29 December 2008

Become Your Dream


28 December 2008

A Delicious 1000+ calorie Chipotle Burrito..

..Now populates my stomach. It's okay.. Murat did a 4-1/2 hour training ride today. That's 80 miles, bi-otch.

27 December 2008

Elif is the winner

MLYLT=Me Love You Long Time.
And my new vanity plate is just plain "MURAT".

25 December 2008

23 December 2008

There's a little Napoleon Dynamite in all of us

I've never watched it contiguously from beginning to end, but it's friggin genius no matter where you stumble upon it. You can't look away. You empathise. You relate. You pity. You feel them- Deb, Pedro and Napoleon. You see a few kids who were dealt a ten high and who are going all-in anyway, because folding is for losers.

APOLOGY INSPIRED BY SELECTIVE MORALITY HURTS MORE THAN IT HEALS

December 22, 2008

Contact Information:
Nurten Ural, President, ATAA
Hakan Dakin, Art/Media Director, ATAA

APOLOGY INSPIRED BY SELECTIVE MORALITY HURTS MORE THAN IT HEALS

ATAA deeply regrets the one-sided apology that is being circulated in the internet and media by some scholars in Turkey. The statement of apology, while correctly avoiding the use of the term "genocide" and, thus, draining the issue of much of its potency, is nevertheless, divisive more than unifying, showing sensitivity to one group of victims of World War One (Armenians) but not to others (Turks, Kurds, Circassians, Azeris, Jews, and others.) Such unfortunate display of selective morality inevitably dooms the apology to a act of political gesture, an anti-establishment statement tainted with self-promotion.

It is also argued that the statement of apology clearly indicates plurality in public opinion in Turkey, thus powerfully refuting the often repeated claims of intolerance to dissent in Turkey. It is added that this apology draws attention to the obvious lack of such plurality in public opinion in neighboring Armenia where the state's orthodoxy is enforced upon all. We note these arguments with interest, but nevertheless, do not find them sufficiently compelling to justify such a divisive, polarizing apology driven by selective morality.

The statement, though sensitive to Armenian losses, glosses over Muslim losses suffered due to the many bloody Armenian revolts, raids and massacres by Armenian revolutionaries, treason by Armenians joining invading enemy armies, and ubiquitiously calamitous wartime conditions ( such as hunger, epidemics, poor supplies or infrastructure, brigands, feuds, and other elements.) Turkish History Institute research reports close to 524,000 Ottoman-Muslims, mostly Turks, as having met their tragic ends at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries during WWI. Not to include these humans into an apology is to insult their silent memory.

Also ignored, sadly, were the Turkish victims of Armenian terrorism since 1973. More than 70 innocent Turkish diplomats, family members, and/or bystanders were ruthlessly murdered by Armenian terrorists like ASALA, JCAG, and others. At a time when the U.S. fighting a costly global war on terrorism, this irony is hardly lost on us or other peace-lovers.

Just as inexplicable is the blatant hypocrisy in the omission in the apology statement of the Azeri victims of the Hodjali pogrom committed by Armenian thugs in February 1992 and the more than a million of Azeri refugees who were forced by Armenian military (supported by Russian tanks and advisors) at gunpoint to flee their homes. Those Azeri women and children are still braving the brutal Caucasus winters and scorching summers in their flimsy tents for the 14th year in a row. Adding insult to injury has to be the fact that U.S. Aid to these unfortunate souls was blocked by intense political pressure from the Armenian lobby America. It is profoundly saddening and baffling to us why a few words of comfort could not be included in the "apology statement" for these Azeri refugees-in- their-own- country.

ATAA solemnly remembers all who lost their lives in the war years between 1912 and 1922, namely Turks, Kurds, Circassians, Jews, and others, in Eastern Anatolia, due to Armenian rebellions, terrorism, and treason; the Turkish diplomats who were assassinated since 1973 by Armenian terrorists; the Azeri victims of Armenia's aggression between 1992-1994; and the Azeri refugees created by the ethnic cleansing campaign waged by Armenia since 1992. Since they were all forgotten in the "apology" offered by a few ill-informed scholars and their supporters, we would like to include them in our apology to all the victims of Armenian aggression here. We share their pain and apologize to them for Armenians' inhumanity visited upon them.

There is no reason for the Republic of Turkey to apologize to any persons or countries for something that Turks have not done. After all, one doesn't apologize for defending one's home.

Nurten Ural,

President, ATAA

21 December 2008

Finally did it

To the dismay of dear wife, your hero ordered his first ever vanity license plate for his car.
Can you guess what it says? Max 6 letters/numbers. Here were some of my considerations:
"BADASS"
"MLYLT"
"PLATE"
"ZZZZZZ"
"GRIFTY"
"USUCK"
"ALLAH1"
"STEWIE"
"FENER"
"BAHCE"
"TURKEY"
"BALLS"
"ICANDY"
"TURK4U"
"ASSMAN"
"WTF"
FAvorites? Suggestions? Needless to say, Murat picked the most obvious choice.

17 December 2008

Oral surgery

In the pain cave with sutures in my gums after a root evac
This sucks

11 December 2008

Babamizi ozliyoruz

ikisinin adi irfan. ikisi de cok sevilen insan. Hayatta kalan babamiz kendi degerini bilip bizler icin mucadele etmesini bekliyoruz. iki babanin yerini almak kolaymi? Ayaga kalkip gogusunu yumruklayip "ben varim arkanizda" diyen babayi bekliyoruz.
Neredesin Baba?              

05 December 2008

Flatulence and Mouth Breathing

Read about how obesity is rewarded in Canada while others are charged 90 Euros to bring back an extra suitcase of what remains of their dead father's belongings. -uck you Lufthansa.

04 December 2008

Every Breath You Take

The Police. No matter how many times I've heard that song, it still stops me in my tracks. I stop what I'm doing, typing, cleaning, what ever it is. I listen and sing along. Takes me back to my living room in College Point with the red carpet, later changed to mauve. I see gray venetian blinds. It's cloudy. I feel like the house stood still. Maybe I wasn't the only one listening but I don't remember.

Moods 1 and 2

Mood 1

Mood 2


Which is your mood? I'm mood 2 today.

30 November 2008

These things take time..

Since October of 2006, there has been an atrocious hole in the ceiling of the foyer of our butler staircase. Your hero finally patched it up last weekend:
A 2nd floor view of the original "Mattress Hole" can be viewed here. As you can see, I salvaged (re-used, recycled, pre-cycled, whatever) materials left over from a project at work. These two wonderful laminate colors are found on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Salem High School in Salem MA.

28 November 2008

Is it just me..

..or is true that the primary occupation which Nigerians and Somalis are engaged in is something I like to call "taking other people's shit".
Whether it's pirating commercial tankers for ransom or phishing for suckers with their Advance Fee Frauds, they seem to be the mavens of such matters.
Feel free to peruse the 189 scam e-mail your hero has received in the span of two months, over at http://www.scamlisting.blogspot.com/. You will marvel at the ALL CAPS messages with horrendous grammar and the number of African diplomats (and their entire families) who are killed in plane crashes.
The latest craze? Random online lotteries which you never even knew you entered!
To be continued.

26 November 2008

Post No 1111

A Turkish soldier stands at attention during a ceremony at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Ankara November 25, 2008. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

24 November 2008

A Man After My Own Heart: Firat Arslan

He's Turkish, but not in Turkey. He's 38 but still doing it- giving it everything he can, guns blazing. I love that- when people who are past their prime give the young guns a run for their money- and win- like the mother of three who won the Olympic marathon in Beijing. More about Firat
Firat Arslan of Germany receives treatment from his team during a pause in their WBA cruiserweight world championship boxing fight against Guillermo Jones of Panama in the northern German city of Hamburg late September 27, 2008. Jones won the fight by technical knock-out in the 10th round. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

Guess who?

It's the co-writer here at Amerikan Turk, shirking again. Presumably very close to hitting the bottom. So "less-than-zero-esque", dontcha think?

