The biggest threat to American Democracy…

September24

I’ve posted on the many threats to American democracy, but this is the biggest immediate threat. And, it could further feed into 2024 being the election cycle where democracy dies. It is a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court called “Moore v. Harper”.

What is Moore v. Harper?

The Supreme Court will decide whether state courts and constitutions have any say in federal elections.

Sound boring?

If the Supreme Court agrees with this belief in independent state legislature theory, it means that state legislatures would have absolute control over political districts and maps, and they would not answer to anyone. That means they could gerrymander districts to an extreme and hijack the people’s will. For example, you could draw districts so widely that even though 55% of the population votes for party A, party B gets every single seat.

Proponents of the independent state legislature theory — like the gerrymanderers — read the Elections Clause to give state legislators near-exclusive authority to regulate federal elections, prohibiting any other state entity — like state courts or governors — from placing checks and balances on that power. In this case, the gerrymanderers are arguing that the theory licenses them to violate the state constitution when drawing congressional maps and that the state courts do not have the power to stop them.

The decision will be made before July 2023.

What else would this impact?

The potential consequences could stretch still further. The theory would throw elections into chaos, nullifying hundreds of election rules put in place through ballot initiatives, state constitutions, and administrative regulations — including foundational state policies like the processes for voter registration and mail voting and basic guarantees like the secret ballot. State lawmakers would be able to adopt vote suppression legislation without any checks or balances from state courts or even gubernatorial veto. In other words, the theory would upend key aspects of our elections.

It takes 4 Supreme Court justices to hear a case, which is already a bad sign. If a fifth gets on board, it would upend the entire system just in time for 2024.

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on The biggest threat to American Democracy…

Calico that is so gross.

September10

Waiting outside for the pancake restaurant to open, Calico was losing his patience a bit.

Calico: “when are they going to open?”

Lindsey: “I’m not sure, love. It’s already supposed to be open; probably just a few more minutes.”

Calico: “well, good think I always bring a snack with me.”

picks nose

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on Calico that is so gross.

Calico’s first camping trip :)

September7

Calico has never been camping, and we took him on his first camping trip last weekend. We camped up North near Ponte de Lima and the border with Spain. I wasn’t sure how it would go, so I rented a little cabin as a backup. Lindsey stayed in the cabin while Calico and I camped a hundred yards away.

It was a beautiful spot near a damned up river. The cabin was really cool, with huge doors that you could pull to slide open the living room to nature. We made smores, grilled burgers and hot dogs, played with fire, and had a lot of fun.

After feeling disconnected from Calico in the early part of this year, it was a great to feel reconnected so strongly. I told him stories about dino riders every night, he told me amazing stories about cats, and we had a blast.

I wish we had stayed another night or two. Lindsey and I both needed a rest. I could have spent a few more days reading on the couch.

posted under Family & Marriage | Comments Off on Calico’s first camping trip :)

It is really nice to have a housekeeper…

September7

We just started having a housekeeper come once a week to our apartment… it is really nice.

I didn’t know things could get that clean.

Also, my bathroom smells like a pool, and I like it.

Does this make me less of a peasant? Maybe a 3/4th peasant?

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on It is really nice to have a housekeeper…

My 5-year-old son on dinosaurs and Jesus…

August31

Calico: “what is God?”

Lindsey: ”well, some people believe that God created the universe and everything in it.”

Calico: “even clothes?”

Lindsey: “well, he created the materials and people to make clothes..”

Calico: “even…x,y,z…”

Lindsey: yes…

Calico: “ even dinosaurs?”

Lindsey: “ yes, even dinosaurs.”

Calico laughs for a long time…

Calico: “so, they believe that God caused the Big Bang, and eventually there were dinosaurs, and then…the dinosaurs went to Church on Sundays praising Jesus? That’s ridiculous…”

🤣😂🤣

posted under Dangers To World, Funny | Comments Off on My 5-year-old son on dinosaurs and Jesus…

Training for a bike tour now versus last one…

August19

I am trying to do a better job of training for my upcoming October bike tour.

I was so busy with work last time that I didn’t do a great job preparing. And the tour was good, but I was physically and mentally exhausted at times. It didn’t help that I packed too much, either.

What did I do for the 12 weeks before my last big bike tour?

