Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to my blog visitors. This is an odd American holiday, marked by story-telling, tales of ghosts and goblins, and children dressing in a costume and going door-to-door in the evening to collect candy by yelling “trick or treat!” (Either you give them a treat or they play a trick on you).

Many adults enjoy doing something for Halloween as well. Some dress up in costumes and attend parties, usually held the weekend before October 31. From the number of visitors to this blog, many are curious and interested in dressing as a cop.

This year, my partner being the usual recluse that he is, did not want to go to a party on the weekend. Two of my friends invited us to attend an adult party, but … nahhh… Partner didn’t want to go and be around people. He hates that. I did not go anywhere not only because my partner did not want to go, but I also cannot stay awake past 9pm. I’m the party-pooper in this case.

We were invited to a family get-together yesterday afternoon, where the kiddos were dressed in their Halloween costumes and us uncles (and aunts) brought candy. I went (my partner didn’t — again, noisy kids are not his choice). We were encouraged to wear a costume, too. I went as a “biker dude.” Simple enough to construct an authentic costume without going to a lot of trouble and expense. I was thinking about riding my Harley to get there, but was reminded that the mild storm that occurred on Saturday brought down a lot of leaves which remained wet (and slick) on the roads. I didn’t want to run the risk of riding on wet leaves, so I drove my truck.

Tonight, I will continue the theme, dressed as “biker”, when neighborhood kids come to our door and I distribute candy to them. Then we turn out the lights precisely at 9:00pm and go to bed. If kids can’t complete their rounds before 9pm, they’re probably up to no good anyway.

Happy Halloween!

Life is short: go with the flow.

Applying "Shoe Rules" to Boots

Sometimes I am annoyed when I read these on-line “style guides” whose authors have made some statements that are derogatory about wearing boots in particular situations, such as in a business settings. Oh well, their loss; some of them just don’t get it.

Anyway, I found a silly “25 Shoe Rules” on the about.com website, and thought I would offer a Bootman’s perspective. Below, the “shoe rule” is in regular type. My suggested “Bootman’s Rules” are in italics below each “shoe rule”. Enjoy!

1. Your shoes should be darker than your pants.
Your boots should be darker than your pants if wearing dress pants. Otherwise, boots that contrast with jeans look great!

2. Your shoes should be the most expensive part of your wardrobe.
Your boots should be the most expensive part of your wardrobe.

3. No socks with sandals.
Men should not wear sandals. Period. Nobody wants to see your feet. Nobody.

4. Buy new flip-flops each summer.
Never buy or wear flip-flops for any reason. They are unsanitary, unsightly, and just plain wrong on so many levels for adult men.

5. Be careful when wearing sneakers with khakis, you run the risk of looking older than you are.
Wear boots with khakis for an interesting appearance of style and fashion.

6. Your socks should be a nice bridge between your shoes and your pants.
When you wear boots, no one will see your socks. But always wear comfortable socks that are part wool, part cotton, and part synthetic, to have the advantages that these materials offer (absorption of sweat, comfort, and durability).

7. Your dress shoes should always be shined and looking good.
Your dress boots should always be shined and looking good.

8. The darker your suit, the darker your shoes.
The darker your suit, the darker your boots.

9. No flip-flops at work. Unless you work at a surf shop.
No flip-flops, period. See revised rule #4.

10. Match your socks to your shoes.
This is repetitive. See revised rule #6.

11. Know how to shine your shoes, and if you can’t do it, find a professional shoe shiner. You’ll get great looking shoes and an interesting conversation.
Know how to shine your boots, and if you can’t do it, find a professional shoe shiner. It will probably cost a bit more to have boots professionally shined, but you WILL have a great conversation (as those guys rarely have the chance to shine men’s boots).

12. Always spend money on shoes rather than shirts or pants.
Always spend money on boots rather than shoes, shirts, or pants.

13. Loafers go with just about anything.
Repeat after me: loafers are what you find sitting on the couch. Boots are what you find on your feet.

14. When in doubt, go conservative over edgy.
When in doubt (about wearing boots), go conservative, but stop obsessing about what other people think. Wear boots!

15. Always choose fit over style.
For boots, always choose fit over style, even if that means having boots made custom to your size requirements.

