Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Level Of Sanity Returning

Okay, I know, eighteen days between, how the time hasn't flown by!

Hopefully, though, things will now begin to get better.

I'm thru wearing the aircast, I'm off the narcotic pain meds, and thankfully, after a couple of really lousy weeks at work, I'm on vacation and one I'm really needing.

Things at work, let's just say they haven't been the best as of late. I won't get into any reasons right now, but let's just say that dedication and loyalty sometimes get you absolutely no where and sometimes those who try the least and do even less manage to make great strides. THAT is all I'm going to say about that!

I have a few days now to get my self back under control and sit back and see things in a different perspective. The first half of this vacation I'm taking alone, simply because my wife has decided to save vacation time and only take off the latter part of the week. This will give me some time to do a few things I need to do basically for myself.

Breaking an already sprained ankle has taken a toll not only physically on me, but mentally as well. I'm behind on a lot of things this year because of both injuries, and I hope to get a few of those things caught up this next week.

I plan on spending a lot of hours on that new motorscooter that I bought this year, and hopefully become more acquainted and aclimated to it. The possiblity still exists that just maybe I can get enough seat time on it to be able to take my skills test this year and get my motorcycle operator endorsement on my license.

My usual annual trip to the Speedway is not going to happen, as I outlined in a previous blog. I won't miss the crowd, but I will miss the chance to see the Nextel Cup drivers and I will miss seeing a friend I made at the Speedway years ago.

Hopefully, though, after this week off, I can get my mind back on track and get my karma back under control.

And just maybe I can start smiling again and really mean it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Decision Of Protest

I realize fully well that probably what I'm about to write about won't mean a thing to most of you who regularly read my entries, and yes, it's been a while, but thanks to the level of pain medication I've been taking, let's just say my creative side has been a bit "fogged" lately.

Back in May I wrote an entry of frustration towards the management of one of my favorite places on this earth, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and how they handled fan comfort during the month of May during practice sessions. I not only wrote the entry, I sent it to their public relations department and heard absolutely diddly-squat back from them.

This has festered inside me the last couple of months now, and the longer time passes the angrier about it I become. To not allow fans access to seating that is undercover during inclement weather is totally inexcusable as far as I'm concerned.

Every year I take a week off from work and make the trek to the Speedway in May to relish in the excitement of opening week of practice for the Indianapolis 500. I make a minimum of three trips there that week, sometimes I make five, and while I'm there I not only enjoy myself being there and watching the track action, I also spend my money there. You would think that the Indy Racing League, being starved for fan attention would make it as convenient and comfortable for the fans as possible. As I stated in my blog back in May, this simply isn't the case.

Each year I also take time off during the month of August and attend the practice sessions and qualifying sessions for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard featuring the Nextel Cup drivers. Again, when I go, I enjoy myself, and I spend MONEY while I'm there. It costs more for the Cup activitives, it's much more crowded, and it's only for a couple of days, but there's a tremendous crowd in attendance, totally overshadowing the open-wheel racing action in May.

This year I once again have that eventful week off for a vacation. And yes, I dearly want to go back up to Indy and watch the Cup cars practice and qualify, and I want to have my customary IMS Bloody Marys, which are the best I've ever had anywhere, and I want to savor the flavor of Crown and Coke, and I want to see a friend of mine I met up there several years ago and visit with him for the two days.

However, this year, I'm staying away out of protest from my experience back in May.

And no, IMS won't care at all that I'm not there. They won't give a hoot that I'm not sitting there with family and friends and having a great time whilst waiting for track activities. They won't miss my enjoyment and my love of auto racing, and they won't care that I'm not spending my money with them.

My friend Jim might miss seeing me this year, but I figure the people that I usually go and sit with will explain my absence to him. I know I'll miss seeing Jim, because Jim wasn't able to attend last year because of a family member's health problems.

And yes, I'm going to miss being there and I'm going to miss Jim and all the things I listed above. But I can't in good conscience go back this soon after being treated so badly and feel like I'm being fair to myself. I felt let down and almost betrayed in May, and most of you probably don't understand that feeling I'm having, but when you love the Speedway like I love the Speedway, and you consider I've been attending Speedway activitives since 1963, you might begin to understand the hurt and resentment I'm feeling.

Will I quit going back for good?

No, no way.

Will I go back next year?

Probably, but the feeling will be bit different than it has been in years past, and you can bet I'll be listening to the weather forecasts, and if there's a good chance of rain, no, I won't be attending anything that day at IMS.

The truly sad part of this whole thing is that during Brickyard activities and even the Formula One activities, the seats that are undercover are OPEN, damnit! But during the month of May, and for activities pertaining to "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing," those same stands are CLOSED unless cars are on the track.