20 November 2008

when

When the cows come home, I'll be gone.

Don't know what I mean, just feels right.

Woman loses $400,000 to Advance Fee Scam

See? My new site Scamlisting makes an effort to help people avoid such rip-offs. This woman mortgaged her house and wasted her husband's retirement funds, even after being told to stop, after being told it was all lies. I'm going to be sick.

Reserved

This space will one day be populated by a blog entry which is one day crafted by my sister who one day takes a genuine interest and contributes something.
Post a news article, a link, a photo you've taken, a G-d damned haiku..
Get on the stick, girlie-girl. A video recording of yourself kicking someone's ass will do nicely as well. For example:

17 November 2008

401-k HELL

I'm going to be sick. A 401-k account held for me by a former employer has gone neglected and reached a level not seen unless I look back at a statement from 5 years ago. This isn't my main 401k, so I'll just share the meager and agonizing numbers with you. Beginning in January 2002 and ending in October 2003, I contributed $8,497 to this 401k account, which includes some employer matching. This is over a 21 month period. By the end of the 24th month, the balance of this account appreciated to $10,624. This represents a gain of over $2000! Hold that thought..
Here's how my initial investment of $8,497 evolved over the next 5 years, with NO NEW CONTRIBUTIONS:
12/31/03: $10,624
3/31/2004: $11,106
6/30/2004: $11,060
9/30/2004: $11,055
12/31/2004: $12,370
I am the shit. Look at me, UP nearly 4 large ones. I rock!
3/31/2005: $12,210
6/30/2005: $12,385
9/30/2005: $13,548
12/31/2005: $14,302
I should be a day trader. I picked these mutual funds myself, biotch.
::Kisses own biceps::
3/31/2006: $15,160
6/30/2006: $15,069
9/30/2006: $15,638
12/31/2006: $16,858
Oh boy! I doubled my money in three years! Suck it, Ben Stein!
3/31/2007: $17,171
6/30/2007: $18,498
9/30/2007: $19,242
12/31/2007: $18,911
Holy Crap! I'm UP over $10,000! I am giving unsolicited 401k advice to people..
3/31/2008: $17,269
6/30/2008: $16,955
Fuck it, I'm still double my initial investment. It will recover.
9/30/2008: $14,336
Well I'll be damned, I was wrong.
11/17/2008 (Today): $10,522
What the FUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK! 401-Ks SUUUUUCCCKKKK!
I HATE YOU, 401k. Die you 401k mis-managing mother-uckers!
::Striking own head against nearest blunt objects::
I'm back where I was five years ago! Only ahead by $2,000!!
So what would YOU do if you were me?
I'm gonna let it ride a bit longer. It's not a loss until you sell, and technically, I'm still ahead..
Let's look at the bright side. There are people out there who are retired or very close to retirement, who are seeing losses like this on an immense scale, compared to me. I wouldn't want to be someone who's 60-70 years old right now.

My Dream In Hell

from somewhere in Brooklyn, from Elif Altinbasak:
I just woke from a dream where I was in hell. I died and didn't realize it until I noticed I couldn't get off the 2 train. It kept skipping my stop and going to faraway stations that didn't lead outside at all. The train traveled on both indoor and outdoor platforms. When outside, the sun shone into the graffiti stained windows casting shadows on lifeless looking men. Mouths agape, staring at the floor, they sat still looking like they gave up. Ironically the 2 train is the red line.

I kept saying "I died? I died?" I was confused as to why I was in hell when I didn't even believe in it. In one station I was finally able to exit. I was standing on a hill with shit soaked grass and a river of piss beside it. There was the tree of life, dead, no leaves with grass poking through slushy poo. Nearby laid a very old, overweight and lazy snake. I kicked it and it barely stirred.

I was brought to a warehouse. In the warehouse was the lobby to the building that I designed and my former client taking inventory. For some reason it was stuffed with furniture, some of which I recognized from other places I have decorated before. The Canterbury Table was there, the dining table I put in a ski house last year. It's huge with dark brown wood and gorgeous hand carved details. But it wasn't being used, just stood there with no chairs around it.

Then I saw the giant mud and shit oozing monster, like a 2 story Jabba the Hutt. Puddles were pooling around it. Suddenly a gel-like clear substance poured from it's belly button. This guy runs up and says, "Oh Yes, finally I can take a bath!" I told him he's disgusting, but then he told me I should get used to it, this is the cleanest substance in the land and the only way to get clean. I told him I'd rather just let my own filth accumulate before stooping so low. He said, "Suit yourself!"

Strangely I saw Murat, my older brother there. He was on a bike putting on his helmet. Non expressive and stone faced, he seemed to care little for the fact that either he or I was there. I'm not sure but it was understood that he was going back. He found a loophole, we're Muslim. Before taking off he pointed me to the office inside.

The office was gloomy and overcrowded with piles of paper and noisy typewriters. I went to a messy desk and asked how I go back. They said that it would be a while since I committed so many sins. I said I didn't believe in hell and shouldn't even be there! "Well," they said, "as a Christian your sins will take longer to absolve" Then crying I said, "But then you've made a mistake!! I was raised Muslim for one, and two I don't believe in hell anymore!" I was balling my eyes out. The clerk disagreed until a coworker came by and said, "She's right. It's according to beliefs. If she's Muslim then her sentence is shorter than a Christian's. If she doesn't believe in hell then she shouldn't even be here." So it was understood that they made a mistake and I was going back. Then I woke up.

If you're wristwatch is the accessory which says the most about you..

..Then mine must say that I hate myself. I'll post a picture of it tonight. Although, to be fair, I used to use a SEIKO, which is the company which came up with the above tripe in the first place.
To be continued.


Now that I think of it, the heading shows you my previous watch- a Seiko Automatic which I got on Ebay for $50. The reason I don't wear it now is because I broke the strap in a fit of rage- I was at Dunkin Donuts on route 138, on my way to the Ninigret Crit, running late of course. Everyone behind the counter was serving the -ucking drive thru customers and us schmucks in side the store were being ignored. I said something profane and flung the door open to get out, using my wristwatch as leverage. The strap broke. It's still good- needs one of those spring loaded pins. My wife bought me this travesty of a timepiece when I jokingly told her I always wanted a calculator watch. So you see, my watch says that I love my wife.

16 November 2008

post 1101

Your hero has been lying down all day, squirming with pain from the FLU.
I thought I would share with you, even in this time of unbearable illness, that I am soon to be joined by a partner here at Amerikan Turk. What do you think about that? It's going to be fun I think. Let's hope it doesn't suck.
She's fashionably late.

31 October 2008

FW: Office dares

Office dares

FYI, For those trying to just hold on to whatever shred of sanity and dignity you have left in your office, keep on keeping on with these innocent office dares to make your skull-crushingly dull and boring work hours a little more lively....

ONE-POINT DARES


1) Run one lap around the office at top speed.
2) Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.
3) Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say, "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."
4) To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.
5) Leave your zipper open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this way."
6) Walk sideways to the photocopier.
7) While riding in an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.

TWO POINT DARES


1) Say to your boss, "I like your style" and shoot him with double-barreled fingers.
2) Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask, "Did you get all that, I don't want to have to repeat it."
3) Page yourself over the intercom (do not disguise your voice).
4) Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle (there must be a 'non-player' within sight).
5) Shout random numbers while someone is counting.

FIVE POINT DARES


1) At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (5 extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).
2) Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.
3) For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Bob."
4) Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a number two."
5) After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in "The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for 1 hour.
6) While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator.
7) In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, all of you just shut up!"
8) At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, "As God as my witness, I'll never go hungry again."
9) In a colleague's DAY PLANNER, write in the 10am slot: "See how I look in tights."(5 Extra points if it is a male, 5 more if he is your boss)
10) Carry your keyboard over to your colleague and ask, "You wanna trade?"
11) Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
12) Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it."
13) Posing as a maitre d', call a colleague and tell him he's won a lunch for four at a local restaurant. Let him go.
14) Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc) during a very important conference call.
15) Find the vacuum and start vacuuming around your desk.
16) Hang a 2' long piece of toilet roll from the back of your pants and act genuinely surprised when someone points it out.
17) Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuits, smashing each biscuit with your fist.
18) During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.
19) Arrange toy figures on the table to represent each meeting attendee, move them according to the movements of their real-life counterparts. And if that wasn't enough for you...

