There are so many small things that we take for granted right? Think about it for a minute. Running water, electricity, food on the table, legal rights. Right? Hello? There are a ton of such things that we don't even think about on a daily basis. Well, not most of us. I for one, have to think about many of the above due to my choices in life. The simplest of things are brought into focus when you live life on the road. But for the mass of us, these are things that you just think will always be there when you need them. Too bad they are also the things that are being taken away right under our noses. Many of them are the things we believe make us "free".
The last of those - legal rights- is a big deal right now. I posted a while back on the four retirees that are on trial in Georgia for plotting to kill federal employees and government officials. That is an ongoing story that currently sees most of the men guilty prior to even being given a day in court. All of the courtroom drawings during the bond hearing are of the men struggling to even hear the judge, because, well, they're all nearly deaf. I'm not taking a side here. I'm following the rule of the land, that people are innocent until they are PROVEN guilty in a court administered by their peers. Unfortunately, that is one of the things that we take for granted that has been taken away from us. These men are being portrayed as anti-social, militiamen who would stop at nothing to tear down the government. Prosecutors even got the judge to deny bond to the men, because they posed a serious threat to federal employees. Really? It was stated that they "had nothing to loose" and would be given the ultimate ability to galvanize their position as being threatened by the "jack-booted government" that they stood against. I'm astounded. You can read more on it HERE.
The fact that there have been no stories of the other "militiamen" that would undoubtedly make up this militia the government is blaming the men for being a part of, is in and of itself bizarre. Don't you think that if there was a serious case against these men, they would be looking for the entire group? Are they trying to tell us that four aging geriatrics were going to blow up the world? Next thing you know, they'll be saying that 19 untrained Arabs are going to fly jumbo jets into buildings with military precision. Oh, wait.
Again, I'm not making a decision. These old farts may be the second coming of Satan and have stockpiled everything necessary to Rambo their way through the entire state of Georgia. I seriously doubt it though. What I do believe, is that they are being tried for something much bigger than just disgruntled talk around the dinner table. I believe they are being put on parade to prove that the government needs better methods to stop domestic terrorism. The outcome of this simple little incident will probably take more of those things we take for granted right out of our hands.
Next thing you know, the president will issue an outcry for help to have the citizens listen for people conspiring against the government. Oh, wait one more time. They already do that? Yep, check this out HERE. I hope you click through all the links to see just what your wonderful government is spending its time and money on. Yeah, coffee cups that urge people to tell all they hear about anti-government speech on their ride to work. Seems the White House has even expanded their efforts to include people of Jewish faith. They want to add to the protection of the people by weeding out any anti-whatever thoughts. Odd. Seems like the same thing the Hitler Youth were around for. Call me silly.
Oh well, maybe we'll all wake up once the "See Something, Say Something" campaigns expand to include people narc'ing on you for using too much water, or growing your own garden (oops, that's already happening too), or keeping your lights on too long. Don't cry when it happens. You've been told.
This freakin' "super committee" assigned to come up with a way to cut the budget of the country can't even figure itself out. Now that they've had all this time to come up with a means to kill a couple trillion bucks out of our obese spending habits, they are saying they can't come to an agreement. Really? You mean a dozen bi-partisan idiots who can't make good laws in the first place can't come to an agreement on how to cut spending? Wow. I'm shocked. Maybe we should send them all back to grade-school economics classes for a month or so.
Now that they will probably miss the deadline to get the cuts approved, an automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts will kick in. You see, this is a "law" that congress put into place to ensure that the committee did its job. 1.2 trillion bucks that comes half from defense spending and half from domestic entitlement programs. THEY WROTE THIS LAW PEOPLE. Now that it looks like it will have to actually be used though, congress is struggling to come up with new laws that allow them to not follow the original cuts they lobbied for. Seriously.
ARE YOU FUCKING LISTENING? Congress wants to overwrite what they fought so hard to get enacted in the first place. Back then, it was a stick to get the White House and the Senate to get off their asses and get a budget that would cut spending and make the "people" better off. Now that it's not going to happen, the same congresspeople are clamoring to back off from their original fight. They never intended to follow through, just like they never intend to follow any of the laws they force down our throats. What's amazing, is that the 1.2 trillion is just a drop in the bucket, since it's actually taken out over 10 YEARS! Yes, you read that right. They have 10 years to cut that much out of the over 40 trillion they plan to spend in that same timeframe. This is basic math here. A fraction of the uncontrolled spending does not fix anything, whether it is forced or agreed upon. We need real solutions.
This is not a joke people. This is not a small thing. This can't be allowed to go on. This will basically be an end-around by the government to actually do the same nothing that it does so well all the other days they actually go into "session". We need to recall the entire freaking thing. All of them. It's beyond ridiculous, and we all just sit and let it happen. Every single one of us deserves exactly what we are about to get.
Just got back to the ranch after jaunting down to Denver on ol' faithful for some riding and shenanigans with the Speedmetal crew. Hadn't had a chance to really hang with Dave much before this. Seems like we were always doing the show thing and only had time for handshakes and "hellos". This time, we got down to business and blitzed through some good scenery, good food, and better tequila! Dave's knuck is a site to see on the road and gets zero nice-guy treatment from its owner. It's all business and butt-hauling. Great meeting Justin, Sam, Jeff, Chuck and all the other guys too. Denver is loaded with some good folks and it all made the hour trip down through snow and sleet worthwhile. Have to make sure we make this a regular occurrence for sure. I'll be better off next time after stopping at the Army surplus shop on the way home for some gloves that actually keep the cold out at 100 mph. California takes away your ability to remember how to keep warm, I guess.
So, in a practice-what-you-preach sorta way, I came across this little tid-bit. 4 Georgia boys (all over 65 years of age by the way) are arrested in that state on charges of domestic terror plotting. You can read what is known at this point on the New York Times - HERE.
What are your thoughts on this? The video link on Veterans Today shows a poor, hapless local saying that a lot of people will be "praying to God" if this is really this close to their home. She seems to already believe what she's being told. That these geriatric gentlemen were going to somehow produce enough Ricin to deliver it on the HIGHWAYS of Atlanta in a concentration suitable for killing people in their CARS.
Read up on the creation of Ricin and it's potency to see what you think about that. They are painting these men as professionals in these matters and linking them to some militia that they won't name. Maybe more information of a substantial type will surface, but don't bet on it.