Makes no sense to me at all.

Then again, who am I?

I do know that I am a fan of the Speedway, the Indy 500 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. I know whenever I pass thru the gates on 16th Street and pass under the track and upon entering the Speedway itself, I get such a thrill when I get my glimpse of the asphalt around that famous 2 1/2 mile track.

That is a feeling that I experience each and everytime I see the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It's also one I won't be experiencing anymore this year, anyhow.

I truly hope by next year I feel like going back and enjoying myself there once again, and this time, I truly hope customer relations get their collective shit together and make it a more enjoyable experience for both the dedicated fans and the new fans as well.

If you attend any of the activities associated with the Brickyard 4oo this year, think of me when you do. Enjoy them for me as well, and if you see Tony George, tell him to kiss my carbuerator!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

No End To The Madness

Wow, here I go again, getting off a rant, but frankly, I couldn't believe my ears today while listening to the news. Once again (shock, shock, shock) the price of crude oil has reached an all time new high, over $75 a barrel, and this time, the blame is being put on the missile launch from Korea!

Okay, so now someone please tell me, but just how much oil do we actually get from Korea? Are we seeing the price raised because of "projected" fear of just what this tremendous shortage might come to? Are we afraid that maybe the missile might start a typhoon that will send rampaging waters across the continent and into the oil fields in the Middle East? Are the oil companies afraid that their executives might be the target of such a missile launch?(Actually, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me, really!)

We had the typical raising of gas prices last week because of the impending holiday weekend. After all, the news jumped all over the fact that the 4th of July is the largest travelled holiday during the entire summer in the US of A! Lots of factories and businesses shut their doors during the first couple of weeks of July each year allowing their employees time off from work and a lot of those same folks travel, so it's not any wonder at all why gasoline prices jumped nearly a quarter a gallon last week.

To boot, the really worst part of the hurricane season is yet to arrive, and of course, when it does, once again the greed of the oil companies will once again take over and cast common sense aside and gasoline will once again have the price driven further up by even more "projected fear."

I love that phrase, "projected fear." It has to be one of the most flimsy excuses for true price gouging I have ever read. And trust me, folks, that's exactly what we are being exposed to daily now, good old-fashioned price gouging, which of course, is against the law, unless of course you're in the oil industry. Then all you have to do is make the statement "projected" and add a word or words to the end, you know, like fear, higher usage, possible shortage, refinery cutbacks or maybe even profit shortfall! As long as that is stated to those who are supposed to be in charge of not allowing price gouging, all is forgotten and you and me and the rest of us working class folks are going to have to cough it up each and everytime we pay at the pumps.

Earlier this spring I bought my new scooter I told you about, and I had it in my mind about all the money I was going to save this summer by riding my scooter back and forth to work. Then my freak mowing accident happened, I broke my ankle, and the scooter has sat the past 7 weeks in the garage getting dusty and pretty much nothing more.

Next Tuesday, however, the cast is supposed to be coming off, and I double damned guarantee you I'll be back on it next Wednesday and driving it back and forth to work, getting my 75 to 8o miles to the gallon. I'm fortunate in that I only have an 8 mile drive to work. I can't imagine the people who have to drive 40 to 90 miles each day to work and what they have to be paying. I used to never let my vehicle get below a half a tank before filling it up. Now it's very rare I let it go below three quarters of a tank.

As the oil companies continue to rake in these huge, never before seen profits each quarter, the American public continues to pay more and more thru the nose, and they will continue to pay thru the nose until something is finally done. However, by the time that ever, if ever, happens, the damage will be done. Our economy is going down further and further each day, people can't afford necessary things anymore because their money is being eaten up by ridiculous gasoline prices.

My sincerest hope is that if an end is ever put to this madness, that those higher ups pay dearly for the larceny they are getting away with, and I also hope the lawmakers in this great land of ours also pay by not being re-elected to office. Unfortunately, this nation's people have a tendency of forgetting about being robbed whenever election time comes around, so it's no wonder the Amercian people are getting shafted more and more each day by the big oil fat cats.

Prediction: By Labor Day of this year I bet we see gasoline prices top the $4 a gallon mark and touch the $4.49 to $4.79 range, if not higher. Then, when gasoline drops back down to around the mid $3 range, people will be conditioned into thinking they're getting a bargain again. And if you think I'm wrong, take a look at what has happened the last three years or so...gas goes up 60 cents a gallon, drops back 40 cents, and people are thrilled that it's cheaper.

Pardon my bluntness, but BULLSHIT!

Two years ago you could buy a gallon of gas for around a buck ten a gallon.

However, that was before the world ever experienced:


Hey, oil companies and Washington fat-cat lawmakers, PROJECT THIS!