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I am beginning to think I am not such a good luck charm when it comes to watching races. I didn’t watch the Nationwide race. I didn’t even remember to dvr it because I got home and immediately when over to visit my nephew:

Matthew sleeping in his Swing (picture taken by camera phone so not the best quality).

Anyway I don’t watch the race and Tony wins. I sit down all comfy in my sofa after I spent several hours Saturday morning babysitting my nephew. Tony qualified well so I was looking forward to a good race…when at two and a half laps in he gets collected by Sadler who got loose running down on the apron and slid up into him. ARG! I know how frustrated I was…I can imagine how frustrated the whole Home Depot crew must have been (I let a couple curse words fly I admit it so you know he probably did too and who could blame him).

Only because I was listening to the HD team audio thanks to HotPass did I kind of know what was going on with Tony’s car because the Fox coverage didn’t seem to want to let us know what was going on with him when he pitted. For instance- those just watching the main broadcast probably didn’t know that in fixing the alignment of Tony’s car, the crew over-corrected making the car way too tight.  This in turn frustrated Tony even more who asked Greg Zipadelli to please “Fix it right this time.”  If you have been reading for awhile, you may know that I am fascinated by pitting, pit stops, the whole thing and it makes Amy a very cranky fan when she wants to know what is going on in the pit and they only show Earnhardt, Gordon and Busch.  I do realize that there are 43 different cars to keep track of but you know, you could spend a little more time talking about the “non featured” driver stops.  Like Jimmie Johnson was having problems as well and they told us that. But did the pit stop help? What exactly was going on anyway?

Anyway Tony was two laps down at the worst of it- but came back to first car off the lead lap (lucky dog position) and at one point nearly came within striking distance of getting that lap back.  If the race had been longer it is conceivable to say he would have found himself at the least in the top fifteen with the way he was digging.

It was good to see that the team never really gave up, despite the unfortunate slap by Lady Darlington.  Time to bring our A game to Charlotte.

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I was also impressed yet again with Travis Kvapil.  A top-ten finish! Great driving.  And I loved the retro paint theme.

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I will be the first to say that I love Kyle Busch…but even I am beginning to think him a bit cocky.  I’m just saying…his luck will run out eventually.

 Bill sez: This MI-5 was inspired by a recent batch of absolutely, outrageously
yummy chocolate chip cookies my beloved wife recently made. Yum!

1) Flour is one of those basic ingredients that’s used in just about every staple we eat. What’s a staple in your life? What is that makes you tick? What’s that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.

Honestly I think it is my drive to be creative. Whether it be writing (my blog is only a small fraction of the “writing” I do on a daily basis right now), photography, or even doing something with a skein of yarn…I constantly have to be doing something creative…even if I am just thinking about it.

2) Sugar. Not only is it an ingredient, but it’s often used as a pet name for a loved one. Share with us a pet name you’ve used towards someone you love/loved.

When I was about three years old I started calling my paternal grandpa “Sweetie Pie” and continued until he died (I was in college by then).  When my parents would say “Come on we’re going to grandma and grandpa’s I would say “Are we going to Sweetie Pies?”  My mom doesn’t have the slightest idea how or why I came up with this but I did.  I think it was because of all my grandparents he was the one I liked the most.

3) You go to a restaurant for breakfast, and the item you order comes with “two eggs, any style.” What style do you pick? Why?

I am freakish about eggs.  I love them but they have to be cooked to a certain standard of over medium…which means the yolk can be runny but all the white must be completely cooked or I will not eat them.  Usually the only person who can get my eggs right is my mom.  So when I am out I order scrambled because I know I won’t be disappointed.

4) I’m not much of a baker, but I think there’s baking soda in chocolate chip cookies. With summer soon upon us, some of us may start drinking more soda. Is there some beverage that you like to drink especially in summer?

Well I love my starbucks venti ice black tea lemonades.  I am also drinking venti lemonade sweetened with melon. My sister in law got me started on them!

5) Sandra Boynton says there are two kinds of people: those who are the chocolate sort, and those who are of the jellybeans. Which kind of person are you? Depends on the chocolate or the jelly bean.

And now the Friday Fill-In 71.

