Friday, January 30, 2009

Arena Racing

The company I work for sponsors a local Arena Racing car. The driver of this car is a son of an employee. So they bought tickets for a large group of us to go watch some Arena Racing.

Arena cars are souped up go carts. They top out at about 50mph and run around a track. The track is portable and is set up in whatever arena/coliseum they happen to be in at the time.

This was the first time I have been to race since I was about 10 years old. Now I understand why it is popular. The whole race is a huge adrenaline rush. Tempers flare on the track. Fights happen and sometimes spill over to the pit crews. Oh, and don’t forget the wrecks. It is very entertaining. It is almost the same feeling you get watching a hockey game live. Wait, circular arena 90% of which is filled with white people, fights, beer, wrecks...

Maybe this racing thing is for warm temperature hockey fans.

Here is a picture I got to give you an idea of the size of these cars. They squeeze in through the top and buckle in. The lid just snaps shut. This picture was taken prior to the race. They allowed the fans to go down and get autographs from the drivers. Joe Gibbs was in the house (former Redskins coach) so there were a ton of people down there to see him. Too many for me to want to go down there.

One set of pictures I wished I could have got involved the Hooters' girls. A little boy (maybe 6 or 7 years old) sat between the two girls and had his picture taken with them. Then he took the camera and slowing walked off of the floor ogling the pictures. Go him.

They finally cleared the floor of spectators and began the race. We were cheering for the number one car (it is blue and white and has Charger on the front bumper).

When it was all said and done our ears were ringing, our throats were sore from yelling and we had enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So much snow... not

South Virginia is funny.

Last Thursday school was cancelled. Not because it snowed. Nope. It was cancelled because there was a strong chance that it was going to snow.

It didn't snow.

It is hard for me to understand. I grew up in western NY. Ten inches of snow didn't even slow us down. It just meant we had to go outside sooner (to shovel).

I guess, if I look at it from the city's point of view, it is easier to shut the place down than to rely on your snow removal equipment. Ten guys with shovels, a pick up truck and a bag of rock salt doesn't remove a lot of snow fast.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Too much caffeine...

Recently I’ve been cutting back on caffeine. I think that is where my trouble started.

I woke up Saturday morning (around 8am) and had 3 cups of black coffee. I left for my friend Bill’s at 11am. I hit Arby’s and grabbed a sandwich and a medium (something like 24oz) diet Mountain Dew.

On a side note, the three cups of coffee exceeded the amount of caffeine I have been drinking in an entire week. I was beginning to twitch by this time.

At Bill’s I helped him move a couple of dryers and then had another cup of coffee. My eyes were getting a bit wide now.

I jumped in the car and headed home. This is where I started the next mistake.

I popped in my favorite heavy metal CD. It is a mix with Dragon Force, Epica and Within Temptation. This is not easy listening. In fact, it is a bit primal. The music was cranked to a satisfyingly window thumping volume. It was awesome.

I hit the throughway and this is where it got nuts.

I went across the Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel I was going the other way though (bridge first and then the tunnel). It was not very busy so I had a lot of room to play and I was up to 60mph when I exited the tunnel.

I shot out of the tunnel like Buck Rodgers (in the old TV show). I was coming up on another car (fast).

Too close for missiles. Switching to guns. Damn. I’m closing too fast. I take a quick glance over my shoulder and look in the mirror. I zip around the slow mover.

Stupid. Doing 55mph in a 55mph zone. How dare they?

I’m doing an easy 80mph. The music is louder. Something to drown out the adrenaline rush. I feel like a damn teenager.

I was such an ass.

I looked at my hands and they were shaking.


Go caffeine go.

I made it home safely and only a few hundred people were cussing me out by the time I arrived.

Note to self:

Stick to green tea and Enya.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take it back!

Prior to our visit at Fort Story we stopped at a little Mom and Pop seafood restaurant for lunch. It was pretty good. It was a shack that had been standing since the Civil War (the English Civil war). The bathrooms had no heat. The servers were large white women with annoying laughs. The place mats were paper and had pictures of several species of fish. One of these pictures was a Wahoo. Dearth asked me why it was called a Wahoo and I said (without pausing or batting an eye) "It's the sound they make when you catch one and bring it on the boat". This discription was followed by a reasonably loud "WAHOO!!". Debra was not amused, Brenda rolled her eyes, Dave smirked and Dearth hit me. I'll count that as a success.

The food was good. With five at the table there was a pretty good sample of food. Crab cakes, fried trout, blackened tuna sandwich, various veggies and one hamburger (teenagers).

During the meal I set the camera on the table. Yep you guessed it. I left it there. It only took us about 10 minutes to figure this out.

