The Office Halloween Party

On Thursday I learned that the usual company dress code would be suspended on Friday so we could (and were encouraged to) come to work “in costume” for Halloween.

What a dilemma. What to wear? At first, I thought of wearing a business suit. That would scare most of my colleagues to death, since I do not dress up unless I absolutely must. Then I thought, “why should I make myself so uncomfortable? I am much more comfortable in leather than in a suit!”

Over lunch on Thursday, I overheard some of my colleagues talking about what they were going to wear. The usual stuff — witches, goblins, and even some who said they would dress up to be a lookalike for some prominent Members of Congress and the current Presidential administration.

When I got home on Thursday night, I discussed the matter with my partner. I suggested various ideas — motorcycle cop, cowboy, punk rocker — all of which I could easily create from my gear and boot closets. He suggested that I be careful about what I select, as I shouldn’t go “too far” when it comes to displaying fetish interests. Even though it is Halloween, wearing a cop uniform in the office would cause some people to ask the obvious questions: “you own that outfit? Why?” I really didn’t want to “go there”….

I settled on “biker.” Just regular-old “biker.” People in the office know I ride a Harley. There are some photos on my desk of me on my bike, and I have shown up on the bike at occasional office gatherings like the annual summer picnic.

I donned a pair of black denim jeans, regular “biker chaps,” a Harley T-shirt, a leather vest, and wore a pair of light-on-my-feet Chippewa engineer boots. I was comfortable in this attire all day, and other people smiled and said, “Happy Halloween,” without saying much more. I went along with the spirit of the holiday at work, and got to wear my leather, but didn’t overdo it.

Man, what a dilemma for a leatherman….

Life is short: wear your boots and leather!

P.S.: I won “honorable mention” for “most creative.” Go figure.

If It Looks Slippery

An old adage of experienced bikers: If it looks slippery, assume it is.

While autumn is my favourite season, it comes with one of the worst road hazards for motorcyclists: wet leaves on roadways. Wet leaves are worse than ice. At least with ice, you know you have absolutely no traction, and it’s not likely you’ll be on the road. With wet leaves, it’s usually still warm enough to be riding weather, yet you can and you can’t have any traction and you don’t know which — so always assume that wet leaves are slippery. Period.

Lately, I have not been riding my Harley very much. My main reason for not riding has been a busy schedule at work. But beyond that, it has been raining a lot. It has been drizzly and sprinkling more days than usual for autumn here in Maryland. Unlike some other places, we do not have a “wet season” or “dry season.” It is customary to have rain throughout the whole year, about once a week or so. But we go in cycles of no rain for weeks and then days like these past several weeks, where it drizzles for two or three days at a stretch, much more like the damp weather in the US Pacific Northwest than the US East Coast.

Wet roads aren’t enough to stop me from riding, but wet roads covered with wet leaves causes me to think twice, and hop in the truck if I have to go somewhere instead of the saddle of my trusty iron steed.

In doing some research, I found the following information on various websites, but it all said the same thing. Thus, I believe it was pre-written by a knowledgable author and distributed for publication on these websites. It is useful information. I abide by it, and recommend it:

Riding a motorcycle in slick conditions requires the rider to make every movement s-m-o-o-t-h. Slow down and concentrate on making each input into the bike gentle and gradual. Try to avoid turning the bike while you are passing over obstacles. Reduced traction could cause you to slide. Don’t panic if the rear wheel slides a little. It may not feel stable, but as long as the front tire is going where you want it to, physics will hold the bike up.

Besides the misuse of the term ‘panic’ (which means an irrational response to fear), the content of this article is right on. And that’s how I ride: smooth and steady, with very careful application of the brakes when needed.

And I always ride with full protective gear. My cool/cold weather gear includes: solid, tall motorcycle boots with good tread on the soles, layers of clothing for warmth and protective leathers as the outer shell (if not inner, as well), gloves with gauntlets, and a full-face DOT-approved helmet. Always, without exception.

Life is short: ride safe!

Oh Brother, It’s My Brother!

Guest blog by BHD’s twin brother, J

Hey, Bro!

My goodness gracious, big guy, from reading your blog, you outdid yourself on your day off! I have always called you jokingly, “Taz,” because you remind me of the Tazmanian Devil in the Looney Tunes cartoons that we watched when we were growing up. Well, Taz, what did you do after dinner? LOL!

