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I volunteered to do the MI-5 this week: Many of you know- I am a NASCAR fan…and this weekend is the Daytona 500!!!  During any auto race- NASCAR including- flags of different colors are displayed along a track and mean different things.  This MI-5 is based on some of those flags but answers do not have to be race related at all….(I will omit the two most well known flags- the green and the checker).

1. The Black Flag- also known to some as the consultation flag- is waved at a driver for various reasons but means that the driver must pull into the pits. Most of the time the driver is called to the pits to  take care of extensive damage on the car or to take care of any penalties that may be incurred.  Tell us about a time you had to deal with a penalty of some sort or of a time you had to take a time out to fix something right away. Well there was the time I was caught speeding on federal land by the MPs.  That cost me like $90.00 or something to that effect- I don’t remember the exact amount.  And I didn’t have much time to send in the payment.  I was going 48 in a 35 on Lightfighter (that is the name of the street- honestly) and at the time my lunch was at 1:00 so I was leaving as most of the other staff were driving in from lunch so it was honestly kind of embarrassing.

2. The Yellow Flag is sometimes called the caution flag. When this flag waves it alerts a driver that there is something wrong on the track and they should slow down and fall in line behind the pace car.  Tell us about a time you slowed down your pace. Wednesday on my way home from work! It was raining SO hard it took me 15 minutes longer to get home because I had to drive like a grandma.  And for those keeping track my traction control did NOT come on once- so I think that I might have run through something slippery like sand when it kept activating the other day.

3. The Blue Flag with Orange Diagonal, known as the courtesy flag is the only “optional” flag in racing. This flag alerts a driver that he (or she) is holding up traffic- specifically the leaders- and that they should be courteous and move over to let the leaders continue to race.  While this flag is optional- officials and fellow racers will look down upon anyone who repeatedly ignores it. Tell us about an experience where you let someone take the lead even though you really wanted it or about a time someone gave you the lead in something.  Well honestly I am kinda odd when it comes to leading/following.  I do NOT like to be the leader of anything.  However I also do not like to fail at anything either.  So I will take the lead if I have too- but most of the time I am willing to work hard for someone else.  I can’t think of any experience besides those that came from group work in college. My college was BIG on the group work.  Most of the time I would take the lead for projects because I had to.

4. Red Flag means all activity on the track must come to a stop.  This is usually done because of poor weather  or a a lot emergency vehicles on the track. Drivers must line up according to position in the designated area (usually on track or in the pits), Crew members are not allowed to work on the cars during this time. Depending on the length or the red flag drivers are often allowed to get out of the car if parked on pit road. Tell us about a time when everything stopped for you.  Wow- This is actually a hard question! I hate when I ask myself the hard stuff.  The world kind of stopped for my family when my nephew was born.  It was such an exciting time. I was woken by a text message at 5:00 in the morning that they were in the hospital. I went to work. And it was sooo long. He didn’t come until 11:24 pm.  I was in the waiting room with my parents…and we got to go see him for a couple of minutes.  And now everytime he comes over the world stops for him. We stop everything to pay attention to him.

5. When the White Flag is thrown during a race,  it signals to all drivers that they are entering the last lap of the race.  What is something you are almost done with? I am almost done with a crocheting project. I don’t want to tell you exactly what it is yet…because someone who reads this might benefit from it.  But trust me…its cute and I am relieved its almost done.

And Friday Fill-in #111:

1. It seems like it will never stop raining.

2. Can I borrow that when you’re done, please?

3. If I thought you wanted to come with me I’d of invited you!

4. Gorgeous pictures is what I think of most when I think of you.

5. To me, Valentine’s Day means people get candy or flowers or both.

6. Friends gives me strength.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting out of work on top of things, tomorrow my plans include laundry and Sunday, I want to watch The Great American Race!

