America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

31 December 2006

U.S. troop deaths reach 3,000

• NEW: Soldier was wounded in Al Anbar province
• NEW: Bush: American will not have "died in vain"
• NEW: 3,000th soldier died Wednesday in Texas military hospital
Also: More than 22,000 other U.S. troops have been wounded in Iraq since the war began nearly four years ago.

Happy New Year- Happy Kurban Bayram

Hope to see you all here again in 2007. Many thanks for being a visitor here in 2006.
Have an excellent New Years Eve and Bayram. Here's a little card I prepared for ya..

Schoolhouse Rock

If you were a child during the seventies as I was, then the Emmy Award winning School House Rock™ cartoon series has a special place in your heart. I recently picked up the dvd for our son, containing every single one of these educational and entertaining pieces, which vary in topic from math to grammar, from to science to American history. Absolutely priceless hearing little Reis run around the house singing "Conjunction Junction". Buy the DVD here.
Here's something I stumbled upon while searching for the "Nouns" cartoon:

Animal Sacrifices Maim 1,400 in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Over a thousand Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in emergency wards on Sunday after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled animals. More

Defining Moment of 2006

Looking back upon the past year, particularly at my racing results, the 23rd place finish I earned at Topsfield stands out in my mind as the best day I had all season, possibly my peak. Seems pretty silly to be proud of a 23rd place finish, but when you consider that it was the first road race I've done since 1989 (I usually stick to criteriums), that it was a stacked field of pros, cat 1, 2 and 3s, and that my placing among fellow Cat 2 racers was 13th, I believe that that it's a successful performance. The other 2006 event which I'm happy about was my 6th place at Wells Ave on August 27th. True, it's just a training race, but it a large and prestigious one. This was the first time I had ever cracked the top six. Twelve months from now, I resolve to have much better results to brag about, I promise myself and I promise you.

Newest additions to Blogroll

NEW YORK MUHTARI Where has this blog been hiding? Lovely photographs of NYC..
Turkish Enchantress Gamze, I love that song. But who the hell is Ray Davies?
The Turkish Invasion gives us "Kill marks on Ladas". I hope those bicyclists were wearing helmets..
Mert Ulas (Turkce) Mert should be in the movies. A perfect Turkish version of Jim Carrey. His latest post is well, mmmm, how you say... 'carsaf gibi'? Grrrr. Proper Turkish sentences don't get to the point until the very last word, and that pisses me off.
Also don't miss: The Infidel's three part Turkish-Armenian debate...Part One...Part Two...Part Three.

30 December 2006

Shortlist of December 2006 Deaths

December 10, 2006: Augusto Pinochet, 91, ex-president of Chile, complications from heart attack.
December 14, 2006: Ahmet Ertegun, 83, Turkish-born co-founder of Atlantic Records, head injury from a fall at a Rolling Stones concert.
December 21, 2006: Saparmurat Niyazov, 66, President of Turkmenistan, cardiac arrest.
December 25, 2006: James Brown, 73, American rhythm and blues singer and bandleader, heart failure related to pneumonia.
December 26, 2006: Gerald Ford, 93, 38th President of the United States, natural causes.
December 30, 2006: Saddam Hussein, 69, former President of Iraq, execution by hanging.
Complete list of notable deaths in December 2006

29 December 2006

Saddam Hussein: Executed by Hanging

A sad day for the world... Saddam died because of an illegal invasion of Iraq. His overtures from Baghdad calling for last minute negotiations were dismissed by Bush and his lap dogs. Things could have been different. In the end, the asshole who is responsible for the Iraq invasion, for Iraq's disintegration, civil war, untold civilian deaths, Guantanamo, Abu Ghaib, and more US casualties than 9/11, goes scot free and no doubt pats himself on the back. Weapons of mass destruction? Nope. Al-Qaeda link? Nope. Threat to United States? Nope. Dictator? Check.. Iraq has become a total horror show, and Americans are footing the bill and taking the blame. The single person capable of controlling Iraq's masses, however brutal, has been murdered. Every execution is nothing less. We've lost a few giants in this 12th month of 2006.. But if you ask me, I believe the world has been sold a bill of goods when it comes to Saddam. The vacuum which now prevails in Iraq has set loose a hornet's nest of violent radicals and fundamentalists, all acting out in ways they have only dreamed of during Saddam's rule. His crimes and deficiencies fit on the head of a pin, compared to what the U.S. has done to the Iraqi people. A new leader, capable of uniting or at least controlling all of the ethnic and religious groups in Iraq, has yet to emerge from his/her mother's womb. Rest in peace.

Family Guy: Stewie Shows His True Colors

Click here to view in Italian

28 December 2006

Ata-sozu, anyone?

Amar Bakshi, a reader of the Washington Post blog 'PostGlobal', asks:
What is your favorite proverb or saying from where you live that you would want to share with the world? What does your proverb tell us about today? -
Before you high-tail it out of here to post your answer, please share it here first.

"The Monk": Amateur tv ad by Bora

Show some love for this Toyota commercial by viewing it, registering (very few fields required) and voting with a stab at the "Greenlight" button. Very clever, grasshopper.

