Wednesday, December 12, 2012


The bar just keeps getting raised... I remember being a child and thinking that launching my bike off of a picnic table was hot shit. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Product Reviews - A Whole Winter's Worth

All sorts of products come to the offices of Bicycle Paper each year — most of them are good, while others are not. What starts out as a short email interaction turns into a package that shows up at our doorstep like a holiday offering, even when it’s nowhere near December.
We have been putting gear through the ringer this year, and I feel that it’s a privilege to do so, as both large companies and small one-man (or woman) operations trust us enough to write honestly about their wares that they are decidedly proud of. That said, we’ve picked some of the more recently received and seasonal-specific products to feature in our last issue of 2012.
We’re quite certain that you will find something of interest and discover some gift ideas for the upcoming holidays. But don’t just take our word for it, do some of your own research and contact your local bike shops to see if you can test something out yourself. They’ll be glad to see you.

ZOIC™ Men’s Reign Stretch Knicker and RPL Essential Cycling Liner
ZOIC’s fall 2012 line includes some new garments made specifically for cooler temperatures. The Reign Stretch Knickers are pliable “shants” featuring articulated knees, front and back pockets, two cargo pockets with zip closures, headphone cord grommet and loop, sunglass wiper, double snap waist with drawstring for reinforcement, and are made of a polyester/spandex blend.

If I had to rely on one word to describe these it would be comfortable, with a capital “C.” Made of 84% polyester and 16% spandex, I really like the stretchy fit and the thinner material. They are comfy against the skin and they hug my skinny legs adequately. The crotch fits tight enough to my butt that I don’t have much of an issue with them snagging on the saddle after standing on the pedals or during remounts. Also, the size mediums I tested didn’t even require a belt (I typically wear a 32” waist size). Overall, the Reign Knickers are a solid garment and I wear them often.
The RPL Essential Cycling Liner shorts I received with the knickers were not especially comfortable and the padded insert tended to ride up my crack while off the bike. They are satisfactory for the commute, but not for the long haul, although I have read several positive reviews about them; maybe they work better for others.
MSRP for the Reign Stretch Knickers is $59. RPL Essential Cycling Liner is $35. For more details visit

Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus
Earlier this year I tested a pair of the Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus rear panniers. This waterproof symmetrical set features the company’s proprietary QL2 attachment system, outer pockets, horizontal and vertical compression straps, and detachable shoulder straps.
 Photo courtesy of Ortlieb USA Photo courtesy of Ortlieb USA
The first thing I became aware of was how well thought-out the attachment system is. The design allows each pannier to be mounted on either side of a rear rack. There are several options for adjusting the width and depth of all points of contact, guaranteeing ample heel clearance. The QL2 hooks have plastic inserts of different sizes that can be swapped to fit bar diameters from 8mm to 16mm, ensuring a snug fit on most any setup. To mount, simply pull up on the webbed handle, line up the bottom hook located on the backside of the bag with the legs of the rack, and drop it into place. To dismount, pull up on the handle again.
With this ease of attachment and detachment, one might believe the panniers would come off inadvertently while riding — not so. In fact, I rode fairly rough terrain with a full load of gear and experienced no issues.
 Photo by Darren  Dencklau 
The Cordura fabric is durable, waterproof and completely sealed. The internal drawstrings also help reinforce the safekeeping of inside contents. The outside pockets have to be cinched down by the compression straps, located on the sides, so particular care must be taken with smaller loads.
My only complaint of the Bike-Packer Plus model is its few compartments. There is an inner pocket with zippered closures, but when the bags are completely full, these are difficult to get to. When touring, I prefer the convenience of several outside pockets to keep gear separated, as I abhor digging through my stuff or taking it all out just to find a small item at the bottom of everything. An extra compartment with zipper access on the “roof” of the bags would help.
Overall, I enjoy the ease of setup and security these panniers offer. They are great for the commute and the long haul. Even though I would like more outside pockets, the design is simple and both water and bombproof — maybe I just need to be more organized.
Colors include black, graphite, and yellow (tested). MSRP is $235 for the pair. Visit for more information.