Week 1 – 4 rides over 4 hours 3 minutes (longest 2 hours 20 minutes)
Week 2 – 4 rides over 3 hours 4 minutes (longest 2 hours 3 minutes)
Week 3 – 2 rides over 1 hour 1 minute (longest 31 minutes)
Week 4 – 5 rides over 5 hours 27 minutes (longest 3 hours 22 minutes)
Week 5 – 4 rides over 5 hours 53 minutes (longest 3 hours 21 minutes)
Week 6 – 3 rides over 5 hours 29 minutes (longest 4 hours)
Week 7 – 5 rides over 3 hours 53 minutes (longest 2 hours 11 minutes)
Week 8 – 2 rides over 5 hours 5 minutes (longest 4 hours 30 minutes)
Week 9 – 3 rides over 6 hours 35 minutes (longest 3 hours 8 minutes)
Week 10 – 3 rides over 10 hours 41 minutes (longest 3 hours 18 minutes)
Week 11 – 4 rides over 3 hours 39 minutes (longest 1 hours 14 minutes)
Week 12 – Break.

Week 0 – Started the tour.

What have I done to prepare for this one so far?

Week 1 – 3 rides over 6 hours 15 minutes (longest 2 hours 6 minutes)
Week 2 – 4 rides over 8 hours 23 minutes (longest 2 hours 12 minutes)
Week 3 – 4 rides over 8 hours 48 minutes (longest 2 hours 28 minutes)
Week 4 – 4 rides over 9 hours 25 minutes (longest 2 hours 44 minutes)
Week 5 – 4 rides over 9 hours 37 minutes (longest 3 hours)
Week 6 – 2 rides over 4 hours 2 minutes (longest 2 hours 5 minutes)
Week 7 – 4 rides over 9 hours 28 minutes (longest 3 hours 21 minutes)
Week 8 – 3 rides over 8 hours 7 minutes (longest 3 hours 1 minute)
Week 9 – 2 rides over 6 hours 44 minutes (longest 3 hours 12 minutes)
Week 10 – 4 rides over 11 hours 26 minutes (longest 3 hours 11 minutes)
Week 11 – 3 rides over 8 hours 46 minutes (longest 3 hours 15 minutes)
Week 12 –
Week 13 –

Notes

  • So far, I am doing much better. I am putting in more rides to build a solid base. And slowly extending my longest rides. I’ve already spent more time in the saddle in 7 weeks than in the previous training.
  • At Week 11/12, I hit a wall; not sure if it is overtraining, stress from some family health issues, or just the hard grind of trying to train/work/enjoy-time-with-family. I am taking week 12 off mostly.
  • My bike seat broke at the end of week 11. It is the 2nd seat by that brand that broke, and I am super disappointed with them. The steel just snapped. I am on a new seat I like, but it is going to be tough to get used to a new seat on tour.
  • I am doing two 2-hour rides during the week. I usually do these in the morning, and that is working well. Then I do long ones on the weekend mornings. I might try to squeeze in a 3rd week-day ride, but I will see how I feel. It is tough to do 3 hour rides and then a high intensity work day.

For reference for myself:

For my first bike tour, here are the 3 months leading up to it:

  • Apr – 9 biking days / 173 km / 11 Hours (avg ride 73min)
  • May – 12 biking days / 400 km / 25 Hours (avg ride 125min)
  • Jun – 13 biking days / 508 km / 26 Hours (avg ride 120min)

My 2nd tour: 3 months leading up to this current tour:

  • Jun – 18 Biking Days / 320km / ~28 Hours (avg ride 93min)
  • Jul – 17 Biking Days / 324 km / ~28 Hours (avg ride 99min)
  • Aug – 13 Biking Days / 554 km / ~32 Hours (avg ride 148min)

This one:

  • Jul – 16 Biking Days / 778km / ~35 Hours (avg ride 131min)
  • Aug – 14 Biking Days / 755km / ~34 Hours (avg ride 146min)
  • Sep – (Incomplete as of Sep 24) 9 Biking Days / 539km / ~25 Hours (avg ride 166min)
posted under Travel | Comments Off on Training for a bike tour now versus last one…

We decided to stay in Viseu :)

August7

It is funny, but after our huge trip to look at other cities, we decided that it makes the most sense to stay here in Viseu :)

We felt that the lower cost of living, the fantastic weather, the great biking, the easy access to nature, the amazing people, and the community that Lindsey and Calico have built are all things we didn’t want to lose. Plus, with the lower cost of living, we can take some fun trips during Calico’s summer breaks.

We still have some worries about the quality of the schools and their reliance on rote learning over critical thinking skills. But, I don’t think those are big worries until he is much older. Portuguese is a great language for Calico to learn. We are hoping he can make the leap to Spanish and eventually have three languages under his belt.

Viseu is a bit small and we miss some things bigger cities offer. But, for what we gain we are happy.

