In a horrific turn of events, Donald Trump, bully, racist, misogynist, xenophobic egotistic troll, was apparently elected President on November 8th, 2016.
I’m disgusted, and terrified by this, but more so by the clear and massive divide in this nation.
Those who voted for him didn’t just elect him, they hand him a nomination for Supreme Court Justice. Every decision SCOTUS has made in the past century is in danger.
It’s pretty messed up when you catch yourself thinking “they’d be safer running 240 at Michigan or however fast they’d run at Pocono” than Texas or Vegas, or well, 90% of the “ovals” they run on.
The can’t ditch those cars fast enough for the new design.
So today I see my first Cup race in person. The Nationwide race last night was a lot of fun. Hopefully tonight will be just as good.
Got to the track – bright hot sunny, no breeze like last night.
Get my pit pass, find the tunnel after walking past it to turn 2. Walked around snapping pictures, took a panoramic shot of the track (will try to post), then sat on the pit wall for a bit. Camera batteries are dying. Head back through the tunnel, sit for a spell again, then headed out to check out the buffet.
5:25pm. At the Scott’s Turf Builder Green Flag Zone. Free food, free beer (didn’t partake) free cold water (yes!). More importantly, seats and a break from all this walking. Sadly(?) I seem to have missed Night Ranger. LOL.
Gonna see if the ice bucket with the water is still there.
Observations of the crowd:
A disturbing number of fans here, men and women alike seem to have no idea about the dangers of too much sun exposure and the very real risk of skin cancer.
Frankly I want a super soaker full of sunscreen to blast these folks. Of course they’ll probably develop lung cancer or sclerosis anyway, but I’m not about to mention that in this town.
Anyway, even the more… rural among the crowd are pretty friendly. Could be my 3 hat, which I’m sporting proudly.
Funny thing is – think of all the people here, the only ones wearing ties are the color guard, and the ESPN on air crew in pit studio and up in the broadcast booth. Those not wearing jeans are in khakis or cargo shorts.
6:15pm. Traffic under the stands is picking up as people make their way to their sections. The music has stopped. Which is good since it was too loud and the audio system here is not very good. The only noise I want to hear tonight is from the flyover, the crowd, and the cars.
There’s decent cross section of the world here: saw JPM’s Colombian contingent with their flag – I think they go to all his races. A larger number of black folks than I expected, but that’s good – I feel a little less like a minority. Overall, I just feel like a race fan, which is as it should be.
Of course just as I type that, two dudes behind me had a redneck moment.
I still don’t see the point of getting drunk before the race; plenty of time to do that afterward. To each his own, just don’t spill, spit or puke on me and it’s all good.
The pre-race stuff once I took my seat was nice, the now traditional 9/11 remembrance was tasteful, and not the stylized Hyper-Americana extravaganza I was worried it might be, and fully expect it to be next year for the 10th anniversary.
“Never Forget” isn’t something I need to be reminded of; I drive past ground zero going to and from work. I’ve seen it go from a smoldering pile to almost being just another Manhattan construction site. There’s still a hole in my sky where the towers were; it’s slowly being filled in by the new ones, but it’ll never be the same. Then there are the other changes, which aren’t as noticeable, but are actually more tangible than the physical scars on the city. In a big way, the terrorists achieved some terrible goals, and not simply the lives they took during the attacks. They made us change the way we live – from the TSA and Homeland Security to the way every incident is a potential terrorist threat. We still have our racing though, and that has remained largely unchanged, from swamp buggies to stock cars to funny cars and indy cars, sippy holes, corkscrews, carousels to tri-ovals to eighth-mile drag strips, we flock to see men and women strap in, fire ’em up and run ’em until they throw the flag or it won’t go anymore.
Anyway, on to the race. It was a good race, just not the outcome I’d hoped to see. Honestly, I think the last time I saw Dale Jr. run as badly as he did during this race was his rookie year at Martinsville where I think he spun out about a hundred times or so. The setup was flat out wrong. I don’t know what they did to it after qualifying, but it was about a wrong as you can get and not have the tires on the wrong side of the car.