How to keep a healthy level of insanity:


1) At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2) Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
3) Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4) Put your waste basket on your desk and label it "IN".
5) Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6) Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy."
7) Don't use any punctuation
8) Use, too...much; punctuation!
9) As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
10) Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
11) Specify that your drive-through order is "to go."
12) Sing along at the opera.
13) Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.
14) Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.
15) Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.
16) Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, "Rock Hard."
17) When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won! 3rd time this week!!!"
18) When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

And the final way to keep a healthy level of insanity....


19) Send this to everyone in your address book, even if they sent it to you or have asked you not to send them stuff like  this
 

28 October 2008

Like a scene from a Mel Brooks movie

Is that an AK-47 or are you just happy to see me?
Turkish gendarme soldiers prepare to change shifts with their colleagues as they walk in front of Silivri prison, some 70 km (43 miles) west of Istanbul, during the trial of the shadowy-right wing group Ergenekon October 27, 2008. The trial of Ergenekon resumed with 86 defendants, including former army officers, politicians, and journalists, accused of plotting assassinations and bombings to spark a military coup against the government. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

26 October 2008

Turks are banned from Blogger!

..unless you're outside of Turkey, as I am. Well. This is nothing short of a complete embarrassment. Talk about insulting Turkishness.. This is a shameful insult to the entire population of Turkey. You will go to jail for expressing a low opinion of a dead guy, but removing the freedom of 80 million people to access Blogger? That's fine and dandy, sweet as candy.. Which century is this? Who elected the officials who are responsible? I hate to say it, but there's a saying that goes around a lot during election season.. something like "You get the government you deserve".. Yes that's a jab at the Turks who elected, or enabled, or made it possible, for the dipshits in Ankara to occupy their positions of power. Get rid of these bad eggs!

22 October 2008

My newest blog is taking off

I introduced it last month, and it has been a strong October so far with already 50 posts in the last three weeks. Yeah that makes Amerikan Turk kind of lame in comparison, I know.. But to post messages to Scamlisting , all I have to do is forward e-mails to the blog. It takes about 10 seconds to process a new scam e-mail. What accumulates is a lot of easy blog posts and a database of Google-sensitive keywords which are searched whenever others receive the same message as I've received. A pretty clever waste of time on my part, eh? I sincerely hope that Google searchers (potential victims) become informed and thusly avoid such scams, but I also secretly hope that Scamlisting gets so much traffic that I can quit my day job and live off the Google Adsense income. I can dream, can't I?

18 October 2008

Un-believe-able Re-tarded-ness: CA mom takes 12 year old daugher to fight


When it becomes evident that her kid is on the losing end of the deal, Shauna Foster quickly intervenes. After all, how will she explain her daughter's bloody, bruised and puffy face to other responsible adults and authorities? I'm astonished that California has white trash just like we do here on the East Coast.

16 October 2008

LikeaBike Jumpers are in stock- HOT PINK!

I'm receiving a shipment of them today or tomorrow. There's a new color in town, too! HOT PINK. And just in time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This Sunday morning at Roger Williams Park: MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer
Millwork One has a team of participants. Please donate to the cause if you can spare a few dollars. I know that I will.
If you don't already know, these little bikes are designed for ages two to five, built from aluminum, weigh only 7-1/2 pounds, use Schwalbe tires, have rear suspension, designed for age 2 to 5, and are completely bullet proof. (Leave it in the yard in the rain overnight? no worries)
My wife and I run a small home based business selling these bikes, under the banner of WeeBikeShop.com. We also co-sponsor my bike race team- Millwork One Racing and we fund a lot of the team benefits such as apparel, entry fees and prize matching. It was always my hope that my largest pool of customers would be bike racers who appreciate a high end starter bike for toddlers. If you're in the market for a LikeaBike- any model, please consider buying from a fellow racer who also supports bike racing with sponsorship dollars.
To do our part in the cancer war, (we lost my father to lung cancer this past May) I would like to offer all of the local racers here in New England a special deal. Since I normally ship these bikes for free all over the US, I will extend a $15 contribution to the cancer charity of your choice, if you buy a LikeaBike Jumper from me between now and December 31st. There is one caveat: The bike will be delivered in person, within Rhode Island state lines, at a location that is mutually convenient, such as a cross race, training ride meet-up, or at Providence Bike. The $15 I usually pay for shipping the bike goes to charity, in your name. A pretty good deal I think, and very green since we avoid using UPS. Please reach out to me if you're interested: reiscotools@yahoo.com
To learn more about these amazing bikes, please use the https://www.weebikeshop.com/ link, where you will be linked to our storefront on Ebay, showing you our prices and selection. We do sell many bikes outside of Ebay, so do not feel compelled to transact there. Reach out to me by e-mail and if you need to pay using credit, I can send you an invoice through Paypal. Many thanks for reading.

07 October 2008

Debating 101: McCain and Obama both get a D

Either that, or they need to call it something else. The questions seemed to be nothing more than bait- each candidate would bite for a few sentences, but never swallow it, never satisfy the issue set forth. "Answer the question or, at the very least, make a relevant point!", is probably what Tom Brokaw was saying to himself behind those tired little eyes.
Neither candidate impresses me. Is this the best of the best? or the best who want to be there?
I'm reminded of a scene in the movie Gladiator, where the emperor offers leadership of the kingdom to General Maximus, upon his death. Maximus says "With all my heart, no", to which the Emperor replies "That is why, it must be you!".
I believe there are thousands of Maximuses out there, who are qualified and more, but who lack the means and the desire to get to the top.
I guess the moral of the story is: let's not confuse those who want to be leaders, with those who should be leaders.
One's too young. The other's too old. One's too inexperienced. The other has a name that's too damn close to BinLaden. One's black. One's a chick who is being referred to by many blind and hairy palmed teens as a "MILF". They all have great friggin teeth though.. I want that dental plan, please. Who will do the job better? It's a coin-flip. One of them sucks less than the other one sucks, but not by much. It will boil down to the number of "pity votes" McCain gets. Americans love an underdog, especially when it's his last chance. They'll reason that Obama has decades in which to win the position and prove himself. They'll promise to vote for him later, 4 or 8 years from now. They'll vote for McCain now because no one wants to see an old man cry, and there's a more than a little bit of feel-good satisfaction in helping an old man to win what he's fighting for against a young and wily opponent.

02 October 2008

On a long enough timeline..

..Every airplane will inevitably suffer a catastrophic equipment failure and crash. This can't be proven wrong. Don't bother trying.

01 October 2008

Stash Your Cash: Good Advice, at any time

Full Article by Brett Arends

The amount wiped off the American stock market on Monday alone was $1.3 trillion. That's almost twice as much as the theoretical price tag on the bill.
Worldwide, the damage is much bigger.
Ordinary Americans, through their mutual funds, lost at least $400 billion. That's real value wiped off 401ks, IRAs, and 529 plans. That's retirements delayed, and college plans re-evaluated.
And again, that's just the losses suffered on Monday.


Checking one of my 401K accounts last night, I am astonished that after Monday's losses, I'm down 27% year to date. Is it time to cut back my contributions? (I'm at 15%) or double them up? I'm thinking stay the course, but it's tempting to transfer all my holdings to cash on the next big rally and take a breather, and temporarily re-allocate future contributions to cash or bond funds.

Disorderly Sleep

I have not slept through the night, uninterrupted, in months. Tonight's no exception. Why the fuck do I open my eyes every two hours?

