Nineteen Years Later

Nineteen Years

Nineteen years ago, your thick, oozing mess,
As black as the ink that told me it was
Spewed like vomit
From a drunk freshman’s mouth
Onto a Persian rug in some parent’s mansion

Nineteen years later still denying it was you
While we keep being reminded
By the moist, rotten, squishy stain left
Spilled in selfish greed and haste
As you ransacked a home that wasn’t yours

Nineteen years ago I stood there, naked
Embarrassed by the sudden light
And all their sympathy,
While you tried to make flaccid amends
And leave the room at the same time

Nineteen years later I still smell the air
Sweet, perfumed, like a cup of mint tea
I feel the rocks and the grit under my boots
And hear the birds and the waves
And know that I’m still at the edge of the world

Yet then I look down and see cancerous foam
Jiggling with a blind alien intent
And realize that you’re still here
Whispering in the corner, it’s not you
Nineteen years later.

IRL CCWS Amalgamation Headed for Failure?

In my last post I suggested that TG now has half of what he needs to take open wheel racing to a new level and hopefully save it from oblivion. The half I referred to was my notion that OWR requires a single leader if it is to survive. The other half is strength, that leader must be strong and dictator like in order to grow the business.

After watching the Speed TV interview last Sunday TG's response to Robin Miller’s question, - would he now become a full time manager and get out of the team ownership business and conduct the business like Bernie E does in F1, - I began to realize that my prediction of failure might be accurate. TG answered Robin’s question after some thought by saying basically no, me and my wife are team owners and we like what we are doing.

This attitude shows me that he has hardly, if even at all, recognized that strong leadership is a must for any business to succeed. This just seems incredible to me that he cannot recognize that his own IRL is on the brink of failure and that it desperately needs strong leadership.

At today’s press conference both he and KK were claiming that the amalgamation of the two series would begin to solve their issues of sponsorship and other problems that have faced the two series since 96. Although both admitted that it would take a lot of work and time get where they envisioned, this joining together would be was the best way to proceed to that end. I don’t disagree but it will require a strong leader and I don’t see that in TG.

Another thing I saw nearly absent during the press conference was the idea of best practices. When two companies join together one of the greatest things that happen is recognizing each others best practices. The only mention of that was Barnhart’s bit about bringing some of the safety folks onboard because CC had a recognizably superior group that the IRL could take advantage of. It was incredible to me that when asked this specific question TG deferred it Barnhart. The CEO had better know everything that goes on in the company and my impression is that TG is giving up to much responsibility to his underlings.

OWR in this country is a niche market, that market was split between two series until last Friday. Neither series has shown any signs of growth since the split in 96. It is my opinion that both series were on a death course which might have possibly been nearing the end. Now with the amalgamation of the two what will happen? Well it’s still a niche market, can it be made into market big enough to support OWR. Maybe, but that is a tall order, one that I have seen better leaders than TG fail at.

I can’t predict the future but I suggest that Open Wheel Racing fans prepare themselves for life without open wheel racing. It may not happen soon but if someone doesn’t figure out this leadership thing it is very likely to happen eventually.

New Car Negotiation, Price Quotes, and Finance Advice

I first must say something that many do not want to hear. The job of a Car Salesman is to sell their car at the highest price possible and the customer is trying to buy the car at the lowest price possible. This is automatically set up to cause conflict, but you must realize a car salesman is hired and trained to make the dealership money. This makes some angry, but think about your own job. You are hired to make your boss or your company more money. If you are in customer service, your job is to make customers happy so they spend more and come back more often. If you work on an assembly line, your job is to perform your job as fast as possible to make more units at a lower cost per unit so your company can make more money. Any job you think of is in place to make the company money unless you work for a not for profit organization.

When you understand that a car salesman is there to do a job, it will be a lot easier to haggle and get a better price. Let me say this though. If your salesman lies or cheats you in any way, this is a whole different issue, I have no sympathy for a lying salesman--throw them to the wolves! I say haggling or dickering is good clean fun for both parties. Many customers enjoy this part of the sales process and many hate it, but I will show you easy steps to get a better deal on your next new or used car, truck, or SUV.

