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blawwgery F1

Turn and face the strange (ch-ch-ch-changes)

I’m currently sitting in an undisclosed location, pondering the events of the past week. For those of you living in a cave, SPEED lost the rights to broadcast F1 in the United States as of the end of the 2012 season. While this was something I knew was a possibility, when the word came down it was still a shock.

As some of you are aware, I have been fortunate to provide some of the incredible people who bring us Formula 1 on SPEED with insight on how to make their Twitter feed “not lame.” For the record, I am not paid – but I have visited SPEED World Headquarters and watched an entire race weekend unfold (amazing, as you would imagine, and an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life). I was able to participate in several components of the race broadcast, and it was an experience I won’t soon forget. I’m not trying to make it seem like I’ve had some major part in making the coverage as awesome as it has been or the past several years. I just annoy Frank and tell him when I think they’re doing something lame…and when they’re doing things right. I just feel I need to share, in the interest of full disclosure, my involvement with the Formula 1 on SPEED team.

It’s just how I roll.

Over the past several days, I’ve seen a lot of rumors about the coverage, whether the team will be at Austin, what lies ahead for out beloved Formula 1 on SPEED crew. I do not profess to know everything – far from it, in fact. However, as several people can attest, I thoroughly enjoy ferreting out sources and consolidating data into useful information. I thought it would be useful to start collecting what we know (as fans) in one place, so we can work on 1) quashing rumors and 2) ensuring our broadcast team and associated crew are with us from 2013 onward.

If you have information you’d like me to add, please post in a comment and I will do my best to incorporate. I am trying to keep this as news-outlet and verified as possible – but if you’ve a juicy rumor or bit of news that may not be validated yet, I’ll consider posting (with a huge UNVERIFIED).

Everything started with a Tweet from the Associated Press’ sports feed:

The Beginning of the End

When the news hit, I was oblivious…getting my hair cut in preparation for this trip. It’s a good thing no one was around to see me cry, for it was an ugly cry. (You know what I’m talking about.) I came out of the salon to a million messages.

I cried. I dried my face. I got angry. I started researching.

NBC, according to this article, intends to provide live streaming content of all 20 races. (Sidebar: is this officially 19 with NJ reportedly off the calendar for 2013?) Additionally, NBC is stating they will provide all practices and qualifying sessions on NBC Sports Network.

This article delves into a little more detail on the four races broadcast by NBC, and it appears these races (at least three of the four) will lend themselves to live mid-day broadcast.

This article, from the official-official Formula 1 site, discusses the races and reiterates the points from the second linked article.

There’s something about Formula 1 fans in the United States. As followers of a racing series that gets virtually zero mainstream coverage, we tend to stick together. We also tend to try to spread information as it is received – since you can’t rely on mainstream coverage, you do what you need to do. I’ve seen a new Twitter feed pop up (I have nothing to do with it, I swear) that’s working to organize a protest. I think it’s wonderful to see this kind of fan support! I hope the NBC Sports Network and NBC in general see this kind of fan support, and take good notes.

I’m incredibly disappointed to hear SPEED has decided to pull the team from Austin, as I think it demonstrates either a lack of commitment to finish the broadcast on a high note or a petty response to the shift in coverage. Either way, I’m devastated I can’t meet up again with Frank, Justin, Steve, David, and Bob…and can’t believe SPEED would be this short-sighted. (FOR THE RECORD: MY OPINION.) I wanted to finally meet Leigh! I still need to thank Will for dancing for my birthday last year!

A CALL TO ACTION

Jon Miller, president of programming, has a Twitter account. I’ve verified, as closely as I can, this is the correct Jon Miller (I know there was some confusion before – there are two Jon/John Millers on the NBC executive board). We need to show him we have a voice, and we want to keep the broadcast team as whole as possible.

YOUR TASK

  • Post a message to Jon Miller (@JDM1114) via Twitter. BE NICE. Remember Wheaton’s Law? Follow it. We need NBC Sports to hear our voice, not dismiss us as a bunch of boorish freaks.
  • Follow Mr. Miller. No promises he’ll respond to any of us, but it’s always nice to throw a follow.
  • Spread the word. Let’s see what we can do to get Mr Miller to hear our voices.

Thank you, all of you. Our voices should be heard – let’s make this happen.