27 December 2006

Former President Ford dies at 93

Story Highlights
• Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments
• Was only president never elected to vice president or president
• Survived by wife, three sons and a daughter
...all flags at half-staff tomorrow! I wonder.. has he ever been featured in The Simpsons? I thought so and this confirms it.. So does this. The words "Do you like nachos?.. and beer?.."" come to mind. Rest in peace, President Ford.

26 December 2006

Yes I am a greedy sell-out

The Amerikanturks Yahoo Group and the Amerikan Turks FORUM were created using considerable time, effort and even a bit of cash.. so I make no apologies for the recent enhancements which you see here. Today I intercepted a message at Amerikanturks Yahoo Group which broke all the rules: it was in Turkish, posted by a new member, offering both long distance service and a business opportunity. I had to reject the message to protect the members of the group.. But I wanted to help the messenger, so I wrote her a note explaining that I would sign up and promote the service here.
Will I make a few bucks? Hopefully. What I'm most thrilled about is that I figured out exactly where in my template I am supposed to insert the code for the banner! Yeah that blows my hair back more than anything else about this. That, and I like the way it separates each of my entries and gives them some contrast and definition. That said, it would be no skin off my nose if every other Turkish blogger out there did the same...

Time to go shop for a car (and a Portable DVR)

Yes the lease on my Honda Odyssey is up in a couple of months and I'm in the market for something new. Another Odyssey? Maybe a Toyota Sienna?. Or perhaps Chrysler Town & Country? Whatever it is, I'm sure it will cost me $400+ per month for the payment, plus about $50 a month a month in property tax plus about $75 a month for insurance... not to mention gas-up of about $200 a month.. Indeed, driving a new car in the US costs more than most Americans pay to rent an apartment, among other more heinous comparisons. How wrong is that?
Incidentally, nobody I know, no matter how much money they make, pays cash for their new vehicles. Americans would sooner eat Macaroni & Cheese everyday, or buy their clothing at the Salvation Army thrift shop, than give up their sweetly toxic smelling new rides. Too bad the new car high only lasts a few months.. Alas, we're conditioned to accept this life long burden on our finances as if it's an absolute necessity. I'm living proof.

Holy Crap- the system works!

Murat Aga is a little bit richer- his very first Google Adsense check has arrived today. Another few of these and I can afford to buy the helmet cam. Good things are coming my way..

25 December 2006

Soul 'Godfather' James Brown dies

• James Brown dies after being hospitalized with pneumonia
• Agent says it is unclear what 73-year-old singer died of
• Death ends revolutionary career at forefront of funk and disco

Altinbasakistan: Supermurat Aga speaks

I hereby proclaim that everything contained within the boundaries of my parcel of land, including the trees, the air, the ground (all the way to the center of the earth), the improvements such as my 3300 square foot palace and it's out-house.. are the property of Altinbasakistan. I declare myself to be it's lifelong leader, and henceforth I am to be addressed as "Murat Aga" in person (the g is silent) and "Altinbasak-basi" when I'm not present. All books which I am not yet in possession of are hereby banned, until I buy them. All citizens of Altinbasakistan are blessed with the privilege of receiving free gas, electricity, water, AND food. Monuments, portraits, t-shirts and coffee mugs which honor me will adorn many walls and cupboards of many rooms within the presidential palace of Altinbasakistan. The days of the week and the months of the year are subject to re-naming without advance notice, at my discretion and per my mood. Facial hair, cigarette smoking and especially whining are prohibited, punishable by my gratuitous sarcasm and merciless humiliation. The population of our kingdom now stands at 3 (per 2003 census) and our total land area is 18,500 square feet. We share borders with an old railroad bed, the honorable Wolfe family, and the couple next door who we never talk to. Our infrastructure is technologically advanced and includes such modernities as copper plumbing, steam heat, wireless internet, 110 volt electric power (grounded), pvc waste lines, cable television (with DVR capability) and one telephone line (unlisted). The national language is Turco-Amerikan and the national religion is Assimilationist Muslim (all faiths are welcome to visit Altinbasakistan). Our defenses consist of a baseball bat, golf club and assorted kitchen knives. Visas are not required unless you are an enemy of the Turkish Republic, and they are granted on a discretionary basis. Our literacy rate is 66.6% and improving. The national sport of Altinbasakistan is bicycling. Duh!

24 December 2006

Murat's new passion: Recording My Bike Races

Click HERE to see off-road clips recorded using the Blackeye Two Helmet Cam (I'm getting one...)
Videos courtesy of (Don't sue me for promoting your site, 'k?)
Today Murat embarked on an off-road adventure at Big River again.. This time.. I took my digital camera with me, hung it from my neck and taped it to my chest to see what the recording would look like (it was bad, but I will post it here anyway, when time permits) My companions pussied out at the last minute, so Murat was alone in the woods while hunters were heard in the distance seemingly trying to put down a bull elephant.. I completely lost my way and had to traverse shallow bodies of water in order to extricate myself from the wilderness. Eventually ending up in a swamp behind someone's house, I went down a fire road and found civilization, making it back to my car a shivering heap of cramped up wussiness. It was a good day.
The Blackeye is going to be a huge hit in my opinion. Now to convince race promoters to let me use it in criteriums and road races. .
Or maybe they won't even notice? Leave it to me to find out.. Hehe. It will happen. And I will be perhaps the first road racer to post vids of every race I compete in. That will be a huge draw for traffic

23 December 2006

Kaan, Serhat and Murat: Off-roading in the Big River Watershed

Never before have I posted a video clip of myself.. (I know, big effing deal) Here is one I recorded a couple of months ago. Tried to post the one with me in it, but it isn't working after three tries..