29 September 2008

Requirement of the Boy Scout Merit Badge for Cycling: Average 5 mph for 10 hours

This blog post has been incubating all day, beginning with the moment I lazily flipped open a tattered Boy Scout 'Handbook for Boys' from the 1930s and started to paw through it.. It was something I picked up a few years back, probably part of an auction lot that I won at an Antique Tool Auction. At the time, I didn't think much of it and threw it on the bookshelf. Today I discover that there is a Merit Badge for Cycling, and that the requirements for earning one were set forth 80 years ago, thusly:
How times have changed- check out the current requirements for the 2008 Cycling merit badge:
1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation.
2. Clean and adjust a bicycle. Prepare it for inspection using a bicycle safety checklist. Be sure the bicycle meets local laws.
3. Show your bicycle to your counselor for inspection. Point out the adjustments or repairs you have made. Do the following:
a. Show all points that need oiling regularly.
b. Show the points that should be checked regularly to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride.
c. Show how to adjust brakes, seat level and height, and steering tube.
4. Describe how to brake safely with foot brakes and with hand brakes.
5. Show how to repair a flat. Use an old bicycle tire.
6. Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
-Proper mount, pedal, and brake including emergency stops.
-On an urban street with light traffic, properly execute a left turn from the center of the street; also demonstrate an alternate left turn technique used during periods of heavy traffic.
-Properly execute a right turn.
-Demonstrate appropriate actions at a right-turn-only lane when you are continuing straight.
-Show proper curbside and road-edge riding. Show how to ride safely along a row of parked cars.
-Cross railroad tracks properly.
7. Describe your state's traffic laws for bicycles. Compare them with motor-vehicle laws. Know the bicycle-safety guidelines.
8. Avoiding main highways, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, and two rides of 25 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates, routes traveled, and interesting things seen. The bicycle must have all required safety features. It must be registered as required by your local traffic laws.
9. After fulfilling requirement 8, lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.

Source: boyscouttrail.com

I've never been a boy scout or cub scout or eagle scout, but this book informs me of an institution which I feel completely deprived from. Do people still send their kids to be scouts? Is it safe? and I mean that in the "are the adults in charge trustworthy?" kind of 'safe'? I guess I'll think about it for our 5 year old son Reis.. While you think about the duration of a 50 mile bike ride being cut from ten to eight hours, please enjoy this assortment of high resolution advertisements which I scanned from the back of the 'Boy Scout Handbook for Boys'. I love old advertisements- they're the main reason why I own a 60 year collection of National Geographic magazines which I can't bear to part with. Click to enlarge:








27 September 2008

24 September 2008

Lance Armstrong: 38 and going for number 8 in 2009

(CNN) -- Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong stunned the sports world September 9 when he announced that he would come out of a three-year retirement to attempt to win the Tour de France for a record eighth time.
The 37-year-old Texan said he was returning to raise awareness of cancer, having survived testicular cancer to triumph in cycling's most famous race.
Money quote: "Physically, at 37, I'll be almost 38 when I start the tour next summer. That's slightly different, but ultimately, I believe that the mind powers the body, and once the mind says we want to do it, then the body will follow." Full story on CNN

Well said. Lance and I are almost the same age, and his announcement gives me and my bike racing aspirations a much needed shot in the arm. In fact, there are probably thousands of masters (30+ competitors) who are inspired to train a little longer, suffer a little more, race a few more years because of guys like Lance and Eric Zabel and Joop Zoetmelk and Andre Tchmiel and David Rebellin... More importantly, I hope that Lance gives hope and strength to those who are now fighting the disease to survive. At the end of the day, what can you do besides salute the guy for trying?

22 September 2008

www.Scamlisting.blogspot.com

This idea was incubating in my head for the past year or so and I finally did it. If you are thinking that I did it just to make a few bucks, you're mostly wrong. I want smart people who receive these bogus solicitations to [hopefully] Google them and find my site, perhaps averting financial disaster: http://scamlisting.blogspot.com/ Check it out and please visit my sponsors. Every nickel will help put our little one through college T-minus 13 years from now.
I hope it rises quickly on the Google ranking totem pole and gets a zillion hits, don't you?

21 September 2008

Stop me..

For the first time ever, I am considering asking my doctor about anti-depressants. I wonder, is there also a pill for curing the self-hate and loathing which I feel because of the thought of wanting to use them? The change of seasons is always hard for me, no matter how perfect my life is..

15 September 2008

Signs from a Turkish Woodworking Shop: Cemal Tokgoz Mobilya


Cemal Tokgoz was the first person I wanted to see on the day after my father was laid to rest. He was the man who my father apprenticed under when he first learned to become a carpenter and a cabinet maker. He was the person who my father always referred to as his best friend and mentor. The day after the funeral, I took off on my bike in search of some relief, or pain, or whatever the hell the road out of Mudanya would lead me to. I ended up at Cemal's cabinet shop. At the sight of him I fell apart completely, grabbed and pressed him against me while my heaving sobs resonated throughout his shop, my tears soaked his shirt and his startled apprentice looked on emphatically, bewildered. Cemal is about 4-1/2 feet tall, and for this reason, he avoids going out into social situations. People point, stare, make jokes. He missed the funeral for this reason, and I forgive him completely. Besides, he saved me from crying like a baby in front of 100+ people, by not showing up. So here I feature some of the signs on his walls, and the plaque bearing pictures of all of his old friends. Cemal is in his 70s.. so many of those who are pictured and long gone, including my father. I left Cemal Bey with an 8x10 picture of me in a bike race, and I added my own wallet sized picture to the plaque before leaving. The Pony clamp pictured above on the table was my father's last telephone request made to me. He had let someone borrow his clamp and it was never returned.. So he asked me to bring him mine, which I was happy to do. I showed it to him but I can't be sure if he really saw it through all the pain. I gave it to Cemal to keep, as it should be.




DOWn!

Timing is everything. Just last week I was tinkering with my 401k allocations. I liquidated one position into my cash account, and left the other 9 alone, though I did change the ratio of future contributions, from being spread among ten funds, to being split evenly across only five. I wish I could have foretold today's melt-down! I would have liquidated everything! .. Hopefully those who manage my 401k funds know what they're doing, and took steps to mitigate the damage.

12 September 2008

Do you see a difference?

The Blogroll has been put on a diet, and all of those who I never read, or who couldn't be bothered to reciprocate a link, or whose content sucks or was otherwise incompatible with my taste, were deleted. Buh-bye! So the logical conclusion is that if your blog is still listed, I check on it regularly, you reciprocate links, and your blog doesn't suck. Enough said! I'd offer more superlatives about the bloggers who survived this mass deletion, but then their heads might explode.

08 September 2008

Blogger sucks balls

By changing my Adsense settings, I managed to F-up my blogger template royally, requiring me to tinker with it for the past two fucking hours. I ended up re-loading a virgin template and copy/pasting my personal enhancements. It's not all there yet, but close. I need a good laugh, do you?:

07 September 2008

Turkey wins World Cup Qualifier match with Armenia 2-0

We attended the Greek Festival in Cranston last night and had some great food and listened to live music while our kids danced and played for hours. A copy of the Festival program book found me at one point and as I was pawing through it I noticed an advertisement by a local deli/grocery which sells foods of the "near east". In the full page ad were the flags of the countries which I presume were the target audience: Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Armenia.. but no Turkish flag. Fine and dandy.. Our meandering in between rain showers today brings us close enough to this store that I can't resist visiting and checking it out. We go inside- not a single Turkish product- just lots of lesser quality knock-offs. We settled on some frozen lahmacun, Bulgarian cheese and Syrian bread. $31. Then I double back to buy my son the ice cream which I promised him and forgot about. It's from Lithuania. Of all the places from which to import ice cream.. Lithuania. Yikes. It was good and all, don't get me wrong.. but where does Lithuania fit into the 'near east' theme when there are about five world class brands of ice cream offered from Turkey?.. What can I say? At the Greek Festival, our party of five adults and two children attracted the attention of the vocalist, a heavy set pear shaped man of about 65, who tirelessly belted out Greek songs for hours on end... From a distance he could see that we all danced and moved a lot differently than all the others [who seem content to simply hold hands and run and skip around in circles]. At the end of his last piece, we all applauded with our hands over our heads and he blew us a kiss. A little later [I'm sure it was] Father Andrew E George [who] came by our table under the tent and thanked us for coming. A good man.. and good times were had by all.. Back to the Armenian grocery.. would we be shoveling shit against the tide if we asked them to bring in some of our favorite Turkish products? They even had fake 'Gazoz', which is just wrong. Did I mention.. Gyro farts are the absolute worst, bar none? Thanks for reading.