We talked advertising yesterday, so let’s talk merchandise today.  One of the big issues a fan like me will have when a driver switches teams (or becomes an owner/driver) is the need to suddenly replace all of your existing merchandise.  The Stewart-Haas racing switch is hard for me because merchandise is slow to come out which means my car is fairly naked (my 20 sticker in the window disappeared sometime last November and I am still using my 20 license plate frame because I haven’t gotten my 14 one yet).  I am however happily mousing on my new Tony Stewart mouse pad. (Yes I use a mouse pad because my desk at work is too shiny for the optical mouse and if I don’t use one my pointer dances all over my desktop).
Anyway…I have never been a collector of diecasts.  I have a couple of the (cheap) Winner’s Circle brand cars…because they are cheap and available at my favorite store (Target) right of the shelf.  However- I decided that since Tony was changing numbers/sponsors I would look into a diecast or two. Knowing that Tony has two primary sponsors, I figured I would find two different cars. The Office Depot Paint Scheme:
Office Depot Paint Scheme

And the Old Spice Paint Scheme:

Old Spice Paint Scheme

However- there already is a 14 with a Smoke paint scheme:

Smoke Paint Scheme

And a 14 with the Burger King paint scheme (Tony will be sponsored by Burger King for two races):

Burger King 14 paint scheme

Yeah…and Daytona hasn’t even happened yet. This is the exact reason WHY I do not collect diecasts. Already there are 4 different paint schemes and countless others in the work. These high quality ones can run anywhere from 69.99 to 89.99 a piece and that my friends is an obsession I just can NOT afford- bad economy or good.

I decided against one of the big dough diecasts only because I couldn’t decide. Part of me wants one of the traditional paint schemes while another part of me screams very loudly that the Smoke Paint Sheme is REALLY COOL while a third part of me thinks that since the Burger King paint scheme is only going to be used for two races that would be the one to get. Too many choices makes my head spin around and start to smoke (no pun intended) so to simplify it for myself I said “Self you really can’t justify that much on a toy car that will just sit on a shelf.”  My “self” is no fun and won’t let me collect diecasts.

Knowing my love of all things office supply, my father asked if I wanted to ride to Office Max with him on the day of the Bud Shootout.  I looked at him and said “Sorry, I can not shop there. I have to shop at Office Depot now.”  My dad just gave me a funny look and continued on with his trip to the store without me…not realizing completely what I was talking about.  Of course it probably confused him a little more when I yelled out after him as he got in his pickup “Remember…Office Depot is the official office supply store of NASCAR!”  Before, as a fan, it was extremely easy for me to be loyal to Tony’s sponsor Home Depot- because it was the only home improvement warehouse in town. We do not have a Lowe’s.  The closest Lowe’s is over 30 miles away in a different county.  We have local chain hardware stores but nothing else that can be in the same league with Home Depot. Our town is riddled with office supply stores however. Besides Office Depot we have an Office Max and the town I work in has a Staples. You all know I love the office supply stores…throw me in a room with pens and post-its on sale and I am a happy girl. So it will be hard to limit myself to Office Depot.

With Tony’s new major sponsorships will come new advertisements.  Now my friend mentioned seeing one already but somehow I missed it.  Anyway…in my head I have a couple of really good commercials…one for office depot and one for old spice (the sponsors that are basically splitting major sponsorship on the #14 Stewart-Haas Impala).  Now I am no advertising executive but I know what I would like to see…what would make me chuckle.  Which is what I love in a commercial;  a good chuckle. The Toyota Fan Controller commercial with Tony and Zippy, for instance, made me laugh every single time I saw it.  I dunno something about ZIPPY RUN FOR YOUR LIFE made me laugh out loud.  It could be that I have an odd sense of humor but it literally made me laugh each time.  Another good Tony commercial was the one with the little remote control cars- where all the coke drivers are racing them around a garage and Tony wins and then Kevin Harvicks crew member runs over Tony’s little rc car.  Aww…Sorry About Your Little Car Tony. Again…good stuff.  Anyway I am digressing immensely.

What you might not realize is that Tony has also made a deal with Burger King for a two race sponsorship, and part of that deal includes that Burger King will be a food service provider at his race track (Eldora Speedway). Another part of this deal also includes commercials.  The thought of this frightens me only because I have an innate fear of THE KING. There is something about his plastic frozen expressioned face and the creepy things that he does…like stare into peoples windows, frollick with animals, sleep in fields with cows? THE KING almost starts being stalkerish.  THE KING creeps me out and I really don’t think I would like it too much to see Tony frollicking with the THE KING.  Or I am evisioning a race with Tony and The King…where there THE KING is in a firesuit.  Or even worse…a plastic faced, frozen-expressioned Tony Stewart. Now I am starting to give myself the willies.  The only commercial with THE KING and Tony that might possibly be acceptable would be if Tony runs him over or something. It would be good if the commericial could omit THE KING completely.  How about a commerical with Tony and Whopper Jr.  I love the commerical when Whopper Jr. tells his Dad (The Whopper) that he has his head in his bun.  That one totally passes the chuckle test.