I spoke with you on the phone on your day off, and you sounded as if you had all the time in the world to catch up with me. I can imagine, though, you had the phone cradled between your ear and shoulder while you multi-tasked. (I have seen you in that position before.) I cannot imagine how you get all those things done and still go to bed by 8:30 or 9. I’m sure [your partner] noticed the clean baseboards! Ha!

Things are going well here in Europe. Work is busy and setting up our new flat is going great. S (J’s wife) has begun teaching again at University, and is enjoying it immensely. Thank you for sending us a couple smoke alarms! You are always thinking of our safety and well-being.

All things Christmas are breaking out in the stores around here, like I bet it is back home. And speaking of that, S and I are coming home this year for Christmas. We can’t wait to see you and [your partner] again, as well as our brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, the “greats” and everyone else. I want S to experience our family’s Christmas traditions, and I hope we are there in time for the annual caroling back in the old ‘hood.

I know it has always bothered you that there is all this Christmas stuff in the stores before Thanksgiving. Remember, we don’t have that holiday here, so there is no official “rule” on when it is okay to display that stuff. With the economy the way it is, I don’t blame them for trying to start their sales early.

But I remember: all your Christmas shopping is done! Bully for you. I’m nowhere near ready.

You will still wait until after Thanksgiving to get out Christmas decorations. In fact, as I recall, you will be having another large joyful feeding frenzy all day on Thanksgiving with your senior friends, so I presume you need all the space you can get without having it taken up with a Christmas tree and our Lionel train set.

I hope you will post this email as a guest blog, to give you a day off from the blogging and to let me express, once again, how much I admire you. Io ti amo sempre.


Your little bother, J

What I Did On My Mini-Vacation

I enjoyed my rare day off yesterday, despite rainy crappy weather. I accomplished a lot:

  • I checked in on a few friends and found that blogger is misbehaving, not showing recent blog posts on this blog to some of the people to whom I link. Glad you’re okay, Roland.
  • I put on what I am going to wear for Halloween and took some pictures, but you will have to wait and see….
  • I wrote 20 blog posts which will appear here over the next few weeks.
  • I wrote the template code for a website for a 2010 political candidate for whom I am serving as webmaster. I am waiting for the candidate to send me the content to put in the various blocks.
  • I cooked and cooked. My man and I enjoyed a great meal last night featuring all my “home-mades” (pasta, tomato sauce, breads, and dessert)– lasagna, home-made dinner rolls, and a mixed side salad, finished with a tasty apple pie. (I admit that while I used six different apples to vary the flavors, I cheated and used a pre-made pie crust.)
  • I took my lovely 94-year-old aunt to lunch, just because… I love her so.
  • I scrubbed baseboards with Comet and a toothbrush. It won’t be long until Thanksgiving, and we anticipate another huge crowd of seniors.
  • I spoke with two brothers and three sisters on the phone. It was great to catch up!
  • I did the laundry so my partner doesn’t have to worry about it on the weekend.
  • I updated my website in several places, including photos of a new pair of CHP leather breeches.
  • I cleaned up and shined a pair of Bal-Laced Dehner Patrol Boots that needed some attention. I seldom polish boots, so this was a big deal for me!
  • I received a suggestion via email to take pictures of my black campus boots that look like Fryes. I learned recently that these boots were made by Boulet when I exchanged some email from the guy who sold them to me. I tried to pull those boots on, and realized why I had not updated photos of them: they were too tight on my calfs. I hauled out my boot calf stretcher and began the slow, deliberate, process of stretching the calfs of those boots. It will take about three weeks for each boot to do it permanently without damaging them. Check back around Christmas for updated pics!
  • I took a half-hour nap! Lazy, lazy, lazy!

A great day! I should do this more often! But to tell you the truth, I am looking forward to being back at work today. I am exhausted!

Life is short: have fun in boots, leather, with family, and take care of things at home. Spend the time to show those you love that you love them!

A Rare Day Off

I have been working a lot of extra time lately at my job, in writing huge reports and proposals then going on a three-day out-of-town trip. In exchange for all that time at work, keeping me away from my duties to my community, my partner, and my family, I have been given a rare mid-week day off today.

What am I up to? as you read this, I am probably tending to a number of things around home, my community, and perhaps updating my website. Whatever I am doing, I am doing it in boots and leather. You’ll see. I’ll tell ‘ya later….

