Sunday, September 28, 2008

Win a trip to HSM3 Premier

If you are in to HSM (I'm not saying that I am officially) you could win a trip for four to the premier! Check it out through

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New on DVD

School House Rock: Election Collection
Blast From The Past For The Present
If You've Got To Get Political With Your Kids...

This set features any and all the songs you remember from the educational series that relate to the upcoming Presidential Election. Best of all, at least for my 8-year-old, the set comes with a map and red and blue dots to track the upcoming election.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Surprised by My Inner Biker!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: (Eccl 3:1)

A time and a season for everything! I grew up fascinated with mechanized vehicles...and the dangerous thrill inherant in riding or driving them. I have early memories of doing some crazy things on a big wheel. I think I wore out the plastic tires and that sweet pull up brake within a month or so (what we lived on a steep hill).

I also remember, always loving when my crazy uncle (I'm sure he wasn't really my uncle, but filipinos think everyone is family) rode up to our house on his motorcycle. He would always take me for a ride, which on second thought wasn't good because he always smelled strange (which I later realized was beer). For some reason, he had a really huge leather belt and he'd strap me on to him as I sat behind and we'd go for really fast rides "around the block." So much fun!

I remember also jumping my banana yellow (I'm sensing a theme throughout my blogs) bicycle with banana seat. It was so 70s, but it was so rad! For some reason I remember riding up and down my street with my cousin and I was disgusted by some dry dog poo. She kicked it around like it was nothing and I thought she was from mars...but I digress.

I was driving at a very early right around puberty. My dad would let me move the car, then I graduated to driving the family buick around the block, and at 14 years old my dad let me drive the banana yellow Nissan Sentra to Palmdale. (Can one be arrested for such things 24 years later?)

At 15 I had my drivers permit and in the 80's you know what that meant? I could ride a scooter. I had a Honda Passport C70. It was a 70CC "scooter" that had 3 clutchless gears so I thought it was way more like a motorcycle than my friend's Honda Elite. I rode around in a scooter gang and we terrorized Foothill Blvd (back in La Crescenta/La Canada not the one in SLO) to school and back. I would draft buses and cars and get my Passport up to 60 MPH (all without was cool back then to be stupid).

I think my Mustangs are well chronicled in this post. Those cars, especially the Mach I were super fast! I once got the Mach I past 120 MPH. I'm not sure how fast because the spedometer stopped at 120 and the needle went past that all the way to the 0 on the other side! 

About that time I bought a Yamaha Banshee. For the uninitiated, that's a four wheeled 350cc 2 stroke joy machine. It brought me many times up to the Oceano Dunes from the Glendale-Pasadena area where I grew up. That thing was so fast! It also gave me the opportunity of a jump a car (well technically a sandrail). On a trip, to the Mojave Desert, with some of my brother's friends I got to drive a street legal sandrail. There was a natural place to jump it, so my brother and I made like Bo and Luke Duke and jumped that bad boy. I still remember that to this day!

I tell you those stories to say that was a season in my life, from about 1980 to 1990. Right after that, I started another season in my life, just as good, but different. A season of duty and fiscal responsibility. In that time, Linda and I got married, were able to purchase a home before the market got crazy, Praise the Lord, and with just a few bumps and bruises the Lord has given us financial stability...for now. 

He gives and takes away and we are ready for whatever he has for us, I'm just saying from about 1991 through 2008 there wasn't a whole lot of Mustangs and Banshees and that sort. And that's totally good! I wouldn't trade where Linda and I are right now for all the fast machines in the world! In fact, in that season, Linda would often ask me why I didn't have some kind of Mustang, Banshee, or what not. My answer was always the same, those things cost a lot of money, not just to purchase but to maintain etc (as I'm sure my bro can attest!) Tens of thousands of dollars could have been poured into 4x4 Trucks, Weekend Warrior Trailers, gas, oil, get the picture. Instead they were poured into the fam.

Well I'm in a new chronicled in this post...I have a 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom (pictured above). And you know what? I am super suprised at how much fun I'm having riding it! Linda isn't surprised...but I am. I had forgotten the inner biker that lurkes within me...buried under almost 20 years of not having a fast, somewhat dangerous, piece of machinery. The other day I was riding through Shell Beach with the clear blue sky, our clean Central Coast air blowing through my full faced helmet and ventilated motorcycle jacket, the gorgeous ocean in my peripheral just doesn't get better than that! Well except when I'm riding Ruby (that's what I think I'm gonna name the Vulcan) through the 227 on some windy curves. 

