Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Birthday Purse (Picture finally posted)

I promised you last August a picture of my birthday purse. I finally got the external hard drive which means I finally got my music (what was on the hard drive - lot more to go) off my computer and that I uploaded all the pictures I've taken since last August.

For the next few posts, I'll be linking to my Road America (August), Baltimore (August), Maine (October), and Vegas (February 2008) pictures. But first, here is my Interlude Scarf and birthday purse (front and back).

The stupid pictures didn't pull up, so you'll have to click the links. ;-(

Here is the Interlude scarf pre-, during and post-blocking.

I'll have to be changing my profile soon, as I won't be spending my summer travelling to Champ Car races anymore. But we have one last race to attend. They announced that there would be one last hurrah, as Motegi, Japan wouldn't let the IRL out of their contract for the same weekend as the Champ Car Long Beach race. As angry as we are (yes, we realise it's a business decision, but it doesn't change the fact that it has affected us adversely), we knew we couldn't let the last Champ Car race ever happen without us there. The last race of the Panoz DP-01 and turbocharged engines will be held in April and HRH, Roadrunner, C&C and I will be there.

And you know what that last batch of Champ Car pictures with which I get to bore you. ;-)


I know that you all are probably bored with my Champ Car talk, but a friend (one of C&C) found this article which basically says what I've been saying. I guess I'm including it so you don't think I'm blinded by my love of Champ Car and hatred of TFG. I have never even heard of the writer, Russell Jaslow, before, but I'd love to shake his hand.

Robin Miller Dropped The Ball

Rochester, N.Y., February 26 — For the past month or so, Robin Miller really ratcheted up his criticism of Champ Car, specifically the so-called leaders running it. It certainly was warranted. Champ Car had become a rudderless ship aiming straight for an iceberg with a penguin at the helm. It ceased operating as a respectable sporting organization since Road America last summer when they decided bullying tactics was preferable over proper media relations.

I've always liked Miller, his writing, his style, his sheer love of open wheel racing, and his no holds barred viewpoints. Even when I don't agree with him.

However, this time, I believe he dropped the ball.

In his zest to see unification happen almost to the point of fanaticism, he lost sight of doing what he does best -- ask the next probing question. And that question isn't will we be better off with one series, but will we be better off with solely Tony George in charge. The first question is obvious. The second question is potentially disturbing.

No, this isn't what you think. It isn't a Tony George started it, so why should we accept this rant. It is simply a question, is Tony George the proper person to move this sport forward from this point on.

Robin Miller says, "Get over it." I agree at some point we all have to. I also agree that this is probably the healthiest thing to do. However, it can also lead one to forget about history. Not simply to rehash the tired old story, but to learn from it. And what we learn, I fear, is that Tony George and the IRL are not the people to lead open wheel racing.

This is the organization that created the 25/8 rule.

This is the organization that downplayed, even lied, about injuries (remember Alessandro Zampedri's severed partial foot described as "minor injuries?").

This is the organization that designed a new racecar with a bulky, solid transmission that stuck so far out it created a tail happy unstable car which crushed backs in rear end impacts.

This is an organization that designed cars with the tendency to go airborne causing the death of Tony Renna, the mutilation of Kenny Brack, and the potential PR disaster of nearly sending Mario Andretti into the grandstands.

This is an organization that despite all those safety issues, put band aids on the problem sending open wheel racing back 30 years with their injury record.

This is an organization that feared the CART owners allegedly wanting to shorten the month of May and ended up shortening the month of May.

This is an organization that blatantly fixed one of the largest sporting events in the world (where was Senator Arlen Specter when you really needed him?).

This is an organization that secretly provided power steering to two of their smallest and weakest drivers, Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon, against the rules which made them suddenly -- and suspiciously -- faster.

This is an organization that steadfastly refuses to do what every other racing organization does and set the minimum weight of the car with the driver, thus providing smaller, lighter drivers an advantage, which just so happens to potentially provide the IRL with a PR coup.

This is an organization that went against every single one of their philosophical believes in their quest to control open wheel racing.

And therein lies the problem. They have never been interested in the sport. Only the control.

Miller did give us some hope. He mentioned that there are competent people now working for the IRL that will help guide them towards a better vision combining the best of Champ Car with the IRL. People such as Tony Cotman, who is quite capable of doing this. I even think Brain Barnhart is also capable of positive change. From what I hear, he receives a great deal of respect from the competitors and the way he treats them (let's not forget that the Paul Tracy fiasco was beyond Barnhart's control).