If they were planning on killing numerous people in Atlanta, and did, in fact, have the means to do so, then bravo to our intelligence agencies for nabbing them.
if, on the other hand, this is a way to get people to allow further rights-snatching to "protect" us from "domestic terror", then shame on all of us for allowing it.
Don't believe what they feed you until they provide the real, hard evidence, but pay attention.
I for one am afraid of any report of supposed "domestic terror", because it appears that they are staging for a day when anyone can be labeled a terrorist for standing up against the government. It's happening, and it's all around you. Remember, our president just ordered the killing of another US CITIZEN in the middle east without due process of law taken into account, just because they labeled the man a terrorist.
The time has come and passed us by where the label of terrorist gives the government cause to hide all information about their actions with regards to the suspect, and to do whatever they wish to said person without repercussions on a domestic or international basis. Pretty soon, they'll have us all watching the shadows for anything we may do that could be considered "subversive".
Remember the American Revolution? Yeah, the one that got you to where you are right now? That one. Realize that under our current government rules, those involved would have been "terrorists" and would have been murdered without trial most likely. Pretty scary when you put it like that ain't it?
Americans are so f'ing blind to what's going on around them. Must be so much easier to just wander through life not paying attention and using the famous "can't do anything about it" or "doesn't affect me" slogans. I get told I'm too serious lately. Too "down" about things. Too angry.
No, not really. I'm not down at all. I'm exactly where I want to be and I'm doing the things that actually focus on making life better with regards to a bigger picture rather than focusing on happy hour or weekend getaways. Those things are cool for sure, but don't fix anything in the long run.
Call me crabby, or a hermit or whatever you want, but it's not about being pissed off as a goal. It's about being pissed off as a catalyst to change things for the better.
Here's one for your nugget - Good comes from the cancellation of bad. The cancellation of bad does not necessarily come from the doing of good.
What I mean here, is that you have to focus on the bad in order to actually change it. You can't just go around helping old ladies cross the street and think that the bad shit in the world will go away. That's the hippies' world peace movement way of thinking. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. You have to become more "radical" in your actions. You have to be deliberate and target the bad things that set you back. Do what counters these "bad" things long enough and you'll eventually achieve your "good". Seems like common sense to some, but I'm surprised at the enormous amount of people who just ignore the tough stuff.
I guess working all day and having stress from traffic, job, relations, whatever, gives everyone the excuse to say "fuck it, I'm tuning out". At least until you have to just go do it all over again tomorrow. Sad existence people. Get over yourselves. The world is coming knocking on your door whether you like it or not, and right now, it's not delivering girl scout cookies. It's delivering flaming bags of turds.
Might be a good time to start spending some time during your day to educate yourself on extinguishing flaming bags of turds, so your porch is inviting enough for cookie deliveries in the future. If you don't, don't come crying to me when your house burns down and you need a place to stay.
Just sayin. It's time to set aside an hour of each day to educate yourself on the tough stuff. Go find news other than Entertainment Weekly, US, ESPN, or whatever other distractions pass for "information" these days. Spend an hour forgetting about the celebs and all the gossip. Forget about "reality" TV that isn't real at all. Forget about your favorite sports team. Forget about local news distracting you with tales of shootings and incorrect weather reports. Forget about the song that makes you cry since your girlfriend/boyfriend left you. Forget it all.
Now is not the time for retreating into your little world of self-concerned BS. Now is the time to think bigger and do bigger. Even if only for an hour a day. Shit, start at 30 minutes!
Go DIG for what you think you believe in. The tough stuff. The big picture stuff. Read the news from the other side of the fence. Forget about your "party" affiliations and read it all, no matter how much your stomach turns, because in there somewhere is truth. You have to look at both sides of a dollar bill to make sure it's real before you spend it right? A one-sided argument does you about the same amount of good as that bill that's only printed on one side. None. You need to hear it all, so you realize where the shit is coming from.
After you read for a while and start forming some real conclusions of your own, rather than what the news tells you, GO SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS! Yeah, they might look at you like they look at me and tell you you're being a downer, but keep on. Don't take no for an answer. Getting just one person every so often to go delve deeper is worth it.
If you're sitting there thinking that someone else will take care of all the craziness in the world, or that none of it is important enough to take your precious time, then you, my one-time friend, are the problem. Get with the program. YOUR program, and make sure you know the real deal and are doing something about it.
Just got back to the ranch after pushing back a few Captain and Cokes with my Brother, and had some thoughts I figured I'd share. In these times where everything's not as shiny as it's painted to be, we still have to remember those that help us hold it all together. That said, I don't talk to my good friends and even some family near enough. Seriously, texting and all that bullshit doesn't even cut it anymore. You can text everyday, but after a year, if you see that person, you feel as if you've missed them forever. It just doesn't cut it.
I'm a sorry-assed communicator and I know it. To all of you that ever sat around a campfire, bar, show, couch, bike, or whatever with me and thought you were better for it, I not only miss you, but have a duty to let you know that I feel the same. I don't show it enough, and I let a lot of time go by where people wonder if I'm dead or whatever, but in the end, I truly do love you guys. Not in a prison sort of way, but you get the picture.
Months or years may go by, but I never forget the deeds done, or the gems passed down by my friends and fam. Every single one of you has had an impact in my life that helps me figure out more of who I am on a daily basis. I may be a loner at heart, and a wanderer in my soul, but I hope that you guys will realize that it's nothing against you. If anything, I wish I could bring all of you along for the ride. I'm truly hoping that in the coming months, I can spend the right kind of time with everyone, if even for only a few hours. Time to turn off the internet and get face to face.
You know who you are, because you'll sit there reading this saying to yourself that you "get it". You figured me out a long time ago. You're worth your weight in gold to the people around you and you should keep doing it all exactly the way you are. It means the world, absolutely. I only hope that I have been able to offer a fraction of what I've been handed back to you.
For the rest of you that don't get it, or think I'm full of shit... go die in a fire. You know who you are too.
There, I couldnl't let it all be nice and rosy could I?
Rubber-mount, 81 c.i., five speed shovelhead? Yes, please.
How they looked in '83...
How this '83 looks today...