Zehirini Dokmek

How many times does one need to watch the movie Babam ve Oglum, before they can forcibly hold back the tears? I'm not sure, but it's at least nine (and counting). It doesn't help when others who are present sob and heave uncontrollably. Crying is contagious, like yawning. But afterwards, the mind feels clear doesn't it?
Why do I love rock music where the vocalist is passionately screaming?
Why do people watch sad movies, or go for long drives while listening to nostalgic songs?
Why do we push our bodies to the limit, be it running, biking, climbing, or swimming?
Why has it become so popular to have a blog?
The answer I think, is in the title of this entry. Literal translation is: "to spill one's poison", which really means "to unburden" or "to let go of something and find relief" or "to spill your guts"...
It's all about having a relief valve, so that we don't explode.
We should all allow ourselves to cry more often, it seems.
"Spilling our poison" sounds like it's good for our health.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Remorse, after grabbing the rooster's tail..

I want to adopt this goat and keep him in my backyard.

Reis makes nice with the sheep.

The New Face of Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group

This wasn't easy to put together! If you have an interest in being part of the group where the writers of the best Turkish blogs hang out, then I suggest that you join Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group

22 December 2006

Secret Santa 2006

What I gave: an old used Stanley No 5 jack plane
What I received: Tony Montana talking doll
Most tasteless gift: Brokeback Mountain dvd
Best gift: Case of Guinness beer
Crappiest gift: Scratch-off lottery tickets

Funniest gift: Lump of coal

Taner Akcam: A Shameful Act

The title of this piece of excrement is ironically self-descriptive..
Last I checked, even dogs avoid soiling their beds..
Lively comments on this article.

Like a train wreck: You want to look away but can't

Original, I'll admit.. But let's average this POS down to no stars.

21 December 2006

Post Numara 600

I sit here cracking my knuckles, ready to give you the engaging observations and opinions which you seek, but feel that I am completely without any material which I find even remotely amusing or interesting. I wish I had some red wine in the house. Or a dog. Both of them increase your lifespan.. Have you ever let a dog lick your face? So therapeutic.. But do you know where that dog's tongue has BEEN? After you've emptied a nice bottle of Beaujalais, who cares?
I can claim one triumph which put a spring in my step today: The discovery that I still have three unused vacation days.. I am rolling them over into '07. Thought about using all my 2007 vacation time in an unconventional way: I will take all Fridays off during the months of April-May-June-July-August. Now that would be good for my health.. Twenty 3-day weekends in a row. Nice. Dogs sweat from their mouths.. which arguably cleanses their tongues a little bit. But still.. Is the well dry tonight, or what?

18 December 2006

Ahmet Ertegun: Amerikan Turk?

I thoroughly enjoyed Ugur Akinci's post at Turkish Torque about the idea of Ahmet Ertegun's supposed anti-Turkishness, as written by Oray Egin of the Aksam periodial:

"Perhaps we need to find a new concept for people who have spend their lives in America, and lived in American culture according to American criteria of success.
Can we call them "American Turks"?
Or would "Americanized Turks" be better?"

Blogging Takes a Back Seat

If I can make it through the next four days in one piece, I can make it through anything..
Until then, my contributions may be a little sporadic. Lately my mind is filled with static- no signal!
Here's the latest from Velo News:
End of the road: A conversation with Mark McCormack
VeloNews Photo Contest: A new winner and a new gallery
Compton takes women's 'cross title in Providence
Trebon charges away for national 'cross title
The new champ's dad: A conversation with General Trebon

14 December 2006

Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, dies

Story Highlights
• Ertegun died more than a month after striking his head in a fall
• The man whose label defined R&B was the son of a diplomat
• Ertegun will be buried in his native Turkey
CNN report

