Boogity boogity boogity…

…let’s go RACIN”!!!!!!

They’re running at Talladega today, the biggest day in sports in Alabama (yes, Iron Bowl, but the track at ‘Dega holds more than Bryant-Denny OR Jordan-Hare, and the fans all agree: hate Gordon). It’s a special race, and it’s a nice thing to have to point to in Alabama. But having to fly that same weekend always makes for a pricey trip…

(Don’t know why this didn’t post on its original date. Suffice it to say the finish was exactly what I expected.)

How long has it been?

I’ll tell you how long. When I first got Danny, the girl in the passenger seat was Katie.

Yes, that Katie. 14 years and 205,495 miles ago, she was the third or fourth passenger ever in my new 1993 Saturn SC 2. Dad was first, of course, driving home from the dealership. Who was second? My grandfather, who was still a regular Tuesday-night dinner guest (and who had over 10 years left to live). I was at BSC. I hadn’t even started applying to grad school yet – hell, I didn’t even have a summer job lined up yet.

Time passed.

Danny was named for three basketball players – Majerle and Ainge of the Phoenix Suns and Servick of the Panthers, all of whom combined quick movement with tenacious defense. The aquamarine coupe only had a 4-cylinder engine, but produced 80% of the power that my much-heavier Monte Carlo’s 305-ci V8 did – and with considerably more torque. It was compact, zippy, and got easily twice the mileage of my old ride with MUCH less smoke pouring out the back. It was new, it was fresh, and it was reliable, just asking to be pushed.

So I pushed it.

Danny has been parked by the beach in Pensacola, in a back alley off Bourbon Street and by Fenway Park in Boston. It’s been pulled over on a snowy stretch of the Ohio Turnpike and on the side streets of Arlington, Virginia. It’s taken me through the dark woods in New England, over the George Washington Bridge in New York City, through the suburbs of Chicago, across the Cumberland Gap. It’s carried me through overnight darkness in Kentucky, tornadoes in Kansas, and rush-hour traffic on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. It took me to Vanderbilt, it took me to Washington DC, and eventually, it took me to California. The same car that drove me to Piggly Wiggly in the pre-dawn hours in Warrior, Alabama, drove me back and forth to my office in Silicon Valley.

I’ve eaten Milo’s fries and In N Out burgers in this car. I’ve had Swensen’s drive-thru in Akron, OH, Varsity hot dogs in Atlanta, GA, and Dairy Queen on the outskirts of St. Louis, MO. I’ve bought fudge on the north fork of Long Island, a service plaza on the Indiana Toll Road, and a Stuckey’s in Wyoming. I’ve spilled coffee from Bongo Java in Nashville and Clocktower in Mountain View. It’s played mix tapes, iPods and satellite radio. I’ve sprayed off sand and scraped off snow. I’ve gotten out and walked on the beach on both coasts.

It carried my dad. It carried my wife.

I broke down last fall and picked up a new car, a gray VW Rabbit. It does just fine, for what it does, but it doesn’t feel the same. In less than a week, Danny will be towed off, a donation to the Arthritis Foundation in honor of its first passenger. It leaves behind memories enough for several lifetimes.


Vanderbilt has won its first team national championship – in women’s bowling. OK, it’s no Sugar Bowl or Final Four, but it’s a national title in an NCAA-sanctioned sport, and what the hell, I’m proud. Hopefully some of it will rub off on our baseball players.

Would somebody please remind me that I do not need a new cell phone, a new pair of sneakers or new sunglasses? At all? Thank you.

Work is making me quietly insane – I just sort of hit the perfect storm of covering another person’s job for 3 weeks at the same time as catching a sinus infection (right maxillary sinus, if you must know) and tendonitis (left wrist). It all adds up to one big ache, punctuated with snot and coughing. Not too too money!

That’s about all I have at the moment. Although Celtic is in the Scottish Cup final. That works.

The Pride of the Clyde!

Despite a 2-0 loss on the road, Morton FC have clenched promotion to the Scottish First Division. They will start next year playing only one division down from Celtic. This after sinking to the Third Division only a few years ago when the financial situation of the club was in doubt.


Happy Easter!

Remind me next year to give up something a little less trying for Lent. Before long I will be pounding an entire six of cane-sugar Dr Pepper and that will be just fine. Who knows, I might even fire up one of the cigars…

Meanwhile, Vandy is back at #1 in the baseball polls. Omaha? Maybe? Ever since I disowned my undergrad alma mater, the Dores have done a good job of picking up the slack. I am very pleased with this.

We’re starting the evaluation process for a TV upgrade – it’s time to join the 21st century. However, this is more complicated than it sounds – it’s not just HDTV, but a new DVR, a new DVD player, probably some speakers, and definitely an AppleTV – and there will have to be some sort of accommodation with DirecTV. And that ain’t hay. Given the process that went into picking my new car, it will be a low-grade miracle if I wind up with a new TV before the analog switchoff.

If the wife gets the week of Christmas off, I’m tempted to make another run to New Orleans. (By way of Mobile and Biloxi, of course, to keep peace in the family. The wife needs more amusement than can be provided by just pounding Sazeracs at Jean Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop.)

Now this is like the old days.

One guy gives me a serial number. Another gives me an install disc. Another gives me a replacement hard drive and a site from which I can download, burn, and install a disk image. Another three or four post on websites with technical gotchas and information.

And with all that help, a little screwdriver work and a few scattered free moments later, I have three – THREE! – operating systems on the metal on my MacBook. OS X 10.4.9, WIndows XP, and Ubuntu Linux 6.10.

And just like that, I’m ready to start learning again. My eyelids are heavy, the clock is running, I have somewhere to be at 8:30 tomorrow morning…and yet, I’m not going nowhere. It’s as if the clock rolled back 12 years, and here I am again, trying to find the bits I need to squeeze out another K of free RAM or another few blocks of disk space. I can learn. I can teach myself. I can still do this.

It’s going to be a *really* good spring.