Archive for the ‘Formula 1’ Category

It's like a modern interpretation of the Tower of Orthanc... without the orcs.

It’s like a modern interpretation of the Tower of Orthanc… without the orcs.

So, many of you have probably read of my struggles with a certain cable and internet provider. Two days ago, I was ready to storm the Comcast Center in Philadelphia… HQ of the Evil Empire. Every time I’m in the City of Brotherly Love, I keep looking for Saruman looking out from the undistinguished building. And the architecture isn’t really inspired. It’s kind of like a blocky, 974 foot phallus.

Fitting, seeing as it’s the HQ of a company that likes to give you the shaft at most opportunities.

I’m writing today, though, about a generally positive experience I had with Jared, a member of  Comcast’s Executive Care Team. See, apparently my post on Tuesday ruffled some feathers at Comcast and they were quick to call me and ask me to return their call.

I waited until yesterday morning, giving myself a night’s sleep to cool off. My call was answered by a real, live human being who didn’t sound like he was somewhere in Bangalore. Jared listened as I explained my situation, was very quick to apologize for the manner in which I was brushed off, and in about 15 minutes had restructured our plan so we wouldn’t have to pay more for less service.

In other words, real world math. Best part is I’ll still get BBC America (Doctor Who) and NBC Sports (Formula One).

I really hate having to bitch, but sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case, I was assisted by someone who was courteous and professional. If I had to hazard a guess, Comcast keeps the good ones in reserve. At least my story had a better resolution than this one.

Map of last night's route

Map of last night’s route

Last night I managed to accomplish a goal of mine. I managed to walk the perimeter of Red Rose Commons (local shopping center) while on my break from work. I’ve done the half loop in many forms, but this is the first time I’ve done it and managed to do it in under 30 minutes. It was a big deal because I wasn’t wearing my Beasts, but rather my NB 857 trainers. Feet still felt pretty good and no sign of any blistering. I can deal with that. It seems that my ill effects from Saturday’s New York excursion have gone away. Other than my sunburned head, of course.

My other accomplishment dealt with my mom’s old KitchenAid mixer. A few years ago, she forgot it was plugged in and while pushing it back on the counter, she managed to turn it on while the dough hook was in the bowl. To make a long story short, mixer went *boof* and we had to get her a new one for Christmas. I took possession of the old one, figuring I could look into fixing it.

Stripped and broken gear, surrounded by a LOT of grease.

Stripped and broken gear, surrounded by a LOT of grease.

I did some research on and off over the last couple of years and I found that I could probably repair it, I would just need time and parts. I finally got around to tearing it down on Monday. I found, under the greasy nightmare, that the design had functioned as intended. A nylon worm gear had stripped and broken. The fact this item was designed to fail kept the mixer from serious damage and made it very fixable. So, went to Amazon, ordered a gear assembly, a gasket, and food-safe grease. Grand total for the parts was about $18 including shipping on the gasket. It should sell between $100 and $120 after it’ all fixed up. It’s a KitchenAid, after all.

So, there you have it. Accomplishments mixed with some actual service from Comcast. A pretty good day.

Oh, and in case the good service from Comcast wasn’t enough of an apocalyptic harbinger, I got an email triumphantly informing me that Sinbad was going to be at the Keswick Theatre and I should “Act now” to make sure I got tickets. Now, nothing against Sinbad… I always found him to be amusing, but if you’re datamining a profile of me, I’m pretty sure Sinbad’s not on the radar. I think this is a sign that the smart computers are getting ready to take over the planet.

Better start watching Doomsday Preppers for some tips on how to survive the end of civilization.

Song of the Day: You Dropped a Bomb On Me – The Gap Band

It’s been a good weekend so far, for the most part. The blister appears to be pretty much healed, I got to do the sanding on my project, and the British Grand Prix was a helluva race.

In the other good news, Supportive Partner Woman (Getting her work in!) has been hitting the gym with regularity. This makes me very happy that she’s been doing this. I know how much of a difference it has mad in my general health and well-being and I hope it has the same effect on her as well.

Yesterday was also a chicken BBQ day at the little Mennonite church on the corner. Pretty tasty stuff and, for me, two meals. 🙂 I ate the leg and thigh yesterday, I still have the breast and wing, so it might actually become a three-meal chicken dinner. I knew there was a plus to this surgery thing.

As for the blister, well, I protected it with moleskin when we went to the gym yesterday and stayed on the arc trainer and lifted weights. That was more for some protection, just in case. After I got home and took a shower, I figured I’d go without, since things seem to be really well-healed. After a few hours running errands and the like, I found that my sock was bone dry and the foot seemed in great shape. It’s a far cry from the last blister. I’m taking that as a positive sign. As for today, I’ll probably put moleskin on for the gym visit, just to be cautious, then I’m going without for the rest of the day. See what happens. I’m hopeful that there will be a Wegman’s trip today, which will be a nice change for the foot.

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen

I’d also like to give a shoutout to Nico Rosberg on his win at Silverstone today. Looked like it would be another Vettel runaway, but Nico was there when Vettel’s gearbox went and managed to hold off a charging Mark Webber for the win. Also, mad props to my boy Kimi Raikkonen for scoring his 25th consecutive points finish, setting a new record for consistency in Formula 1.