13 December 2006

Albert Ranieri: Racing with the Devil

As promised, here is a story dating back to summer of 1986. Our family relocated to Rochester, NY for reasons I might explain later.. I was 15 years old, and showing more interest than ever in bicycling. Trouble is, I was a young kid in a new city with few friends and no connections in the cycling scene.
Late one Thursday afternoon, I was riding my stolen TREK touring bike (which was really a touring bike, and a few sizes too small for me), from Penfield into Brighton on route 441, where it meets East Avenue. As I approached the corner, four super-fit elite bike racers, all wearing the same team kit (GELATO FRESCO!), whizzed through the intersection in front of me. I remember how they appeared to be connected at the hip, riding two abreast in perfect unison. Like an image out of a cycling magazine... I was awestruck by the sight of them. I wanted to BE one of them. I decided then and there that this would be so, inevitably. When I snapped out of this trance, I immediately turned the corner in pursuit of the four Gelatos. With my tongue hanging out, lungs burning and legs scorched from the lactic acid, I managed to catch up to them within a couple of miles... and to meet Steve Paulini, Scott Hollenbeck, Kieran Dunne and Albert Ranieri.
"Hi! Can I ride with you guys? Where are you headed?" I blurted with a mouthful of phlegm..
These monotone words, delivered to me with an arrogance which I believed to be completely justified, changed me forever: "Training race.. every Thursday... this week it's in Victor.. follow us there."
That I did, and for the first time in my short life, I had the chance to join a club and race regularly with a great group of people, known as the Genesee Valley Cycling Club (GVCC). Needless to say, I was blown out the back of these training races about 6 or 8 weeks in a row, completely demoralized and spent, before I gained enough form to eventually finish with the main field, and later, to become a contender for the win. I did the 'A' races from day one, punishing myself mercilessly to become a better bicyclist. A couple of years later, I was an officer of the GVCC, and in the following year, at the tender age of 18, I was elected as it's president (by default because no one else wanted it).. It was during that same year that I found myself racing at an elite level, on the same racing team with two of the four original Gelatos, Scott and Kieran, who I met by chance and followed to my first race only 3 years earlier.. I have a team photo which I'll post one day..
I raced a few times with Steve Paulini, but didn't have much exposure to Albert, the undisputed leader of the old Gelato team. He was known to be a fierce competitor, with a distinguished list of results earned competing in regional and national events.. A google search did not yield any results from 20 years ago, but I believe that Albert was a podium finisher in a junior national road race during the early to mid 1980s.. Having only heard of his legendary ability, it was a treat for me to race with him for the first time in 1990, at the UB Classic Criterium (a real bloodbath of an event, known for being dangerous and filled with crashes) I loved this race, having placed well there the previous two years (4th in 1988, 3rd in 1989) The year 1990 was different though- I was on an elite amateur team, as a category two contender, and this was not an 18 and under event like the previous years. This was the big boy's race.
Our team had not less than five or six of us at the start line, and so was Albert. I made it my mission to mark him closely and not let anything develop into a breakaway. It ws fortunate that I kept a little bit of distance between us, I would later realize.. Early in the 25 lap event, which wound it's way around the bumpy, sinuous roads of the University of Buffalo campus, a prime lap was announced, the bell was rung announcing a prize fore the first to cross the finish line of the following lap. Finding myself in a favorable position in the final corner, I had thoughts of surprising everyone with a sprint to the line to claim the prize.. But he who hesitates, is lost.. because Albert was aleady out of the saddle, opening a gap on all of us about 150 meters from the finish. The rest of us gave chase, but the result was sealed.. until Albert, the perennial favorite at this event for years, hit the deck at full speed, just 20 meters from the line, and skidded in a mangled heap to the curb.. The race was neutralized until his bloody and broken body could be cleared from the course..
In the end, I take credit for sprinting to a 7th place finish at the 1990 UB Classic, better than any of my more seasoned, more experienced team mates. And several years later, during a time when I had hung my bike up so that I could get my life and career in order, I was stunned when I read the first developments of this news..
And to borrow Paul Harvey's famous line, now you know the rest of the story..
Thanks for reading.

12 December 2006

Cartoon: via Alien Memoirs

Good thing I wasn't drinking a 'mesrubat' (love that word) when I saw this. I am prone to having beverages eject through the nose when sufficiently amused, without warning..

11 December 2006

Reflections of an old yellow Atala

(Picture lifted from a Google search- that's just a hacked off tube from an Atala race bike)
When I was 13, we had neighbors across the street who were Turkish-Tatar. They had a son named Ahmet who was a few years older than me, and who I admired like an older brother, for lack of one myself. Ahmet was into bicycling, and one day bought himself a fairly decent bike (this part is a presumption).. At least it was nice enough that he gifted his old yellow Atala road bike to me... It was outdated, with obsolete components and a dent in the top tube, but man I loved that bike. Ahmet would let me tag along on some of his bike rides in College Point. We'd just head down to McNeil Park and back (where the NYC Marathon traditionally started back then).. nothing too strenuous, but definitely addicting to this pubescent teenager. I may have had some of my first fantasies of Murat as a pro athlete on that bike...

A couple of years later when we were living in Rochester NY, my precious Atala was stolen from the front of my friend's house, while I was inside visiting. My friends, being of the unwholesome but kind-hearted type, were saddened to witness my horror upon discovering this crime. I loved that bike.. A couple of days later there's a knock on the door. I open the door and my eyes dart immediately to the bicycle before me, in the hands of my friends, who just stood there grinning. No, this Trek road bike wasn't my old Atala, it was a bike they had stolen for me. I greedily accepted it and raced on it during my first year as a junior (under 18 racer). Whatever became of that bike, I have no recollection, but you can be sure that I probably gave it away to someone who needed it.
Coming soon, how a bank robber inspired me to race.