Cébé Cinetik Sunglasses
I had never heard of Cébé before being sent a pair of their gray and orange Cinetik sunglasses. They came in a padded case with three different lenses — orange, yellow, and clear. The first thing I noticed was how light the frames are, a svelte 58 grams. Trying them on, the nose-piece sat comfortably and the arms didn’t dig into my head.
Looking through them, the mirrored orange lens provides a very neutral color and the peripheral vision is excellent due to the sparse material used on the arms. Wind deflection was above par and my contact lens-covered eyeballs remained happy on fast descents.
Although they may appear to be a bit cheap and flimsy, I found them anything but. While on a mountain bike ride this past summer, a friend accidentally stepped on them after I set them on a log during a rest stop. Although it made a catastrophic noise and one of the lenses popped out from the frame, they did not break. Maybe I got lucky?
The Cinetiks have been one of my go-to sunglasses, especially when the lighting is iffy while setting out for a ride; a quick and easy lens swap turns them from a bright sunlight repellant to a nighttime bug screen and windbreaker. They are durable and get the job done, and if they happen to break or become lost, the monetary setback is minimal.
MSRP is $49.95 and they are available in four different frame colors. Visit for more information.

T-Leatherworks Mud Flaps
Fenders are a must in the Northwest, but they do have their limitations; just ask anyone following another rider closely on a rainy group ride. Most full fenders only come halfway down the wheel and water will still stream up from behind, creating a rooster tail aimed directly at the person behind.
 Photo by Darren  Dencklau 
Seattle, Wash., resident Tarik Abdullah recently started his own small business called T-Leatherworks, making leather mud flaps that extend below a regular fender’s reach. Fabricated from recycled strips of various colors, he hand cuts each one and adorns many of them with rivets and his signature single cog logo.
I not so recently received a pair of them — one longer and narrower designed for the rear fender, the other shorter and wider for the front. Each piece has two vertically aligned holes near the top center; just line the perforations up to where you want to situate the flap, drill through the fender, and screw the included hardwear into place. To make this process easier and to avoid accidentally drilling a hole in your tire, take the wheel out first. Abdullah also recommends weatherproofing the leather for longevity, but I haven’t yet and they have functioned just fine.
T-Leatherworks’ mud flaps give bikes a classy English-style appearance, ala Brooks Saddles, and do the trick in nasty weather conditions, surely to the approval of anyone following closely. If you want to give your commuter or even the fancy weekend steed a unique look while doing others a favor by keeping grime off their faces, you may want to give these a go.
MSRP is $19 each or $35 per set. Visit for more details and photos of all offerings from T-Leatherworks.

Socks Aren’t Just Socks
When it comes to what goes on my feet, I am extremely picky. In fact, it’s safe to say that you’ll never catch me wearing a pair of cheap white cotton socks. Wool is my preferred material; it feels good, looks good, lasts a long time, and can be worn many times before the odors settle in. There are other alternative materials that do the trick, but they usually are a wool blend. I’ve been testing a few different socks recently, and since the holidays are coming up, I figured I’d feature them for gift ideas. Here are my thoughts.

Darn Tough
Darn Tough is a family owned and operated company located in Vermont. They make socks that are, well, darn tough! I have two pairs — the Solid Micro Crew and 1/4 sock. Both feature high-density knitting and the 1/4 offers True Seamless™ technology, an undetectable toe seam, and reinforced heel and toe. They are great on the bike and while running and so far have held up to their name. Darn Tough is so sure of their products they offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee. Maple syrup is not the only thing made in Vermont. Highly recommended. Content: 60% Merino wool, 33% nylon, 7% Lycra®spandex. MSRP is $17.
Visit for more information.

Sock Guy
If you’ve ever seen riders sporting funky and colorful knee-highs at cyclocross or mountain bike races, there’s a good chance that Sock Guy made them. The company offers a slew of fun graphics and themes, including models called “Lucha Libre,” “I Heart Livestock,” and “Beano,” to name a few. One of my favorites is a limited edition that was made specifically for Soulcraft Bikes at the 2009 Singlespeed World Championships; “No TP? Wipe Here,” is embroidered near the arches, suggesting that they can be used for more than keeping your feet warm and comfortable.
I recently tried a pair of the Safety Meeting crew socks ($9.95) made of acrylic, nylon and spandex, as well as the Wooligan Granite ($12.95) model, a winter sock with a 4” cuff constructed of TURBOwool, which is a blend of polypropylene and Merino wool. Both models are super comfy and the Wooligans are especially great on cooler days. Visit for details.