Goes under the knife shortly, but in all honesty, only a few cosmetic things are needed. Loose the signature "Colorado" bars and grips, all the "live to ride" B.S., and get a real carb on it. Even as it is, on the ride home it constantly told me to go faster.
Just got the rig settled in Sturgis. Drove through a sea of chaps and do-rags to get here, but the campground is pretty cool. I'll keep ya posted on things as I figure out how to navigate around. If you're in the area and wanna pitch your tent alongside the rig, give me a shout. There's only about an acre of open space in my site!
Government to Monitor Social Networks For “Extremist Propaganda”
New White House plan follows Pentagon advisory targeting protests against Federal Reserve
Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, August 4, 2011
A new strategy document released by the White House promises to “closely monitor…the Internet and social networking sites” in order to “counter online violent extremist propaganda” as the federal government attempts to embed itself further in local communities under the guise of preventing domestic extremism.
The document, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (PDF), focuses on identifying Americans who have supposedly been radicalized or groomed by Al-Qaeda to carry out attacks in the United States.
As the L.A. Times notes, the plan involves “federal departments not usually associated with national security,” and is heavily focused around increasing the federal government’s involvement with schools and the “emotional and behavioral development” of young people.
The document defines extremist propaganda as that which is used to “feed on grievances” and “assign blame.” The government vows to “aggressively” combat such ideology by “continuing to closely monitor the important role the internet and social networking sites play in advancing violent extremist narratives.”
In targeting the Internet and social networking websites for surveillance in the name of fighting domestic terrorism, the White House is continuing in the vein of the previous administration who in 2006 revealed that since 9/11 they had been pursuing a plan to diminish the role of “conspiracy theories” as a primary recruitment tool for terrorists.
The document arrives in the same week that the Pentagon also announced it would be hiring individuals to “detect and track popular ideas on social networks”.
Indeed, one such examples amidst many where the federal government monitored the Internet to counter “extremist propaganda” was before protests against the Federal Reserve in 2009 that took place across the United States. After the demonstrations were organized on social networks, the Pentagon released a “Force Protection Advisory” about “planned protests at all Federal Reserve Banks and office locations within the United States,” that was sent to Northcom and the FBI.
On November 22, 2008, Alex Jones led a rally at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas Texas. The Dallas protest is specifically mentioned in the official Army document.
Despite the White House document’s claim that, “opposition to government policy is neither illegal nor unpatriotic and does not make someone a violent extremist,” the Department of Homeland Security has gone out of its way to characterize adversaries of big government as potential domestic terrorists.
The MIAC Report, admist a deluge of other training documents released by state and federal authorities (or leaked by whistleblowers), equates Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, people who display bumper stickers, people who own gold, or even people who fly a U.S. flag with radical race hate groups and terrorists.
The MIAC report specifically describes supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as “militia” influenced terrorists and instructs the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.
A recent DHS promotional video for its See Something, Say Something campaign also overwhelmingly portrayed white middle class Americans as the most likely terrorists. Bizarely, the vast majority of the people seen reporting them to authorities in the 10 minute clip were from ethnic minorities, a theme echoed in the introduction to the White House document which welcomes the “waves of immigrants” who have flocked to the United States.
There seems little doubt that the Obama administration is attempting to marginalize its most fervent critics by characterizing them as potentially violent extremists, to the point where Tea Party lawmakers are now being labeled as terrorists by New York Times writers as well as Vice-President Joe Biden.
Indeed, numerous Democratic strategists have subtly invited a domestic terror attack blamed on anti-government extremists that President Obama could exploit to rescue his sinking approval ratings.
Following Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting spree in Arizona back in January, Politico called on Obama to seize upon his “Oklahoma City moment,” adding that the attack presented a “critical opportunity” to “re-define the nation’s political debate,” a talking point endlessly repeated for weeks that merely became a euphemism for allowing Democrats to exploit the attack to silence critics of big government.
Here's a "dialogue" that just occurred on my buddy Darren's wonderful FB page. This is what I run into a lot these days. I think it's odd that so many people get angry when anything remotely political is brought up, immediately defaulting to "it doesn't matter" as an excuse to go on living vicariously through reality TV. Or, like this guy, stating their position and when they find resistance from people who like to think and debate, they just pull something like the race card and attempt to exit on their terms rather than continue the debate and actually defend their stance. Once something is said that they don't like, most people shut off and leave. Solves nothing.
This was in response to Darren posting an article about how some illegals are returning to Mexico due to an increase in the Mexican economy. Another person had posted "good riddance" as a response which brought about Bill's post -
Bill Mullinax - I am happy to see that Mexico's economy is improving, and that there are increasing opportunities for its citizens. However, I am not (and will never be) on the "good riddance" band-wagon. As this article points out, these are people who are here WORKING, whether it's in construction or the service industry or agriculture. To just say "good riddance" is not only cruel, but it doesn't take into mind that if they all leave, the next thing people will be complaining about is the high cost of produce, because "Joe American" will demand $25.00 per hour, retirement benefits, health care, and vision care to do the same job. Additionally, the only costs affiliated with undocumented immigrants is emergency medical care (which, as a humanitarian nation, I don't see what the issue is), and public education. These individuals DO NOT and CANNOT qualify for ANY OTHER public assistance programs, such as Welfare to Work benefits, or Nutritional Assistance programs (such as food stamps). I understand people's point (and I actually agree) that we need some type of comprehensive overhaul to our immigration policies, but I just try to keep in mind that these are HUMAN BEINGS. They are not all criminals, they are not "killing our economy". The hundreds of billions of dollars spent on bullshit wars, the billions of dollars in criminal mortgage lending practices, the billions of dollars in corporate bail-outs...THAT is what's killing our economy! We could feed, clothe, and educate every single undocumented immigrant with just the amount of money we are spending on these ridiculous wars and STILL have money left over. But that's just my two cents worth.