30 August 2008

Doppelganger: Ramazan Sahin the serial rapist

I was searching images of our Olympic champion and stumbled across this story. Click the video feed- it goes on forever. They reported this thing to death. This little pervert is probably in some state prison somewhere, being forced to eat his corn the long way.

20 August 2008

Ramazan Sahin: A vexing image pollutes his gold medal

This was not necessary. -AT
Ramazan Sahin, left, of Turkey, prays after beating Andriy Stadnik of Ukraine, right, in the gold medal match of 66 kilogram category of men's freestyle wrestling competition of the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008.

15 August 2008

Fwd: How much more proof is required..

3-Year-Old Tried To Save Self From Heat
We're on our own people. Praying is the same as playing the lottery, except with the lottery, some people actually win, and losers aren't three year old babies roasted alive inside of cars where mommy forgot about them in the back seat.   

05 August 2008

Mudanya'dan dunyaya kanun ureten adam

Oner Kiran knew my father, knew of his kanun building business, knew of his illness and upon discovering that he passed away, he reached out to me and asked me to give him as much information as I cared to. He resolved to pay respect and honor my father in his periodical, "Gazete Mudanya". At the time that he sent me the completed pages about a month ago, I was still a depressed and emotional wreck. After reading the things which Oner wrote, I cried a little bit, but I also felt like a heavy wet blanket was taken off of me, like I was 50 pounds lighter. Oner's words are my words, rearranged and refined to sound beautiful and meaningful. We're eternally grateful.

27 July 2008

Pissed

I did everything right. Trained right. Rested. Shaved. Cleaned the chain, rings, der and cassette (which I loath), went to bed early.. And for what? To wake up to a downpour. Sorry Norwell. Maybe next year. What really turns my crank is that the rain has not let up long enough to do a decent training ride. I'm relegated from racing, and from proper training, to the forking wind trainer.. You wait all week for the weekend and then pfffffffttt... Now I just want to punch somebody or something.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

21 July 2008

Weekend of Rest

No ride Sat no ride Sunday. We went to Scarborough Beach today- it totally smelled like ass- I could not get myself to swim in that freezing smelly water. We didn't stay too long. I was tempted to do a lite easy spin on the bike, but I have to admit- I don't really feel like riding lately. The thought of training hard- I'm not into it like before. It's been eight hard months of training for me. No wins. No podiums. A fair amount of stress and depression. No real vacation to speak of. Borderline burnout. So I took Mon, Tues, Sat and Sun off the bike. No doubt I'll be paying for it in terms of speed, but maybe some freshness will make up for it. Since Attleboro/New Britain last weekend, I am dead tired and very lacking in motivation. So tired.. And no amount of sleep or rest is helping. What is wrong with me?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

15 July 2008

The Jouney Ends

It has been an epic trip for my family, one which began on May 23rd and which ends today, in one hour. Once today's page is turned, it's as though a chapter has ended. It's time for an intermission. For any of you who have followed me on this journey, who have prayed for me to be strong, who have shared in my sorrow and mourned the loss of my father with me, who have imagined themselves beside me on my breath taking bike rides on the coast or in the mountains, who have cared for me deeply enough to leave me supportive comments or write me privately: I salute you and offer my sincere Thanks and Love. I now sit here at Boston Logan Airport's Terminal E, sipping coffee and sitting front row of the arrivals gate. With an hour or so before wife Ebru and son Reis emerge through the doors marked 'No Entry', what else is left to do besides try to conjure up a happy ending? Regrettably, I don't have any such words to offer at the moment.
Healing is not a destination, it's a journey. Healing is repair. Healing makes what was broken, stronger than it was before. In order for my father to build his first kanun from scratch, he needed to break his 25 year old kanun down into a pile of broken wooden parts, in order to know how to build one himself. And when we bike racers ttake punishingly fast training rides, perform eye popping intervals and leg breaking climbs, we're also destroying things in order for them to be rebuilt stronger, in order to force an adaptation which makes us better, faster, more powerful.. And never were the six words I now live by more compelling and beautiful than when Father began chemotherapy treatment, which pumps a harmful poison into the body in a sort of scorched earth manner, killing most of the bad cells but also devastating some of the good.. Like a controlled forest fire. I saw what he went through and I saw him fight and never give up. I saw him down, and I saw him getting kicked while he was down. I've even kicked him a few times myself, long ago.. I saw him getting back up over and over and over again. No matter how hard he hit the deck.. He was my champion.. And he is sorely missed.
From all of this, no one has become as enriched as I have.. No one.. And now, these six words ring as true as ever:
"We are created, by being destroyed."
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

14 July 2008

One day to go

Since returning from Turkey on June 9th, wife and son have been in Turkey trying to enjoy the summerm Tomorrow my solitude comes to an end and I am joined by my family at Boston Logan Airport at 8:00 pm. I can't wait to see them again.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

09 July 2008

40 Days

Forty days since brother and I put Father into the ground. It was during the funeral that it hit me like a ton of bricks.. The finality...
Ali and I climbed down into the grave. (Ali being my 26 year old brother) They opened the transit casket, which was placed next to us so we could reach in and grab father. Feeling his tender flesh through the white cloth which covered him- it would be the last time- I didn't want to let go, not even after Ali and I gently lowered him to the bottom. I wanted to lay down in there on top of him, bury my face in his chest and just curl up like a five year old child..
[Two hours before, I stood and watched as two holy men washed Father, preparing him for burial. I don't know where I found the courage or the resolve to stand there and to even help them.. Maybe because I knew that those were the final moments where I could still see him, touch him, adore him..]
We started to position the wooden boards diagonally over him, to keep the earth off of him, and I realized that it was to be the last time I ever lay eyes on him, or on his broken form through a piece of cloth.
[It's times like that when, surrounded by 100 people, you put your hand over your mouth. You do this to stop your lip from quivering, to stop your chin from trembling, to avoid those uncontrollable panic breaths you take when you're overwhelmed and about to cry really hard.. The hand over the mouth helps..]
Then we begin to replace the earth and the very last finality kicks you in the teeth, as if you're not already down enough. Everyone takes a turn re-filling the grave, hastily, as if to get it over with and save me from completely losing it.. Because I'm dying a thousand deaths watching all of this, my heart is breaking to see my little brother cry..
It's been forty days.. How am I doing? Not sure really. I guess I'm feeling better in a lot of ways.. but no matter how dry my eyes appear, no matter how good I've gotten at forcing a smile or feigning interest, I have not stopped crying, not for an instant.

Above, Dad's old watering hole, one of them actually, his favorite: "5 Corners". Below, this used to be the grocery store where, 30 years ago, I used to go buy dad his beer and mom her cigarettes. I'd also load up on 25 cent bags of chips and junk food, and those 16 ounce bottles of Coke that were made of glass and covered in the old styrofoam which I would always peel off in strips and put inside of the bottle, after guzzling it, of course.

Above, a view down 130th Street in College Point, Queens. This is the street where I lived from age 5 to 15. From our home's front picture window, we had an awesome view of the Whitestone Bridge, below. At night it would be all lit up and look pretty sweet. Here's a real estate lesson: We bought the house in 76 for $58,000 and sold it 10 years later in 86 for $216,000. Today, these homes are $700,000+. Buy on weakness and never sell.
As you can see, I spent the day in New York on business, and on the way back I stopped in the old neighborhood and visited with some old friends, or I should say, with their parents, because everyone has flown the nest for other parts. Above, just as I'm crossing the Whitestone Bridge into the Bronx, sunlight breaks through a peephole in the clouds, finding me. Lucky shot.