1. The barbecued shrimp had an extra secret ingredient; it was flaked chili peppers!
2. Come through my window.
3. Right now, I need caffeine.
4. Nowhere is where I went Thursday night; it was a typical Thursday.
5. Why does loneliness hurt so much?
6. All I can think of is the dream I had last night. I had two rows of teeth…kind of like a shark.  It was disturbing.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to cleaning while semi watching the nationwide race at Darlington, tomorrow my plans include watching the cup race at Darlington and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

So here are some MORE thoughts on the whole “silly season” (why do they call it that anyway?) debacle.

First I just want to mention that it is important to note that Tony Stewart is NOT the driver out there looking around. Greg Biffle, Martin Truex, JR and Ryan Newman all have contracts that expire either this year or next. I think that I read that Casey Mears is also up in 2009 (don’t quote me on that I could be wrong).

I have pretty much said my piece on Tony’s situation over at Nascar Blogger Full Throttle. But I have had time to continue to mull it over in my head. I still pretty much feel that way, but I have more ammunition in my arsenal:

  • I really think that Kyle and Tony have more similar driving styles that Tony and Denny have. I think that this will only mature their relationship as teammates as the season progresses. I love the fact that they are on the same team. Seriously.
  • I read somewhere (I am fairly sure it was in last weeks Nascar Scene) that Greg Zipadelli’s contract does NOT expire in 2009 when Tony’s does. Granted in the same article it did mention that Zipadelli does have a clause in his contract that he can get out of his contract if Tony leaves JGR.
  • Tony has repeatedly said that there is nothing “broken” over at JGR- that he is just entertaining the offers. He would be stupid not to. Its got to be a huge ego boost to know that there are other teams out there who want you- and tell you what they will do to get you. It’s creating positive press for Tony. No one is harping on his hair, or his negative comments about tires — instead it’s all about who wants him. Hell, I wouldn’t mind it if people were vying over me at work. It would make me feel pretty damn good.
  • Along the same lines…have you noticed Tony has been finished fairly regularly in the top 10 so far this season? He has come close several times to winning.  Yeah I am pretty sure there is nothing broken there.  I think it would be fairly hard to leave a winning team.

As my friend just said via email: “I don’t understand your angst…you know he will continue, why sweat who it is for?” And in all honestly she is right. I will be a Tony fan no matter who he drives for, no matter what make of car he drives (hell he could be out there on a John Deere and I would cheer for him).

I mentioned a couple posts ago that thanks to PW who I found out about via Zoot I had been playing with some photos in Photoshop CS2, mostly a picture I took of my nephew’s foot.  While I am currently trying to up the quality of my pictures by learning more about digital photography, I have found that Photoshop can give them that POP look you want- especially if you know what you are doing.  PW does and she shares!  Anyway Janet asked to see the results. So ask and ye shall receive:

The original picture:

Version one:

Version 2:

Version 3 (my favorite):

Before I start on this weekend…I have one final say about Talledega. Something I meant to mention and it completely slipped my mind for some reason only to be jogged back into my memory this evening as I found myself looking at some photos from a Talladega photo gallery. I forgot to mention that as much as I am NOT a fan of black cars…I loved Jeff Gordon’s flat black paint scheme. LOVED it. Ok. There. Got that out of my system. On to this weekend:

I started my Saturday baking a pineapple upside down cake. Why?? Because I have never had pineapple upside down cake. So I made one just to try it:

It was actually quite easy to make and delicious…even though in the picture it kind of looks like a ham.

Then it was the race at Richmond. Luckily Tony was a Hotpass driver so I spent about 70 percent of my time on the Hotpass channel. I sat down and was just getting comfortable when unexpected company dropped by. Didn’t really stop me from watching the race- because the only thing that does that is a power outage…hell I even watched a race the first time I baby sat my nephew (who was like 10 days old at the time). So I was slightly distracted while watching the first part of the race. After the guests left though I settled in to watch the rest of the race:

(by the way if you are curious…I recommend bud lite lime…way better than miller chill).