This brought about my post -
Jason Craze - Take off your blinders. They DO get entitlement payments like welfare due to the many loopholes in the system. As a matter of fact, in New York/New Jersey/PA, they can even reap the benefits of getting checks from ALL 3 states. I'm sure it's not limited to there. They DO get medical care which is not only "emergency", but every trip they take. And I love how you state that these are the "only" things they get, as if education and healthcare are cheap. Amazing how, when teaching jobs are in question, liberals argue about how much education should cost and how valuable it is. Oh, and what about uninsured motorist coverages that the rest of us pay? Last I checked, the bulk of illegals don't actually have licenses and drive with insurance. And how many are in the prison system right now? More than a few I think. I guess that's free too. We don't care if they are human beings or not. Last I checked, they either follow laws, or they don't. They broke the law. They are criminals. The laws may not be what they need to be, but last I checked, that does not give carte blanche to just break them until they are fixed. You seem to think that they will follow the laws of entitlement, yet they didn't have a problem breaking the immigration ones. I also love how you blatantly point out that you are really happy they are here, because it offers cheap produce. Perfect. I agree that it's superb that cheap workers allow us to make more and more disposable products so we can toss out over 2/3 of the food that is delivered to grocery stores just to make sure that it looks good to the buyers. How about value? Maybe if a tomato cost what it should, we wouldn't waste so much. And "Joe American" demands to be paid so he can actually pay for things like healthcare and retirement benefits rather than take them from the system without giving back like your friendly illegals. But I guess farm workers shouldn't be entitled to the same things as white collar workers right? They should be paid less to do the menial task of feeding the nation. Yes, the wars suck. Yes the bailouts suck. Yes, there are tons of other things that are wrong too, but to forget that this great nation was built on being a NATION of people who work together to achieve goals cannot be forgotten no matter which side of the political fence you sit on. If someone will not take time to become a citizen the correct way, no matter how hard that is, then they have no say and no rights. Why don't we focus on getting the home around us straightened up before tackling the world. 3rd world nations and their people should be of little concern to us until our own backyard is working as intended. Deport everyone that is here illegally and then fix the laws based on what AMERICANS want. If it is then decided to allow anyone and everyone to come here so we can provide for the universe, and that is achieved by popular vote, then so be it. I doubt you'd ever see that though. People will figure out how to pay to get cars washed, food bought, houses cleaned, and all the other wonderful things we've come to love as being so cheap due to low-cost labor. Do you support the Chinese system of child labor? It's exactly the same concept that illegals work under here, we just don't accept the blame for it. How about we create a system for them to become citizens and get paid fairly for the hard work they provide, rather than relying on it being low-cost forever? How about we get back to fair work for a fair wage and American products that hold value rather than deteriorate due to a "global economy" structure that only works toward universal mediocrity? One can only hope.
Was I angry? Not really, but I am SERIOUS about these things. Yes, I throw in some sarcasm to prove points, but I do take a hard look at what's told and respond / refute / rally around whatever I can. Bill simply responded with this -
Bill Mullinax - Can't/won't argue with hateful anger.
This is a shame. It shows that most people like Bill don't stand behind their convictions, which continues the problems we face. Nothing can be done when the arguments are broken down to things they aren't even about. Nothing was hateful about my response. I never said I "hate" anyone at all. In effect, I stated that I care quite a bit about Americans.
When I responded to Bill by stating that I wasn't hateful or angry, but just stating facts that he did not like, he simply had this to say -
Bill Mullinax - Typical stereotyping and racial profiling, indeed. You expressed your opinion, Jason, and I have expressed mine. Cheers.
There's the famous race card and exit I spoke of. Race has nothing to do with any of this. I would not agree to letting an illegal European stay in this country just as I would not agree to let an illegal Mexican stay. People like Bill forget to pay attention and jump to their conclusions well before finding out the facts. There are facts in the world. We live in them every day. To put your blinders on and act like they aren't there or that they are sugar-coated and rosy, won't fix the things that are getting progressively worse around you.
I've said it before and I'll do so again right here - Planning for the worst, will leave you that much better off if only the best comes to pass.
Get off your collective asses and start thinking things through from start to finish. Don't puss out like Bill and figure that just by saying something, that everyone should believe you and go along for the ride. ARGUE! Work on it and don't be surprised if you're wrong. I'm constantly having to change my views, due to smarter people showing me lights that were previously left dark to me. Don't pick a side, because that side won't reflect the truth in all of its forms regardless of what it calls itself. Pick the truth. Hunt it down and wrangle it to the ground without mercy. Make it yours, and then go share it.
Hold your convictions close and be prepared to defend them even when you think the people you are defending against are filled with "hateful anger". If you are true to your beliefs, then you will benefit more by proving them wrong and lessening that anger than by walking away and allowing possible ignorance to spread like wildfire. Just saying that you have shared an opinion and throwing in the towel stands about as well as the old "agree to disagree" BS. It proves one thing - you are not worth paying attention to at all, because you don't stand behind your convictions unless everyone around agrees already. Where's the fun in that?
I'm going to start a little "words of wisdom" thing called When Living in a Trailer, because, well... I live in a freakin' trailer! These are just the tidbits that crop up as I jaunt across the globe taking it all in and trying not to go too crazy.
First up -
Don't burn shit in the oven. Trailers seem to smell worse than houses and for much, much longer...
Not on the road again. That comes next week. No, this time, I'm off to a new venture doing that wild and crazy tattoo art I've been threatening to take up. I've done about a million and one pieces of fake skin and was totally sketched out on digging into real flesh for the first time. I've got a ton of buddies that keep saying "I'll be your guinea pig", but I needed to stick myself before moving on to others. Some say it's a tradition, I just say it's a thing you need to know. If I have no idea how my work feels, then how can I feel right about putting ink in someone else?
Eh. Whatever. I finally got the time and the gumption to step up and start my damn practice thigh. Sitting here in the rain in Colorado, I put the EC logo on my leg and I'm pretty stoked. Just some simple line work and no real shading to speak of, but a good start nonetheless. Best thing about it, is that I did it using the machine that a friend gave me as a gift at Born Free. Little did he know that would be the catalyst to get me moving and shaking. Even gave it to me in a sock! I have to say that even with my severely limited experience behind a machine, this one rocks. Very responsive and great feel. I took a little under an hour actually running to get done, and Leigh's machine felt great. Thanks buddy, means the world absolutely!
This one really sucks. Dave's van got totalled today. Apparently by some kook driving like an idiot down his street. Always nice when you get a call that your PARKED vehicle got smashed by a tool. Sorry Dave, I'll give you a bigger hug next time I see ya!
Born Free is in the rearview, and now I have about 4 days to get ready for the next big thing - hitting the freakin' road! Considering the fact that I got absolutely zero preparation done while building the bikes for the show, I once again have my work cut out for me. I must thrive on the rush of rushing... or something. Ha! Thanks so much for all the good words on the builds. Means a ton when people appreciate the work you put into something, no matter what that is. Even more when it comes from people that see way too many cycles in their daily life.
