We just got back from the Austin Formula 1 Grand Prix...longer post to come [with pictures], but in the meantime, some placeholders:
* Trucked Will's car down, so much easier [and cooler] having our own car there.
* Stayed in same hotel as the Mercedes AMG Petronas team [the SLS Black that Lewis had for the weekend was *gorgeous* <drool> ].
* Awesome drive with a buddy over Twisted Sisters...sooo much fun, an incredible day.
* The McLaren hospitality crew were *amazing*. Many good conversations with Andrew, Gemma, and George, much respect to the whole team for what they do.
* Friday Free Practice was definitely worth going to. Not as many people, much more relaxed.
* Pit walk was cool, and our badges got us into the exterior of the McLaren pit. Way interesting, but not as cool as...
* ...the personal tour of the *garage* with Peter, a McLaren employee who has been with the team for over 20 years.
* Lots of swag: hats, bags, a jacket, headphones, earplugs, bluetooth speaker, signed pics of Sergio and Jenson.
* Speaking of signatures: Will persevered through ridiculously cutthroat fans and got his car's circuit panel cover signed by Jenson. Fuck yeah.
* Qualifying was much more active than we'd seen in recent races, which we were very okay with for our first in-person race. :^)
* Race day was hot and sunny...90+ degrees [and rising as the track heated up], sun beating down. Didn't stop us from staying outside to watch everything, though. Huzzah for copious applications of sunscreen.
* The drivers are smaller than they seem, especially when you see them out of their racing suits. Their weight is *strictly* managed, so they are wiry, lithe, thin buggers. Even the 6-footers seem small, since there are no extraneous ounces on them.
* Austin handled the event rather brilliantly...traffic was copious but manageable, and everything was well-marked, with lots of people around to help you if you got confused. Very impressive.
* The sound. Holy shit, the sound. Those cars are ridiculous. TV just doesn't capture it. The high-pitched pissed-off wasp whine as they pass by on the straight going full bore. Even more surprising was the low bass grumble they put out when crawling [hah! pit speed is 60MPH, hilarious to call that "crawling"] through pit lane...you just don't expect that, and you don't really get to hear it much on telly. I am very, very, very glad that we were able to hear those cars in person before they move to the V6 turbos next season.
Lots more, will sort through pictures and mementos and pull something together in the next week or so.
To sum up:
An incredible time, definitely want to do it again. :^)
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
We just got back from the Austin Formula 1 Grand Prix...longer post to come [with pictures], but in the meantime, some placeholders:
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Speaking of feeling isolated: just found out early this morning that a friend of many years died a few months ago. I lived next door to her when I was in junior high and high school, and she was one of the few that kept in touch with me when I moved out to California. We sent letters and cards back and forth, chatted on Facebook, and any time I went back to visit my family, we always found time to sit and chat, some times for hours.
I'll miss her.
Posted by stacey at 10/08/2013 07:52:00 AM
Monday, October 07, 2013
A weird and sad dream last night: long story short, lots of folks gathered [include too many lost to time, circumstances, and death], all of whom made very sure to tell me that they hadn't kept in touch because I was "so self-sufficient" that they didn't feel the need to reach out. They were very apologetic, and went to great pains to tell me that it wasn't because they didn't care, or that they had forgotten about me...it was just that they knew that I wasn't someone that needed constant contact in order to know I was loved.
Annoyingly, I woke up crying...I had been in the middle of a conversation with my mom, and she was apologizing for not reaching out to me more. It was actually a conversation we'd had in real life a few times, so it was especially real. The dream, especially ending the way it did, hit a few deeply-attached issues: missing my mom, my friends, my family; the way I've been feeling a bit lost and alienated; the frustrating side effects of living a fair distance from many of the people who are important to me.
