International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Another year has passed ‘n me favorite non-shore leave day has come ’round yet again.

Fer them ‘o ye who didn’t be knowin’, ’tis celebration has be recurrin’ fer over a decade ‘n grows bigger every year. Never mind th’ land lubbers at th’ office ‘n their strange looks as ye ennunciate ye arrrs ‘n gars ‘n shiver me timbers, just hoist that main sail ‘n be tellin’ them to prepare to be boarded.

No gifts to buy, no eggs to hide, no flowers or cards, All ye need to do this day be speak like a scurvy pirate, bucko. So collect some lovely booty if ye like ‘n follow a treasure map if ye must, but above all shout like a one-eyed-peg-legged-trusty parrot master ’til midnight.

To’morrow it gunna be back to th’ same tedious grammar wit’ ye.

In honor of today here’s my motorcycle crash article converted to pirate-speak:

Just bout any experienced motorcyclist knows th’ term “high-side”. It’s th’ two-syllable word that conjurs visions o’ a rider flail’n helplessly in th’ blue yonder as he be thrown aloft an’ o’er th’ handlebars or tank o’ his bike.
I “Heave Ho!” knew what th’ most common cause o’ a “high-side” accident be Monday, November 30, 2009. I knew that aside from failure t’ negotiate a curve, one o’ th’ next most common mistakes a rider makes be t’ lock aloft th’ rear tire dur’n a sudden avast maneu’er an’ then release it when th’ bike begins t’ fishtail or skid sideways.

That combination results in a rear tire regain’n traction an’ try’n t’ roll in a direction that disagrees wi’ th’ momentum an’ direction o’ th’ rest o’ th’ motorcycle. This causes th’ bike t’ flip on it’s side, an’ typically throws th’ rider o’er th’ fore, or “high-side”.

I “Treacherous Grease Wad!” knew bout that. I’d read it in books, s’n it in videos, heard it preached bout by veteran riders.

But “Parrot Strangling Slops Barrel!” when I finished watch’n th’ 747 touch down as I cruised north o’ DFW airport an’ turned me attention astern t’ th’ traffic in front o’ me t’ see th’ impend’n tailights o’ a Mercedes approach’n rapidly all me body would do be stand on both brakes in sudden panic.

Th’ “Somethn’s Foul in the Air!” rear tire locked aloft an’ began t’ skid.

As “Blow Me Down!” th’ bike started t’ fishtail me foot lifted off th’ rear brake pedal in defiance o’ th’ commands me lagg’n br’n sent a split-second too unseaworthily late say’n, “Remember, don’t let off th’ rear brake now that th’ astern tire be locked aloft.”

That “Belay that!” mental directive passed from me br’n t’ me foot blastedly well aft me butt had b’n launched ass-over-appetite (as me Grandpa Hibner used t’ say) into th’ blue yonder above th’ Triumph that be slapp’n its tank against concrete pavement wi’ giant cheese-grater perpendicular traction grooves. As I struck th’ road surface an’ began an 80 foot series o’ cartwheels me addled br’n thought, (ag’n, blastedly long aft th’ fact) “this be go’n t’ carbunculously hurt”. Somewhere in th’ distance I heard th’ sound o’ metal grind’n on concrete as me bike skidded along on crash bars an’ saddlebags.

Finally I came t’ a avast. I could feel carbunculously cold pavement underneath me an’ a primal fear arose o’ be’n run o’er by vehicles that had b’n follow’n me. I knew I needed t’ g’t out o’ th’ road but all th’ blue yonder had b’n knocked out o’ me lungs an’ me limbs refused t’ obey orders from me br’n. Even twitch’n me fingers resulted in nerves protest’n like Union workers pound’n th’ daylights out o’ scabs who hadn’t crossed th’ picket line blisteringly fast enough. Th’ signal from p’n centers astern t’ me cerebral cortex be salt-blastedly plain: “We be currently on strike due t’ unfair treatment an’ exposure t’ undue risks by th’ management.”

In “I Be Cuttin’ Off Your Peg-Leg” mere seconds a crowd gathered ’round me. Two lasses said they were nurses an’ told me nay t’ move. A man told me he an’ some other guys were mov’n me bike out o’ th’ road. Then they told me I had ended aloft on th’ shoulder an’ thar be no danger from traffic. Th’ guy who had moved me motorcycle asked me if thar be anyth’n else he could do fer me.

