Sunday, September 30, 2007

Victory In Defeat

Stormin Disclaimer: This isn't exactly a diatribe about racing, but one about competitiveness and sportsmanship. It happens to revolve around a racing team that has been continually involved in conflict. It saddens me that the team is tearing itself apart because of it, but the point of this whole thing is competitiveness, not racing. The footnotes are to provide interested readers with more information that may pertain to the sport, but which is not necessary to understand the intent of the post.
Please note that I am the first person to taunt a loser, spike the ball after a touchdown, and do burnouts to celebrate a race win. BUT, I don't make millions of dollars to compete in a sport watched by almost one hundred million people. And I certainly don't throw a loss in the face of a teammate to celebrate my victory, or throw one under the bus to win.

Yesterday McLaren-Mercedes ROOKIE driver Lewis Hamilton won another race, his fourth of the season. The Japanese Grand Prix victory has given him 107 Championship points, and a twelve point lead over his teammate Fernando Alonso in the World Championship standings.

So far the rookie has been so consistent in his performance for the Silver Arrow team that he (allegedly) has alienated his teammate and reigning world Champion Fernando Alonso by relegating him to second place. This is one of the reasons that I have been a bit bitter about how this season is turning out, and have not posted a bunch about F1. I'm not frustrated with Hamilton for winning at all. He is one of the greatest drivers on the track and while he may have been brought in to support the man that would be king (Alonso) he isn't supposed to lose.1

Alonso has given the appearance of being a bitter teammate as Hamilton has rapidly evolved into (arguably) the best driver in Formula One today. While it must be difficult to watch as a rookie comes in and supersedes your position at number one, it's not appropriate to be a dick about it. Simply because he is a TEAMMATE! I know that racing is an individual sport, but if there is one person that you need to at least be civil with, it's the person with whom you work.
Hamilton is not blameless in any of this either. He has battled hard for the championship and allowed the relationship with his teammate to suffer as well. The following are the most public events in this battle for position within the leading team in F1.
(Fair competition is (and has been) the stated goal of the FIA2 every season. Their regulations exist as an aid to that goal, and each of the following incidents have undergone their scrutiny already. In many instances "fair" is indeed the enforcement of good sportsmanship, but it isn't always a requirement. So note that the sports governing body has been involved in each of these incidents.)

In the fifth race of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren-Mercedes was holding positions one and two with Fernando Alonso leading. His fuel load was five laps less than Lewis Hamilton's, and Alonso was called into the pit lane early in the race to refuel. This put Hamilton into the lead, and with his extra fuel he would only be required to make one pit stop during the entire race. This would have allowed him to win the race...
Two laps after Alonso's stop, Hamilton was ordered into the pits to refuel. This early refueling forced Hamilton to refuel a second time in order to finish the race, causing him to forgo an almost certain race victory, yield first position in the race, and in turn in the championship points, to Alonso. Team boss Ron Dennis later admitted that the early call into the pits did in fact occur intentionally to allow Alonso to win. The team (and Dennis) maintains that this decision was made because of a possible deployment of the safety car, which would slow the race and accelerate the burning of fuel in both cars. Calling in Hamilton first would have to potential to hand him the victory. Calling in Alonso first gave the same result to the other driver. The team maintains that this was not an attempt to give away the victory, but rather to leave the race with the maximum amount of championship points for the team as a whole by securing a 1-2 finish for Merc cars. They felt more secure in placing Hamilton in the second position than Alonso.
A subsequent investigation by the FIA found this strategy was not in violation with F1 rules, which require that no team order a driver to allow the other to pass, lead, or in any way yield a position as a result of the order of the team. Passes must occur as a result of driver skill, or the other driver voluntarily yielding the position. 3 This was not considered an ordered pass, but rather a successful execution of team strategy.
Hamilton was markedly upset in interviews after the race, but kept his composure in front of cameras. Neither player is to blame for the incident, but only one would have to put their teams position ahead of their personal gain. Hamilton had not yet won a Formula 1 race, and it is easy to see how it could be taken (especially by a rookie driver) as a theft of his first chance at a victory. Hamilton had 4 consecutive second place finishes, after having finished third in the first race of the season.

