America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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

26 February 2007

Race Report: Long Beach Circuit Race

Surprisingly, I still had some gas in the tank for Sunday's race. My head was filled with some doubt because the master's event included former national champions galore, among the 130 or so competitors. Even so, and even though my legs were very sore from riding 200 miles in three short days, I had little trouble in the first 40 minutes. The speed was sensational, that is, for the month of February. The course is basically a flat 3 mile dog leg along the coast , with a hairpin at one end and a rotary at the other. Ran into Mark McCormack before the start, he finished a very respectable 4th, considering the caliber of the field. As for me, just as I was starting to feel warmed up, loose and relaxed, a major pile up occurred, (right in the 40th minute) taking out about a dozen racers. This was on a perfectly straight, flat road with a tail wind, so the guys who hit the deck were going 35 mph at the time. I had to grab both brakes pretty hard and came to a dead stop to avoid joining the blood and gore. Broken collarbones, shredded skin, bikes snapped in two.. Murat was happy to stay upright, but now chasing back up to the front of the field was more or less a pipe dream. Myself and a few others worked together, drilling it for a few minutes to the start/finish area, but they announced at the start that all 'dropped' riders would be pulled, so we were whistled off the course. Little did the official know that there was a crash that split the field. I was upset about being pulled, but very happy that I had the legs to race with 130 very fit, very strong masters racers. Needless to say, avoiding a trip to the hospital was nice too. Those guys who went down were crying in pain.. Speed of that kind isn't reached until June where I live. My off-season training program is really showing it's benefits.
Here is a video clip from Friday's ride, going from San Filipe towards our car, which was parked half way between Julian and Borrego Springs. It's hard to tell, but we're going between 35 and 40 mph because of the gusting winds and the gentle grade. It took us 60 minutes to ride out, only 20 minutes to return. You are viewing the return trip of course. The ride out to San Filipe was a 10 mph death march, uphill, into gusting 40 mph winds. Enjoy.

25 February 2007

Reporting From San Diego

So much to tell you about! First the BAD:
I was given a laptop by my employer, so that I can check e-mail and so forth.. But since our IT department treats the internet like some diseased mutant monkey with two heads and fifteen arms, the machine I was given was armed to the gills with anti-tampering measures.. In laymen's terms, it is impossible to reconfigure the internet settings such that I can use this hotel's free broadband service. Nor can I upload any of the great pictures or videos I've taken over the past few days. I even went to Barnes and Noble today to try the WIFI of my laptop, and wasted an hour trying to get it to work. Not only are heads going to roll, when I return to work next week, but I am sooo ready for a Mac ibook or whatever. I'm so pissed about this I want to smash the machine into 1000 pieces and mail them to our IT guy. Thanks for giving me the ten pound 'door stop' to hump around, as if I don't have enough to carry on this trip. So how am I able to post this? Well my room mate also brought his laptop and he has one of those wireless cards that work anywhere...
Besides the death march of a bike ride we did yesterday into 50 mph gale force winds, everything has been going pretty well otherwise. We're staying at the Miramar Marine Air Base, in a decent hotel room for a good price. In the past three days, we've ridden 180 miles, through some of the most scenic and challenging roads ever seen. Today we hooked up with the San Diego Bicycle Club and rode with their "A" group- consisting of at least 100 riders. Let me tell you, they are FAST for this time of year (if winters in New England were this nice, I'd be fast too). Anyway, I was put to my limit several times during today's ride, while everyone else seemed to be having an easy time with the pace. It was fast. Where I live, the training rides don't reach that level until June.
Tomorrow we drive north to Long Beach to compete in the Long Beach Circuit Race, and event which immediately precedes a PRO race- the final stage of the Tour of California. With so many miles, so much ride time crammed into three days, we're pretty fried and have little hope of being serious contenders tomorrow. My goal is to finish without being dropped from the main field. The prize list is 15 places deep.. If my legs didn't feel like over-cooked chicken, I might have had a chance to crack top fifteen. I'm still cautiously optimistic. You have to be. Regrettably, the exertion of the past few days has caused some pain in the IT band of my right knee, and some tenderness under the knee cap. This has happened before and it takes a few weeks to clear up. Better now than in May though.. After tomorrow's race, we'll finish up out training camp with many hours of very easy light spinning, nothing like the first few days where we really pushed it harder than we should have..
Hoping to have a meal at one of the local Turkish restaurants, maybe Monday.. By the time we leave we'll probably have about 300 miles ridden in the course of five days. Need to take it easy from here on out though (except for tomorrow's race of course)
San Diego is a place I can definitely relocate to though. I am stunned at the beauty of this place. New England is a pile of puke in comparison.