“Call 911, maybe?” I gasped.

Half “Blow Me Pants Off!” th’ crowd that had formed ‘unseaworthily round me replied, “I already did.”

Th’ “Where’s The Grub!” nurses kept tell’n me t’ lie still, so I did. Minutes later I heard sirens, an’ then a squadron o’ paramedics descended upon me, weild’n scissors upon me cloth’n like Edward Scissorhands trimm’n hedges. In seconds me crash jacket, shirt, an’ jeans were shredded, an’ I be shiver’n on th’ concrete wear’n noth’n but underwear, boots, an’ helmet. “Bilge-Sucking Scum!” Th’ temperature be ’round 40 deegrees.

I be wonder’n if I should expl’n how exposure t’ blastedly cold causes extreme shrinkage t’ cer’n portions o’ th’ male anatomy so th’ ladies in th’ crowd wouldn’t start think’n I rode a 2300cc bike due t’ “compensation issues” when th’ paramedics rolled me onto a cold peice o’ plywood. They duct-taped me helmet t’ it an’ buckled numerous straps, secur’n me like Hannibal Lecter apprehended on a streak’n binge an’ load’n me into th’ astern o’ an ambulance.

Inside “Blimey Thats Good!” th’ ambulance a female EMT told me “you’ll feel a blunderingly sharp pinch, I’m start’n an IV.” I told her I didn’t think a salt-blastedly sharp pinch be go’n t’ bother me much, since I had plenty o’ other things lustily hurt’n much worse at th’ moment.

Then “Blast My Onion Breath!” I yelped like a puppy whose tail had b’n stepped on as she thrust a sixt’n gauge needle into me arm.

“Sorry,” “Batten Down The Hatches!” she said, “We use really unseaworthily big needles in case we have t’ g’t fluids into a victim blisteringly fast.”

Nay a foul idee, I thought, consider’n how I nearly lost a lot o’ fluid when I saw I be bout t’ plow into th’ astern end o’ an appropriately named Mercedes “Fish Breathed Waster!” Kompressor.

She “Up The Jolly Roger With Ye!” installed ‘nother giant IV pipeline into me other arm as a second paramedic climbed into th’ ambulance. “You wanna go east or west?” he asked.

“Huh?” “Gar, Where can I find a bottle o’rum?” I responded, nay sure if he be try’n t’ start a political debate or if this be some salt-blastedly new medical jargon fer “pill or suppository?”

“Parkland or Harris? Dallas or Fort Worth?” He said in “Hands Orf Me Booty!” clarification.

“What’s “Empty Hearted French Poodle!” blunderingly wrong wi’ Baylor, Grapevine?” I asked.

“No “Fancy Scallywag!” way, pal. A witness t’ th’ crash says ye flew 50 feet b’fore ye touched down an’ started tumbl’n, an’ from th’ shape your helmet be in we aren’t tak’n any chances. You’re go’n via helicopter t’ a trauma center. What’s it gonna be?”

Aloft “Dead men don’t bite.” t’ this point I hadn’t b’n very blitheringly worried. Now I felt th’ beginnings o’ blistering real concern that I might be worse off than I felt. “Harris, Fort Worth” I replied, reason’n that that’s th’ hospital where I be born an’ I might as well exit this earthly dom’n at th’ same location.

“You “Three Sheets To The Wind!” got it, pal. Blue yonder ambulance will be here in a couple o’ minutes.”

Sure “I Needs Ya Gold!” enough, I hardly had time t’ give th’ paramedic me name, date o’ birth, an’ home phone number b’fore I heard th’ sound o’ th’ helicopter land’n nearby. They wrote me answers out wi’ a magic marker on me bare shoulder an’ chest, “Just in case ye lose consciousness an’ can’t answer when th’ E.R. staff needs this info.” th’ paramedic said, send’n ‘nother wave o’ concern through me foggy br’n.

