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Zoot showed off her favorite pictures on flickr! …and I thought what a GREAT idea….I can sometimes spend HOURS perusing peoples photos on Flickr. Here are some of the pictures I made my favorites recently…I hope you enjoy them:

1. Bubbles, 2. Jack-o-bokeh, 3. western motel santa clara, 4. Fate Speaks, 5. up, 6. Frosh Girls Volleyball ’07 171, 7. Untitled, 8. Chesterfield Mock Tudor, 9. Recycling, 10. Untitled, 11. The accidental favorite shot ever, 12. Harvard – Faculty Club – Staircase (I), 13. Available Seating, 14. P1010234, 15. Sunset, 16. Lights, 17. Untitled, 18. way serious……………, 19. Paper, 20. DSC_0004, 21. Descent, 22. Howard, 23. Sulle mura, 24. Keltie going, 25. Sol Duc Falls

I can never figure that one out.  I had plans for the weekend…but they were led astray….as they always are.

My weekend started Friday.  I had the day off. I planned to do so much with it.  Mostly I was going to do most of my weekend chores (you know…the fun stuff like laundry and bathroom cleaning).  Yet what happened? First off I got sucked into playing FLATOUT 2 with my dad.  I just love me some demolition derby computer gaming.  There is something satisfying about taking a vehicle and slamming it into someone else.

Then we went to visit my grandma at the rehab facility (she had  back surgery a couple weeks ago and is in the rehab place convalescing).  Then to lunch at our favorite taco place.

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Saturday including some of the chores I was hoping to get done on friday. Another visit to Grandma.  While in the vicinity we stopped by Trader Joe’s since we don’t have one.  Bought some of the best Artichokes ever there. Yum.

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Sunday was spent trying to watch the race which was rain delayed not once but twice…and of course everytime the race came back on…the jets at the airshow were flying over- which was annoying.  Also worked on finishing up chores I was hoping to get done.

So much for spending Sunday watching the race, reading and setting up my playstation. At least it made it out of the box. Still hasn’t been hooked up yet.

Jim says: It is now fall and with that change we say goodbye to many outdoor activities for another year.  This five is mostly about indoor things we do when the weather isn’t so warm anymore.

Listening to Music
1.  What was the first musical album (record, tape, cd etc…) that you purchased and do you still listen to it? Well the first musical album I owned (it was given to me) was a vinyl record of Jan and Dean.  I listened to that thing a lot as a kid…The first thing I bought that I remember purchasing with my own money? Arena by Duran Duran.  I still have it- it was a tape.  The first CD I ever bought was the Days of Thunder soundtrack.

Reading
2.  What are you reading right now and if you aren’t reading anything tell us the last book you read and if it is/was good.  I am currently reading It All About Him by Denise Jackson

Eating
3.  Do you have any favorite cool weather foods you enjoy?  Please feel you can share a recipe if you have one. I like my Dad’s barbecued Turkey he makes at Thanksgiving.

Party
4.  Do you enjoy the parties that cold weather can bring such as Christmas, New Years and Valentines?  Tell us about a memorable one…  I am not a big party person. I like gathering with family at Christmas…but other than that I don’t often find myself out partying often.

The oddball question
5.  You can relate this to our theme if you want or you don’t have to if you don’t want to.  As a child did you ever think something crazy that as you got older you realized wasn’t true?  When I was a kid- somehow I got the idea that upstairs in the bank my parents went to there was a swimming pool and during their lunch breaks the tellers would go upstairs to swim.  I use to want to take my towel to the bank so that I could ask the tellers if I could swim up there too.

Sometimes BFM and I call each other during our work day…just to say “Hey” or catch up on some gossip in one of our workplaces. However sometimes when there is gossip in our workplace and we are in the workplace- it isn’t the easiest of times to talk about that drama. So we have, quite by accident, come up with a code word for the action of being fired.

It was all the invention of BFM! She called me and said mentioned that she had something to tell me about and it was about a person in her workplace who’s name is the same as the name of a cousin of hers and of mine (the cousins aren’t the same…they share the same name). So then she says well ask me about her…and usually I am really good at this game however- I was distracted because I was at work and I was working…so finally we had this conversation:

BFM “What is Tony Stewart’s nickname again?”

