Of mountains and motorcycles

Franklin, NC: home of the Knight’s Inn, an inexpensive  little motel which lies at the crossroads of two byways that lead to inexpressibly delightful curvy mountain roads.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 3.11.11 PMWe checked in last Monday night after a longer than expected trip due to an alternate route and a (possibly) underpowered car towing a couple thousand pounds. Met up with the rest of the early boys, and made plans for the morning, including breakfast and approximate KSU time.

After a restful night’s sleep, we meandered to the City Diner for breakfast, where we discussed trips, sleep patterns, possible rides, and the size of omelettes. We reconvened on Hooligan Hill (the upper part of the hotel where ‘the boyz’ tend to stay), waited for a couple stragglers, played with Sonya, and departed for our much awaited foray into the lush green-sided roads of the (almost) Smoky Mountains.

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Here’s the thing, if you don’t ride a motorcycle, don’t like to go fast, and don’t understand the adrenaline rush of rounding a hairpin at higher than advised speed, what we experienced will be absolutely boring drivel for you. However, even now looking back on the GoPro footage from the headlamp of my bike, I get giddy, and remember the joy of downshifting into a dogleg, the bike responding agiley; rounding a sharp corner and finding a truck half in my lane; coming out of that winding pass onto a straightaway and shifting up to a more-than-apropriate speed.

Granted, there were a couple roads we missed due to overly heavy bikes (Harleys, as the Honda came down with a cold) but no matter. We made the best of it, riding to Talulah Gorge for waterfall Wednesday, and the Blue Ridge instead!

For some it’s dancing, singing, skydiving, racing cars, rock climbing… Bikes are my passion, riding them, pushing them. I’m not sure why it’s what I gravitated toward. Perhaps my dad’s racing career and love of everything motorized had a hand in it. It could be I thrive on the freedom, the adrenaline, the sheer danger of it.

My true hope is that everyone finds their driving force, their fire, and follows it; fulfills their desire to live. The happiest people on earth are those that follow their dreams and live their lives, every day.

 

Making time to sit and write… 

It used to be an automatic thing: sit at the computer, look up the usual sites, check bank balances and fill shopping carts for later purchases. But I don’t sit here as much anymore. What with three bikes able to transport me all over the state, attempting a workout routine, and a full work schedule, sitting in front of a computer has fallen far back in importance. Especially considering that, when I do have a few moments, I feel inclined to put random accumulated crap in its proper place to avoid further clutter and chaos in our humble abode.

But I like to write; I like words, stringing them together to form a picture. Even if I’m not as good as I’d like to think, I don’t do it for others; I do it for me, to appease the part of me that clamors for a history, a story, something to look back on and remember. Perhaps it’s the looming fear of Alzheimer’s which I think of at least daily, believing myself under its influence more and more everyday.

No, I am not diagnosed. Haven’t even see a doctor. Yea, I know I’m probably—likely— overreacting, as C so often tells me, and it’s just age creeping up in another one of it’s evil, underhanded ways to rob me of one more little thing. After all, my grandmother was fine until the ripe age of 94, when she died of complications from a broken hip.

But then there’s my other grandmother, on my father’s side, who went in for surgery and was over-anesthetized, returning home a shell of herself with no memories of any of us. Was it really a hospital accident? I want to believe that now more than I ever did.

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So what am I doing to counteract this…possibility? Not as much as I probably could, or should. Back to the first paragraph, I have fun. Is this because I’m losing my brain ever so slowly, the parts of it that assist in everyday decisions such as ‘sit down and write’, ‘create something new’, or even ‘focus’? Or am I instead just running away, enjoying everyday as much as I can before I begin to forget how.

Christ, I’m depressing! Think I’ll keep doing chores, haphazardly as ever. At least Im doing something useful and not pondering the end of my life… as I’d know it.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of the open road

Life: proceeds as it has, plodding along with little in the way of excitement to provide variation. My job as a bartender at an outdoor establishment is fairly cool, save for the de rigeur nincowpoops that invariably manage such locales. I like my regulars, and so far my schedule and hours have been good, but changes are coming at month end…sadly.

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Liberty: well, the bikes provide a sense of liberty; as does my job, to a point. Did I need to get yet another two-wheeled death machine (as some insist on calling them)? Nope. But goddamn is it fun!

And yea, I got my first ride in a Harley-attached sidecar. I’ll say this, its a lazyboy on wheels. Try it sometime😉

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The last of the title serves as it’s own heading. With my bike count now at three (officially a quiver, I believe) I have the ability to ride what-, when- and wherever I want! Amassing a kewl group of riders, trying to start a bike night at work, and learning about all of their mechanical idiosyncrasies has kept me entertained and happy.

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A random assortment

Gallery

Apple, oh Apple

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You continually put out products that are beautiful to have and to hold. The quality of your work—from edges to visuals—is truly a wonder to behold. I can understand the prices you tag onto your items, to cover the excessive research and development that goes into them. But what I don’t yet get, and believe I will always have an issue with, is how you can charge $500 for an entry level iPad and have the gall to charge for a flimsy magnetic cover. For goodness sake, just include it! Made in China, it can’t possibly cost you that much.

C’mon guys, it’s felt-covered polyurethane, in a variety of colors, that bends to create a prop for the pad, with a piece of magnetized metal. That’s it! It’s not a keyboard, it’s not super light, it doesn’t slide into the side of the tablet, or become a stylus. I could see charging $40 for it ($80 for the leather one that also covers the back) if it did at least one of these things but…

Ok, I don’t need to go over it again. I think you get how I feel about this. Needless to say, I’ll be spending my $40 on a cover that protects completely, has pockets, comes with a screen protector, and has a place to insert the aforementioned stylus🙂

I’m a gamer…

There, I admitted it: I like to play video games. Not all of them, but there are some I have been know to stay up for: Skyrim, Dishonored, Far Cry are the most recent.

So I downloaded Game of War: Fire Age (an iPad and iPhone MMO similar to Clash of Clans) about a month ago and thought, “Wee, this is fun!”,  liking the different relationships you can build in an alliance, and appreciating the nice look of the game. I faithfully leveled up so I could do battle with similar foes in our kingdom.
And here’s were things started going downhill for me. Suddenly, the ruling alliance, the Pandas of War (P W), decided they would start attacking everyone. No big deal except they are three times more powerful than everyone else in the kingdom. Likely, these people are the developers (or their friends) who have cheats for leveling up. They’ve raided every alliance, picking on the ones who fight back, with more power than any of them can match, even together. Über frustrating!
Ok, some of you are thinking this sounds stupid; it is, after all, a game of war. You will get attacked and killed. How would you expect to not fight?
Of course, I expect that! But I expect it from a worthy and equal adversary, not by what is likely the developer’s clan out to antagonize and destroy every player and alliance trying to gain ground merely to allay their boredom. When you have 20 million in power and the player you’re attacking has 1 million…well, you do the math.
So why am I writing this post, you ask. Well, I just want people to be aware of what they’re getting into by downloading the game. Don’t get me wrong, I do like playing this, and gaining an invite from a top alliance raises your online self esteem a bunch (!!) But remember what I wrote when the Panda alliances destroy you after weeks of playing fairly.
Oh yea, and don’t get fooled by the “gold hack”. No such animal. It’s a site that takes you on a bunch of survey circles with no end. If it’s too good to be true…
And finally, developers of Game of War: Fire Age, please understand this: if you are the Panda alliance please know you will begin losing players left and right, unwilling and/or unable to fight a fow so much stronger than they are allowed to be.

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