Ahhh do you hear the sound of the engines?  I do and they sound good.  Saturday was the day I was waiting for: The Bud Shootout.  Originally I thought I was going to have to boycott the shootout because the new rules initially left Tony Stewart out of the shootout because he switched from Toyota to Chevy for this season.  But luckily the wildcard system allowed Tony into the Shootout, with new teammate Ryan Newman sitting on his pitbox.  Tony Stewart started the shootout in 6th position and he was all over the track- everywhere from last to even leading for a few laps towards the end of the first segment.  I will say that one of the most incredible jobs driving during that first segment and possibly during the whole race has to go to Jeff Gordon for winding his way through that first wreck. The wreck that took out rookie drivers Joey Logano and Scott Speed.

Stewart’s biggest complaint was that his car was too tight and seemed to struggle during most of the second segment of the race.  During the very last caution he took a gamble on a pit stop and ended up lining up 8th for the green-white checker finish.  I admit I questioned the pitstop but apparently the car wasn’t too his liking (DAMN I MISS MY HOTPASS).   Due to the wreck that ended the race, Tony lucked out and ended up third because the accident tangled up drivers in third through 7th position.

It was my first glimpse of Team Office Depot and they seemed to be right on.  Pit stops looked nice and clean and Tony seemed fairly calm despite having a car that was all over the place. It was a good finish in typical NASCAR style-part effort part luck.  Seeing Team Office Depot in action makes me even more excited for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

And speaking of the Daytona 500 I want to also talk a little bit about Pole day on Sunday.  First off I was esctatic to see Ryan Newman come out of the Stewart Haas stables so strong and nearly make the first row of the 500. I think that says a lot for the Army team.  However- for some reason I thought Tony’s car was the one who was in the top 35 in owner points not Ryans- so that surprised me a little bit that Tony was out there trying to qualify on time (although it makes sense if I think about it considering he would have the past champion’s provisional to fall back on if needed). However this makes for a VERY nervous Amy during qualifying. I didn’t watch all of it but luckily I was able to catch the bits and pieces I needed- including Tony’s run.  During Tony’s run I was actually pleasantly surprised. While he didn’t grab the pole or even get a top five – he did manage a top ten and was able to lock into the field on time and not have to worry about falling back on the past champion provisional.  I know that I read somewhere that Darian Grubb wants to help Tony focus on qualifying better and I think he is off to a great start.

Random NASCAR notes for the week:

  • There are so many changes of drivers and sponsors this season that it is taking me a long time to wrap my head around them all. It seems to me that the one I am having the hardest time remembering is Casey Mears being in the Jack Daniels 07 car.  And I can’t even find Clint Bowyer in that Cheerios car.
  • Speaking of can’t find a car…Tony’s new car too closely resembles Kasey Kahnes car to me. During the shootout I would really have to squint to tell who was who. I have a feeling that the Vegas race is gonna be an experience with me often losing Tony and mistaking him for Kasey Kahne and vice versa. At least until I get my Team 14 eyes trained.
  • Scott Speed.  I hate to say it but I don’t really like him.  He acted like a goof during the National Anthem, he acted like a goof giving his post-accident interview.  He just is a bit too goofy for me.
  • Way to go Travis Kvapil who had an awesome qualifying run and was also able to lock himself into the 500 on speed. Good Job. If you have been reading for any length of time you know that while I love Tony- I am also a strong supporter of Kvapil because I think he has great talent.
  • How embarrassing it must have been being Joey Logano during the Bud Shootout Draw.  Because the starting positions are disguised in Budweiser bottles and because he is only 18 he had to be accompanied by his crew chief Greg Zipadelli who actually had to draw for him.  He was the only driver who did not pick their own bottle.   I will say that I do applaud it though since Logano is technically underage.

Coming Soon: The Tony Stewart Advertisement Machine and Why I Don’t Collect DieCasts

If you are here looking for my Bud Shootout post don’t worry- it’s coming tomorrow morning.

