Top 10 Things I Learned in Vegas Last Weekend

10. Pulnik is Big Q's special imaginary friend.

9. That Little Midget Can Pass Out.

8. The best sushi restaurant in Vegas is Ichiza in China Town.

7. Cab drivers hate making off-strip trips.

6. Penguins think the water in the Bellagio pool is too cold.

5. Never let Pedro mix your drinks if you're trying to analyze your draft picks.

4. All future Vegas trips will include a trip to the spa just before heading to the airport to fly home.

3. Everyone is your friend at the craps table when you roll eight or more points in a row before crapping out.

2. You shouldn't feel bad that the High Roller lost close to 10 LARGE when you crapped out.

1. You should feel bad when you lose LARGE when you crap yourself out.


Missing Austin Java

I got restless in the Spring of 2005 and moved to Austin after having carefully considered migrating from Houston to Chicago or New Orleans. Chicago was too cold in the winter; plus, it's my place to "do stuff." And, New Orleans was a bit too close to home. "New Orleans will always be there [for me]," I thought. Huh. Who knew?

Austin offered all that cool stuff that everyone talks about but not a whole lot of folks do. Mountain biking. Kayaking. Hipstering. For me, the appeal was more about moving out of the smallest big city in America and reconnecting with a solid group of friends.

We hung out. We drank. We played some ultimate. And, we partied. But, I spent a lot of quality time with new folks down at the coffee shop. I lived walking distance from AJC on Parkway during this stint of Austin habitation - the last few months only a block away, which is good because I was on crutches.

It wasn't until a recent trip to Austin that I realized exactly how much I missed the folks I met at AJC. Not really that surprising given that I was tucked away at my favorite corner table - as long as I got there before some tennis player named Andy - at least five days a week. The other day Christi saw me filling up my cup and shot me a big smile that almost made me cry in my Fog Cutter.

We caught up on 18 months of history in a few moments. I was surprised how much she knew/remembered about me. How's the ankle? Still traveling all the time for work? When's the next pub crawl?

I shot back with my own barrage. Are you still climbing? How are Summer & Jackie? Did y'all ever settle the disputes about the 2nd Street location?

Leaving Austin I knew I was going to miss the hell out of my friends, but I wasn't really prepared for how much I would miss the little things that make living in any city your life in that city. Told you I wasn't that smart.

And, Jackie, I found this in my wallet the other day. You can have your integrity back. I don't need it any more. I found mine.


Today I Limited My Career...on Purpose

Most of my colleagues would say that I've done a fairly solid job of managing to keep my work life and my personal life in balance. I disagree, but everything is relative. Let's put it this way. I currently earn 22 days of vacation each year and typically carryover no less that half of those days each year.

Today, I made a choice to improve my life. I gave my preliminary notice. I told the folks at McCall, Gilchrist & Haynes that I am finished with the consulting lifestyle as they define it and am actively seeking a new job.
  • I'm done with living on the road for at least four days a week for nine to 18 months at a time

  • I'm tired of having stronger relationships with hotel staff than with my friends back home

  • I'm tired of driving rental cars more than my own although I do appreciate the opportunity to demo potential replacements for a week

  • I'd like to be excited to go to airports instead of immediately starting the countdown until my return flight home

  • I'd like to understand what it's like to stay in your hometown for a month without going anywhere

Consulting, particularly in my skill area, is a very small world. Conferences feel like a high school class reunion. Colleagues become clients and vice-versa. I thought it best to avoid burning any bridges and only lightly singe them instead. Hopefully that's what I've done.


It's a Small World: Episode 16

A seemingly normal trip to the Central Market in Southlake, TX turned into yet another illustration of how small the world can be. I'd gone to grab a few healthy snacks for the office and decided to dine in the restaurant as well.

There were only three other diners in the place. A booth held two girls yapping about wedding planning. A familiar looking red head sat alone eating a pizza. But, red heads all look the same (don't hit me Peaker) and I was still focused on work so I thought nothing of it until she left.

I used my CrackBerry to get to the bottom of things by trading texts with Windy:
[JB] What is your red headed friend's name who moved to Dallas and had gone out with Bruce? Was it Cindy?

[Windy] Yes, Cindy. She's about to move to Chicago. She was in Austin yesterday.

[JB] Huh. Ask her if she just ate pizza at Central Market. I was sitting behind her and didn't get a solid look. But, I think it was her.

[Windy] Yep, that was her. She thought I was a psychic. She asked if that was you.
The last time I saw Cindy, I was living in Austin and partying with Windy's Austin crew on 6th St. for a birthday three years ago. Small freekeeng planet.


366 Days & Counting

My Cell, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

On this day in history:

1806: The Holy Roman Empire ended

1890: First electrocution by electric chair

1911: Lucille Ball was born

1928: Andy Warhol was born

1932: The drive-in movie was patented

1945: The Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima

1967: Mike Greenberg was born

1984: Prince released Purple Rain

1998: Monica Lewinsky testified before the Grand Jury about her relationship with President Clinton

2007: I started traveling to Ft. Worth on a weekly basis to work my current project. I was told that I couldn't decline it because I was a named resource in the contract. I should have started sending out my resume right then.


Farewell Fish, Hello Hamburger

They cooked the whole freaking fishJLay came up with the incredibly brilliant, yet colossally stupid idea to not eat meat for the month of July. Naturally I signed up right away thinking that the concept was more brilliant than stupid. Wrong. The idea was stupid and so were we.

Have you ever tried to forgo the flesh (tee hee - not that way) for any length of time? It's really not that hard buscept when you're at a bar and your weggie options are chips & salsa or a spinach quesadilla - neither of which sound appetizing after half a dozen pints.

We love cows and pigs and fowls and everything else that tastes great with minimal amounts of sauce. So, it should come as no surprise that we all said a collective "Thank ya, Jesus" (pronounced HAY-zoose) when the digits flipped to 12:00 in the AM on August 1st.

DFT & JLay decided that we should head to Saigon Pagaloc for Beef 7 Ways to celebrate our return to meat-a-tarianism. However, the plan was changed to Beef 3 Ways because 7 Ways would likely be too overwhelming. Whatever.

I was down with beef any way at this point. Tired I was of not being able to get dishes cooked in beef broth. Like Yoda I was talking because my brain was so confused.

The first three courses involved succulent bits of meat seasoned and cooked in Asian ways - so you know it's good - and involved wrapping them in rice paper so that they were supposed to look like egg wolls. Let's just say that I came in last in this category.

The evening took a turn for the weird when our Return to Meats ended with a gianormous fish. Gianormous as in it filled most of the table top with its fried self. Per JLay, it was not a small whale as I believed but rather some sort of catfish that had clearly been hitting the HGH a little too hard.