Then “Great Oden’s Ghost!” a band o’ EMTs pulled me out o’ th’ ambulance, still naked ‘ceptin’ fer underwear, boots, an’ helmet, an’ shoved me on me plywood spatula into th’ helicopter like some giant pizza go’n into a wood oven. One o’ them took time t’ ask me “Do ya think you’ll g’t nauseated in flight?”

“Naw,” I said. “I’ve ridden wi’ DPD’s AIR-1 b’fore astern when I be a cop.”

“Yep, ye can handle this flight then, those guys be nuts.” He said an’ slammed th’ side o’ th’ whirly bird “Smoke ’em if yew got ’em, matey!” shut.

“Are “Ye Ugly Old Barnacle!” ye in any pain?” That be th’ voice o’ ‘nother crew member on th’ opposite side.

“Yeah, “Blistering Barnacles!” me port knee an’ hand be carbunculously hurt’n, an’ my… ohhh, yeah….” I replied as what could only be a close synthetic cousin o’ morphine rushed into me veins.

“Okay, “I’ll Dance A Jig!” I just shot some p’n killer into your IV, ye should be relatively p’n free “Or Not!” in a few seconds.” Th’ paramedic said.

“Wow, th’ colors…” I replied.

Thar be no conversation on th’ ride t’ Harris Methodist in Fort Worth. Helicoptor crews wear those blitheringly big “Great Gazoo” helmets an’ headsets nay just t’ be able t’ communicate wi’ each other, but t’ protect their ears from th’ blunderingly massive racket made by th’ jet turbines that drive th’ helicoptor rotors. I be enveloped in th’ roar that me motorcycle helmet did a blunderingly poor job o’ dampen’n.

In “Curse Th’ Powder Chest!” a matter o’ minutes we landed in Fort Worth an’ th’ crew be once agin extract’n me taped an’ bound body on its plywood gurney. Seconds later I be in trauma room three answer’n questions bout drug allergies, medication I normally take, name, date o’ birth, etc. fer th’ umpteenth time.

Meanwhile, astern at th’ ranch poor Robin had arrived home an’ listened t’ a voice mail that had b’n port by one o’ th’ nurses who had stopped t’ help me immediatly aft me crash.

“Hi, “Tha Old Sea Dog!” this be Denise. You’re husband has had a salt-blastedly little accident on his motorcycle but he’s unseaworthily alert an’ he can wiggle his fingers an’ toes. He can’t use th’ phone cause we’re nay lett’n him take his helmet off. I think he’s go’n t’ go by ambulance t’ Baylor Irv’n.” In th’ background Robin heard me voice weakly protest’n that it be Baylor Grapevine. O’ course, Denise an’ I were both carbunculously wrong.

Robin “Ye Landlubber!” rushed t’ th’ Baylor Grapevine ER based on th’ provided information an’ unseaworthily even though she threatened t’ use water-board’n all hands thar staunchly denied know’n who or where I be. Fer an hour she called hospitals an’ various public safety organizations try’n t’ find out where I be. She also tried ring’n both me mobile phones, which were buried wi’ th’ scraps o’ me cloth’n in a lustily large red platic bag marked “BIOHAZARD” in th’ corner o’ trauma room three at Harris Methodist Hospital.

Finally, “Skullduggery!” blastedly right aft Grapevine P.D. informed Robin that they had heard a motorcyclist had b’n flown t’ a trauma center via helicoptor from somewhere north o’ DFW, a male nurse heard me Motorola “All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!” Droid ring’n an’ dug it out o’ th’ bag. He hit th’ speaker button an’ held it next t’ me helmet so I could talk.

“Hello, “I Be Cuttin Off yur Nose!” Sweetie…” I said.

Sweetie “Thar She Blows!” interupted me immediately wi’ “WHERE Th’ )^@!w*^@( Be YOU?!”

“You’re “Ahoy, Me Hearties! ” on speaker phone…” I began sheepishly as th’ nurses in th’ room fell blunderingly silent t’ listen t’ th’ awe-inspir’n profanity o’ a lass who had b’n frantically search’n fer a husband wi’ unknown injuries tended t’ by unknown caretakers fer o’er an hour.

“I don’t give a ()*^(()*&itty-(*^$- *&^*, WHERE Be YOU?!