That last one was another topic that Mom and I had talked about a fair amount: the whole "living away from the people who matter". She lived a number of years in other states and another country, so she definitely knew what it was like to be "out of sight, out of mind", and to feel like she often had to be the one to make contact [and how needy and desperate that made you feel, rightly or wrongly]. We talked it over off and on through the years, never really coming up with anything that helped...it was just one of the factors you had to accept when you moved away from a previous stomping ground. Neither of us were the "force ourselves on other people" type; if we reached out a few times and were rebuffed, we accepted it and moved on. Doesn't mean it didn't ache a bit, though...as evidenced by the "strawberry daiquiri" conversations we had over the years. No answers, but knowing there was someone else who felt the same was a great comfort...
And while I'm whining: don't you hate waking up in the middle of an emotional dream? Good, bad, sad, whatever...that weird state you are in when you wake up is so bizarre. You are feeling some strong emotion, but you know it's not based on anything real; or rather, the feelings are real, but the circumstances aren't, so you aren't quite sure how to process it and get over it. Dreaming is such an odd thing for the brain to do...apparently it's necessary, but man, it can mess you up sometimes. And boy, so some of them really stick with you...
Next time, I'm aiming for the "secret passage on the stairway leads to the darkened room with the candles and the sunken tub and the floor-to-ceiling window that is looking out onto an amazing lightning storm" recurring dream...
Posted by stacey at 10/07/2013 08:51:00 PM
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Once things calm down a bit, I'll get organized and pull together an album of before/during/after shots of The Great Landscaping Project of 2013...in the meantime, a few progress shots of the front half of the house:
|Looking slightly left out the front door [the neighbor's house is further away than the steep hill makes it look]; hillside being replanted, new irrigation system being installed|
|Down the front of the house: driveway extension, more hillside prep. Eventually we will replace the shed with a garage/workshop.|
|Side of the house - lots being done here: water, electric, irrigation; paving and cleaning up what was a really random and ugly area; making a better spot for green/trash/recycling cans; fence being extended and gate added|
Posted by stacey at 9/11/2013 09:06:00 AM
Thursday, September 05, 2013
A close friend of mine has seen more rough times and draining circumstances than ten people should ever experience in their lifetime...they are currently dealing with yet another dying friend, sitting with them, getting hit with that reality check yet again. As we were sending messages back and forth, I found myself typing out the bit below. I'm posting it here so I can have it for later...it is the closest I've gotten yet to fitting words to some of the stuff rattling around in my head.
I'm not afraid of death, and I really don't even worry about dying myself. It's the void, that hole shaped like the person you lose, that is hardest for me....the thousand and one times that you think "I totally need to tell them about this", only to have the reality hit you again. It hits a little less hard over time, but never completely goes away...and I sometimes feel like a bit of flimsy, delicate lace, riddled with holes that used to be filled with the people who were a fundamental part of what makes me "me". I'm still me, but a little less so for having lost them.
Posted by stacey at 9/05/2013 09:48:00 AM
Friday, August 30, 2013
The Great Landscaping Project of 2013 begins tomorrow morning...for the next month, pretty much the entire area outside the house is going to be in chaos as the landscapers re-envision, wrangle, and rebuild the greenbrown mass of randomness that is currently living on the bits of our land that aren't a house.
It's going to be interesting.
Posted by stacey at 8/30/2013 10:55:00 PM
Thursday, August 22, 2013
A nice, mellow birthday...woke up to breakfast and birthday cards, played some online games together, had an amazingly relaxing shower including back, hand, and foot rubs and hair shampooing [all courtesy of the too-awesome-for-words husband], saw a movie in a near-empty theater whilst crunching on nachos and popcorn, and now a chill evening at home with absolutely nothing on the calendar that requires our attention tonight. That's my kind of party.
Posted by stacey at 8/22/2013 06:58:00 PM
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Had an awesome time this past Thursday night...Will and I headed down to Monterey for a sneak preview of Ron Howard's "Rush", courtesy of McLaren Automotive. If you aren't familiar with the movie, it's the story of the epic F1 rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, and the events leading up to and following Lauda's disastrous crash at the Nürburgring in 1976 [Lauda drove for McLaren for a while during his career and they provided quite a bit of access to their history and archives for the film, which is why we got treated to the special preview a month before the movie is to be released].