The setup and post race stuff to introduce the Chase field was as clunky to watch in person as I suspected it would be. I filed out with it the crowd, stopped by a couple of vendors to pick up some souvenirs, then got in line for the shuttle bus back to town. Now that there was a long, long line, but I got to chat with some fellow race fans from different parts of the country. It didn’t start to drizzle until we almost on the bus thankfully. It was an annoying drizzle by the time we got off though, so the walk to the hotel, albeit brief wasn’t as nice as it could have been. All told, a fun day, and I didn’t think about work at all, which was exactly what I needed. Better still I didn’t have to travel back until Monday, since I planned to stay a day after the race. No need to stay up and pack my stuff or plan the trip back.
Sunday was uneventful by design. I watched the F1 Race, ate something, then headed out to home depot for some packing tape and bungee cords (I had a box I needed to reseal and needed to replace the worn out elastic band on my luggage carrier with proper bungees). I then picked up a Pizza from Pizza Hut, and some sandwich making essentials from Kroger, and headed back to the Hotel to pack, relax, and basically enjoy the day.
Monday was the return trip, which was uneventful, sunny, and basically stress free. A stop just inside Delaware for a bite to eat was all I needed to fortify me for the remainder of the trip back to Brooklyn.
I definitely want to visit Richmond again, as it’s a great place to watch a race, but I also want to see more races at other tracks too, so it may be a year or two before I get back.
So my first trip to a NASCAR race. Richmond International Raceway – Three Quarter mile D shaped oval.
Saturday is the Sprint Cup event, race 26 of the season and the one in which the 12 teams that will compete in the chase for the Sprint Cup will be determined. I don’t expect any change in who’s in compared to last week, but there may be some movement at the top and bottom of the top 12 in points.
But first things first . Today’s Friday, and I’m here to see the Nationwide Race. They’re running their new car here for the first time, and I have to say it looks a whole hell of a lot better and more car-like than both the asymmetrical lumpen sculptures the old cars are, and the slab sided brick on wheels that is the current Cup car.
Having never been to an oval track before, and only seeing brief shots of what the outside of the place looks like, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Once you’re close enough to make out details, it really looks like an incomplete football stadium from the outside. No walls to speak of, just steel girders everywhere. For you subway riders, it’s kind of like the elevated tracks many of the lines run on, but instead of rails and platforms sitting on the steel framework, its bleachers. Lots and lots of bleachers. That said, the highest row of bleachers at Richmond still isn’t as high as the nosebleed section in Madison Square Garden, or the cheap seats in old Shea Stadium. Don’t know about New Shea (yes it’s technically called Citi Field right now, but I refuse to use that name), but the modest height is a good thing. From what I could tell there probably isn’t a bad seat in the house in terms of being able to see the action on the track as it happens. Although if you want to watch pit stops without the aid of the rather sizable screens atop the scoring pylon, you’ll want to be on the front stretch as I was.
The race itself was pretty good, with Kevin Harvick’s #33 being the class of the field and taking the win.
The one real knock I have about the place is the parking situation. The lots are very roughly designated, and there’s no signage at all to aid you in locating your car after the race is over. The light towers make it fairly easy to see stuff, but they’re all identical. I had a general direction I knew the car should be in, but honestly did not have a clue as to where I parked. I was not alone in this, although I do believe I was the only one with a WRX at the event. To give you an idea of what was going on as hundreds of us strode out into the darkness hoping to find our cars, watch the Subaru ad below.
Now take that ad, remove the rocks and the echo, and replace it with grass and gravel. It is also dark, but illuminated by a handful of light towers. Oh, and instead of rocks, there’s rows and rows of cars, vans, and pickups (At a NASCAR Race in Virginia? NO WAY! Yes way, and some of them did have lift kits that instantly made you contemplate a) How epic will the inevitable rollover be… and b) If it wasn’t for the ridiculous pinion angle on those drive shafts, and those four link bars in the way, I could drive under that red one…).
Anyway, the point is they need to do a better job of marking the lots – flags with row & spot #’s perhaps – so that people don’t need to set a GPS waypoint to find their car in the dark after the race. Traffic to and from the track wasn’t bad, but I think I’ll take the shuttle bus to the track for tomorrow’s Cup race.
