Crazy Chester re-written for the Daily Prompt

I began reading the Daily Prompt on WordPress.com, because I really want to get back to writing. Also, I began working with WordPress to create a business web page for a local business, so that prodded me to get more into what WordPress has to offer. So below is my original blog post, written in 2009 for a class I was taking as I pursued my Bachelor’s Degree:

I started this blog as a class assignment, not knowing where it (or my life) would lead. While there have been a few readers along the way, my goal was not to build a following, but build up my writing skills. The topics on this blog run the gamut from outdoor activities to Christianity to motorcycling to working in the financial industry. So maybe the title should be “Biker Banker Brings a Bible in the Backpack.”

I use the name Chester. I got this from the line in the song “The Weight”, by the Band: “Crazy Chester followed me, and he caught me in the fog”. I also liked the name from Chet Atkins, one of the all-time great guitarists of the mid-20th century.

I signed up for a blogger account and had to give a last name, so I used “Arthur”. I am a history student and knew there was a president named Chester A. Arthur back in the 1800’s. I didn’t know much about him, so I looked him up. On Wikipedia, of course, that most-trusted source of all knowledge. Turns out ol’ Chester had more than a passing resemblance to the current Administration in some interesting ways – see the post labeled “Not Lincoln – Kennedy, but close” to see the similarities.

Q: Have you ever heard of Chester A. Arthur? Do you know anyone actually named Chester?

Finally Made it to Shanksville, PA

Well, as described in the earlier post “Let’s Roll”, I did finally make it out to Shanksville, PA to see the new Flight 93 Memorial that is now managed by the National Park Service. Mrs. Chester and I have been driving back and forth from Columbus, Ohio to our home in southeastern PA every week for several weeks. Since we take the PA Turnpike, we drive just south of the area where Flight 93 was forced to crash by the passengers on that plane.

The field is very large, and it is in the middle of nowhere. The drive from the nearest highway is 3.5 miles from US Route 30. It’s very pretty, and very peaceful now. It’s hard to imagine what that field looked like on September 11th, 2001. The memorial is nicely done – there are picture boards that tell the story of Flight 93, and a long walk out to a wall of remembrance with the names of the 40 passengers and crew who were on the plane. One of the names has “and unborn child” etched very faintly below the woman’s name.

Rest in peace, all of you American heroes. Even those who were not American citizens on the plane, you were ALL Americans on that day. The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.

Mid-year update on the Jan 1 Res

So back in January I posted some New Years Resolutions. I guess I wanted some goals to put in front of me. Partly to have something positive to look forward to, and partly for self-improvement. Well, it’s a little past mid-year, but if you read the Odyssey post, you now know why I was sometimes off doing other stuff.

Here’s the standings in  late July:

1. Read More – Done. right now we are reading Charles Spurgeon’s daily devotions that he first published in 1865. We have read about Winston Churchill, and we read “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel.

2. Learn More – Done. I got an iPhone back in January. Chester Jr. calls it the “wizard box”, as in,  “type that into the the wizard box and see what it says.” Great for getting maps, finding businesses, learning stuff. And looking up arcane bits of knowledge.

3. Exercise More – Done. Hit the gym 3 – 4 days a week, pretty consistently. And I am up to 100 crunches or more per exercise session. Abs are coming back! I did find out, though, that at my age, exercise has a cost: not just the sore muscles, which I can deal with. But it appears I have arthritis in my right shoulder, so I had to modify the exercise to minimize aggravating my shoulder.

4. Ride More – Done. But it’s really only riding back and forth to work. Which is still nice. I did take the longest ride yet on the Road King, back in May. We held an 80th Birthday for my Dad, the Master Chester. Got my sisters and nephews and a cousin to play some music with my Dad, eat a nice dinner, have a few drinks and hang out and see the whole Chester clan. A very nice time. Tiny Dancer rode on the Road King with me all the way to Washington, DC for the party. Mrs. C, Chester Jr and Little Ninja rode in the Grand Cherokee behind. 2+ hours down, same back. Almost all highway, a nice smooth ride. I liked the long pull on the bike, but Tiny Dancer complained her butt was getting numb on the way back. Might be time to upgrade to a gel-filled seat.

How are you guys coming with your New Years Res? Let me know in the comments section.

Odyssey

Disclaimer: I wrote this back in May, 2012. I marked it Private, but have now marked it Public for both Crazy Chester readers…

I decided to blog about the trips. On the first one, we left home at 9:25 AM after fueling up on cheap(er) Maryland gas. I called the arrival time at 6:30 PM. Mrs. Chester was not feeling real great so I just let her sit and rest for a while.
We headed west on I-70 all the way across Maryland. Mrs. C revived quite a bit and called 6:45, thereby boxing in my time. This is a time-honored strategy in the road game of “Guess what time we will arrive”.

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I took us out I-68 to Cumberland, then tried to take US 40 up to 70. Got us goofed up in the back hills of PA and we bushwhacked our way up to Washington, PA where we finally picked up 70 West. We passed General Braddock’s grave and bought gas at Keyser’s Ridge.