20 February 2007

Packing, Cleaning, Worrying, Drinking: Murat's a Mess

Just finished cleaning the bike (filthy), taking it apart (sort of) and packing it into a bike box lent to me by my friend Dr. David Schwartz (who was impaled by a tree branch while mountain biking last spring and has wires holding his sternum together). Cost of my plane ticket: $240. Cost for bike box: $80 (each way). If I add a few more bucks, my bike can sit in my seat and I'll be down in the cargo hold... Must do some laundry now, as if I have anything decent to wear. All my socks have holes. I'm sipping wine to calm my nerves. The house looks like, well, it looks like Ebru hasn't been here in a month. All will be forgiven. I'm down to 173 pounds.. So if I eat and drink nothing for the next 24 hours and perform a couple of eliminations, I'll be down to my goal weight of 170 by the time I land in San Diego. 160 and thin as a rail when I return... NOT! (Stranger things have happened)
PS: My company graciously gave me a laptop for the trip, just so I can work while on vacation.. So don't fret, my five or so dear readers, I will be blogging from San Diego.

19 February 2007

Murat's the Proud Owner of a 19th Century Cervical Dilator

I am stunned. One lot of tools I won at auction this past Saturday contains the implement you see pictured. I actually used it yesterday to extract the base of the light bulb which broke off inside of our clothes dryer... I was about to list it on Ebay and was doing my usual research to figure out exactly what it was for.. Then I found this site with images of horrifying tools schematics of how they were used, way back when.. Not for the faint of heart. Strong stomachs only. Scroll to the bottom and you will see a very similar tool, used for dilating a woman's cervix. You can buy mine here.

48 Hours

The exact amount of time before my flight is scheduled to depart from JFK. Take out 16 hours of sleep, 3 hours of drive time, 3 hours of packing, 2 hours of bathing and personal hygiene, 4 hours of cleaning up the house, 2 hours of training and exercise, 3 hours of last minute shopping, 12 hours of being at work, 2 hours to disassemble and pack the bicycle, and what's left? 1 hour for Murat to curl up on the floor in the fetal position, shaking uncontrollably in fear.
I will never have been so far away from Ebru and Reis, than when I'm in San Diego. Counting the days until we're reunited..

16 February 2007

Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Turkish Blogs-Volume 3 Episode 6

Previously on the HHGTTB:
Talk Turkey Part One Latest: The Coming of Broken Angel
Live From Gybria Latest: Wishful Thinking Only Goes So Far
The Infidel Latest: The Turkish Armenian Debate: Part 6
Gulay, Galatasaray, and the Dogs Latest: GULAY HAS A BABY! WELCOME LEANNA
The Need To Know Latest: (Due out in March)
On to Talk Turkey Part Two:
The Coming of Broken Angel... Metin let me ask what I think everyone is thinking in the back of their minds.. What if investment into this film turns out to be a situation similar to that of Hakan Yalincak?? Stranger things have happened! To me, the fact that you vouch for this project means that it's completely legit.. But for those Turks and others who may have never heard of you or I or Leslie and Aclan Bates-Buyukturkoglu, skepticism and avoidance prevails I think.. When I get my tax return, I am going to seriously consider being a contributor.
Hillary Will Drop Out!.. I hope not. She's the most qualified candidate out there. It's TIME for a strong woman to show Americans how to lead a country with intelligence, class and grace..
Giuliani Too Ethnic? Is every presidential candidate unique or what? Hillary- a woman! Obama- a black! (who's not black enough, I hear), and Giuliani- an "eye-talian"! Nope, not many vanilla faces this time, eh?
Breaking News: OKUR ALL-STAR! We all owe Metin credit for wishing and hoping and willing this to finally happen. I'm the farthest thing from being a maven of basketball, but my armpits are swollen with pride nonetheless. Interestingly, many of the people Googling the great Okur use the search terms: "Okur Muslim". Such an infatuation with the religious beliefs of pro athletes! He could worship dirt and he'd still be in the All-Star game.
Victoria's Valentine.. Sorry Metin, these two new selections for 2007 have chicken lips and pointy chins. Let me thank you again though for the picture of Petek Dincoz which you found and posted for me. Very good material. Good thing my girlfriend Jackie isn't the jealous type.
Resolution or Revolution?.. The sole identifying characteristic of Armenian people.. their "Armenian-ness" if you will, is insulted unless an Americanized version of Article 301 (in reverse) is passed in the United States.. Anything to demonize Turks. Let it pass... like a big juicy fart, it will eventually dissipate, and the thousand or so Americans who even take notice will quickly resume not caring about the largest violation of Godwin's Law, ever.
GRAMMY Chicks .. Murat is green with envy that Metin gets to be in the company of super-stars like Portia DeRossi.. Is her face fuzzy in person too? I always thought she was such a hottie until the sunlight striking her cheeks highlighted that carpet of peachfuzz.

