America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

30 November 2005


More Arab money will soon copiously pour into Turkey. I need to research this a bit more before I pass judgment. How tall are these buildings going to be? The spiral design is attractive and no doubt very costly to engineer and build. Earthquakes are always a threat in Turkey...

Also, an 800 meter titan is being built in Dubai. Notably, the foundation work is being done by Turner Construction International. I've worked with Turner Construction on many school projects in the Northeast.

27 November 2005


Updated 10/17/2007:

Please click the title above, which will direct you to the latest ebay listing where we are offering a brand new kanun at auction, as built by my father Irfan Altinbasak. Auction ends 10/22/07

Fenerbahce-Galatasaray Game Tomorrow

We hope to watch the match unfold on DFH Turkish television tomorrow. We have supporters of both teams who will be present. I'm not a huge follower but I favor Fenerbahce because of my wife's and her brother's influence. Kaan and my dad are GS fans so it will be an interesting time. We had a ball at Bally's today (intentional pun) playing racquetball with Laima and Kaan, we may play some more tomorrow morning before the game, to break today's tie. Ebru and Laima played together a little bit- man do they need to practise. It was like watching a train wreck- you want to look away but you can't. Seriously though after about ten minutes they were connecting with the ball very well, and both have the potential to be good players. My prediction for tomorrow's game: Fenerbahce 3, Galatasaray 2.

26 November 2005

Roberto Heras 'B' Sample Tests Positive for EPO

Roberto Heras is one of the very best in the world. Now he, Hamilton, Millar, Rumsas, Armstrong, Virenque, Mussaeuw et al are all accused of blood doping or using performance enhancing drugs. These men are all super-human role models to millions of cycling fans, young and old. Who will be implicated next? Is this evidence enough to prove that professional bike racing is among the most physically demanding sports in the world, or simply that it is too demanding period? Is there a "fight fire with fire" mentality taking root? Are honest athletes choosing [poorly] to dope themselves in order to level the playing field? This would suggest that doping is absolutely rampant among the top riders. Without walking a mile (or riding a bike) in their shoes it's hard to judge the actions of the guilty, if in fact their guilt has been proven beyond all doubt. Having raced for so many years, I do not condemn, nor do I condone those who have doped. Put a speedometer on your bike and go for a ride. After you've warmed up, try to hold a speed of 20 miles per hour for 2 minutes. Then consider that the average speed of a flat stage of the Tour de France, or even an elite criterium in the US, averages about 28-32 miles per hour, and we're NOT talking about 2 minutes- we're talking about many hours. I hope Heras clears his name. -AT

By Andrew Hood
VeloNews European correspondent:

"Spanish cycling is reeling following the confirmation that Roberto Heras tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO in samples taken in the penultimate stage of the 2005 Vuelta a España.
After the results of a counter-analysis conducted Monday by Spain's Consejo Superior de Deportes were announced Friday, Heras - who will likely be stripped of his 2005 Vuelta crown and faces a two-year racing ban - charged that the test is flawed and promised a lengthy legal battle to clear his name.
Heras is the most successful Spanish rider of his generation, winning the Vuelta a record four times and spending three years as a member of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France-winning team. The implications of this case could reach far beyond Heras himself as Spanish cycling struggles to retain its credibility with the media and fans following a string of doping scandals."

Why Brazil beat Turkey in the FIFA World Cup 2002

Could this also be why we lost toSwitzerland recently? I'll probably regret this in the morning, but I can't resist. Sure the pictures are an insult to Turks, they suggest that better looking [and exposed] fans might have helped the players to win. On the other hand, this isn't anything for Brasilians to be proud of either. Sorry to post this after such a morbid entry regarding Iraq, but this is the order in which I found my material. There is no point in back-burnering anything until better timing comes along. -AT

25 November 2005

More Iraqi Children Senselessly Killed

Who do YOU blame for this fatal error? The driver of the van who didn't heed the warning shots? The understandably trigger-happy American soldiers? the insurgents who have succeeded in making every Iraqi motor vehicle seem a potential threat? the Bush Administration? I am stunned that such a thing can happen, when our American military is supposedly equipped with the most high tech weaponry as well as some dated ones- such as binoculars and telescopes- they help you to see far away- like perhaps into the wind shield of an approaching van containing an entire civilian family with children. Unbelievable and unforgivable incompetence demonstrated by the best trained military in the world. -AT

An Iraqi man holds a child killed in a shooting while the family was on the way to the town of Baquba, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, November 21, 2005. Witnesses and the Iraqi police said U.S. troops opened fire on a crowded minibus north of Baghdad on Monday, killing five members of the same family, including two children, and wounding four others. The U.S. military said it was looking into the incident but did not confirm its involvement or provide any other details.

REUTERS/Hilm21 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Stringer/iraq

Is Turkish RAKI a Defense Against BIRD FLU?

Perhaps not, but the "national drink" of Turkey contains an ingredient that is also used to produce TAMIFLU. Useless trivia for you.

A man shovels star anise seeds into a box for shipment overseas in the townshiop of Gulong, China's southern Guangxi region November 18, 2005. Star anise is the main source of an ingredient that goes in Tamiflu, a drug experts think may help slow down a global pandemic of deadly bird flu. Most of the world's star anise comes from China, and most of China's star anise is grown in the hills of Guangxi.

REUTERS November 18, 2005.