We got into Columbus around 7, so I lost the game. Checked into the hotel and ordered delivery from an Italian restaurant.

Today, May 4 we visited OSU Medical Center and met a lot of folks. Info was very good but there was a lot to process. Time to come clean on the whole Mrs. Chester ordeal: Mrs. Chester has cancer, if you haven’t already figured that out. We got her into a clinical trial at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. This is Phase 3 of a new study drug, that we hope will work really well for Mrs. Chester.

On this trip, we stayed two nights in Columbus, then drove back to PA. Looks like future trips will have to be once a week, if we are accepted into the study.

Friends

What an over-worked topic. Well, maybe not. “Friends” on Facebook. The TV Show “Friends”. All the advice about friends:

“If you can count on one hand your true friends, count yourself lucky.”

“Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.”

Or my favorite update to that one:

“Friends help you move. Real friends sit on the cot next to you in the cell, and say, “THAT was AWESOME!”.”

I have friends like that. Like Pete & Bill. I called up my friend Bill once to ask a favor (which involved a six-hour road trip and attempted car repairs in a pouring rain storm) and before I could even finish laying out the favor, he said yes, and was on his way to my house to start the trip.

I called up Pete once and asked if he wanted to hang out and watch some TV. Not only did Pete say yes, he came up with this awesome concert video on Netflix, knowing how much we both enjoy the blues.

Or like Al and Karen. Turns out that Mrs. Chester has some therapy that involves watching the TV show “Lost”. Al & Karen come over, sometimes we eat, and we watch a few episodes of Jack and Locke, Kate and Sawyer, Sayid and Jin and Sun hanging around in Hawaii. And it’s very cool for Mrs. Chester.

So I am very grateful for the friends. Bernie Taupin said it best, in “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”:

I thank the Lord for people I have found.

Let me know about your friends.

Happy New Year 2012

To both of my faithful readers, I wish you a very Happy New Year 2012. I made a few commitments to keep in 2012, small stuff that can easily stay on track despite the craziness of my day-to-day Chesterness:

1. Read More – Mrs. Chester and I have taken to reading together at night. This involves me reading out loud, and her listening. We both like some of the same books, both want to read them, but for her, reading them herself is a bit taxing, so I do the out loud bits. Seems to be working.

2. Learn More – well, it goes with the reading. But I am also getting really good at typing “How do I” into Google followed by the next thing I want to learn, mostly about music technique. For example, “mic a guitar cabinet” or “get good tone on my electric guitar”.

3. Exercise More – so in 2011, I hit the gym about 2 – 3 days a week, sometimes less. In 2012, I will do more. And add exercises, like the sit-ups on the incline bench, with an 8 pound medicine ball. Goal = 30. Current = 25. Need more sit-ups, Chester!! Work those abs!

4. Ride More – Bought the Road King on April 30, 2011. Did not get but one ride in with my Motorcycle Community Group. This year, I will probably have more time (see the post marked Forest Clearing Ahead). And I am considering joining two local clubs – the HOG Chapter and the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA) chapter. Built-in rides already laid out and scheduled. Just show up.

So how about you, dear faithful readers of All Things Chester? What are you two doing this year? Let me know in the comments.

Occupy MY Street

OK. I have tried to read both sides of the OWS. To a certain extent, I appreciate the fact that OWS does NOT have demands, or leaders, or anything resembling a real protest. Wait, I mean a real desire to leave until change is effected.

But some of the crap I’ve seen? The YouTube videos with the OWS folks asking for someone to pay their tuition? Demanding a good-paying job with benefits? Saying that jobs are a RIGHT?

I have worked my entire adult life – I got no help whatsoever, except from corporations who were willing to hire me, train me, allow me to succeed or fail on my own merits, and rewarding me commensurately.

Some corporations I have worked for have been abysmal at managing their people – one of them was a really big bank. Others have been outstanding at leadership and inspiring to work for and with – the bank I am with now comes to mind. But do these companies owe me anything? Not at all. I contract to work for them, as long as I am able, to do the job as best as I can, and to provide as much value to the company as I possibly can. In return, I am compensated. I have no complaint with my compensation.

But I am in the 99%. I pay my share of taxes. All said and done, I think my total tax burden (after deductions and everything) is between 35% and 40%. That means I keep 60+ cents on the dollar for every dollar I earn.

And with the recent economy, I am falling behind. I get that. But I still need to get up every day and give my all with my company so that together we can succeed.

I put myself through college – I mostly paid my own tuition while working full time. My company paid for part of it, and for that, I am very grateful.

So what does OWS want? It’s not completely clear. Do they want to change the banking system? I guess so. When banks were FORCED to lend money to people for mortgages they could never repay, the banks had to find ways to protect themselves. This is now a crime, apparently. Agreed – banks created derivatives that they then used to bet against the mortgage debt and win. But really: if you force someone to do something, but allow them to escape, they are going to escape, right?

Also, once I Googled images for OWS, I noticed early on they put the hot chicks up front, for once. At least they learned that image matters. Most left-leaning protest have the ugliest women (and men) I have ever seen.

But again, what is it they want? If you know, leave me a comment.

Peace and protest-signs – Chester