I'll be packed up on Friday and out the door with my brother-in-law first light on Saturday, so if you want to shoot the shit or grab a beer, you best get me before that! Look forward to seeing everyone out there in the great yonder...
Back at the ranch after running around with my head cut off all day yesterday hoping for something to go right. Well, actually, lunch and dinner went well, but most everything in-between was screwed royally. No chrome. No paint. No bikes put together. Nothing but good sushi and pizza later on. Not together. C'mon.
More of the same today. No chrome. No bikes put together. Taking wheels to get tires on 'em. Couple parts came in the mail that aren't good until I get chrome. I could keep on about the chrome guy, but whatever. Fuck 'em. Says tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath. My version of "tomorrow" and his differ slightly.
...is not even worth posting. Just trust that it's longer than 1 item in length and has a lot of sweat and bloodstains on it already. It's in about the eightieth revision and will got through more I'm sure. Waiting is the name of the game, even on things I planned well for. Today brings a bevy of beautiful happenings though (or so I hope). If all goes well, there will be a lot more on these lifts by the end of the night. Time to move the cot into the shop...
Also known as being busy. Too busy. Well, maybe never "too" busy, but busy enough where you look up from the tunnel vision of the day only to find out that you missed being able to hit up a single restaurant in town (yes, they all close about the same time geriatrics hit the sack around here). That, and you forgot to pee. Yeah, about that busy.
Found out today, that chrome for the panhead won't be ready until Tuesday or early Wednesday. Sucky news. Found out today that paint for the pan won't be ready for the weekend. Sucky news. Got the Knuck broken down and cleaned up for powdercoating on Monday, which is better news, but still about 2 days behind schedule according to my watch.
What the hell am I saying? More like 2 months behind schedule. Oh well, that's what being busy gets you. Hopefully, I'll grow a Kuato that knows how to build bikes and has extremely long arms here pretty soon and I can be working on both builds at once. Cutting close for sure. At least with nothing to do over the weekend, I can get going on the fixes to the rig, hit the Hell on Wheels races, pack up the house, clean the garage, organize the parts racks, catch up on orders, restock the office, drain my holding tanks and remember to pee.
Can't do much here...
Might could do a little here...
...and will be spending some time trying to figure out how to grow one of these to help out...
Ok, maybe not "forced", but coming all the same and by my own doing. Seems that life in a trailer will do that to you. I've done my share of camping over the short span of my life, and am no stranger to spit baths and port-o-potties, but meshing your everyday life into those confines is a new one. Yeah, I planned it all out and bought the books and read the forums and blah, blah, blah - truth is in the lifestyle though. I'm beginning to believe that, just as all people should be forced to ride a motorcycle for a year prior to getting a car license, that they should also have to live in a trailer before being let out in the world on their own.
It's not just the slimming down of your belongings that I've mentioned before, but now it's more apparent than ever, that slimming down your consumption of resources is a very doable and non-invasive action as well.
It's only taken a short amount of time to realize that if I only run the water when i'm actually using it, I save my holding tanks at both ends. If I only use lights in the room I'm in and only when I can't have sun, I save my inverter and battery life. If I plan my daily trips in the truck efficiently and only go once to do everything, then I save the fuel in the tank. This list goes on and on, but you get the drift. On the road like this, you have to be aware of things that we take for granted in our daily lives in a brick-and-mortar dwelling. Ok, maybe gas is on your mind just like me lately due to the ever-increasing costs, but other than that, how many of you really do the other things?
Now don't go thinking I'm some greenpeace-loving, earth-hugging, hippy-dancing, fruit loop here. I still believe that the best way to induce alternative fuels is to use up what we have as quickly as possible so that the smart types get off their asses quicker. I'm doing my part there for sure. Drill, drill, drill. That being said, I do believe that if we only use what we need, we will have what we need when we need to use it. Make sense? I'm a fan of not having to scrape and scrounge to get the necessities in life.
It's been an eye-opener for me to see how much I've wasted in my life. I stood there washing my dishes this morning and only turned the faucet on when I was filling the sink, then again when I was actually rinsing the dishes off. Plug the sink and use the first batch of water to wash and then only drain once. Much less than usual, where I run the damn faucet if I'm in front of the sink. Same goes for showering or whatever. Same outcome, but much less waste. You may think that water isn't something to be concerned about, and that's cool, but for me, it's all the same. We're seeing everything cost more and more, so I'm all about using less and less. The lighting thing is a different story. Last I checked, they rape you in the summer for electricity and in the winter for heating fuels. By cutting your usage to only the areas you are in, you can cut your costs down considerably.
I'm not preaching, just relating my experience over to you a little. I work hard for what I have and want to make sure that it always has the ability to get me what I need. What I really need is up to me, so it's an equation that you control. One of the few. Doesn't take a trailer to figure out that simple math...
I love shop time. It's therapeutic and productive at the same time. Much better than a psychiatrist's couch for sure. After searching all over for an electric carving knife, I finally got down to biz on the Pan seat. Came out just like I pictured, and it's even comfortable. Wow. Go figure. A custom seat that you can actually sit on and ride. I'm losing my mind for sure. Now, just need some final clean up on the shaping and off to the upholsterer. A good day for sure.
The pan for the Pan.
Actually got the bends right on the first try. That never happens.
Just saw this. Pretty much says anything one could say on the subject and does so intelligently and succinctly. The day America died wasn't the day a salesman stood up and said "Nothing gets done until a salesman sells it," it was the day Americans started to believe it.
We've declined from a producing nation to one of near-pure consumption. We're all at fault. We've got to start learning the trades that made us great once again, and not rely on "somebody else" to do the tough things. We've grown complacent and lazy and require this unknown "someone else" to do just about anything of importance for us these days. Too bad that we're running out of "someone else".
Baby Boomers were the last generation to really understand and invest in the trades, and they are retiring in droves. Who's going to pick up the torch? Who's going to fill the jobs that are out there? It's not going to be the ones who think higher learning is all about keeping their hands clean, I can assure you that.
