Irwindale Drag Strip 2/13/2014

My car has been in the shop for what feels like forever. Really, it’s only been about three weeks, but it would have been about one week, if it weren’t for a UPS SNAFU. In case you didn’t know, SNAFU stands for “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”

Well, anyway, I’ve been dying to drive something other than my little Toyota truck. I love my truck, but there’s something missing. Probably the other 4 cylinders.

In a moment of high-octane withdrawals, I called my cousin Cesar, and asked him to bring out his rotary. “I want to go to the races.” Here’s his little race car. It’s an old RX2 rotary powered monster.

“Oh yeah? You paying for gas?”


Done. Most car guys are easy. Gas, or beer if they aren’t driving. I’m the same way. So we headed out to Irwindale Event Center, home to my local drag strip, the Irwindale Speedway.

I took some pics too. Here they are. 

I have to admit, I’m really biased when I take pics of cars. i only take pics of cars I like. If you check out the album, you’ll see this gaudy red steering wheel, covered in some pebbly red material. I knew right away it was skin, because dude driving it had on a ten gallon hat and a belt buckle as big as a pizza pan. This is the garb of choice for a So-Cal “Paisa”, and dude obviously had some cash.

I asked him, “De que es el Cuero? (What’s the skin made of?)”

And he said, “Mata-rayas!”

Sting Ray. This guys wrapped his steering wheel in sting ray skin. PETA would shit. He killed a damned sand shark so his steering wheel could look cool. It was pretty awesome. I don’t condone it, I wouldn’t do it myself, but there it was in front of me, and it was awesome. Only sad thing is, that as a Mexican fisherman, I know that we don’t east Sting Ray. At least most of us don’t. (They’re all bone!) I’ve had some prepared Guaymas style, and after I ate it, I knew why most of us refuse it. It was pretty damned gross. Even the parts that weren’t spiny.

So anyway, kudos to you, red Sting-Ray-leather-steering-wheel-guy. You obviously do whatever the hell you want, and I can respect that. I just feel bad for the Ray.

We stuck around, here’s one of my favorite clips from the night. This Mustang popped a wheelie so hard, I swear the earth stood still for a second. And a small block too! As a small block owner, I feel a special pride when they make this much power. It’s more know-how than big parts, and you HAVE to do it right.

After the races we hit the traditional King Taco in East los for a quick bite on the way home. Lots of racers showed up, some still looking at their time slips in disbelief, wondering where they could make up a second, or shave a few lbs off their car. I did hear an interesting rumour that Terminal Island would be opening back up, I really hope that happens. I grew up hearing stories about that place, and I know it’s where people like Dick Landy, Isky, Cepek, Thomspon, Edelbrock, etc. used to beat up the pavement. Here’s an interesting video I found. 

Work Faux Pas yesterday.

I’ve been collecting LP’s. Vinyl. I love the way it sounds, I love the analog sound and the warmth, and space of the audio. I think it’s a million times better than any mp3, and a couple hundred better than most cd’s.

Anyway, the other day, a buddy (whom I work with) and I learned “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon. I decided I needed the album, since I loved the song so much. I scored myself a nice $5 copy from 1980 on vinyl, via ebay. Sweet! Starting over, and “Woman” are both on this record, and are to me, two of the best love songs of all time.

The LP arrived yesterday, at work. I grabbed my buddy, and we closed to the door to my office to put it on the record player (one of the nicer perks of working at a big record label) and CRANKED it. We talked and listened, and it was awesome. We took a break and listened to “Starting Over”, “Watching the Wheels”, and “Woman”. I wasn’t familiar with the rest of the album, so after my buddy left, I spun the rest of it.

Well about halfway through side B on this thing, John gave Yoko free reign. I walked out of my office during “Watching the Wheels” and came back horrified to find that Yoko was BLARING out of my office. nobody really said anything, we’re all pretty open to each other’s weirdness here, but this was a bit much. I had to apologize for my music, which is something I’ve refused to do forever.

This was Yoko though, and I was sorry. Truly, terribly sorry.

Reminded me of this. Exactly at the moment Chuck Berry glares at John, that’s how I glared at my record player. The performance on the record wasn’t quite as bad as this. If it were, I’d probably be fired.

Busy hands are happy hands! (Idle hands are the devil’s playground)

Started refinishing an old cedar chest my mother had laying around in the living room. It looks really nice, but was totally beat up. The kids had taken their toll with water rings and scratch marks from the years of toys and heavy, regular use. 

Here’s an album with some pics. 

Just a couple of pics, I need to add more as I go along. So far the difference is incredible. It was good to test out the new sander, a DeWalt sander I picked up cheap online. The pads stick on with velcro, something I never would have expected. The tool didn’t seem nearly as dangerous as I thought it would, I have bad memories of helping my cousin rough up a table, but come to think of it, he was using a sanding pad on a grinder, which is definitely not the safest thing to do. 

Anyway, it was a fun little project, and it is going to take some more time. there is an overnight curing needed for every phase of the refurbishing, and I don’t mind the wait. Patience is always a big part of crafting anything. 

Also hit the race track this weekend for some betting. I broke dead even after betting only a couple of times. 

In fact, pulling up my betting history, I see that I only made two bets, one for $6 which I lost, and one for $2 which won me $22.50 ! 

WebService February 4, 2014 4:08 PM 678417 Race 1 Yonkers Raceway WPS 7 Bet $6 $0  
WebService February 4, 2014 11:48 AM 354403 Race 3 Sam Houston Race Park $1.00 P3 (PWHL) 1 / 1 / 6, 7 Bet $2 $25.50  

Not a bad day, considering I had a blast, writing in my journal and reading the program while drinking with my brother. I also had myself a very spicy, very nice Bloody Mary.  It was a Saturday and I was a touch hungover from Friday night, which included a deep valley happy hour I should not have attended. In fact after the track I missed a Swinghouse Studios party, and I’m not looking forward to hearing how cool that was. 

Actually, I can deal with it, because last Thursday night, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Peer Music party for Andrew Simple. Simple’s song “Little Wildflower” wa chosen by Subaru for one of their commercials, and is a great song too. It’s rare that I actually get to really enjoy an act I see at a work function. They’re usually more pop oriented, but here I was able to really groove along with the artist, and enjoy the free hours d’oeuvres and beer. I even had a super foo foo Pomegranate martini that tasted like a capri sun. Here’s the Subaru commercial with the tune involved. I actually remember diggin the commercial,and the tune on their own before hearing about Simple. Here is the full version of the song along with the lyrics. 

So that was fun. I met some really cool industry people, as well as some leaders in my field. I even had a director ask one of my colleagues where I was, and this director took my buddy all over the place looking for me. I was pretty honored, which might be a little silly, but that’s ok with me. It’s good to know that your name means something to people, and that they would want to meet you in person, especially in the music biz. It’s especially nice when you’re talking, and there’s no need to wonder about the person’s credentials, because of the massive wall of Gold and Platinum records. It’s refreshing to meet someone and not have to wonder, “Is this guy for real?”

So it was a good week. I got a lot done, learned a lot, and did a lot of work. I couldn’t ask for anything more.