America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

28 June 2006

Germ Invasion in my Head

I have a sinus infection and a mild fever. The body aches all over. Feeling lifeless and exhausted.. Must travel all day tomorrow. Rain is forecast. Riding bike with a bad ankle. Beginning to suspect a dislocated joint in the foot. Work sucks. Two days until vacation. Not excited, especially because I'm not feeling 100%. The death spiral began with the sprained ankle, nine days ago. Trying to hold onto fitness for the bike without aggravating ankle too much. Should probably have a brace on it, immobilize it. But I'm a stubborn idiot who hates to pay co-pays only to be told I need to rest and stay off of it. Duh. I already know that. All I want is an x-ray for peace of mind. No time though. Stuffing 5 days of work into the next two days is hard enough. Man my head is congested. Feeling same as last night, but I felt great this morning. Let's hope tomorrow morning is a repeat. I'm probably severely under-rested. Grrrrr. I hate feeling weak. Now my ears don't hear so well. And yes, wife Ebru has the same symptoms. G-d help us.

26 June 2006

A long overdue composite round-up of Turkish blogs

Hakan Aydin lives up north near Boston, I reckon..making him the closest to me here in Providence besides perhaps Captain Ahmet.. This week Hakan offers a quiz regarding the voting right of women. It's not the first answer which will astonish you, but the ones which follow.. If you report that you got all of the answers correct, we won't believe you..

Celal at
Icarus Redeemed gives us a glimpse of the dark side of the earth. In another post of intrigue, we discover that yes, no valid justification exists which casts any doubt on the idea that gambling is a sin. It might sound like I was born in a barn or live in a cave, but my life to date has given me no exposure to any Turks who are anything other than Muslim. For this reason I am so happy to have Celal among us. Sorry to bird-dog you Celal, but I find it exhilerating to know that there are Turks of nearly all faiths throughout the world.

The Infidel finally gets off of his tookus and gives us something to cut our teeth on. He's all choked up over the goal which Argentina scored on Mexico the other night. I agree that sport (not only football) is one of the primary sources of joy for untold millions, ranking up there with children, music and even religion, depending upon flavor... But after laughter, come tears! Feeling joy is not habitual nor does it occur without just the right dose of stimuli. Why do we seem to be so hard-wired to feel pain, so often? Makes you wonder if joy is just an occasional short circuit..

Dr Ugur Akinci at
Turkish Torque has been MIA since May 6th! Come back! Please give us a sign that everything is ok in your world...

I don't know his name but the keeper of
Ziddiblog has come to life and is covering a lot of the World Cup soccer action. View pictures of this mysterious and handsome blogger here. (Gaahhh! it feels so WRONG for men to compliment the looks of other men.. Feel so unclean! UNCLEAN!) Seriously though he's a smart looking chap. Is he a member here? Better be!

Our friend Mustafa Akyol at
The White Path posts very recently about Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein, and salutes him for his "..very considerate criticism of the anti-Islamic propaganda carried out by the Syrian-born ex-Muslim psychiatrist Wafa Sultan." I recently bought Mr Akyol's book, Kurt Sorununu Yeniden Dusunmek (a relative traveling here picked it up for me in Turkey) and I am ashamed to admit that my Turkish comprehension is far too limited to enjoy it. It sits un-read on my book shelf alongside Metal Firtina. My dear wife Ebru has snatched it though and seems to be devouring it! See this is the price paid by Turks who were born in the United States! I feel like such a dunce.

Guys, I am so out of time, with so much more to cover... sorry to have to cut this short. I didn't realize it was already 12:30 AM!

Please show your love for
Erkan's Field Diary and pay a visit. Nobody tries harder to please his readers and no one does a better job of keeping us informed of the events unfolding in the homeland..