Despite being a culinary adventurer, I was a bit cautious about the whole situation. Friend Girl Amy, who'd tempted us three morons with short ribs on the 4th of July, was stoked. She ate the eyeballs. I put down my chopsticks and asked her to never ever mention the taste of fish eyeballs again. YUCK!

We left. I dropped off everyone and then stayed up all night thanks to the two Lee's Iced Coffees I downed on the ride home. Clearly I'm still not that smart.


Please fasten your safety belt before reading this

It is done. MY LIVING ROOM IS PAINTED. The effort took 523 days to complete. No, it does not look like the Sistine Chapel, but it is ready for new furniture, which will be nice.

Special Thanks to Los Pedros & Le Toms for being gentle with the cattle prod and skillful with the paint brushes. As JLay said on Saturday, "Damn. If I'd have had to paint this room all by myself I never would have done it either."

Thanks to El Padrino & The Manatee for berating me all the time about just doing it, and showing off their own home improobment skills in the process.

I'll post a picture once I get back to Houston.


San Fermin in Nueva Orleans, Part Dos

SFNO: Mio & Mike-ohMy loyal reader may remember my post about San Fermin in Nueva Orleans around this time last year. Los Pastores deemed last year's event a success once the unknown participants outnumbered the known participants. The 2008 incarnation was a slam dunk by the same standard considering that there were nearly 1,000 folks participating between runners, bulls, spectators and post-run partiers.

Where were you? Did you make it to the run? If so, lemme know. For those of you who couldn't make it down to the Vieux Carre from say...DC, here's a bit of behind the scenes scoop to make you feel like you're not that lame.

Thurday, July 10

21:10 - Meet Los Pastores at NOLA Bulls HQ in Algiers Point after flying in from DAL

21:12 - Bef (La Madrina) serve me a bowl of cassoulet; four bites later I realize that I've been eating sausage. RAT FARTS! I decide to write off the meal and continue dining on the deliciousness.

21:38 - Scan my own credit card through the reader to pay for my admission to the exclusive SFNO Pre-party

22:32 - Start helping Mic (El Padrino) silk screen bandanas and t-shirts

23:01 - Crack open my first High Life of the weekend. Did I forget to mention that High Life was the official beer of the event? They recognized the opportunity and contacted El Padrino about sponsoring the event

00:48 - Sacked out on the couch after drinking only two High Lifes and screening not nearly enough pieces of apparel

Friday, July 11

08:27 - Wake up, caffeinate myself and start doing real work so that I can get back to screen t-shirts and other prep activities

10:ish - El Padrino departs to deal with last minutia that needs attention

13:11 - Resume screening shirts

14:26 - Off to the Wal-Marts to get duct tape, OxyClean and other essentials

16:53 - Arrive at RioMar to set-up for the pre-party

18:00 - The pre-party is packed, and RioMar's regular dining crowd is trying to figure out what spectacle is beginning to take shape before them

18:07 - Fugett arrives after having driven in from Florida

22:15 - The party is done with clean-up nearing completion. The Manatee and I take the ferry to the Crown & Anchor for some Guinness & bourbon

01:11 - Sack out on the couch at NOLA Bulls HQ

Saturday, July 12

05:00 - El Padrino wakes me up

05:10 - Dressed and ready to go set-up

05:11 - The Manatee is in no shape to operate

05:20 - Man-sit The Manatee while MicBef are crossing the river

06:33 - Tuck in The Manatee for a last minute nap in an illegal parking space near the French Market

06:38 - El Consejero and I depart the Gazebo Cafe and make our way to Three Legged Dog to do whatever needs doing

06:42 - Gawking at the more than 120 people already gathered for the event. The official gathering time is still 18 minutes away.

07:00 - El Padrino is interviewed for a story by AP Reporter Janet McConnaughey

07:11 - The Hurricane questions me as to the whereabouts of The Manatee and attempts to convince me to go retrieve said animal as I slip away into the fray

07:44 - The Manatee has rallied and appears

07:45 - The invocation is delivered to a crowd of nearly 700 runners who are going rowdier by the minute

07:55 - The runners begin filtering themselves out along the course

07:58 - El Padrino and I are jogging at the back of the pack reveling in the turnout when the air horn signals the release of the bulls

08:01 - Run around the corner of Rue Bourbon to find the runners standing around at which point I start screaming "RUN! THEY'RE COMING!" while trying not to trample anyone

08:02 - My butt gets bashed by the wiffle ball bat of a bull

08:18 - Fugett finds me despite the chaos of the Gazebo Cafe. He hasn't slept yet but did manage to run. Here's some brief video evidence.

08:22 - Friends keep raising their beers in my direction. I can't tell if they are waving at me or flaunting the fact that they were able to get a High Life before the beer lines started to wrap around the park.

08:43 - Jump behind the merch table to help La Madrina & Jenny B before they pass out

09:12 - Steady selling t-shirts. O'Neil is still flaunting his High Life. I would punch him in the face if I wasn't in the middle of peddling some goods.

09:15 - A customer buys me a bottle of water. I slam it, but my tongue stills feels like I've been eating flour for an hour.

09:18 - Dispatch Big Sleazy to the bar with a $20 bill and tell her to get as much High Life as she can carry

09:44 - Big Sleaze appears with 10 beers just before I start to enter panic mode

16:ish - El Padrino, Fugett, Chad, Toni, NOA and I are among the final crowd group to depart the Gazebo Cafe & head to Molly's on the Market

18:47 - El Padrino & I head to the ferry, dine with La Madrina at Dry Dock

20:01 - Sacked out on the couch while watching news coverage of the SFNO

Sunday, July 13

08:00 - woke up feeling like a whole dollar and crawled onto the sofa to start Googling NOLA Bulls

08:03 - asleep on the couch. I repeated this pattern every 30 minutes until MicBef were stirring

10:12 - Pete SMSes me that CNN Headline news is running a clip of event

10:13 - Began a CNN HLN watching & TiVoing marathon to capture the footage

10:28 - Gave myself a headache trying to figure out how a gored Hurricane had become one of the most memorable images of the footage

12:30 - Dined on tapas with my bro-ham (Face) & three fourths of Team NOLA Bulls

12:33 - Observed as El Padrino & El Consejero began promoting the 2009 SFNO Food Fest (my words) to a Spanish restaurateur

14:45 - El Padrino and I run into Janet McConnaughey on the ferry back to Algiers and overhear her husband say, "Was that the NOLA Bulls guy?"

15:23 - Back at NOLA Bulls HQ to pack-n-go

18:00 - Asleep on the plane from MSY to DAL

San Fermin in Nueva Orleans is poised to become the New Orleans event of the summer in 2009.