Now, with all that said, lets assume you know what car you are going to buy. You have done your preliminary research and have narrowed it down to at least a certain class of cars. You may be to the point you are comparing a Pontiac G6, a Nissan Altima, and a Toyota Camry. Try to narrow down to the point you are comparing 3 cars or 3 trucks etc. Don't get to the point you are comparing a Nissan Maxima and a Toyota Corolla unless you want to see which is going to be in your budget. You don't know how daunting it is to a salesman when you are comparing my top of the line car to a budget car at another car lot. And you are telling me my car is too high, but you don't want to look at my budget car. You can see what I mean, compare apples to apples.

Looking for a new car?

To negotiate to your advantage you must break your car deal into components. You are saying, Components? Yes, your car purchase has several affecting components. You may have a Trade In - 1 component, Price on the auto of your choice - 2ND component, and the Interest Rate at which you will finance - 3rd component. You also have some sub-components like how long you will finance your car. Will you finance for 60 months, 72 months, etc, but we will leave that for another discussion. Lets focus on Purchase Price, Trade In, and Interest Rate. These are the 3 main things that are negotiable on a new car purchase and used car purchase.

My first car negotiation tip is an easy one and the main component when buying a car. The price of the car your are buying is negotiable. You will have a salesman tell you the vehicle is already discounted from the factory with rebates. You and I both know the car can still be discounted from the dealership unless you are buying a Saturn with one price shopping. I will say GM has gone to value pricing and it has narrowed the margin of discount, but it still can be discounted. The best way to find out what you can buy the car for is at Yahoo! Autos This is a FREE service so take advantage of it. Just click the link and pick the make and model you are shopping. You will be taken to a second page with 3 simple steps. Fill in the form with which trim level, color, and any comments for other options. Fill in the 2ND step with your name, address, phone, and email. The last 2 questions are payment method to see if you will be using rebates, and buying how soon--put within 48 hours or your quote will be set aside. The 3rd step is important, make sure you check the box for (select all dealers). This will ensure you get the lowest price possible. Then click the button that says (Get Free Dealer Quotes). Sit back and check your email for the easiest way to get quotes quick. If you do nothing else, follow this step as it can save you thousands. You can also go back and select another make and model you are shopping to comparison price shop.

The second negotiation tip has to do with interest rate when financing your auto. Many do not realize that one of the most profitable aspects for the dealership is financing a car. Here is how it works. The dealership does not finance the car, they actually finance with outside banks and just do all the paperwork necessary for the bank. The dealership sends the signed paperwork to the bank and the bank cuts the dealership a check. This is why all dealership sales are cash sales, but cash sales do not make any money for these car-lots. The dealership pulls your credit and sends it to the appropriate bank. The bank sends an answer back that says your buy rate is 5.75% or whatever it is according to your credit. Now, pay attention, this is when the dealership says we can do the loan for you at 7.75%. These 2 percentage points on a 20,000, 30,000, or even 40 or 50,000 auto can add up. The bank will then finance your car, send the dealership their money for profit on the car and interest profit over what they charge. So the question is how do you know what interest rate you deserve. I would say check with your bank, but dealerships get lower rates than a customer from some banks so why not apply for a loan directly with a Direct-To-Consumer Lender, Roadloans. Dealerships are not allowed to use Roadloans as they only deal directly with the consumer. And, when approved you will get a blank check overnight in the mail with instructions to buy a car. Now you are a CASH Buyer!

The last negotiation tip is when it comes to trading a vehicle. This one is a little more difficult, but there are a few tips to ensure you get the most for your trade. The biggest problem when it comes to the trade in is negative equity. I have a few tips at Negative Equity; Trading a Car When You Are Upside Down! Another way to avoid being upside down is to check out tips to sell your car instead of trade. is a good place to see what your car is worth. When you put your vehicle in, make sure you don't put excellent condition. The dealership must figure in expenses with your trade such as running it through service to check it out, detailing, getting dents and dings out, etc. Kelly Blue Book figures are a little high anyway unless you are in California or some of the other big cities.

When you have received your low quote, obtained financing, and found what your vehicle is worth, it is time to go to the dealership. It should be pretty easy at this point. You already have the price you will pay and financing, so it comes down to trade in at this point if you even have a trade. This should be the easiest car you have ever purchased.

Used Car Prices and how they are determined!