Thanks for reading.

06 July 2008

tough day

Today for whatever reason, I've choked up with tears more times than I would like to admit. I think about all of the times I thought to call my Father in the weeks and months before our trip to see him, and I remember how many times I didn't call, and I want to punch myself in the head a thousand times for every opportunity I passed up to speak with him, to hear his voice, to hear him breathing. Yes he had cancer and it ate him alive.. but I don't think that is what killed him.. Father died of sorrow and loneliness. I curse the day last November when we let him fly back to Turkey. He should have stayed here. We moved the guest bedroom furniture down to the 1st floor for him. We told him to stay, we wish he stayed.. but in reality, he did what was best for us, for me, my wife, my son. He didn't want us to see him as he became weaker, sicker, and more dependent upon others. The side effect of getting on that plane was to spare us the agony of watching him waste away. He told us he wanted to be in his homeland, in his own house. Okay..
I'm deep inside the pain cave right now. Contemplating calling in sick to work tomorrow, or all week. Anyway.. here's a piece which seems to fit the bill for how I am now feeling. Fuck this.

04 July 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Since the time I've returned from Turkey June 9th, since the time I went to Turkey on May 23rd, since the time I last went to Turkey in August 2007, never has there been a day such as today, where I can actually kick my feet, up, take a deep breath, exhale, take stock of all the things around me, or not, and just let the day happen instead of forcing things to happen.. I was planning to drive to Kentucky today to make it in time for National Championships criterium race of Masters 35-39. I awoke at 9:00 to the sound of rain drops.. Last night's bike ride I felt like I had dead legs and I cut it short. I'm obviously not at Fitchburg Stage Race, (though we have a few team members up there in the 35+) The prospect of driving 15 hours in the rain for a one hour race which I really didn't specifically prepare for, is lost on me. Heck I haven't even done my taxes yet, even though I expect very large refund checks. Maybe this is the ideal weekend to get the finances in order, and of course do a few three to four hour bike rides, weather permitting. There's always Wells Ave training race on Sunday, if it's not cancelled that is.. That would be fun.. Maybe tomorrow I can join fellow team mates on a mountain bike ride at Big River? (Need to borrow a mtb though.. hehe) I am loving this weekend. This is like a vacation, for once.

01 July 2008

Ben Seni Unutamamki

İlk busenin tadı dudaklarımda
Söylediğin şarkı kulaklarımda
Mutluluk yaşları yanaklarımda
Dururken beni unutamamki

İçimde verdiğin tüm mutluluklar
Kalbimde aşkının pınarı çağlar
İsmini ruyada bile sayıklar
Dururken ben seni unutamamki

Ruhumu okşayan tatlı hislerin
Dudağımda hala dudak izlerin
Gönlümde hülyalı yeşil gözlerin
Dururken ben seni unutamamki

Orhan Altınbaşak
30 Aralık 2001 Köln

29 June 2008

Yok

Anladım ki derdimin cihanda çaresi yok.
Benden başka kimsenin boyle bir yaresi yok.
Nerde o sevdiklerim, hani bir tanesi yok.
Şu perişan gönlümden daha viranesi yok.

Bu alemde sevdanın aşkın biganesi yok.
Sevgisiz gönül olmaz, bunun bahanesi yok.
Sevmekten sevilmekten daha sahanesi yok.
Sevda nedir bilmeyen kuldan divanesi yok.

Hayat sevgiyle güzel, başka ifadesi yok.
Sevgi alıp satılmaz, hiç bir sermayesi yok.
Gönüldür onun yeri, başka bir adresi yok.
Sevgi yalnız verilir, onun iadesi yok.

Orhan Altınbaşak
2 Nisan 2002 Köln

Keith Berger Criterium 30+

Good news today!
I went right from the gun. Never saw the field again. Took the first prime. Got in the early break of 9 with 22 left to go. Whittled down to 5 of us with 15 to go. I got a little tired and had to let the other 4 roll away from me, but I kept my head down for about 6 laps solo. I couldn't risk blowing up so I kept it steady. Two chasers caught up to me (Patrick Ruane and another) and we drilled it nice and easy to the end. I had the final sprint for 5th in the bag but I pulled out of my right pedal with about 100m to go. Clipped back in and buried myself, threw the bike and took 2nd in the sprint, 6th overall, out of 41 finishers. Patrick was 7th by a hair (after leading it out for the last lap)
Finally a decent result! I'm happy. This feels good for a change. Thanks for reading.

28 June 2008

You never truly realize..

How losing a parent knocks you on your ass, how fucking heart breaking and isolating it feels, and how much you will miss those departed, until it happens to you. Nothing can prepare you for that hollow empty feeling of loss, the unpredictable and spontaneous fits of crying, the opposite of happiness that overcomes you in crushing waves..
Such loss also reveals things you could not see before.. Stuff you don't want to acknowledge, truths which you refuse to accept.
Ask yourself why you love to do "x" activity so much. The obvious answers eclipse the real answer..and when the real answer is no more, the obvious ones are suddenly not so compelling. Enough said?

The late irfan Altinbasak is on the far left.

26 June 2008

Zindan oldu hayat bana

Zindan oldu hayat bana, inan gideli,
Hasretınle yana yana, oldum divane deli.
Kaç yıl oldu beni yalnızlığa mahkum edeli.
Hala mı ödenmedi o, bir günahın bedeli.

Orhan Altınbaşak
31 Mart 1998 Köln

25 June 2008

Sanadır

Sanadır yazdığım bütün şiirler
Bazan güfte olur şarkılarıma
Sazımın telınden akan nağmeler
Karışır dökülen gözyaşlarıma

Sanadır yaptığım bütün besteler
Sensin ilham veren duygularıma
Hasretin ruhumu saran geceler
Süzülüp girersin rüyalarıma

Sanadır gönlümde olan sevgiler
Yaslan şu hasretle yanan bağrıma
Kalbim yalnız senın aşkını diler
Ne olur bir ses ver çağrılarıma

Orhan Altınbaşak
24 Ocak 2001 Köln

A New Feature at Amerikan Turk: Poetry by Orhan Altinbasak

Yes lately this blog is about as popular as visiting your oral surgeaon or proctologist, and for this I'm regretful. The past 30 days have sucked balls.. all of my regular readers will tell you. But I'm turning over a new leaf. While in Turkey last month, I met with my Father's eldest brother Orhan, who is an accomplished poet, singer and song writer. He has self-published two books of poetry and until now, I was hesitant to share his work with you, my readers. Well, as luck would have it, he is thrilled with the idea of having a regular contribution here which includes one of his poems. The frequency is up in the air, but let's begin with one and then I'll play it by ear. Before I begin though- I need to figure out how to post these poems using the Turkish Alphabet. It might require me to type them out in Word, then copy/paste them into blogger. I'll try it out shortly. Many thanks.

I would love to have such a plate: WTF!

This pales in comparison to the 'PKK' plate which were being given out in Rhode Island a few years back. I was given one at the DMV and asked for a different plate for my car on the spot.

20 June 2008

The worst of times, the best..