Categories
blawwgery F1 grace in small things

Grace in Small Things #3

  1. Hockenheim is an old-school track. I like them better than the sterile Tilke tracks.
  2. Nothing exploded at work today.
  3. Today was the first day in 28 days where the temperature was lower than 90 degrees. I’ll take it.
  4. I have awesome friends. Not many, mind you, but the ones I have are absolutely incredible.
  5. I may actually have a little time to knit this weekend.
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blawwgery grace in small things music

Grace in Small Things #2

Today’s edition is kind of a music edition. Chris is traveling, so I have my music cranked and I’m singing. Loudly. These five songs are all songs I can’t help but sing at top volume. (Aren’t you glad you don’t live close to me?)

  1. Tori Amos, “Pretty Good Year”
  2. Mumford & Sons, “Little Lion Man”
  3. GLaDOS & Jonathan Coulton, “Still Alive”
  4. Bon Iver, “Holocene”
  5. Peter Gabriel, “Solsbury Hill”

Music’s important, man.

Categories
blawwgery grace in small things

Grace in Small Things #1

Puttering around the internets, I saw a link to Schmutzie’s Grace in Small Things¬†project.

I figure any war against embitterment can use as many people as possible, so I’m going to give this a shot. Maybe it’ll get me accustomed to posting more over here. This site is quickly becoming a repository for the Attrition Game and YouTube videos I don’t want to lose.

Without further ado….

  1. I have access to central air conditioning. This is WONDERFUL, considering mid-MO’s been in the midst of a massive heat wave for over a month.
  2. I now know how to play chess. I never thought I’d be able to learn. Now I have the rest of my life to hone my skills. This makes me incredibly happy.
  3. I worked out over lunch, so now my evening’s completely free.
  4. Avocados.
  5. The last FOX race is on this weekend. (I may use this more than once. Is that against the rules?)

Yes, I realize everyone did this back in 2010 and stuff. What can I say…things take a little longer to get to mid-Missouri?

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blawwgery

Happy

Today was a Good Day.

  1. I played chess. A lot. I’m learning from probably the best teacher out there. He’s not a chess master, but he knows how to teach. Helps massively.
  2. I watched a group of my students walk across the stage and accept their undergraduate degrees. Of the four who walked, two are coming back to complete their Master’s degree in September. Feels good, man. Feels good.
  3. Did I mention the chess? Seriously. I have never felt so challenged in my life. Learning from someone else – not from a book, not from aimless trial and error – is refreshing.

As part of my ongoing quest to learn chess, I’ve started talking to some of my peers regarding their knowledge of the game. It’s interesting to hear how many people were taught by their fathers (my sample is still small, but once I’ve collected more data I will report final findings back to my loyal reader). My dad never learned, and I’ve honestly never asked my mom if she played chess. I know it was never around the house (unless it was part of a checkers/chess set). We were more of a Trivial Pursuit/Scrabble/euchre house.

(Oh, euchre. That’s a post, all by itself. Why don’t more people know how to play? A true shame.)

Do you know how to play chess? If so, who taught you? How old were you when you first learned to play?

Categories
blawwgery F1

Tying Up Loose Ends

I post too much on Twitter. I don’t update here like I should if I really want this to take off.

Continuous incremental improvement, as my Boss would say.

In case you missed it, my sister’s health scare was a bit of a false alarm. She’s still got some sort of growth, but it’s not cancerous. With (new! updated! accurate!) information, it now sounds more like a ganglion cyst.

It’s complicated. I’ll leave it at that.

Today was a Good Day. I took a vacation day. Spent the morning talking with a good friend, making plans and discussing various topics. Sometimes the best conversations have no real point or purpose. They just happen.

Finished planting impatiens in the front flowerbeds today. Weeded the front herb garden, too. What a mess! I was going to mulch the asparagus in the garden (flowering already! strange spring!), but I ran out of time and momentum. With any luck, I won’t have to do any real work in the flowerbeds for the rest of the season.

I also made coconut macaroons today. If you have a stand mixer, these are the easiest cookies in the world to make. They’re sticky, though. Very, very sticky. They’re currently cooling in the kitchen while I watch the live stream of FP1. Limited running on track right now…the rain’s keeping the cars tucked away in their garages. Visibility (always dodgy in Shanghai) appears close to nonexistent with the ongoing drizzle and low clouds.

Final thoughts for today, at least on here: how on Earth will Circuit of the Americas fill those grandstands? Maybe I just hang in the poorer circles, but I’m not seeing a lot of folks biting on the PSL/season ticket options for the Austin track. I desperately want this race to work – there’s nothing quite like race weekends, for sure – but it just seems as though this plan isn’t going to help build momentum for the track…or for F1 in the US in general. I hope I’m wrong, and the grandstands are a total sellout.