Meanwhile, remember–

Life is short: wear your boots, wear your leather, and by all means, SMILE!

Cop Galleries: Internet Viewing Observations

These are results of a totally unscientific study of internet viewing of my Bike Cop Rodeo Galleries.

I announced these galleries first on the “Boots on Line” board on October 12. I am fairly well-recognized on that board as a regular participant, so lots of people read my posts, regardless if they reply to them.

During the one-week period from that announcement until October 19, my statistical analysis software indicates that about 4,400 different computers were used to follow the links from that post to my website. I can not say that 4,400 individuals were counted, as I think that some people used a computer at home and a computer at work (or elsewhere) which counts as separate “visitors” where the visitor may be the same person.

Of the visitors generated from links on the BOL board, 80% of these visitors looked at both sub-galleries (one gallery is of the boots and one is of the cops). Those looking at the subgalleries often viewed most or all of the individual photos by clicking on each one which results in a larger image than that shown on the thumbnail image in the gallery. These views totalled over 20,000 in a week. Not bad… lots and lots of interest.

One does not have to register to view the Boots on Line board, so there is no way for me to know how many people actually read my posting there but did not follow the link to my website. However, I think a large number of readers of my post actually did. Larry (webmaster of makes it very easy for people to follow links posted with a message.

Interestingly and in comparison, I posted a message about these galleries on the “abootfetish2” Yahoo Group, which has been around for a long time, and shows about 1,545 members. Not all of these members are active nor all receive or read messages sent via that group. Yahoo group list maintenance is a devil of a task, and I don’t blame Jared, the site owner, for not deleting members who have bouncing email addresses.

Nonetheless, the posting of a link on the “abootfetish2” Yahoo Group resulted in about 300 visits from different computers in the same one-week comparison period. That is just a drop in the bucket compared with users of the “Boots on Line” board. Further, only about 25% of those visitors actually clicked on a link to either of the two subgalleries of boots or cops. Most visitors generated from the ABF2 group just viewed the entry page which explained the event and showed one image for boots and one image for cops. Then left… that is, they surfed on somewhere else.

I cannot explain nor would try to guess why the population of viewers of this gallery who came from a link from the “Boots on Line” board viewed the subgalleries and most if not all of the photos that I painstakingly cropped, edited, and posted — compared with visitors from the ABF2 group who did not. Perhaps it is because the BOL Board is truly web-specific, meaning that you’re already on-line viewing a page on a website, and it is easy to click on a link and view what’s there. With the ABF2 (or any Yahoo Group), most viewers come from a link embedded within an email message. They may click on the link, but then return to their primary task of reading their email and responding to messages. Their “purpose” for using the computer then-and-there is related to email, not web surfing.

I have no other ideas as to why the viewership from the BOL Board is so much higher than from the ABF2 Yahoo Group. Participants in both internet activities are definitely guys into boots (and cops, and leather, etc.)

Your thoughts?

IQ Test Requirement

I had an uneventful flight back home from Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday morning. I just wonder, though, with all the security restrictions in flying these days, why they do not require an IQ test before issuing airline tickets. The following is a true story, which I wrote down as it happened so I wouldn’t miss it. It was hilarious (to me), as well as sad.

[Preface: nobody wants to pay Useless Airways its rip-off fees that they charge for baggage handling at US$20 – $30/each, so for puddle-jumper flights like this, most folks do like I do, and carry their small suitcase with them. We know that we can leave it with a ramp attendant who will load it into the plane’s baggage compartment without charging a fee. Plus, when the flight lands, you get the bag back immediately as you leave the plane, so you don’t have to wait at baggage claim to get it back.]

The gate agent called for people to board our small regional jet bound from Charleston to National Airport (please, don’t call that airport by the name of the former President who fired all of the air traffic controllers!)

My fellow passengers and I walk down the jetway and then down a set of stairs at the end of it, onto the tarmac. We see our plane and walk toward it. We put our small suitcases with the gate tag next on a cart near the stairs that go up to the plane. This is standard, normal procedure. What was a bit unusual, though, is that the flight attendant wasn’t anywhere to be seen as we walked aboard the plane.

I find my way to my seat, which is near the back of the plane. Then I see this, umm, “individual,” moving down the aisle carrying a rather large rollaboard suitcase. He lifts it up and tries to push it into the overhead bin. The problem is, the overhead bins on these small regional jets are not very large. His suitcase was at least 4″ (10cm) wider than the opening of the bin.