Roxy Snuggled In Bed

Roxy Snuggled In Bed

Roxy goes to get her stitches out today and boy howdy is she ready.  Frankly I am too because I am sick of her taking the cone and jamming it into my leg.  While initially really freaked out about the cone collar- she had learned to use it to her advantage by taking her foot and flatting it down and making it into more of a bulldozer scoop.  What was once a perfectly shaped very clean cone now looks almost scallopped and beige even though we have cleaned it several times.   She is definitely her spunky self and despite doctors orders for NO JUMPING until the stitches come out she has been jumping up on the beds and her chairs like there is nothing wrong. The worse part of this afternoon will be the drive to and from the vet but Roxy I am sure can’t wait to have her head out of the cone.

Thank You

Posted by Amy in General - (1 Comments)

A while back I wrote about my dry hands and a contest I entered at the time to win a Vaseline Intensive Therapy gift basic (including a $25.00 gift card to my favorite store- Target).  Well I may have forgot to mention…

My Vaseline Gift Basket...

My Vaseline Gift Basket.

I won the gift basket. It came on Thursday and I immediately tore into it (I may or may not have eaten all the chocolate raspberry malt balls right then and there).  You can click on the picture to be taken to the flickr account where you can see exactly what was in the prize pack…but let me tell you- it was awesome.  Thank you Elizabeth and table4five.net!!

Of course the minute I opened it I had to try on some of the lotion…and I loved it.  The smell is light and fresh- definitely not the old lady/ rose scent I was complaining about in my original entry.  It did sting on the one area of my hands where I was really dry and broken.  However frangrances in lotions and soaps do that to me…I noticed there is an unscented version- I might try that if I get really chaffed again where my hands are actually cracked and I know it might hurt to use normal fragranced lotion. This stuff however does an AWESOME job on making my skin feel smooth AND protected.  And i am not just saying that because I won it…it really did. I even looked at my hands right before bed on Thursday and thought to myself…Damn my hands look good.  Oh yeah…its that new lotion!

I have a fairly new (as in about a year old) Chevy HHR.  I love her and I take good care of her (i.e. keep her nice and shiny, regular oil changes and services, etc). As a matter of fact I took her in on Wednesday to have her 15k service.

I was driving to work friday morning and it was raining. I am sure in the last year it has rained harder. It wasn’t sprinkling, it was a definite rain, and the ground was pretty wet and every time I went around a corner the damn automatic traction control would flip on and the car would grip real hard (yeah I know that is the purpose of the traction control) and make it extremely hard for me to turn.  Now this usually happened when I was either slowing way down to make a turn or from a stop making a turn.  It happened multiple times and it just seemed a tad excessive and the difficulty I was having with the turning of the car was freaking me out just a bit. Now I will tell you right now I wasn’t driving too fast for the road or anything- at least not that I thought- I tend to drive like an old lady in the rain.

So I do what I always do when faced with car problems. I called my dad. Yeah I may be in my 30s but he tends to know more about these things than I do. We had the following conversation:

Me: Um I was driving to work this morning and the traction control kept coming on and I was having a really hard time turning the car and it just wasn’t right. Do you think I need to have it towed to Chevy? It was really hard to drive.

Dad: I don’t much about that automatic traction control…um..was it not right or did it just feel different?

Me: Um…both? It was hard to turn…and just felt…different.

Dad: (I could hear one of his coworkers talking to him in the background) Can you turn off the traction control?

Me: Yeah there is a button right on the dash.

Dad: Just turn it off. I think its for driving in the snow. If it doesn’t feel right just turn it off and drive it.  Did it feel like trying to drive my truck in 4 wheel drive on the pavement?

Me: Um…I dunno I have never actually driven in 4 wheel drive on pavement or not.

Dad: Yeah just turn off the traction control. If you still have a problem then call the service department.

So later I took a break and took the car for a little spin. It was still raining but not as hard and I left the traction control on. I went around lots of turns both left and rights and the traction control didn’t come on AT ALL.  Same thing at lunch (although at lunch it was a lot dryer by then and only a light sprinkling).

My question to you is:

Do you have a car with traction control? If you do does that sound normal? Also do you think low tire pressure could cause this? I notice that when they rotated my tires they now have (according to the little computer anyway) lower tire pressure than I like to keep in them. (the are all somewhere between 32 and 34 lbs and I usually like to keep them more in the 37 lb range (max is 40).

I am worried only because I plan to take a road trip at the end of February (can you guess where to?) and if I need it looked at I would rather it be looked at now.

Here’s what you do. I start a story with five words. You continue the story with five more words. The next person adds five words, and so on…

“Her head’s under the hood, …”

Continue the story in the comments section.