to hit submit" so you hit submit again, and taken to another screen asking you to verify that you previously verified everything. Often there is another page with more verifications of your previous verifications.
Now after all is said and done you can rest assured that somehow all the hours you have spent completing a simple profile for your company will still be messed up.
You can rest assured that when you await payment for your contract, it turns out the new bank account number you submitted online has to be phoned in to the unknown agency, of which nobody knows does exist but you are sure does as well, if you do not fill out the unkown agencies data you are unable to have completed your contract.
Sigh, and you really think another election is going to change all this?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Dreaded phone call

Phone rings this morning and Im laying in bed, not sleeping, but a little stiff from last nights ride.
I answer and hear an old friend who is about as Anti Peddling as you can get

"I got a Mtn bike"

I cough a couple times, tweek my jaw to pop my ears "say what"

"Yea, I got a Mtn bike"

I look around the room making sure IM awake, the mind is still a little muddled after last nights zombie dreams, maybe someone slipped some acid into my drinking water, things just are not right today. "Your shitting me, what did you get" I figured at the very least I could play the game a bit. I am a bit hopeful as he lives at the bottom of the continental divide trail system and Ive been trying to talk him into it for some time now.

"I got one of those there Mongoose from walmart"

I pause, my visions of riding the CDT trail with him vanish and are instantly replaced by flashing cherries on the top of an ambulance hauling him away after his handlebars stripped. "take it back" I reply

he ignores me "Yea the guy I work with has a mountain bike too, anyhow he said to make sure I get one with disk brakes, those are the best right?"

Oh yea, IM still in my zombie dream obviously "uhm for the type of rides you will be doing with that bike it wont make a difference as you cannot seriously downhill on that thing anyhow, take it back and go to the LBS and pick yourself up a real bike for 400 dollars or less that will last you and not break your neck"

"I spent two hundred dollars" he replies "Im not gonna spend another 200"
Me " I have peddles that were 110 dollars......."


Ok trying to think thru this "yes but I hvae cheaper ones which were 45"

So Im thinking at this point I dont have to worry about him having a heartattack while riding, he's already in stroke mode, and I try to steer him back to the bike "Look if you at least go test ride one at the LBS they will fit you to one, and you will be able to tell the difference even peddling around the parking lot, not to mention it will actually shift"
So anyhow the conversation continues from there on how crazy I am and how he will never get into it like I am, and that may be true, but he certainly IMO deserves a good bike to ride those kick ass trails next to his house by at least Eliminating the breaking factor.
Sigh, wut to do, I guess I know what he's thinking, I was the same way when I bought my wallyworld bike thinking that would be all I ever needed, so I added "You know I said the same thing with my walparts bike, but once I got a good one it took me to places I never dreamed of and the weight fell off"
That settled that conversation at least for now, hopefully I can convert him to a quality one, god knows he makes enough to afford it.
I now now what my friends who were already serious in MTN biking went through, and hell, probably still are :D