Monday, September 27, 2004

A hodgepodge of everything! Politics Test

You are a Social Liberal (60% permissive)

and an... Economic Liberal (5% permissive).

You are best described as a: Socialist. You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

I picked up the above test from The West Virginia Surf Report (go read him, he's very funny) and I have to say that I thought it was pretty accurate. I've called myself a socialist since college, so it's good to know that I haven't been lying. After you've taken the test they have a collage of well-known faces and you are shown where you sit. I was damn near right on top of Mikhal Gorbachev, but not too far from Hillary Clinton – in my book, that's damn good company. Deal with it, all my right-wing friends!!! ;-) And family, not that any of them know about this and I like it that way!

Why can't the people who work here clean up after themselves? Do they really think their wives/mothers follow up behind them and wipe up any mess left behind? It drives me insane. Every morning somebody manages to splash water all over the counter in the coffee room. Now bear in mind that the coffee gets made at 5:30 and I’m usually in there shortly after 6:00 (for my water and/or herbal tea) and every single solitary freaking morning the counter is splashed all the way to the microwave (a good 2-3 feet). I want to catch that fucker in the act. And then make very obvious movements to clean up after him.

Can someone please explain to me the mindset of a person who can pass within inches of you every fucking day and look past you as if you do not exist? When I first started working here, the only people who ever acknowledged my presence in the hallway were "people of color," i.e., the East Indians, African-Americans, etc. Why are white people (yes, I'm white) so uptight? Is it a sign of weakness to say Hello to a fellow human being? I just don't get it.

I am beyond tired today. Four straight nights of four hours or less sleep is not a recipe for success for li'l ol' me. I know this will shock all Detroiters/Minneapolisites(?)/Memphisians(?) out there, but my NorthWorst flight was late getting into Vegas Thursday night. My flight was, of course, waiting for some other flight to arrive and it was horribly late and eventually scheduled to arrive at 7:27 p.m. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30 p.m. Well, at 7:27 the bloody plane hadn't even landed yet and then when it did, it took a year and a half to get to the gate and then the fun really started. The freaking jetway to gate D11 (or whatever it was) decided it was not going to function (although I had seen it function not even 90 minutes earlier). Fifteen minutes after it got to the gate, it had to move to the next gate over, so we all troop over there and wait and wait and wait. Can you imagine if they still had food service and we had to wait for them to load the shitty hot "food" on to the plane??? Needless to say I did not get to Vegas at 8:50 p.m. PDT as originally scheduled (please note that's damn near midnight my time and I get up at 5:00 a.m.). We finally land at 10:30 or something like that and then I have to wait for the hotel shuttle and then the loading process is not the streamlined process you'd think it would be for a place like Vegas. I did have a nice chat with a young woman from Columbus who showed me pictures of her son (very cute) while I tried to explain Catholicism to her.

Our shuttle driver made the point to yell at the entire bus NOT to cross against the red light in Vegas as it's pretty much asking for death. Very obviously it was one of his pet peeves, and I can't say I blame him at all. It makes driving in Vegas its own unique experience.

So, I get to the hotel finally around 2:30 a.m. and wake Elaine up to let me into the room. We are both bloody tired and have to have a giggle fit first. If you knew both of us, you'd be thinking, "Elaine? Kathleen? Giggle fit?" Yup, when I get super tired I get giddy and punch-drunk. It's really very mature.

Friday was a fabulous day (if a tad hot, officially 96F, but Row said his thermometer said 120F in the sun) at the racetrack. I don't think I'd told you all (all three or four of you) often enough how much I love days spent at the racetrack! "I love the smell of methanol in the morning." It is just such a thrill for me to be there. I know you're all thinking, Dear God, wasn't she just at a freaking race?" Nope, it'd been a good 6 weeks. And unfortunately, Vegas was the last race of the season for me. *sigh* So sad. Elaine and I looked at each other at one point this weekend and said, "Mexico City." We both laughed, because we knew it was completely not feasible, but knowing that both of us were somewhat serious. The schedule for next season (everybody does know we're talking about my beloved Champ Car World Series presented by Bridgestone and Powered by Ford, right?) is due out in 2-3 weeks and it can't come quickly enough for me as I need to start planning. Okay, I don't really, as I don't need to worry about buying vacation time until April, but I like to know these things. Gotta get hotel rooms (the closest hotels sell out quickly at certain venues), start harassing race event people to order the tickets, etc. We're all waiting anxiously for the schedule and all the important TV package. Everybody keep your fingers crossed that we get a good TV package. It can make all the difference in the world to the continuing existence of Champ Car. And trust me, you don't want to know me if there's no Champ Car. If you think I'm vitriolic now about the existence of the IRL and TFG, it'd be nothing if Champ Car doesn't make it. I really think it will though. Getting this first season under our belt with the new ownership team has gone pretty well (especially when you think about all the people who were predicting our demise back in January).

One of the best things about my racing life is all of the people I've gotten to meet over the years. Champ Car fans are the BEST fans in the world, if I do say so myself. We are passionate about our sport and our drivers and express our gratitude outright to the people who deserve it. This past weekend in Vegas, I saw people from other races that I've attended. From the boys at YFDS to the Handsome Couple from Road America to the same two Canadian girls Elaine and I see at damn near every race we attend, these are loyal fans who follow the sport religiously, hell, you could say, fanatically, and truly care about the series. I talked to complete strangers who are just as fanatical as I am and that's a good thing. At Road America, Elaine had suggested that I wear one orange and one black Chuck Taylor at Vegas and I said I would if she wore the other two. She tried to get out of it by saying her foot was smaller, but I wasn't falling for that, especially since we have the same sized feet. So, Saturday at the race we did it. And I got a compliment from a woman in the restroom wearing a Road America t-shirt. I thanked her and then told Elaine, "I just got complimented on my shoes." The woman then looked at Elaine's and looked at me and said, "I like hers, too." LOLOL! I ended up talking to her and her husband and I had the same conversation with them that I had all weekend with every other Champ Car, the very likely possibility of no Road America next year and the other very likely possibility that Patrick Carpentier will be going to the Icky Racing League. Both pieces of news made us all very sad.

