Another DMV Visit


As some of you may know, I haven’t had much luck in passing my motorcycle skills exam. In fact, I’ve failed it twice (and you can read the reasons why both here and here).

But today was different. I knew I was going to pass it and with flying colors. Or so I thought.

I took some time off of work to squeeze in my DMV appointment and still managed to get in some hours once I was done. And you know what? Even though I had a scheduled an appointment well in advance and only had to take a simple skills test, I accomplished absolutely nothing during my visit.

Here’s how it all went down.

But first, this. Now that I’m on two wheels, parking at the DMV isn’t as bad as it used to be. There are designated areas for motorcycles and more often than not, they are empty. And now that the other local office is going under refurbishment, the traffic at this particular location is ridiculous – if you’re in a car. As for me, I whiz right by the lines of cars waiting for parking spaces and pull into the motorcycle spot. It’s like nobody is there.

That’s until you get inside.

Anyway, once inside, I was directed to Window 30 since I already had my appointment scheduled. When I finally got helped, it started off rather painless. I told the clerk why I was there and handed him the necessary documents: my permit, registration, and proof of insurance. Simple. I’d be done in to time.

But then things hit a snag.

The clerk was carefully inspecting my proof of insurance and registration. Just when I was about to ask if there was anything wrong, he spoke up.

“Do you have any other documentation on your bike,” he asked. Why would I? What more could you possibly need or, in this case, what more would I need to carry on my bike in the event I ever needed any of it?

“No, I don’t. Why?”

He took off his glasses.

“Look at the VIN on both of these. They don’t match.”

Say WHAT?

I grabbed them both and, using those keen proofreading skills that got me out of that grocery store job, read them both. They matched until I got to the last six digits.

“…oooh. I see,” I said. The VIN on the registration was correct. The insurance? Although the make and model matched mine, the numbers didn’t. He then spoke again and, considering I’d taken some time off work to get this crap done, gave me news I really didn’t need to hear.

“Unfortunately, I can’t let you take the exam if these don’t match.”

But I can see his point. Technically, I had no insurance on the bike which obviously doesn’t go over well with them and at this point, I started to feel like one of those seedy people I see waiting at the DMV because it was almost like I was trying to pull a fast one over on him.

Okay, I get that. But wait. Remember I said that this would have been my third time taking the exam? I thought about this after he told me I couldn’t proceed. I got a *little* bit agitated once I figured things out.

“So wait. You mean to tell me that I took the exam twice already with the same documentation and nobody noticed anything?”

It’s obvious that the previous two clerks who let me take the exam weren’t exactly dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s. Then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from those who work at the DMV (much like the USPS or any other government agency).

The clerk began to apologize as I tried to remain calm.

“And I can’t check anything right now because our computer system is down,” he said. Hey, now there’s a total surprise – their system was down. “But if you want to wait about 15 minutes…”

I’d had enough – and was annoyed. “No, I don’t. I already wasted a day of work. I expected to get something done today but I guess not.”

He handed me my registration and insurance card and I began to walk away, but not before he called me back to tell me I had forgotten my permit.

At that point, I almost told him to keep the damn thing. But I’ll get to that later.

So I gave Ann a call once I left the building and told her to double-check everything with Big Insurance Provider to make sure it’s kosher. (Since the annual premium on the scooter is so cheap, we pay it in full.)

After I hung up with Ann, my mind started going again and I thought of two more things. First, if I had been riding since July 2014 and never changed any of the information on my insurance, it seems to me that the premium we paid was going toward covering some else’s scooter. Right? This sure wasn’t my VIN on there but when entered on the Big Insurance Provider’s website, it comes up as the same make and model as mine. Really weird. I guess we didn’t think twice about it and could be partially to blame for this whole mess.

That, or Big Insurance Provider screwed up. I’ll go with that.

Second, being I had the wrong number on there, I had technically been riding all this time without insurance. But hey, at least I was permitted, right?

Ahem.

Once I got home, there was an email waiting for me from our provider with my new insurance card attached – the one with the correct information that I had relayed to Ann while I was still at the DMV. I printed it out, stuck it under my seat, and rode to work.

So now, after all that, I have to schedule yet another appointment to take the exam and hope that I pass it just so the state can add two little digits onto my existing license: M1.

Now, about the dismissal of my permit at the DMV. I have been in the market for a new bike for some time now and have gone to a few different dealers. I struck up a conversation with a salesman at the last one I visited on Monday regarding all the BS you need to go through to take the exam and its overall difficulty.

“A buddy of mine rode for nearly 40 years without an M1 license before he finally took the exam. And he didn’t pass it,” he told me.

At my current age of 46, I don’t intend to be riding (or for that matter, still breathing) when I’m 86. But considering what a mess this whole examination process has become, riding without the endorsement is beginning to sound like a good idea.

After all, this dude did it for almost 40 years. And that would mean one less DMV visit I’d have to make.

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Fun on the 405


commute

You see that map (click to enlarge) to the left? That there is my daily commute to work and although it’s only Tuesday, I’m about ready to start riding my bike there.

Why? Pretty simple.

The people who take the 405 at the same time I do all suck eggs. They’re a bunch of moronic demons that Hell hath spawned for the singular design of making my blood pressure shoot through the roof and by the time I get to work, trust me, it’s done just that. Just in case you need some kind of idea of what I mean, let me expand on that a little bit by explaining what I’ve seen in the past two days.

