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...