10 December 2006

Character is much harder to build than destroy

Murat skipped both of the big local cyclocross races this weekend in favor of sleep. I am in such a sleep deficit I can't answer simple questions when asked. Rest is important, especially after the marathon month I've had at work. The next two weeks appear to be no different, so I need to be strong... Nothing left for the bike, no time, no strength, little desire or motivation. I've left it all at the office.. Nothing left. Sure I beat myself up a bit for not racing yesterday and today, but second guessing my decisions isn't going to help. It was necessary. I did treat myself to a ride on the road bike after getting home from today's cross race (as a spectator). Went out for almost an hour, felt good, not bad, just a bit sluggish. The cold air is something my lungs do not like, that's for sure. A mile or two from home, I flatted in the middle of a bridge which spans a waterfall, right where the soap factory is located. Almost called Ebru to pick me up but decided I may as well patch it up in the few minutes it would take.. Seems my spare inner tube was the wrong one, I must have grabbed a tube for the 'cross bike.. seemed to have some tube left over while trying to force it into the tire.. made it fit though.. So I'm on my way home and I spy a license plate in the road near my house. I instinctively double back to retrieve it- it's an Arkansas plate, perfect condition. Will look nice hanging in my garage.
Today I decided that most every aspect of my life seems to be out-of-control... Family issues, this blog, my work, my health, finances, sports and fitness... How to reign it all in? It's impossible to satisfy every need, every desire, every goal or ambition.. It's perhaps time to re-define what those needs, desires and goals are, prioritize them, establish plans which are compatible with my family's needs, and finally, execute said plans... This will definitely require some soul-searching.
"Character", as I define it, is "having the resolve to see a project through to the end, even after the original enthusiasm has worn off".. How easy it is to abandon the best laid plans before completion, simply because you or someone close to you has lost sight of why the goal was worthwhile in the first place.

LikeABike KOKUA Jumper: I'm in love

Update November 2, 2007: Since the time we bought our first LikeaBike Jumper in December 2006, we have become the official Kokua agents in Turkey and we are also authorized retail resellers in the US. If you have found this link by searching for LikeaBike or Kokua brands, please let us direct you to our new website where all models and accessories are offered:
In our new site you will find the most detailed descriptions and pictures of all the LikeaBike models, found anywhere.. period. Hopefully your product knowledge will be ehanced and hopefully you will make a better informed buying decision which includes our humble little company, WeeBike. Many thanks.

Originalpost from December10, 2006:
We saw this thing at the Caster's Grand Prix of Cyclocross today, where we went as a family to see the course and watch middle aged guys in tights hump their bikes through sand pits, carry them over wooden barriers and crash them in off-camber corners.. We were headed back to the car when we spy a toddler, much younger than Reis, straddling an eight pound dream machine of a training bicycle- look! no pedals to bugger up balancing skills. Some friends of ours recently bought Reis a kid's bike, bless their hearts- they meant well.. but it weighs 30-35 pounds and doesn't track a straight line. LOOK at this thing though- the KOKUA is made in Germany with the same precision and quality as an entry level race bike. I drooled at the sight of it while I had flash-backs to the time when I learned to ride a two wheeler... in Kew Gardens, Queens. Our apartment building had a sweeping downhill driveway which led under the building and into the parking lot out back... Without bothering to pedal, I learned to balance myself by coasting down this driveway repeatedly, around the age of 4, unsupervised, no helmet. Reis is one lucky kid, and I'm happily $245 poorer..

15th Asian Games Doha 2006

Focusing my visit to the official site on cycling, I give you the following:
Happy to see that Iraq was able to send athletes to the road race, but why were Farkad Mohammad and Reauf Mihsien disqualified? Hey at least they won't be tortured or killed..
Award for the most unique name goes to a Phillipino named "Bitbit"
And I thought I was too old to get good results.. Is Mongolian Jamsran Ulzii Orshikh the next Andre Tchmil? (Check his birth date and salute his 4th place in the road race)
Noor Azian Alias of Malaysia is simply the cutest of them all.
While Syria's Kenaz Hamchou looks like she was plucked from a remote village.
Try to tell me that Ali Dilsher of Pakistan doesn't remind you of Borat.
Here's the page where you can find all of the results of the cycling events.
I wish I could have been there to see them compete.

Never Leave a Comment at a Greek Nationalist Blog

Or else you will get this diarrhea of the mouth reply in return:
Anonymous said...
"Fucking Turk POS. The only terrorists are the Muslim Nomadic Altaic Mongol Turkic Horsebackriding barbarian varieties that you find in Ankara, Constantinople,
and the chief terrorist is that POS buried under that disgusting monument in
Ankara. I hope someone defecates and pisses on him when he's dragged up,
after they destroy that monument to the Butcher of Smyrna"
For the record, any such comment left here by a Turk , will be deleted immediately... Has never happened though... We Mongol barbarians have manners believe it or not.