When we returned I went in and one of the kitchen staff was up front and he found the camera for me. We saw this worker during our meal. He was a little person. For some reason this made Dearth nervous so I wanted to tell Dearth that he was the one I spoke to.

Have you ever said something that started going in a direction you did not intend? It was like a terrible train wreck. "Hey Dearth. I went in there and that little person helped me out. He's a nice guy." Here's where it happened. I tried to stop it, but when I realized what I was about to say it was too late. "I had a short conversation with him."

Groans, laughter and smacks to my head followed.

That's not what I meant!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My legs are burning

My sister-in-law Brenda and her husband David stopped for a visit this weekend. On Saturday we took a drive out to Fort Story and visited the light house there.

Fort Story is an Army base, so you have to stop at the gate for security. We had to get out of the car and then they checked for bombs/terrorists/nuclear waste and other things that might be dangerous. The guards were very entertaining and made the experience as pleasant as possible. One of the men was very helpful.

First guard: "Do you know where the lighthouse is?"

Us: "No. This is our first visit."

Second guard: "Follow this road. It is the large building with a big light on top."

Us: "..."

First guard: [smiling] "That is correct, but there are two lighthouses. The one you want to visit is on the left. The other one is an active military lighthouse and if you go too close you will be detained."

Second guard: [evil grin]

Us: "Ok. Thank you."

I love military humor.

Below is a picture of Brenda and Dave with the new lighthouse in the background. The two lighthouses are across the street from each other and you can get some beautiful pictures overlooking the new lighthouse.
As you can see, the weather was gorgeous. The air temperature was in the high 50s to low 60s and almost no wind. Brenda and Dave left Sunday morning and the temperature dropped 15 degrees by that evening.

We paid our $4 and climbed to the top. Well, everyone but Dearth. He isn't a big fan of heights.

I'm not sure how many steps were in that circular staircase, but it was somewhere between "Are we there yet?" and "Please pass the oxygen.". Even Brenda and Dave were breathing hard at the top and they are runners (I was the one asking for oxygen).

I was in lighthouse style this day. I went for the short round look rather than the tall thin look. You may also notice that D-man finally got a haircut.

On a side note, if you decide to visit Fort story, their is a minimum height requirment for climbing the lighthouse. Children must be 42 inches or taller. The spiral staircase is easy to navigate, but there is a steep ladder just before the very top and small children will have a very tough go of it.
We enjoyed the visit. So, if you are in the area, it is worth a stop.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Pastor

This is Greg and Eileen. They have been good friends of our family for about 5 or 6 years now. They have three beautiful children also (I don't have any updated pictures of them).

Greg is a pretty competitive guy and it is a lot of fun playing sports or games against him. What most people don't realize (until later) is that he is a pastor. To me this changes nothing. But, you would be surprised how many people "hide the beer and stop cussing" (Greg's words) when they find out.

Last Sunday a couple in our small church reaffirmed their wedding vows. Afterwords a picture was taken that inspired me to blog (with Greg's permission). Because sometimes we forget that pastors are human to.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year! (a little late)

We spent New Years eve with our friends Christen and Chris. It was a last minute thing and the girls only had about a day and a half to prepare. I would have hated to see what went on the table if they had more time.

This is what I can remember:

Pigs in a blanket (small sausages in croissant rolls)


3 or 4 different crackersAdd Image


cheese (2 or 3 different selections)

apple and cheese tray (this also had a caramel dipping sauce)

shrimp cocktail and homemade cocktail sauce

a large selection of various beverages

chips and salsa

It was impressive.

Chris and Christen have 3 boys. Dillian (6), Noah (8), Brandon (11) and Dearth (14) was there also. I have found that teenagers are like locusts. They move from place to place eating everything. So the amount of food did not go to waste.

We arrived around 6pm. The adults stayed in the kitchen, played cards and socialized. The boys had the run of the house. This means that at least two of them were hovering over our game most of the time.

We finally convinced them to play Uno together (just the boys). The Uno game lasted for about 10 minutes. We were listening to them (we are parents it's what we do). They were talking smack to each other and then we heard the 6 year old, in a commanding voice, tell the 14 year old to "shut it!".

It was on:

Collectively the three younger boys do not weigh as much as Dearth. This made the teams easy. They ganged up on him.

The adults remained vigilant for sounds of injury and blatantly ignored the rest. In fact, we managed to enjoy the rest of our last two games (without much interruption).

At one point the 11 year old did ask us what time New Years was. We told him that it was at midnight and he said "That's awful late isn't it? Why don't they make it earlier?".

Happy New Year!