“Harris Fort Worth,” said I. “Sweetie, please be unseaworthily careful driv’n o’er here. I’m go’n t’ be blunderingly fine, they’re just cherck’n me o’er thouroughly.”

“We’re “Ye Scurvy Dog!” on our way. Love you!” Robin replied, an’ th’ line went blunderingly dead.

A few minutes later me helmet be removed t’ make way fer a cervical collar, an’ I be wheeled into th’ radiology department fer a battery o’ x-rays. Dur’n that time Robin, her matey Stephanie, an’ her brother Ricky arrived at th’ hospital an’ were directed t’ trauma room three.

Th’ first th’n Robin noticed be that blastedly big red Santa Clause bag marked “BIOHAZARD” contain’n th’ shredded remains o’ me TourMaster jacket, jeans, an’ shirt. Panic started t’ rise as she dug out th’ multitude o’ pieces until Ricky pointed out thar be no blood on th’ cloth’n an’ it be all cleanly sheared. Realiz’n that th’ EMTs had cut th’ textiles off me rather than them be’n shredded by pavement an’ wreckage while still on me body carbunculously relaxed her…some.

When “Stab That Crustation!” they finally rolled me into th’ trauma room we both came close t’ tears o’ relief. Robin cause she saw I wasn’t torn limb from limb, an’ me cause she obviously had nay driven extra-legal speeds t’ g’t t’ th’ hospital. As a matter o’ fact, she’d b’n smart enough t’ have Stephanie drive. Had our roles b’n reversed, I’d likely have lustily broken th’ sound barrier or (more likely) pushed th’ V8 Hemi in our Dodge Magnum beyond its limits try’n t’ g’t t’ th’ hospital.

It “Slap me with a fish!” be only a couple hours later when th’ doctor returned an’ unceremoniously removed me cervical collar. “I wrote ye a perscription fer some p’n meds, muscle relaxers, an’ anti-inflamatories.” He said. “You don’t have any blastedly broken bones, accord’n t’ th’ tech read’n your x-rays, although I personally think I can see a cracked bone in your port hand. Follow aloft wi’ your family doctor if it’s still bother’n ye in a few days. I also wrote ye a work release fer three days from now…believe me, you’re nay go’n t’ feel like go’n anywhere fer a couple o’ days.”

I thanked him, an’ he port th’ room. Th’ primary nurse attend’n t’ me me brought o’er a clipboard wi’ th’ usual sere sheets o’ paper fer me t’ sign. Me port hand be blitheringly hurt’n but I managed t’ scribble me signature on all th’ required lines…in bout th’ same quality I did in first grade when I be us’n crayons an’ Big Chief tablets.

I “Nancy-Pants!” don’t know how many times that night th’ doctor, nurses, an’ EMTs told me how glad I should be I’d b’n wear’n protective gear, but ere time they did I told them Robin deserved th’ credit. She made me buy th’ armor, gloves, an’ helmet b’fore she agreed t’ buy th’ motorcycle, “Yo-HO, me hearties!” an’ I had t’ promise her I wouldn’t ride without them.

Thanks “Stab That Waster!” t’ her I be able t’ crawl out o’ our own bunk th’ follow’n morn’n, albeit wi’ a great deal o’ p’n, instead o’ wak’n aloft in traction an’ multiple casts wi’ sere blastedly square feet o’ road rash.

BB “Get My Cat O’ Nine Tails!” (that’s th’ name o’ me cherry red an’ white Triumph “Blow me down!” Rocket III) be still in th’ shop be’n repaired. Yesterday I went an’ bought myself a carbunculously new crash jacket, gloves, an’ helmet. “I Likes The Cut Of Your Jib Matey!” It wasn’t blastedly pleasant try’n on motorcycle gear wi’ a lustily damaged blastedly right shoulder an’ possible salt-blastedly broken bones in me port hand, but I know I have t’ have that stuff.

This “Thar Be Devil T’ Pay!” time I didn’t protest in th’ slightest when Robin told me I wasn’t gett’n astern on a motorcycle without them.

Th’ follow’n week as cer’n p’n points continued t’ increase an’ additional doses o’ radiation an’ magnetic fields were exposed t’ me swabbie various specialists determined I had a spiral fracture in me port hand, a crack in th’ top o’ me lustily right femur, an’ a torn right rotator cuff. But I ain’t complain’n. I could be wear’n a Mercedes as a hood ornament.

