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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Shades of Grey

Despite everything that I've done - educator, banker, engineering technician, insurance, published writer - I only have one college degree.

I picked up some engineering classes.  I've managed to get my insurance license as well as a few other certifications here and there.  I tell people sometimes that I have a Masters because honestly I feel like I do.  I am something like 12 credit hours shy of a degree in Biology as well. 

My degree in education taught me two things and two things only.  The first was how to research.  If I don't know something I'll find out about in a matter of minutes or hours, depending on hard the subject at hand is.  The second goes hand in hand with that research.  It taught me how to think.  How to question?  How to debate.

It's served me well over time.

So when I hear a story about the lack of education among a certain religious group, in this case the Jehovah Witness group.  I want to scream at my radio.

Not only do they pressure their youth not to go to college, but also to drop out of high school.  It seems to me that any faith that can't handle the pressure of being questioned is no faith at all.

One of their leaders, Tony Morris, actually comes out and clearly states that even associating with those of another faith can make you question your own.  "If we are in continued association with those who do not believe the same, it can erode our thinking and convictions… It is one thing to work on a job with others, and quite another matter to immerse oneself in an institution of “learning.”

Umm....Okay.

The problem of course is that we don't live in a vacuum.  You can't stay static.  The world simply will not allow it.  Especially today were we live in 60 second news cycles, are replacing our eyes with our phones and are being exposed to things like Hinduism, Islam and people of different colors, faiths, and cultural backgrounds on a more day to day basis.

The old days of the perfect 1950's family are long gone.     Frankly we have to stop yearning for them.

Back to the topic at hand.  Jehovah's Witness believers have the lowest education out of all believers.  No surprise when you consider that quote above.

As such they are often the lowest paid workers in the United States.  Now in their defense I do understand that they believe that the Judgment day could be as early as next Tuesday.  Why prepare for the future when you have no future.  Seems rather dark and disturbing to me.

I started thinking about education in general and the Western Religions.  Islam had a fantastic history of encouraging education and the sciences in general.  Frankly don't let the morons of ISIS or other groups fool you.  They still encourage education and science.

When your speaking to your Indonesian doctor or your engineer from  Bangladesh, chances are that he or she is a Muslim.  Indeed, according to a 2010 study, something like 23% of the world practices Islam to some extent.

I'll do the math for the Jehovah's Witness's in the group.  That is nearly 1 in every 4 people on earth.

Judaism has a long history of supporting education.  So does Catholicism.  In fact, the Catholic definition of a miracle is something that science can not explain.

All these faiths have grown and changed over time.  Sometimes because of history, sometimes because of changes in the society, sometimes because you just can't explain something without reexamine something core to your belief.

I suppose that is what scares more fundamentalist sects (like the morons in ISIS or the Witnesses).  Because if you are able to question God, then you have to look within your self and find your own failings.  You have to face up to the fact that maybe God did create the Homosexual.  Maybe God, in fact, is planning something other than your narrow world view.

It's a shade of Grey.   It's in that grey area that really cool stuff happens.  It's called growth, it's called learning.  I'll take a shade of grey over something black or white any day of the week.

I know that education can't solve all questions.  Your faith though has to be tested now and again, if it's not then it's not a true faith.  It's just a lie you tell yourself.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

For Rowen - the door to door poet

I'm not sure what it is that attracts me to this story.  I heard about on BBC news hour, then one quick little Google search later I found him.  Rowen the door to door poet.

I wish I could put my finger and what I find so interesting about this story.  Poetry, you see, is not really my thing.  If I read something, anything at all anymore it's generally non-fiction.  I used to be an avid reader, but with the demands of my new job (more on that in a bit) and life in general...it gets harder and harder to find time to read!

Maybe that's why I am so enamored with the idea of a "door to door" poet.  We all have stories to tell, we all have art within us.  Maybe, just maybe I've not been feeding the creative side in me enough.

Since the first of February I've been dedicating myself to my new business.  It's not that easy to start one up, considering that I was going to make a go of it in a tough field.   Insurance is not easy.  No one really thinks about it till they need it...and by that time it's often to late.

To make matters even more interesting is the field that I decided to concentrate on.  Final Expense.   Death of course is going to happen to us all...even Rowen the Door to Door poet.  However this means that I'm generally working with older people and that are on limited budgets and whose health is not the best.

Insurance for them is going to be pricey, they may not qualify and you have to knock on a lot of doors.  It's also about stories.