Before I even got on the 405 this morning, there was a woman stopped behind me at a red light, who appeared to be taking her daughter to high school. I saw the woman smoking which I thought was no big deal until I saw the daughter, maybe all of 16, take a puff from a cigarette of her own. Nice, mom. Bet they drink together, too.

So I get on the freeway and wait for the light on the onramp to turn green. It does and I step on it because the lane ends quickly and if you don’t get over, chances are nobody will let you over and you’ll have to squeeze in at the last minute and risk driving on the shoulder. This is a daily occurrence.

Not even before I reach the 605, I see a woman in a Mustang zoom by me as traffic was slowing and naturally, at the last minute, she slams on her brakes and just misses rear-ending the guy in front of her. The smell of rubber was overwhelming. Close call, but she seemed to be in a hurry as I saw her weaving in and out of traffic a few times.

death raceI continued my slow drive to work and decide to let a person over since we weren’t going anywhere to begin with. I crawl and give her space only to glance in my rearview and see the guy behind me yelling and waving his hands as if those gestures would somehow push me to go faster. They didn’t and I let the person over. I threw up my hands at the guy as if to say, “Dude, really?” How much of an asshole do you have to be to make this an issue?” Believe it or not, this happens every day.

As my crawl continued, traffic slowed down again at one point to rubberneck the sight on the shoulder: it seems Mustang Woman got a little overzealous with her driving and unlike earlier, she failed to miss the car in front of her. She was now exchanging insurance information with a guy in a white minivan. Serves her right.

Much like the guy I saw yesterday who was tailgating everybody and also weaving in and out of lanes. He passed me early on and I saw him later when he slammed his car into the rear of a Honda Civic a few lanes to the left of me. If he wasn’t already late for work. And that’s only one of the many accidents I’ve seen unfold before me, in either my direction or the other, while going to work.

Then there’s this woman:

I just had merged onto the 405 from the 73 and immediately started to hear honking. It seemed unreasonable to me because a) traffic wasn’t going anywhere and b) I was sure that I hadn’t cut anybody off. In fact even when we were sitting still, somebody was still honking.

It was this woman who was not only honking for no apparent reason but also yelling and throwing up her hands whenever she lacked the words to express how she or her horn really felt. She even honked at me, which is when I realized it was her. (As a side note, she apparently loves Pogo as her “I [heart] Pogo” license frame indicated. People still know what Pogo is?)

And it’s only Tuesday.

So to all of you who take the 405 for your daily commute, I’ve got a few words of advice for you:

Chill. The fuck. Out.

Seriously. We all have somewhere to go and if you just let people over and take it easy, not drive like your collective hair is on fire, we will all reach our destinations in one piece and free of any extensive psychological or vehicular damage. I guarantee that. You might even also make there on time. Should you choose to ignore such a simple rule, that’s when shit like what I’ve posted here happens.

It’s so simple that we can all do it, right?

Just Amazing


I know I’ve posted a few pictures of the local snow in the past, but after the rain we had over the weekend and on Monday we had probably one of the most picturesque views of the mountains in…well, ever. 

I’m not saying that it was spectacular but let’s just say that I wasn’t the only one taking pictures of it from the train station. The wind blew away what was left of the clouds and we here in southern Californ-eye-ay, people accustomed to the mountains being obscured by the phenonmenon known as smog, were treated to this (click to embiggen):

snow snow2

After this I doubt I’ll post anymore shots of the local mountains as they simply will not get better than this.

And I keep hearing about this global warming stuff…

I’ve Been Tagged!


Kim (aka LadyGypsy) was kind of enough to tag me for this little meme, so here I go and here are da rulez:

  1. Go to the the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
  2. Post the 4th picture in the folder.
  3. Explain the photo.
  4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join in the fun!

Here’s what I ended up with (and click it to embiggen):

kodak-004

Not so long ago, we here in southern California were in the middle of a cold snap (for us, at least). The temperatures were in the 30s in the morning and with the rain we had, it produced plenty of snow in the local mountains.

Here you see proof that we do indeed have weather out here. This was actually one of many shots I took the day I posted this image; this one not being the best 😛 We eventually drove up into those mountains to see the snow up close and man, was it a lot of fun.

So here’s who gets tagged: whatigotsofar, Preston, and Fitness Surfer (a regular reader of my weight loss blog). I know that’s only 3 blogs but honestly, those are the only ones I follow regularly. All others are tech blogs and stuff along those lines. Now go to it!

This meme comes at a good time because, as is obvious, I haven’t had much time to post lately. Since buying my treadmill, I’ve been using it regularly and when I’m done, I pretty much collapse on the couch and rehydrate myself. I’ve been jogging about 2 miles a night and feeling pretty good about it. I get the feeling the 5k won’t be as tough as I thought it would be but hey, who knows?

I have also been fighting off a cold or something these last few days but I haven’t let it take me down. If anything, it seems that getting the heart pumping by running on the treadmill may be working better that sitting around sulking about being sick. I’m almost over it and not coughing as much but I’m still taking my multiviamins and drinking plenty of fluids. My runny nose is pretty much gone, too.

Anyway, it’s almost The Kid’s bedtime and my time to drag out the treadmill and get running. I’m looking forward to seeing what pictures you all end up posting!

Holding History


Holding History, originally uploaded by aeromat.

A passenger on the Blue Line goes home with plates from today’s historic edition of the L.A. Times.