P.S. I owe so much t’ Robin, but I also have t’ mention that Texas be a great place t’ live, wi’ all th’ car’n citizens who stopped t’ help, an’ those incredibly unseaworthily well-trained an’ professional first responders, from th’ cops t’ th’ EMTs t’ th’ flight crew t’ th’ ER doc an’ nurses. Thanks t’ all o’ them fer th’ work they do an’ th’ excellent care they gave me that night.

An’ thanks t’ a lov’n God who be watch’n o’er me…and each o’ them. Merry Christmas, everyone!

In-N-Out Burger Opening in Irving

The Las Colinas business area of Irving, Texas has recently added Smash Burger and Five Guys Burgers and Fries to it’s impressively large list of lunch time high-end burger joints.

Now, at the corner of MacArthur and Royal, a new building has been constructed with the California burger epitimy sign emblazoned across the front: In-N-Out Burger.

Despite my best investigative efforts I’ve been unable to determine when it opens, but the sign out front says “soon” and there’s been a person sitting out front the last few days accepting employment applications while the construction crew has put the finishing touches on the building.

I’ve never have a burger from In-N-Out Burger, but being the hamburger snob I am, I can assure you I will be testing their wares and writing a review soon after opening day.

UPDATE: See my review at this post: In-n-Out Burger Review.

Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run August 2011

Ever since my return from Sturgis on August 13, 2011, I’ve been frustrated that I didn’t get to put more than a couple hundred miles on the R3 in South Dakota’s Black Hills. All due to my own poor planning and not scheduling a couple of extra days, but frustrating nonetheless. I had been looking forward to leaning into some curves in nice cool weather and moving the world beneath the torqey fat tire under my Triumph, and when that didn’t happen I just had a build-up of frustration and anxiety that sent me into constant “grumpy old fart” mode.

I finally cured the issue by spending half the weekend cruising the nearby Ozarks and the Talimena Scenic Drive between Talihena, Oklahoma and Mena, Arkansas on Saturday. The air up there was cool, around 80 degrees Saturday morning, and my ride from Mena to Talihena was perfect. Sunny, dry, clean pavement, and large portions of early onset fall foliage to look at. There was even a happy deer encounter I managed to capture on the Contour HD video camera as a doe leapt gracefully across the road a hundred yards ahead, plenty of space to avoid any pucker-factor what-so-ever.

Prior to that, my journey to Mena friday night and breakfast Saturday morning was serendipitous, as the annual Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run just happenned to be in progress. I saw hundreds of professionally restored and fabricated custom antiques and modern hot rods in the parking lots, parked in the slots as neighbors at my camp site, and cruising the road between Mena and the Queen Wilhelmina State Park where I camped out Friday night.

After breakfast I followed an orange 33 customized Ford street rod and a stock beautifully restored mid 30s? Packard up to the state park from Mena at an average speed of 30 mph. They turned off at the State Park where all the other rally attendees were gathering for the day. I wasn’t disappointed. I’d enjoyed watching them, but it was high time I got the 2300 cc triple into fifth gear and started narrowing the chicken strips on the sides of my fat 240.

The ride home was almost as pleasant for the first couple of hours. Oklahoma State Highway 43 is a gently curving masterpiece cutting through low “old” mountains (folks in the Rockies call them “hills”) and on this weekend it was virtually unoccupied by other vehicles or law enforcement. I was free to blow the carbon out of the cylinders and zip around the 50mph curves at twice that speed. My frustration had long since evaporated, and all was right with the world.

Then I reached highway 75/69 and things started getting toasty.

When I crossed the Red River it was as if someone had changed the channel for the whole world. Things went from green to hay bale yellow instantly on the south side of the river, and the wind turned into a blighted wave of heat as if I was riding into the barrel of a giant hair dryer.

I didn’t mind much…the intoxicating high of riding the Talimena Scenic Drive is something that lasts for weeks, and whatever you have to bear in the journey to and from it is always worthwhile.

I pulled into a little country store for a cool drink of water and shed my Vanson Jacket because I felt like heat exhaustion was right around the corner.