Be there on July 11, 2009 for the third annual event.

Check NOLABulls.com or the NOLA Bulls Twitter page for more details.


Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before Attempting to Boil 500# of Crawfish

You'll need this, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

10. The right venue is key. And, by right venue I mean some place where the beer flows like wine and the owner, manager and staff are supremely laid back yet organized.

9. Estimate 3 pounds of crawfish per person if you're boiling in Houston. You may think it's too conservative, but you don't want to be staring at a shit ton of leftovers at the end of the night.

8. Have the crawfish supplier deliver your bugs directly to the venue. There's a reason that the detail shop doesn't offer "Live Crawfish" scent for your interior.

7. Be prepared for anything not in your immediate control to become a disaster. For example, your crawfish may arrive two-and-a-half hours before you're ready so have a pran - like eyeballing a shady spot outside of the venue for emergency stashing of the critters.

6. Pack a suitcase the night before the event and put it in your trunk so you don't forget it. You should include three changes of clothes and some smell good juice to mask the fact that you're going to smell like a seafood market

5. Plan to have at least three crawfish boiling rigs available so that you're not busting your ass for more than three hours. Beg. Borrow (thanks, Randy). Buy...from BoilCrawfish.com (thanks, Andrew).

4. Error on the side of buying too many veggies, seasoning and what not. You can always use it later.

3. Three propane tanks is enough. And, no you can not return the extras for a refund...unless the nice lady at the Lowe's return desk thinks you're sexy...or something.

2. Have a kickass team of helpers committed to making your berle a success. The Houstonist staff kicked ase at getting things done and managing the masses.

1. Remain calm. All is well.


Ponder This: Hometown

I have finally joined the 2005 crowd and created a Facebook profile. Facebook, like other social media/networking sites, tends to stress me out a little bit about the information listed on your profile. What if people don't think my favorite book (The Count of Monte Cristo) is cool because of that lame ass movie? Are people gonna judge me because I think WHOA KELLY CLARKSON! is great bubble gum pop? Are folks going to hunt me down because I declined their friend request? [Note: even writing that makes me feel like a pompous asshole.] These and other seemingly innocuous questions make me fidget.

The one real question that drives me nuts is: what's your hometown? That's tricky to answer. I lived in Baton Rouge for 20 years - birth to 8th grade and then seven years of college. All of my immediate family except for Mom live in BR. BR is where I go for most holiday type functions and funerals. But, whenever you tell someone you're from The Rouge, the first question people ask is, "Where did you go to high school?"

I went to high school in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. FWB is where I got my first driver's license, had my first kiss, skipped class, snuck into movies, worked at McDonald's and did all the things that I typically think of one doing while you're growing up. As such, that make me think of FWB as my hometown. Plus, it was the last place I lived before moving away for college. However, like Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank, I rarely ever go there. And, no I'm not an assassin. At least not as far as you know.

At what point does the town your living in become your hometown? I've been in Houston for 10 years now. I certainly feel like I'm "home" when the humidity smacks me in the face as I exit airplanes and walk up the jetway. I think the Houston: It's Worth It campaign kicks ase and agree with many of the reasons given. I chose to live in Houston over Austin. Yet I respond, "I live in Houston" when the "where are you from?" question rears its ugly head.

To me this indicates that I should list either Baton Rouge or Ft. Walton Beach as my hometown. Plus, Ft. Walton has beach in the name so that makes it instantly cooler than BR or H-town. But, I feel like I'm cheating on Houston when I do that.

Anyone have any suggestions?


Fish. It's what's for dinner...kinda.

The Wasabi Triad issued a challenge in late July that I couldn't resist. We are spending all of July shunning meat in the name of "por que no?" Not eating meat for a month isn't as bad as it sounds buscept for:
  • getting hungry, after you have gotten drunk, at a pub on your first day as a wegetarian and the only menu option is cheese quesadilla
  • having to eat at the same two restaurants for lunch most of the time
  • having to remember to not eat meat when you're sleepy or distracted
  • the somersaults my tummy will do when I start to ween myself back on to the goods
  • having just been distracted and eaten a bowl of cassoulet con snausage
RAT FARTS! I hope the tummysaults hold off for at least another couple hours.


Ready. Set. Cook!

Lately Mom has been trying to convince me that I should host a cooking show or something similar. She got her wish last night, sort of, as I participated in an Iron Chef challenge hosted by Le Toms.

As in the show, the chefs wouldn't know the secret ingredient before hand. DFT would SMS the ingredient at an appointed time. We then had to cook, transport and present at the Le Tom abode three hours later. That may sound like a lot of time, but not when you've got a bachelor consultant pantry like mine. I planned to be parked at the grocery store well in advance to maximize my kitchen time.

During my drive to Central Markup, TP and I discussed teaming up on the challenge since Los Pedros couldn't make it. So, I called JLay to get a ruling on that.
"What do you think about me and TP teaming up?"

"Well, I'm sure that the chefs may be getting input from others....It's fine with me, especially if you think you can't win without him."

"That's it. I'm flying solo. You got no shot."
I'm pretty sure that the last line didn't come out quite like that, but there was no way that I could dismiss a challenge like that.

I arrived at the Markup feeling good with plenty of time to peruse my copy of The Joy of Cooking and open Maw Maw's Menu on my lappie. Feeling good that is until I got the secret recipe.

The password is: CORN.

CORN? What the? YGBFKM! I hate corn. Not hate like Brussel Sprouts hate, but at least a strong dislike.

Think quickly, knucklehead. What do you like that is corn related? Fritos? Nope. Anything ending in -ito had been disqualified. Tortilla chips? Nope. Too close to -itos.

I love cornbread. Then I thought:
Good cornbread is better than dessert.

Boston Market cornbread is sweet enough to be dessert.

What can I do to have a fighting chance against JLay and RayRay?

I snapped out of my trance and hauled ass over to the produce section. There, already digging through the bin of sweet corn, were Quoz, RayRay & JLay. "You're gonna lose," I said as I filled my cart with 10 ears (for $1) and before I ran off to find the three milks.

I arrived back home 35 minutes later after a side trip to Williams-Sonoma to pick-up a cake pan. Lemme just tell you that you should never come between an Iron Chef and the WS. I nearly took at a Camry full of sight-seers putt-putting through Highland village. Really? Do they not have strip malls where in your home land? Have you never seen a bunch of dressed up stepfords (and one bachelor) hot stepping to get gourmet bakeware? Dang. You need to get out more.