Electric Hybrid Aptera #1 Car Of The Future

The #1 Car of the Future
By Adrienne Markovic

Gas prices are up and rising. Human overindulgence and waste are escalating as the population continues to grow. Recently the clever people at Aptera have come up with a solution to at least one out of two of these issues with their futuristic ride. Just looking at the Aptera one would think that it is some far-out concept car millennia away from the production line and more apt to be in a live action movie of the Jetson's. The Aptera is taking the auto industry's talk about a more efficient car and putting into action.

The company's mission statement is "to make the most fuel-efficient vehicle the world has ever seen, and to make it stylish, incredible safe, and fun to drive". ( 2008) Aptera began their mission five years ago and, in record speed, have two models of car ready for the production line this year. The Typ-1 is currently taking pre-orders now. Aptera currently comes in two versions, the hybrid and the all-electric. The electric only will cost $26,900 and the hybrid will cost $29,900. The Aptera will only be available in the state of California initially. This is because the only Aptera service centers are only in California currently.

The Aptera is a three-wheeled vehicle that looks like a bubble. This body was engineered to eliminate as much drag as possible. The most revolutionary aspect of the car is the performance. This is no mere glorified golf cart. This car can go up to 90 mph and can go from 0-60 in ten seconds. The battery can be charged in 2-4 hours or overnight at the approximate cost of $1 to $2. Perhaps the best thing about this car is that it gets 300 miles per gallon. The efficiency is the car 's major selling points, but the perks do not end there.

It is not just a car for those in the population under 5'. This car can comfortably fit someone up to 6'1". What's even better is that because this car is has three wheels, it is allowed to go in the HOV lanes as a single occupancy vehicle, just like motorcycles. However, you do not need a special license to drive as you would with a motorcycle because it is an enclosed vehicle. It is also equipped with all the modern conveniences such as a CD/MP3 player and a touch screen navigation system. It has a RFID keyless ignition just like the latest and greatest luxury cars on the market today too.

Aptera is harnessing the future and setting the bar very high for automakers everywhere. The Aptera is not only efficient but has all the bells and whistles and creature comforts of their gasoline counterparts. Aptera means wingless flight in Greek. The Aptera is so far advanced it looks like flying is the only thing Aptera cannot do... yet.

Adrienne Markovic Marketing
Appeal Media Interactive Studios, LLC.
In the Heart of the Gaslamp!
311 4th Av. Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92101

Making E85
Is a Hybrid Car For You?
BioDiesel Conversion
BioDiesel Process
Take a Ride In a Hybrid Car
Hybrid Tax Credit
Pursuit of Hybrid Synergy
Electric Hybrid Aptera
Hybid Cars, Whats the Big Deal?

Back for a limited time only

Free mustache rides, now until camp starts. Then you'll just have to settle for my wheel.

12 more days.

One last blow

The day is gone.
The clock's run out.
So one last chance
To scream and shout.

They've finally hope, so
Let's make 'em suffer.
To shield their faces.
To miserably shiver.

They sense the days
Are soon in coming
To run and play
in song and dancing.

I hate to see
Those happy faces
Our time is over
And there's better places.

So one more swing
Of jealous rain,
Of petulant rage
And snowy pain.

So they will remember
It's only the Sun.
An empty promise
Of eternal fun.

Japanese Art Truck

Not to be left out, but art trucks are pretty amazing also, brought to you by PingMag

First Rule of Bike Club DON'T DIE.

Please don't mistake me of making light of this fatality. It is a disaster and a tragic loss for Chicago cycling. According to Chicago Bike Racing, Matthew Manger-Lynch had been doing well in the famous Chicago alleycat stage race, Tour da Chicago, and had recently received his USA Cycling license in order to compete in sanctioned racing as well. My heart goes out to Matthew's wife and family, and his friends and mine that were at the scene this morning.

Mark and I rolled through that intersection on our way to meet some fellow team members on the lake front this morning, and as soon as I saw the flashing blue lights and diverting traffic, a familiar sight, I felt dread growing in my stomach.

Alley Cats are fun, a unique and cutthroat competition, a much better way to spend the morning than working at, or driving to shop at, Wal-Mart, and also dangerous as hell. Especially with a prevalent anti-car-culture ethos that leads to brash behavior and a level of posturing that can only be described as a death wish.