We may rise and fall.. but in the end... we'll meet our fate together!
-Creed

25 June 2006

Can-Do-Me-Nium

Sounds like an exotic mineral that is mined for it's aphrodesiac qualities. Or it sounds just plain obsene... Condominiums by definition are not very attractive investments. You own the right to occupy the space within the walls of your "unit". (More incidental dirty talk, sorry) and you own a percentage of the overall common land area. What you don't own.. (hehe) is a rake, a snow shovel, a broom, a leaf blower, a lawn mower, a chain saw, hedge clippers, a wet/dry vac, a tool belt, a table saw, an air compressor, pneumatic nail gun, saw horses, belt sander, a paint brush, or any of the responsibility to use any of the aforementioned utility objects...
Wife and I had some debate today about whether we used good judgment signing the purchase and sale agreement for our new can-do. She's still convinced we could live in a better location, with a better school system, in a more spacious single family home. True, true and true... but at the cost of adding about $100,000 to the mortgage note which we'd be signing, possibly double the property taxes and double the heating/cooling bill! If moving from this place anto another equally expensive home is going to cost us more money per month, why bother?? We wanted something brand new, in a better location, close to where I work, for less money and less monthly expense than this place that we're selling! I think this is more of a man/woman or mars/venus issue.. Generally speaking, men are more likely to "stay the course" of a decision, with a lot less self-doubt about whether the decision was a good one.. The chauvenist in me shines through, I know.. Deal with it.
Watching Cinderella Man (for the 2nd time) tonight, I was awe struck by the way Renee Zellweger's character stood by her man, the way she supported and expressed her belief in her man's ability. Almost made you wish you lived back in those days, when women were less assertive, more attentive, less combative, more submissive, less "all-knowing", more respectful, etc, etc.. A woman who dismisses, humiliates, restricts, impedes, or otherwise just dis-believes in her man's dreams, goals and ambitions, is just spreading poison in her own garden, killing the harvest never mind reaping it... There was a line in the movie spoken by Jimmy's manager's wife which rang so true:

"...We have to wait for them to fix everything. And every day... they feel like they're failing us..."
And this just choked me up with... I don't know.. Jealousy?:

Zellweger: "You can't win without me behind you."
Crowe: "That's what I've been trying to tell you."

It's 3:00 am and I should be asleep. My race begins in 6-1/2 hours. Don't know why I got up in the first place except that my stomach was growling for some food, and my mind heavy with a fog which I needed to clear... Good night.

23 June 2006

Reis Ozan Altinbasak wants to say "Hi"


The weekend is here, not a moment too soon. I am on the edge of an abyss known as burn-out and people at work who KNOW I am deprived of a vacation for the past 13 months seem to be doing the only thing which makes them feel better about their pitiful selves: exploit weakness. I won't name names. They know who they are and their lack of a spine has been duly noted...

My ankle seems much better. I rode on the bike path yesterday after work. Caught up to a person who used to race long ago. This injury has stolen a lot of strength from me because I was out of breath by the time I caught this 'has-been' fellow with the bike from the 1980s.. We chatted for a few miles while he had me pegged in 'half wheel hell'. Surprised me really. I've either lost a lot of form, very suddenly, or the ankle has really sucked my energy.. I've been training on my racing wheels for a few weeks. With my training wheels on yesterday (they're much heavier, clinchers instead of tubular tires) it felt like I had two flats. Proves that $1000 wheels with $100 tires are worth the dough..

Today we picked the colors for the cabinets, carpet, granite counters of our new condo.. What a thrill to see a brand new home being constructed for you before your eyes.. No offers on this place yet, though. Tomorrow we meet a new realtor who comes highly recommended. It will be sad to let our current agent go. He's done all he could for the past ten months, except SELL! It's time for some new blood to give it a try.

I'm all signed up for Sunday's Cox Charities race in downtown Providence- the masters 35+ event. Looks like rain on Sunday will make it a dangerous and frightening race. The field limit of 125 riders has been filled I believe. That's the equivalent of 20,000 pounds of flesh and metal flying around a one mile course doing 30 mph. In a span of about 50 minutes, an aggregate 125,000 calories will be expended. 125 hearts will each beat a total of about 8000 times, 1 million beats all-together. Wish me and my heart and my legs and my ankle good luck. I'd like to go to work Monday without a new injury to explain..

22 June 2006

Melt-down at Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group

We are all talking about how much talking we should or shouldn't be doing! I'm loving this.

We're also debating whether we should allow any use of the Turkish language, or whether we should allow casual conversation and discussion...

It's pretty clear that everyone marches to a different drum beat. What's great about the past couple of days is that all or most of our core blogging members are throwing their hats in the ring, showing some of their true colors for a change. (I don't mean that in a bad way at all)
We're getting better acquainted and even becoming 'cyber-friends', thanks to our two common denominators: we're all bloggers and we're all tied to Turkey in some way...

Regrettably, we lost a member or two in the fall-out, and there is one in particular who I hope will return to us. .. Oh well, onward and upward. We're not the largest Yahoo Group, that's for sure.. But we more than make up for it with our collective wit, wisdom, knowledge and of course our aggregate contribution amount to the blogosphere. Lots of horse power in here!

