Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bad Service

Oh well, like Mongo said in the movie "Blazing Saddles": "Jimbo just small pawn in game of life". Virtually nothing makes me madder than receiving poor or inattentive service. Automobile dealers and life insurance salespersons top my list of people that I have had bad experiences with. They are notorious for treating people like a dollar signs and not human beings. I can now add to that list a certain repair shop that I recently took my scooter to. After 9 days, this particular place could not seem to manage doing a 6,000 mile checkup and scheduled maintenance on my machine. I also brought Max in for a couple of warranty issues. My speedometer had quit working because the cable seemed to have come loose. My horn had also quit working. I was aware of a service bulletin for the horn with two potential solutions to it. I attempted the work myself awhile back and it was working fine,,,,,,,, for awhile. Turned out the more complicated solution to the issue (may have been) was the correct one for Max. The shop did fix the warranty issues and did change my oil for me at no charge. They were not able to accomplish any of the rest of my requests. I finally told them I didn't want them to do any more work, even after the parts supposedly came in. One of my fears about buying my scooter has come true. One major reason I bought this particular scooter was because of the dealer. I liked him instantly. He has turned out to be a good friend and was always prompt and caring about service for me and my scooter. Unfortunately, with the economic downturn and somewhat reasonable fuel prices, he was not able to stay in business as a scooter dealer. He just was not able to sell as many scooters as he wanted (needed) to. The new (supposed) dealer knew I was mad. They knew that they had violated my trust. The delay was (according to them) a problem with the shipping for some parts they thought they needed (O rings and gaskets) for the valve adjustment. But when I called, I kept getting different stories. The parts were things I thought they should have had in stock anyway. They didn't call me to tell me there was a delay. I had to call them to find out what was happening. I finally determined that they were just pulling my chain. Again, "Jimbo just small pawn in game of life". The worst part of it wasn't that they weren't technically competent in performing the work, but rather that the guy supposedly in charge was not, seemingly, 1) very knowledgeable or 2) experienced or 3) understanding. Our personalities didn't mesh very well. I can guarantee that they never will. I don't know. Maybe I am silly to expect to be treated with a little bit of respect. I don't care to get my butt kissed, just be treated with a little common dignity. I was very willing to give them some benefit of doubt and leeway, but as time went on, doubt turned into mistrust and eventually to anger. So here I am without a trusted dealer that I feel that I can currently rely on for help. Well, that is not totally true. I do have some very good friends that can help with maintenance. And I was able to download the complete service manual for Max from the internet. It has already been a big help. And I am not afraid of doing some of the work myself. I would just prefer sometimes to not take the time to do the work and gladly pay someone else to do it. Guess I need to get to know Max a little more intimately. And I certainly do not wish to leave the impression that I regret buying Max even though it is not a well known or major brand. In fact, I am completely satisfied. Max has been completely dependable for the almost 2 years I have owned him. I continue to be impressed with the quality and reliability of the machine. Some people might scoff at the idea of a Taiwanese scooter, (some mainland Chinese scooters are another issue), but SYM has been in business for many years and is well respected in the industry. Max has taken everything I have thrown at him in stride and then some. Max is perfect for what I bought him for and I am looking forward to many more years of service. It's just that now I will be doing some of the maintenance items myself. There is more to this story. Another post will be up in a week or two.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

River Festival Food Court

I am not sure I even want to know what "Taco in a Bag" is. It sounds ominous. It might be good, then again it might be something you just rent for awhile (if you catch my drift).

Quite a variety of offerings at this Food Court Vendor

We have this festival every year in May.It runs for 9 days with a parade, concerts, a big fireworks show, and of course, food. One of our favorite events is the Cajun Food Fest. A nice dinner of gumbo, red beans and rice is served up, along with some bread pudding. Later that night a local university jazz band entertains us.

This very nice young lady is presenting me with the infamous "Bayou Bonfire"

Various vendors serve food from tents near the downtown convention center. Some of the food is really good, some I would think twice about trying.

The blog author attempts to tame the beast known as the "Bayou Bonfire" The author said that he would rate it 5 stars out of 5, but then again he is not known for his culinary expertise.

The sandwich was essentially a spicy sausage thing with grilled onions, peppers and okra served in some pita bread.

Cathy, a long time co-worker joined me for lunch , but she opted for a reuben sandwich.

Cathy's reuben before it's eventual demise

Picnic tables are put up near the convention center and it is fun to people watch and try out the food. For people that work downtown, the fesitval gives us a chance to try out some food that is different from the local downtown eateries.