I like to tell the story of the old man that I wrote a policy for years ago.  He discovered he had stage for cancer and only had a few months to live.  He calls me on the phone and says "Rob, can you help me here."
In my story he ends up using a rider to take his family - his kids and grand kids - on a all expenses paid trip to Disney world.

"He called it is parting gift." I tell my potential clients.

Only that story is not true.  Does it matter?   Should it?

Stories matter.

 Of course all this is going on at the same time my old job is picking up.  Sue has done a great job in running our small newspaper distribution service.  We picked up a local paper called the Laker and are serving the local Dade City/Zephyrhills area with it.   Total distribution of 9000 papers.  Our yearly income from that job alone doubles what we made last year total.   We don't handle the home distribution side, but the business side which means we don't distribute all 9000 papers, but it's still a large number and a  big win for us.

It eats into our time as a couple.  It is part of our story.

When I was laying in bed this morning thinking about the story of the poet, about how a high school friend of mine has just published her first novel, how I would have to run about today trying to deliver a different paper...what I was going to write about.  What I was going to say.

I get it now...it's the story that interests me.   It's the story that matters.  Isn't that why I used to blog about my motorcycle?  Isn't that what I'm doing right this moment?  Telling a story?  Working things out in my head?

You know what...I'm glad I do this.  Even if no one may ever read it or comment.  Sometimes you just need to say "I'm here, and this is my story."

Make your story wonderful.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shit, or get off the pot

When I was growing up my Dad used to say that a lot.  When I was a kid I thought it meant he wanted me to hurry up.  To get my ass in gear, etc.

He probably did.

Now that I'm a little older, 50, I'm starting to think that maybe...just maybe he also meant something else.  Make a decision.  Make a choice and live with the consequences of that choice; but make a choice and move forward.

For the last several months I've been playing around with the idea of starting my own independent insurance agency.   I would be the only salesman, all the responsibility of that company would fall on me.  My success or failure would rest squarely on my shoulders.

I've putted around and have not really pushed or made any true effort to succeed.  In fact, I have only made two presentations so far and have no sales for either presentation.  The first person was really not that interested, you could tell by their total lack of interest in what I was offering them...and the sad thing is that their family was pushing them to do it.  The second presentation was a disaster on my part...I wasn't prepared as I should have been...and that showed.  They even asked me how long I've sold insurance.  I have a third one coming up...and this one I will be ready for.

The thing is that I've been in customer service and sales all my life in one form or another.  I've worked for banks for twelve years, I've worked in insurance the last two and a half years.  I spent two glorious years with the IRS (and that was a job I should have never have lost #regrets).  The thing is I've sold everything from magazines to checking accounts to home loans.  Selling someone a small five or 10 thousand dollar policy to cover their final expenses should be child's play.

Everything I've done though has been over the phone.  I've never made a face to face sale. 

I've been so good at my jobs in customer service and sales that I've worked as a trainer and even as a supervisor.  I've managed my own distribution business for nearly eleven years now.   Although I just deliver, my partner handles the contract side of things and we just hired our sixth employee.

I'm an introvert...I do better over the phone and the internet, where my personality can shine through.  Just don't ask me to speak or talk or interact with you in public. 

Going this route, this independent sales route scares the hell out of me.  Of course, I know that I'm only doing it part time.  I want to protect Sue and myself from what coming.  I can see retirement hanging like a big black cloud on the horizon.  For her and I to do what we want to do (travel) then I'm going to need to be in a better position.  Independent sales, with its residual income, is the way to go.

Her pay is not going to increase much...and my job does not offer me advancement or much reason to stay.  Although I will stay there for now, for I am ugly but not stupid. 

To quote my father:  "Shit, or get off the pot."

Right now is the time.   I've some money saved up, about fifteen thousand, that will be used for advertising and buying leads.  God forbid if I lost my job that would carry us for three to five months till things really started rolling.  Nothing creates sales like fear of losing everything.

Shit or get off the pot.





Sunday, January 15, 2017

After thoughts on the election

This post originally appeared on my other Blog - Scooter Revolution - all the way back on Nov. 11, 2016.

I thought I should post it here as well.  I've not edited it in any away and I think I will be returning to this blog a bit more in the future.




I debated about posting something political.

I actually created a separate blog for political posts but gave it up after a short time simply because it became apparent to me that my chosen candidate, Bernie Sanders, was not going to be nominated.  Like many, I felt disappointed but I predicted a close election...however like many I expected Hillary Clinton to win.