I'll spare you the details - oops, too late - and use the fast forward button. Chef's chocolate milk blows up in the freshly washed car on the way home. Parked car and puts water on to boil. Cleaned up the car and threw the cornbread in the oven. Put the caramel sauce on hot. Mixed the milks. Took corn of the stove. Whipped the shit out of some heavy cream. Pulled cornbread out of the oven. Power shower. Dressed. Piled everything in the car. Streaked toward JLay & DFT's.

My friends, acquaintances and competition are some forking good chefs. Corn & crab tortellini, my favorite, ended up winning. Other standouts (for me) were the corn & crab pie and salmon & corn cakes (fritters). The most creative were the fried green tomatoes, sweet corn ice cream and corn icee. You can check out photos on The Kwon's blog.

I never knew that corn could taste so good in so many different ways.


Scoot. Rain. Scoot.

Drenched on the Scooter

Drenched on the Scooter, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

My plan for the 4th (and the rest of the weekend) was to ride my hog as much as possible since I've not really been in town. Plus, the Memorial/Washington area gets PUH-ACKED, which makes parking a PITA. Thus, I ignored K-Not's warning that a rainstorm was unloading on The Heights.

The storm was gianormous enough for me to see the clouds and rain from just outside my place. "It's moving pretty fast. I probably won't get caught in it," I thought. Wrong.

I caught up to the backside (tee hee) of the drama when I was about two-and-a-half miles from The Bolivian's and quickly switched our plan to meet at his place instead of the lunch spot.

He snapped this photo just after I'd pulled into the shelter of his parking garage. Good thing I had spare clothes in the satchel.


Hold still while I punch you in the face

Everyone has to put up with stupid people at their job. It's a fact. I like to think that the stupid people I work with are extra stupid.

My client requires background investigations on all personnel working on-site. The BIs are conducted by a reputable company with details going to only to me and the client's security group.

The only steps requiring effort from my colleagues is them filling out an authorization form correctly. SSN. DOB. First name. Last name. Etc. None of these are trick questions yet some folks have not yet figured out their birth date or their name.

Failure to complete the form correctly results in names not matching SSN records and life history which results in a BI rejection which results in the client escorting you from the premises which results in you not working on the project which results you potentially losing your job with McCall, Gilchrist & Haynes.

My colleagues know this. One would think that they would figure out the correct way to complete the form. Wrong. They screw it up all the time.

Today a colleague demonstrated a higher MQ (moron quotient) than I had ever experienced.
"Hi. It's JB. I need to get your actual name."

"OK. It's [not what was written on the form]."

"Confirm your birth date, please." He had screwed up this the first time he completed the form.

"It's [blah, blah, blah, blah, blah]."

"What's the purpose of this test?"

"The client needs to verify that you're not a terrorist."

"Can't you use the BI from when I was hired by MGH?"

"No. It has to be this one."

"But I don't understand why you can't use my previous results."

"It has to be this vendor. It is a national security issue."

"But I've worked for other companies that have been able to use previous BI results."

"That's great. But, that's not the case here."

"I can't believe that I need to fill out the same forms that I just did for MGH."

"This is a Department of Homeland Security issue. You have to use this vendor."

"But, I just..."


YGBFKM. I slammed the phone slightly as a I hung up and then walked a lap around the building before returning to my cube cell.


South Padre Island. Not just for Spring Break anymore

Big news, kids. B. Whitley is all grownsed up. He popped the question just before the Houston contingent and I arrived at his condo for a weekend of nothing doing. We spent the weekend parked - at the Wanna Wanna or at the condo or at the beach or at the Wanna Wanna.

I'm sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping for some wild and crazy stories, but there's really nothing interesting to share about the weekend. Here are the "highlights" of my weekend.
  • Ate bar-b-que at some place in Harlingen that Texas Monthly suggested was in the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas. I was not impressed.
  • Convinced The Bolivian that he and his lady friend would be sleeping on the sofa and love seat respectively
  • Stared unabashedly at the attractive ladies and cougars roaming the beach and deck at the Wanna Wanna
  • Kicked myself at least six-and-a-half times about not protesting more vehemently when folks insisted on dinner at Amberjacks. That place blows Donkey Kongs.
  • Channeled my inner gentleman and moved from the bedroom to the couch so that The Bolivian and his lady friend could spoon
  • Endured the longest trip to The Blue Marlin (grocery store) in my life, which consisted of: leaving the Wanna Wanna, shopping for $100 worth of groceries, attempting to check-out, realizing that my credit card was at Wanna Wanna, realizing that I had no cash stash in my bathing suit, driving to the Wanna Wanna and retrieving my card, returning to The Blue Marlin and attempting to check-out only to be told that they don't take AmEx, having an aneurysm at the counter, calling the condo seven times before Baby bailed me out by delivering B. Whitley and his card.
  • Wished Mel (the girl in the photo) was around to sing Baby Got Back


Go ahead. Make my day.

I spent the night with Los Pedros last night. LP & KP made might day/week/month with the following exchange.
"KP, what's your favorite shirt?"

KP shrugged and kept coloring.

"KP, what shirt do you wear all the time?"

KP shrugged and kept coloring.

"KP, what shirt did Uncle JB get you?"

KP threw her hands up in the air and screamed, "THE WHO DAT SHIRT!"
WHO DAT!?! Uncle JB. Dat's who.


M is for Motorcycle Endorsement

Training Wheels
Training Wheels, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

Hello. I'm JB el JB. I once wrecked two motorcycles in the span of a week and followed up those crashes with a near miss on a scooter two weeks later. Now you know why my mom is not digging the fact that I bought the hog.

The key thing to realize is that I'd never ridden a motorcycle prior to renting the Ducati in Australia. The short story is that a colleague, who had a bike at home, suggested that we rent bikes and ride the coast line. I rode for six plus hours without incident prior to failing to make it through a left turn and ended up hitting the side of a mountain.

Motorcycle riding is not rocket science or so I thought. "It's just like driving a stick in a car, but you shift on the handlebars." That's true, but the real issue is cornering as I demonstrated during my tenure down under.

I knew that I needed to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation BasicRider Course, which is what happened this weekend. The class was three hours in the class room on Friday night followed by about five hours riding each day on Saturday and Sunday.

The students were a diverse mix. A mother/son team was seated at my table along with a Nigerian guy named Abe who was pretty hilarious. The 20 other students were black, white and Latin. They rode (or wanted to ride) Harleys, scooters and crotch rockets.

The class room portion was cake (I got a 100% on the written test), but the real challenge was the practical part of the class. The instructors split us into two sections of 12 students with whom we'd ride over the next two days. We progressed from idling across the parking lot to maneuvering through swerves and curves at 20 MPH.