..Of times. Today marks a new low in Murat's morale. For the first time in my career, I am told by a customer that they do not want me managing their project. Said customer is a project manager for a general contractor, and he is Lebanese just like his employer. You might think that a Turk a Lebanese would hit off swimmingly.. But it's not to be. This guy has gone out of his way to let me know he doesn't like me, and he hasn't hesitated to throw me under the bus at every possible opportunity.
Needless to say, I cut out of work an hour early for the Croatia match, which obviously lifted my spirits immensely, by the end. As I watched the game, almost a full bottle of wine disappeared, I was so down.. By the end of the penalty kicks I was drinking for joy, not sorrow. Then I suited up and went out for a 90 minute easy spin. Yes I was RWI.. Riding while intoxicated. Felt pretty good too. I was all over the place emotionally, at times laughing about the soccer game and other times tearing and choking up thinking about my dad and my situation at work..
Now I'm at my favorite sushi place treating myself to whatever I like to eat.. Just polished off a Spicy Tuna Salad. Next up, Macho Roll (salmon and mackeral with scallions) And I've switched to drinking Coke. Thanks for reading.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

FUuuuuuuuuck Yeeeeeeaahhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suck it, Croatia!!!!!!!!!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

18 June 2008

Nobody cares..

The world doesn't stop for a death in the family. I'm falling apart yet I'm expected to perform 100 percent at work. I can't do it. I can't stop thinking about him. This is harder than I ever imagined.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

15 June 2008

Harlem Crit Race Report

70 starters on a narrow bumpy soaking wet course.. 37 finishers.
Murat is a lucky 18th. How I made it through that carnage without laying it down- a miracle. Murat loses his nerve when people are kissing the asphalt all around him. That I let myself get swarmed with 1/2 lap to go sucks balls, but I have all my skin so I live to race another day.
In the Cat 3 race which followed- 79 starters and 73 finishers- the road dried out nicely. More later.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Happy Father's Day!

Take that, Hallmark! Blackberry wins. No trip to the drugstore, no overpriced greeting card, no messy ink, no postage cost, and never delivered late. Just point, click, send.
I love you guys too!

13 June 2008

German Graffiti?

Found in a men's room of the Frankfurt Airport:
And this pearl of wisdom was found in the Turkish airport bathroom:

Explain that one to me please.

10 June 2008

No Service up here

7:50 pm: I feel like Forest gump must have felt when he suddenly decided to stop running. Now what?..
8:15 pm: Looks like dinner is being served. People belly ache about airline food. I like it. Each meal is a challenge: to try and finish everything without wasting any of it- hard to do. There's always something on the tray which sucks.. Why don't they ever serve soup on airplanes? Just curious. More than six hours until we land. For me, it will be the same as 2:30 am. By the time I drive home and get to bed it will be 4:30 my time.. (9:30 Eastern) I'm expected at work tomorrow. Chicken Curry has arrived.
8:44 pm: there's so much to look forward to.. After these six hours are through that is.. After making my inflight meal disappear I felt a wave of happiness poured down on my head- only for a few seconds.. The feeling lingers.. But it might be from the wine I'm sipping. Took a picture of my Lufthansa food for you (I'll add it here later) This Airbus is not full so people have picked their own seats. The guy who was originally next to me has relocated. I have the window and aisle seat to myself. Alone. Soon, my sister will join my wife, son, mother and brother in Turkey. I will truly be by myself in terms of immediate family all being 8000 miles away.. And with Father gone it's going to feel extra weird. I'm a person who loves to be independent, to answer to no one, a solitary Lone Ranger/Assassin type.. But this next few weeks might be tough. Then again, it might be an opportunity to really focus on work and on racing with a minimum of distraction. I'd better make the very best of it.
11:26 pm: I'm going into and out of light sleep while my mp3 player blasts my brains out. Current selection: Green Day's Jesus of Suburbia. Just before that Papa Roach. Foo Fighters' Best of You follows. Three hours left. More wine? More sleep? This journey takes forever when you're by yourself.
12:28 am: just returned from a walk to the back of the plane to do some stretching and a visit to the lav. I did 20 miles of climbing Saturday, in the rain. It didn't really hit me until yesterday, but it feels like I've really hurt my lower back- like there's a knife in there being twisted against bone. Of course it didn't help that I did another tough climbing ride Sunday with the locals. Smaller group this time, but a more interesting route. We climbed up to Gundogdu, plunged down into Kursunlu and followed the coast to Guzelyali/Burgaz. Past my uncle's summer house and onto the four mile climb up Old Mudanya Road. Then a nice flat ride into the city and home. My friends Zafer and Murat were both Kings of the long climbs- I summited third on both of them, solo. But on the rollers on the coast, they weren't as fast as me. The fatigue from the previous day's mountain climb and the lower back pain really made it impossible to match pace with these guys on the big hills. I don't mind. On the run-in to the city of Bursa I put the hammer down and had it wound up to 35 mph on the flats. Only one could follow me and pull through: Murat. So he's good on the climbs and on the flats.. He's the latest addition to Millwork One Racing. I gave him a kit and our little team has just become international! Two Murats are better than one. One caveat (which I happen to love) is that Murat is a spitting image of Steve Buscemi. Good man.. I look forward to mailing him some more team schwag when I get home.
2:08 am: about 1/2 hour until we land at Logan. I am craving sushi enough that I may stop at Haruki on the way home, if it isn't too late. Will I be too tired to race at Ninigret on Wednesday? What am I pre-registered for this weekend? I don't even remember. The plane is finally beginning to descend from 40,000 feet. The coloe scheme of this airline seems to remind me of something.. Like the gold and silver uniforms of a certain New England racing team.. Now to decide whether these Lufthansa blankets are nice enough that I want to swipe one.. Might come in handy for using as a race day kilt.
All the above was during yesterday's flight to Boston. I'm now back at work.. And so tired.
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08 June 2008

15-1/2 hours..

Until my flight to Frankfurt.
The past two weeks seem like a bad dream. I still can't believe my Father is gone. I haven't had any emotional breakdowns since the funeral- the day that I more or less cried all day. I leave for home tomorrow by myself while dear wife and son stay behind for five extra weeks. I'm pre-registered for 16 criteriums in four weekends, so I have my work cut out for me.. Not to mention all the unsolvable knots I need to untangle when I return to work- two weeks away from a construction position is an eternity.
It's gonna be an interesting summer.. But.. I feel lost, as though my North Star has been extinguished.
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07 June 2008

Be Home Soon

It's a shame that I was too naïve to realize until now that "Most people are Dicks", applies no matter what country you're in. Our car is extra filthy, in spite of the rains which have fallen recently. You can buy a cup of boiled corn-off-the-cob at the mall for 6 YTL.. What does that cost them? Ten cents? Armani t-shirts for $219.. Lacoste polo shirts for $239.. Crappy Chinese made Nine West stuff for about 10x what we pay in the US.. A walk through Turkey's malls is an exercise in gratitude for the cheap prices we pay for premium stuff at our outlet centers, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.. My wife's DKNY t-shirt which she paid $15 for: found at the mall here for 120 YTL (about 100$) who can afford this stuff? And even so, who is retarded enough to pay this much? Show me who and I will show you an insecure and hollow shell of a person who deserves to be slapped hard.
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Long climb up Uludag

Distance to top: 20 miles
Vertical Rise: 5400 feet
Duration to top: 2:09
Rained almost the whole way up!
Only a 5 percent average grade, but after 10 miles of climbing, 5 percent starts to feel like 10.. I recorded the elevation profile with the Polar. Brother followed me up in the car. We have pictures which I'll post next week.
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03 June 2008