Seven Jailed For Life In Istanbul Bombings

Remember this?

For Nancy Pelosi: Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm Just a bill"

Here's a more recent adaptation via The Simpsons:

15 February 2007

I Love the Eighties: Vintage SEARS Radio Control Truck

I picked this up at an antique auction a few years ago. Could use some help funding Ebru's trip to Turkey and my trip to San Diego next week.. so I must sacrifice to make ends meet. This is a vintage RC truck made in 1980.. now listed for sale on Ebay.. I have an amazing amount of crap that I don't need. It's little wonder how my income vanishes into thin air every month.. On the other hand, I am going to an antique woodworking auction on Saturday. Will no doubt spend $1000 minimum and stock up on some very lucrative inventory. We'll see. I missed the last auction and figure it cost me about $2000 in profit.

Inflatable Dolls..

Buy Ataturk Postcards and Turkish Flag Stickers Here

My Ebay Store, Reisco Tools & Collectibles is up and running again. I will be adding a ton of inventory in the next few weeks, especially of antique woodworking tools. Take a peek at what's offered today.

14 February 2007

The Bridges of Merit Parkway Route 15 Connecticut

A trip to New Canaan Connecticut on Tuesday featured a drive down the old Merit Parkway, a road which boasts an interesting series of the most finely crafted bridges you will find in one place. Every single one has architectural detail, every one is different, every one has a badge or engraving or emblem or plaque. Sometimes you must look closely to see it. To combat boredom and sleepiness, I went to the trouble of shooting a picture of most every one between exits 53 and 37. Click on the title above to see the whole series of bridge photos at Flickr.

Way Behind the Curve..

Murat is falling way behind in his projects and assignments! I started some commentary of Metin's blog, Talk Turkey.. and left it incomplete.. I am overdue to prepare my first "Guide to Turkish Blogs" for Serdar's Bloglar Alemi website.. Speaking of which, it's an honor and a privilege to be selected for such a responsibility. I take it seriously and do not intend to do anything half-assed. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Just need a little more time! My own Hitch Hiker's Guide to Turkish Blogs continues.. (Getting a little long in the tooth, I know) After Metin, I'm bird-dogging a few other blogs as targets of my unsolicited opinions and comments. I just returned from a "spin class" and my legs are like veined marble, and sore.. so maybe I'll take a power nap and work on some of this in the middle of the night- when my creative juices flow most juicily.

Happy Valentine's Day to "Mo Chuisle"

You know , sometimes, I don't know why,
But this old town just seems so hopeless
I ain't really sure, but it seems I remember the good times
Were just a little bit more in focus
But when she puts her arms around me,
I can, somehow, rise above it
Yeah man, when I got that little girl standing right by my side,
You know, I can tell the whole wide world, Shove it!
Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl,
Yeah, she looks so right, she's all I need tonight
Every now and then, I get down to the end of a day,
I'll have to stop, ask myself, "What've I done?"
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard,
And nothin' ever really seem to come from it
And then she looks me in the eye, says,
"We gonna last forever,"
And man, you know I can't begin to doubt it
No, because this feels so good and so free and so right,
I know we ain't never goin' change our minds about it
Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl,
Yeah, she looks so right, she's all I need tonight
Yeah, every time it seems like there ain't nothin' left no more,
I find myself havin' to reach out and grab hold of somethin'
Yeah, I just catch myself wonderin', waitin', worryin'
About some silly little things that don't add up to nothin'.
And then she looks me in the eye, says,
"We gonna last forever,"
And man, you know I can't begin to doubt it
No, because this feels so good and so free and so right,
I know we ain't never goin' change our minds about it.
Hey, here comes my girl, here comes my girl,
Yeah, she looks so right, she's all I need tonight