Some folks did well; some did not. The double u-turn drill was a daunting task. So were the braking drill and the 130 degree curve. The mom from my table and a another lady seemed to be having a contest about who could drop their motorcycle more often. In the end, the other lady "won" by wrecking during the final evaluation. Fortunately, the only pain she encountered was a bruised pride and a failure in the class.

In case you are wondering, I went out for a spin after class and avoided an accident thanks to my much improved cornering skills. I didn't panic when the oncoming car stopped in the apex of the turn. Instead, I just Slowed, Looked, Pushed & Rolled...and Pushed some more. Take the class and you'll know what I'm talking about.


Be Careful. People May Read Stuff You Post on the Internets

I got embarrassed at the dentist today. No, I didn’t have any gaping cavities. And, no my teeth weren’t any more bucked out then they normally are. Rather, my dentist knows what I wrote about him and, more importantly, his hygienist now knows that I think she’s hot.

I was referred to Dr. Vaughn by JLay, who went to school with him. Then, I wrote a review of Dr. Vaughn on Yelp. It starts like this:
Dr. Stephen Vaughn at Contemporary Dental ROCKS my teeth off. I actually look forward to going to the dentist now and it's not just because the hygienist, Julia, is hot.
Well, JLay told Vaughn about the review. So, as he’s finishing up my 15 second, post-teef polishing exam he hits me with.
By the way, I checked out your Yelp review. Everyone in the office loves it.
I could feel my face flush to stop sign red. Everyone was standing right behind me having just had her hands stuffed in my face for the past 30 minutes. I'd almost rather have him tell me that I needed a filling.

At least it would have led me back to Julia's chair again.


It's Quittin' Time

I'm looking for a new job in a major way, people. And by "major way," I mean that I have updated my resume and applied for five yobs over the past couple of weeks.

Don't ask me why or I may punch you in the face. Not really, but kinda. Have you read this blog or talked to me much? I bitch a lot about work. I know this.

I'm finally ready to through in the towel at McCall, Gilchrist & Haynes. I'm realigned with my original career coach. I've been back on the road for nearly a year, which means that I am more certain than ever that I'm sick of it - no matter how many free trips I earn. And, I just eclipsed the ten year mark with MG&H.

Guess what I get for that. Guess! Guess! I'll give you ten guesses and you probably still won't get it.

Finished? You'd better sit down. Drum roll, please.

I get a fruit basket. Yep, a fruit basket with genuine pears and oranges and stuff. Hell no I'm not disappointed. It is from Harry & David after all. I will say that I wish they would have sprung for the Jelly of the Month Club.



Big Trouble

Big Trouble, originally uploaded by JaseMan.

I know what you're thinking.
You're joking, right? Aren't you the guy who crashed two motorcycles in a seven day span in 2002? Didn't you follow-up those fiascoes with a near wipe out on a Vespa in Rimini two weeks later?
Nope. Yep. And, uh huh.

The fact is that I have wanted a motorcycle for eons. My spectacular crash near Melbourne Australia didn't do much more than provide a slight pause in my conscience. In fact, the crash was pretty exhilirating - scary as hell - but exciting none the less. I'd also like to think that my recent $3000 a pop trips to the shop for my VW have something do with my desire for alternative transportation, but that's not true. This is more about fun, rebellion and looking cool.

I finally have my own powered two-wheel vehicle after spending lusting after a 1966 Honda Superhawk 305, a Ducati Monster or a BMW touring machine. In fact, I only ended up buying my Virtacci Edge after my latest round of stalking Superhawks on eBay.

DFT and I were perusing my eBay Watch List late one night after dinner. I was stoked about the 1976 Honda Super Sport in mint condition...and the 1978 450...and the 1984 Interceptor. Mmmm hmmm. I would look super fly riding around on a red, white and blue grand daddy of today's crotch rockets.

DFT was more excited about scooters. One scooter caught his eye more than the others. The Honda Ruckus. $1900 for 49 ccs didn't seem like the smartest decision for me given my non-pixie like dimensions, but the design was pretty sweet. The engine was housed by a minimalist frame that makes the thing look more like a kit you put together than something produced by big industry.

We surfed motorcycle and scooters sites all night until we could surf no longer. Both of us were excited to head to the local scooter shop as soon as we could. We were test riding in two days.

A lunch trip turned in a scooter testing trip. Apollo Scooters was between me and DFT and seemed like the perfect spot to talk about lunch options. If we just happened to ride a couple of sleds around the parking lot, then we were cool with that. The place was packed with customers looking to get green. Guys bigger than me that looked like they should be riding Harleys. Nerd couples looking to cut their carbon footprint and raise their cool factor.

DFT and I both thought the Edge (not the guitarist) was the most intriguing model. Its style is very similar to the Ruckus (more precisely the Big Ruckus) but with a bigger engine - 150 cc. We took it for a spin around the parking lot. Uh oh.
JB: "We'd better get out of here before one of us buys this thing."

DFT: "O.K. Let's go to Jenni's and check them out online."
Lunch at Jenni's was great. The food was solid and our Internet searching uncovered an Edge on Craigslist for about $700 less than retail if you include the dealer prep fee.

You can see where that led.

State of the Horse

Sorry for being out of commission since Tax Day. I'm not sure what happened really. A stealth comet probably passed between the moon and Earth while we weren't looking and shorted out my keyboard and my Internets. Oh well.

And now back to our regular program which has been running behind the scenes...


Paganello in one shot

Paganello: JB Mastermind's Destruction
Originally uploaded by lovegreg

People often ask what kind of things happen at Paganello. Check out this picture and imagine the rest.

I am really going to miss the tournament.


The glass is half empty

Hot Sheep

Today marked birthday number thirty-five. Are you kidding me? 35! Me? What the? Who put my VHS tape of life on fast-forward?

I've just about crested the hump of life according to the Death Clock which lists my date of death as January 12, 2044. That's only 36 years away. Which means that I'm in the middle of my life. Which may be interpreted by some, and by some I mean me, to indicate that I'm middle aged.

According to the Wikipedia:
Middle age is the period of life beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age. Various attempts have been made to define this age, which is around the third quarter of the average life span of human beings.
The US Census lists middle age as 35 to 54. AAAGGGHHH! Say it ain't so, Joe.

Fortunately, the remaining "various attempts" at defining middle age are OK. One lists the period as 40 to 60. The other lists it as 45 to 60. Woosah! Blood pressure dropping without the aid of drugs.

Wait. There is more.
In many Western societies, this is seen to be the period of life in which a person is expected to have settled down in terms of their sense of identity and place in the world, be raising a family, and have established career stability. It is also a period often associated with the potential onset of mid-life crisis.
Sense of identity? Check, I guess.