Next up is a pair of the Cyclismo socks from DeFeet. This model features a compression fit, “no-feel” toe seam, ADVANSA Thermo Cool™ Duoregulation, AeroSpeed™ Cuff, and Aireator® mesh technology. So, what does this all mean? Well, in laymen’s terms, they are fancy.
They “breathe” effectively, stay put, and are pretty sleek looking — black with a white band on the cuff. DeFeet has been manufacturing high quality cycling socks for 20 years; they know a thing or two about them. Content: 38% Nylon, 33% Therma°cool, 16% Lycra, 13% Elastic. MSRP is $15. Check out for more.


Merino wool is the staple material at Point6, as it naturally regulates body temperature, controls odor, wicks away moisture and lasts. The company’s name actually comes from the number 98.6 — the body’s optimal temperature. Using compact spun yarn, their socks feature more fibers than ring spun yarn, which is typically used by other manufacturers.
I’ve had the opportunity to test some of their 2013 line, including the Big Day, Rider, and Flyer models. All of them have performed flawlessly so far and after many wears, the material has stayed taut. My favorite is the Flyer, which features white wings on black. Go to for more.

For proper care on all socks, it’s best to machine wash them inside out in cool or warm water on gentle cycle, then either air dry or tumble dry on low.

Lights & Motion Taz 800
Lights & Motion has been cranking out their products in Monterey, Calif., for roughly 20 years. The company takes pride in designing and building everything here in the U.S. The Taz 800 is from their “Crossover” line of illumination. It is self-contained, meaning no detached battery unit, waterproof, and is built for both commuting and trail riding.
Featuring three high-powered LED bulbs, there are five mode settings, high (800 lumens), medium (400), low (200), pulse (200) and flash (200). The lower power settings provide a longer battery life and are good for the commute, while the high setting effortlessly turns night into day — making trail riding a very viable option. On its brightest setting, the Taz 800 is rated to last two hours (four on medium, eight on low, 12 on pulse) and the flash mode is projected to illuminate for 24 hours before requiring a recharge using the included cord that plugs into a USB port.
 Photo by Darren  Dencklau 
On the trail, the beam emitted from this light is both powerful and wide and when compared to the company’s higher end “Performance” line, it holds its weight respectably. One of my favorite features is the battery life indicator. The clear top mounted power button glows green when the light is fully charged, amber serves as a warning, and then flashes red when it’s getting close to “dying.” This is a great design, and especially comes in handy while trail riding. Behind the power button is another switch, which turns off and on the amber lights located on each side.
The Taz 800 is exceptionally simple and easy to mount onto handlebars — Lights & Motion also offers a helmet mount attachment for an additional $10. I can charge up at work and by nightfall it’s ready to go. So far I have been very impressed and the estimated battery life seems to be accurate. Those extra lumens offer a sense of security on really dark bike paths and lights up the singletrack to boot.
Weight is just 215 grams. MSRP is $249. There is also a Taz 1200 model and Stella 300 in Light & Motion’s Crossover line. Check out for more information.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wish You Were Hear...

What if Pink Floyd's lyrics, "Did you exchaaaa a aange ... a walk-on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage?" were really referring to cyclists and motorists? Think about it; commuting by bike and trying to get to your destination safely is sometimes similar to battle, and the word "cage" is often associated to automobiles... 

These are the things I think about.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Too Good to Not Post Another One Today...

Magnetic Listening

Thee Oh Sees have mellowed out a notch on this one, and it's a good thing. Instead of frantic it's more tantric. This band works hard and puts out a lot of music, as many as two albums each year, so it's not easy to get bored - especially with "Putrifiers," as it brings a new and more introspective approach to the band's songwriting. But don't take my word for it...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Local, Kind Of

This here is Kevin Large's project, Widower. Erin, my wife, and I saw the band play when we first moved to Seattle and were both impressed. Large reminds me of Ryan Adams when he was in the band Whiskeytown.

That night, our car was broken into while we were at the show. Erin developed a crush on Kevin Large and used to go to the coffee shop where he worked as a barista. He flirted with her occasionally and she didn't mind. Then he moved back to the East Coast, where he is from. I didn't mind.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday - WA State Cyclocross Championship

My team, BikeSport Racing, will be hosting this weekend's cyclocross extravaganga in Arlington, Washington. The proceeds will go to, a veteran-run organization that refurbishes donated bikes and then gives them to our veterans returning from war. Very cool. 

If'n you got nothing to do this weekend and feel like hanging out in the rain to watch people go in circles, you should probably stop by. There will be free beer and all the garbanzo beans you can eat and there will plenty to laugh at, as scantily clad dudes and dudettes will fall, fumble and flail about for nothing more than your viewing pleasure. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Go Carl!