Me: “Smoke.”

BFM: “That’s right…and where does it come from?”

Me: “The tires.”

BFM: (chuckling hard) “Well in his case yes…but in most cases…”

Me: (light bulb virtually brightening right over my head) “Fire! FIRED! Person X got FIRED.”

BFM: “Yep..details later.”

Fast forward to another conversation a couple days later:

BFM: “Guess what. TONY STEWART!!!”

Me: “Someone else? Was it person Y?”

BFM: “You got it fast this time.”

Me: “I love this game!”

It was hot in my office yesterday. Unbearably hot.  So I put a workorder in to our maintenance department letting them know that something was wrong with the heating/cooling for our office….then one of the guys from the office next door wandered in and mentioned that their office was hot too…so I called up the maintenance office and kindly asked if their room could be added to our workorder.   About 15-20 minutes later I got this phone call:

ME: (standard department greeting) This is Amy.

MaintenanceManx: Hi Amy, This is MaintenceManX.  So, I heard this rumor that you are hot.

I had to laugh…wouldn’t you?

As I mentioned yesterday…I was suffering from sticker shock at the price of my race tickets (not that it stopped me from buying tickets). What that didn’t tell you? Was that I actually purchased my tickets for the race back in August..and have the actual tickets tucked safely in a book at home (that sounds weird I know- but I do that with important things like tickets to events- tuck them into a specific book in my room- so that I won’t place them on my desk and lose them in a paper tower).

However- my springing for garage passes for the same day didn’t happen until the beginning of September. So they were ordered separately. I seemed to get the race tickets rather quickly after ordering them..and was getting slightly nervous about the fact that I ordered up garage passes and hadn’t gotten them yet. So I logged into my account at LVMS and emailed the customer service people.

A represented emailed me back in a timely manner, explaining that they would be mailed out in November and that they should I only ordered Garage passes for Friday and that they assumed I already had tickets for the race. Yes…did you catch that. The email said FRIDAY garage passes. And I only ordered tickets for SUNDAY. Could I have made that glaring of an error. Shit. I looked up my receipt…and it didn’t mention WHAT day the garage passes were for- only the convenience fee and the Nascar Service Charge fee…and then my total. Odd. So I emailed back. Then looked online to see how much friday tickets were (expecting that since it is only practice and qualifying they should be fairly cheap…and tada…they were cheap). So I figured worse comes to worse I will just buy friday tickets too (by the time this is all over? I should have just sprung for weekend passes).

I called BFM to tell her there was some sorta screw up somewhere…and that I might have gotten us garage passes for the wrong day…but I could fix it buy getting us tickets for that day too because they are fairly cheap. After we discussed it we thought it might actually be better to have garage passes for Friday since there would be more action in the garage area on that day then on race day…plus you know…we would want to watch the race on race day! So instead of email all this information back to Las Vegas motorspeedway I called them.

I spoke with a very nice man at the box office, who told me his name but I don’t remember what it is (I think it might have been Paul?). Anyway…first I gave him my account number and asked him which day I had garage passes for. He looked and told me Sunday. So then I asked him if there was anyway to change them to Friday or was it too late? He checked for me and told me that he personally couldn’t do it because there was a cost difference (of $40.00) for the garage passes from one day to the next- but that he might be able to work it out. So he put me on hold….coming back on to tell me he was trying to move things around and to be patient (which I was…I totally appreciated everything he was doing!). So he finally came back and and verified that I wanted garage passes for Friday and not Sunday. And I told him yes if that was possible because I was planning on buying tickets for Friday. Then somehow he got mixed up and thought this was for the NHRA Drag races in October…and then after a couple of minutes of more confusion because I tried to tell him the date was Jan 31st when I meant Feb 29th (I felt really badly confusing the guy). So what he did is he switched my garage passes to Friday…and then I put the $40.00 credit towards the tickets for Friday so it all got worked out in the end.