You know, I guess I've got it all wrong. When I look at the state of the "union" around us and the economic strife that's mowed us over in the last few years, I want to believe that we all want to band together to change our practices and do our part(s) to make it all a little better. Right? Hello? Is this thing on? I guess not, because lately, all I see, hear and get to partake in is crappy-to-non-existent customer service.
That's not entirely true. I've had a few, rare occasions pop up where the people at the other end of the situation did their best to make everything good. The funny thing is, that when we face people like that, we tend to do a better job ourselves. You know, not be such an enormous dick when the other end of the line is being nice. Funny thing, is that rather than realize that relation, and try to be better regardless of which side of the equation you're on, a ton of people expect good, but refuse to act good. Don't check my grammar, I'm doing this for effect.
For example, I just did what for me, was a major transaction with a person named Dan, who brokers campground memberships. I looked all over for what met my needs and finally found what I thought was the best bet. I contacted Dan and asked him a bunch of direct questions about what I would receive, since I was purchasing a "used" membership on transfer in order to get old-time benefits that are no longer available. Had to make sure I understood exactly what I was getting for the money.
Dan proceeds to tell me all the details and seemed like a good guy. This was all over the phone, of course. I have an enormous problem with taking people at their word, so I believed he would deliver and closed the deal. He even did an eBay auction for me and I paid up right then and there. Now for Dan's part. In the end, I got what I paid for, but it took more than paying the man to get it. I don't remember living in a world where not only do you pay for the product you need, but you also do all the work to create it. Dan lives in that world. I had to call the guy a million and one times to even get updates. Had to call the membership company to see what actually transferred and find out what I needed to do.
I was promised 3-4 weeks to get the deal done. Timelines are kind of important when you are trying to build a calendar and get things moving. After 8 weeks, I finally have what I ordered. Almost. You see, Dan also lives in a world where it's OK to swap product A for product B without telling the customer. When I received the membership papers, it wasn't what I bought. Close, but not quite. No call from Dan. No email explaining the difference and offering a discount since it was less than expected. Nothing. Imagine buying the eight cylinder vehicle, only to be shocked when you look under the hood to see a six cylinder motor, and not being told by anyone at the dealership. No refund, no explanation, nothing. It's not like they don't know. They just hope you won't notice or that you'll be too tired of the deal by then to do anything about it.
I call the guy and get voicemail. I email and he finally gets back to me. He half-heartedly apologizes and here's what he says -
"I am working with a supervisor to try and rectify the situation. I can't promise anything except that we are trying. The problem was that the original seller had eight and backed out on us. The one we replaced it with only had six. Like I said, we are seeing what we can do to satisfy you."
Good. He's trying to get it right. Bad, that I had to contact him when he already knew he was screwing me over, but at least he'll try and make good. When it's all said and done, yes I got what I paid for, but his next batch of correspondence was the clincher. He went on to say that he was surprised that I was upset, because he had gone to great lengths and pulled a ton of favors to get me the extra things I asked for.
Extra things I asked for? No. Things I already paid for. Get it right Dan. He simply responded with "you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. Sorry you feel like you need to blame me." Blame the man who delivered six cylinders for an eight cylinder price, and never let me know? Shame on me. I should go to live in the world Dan lives in, because it must be much easier to just do the business you want to do without regard to what the customer actually buys or wants.
Let me finish this rant by saying that if I ran a business this way, there would be no business. Suck up your false pride and take it on the chin when you screw up. People will respect you for it. Hell, I'd recommend buddies to people who take their lumps and get past it. I won't ever send anyone Dan's way. Delusional salespeople, who believe that it's alright to underdeliver and expect to be overpaid can all go die in a fire. That's robbery in my book. You want to yell at your customer or try to make them feel sorry for your mistakes? You want to try to make them feel bad over your shortcomings? You need to close up shop and go work for someone that actually knows how to run a business. Sad thing is that these people get rich off of those who just don't have the fight in them. Dan went so far as to say he didn't have the time to deal with someone like me who had such "deep issues". Thanks for the cheap counseling Dan. I guess that's an extra he tossed in.
You want to stay in business even in tough times? Offer a good or service and do it with pride. Give more than your customer expects and you'll get more in return. Be early, not late. Don't sell excuses that they didn't order from you. Treat them with respect and kindness, and that's what you'll get back. Yeah, sometimes there are people you just can't please, but I run into very few of them, because I practice what I preach. I hate screwing up too, but when I do, I fix it. Be proactive and let the people know you messed it all up. Then get it right. Even the worst situations can be remedied by following these simple rules.
In the hopes of slimming this life of mine down even further, I've been posting some of the bikes from around the shop from time to time. Well, here they are in one nice, consolidated episode for you ADD types. I've got 2 mules on the block right now, and a couple more to come after Born Free. Get 'em while they're hot and if you're brave enough, make an offer for the pair. Interested? Hit me up at email@example.com and let's chat!
First up is the '56 Panhead - She's got an original numbers-matching '56 motor slung in a 70's era Paughco straight-leg frame and narrow-ass springer up front. Spool hub 21" graces the end of that up, out and raked neck. No messy bar clutter on those short Z's either, since its got a foot clutch and jockey shift. Newly rebuilt S&S Super E carb provides the go and a OE drum out back provides the stop. Beautiful flame-job on a Wassel tank, and matching job on the fender out back as well. The bike was originally named "KINK" back in the day and had a super paint job that unfortunately didn't stand the test of time. What did stand the test, is the imprint of a fine naked lady handcuffed to the sissybar that remains on the seat to this day. It's got a clear CA title and good numbers.
You want it? 11K takes it!
Next, we have the reincarnation of the Puta de Oro from EDR / Flyrite fame. She's been reskinned and sits how you see her here. It's a 2006 Flyrite by title and is powered by an S&S genny shovel that reports in at 93 cubes. Plain and simple, it freakin' rockets its ass down the road. Light, light and light are the words that describe this beast the best. Fired by a Morris mag with full auto action and sipping fuel from a custom sporty tank with insane paint from Chicago Chris. Spool hub up front on a nice, new 21" rim wrapped with a Bridgestone classic rubber to lead the way. DUAL DISC REAR to make sure you stop when you decide that's the prudent action. This is one of the only dual rear disc setups we've run across and it works exceptionally well. Custom Flyrite frame done with a single downtube leading to a mild wishbone style lower set of tubes slung under the power plant. Simple and sweet. Brass accents all around set it off along with a classic italian solo seat and P-pad and a Ford spare tire ring to keep the rocks from hitting you in the back of the noggin. Clear and current title and registration in the wonderful state of California, and ready to go when the money flows!