Membership is open to anyone, whether you are a blogger or not:
Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group
Don't be a weenie. Join now and see if our content pleases you.

21 June 2006

Sprained Ankle Maybe Not As Bad As I Feared

I did a light recovery bike ride yesterday after work and it was encouraging... I think that racing this weekend is doubtful, but my swollen ankle was in a lot less pain while riding the bike, as compared to just plain walking. I read at a medical site that riding a bicycle (not with intensity) is good therapy for keeping the ankle flexible and helping rid the swollen area of fluids. Yesterday I applied very little pressure onto the bike pedals, and I tried to ride out of the saddle for a little bit. It seems as thought the slightly added discomfort can be controlled with pain medication and that my injury isn't aggravated with the exertion. What hurts the most is climbing and descending stairs. It's too early to be testing the joint, I know, but I was anxious to evaluate it. July 8th and 9th is a huge race weekend for me... I need to be in top form by that time, only 2-1/2 weeks from now. By the way, it is absolutely beautiful outside, on this first day of Summer. I hope that all New Englanders enjoy it, summer's taken a long time to arrive this year.

19 June 2006

The One Time You Don't Use 'em, You're Screwed

I took a bad fall at a construction site today and twisted my ankle. I've been to this project 25 times in the past 18 months... ALWAYS wore my steel toe boots and hard hat. But not today... It was so damn hot and humid out that I got lazy and went inside with my Adidas tennis shoes on. There was a pile of aluminum diffuser grilles which I needed to get out of there, so I'm carrying them to the bed of my pick-up truck, 8-10 at a time. Truck was parked right next to a granite curb about 10" high. It happened so fast I didn't know what hit me. I'm reaching out with my right foot to step down off the curb (while carrying 50 pounds worth of grilles) and the next thing I know I'm on the ground with my right foot twisted in an un-natural position. It hurt like hell and I immediately retreated to the a/c cooled cab of my truck to check my foot... It could have been a lot worse- I could have cut myself on the grilles I was carrying, I could have hurt my knee (which broke my fall to an extent), all kinds of other crap could have happened to me. Well I'm limping now and took the day off the bike. Hoping to do a test ride tomorrow to see if it's possible to race this weekend. Was planning to race the Cox Charities Cycling Classic on Sunday, in the Professional event, which has a purse of $15,000 and pays the top 25 finishers... My ankle needs to be 100% by Friday for me to part with a $35 entry fee.
The moral of the story is this: ALWAYS wear those damn steel toe boots, no matter what! They might have saved my ankle from getting so twisted..

18 June 2006

Cyclonauts Criterium @ Stafford Motor Speedway

My first time at this venue was a trial by fire. I did the 30+ event yesterday, which is held on the Stafford Motor Speedway. Our average speed was 27.6 mph (that's 44.4 km/hour!). With three laps to go, someone locked up his back wheel and started to fish-tail into the corner, taking out two other racers before hitting the deck himself. Me? I'm directly behind the carnage, deciding whether to hop over the casualties, hit the brakes, or swerve wide (potentially hooking the riders behind me). I ended up going left, but not before a split second glance over my shoulder. Of course I spent the next two laps in the red zone, blowing my wad to catch back up to the tail of the field, which at this point, has opened up the throttle in preparation for the final sprint. I coasted across the line, demoralized in 35th place (out of 60 entrants- only 38 finished!) Full results here
Here's a cool picture my cousin Serkay Sert took of the field- I'm in blue and yellow, yellow bike. I'm off to Wells Ave! Happy Father's Day!

16 June 2006

New Britain Criterium 2005


I like this picture of me. A rare snapshot that is crisp and clear. Hard to achieve with subjects traveling 30+ mph!