It is my belief that if you start 'crossing and you have a little experience on a mountain bike, just go ahead and move yourself up to Cat 3, otherwise you stand a really good chance of getting hurt at others' expense.

Case in point: 

Thanks to BSNYC for posting this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


On Monday morning I drove halfway to downtown and then hopped on the bike to continue to the office - I needed to pick my wife up from the train station in the afternoon. As I was driving to my usual spot I got behind a Scion xB (I had to research the interwebs to find the model) that looked similar to this one:

On the back window there were a myriad of stickers adhered to the glass surface to show everyone just how passionate its driver feels about things ... mainly his politics I am guessing, as there were American flags and whatnot placed somewhere in the collection of decaled ideas. What really stood out were the top left and top right decals. This one on the left side:

On the right there was a sticker which featured a photo of an unborn child with the words "It is a Life" on it. So, you're all about freedom, as long as it's yours, right? It's OK to kill someone who has wronged you or broken into your house, but a woman shouldn't have a right to do what she feels when it comes to her own body? Hmmmm, I was perplexed.

To top it off, he had his commuter bike mounted to the roof of the Scion. He was also wearing a "safety jacket" in bright yellow and had a pipe hanging out of his mouth.

Funny how many people, some being politicians, are pro life but they want to build our military and aren't worried about the effects of war - mostly, that people die. Save the kids to kill them later!

I get a kick out of ironic bumper stickers. "No War for Oil," for example, is a great one; the person driving down the road, burning oil and consuming gas that we fight and sometimes die for. But hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it says so in the Constitution. Just don't go imposing it on me and my stockpile of guns, ammo, and cash...

Yes, sir, I will keep the change. Thank you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Never Know When it's Time to Go

This is a tragic story.

While riding home from work, Trent Graham was struck by a vehicle that had suddenly swerved and crossed through six lanes of oncoming traffic. The impact surely killed him instantly. What caused the driver to suddenly change course is not known at this time. What is known is that the driver was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. 

Unfortunately, cyclists and pedestrians always lose when pitted against automobiles. I frequently have close calls with motorists and luckily my number hasn't been called... I hope it doesn't anytime soon, but this accident proves that no matter what you do right and "safely," the odds can be stacked against you at any time.

Mortality is a peculiar thing. Most of us live like we have all the time in the world, yet in reality, we don't.  No matter how we conduct ourselves each day, the end is always near, waiting in that shadowed corner or on some deserted stretch of road. 

Modern society forces us to plan ahead, to collect and save money, to hoard our belongings and protect our assets to ensure we have a nice comfortable future. Sometimes we don't  have a say, so live and enjoy life like the fire's last ember is fading into the ashes and attempt to make this moment last - as futile as that may be. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Adventure Journal Press - Revisiting the Nowhere Tour

A coworker of mine sent me a link this morning about an interesting bike trip posted on Adventure Journal's website. Turns out, that adventure was one I had the privilege of being on. It was my 40th birthday and I was fortunate enough to share the day, and the following three, with some of my favorite friends. A full length article on the trip was printed in Wend magazine shortly after the trip, penned by photographer and writer, Daniel Wakefield Pasley. Glad to see this wonderful moment in time was captured on film and that it still continues to inspire people to get out there and do things out of the "normal."

Me and my championship belt present I received from my good buddy, Scott Harris. 

For the Adventure Journal feature, click here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Cycle of Abuse - Freewheel Headset Spacer

So I was missing the correct size headset spacer and suddenly realized that an SS freewheel with a shorter spacer placed inside of it works perfectly. The Black Bastard just got way cooler ... I know, who'd a thunk.

The freewheel also keeps me occupied when I am bored, as it spins in a counter-clockwise position - oh, the simple things in life...

Dangerous? Yes. Bad idea? Probably, but I am good at bad ideas...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tame Impala

Good stuff from a group of young 'uns from Perth, Australia. Definitely some John Lennon-like vocals set to some fuzzy guitar and poppy harmonies. I like.

Here's a link to most of their stuff on Grooveshark:!/artist/Tame+Impala/704377/albums

Friday, October 5, 2012

Show Me Your War Face

Cyclocross sucks. The air from your lungs. The strength from your legs. The cells from your brain. The oxygen from your blood. Sometimes a layer from your epidermis...