Sense of place in the world? Check.

Raising a family? Nope. But, my diaper changing skills have been requested by toddlers with dirty diapers.

Established career stability? What does my asking a colleague how much notice was required to quit indicate to you?

Potential onset of mid-life crisis? Ha! No way. I'm way past "potential" and am fully engaged in "onset."


Italy: Bring Your Own Oats

A Volta Monument

Cristiano, Raffa and her family were very gracious hosts again this year for my pilgrimage to Italia. I was able to spend two nights with them in their palatial Como home. In exchange for hospitality, I needed to bake my Mom's Ultimate Cookies for Raffa's mom.

"No sweat. I got this," I thought. "I've made those cookies twice before in Italia."

That was all true buscept the part where I forgot (as did Raffa) where we got all the ingredients for the previous batches of biscotti. The most difficult ingredient to find last time was oats (aveno); this year was no exception. We scoured the grocery store and pestered her mom and friends, but Raffa and I couldn't find any aveno.

So, we did what everyone in a crisis should do. We ate a big lunch and then she went to the dentist so I went walkabout.

My GPS got me back to the car on time but Raffa wasn't back yet. Had she been back, I wouldn't have wandered away from the car and run smack dab into a health food store.

That right - A HEALTH FOOD STORE IN ITALY! That's about as ironic as "a free ride when you've already paid." We're talking about a country that is barren of veggies unless you count mozzarella and the tomatoes in your insalata caprese.

I'm sure the lady had never seen an Americano so excited to buy a kilo of oats. Clearly she didn't understand the pressure I was under to deliver the dolce vita to Raffa's house.

That lady's aveno saved the day, but securing the ingredients turned out to be the easy part since the recipe is in cups and everything - EVERYTHING - is measured in grams.

Anyone got any idea how many grams of broken up chocolate Easter egg equates to one cup of semi-sweet morsels? It's 250.

And another thing. I understood why I got weird looks when I asked the grocer where the oats were. However, there is no plausible explanation as to why Raffa and everyone in her house looked at me like I was daft when I asked for a glass of cold milk. Cold milk and chocolate chip cookies go together like Peaches & Herb, Ebony & Ivory, bacon & bacon...


First Class fare is worth it to sit down

23, sandberg, ryne, michael, jordan, no tsu oh

Leaving Rimini gets tougher every year. The post-Paga Blues sometimes set in before you even get to the station and definitely attack you once you validate your ticket. But it pays to buy your ticket ASAP because the trains sell out quickly due to the holidays and the Paga travellers.

I'd like to think that I didn't buy my departure ticket immediately to help fend off the Paga Blues. But that wasn't the case. I just forgot to do it in typical jackass fashion. It's been nine years, and I still haven't learned.

Sara and Luca drove me to the station on Monday to book my journey to Milano. The only reserved seat ticket I could get was for the 5 PM Inter City train instead of steady pimping on the EuroStar. I took it since standing up on a train for three plus hours sucks. It is sardine-esque. Ask me about Paris to Milan sometime.

The train was packed with holiday travelers most of which were traveling only as far as Bologna. People and luggage (bagagli) were crammed into every nook on the train car (carrozza). The hallways of the first class cars are popular spots so that folks can snipe empty seats as they became available. Thus, it was impossible to make it to my cabin with all of my loot and not knock over anyone. I ditched my big backpack in the hallway and continued on with the small one and the No Tsu Oh umbrella.

Naturally my seat was taken by someone else - a woman and her daughter. I told them to stay seated but the lady was cool and got up saying, "It's OK. This is your seat."

I felt bad about it even though I did shell out my hard-earned bread to get the seat. That ended later when I figured out that the man in the hall was her husband. He came back to our cabin after the Bologna stop to retrieve luggage - about five bags. Apparently I'd missed the part of the ride where he'd already been kicked out of the cabin by other full-fare paying suckers patrons.


Stay out of my way and walk in a straight line

"Damn you people. Go back to your shanties!"
- Shooter McGavin

I travel a lot. A lot a lot, which means I fly at least two flights per week, sometimes more, which pretty much makes me an expert on travel crowds along my routes and airport behavior in general.

There are two types of travelers: business travelers and the "I still don't have a clue about airplanes" travelers.

These two species of humans are easily distinguished. The business travelers typically don't care about the amount they pay for a flight since it will be reimbursed by their company or client. This equates to them booking flights on carriers that serve destinations across the country and across the seas. If you're going to fly, you may as well earn a free trip to Italy, right?

The ISDHACAA folks are readily picked out of a crowd as well. These folks will usually frequent discount carriers like AirTran, Southwest and JetBlue. I don't blame them. I wouldn't want to pay much for a ticket if I wasn't on the expense account gravy train.

Apparel profiling aside, it would be difficult to discern one class of traveler from another if fare difference were the only indicator. But, that is just the tip of the ice cube. You can really separate the frequent traveler (FT) wheat from the once or twice a year flying chaff in the security line and in the check-in line. The FTs arrive with boarding passes in hand and luggage that weighs in at 49.9 pounds per bag since 50 pounds is the free limit. The infrequent folks (IT) show up with shopping bags for luggage and no idea where their driver's license is. Yes, I'm a luggage snob, but it's about the PITA of keeping up with the multiple bags not about the brand stamped on the damn thing.

And that PITA is borne in the security lines. FTs have their shit together. They didn't spend the last 40 minutes waiting to get to the metal detector talking about how cool it will be to go to the Bennigan's in Cancun to see if the Monte Cristo is served with salsa like the ITs. Nope. The FTs were putting everything metal and metal-like and that isn't a boarding pass or ID into their carry on bag. FTs shoes are already untied if there are even laces on them.

I've spent many a precious minute - the very few that you have between you arriving at the gate and the boarding door shutting in your face - trapped behind knuckleheads who were too busy talking about the new rims they put on their 1986 Civic. By the time they get to the TSA security lady they've lost their boarding pass inside their XXXXXL hoodie.

There should be a global "You Fly a Shit Ton" security line that you can only access if your flight total is above a threshold for the year. All the other rich folk paying high dollar for First Class should be relegated to the No Class line since they don't have a clue about security either. They are just spilling much more expensive loot into the bag check machine.

And no matter your station in life, ITs can not seem to walk in a straight line. They are also masters at walking in small circles while talking on the cell phone in the middle of the central artery of the airport.

Thank you. That is all.


Houstonist Wins HAM History Road Rally

Houston Police Headquarters
Originally uploaded by JaseMan
Team Houstonist won the Houston Arts & Media History Road Rally. 11 teams of five set off on a digital scavenger hunt around Houston this afternoon. Each team had a list of the same 15 clues and only two hours to decipher the answers, reach the locations, snap digital pictures and return to the rally point.