15 June 2006

An active brain is a terrible thing to waste

I can't sleep. It's 12:40 AM and moments ago I was chasing moths in our bedroom- one the size of my hand- which wouldn't stop fluttering. Wifey left a window open and the screen wasn't shut... Then our son awoke and now he's in our bed with us. I'm wide awake with a lot on my mind. Work has consumed me these past few weeks. I am on a different playing field than usual, in a reactive state with all of my projects, trying like hell to re-gain control... Riding home today from work, people were getting in my way on the bike path. Over-taking a pair of slow poke bicyclists is dicey. They never hear my calls of "Left!" or "Passing on the left!". Even the schmucks with mirrors don't see me coming, but when I pass them I usually mumble something like "use your G-d damned mirror douchebag". I'm usually motoring at about 25 mph when I come across these folks doing about 10 mph. Then there are the walkers- two abreast and oblivious to what's coming up from behind. That's why walkers are supposed to go on the left, but they never do. Then there are the little kids who meander aimlessly across the bike path, left to right, obstructing me and in danger of getting hurt. If I struck a small child or a dog doing 25 mph, I'll probably fall but survive, but they will be sent to the hospital or die. Roller bladers and people walking their dogs are another nuisance... Why own a dog the size of a squirrel? Doesn't make any sense. If I own a dog, it had better be big enough to defend itself from other dogs, and protect me too. Parents riding with their kids is dangerous, especially when none of them are ever wearing a helmet. I've scolded my fair share of kids and parents about this. Then there's that g-d damned tunnel- the one with lights that don't ever work, the one where some assholes left a 4x4 piece of wood in the center three years ago, which I struck in the pitch black darkness and fell, hard, ending my 2003 season. I should have sued the town while I had the chance. I resolve to petition the town to get those f-ing lights turned on, 24/7. And drivers, you're no prize. When I approach an intersection on the bike path, I decide to stop and wait for a reason: because I can hear and see you coming. Sometimes I'll stop, and here's a lone car which decides, after I've stopped, to let me pass. I wave them on while I curse under my breath. I'M ALREADY STOPPED, ASSHOLE! I don't need you to stop, I need you to KEEP GOING! I know they're trying to be nice, but if I've already stopped, why do they bother? I'm not a circus animal on parade... Grrrrr. I'm clearly the biggest asshole on the bike path, acting like I own it and all. Did I mention that teen age punks like to break glass bottles on the path? Yup, everyday there's a new patch of broken glass to dodge. If ever I caught these m-f-ers it would be a bad day for them, mark my words... Once I caught some kids lighting a fire in the underpass- stopped and yelled at them- they fled. Last week some smart alec put a railroad tie across the middle of the path, which I stopped and removed. The graffiti these kids spray paint onto the road is pretty obcene too. Sometimes I hate the douch-bag white trash teen agers who lurk on my path. They do nothing but get in the way and obviously vandalize it. Feeling better now that this shit is off my chest. This weekend if Fathers Day. If I have my way I'll be racing in CT on Sat and at Wells Ave on Sunday, if the weather holds, and if I'm not hospitalized by a bike path collision with some clueless dipshit who's deaf dumb and blind.

14 June 2006

Protest Turns to Riot in Ankara: Poor Prison Conditions

Leftist protesters clash with Turkish riot police in central Ankara June 13, 2006. Turkish police charged baton and sprayed tear gas to disperse a leftist group who tried to break through a police barricade to march towards parliament in Ankara on Tuesday. Demonstrators including relatives of inmates were protesting against the conditions in the high security prisons. (TURKEY)13 Jun 2006 REUTERS/Anatolian

12 June 2006

Good shot Fatih

Turkish flag flutters behind a cross on the roof of Greek orthodox patriarchal church of Aya Yorgi (St. George) in Istanbul June 11, 2006. (TURKEY) 11 Jun 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

Race Report: Nutmeg and Kieth Berger Criterium

This will be cut short as I am at work. I raced in four total events this weekend, the highlight of which was my 18th place at the 35+ Kieth Berger Criterium on Sunday. My team mate Matthew Kressy took first place... A good weekend overall for our team, I'm a little disappointed in myself for not placing better than I did, but hey any two sunny days of racing which are free of crashes or other mishaps, is a good thing. Four 20 mile criteriums in two days, averaging 26-27 miles an hour have turned my legs into veined marble! I need a recovery ride and a good stretch.

09 June 2006

Resting Heart Rate: The Closer to Zero, The Better

Sounds creepy, doesn't it? It's true though, for virtually all endurance athletes: runners, cyclists, xc skiiers, swimmers et al.. The reasoning is pretty straight-forward. Endurance athletes strengthen their hearts and they expand their lungs and circulatory vessels by way of prolonged and regular exertion (exercise or training). In the process, they also "teach" their bodies to be efficient, to do "more with less" (oxygen). This occurs at the cellular level. Hence, as the body's efficiency improves, the muscles require less and less oxygen to produce the same energy output. Oxygen is carried to the muscles in blood vessels which have grown a little bit in size, making the blood flow more efficiently. When the volume of oxygen enriched blood required by the efficient muscles decreases (a positive effect of exercise) the heart can do the same job with fewer beats. Since the heart and blood vessels are also enhanced in a trained athlete, the diminished oxygen requirement compounds the heart's "slow-down". For these reasons, athletes such as Lance Armstrong have resting heart rates in the 40's even in the high 30s. ("Resting heart rate" usually means the groggy moments right after waking up in the morning)
Last night I wore my Polar heart rate monitor to bed and recorded my heartbeat for the night. This morning when I checked the results, the average heart rate during my sleep was 58, and for much of the time, my heart rate was in the 48-52 range. It spiked about 6-8 times to the 70s for whatever reason... One intersting thing I noticed is that in the hour or so after I hit the 'snooze' button on the alarm clock, my heart rate dropped noticably lower. Why am I not surprised?
So hopefully I've explained why a lower heart rate is a desirable result of fitness training for any athlete. In addition to being an overall indication of fitness, it's also a good way to judge whether an athlete is rested or over-trained. An elevated resting heart rate means the body is tired and/or in repair from the 'controlled injury' which is inflicted in training.