22 November 2005

Almost in "non-working-mode"

This piece of crap laptop that my wife uses, took ten minutes to boot. My desktop is in my office, which is flanked by three bedrooms, so I came downstairs to avoid annoying the family with my tappity tap tap and incessant mouse clicks. Where to begin? Where to end? Today was less productive than usual after I discovered that $75,000 worth of epoxy resin I had bought and released to production had many errors and issues which required me to stop the order in it's tracks. It's not worth explaining, just know that it consumed my whole afternoon to isolate the problem and recommend a solution to the architect. Tomorrow I was planning to travel up north of Boston to visit a jobsite, and then afterwards, pick up my father at Logan airport- he arrives from Turkey tomorrow, just in time to eat turkey the following day. (Ugh). My mood today is best described as "deliberate". I am moving more slowly and taking my time with pressing matters and decisions. It's one of those weeks in the year when the pressure at work eases a little bit. Many people are missing from the office, taking holiday or whatever. My office is pretty private and today I had no unwelcome visitors, or as I like to call them: "time burglars. Yeah you know who you are, you're oblivious to the tone and body language which is telling you in no uncertain terms that I have zero interest in chit-chat. Even when I begin to nervously press the button on my talking Donald Trump doll, some of you don't get the hint- the doll is more interesting to me than you are! DUH! Okay moving right along. I'm stressing about dear old dad's visit. I fear he will be drunk as hell when he dis-embarks from the plane tomorrow. If he is, what do I do? I don't want him near my family, in my house or anywhere that he can potentially abuse any of us. Where will he sleep? We have plenty of room (14 rooms actually), but no spare beds! Do I put him on the IKEA couches in the family room? I don't want that either. Maybe I'll borrow one of the beds I sold to a friend for the week. This presumes of course that he is fit (sober) to enter my house. Okaaaaay. I don't think that wifey understands that this is a sensitive, turbulent time for me. She wants to come to the airport tomorrow- all of us actually, and I don't want that. I need to have at least a one-hour-drive alone with him. Like the gladiator who tastes Maximus' food for poison, I want to be the one who endures any of the potential initial disappointment of dad's state of being. Why is this so hard to understand? This is stressful enough without having family members tag along. Okay whatever. I need to get up at 5:00 in order to meet Kaan on the racquetbal court at 6:00. What am I still doing up at midnight? The usual, I'm getting things off my chest. That's what's so nice about blogging. I can come here to extricate my nasty mental defecations, instead of dumping it upon those who I love. Is this so hard to understand? No disrespect intended, but chances are you won't take any of this personally, and my wife has enough of her own dragons to slay without having to endure hearing the details of my mid-life crises. She hates this blog because I give her no recognition on it. What she fails to realize is that this is not the place where I want to flaunt my most prized possession in the world. So, I'm off to get some shut-eye. Need to be strong tomorrow on the court. I have a score to settle, from the last game we played last winter. Kaan beat me with some bizarre luck that he pulled out of his ass in the tie-breaker game.

Lithuanian Rumsas faces court in doping case

Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas will appear before a French court Thursday on doping charges relating to the 2002 Tour de France, where he finished third.
Rumsas, 33, will appear alongside his wife, Edita Rumsas, 31, at the Bonneville criminal court in southeast France.
On June 29, Rumsas was arrested at his home in Lucca, Tuscany, on a French warrant but released on July 8 after an appeals court in Florence deemed it sufficient to keep him under house arrest.
His Paris-based lawyer, Alexandre Varaut, said both would be present at the trial.
Rumsas faces up to three years in prison and a fine.
Edita Rumsas was released on Oct. 11, 2002, after being detained for 73 days for carrying suspected drug products in July 2002.
She was caught on the Italian-French border with 37 suspected doping products in her car, which she said were for her ill mother.
She faces up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros (US $87,950).
French authorities are also investigating a Polish doctor in the case, Kristof Ficek. He is not expected to appear in court Thursday. -The Associated Press

I thought this story might interest my Lithuanian friends. Doping issues aside, Raimondas reached the podium at the 2002 Tour de France, and I wonder how much press he received in his home country, and how much support the Lithuanians are showing for him under the allegations.

The House Team- Indoor Soccer

Tonight I was convinced that I should spend the next 10 Monday nights playing a sport I haven't played in 25 years- SOCCER. So I show up, no knee pads or socks, tennis shoes, and no desire to look like a fool on the indoor pitch. Our team lost badly, as I looked on contemplating how I got myself involved in this debacle. Deep down, I have always wanted to accept the many invitations from friends to join the many leagues, but a lack of desire to re-learn something I was never really great at, always held me back. The one season I played as a kid was compulsory, if memory serves. Dad wanted me to play. I was about 10, and at the end of every game, I would ask the ubiquitous question of my dad: "How did I do?". The answer never changed from week to week: "Lousy." Is this the real reason why I've been avoiding this sport since that time? Was I fooled into believeing that I truly was a bad player? Perhaps I can give another example. I've performed in literally hundreds of bike races over the years. Overall, my parents came to ONE event in 1988 or 89. The Lilac Festival Criterium in Cobbs Hill Park, Rochester New York. I was a junior competing in a stacked field- juniors from all over the region, plus some very good Canadians were in attendance. One rider broke away for the solo win, so the main field was sprinting for 2nd place. From that main field, I managed to finish 2nd, 3rd overall- a PODIUM finish that I was actually very proud of. Afterwards, I looked to dad for some words of encouragement or praise. Here's what I got: "You finished third." Need I say more...? Racing as a junior, there were kids whose parents bought RVs, so that they could take them to all of their races in comfort and with full support. The kids winning races were those who always had a famly member escort them to every event. How I hated them. Or was my hate mis-directed? Whatever. It makes me sick thinking about it. At any rate, starting to play soccer again is more or less a breakthrough for me. Just deciding to do it should be considered a triumph. It will be an interesting winter. Will I be lousy? That will be for me to judge, for a change.

