The History of NASCAR

August 25, 2009

During a recent car trip from Phoenix to L.A., I drove while Chris took a nap in the passenger seat. Since I was in command of the vehicle, this meant I had control of the iPod. I could force Chris to listen to NPR and various other "nerdy" podcasts while he was, essentially, trapped in our moving vehicle. I think this is partly why he fell asleep, because it was either slip into unconsciousness or jump out of the car a la 007 only to land in the middle of the desert next those signs that read, “State Prison. Do Not Pick Up Hitchikers.”

After I was tired of NPR, the next academic podcast that I forced my husband to listen to was “How Stuff Works,” from the “Stuff You Should Know” franchise. He had slept through most of NPR but he was staring to wake up at this point.

Today’s Stuff: How Moonshine Works (Click here for the full article by Ed Grabianowski)

It’s a fascinating enough enterprise, but one portion of the podcast really caught my attention.

Basically, it said that Bootleggers – the folks who smuggle(d) moonshine – became very mechanically adept in order to make their cars fast enough to outrun the police. This ability “created a culture of car lovers in the southern United States that eventually grew into the popular NASCAR racing series”.

I looked over at my husband. He was staring off into space, awake but drowsy enough that he apparently missed the significance of what we had just heard.

The hosts of the podcast continued: “In fact, the winner of the first ever NASCAR race had used the same car to make a bootleg run just a week earlier.”

And there you have it: INDISPUTABLE PROOF that NASCAR was founded by hillbillies and rednecks who love their booze.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just sayin’.


Early Bird I'm Not

August 18, 2009

I am not a morning person.

This does not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, I'm sure. I just need a little "warm up" time, you know, like your car does on a cold day.

I just want to idle a while, not having to say anything, do anything particularly difficult, listen to anything, or basically, have any human contact for the first twenty minutes or so after I wake up. Is that so much to ask?

My husband persists (despite the fact that he knows better) on trying to talk to me when I first wake up, asking tiresome questions like, "what time is it?" "did you reset the alarm?" and "why don't I have any pillows on my side of the bed?". I think he secretly hopes that if he sets a standard of early-morning conversation, somehow it will make me more of a morning person.

Well, husband, since you're probably reading this, it's not going to work. Ever. Just don't ask me any questions until I've had my coffee, and no one has to get hurt.

Which leads me to my job, and the crappy part about my job. I have to wake up early. And I mean, before-the-sun early. I tell you, there is something very wrong about getting up for work when it's still dark out. Although I should definitely say that I'm thankful for my job. It's just that it would be super fantastic if it started at... say... actual morningtime, instead of a quarter till the butt-crack of dawn.

There is one bonus: sunrise. It's kind of cool to wach the sun break over the horizon. Even better if I've set the timer on coffee machine the night before and get to sip on a warm cup of joe while watching the sun rise and not having to talk to anyone... but, hey, that's just me.


Not really the end of the world

August 17, 2009

Whenever I hear Chris say, "Honey, you are a very smart, intelligent woman... but every once in a while..." I know I probably should have thought through whatever I just said before I said it aloud.

Like tonight. We were flipping through the television channels and came across that new Discovery show The Colony.

"What's it about?" our roommate asked.

"It's a bunch of people who have to rebuild civilization after the end of the world and stuff."

We discuss the show for a few minutes more, while the lady onscreen spends a LOT of time making a punching bag out of some chains, dirt, and a vinyl sack (really? a punching bag? because that's the first thing I would try to make right after I survived Armageddon).

A pause, and then I ask, "Do they know they're participating in a reality show, or do they actually believe it's the end of the world?"

Both the roommate and my husband give me THE LOOK. THE LOOK means, "did she really just ask that question?"

"Aw, honey," says my husband, laughing, "You are a very smart, intelligent woman... but sometimes..." He continues, "Yes, honey the Discovery Channel convinced them all it was the end of the world. "

"They're just waiting for Kevin Costner to deliver the mail," the roommate chimes in.

Chris continues, "Discovery Channel told the people, don't mind all these cameras. And, oh by the way here's a big sign that says THE COLONY maybe that's what you should call your new civilization."

Note to self: you don't always have to voice your thoughts right away. Sometimes it's best to let them settle first. Weed out the dumb ones and all before you share them with the world. Or, at least, your husband.


August 03, 2009

Today was pick-the-dog-up-from-the-kennel day.

As I walked in, two of the staffers were just about to leave for the day, and they were at the front chatting with the girl behind the desk about work stuff. All three all smiled and greeted me when I came in. I told them I was there to pick up Chloe, and one of the girls went back to get her while I paid.

You can always tell when they’re walking out with your dog, because all the other dogs in the kennel start barking. So I can hear them coming … and then…

I see a brown streak go by, running down the hallway behind the front desk. Quickly followed by the diminutive girl sent to fetch my dog.

“Chloe, come back here!”

Chloe has managed to wriggle out of her collar and immediately proceeds to run like crazy for whatever destination her little doggy brain has fixated on.

One of the other girls standing by the front desk steps into the hallway with the intentions of blocking Chloe’s path and forcing her capture. Like a slippery fish, Chloe eludes her.

At this point, I’ve paid, and the girl behind the desk has now joined the other two in their effort to capture my dog. The hallway dead-ends at a closed door, and the three of them come at her but she bolts, managing to elude all of them, and sneaks by headed for the other end of the hallway. They follow. She hits another roadblock, turns around, and runs past them, back down the hallway in the direction she came from.

I feel a bit like I’m watching a tennis match. Or a Wiley E Coyote cartoon, with my dog starring as the roadrunner.

They have her outnumbered 3 to 1, and my dog is winning.

“Chloe,” I shout sternly, thinking that her owner’s voice might actually make her obedient, “come here.”

She completely ignores me, and continues running in a crazy zig-zag across the kennel with the three girls chasing after her, one of them holding up her collar like she’s a cowboy about to lasso a calf.

Finally, two of them manage to hold down my dog while the third fastens her collar. They hand her off to me, but the collar’s still too loose and within minutes she’s free again, this time running in circles around the lobby.

We readjust her collar and one of the girls gets it back on while I hold down Chloe. This time she’s not getting free.

“Thanks …” I shout as I bolt out the door, wanting to get the dog outside and in the truck before she causes any more havoc.

Seated in the backseat, Chloe pants heavily. I look at her, “well, you need to listen to those nice ladies at the kennel.”

She just continues to pant, looking at me with those innocent chocolate brown eyes, “Who, me?”