The one evening I wouldn’t mind having a bus driver that was in a rush to get the run over with, I get the total opposite. Waits at a stop if he’s early until the scheduled arrival time, then, for the last 20 blocks or so has gone no faster than 8 miles an hour, despite the nearly total absence of any traffic ahead of us. Bus 983 seems to be in decent condition, so it’s definitely the driver.
On top of that, after sitting at one stop for two minutes, he wouldn’t open the door for a kid that ran up just as he closed the doors.
So the morning commute began well enough. The first bus that showed up is the one I got on. Uneventful ride to the subway station. Then the wait began, and the heat kicked in. Closest approximation to the conditions on the platform would probably be walking into a bathroom (that didn’t have a vent fan) about 10 minutes after someone else took a nice hot shower. Not quite like a steam room, but not exactly the cool crisp air one would hope to inhale in a room lined with tile. The difference between that bathroom and the subway platform is that eventually the former would cool down, while the latter just stayed that way. I suppose it could have been worse, since it wasn’t raining. Not a lot of things as unpleasant as being damp then having to stand in a hot humid room with little to no ventilation.
So about 10 minutes pass during the wait for a 2 or 5 train. The 5 shows up, which is ok since it cuts a couple of minutes off the trip between Franklin and Atlantic avenues. I get off at Nevins to wait for a 2 or 3, and it’s more like stepping into that bathroom I mentioned, only 5 minutes earlier. Mercifully, a 3 train showed up a couple of minutes later, and the wait on the 1 train at 42nd street was very short and noticeably less humid.
Headed home around 8:45pm, caught the F train at 50th street. Not by coincidence, the 50th street station inspired the title of this entry. This is that bathroom again, only this time the person’s still taking a shower. If you’ve ever spilled soup or sauce or something else that consistency on yourself, but it wasn’t really hot anymore, that’s pretty close to it.
And then I had to wait for 3 or 4 B35 Limiteds to come and go before a regular B35 showed up. Uneventful, not crowded, but it started raining just before my stop. My mini umbrella works just well enough to keep me dry from the bus stop to the front door.
So one night in April, I’m headed home from work, and for some reason took the 1 from West 50th St to the 2 at 42nd street Times Square, thinking perhaps the passengers on the 2 would be decent polite folk instead of the usual dregs of humanity they typically are. Wrong again. Old, young, doesn’t matter; they’ll do everything but knock you down to get that seat before you do.
But before that, I had to wait for that train to actually show up. In the interim, I noticed and surreptitiously snapped a picture of this young dude. I do not now how he managed to get his very, very green jumpsuit to match his headphones (or vice versa), but he did just that. Seems like a lot of effort to coordinate just get on a train. Perhaps he’s part of a dance troupe and was on his way to join up with his crew, who no doubt were clad in similarly matching jumpsuit/headphone combos.
Just kidding. Went to an orthopedist, who took some x-rays of my shoulder, looked at ’em, then attempted to unscrew my arm. That last bit was actually a range of motion test. Apparently with a hand on my back, my arm can in fact articulate like an action figure. Remove the hand though, and it just doesn’t bend that way.
So while there is a bone spur in my shoulder, it’s up top and very small. Doc # 2 thinks I managed to tear something in my shoulder, though he was as baffled as I am at how I managed to do so and have no memory of doing anything that could cause such an injury. Maybe some figurative backstabbing manifested itself? I dunno.
Anyway, doc said no surgery, or PT was needed. He have me a cortisone injection in the back, and said it would hurt more before it felt better, but not right away. HE WAS NOT LYING.
Holy the next two days were like I had an arrow stuck in my back.
But after that, the pain in the arm receded, and for the most part has been reduced to some aching and occasional stiffness. Just as well, since the Oxycodone kind of stopped working after the first couple of days, and was not helping me sleep at all. My earlier post suggested it did, but apparently that was food poisoning and fatigue from trying not to move and aggravate the nerve. I have since learned that Demerol might have been the better choice, as it’s stronger and supposed to help you sleep. Just as well though, as I’d like to hold off using that stuff until/unless there’s something major like surgery involved.
So I bought a new cell phone, and ditched Sprint for AT&T.
What did I buy you ask?
Yeah, I know. It's a Blackberry. The irony is not lost on me.