16. Cowboy boots don’t work with suits. Unless you are a real, honest to God cowboy.
This is bullshit stereotyping. Cowboy boots DO work well with a suit, regardless of your employment. Get over the self-imposed fear and learn that dress cowboy boots go quite well with suits! (proof here).

17. Be fitted for running shoes if you’re going to push yourself.
Be fitted for tactical boots if you’re going to push yourself.

18. Wingtips are cool again.
Wingtip boots are cool again.

19. Make sure you have one great pair of boots.
Make sure you have at least two great pairs of boots so you can let your boots breathe between wearings. As you obtain more pairs of boots, you can donate your shoes to charity.

20. Your shoes should match your belt.
Your dress boots should match your belt.

21. Replace your workout shoes at least every six months.
Replace your tactical workout boots at least once a year (boots last longer than sneakers.)

22. Don’t wear sandals if you have gross feet.
Don’t wear sandals at all. See revised rule #3.

23. Buy a nice pair of brown oxfords, they go with almost anything.
Buy a nice pair of brown dress cowboy boots to alternate wearing with your black dress cowboy boots. They go with almost anything.

24. Splurge once a year on that pair of shoes you really want.
Splurge once a year on that pair of boots you really want.

25. Try out the new athletic shoe trends before training with them.
Just cut to the chase, and buy tactical boots to wear if you will be engaging in sports or running.

So, there you have it — a Bootman’s take on silly “style rules for shoes.”

Life is short: wear boots! Dump the shoes and never, ever, wear sandals or flip-flops.

Decision-Making for a Motorcycle Ride

As my regular blog followers know, I ride a Harley. One may think that given the opportunity, I would be out there riding all day, every day.

Well, not quite. While I ride during the week to commute to work, that’s about all the riding I can do during the week due to time constraints. During the summer after work, I may ride my Harley to get to a meeting, but if I do not have a specific place to go, then the Harley remains in the garage and I stay home.

That leaves weekends. My motorcycle club offers a lot of rides from which to choose every weekend. But then again, my partner “offers” a number of activities that also have to be done to maintain our home and the rental properties that I own. My senior pals need some attention, too. Such is life with competing demands on one’s time.

Fortunately, the rides that my club offers are scheduled far in advance, so if there is a ride that I want to go on, I can negotiate the time for the ride and get time off from my partner’s never-ending list of “honey-do” projects when I know a date certain.

As I consider rides to go on, I think about the following factors:

* Where is the ride going? — I enjoy discovering new places that I have not visited before, or riding on new-to-me roads.

* How long will the ride be? — an estimate of the distance and time of the rides from which I have to choose is provided. If the ride is scheduled for the whole day, then I usually cannot go. I have a lot of things that have to be done crammed into a tight weekend and cannot spare a whole day and leave my partner at home (who will do lots of work while I’m away, making me feel guilty that I was not there to help him.)

* Is it an overnight ride? — as I have mentioned before, I do not go on overnight rides. The guys like to sit around and drink after dinner. I don’t drink alcohol, and though I don’t mind if others do, what I do mind is that their tongues get loose when they get intoxicated, and they say things about gay people or about women that I just don’t want to be subjected to hearing. So I avoid being in such a situation.

* What distance will the ride cover? — distance is a major issue for me. Rides over about 200 miles are out. I have a physical condition that tires me faster than the average bear. Riding when tired is unsafe. I will not put myself in that situation.

* What is the purpose of the ride? — is it a casual ride on back roads and byways, a ride to support a police or fire charity or memorial, or is it a poker run sponsored by another club? I like the casual back roads rides, and have supported more than my share of memorial and charity events. But I don’t like poker runs and will not go on them.

* Who is leading the ride? — every ride leader brings his or her personality to the ride. A ride leader known to “ride aggressively” is not someone who I want to ride with. I don’t have any fun trying to keep up all the time. I realize that my riding skills are not the same as others, so I want to “ride my own ride” — relaxed, casual, and unhurried. I will not go on a ride with someone who I know to ride too fast for my liking.

* What roads may be involved? — I have learned my lesson. I will not (deliberately) ride on roads that are unpaved, covered with gravel, or that involve stream crossings over fords. I also will not go on rides where I know there will be turns that are too tight and impossible for me to handle. (Believe me, I know my limits!)

