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Fallen Women, Wi-Fi, No Smokes, Opera & One Wet Motorbike

May 12th, 2012 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Hotels · Restaurant · Wi-Fi

Do you remember that software app. a few years ago that would allow the user to “deface” the homepage of Websites?  What was it called? … can’t find it on Google … The only people who could see the damage were the ones who had the software app.  So, I don’t think it actually damaged the site at all like a hacker might … it just appeared to do so, for those who were in on the joke.  If your site had been vandalized in this fashion, I suppose you would never know unless you had the app. also. What was it called?

Ha! If PingWi-Fi.com was hit, would anyone know … what with our rust grafitti motif and all? …

I never pseudo attacked anyone’s Web site, but I did some tagging on Facebook the other day at Texas Tech University … my alma mater.  For the people on Facebook who were wondering what was up with all the “check ins” in Lubbock … well, I was having a little fun with my Team Leach buddies … and some of my other Texas Tech buddies … doing something similar to that mischievous app.  As I toured the TTech campus — a 1985 journalism grad on a 2004 Triumph (in Red Raider red and black, coincidentally) — I visited various key points around the campus just to “check in” on Facebook with my silly little defiant tagline:

“I am a product of The Mike Leach System.”

I used to say this about “the system” to make fun of some of the “football experts” who used the phrase because they didn’t understand the genius of Mike Leach and the little material he had to work with in Lubbock … or some of his brilliant, prolific passers and receivers (Kliff Kingsbury, Graham Harrell, Wes Welker, Michael Crabtree, etc.,) … yet he built the program to be a powerhouse.

Ha … now I use the phrase to poke fun at my alma mater who fired our winningest coach in history.

Actually, before Texas Tech did the unthinkable and fired Leach, I suggested to some of their communications experts that they should use the phrase to our advantage — tongue in cheek — in a TV campaign to piggyback on the coach’s national media popularity.

You know … kind of an “I am Spartacus” funny thing.  The humor/strategy was wasted.  And that window of opportunity slammed shut.

As you may know, Leach is a media darling with great personality profiles ranging from The New York Times to CBS’ “60 Minutes.” (Good luck at Washington State Coach Leach, btw.)

So anyway, just for grins I “checked in” and tagged The United Spirit Arena, the Jones AT&T Stadium, the Frazier Alumni Pavillion, Memorial Circle, The Mass Comm building and some other spots around the Texas Tech campus.  Each time, the same message:  “I am a product of the Mike Leach System.”  Thanks to my Facebook friends who “liked” my shenanigans.  I think they understood what I was doing.

I am curious … does anyone at those locations look to see who and how many check in on Facebook?  How does one do that?  I have never tried.  I guess I am more of a tagger than a fact checker … in that regard.

Man, Texas Tech has grown … at least there are lots more cool buildings … Love the English building (my minor) …  I didn’t see many kids around the campus … but it was finals week after all.  I rode around a bit, and then at the suggestion of a local weather man, I hit the road before the “late morning rain.”

Ha … I don’t know what he calls late, but at about 9 a.m., as I headed south on 84 toward Post, the bottom fell out of the sky and landed on me.

Surely you are already sick of me singing the praises of my new passion (motorcycle) on here … This is a different tune.  Try making the five+ hour drive from Lubbock to Fort Worth, with 3 of those 5 hours being totally soaked, in a high 50s or low 60s degree downburst.  Not pretty.  Ha … my neck is sore from shivering at 70+ miles per hour.  Was I prepared with rain gear?  Now that is a silly question considering we are talking about “Mr. Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants.”  “We don’t need no stinkin raingear.”

Interesting.  I so misjudged the drivers around me.  For some reason I thought they would have pity on this poor soul, who had a deadline, and therefore headed onward triumphantly through the rain.  Ha … oh contrare …. it was more like “we are going to see if we can splash, wreck and runover this dumb arse in the rain.”  People … gotta love ’em.  (Prolly liberals in a hurry to get to a save the spotted albino honey badger rally …)

Deadline?