I bought it through Newegg for $0.
They had a special where the phone was free with a 2 year contract. Much easier than dealing with the rebate AT&T was offering.
So far it’s been pretty good, although it did force me to upgrade my wireless network setup at home.
“Say what now?” you ask? Yeah. It seems that my old Netgear WG602 AP simply will not accept a MAC address that starts with F into the approved MAC list. Works fine with MAC filtering off and encryption on or with all of it off, but I wanted the MAC encryption as well. The Mk I version of the WG602 that I have seems to be the only one afflicted with the issue, as subsequent revisions seem to work fine. Yay. So I went off in search of a new AP, which revealed that AP’s are still egregiously over priced compared to the cost of a wireless router. I’ve stayed away from the latter because I don’t like the single point of failure.
However, my old RP614 (v1) router has been showing signs of it’s age recently, and I’d been wanting to get a unit with Gigabit Ethernet anyway to go with my home LAN. Finding a wired only gigabit router wasn’t really going well (at least in the price range I wanted to be in), so I dug deeper.
What I wound up with is the Netgear WNDR3700, which has proved pretty nice so far. I didn’t know it at the time it had been included in a CPU Magazine Networking roundup. (I’ll add links to the reviews that helped me decide later.)
I’ll put the WG602 back into service as a secondary AP to get better 802.11b/g coverage in the house, as it still works fine outside the odd MAC address issue.
While it still works, the battery life and coverage on my venerable Sony CM-Z100 Cell phone make it pretty much useless to actually take anywhere. Plus, for some reason call forwarding is disabled on my plan.
So I checked the Sprint website to make sure I’m not in contract or anything…
“Sprint Subscriber Agreement: Expired on 06/12/1999”
Yeah, looks like I’m clear on the contract thing.
Oh, here’s ye olde cell phone, BTW:
Yes, I've had it for 10 years...
So now the questions are what to replace it with and on which carrier.
T-Mobile’s out right off the bat. They don’t work indoors.
Verizon’s a possibility, but I don’t care for their nickel & dime pricing for everything. Their Wireless broadband is good, but their phone selection and feature lockdown practices are a huge turnoff.
AT&T I’m familiar with, but their 3G network is abysmal where I work, and their wireless broadband is good but not cheap.
Sticking with Sprint is an option, but their phone selection’s also pretty bad, and they’re also pretty bad in terms of locking down/out features on phones. Their coverage at my job is not very good either, despite being CDMA like Verizon. It’s all about the cell towers, I suppose.
Complicating issues somewhat is the main reason I’ve held onto the old phone for so long. The form factor. The Z100 fits in my hand, pocket, backpack and the little pouch on my cue holder just about perfectly. I want to get something that fits as well if not better. I also love the scroll wheel on it, which has been superseded by trackballs, buttons and scroll pads, none of which I’ve found to be very good on the phones I’ve tried.
As you can tell, I’m very picky about what I want from a cell phone.
Flip phones are out. I just don’t like them – never have, although that one they tried making look like the Star Trek:TOS communicator was a cool idea that came too soon.
Candy bar phones are closer to what I want but too narrow and long.
Don’t particularly want a slider phone either. I’ve played with a few, but they don’t go far enough.
Ironically, the only things that come close for me are Blackberries. The Curve, and to a lesser extent the Bold.
The ironic part is that I hate… no, I despise the always reachable concept that the Blackberry embodies all too well.
It’s contributed in the worst way to the idea that being reachable 24/7 is a good idea for people.
It isn’t; it just allows businesses to squeeze more work out of their employees, often without compensation. Not that all businesses would abuse their employees loyalties like that, but the temptation to milk productivity for no monetary cost has to be a powerful one, and a practice one could all to easily fall into.
Downtime is critical, possibly moreso than ever now that it’s so easy to just keep working until you can’t focus or fall asleep.
But enough ranting about bad business practices, I need a new cell phone.
Goal was to setup a remote access system that would make it easier for a team working there to be connected to the home office.
Had to get about a dozen laptops and 4 printers and a multifunction device online and working, along with the 2 devices that handled the connections. Pretty simple in theory, and the original plan had me leaving on the October 5th, since the multifunction device wasn’t slated to arrive until the 2nd, giving me enough time to setup and test everything. Initial setup went ok, and I spent the 1st couple of days getting the laptops current on Windows Updates, and generally testing out the connection.