11 February 2007

Stupid Human Tricks: Riding a bike on rollers with no hands

I warned you via the last post.. here it is. I thought I was pretty cool until I found this freak, who has probably been doing this for a lot more than the 30 seconds that I practiced. I feel as foolish as I look.

Bicak Kendi Sapini Kesmez

Literal translation: "A knife will not cut it's own handle"
Quite fitting I think, in reflection of my last few posts.. (That's not a jab at any person, place or thing) Overheard on Turkish television today.. some dramatic rip-off of The DaVinci Code with a Ukrainian-Turk faking bad Turkish.. Embedded itself in my head.. I just completed a 45 minute work-out and feel ready to move mountains.. if only the day wasn't so short. More to come. I have so much to share that I don't know where to begin. Next up: Another "Stupid Human Trick". Remember the last one? This time a little more dangerous. I know, you're wetting yourself with anticipation..

09 February 2007

Support for 301 continues

From today's Turkish Daily News:
The president of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO), who also spoke at the same press conference, criticized the government for expecting to hear opinions of civil society organizations on 301. If you are a powerful government and if you have been given the authority to rule the country, then you change the law as you deem correct and take responsibility for it.”

Aygün said Article 301 actually worked to protect those who want to abolish it.

According to the ATO president, individuals who make mindless statements dismissing the people of the country and the nation's assets will continue to do so freely. “They will be comfortable when that happens. However, there's one thing they forget. The citizens will be reacting [to these statements].”

Many thanks to Erkan for posting this link (who I presume does not share my qualified defense of 301) The above sentiment is very much compatible with and validates what I've been saying about Article 301 all along. -AT

08 February 2007

Defense of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code

Seems I am misunderstood on many levels:
1. I am not a supporter of Article 301. I agree that it's bad, that it limits free speech, that it should be modified or eliminated.. one day.
2. Defending it's necessity or existence does not supercede No. 1 above
3. It's true that Article 301 is enforced frivolously by people in TR with an ax to grind. Shame on them.
4. I believe that elimination of Article 301 will cost many lives.
5. Many other countries have similar laws, to wit:

Article 248 of the Austrian Penal Code :
Whosoever, in such a manner that the act becomes known to the general public, in a malicious way, insults and brings into contempt the Austrian Republic and its States, is liable for imprisonment for up to one year. Whosoever, in the manner described in Paragraph 1, in a malicious manner and at a public occasion or a function open to the public, insults, brings into contempt or belittles the flag displayed for official purposes or the national or state anthems of the Austrian Republic or its States, is liable for imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to 360 times the fixed daily rate.

The German Criminal Code Section 90 concerns Disparagement of the State and its Symbol. It provides that:
Whoever publicly, in a meeting or through the dissemination of writings (Section 11 subsection (3)): 1. insults or maliciously maligns the Federal Republic of Germany or one of its Lands or its constitutional order; or 2. disparages the colors, flag, coat of arms or the anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany or one of its Lands, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

Identification of "Crimes Against the State" in Italy features
public insult or vilification of the flag or any other emblem of the State.
Article 292 of the Criminal Code deals with anyone who "publicly insults or vilifies" the national flag or "other emblem" of the state, punishable by imprisonment for up to four years. It encompasses those who publicly insult or vilify the national colors as distinct from the flag.

In Portugal Article 332 of the Penal Code, dating from 1999, provides that
Anyone who by words, gesture, in writing or by any other means of public communication, desecrates the Republic, national flag or the national anthem the symbols or emblems of the Portuguese sovereignty, or in any other way fails to pay them their due respect, shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years or with a pecuniary penalty of up to 240 days.