We really liked Bordeaux, France, but after talking to French accountants and business owners, it didn’t seem like a good move when starting a business. And, it was going to be a lot more expensive. It was weird as multiple French people sent me 2-page emails on why I should not move here (given the climate for entrepreneurs and businesses). It sounds like it is a great place to retire to, but not to try to create a business within :(.

posted under Family & Marriage | Comments Off on We decided to stay in Viseu :)

41 Years old :)

July20

I turned 41 years old this year (in Viseu). Lindsey and I had a long lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Then when my son was back from summer camp we did cake and presents (I got a new rainproof jacket!). Calico made me some fantastic artwork, and his summer camp even helped with some additional decorations.

I have this habit of rereading the Wheel of Time every decade. I first read them in college. I reread them when I was 30 when the final book was out (on anamazing trip). And, I reread them when I turned 40. I am always amazed how books are such great mirrors. Every time I read that series I see new things about myself, the story, and the characters.

posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on 41 Years old :)

Sold our home in Boulder.

July10

We officially sold our house in Boulder this Friday. We bought the house in March 2016 after looking at it on a whim (we had been looking at some rentals in the area). I loved its bone and location. Lindsey was pregnant when we bought it and it became Calico’s home for the first 3.5 years of his life. I am glad it has a new owner who will hopefully love it as much as we did. It was a good house and the first place I really felt was a “home”. 

It was a really hard decision emotionally to sell it. Although an easy one logically.

posted under Bolder CO | Comments Off on Sold our home in Boulder.

Lyon, Bordeaux, and home!

July10

We are back home in Portugal!!!

It is so nice to be home :). I love working from my office with a nice office chair and a big monitor.

Aix was a bit of a bust for us, we had some great times with Marton and Vera, but it was super hot and not a great setup for Calico. So we left a few days early to go check out Lyon and Bordeaux as we slowly drove toward home. I also took the week off so that I could spend time with Calico. We haven’t gotten as much time together as I would have liked this year. And, Lindsey needed some downtime to explore those cities and see what she wants in a more permanent home.

Beach near Aix (and some park shots)

We had a wonderful time at a beach near Aix. I love swimming with Calico and I tried to get him started on learning how to swim (he needs some lessons)! And, the other two photos are from a Japanese garden where Calico could play in the stream.

Lyon France

Calico and I ate at an amazing French Vietnamese place. Calico tried Wasabi (a little too spicy for him right now). And, I took him to a museum which I haven’t gotten to do much with him on this trip. He put on his Egyptian hieroglyphics goggles and made up an entire story from what he could read. We spent the afternoon chasing after a magical crow while trying to avoid the cat that winked at us.

And, I managed one bike ride along the river.

Bordeaux France

Bordeaux clicked for both Lindsey and me which is a really good sign :). We think it is a good place for a long term home and digging into some research into all of that.

I had a blast with Calico and managed a really nice bike ride on a converted rail trail.

posted under Travel | Comments Off on Lyon, Bordeaux, and home!

The hardest part of this trip…

June19

I’ve lost the majority of my quality time with Calico on this trip and it has been very frustrating. Why? All of my time has gone into:

  1. Vetting cities and neighborhoods we are looking at. We do this as a family, but Calico and I don’t get to play and it is rather boring for him. It isn’t the same as going to the park together or a hike.
  2. Trying to keep up with work… while working less due to #1, #3, and #4.
  3. Driving.
  4. Increased time for food prep.
  5. Workouts to keep my back and sleep going well.
  6. Resting and trying to stay sane and not get sick (big fail on this one as I didn’t make enough time to stay well).

I don’t see a way around this problem, as the main limit is time.

If I drive to a new city on a Monday that means I have to do 5 days of work in 4 days. And, if I take a few half-days to look at the city with Lindsey that further constricts work. The business has definitely suffered as a result (which sucks).

And, while traveling we are less strict on routines so Calico wakes up later, I wake up later, and then I am working till later. And, instead of doing food prep that gives me 9 meals I am doing meals one by one which means a lot more time going into cooking/prep each one.

I am very thankful for our time in Croatia as we got some of that back as we’re able to just chill (I love taking him to the beach). I am looking forward to being home in Portugal so we can spend more time together doing fun stuff.

Lindsey and I had to cut a ton of our couple time, but for us driving time is pretty high quality. And, we got to eat out with each other a lot which is fantastic. We are both looking forward to being home and adding movie date nights back. And, I can’t wait for Calico to be in school so we can do some lunch dates!