Then the multifunction arrived, at least the printer section did, a day early. It was covered in toner, as the box appears to have been rolled across the country. Thanks, FedEx Ground! Called the home office, and after convincing them that cleaning the thing was not an option, they acquired and had a new device sent out for delivery on Monday. So I’ve basically got a day to get that up assuming everything goes well, then fly back to NY. As you may have guessed, that didn’t happen.
To spare you the long version, (and it is long), if you’re ever going on a trip, and are debating whether or not to take an item with you that you probably won’t need, but if you do it’s the only thing that will help, take that item.
The day the replacement multifunction arrived, the internet connection went batshit insane. Had I followed my initial instinct and taken the network testing device with me, I may have been able to help fix the issue a day or two sooner, but in the end it took until Thursday to resolve. While that was going on I was able to work with people back in the home office and discern that the multifunction device had old firmware that was preventing the custom functions we load from working, and get that resolved.
With everything working as designed, I finally came home on Saturday.
Can’t complain too much since it did turn out to be a week of basically light duty while staying in a posh hotel for free.
Oh, I did get to see the Blue angels buzzing the city at very low levels for a couple of days. Even before 9/11 that wouldn’t have gone over well in New York, and there’s no way they’d get to do it these days, despite how freaking cool it is. Blast our horribly busy air corridor.
I also got to see part of the Love Day Parade. This was good and bad at the same time. Good in that there were a large number of attractive women wearing lots of spandex, and more often than not not very much at all. Bad in that nearly everyone in the parade was doing the same thing. That includes men and women of various ages and levels of physical conditioning in varying (occasionally excessive) states of undress.
Now, I’m not the finest example of fitness out there by any stretch of the imagination. However, I don’t go prancing down the street mostly naked dancing to club music, although the Love Day Parade is probably the one an only place I could get away with it without people throwing clothes at me.
Bambi. Yeah, the deer from the book and Disney movie and the source of many cases of childhood trauma. I imagine Ted Nugent has a looping clip of Bambi’s mother being shot as his screen saver, but that’s not the random thought.
It’s the name Bambi.
In the book and the film, it’s very clearly defined that Bambi is a male deer. In other words, Bambi’s a dude.
Now, perhaps it’s some twisted outgrowth from the Disney movie, or just some odd coincidence, but the name Bambi is, with only our dear little deer as the lone exception, is an exclusively female name.
Bambi is about as female a name as it gets; it’s right up there with Dolly, Elvira, Misty, or Jane.
So why would you name a male deer Bambi?
The one reason I can come up with that doesn’t involve some weird plot by Siegmund Salzmann (aka Felix Salten) to intentionally screw with people’s notions of gender and names, is that it’s short for Bambino, which is baby in Italian.
That would work fine as a explanation, except that the Author was Hungarian and raised in Austria, and the book was originally written in German.
It seems like a very “Boy Named Sue” kind of deal to me.
If a boy were named Bambi today, I suspect he would either wind up overcompensating for it until the courts granted his request for a legal name change to Agammenon or some other unequivocally male name, or they’d be the gayest person ever – that guy that even other gay people refer to as the most gay person they’ve ever met. Picture someone that would embarass Big Gay Al from South Park.
Yeah, that gay.
All joking aside, one does wonder how Bambi got his name.
Gotta be a comedy sketch there, maybe Bambi’s father cheating on his wife with a deer named Bambi, then blurting out her name when his son was foaled and being forced to run with it. Maybe she was standing in the background and he saw her or something.
It’s a Raccoon. A freakin’ Raccoon!
Ok. It’s after midnight, I’m looking out the front window of the house and noticed what I thought was a stray cat sniffing around the neighbors garbage. Then it moved more into the light and I realized that it was in fact a Raccoon. In the middle of Brooklyn. It headed up my driveway and disappeared into the darkness before I could get outside with a camera. Yes, I know, chasing a Raccoon in the dark is not smart, so I didn’t go after it. I did want to get a picture of it though, since I don’t think anyone in this neighborhood has ever seen a live raccoon in person. I know I haven’t in not quite 30 years of living here.