21 November 2005

No Subject 4

It's the time of year when we're euphoric on days when it's over 60 degrees outside. Today was such a day. I was puttering around in the garage this morning. Inevitably I opened one of the garage doors and realized it was warmer outside than it was in the garage. I'm faced with so many choices lately, it seems a bit too much all at once. From work to health to home to hobby to sport, everything can take a totally new direction in the coming weeks... Oh well. I didn't get where I am by making poor choices and using bad judgment. I suppose I should give myself more credit. My dad is flying in from Turkey this Wednesday. Hopefully he won't have one of his drinking binges while he's in our home. I will throw him out on his ass without thinking twice- I've had to do it before and I'll do it again. I know he's been drinking lately and I take a big risk by having him over. Last week he treated me like dirt on the telephone- I hung up on him twice, he hung up one me once too. Our relationship is the strangest one I've ever had in my life. It goes from love to hate, respect to loathing, laughter to tears, and back again. Sometimes without warning, sometimes predictably. There were times in his life when I was all he had left, if by a string. One who has hit rock-bottom so many times can't help but be filled with self-hate, and sometimes it shines through and I doubt he ever realizes it. Little does he know of the untold number of times many years ago that myself and others cursed his name and wished he were dead. Seems a natural thing when one's life is threatened or future plans are ruined or happiness is eliminated I guess. If you haven't already already guessed, his boozing tore our family apart without mercy. Long ago it was easy to deny that all of this hasn't affected me, that I'm a tough SOB who wants no pity... but the recent few years have taught me otherwise. A messed up childhood and family life is going to catch up with you and consume you if you don't confront it and sort it out head on. Believe me, I know. I find myself somewhere between consume and confront... . . . . . .

20 November 2005

Salvage Update- One MILE of Wood Mouldings For Sale

So now that all of the inventory is unpacked, bundled, stacked, and counted, the overall picture becomes clearer. We have a little over ONE MILE of wood trim in our garage, not including the Duraflex crown mouldings.

I have about 120 pieces of chair rail (which we may make into about 600 coat racks and sell on ebay for $20 each, at a cost of about $5 each plus our sweat)

I have 280 pieces of casing all neatly bundled, QC'ed and stacked.

I have about 2000 LF random length of the poplar paint grade casing.

All of it is offered for sale as a lot, which would net me a fast $2500 at my asking price. If we execute the coat rack plan, we could make $10,000 +/-, but it would require a lot of our time, plus it would take many months to sell it all. Do we go for the instant gratification or the long term gain? I'm not sure. Maybe we should make some of the coat racks and try them out on ebay before we sell the chair rail. The two casing profiles we should just let go asap, to fund the cost of paint and coat pegs and tooling that the coat racks will need. Are we nuts or just resourceful entrepreneurs? Who else would go to such trouble for a buck?

Nation mourns bird killed in domino shooting

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch animal lovers are mourning a sparrow shot dead after it fluttered into an exhibition hall and knocked over thousands of dominoes set up in preparation for a world record attempt.
The sparrow will be commemorated in a live Dutch television broadcast of the domino-toppling Friday after a wave of national outrage at the shooting.
"We know we are responsible for a lot of emotion in the country and we realize we couldn't go on without properly marking this," said Jeroen van Waardenberg, a spokesman for reality TV company Endemol, the firm behind "Big Brother."
An exterminator shot the sparrow Monday in the northern city of Leeuwarden after fears the bird could upset more of the 4 million dominoes which staff had spent weeks balancing on their edges for the record attempt.
Dutch animal rights groups are outraged, especially as sparrows are a protected species in the Netherlands.
Hundreds of condolence messages have been posted on a website for the sparrow (, which has attracted 200,000 hits.

Serhat Ozbay - Tekerlekizi Bisiklet Grubu

Recently I reached out to the Turkish community in Rhode Island. I was "phishing" for Turkish athletes or enthusiasts of cport to come forward and tell me about themselves, their sport, send me pictures, etc. This was through a Yahoo board with 200+ members. In all, I received two replies, one from a newcomer to the US named Petek Evirgen, who claims to be an avid skiier, and another from a person I met over the summer at a birthday party, Serhat. His wife Ozge, as I understand it, is a great soccer player and plays regularly in a co-ed league, or used to at least. Sorry no pictures, but Serhat was kind enough to share with me his enthusiasm for bicycling. The picture was grabbed from a website that he forwarded to me, and the picture is about 10 years old I believe. At any rate, I promised Serhat we'd find him a good road bike and have him racing in no time. He thinks I'm kidding but I'm not. He has toured with his bike all over Turkey, I think he'll enjoy touring here in the 'States a lot more.

Sanford & Son of the 21st century

Remember that old show about father son salvage re-seller? They would buy or claim other peoples junk and sell it for a profit. I don't exactly buy junk, but I have very keen product knowledge. Been around the block a few times on EBAY (I hold a rating of 429, with 100% positive feedback, no easy feat) I've already sold some of the new inventory in the garage that I told you about. So far, we've thought about making the chair rail stuff into either coat hanger racks or bike hanging racks. For the moment I've listed the stuff on ebay and on craigslist. Best to sell it all in one fell swoop and be done with it. The other day I picked up 25 boxes of DURAFLEX crown moulding and about 2000 LF of a nice poplar casing. Added to the stuff you see pictured, this would cost $10,000 to buy new, without any doubt. Can't wait to see what I get for it overall. So far my cost has been $0, except for the $2 it cost for the ebay listings. I have also recently listed a bunch of old carpentry nails and old machinist tools on ebay. This is hard work, make no mistake, and it takes time to organize, inventory, research the value, shoot pictures, create listing descriptions, pack, ship, collect money, deposit money, pay ebay fees, and on and on and on....