Oh … I left Santa Fe on Wednesday, and drove five hours to Lubbock — which by the way was a straight, somewhat scenic and uneventful drive on 285 … sunshine and beautiful clouds all the way … a good thing.

Then after virtually defacing the Tech campus (all in good fun) I headed back to Fort Worth to attend a dress rehearsal of my favorite opera — Puccini’s “Tosca.”  (My learned friends tell me Puccini liked fast women and fast motorbikes and cigarettes.  One of those killed him …)

Oh … because I travel so much, I have lots of hotel points, so I booked free hotel rooms in Santa Fe and Lubbock.  Both hotels had decent Wi-Fi for the record, but that was about all that was decent about the places.  Ha … guess I will have to spend my free hotel points a little more freely next time.  Lesson learned.  My biggest fear was that the new love of my life (yes the Triumph) would be taken — in every conceivable meaning of the term — in the parking lots.  I will not embarrass the hotels by mentioning the national brands … I know there are better locations for each of these brands.

One saving grace.  My hotel in Santa Fe was up the street, on Cerrillos, from a non-impressive little strip center with a restaurant called Tortilla Flats.  Kind of cliche, I thought.  But I tried it anyway.  I thought it had the appearance of of a place that could be a non-touristy place where the locals go for good Mexican food.  Ha … It has “Best of Santa Fe” magazine covers all over the walls.  Score … or was it … the first table of people I saw was a group of four or five Asian businessmen toasting each other … I dug deeper.

The chicken enchiladas plate was the biggest I had ever finished in a single sitting.  Excelente.  And when the volume of the dinner didn’t kill me … I continued to tempt fate and finished off both of the two sopapillas, which were about the size of my head … before I filled them with honey.  And the Wi-Fi … muy excelente!  I blogged, browsed, pinged, repinged and pinged again without a single glitch.

Tortilla Flats might pump up the decor a bit to match the wonderful food.  The Wi-Fi and the portions were more than deserving — seis pingalleros por mi amigos por favor!

Tortilla Flats

Oh, I mentioned the hotels had Wi-Fi hotspots … well, the  Lubbock hotel also had a near flash fire.  I plugged in the blowdryer … now that I have too much hair to drip dry … Ha … turned it on … and the fan didn’t work at all inside “the gun.”  But the internal heating coils did.  The thing was glowing like a West Texas branding iron in about 2 seconds.  Ah … now I see why someone had unplugged it … yet had not seen fit to tell anyone else about it? … People! (Probably a liberal wanting to keep the plastic out of the eco system …)

So, after nearly setting my hair and the hotel afire, I packed computer, cameras a a change of clothes and sped off, admittedly, singing “Tosca” under my motorcycle helmet … rivaling the 3 tenors … not!  Tosca is the only opera lyrics I know, unless you count the old Burger King commercials … “I’ve heard that Burger King has something new now — veal parmigiana.”  I digress …

Hmmm … what does one wear to the opera?  Or actually, what does one wear to an opera dress rehearsal? I pictured myself in a cape like Adam Sandler’s “Operaman” character.  Now that would have made a flashy entrance.  Actually, I would have rather have had the cape on the bike in the rain …

Here’s the good thing about being soaked on a bike.  If and when the rain stops, the air resistance at great speeds will eventually dry your clothing.  So, if you pull over and give in to the hypothermia, you are done for.  But, if you keep going, it gets better.

Note to self: no more scheduling opera dates, 500 miles away on a rainy day.

Well Tosca was everything I had hoped for. All of the crescendos and climaxes and arias and sopranos and tenors and costumes and sets were excellent … all like clockwork … lots of bearded dudes with period ponytails … women of girth … all the things you would expect.  But, the dress rehearsal almost added a new twist to Tosca.  My friend ever so slightly fainted at one point and fell a little bit into the lap of the girl beside her. (Fear of heights?  Love of opera? My aftershave?)  Thank goodness we were in the second row of the balcony and not the first, as originally planned.    No one wants to see Tosca’s plunge upstaged by some other aria flying from the balcony …

Good luck to the Fort Worth production.  Well worth the trip … for the most part.

Know what I sayin?