Update: Apparently, I’ve simply been lucky or unlucky enough to have never seen a Raccoon in Brooklyn before. They’re everywhere.
As it turns out, New York City has the highest concentration of the little masked bandits in the state. Suck it, Cheektowanga!
A neighbor has also seen the Racoon (assuming it’s just the one) as well, so I wasn’t having some late night hallucination.
Yay, vestige of sanity, eh?
No signs of the critter since then.
Not at all pleasant, but it is what it is.
No point in going further with it, as it’d just be a waste of time and energy, not to mention serving no useful purpose.
In other, non-emotionally numbing news, I’ve headed back underground.
Due to the inclement weather (rapid snow followed by frigid cold) I took the Bus/Subway combo into work yesterday, and the Subway today (seeing as there were no buses and standing to wait for one… well it was just too damned cold for that). Yesterday the streets were a mess around here as usual, and I really didn’t feel up to dealing with all the people who have no idea how to drive on snow and ice. Same thing today, and probably tomorrow, maybe Thursday & Friday as well. Monday wasn’t terrible, although the lack of a non-limited bus on the way home was annoying. Not as annoying as discovering I’d power walked 10 blocks to get home in time to watch House in HD (new TV), only to find a double episode of 24, a show I don’t watch and have never warmed up to.
Today was less pleasant, what with having to hoof it to the train, then wait forever for the 1 train at Times Square, which turned out to affect a good number of my coworkers as well. The ride home was uneventful, the playlist was good and long enough to last all the way home with tracks to spare, even with the walk from the subway to the house.
Yesterday I also made a decision that could turn out really well, or be the worst clusterfuck of a mistake I’ve made in a good long time. Not going to go into details about it just yet, though.
Check back in a few weeks to see if it’s going OK, or if I’m updating my resume and cursing excessively about what an idiotic mistake it was.
The only expectation I’m trying to take into this is that it’ll be different, which I feel like I desperately need.
To hope for the best… I’d like to, but at the moment, hope’s something people delude themselves with to stave off the inevitable letdown.
Aaaand that’s as close as I want to get to being this dude today, so I’ll end this here.
Ok. The TV”s installed, most everything’s hooked up the way I want, and yeah, it’s nice.
Still have tthe HTPC hooked up via VGA, although I will compare it to an HDMI connection when I switch the video card from an HD3850 to an HD4850 this weekend most likely. (That swap is mainly because the 4850 has a controlable fan, whle the 3850 does not, and it spins up audibly at times.)
From this distance ( about 8 feet) it all looks fine, and 1000 times better than the old set via Component or S-Video did.
Also got the correct cable for my PS2 (yes, PS2. I only bought it to play Gran Toursimo 4), and a cordless controller. Once I build a foldable bracket I’ll try out my G25 with it, since what I’ve read online suggests it should work.
I may need to get a new roof antenna though, since I can’t seem to tune in some of the local stations HD channels, like NBC, WPIX (I’ve lost track of what network that is) and WLIW. CBS, FOX, ABC and WWOR (My 9 or whateve it’s called these days all come in fine in HD, as do a couple other stations. This is fine for now because the first half of the NASCAR season is on Fox, albeit in 720p, and I can watch House in High Def. House is basically the only show I watch on Network TV besides auto racing, so House in HD is a big deal. I relate to the character a lot, which might be a bad thing, but I don’t care. My mother said he reminds her of me, but worse, but she just can’t watch the show without thinking of Wooster & Jeeves. For me, Peter Laurie is such an awesome actor I have no such trouble. But back to the TV. Before the new set, I did not know that the actress that plays 13 has a very small scar on her right cheek. Now I can see it quite easily. Not distracting at all, unlike her eyes which I supsect would burn me if she turned her gaze upon me for too long.
I had DirecTV add the HD package, but despite their insistance that it should work, I don’t see HD from the box I have, so I’ll be picking up the HD box soon, and maybe moving the current box to another room. They also seem to think my current single LNB dish should suffice, but I think they’re wrong about that too. We’ll see.
Still no sign of FIOS in these parts. Damne Verizon cherry picking neighborhoods.