08 December 2006

Melancholy, Weird Dreams, Bad Nightmares

So we returned home last night at 1:00 in the morning. Visiting with my sister Elif and her boyfriend Steve was a welcome respite from the melancholy following the departure of Ebru's father at JFK... It was an emotional goodbye, and afterwards, Ebru and I were both extremely irritable and sensitive towards eachother, like two Siamese fighting fish...
Love prevails, but the melancholy has hung over us all day long like a threatening rain cloud.. even though it was bright and sunny all day. Temperatures are in the teens, and that's kind of a buzz-kill as well..
Tuesday night I had a weird dream... I'm in a high school library, actually it's one which I'll actually be remodeling in January.. Crawling all over the library are these robotic looking insects.. they're the size of my hand. No one seems to notice them but me. They're extremely simple looking- like a few white lollipop sticks connected at the joints with red gumballs.. Kind of like this >--<
Wednesday night in another dream, I am talking to someone, describing something to them... It isn't until the end of this dream, after I open my eyes that I realize: I was describing last night's dream to someone in this night's dream.
My most recurrent dream is of piloting an airliner, trying to land it safely, but always managing to stike a tower, power lines, or a bridge or something. The plane always ends up smacking the earth and disintegrating, and I always find myself miraculously thrown from the plane with just some cuts and bruises... I'm more or less convinced that I will draw my last breath while traveling towards earth at 1000 miles an hour.
My worst nightmare is being in a jet at 35,000 feet, middle of the Arctic or Atlantic, pitch black night sky, and the plane suddenly disintegrates.. I am not injured, nor do I die, but instead I survive the event and take a 30,000 free-fall in the darkness of -50 degree temperatures, down to the pitch black, icy ocean below.. Air travel terrifies me.
Speaking of nightmares, it's been a while since my last episode of
sleep paralysis, in spite of my recent off-the-chart stress level. People think it's some kind of supernatural event.. it's not. Sleep paralysis is a chemical imbalance in the brain. There's a hormone that's released when you sleep- it paralyzes you so that you don't hurt yourself while sleeping. People with the disorder have episodes where the brain is trying to wake up (usually after a bad dream), but the hormone in charge of curbing the voice and motor functions, is still flowing, giving the sensation of paralysis, even when you are fully awake and conscious. In Turkey I believe it's called 'bastirik'. Very common among pregnant women and postpartum moms...
Reminds me of a story my mother often tells me about. She awakens from a bad episode of sleep paralysis, really bad.. I am only two or three years old at the time. When she opens her eyes, she notices something standing in the doorway of her bedroom.. It's a tall dark being of some sort with a hood and red eyes, and whatever other frightening features you can possibly imagine. Just standing there, gazing at her, one arm extended with an elbow leaning against the door frame. None other than yours truly in his pajamas scampers under it's arm and into the room as if there's nothing there. I guess I climb into bed and hug my mother before the thing finally disappears..

My mother tells another story about a time when she went to a fortune teller or something. I was described in detail by this total stranger, to my bewildered mother... She also told her that everything I ever touched would turn to gold. For a long while after hearing this, I actually believed it. Many hundreds of failures later, I believe my mom was sold a bill of goods on that one.

Who Are These Leftists??

Masked leftist protesters display a banner that reads "Oppressions can not deter us" during a demonstration in Istanbul December 7, 2006. A group of leftist protesters clashed with police who raided offices of human rights organizations in downtown Istanbul on Thursday.
07 Dec 2006 REUTERS/Stringer

07 December 2006

Whoever smelt it, dealt it...

...whoever denied, it supplied it.
This story caught my eye, because I find flatulence to be a most hilarious, delightfully light-hearted subject.
Better to burp and taste it than to fart and waste it.
Ever strain your sphincter trying to contain intestinal gases? Don't lie. You did it all through your courtship, maybe all through your engagement... You did it while standing in line at the bank, in a crowded movie theater... You did it during your job interview and you probably did it in an airplane too.. (unlike some shameless and smelly people)
And if you're anything like me, you wonder where it goes when you shut the door on it... Does it travel away from the exit for a few moments, get angrier and then return? or does it just wait there for a bit, until some friends come and join in helping break down the door? When the hard questions need to be asked..leave it to me.

06 December 2006

Four Day Weekend (?)

I have the next two days off. Of course Murat worked until 9:30 tonight to make a minimally acceptable dent in his work load. Tomorrow, father-in-law returns to Turkey, so we're driving down to the Big Apple in the AM. Will likely make a pit stop at Uncle Ozcan's house, so that we can see my newest cousin and let Reis play with my 2nd newest cousin Rana (they're the same age). After depositing Ebru's father at JFK in the afternoon, anything's possible. I must say I hate New York, even though I lived there for 15 years.. Maybe I'll visit my sister Elif or my cousin Nilsun, who knows? Most likely, we'll hit the road and return home straight away. New York gives me a headache... In other news, Metin and I were each invited to contribute to the Washington Post blog recently. I'm not at all impressed with what I said, but if my goal was to give the most un-academic entry possible, mission accomplished. Having little inspiration to draw from, I had to dig pretty deep to come up with that tripe, and I even recycled some of my older material. The subject matter: "Is the Pope 'right' about Turkey belonging in the EU?"
My answer is 'no'... but what I don't say is that I still want it to happen... without changing Turkey into a lap dog for the West.