19 November 2005

Turkish Publisher Denies Insulting State


ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - A publisher accused of insulting the Turkish state with his translation a U.S. book has denied the charges in court.
Fatih Tas, 26, who published "Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America's Arms Trade," said on the opening day of his trial Thursday that the book was a criticism of U.S. arms sales in the Middle East, according to the Anatolia news agency.
Tas, the owner of the pro-Kurdish Aram publishing house, was charged under a law that makes it a crime to denigrate the Turkish government or to insult Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
He maintained that the book's references to Ataturk were the opinions of its author John Tirman, who is executive director of the center for international studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Tas' lawyer, Inan Akmese, said his client had no intention of insulting the Turkish state or Ataturk and asked for Tas' acquittal, Anatolia said.
The prosecution called for a sentence of between 1 1/2 to nine years in prison, Anatolia reported.
Tirman last week cricitized the case against Tas and said the charges raised questions about Turkey's commitment to fulfilling European democratic norms as it seeks EU membership.
European officials and human rights groups have been highly critical of Turkey's performance on freedom of expression, and especially of prosecutions under clauses in the penal code on insults against the state and Turkish identity.
Acclaimed Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and the Armenian-Turkish editor Hrant Dink face similar charges.
"Spoils of War" deals with the human costs of the U.S. military relationship with Turkey, and is highly critical of Turkish nationalism and Turkey's treatment of its Kurdish minority.
Tirman said the issues raised in the book were "well within the bounds of political debate in the West" and that controversies on issues such as nationalism and ethnicity are "things that we must deal with in a democracy all the time."
Tas was earlier prosecuted for publishing a book by linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, but the charges were dropped at the trial in Turkey, which Chomsky attended.

Bomb Explodes Near Istanbul Fairground

Nov 18, 5:48 PM (ET)

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - A bomb placed in a trash can exploded near a fairground in Istanbul on Friday, killing one person and injuring 12, Istanbul's governor said.
The bomb was placed in a trash can at a bus stop outside the Tatilya fairground, in Beylikduzu, a suburb on the European side of the city, Gov. Muammer Guler said.
A 36-year-old man died in hospital from his injuries, Istanbul's Ozel Avcilar Hospital said.
Guler said police believed the bomb was made of remote-controlled plastic explosives, favored by autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels, who have carried out similar attacks in the city in the past. Militant leftist and Islamic groups are also active in the city.

18 November 2005

Anti-American Marchers in Greece Mark Annivarsary of 1973 Student Uprising

Athens Polytechnic students, who participated a march commemorating a 1973 student uprising against the U.S. backed military junta, carry a bloodstained Greek flag from that revolt in central Athens November 17, 2005. About 6,500 marchers chanting anti-American slogans took to the streets on Thursday to mark the anniversary.

17 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

Russian Gas Piped to Turkey

A Turkish special police force member stands on a roof of a natural gas pumping station near Turkey's Black Sea city of Samsun, November 17, 2005. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan are expected to attend the inauguration of the natural gas pipeline carrying Russian gas to Turkey at Turkish gas pumping station near Turkey's Black Sea city of Samsun on Thursday.

17 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Umit Bektas

16 November 2005

Anniversary of Synagogue Bombings in Istanbul

I'm not sure whether to offer peace and sympathy for the victims and survivors, or to express my loathing and disgust for those who are responsible. Either way, it's a sad situation.

A red carnation is placed on a star of David on the gate at Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul November 15, 2005, during mourning ceremonies to remember those who were killed by suicide car bombers two years ago. Beit Israel and Neve Shalom synagogues had been devastated in twin suicide car bomb attacks on November 15, 2003, killing around 30 people including Jewish people praying as well as Muslim passers-by.

15 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

15 November 2005

A Triumph for Afghanistan and for Shukria Barakzai

This story speaks for itself:

Shukria Barakzai (C) and her children Muska (L) and Sara look at a family album at her residence in Kabul November 14, 2005. Having won a seat in Afghanistan's new parliament, Barakzai says she now aims to lead it. The 33-year-old mother of three girls campaigned for the legislative elections in September saying women should try to change the country's male-dominated Muslim society by stepping out of the shadows to fight for their rights.

14 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

One man's trash is another man's treasure

Well I did it again. Just when our garage was beginning to clear out, I FILLED IT again with piles of more stuff. This time, I got about 4000 linear feet of paint grade wood trim- both casing and chair rail. I got a great deal on it too, LOL. No, not the "five finger discount". I got it from where I work- it was left over from a hotel project from long ago. I offered to sell it for them on craigslist, but everyone looked at me like I had three heads. Weeks later, they decide it's better to write it off and give it away than to throw it away, which costs money. Oooooookay. Yoink, it's mine. Sure a few others got their hands on some of it, but I was the only one brazen enough to claim ALL of what was left and load it into my pick-up truck (three times- three trips). So needless to say, the garage barely has room in it to stand. If I use my noggin and think of some Christmasy way to fashion the stuff into something people want, we could have a very busy and profitable holiday season. Or, I could just wholesale it in one fell swoop for a few bucks. That would be very easy and painless. I'll keep you posted on what we end up doing. See ya.

14 November 2005

In Case There Is Any Doubt...

Yes, I am the one who chooses which music videos that play at right. I rotate them about once a week, sometimes more frequently. Any requests? Leave it in a comment and I'll try to accommodate. As log as they're available, the next few songs will be picked by my visitors. Come on, make a request!

Azeris Rally Against Government in Baku Azerbaijan

A demonstrator wears a headband and a bandanna in the colours of the Azeri opposition movement during a rally in Baku November 13, 2005. Up to 25,000 opposition supporters demonstrated on the outskirts of the Azeri capital Baku on Sunday to demand that the government resign if it refuses to hold a re-run of the November 6 parliamentary elections.