For some reason we all convene on Sundays to partake in the bloodletting. If for no other reason than to feel alive. To join the people of the world who suffer every day in their own way.!i=2077969054&k=PHs6hQP&lb=1&s=A

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Name is MCA

What a bummer. Cancer sucks beyond belief, especially when it takes someone out while they are still young and able to do good things. Adam Yauch made an enormous impact on those around him and many around the world. Not only a co-founder of what is perhaps one of the most talented and respected hip hop acts ever, he also championed many good causes and strived to make the world a better one in which to live. Of the three members of Beastie Boys, MCA was always the one who stood out for his positive message. He will be missed. Thank you Adam for your commitment to bettering this sometimes fucked up place, and for giving us a reason to laugh at ourselves. 

This Is A Type Of Kinda Like A Formal Dedication
                                       Giving Out A Shout For Much Inspiration
All I Ever Really Want To Do Is Get Nice
Get Loose And Goof My Little Slice Of Life
Sendin' Out Love To All Corners Of The Land
I Jump Up On The Stage And Take The Mic
In My Hand Not Playin' The Roll Just Being Who I Am
And If You Try To Dis Me I Couldn't Give A Damn
'Cause I'm Rockin'

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Behind the Wall of Sleep

After working 12 1/2 hours yesterday and then riding my bike home, I was pretty beat. I was also restless so I decided to watch something on Netflix. After syphoning through most of the garbage in the "TV" section of their website, I decided for the "go-to" of the music category. I joyfully discovered a newly posted documentary on perhaps my favorite band of all time, the original - and in my opinion the only lineup worth taking the time to write about - Black Sabbath. 

There's so much to say about these four Birmingham blokes who have time and time again come to my rescue and lifted me up. In my mind, they are the masters of all things musical, and highly misunderstood for those not in the know. Written off by many as simply a heavy metal band that either worshipped the devil, sang about the occult, or doing drugs, many didn't give them a chance, especially the press. I feel sorry for all of these people, and as for the press, by ridiculing Sabbath they helped the band achieve mass success - suckers, everyone knows that bad publicity usually earns a band respect and notoriety, especially among fans of this band. 

Lyrically, topics varied from politics and war (Wicked World), pollution (Into the Void), religion (After Forever), government propaganda (Electric Funeral), addiction (Hand of Doom), isolation (Wheels of Confusion), self empowerment (Under the Sun, Children of the Grave), labor (Killing Yourself to Live), space (Planet Caravan), greedy corporations (Cornucopia), love - that's right - love, (Sabbra Cadabra, St. Vitus' Dance), heartbreak (Changes) ... the list goes on.

And the rhythm. I dare anyone to contend that Geezer Butler and Bill Ward weren't two of the tightest bass and drum players ever to have played together. Listen to the constant changes in Sabbath's music - even a popular and overplayed song like Iron Man seethes with originality, as the song just goes from one place to another ... suddenly you're riding the wave and in control, then it grabs you and picks you up, taking a journey to outer space, ultimate chaos, and the unknown. Then, it comes back down, sometimes gently, other times crashing, but either way you're right back where you started. Much of Sabbath's music did this, as they were all about the adventure of which music can take those with open minds on. All one has to do is simply close their eyes and listen, really listen, and experience the chaos, confusion, sadness and sense of hopelessness - humanity. Sabbath didn't hide behind the flower power movement or the positive outlook that the revolution was supposed to bring in the '60s. They knew it wasn't working, they know it still isn't working, because a song like War Pigs is just as relevant today as ever. It always will be.

Then there's Tony Iommi, the man missing two fingertips, the master of all guitar riffs, and undoubtedly one of the most influential players ever. Other members of Sabbath always stand behind the belief that Iommi was usually the one to come up with the great song ideas. Most of it was never planned. It was created from the gut, with feeling, on the spot, and the rest of band fed off of the energy and made some of the most memorable songs in history around it. 

Heavy most of the time, but oh so sweet and gentle at other moments, their music creates nostalgia, for a time when the earth and its people lived in peace, if there were ever a time. 

I will forever remain young, good or bad, because of Black Sabbath. Thank you for the journey fellows, I hope there are many more to come, and when I move on from this world, I am able to "sail through endless skies ... bathed in cool breeze ... as the silver starlight breaks down the night ... and pass on by the crimson eye."

