Taoist Biker FAQ

Who are you?

I’m TB, a 36-year-old husband and father of one.

I like motorcycling, motorcycle racing (especially MotoGP), music (especially metal), video games, the outdoors, and long walks on the beach. And I’m the only person I know who practices my particular brand of motorcycle Taoism.

That’s not saying a lot.  What are ya, chicken?

Nobody calls me chicken!

Fine.  Books I read on a semi-annual basis include Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Dan Harrington’s Harrington on Hold’ Em, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and a random smattering of SF/Fantasy, Hunter Thompson, and nonfiction.

My list of favorite movies would include Young Frankenstein, the MotoGP documentary Faster, Peter Jackson’s LOTR films, the original Star Wars (before Greedo shot first), Fight Club, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Tombstone, and generally anything fun and quotable. 

TV shows I enjoy include The Big Bang Theory, Scrubs (the first run), Deadliest Catch (RIP Captain Phil), ST:TNG reruns, Metalocalpyse, Dexter (although I’m watching this one on DVD and am always at least one season behind, so if you spoil me, out comes the shrink-wrap and the slides for yo’ass), and occasionally The First 48.

Music plays a large role in my life.  I play both guitar and bass (I’m mediocre at best at either).  I’m also an inveterate Rock Band junkie.  In late 2009 I discovered GarageBand and since then I’ve been gradually poking around at writing and recording my own music, which varies from techno to metal to alt-rock to almost country, depending upon my mood.  My most direct influences are Opeth, Agalloch, Tool, Jonny Lang, and Devin Townsend, although my listening ranges pretty damned far and wide.  I run a weekly Monday Music feature, so reading back over the tunes I’ve used in that should give you a fairly accurate idea of the kinds of things I’m into.

I also enjoy playing Texas Hold ‘Em, mostly on the Xbox.  I’m not great, but I’m not too shabby, either.

Where are you?

At work. Why?

I’m a Virginian-in-exile, actually. After spending most of my life on what little was left of my ancestral land in Virginia, I got married and moved with my wife to her native home in the Midwest. After a few years, we scurried like hell back out of there. As for where I am now, I’ll say that I’m in the Eastern time zone and folks speak with a Southern accent. I’m most comfortable under those circumstances.

What do you do?

I have a non-teaching job at a medium-sized university. I don’t write about it just because I can’t find a single damned way to make it interesting.

Why the anonymity?

Well, fear of being dooced would be the obvious answer. But mainly I find the anonymity frees me to write what’s on my mind without worrying about what people think of me. I wouldn’t want my grandparents to read a lot of what I write, and I don’t necessarily want everybody I work with to know that when a Ducati gets scratched, I cry like Bambi’s mother just got shot.

Motorcycles, huh?

Yep. Motorcycles.  John Krewson put it fantastically in a review of the game Tourist Trophy on the Onion AV Club:

It’s like this with motorcycles: The sight of them makes your heart leap within you, and the act of riding them transfixes your very soul with a joy so keen that you feel filled with an angelic living light. Or, alternately, your friend’s uncle Ernie died on one and you think they should be illegal. They’re that kind of thing.

I’m definitely in the former camp. My wife is in the middle. My mother’s firmly entrenched in the latter, but she’s learned to deal.

I write about a lot more than motorcycling, but I’ll admit, if you’re a motorcycle hater, you may not like this blog very much.

What kind of bike do you ride, man?

Well, none, anymore. I had a Suzuki SV650, but I crashed it. It sucked. But gear is your friend – riding leathers (literally) saved my ass. I haven’t replaced it because money is tight, and because the circumstances of the crash scared the ever-loving shit out of my wife, and she needs time to get over it. (Imagine getting a phone call from your husband saying he’s crashed his motorcycle, then losing the signal and not getting it back, and not seeing him until an hour later. How would you feel?)  While I lust after Italian twins, particularly Monsters and Milles, I’m more of a practical guy at heart; my next bike in a year or three will probably be a sensible Japanese bike.  (The current leading candidate is an FZ1.)

What’s a “Taoist Biker?”

Well, I’m not really much of a Taoist, or even technically still a biker. But I believe that there are ways in which people can reach a different state of awareness, and for me, motorcycling has been one of those ways. I talk more about Taoist Biking in my first post.

Where can I learn more about Taoism?

Well, read the Tao Te Ching, of course. My favorite is the Stephen Mitchell translation. But personally I think you learn most about Taoism by reading the Tao Te Ching once, and then just sitting outside someplace quiet and observing what happens. To me, the Tao is all about harmony. To live in harmony, you must first learn to quiet yourself down enough to listen to what the Tao is trying to tell you. That’s much, much easier said than done. At least it is for me.

What kind of people generally hang out around here?