11 Nov 2005 REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Bookstore Bombing in Semdinli Turkey

Kurdish men light their candles with the flame of a torch during a rally in Semdinli, near the Iraqi border in southeastern Turkey, November 13, 2005. A Turkish court has charged a military sergeant and a former Kurdish rebel with involvement in last week's bombing of a bookstore in southeast Turkey, officials said on Sunday. Turkey's government, rattled by suspicions that members of the security forces may have acted outside the law, pledged a full probe into Wednesday's bombing which killed one person in Semdinli. The protesters are demanding for state officials not to keep the incident in the dark.

13 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Stringer

13 November 2005

Please Send Me Your Pictures

I am looking for pictures of people, places, things which would fit within the context of this web log- which pretty much covers everything. Please e-mail your jpeg photos to:, along with credit given to the photographer (which could be you or another), and a brief description of the image, and what makes it so meaningful to you. It must be meaningful or at least have a story to go along with it. ANYTHING GOES, with the exception of offensive or overly graphic blood and gore, but if you've been following the activity here, you'll know that I have a soft spot for babies, children, anything related to bicycling, woodworking, tools and machinery, middle east politics/events/terrorism, World Cup soccer, and Amerikan Turks, like myself. You are an Amerikan Turk when the following things apply to you:
  1. At least one of your parents is Turkish and/or was born/raised in Turkey.
  2. You speak/read/write English much better than you do Turkish.
  3. You feel caught in the middle of two cultures, two sets of values, two or more religions.

In the future, I am especially interested in posting pictures of amateur Turkish athletes like myself, (both in the US and abroad) regardless of their sport- anything from chess to ping-pong to badminton to basketball to swimming. Send me your pictures, some bio info, your name age location, your best results, your mentor/role models, whatever you're comfortable about seeing online here. Those who demonstrate that they're passionate about their sport will be profiled and featured here regularly. If this isn't you, it might be someone you know!

Airbus A380- Something this large should be flightless

Is it just me or does this humongous aircraft look a if it has no business being up there? Great picture of a 600 person aluminum casket traveling 600 mph at an altitide of about 600 meters. Yes, I am terrified of flying and avoid all unnecessary air travel. I don't know anymore whether I feel safer in a jumbo jet or in a turbo-prop puddle-jumper. I think back to the times I went flying with a 17 year old girl in high school who had her pilot's license, just me and her in her dad's Cessna over the finger lakes of NY. I took the controls a few times. What was I thinking?

The Airbus A380 flies over the Sydney Harbour November 13, 2005. The French-made double decker jet, the largest passenger jet in the world, has been bought by Qantas and is part of the airline's 85th anniversary celebrations. Reuters/Ho

No Subject 3

Expecting me to ramble about my mental deficiencies? Read on... I had a long day Friday, traveling across CT to check on my projects, coordinate installation forces, schedule deliveries and argue matters with my customers, fruitlessly. (Pictures of Hartford HS at right, completed work) I was so tired by the time I got home, but we went out to walk around the mall after I got a little bit of rest. We topped it off with a late night visit with some close friends. Today we're frustrated not only that Turkey lost 2-0 against Switzerland, but also that DFH (our Turkish TV satellite provider) didn't televise the game for whatever reason. I was craving pad thai so we went to a nice restaurant for dinner. As ever, Reis kept us on our toes the whole time. We're so proud- tonight he counted to ten in Spanish, completely without any prompting or help from me. He can now count to ten in three languages. Not bad for a 26 month old baby. As for me, I'm thinking about next season on the bike, and how to go about preparing. Going to Bally's for sport and exercise is a MUST, as is riding the bike indoors and out as weather permits. I need some new clothing though- I don't have any booties, gloves or leg warmers. That's $200 right there. I'll check ebay to save some dough. Someone left a note in our mailbox expressing interest in one of our four cars- the Audi 100CS Quattro- the same one I bought on impulse 2 years ago and have hardly ever driven. What was I thinking? Wish I still had my 1988 Audi 80- that car was indestructible. I gave it away when the alternator quit and Pep Boys sold me a generic replacement requiring mods in order for it to be installed. I bought that car for $800 and drove it for 2 years. Last I drove it it had 190k miles and ran perfectly. I bought the 100CS thinking I was replacing the 80, but there's no comparison. This 100CS is a tank with an automatic tranny, the 80 was a much smaller, fun to drive stick-shift. My next "pet" car will be a VW Corrado. I'd better call that guy and sell him the car. He left me a voice message too. Reis is stirring restlessly in his crib, threatening to awaken and cry. It's almost 2:00 am and per usual I am at my heightened state of awareness. Hopefully the "Old Hag" doesn't visit again tonight. Two nights ago, I had another bout with sleep paralysis, this time, repeatedly over a four hour span. Kept falling asleep and awakening with the inability to move or speak. I should have my head examined, but I already know that it's a chemical imbalance with nothing to do with spirits, demons or the supernatural. Even so, I always worry I will die in my sleep one day because of it...