(I still miss my $85 paddock box seats, though, right on start/finish. Oh, Indy.)

Categories
blawwgery F1

Now For Something Completely Different

It’s…

…a contest!

I am still working out the details in my brain, but I think I need to take the next step with the Attrition Game and make this into a full-fledged contest.

What is the Attrition Game, you ask?

For years, my dad and I have watched the races “together” via Messenger. We trash-talk and joke throughout the entire race, and it’s a blast. Spending more time on Twitter during races has cut down on some of the messages, but the real gems are reserved for my dad. One of the regular “features” of our weekly race conversation concerned the Attrition Game: guessing the number of cars that would not finish the race (take the checkered flag). Over time, this grew to include the number of cars that would not make it through the first corner. Winner got nothing but bragging rights for the day on a completely stupid (and kind of mean) datapoint. I LOVE the Attrition Game.

Enter Twitter. Last year, a handful of incredibly fun people to talk to during races started providing their guesses. Winner got a shout-out post at the end of the game, and their own bragging rights for the day. Last year’s game even featured a nice Hamilton-Massa sub-game (lap number of first contact). Good times.

This year, I feel I need to reward those who play this silly game. However, I’m not sure how. I’m also honestly not sure about how to set some of the existing rules in stone – this game really started out as a silly joke between dad and kid, and was never designed to scale.

Suggestions? Hit me up on Twitter, please – I’m not ready to mess with comments yet.

Categories
blawwgery

Difficult Conversations

(For a little additional background, here’s a post with links and stuff: Distractions)

I talked to my parents last weekend.

“We told your grandmother.”

I told them of Hansland, and how I will be blogging about this saga (within limits, of course). Dad seemed a little surprised, as I hadn’t mentioned the site. I think he liked the idea of having a place where I could collect and disseminate information to the family, and they both agreed it was okay.

Monday morning, my cell phone rang. It was my little sister.

“I need someone to talk to me, to tell me what’s going on. What are they going to do? Why won’t the doctors just take a biopsy? I need someone to give me straight answers, and I can only get that from my big sister. I know you won’t bullshit me.”

Here we go.

I spent the next 20 minutes explaining how I thought they would do the biopsy, and how they could choose to do the biopsy if they wanted to remove the tumor immediately and start limb salvage at that time. She wanted to know what the chances were it wasn’t cancer. I told her I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t look good. I used this as an opportunity to remind her to follow Wheaton’s Law, to listen to her doctors, to ask questions, to find advocates and others who can help her navigate this new reality, to take care of herself.

Possibly the highlight of the entire conversation:

Me: “If the biopsy comes back, and it is malignant, they will take that part of your leg. They may have to take your knee, too. BUT! If they take your knee, they will give you a new Terminator knee! You will be CYBORG JENI. Wait a minute. Which leg is it? I’ve always gestured using my right leg, but no one seems to know!”

Jeni (formerly B): “The right leg. My driving leg. OF COURSE.”

Me: “Sweet! That should give you another excuse when a cop pulls you over for your chronic leadfoot. ‘But officer, my prosthetic knee locked! I couldn’t get off the gas!’ Who would give you a ticket after hearing that?”

Jeni: *laughing*

Yes, I am using her real name. I told her of Hansland, too. She is fine with this site, and has made this public, and it is silly to think you wouldn’t be able to find out my sister’s name.

I’ll be honest. My sister and I have always fought. Always. It’s embarrassing. After about 48 hours, we tend to start grating on each other’s nerves. She’s asked me to come and stay with her – to help out, to keep her entertained, to be there when she needs me. It may be a week or two. It may be more.

I’ll do it. Without hesitation.

March 21st is when she meets with the doctor, to find out the plan. No diagnosis until biopsy. No diagnosis until biopsy. No diagnosis until biopsy.

 

Categories
blawwgery

Bad News

My family was given some potentially devastating news over the past week (nope, sorry, that’s all you’re going to get until something’s official) that’s caused me to ponder several things. How do people, in general, transmit bad news? Blurt it out to others, in the hope that it somehow dilutes the power of the message? Speak in hushed tones, in coded conversations, dancing around words that still can’t be said out loud? As if that somehow makes things more real¬†if spoken?

(Family dynamics and relationships also play into this, I think. Oh, yes.)

The other part of this is dissecting how people react to bad news. I’m sitting here, for example, writing a veiled post full of nothing instead of doing something productive. Coping mechanism? OF COURSE! I really just don’t feel like cleaning right now, which is Option Two. Option Three is knitting.

Then again, there’s always Option Four.