Reis tears it up at JFK on his new LikeaBike Jumper

Indeed the acorn does not fall far from the tree.. He loves that extremely expensive bike I gave him. Don't tell the LikeaBike company, but I would have gladly paid double for it... Murat pops cans of Dinty Moore beef stew for sustenance and pollutes the house beyond habitability with an abundance of dirty socks and dishes, Reis and Ebru are in Bursa Turkey dining on Inegol kofte, pirzola, lahmacun, iskender kebap, "palamut" and hamsi.. I miss them so much, each more than the other, and in different ways.

07 February 2007

Elif Shafak is also a guest on NPR's Radio Open Source!

Elif Shafak: Voice of a New Turkey
“… all my family tree has been Something Somethingian, and I am the grandchild of genocide survivors who lost all their relatives at the hands of Turkish butchers in 1915″

06 February 2007

Elif Shafak on NPR: The Bastard of Istanbul

Author Elif Shafak was acquitted after being taking to trial for "insulting Turkishness" when a fictional character described the Armenian genocide in her latest book. AFP/Getty Images

Elif claims that Article 301 was introduced as a positive/progressive step towards EU integration.. at least compared to older articles which it replaced.. but that it is open to mis-interpretation and exploited by the Turkish Penal System.. I agree that it's mis-interpreted, but more so by outsiders.. If Article 301 was re-named to something more compatible with it's purpose, then it would avoid many of the condemnation it receives from Turkey's detractors. Let me repeat a comment I introduced a couple of weeks ago in response to Bolsa Hye over at Global Voices:

What is regrettable is the term used to decribe what it’s violators are accused of, because it really leads people into the weeds: “insulting Turkishness”… I believe a more fitting term for Article 301 defendants might be: “Inciting rebellion”. In my view, Article 301 serves to keep certain radical elements from clashing with other more benign elements. Erasing it will cause the majority of Turks (nationalists) to clash violently with “hyphenated-Turks”. Keeping the minority in check keeps the majority from assaulting the other, by way of deterring provocation. Do you deny that this is possible? Is it so far fetched that at present, Article 301 is necessary? Most seem to be too myopic to understand that Article 301 didn’t appear out of thin air, that it was created by lawmakers.. who were elected as democratically as you can presently find in the middle east. Does this explanation, right or wrong, mean that I believe it’s a good thing, however necessary? No, absolutely not. The fact that the majority of nationalist Turks are too immature or insecure to even fathom tolerating something spoken against the state, is not anything for Turks to be proud of. Hopefully, we’ll live to see the day when Turks do not feel threatened by a difference in thinking, and a day when hyphenated-Turks refrain from deliberate provocation.

And to Gulay:

"There's free speech, and then there's the kind of free speech which can get you killed. If Article 301 did it's job and deterred people from attracting attention to their unpopular views, then perhaps people like Hrant Dink would still be alive. So you see I'm not a fan of Article 301.. rather I'm a fan of Article 301 having the potential to save lives. Some Turks are not yet ready to accept a difference in thinking.. not yet. I would rather tolerate a little totalitarianism as you put it, than be gunned down on the street. When Turkish society is ready, A-301 will go away.. and trust me I'll be among the first to say good riddance!"

Elif opines (paraphrased) that the enforcers of Article 301 are a minority who want to stop the EU process.. who want to see the country as a more xenophobic nation-state.. a closed society.. and I quote:

"..It intrigues me to see how Armenians in the Diaspora tend to be past-oriented.. memory-oriented.. whereas when you look at the Turks.. that's not the case at all. We are more future oriented.. and in some ways we are a society of collective amnesia. So it's not only 1915 that we are unable to talk about.. but the whole past.. For many people in Turkey history begins in 1923.. the day the Republic was established.. That is the beginning.. and anything that might have happened before then.. is of no real interest..."

Hmmm. What intrigues me Elif is your choice of friends back in 2005..
Fatma Muge Gocek, Richard Hovannisian, Elif Shafak, Taner Akcam strike a pose at the 2005 UCLA conference.