Movie Review: WALK ON WATER directed by Eytan Fox

We stopped at Hollywood video tonight hoping to rent Cinderella Man, but apparently it's not released yet. So instead I rented MILLION DOLLAR BABY and WALK ON WATER. The latter being a foreign film produced mostly in Israel and Berlin. The storyline was somwhat thin, so this is hardly an epic. The characters were uninteresting overall, but all were pretty like-able people. The movie starts out in Turkey, which came as a surprise. I don't want to dismiss the movie entirely because we rather enjoyed it, but ironically, it was the Berliner Knut Berger who stole the show. He's the gay brother of a young woman who has moved to Israel, to a kibbutz, upon discovering a secret about her family. Knut's character visits her from Germany to try and persuade her to return and make nice with their parents, from whom she's estranged. Un-beknownst (sp?) to both, Lior Ashkenazi's character is a Mossad agent posing as their tour guide, whose mission is to uncover the secrets of their family and take out a suspected target. In the process, there's some gay/hetero bonding, some brief nudity, a scene in a gay bar in Israel, a street fight in Berlin and a group of elitist Berliners dancing to Hebrew music. I won't give away the predictable endings of this story. There's one curve ball in there that had me scratching my head. The character played by Carolina Peters (the sister) was extremely cute. Don't regret renting it or recommending it to others, but I file this away as one of those "once is enough" films. I give it a 9.5 for cast and originality, but a 6.5 for execution and screenplay. It would have been nice to see a little bit more of the events preceding the story that is told, or to see some more character depth and emotion. Still, it shows some great scenery from Israel and addresses some very strong social and moral issues- ones which aren't so easy to deliver.

12 November 2005

Ataturk- 67th Anniversary of his death Nov 10 2005

Portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, decorates the main gate of Dolmabahce Palace where he died in 1938, as a Turkish soldier stands guard during a commemoration ceremony for the 67th anniversary of his death, in Istanbul November 10, 2005. Turks observed today a minute silence to commemorate the death of Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first president.

10 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Grand Theft Auto

I was awakened by the sound of a car idling erratically. I peered out the window at 5:00 to find that a late model Mazda had struck a boulder at one corner of our property line, at the end of our drive way. After quickly getting dressed, I walked out to the car hoping not to find anyone inside- both airbags had engaged. After realizing that this was either a stolen vehicle, abandoned by it's thief, or a vehicle left behind by a frightened drunk driver, I called the police. They arrived within minutes and questioned me. Needless to say, as seen in the picture, I couldn't leave for work until the tow truck arrived and removed the car- it blocked my driveway almost completely. A strange start to a very long and exhaustive day. I ended up arriving late to my 7:00 am appt in Hartford, by about 2 hours. I took the pictures to prove that my excuse was for real.

10 November 2005

No Subject 2

Feeling less than thrilled about things lately. Wake me up when winter ends. Sick things are happening the world over, as they have ever been. You don't need to look hard to find them. The ignorance of the typical American is astounding. Finding one who can hold a conversation is rare, for me. We're living such cushy lives, so insulated from danger and terror and bombs and famine and starvation. It sickens me to hear any American complain about ANYTHING whatsoever. If I were a violent person better than half of the people I meet would be picking their teeth up off the ground, not knowing what hit them. If I were an unkind person, the rest of who I meet would be verbally assaulted for their stupidity, vanity, consumerism, apathy, ignorance, selfishness and myopea. The rare exceptions to the above, are those who I call friends. It's not a privilege to be my friend, it's an achievement, because I am very hard to get along with, very hard to understand. Only those who have cracked the code and who are tolerant of my bullshit are ever around me. One would conclude that I hate everyone, even myself, but nothing could be farther from the truth. That's why my head feels so disconnected from my body sometimes. I like to believe that I have a huge heart. My head on the other hand keeps it in check. More like in solitary confinement. I'm not being hard on myself or beating myself up, just awakening to my many character flaws, trying to isolate them and define them and decide whether to kill them off one at a time, or not. My brain dumps are never pretty. Here's one I'd like to flush, but you can't run from who you are, can you? This is raw un-diluted thought pattern reaching the tips of my fingers and showing on the computer screen. Let's see if I like this post in the morning... Check back later to find out, it might be gone, but I doubt it. That would be a waste.

Protesters to al-Zarqawi: 'Burn in hell'

Three terror bombings that killed at least 56 people at three hotels in Jordan's capital sparked furious protests against al Qaeda today after a Web site carried a claim that the group was behind the attacks. The Associated Press reported that hundreds of angry Jordanians rallied in Amman shouting, "Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!"

Jordanian boys shout slogans against al Qaeda.

No Subject

Winter sure came upon us quickly. It's NIGHT by the time I leave work. I'm not complaining though. As much as I love the summer, a change of seasons is a necessary thing. Now it's raining miserably outside. My day never really had any good energy, I was out of my groove and struggling to focus. I'm thinking about things which don't really lead me anywhere, they kind of trail off and fade away. Maybe it's time for a vacation. The other day it was announced that there would be no salary increases until after the new year. So be it- I may ask for another week's vacation before New Year as a consolation. I burned through all three weeks of my vacation time before the end of May... Whatever. Lots of people died horrible deaths today in Jordan, and in Iraq. Hundreds are wounded, many critically. It's sad and confusing to this Amerikan Turk. I'm desensitized and I don't want to be like that, but clearly it has affected my mood somewhat. Most all explosions by suicide bombers are perpetrated by so-called "Muslims". Each report of the senseless death and destruction takes something out of me, and I don't know exactly what. When it's all gone completely maybe I'll know what it is. A co-worker of mine is leaving our company in two weeks. That was a buzz-kill too. I'm in need of a boost to my motivation and enthusiasm. What would do the trick? What would cheer me up? A change of seasons is nice, but I miss summer already... Sorry for being such a stick in the mud.