In the eleventh race of the season, the Hungarian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso "blocked" Lewis Hamilton and relegated him to second place in qualifying, as the clock expired4 before Hamilton could begin his last qualifying lap. This requires some explanation...
In the Q2 session Hamilton was told to allow Alonso to pass him (legal) to lead a lap and he did not. Team boss Ron Dennis was reportedly furious.
As the Q3 session was ending Hamilton and Alonso had been setting the fastest times of the day, going back and forth for the lead. The two drivers were "stacked"5 in the pit lane to both get a fresh set of tires and try for one last lap. Alonso was in first, and McLaren-Mercerdes team boss Ron Dennis has the pit crew "hold" Alonso in the pits for an additional 20 seconds "to allow cars to pass and give Alonso an open section of track to set his time." The clock was winding down, there was time for one last lap for both drivers. Alonso followed orders and sat for twenty seconds. As the signal was given for Alonso to leave, he sat still for an additional ten seconds, as his pit crew furiously gestured for him to go. This is not something that you can miss. It is very apparent, and even I was screaming "GO" at the TV. Hamilton's change was held up, he did not get to run one more lap, and his time was beat by Alonso on that last lap, putting him into first. The incident did not end there...
The FIAs race stewards (judges) found that his maneuver was intentional. Furthermore, it was believed that Ron Dennis ordered the hold of Alonso to "teach Hamilton a lesson," and that his reason of a clear track was bogus. They ruled against the team and docked Alonso five places in qualifying. This moved Hamilton into first position, and relegated Alonso to sixth. McLaren-Mercedes was docked ALL of their teams championship points from the race, but the drivers were allowed to compete. To this day Alonso maintains that he was asking questions about the tires put on his car over team radio.
But the story does not end there.

After the qualifying session Hamilton was (allegedly) furious. The following conversation took place over team radios:

Hamilton- "Don't ever fucking do that to me again!"
Dennis- "Don't ever fucking speak like that to me again!"
Hamilton- "Oh go fucking swivel on it..."

At which point Hamilton ceased radio communication and Dennis removed and then slammed his headset into the console in the team garage.

As a polite note, all of the team personnel continue to deny any "bad blood" and maintain the public profile of a team that is having to deal with the internal affairs that all teams must have as each driver wants to win themselves. I know that it has to be difficult to have the two top drivers on the same team, but I do wish that they could manage to get along and realize that their quarrels are in fact hurting the team. Examples of poor sportsmanship like this have caused me to lose a large amount of pride in my favorite team. I do hope that they can recover.

Here's a screen shot of my computer. I still have pride in my guys, but I do wish that they could have the same amount of pride in their TEAM as they do in themselves.

1: Stormin Disclaimer: Second Place is the first looser
The FIA stands for "Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile," and the organization is the governing body of Formula 1 racing.
The teams in F1 are allowed to issue orders based upon positioning in practice and qualifying, but are not allowed to issue position based orders to drivers during a race. These orders come across helmet mounted radio systems. In the past teams have ordered drivers to allow the other to pass as a result of Championship strategy. This is no longer legal.
Traditionally, teammates will sometimes WILLINGLY yield position to allow their teammate to secure necessary points to secure a World Championship. This must happen as a result of gentlemanly concession, and not as a result of any issued order. When gentlemanly concession does happen, the incidents are usually investigated by the FIA to insure that it was the result of driver will and not team orders.
: F1 Qualifying is set in three timed stages. The sessions are designed to eliminate slower drivers from the track. After sessions one and two they shrink the field of drivers by eliminating the six slowest drivers after Q1 (positions 22-17) and again after Q2 (positions 16-11). This allows the ten fastest drivers more "open space" on the track to set the bar for times. The final ten are "penalized" by having to fix their fuel loads, which means that they must start the race with the same amount of fuel that they qualified on. Lower fuel loads make for lighter/faster cars in qualifying, but increase the number of times that they must refuel during the race, which takes about a minute to do (including pit road speed limits and refueling times, they actually can refuel the car in less than TEN SECONDS).
"Stacking" cars in the pit lane is accomplished by having both drivers on a team in the pit lane at one time. The team is given only one pit position to work on active cars (but two garage spaces to work on inactive cars), and therefore one driver must wait while the other's car is refueled, adjusted, and the tires are changed. Again, this usually is done in TEN SECONDS... The second driver simply sits in neutral directly behind the first, and waits.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