However, there are still signs that concern me with the IRL. For instance, they still have Fred Nation, who is the reason why PR workers get such a bad rap.

The clincher was what Tony George said on Wind Tunnel the other day. He described his vision of American open wheel racing and subsequently provided a recipe for Champ Car racing -- "20-race schedule is going to be split between the three different disciplines," "It will be an international series," " drivers and manufacturer participation is a good thing."

Miller was on his game at this point when he pointed out to George that he was referring to 1995 CART.

There is your leader for open wheel racing, folks. The man who had a hissy fit because he couldn't be in charge. The hissy fit that destroyed a sport only to acknowledge CART had it right in the first place.

That's why Robin Miller dropped the ball. What makes him think that a single series could possibly be the savior of American open wheel racing when the leader is a man-child who had a $300 million hissy fit?

Russell Jaslow

Copyright © 2008 by Russell Jaslow and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Done.

Thank you, CART/Champ Car. You brought much fun and excitement to my life over the past damn near 30 years. You have no idea how much you will be missed.

TFG sucks donkey balls.


Friday, February 15, 2008


Yesterday afternoon my Grandma called me to wish me a Happy St. Valentine's Day, as she had been unable to go out last week or over the weekend to buy cards (she always sends cards to us), as her son told her not to go out. While talking to her, she mentioned the shooting at NIU to me. I was stunned and asked what channel she was watching (stupid question, she only watches channel 7) and changed the channel. My heart just sunk when she said NIU because a dear friend works at NIU. I immediately sent her an e-mail asking if she were okay. I had a reply from her a few hours later saying, yes, she's fine. It happened in the lecture hall just across the way from her office and her office window looks out over the area where the ambulances, police cars and other rescue vehicles were lined up. A couple of students ran into her office crying and told her what was going on. She alerted her boss and shortly thereafter they got information telling them to lock the building down.

According to her, the University acted quickly and responsibly. Thank heavens. My issue is this: we don't need to know the gunman's name. Don't release (too late, I know) it. The Virginia Tech shooter basically stated in his creepy video that he idolised the Columbine killers and he wanted that infamy for himself. So, I say DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM!!! Tell us about the victims. Do full stories on them and their families, dreams, lives, etc. Give us the barest details necessary for attempting to understand why someone would do this, but do NOT give him (or her, I guess) his 15 minutes of posthumous infamy. And maybe if the press et. al. choose not to release the name, one day we won't have to worry about school shootings and these sad people will just kill themselves without taking innocent lives with them.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Demise of Champ Car & Vegas Trip

I finally ordered my external hard drive (or whatever the bloody hell I just bought actually is) which means I can finally get my music off my computer and download all of my pictures starting with last August's Road America trip through the Maine Vacation and ending with the Vegas trip.

I am utterly and completely depressed. And the thing is I know that nobody (except for Rick in CT) will understand when I tell you why. Martha asked yesterday what was wrong and I just couldn't tell her, because I know she wouldn't get it. I told her that I probably wouldn't be going to any races this year because there probably weren't going to be any races and she had this look on her face like "Okay, so what." I just couldn't go into it as I was going to cry.

It looks like the long-simmering American open wheel racing feud is close to an end. There's talk of a "merger," but it's no merger, it's my guys losing to hated and despised TFG (Tony F***ing George) totally and completely. Champ Car is the inanimate entity I love most in this world. The "merger" news broke last Friday when I was in Vegas. I got a text message from Jim B saying "Told ya Cleveland wouldn't happen. Just sux. Oh well." I immediately text him back saying "WHAT??? I'm in Vegas, no news." Response: "Merger is official. Only lb, surfers and edm added 2 irl schedule. All teams will use irl cars. No panoz." My heart sunk as I told HRH. She got impatient and said, "Call him, quit that damn text messaging." Turns out the merger wasn't official, but was "very close." Then there were subsequent articles quoting one of the owners of CCWS as being upset with the leaks and how it was going to hurt the merger, blah blah blah. It was all I could do that morning not to cry.