This is the infamous chicken on a stick. This was a sort of sneaky picture of the food purchased by someone sitting near us. No food rating available, but it looked good.
The festival is mostly outdoors and sometimes the weather gets a bit iffy. They are discussing doing the festival in June next year in hope of better weather and other reasons. We actually had tornado warnings on two of the days this year. Oh well, this is Kansas.
There was a seemingly new culinary creation offered up by one of the vendors this year, "Chocolate Bacon". Yeah, you read that right.
Chocolate bacon is exactly as named. Too bad it isn't worth a damn, but we felt obligated to try it. I suppose in some societies, maybe Canada, it is considered a delicacy.
We felt a bit timid, not bodacious enough to try this vendor's food
You can get almost all things barbecue here, and its all good, but this vendor is famous for their turkey legs. They seem to be quite popular.
There seemed to be some controversy about the price of the turkey legs this year. Inflationary prices seemed to be greater than the change in the consumer price index. Politicians were blamed.
This is the booth where chicken on a stick comes from. It's essentially a teriyaki seasoned piece of breast meat skewered by a wooden stick .
For some reason, whenever the river festival occurs, the funnel cakes come out. The popularity of this so-called "food" escapes me a bit. It's essentially fried pancake batter with various options for sugary fruity toppings. Mucho calories. I've had one before, but it is best shared with friends and family so you don't eat too much of it. Probably very profitable for vendors as I imagine the ingredients cost just a few cents and sell for $3 or so.
The source of funnel cakes for humanity. Afraid to ask how big the family size one is, or for that matter, why you would need one. .
The theme for the festival was sort of "pirate" related. At one of the souvenier shops Cathy tried on a pirate patch.
Cathy's attempt at being a pirate,
Arrghh .
Not to be outdone, the blog author tries on a hat.
I am not known for wearing hats, much less those with fur on top
This button ($5) grants you admission to all of the river festival activities. It is a major portion of the funding for the events. Button police will roam the areas looking for people without the proper credentials and be glad to fix you up with the proper button.

I like to hide my button under my jacket, then "whip it out" when asked for proof of my contribution to the festival

. Near the souvenier stand we ran across this rather large box with unusual lettering.
Wondering what the other side of the box says .
So we walked around to the other side to see.
Man, that's a lot of instructions .
People watching can be enjoyable. There was a little bluegrass concert going on near the food court. And a juggler.
Juggling balls at the food court
Cathy gets her picture taken with Admiral Windwagon Smith, the ceremonial host of the festival .
Not to be outdone the author gets his picture too.
The blog author and the admiral. (I didn't let him put his arm around me). His uniform is made by a company here in Wichita that manufactures band uniforms for schools all over the known universe.
At the Cajun Food Fest, my son (right) and Cathy's husband (left)are entertained by a crustacean.
Crawdad? Lobster? I'm not sure, but you don't see this kind of thing everyday .
A concern I have about the future of humanity is the apparent proliferation of pink crocs. This crustacean had a faded red pair on. Not exactly pink, but worrisome.
Crocs, everywhere you go. Oh the calamity

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


A Day That Will Live In Infamy?

It was May 19, a year ago, when I posted my first blog article.

It was published in the afternoon. I went home from work a little early that day and placed myself on the chaise lounge on my back porch. From my blackberry, I then posted an identical comment to a number of blogs that I followed (haunted) to announce my new blog.

These people were very kind to make initial comments and offer advice and encouragement.

Steve Williams, Scooter in the Sticks.

Joe, Scootin' da Valley.

Charlie 6, Redlegs Rides.

Lance, The View over the Handlebars.

Irondad, Musings of an Intrepid Commuter.

Bobskoot, Wet Coast Scootin'.

Jack Riepe, Twisted Roads.

Sharon, Sojourners MotoTales.

Conchscooter, Key West Diary.

Orin, Scootin' Old Skool.


Torch, Midlife Motorcycle Madness.

John (Mad Dog) McClane, A Scooter in Turkey.

I was amazed at the response. Some of the comments were received within just a few hours after my post. That prompted me to make a reply comment to the effect that some of you people need to "Get A Life"!
But then again, we all realize how much fun and potentially addictive blogging can be. I still do most of my blog reading from my phone and I sometimes compose the text portions of a post on my phone. I fully admit that I probably look at my own blog maybe as much as 8-10 times per day to look for comments and new posts from other authors.
It's so bad that I recently changed the web home page on my phone to my blog, just to save a few keystrokes. (Nerd I am)
Many of the first comments offered advice, others congratulations, but one comment from Conchscooter was one I have never forgotten. In essence he said to "Publish or Die!"
I chuckled when I read it, but also recognize the wisdom. We all know that he lives by that motto.
I have apparently made a little over 80 posts in the first year. Little did I know how prolific (or punishing) I was.
Jack Riepe also offered up some advice about starting a post with an attention getting statement. I try, but full well know that I will never be able to match his writing abilities.
Ironically, the first person to make a comment (Steve Williams), maintains one of the first motorcycle/scooter blogs I ever found and started to read. I followed a lot of his links to find others and the list kept growing.
I learned a lot from everybody about blogging and motorcycling. I remain to be amazed about how strong the connection is between us all. This is in spite of the fact that most of us have never met each other face to face. We come from many different walks of life and locations, but have one common passion.
I find the whole thing fascinating.
What is remarkable to me is how much you can learn and understand about the personalities and idiosyncrasies of various bloggers from their posts and comments.
I consider all of you as being a good friend. Some of you feel a lot like brothers and sisters, others maybe more like parents or mentors. All of you are appreciated.
As I reminisce, I think some of what I wrote is crap. Some stuff maybe not so bad. Keep in mind that writing for the blog is a major departure from what I usually write in my profession where I need to be a bit technical and legalistic. I have enjoyed the opportunity to be a bit more creative.
In some sense, the writing is part of a very introspective process for me. It is just as much for myself as it is for my readers.
I am very much in awe of the photography abilities displayed by many of you. I freely admit that most of my pictures are very amateur, but I like taking pictures generally. I just don't feel real motivated sometimes to take the time and really compose a picture and to use special settings. Maybe that will change as I gain more experience.
As I began the blog, I knew there were things I wanted to write about. There were also pictures I wanted to share. I anticipated that the writing would be more important to me and I think that has turned out to be the case for me. I always wanted to start a personal journal, but never got around to it. Blogging gave me a convenient opportunity.
Scootering started a new journey for me almost 2 years ago. Becoming a blogger was part of the consequence of scootering. I plan to stay on the roads of each and see where they take me.
Happy Trails!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A New Jacket