After an entire week spent thinking about nothing but work I think that I have gotten really tired of having to change the way I do things. I just want them to hurry up and do the surgery so that I get back on the way to things being "back to normal."

There is so much about my day that I have had to change just to accommodate this stupid knee.

Including (but definitely not limited to) cutting out a majority of the athletic activities that I enjoy.


Aside from that, tomorrow I will waste a majority of my time at work writing my NFL preview for this weekend.

A bit more fun.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Three and OH...

So of course my Colts continue their run of absolute ass kicking. It's not a shock, but it's enough to warrant the title of the post, even though that's all that I am going to talk about it.

The rest of the week has been an interesting mix of work and medical appointments. The results are in, and they aren't pretty. I have torn my ACL and Meniscus, and will require surgery to repair it.

As such I have been in a foul mood all week.

In other news, even though I hate Kanye West personally, and I hate 50cent too, Kanye West's album does have a better sound to it... I ended up listening to both when at a friends house while playing Madden. So if you have to support one of these morons, KW is actually the better sounding of the two. Which of the two is the bigger moron is definitely still debatable.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Where'd That Knee Go?

So yesterday, after a long, boring day at work. TimmyTim and I met up at the gym to play Racquetball...

Probably fifteen minutes in I went after a hard hit ball in the corner, planted my feet, and crushed the hell out of the ball. While pivoting to hit it, my knee decided to stop working. It buckled, and I dropped. I got up, tried to put pressure on it, and just fell again. The pain was amazing. Probably the most intense thing that I have ever felt in my entire life. Time, 7:30PM.

So I hoped my way out to TimmyTim's truck, with him acting as a human crutch, and off we go to the hospital. I elected to wait longer to go to a hospital that I prefer and TT agreed.

We get there and there were a lot of people in the Emergency Room. I guess that last night was the night to get hurt. Even with the crowd, the check in was quick, and we were told to go to the rapid care office on the other side of the entrance. This is about 8:15PM.

Rapid care is apparently nothing rapid at all. We watched the end of Big Brother, and then the
entire episode of CSI. Just me, my wheelie chair, and my cold packs. TT was relaxing in a chair, and I have to say, the time just flew by. I really like that show...

After CSI (10:00PM) we flipped over to Sportscenter, and were chatting with the people in the waiting room. This guy comes out of the door (patient) and walks toward the exit. Not paying attention, he walks directly into my outstretched leg... I swear to God, if I hadn't been confined to that chair I would have beaten him to death for causing me that kind if pain. He looks down, and keeps walking to the exit. Leave it to TT...

TT - "Hey, tell me that you're at least going to appologize for hitting him directly in the leg?"

Douche- *shrugs*

And off he walks out the door. I would have said something, but I was just focusing on working through the pain.

TT was pissed, and one of the ladies in the waiting room made a comment about it as well. I assured them that I was fine, and I let it go. Whatever, the guy looked like a complete waste of resources, and kicking some douche's ass with my one good leg would have proven nothing. But it got better... The guy comes back in and walks directly to the restroom. Leaving the restroom he turns to TT (not me) and says, "you might think about turning him so that his leg isn't in people's way," and before TT could even respond he was out the door and into his ride, a delightful Toyota POS. Thankfully his windows were down.


And everyone in the waiting room laughed it off.

Finally at 11:00PM they call me in. Within an hour, they had four X-Rays taken, and I'm waiting patiently in the room for the doc. It's now just past midnight. And by the grace of God, someone shows up with some pain killers for me. A delightful little concoction called Percocet, which is an old Latin term meaning; "EVERYTHING is gonna be just fine." I do have to say that in the 5 hours or so of being injured without the meds, I had become quite competent at pain management.