Rob Hays and I were in the car haul-assing around town with SMS support from Jim Parsons and Torie Ludwin.

Anyone got a Ferrari that I can borrow for the Cannonball Run? I've already got the priest outfit.

You're Never Too Old to Stay Up til 4 AM

Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit partying all weekend. First there was the minor partying excursion to the HLSR with Thomamas, but you already read about that. And, this morning I got home at 4 AM after what was supposed to be my low key evening of the weekend. In between was Friday night and the Houstonist Light Rail Pub Crawl Dos.

The LRPC is near and dear to my heart. What's not to love about inviting a bunch of folks you don't know to come out and cocktail it up with you? Nothing. The best part is that you don't have to drive anywhere all night - unless you're a moron like one of my friends who'll remain nameless.

Overall the crawl went well - nearly as well as last year. We started with about 45 folks at The Flying Saucer and then lost people along the way. Last year, we started small and grew to epic proportions by the time we reached the fifth and final bar. 2008 saw us down to a lean dirty dozen or so folks by the time we reached Warren's. I didn't care. I was wiped out and ready to hit the sack so it was just as well. Saturday needed to be mild on the party scale. "I'm getting too old for this shit." (Quick name that movie.)

I met my old roommate Nell Dog, his wife Murph and their friends at Max's Wine Dive for dinner. Things went downhill from there.

We followed up Max's with a trip to Cahill's a few blocks away. The night was filled with various conversations - the election, useless BS and glory stories. I was still succeeding in my battle against the party having cut myself off after only two VSs.

The party broke up, and most of the crew was loading up in the parking lot when I noticed a missing lady. Jess was still inside so TK and I went back to check on her.
[JB el JB] Hey, lady. You coming with us.

[Jess] No, I'm closing my tab and will walk home after finishing my drink. (Jess lives three blocks away.)

[JB el JB] I can give you a ride?

[Jess] It's OK. I walk up here all the time. Don't worry about it.

[TK] You want to get one last round and wait with her?

[JB el JB] One round?

[TK] One round.

[Jess] Yeah, let's have another round and then we'll go.
Everything was going according to plan when a big dude at the end of the bar said to TK, "Tell your redheaded friend that I think she's good looking." "OK," she replied. Then the big guy, Daigle, said to his buddy, "Sahn Dee Ahgo." "A whale's vagina," I answered.

"Get that man a shot," ordered Daigle to the bartender. That's when the wheels fell off.

Three-and-a-half hours later, Jess, TK and I were at an after hours party at Daigle's with him and his crew. Two hours after that I headed home.


Surreal Night at Houston Rodeo

Dirty Hands
Originally uploaded by CJ Sorg
Thomamas invited me to the Chili Cookoff yesterday afternoon when I was on my pilgrimage to DFW.
I'm not sure that I can make it. This week sucked. And, I'm tired.

You need to be here. There's talent and free drinks.
Well, I'm not one to leave a brother in need of a wingman. Hear that, Bolivian?

Parking was bitch so Thomamas picked me up and we parked at his reserved spot at Shoney's. That's how we roll.

The vodka sodas were flowing, but all the food was gone by the time I got to the party. We headed out into the ruckus to check out the other parties and maybe track down some food.

We were busy gawking at the Crown Royal babes when a lady in a Matrix style leather trenchcoat walked up with a box of BBQ sandwiches offering each of us one. Savor that moment will you. A Trinity-like babe with BBQ. Mmmm, delicious.

T and I were still talking about our free sandwiches like teenage girls talking about JT. I think I peed my pants a little.

I was just about to unwrap my sandwich when I felt a slap on my butt and a girl circled around my right side. A strange exchange followed.
[Girl] Y'all go to Massachusetts last weekend?

[Thomamas] What?

[JB el JB] Huh?

[Girl] Y'all go to Massachusetts last weekend? You know 'cuz they offer gay marriage?

[Thomamas] What the hell?

[JB el JB] Shhhh. That's our dirty little secret.

[Girl] You gonna ride the ferris wheel? It's romantic.

[JB el JB] Nope.

[Thomamas] We'll need two people to ride it with us.

[Girl] So y'all wanna buy some carnival tickets. I'm having trouble selling them.

[JB el JB] Uh...no.

[Thomamas] We're not buying any tickets.

[Girl] Y'all aren't any fun.


[Thomamas] Damn carnie. (Censored content)

[JB el JB] She smelled like cabbage.

[Thomamas] And had small hands.
BBQ Trinity made it all better by bringing Thomamas another sandwich.


Ten long days are in the books

My ten day journey down The Master Cleanser path came to an end today. Words seem to fail me as I describe my level of excitement. As hard as that is to believe, here's an excerpt from an email I wrote earlier tonight.
The recovery starts tomorrow and lemme just tell you that I'm FUCKING EXCITED (sorry for that display of my limited lexicon) that the salt water purges are finito.
Perhaps my body excreted my vocabulary along with toxins?

Here's a quick run down of FAQ from my experience.

What was the hardest thing to give up during The MC?
The worst part of the cleanse was abstaining from the social aspects of dining. It creeps out some folks to have a non-eater sitting at the table watching folks eat. The experience was a bit weird for me, too.

What happens next?
There is a three day recovery period during which I reintroduce my body to something besides lemonade. Day 1 is OJ Day; basically OJ is substituted for the lemonade. Day 2 is the more of the same with veggie broth/soup in the evening. Day 3 is OJ for the morning, soup during mid day and real, chewable vegetables for dinner. Day 4 is chicken fried steak. :)

What is the first thing you're going to eat once the recovery period is over?
The jury is still out on this, but I'll likely stop in for some soup at Jenni's Noodle House or some pho (real) at some place where no one speaks English.

Did you lose any weight?
Yep, 15 pounds, but I expect that some of that will return once I start chewing again.

Are you going to become a vegetarian now?
I've strongly considered it for health reasons, but there are too many dishes that I dig that involve meat or meat related items. Of course, April is vegetarian month, a.k.a. sushi month, so I'll be a vegetarian then. I'm going to work towards making smarter choices regardless of my meat-a-tarian / vegetarian slant.


This MC ain't got nothing on me

It is after Noon on Day 5, which means that there are officially a fewer number of hours left in my Master Cleanser journey than the amount that I have already invested. Kick. Ass.

In short, Day 3 sucked. Apparently on of the side effects of the MC is that you may get a cold or some cold like symptoms due to you body taking its revenge on you for drinking way too much and eating way too much red meat. I'm sure I had a fever, but didn't get probed to make it official. I was ready to conk out. But I sucked it up. I'm not getting beat by too many glasses of lemonade.