Bonus live show from 1970, the year I was born. The band in their best form, most likely.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sipping Jetstreams and Tearing Down Walls

Taylor Steele has been making great surf films for more than two decades. He gets better with each production, as he always captures not only the incredible surfing by some of the world's best, but gives viewers a look into the areas explored to find the waves on which they perform. It is in this way that, in my opinion, he is breaking down barriers between people around the world and silencing stereotypes that run rampant among Earth's dwellers. Take for example this clip from Sipping Jetstreams. In it you get a surreal glance of Morocco - not just the fabulous waves that line the coast of this special place, but of its people. They are just like you and I, living in order to live, breathing in order to breathe. There's a place we all need to go, this is one of them I need to go to.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Van with the Plan

The recent purchase of a 1992 Toyota Previa has unlocked something I've been looking for for quite some time - the freedom to roam around the Northwest. After a horrific experience with a Volvo 240 wagon from the same year, I am so far content with the decision. Ample room for play toys like bikes, surfboards, camping equipment and musical instruments, it's a hauler of all things fun - and it forces me to get out of town on the weekends to explore and become more familiar with what this region offers. I have been to the coast twice already to surf and to Whidbey Island to camp with friends.

This past weekend I packed everything, at least what I thought was everything, and Erin and I drove to Hobucks near Neah Bay. After a full two hours of surfing and a few post-surf beers, I realized I forgot two of the most important things needed for camping - our sleeping bags. I packed the tent, pillows, the stove and most everything else, but no sleeping bags. Well, there were $110 cabins nearby, but that seemed pointless, as we were there to camp, not pay for overpriced shacks. We were left with one option - sleep in the board bags. These insulated protectors of all things foam were going to save us from a night of cold Northwest coastal temperatures. Erin slept in the 6'4" bag, with little room to move around in. She was not happy. I slept in the longboard bag - I offered it to her, I swear. 

We survived, albeit we awoke to being incredibly stiff. Her more than me, as she could barely roll over, therefore having to sleep on her back most of the evening. The sun was shining and hardly anyone else was around in what is normally a crowded campsite. I surfed for hours before we packed up and made the drive home. 

The plan and the van got us there, the board bags gave us shelter in a pinch, and we got sunburnt. I call that a successful mission. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I possibly saw the most clueless cyclist ever this morning. She was riding down 15th Ave. of all places (a super busy arterial road in Seattle, which almost all cyclists know not to travel on, as there are mellow roads one block parallel to it), no helmet, giant headphones on and swerving back and forth to the music... I get to the red light at 65th (in the van, I drove part way), she blasts right through the red light in which lots of cars were going back and forth east and west, causing one car to slam on their brakes in the middle of the intersection, the bike rider swerves and rides into the left lane to avoid being hit by another car that was legally turning right onto 15th - that driver then blares his horn at her while passing her, to which she gives the "whoot whoot" symbol with her hands in the air. It was truly unbelievable. In all of my years riding, I think this girl's stupidity tops everything I've seen...

All I could think of was, "Wow, please, someone hit this person. It's the only way they will learn." I know, this is pretty harsh, but in reality, sometimes a parent needs to bust out the belt and give that kid a good old ass whoppin'. It worked for me.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The sun came out so I grabbed a falafel sandwich and found a chair to sit in and read in Occidental Park. A few minutes later an older black gentleman with a hoarse voice asked if he could sit at the table with me. I of course said, "certainly." He had just scored some sweet shoes and a jacket that someone gave him and was really proud of them, making sure I checked them out and to give my approval. We got to talking and he pretty much shared his whole life with me, which included having no parents since he was a baby and living on the mean streets of Chicago at the age of 7. He hustled for a living and went to high school and then joined the Army and went to Vietnam where he was a "Tunnel Rat," a military term for those who seek out the enemy that lives in extensive underground fortresses, and then kills them. He moved to Seattle in 1977 and had a wife who died in the 90s. He now and mostly has always lived on the streets primarily, and for work he cleans one of the local strip clubs after hours. I asked where he sleeps and he told me he usually transfers from bus to bus, grabbing naps while he's on them and that he goes to Harborview Medical Center and sleeps while sitting in their waiting room. He has absolutely no regrets in life and feels blessed for being 61 years old and healthy of mind and body. Everything he said was emphasized with positivity and hopefulness and respect. He never begs and believes that anything you want in life comes down to your actions and how you approach it - which includes listening to others and never taking handouts. His name is Terry Martin, his street name is "Nightmare."

Thursday, March 15, 2012