For any of you who were outraged or burdened with the same theft by the DMV that I mentioned back a few posts ago in Anarchy Burger, I've got an update for ya. I talked at length with the State Franchise Tax Board official and was pleasantly surprised to get someone who not only had answers, but understood the entire issue for what it is - wrong!
Now, there's no clear-cut, awesome, get out of jail free path here, but at least I found out this - You call the DMV on the main number at 916 657 8120. Press '1' for English (I know, I know), then listen to the entire spiel that the recorded voice spits out. At the end (yes, you have to wait till the end), press '0'. It's not an option, but do it. Then on the next menu, press '1'. This should put you with a person that can assist in getting the cash back that they stole, providing you state that the vehicle was either 1) not in your possession and liability any longer, or 2) that you had a non-op in place and NO INSURANCE on it.
I was told that they will refund the money taken or apply it to another vehicle if you have others with delinquent fees. We'll see if this works out. I got tired of waiting for the operator yesterday, and I'll try again Monday.
Lately, as you can probably imagine, I've been receiving a lot of input from people both positive, and what I'll call "constructive". The latter of the comments have been almost solely centered around me needing to just breathe and calm down so I can focus on the good things in my life. Hmmmm.
It's hard for me to formulate a response that will bridge the obvious gap in how one person chooses to live and how another chooses. To me, statements about me needing to be calm and smell roses and the like are based primarily in two things. First, the speaker wanting me to have a better life filled with happiness. Awesome! I like this. I like that there are people out there concerned with my well-being for sure, and I'll do my best to keep these people around. The catch is that the second reason they say these things is because they are identifying my life through their own understanding. We all do this. We have very little other than our knowledge of own experiences to guide us through this place, so it follows that we would take those personal references and use them to form our understanding of other people too. This simple fact can cause all sorts of issues as every single one of you knows, whether you choose to "get it" or not.
To focus on my particular situation, I've come to learn that what appears as anger or stress and would be damaging to some other people is pretty much a cathartic medium for me. I use the energy I get equally from the good and bad (or at least try my damnedest to) to try to achieve some sort of progress in my life. It's why I'm constantly changing things around me. If I run into a situation where I feel uneasy or threatened, or whatever bad crap you want to put there, I do get angry. That's OK with me. That anger allows me to focus on the situation and sort through the BS to come up with a solution that works to avoid it later. I guess you could say, that for me, anger is tied to activism. I don't always mean activism like picketing the war or tossing molotovs at the police either. Things like changing jobs, locations, personal habits, and even your underwear can be considered activism too, as they can have profound effects on your life, and sometimes with very little effort. I choose to take my anger and turn it inward to use as fuel for that activism. Get it? Maybe not, but that's OK too. Doesn't always work. Sometimes, I simply get pissed and start shitting all over the world around me as a defensive mechanism until I can regroup and get some alone time to focus on what's really going on. It's been a long journey for me to get to this point, and it will be even longer, assuming the sun comes up again tomorrow.
So, how do we learn to look at people through their own eyes? How do we learn to stop placing our ideals and experiences into their actions? Sounds easy right? Well, I'll toss out a book that I believe everyone should read before they turn to dust, and preferably sooner than later. It's called the Five Love Languages and I can't say enough about it. Yes, that's a link to a sales site for the book. No, I don't get a kickback. No, I haven't gone gay and squishy either. I know, the site and the book sound like most people's version of hell, but I beg you to give it a look. Forget the whole premise of this being a vehicle of making your love life better (unless of course that's one of your big obstacles right now), and use it as the tool I believe it truly is. A few years back, this book opened my eyes to exactly what I've been rambling about here today - that each person literally speaks a different language that defines them. Trade the word "love" with "life" in the title and the book is spot on. Think about how many times you've run into someone and tried fervently to explain how awesome a movie you just saw was, only to have them say "Eh, I thought it sucked". Sound familiar? Now think of how many times you refuted them by saying "No way man, it ruled!" You're just not speaking the same language. Believe it or not, some folks just don't get the same kick out of 'Teenage Vampire Aliens Want Your Makeup' as you do. It has nothing to do with right and wrong, it simply shows the differences in the "languages" we speak.
You'll have to read the book to get the whole picture, but hopefully you're seeing some piece of it here. My life and my choices in it define my language. That language is what I speak in all my further experiences and choices. There are a million languages out there and not all of them can be understood by one another, so you have to start learning the languages of those you choose to keep company with. Sound daunting? It is. It means you need to step outside your own understanding and spend some time seeing it through others' eyes. Then you have to either commit to speaking their language when around them sometimes, or you deal with sucky movie comments forever.
Me? I'll just keep getting angry about what I view as wrong, and happy about what I view as good, and hope that someone out there learns to speak that language with me. So the next time you see me and I'm spewing garbage about the collapse of American financial institutions or about how cool a Panhead is versus a RoadkingGlideDeluxe-a-tron, just remember that I'm not from around these parts and you may have to listen a little harder before realizing I'm having a good time. I invite everyone to give it a try. I'll try harder to do it for you too. A million of us "getting it" wouldn't hurt, although I don't think I have enough popcorn for us all...
Ok, I never thought I'd utter that phrase in that manner, but it fits for this one. No, I'm not going to run out and buy a lifted truck and sticker it with bad copies of Calvin pissing on a fordodgevy logo and No Fear BS. This is about something I saw out there in Social Magnificence land yesterday and thought was fascinating.
It was an article that you can find HERE by some guy named Mark Morford, and it was a reaction to yet another article (or email - HERE) that was being passed around as we are prone to do these days. The funny thing is that instead of actually offering anything of important rebuttal or even a tidbit that people could take to counter the email in question, it simply lambasted the "conservative" and "religious" nature of the offending digital message. Not too long ago, I wrote that as long as this type of "journalism" (both pieces in question) is allowed to permeate our lives, that we'll remain in this stalemate of junk information and complacent non-activism.