You’d think they’d all be biker junkies or gearheads.  I’ve got a steady handful of lurkers, and your guess is as good as mine as to what they’re like (besides quiet and/or shy).  But most of my regular commenters aren’t bikers at all.  They’re just smartasses like yours truly whose paths I’ve happened to cross within the blogosphere over the past couple of years.  How smartassed are they?  Check what happened when I asked for feedback for this revision to the FAQ.

OK, dude, the big question:  Why do you blog?

Although you’d never believe it from reading the blog itself, I’m naturally a fairly quiet person.  I take a long time to get to know people before I open up.  As a consequence, I don’t have a very wide social circle (said circle is about the size of the head of a nail), and spend most of my free time with just my wife and son.  And they get tired of hearing me ramble.

My initial forays into blogging were a sort of an experiment in drawing me out of my own head during a trying time in my life – an experiment that was surprisingly successful.  Ever since then, I’ve been unable to let it go.  I’ve come to believe that there is power in saying something aloud or writing it down, even anonymously or when there isn’t a specific person for whom you’re intending the message.  I don’t do as much deep self-exploration now, mostly because it’s less necessary, but having this forum with which to write out whatever’s going on in my head (no matter how deep or mundane) has allowed me/forced me to put those abstract thoughts into concrete words and thereby to take more direct ownership of them…which puts me more in touch with myself in what I like to believe is a positive manner.  As many people have observed, it’s sure as hell cheaper than therapy.

And over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to make some real friendships via the blogosphere.  So while this started as a conversation with myself, it’s grown into a shared conversation with a dozen or so friends, with all that entails – a lot of it is “Hey, buds, you’ll never guess what happened to me today” but there are still more significant things to be said as well.

What’s your comment policy?

I welcome comments, including those that express viewpoints in opposition to my own, as long as they’re respectful to me and to your fellow commenters. Disrespect to other commenters will earn my animosity even faster than the same disrespect directed toward me, so be warned.

I generally respond to comments, editing the comment with my own response in bold.  (I do that so my own replies to comments don’t inflate my comment count.)

Oh, and “First!” posts aren’t tolerated. What, do you yell “First!” after you prematurely ejaculate, too?

When you ate your FAQ, how did it taste?

Like slightly burned whole wheat bread.  It was weird.  I don’t recommend it.

Got anything else to say?

Sure.  I just want to say that if you have more questions, just ask:  either here or email me at taobikerblog at gmail.  Thanks for stopping by; y’all come back now, y’hear?

11 Responses

  1. Well, this is my first post here, but I don’t know if that qualifies as a “First!” post, but if I’ve violated any regulations I apologize.

    I’ve always listed the Tao Te Ching as one of my favorite books as well. One day I’m going to write a post about it on Let it Blurt. (Did I just violate the no “First!” rule that time?) My favorite translation is one my sister lent me when I was around 14 years old. I can’t remember who the translator was, I only remember that it was done around 1940 and the cover had a red and cream – you guessed it – yin yang symbol on it.

    Tao on, brother!

    Nah, you actually said something of interest. It doesn’t count as a firstie.

    Rock on!

  2. I highly suggest reading the Tao of Pooh. As in, you guessed it – Winnie the. It’s a fun read and an easy way to interpret the Tao.

    Of course, those who prefer the heavier version, do read Tao Te Ching.

    …flow like a river, still as a mountain…

    I’ve read and enjoyed both, actually. And recommend both as well. Good stuff!

  3. “Although you’d never believe it from reading the blog itself, I’m naturally a fairly quiet person.”

    Bwa. Bwa HA. BWA HA HA.

    You callin’ me a liar, woman?

    • Also, I really like that pic of you.

      Which one?

      • Well, both, but I was referring to the one at the end.

        Why thank you, ma’am. The second one I set up via PhotoBooth for the Mac while I was tracking some guitar work. (Hence the messy office all around.)

    • No, he’s telling the truth. Very quiet in person.

      For those who can smell the sarcasm in this comment, I say I had already gotten to know her by that time!! (And the booze helped, too.)

      • No! Not being sarcastic! You ARE very quiet in person!

        I thought I blabbed quite a bit during that trip. Maybe I was wrong.

        (When the prom photos came out, I was definitely quiet, but that’s for a good reason.)

  4. holy ziltoid — I just blipped Planet Smasher like, two days ago. Neat-o. http://blip.fm/porkchop78

    All right!! 😀

  5. you should post a photo without any pants on.

    Heheheheh. Reminds me of that old joke about the priests or ministers or rabbis or combination thereof who were skinny-dipping and ladies walked by. Two covered their crotches, one covered their face. When asked, the one said “I don’t know about you guys, but in my church/synagogue it’s my FACE they recognize.”

    • seconded!

      Second all you want, the CHAIR IS NOT CALLING FOR A VOTE.

      Heh. I could drop my pants HERE and you’d go blind and start retching where YOU are, bitch! Photos not needed! 😀

  6. Cool! Yeah, I’ve read the “Tao Te Ching”–the passage I remember best (for some reason) is “Every man is his own worst enemy.”

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