I competed in my only Alley Cat last summer, and even that evening I knew it would be my last. It was incredibly fun and the best time I'd had on a bicycle in a long time, but I was a bit tense the entire evening while being witness to some very dangerous and stupid red-light "negotiation". The afterparty the next evening after the day at the track was a ridiculously fun time - I tied for first place in the IRO Sprints. Cyclists are the best people in the world to party with. But tonight, I can only imagine the gloom and rock bottom spirits of the Tour da Chicago participants that no amount of PBR will be able to drown.

Bicycling is a celebration of life and human ingenuity. Yes, our firmly ensconced car-culture is an unmitigated disaster for our society today, but our job as cyclists - should you choose to accept it - is to promote our passion as the alternative, in actions as well as words. I consider motorists who harbor rage and indolence towards cyclists and our cure as children who must be shown the way through education, not browbeating and abuse. They are trapped in the Matrix of car-culture and simply know no other way of life than driving and entitlement to the roads. There is an abyss of misunderstanding.

At best, stop-light crashing cyclists promote the ire of infringed motorists and the reaction of the police against uninvolved commuters and training teams. At worst, one more voice of our gospel is silenced, the witnesses to the bloody scene are scarred for life, and everyone else - Steve Dahl, maybe? - just reading the news are left to shake their heads and say, "I told you so."

Took the 'Vette out for a spin today

It was pure heaven this morning.

Up before sunrise for coffee and NPR...met Mark at the Dunkin' Donuts and Jeff at Starbucks. The sun was bright and the air was crisp. We caught Kevin on Ravenswood, and just before Warren Park, JT rode up beside us. Nobody else was at the corner, but soon a large Wicker Park group rolled up, and we just hung out for a bit as everyone caught up after spending most of the last 4 weeks riding indoors. The ride commandments were recited by brother Kirby and off we went.

Easy pace, spinning fast, with one flat tire and a crash onto the shoulder aside, we rode smoothly up to Highland Park with no gaps. The fresh, cold air felt good in my lungs, expunging the accumulated dust and stale air, and the ropes of my legs flung about and loosened up. Rode easy into the coffee shop, having to piss terribly. We visited with the VW-Trek guys a bit, drank espresso and joked around before a group headed long.

I'm glad I'm on a rest week. I have not felt better since November, strong and lean. I've been getting lots of sleep and flexibility, I've lost over 15 pounds, and feeling my fit onto the bike forming nicely. I begin the build phase next week, increasing my workload by about 15% for two weeks before camp, and then it will almost double the week I am in California. Some guys had their rest week last week. It will be tough to have three weeks on and then go to camp. But, in the end it will still be extremely fun for all of, and we'll all get the sleep and relaxation we'll be begging for when we return. For Hillsboro is less than two weeks after.

Still, it was time to rev the pistons a bit. True, I should've kept it steady the whole time, but you need some mental work as well, and what the hell do we ride this many hours for if it can't be fun, right? So I took a long pull once onto Green Bay, and then sat in and let some newbies attack early, then riding a wheel up through the gap. But right before I jumped and cleared everybody else, Kyle let loose off the front and got off too big a lead for me to catch him in time. So elementary (and not very fast), but it felt soooooo good to actually feel the ground moving again under my wheels!

The mocha and canoli at the ICB have never tasted finer, and a breakfast of hearty rye French toast awaited me at home. A gourmet dinner and more wine than is necessary will be had with friends tonight, and then another two hours tomorrow with Jeff, and...viola! Another red "X" on the calendar.

13 more to go.

Wood Gas Car

Wood Gas Car

This Swedish car that runs on wood gas is simply a must see video. The engineering is superb and even the artistic qualities are on the rustic side of things. You could probably take this thing camping and cook food right on the trunk and on those cold nights, stick in another log. I love it and well done guys.

Haiku Friday!

To my French Press:

Your perfume wakes me
The scent of Earth Mother's wrist
Sensuous teasing

Gritty, oily crust
Primordial ooze, seep down
Infuse my morning

Black electric jolt
Runs through my veins, will push me
Right off of a cliff

To greet the sunshine
Morning breeze and chirping birds
Oh I want to fly

Ah, Roma!