So they brace up my leg, set me up with an Orthopedic surgeon (follow-up) on Thursday, and tell me to do nothing with my leg until then. I have one of three possible injuries.

-A severe sprain (what we're hoping for)... No surgery and a 6 week recovery.

-A torn Meniscus... Surgery

-A torn ACL... Surgery and a longer rehab.

So let's all hope for Sprain.

After leaving the Rapid Care Facility, we had to go fill a prescription, get some stuff from my car (which was still at the gym), and then get some food (neither of us had eaten since breakfast). We decided to check up on the car first.

Of course, I see my car in the parking lot at the gym, and I can't leave it there. I remove my brace, and drive it home with TT following close behind. WOW, talk about the pain fighting through the meds. But my baby was home safe and in the driveway. Off to get some drugs and crutches.

We go to the Walgreens by my house. Closed.
We go to the Walgreens somewhat near my house. Closed.
We got to the Walgreens nowhere near where I live, but still close enough to try. They have RUN OUT OF PERCOCET!!!

But the lady at the desk has a plan. They call the nearest Walgreens (even further from my house), and confirm that they indeed do have Percocet. So we know where to get my drugs, and head out.

Arriving at the new Walgreens, we drop off the prescription and are told it's a half hour wait to fill. Fine, plenty of time to get some food at 2:00AM.

We go to Dennys, and they're closed from 11PM to 3AM for kitchen repairs.
We go to Jack In The Box, and the lady at the drive through tells us that they're closing after the car in front of us.
We go to the cafe in town, and they're just not open that late.

In this time we've spent the entire half hour we had to get food, trying to find food. Screw it, it's just not my night...

So we grabbed my meds, headed back to my house, and found some food along the way. I got home at 3:15AM. My last concious act was to email my boss, and tell him that I needed the day off. I was OUT.

My hat goes off to TT, the best friend that a guy could hope to ever have. 6 hours with me, and he had no complaints about it. He was up for work at 4AM Thursday morning, and didn't get home until 4AM Friday morning from helping me out. Where would I be without my friends?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


So today just would not come to an end. The day just dragged on and on, with no end in sight.

Then when I finally thought that it could get no longer, the boss decided that we needed to all chat about our plans for the fall, and how we were going to approach some very big numbers from last year. As it's said, if you're not growing, you're dying.

So this meeting started at 4... And dragged ON AND ON.

It's not as if the meeting wasn't useful, it's just nothing that I
a) hadn't heard before
b) didn't already plan on doing
c) wasn't capable of being informed about via Email

I don't expect everyone in my office to enjoy typing or reading long emails. I'll even admit that I print out emails that are longer than a few pages rather than scroll through them.

I also don't expect them to remember everything from last fall. The fall in which my team was the one setting the record numbers that we are now trying to better. Some people weren't even with us, so it's new news to them. I know how I am going to manage my division in September, but maybe my ideas are useful to help the new guys.

The one thing I don't understand is how I end up in these things until 10PM...

I was at work at 7AM...

But hey, whatever. It's still beer.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Where Are The Brakes?

Because around here I can't get the "Fun" to stop.

So after the ridiculous Friday and Saturday, this morning was going to be nothing but relaxing and taking it easy. A long day of watching football on TV, and doing approximately NOTHING.
Of course nothing happens as it's originally planned. I got a phone call from one of our major suppliers at 11AM asking what I was up to today. I hesitantly said: "Nothing."

Their reply: "Wrong answer, you're coming to the Seahawks game with us today."

"OK, I'll meet you in 15 minutes," was the obligatory reply.