08 June 2006

Nose to the Grindstone

Two days since I rode my bike, unless I ride indoors on the trainer tonight... I'm racing this weekend after all, so a light week of training might give me a mini-peak on Sat and Sun. I am so incredibly buried at work, it's overwhelming me to the point of despair. Digging out of this hole is going to take at least another week. Maybe I'll take my vacation week of July 4th- that would be sweet. We finally have a couple of appointments to see our house (which is on the market) and we're having an open house on Saturday. That condo we want could slip from our fingers if we don't sell this place soon... Selling a home is so damned stressful. The last place we sold received an offer within two weeks. Yeah.. the real estate bubble has sprung a leak for sure.

06 June 2006

Hakan Yalincak: The Art of Grift

Whiz kid admits $7 million scam
Mother also faces charges in scheme to bilk investors
Tuesday, June 6, 2006; Posted: 6:52 p.m. EDT (22:52 GMT)

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- A former New York University student pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud Tuesday, admitting he used his student ID and expertly forged documents to pose as the heir to a billionaire Turkish family and trick investors into pouring millions into a nonexistent hedge fund. Full article

Learn more about common "Confidence Tricks"

I've struck gold!: Mommy's Little Con Man

Boys Have All The Fun: Incentive to Aim


A toilet with a soccer pitch in it is seen at a gas station four days ahead of the World Cup,
which will be held in Germany, in Warsaw June 5, 2006. (POLAND)
05 Jun 2006 REUTERS/Katarina Stoltz

04 June 2006

...and we'll walk in the sun..til then tramps like us...

Yesterday I traveled to Connecticut and couldn't resist shooting this portrait of American excess while driving north on I-95. A Bentley and a Hummer, together worth at least $150,000. Last night I watched Being John Malkovich and I must say I was impressed, even with Cameron Diaz.. Rode my bike today in the pouring rain for 1-1/2 hours. Glad I did it because yesterday was a rest day and I hate skipping two days of training. Riding in the rain not only draws blank stares, it also builds character and cleanses the soul. Most drivers under-estimate my speed and make turns right in front of me. I almost crashed into two such dingleberries and verbally assaulted them in retaliation, not that they could hear me... It's still raining cats and dogs... Which reminds me, I found an excellent resource for the origins of every conceivable metaphor and phrase. Recommended reading, especially if English is your 2nd language. Our Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group (an online community of Turkish bloggers and their readers) has become a bit stagnant and I want to attract more members. Check it out and join if it interests you to be on the leading edge of Turkish blogs which are written using English.. Our home is still for sale and today we discovered a very nice condo we might like to buy. Try the link and take the 360 degree tour- invade the privacy of my home, go ahead. Tomorrow I'll race at Wells Ave, if only the rain would stop. I find myself in excellent form and want to make some people suffer.. I wish summer-time would stop playing "hard to get". Lastly, I received a call back from a career opportunity in California. I had sent a resume back in March and yesterday an e-mail arrived asking if I was still interested. I'd probably take the position for even money, considering the climatic advantages. I wish I could talk to some former New Englanders who have relocated to the Left Coast...

02 June 2006

The Candle Burns From Both Ends

Between work and cycling and family, I am spread very thin lately and for this reason haven't had time to contribute here for a few days. Today I embark on a 300 mile journey to southwest Connecticut and I'm just about to leave. It feels like I am behind the curve on every single project, but that's only because I judge myself mercilessly and my standards are set too high, almost un-reachable. So excuse me while I punch myself for being less than perfect. Everything always works out in the end and Tom Petty's wisdom always rings true:
"Yeah, I just catch myself wonderin, waitin, worryin
About some silly little things that dont add up to nothin."