I guess the flash made the room look way darker than it was because it was still very light outside. And that IS the Richmond racing playing in the background there. So my thoughts about Richmond:

  • I must say I was very impressed with Team Home Depot’s 4th place finish considering that they were fighting not only an ill handling car, but a car with a problem with low battery voltage. I know that Tony ended up having to shut off all his fans (including brake fans) for the last 100 laps or so to keep the volts to up to an acceptable range for the car- not to mention having to have turned off his driver/cooling fan many laps in. I think Greg Zipadelli did a great job keeping Tony calm considering all he was dealing with…including Reed Sorenson who short pitted and thus blocked Tony in not once but twice and thus causing Tony to hit jackman Jason Lee after which Tony nudged Sorenson off his own jack and out of his way so he could exit his pit. I bet Jason Lee was sore the next day!
  • Somehow (I think this may be because I was watching the Tony Stewart HotPass channel with the TEAM AUDIO only on) I completely missed Michael Waltrip getting parked during the race by NASCAR for hitting Casey Mears. I just want to know why no monetary fines were levied or probation given?
  • I also have to throw some props out to Jeff Gordon’s crew. I think you can call it a good day when you come from the back of the pack to a top ten finish.
  • All I will say about the Dale/Kyle incident at the end of the race is that, it looked to me, that it was caused by two drivers both wanting a victory. Um, could be just me but isn’t that called racing??? Seriously, Dale isn’t upset about it, so lets all put our big boy pants on and get on to Darlington ok?
  • Speaking of Darlington…I hope Denny Hamlin’s basketball injury doesn’t prevent him from racing…or impact his performance.

For some twisted reason I prefer my races to be on Sunday. I don’t know why but I do. Doesn’t stop me from watching the Saturday evening races, but I don’t like my rhythm upset and Saturday night races upset my rhythm. I guess its all about that rhythm. Anyway since I had nothing better to do I also watched a majority of the Arca Remax Carolina 500 race. The best part of the race was when Tony Stewart waved the green flag at the start of the race:

(Picture taken by Jimmy McDonald, who kindly gave me permission to use his photo. Click on his name to be taken to his Flickr…seriously do it..he’s got some great pictures in there).

I think waving the green flag at any race would be kind of fun! The announcers poked a little fun at his technique…but frankly Tony needs to worry more about driving then green flag waving- come on give the guy a break. From reports I have read, Greg Zipadelli was suppose to be driving the pace car during the pace laps- and I am going to assume he was but that wasn’t mentioned on the broadcast. Youngster Joey Logano won the race- which I think is awesome. Show them what you got kid!

I have a lot to say. Unfortunately last week I wasn’t in a blogging mood as you could probably tell by my silence.  A lot of it had to do with MAJOR burnout workwise.   The last three weeks or so had been extremely stressful and sucktacular and I really didn’t want to do certain things…and last week that manifested itself in a lack of blogging.  That is not to say I didn’t do anything. I just didn’t do any blogging. This is what I did instead:

I did read BEAUTIFUL BOY (it was OK), FREE FOR ALL (better than BEAUTIFUL BOY but still only OK) and one other book whose name presently escapes me at the moment. I read lots of blogs. Commented on very few. I looked at lots of Flickr pictures and commented on a couple. I played with my nintendo ds (yes it is pink…thanks for noticing). I worked on some creative writing things that had been rolling around in my head. I signed up for Twitter (see it over there on the left…feel free to follow me and I will follow you).  That should help me keep my blog updated when I am not actually around.  I played with Photoshop CS….a lot. Thanks to Zoot and PW I did some pretty cool things with a picture of my nephew’s foot.

So that is what I have been up to. Soon back to your regularly scheduled postings.

Pastor Dave sez: This is my first time at coming up with weekly the questions. I hope its OK with protocol – I’m going to give you FIVE RIDDLES to solve. My sister sent them to me earlier this week. ENJOY!

#1 A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three
rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

#2 A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over
5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go
out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

#3 What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when
you throw it away?

#4 Can you name three consecutive days without using the words
Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday?

#5 This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious as to just how quickly
you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary
and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact,
nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though. Study it and
think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you
work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any
coaching!

(Since these are riddles and you might want to try them out yourself first…my answers are in in the extended entry).

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The Fill-in for the week.

1. Two of my favorite ingredients in a drink are tequila and lime (if it’s an alcoholic drink that is)!
2. Matthew (my new nephew) often amazes me.
3. You can keep doing that forever, the dog is hardheaded.
4. Newspaper and Elmer’s Glue and Water, mix it all together and voila! You have Paper Mache (or a big mess)!.
5. If I had a yard with a garden, I would love to grow tomatoes.
6. Showering is best au naturel.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to organizing my desk, tomorrow my plans include a pineapple upside down cake and watching the race in Richmond and Sunday, I want to take some pictures!