The Seahawks are the hardest ticket in town to get, and nobody in their right mind says no to a game. It just isn't done. Even if you don't like Football, there is so much to do at the Stadium and so much fun to be had that even the biggest wallflowers turn into social butterflies. See the pictures below for an example. ;-)

Here's the view from where we parked. This is the best parking in the area, and by permit only. I would never in my life PAY what they charge to park here:

Some of the guys from our supplier picked me up, and I got a lift to the game with them. Here's BFiddle counting out the cash from his expense account for the game. Yes, those are hundreds. Yes, I think he's crazy to be counting it in the middle of the parking lot. So of course, the world can now enjoy his insanity:

This one is the rest of the guys and gals from the beer company (and some random kid). They always park next to one another and ALWAYS tailgate before games. I am so glad that I did not drive myself (like the rest of the reps coming out foolishly opted to do), because I would have missed out on the most fun part of the pregame.

Jim made the mistake of telling Kelly to "Kiss His Ass" when she asked for another beer, and standing on the cooler to stop her. That immediately led to; "Well does that get me the beer?" The problem with our suppliers is that there are no real limits, and you better back up what you say. Don't commit to something you don't plan on backing up, is the golden rule.

Kissing someone's ass does get you another beer, right away, and I'm glad that Jim's wife saw the humor in it. She's the one in front of him, "making it a threeway." This did not bother Jim at all. :-)

His wife was laughing harder than I was, and actually yelled out (with all of his co-workers and I standing right there), "I won't even do that when you ask nice. You owe that girl more than a beer." JIM TURNED BEET RED, and kinda chuckled. We were all dying after that one, and I almost cried I was laughing so hard.
He agreed that Kelly was indeed the Queen Of Commitment, and she no longer had to walk anywhere.

So I tried to get all of the guys (and gals) together for a photo. It turns out that Kelly is determined to not let any of the photos turn out as something I can put on my desk at work to commemorate the first game of the season:

So I distracted her, and took another. She still didn't drop the shirt...

And another distraction. This draws the tounge out, and a point, but still no shirt shall be dropped. Not like my company has an HR department that cares, and I've seen much racier photos at work. Oh well, I'll put their names on it and throw one of them on my desk.

The seats were on separate sides of the stadium, and in the exact same spot. So we were sitting across from one another. This is the point when a couple of the guys stole my camera and began taking random photos.

Here's BFiddle, and DirtyD staring at the SeaGals our cheerleaders. They were shaking it and on the big screen. Looking at the girls this year, I can't blame them for being distracted.

The opening coin toss, as photo'd by DirtyD. He was having way to much fun with the camera.

BFiddle wanted to get in on the fun, and demanded to photo my new favorite shirt, which he had been laughing at all day. The bastard didn't even give a warning, just snapped a picture.

Of course, I had to get one photo of the three people making trouble in front of us. BFiddle, DirtyD, and Mischa (I would go with Canadian Mischa, but I'm sure she isn't the only one).

Then the obligatory photo with Mischa's husband Crazy Scott. We call him that because he's a Buccaneers fan, and had the audacity to wear the jersey to the stadium. This is a huge no-no, and he got shit all damn day because of it. I will give him credit though, it takes stones to represent a visiting team! Even with the constant threat of getting his ass kicked, he cheered for his boys (who lost anyways).

Then Mischa and BFiddle got into a disagreement about who had the better chest. Thankfully this one was kept to a PG rating, but DirtyD snapped a picture to show around and settle the debate.

Then the obligatory photo of the reps above him (again, with no warning). Note that in this shot us men look gay. The women sitting around us, and paying attention to none of it, just the beer. It's a big happy work family, we're used to seeing everyone... :-)
But hey, Jackie did her best to make it look better. Which again, is only OK due to my company's complete lack of understanding about "sexual harassment." What can a guy do but smile about that one and high five a friend? (Don't worry, that one only got to a PG-13 rating.)

Then a photo of the whole gang, note that this was not the first attempt.

This was the first attempt, which is why I am always the one taking the photos and not in them.

And then Crazy Scott, who would not sell out his team, even after they just lost their asses off, in a game that will haunt him forever. (or maybe a week or two)

In closing, even though I am a die hard Colts fan, for a day I can root for an NFC team. After one day of screaming, drinking, and screaming some more, there is one image that stands above all others.