Today's post is a flashback. Exactly one year ago today, I was on my first (and only, so far) trip to Rome. (Note, some of these pics are cut off, just click through to see the full image, if so.)

And off we go!

Roma, Bin 8, 1024
Bin # 8 to Rome.

Mat il trano
Almost there...

Our first view of Rome, outside Statzione Termini

The Hostel
"Hey! Shutta your-r-r-r kid up-pa, eh?! He-a playin' the saxomaphone all-a day-a long-a! Pasta fazzule!"

Hostel Piazza
Courtyard of our hostel. A private room with 2 bed, bath, bidet (well, a hose out of the wall but it got your ass just as clean), breakfast included, at only 12.5 Eu a night.

The Room
Nice, room, eh?

The Creation of Man - Jigsaw
"The Creation of Man" the jigsaw puzzle, framed on the wall of our room.

The Roman Subway
Roman subway.

The Collosseum, First Glance
"Dov'e posso comprare bigletti di calcio por AS Roma?" After leaving the hostel we set out to try and find tickets to the soccer match that night between AS Roma and Lyon. We found out that the game was almost sold out, and the cheapest available seats were 85eu, almost $120. We decided against it, and lucky for us, because the game later that evening ended in a scoreless tie. We decided to hit the sights, instead.We've all heard the phrase, "It took my breath away." But it's so cliché it doesn't really mean anything. This was sight that greeted us as we walked out the exit of the "Coloseo" subways station. I sucked in my breath with a tight "whoosh" and held it for a few seconds as it registered that I was really looking The Collosseum.

Constantines Arch, AD 313
The Arch of Constantine, outside of The Forum.

The Arch of Titus
The entrance to the Forum

The Temple of Saturn
The Temple of Saturn (huge!)

The Forum

Roman Hot Dog
A Roman hot dog, purchased at a snack cart just outside the forum (along with a 32 oz Peroni!)

Phil Peroni
Phil. Beer. Rome.

Monumento Vittorio Emmanuel II
Il Monumento Vittorio Emmanuel. Here's a video of Piazza di Bonaparte.

Outside the Pantheon
The Pantheon.

Mat Brian at the Pantheon

Roman Scooters
A typical Roman street, lined with scooters.

Wine in Rome
Il vino.

My Italian Namesake
Note the street name above the hospital sign.

Phil at the Bar
Watching the first half of the Nice v AS Roma match.

Brian at the Bar

Pizza later, second half
Our 2nd dinner of the night, 2nd half of the match.

The Elle MacPherson ad was placed directly across the street from a Communist Party office.

at the last bar
Around 2am, chatting with some German tourists.

Collosseum at Night

Buona notte!
Buono notte!

Free Espresso!

Vatican Museums line 2
The line for the Vatican Museum. I have 3 other pictures of this. It was nearly a mile long at 11am. We were slackers and had to skip it.

St. Peter's Square 16x
Piazza di San Pietro. Click here for the video.

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Cathedral.

St. Peter's Square Brian
Mustache rides in St. Peter's Square.

Inside St. Peter's 3
The church was literally lined in gold. The collection plate ain't getting another dime from me.

Inside St. Peter's Brian

St. Peter's Altar

St. Peter's under the dome

The Line for the Dome
The line for the dome. Baby chicken is getting impatient.

Halfway up the Dome

Tight Fit
It was a tight squeeze getting up there...

Rome from St. Peter's Dome
A thousand words.

Phil and Rome
Phil, I'm lost in your eyes like a big pizza pie.

Baby Chicken inside the Collosseum
Back at the Colosseum, baby chicken can barely contain herself.

Collosseum and Senate at Dusk

Fontana di Trevi
La Fontana di Trevi. Make a wish!

Antipasta di Anchiovi
Antipasti di Anchiovi

Ravioli e il Vino della Casa
Primera, ravioli

Baby Chicken's had a bit too much

Il Pesce e l'aleo e potati
Secondi, fish with garlic and potatoes.

Where does the table cloth end?

Circus Maximus
Circus Maximus, site of the chariot could almost hear the crowd's roar.

World Cup Graffiti
World Cup graffiti.

I loved the random temples around the city.

At the Andy Warhol bar...

Death of a President
Now playing.

Blog Archive