Wednesday, September 12, 2007

He's The One I Blame For My Treo Dependency

me: covering gq's vma party @ the mirage. soo wish u were here. smooch times infinity squared. luv u like soja luvs freedom.

CJ: no justice no peace. i'm sitting on the floor at anna sui taking polaroids of my shoe. isn't fashion so glamorous?

me: wait wish u were here 2 c this 1 lothlorien girl in a hemp anklet doing the robot w/her casa z man on the dance floor. like 1 of these kids is not like the others.


L'shana tova tikatevu, homies.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Notes on Nascar

I knew nothing about Nascar until I went to my first race yesterday, in the desert, where it was 112 degrees when we arrived (although the guy driving the tram from the parking lot said we were lucky; it had reached 121 the day before). Some observations:

1. I had been picturing a track surrounded by seating, like you'd find at any football or baseball stadium. Instead, it's a two-mile loop with bleacher seating on only one side--maybe a three-quarter-of-a-mile-long stretch of towering bleacher seats exposed to full sun. I don't know where all those spectators came from, but I never saw anyone like that before in Southern California. In some ways, it felt like being on vacation in another state, checking out how other folks live. (Just off the freeway on the way to the speedway, we'd seen a massive bass pro shop super store the size of Manhattan island. Or maybe Texas would be a better comparison. Anyway, it seemed like foreign territory, not even 75 miles from home.) Not a black person in sight. The blue-eyed boy was wearing a grey wife beater, because, you know, when in Rome. (N.B. If I were in the Hipster Olympics, I would select the tiny tee emblazoned with "Dale Jr." in pink script for the ironic T-shirt portion of the competition. Those tees and tank tops were plentiful at the race, often barely covering the spilled-over bosoms of big ladies who don't care about sunscreen.)

2. It was really, really loud. I mean, duh, right? But seriously it was so loud that it hurt. We tore up bits of napkins and put them in our ears, and it helped (although I already had a headache from dehydration and infernal heat). But most of the fans around us had these sophisticated headphone/walkie-talkie-looking contraptions. I'm still not exactly sure what these were, but I think they had a bit of a noise-canceling effect, and allowed you to listen to race commentary at the same time, and even see footage from dash cams on the high-tech versions. Some people wore no headphones, earplugs, or even bits of napkins at all; I can only imagine how they fared, but I'm too old for that experiment personally.

3. I think that yesterday I finally found my too-hot threshold. I love extreme heat, but, seriously, people; 112 feels like death after a while. People at Nascar races binge drink in that heat, and it leads to very gruesome results. I saw a guy hunched over a table who had vomited more volume than I eat in a typical month. It was memorable.

4. Speaking of snacks, the guys sitting behind me eating sunflower seeds at one point spit a shell right on the back of my arm in a cascade of suspicious wetness. I went for my purse to bust out the antibacterial gel and it was then I noticed I had dirt all up under my fingernails. How did that even happen? I looked at the blue-eyed guy with some shock in my eyes, and he told me it was OK, that I also had dirt or debris all over my forehead. What was all this dirt? It was grit-fest '07 out there, people. Shvitz and grit. (Shvitz-n-grit has a nice fish-n-chips style cadence to it, doesn't it?) When we came home, we took showers almost as good as those first ones post-Half Dome.

5. It was really hard to keep up with who was winning or losing at a given time because the cars whiz by like bullets. (When we first entered the speedway, it was during a yellow flag, and I remarked, "I don't know; these cars don't look like they're going that fast to me." Duh, Dubin.) Highlights were when the occasional car would catch on fire, or clip a wall or another car, and everyone would get excited and point to the giant plume of smoke originating on the track, which would soon hit us in the face with the smell of burning rubber and toxins. That's pretty fun, and admittedly more interactive than being a football spectator. In the end, apparently this guy from El Cajon called Jimmie Johnson won the 250-lap race. Then, fireworks went off, and he did some donuts on the grass between the track and the pits. That was good stuff.

So there you have it, folks. Notes from a naif on the second-most watched sport on American television.

(And as to the first-most watched sport? My heart will be forever with Cal Bears football. How ya like them apples, SEC?)