08 November 2005

This Is Where I Work

Lately I've been posting a lot of news reports and very little about myself, which is as it should be I think. Let me give a Reader's Digest version of the recent aspects of my world:
1. Bike Racing- completely back-burnered since I had my last sinus infection in September. I raced at Wells Ave and dropped out because of it. The following week I was forced to skip the final road race of the season, the Jamestown Classic. Since that time I have put on a few pounds but soon I'll be at Bally's a few times a week to lift weights and crush my friend Kaan Duru at raquetball. I can't wait to hear his swearing and cursing each time he faults, ball after ball. When you hear it echo in a raquetball court at 6:15 am (we play before work), it makes you laugh.
2. Work- I am managing the same eight projects as I have had all summer. I have installation forces at four of them: Woburn HS, Sheehan HS, Hartford HS and Glastonbury HS. I have millwork in production for all but two of them including all of the above plus Wachusett HS and Brown University Life Science. I have one job severely delayed by the contractor due to roofing issues and soil problems (Dedham MS). And I have one that isn't even in production yet and doesn't start delivering until May (New Canaan HS). In all, about $6.5 million worth of woodworking and casework projects. I am bored out of my mind with these jobs. Above you see the corner of my office where I keep my mess. The other corner is full of blueprints and shop drawings. Yes that's Donald Trump sitting atop my book shelf, with a vintage SEARS R/C jeep in mint condition. Donald is too big to fit- I tried. Not pictured- my $1000 Herman Miller Aeron chair. I treated myself to one after I was hired for this position a year ago this past October.
3. Home- Our house is still on the market after two price reductions. We had a very promising showing over the weekend but no offers. Meanwhile, the home we have our eye on is still available. The day we get an offer for this place, we are making our offer on THAT place. Our kitchen is completely remodeled, except for some minor painting and touch-up. Next I need to do quite a bit of electrical work and lighting enhancements.
4. Social- We are totally out of the loop socially. We see just a few couples in our area regularly. The Turkish American Cultural Society of Rhode Island despises me for sharing views which don't agree with most. (I am one of the founders and the first/past VP of the organization) We've basically given up on certain people who used to be our friends, pruning them from our lives like dead branches. Fall is a good time for this I suppose. It's sad but true.

Great Idea

Toyota/Citizen key watch:This fall in Japan, Toyota is scheduled to release a wristwatch that doubles as an electronic key for its Crown car model. The gadget, developed with watchmaker Citizen, looks like an ordinary high-end watch, but it unlocks the door of the Toyota Crown when the wearer grabs the handle. A button on the side of the watch allows for keyless power locking and unlocking.

Turkish designed Nokia 888 communicator concept phone

Nokia 888 phone

It may not be coming to a retailer anytime soon, but the Nokia 888 communicator concept phone is making headlines in design and communications industry journals. Designed by Turkish student Tamer Nakisci for the Nokia Benelux Open Design Awards, this concept includes a malleable interface. The ability to twist and bend the phone into many shapes, even a wristband, means users can carry the phone on their wrist or clipped onto other devices.

Leftist University Students in Ankara Turkey

A demonstrator whose face bleeds shouts slogans while he is detained by riot police officers during clashes in Ankara November 7, 2005. Leftist university students clashed with police amid hurling stones and tear gas shot by riot police as they were protesting against the country's High Education Board in the country's capital on Monday. 07 Nov 2005 REUTERS/Stringer

07 November 2005

Father says child's spirit is alive in 'every Israeli'

Slain Palestinian boy's organs donated

Monday, November 7, 2005; Posted: 11:02 p.m. EST (04:02 GMT)

NABLUS, West Bank (AP) -- The father of a Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli soldiers said Monday he believes his son's spirit is alive in "every Israeli" after donating the boy's organs to Israelis waiting for transplants.

This article is a must-read. Click on the title above.

06 November 2005

Man's Best Friend, or Beast With Bipolar Disorder? PITBULLS.

You read about it occasionally. Pit bull kills owner. Pit bulls rip toddler to pieces. Pit bulls attack grandma. Pit bulls go on rampage.

Last summer I was out doing errands and I saw a local man walking his pit bull, one hand gripping it's leash. His other hand was pushing the stroller carrying his 1-2 year old child. I wanted to stop, get out of the car, and tell him in no uncertain terms what a complete DICK he was. Were it not for his dog being there, and the need to avoid agitating it, I might have got into fisticuffs with him, that's how strongly I felt about it. Enough said? Click on the title for the latest reason to euthanize every single one of these unstable and unpredictable creatures.

Mark Stockwell at the Jamestown Classic for Colavita

I skipped this race and regret it, but the weather was shit on that day, and I catch colds easy. Mark was the one who processed our team photo and sent me and others a free 8x10 print of it. Thanks Mark for the picture and for sending me this picture too.

Looking forward to a great season next year at Colavita Racing. It will the first season in 10+ years where I didn't take the previous season completely off the bike, so I have high hopes for 2006. If I limit my weight gain this winter and play racquetball regularly and lift weights, I'll be a serious contender in the 35+ class, which I am now eligible for.

I Need To Get This Off of My Chest- Sleep Paralysis

Last night I went to bed at exactly 11:37 pm. Ten hours later, I awoke at 11:52 PM sweating and panting and exhausted. The events of those 15 minutes in real time, or 10 hours in another dimension, were rather frightening.

Upon falling asleep, I started dreaming immediately- mostly it was myself and a group of friends, most of which I have never seen before, meeting at some kind of restaurant for the super-rich. The next thing I knew, I am half awake and feeling sensations of being lifted off of the bed. I think I was about 10-12" off of the bed when I started to spin very fast- longitudally from head to toe, as though a skewer had been thrust through my skull and had emerged at the other end of my torso. This was no doubt very frightening, but also gave the feeling of being completely free to hover, levitate or fly at will. I was too afraid to try. The spinning stopped and I found myself back down on the bed, except that now I felt completely paralyzed. My eyes were open, or the belief that they were open was there. I couldn't move a muscle, not even twitch an eyebrow. I also couldn't speak or cry out, as if my mouth was glued shut or a hand was covering it with great force. Next, there was a strong weight or pressure upon my chest, giving the feeling of being smothered, like I would eventally end up being punched through the bed and onto the floor. In front of me I could see the faint outline of a presence of some sort, but not clearly. It resembled something glowing, like it was going to eventually appear fully. It glistened like the creature in the movie "The Abyss". Shiny and metallic. Finally I started to put up a fight- I had had enough of this terror and wanted to regain control of my body and wake up. I eventually got my motor skills back and rolled onto my side, ever more tired than when I first lay down. Only now I was afraid to go back to sleep for about 1/2 hour. This has been happening to me since Iwas about 15. Mostly upon falling asleep, and usually at the tail end of a very bizarre or frightening dream. Below are some informative sites which attempt to explain this phenomenon. If you have ever experienced this I would love to hear from you:
Or try googling "sleep paralysis" for a huge selection of links.