I'll spare you the gory details, but my evening of "sleep" on Day 3 resembled the depictions of a junkie going through heroin withdrawals. I could not get warm no matter how many blankets I used or how much I peed on myself. KIDDING. I also couldn't stop hacking up junk from my lungs. Nyquil would be my standard answer for this type of misery, but no dice due to the MC.

Is passing out from delirium the wrong way to fall asleep?


Waking up at 4:30 AM sucks

Day 2 on the MC was a tough one for the kid. First, I have to fly to Ft. Worth on Monday mornings so I was up at 4:30 AM to insure that my quart of salt water had fully processed prior to getting stuck on a plane. The salt water nearly made my puke even after I adjusted it from 2 tablespoons to 2 teaspoons. I think my stomach knew what was coming and wanted to stage a revolt.

I arrived at my client site with enough lemons and syrup to make my lemonade for the day. But, there really isn’t a convenient place to make it. And by convenient I mean a place where folks can’t see what you’re doing. I didn’t want to have answer a bunch of questions about what was going on. I ended up sitting on a picnic table outside the break room to do my mixing.

Day 2 passed without any severe hunger pangs or urgent calls from Mother Nature. I did duck out of a meeting early to go drink some lemonade when I began to feel faint.

My early waking time started to catch up with my around 7:30 when I left the office. I seemed to be stuck on slow; I’d like to have had an Airborne to fight off the cold that I felt creeping up on me. No dice.

I returned to my ho-tel after a run to Central Mark-up to fetch more syrup and lemons and a lemon juicer. Three dozen lemons, a pint of syrup and the juicer set me back $32.99. I need to open a grocery store.

It may have cost ten bucks, but the juicer is so choice. If you have the means... Don’t underestimate the utility of a lemon juicer when you need to squeeze a dozen per day.


T-Minus 10 Days to Fajitas

Sunday Shopping Trip
Originally uploaded by JaseMan
Today was my first day on The Master Cleanse cleansing regimen. The MC is basically one approach to ridding your system of contaminants that one may have ingested over the course of years spent living in a non-healthy way. Yep, it's still me JB over here. Don't leave.

I've been wanting to attempt some sort of a system cleanse for a few years now. I was close once before; I bought about $40 of herbs for a tea treatment, but was not patient enough with the complex mechinations involved. The herbs are still in my fridge. They can be yours for 20 bucks.

The Master Cleanse doesn't use fancy herbs or "gimmicks" if you don't count the MC as a gimmick itself. The regimen is basically fasting for 10 days save for drinking a funky lemonade consisting of lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. You'll spend lots of time with your porcelain friend throughout the course of the diet, but that's kind of the point. Crap out the bad. Syonara toxins!

So, today was Day 1. Each day starts with a quart of water with some sea salt mixed in to facilitate your purging. Drinking a quart of salt water was tough. TOUGH. Tough as in, "I'm trying not to puke in the trash can tough." Perhaps I should have read the instructions a bit more closely. The MC calls for two teaspoons of sea salt. I read it as two tablespoons. Oops.

Thank God I called Stew tonight to talk about my first day experiences. [Note: yes, that Stew; he and Angela did this before and survived.] He mentioned that a friend of his also did the MC, but mistakenly used 2 TBS instead of 2 tsp.
"Yeah, you know, Dave, right? He used a tablespoon to measure the salt instead of a teaspoon. He said he could barely finish the quart of water because he kept throwing up."

"But, Stew, it calls for two tablespoons of sea salt.

"Huh. I thought it was 2 teaspoons. You should probably check just to be safe."
HOLY SHI'ITE! It is two teaspoons! My colon is probably trying to take out a hit on me right now.

No wonder I felt like I'd nearly drown in the Gulf.

I really have felt fine all day except for the miserable quart of salt water. I haven't been hungry. I haven't felt tired. I hope it stays this way. Should that occur, I may try to stretch out the MC as long as I can.

My biggest concern right now is making it through my flight to DFW tomorrow without having to answer any calls from nature while on the plane or out of reach of The President's Club.

Crazy About Chronology

I can hear what you're thinking.
"Where have you been?"

"I guess he's given up on this whole blogging thing."

"He's finally realized that we don't really care what you're doing. We just read your blog while we're: a) waiting for our pedicure; b) stuck in the bathroom; c) waiting for the latest posting from Dooce."
Well, you're wrong. Yep. I've been right here. Living. Obsessing. Working. Partying. Things have been going along as planned, or not so planned, but life has been happening, and I've been trying to hold on to my wits as the adventure continues.

A series of events lead to me not keeping up with my blogging effort. The holidays came and went. Events came and went. And, work started heating up. The point is that I didn't make the time to keep up with my chronicle of events. And, I have an issue.

Truth be told, I have issues, but only one is central to my current ramble and that is my mild level of OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Jack Nicholson's character had to wash his hands all the time in As Good As It Gets. I am compelled to blog in chronological order.

Blogs, like any journal, are essentially a collection of your thoughts in the form of posts that are inspired by happenings in your life. You wouldn't write a biography with flashbacks, would you? I wouldn't think so because of the reactions and interpretations of future events are built on and influenced by the context of previous events and experiences. Well, the same goes for my blog.

Some folks feel the need to arrange all of the labels on the canned goods so that they face the exact same direction when you look in the pantry. Others are driven to journal in chronological order. I have to do both.

Unfortunately I am not always inspired to write a blog entry for Event A before I'm inspired to write a post for Event B. So I wait. And, I wait some more. The inspiration to write about Event A is trapped at the back of an airport security line filled with old men and young mothers traveling with quintuplets and five laptops. Meanwhile life has progressed to Event L, but nothing makes it out on to the tubes.

This posting order concern may seem insignificant, but I am mildly convinced that my lack of posting (a.k.a. journaling) has lead to a backlog of stress in my very cramped noggin. The solution to this quandary hit me in the shower from whence most of my decent ideas come.

I'll write the posts whenever I feel like it. But, the posting date will match the chronology of the actual occurrence. Big deal you say. Yep. You're right. It is to me, and I'm the boss. The crazy boss.

In any case, you may notice that the front page of my blog may not change for long periods. That may indicate that I've fallen off the face of a mountain or that may indicate that I am writing about events that pre-date the front page contents.

Fret not. The events probably that weren't interesting or I would have written about them before now. Alternatively, you fretters can subscribe to the RSS feed which will alert you to new conent no matter what the official posting date is, unless it was in 1991 because that pre-dates Al Gore's Internets.

Now you know I'm nuts, but it was worth it so that you could keep up with my mental flossings.

Ciao ciao.