We left a little later than we had planned for Zion because this was just too important not to get as many details as possible. We stopped to get gas just outside Zion and HRH wandered through the convenience store and nothing was appealing to her. You have to understand that whenever we go to a race, HRH damn near buys out the store of snacks as she searches for things she can't get in Canada. First she looked at sunflower seeds, but said, "No, I want chocolate." But when we went to the chocolate aisle, she didn't want anything there either. I said, "You're too depressed." She looked at me with mild surprise, and said, "You're right. I don't want anything."

Going to races has been such a part of my life for the past damn near 20 years that I can't even begin to imagine what I'm going to do with my vacation time. I already submitted time off for the Cleveland and Road America races, but I won't be taking those days off if there are no races. How am I going to see my friends?

Trust me, I won't be going to any IRL/IndyCar races, and neither will my friends. No way in freaking hell. There's nothing about that series that appeals to me from their freaking traitor owners to the asshole who started it to their bitch of a female driver to their stupid "fly-into-the-air-for-no-apparent-reason" cars which have killed at least two drivers, seriously injured at least one, given a myriad of drivers lower back fractures and damn near killed Mario Andretti (stupid Michael).

There's nothing absolute yet as CCWS owners keep saying they will have races this year, but one car owner has already defected to the IRL and that's definitely not good as we only had 17 cars in the field with his two cars. 15 is definitely not acceptable. I got an e-mail from a friend who is also a CCWS pit official and he said that it's just a matter of time and that he's 90% certain there will be no CCWS this year. He's supposed to call me the second he hears anything definitive, but I'm preparing for the worst and trust me there is nothing worse than TFG winning. I hate him even more than I hate Dumbya.

Other than the crappy open wheel racing news, Vegas was fabulous. Actually, Vegas was Vegas, it was all our trips to nature that were fabulous. Friday was Zion (pictures next week) with HRH, LB and his GF. Saturday was hiking at Red Rock Canyon with LB & his GF. HRH doesn’t hike. At one point when we were hiking this narrow little trail over a stream and through picker bushes and brambles, I said to the lB, "HRH would have hated this." LB sarcastically said, "Oh really? I was going to name the trail after her." I saw a coyote less than five feet away from me. We both stopped dead and regarded each other warily. Sadly, neither the LB or GF were anywhere near me, so they didn't get to see it. And I didn't move quickly enough to get a picture. I tried to call the LB over, but I didn't want to yell and he didn't hear me stage-whispering his name. After I told him about it, he went to where I saw it and went searching, but it had probably been a good 3-4 minutes, so the coyote was long gone. On our way out of the area, we finally saw a couple of the wild burros. LB had seen a whole herd of them once before (in his six visits to RRC), but he had stated at the beginning of the day that he wanted to see wildlife, so he was happy to see the burros. They were very cute.

Sunday was the best day. All four of us took off for the Valley of Fire which is so incredibly beautiful that it's hard to describe and I'm positive that my pictures are not going to do it justice once I get them uploaded. LB, GF and I rock scrambled all over the place while HRH watched and got worried that we were going to fall. It was so unbelievably fabulous! The most amazing thing was that we actually had HRH walking through nature (she was under the mistaken belief that snakes would still be hibernating, but it was a warm, sunny day) until LB told her that no, the snakes could be out and about. Then she was done. She's so funny. Everybody declared that we had to go back again as there were lots of places we didn't have time to visit. I ran out of room on my camera which is just another reason we have to go back.

I got home super late on Monday night and spent Tuesday in a fog. I went to bed at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night and was awake three hours later, which actually had been the theme of the weekend, because HRH just could not sleep more than 3 hours at a time. I didn't sleep particularly well in Vegas either, so I'm hoping to catch up on my sleep this weekend. Nobody, but nobody, better call me Saturday before noon!

Ah, Saturday. One of my friends asked me to go with her to see Linkin Park on Saturday night. She's being an ultra-sweet Mom and is taking her two daughters to see them and asked me to go with her, so she's not sitting alone. She got them tickets in Row 11 and we're in Row 13 right behind them. I borrowed a CD from a work friend so that I have a clue what I'm going to hear on Saturday. It's okay stuff, although I'm not sure I'd buy a CD of theirs. I just hope it's not so loud that the music is distorted and stupid. I have no problem with loud (it is a concert, after all), but there's no reason to be stupid about it. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

February Books & Movies (Swing by Japan)

I leave tomorrow right from work for the airport en route to Vegas. Woohoo!! Everybody is wishing me luck, so I have to tell them that I don't gamble. Other people are asking me what race is there and I have to tell them no race. In fact, the way things seem to be going, I'll be lucky if there are any races this year to attend. And I'm severely depressed about it. Okay, I can't think about it or I'm going to cry.