Instead of it dawning on him that his bag is too wide, he turns it 90 degrees and tries pushing it into the bin again. Duhhh… still doesn’t fit.

By then, a line is queuing up as he is blocking the aisle. But no matter, after all (to him), he’s the only one in the plane.

So instead of figuring out that the darn bag won’t fit in the bin, he turns it 90 degrees again. I kid you not. He pushes and pushes, and the bag won’t go in. It’s nowhere close.

The person standing nearest to him (who he is blocking to get to his seat) politely suggests, “why don’t you put the bag under the seat in front of you?”

The guy doesn’t say a word. He apparently is getting frustrated, and scrunches up his face like he is trying to solve a complicated jigsaw puzzle. So he drops the bag 45 degrees and gets a corner of it into the bin, and then pushes and pushes until he turns so red in the face, I thought that he was going to explode.

The bag ain’t goin’ nowhere. And by now, the line of passengers is out the door.

The flight attendant works her way down the aisle to see what the problem is, and tells him flat-out, “sir, your bag won’t fit. You should have bag-tagged it and left it on the cart outside. Here…” (she pulls the bag toward her and attaches a bag tag to it). “Let me take it for you and have it gate checked.”

But instead of releasing his grip on his bag, Mr. Struggler says, “well, it fit on the other plane.”

“What other plane?”

“The one that I flew here on.”

“Well, sir, some of the larger jets have larger overhead storage bins. This jet doesn’t. Just let me gate check it for you so these people can get to their seats.”

“Well, let me try one more thing…”

Believe it or not, he wants to try again and Einstein has figured it all out. He reaches up with one hand and grabs the bottom of the storage bin and pulls down on it while trying to stuff his suitcase into the bin. Thank goodness those storage bins are made of strong stuff. While it bowed a little bit, it did not break. And all the time, Mr. gotta-store-his-bag has an expression on his face like, “I know I can make this work if I pull down and push the bag hard enough!”

By then, the flight attendant is getting anxious. Passengers waiting to take their seats are beginning to call out and tell the guy to move out of the way.

The attendant grabs the bag and says, “sir, I am going to gate check this bag. Have a seat!”

She took the bag and everyone standing between her and the door moved so she could squeeze by them to take the bag out. Mr. Einstein, however, stands there with his mouth agape, still blocking the aisle. Someone finally told him to please move so they could get by. He finally did, and when he did so, some people exclaimed, “yeah!” and clapped.

Okay, Mr. Einstein may not travel very much, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that his bag wouldn’t fit. I don’t know why he was so insistent on trying to stuff his big bag into such a small space.

This incident gives me renewed respect for the crap that flight attendants have to put up with all the time.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, and we even landed early. My partner picked me up at the Metro station on my end, and we got reacquainted.

Here is a photo that I took out of the window of my plane as we were about to land at National Airport.

Afraid of "Looking Gay"

Like a lot of people, I surf the internet and use Google as my guide. Sometimes I find the most amusing writings posted on various forums.

Most internet forums allow people to go by anonymous screen names, so they say a lot of things without fearing that people will know who they really are. But what they say reveals more about who they are than their name.

Among the biker community, there are a lot of people who express some form of fear that by being seen wearing a certain type of motorcycle clothing (chaps, for example), or having a particular brand shown on the clothing implies that one is gay. So they use a slur “that’s gay” to associate their negative opinion. Here is a cut from one such forum:

I see a lot of people on here who are more worried about being considered a “HARDCORE” biker, instead of just riding and enjoying life. These same guys absolutely won’t ride ANYTHING else except a Harley, yet claim they won’t wear anything Harley, cause then you look gay and are a billboard for the brand. Content Source

What is it about straight guys who make blatent statements such as “wearing a Harley-branded jacket looks gay?” I guess it’s alright to wear Harley T-shirts; man, there are zillions of them and bikers (even riders of other brands of motorcycles) wear them.

I’ll tell you what it is about straight guys who make such statements:

  • They are insecure.
  • They are immature.
  • They are afraid of what they don’t know (gay people)
  • They reveal that they sit on whatever brains they have.

I was also going to say that they are young, but unfortunately I have read or heard such statements by people older than I am, and who should have matured by now and know better.