* Safety factor — implied in the above considerations is how safe I think I will be on a ride. That’s based on my health, the road conditions, and what I know about the ride leader’s attention to safety.

* What’s the weather? — always a last-minute decision, but if I want to enjoy a nice, casual ride, I want to do it when the roads are dry and preferably when it is sunny. I won’t go if the roads are wet or if it is raining or rain is predicted. I also have my low-temperature threshold. I will not ride when it is lower than about 40°F (4.5°C). That’s about as cold as I can take it, despite all my leathers and gear.

So there you have it — how I, personally, choose to go on an organized motorcycle ride (or not.) Every biker is different. Some have more time, some have better skills, some don’t have a non-riding other-half with a long honey-do list. Most of all, the motto is, “ride and have fun.” If I think the fun would be limited for me on a ride due to its purpose, destination, choice of roads, ride leader, or the weather, then I may go for a short ride by myself, or stay home and tackle the honey-do list.

Life is short: make your choices.

Stunning Photo of My Brother

My twin brother, J, sent me this photo that his wife took of him on their recent extended second honeymoon throughout Europe during September. No, my brother is not about to walk into the Mediterranean from an island off the coast of Greece, but it looks like that.

Isn’t the setting gorgeous? What a stunning photo! My sister-in-law has quite the eye for photography!

Life is short: celebrate joy and happiness with family!

Unto Every Biker’s Life Falls Some Rain

I work with a bunch of meteorologists.  You know something is wrong when they say, “oops, seems that ‘they’ got the forecast wrong.” Yep, despite a forecast of rain later in the evening yesterday, it began to rain hours before I was scheduled to leave the office — on my Harley — for my commute home. Yuck. I hate riding in the rain.

Fortunately, traffic was rather light and people were behaving. That is, I kept a good distance between me and the vehicle in front of me, and no one cut me off. Thank goodness.

I rode steadily. I had plenty of stopping distance for traffic lights. I applied the brakes slowly and evenly when I had to stop.

I came up behind a cop along my way, and began to follow him. He saw me, and drove steadily and slowly such that I could follow safely. He went almost completely on the route to my home, so I felt safe.

I was wearing good, solid boots with lug soles (Wesco Motor Patrol Boots), so I had good traction. The boots resisted road spray so my feet and legs did not get wet. I wore thick leather chaps and a solid leather jacket, with my full-face helmet. I didn’t get wet, though my bike sure will need a good cleaning after the rain and road splatter dries.

Oh well… weather is not as predictable as one may think — even meteorologists get it wrong sometimes. And reading the commentary on my Facebook posting about this situation (from a bunch of meteorologists and allied professionals) is hysterical.

Life is short: ride safe!

Three Things Bikers Expect

I ride my Harley as often as I can, which includes my short commute to work on busy suburban roadways.

There are three things that other drivers do that could kill me if I were not prepared for their thoughtlessness:

1. Three lanes of traffic, riding in the middle lane. A bus is up ahead in the right lane. People keep driving along but as soon as they see the bus slowing down to make a stop, they dart into the middle lane without looking. Some may say that they scan their rearview mirrors, and they might just “scan” but they don’t really look. So yesterday, like many other days, I avoided getting clobbered by a nim-nose-ninny by expecting him or her to cut me off. Without fail, they will.

2. People yapping on their cell phones while driving. Despite that behavior being against the law in my state and many others, in their minds, the law applies only to other people. You can often tell who is doing that, because they drive 10mph below the speed limit. Then they react suddenly, or may swerve into another lane (my lane) when they discover that another car is in their way or traffic is slowing for a light or whatever….

Please, hang up and drive! Do not talk on a cell phone while driving. Even if you have a hands-free device, you are still distracted and your driving abilities suffer — and sometimes us bikers “suffer” the consequences. Turn off your cell phone while driving a vehicle. Honestly, you are not that important, and neither is that call!

3. Animals. Yep, particularly this time of year, it is quite common in the early morning for herds of deer to be along the side of the road. They see your headlight, and you think, “they realize it is a vehicle so they will stay away.” Not so. Just yesterday morning, like many mornings, a deer darts into the road, followed by the remainder of the herd. Those animals are dangerous, and won’t watch for you so you have to be extra alert to watch for them and be prepared to stop or take evasive maneuvers.