This is the spirit of Seattle. It's a football team. One that has fans that are dreaded throughout the league. Leading the NFL in false starts in Qwest Field happens only because it is so loud that it's actually bad for your hearing. The players that go against this city's team always have one solid complaint; they can't hear on the field. It's people that make that happen. People like the ones in the photo above that get there three hours early, and are there yelling until the last second ticks off the clock. And it's not one or two dedicated groups. It's all of the fans. Every last one of them.

They may not be my team, but this city lives for it's football, and I am happy to be a little part of that. If only from time to time...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sore Throat

So last night was a huge gathering of people from out of town for the Washington State University vs San Jose State University football game at Qwest Field today.

There were at least twenty people at my buddy "The Dirty Coug's" house, and it is a ridiculously good place to have a party. Right on Lake Washington, with a huge dock, bigger deck, and a hot tub. We managed to leave the house after about 3:30 in the morning.

Then today I had really great seats for today's University of Washington vs Boise State University game at 12:30. I was up at 8AM, and up at the stadium tailgating by 9:30. Beers, Brats, Nachos, Chili, Spinach Dip (yeah, sounds weird for a tailgaiting dish but we all love it).

The game was a blast, and we ended up drinking after the game for a couple of hours. I am so beat right now. Two days of just a little bit to much fun, and so much screaming that I can barely talk.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Colts WIN

And the NFL season is underway with a devastating victory by my Colts.

Drew Brees: "Is the season over? No, it's one game. Maybe we deserved to get our butts kicked."

They got kicked, spanked, and bent over...


Colts Win.

Colts Win.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Dave Matthews Band Concert Recap

So it took two fulls days of being home before I was able to even write this damn post. Lots of resting and recuperation were necessary after that amount of partying. I think that I have not had that much fun at a concert in ages.

Or maybe since last year. One of the two...

What follows is a very brief photo tour. Our entrance had no pat downs or anything like that, but I was a tard and didn't bring a good camera to shoot with. Just something that fit into a pocket, and no tripod...

So long night shots.

Here is our parking, with the hatch on The Mad Scientist's car already open for business.

And the pre-show provisions. They do have booze inside, but what is the fun of going into the show without a decent buzz going on.

Here is a photo of the normal parking, from where we parked.

And here is the tour bus, as photographed from where we parked.

Meanwhile, The Mad Scientist felt it necessary to drink Astronaut Juice on the roof of the car. Astronaut Juice is a delightful mixture that would make NASA proud. It consists of a 1-1 mixture of Bacardi 151 and Water, and is flavored with Tang powder. An eight ounce serving is perfect, and tastes like nothing but Tang. The booze is totally hidden.

Here is our entrance, photo'd from the car.

I could not help but photograph the giant banner proclaiming just where we were.

Inside had to be one of the nicest concert area's ever. Flat screens to watch the show (for the poseurs who weren't there for the music), chars and tables everywhere, and a buffet.

They were just setting everything up when we went in the first time, and we snapped some photos and went back to the car to drink.

We played Frisbee for a while, had a few more drinks each, and then decided to go find our seats. The concert was a couple of hours away from starting, but we knew that we could go back to the lounge and hang out once we knew where we were sitting.

We found what had to be the shittiest seats at the concert.

Ours, thankfully were nowhere near those seats.

We ended up meeting some cool people. Adam and his wife moved here from the east coast, and we are all planning on hanging out in Seattle, and showing them around town.

Then the concert got underway... The light show was phenomenal right from the beginning. Blinding even.

The rest of the show was all but impossible to get a good photo of, but it was a really good time. I think I went through $100 in beers, but the convenience of having them delivered right to your seat makes that far to easy. The Mad Scientist drove, and we were back in Seattle by 3AM. I was in my house and in bed by 4... Though TMS told me that I drunk dialed Miss Very Nice on the way home, to see if she wanted to meet me there. Apparently not...

The only one waiting for me at home was one very pissed off dog.
(Wow, bad angle, he looks so scrawny in that picture when he happens to be a really big dog. I guess that the camera dropped 10lbs...)

He really looks pissed that he's been woken up...

All things considered, I had a great time and can't wait to go next year.