I do not own much Harley-branded gear, but that’s because I have found alternatives that have a better value for the price paid. I have taken time to get measured for and buy top-quality, custom-made leathers that fit me well. Most Harley-branded gear is overpriced for the name. A lot of it is made in China, where quality control is suspect. I tell ‘ya, leather fetish stores like Mr. S., 665Leather, or Northbound have surpassed leather-for-the-masses retailers like The Motor Company (Harley) in producing superb, functional, and good-looking gear. After all, I own and wear a lot of leather gear so I know what I’m talking about.

As the original author of the post I quoted above began his statement, there seem to be a lot of people on internet forums who are much more concerned about portraying the image of a “hardcore biker” than by just getting out and riding to enjoy life. There are stereotypes that they have been brainwashed to believe that, to them, implies that the “tough-guy bad-ass biker image” (a “hardcore biker”) is the opposite of “gay.” By extension, these are some who believe that it is not possible that some bikers can be “homosexual.” (oooohhh, “that” word!)

I have said before and I will say again: Bikers can be gay and gay men and women can be bikers, as the two are not mutually exclusive.

Ignorant and fearful forum posters should get over it, and get a life. Get out and ride, and enjoy it. That is what it is all about.

Life is short: ride and have fun!

Boots on the Cobblestones

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina, USA. I am here for a meeting for work. The meeting is going well. It’s busy, and nice to meet some new folks and get reacquainted with some people I have met and worked with years ago.

Last night, the group went to dinner at a pub not far from the hotel where I am staying. Charlestown is a very old city, and the downtown has many cobblestone sidewalks.

After dinner, several of the others wanted to go out for a drink elsewhere. I was tired and wanted to return to my hotel, call my partner and catch up on the news and hear his voice. I miss him a lot when I travel.

As I was walking alone back to the hotel down the lonely cobblestone walk, I heard my cowboy boots making a very distinctive “boot clunk” as a walked along. The clunk was reverberating on the buildings and walkway. It was an interesting sound — a Bootman on the street.

I thought no one was around, but a guy came up behind me. I was startled a little bit, and he apologized. “Didn’t mean to scare you, man. But I heard those boots and wanted to get a closer look.”

Turns out he is a Bootman himself. He admired my Nocona ostrich cowboy boots, and told me about his Justins. Soon enough, I was at my hotel. He smiled, and said, “keep the boots on.” I smiled back, thanked him, and told him to do the same.

A nice encounter on my way back. My partner laughed when I told him about it.

Life is short: wear your boots!

What Is Not Mutually Exclusive

To me, there are some things that people write or say that implies that they believe that the following things are mutually exclusive:

  • Being a ‘biker’ and being gay. I’ve blogged a lot about that. I am both. There are a number of gay men who like to ride motorcycles, and who enjoy the “biker presence” (however that is defined.)
  • Being gay and masculine. Yes, I am both. The former is my sexuality and the latter is my observed behavior.
  • Being gay and not being into fashion. Yep, that’s me. I’m just a regular guy who prefers boots, jeans, t-shirts, and leather versus suits, ties, dress shoes, and formal wear.
  • Being gay and not being able to dance. Yes, it is true, and I am evidence of it: not all gay men know how or like to dance. (I, for example, am a quarantasinestrapede).
  • Wearing leather jeans and shirts in public (and no one saying anything). I still don’t get it, but I get an email at least once each week from someone who has questions about wearing leather in public. I have blogged ad naseum about that matter. Suffice it to say that I wear full leather often in and around my community, and hardly ever does anyone say anything, or if they do, what they say is complimentary.
  • Wearing leather or denim jeans tucked into tall boots (and not being called ‘gay’ pejoratively for doing so). There are some who rant on various forums that “only gay guys wear jeans tucked into boots,” or when they see a guy with jeans tucked into their boots, they say, “that’s ‘so gay’!” Oh fiddle-faddle… a demonstration of a weak mind. If you have nice boots and want to show them off, draw on your self-confidence and do it. Nobody gives a darn, and if they do, it’s their problem, not yours. See my Jeans and Cowboy Boots info on my website for more details.
  • Being nice and being honest. Yes, it is possible to be both. It has to do with living up to high standards of integrity and decency. Just goes to show why my partner is my life-mate, and what my real friends are like. I value integrity and being nice about it.

I am more than weary of on-line boards and forums where some people rant about some of the above-mentioned characteristics and claim that the two cannot possibly be shown by one person. They can, they are, and they do.