Friday, November 21, 2008

Bullets -- I mean Bullet Points

  • The 2008 racing season is done, both for the major sanctioning bodies and for me. I didn't end it how I would have liked, but all in all I can't really complain: in 9 events, I averaged 66th percentile in class, 78th percentile in raw times, and 74th percentile in handicapped times. Daniel, my codriver, will have finished just ahead of me in raw and handicapped averages, and way ahead in class. I would have liked to have broken 80 in all 3, but dwindling attendance made that very difficult. Only 2 events had 70 or more participants, and only 4 had more than 60. One had as few as 39 drivers, although I did turn in my best performance in that event, coming in 4th.
  • Amanda is still sick. Really sick. The last couple rounds of chemo have been so uneventful that I'd forgotten how sad she looks when the neutropenia really hits her. She's downstairs right now under 2 blankets and has been there for about 4 hours.
  • Alastair has picked up a little cough that plagues him when he's sleeping. It pretty much goes away when he's up, but I'm starting to get a little worried about him.
  • I am still without an employer, but that doesn't mean I'm unemployed. I've been very busy and have only fallen about 2 weeks behind my typical salary levels, even after 6 1/2 weeks of "unemployment". And I have a lot of work slated for the near future, so I'm not too worried.
  • Gas got cheap, but you already knew that.
  • The stock market and I are in complete agreement about the president-elect. Stocks rose briefly on 11/4, but have been puking on themselves consistently since then. Thank God we don't need to rely on our investments right now...
  • Hillary will be our next Secretary of State. Oh lordy. I thought we got our fill of crotchety old women with Madeleine Albright. Granted, I thought she was pretty cool, even for a Liberal, but Hillary's not stable. Hillary belongs in a stable.
  • Facebook is the new black.
  • Daniel picked the single coldest and most ruthlessly windy day in recent memory to have me help replace his brake pads & rotors. We did it in 1 hour, which might be a personal best. But it was very cold, so we were motivated. We tried to do the fluid, too, but my power-bleeder's European-car cap blew its seal, so that will have to wait. Until warmer weather.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Great Camel Cricket Massacre

It was a normal, boring night 8 years ago. The sun had set just a couple of hours before, and my good friend Domenick and I were headed to the tiny shed out back of our rental house. I no longer remember why we were going out there, and I seem to recall not knowing why after all was said and done, but we were indeed heading to the shed.

The shed at that house had seen some evil moments in our 3 years of living there: I'd been stung by a wasp, attacked by camel crickets, found significant evidence of termite infestation, and been nearly choked by the stench of mold and two-stroke engine fumes.

But that night would live in infamy.

Nothing seemed amiss as we approached the shed. Sticking the key in the lock and opening the door revealed a horror show almost without parallel: camel crickets half-covered the floor, the counters, and the walls. THE FREAKIN' WALLS. The one light in the shed (when it worked) was just sufficient to cast dark shadows, and left half of the tiny building in darkness. But when I turned it on, the floor started jumping. Jumping away from me, jumping at me, jumping everywhere.

The nearest thing to hand was an old broom, which I weilded like the deadliest weapon known to man. I was smashing, bashing, and swinging the broom with abandon. Several deadly blows were rendered to the floor, the walls, and the counters before -- gasp -- the broom broke! Right above the head, too, leaving me with about 3' of stick.

Domenick had by now sensed the panic and desperation in my valiant struggle, and picked up the head of the broom. Pushing past me, he took up his own struggle against the moving countertops while I continued to bring down the broomstick of justice on the minions of Satan.

When it was over (and while it seemed to last forever, I think we realized it was only 30 to 45 seconds total), there was a surprisingly small mass of carcasses, but still numbering well above 15. I recall that with a couple of swings, my feet actually came off the floor.

I never again felt such savagery, but I never again went in to see the whole surface of the building jumping, either. Domenick and I rarely spoke of the Incident.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Elect

If you promise the moon, and a starry sky to hang it on, all you have to do is point to the heavens and say, "Look what I did."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted

And I think I f***ed up.

Not for the presidential race, but for the US Senate race. See, our choices were both former governors: Mark Warner (D) and Jim Gilmore (R). Ordinarily I slant toward the Republicans, since they fit more closely with my fiscal conservatism, but what I remember of Gilmore's tenure as governor wasn't terribly positive.

He promised to get rid of the car tax. Fail. He also sold significant portions of protected land to pay for government initiatives. Now, I had just graduated from W&M when I heard about that, and the land he wanted to sell had the same name as a man-made lake on campus, so I think maybe that just tugged at my heart-strings too much, but I didn't feel like he was taking Virginia's natural resources as a serious priority. True, Green and Republican don't often mesh, but generally Republicans don't seek to expand government.

So I felt like he short-changed us, and I voted against him today. But instantly I was wracked with guilt. Not because I'd voted Democrat, but because I remembered who else represents our Commonwealth in the US Senate: Lunatic Webb. You might remember Jim Webb as the nutjob who tried to take a gun into the Capitol, or as the fellow who refused to shake hands with the President. Webb capitalized on a horrid campaign gaffe on the part of then-shoe-in George Allen to deny a Republican seat in the Senate.

What made me so upset about remembering this is that I think Webb is dangerous, and without a counter-balance in the Senate, Virginia's elected representation may not truly represent her. VA is not a blue state. She's a mix: liberal at the top and boot-tip, and conservative pretty much everywhere else. So voting to put Warner (granted, he's moderate, but he's also the new guy) with Webb may well spell doom to Virginia's economy.

We owe a significant portion of our success in the Old Dominion to John Warner, who as Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee kept Norfolk Naval Yards afloat and funneled great gobs of cash into the state. Will M. Warner and Fruitcake Webb continue to see those as priorities? Will they have the same pull on Capitol Hill?

My biggest concern is that Webb will bully Warner and Virginia will not show her true colors for the next several years.

I still think Warner is a better choice than Gilmore, just not right now.

Oh, I'm so conflicted.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I promise it's not worth the effort

Je n'avais rien a dire, mais je le voulait dire en francais.

In Muenchen steht ein Hofbraeuhaus. Eins Zwei Gsuffa!

Nihongo-wa suki desu. Ichi ni san yon go roku. Miruku-wa suki desu-ka?

Viel Spass damit!