That about covers it for the day. Hope to post more frequently this week and maybe give a fundraising update. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Check out my Avon Walk fundraising page here!

Song of the Day: Slit Skirts – Pete Townshend

Good afternoon!

Neil at Fenway

Neil at Fenway

It’s been a few days since I’ve written. A lot has gone down. First of all, they took care of those two jokers in Boston. That’s a good thing. Granted, it’s not much solace to the folks who lost their lives or were permanently maimed, but it means they won’t be hurting anyone else. Secondly, Neil Diamond showed at Fenway Park to lead the crowd in Sweet Caroline. Granted, he was singing along with himself, which has to be a little awkward, unless you’re Bieber or any other of those modern-day hacks who can’t perform live to save their souls. At least he wasn’t lip-syncing.

We had Marvin the glass man in yesterday to replace the first two of four windows. He did a really nice job. It’s so nice to be able to look at the window and see more than just moisture between the panes. There’s one tiny hole where the gasket doesn’t fit the frame perfectly, so I went downstairs to find some caulk. What I found instead was a big puddle under the water heater. The water heater is not fast, though, however, the feed pipe has a pinhole in it. So, I’m waiting for Rob the handyman to show up and fix it. I always say that it’s important to have a stable of people who can do this sort of stuff, so you can get it fixed promptly by people you trust.

Other than that, the food intake has been improving, even if the toe isn’t improving that much. I’m still pretty bummed about that, but what can I do? No matter what I do, the tip of the tow rubs against the sock, the floor, or the Boot of Shame. I think I might have to have the podiatrist release the tendon that’s causing the toe to curl. Better than losing another toe. Back onto food, I managed to eat more scallops yesterday. They go down well and, more importantly, stay down. This is good. I’ve not had anything come up for two days, and I’ve had scallops and pulled turkey BBQ. Pretty yummy stuff. I can’t consume a lot of it, but that’s a good thing.

Weight has continued to decrease. Am down to 321.0 this morning. That makes 59 pounds lost, which is a good thing. I can’t help but think how much I’d be losing if I could actually work out. I know… nothing I can do about it, but I really REALLY want to get back to it.

Speaking of going back, I go back to work tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I’ll be glad for the work and the paycheck, but it’s the busiest two weeks of the year, so it will be a little crazy. Plus, I have to hope that my food continues to stay down. That would be awfully embarrassing. I’ll keep you posted.

I did manage to get up this morning to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel ran away with the race, but the two other podium spots belonged to Lotus, which made me happy, especially since Kimi Raikkonen finished second. He’s become my favorite driver, mainly because he spends more time drinking the giant magnum of champagne rather than spraying it. Gotta love it.

Have a great Sunday!

Song of the Day: Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond (It really couldn’t be anything else)

I’m a recent convert to what I now consider to be the finest automobile racing on the planet.

No, not NA$CAR. I used to be a NA$CAR fan, back in the old days. Before the Car of Tomorrow, The Chase and all the other stuff kind of ruined things. I know, the NASCAR “brain” trust tells us that the Chase builds excitement… that it’s a playoff system for racing. My reply is to ask in just how many other sports are the teams that didn’t make the playoffs allowed to keep playing?

Aerial view of Circuit of the Americas

Anyway, I’ve recently become a convert to Formula One racing, and if you ever need a reason to consider joining the fan ranks of F1, look no further than Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. Held at the brand new Circuit of the Americas track outside of Austin, Texas, the race was a showcase of driving skill and racing technology, all taking place on what should prove to become an iconic track going forward. Coupling with it a chance to clinch a world driving championship, there was a lot on the line as the series arrived at the brand new, $400 million complex.

Formula One and the United States have a checkered history. For twenty years, F1’s U.S. home was the beautiful Watkins Glen track in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Over the years, financial difficulties and a decaying track forced the series to move from Watkins Glen. It bounced around for a while, making street circuit stops in Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix. There wasn’t a permanent home until Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the race starting in 2000. It remained moderately successful until the tire issues of 2005 when the cars with Michelin rubber pulled out of the race, leaving the six cars with Bridgestone rubber to compete.

As such, there was a huge amount of pressure for the event at Circuit of the Americas to be a success. If it wasn’t, it would’ve cast serious doubts on the viability of the series in the United States. The day started with beautiful weather, some intrigue by Ferrari and ended with Lewis Hamilton‘s McLaren- Mercedes beating Sebastian Vettel‘s Red Bull – Renault to the checkered flag.

The day was beautiful, the track shone in the autumn Texas sun, a few clouds dotting an beautiful blue sky. Temperatures were in the mid 70’s, with a track temperature of 88 degrees. There was a crowd approaching 120,000. The track had been very slick through qualifying and the open practice sessions were the first chance many teams had to experience the track. There was a noticeable lack of grip and many cars were careening off the course until the teams were able to dial the cars in.

What followed, though, was a thoroughly entertaining race. While Hamilton and Vettel finished around 30 seconds ahead of the field, there was hard racing throughout the field.

I plan on watching next week’s season ending Brazilian Grand Prix, and being fully engaged next season. As I said earlier, it’s the best racing on the planet and well worth the time.

If you are interested in the difference between NASCAR and F1, check this out.