05 February 2007

Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Turkish Blogs-Volume 3 Episode 5

Previous episodes:
Live From Gybria Latest: Sports-its all about heart
The Infidel: Playing the 'genocide' record in reverse Latest: George Carlin is the Best
Gulay, Galatasaray, and the Dogs Latest: Turkey's Finest Strike Again
The Need To Know Latest: (Due out in March)
Feature Presentation:
It's a good thing I have two blogs because I am now entered to win an iPod Nano. All I had to do was link my other blog to the one called Talk Turkey. You can too! Metin is next up on the 'Hitch Hiker's Guide to Turkish blogs'.. and it's going to The new look of his site gave me chills... a few wardrobe malfunctions away from giving me a lot more.. With the exception of the occasional very run-on sentence, I consider Metin's blog to be a model of what a perfectionist's blog would look like. Metin, if you would only link to more blogs yourself... then you wouldn't have to offer people left-over Golden Globe schwag in order to get some linkage in return! Not only is Metin my co-moderator over at the Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group.. (you're fired, by the way) he's also the first person ever to link to my horror show of a blog, so I'm allowed to say these things. Don't try it. Not unless you want me to open a can of whoop-ass. More to come.. I'm just getting warmed up here.

04 February 2007

Murat crashes off the bike, riding in the house

I certainly realize that these charts induce drowsiness, but that's okay. I am awake enough for the two of us after this one hour death march on the rollers. What distinguishes tonight's balancing act is that I fell off! during the 36th minute. (see the sudden dip in the blue speed graph? oh and check the sudden spike in heart rate too in that instant) I put a bottle of water on the window sill to my left, instead of in the bike's bottle cage... Being conditioned to ride on the rollers [one handed] only with my left hand, when I tried to ride using only my right, the wheels went off the drums and landed on the hardwood floor. I braced myself on the window, spilling water everywhere in the process. No injuries, thank goodness. I managed to stay almost vertical, and got right back into it after taking a drink. That's the first time I've ever fallen off the rollers in the 17 years that I've owned them. I know of someone who died falling off of rollers.. Last night I dreamt that a giant airliner crashed into the neighborhood where I grew up, destroying all of the waterfront homes across the street from ours.. WTF?

Physician, Cure Thyself

Go ahead and admit it.. Repeat after me: "I am an Amerikan Turk"

03 February 2007

Time to "Get back on the Stick': The Guide to Turkish Blogs Continues

First a [short] re-Cap:
The Infidel: Playing the 'genocide' record in reverse Latest: George Carlin is the Best
Gulay, Galatasaray, and the Dogs Latest: Turkey's Finest Strike Again
The Need To Know Latest: (Due out in March)
And on to my latest discovery: Live From Gybria
I hate to start out with any sort of jab, but Emre is undeniably blessed with a surname which no doubt caused him as much grief as I experienced in grade school (They called me Mewrat "Applebasket", they called my sister "Elifant", they called my brother "Ali, Ali, Ali, get your adverbs here" a la Schoolhouse Rock) Did I ever mention my wife's friend Janet? She's married to someone with the surname 'Boy', first name 'Ufuk'. Sounds like a Bart Simpson prank to Moe's Tavern.. Yes I digress into left field.. but to prove to you that I actually read Emre's delightful story-telling, here are the posts I enjoyed most: Meeting the Imam and An Unusual Car Ride and Gift Ideas From Gybria and Bring on the Cold!
That is all I will say this time.. except for: "More photos please, Emre!" and "What the heck is Gybria?"

Buy my father's Autographed 'Sabit Gurses' Album

Or how about my mom's COACH handbag??
or some old Zeki Muren records?
or Murat's Colavita uniform..
or a vintage Baris Manco album?
or here, just see the whole selection.
I'm cleaning house..

Meet the REAL William Hayes: Midnight Express

many thanks to Mert Ulas (in Turkish) and Metin (in English)

02 February 2007

Murat is...

..tired, bored, and depressed. All I want to do is sleep. Yet there is much to look forward to: my San Diego trip, next weekend's tool auction, Ebru and Reis returning from Turkiye, Spring, warm weather and daylight savings, blah blah blah. May 2005 was my last real vacation, my last trip to Turkiye... and it's really getting to me. Mentally I'm burned out. Maybe a week of no television, no radio, no internet, and no news, would help clear my mind. I definitely need to make the most of my trip to California. I won't have a computer with me. Anyone want to take the reigns here at Amerikan Turk from Feb 21 thru 27?