Oh...words can't describe the joy...thank you Lord! The motorcycle has been a complete surprise gift tangibly, but spiritually it has been too. See, I believe a man is made for duty, that's for sure. We should provide, bring security and But I also think there is a time for the gift of joy, even if it's a little dangerous and impracticle. This motorcycle isn't exactly like my 1980 through 1990 days...I'm a much different person, a lot less reckless. But I still enjoy the speed and thrill...and it seems a sweet reward for the years of duty and responsibility. It doesn't have to be a selfish thing...sometimes it can be a reward for selflessness.

So I hope that answers the question, "What is an almost 40 year old responsible man doing with a motorcycle?" All the while thinking MLC (Mid-Life Crisis). I hope this blog entry puts it into percpective. It's a kick in the pants!

Three DVDs

I've been super busy and now can only right little blurbs about the DVDs I get in the mail! Here are three:

The Apostles of Comedy
Clean Comedy? Yeah, Right!
But Lo And Behold, These Guys Pull It Off

Clean Comedians; oxymoron or possibility? With Apostles of Comedy it is reality. I put the DVD in with all the skepticism the genre of “Clean Comedy” deserves, but very quickly I realized these guys are good!

Wayside School: Season 1
Clever, Entertaining Lessons
The Kind Of Thing You Want In Your Home

We were not sure what to expect when this DVD came to our home along with the book. Was it going to be South Parkish, as cartoons are wont to be right now? We were pleasantly surprised while watching that it was neither raunchy nor stupid!

Transformers Animated: Season 1
Keep It On The TV
Too Much Of A Decent Enough Thing

The storyline is a good one: good versus evil, and the weaker, more noble Autobots conquering the stronger, more selfish Decepticons. But the attitudes and plots are just a little too much for our boys’ age group.

As usual these are teasers from the "full" version on To see the rest click on the hyperlinked title...

Monday, September 15, 2008

BatBPart IV: Let's Get Together ya ya ya

This is the fourth part of Beauty and the Beast: The Linda and Patrick Story. On the main blog, there is a list of all the chapters if you need to get caught up.

This is how clueless I am:

  • Linda started coming home more often from APU.

  • She would talk to me for hours in the church parking lot. Very often, it would be pretty close to 3pm before we'd leave each other.

  • Other guys, seeing that we were getting close started asking her out...but I didn't.

In hindsight, I'm pretty sure a girl coming home more often from a college teeming with good lookin' Christian dudes and talking with you for 2-3 hours in a church parking lot (no doubt hungry hint hint Patrick) means you should ask her out. I'm going to have to teach that rule to my boys, because I sure missed out on that logic.

I don't even remember what we talked about. Was I charming? Not sure, but we went on and on like that, showing both Linda's patience and my cluelessness. It must have been pretty close to four months (Jan thru Apr).

Then I hatched the sweetest plan. See our church at the time decided to join APU during Spring Break in a week long missions trip to Mexicali. So of course, Linda would go right? Every APU student goes. Here's the conversation we had a couple of weeks before the trip:

Me: So, I'm going with the church on that APU Missions trip to Mexicali.

Linda: Cool. [All sheepish and cute.]

Me: So, I'll see you there? [I'm thinking man am I smart to have signed up for this thing, I'll see her there and we can flirt with each other...oh and serve people too.]

Linda: Um no I'm not going.

Me: Huh? [It suddenly dawned on me that not all 3000 students were going.]

Yeah, just call me clueless in the parking lot. Linda did say she would go if there was still a spot for her. I quickly told her I would call the Youth Pastor, who was heading the whole thing up, and get her in. Her spot secured I looked forward to the trip.

The trip was perfect. We went down there to camp out for a week and adopt a little town (Peligro which means Danger) and minister to the kids. We watched each other minister; her doing VBS and me playing soccer with the kids. I pulled out all the stops on this one...(single dudes take notes):

  • I worked it out so we sat next to each other on the 16 hour round trip bus ride to and from Mexicali (all except a small portion on the way back when we told other people that we liked each other...and of course they told Jr. High!)
  • I made sure to fall asleep holding a baby during one of our lunch breaks.  
  • We flagrantly flirted with each other, we were often found giving back rubs or just talking and giggling, even though there was a complete moratorium on flirting (which of course makes everyone want to flirt more!)
  • I won over her mother by making her laugh. When she picked Linda up, at the end of the trip, I had my arms full of stuff so I waved at her good-bye...with my foot. It worked!

I think that was about the time I finally got that she might actually like me. That week, I called her and asked her out for a date. I went all out...Omelets, made by me, at my house (I still lived with my parents, don't forget I was 18).