03 December 2006

A Hitch-hiker's Guide to My Turkish Blogroll-2

What better way for Murat to relax and un-wind, than to stroll down the walk of fame and make obnoxious comments, stepping on others to lift himself higher?...
(parenthetical remarks) See some excellent ice-storm pictures
2 Our Allies This is a recip link and I don't understand a word of it
A Space Odyysey in English NOT the worst blogger out there- plays 'musical chairs' with the theme!
Aegean Disclosure Quality trumps quantity, but give me a break. More please.
almost turkish recipes A recent addition.. Food. Turkish. Enough said.
Amerikan Turks FORUM Plagued with tumbleweeds and spammers lately
Amerikanturks Yahoo Group Be great if you could end the drought and join
Andre Recip link. Doesn't work anymore- Must remove.
Athanasia's Daily Burcu: Obsessed with death? Or just in need of what's missing? Like me!
Athanasia's Daily (Turkce) Burcu's Turkish language blog. As useful as a Peugeot in the US
Beton Dans Recip link. Turkish blogs just don't do it for me.. I won't lie.
Binnur's Turkish Cookbook A very popular food blog (which one isn't?)
crebro New addition, cool artwork.
dbadioxide My new crush (Sorry idil and phanja, you will have to share me)
Derin Sular Serdar Kaya is a maven on matters involving Samuel Huntington
Energy Newsletter TURKEY I don't even know why I link here.
Erkan's field diary Turkish blogger of the year, if you ask me. The run-away leader.
Fabulous Finds Great site, but Nergis is as quiet as a foam rubber wind chime
Farid's crazy world... Read about our jet-setting Azeri-Turk's adventures
Fenerbahce Worldwide New addition. We kicked Galata ass today, didn't we!
Global Voices Online ? Turkey Past 11 months- 25 Kurdish posts- only 17 Turkish posts.. blogging gods angry!
Gulay, Galatasaray and the dogs There are no posts about dogs! What's up with that?
Hakan Aydin Good blog, give it to us more often Hakan. THY RULES!
Icarus Redeemed Brother Celal: passionate about the Bible and about Jesus Christ
ignore me if you can Should she stay or should she go? Take me with you! I'll be a fly on the wall
James in Turkey A recent addition. No links, no blogroll. So anti-social, James..
Joe's Ramblings Joe resides in Mersin, parties with beautiful Turkish girls, living the dream..
Kartal'in Gunlugu! Erkan's new project, in Turkish. Everything he touches turns to gold.
Left of Center I'm not a regular visitor since the Sopranos ended.. Sorry.
Living in Turkey: A Travel Diary Open to invited readers only??? Kiss my blogroll goodbye!
me and others Has what I consider to be a dream job. Grass is always greener...
Metroblogging Istanbul Shame on me for not visiting in a coon's age...
Michael J. Totten Another who has a dream life. Please DONATE via Paypal and keep it alive..
Mutfaktakiler Food blog. I'm sorry food blogs! I just don't visit enough! I'd be like an alcoholic in a liquor store
Narrator I should really do this post when I'm in a better mood. Enough said.
Obur Kedi [Glutton Cat] ANOTHER food blog. Hey only the best ones are linked here, btw
Pappillon A pro bike racer, sold me a helmet on ebay, missing his wife in Cuba, raced in Turkey this year
Radical Disbelief Serdar Kaya's new project. Makes "Socioeconomics" look like a pile of puke.
Randomview My brother Noel down in Texas. We share a passion for tools. Both his discussion forum and his tool collection no doubt makes mine look like a pile of puke.
Redneck's Revenge Another brother of mine down in the Lone Star State. Good site if you're a thick-skinned liberal "Mooselimb", as they like to say. Go leave a comment and wait for the hillbillie gang-bang to begin
Sailing Nomad Ahmet owes me a boat ride.. That's all I can say
Six Arrows A newer blog, sure to grow fast in good content and audience, in my opinion
SOCIOECONOMICS Dead. The former "Radical Disbelief". That back ground pattern is mesmerizing though. Soon to be de-blog-rolled.
Talk Turkey I imagine Metin drives a convertible, has a California condo with a waterview, and a new companion every night of the week... Did I just think that, or say it?
Tall Armenian Tale No comment. Except for 'thank you'.
The Infidel Full of piss and vinegar, says what he means, means what he says. winners never quit and quitters never win.. 'Respek'!
The Need To Know Phanja is lost in some SIMS game somewhere on the net, trying to build a virtual empire and fortune. Hence the 60 day (in)frequency of contributions. If I check in, it's just to see her pretty face.
The round ball in Ankara The best damned Ankara football blog in existence, and a key member of the Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group (see above for link)
The Truth Will Set You Free Another recip, although I do check in regularly to read the latest jab at Israel
The White Path That's funny- you used to link to me Mr Akyol. And I even bought your book! Damn and blast it
Turkish Blog Count Deborah's stalled attempt to cover all Turkish blogs. A beautiful start.. Please follow through!
Turkish Business Ugur Akinci's companion site to Turkish Torque
Turkish Delight Deborah's personal site, steeped with intimate personal trials and tribulations
Turkish Diary Selene, a French woman with some Turkish or Kurdish connections.. or do I have that reversed?
Turkish Digest When you want the news quick and ad-free, go here... every day. Do it now. Updated more frequently than you can handle.
Turkish Torque The original by Ugur. Back in the saddle with guns blazing. Ahmet Turgut. Enough said. If you don't check in here daily, you don't know soccer.
Union Velo Blog My pathetic attempt to multi-task, as neglected as a red-headed step child
We are the Turks Still waiting for my profile to appear here. Murat Altinbasak: blogger
ZiddiBLOG Putting the word "blog" in the title is like putting tail lights in a chrome bumper. Like an El Camino.. Cool as hell.