Steep Climbing

Went out at 8 am this morning.. No real plan except to go for 3-4 hours and include some 30 second intervals at CP6 with 30 sec spin recoveries.. The wind took me in the direction of Mudanya, which makes no sense because the wind was blowing hard off the water.. Went up the 3 mile climb of "Old Mudanya Road", with views that never fail to make my jaw drop. The descent into Mudanya sucks balls- the road is rough as hell- making it impossible to gain any speed. Need full suspension for that. Where the old road meets the main highway, we go straight and head into Guzelyali/Burgaz.. Which takes me past my Uncle Orhan's house as the road winds it's way along the coast towards the town of Kursunlu. As luck would have it, my uncle's wife was out on the front porch. She's 70 and didn't recognize me until I took my Rudys off and said "It's me, Murat". They heard the news of my father's passing from my aunt in Istanbul.. Anyway.. Uncle Orhan and his wife had arrived a couple of days ago from Germany. They worked their entire lives in the upholstery division of the Opel factory in the Frankfurt/Koln area. He's the oldest of seven siblings- my dad being the middle child. He's 73 and very healthy. He's also self published two books of poetry. She's 70 and had four daughters with my uncle- Canan, Seyda, Lelya and Semra. The youngest of these cousins being 39 years old. All are in Germany. All have divorced at least once. Uncle had gone out to buy supplies- the summer house was ina state of being unpacked from the winter.. A water view from the balcony that makes me quite jealous.. They bought that condo 38 years ago- I love that place. The water used to lap the base of the building, but that was before thwe entire beach was infilled and cement poured to create a giant ferryboat landing.. The view is still excellent though. After a hot cup of Nescafe and some small talk about my dad and uncle's sibling rivalry, I excused myself and continued along the coastal road towards Kursunlu. Not only steep and winding, rising 150 feet then plunging back down to sea level every so often.. But with a view to die for. Once into the coastal town of Kursunlu, I asked how to get to the village of Gundogdu, which is where I climbed from the other direction last week. A sharp right hander and I'm on a brick paved road rising before me like a wall.. Unlike the four mile climb we did that day, this time the pitch was a lot steeper, reaching the same peak in only three miles, and starting from sea level. The first 1/2 mile was the hardest- it rose 400 feet. The next 1/2 mile was less brutal, but the end of the first mile marked about 600 feet. Three mile point at the top was 1200 feet total rise, but this included a few short dips downward which had to be re-ascended. Toughest big climb around! I can't say enough about the view at the top. You just have to see it to believe it. Makes all the pain worth it. After the four mile descent and after I got on the flats leading into the city, I did my 30 second CP6 intervals.. Most of them anyway. Thanks for reading.

02 June 2008

Pay 10 times more in Turkey

We just saw a hard side Samsonite suitcase in a classy mall store- same as we bought at TJ Maxx for $80..
Price in Turkey: 795 YTL (about $700)
I told the sales girl and she rambled on about how this one was the lightest in the world blah blah.. Whoever buys that thing for 795 YTL should be skinned alove for their idiocy.
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01 June 2008

Training Day

Going to skip forward a few days and just tell you about my club ride this morning with 30 other Bursa cyclists. Only about 7 or 8 road bikes and the rest were all mountain bikes. We took a main highway- six lanes wide- broad shoulder- completely open to the wind- you can see for miles and miles in all directions- long 2-3 mile big ring climbs that rise gently enough, but which grind you to dust and have you wanting so badlly to drop it into the little ring and ride like a weenie. This road hurts. We were on this highway for quite a while, strung out at times in groups of 2 and 3 and 4.. Per my resolution of a few days earlier, I had my game face on and pounded everyone into submission on every climb, stringing them out single file until 300m before the top, and then accelerating over the peak, solo. The fire in the belly was burning brightly today.. This motley group of bikers was populated with three strong juniors, elite mountain bike racers, road masters who used to race, road masters who still race, a guy who can ride a wheelie for miles, people I raced with as a junior back in 1989, a couple of 50 somethings and even a 60 something. My LOOK 486 attracted lots of attention, as did my rear hub and Powertap.. A couple of the guys looked really - how should I say - poor. Riding really tattered and poor fitting clothing and riding hand me down federation bikes with 7 speeds and down tube shifters. One of these guys was strong as a bull..
So we rode to the end of the highway and after regrouping we went onto a country road for about 5 miles- into a little village where we raided a tea garden and took over the place. Someone bought a huge warm loaf of country bread and two kilos of soft country feta cheese. Everyone ordered hot Turkish tea. Bikes sprawled out everywhere. Good food, good company, good weather.. It all adds up to a very memorable and enjoyable ride. On the way back I hit a pothole large enough to swallow a small child. I swear I hit it so hard that I saw the fork flex enough for the tire to hit the frame.. Both bottles went flying. One of the cages is kaput. Changed the flat in 5-6 minutes and we headed back out of the country village and back onto the highway. I stopped to pee and everyone got a 2 minute gap on me. They had said they would take it easy and wait for me, but judging from the fragments of the group which I began to catch up to, they were working hard to make it harder for me. A few grabbed my wheel along the way, so by the time I caught onto the tail of the roadies who were pressing the pace, I had a tail of 4-5 guys with me. Feeling good, I rode up to the front and uncorked a hot 2 minutes to the top of the hill. Only three others could follow, but none could pull through. We were doing 34 mph on the flats between the hills. Up the final climb, I pulled for the first half way up, let the others pull through, and then hit it hard again over the top. Only one could follow, but I rode him off my wheel in the last 100m of the climb. I'm not beating my chest over being faster on the road than a bunch of mountain bikers. I just had a good time that's all. This ride was great for my morale. Overall we did 60 miles in about 3:10, but this doesn't include about 20 minutes between flatting and peeing. Thanks for reading.


Almost turned to scrambled eggs when my front tire blew!
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30 May 2008

Friday Funerals are the Best..

..Is what people keep telling me.. And that my Father is very lucky and very loved by the Big Guy for this reason. We've been to City Hall, we've ordered the food and drink for 100 people.. We went to the cemetary and picked a spot.. We (ten of us) carried him down the stairs from the third floor in a casket.. We took him to the mosque where he was bathed one final time- and yes of course I insisted on being present and helping out.. Now he's back in the casket, staged in front of the mosque (which is not a casket in a true sense- it's used only for transport) as brother and I wait for Friday prayers to end. When they do, people will flood out and surround the casket and pray some more. After that it's a short trip to the cemetary, where everyone who wasn't here at the mosque (the women of the house) will be waiting. I'm told that the way it works is that my brother and I get into the grave and help lower Father into it. He's wrapped in three seamless pieces of white cloth-that's it, there's no casket. Strangers are walking up and praying, squeezing our hands. My eyes are bloodshot and raw. I probably look like I will be next to go.. While my younger brother Ali is as poker faced and calm as a Hindu Cow... Wife has been falling apart a lot. She and my Dad had a special father-daughter bond.
It's bright, sunny and 80+ degrees, just like every day is here in Mudanya, just like California. I'm looking forward to my next bike ride, my next race, and every one which follows.. Because I have this far fetched hope.. That Father will finally and easily see how hard I try.. How seriously hard I work to be the best I can be.. He'll excitedly stand with a clenched fist as I wind up a finishing sprint and attack and open up an unclosable gap..
I'm delirious.. Dreaming.. I miss him so much..
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Thank you..

.To everyone who is reaching out to me on the blog comments as well as privately. I've given up on answering everyone individually, for now. I'm blown away and eternally grateful.
We're about to leave to go and choose a site for Father at the Mudanya cemetary. He loved it here by the ocean.
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29 May 2008

After

It's 2am. We planted a few seeds and news spread like wildfire. Before you know it, phones are ringing like crazy, the doorbell is chiming non stop, and people are flooding the house to pay their respects. I'm tired- laying down in the same room as Father's body. He's covered head to toe. His two big toes are tied together and a strip of cloth is tied around his head and chin to keep his mouth closed. The balcony door is wide open and the room is chilled. We have pepsi bottles in the freezer which will soon be ready for use as ice packs to keep Father cool long enough to carry him to a mosque in the morning for cleansing and preparation for burial. Per islamic requirements, he must be in the ground before sundown the following day. Tomorrow after morning prayers, a short invitation to his funeral will be read via speakerphone from the minaret. (This is being repeated at another mosque in Bursa also) After Friday prayers at the local mpsque in Mudanya, those who want to can then join in a quick stand up prayer outside the mosque, around the coffin. From there we proceed to the cemetary where his site has already been prepared and we lay him to rest. Per tradition, everyone in attendance is encouraged to throw a few shovels of soil into the grave, until it's filled completely. And then begins a period of mourning and group prayers at the house.. Etc etc. I'm going to try to take a nap..

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