A few dates later (May 3, 1990), we kissed...I know we hadn't even DTR'd (Defined the Relationship) yet! If you think of that Brady Bunch episode, where someone gets kissed and there are fireworks, it was like that...but a bazillion times more awesome. It still is now!

About a month later (June 1, 1990), we DTR'd. Here's how it went (we were out in the car outside her parents house...every once in a while her dad would flip on the bright Alcatraz driveway light to get Linda to come inside):

Me: Hey Linda? [Man I am I practiced it a million times in front of the mirror!]

Linda: Yes [Still sheepish and oh so cute!]

Me: Wanna get hitched [Wait that's not what I practiced!]

Linda: Huh?!?

Me: You know...go steady, be my girl, become an item...exclusive? [Nice recovery Zalamea]

Linda: [Long pause...I'm sure because she was like who is this guy?] Yes.

Me: Did you just say, "Yes"?

Linda: Yes

And that was it...she was mine. For the first time in my life a girl, THE most beautiful and captivating girl in the world, wanted to be mine. I can't tell you how elated I was that night and still am to this day. Linda and I were made for each other, I sincerely believe that with all my heart. I am so glad that God brought us together and look forward every day to living life in complete unison with her.

That concludes Part IV of BatB. In the next installment we see each other every day the summer of 1990 and I drop the bomb on Linda...I'm going to Bible college...oh and we got chased by a Park Ranger on my ATV...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vulcan MovesMe

Sequence of events:

Sunday Aug 31st (Yes less than one week ago.) - Took Harley ridin' Father-in-Law to the local Vespa Dealer...Dad not impressed at all, suggests looking into a small motorcycle, 250cc's or so. I'm told him no way I have the cash, that used Vespa he just test-drove was more than I could handle financially. He says no way a brand new Honda Rebel 250 is probably that much.

Monday Sept 1 -  I start looking into the Honda Rebel and find one I really like...a Burnt Orange Burbank. But I have the funds to afford it.

Tuesday Sept 2 - No longer like Rebel, found a sweet Hyosung (Korean for Suzuki) GV250, that the cruiser crowd has been raving about. A bit beefier than the Rebel and much more powerful. There just happened to be a mean lookin' black one at Central Coast Mechanics.

Wednesday Sept 3 - Ask Harley ridin' Father-in-Law to check out said GV250 with me. He is somewhat impressed, but not totally. He takes me outside and drops a bomb...him and Mom want to help me purchase a more substantial motorcycle. He doesn't know anyone that ever bought an entry level machine and kept it more than 6 months. I'm dumbfounded...and mustering every ounce of manliness within me to keep from crying in front of him. So we check out some Honda Shadow 750's (to get an idea of what the 600s would be like) at San Luis Motorsports (SLM). Guess what? there aren't California...Sold Out!

Thursday Sept 4 - Next to that Hyosung GV250 was a GV650, a Harley V-Rod look a-like that for some reason really caught my eye. It just so happened to be a 2007 and the great owner Brad was willing to cut me a great deal. I was ready to go right there...until I read 30 pages worth of problems with the machine (only in it's 3rd year of production...still working the kinks out). Another start over.

That night Harley ridin' Father-in-Law and I went to Bike Night down in Santa Maria. A weird happening once a month in a strip mall by the freeway that houses a Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, and Kawasaki-Suzuki store. The crowd was full of very interesting, yet very cool peeps. Dad and I both sat on a Raven Black 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom. I secretly really liked it, but the sticker was much higher than even the Shadow 750s we had been looking at. So I left it alone.

Friday Sept 5 - I started a comparison of the Vulcan 900, Shadow 750, and Yamaha V Star 600. This research did not end until 2AM the next morning. The clear winner for price/ know bang for the buck? Vulcan 900 Custom. AND I found a couple that were 2007 leftovers going for the same price as the 2008 Shadow 750! So being the weirdo that I am I created a table for my families reference that showed stuff like MSRP, Specifications, etc. And Hands Down the Vulcan 900 seemed the best value. And wouldn't you know it? SLM had one on the showroom floor...brand miles...never been started, beautiful candy apple red finish.

Around 1AM I hit the jackpot a 2007 Candy Apple Red (Linda and I really wanted this color) Woodland Hills for less than the Honda Shadow. I was amazed! This was just the leverage I needed to bring to SLM or heck I could just go pick that candy apple cruiser up in Woodland Hills!

Saturday Sept 6 - A day that would live in infamy. The Woodland Hills dealer did me up one further...he gave me the OTD out the door price for the Vulcan 900! I had some cool chores to do (hung a shelf in our coat closet...thanks Harley ridin' Father-in-Law for showing me how to do this!) had some lunch and met up with Harely ridin' Father-in-Law to go see Kevin or Jake about the bike.