Friday night I was *this* close to finishing the scarf for Pamela when I did something so horrendously wrong that I couldn't figure out what it was. And the pattern that I was following is one that I haven't figured out how to rip it back to a certain point and proceed. So, for the FIFTH freaking time, I had to rip the entire friggin' almost 9' thing out. I first swore loudly (scared the cats), then I threw it across the room (but it being yarn it only went a foot or so – most unsatisfying). After I took it off the needles, I pitched the needles across the room and that helped. I ignored it for the rest of the evening (a whole hour or so) and went to bed. Saturday I started a nice easy 2x2 rib and finished it yesterday (after I saw Pamela for my haircut).

After finishing Pamela's scarf and fixing her favorite "perfect" scarf, I started the requested pink scarf for Grandma. I'm using a simple eyelet diamond pattern with this absolutely gorgeous and gorgeously soft suri merino yarn from Blue Sky Alpaca. It needs to be touched to be appreciated. Utterly fabulous. It's a relatively simple 16-row pattern and it's going pretty well. I'm hoping I can do it tomorrow in an all-hands meeting (hundreds of people in one room listening to less than inspiring presentations). I've found the only way I stay awake in those things is to knit.

I did a fair amount of reading in January and some movie watching (the DVR is killing my movie watching). And here is the list:


T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton – 387 pages – I've been with Sue Grafton since the beginning of the alphabet and look forward to each installment. This one had me being leery about reading it because the book cover talked about how dark it was and how evil the bad guy (woman, in this case) was. In the end I wish I hadn't read the book cover, because it got me worried for nothing. It was very unsettling for a friend of mine, and I can appreciate why it upset her, but I haven't had the same experiences she has, so it didn't bother me. I think if it had ended differently, I might not feel the same way.

The Secret of the Wooden Lady by Carolyn Keene – 176 pages – Yes, I broke back into my niece's Nancy Drew collection (I had started re-reading them back in 2005 when I had shingles and couldn't concentrate on much more than something this easy). My goal when I started re-reading them was to read them in order and I got stopped midway through the collection because the YS and I had not apparently gotten the niece all of them and there were 5 or 6 missing books. I would look for the missing books every time I went to Borders, but they never had the ones I needed for some stupid reason. I finally got them all (my younger niece and SIL got me the final two last year – one was a Christmas present, it was just like growing up all over again when all I ever wanted for Christmas was Nancy Drew books for my collection). Anyway, you can't go wrong with a Nancy Drew mystery when you want to read something but don't want to make a commitment. I can whip through one in about an hour and a half.

The Clue of the Black Keys by Carolyn Keene – 174 pages – This one was exciting because it wasn't one of my favorites when I was growing up so I didn't really remember everything. Besides, the plot took Nancy to Mexico and that made me happy. I think it's funny that Nancy is 18, her father is this big time lawyer, her boyfriend is in college, but Nancy's just hanging out with Bess & George solving mysteries. Why isn't she in college???

The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl – 400 pages – I had read Matthew Pearl's first book, The Dante Club, and loved it, so when I saw he had a new one out, I picked it up. It's technically fiction, but Mr. Pearl did so much research on his subject that some Poe scholars feel that he actually solves the mystery of Poe's death. I hadn't really known much about Poe's life, so it was very interesting to me. I'm, in general, not a fan of short stories (Shirley Jackson, especially), but have always liked Poe's. I still have my Signet Classics anthology that I needed for a college class a jillion years ago, but after reading The Poe Shadow, I found it singularly lacking in some of the stories mentioned in the book, so yesterday I bought a much more complete anthology. If you have not yet discovered Matthew Pearl, do yourself a favor and read both his books.

Mystery at the Ski Jump by Carolyn Keene – 176 pages – Another fine book from Carolyn Keene (whoever she may be). What can I say? I was on a roll. I find these books just as interesting as when I was a kid, although I think I read them with a slightly more critical eye these days.