Although in hindsight the same issues that I had with Clinton from the very beginning were the ones that doomed her in the end.  I'm not going to repeat what the pundits are saying because they got it all wrong...I'm giving my personal opinions on why she failed.

1)  The White House is not a prize to be given from father to son or from husband to wife. - The American people still remember what happened the last time that happened.  Well no pundits will admit to that part of the puzzle, I think Americans feel that their government is being controlled by only a small group of people (and it is).  When the public is feeling frustrated with many issues concerning our government, having someone nominated who seems to think the White House was her birthright was a bad idea.

2)  The Democratic Party was out of touch with it's own people. - The DNC email leaks showed a clear preference for Hillary Clinton.  Which lead to cries of voter fraud and "rigged" elections (remember that word for it's important).   When she accepted the nomination she should have clearly apologized for that, calling out the DNC leadership and reached out to the various Sanders supporters during the convention. Instead of doing that she was left facing a mass exit of delegates during the convention.  A group that voted for her in the end (most of them) or stayed home election day (some of them).  Or voted for Jill Stein and the Greens (like I did).  

When Sanders won states in the rust belt and Midwest he did so because his economic message was resonating.  Interestingly enough, his anti Trade speeches and Trump's anti Trade speeches were not that different. 

The DNC did not pick up on this.   Or other concerns that Sanders showed the American people were concerned about.  What little she did learn from the Sanders campaign she seemed she didn't believe.  This lead to an enthusiasm gap.  

3)  Hillary was running a conventional campaign during an unconventional time and against an unconventional candidate. - Against a more conventional Republican opponent, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio she would have been able to point at her experience and successes.  She could have said basically "Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?" and got a resounding yes.  Because, like it or not, the Republicans really don't have a platform themselves.  They are in the process of redefining themselves and are having a small civil war in the party.

Hillary could have played against that weakness.  Trump was playing the fool and the media.  Knowing that everything he said would be picked up....your on the news more for saying something stupid than for policy.  If you break it down, Trump got more people talking about him than Hillary ever did.

Well some of it was clearly disturbing and often bordered on out and out racism.  He clearly got is message apart that the "swamp" needed drained...and that Hillary and her ilk were the cause of it. 

4)  Trump is a master of language.  No really! - or "it's not what you say but how you say it." - Let's take a look at the word "rigged."

Strictly defined it means to assemble or adjust.  The problem is that most of the media thought when Trump was saying the election was "rigged" they defined it as "voter fraud."  Which is not what Trump was saying.  He was basically saying "Those in power don't care about you."  or more specifically "Hillary Clinton doesn't care about you."

Given the email scandal, the issues of her trustworthiness, the various scandals real or imagined, the fact that she often seemed cold and calculating...the American people heard that definition.  Not the "voter fraud".  They heard that the powerful had "rigged" the election.  They were not going to put up with that.

He played off the fears, the anger, and yes...even the racism and hate in America.  He also attracted the intellectual, the gay, the mixed raced and yes even some Latino votes.  You don't get 59,937,338 people to vote for you if your only playing the racism card.  You get that many votes by using language that drives your points home.   Salespeople do it all the time...if your listening you will hear they are selling the need for you to have product X, and not the product itself.

5)  Don't believe the hype - The polls all showed Hillary winning.  So what happened?  How could the polls be so wrong.  Since is actually the second election in a row where polls have lead us astray.  So the question is why?

That I don't have an answer for, other than I think that pollsters are looking at the wrong sets of data.  That they are making assumptions that the data didn't bare out.

I've seen more Trump signs than Clinton signs as I rode about before the election.   I saw more anti-Clinton memes and posts on Facebook than I saw anti Trump memes...and most of those were posted by liberals.  Sometimes a pollster needs to get out and actually be in the field pounding on doors.