Damn I look good!
Jim, doing his best James Dean (with a Taiwanese scooter).
Not near as cool as the real thing.
The Cortech Mod Denim Jacket
It's a Lucky Jacket (I found that missing glove while wearing the new jacket) A little gift to myself. Got it on sale from New Enough Ltd.
My Tourmaster outfit (jacket and pants) is fine and very flexible in various weather conditions. I love it. But sometimes I feel like I look a little bit like a Storm Trooper (from Star Wars).
The new jacket has vents and all the pads, but probably not great as a summer jacket. You can bet I'll wear the Tourmaster mesh jacket in hot weather.
The last time I owned a jean jacket was when I was in high school. I loved it. I have always wanted another one, but never got around to getting one.
It has a heavy liner for cooler weather. I am looking forward to wearing it next winter. The denim portion is heavy and should last a fairly long time.
It won't be worth a damn in the rain, but I always carry an oversized rain jacket for that possibility. And it probably isn't very visible at night compared to my Tourmaster which has a fair amount of reflective piping on it.
I bought a patch from the "Ride to Work, Work to Ride' organization and placed it strategically on the jacket. I apparently want people to know that I feel strongly about commuting with my Scooter.
I looked around for some other patches on the web recently. Found one with a funny Mark Twain quote that I liked. I may buy a couple of other patches, but for now this will suffice. I also thought about getting a fabric pen and writing my blog name and url address on the jacket somewhere. How nerdy is that.
I get a kick about looking at motorcycle jackets and seeing the patches and adornments some people use. Some are very funny, some patriotic, others just plain silly. I don't plan to get too carried away, but who knows, maybe in a few years it will be tastefully decorated.
At the very least, now I have a choice of rider wear. If I get tired of one, I can always pull out the other one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother"s Day

Although Wyatt Earp was once a sheriff here, Wichita is not particularly famous for cowboy shoot-em-ups like Dodge City. But we do have a pretty nice "Cowtown" museum here. This house and the next were early homes in Wichita and were restored and moved to the museum site along the river.
Here's a view down one of the streets. Hollywood movie producers occasionally come here and use the facility to produce a shoot-em-up.

Most of the buildings contain actual 1860's to 1880's memorablia.

This is a woodworking shop.

A street musician. He played and sang. Volunteers wear period clothing and are trained to act and dress just like it would have been in the day


A funeral parlor.

A printer is showing some kids how to operate one of the presses at the local newspaper.

And if you wanted to get a shave and a haircut, this is the place.

The women are virtuous. This man is lucky to pose with two women.

An early baseball player.
Wichita is currently celebrating it's 39th River Festival. Nine days of fun and frolic with events all over the downtown area. Concerts, exhibits, games abound.
To help celebrate this year's festival, the Cowtown people arranged to have the Budweiser Clydesdales come to town.
Rooms to let at the local hotel. As Igor (in Young Frankenstein) would say, "Of course the rates have gone up".
Another costume.
The train station.
Dance hall girls were putting on a show. They were so popular that I couldn't get closer for a better shot.
You can take a ride on a covered wagon if you want to.
Of course there are the inevitable consequences of having horses around.
There is a small working farm at the museum, also. They use period equipment to till the fields.
This lady was the homemaker at the farmhouse. There was another lady there at the time that, I thought, was also dressed in period clothing and she had a bluetooth device in her ear. I didn't think that fit in the period very well, and then I realized that she wasn't one of the volunteers. Good thing I didn't take a picture of her.
This little guy was out at the stables telling the patrons about the horses.
Therse are a couple of ClydesDales benchwarmers. I think they were due to enter the game in the 3rd quarter.
A discussion on the porch at one of the homes in town.
My wife and daughter have volunteered here at Cowtown in the past. On really hot days, all the clothing they have to wear is especially uncomfortable. They recalled many memories of fun.
Here's my wife getting to feed one of the horses.
I think it was a great day for Mom. I hope she enjoyed it. The whole family went and had a good time. Here's to my wife, A Fantastic Mom, and to Mothers all over the world!