Oh yeah, I started that paragraph talking about the great people in racing. Way back in the early days of the burgeoning Internet growth, was in its infancy and in an effort to get people to come to their website they had a number of chatrooms: Auto Racing, Hockey, Baseball, Football, Basketball – I think that was all of them. You didn't even need to register (I told you it was early days) and could post just about anything at all, let me tell you some complete assholes did, too. Anyway, it was May 1995 and I remember the first day I went into the chat, and saw people talking about racing. This was a miracle to me. There were other racing fans in the world!!!! I didn't post that first day, just read a few posts and then got out. A couple of days later I went back in and somebody said something that made me want to comment (no clue what it was now – how was I supposed to know it would be one of the most momentous days in my life?) and so I had to come up with a chat name, quickly, and decided on "Kat," my high school and family nickname.

The people I remember from that day were emmo2 (RIP, my dear friend), Paula (one of the best friends a person could have in this world), Earnhardt Fan, IndyFan, Toronto and a few others. It quickly became addictive and it was a nice mix of NASCAR, F1 and IndyCars (as my Champ Cars were known in those days). We open-wheelers explained Indy 500 qualifying to the stock car types while Paula took on the task of explaining NASCAR to us. Paula even started the chat pool that year by having an Indy 500 pool. I can't remember these 9.5 years later who won that pool, but it was the start of a great lot of fun. All pools in the chat room were for bragging rights only. I still brag to this day about being the recordholder for getting the lowest score ever in LT's F1 pool (he's a computer guy so he had an extremely complicated scoring system, which I never ever understood, and the lower the score, the better you did). I met my first chatter at the Detroit race that year, Speed Racer and he even got me a job (unpaid) spotting for the TV crew. That meant I had all access to all areas of the track and I got to stand at corner 3 and watch the cars go by. If a car seemed like it was too close or about to pass another car, I was supposed to call it in so that the TV crew would know what to watch. Unfortunately (for them) they could never get my headset to work properly, so basically I got to watch the race inches from those magnificent million dollar machines as they screamed past my position. It was just about the coolest fucking thing in the world.

Then came Toronto and the very first meeting of a group of chatters. My dear friend Jody was too much of a wuss to meet us so she missed out on a lot of fun for a couple of years. (Love ya, girl.) We met at a downtown restaurant and we even took pictures of the event. There was Toronto in his Spam Blimp T-shirt (still the coolest), Rhino (who has since disappeared from our happy little group), Elaine (who had been IndyFan, but had changed her name to HRH QE1), Darrell (can't remember if Darrell had a chat name) and me. It was great fun and Elaine and I made a bet. Basically, I chose Michael Andretti to win and she chose him to lose. Winner had to buy the loser dinner. Michael (who, at the time, was my favorite driver since his father had retired) went on to win the race and even though I left TO right after the race (it's a long drive back to Detroit and I had to work the next day), she remembered the bet and when she had work in Windsor in October of that year, she met me for dinner and paid up.

After the Toronto Chat Group, I got to meet DH1 at Mid-Ohio. For the longest time the chat meeting place was the Andretti Merchandise Trailer. "Where do you want to meet?" And since none of us really knew what the others looked like, I'd always pick the Andretti trailer since there was a good possibility that I was going to be buying something anyway. DH1 told me to look for a tall man with white hair and beard who looks like Kenny Rogers. Talk about easy to spot!!!! LOL!

And a good example how everybody on the chat was cool is that later that year, DH1 kept telling us how great the Cleveland race was and how we should all get together for a race. We're race fans, right? Let's all meet up at a race, instead of this one or two people here and there. Forty-plus people said, Yes, we want to go. DH1 put all forty-plus tickets on his credit card for people he had never met (but me) and had only known for a few months on the Internet. And every single solitary person paid him back! We had a fabulous group that year, unfortunately, never repeated in size, but we have a core group. But in 1996, we had Skippy come in from Australia, Caroline and Greg from Athens, GA, emmo2 from Indiana, Roadrunner from Albuquerque, LT and his wife from Virginia, Michael and Sharon from San Francisco (or that was 1997), Hell'nWheels, Elaine. I took Mom, emmo2 brought his sister, Mere (who we all thought was his wife), Hell'n brought her brother and a couple of his friends. It was a great time and to this day I will not give up the Cleveland race for anything. In fact, that's the one race that I tell all Champ Car fans that they have to attend. It's a brilliant concept as being a flat as a pancake airport, you can see the whole track from just about any of the grandstands. The only turn we absolutely can not see is Turn 8, but we have a great series of turns directly in front of us where stuff always happens.

So, if you're a Champ Car fan and haven't been to Cleveland, put it on your Must Go To Races List. It's the best deal in racing – cheap and always a great race.

It's now time for me to go home – I know, you're all heaving a sigh of relief as this entry has gone one forever!!!!

Be good and remember to use an adverb to modify a verb!!!!


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