I don’t know which is worse — the four-legged or the two-legged animals that make driving hazardous. I just wish the two-legged variety would pay attention — completely — to their driving while operating a 5,000-lb death machine on the road.

Hang up and drive. Really use your mirrors. While your taxes pay for the road so you own it, my taxes do too, and I have as much of a right to use the road safely as you do.

Rant over.

Life is short: pay attention!

Bates Patrol Boots

I was the lucky winner of an eBay auction a couple weeks ago, and scored, rather inexpensively, a new-to-me pair of Bates Patrol Boots.

I have not seen any cops wearing this particular brand of boots in a long time, so I figure that this style of (tall patrol) boots haven’t been made for several years. I visited the Bates website, and found that this style of tall patrol boots is not made any more. They only make short tactical and military boots these days. Further internet searching indicates that Bates was bought by the same company that makes boots under the Wolverine brand in China… so there goes another quality bootmaker down the drain.

But I digress…. These Bates patrol boots are similar in construction to Chippewa Motor Patrol Boots. That is both a good and bad thing. The boots are made of all leather, which is good. However, the leather is rather thin. I estimate the leather is of 4 to 5oz weight. Perhaps that makes a lighter-weight boot, but it also poses some problems with durability and creasing with wear. (Notice in the photos how the boots are crinkled — and they should not be that way when worn with motor breeches.)

The boots have a bal-laced instep. They also have lacing on the outside of each boot shaft to adjust the fit. A different feature of these boots is a leather-covered expansion band found at the top of the inside of each boot shaft.

What I dislike most about these boots is that they have a seam both down the middle of the front as well as the back of the boot shaft. To me, that seam is both unnecessary and unsightly. The boots also have a cheap nitrile rubber sole, so the traction offered is not all that good. Fine for a dry day, but probably not when the roads are slick with rain.

Oh well, I got these boots inexpensively. They are okay, but I can understand why Bates does not make these boots any more. They were cheap to make, and look it.

More photos of these boots are here.

Life is short: know your boots!


I had a very busy day yesterday catching up after returning from a week-long business trip. I did a lot of work around my house, took care of six senior pals by doing various home repairs for them, took four senior pals to the grocery store, and returned home to do more home maintenance.

With all that going on, I had no time to write a blog post. Check back tomorrow for another story on …

Life is short: doin’ whatcha gotta do!

Men’s Footwear at Airports

I flew home yesterday from Seattle and had to change planes in Chicago. I looked at what guys had on their feet.

I know going through security is a pain-in-the-butt; however, it is so routine now — all you have to do is slip off your boots (or if you must wear them, shoes) and run them through the x-ray. But so many men (and youngsters in their teens and 20s) do not want to do that, so they wear the most awful crap on their feet. I saw more guys wearing flip-flops at the airport than I have seen wear those things on a beach. Ugggghhh! And it was cold, too. Wearing crappy footwear like that must be uncomfortable.

Oh well, I wore my cowboy boots, took them off before security, and got two “nice boots” comments from other guys when I was putting them back on after security. I doubt anyone looks at a guy wearing flip-flops and says, “nice feet.” (LOL!)

Life is short: wear boots!

Headed Home

I had a long but productive week in the Seattle area. I had a chance to speak, to lead, to facilitate, to write, and to learn. I enjoyed seeing some of my long-term colleagues and friends who have made me more of the person and professional I am.

After a rather dull day yesterday, I became energized again by meeting a friend and her partner for dinner. This friend did a lot for me. She picked me up from my conference location in Outer Slobbovia, took me to dinner at a really nice restaurant, then brought me to a hotel where she made a reservation for me. The hotel is very close to the airport, so my departure for my early flight will be simple and uncomplicated with traffic delays.

My friend and I caught up on each other’s lives, then began to “talk shop.” She picked my brain and I picked hers. At the end of a lively conversation about geeky stuff, my friend surprised me by saying that her boss authorized her to pay for our dinner. How nice! (Her boss is someone I also have known for a long, long time.)

I am glad to end the week on such a high note, but man, I am tired and I really miss my man. Time to head home, snuggle close, and get reacquainted with the man who means the world to me.

Life is short: enjoy life where you are and make the best of it.