Hopefully no feelings are hurt. Thanks for reading.

Murat's Death Spiral Resumes

I really am a lucky person most of the time, except when I'm not... For instance:
My rear derailleur was destroyed today. A branch jammed it during my mountain bike ride, breaking it off and stranding me in the woods. Couldn't ride and had to hitch a ride back to my car. A real pity considering the sacrifice I made earlier in the day..
I slept in this morning and skipped the cyclocross race in Wrentham. Grrrr. Apparently there was a big soccer game which I am mistaken for caring about.. Later on in the day one of my team mates sends everyone on our racing team pictures from the event. Like rubbing my nose in it...
Also missed yesterday's antique tool auction- the one which comes around every four months or so- the one which helps supplement our income via ebay, the one I wanted to go to with my father in law (who is visiting from Turkey for the first time and would have enjoyed himself immensely) Why did I miss it? Because Murat is a gutless fucking weenie when it comes to certain domestic conflicts. This also explains why I opted not to go to the Wrentham race. I feel just like a caged lion. In a way I can't wait to get to work in the morning and pour all of this fire and poison into the impossible situations which I must conquer..
One of my highest level projects is going to have a complete melt-down tomorrow because a certain stone vendor in Ohio can't deliver my laboratory counters in time... I'm already thinking forward to what I will do with my free time, you know, in between jobs.
My father-in-law decided to break his abstinence of the past few weeks and bought himself some cheap vodka. I saw the brand and got a hangover... We broke out the bottle of raki we had been hiding (from both he and my father, who was also visiting recently) As long as he's going to drink, it may as well be something he likes.
My weight is up. Since the last road race of the season in October, I've been riding the bike only on weekends (when I am given permission), so instead of a caloric deficit, I have a huge surplus. I've gained 5-6 pounds so far and the sky's the limit, especially when I'm depressed, see I self medicate with food. One would think that the provider of a family would be encouraged to exercise and be healthy.. to train, race compete, be strong as a bull...but nyet.. Murat has the strength of four small children, not a bull.. Let me let everyone in on a little secret: I have to beg and plead and sometimes lie in order to spend time riding or training or racing on my bike. It's been the story of my life- the one thing which I am most bitter about- the one thing which I curse to hell and hate with every ounce of my being. Sometimes I fantasize about taking an ax or hacksaw and chopping all of my bikes into shattered bits, and leaving them in a pile in our garage for the family to find. I will plant a flag in the center which reads" "You win". And then I will walk in upon the astonished discoverers of my break-down, puffing a cigarette and guzzling a beer... Back to reality. That would be an awful waste of $10,000, so better just to sell them on ebay and use the money for the less wholesome habits and activities.
Thanks for reading.

02 December 2006

It's time for some enhancements

After an hour of tinkering with my blogger template, I've decided I will gladly pay someone to install a three column template for me, and to give Amerikan Turk some other enhancements...

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

Lately I am pondering the zig-zag of directions that this blog has been taking. It seems that inconsistency is the only true consistency here. It's hard for me to put my finger on what I want this blog to become. At the moment it's just a popular google result for a small variety of topics, with a small handful of loyal visitors, all of whom I love and appreciate eternally.
Maybe it's time to add to the effort? Who wants to be a contributor here, for a short while? or perhaps on a regular pre-determined basis? (for example- one post every Thursday) Should it be reciprocal? Probably not as I barely have time to post here in the first place. I don't know.. It's important to define a clear cut goal or goals. "Aim for nothing and you will hit it everytime".. as the saying goes. I feel lost. Do I keep doing what I'm doing? (posting whatever I feel like posting indiscriminately) or do I need to choose a path, a specialty, a core competence? I reach out to my readers for some answers or suggestions.. In my mind, even this post sucks, it's an embarrassment. I feel out of control. My posts are random, unpredictable, from the hip, hastily thrown together without a lot of proof-reading or forethought. Someone grab me by the shoulders and shake vigorously until I come to my senses please.
And what's up with the word verification that I'm subjected to when using my own blogger dashboard?!? Grrrr.

01 December 2006

My Chemical Romance

Went to their concert last night at Lupos in Providence. L-O-U-D. Body surfing galore. Mosh pit. Good times. My friend Kaan and I partook in a bit of nastiness beforehand... such that this morning I felt a bit like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. "Got to get fit, mum!" Imagine coming home and finding that your parents sold all of your things and replaced you with some lummox who has taken over your bedroom. Classic.
PS: Kaan and I felt like a couple of old farts, jumping up and down with 3000 screaming teenagers. Actually, I didn't mind it at all, but Kaan seems to have a complex about his age.

UPS: Unattended Parcel Service

Are we sure this is a police "man"? Look at those dainty fingers and short arms. Where's the hand protection??
A Turkish policeman from the bomb squad approaches a suspect package on the street some 500 meters from the St. Esprit church in Istanbul November 29, 2006. Pope Benedict, pursuing a journey of fence-mending with Islam and Turkey, on Wednesday pays tribute to one of Christianity's most revered sites before heading to Istanbul, city at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
29 Nov 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas