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So not only was there a lovely time change last weekend – it was one of those rare “OFF” NASCAR weekends where they don’t race.  I hope the drivers and crews got a chance to do a little something for themselves whether it be spend time with family, hang out with friends, sleep in, do something they enjoy.

I myself found myself with extra time on my hands this weekend as I wasn’t glued to a TV for several hours watching the race.  So I used my time to get out and get creative.  If you know me you know I love to take pictures.  Right before I left for Vegas I actually bought myself a new camera.  A Canon Rebel t1i.  Did I get rid of my 20D? No!!!  I just wanted something new. All of my dSLR cameras have been hand-me-downs from my dad as he as moved up  (his newest is a Mark 5d or something like that- I know I always want to call it a MARK 5 as in the Lincoln so…it’s something like that). We do our version of a photowalk which is really just my dad, me and sometimes my mom where we go somewhere and just walk around and take pictures.

During the off weekend we went to Pebble Beach, CA.  An exclusive community where if you aren’t a resident or there to play golf you have to pay nearly 10 bucks for the honor to go down there. We paid.  It was a great day though and I got some great ocean shots:

(Photos After The Jump)

(more…)

I am so excited for the Daytona 500 it’s hard to put it into coherent words.  I LOVE RACING.  I don’t know how to say it any other way.  Let me try to give you a couple examples. In 2008 Tony Stewart did a Home Depot appearance in Pleasanton California in advance of the race at Infineon up in Sonoma.  It was on a Thursday and it so happens that around the corner from the Home Depot is a pretty decent mall.  I begged my mom to go with me- (she had the day off but I had to use a vacation day) basically promising to take her to The Cheesecake Factory if she would go with me to see Tony.  Pleasanton is about a 90 minute drive from where we live…and it’s a lot hotter there than it is here.  Anyway- we get there- she get’s her Cheesecake Factory lunch and we go off to the Home Depot to get our wrist bands.  While we were standing in line (for hours and hours) there was a whelen modified series car on display in the parking lot and someone got in it and fired it up.  My mom looked over at me at about the same time and said “Why are you smiling like that?” and I just shrugged and said “I can’t help it.  I love the sound of a race car.” She rolled her eyes and said “You are your father’s daughter.”  That same year my dad got complimentary tickets to go see the Daytona Prototype cars run at Laguna Seca- so the three of us went and were walking around the paddock area and my dad was off doing the photographer thing and I was standing back with my mom and she looked over at me and said “What is that smell?” I chuckled and said “That is the smell of speed.  Techically its rubber, gas and oil…and probably some sweat.” She doesn’t get it. It’s a smell I LOVE. If I could bottle it? I would. 

Daytona marks the beginning of the new season.  We are warmed up with the Bud Shootout and the Gatorade Duels  were on Thursday while I was toiling away at work…I dvr’d them and promised myself I would wait…but I lied to myself and peeked so by the time I got home to watch them I already knew who won (Jimmie won in Duel 1 and Kasey Kahne won Duel 2) but that didn’t stop me from rooting for Tony. 

Mostly I am excited about Daytona because it means that in two weeks I will be at a track. Walking around with my friend and my camera…taking in the sites and sounds of a race.  The last race I was at was Phoenix- and it was in November- but it was TOO LONG ago.  The track at Las Vegas calls to me. This will be my third year in a row going to the Vegas race…and I can’t wait.

For now though, I will be contented to cheer on Tony and hope that he gets his first elusive 500 win on Sunday. Gentlemen…start your engines.

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If you are looking to enter my Dale Jr Prize pack contest go here.

Idea (wo)Man

Posted by Amy in General - (0 Comments)

I am sure most of you all know this, but this blogger has a day job.  It’s an 8am-5:00pm Monday- Friday sitting in an office talking all day on the phone about computers and technology and the troubles people are having with them.  I will say this…technology can make people really cranky when things don’t go their way (I have been cursed at, hung up on, etc and that was just last week- it’s life at the helpdesk- you grow a thick skin real quick).  One thing that this job is NOT is creative.  Pretty much the most “creative” thing I have done at work lately was figure out a way to fix my phone headset that magically broke one day (a paperclip and some electrical tape- and it’s nearly as good as new…except when the stray hair gets caught in the tape- kinda made me feel like Macguyver).

I commute about 20 minutes each way (slightly less in the am- seems to be less traffic for whatever reason).  During that time I am “writing” in my head.  Sometimes these ideas become blog posts.  Sometimes they become other written efforts (I like to fancy myself a writer remember).  Sometimes they don’t make it through the stupid Nissan Z that cut me off drive home.  However sometimes what I come up with are ideas that I think companies should use. For instance I have a couple of GREAT ideas for Tony Stewart Office Depot commercials. I have an idea that Office Depot stores could use to utilize Tony’s sponsorship of them.   I even have a good Ritz commercial for Tony…and a similar one that would work for Ryan Newman and Oreos.  I have some good ideas for alternate paint schemes for the Office Depot car.  And while a majority of these types of ideas have to do with Stewart-Haas racing- I do have some GREAT ideas for alternate Budweiser paint schemes for Kasey Kahne.  And some paint scheme ideas for cars that have sponsors that aren’t current NASCAR sponsors (APPLE, GOOGLE, STARBUCKS just to name a couple).  Unfortunately, these ideas just roll around in my head with all the other hare brained ideas and half-baked ideas.  I wish someone would pay me to think up ideas…is that an official job?

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Stay tuned for an exciting contest coming soon (hint hint- JR.)

Random Notes

Posted by Amy in General - (1 Comments)

Happy New Year!!! Here we go for some random notes…

  • I went to Las Vegas on a whim over my “winter break” which is really the week between Christmas and New Years according to work- they close down and give us ALL the week off (in lieu of things like Columbus Day and Admissions Day and the like).  It’s great that I have a friend who will basically let me invite myself! That is a true friend.  Did we go to the strip? Aw hell no! We did that once like 6 years ago and we couldn’t see squat and it took us an hour to get the 50 yards to our hotel…we could see it from the room we got on the strip but by the time we got to our room the fireworks were over. I am just not into that kind of crazy crowd scene.
  • While in Vegas I saw two movies: New Moon (again) and Avatar. I was leery of Avatar because 3-D movies tend to freak me out because I am a “flincher.” Turns out while there were a couple times I had to flinch most of the 3-D in Avatar just gives depth to the scenes- like you could reach in and touch things- which I thought was pretty neat. However- it was way too long for me. Some of the fighting scenes could have been truncated and I really didn’t need to be hit over the head with the “deforestation is evil” and the “America is Evil” diatribes. There was also a little less of the love story then I thought there would be. But the 3-D stuff was really very good.
  • I am hard on sunglasses. My favorite pair I bought at Macys eons ago were DKNY- I lost them a couple months later after having spent way too much on them to begin with.  Discouraged I went to Target and just bought some.  A year or so ago- I decided- well I have grown up- matured some- so I bought myself a kicking pair of raybans- which I destroyed within 6 months (by stepping on them if you must know). So back to $10.00 target sunglasses- yet when I have these- they seem to last forever. Go figure.
  • It’s one week to my birthday. Big whoo.
  • NASCAR related post coming soon. As in hopefully tomorrow!

MXM Update…

Posted by Amy in General - (1 Comments)

I haven’t talked about my beloved nephew in quite awhile…here he is…my big boy:

MXM 20 mos

MXM 20 mos- enjoying breakfast at a local diner.

My nephew is only 20 months old (exactly today!)…but he looks much older.  When he was first born I struggled to find a nickname for him…it ended up being “Mister.” He is has so much to say but not enough words. They are starting to come but slowly- I wonder if one day he will just look at us and start speaking in sentences. He tries his best to pantamime his wishes. Sit with me. Milk Please. Give me your watch grandpa.  He continues to be the spark in our days- and will soon be joined by a sibling. He will be the big brother to a new nephew due in Feb.

This afternoon I was forced to channel my inner old lady. Actually it probably more of a rare glimpses into the future only then I will have gray hair, be wearing a robe or a mumu (or is it moomoo? Moomu? Mumoo?- whatever those things Mrs. Roper always wore on Three’s Company) and wielding a cane as a weapon.

Picture it if you will, it’s furlough Friday. I am sitting on the couch watching Criminal Minds reruns on A&E because I decided I really like that show and cross-stitching a bookmark for a co-worker when my cell phone rings. I pick it up. It’s my brother.

“Hey you might want to go outside and check your car- there are some kids messing around at the back of it. They look like they are on bikes.”

For those new to BadGroove, my brother lives across the street from me (actually catycorner)- and has a pretty good view of my house from his kitchen window.

I asked him if he thought one of them had run into my car on their bike.

“I dunno I can’t really see the back of your car- they are behind it.”

While still talking on the phone, I go to the front door and swing it wide open, not exactly knowing what I would see, which was probably really dumb of me in hindsight considering “kids” could be anywhere from first graders playing hide and go seek to teenagers looking to steal my car or pieces of it. My car which is usually parked in the driveway just happened to be parked in the street in front of my house in plain view of the front door.  What I saw was two children sitting in the street right up against the rear of my car- fiddling with something and a third standing on the street strip of grass. I knew the one kid was the boy from the house behind me and the other two while I didn’t know their names, I knew they were from our neighborhood and often played with the boy in the house behind mine.  They just looked suspicious. Sitting IN THE STREET right behind my car like that- the the boy on the street strip almost like a look out. I don’t know if they were just hiding from someone, plotting their next world domination or just quietly sitting in the street deciding what to do with the rest of their afternoon.  Thing is that first off it was a dangerous place to sit.  I live on a corner lot and we have actually had a drunk driver come sailing around that corner and hit a parked car before (luckily not mine- but the across the street neighbor)- so had someone misjudged the turn and smacked into my car they could be seriously injured.  Secondly- this boy (the one from the house behind mine) has been told on numerous occasions not to play near the car- both in the street and in the driveway.

“What are you doing to my car?” I asked a little more sternly than I expected myself to sound.

Those kids eyes got wide and the one jumped as far away from my car as possible, tangling himself in his bike that he had laid down- also behind my car.  (Meanwhile my brother is on the phone with me saying in my ear- Let me know if you need me to come out there).

The boy from behind my house rolled his little eyes at me (by the way- this kid is a first grader- maybe second…but I think first) and said:

“We are just sitting here.”

He stood there looking at me with the expression like what are you going to do about it. He has a real attitude for someone his age.  My sister-in-law one told him to stop shooting her and my infant-at-the-time nephew with a squirt gun and he told her No that she was not his Mom.

“You should go home.” As soon as it come out the kids just looked at me.

“We were just playing.”

“Play at your house.”

They proceeded to give me stink eye their whole trip around the corner as I walked out to my car to see what they were doing to my car.  From the front door it looked like they were fiddling with my license plate or something- but I didn’t see any damage or even any indication that they had actually been fiddling with my car.

After the fact I felt a little bad. I was a little sterner than I meant to be. As a matter-of-fact, I don’t think I have ever said anything so direct and…mean sounding to a kid.  Usually its “Please don’t play by the cars.”  But I don’t like the idea of some kid futzing around near my car.  I would never have done that as a kid- I remember a couple of definite incidents where I was instructed sternly by my parents not to play around the cars of neighbors or relatives.

Pretty soon you will find my on my porch in a robe (complete with ratty yet matching slippers) with a super-soaker yelling at kids to stay off my lawn.

Where is Darian Grubb, Greg Zipadelli, Chad Knaus, or Steve LeTarte when I need them? Seriously.  Today started out like any other Monday. I went to leave for work. I got in my car. Put my purse on the passenger seat. Clicked my seat belt tight. Turned on car. Ahhh gotta love the sound of that Chevy powerplant.  Press brake and put car into Reverse. Nothing. Car won’t go back. Odd. Put car in Drive to see if it will roll forward. Tap gas just a wee little bit (don’t want to crash into garage). Nothing.  Put car in park. Turn car off. Sit there and wonder WTH? to myself.  Turn car back on. Engine sounds normal. No lights on dash. Press down brake. Put car into R and hear a horrendous Pop/Clunk noise. Think SHIT THAT’S NOT GOOD. Car still will not roll back. Put car back into park and turn off. Get out. Look under car to make sure she isn’t gushing any vital fluids, to see if there is something obviously dangling where it wasn’t before, etc. I can see nothing. Of course I don’t even know what I am looking for so…it’s pretty much a moot point there.  I swear that the HHR looks- hunkered on the right side slightly (like its lower on that side). Then again it could be my imagination.  It was so loud that neighbors said they heard it and one came out because he thought I hit something.  My mom offers to take me to work because I can NOT miss today- it’s one of our busiest days of the year- my coworker would have my head! During a break at work I call Onstar using my handy dandy card I carry in my wallet incase I lock myself out. They sent a tow truck to get my car (I left the keys in it and unlocked because I was pretty sure it wasn’t going anywhere) and they took it to Chevy. It SHOULD still be under warranty (fingers crossed). I am sure it’s a transmission problem. My dad says judging by my description he thinks it might be a busted trans-axle (he said that trannies tend to grind not pop/clunk). My brother threw bad spider joint into the mix (honestly- don’t even know what that is).  I guess we will see.

My issue is I have a severe mistrust of mechanics.  Back when I had my Chevy Lumina sedan (the fancy euro edition) a mechanic told me that I had cracked the engine- and that coolant was mixing in the oil and it was just bad news all around. It would cost me like 4K to get it fixed. I did not have that kind of money and told them I would be by to pick it up.  My brother came with me and said to me “Hey I want Robert to look at it” (a friend of his that he knew through who would eventually be my sister-in-law.  He worked at a used car lot and took a look at it quickly. He said that the dealer was lying because if that was the case the oil would be milkly in color and it wasn’t. (In fact I had just had my dad change it like a week or two before). Plus there was all the trouble I had with the Rav4 and the Toyota dealerships not being able to fix it.

Now I LOVE my car. I do.  I have it serviced regularly (not just oil but I have them do the recommended service packages too). I am not careless. I do not drive like an idiot. I do not do silly things like throw the transmission into Drive while still rolling backwards.  I have never in my life done a burn out, a brake stand or a powerslide (not on purpose- not accidentally). The one time I activated the traction control in the HHR on a rainy day I thought that there was something wrong with the car.  I do not understand why whatever happened would happen. I just hope its covered by the warranty and that it’s quick to fix because being without a car is really putting the brakes on my freedom.  Luckily my mom does’t mind driving me around much.

Various Notes:

  • So…I dropped 7 places down to 22nd in my fantasy NASCAR league. YIKES.  That is a pretty hard drop. All my drivers had lackluster finishes…especially Tony…that really pulled me down. I was up as high as 12 just a couple weeks ago…but I have been falling hard since then. I hope that this turns around but it seems like half my drivers will do decent and the other half tank. :/ There has to be a science to this fantasy league stuff that  just don’t get.
  • Speaking of fantasy leagues…I don’t know why but I feel the need to be in this football pool that I am in nearly every year for the past several. I suck at it because frankly? I don’t follow football more than as a casual observer. One year I got REALLY close to winning (by sheer luck) but it’s been downhill ever since.  Still doesn’t stop my from throwing my hat into the ring though like I know what I am doing.
  • After reading the Stewart-Haas race report on Tony’s run apparently he DID get radio communication back about half way through the race. (BTW- I love how The PR Powers that be for Tony titled the release RADIO & ELECTRICAL GREMLINS THWART STEWART AT BRISTOL- because I totally picture those cute little fuzzy things in Gremlins that get all evil messing around with his radio).  And at some time before that? He had gotten a speeding penalty…which is why he got two laps down. I thought it was just from trying to fix the radio. He said that he listened to Ryan’s spotter so he knew when there was a caution. That had to be hard.
  • Today (Monday) was one of our busiest days at work. I expected it. The first day of classes is always crazy on the phones. I hope it gets better instead of worse.
Cupcakes

Yummmm cupcakes

So there was the end result of my first attempt at the Sprinkles cupcake mix from Williams & Sonoma.  They don’t look half bad considering that I had to use a much to big offset spatula to ice them. I have remedied this situation and purchased up a small one as the directions originally stated.  Now whether they actually tasted like Sprinkles cupcakes I can not tell you. I may have baked them too long or not long enough. I say this because they definitely fell after they cooled and they had an odd crumbly yet not dry consistency. I don’t know if that is normal either. It was something fun…and the neighbors seemed to appreciate them.  The dots on the top. They were Eh. Kind of odd tasting. I gave Roxy the one off of mine. She liked it. Of course Roxy will eat nearly anything…except for pickles and wasabi peas.

I actually really like baking- I love the precision involved in measuring things out and mixing them up.  I am NOT a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cook. My dad can throw whatever in a bowl and get the result he was hoping for. Doesn’t matter if he is making cookies or stew or beans. This frustrates my mom because she will want to replicate what he made and can’t because he doesn’t remember what exactly he did.

So…for some unknown reason I decided to get up at my usual work time my last furlough day.  I have no idea why I thought that would be a good idea…I am definitely sleeping in. I think it contributed to the feeling I had all day- that guilty feeling you get when you call in sick even though you really aren’t sick. That feeling plagued me all day- to the near point I felt bad going out of the house (of course it didn’t stop me from leaving- especially since my mom offered to take me to lunch).  I spent my day doing cupcakes, laundry and other little chores so that I would have a full weekend with nothing to do. Well that didn’t pan out so well either since I spent most of my Saturday doing stuff for others. My dad usually takes my grandma shopping so I did that because he had to work Saturday and I know he wanted to go to the airshow on Sunday (he is such a plane geek).  I also mowed the lawn for him because my dad is the kind of guy who would forgo something fun because the lawn didn’t get mowed this week.  Urg I forgot how BIG that lawn was! And his lawn mower pinched me and gave me a bruise…then it hurt my hand. Its a funky lawnmower that basically powers itself and then I have to walk behind it and steer it but to engage the blade you have to push down this button while flipping this lever to engage the self-propel part….the vibrating of holding the button down and squeezing the lever at the same time kills my left hand.

Anyway this month our second furlough day is this Friday since the beginning of the semester is nearly here we need the time to ramp up for the onslaught of freshmen.  I have no definite plans for this friday- except to NOT get up at the time I get up for work. Ahhh sleeping in is good for the soul!