After galking at the Vulcan like tweenagers who just saw Zach Efron and making small talk with Jake we got down to brass tacks (what does that mean?). Could SLM meet Woodland Hills' OTD price...or at least save us a trip down there. I filled out a form, Jake went to Kevin's office (not sure what they were talking about in there) and then came back with an OTD price that was basically $150 more than Woodland Hills. We faked like we weren't impressed and tried to get a free Helmet out of it, but they didn't bite.

So I plunked down the credit card and as you can see this baby is sittin in my garage...not in the picture it's in front of my garage there, it's in my garage right now.

I can't tell you how much this gift means to me! Thank you so much Harley ridin' Father-in-Law and Safety First Mother-in-Law! Thank you for augmenting what amounted to a down payment for a 150cc used Vespa into a brand new 900cc Kawasaki Vulcan Custom (yes that's 750cc's worth of growth in one week). I can't thank you enough!

I'll leave ya'll with this picture (Yes that's a big smile on my face):

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I Wannas Clarification

Pictured here is the new bike I'm interested in. It's a 2008 Hyosung 250cc Aquila. Hyosung is a Korean motorcycle manufacturer that has been around for 30 years and for much of that they have manufactured Suzuki bikes for much of that time. Many of their bikes are found all over the world...just came to the states in 2000 I believe. Oh, I got my Motorcycle permit today.

Being a man (we only have so many words to say or type) I shortened the conversation I had with Linda in my last post. I wanted to expand, because it was a great blessing!

Let me first set the stage...we had been discussing a financial dilemma and we were wondering what to do over the phone...

Me: We should use some of the vacation pay I'll have left to help out.

Linda: I really think you should use that for something that you want. You've sacrificed so much and learned a great deal about contentment the past 6 years you deserve it.

Me: Silence (well honestly there was a bit of whimpering as I started crying...seriously men cry)

Linda: You still there?

Me: [whimpering some more] uh-huh

Linda: I know you've always wanted a big flat screen TV, who's whimpering in the back ground? Are there baby's there? Or maybe a used Vespa or something?

Me: I'm crying right now [I at least wiped the tears with a whole sheet of Brawny paper towel so that was manly right?]

Linda: Ah hon...I love you. Thanks so much for hanging in there and allowing God to teach you so much, we should figure this financial situation out without that vacation pay out.

Me: I gotta hang up now, because someone is going to walk in to my office and ask me why I'm bawling my eyes out.

I often tell people that Linda is my Ezer Knegdo(sp?) the hebrew word used in Genesis for helpmate (whatever that means). I like the translation life saving companion. She saves me in so many ways, more than most people will ever know this side of heaven.

As men we ought to be doing our duty, taking care of business on the homefront and at our jobs. Sometimes in can be gruelling, sometimes a joy...but mostly gruelling ;) It's been such a joy...a life giving gift really to be able to think about flat screens, a vespa, and now some sort of entry level motorcycle.

Thank you so much my love! I'm so sorry that I have run away with the I wannas a little bit. Linda know that way more than the thing(s) I've looked at purchasing, I treasure that you thought of me...I love you and your heart! Thank you!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Major Case of the I Wannas...continued

If you didn't read my Major Case of I Wannas blog this won't make any sense.

So the I Wannas didn't stop. I'm going to be getting a little bit of money when I switch jobs as a pay out for Vacation earned. Linda and I discussed using that money on something "for me." That got me spinning on what that something might be.

Tops on the list are a big screen TV or a large down payment on a Vespa LX 150. I entertained notions of doing both, but it's just not enough money for both. So I'm stuck with an either or situation.

So I took my Harley ridin' father-in-law to ride one of those Vespa type things. Needless to say he was quite unimpressed. Using words like "squirrly" and "it's a scooter" [said with disdain]. Then he made the error of telling me there were actual motorcyles in the same exact price range that were decent beginner motors.

That got my mind spinning and all of a least for now the big screen is on hold and so is the Vespa.

The above picture is a 2005 Honda 250cc Rebel in Candy Orange paint (I think the only year they offered it). According to most of the reviews I've read (a vast majority women) this baby hauls AND gets up to 70 MPG!!

I'm seriously thinking about it...but there is a lot to think about.

So stay tuned...I have no idea where this Wannas journey will take me, but it sure is fun (at least for me!)

Oh and stay tuned...I think I should have Part IV of BatB in the can in the next couple of days...