05 November 2005

Auction Results

Well today was a disappointment. I usually spend about $1000 at this particular auction but today, the inventory just wasn't too great, and there was a big turn-out bidding on the limited amount of attractive lots. I spent well under $200 and left before the auction was even completed. Didn't get anything I really wanted. The chisel lots were going for crazy money. Chisels are my favorite to buy and sell- you get 8-12 chisels in a lot for about $40, and then sell them one at a time for up to $80 a piece, plus they're very easy to pack and ship. Today it wasn't possible to get any of those lots for under $100 for whatever reason. Oh well. The next auction is in March and people probably were willing to pay more for that reason- to get enough inventory to last until then.


Today's the day! One of my hobbies is to buy old woodworking tools at auction and re-sell them for a profit. Last year, I was able to fund our entire vacation budget with the money we made. (We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Antalya for a week). Sure it's time consuming and messy (many tools need a good cleaning or other restoration) but it's always a beautiful thing to do something you LOVE and MAKE MONEY while you're at it. Occasionally I find a tool that I refuse to part with and it goes into my personal 'stash. Maybe later I'll post a few pics of the finer pieces I have bought today, and I'll even share how much I paid versus how much it sold for. I'm going to do it a little differently this time around. Instead of clutering up our garage with my inventory, I am moving operations into the basement, where my wife never sets foot. Yup my ebay account is about to come back to life. (Ebru cringes as she reads this, knowing it's going to take up a lot of my spare time- but when you consider that it now costs $500+ to fill up our heating oil tank, it puts things into perspective) Wish me luck!

Click on the title above for the most informative website about Stanley Tools, ever created.

04 November 2005

Blinding Flash of the Obvious

Carter: Americans were misled on war
Friday, November 4, 2005; Posted: 10:24 p.m. EST (03:24 GMT)
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday that there isn't "any doubt" the American people were misled about the war in Iraq and that President George Bush's policy on the war is a "radical departure from the policies of any president."

In an interview with CNN, Carter addressed some of the comments made in his new book, "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis." In the book he says the Bush administration was determined to attack Iraq using "false and distorted claims after 9/11."
Carter said the Bush administration spoke of mushroom clouds, weapons of mass destruction and the threat of thousands of Americans dying to garner support for the war. No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. (Watch Carter's interview -- 8:33)

Okay now I will weigh in on this issue. First of all, I salute President Carter with complete and utter respect for his post-White House efforts and successes.
Saddam Hussein is what the Iraqi people NEEDED. As with the beginning of the modern state of Turkey, sometimes a dictator is the only kind of leader capable of keeping the masses under control. To compare Saddam to Ataturk would be an affront, of course, but the general idea is there for you to ponder. The unfortunate state of Iraq and it's people were oppressed and abused, there is no doubt. We know of the mass killings, executions and torture. Everyone understands that life was not good under Saddam and his cronies. But what is clearly WORSE than a dictator like Saddam, is the islamic extremists who are now free to kill, maim, kidnap and blow-up defenseless civilians, completely unfettered. How many times a day do we hear the word "insurgent" lately? How many times did we hear of it before the war? How many news reports of suicide bombs do we hear per week lately? How many were there before the war?

Like many of you, I wish Iraq was never invaded, even if it means that Saddam was still in power. Apparently it takes a murderous lunatic to keep suicidal lunatics under control. So be it! Democracy and US force will never control it, and neither will Iraq's own security forces. An unstable country has been made far far more unstable. Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis all have designs of their own for the former state of Iraq. Whispers of "kurdistan" are heard here and there, threatening the stability of surrounding states, especially Turkey where many Kurds call home. The same Kurds who from the other side of their mouths spit on the flag which protects them from the evil that is now rampant in Iraq. If a hell exists, I hope the entire Bush Administration ends up there to account for the un-provoked invasion of Iraq and for causing such un-necessary death and misery for so many millions. It's little wonder that the United States is so hated throughout the world. As for Turkey, it brings all Turks great pride and joy to know that we refused to allow our country to be a platform used for Bush's crusade against imaginary threats.

Evimizin Sonbahar Pencere Goruntuleri

Revenge is a Dish Best Served COLD

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan Kofi Annan has canceled his forthcoming trip to Tehran after the Iranian president's call to "wipe Israel Israel off the map," the United Nations United Nations said on Friday.

03 November 2005

Happy Bayram Wishes to One and All

Tonight after a very hard day at the office I went home and we all got ready to out for a nice dinner at Bay Leaves Restaurant in North Kingstown, RI- a place we usually visit only on special occasions such as today. There we met Mike, Laima, Kaan and Suzan (L to R) and together we treated ourselves to superb Turkish food and wine. The owners, Kamer and Veysel were as attentive and gracious as ever. There was a little bit of sticker shock when the bill came, but that's no surprise coming from one who usually does the McDonald's $1 menu for a quick bite. We rarely go to the better restaurants, but when we do we're very discriminating, and Bay Leaves suits us perfectly. Happy Bayram everyone.