In hindsight… I think it would have been better if I stay home with Calico and Lindsey would fly to check out cities on her own. Then once she finds something she loves I would fly/drive to check it out.

posted under Dear Calico, Family & Marriage | Comments Off on The hardest part of this trip…

Funny Calico story…

June3

We drove from Croatia to France this week. We stopped in Italy for the night at a beautiful monastery. It was nestled in the hills of a beautiful region we hope to return to one day. And, as we lay asleep this happened:

Laying in bed, with the windows open and the cool mountain breeze lulling us to sleep in a quiet monastery in the hills of Italy near the Avigliana lakes, we suddenly heard a loud series of male satisfied groans. Ben and I have a little giggle. Calico exclaimed, “wow! He must be lifting something really heaving, like over a hundred pounds.”

posted under Family & Marriage | Comments Off on Funny Calico story…

3 day ride on the Parenzana trail over Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy…

May23

I cycled the Parenzana trail over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

What is it? It is a converted rail trail and the first two days were some of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever done. Day 3 was along the coast and a bit more urban/busy. The trail is ~123km in length and goes from Istria Croatia to Trieste, Italy. It spends around 13km in Italy, 32km in Slovenia, and 78km in Croatia.

Istria, Croatia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. This is my 3rd time visiting Croatia, and I can’t wait to return. It is one of my favorite countries in the world. 

Lindsey and Calico were my support crew and met me every day around lunchtime (or after). It was nice not to bike with a full load of bags. Huge thanks to them! We stayed in a really nice B&B in Slovenia and did a tasting menu which was a blast. I’ve never done a fancy tasing menu and I really enjoyed it (Calico did a great job as well and did his own kid’s tasting menu).

Rough itinerary?

  • Day 1 – ~38km and 440m elevation over 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Day 2 – ~30km and 374m elevation over 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Day 3 – ~60km and 300m elevation over 3 hours 7 minutes
  • Day 4 – We explored Trieste Italy a little but didn’t see much. It was Sunday and very hot. We saw a fort, a restaurant, and some gelato :). I hope one day I can go back and walk around it more. It is hard with a 5-year-old as they can do more but don’t walk the same distances as when they are in a stroller.
  • Day 5 – I woke up at 6 am to do a 25km bike ride around beautiful Slovenia and then we drove home. I would love to ride more of Slovenia one day.

Rough map of where we were exploring:

From my trip to Parenzana:

Day 1

I snapped my bike tool, probably going the wrong way when I got a flat on my front tire. Luckily some nice Austrians saved me (especially as I embarrassingly packed my wrong pump as well). My support team picked up a new tool and pump for me :).

Day 2

Day 3

From my bonus ride in Slovenia:

Very fun!

posted under Fitness & Sports, Travel | Comments Off on 3 day ride on the Parenzana trail over Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy…

Graz Austria, last city on the fast trip…

April24

We had a wonderful stay in Graz Austria. It was nice to be in a smaller town and we were a little out of the city so we had a little yard. It was amazing to wake up to the sound of birds. I got a few bike rides in and we had an awesome easter hike. It was especially nice to stay in a place that had a real office chair (my back was super happy).

Whats next? Some much needed downtime in rural Croatia for at least a. month to recharge.

posted under My Thoughts | Comments Off on Graz Austria, last city on the fast trip…

Dresden, Prague, cold, and exhausted…

April11

After Berlin, we headed to Dresden Germany for a week, and then to Prague for a week.

I forgot to mention our valiant steed that is powering this journey. We are driving a Ford Tournen Connect (which I LOVE). It is quiet, has great gas mileage, super smooth driving, has huge windows, is great for a tall person, and the seats are upright and keep my back happy. The bike rack setup is not optimal, but everything else is well done.

I haven’t been to Dresden since my German high school trip in 1998. I was so busy and burned out that I didn’t do much this trip beyond two long bike rides and a lot of work. I did an amazing forest ride in Dresden which was one of the best rides I’ve done yet. I hope to see more of the city and museums in the future.

After that, we headed to Prague!

I love these pictures of my son. He was super excited to get a jean jacket, it is something he has been asking for for years. And, he def hit some walls on traveling and needs some downtime as well. He had some good times at museums with Lindsey.

 

I am utterly exhausted. My body hit a wall in Prague so I just rested, watched tv/movies, read, and stayed home (a big cold front hit as well). I didn’t do any bike rides and struggled to work past lunch as I couldn’t focus on anything. I walked around the old town one day and Calico and I went to the Natural History Museum which was fun.

We’ve been traveling for 9 weeks to look at possible cities to move to. My son starts school next year so we are trying to figure out where we want to be during this next stage of our lives. My natural state is nomadic so the thought of being in one place is scary :). We’ve visited Montpellier, Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Dresden, and now Prague. We are now in Graz… and then we are going to a small rural village for a month to breathe and think deep thoughts about surviving in the dark icy sunless north.

Part of our rush for this trip was we found out my wife was pregnant and we wanted to find a home in time to have the baby there. Unfortunately, we found out the pregnancy wasn’t viable 1 week before we were leaving on this trip. So the last 9 weeks have been tough in so many ways.

posted under Family & Marriage, Travel | Comments Off on Dresden, Prague, cold, and exhausted…
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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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