The fact that the author used a reference to the difference between Liberal and Conservative brain size and function is also quite odd. I can only assume that he used this article as the foundation for his argument. He's basically taking the liberty to use factoids that have very little basis in real, scientific proofing to further an agenda to debase someone else's thoughts. Sounds exactly like what the author of the email he was attacking was doing doesn't it? Both use common tactics and shaky facts to push an idea they want you to cling to so you feel good about joining their club.
There's the real truth. As long as we believe and support a system of life where two groups sit on opposite sides of a river and toss rocks back and forth, we will miss the flowing of the real important stuff right at our feet. Yes, fear-mongering is bad. Tapping into the bad stuff and using it as a mechanism to control and direct people's actions is no better than simply enslaving them and forcing them to do your bidding. But, pushing the reality of bad issues to the side and telling people to look the other way is equally as enslaving. It's simply another form of control. "Don't worry, we got this" doesn't make me feel any better these days.
I trust that people are actually smart enough to figure this stuff out, but I'm continually proven wrong. This self-proclaimed liberal, Mark Morford is spreading the fear of conservatives equally as much as the email was spreading fear of events and situations that may or may not exist in the world right now. What's the difference? One is saying the world will end, and the other is saying that Conservatives will end the world. I see very little difference. One is wrapped in clothes of darkness and fear and is easy to point the evil finger at, while the other addresses happiness and "love making" to make his agenda seem pure and white and good. Somewhere in the middle is the gray area that we need to dig into and figure out. Not all good guys wear white, and not all bad guys wear black, that you can bet your life on.
I say pay attention to the things that are going on around you. See them for what they are. Realize that there is very little that is sustainable in the world around you at the moment and then realize what that really means. Ok, here, I'll tell you - It means that we CANNOT continue the way we are going and be successful. Period. Unsustainable manufacturing, fuel consumption, food production, economic abuse and water usage are at the top of the list, but there are a ton more. Yes, there are bad things happening. Yes, there is still plenty of opportunity to fix it all. No, it won't happen by sitting on your duff watching TV and pretending that as long as you focus on happy stuff that it'll all be OK. Don't get me wrong, there is also a lot of good going on. Embrace that good when you are lucky enough to participate in it and use it as the energy that will drive you to ACTIVELY overturn the bad things as well. But you have to get out there and pay attention, and commit to making these thoughts important to you.
Go find real data and not editorial dribble. Believe what you want, but when you stake your claim, go do something about it. Don't just sit and wait it out. Don't pretend that blaming conservatives or liberals will fix anything. Don't believe that only seeing the good makes all the difference. Talk to friends, family, coworkers, enemies, or whomever you can and get to spreading some sort of action, even if it's simply getting brain cells moving around. Remember, focusing on the bad things and actually working to turn them into something better, is the only method to actually achieve the "good life" you keep saying you want.
Hold the government, please. There, I made an old punk rock reference for you 'tards that can't get out of the 80's.
I'm angry again. Shocker, I know. I've picked up a lot of new readers since starting to post about full-time RV living, and I'm not sure if they're all ready for my rants, but I don't really give a damn.
"Why you mad today?"
Glad you asked. Today I got a notification from my wonderful bank... wait... I didn't get a notification actually. I had to find this out on my own. Silly me, thinking the bank would actually be proactive in letting you know something.
Anyway, I found two transactions on my account today that were simply listed as legal hold transactions. Totaled over 300 bucks. No idea what that is, and since calling the bank is only outdone in level of effectiveness by calling your congressman, I decided to pay a visit to the local bank building. After sitting around for a while, the nice lady (she was actually pretty nice) told me that it was the state of California that had snuck into my bank account without warning and taken the first 225 dollars. Then, because that wasn't enough, they also came back and took another 100 bucks for the service fee of stealing my cash in the first place. No authorization needed! It's the state. They do what they want.
She went on to let me know that it was the Vehicle Registration office of the state that took the funds and gave me the number associated with the transaction. Being the patient man that I am, I waited all the way home to call and find out what the fuck was going on at our great capital building. After bouncing around on hold forever, I finally got a woman who proceeded to tell me that I was charged for back registration on a vehicle that hadn't been registered for over two years.
Well, it was news to me that you have to register vehicles that YOU ALREADY FUCKING SOLD! Sorry for yelling, but you see, I don't own said vehicle anymore. It left two years ago. Amazing woman of brains at the state then proceeded to tell me that they did indeed have record of my affidavit of sale (release of ownership form from your title) for said vehicle, but that it never left the system.
She dug around a little bit and then came back to inform me that they had also taken money out of my state tax return this past year for another vehicle I don't own any longer. Same deal. Notification of sale on record. Never left the system.
They never left the system.
They snuck into my bank account and tax return to steal money to register a vehicle that they admit I don't own any longer.
They refuse to give money back.
Let that sink in.
I've paid for two vehicles to be registered in California when I no longer own them and I'm pretty sure that they aren't even in the f'ing state.
They refuse to give money back.
It's my responsibility to inform the state.
I DID INFORM THE STATE!!! YOU JUST TOLD ME YOU HAVE THE FILINGS ON RECORD!!!
All total, it's over 500 dollars that I've "paid" this year for nothing. Nothing.
This is your state. This is your government. This is what is happening, because every office that can collect funds is being pressured beyond belief to bring in the cash. Forget one hand talking to the other. Now, not even the fingers on the same hand recognize what the others are doing. Think it's time to start worrying?
They came into my bank account without warning people. I have no record of any notice from the state, and I keep pretty good records.
To get out on the road actually "doing it" that is. Spent the last week in Sonora as you may know and after doing the rig thing even that short of a time, it's already evident that my list of "must haves" can, should and will get shorter. Yeah, I know I didn't hit every encounter you might need to prepare for, but snow, rain, sleet, sun, cold, hot, and everything in-between counts for a ton. Added a few things that I'll be needing and realized quite a few that would just be there for the ride, and I could use the extra space, so they lose.
Great friends and good times were had to help solidify my outlook on this whole shebang. Swap meet went over well, and the DTMC boys should be proud of the outing, especially for a first-time gig. Hopefully, they'll put it on again and give me even more reason to visit that neck of the woods. Truly gorgeous part of California that makes you forget the smog-ridden armpit that the LA surroundings presents.
Onward to the Hoedown and then bounce around the Southern end of Cali for a couple months until Born Free is in the rear-view. After that, who knows. I'm putting the schedule together now and will post it once I have a better feel for the in-between stops and such.