So now I am going to Friday which is qualifying (yey!) and Sunday….(but not Saturday). And I should have garage access for Friday…and I am still really excited about going!!! And I have a great appreciation for LVMS and their box office staff who went out of their way to make sure I got what I wanted!!!

So…for those keeping track. I finally did it. I know you probably thought I was all talk before…but I bit the bullet and bought tickets for my first Nascar race. I am now the proud owner of two grandstand tickets in Blue4P at Las Vegas Motorspeedway for March 2nd. And I will be the first to admit that I got carried away and got Sunday garage passes too. I am excited and nervous…all at the same time.

I don’t know how you fans out there can afford to do multiple races because it is about killing me to know that I laid down a very sizable chunk of change for ONE DAY at the track. ONE DAY…and I am not even sitting where I wanted to be sitting because those tickets? Forget about it.

I am fairly sure that I paid more for one ticket to see the nascar race in March (not including garage pass) than my dad paid for the time he bought us tickets to see the Indy Cars at Laguna Seca the first time…and his tickets included Primo Seats in the coveted Turn 11 (not so coveted now that they built huge pit suites that block the view of the hill) and paddock (garage) passes for the entire weekend Thursday through Sunday. I could go on and tell you the embarrassing story about how we were wandering around on Friday in the paddock area and my dad saw A.J. Foyt giving autographs at the back of his hauler..(yeah THE AJ FOYT!) and he literally had to PUSH me at the man to get his autograph because THAT WAS AJ FOYT! (and let me tell you while most race car drivers tend to be smaller in person than you would imagine…he is bigger. He was very nice…but for some reason he intimidated the bejeebuz out of me).

That being said…I am soo excited about the race I could bust! I can’t wait to hear it…smell it…taste it…feel it. I remember all those sensations when I went to my first race…they assault you…and you either love it (like me and my dad) or you think it is kinda of gross (like my mom). I can’t wait to compare them with Nascar.

I am not going to even claim to understand why, but the televised Nextel Cup Series is covered by four different major stations during their season. First it is covered by FOX, next is TNT, then ESPN and then, lastly ABC. The only reason for this that I personally can think of, is that the Nascar Cup series has one of the longest seasons of a sport (starts at the end of February and ends in mid-November) and Nascar is thinking that they should spread the wealth during televised coverage so that they can reach a broader fanbase.

Believe it or not I see a big difference in the quality of the coverage (we are now three races into the coverage on ABC).

To me…the best coverage comes from FOX at the beginning of the season. It might just be that I really like the commentators (Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds totally rock as commentators and I miss them during the rest of the season!). But I also find that the camera angles actually seem to be better and if there is anything going on during the race- you were there when it happened. They have the cut-away car and explain things in simple terms quickly and it isn’t overused.

The second best was TNT. The reason that I didn’t like TNT as much as FOX? A big part of it had to do with the lack of Darrell Waltrip. Don’t get me wrong though- I liked Kyle Petty as a commentator but I missed DW more. The cameras also seemed to catch less of the action so there was more having to go back and see things in replay.

I find the coverage on ESPN and ABC to be very similar…and very annoying. ESPN especially uses too much filler. There is too much going to the tech center to explain this that and the other. While I do like more information on some things- they go to the tech car far too often far to long to explain things. They have all these fancy animations for engine parts and the like- but frankly…just tell me and get me back to the race already. I also find it annoying that when they come back from commercial (especially ESPN but ABC too) they will replay the last major accident right before cutting back live- so as a view I am unsure if this was something I missed during the commercial break or them doing another race recap. They even did this during the race today – they came back from the caution and were replaying the pre-race interviews…which confused me because for a minute I thought that Martin Truex, Jr got knocked out of the race on lap 53 or something like that.  It is confusing! The announcers also have the ever annoying tendency on both stations to talk over the in-car audio when they cut to it…and the in-car audio is my favorite part of the races…seriously. Both ESPN and ABC’s announcers seem to talk just to hear themselves talk..and that irritates me. I like to form my own opinions when a race is happening and they just blather on and on and on.

I really wish Nascar would pick ONE station (FOX) and stick with it all season.