So What Happens Next?
A) The Democratic Party may be damaged beyond repair.   
I know that seems drastic but let me explain:  They alienated a large chunk of their future voting block with younger, more liberal leaning kids.  The old unions and northern states are no longer solidly blue due to aging demographics and the failure of the party to capture the rural white vote (which went solidly for Trump).
They lost the Senate, House, the White House and the courts.   The move to the Center Right that started with Bill Clinton will probably end with Hillary Clinton.  Not that the left of the party is looking that great.  Sanders is currently 75.  Elizabeth Warren is 67 and will be 71 in 2020, plus she lost much of her credibility in supporting Clinton.  
If the party is to move forward it needs to get back to it's roots and that is the poor working man.  While there may be one or two leaders waiting in the wings, there is no one particular name that stands out. 
B)  The Republican Party can't celebrate yet.
They are still fractured and Trump is a business man first and foremost.  He is not beholden to any political agenda other than his own.  He's already stated he will not touch Social Security or Medicare (something the Republicans have threatened to cut in the past).  He's more of an isolationist than having a strong military, again this goes against the Republican grain.  
He's more likely to work with the minority to get stuff done, that means compromise which the Tea Party wing of the party has stood against.  Many in the party railed against him both in the primaries and in the general election...now that he is President the small civil war has calmed for a bit, but may flair up again.
Many in the Republican party were standing against Trump or flat out refused to endorse him, Trump may or may not be willing to push a particular agenda.  
so what should we do?
The damage is done.  2016 will go down in history as a watershed year for a lot of reasons.  All we can do is take a "wait and see" approach to things and hope for the best.  Personally I think that Trump is starting to feel the weight of the world about him...and is just as surprised as the rest of us.
In the end if he surrounds himself with staff that tell him what a "Great President" is and what a "Great President" does....he may surprise us yet.   He has so far.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Purity tests

It's been nearly a week since the California primary and at the time I was writing this there were still some votes not counted (roughly 20% of all the votes cast), and although Bernie Sanders has picked up some additional votes and delegates, he's not going to flip the state.

This past week I've seen fellow progressives turn on Elizabeth Warren, who up till now was seen as one of the bright shining lights of the Democratic party.  She's a villain now because she came out and supported Clinton. 

She tries to explain herself here: 



Personally it makes sense to me.   Warren may be a "liberal" but she is still a Democrat (and so, technically, I'm I) but Warren is first and foremost a Democrat.  She's supporting the ticket.

For many of the so called "Bernie or Bust" crowd this is seen as a sell out.  Time will tell if it hurts her politically or not but Warren is a smart woman and a former lawyer.  I'm sure she did the math and probably figures that in order for Clinton to win over the 30 to 40% of the party that is against her she'll need a strong liberal behind her.  

And that will lead to a future run for the POTUS or a possible VP spot. 

Which brings me to the crux of this article.

I may agree with many of the core of the so called "Bernie or Bust" movement.   To quote Thomas Jefferson; "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."  For me, all forms of government become corrupt over time.  It is in our human nature to want to protect the status quo. To prevent change...however at the same time change is necessary.  Thus we need a "storm" now and again.

Our government is no longer a democracy but a plutocracy.  I've given my reasons I can not vote for Ms. Clinton before, because I still feel that a "little rebellion now and then is a good thing."  To shake up the party, to bring change is beneficial.

What I am seeing right now in some of my Bernie or Busters is a "purity test" of sorts.  If you don't support X then you must be against us.  If you don't support Y then you must be against us.

The problem with this is very, very simple.   It was not that long ago that many in the Tea Party were calling party establishment people "RINO's" or "Republicans in Name Only."  That lead to the Republican party shifting to the hard right and lead to the current obstructionism that we are seeing today. 

This Republican purity to "traditional conservative values" has lead to the state of Kansas to become bankrupt since they have cut taxes to a point where they can no longer afford to keep even basic things like schools open.

In my adopted state of Florida it has lead to our Governor to battle not only his fellow Republicans but Democrats as well on such things as climate change (Florida is on the front line of climate change and many Republicans here go against the party's official line).   

Blindly following a political agenda in the name of "purity" can only lead to disaster.  The world is not a black and white place but full of interesting greys.  If your not willing to accept or at least listen to an opposing viewpoint, then we risk using the term "LINO's" and leading the Democratic party into the mire that the Tea Party lead the Republican's into. 

We don't need a liberal version of Donald Trump. 

Now that being said please note that I"m NOT changing my views.  I am still supporting Bernie Sanders and the movement he started.  I am still NOT voting for Hillary. 

All I'm asking is that you read your history.  Study some to avoid the mistakes made in the past.  I worry when I see calls for a "Peoples Party" because history has shown us that a "Peoples Party" really isn't for the people...it's for purity.  Then you can have only so many "pure believers" and that leads to tyranny.

Isn't that what we are supposedly fighting against? 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

An open letter to the Democratic party

So it's over.

I am still a supporter of Bernie Sanders.   As I sit here a day or so after the final primaries, I have to re-evaluate my support.