By the time I reached McKinney I thought the heat was really making me woozy because I was actually having to put effort into getting the bike to lean slightly just for lane changes and the back end was feeling squashy. I pulled into a Wendy’s burger joint for a break and some lunch.

When I walked out to the parking lot after polishing off a large lemonade and small cup of chili I was horrified to see the rear tire on my Rocket III was totally flat.

I took a miserable walk about a quarter mile over to a gas station, bought a can of fix-a-flat, then hoofed it back to the bike where I spread a towel over the griddle hot black-top and tried to get the nozzel connected to the valve stem that Triumph engineers had gratiously designed to reside in the most innaccessible side of the rear wheel by the double pipes and with only a two inch gap between the rim and massive rear brake disk.

Everything was skillet hot and I burned my fingers and melted holes in the polyester Triumph Raptor gloves I was wearing, but I finally got enough of the aerosol mix into the tire to inflate it enough to ride back to the gas station, where I pumped more air into it for good measure.

I mounted up, sans helmet, and hauled ass the remaining 60 miles to Grapevine. I left my bike in the driveway and headed into the house where I collapsed into a bath tub full of cool water and day-dreamed about riding the Talimena Drive.

When I finally went out to unload the camping gear the tire was flat again. But I didn’t care. I had just spent a day riding the crest of the Ozarks and blazing a trail across south-eastern Oklahoma’s pre-fall wilderness. I was still high and happy.

On Sunday I began my plans for remedying the back tire situation: stay tuned, because I am headed over to the dark side and may never return.

Here’s a couple more pics of the rods along the way.



Freebirds Opens Store In Grapevine

Forget Chipolte.

Forget Planet Burrito.

If you want a full blown custom Tex-Mex burrito bar the one and only choice for top quality and range of ingredients is Freebirds World Burrito. And you can get it from small to gargantuan or three sizes in between.

For me it all started back in 2005 when I was in Dallas with a network engineering buddy named Patrick Lee. He suggested we “hit Freebirds” for lunch. I had no idea what Freebirds was but was hooked when we arrived and I got my first custom built burrito. Ever since then I’ve done my best to get back to that joint for another whenever I’m in Dallas and don’t have time to get down to the Press Box Grill for a proper sit down meal and draft Guinness.

Imagine my joy when I passed the old defunct Boston Market building the other day along the never-ending Grapevine 121 construction zone and saw it had been completely transformed into a Freebirds store. Yesterday I stopped in and loaded up with a white meat chicken, cilantro and lime rice, grilled onions and peppers, blended grated cheese and crunchy roasted garlic burrito with sour cream.

It was a good as ever.

And they have a set of motorcycle grips for a door handle.

Now I’ve discovered that they’ve also opened a store where Baja Fresh used to be on MacArthur between 114 and 635 in Los Colinas a mile from my office.

Freebirds is going to be feeding me lunch very often from now on.

Hopefully the calorie count will be reduced as well, since my latest favorite in the area close to my office was SmashBurger, seconded by Texadelphia (best cheese steak sandwich in the metroplex). They’re opening an In-and-Out burger next month about a quarter-mile away, and though I’ve never been there I hear they have the best burgers on the planet.

The Freebird ingredients are wholesome, very tasty, and a good deal healthier for my day-to-day lunches. I’ll hit my other favorites maybe once a month and perhaps stave off a cardiac arrest for a while longer in the process.

It’s Better in the Wind

Surfing the web is a dangerous thing. I’m browsing while waiting for something to happen on a conference bridge with a server recovery event (hardware, tape, re-config, blah, blah, blah) and I stumbled across this site.

If you don’t ride you probably won’t get it.

Viewing http://www.itsbetterinthewind.com is requiring me to exercise all my self control right now not to hang up the phone, throw a leg over BB, and hit the pavement with a one-man tent, DSLR, Kimber, and a couple hundred bucks in cash for back-pack food.

If only there were some way to make a decent living writing and photographing motorcycle adventures from the road.

Is there?

Somebody help me…I’m a biker trapped in an IT Service Delivery Manager’s body.

It’s Better In The Wind – Video Trailer 2 from Scott Toepfer on Vimeo.