Friday, March 28, 2008

Conversation with Alastair

Setting: Ice cream parlor
A man in a jacket resembling a fireman's coat has just left. Alastair turns to me.

Alastair: Fireman eat ice cream.
Me: What? Oh, yeah: firemen do eat ice cream. Cops eat donuts.
Alastair: Cops got no nuts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oh God It's Depressing

I sat down yesterday and worked out two financial sheets: 1 detailing every penny I've spent on car stuff to support racing the Miata, and one forecasting an annual budget to keep it racing.

Oh. My. God.

The first one was horrifying, but not entirely unexpected. I knew that the build had just about doubled my initial projections, both through mistakes and waste. There was over $2K in parts that have since been abandoned. Just plain wasted money. I've recovered probably 40 - 50 % of that money in re-selling the components, but still, that money was just wasted.

Then there's truck & trailer costs, safety equipment, and fuel estimations before even getting to the race car itself. Add in event fees, lodging, meals and tools, and then you're ready to start counting the car and its associated parts.

All of that was yucky to look at, but figuring out how that plays out across the course of an average year was really depressing. Figuring on doing only 2 events at VIR and 14 autocrosses (which is actually more than we've ever done), the truck will burn 180 gallons of gas. Not the race car: just the truck. The race car, in those same events, will burn roughly 100 gallons of 100 octane fuel. That stuff runs about $6 / gallon, so that's $600 in fuel for the car, and (figuring $3.29 / gallon for 87 octane) $592.20 for the truck.

The fuel alone is almost $1200 / year.

Looking at the numbers made me realize that without sponsorship, this venture will run aground by the middle of next year.

MWM seeks sugar daddy for racing budget. Must like the smell of gasoline and burning brake pads.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Anat 101: What is a Patella?

Seriously, if you don't know, look it up before proceeding: patella.

I attended a very informative sales meeting / product demo on Wednesday. The product will provide a lot of useful features for us, and allow us to prove it when we say busted shit ain't our fault.

But the guy doing most of the demo told a story that really destroyed his credibility.

A few months ago he hurt himself playing basketball. He was in excruciating pain, but figured that he'd finally torn his ACL, making him a "real" basketball player. So he went to a doctor who assessed the situation and said she was fairly confident he had only dislocated his knee cap, and that she could reset it for him with no real problem. He said that he'd rather get a second opinion first, and went on his painful but merry way.

The 2nd doctor told him that he'd "busted" his patella and put him on the long slow road to recovery.

Then came the curious grandstanding, meant to show that sometimes the advice you get early on can lead to greater harm down the road: "What if I'd taken that first doctor's advice? What kind of pain would I be in today? I mean, it wasn't my knee cap: it was my patella! It had nothing at all to do with my knee cap!"



Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hungry truck seat

I did a pretty credible job of keeping track of all my stuff at VIR. I'm notorious for either leaving something at home or at my destination, so I've made it a habit of trying to remember what I have with me and where it is.

This habit has been honed nigh to perfection over the last 4 years, and it began when I plunked down over $100 for a pair of RayBan sunglasses. Amanda told me then that it was sheer excess, and that I'd lose them before I even got used to them.

But let me tell you: I've babied those sunglasses. Ok, they've been dropped, squished, even had a lens break, but I've never really lost them. Until last week at VIR.

We went down with a truck absolutely full of stuff: tools, spare parts, documents, fluids, a race car, tires, clothes, and everything else needed for two days of keeping a car on the track. It's a lot to keep straight, and I even had a list.

Of course my sunglasses weren't on the list: I'd never lost them! Duh!

Yeah, I lost them the first night.

I spent every spare moment at the track looking for those damned sunglasses. I would sneak back to the room and rifle through all my stuff 2 or 3 times a day. When I was re-packing the truck to come home, I completely unpacked it just in case, and then upon returning home I went through everything 3 more times. These numbers are not exaggerations.

But then last night I remembered that the truck seat had eaten 16 pages of documents we needed on the way down there. On a hunch, I ran out to the truck, shoved my hand between the cushions, and found my RayBans, directly behind where my ass had been.

I wore my chipped and scratched RayBans more proudly today than ever before.

If you ever ride in the truck, be careful what you leave on the seat.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shout Out

I love my little boy. Just wanted to say that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Never Seem to Blog When I Should

Lots of neat stuff has been happening lately, so of course I haven't taken any time to write any of it down.

I went down to VIR last week and DanielG and I put 8 hours on the racetrack. We met some really great folks, learned a lot about what the car could take, and came home very ready to see our families.

This past weekend Amanda and MonkeyBoy and I piled in the truck and went to the Children's Museum. Alastair had an absolute blast, and it's safe to say we did, too. There are innumerable activities for children ages 1 - 10, including tree-houses, fossil-digs (in this really cool "sand" that's actually pulverized rubber, so it doesn't soil their clothes), story-time, an art-center, cooking, etc. etc. etc.. When it was time to leave, Little Man was so wiped out he didn't even fuss. But we bought an annual membership, so we'll be back. Probably every rainy Saturday.

Sunday was the first autocross of the season, and Daniel and I had hoped our track-time would translate to improved scores. No such luck: we did terribly. It's gonna be a long season. And the event was a disaster, too: 3 heats, each 2 hours long. First car off was around 12:15, and we didn't get the car back on the trailer until just after 6pm. I was livid that I wouldn't be getting home until almost 7pm. These things are usually done by 4 at the latest, and I've often gotten home by 3:30.