You see dear DNC, I'm 50 years old.  I've been voting Democrat for as long as I can remember.  Only twice did I ever question my support for the party.   I voted for Nader in 2000 because I did not think Gore (or any of the Democratic choices that year) were good choices for the party.   It was a protest vote more than anything.

Now before you start to to complain that I cost Gore the election, please remember that the man did not win his home state of Tennessee, if he had then Florida really would not have mattered.   The party really did not give any choice in 2004...after 4 years of Bush the writing was pretty much on the wall that this man would be one of the worst Presidents ever.   Still though....your choice to run against him, shall we say, was found lacking.  I voted with my party that year...and it turned my stomach to do so.

Obama started off with such promise and Progressives like me hoped he would do much more than he did.  However in the last eight years he's been handcuffed.   The Republicans of course are to blame for the most part as they obstructed his agenda at every turn. Some people inside the Democratic party did not help either.

Still though, he accomplished much and earned a lot of love and respect.

Which brings us to Hillary.  Please don't understand me my beloved Democratic party.   I understand that she is a masterful politician.   An experienced leader and a crafty lawyer.   Please understand that my support of Sanders had nothing to do with her being a woman.

It had everything to do with her being the wrong choice to lead the party into the future.

For me it started with a simple belief.  That the White House is not a gift to be given from Husband to Wife or from Father to Son.   Really, do we not remember what happened when it passed from Father to Son?  In the 90's things were not bad under Bill Clinton, but the man had a lot of scandals and a lot of baggage.  One of the reasons I could not support Hillary was because I could see her being impeached.  I could see the Congress and Republican party continuing to be obstructionist.

In case you have not noticed, the American people are very, very angry over the lack of caring or progress in Washington.  The "same old thing" simply will not do.

Bernie Sanders caught fire slowly and that was part of his problem, by the time he started to gain momentum it was nearly impossible to catch HRC.  Still though it was a good fight, but I heard many of the established Democrats sounding like Republicans in their opposition of him once he started to be a threat.

I believe it was a Democratic Senator from Maine that questioned his "Free stuff" that was offered as part of Bernie Sander's platform.   I could be wrong on the state and who said it but I remember thinking how the Republicans were saying the same thing.  I remember thinking how our party was becoming "Republican light."

Then there is the question of the closed primaries.  Again I understand the history of a closed primary and why it exists, but when over 40% of the American population is locked out of the process till November...we have to question if this is the best way to elect someone to run for the highest office in the land.   The number of Democrats in the United States is slowing falling, we only make up 26% of the voting population.   Not listening to four out of every ten Americans does not make any sense.   Nor are we exactly attracting new people to the party.

Bernie Sanders brought in a lot of young people, who are feeling cheated and disillusioned by what they see as a corrupt Democratic party.  They may not historically vote at 18 and 22...but they do vote later, and the party missed a wonderful chance to bring them into the fold.

Which brings me to the super delegates.  A system that was originally designed to protect the working party faithful from outsiders.  It worked very well in its original form, guaranteeing those faithful a voice in the party.  It's existed in one from or another since the 1970's and generally not come into play.

Until Hillary.   Who made a big deal of claiming 500 and so of them early in the race.  This gave the perception that the race was rigged from the beginning.   Even if it was not meant to give that perception, it did and in the 21st century perception is everything. 

I also wish the party would have made some obscure rules and complex voting procedures easier to understand.   The idea of voter fraud and the stink of voter suppression now follows the Democratic party.  If the party would simply state..."We're going to investigate this" or "We are going to fix this" then that may have muted the impression that Clinton somehow "cheated" her way into the nomination. 

We both know Trump is going to play that card. 

Speaking of the Donald.  I understand the danger of Trump, although I think he is crazy like a fox and not to be underestimated.  He is a master manipulator that understands the irrationally of people, and that they "buy" on emotion.  He will dismantle her piece by piece because he understands her baggage is something to be used against her.

He's already started by reinforcing the belief that she cheated her way to the nomination with hashtags like #cheatinghillary.  While Hillary may have been able to survive the attacks of a traditional Republican, you gave a slimy salesman named Donald Trump ammunition like her continuing email scandal, her various "mistakes" made through out her career, the money from foreign nationals.  He is not a traditional Republican and will dismantle her using that ammunition.

Sadly I know many otherwise rational people that intend to vote for Trump simply because he is a hammer and Washington is the nail.

I know that Hillary won more votes than Bernie Sanders did in the various primaries.  I respectfully disagree with that majority of my fellow Democrats.  I'm sure many of them had their reasons for voting the way they did and I respect that.  I would hope that I am respected for voting the way I did.  However for me voting for Hillary is voting for the lesser of two evils.