The Clue of the Velvet Mask by Carolyn Keene – 177 pages – I'm thinking there was a strict limit on how long a Nancy Drew book could be as they all seem to be about 175 pages. That cracks me up. How was this determined to be the "perfect" length for a young adult's book? This one had a bit more violence in it, George kidnapped & drugged, Nancy darn near strangled, etc. It's a good thing she's so resourceful…or she's a cat with nine lives. Great fun – like all the others.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer – 377 pages – This book was fascinating to me. I had read a book about Mormonism and its treatment of one particular woman a good 13 years ago, so while I knew a little bit, I didn't know the history. Jon Krakauer tells the history of "regular" Mormonism while attempting to explain fundamental Mormonism (plural/celestial marriage known more commonly to Gentiles – as all non-Mormons are called – as polygamy). It was an eye-opening book in many ways. I highly recommend it.

Book of the Month - Under the Banner of Heaven, although it was a tight battle with The Poe Shadow.


I won't be using the rottentomatoes rating system anymore because they changed their website and I hate it.

1/1 - The DaVinci Code (ENC) – 2006 – I had wanted to see this movie badly after reading the book, but with all the bad reviews I never saw it. I saw that it was going to be playing on Encore, so I DVRd it and finally took the time and watched it. It was fine. I didn't hate it, but then, I didn't bother reading the book again, so if it didn't follow it faithfully, I'm unaware of that and it's all good in my book. Read the book…

1/6 - Fahrenheit 451 (Sundance) – 1966 – Another movie of a book. Again I read the book so long ago, that I don't remember it at all. The movie was fine (another ringing endorsement). Again, I think you're better off reading the book. Although, if you like Julie Christie, you get to see her playing TWO parts. Such a deal.

1/6 - The Seven Samurai (N) – 1954 – I was supposed to watch this with my friend BST after I got him the Criterion Collection version a few years back for Christmas, but it's so hard to meld schedules. I finally just put it on my Netflix queue. At times I found it a little hard to follow who was whom, but all in all, it was very good (definitely better than "fine").

1/20 - The Hidden Fortress (N) – 1958 – This movie starts off following two peasants who are returning home from some war where they ended up not distinguishing themselves because they decided to join late and by the time they got there it was over. They were worried about going home, however, as they had sold their farms and everything to join the war. They run into Toshiro Mifune somewhere along the way and somehow he tricks them into thinking there is gold in the hidden fortress. He needs them to carry it to buy safety for the princess of the defeated land, etc. I'm wondering if Japanese peasants were really this silly and ridiculous? If Japanese women were this strident? Dear heavens. The movie was good, but the two peasants needed to be seriously slapped and I would totally volunteer for that job. It's Kurosawa, so it's worth the effort.

1/26 - Eye of the Beholder (DVR) – 1999 – I only watched 20 minutes of this movie. It sucked so completely. It has Ewan MacGregor and Ashley Judd, so I thought it would at least be watchable. Oh my heavens, it so wasn't. While I was "watching" it, I read a review which essentially told me that my initial thoughts were correct and that it was going to suck canal water. Ewan MacGregor played a spy (or something like that) who was given the assignment of figuring out what his boss' son was up to (taking money out of the bank, but it was Dad's money). While trailing the son, he ends up watching Ashley Judd murder the son. Turns out she a serial killer and according to the reviews, he ends up following her for 10 years. Oh, and his wife left him and took their daughter, which causes him to hallucinate that his daughter is with him on jobs. I'm telling you it was bloody awful.

1/26 - Mansfield Park (IFC) – 1999 – Now this was a movie from 1999 that was worth watching. I'm not sure I want to read Jane Austen, but I enjoy her novels that have been made into movies. Still, I'm glad I wasn't living in Victorian times. I think it's possible to be too casual, but at the same time there is also such a thing as too much formality. In this movie, you meet Fanny as a young child. Her mother wakes her up and tells her she's going to live with Aunt Norris, her mother's sister. Aunt Norris is a bitch, just for the record. Fanny ends up living in Mansfield Park with her mother's other sister who is essentially a drunk. There are all sorts of intrigues with the daughters trying to find husbands and Fanny not being in the least bit interested because she wants to write, etc. I can't imagine anything so horrible as every day of my life being devoted to trying to win a man.

1/26 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Pamela) – 2007 – I figured I had to see this as I had seen the first two. I liked the first one, was not so enamoured of the second one, and liked the third one. It was long, but that didn't bother me since I was at home and able to stop it, etc. when necessary. You all know the story, so I'm not going to tell you what it was about.

Movie of the Month - The Seven Samurai (truthfully, it didn't have a lot of competition).

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