Monterey Car Week is going on, making it a very appropriate time and place for the screening. It was a good crowd of about 180 or so people, including fellow 12C owners and dealers from around the country as well as folks from the home office; it was good to see Marcus [Manager of McLaren Special Operations, an awesome and very genuinely cool guy] and Frank Stephenson [designer of many cars, including the new Mini and the McLaren 12C, and a true force of nature] again, and we always enjoy hanging out with the guys from the SF dealership. There was a line of 12Cs parked in front of the theatre; Will's car is still rocking the official McLaren camouflage wrap he put on for a rally last month, so it stood out a bit amongst the others...though all eyes were on the new Pagana Huayra that parked across the street for a bit, gorgeously over-the-top with its all black carbon fibre body and "look at me" lines. Car Week is awesome that way... <grin>
The movie itself was really quite good. You don't need to be a Formula 1 fan to enjoy it...it's a classic tale about drive, determination, assholery, competition, sex, champions, underdogs, overcoming challenges, love, conflict, all the good stuff. It was done well; the pacing was good, the characters were surprisingly relatable, and even though I knew the story and knew how it would go, I still found myself tensing up during the last 20-30 minutes of action. There were some awesome cinematic touches: shots from inside the car that made you wonder how they did it, the voice-overs that caught you up and gave you an idea of the personality of the character without being too cheesy, and the use of photos of the actual drivers during the end of the movie [it made you realize what a great job Ron Howard did of capturing the look of the drivers and the era]. The effects were incredibly well done, and the crash was painfully realistic [more than one person wondered if they had used actual footage of the 1976 crash]. The actors were quite good...I went in with doubts about Chris Hemsworth, but he played Hunt rather well. The same with Olivia Wilde as his wife...much like Hemsworth, I tend to only see "them" and not the character they are playing, but she rocked this one. Alexandra Maria Lara played the wife of Lauda with understated grace, showing the conflict between supporting her husband's passion and knowing what it could mean to him and to their life together. Daniel Brühl as Lauda was the best...he embodied the stoic and calculating Lauda brilliantly, playing the driven asshole well without going too far. It all came together into a very entertaining package, and I left very impressed. I highly recommend it.
So big thanks to McLaren Automotive and to Alessandro at McLaren SF for the invite and the awesome time. Good movie, good company, cool cars...not a bad way to spend an evening.
Posted by stacey at 8/17/2013 09:53:00 AM
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
And there go any plans for the summer...Will's dog Darwin had to have some pretty serious surgery on both of his hind legs. He tore ligaments in both knees, requiring a procedure called a TPLO [tibial plateau leveling osteotomy]. The surgery involved cutting the top bit of his tibia off and shifting it sideways to level out the angle at which the bones in the joint meet; the shifted bone end is held in place by a metal plate and many screws, so he has quite a bit of healing ahead of him.
Poor little guy is looking at 8 weeks of recovery, then another 8 weeks of rehabilitation. For the next two weeks, he is only allowed to walk three times a day for 5 minutes; then 10 minutes per walk for the next two weeks, building up to a whopping 15 minutes three times a day for the next month . This means careful monitoring of him to be sure he doesn't hurt himself or aggravate the injuries, which includes carrying him around outside of those allowed walking times...and he's not a small dog. Hauling around 40 awkward pounds of injured dog is interesting to say the least, especially one with two wonky back legs. Add in twice daily meds and sedatives, with all the fun of shoving bitter pills down a non-cooperative dog's throat, and you are looking at fun, fun times.
So for the next four months, no more having friends over for barbeques or drinks or swimming, no more both of us being able to go out together, and a lot more logistics and figuring out who/what/when/how until Darwin heals enough to be left safely on his own. Hopefully the poor puppy heals quickly and is patient with us as we try to make him as comfortable as possible...it's always rough when an animal is hurting. :^(
Posted by stacey at 7/10/2013 09:01:00 PM