When you vote for the "lesser of two evils" you are still voting for evil.

America has real problems and we need serious change.  The Affordable Care Act did not control the costs of medical care.  This is a problem that needs addressed now, not later.   Wages have been stagnant for the last 15 years, again this is something that needs addressed now.   The student debt that hangs over many American heads is going to blow up and that needs addressed now.   We have roads that are falling apart. 

For those reasons when you ask me to vote for Hillary your asking me to vote from gridlock.  We have had enough gridlock.

When you actually believe in this country, you want to vote for something you believe in.  You want to bring about real change. We Sander supporters want to avoid falling back into the mire that got us into this mess. We asked ourselves a simple question "Is this the best we can do?"

Many of us answered NO, then got to work to change the system. Voting for the person that promises real change. We all understood it was an uphill battle and would take time and that it would be full of setbacks.

For these reasons...I can not support Hillary Clinton.

I will vote for progressive Democrats.  I will work to change the system.  I will vote for Jill Stein in the Green Party because I want to promote a progressive agenda. 

This is not just emotion...this is who I am.  I am a proud progressive.  I will continue to fight for what I believe in.  So do not ask me to support a party that no longer supports my beliefs. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reflections on Motivation

"What motivates you?

My boss asked me that question yesterday.

I really did not have an answer ready.  "Well, I like to help people."

"Okay Ms. America and we all want world peace to...but answer the question.  Because if you don't know what motivates you how can you motivate someone else?"

It was a good and fair question.  It took me a bit of soul searching but in the end I found the answer.  What motivates me?  Travel and movement.

I'm motivated by trying something different.  Seeing something different.  Personal growth if you want to call it that.  I'm not really motivated by money (despite owning my own business since 2008 and being in sales most of my life).    One of the best sales months I ever had was due to the promise of a exotic dinner at a restaurant I had never been to but only if I met a certain goal.

Money, like the computer or a car...or even my bike, is just a tool to help me achieve what I really want to do.  Which is to move and travel and see what is over that next hill, what is around that next bend.  The more I think about this...the more logical it becomes to me.

I may have grown up in Pittsburgh, PA but I went to school in Erie, PA and Slippery Rock, PA.  My family likes to joke that when my brother and I turned 18 , my parents said "We love you, now get out."  I guess those travel routes were put down early.

After college, I moved south as soon as I could and have spent time in Charlotte, NC (where I had a job that taught me something new everyday and often required me to travel through the south) and Charleston, SC.  As well as outside of Savannah, GA.  This is not including the various islands and nations in Europe, Asia and South America that I've visited. 

I've traveled to New York City twice, Chicago twice, Las Vegas once.  I've touched down in nearly every state that touches the Atlantic Ocean.  Sue and I are planning on going back to Las Vegas sometime next year (a place she's never been) and our first trip to New Orleans.

If things work out in the long run, then Sue and I will be buying an RV and traveling the US and Canada once we retire. Well I may not be a fan of the idea of getting a trike or a Spyder, the reason I'm even considering it is because Sue wants even more stability when she rides with me.  Plus she knows that I would never ever forgive myself if I were in an accident with her on back.  

I just have that travel bug, that need to see what is over the next hill, and my bike allows me to explore all those wonderful back roads near me. 

Who was it that said "Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul"?  They were certainly right.  As I look back on my "biking life" I've found that I've been happiest when I have a idea of where I want to go, but it's someplace that I've never been.  It's finding that small mom and pop cafe, or the old cemetery in between point A and B that intrigue me.  Sometimes getting there is more interesting than the final destination...and yes, I know what a cliche that is.  That motivates me to ride, it's just a shame that all I seem to do is ride back and forth to work, so is it any wonder why I'll chose a different path in sometimes?

Even the TV shows I enjoy watching (and I hate TV) are geared towards the exotic and unusual.  Travel shows, history and education predominately.  I used to think that one of the reasons that Jack Kerouac was my favorite author was do to his spontaneous prose, which is basically how I try to write...capturing that feeling of the moment without worrying about how it is structured.  Now in the light of this revelation, I can not help but wonder if it was his nearly neurotic need to be constantly in movement?

Yea, the more I think about this the more I think that my job is just a means to an end.  I need that gas money, I need that hotel room...but that getting away from work is why I work.  That desire to travel is strong in me.  After all, the world is always a more interesting place 50 miles from where your at.