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Rock Against Romance
Friday, 2 March 2007
Best Laid Plans
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Josie Cotton: Movie Disaster Music
Topic: Auto Racing

I learned a few days ago that the track at which we intended to race this year - Creek County Speedway near Sapulpa, Oklahoma - has been sold to a new owner/proprietor.  Unfortunately, one of the first actions of the new owner was to cancel the planned non-wing sprint class.   

On one level, this was extraordinarily disappointing news.  As I've mentioned in previous entries, I do miss racing very much and when I stopped racing it left a large void in my life.  To believe I would have a chance to race again in the type of car I love, only to have it snatched away at the 11th hour, was a bitter pill to swallow.

However, I'm not as disconsolate as an outside observer might imagine.  My dad has been having some significant health issues lately.  At this point everything is pointing toward a full recovery, but the reality is that even before the latest problems, he was not going to be able to do much physical work to assist with the race car.  There were ways I had planned to try to work around not having dad's help, but I don't have any close friends who share my passion for racing and it was going to be difficult, at best. 

Instead of letting this development dampen my spirits, I'm doing my level best to look on the bright side.  For one thing, racing is a very expensive avocation for the non-wealthy, even in a limited class.  Not racing will definitely make my financial life less stressful.  Not racing will also make it easier for me to attend out-of-town rock and roll shows this summer, in terms of both funding and available time.  And it will free up time to work on my neglected house and do a variety of other things that would have been forced to take a back seat.  I'm currently in the process of getting back into photography after an extended hiatus - it will be nice to have more time to devote to that effort.  I haven't done much hiking lately either - I'd like to make a couple of those trips this year.  Finally, my dad loves fishing but he hasn't been able to do much in recent times, and I haven't really been very helpful in that regard.  I'm going to try to change that and make sure we go on some fishing expeditions this year.

So, all in all, I don't think this is the worst thing that could have happened.  That doesn't mean I don't still miss racing and very much want to get back into the sport at some point, but we have to play the cards we're dealt and if we can get my dad back to his old self again, I think my 2007 hand actually looks pretty good.  

Posted by johnnylockheart at 2:52 AM CST
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
Topic: Humor

God (deity/deities of your choice) bless The Onion...


Posted by johnnylockheart at 4:37 PM CST
Tuesday, 2 January 2007
Seeing Things
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: The Ergs: Live at Maxwell's 6/29/05
Topic: Personal

I've recently made several moves directed toward getting myself back into photography.  The electronics on my old 35mm SLR got fried for an unknown reason some time ago - in the intervening years, I only took an occasional snapshot.  Within the past few months I've obtained both a digital SLR and a new 35 mm camera as well (fridge is now well-stocked with Kodachrome).  Now I just have to re-orient myself toward seeing potentially interesting photographs - and remember to take a camera along when I leave the house! 

Guess we'll see if I'm up to the challenge.  Also need to see about getting a decent film scanner for my old 'chromes...

Posted by johnnylockheart at 2:53 AM CST
Pigskin Pontification
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: NRBQ: Dummy
Topic: Sports (Non-Racing)

It was a long day of football with a very unsatisfying ending for Oklahoma fans.  A few random thoughts...

  • Arkansas really needs a quarterback
  • Joe Paterno ought to call it a career
  • Pete Carroll severely out-coached Lloyd Carr in the Rose Bowl
  • The mavens of political correctness who forced the USC Song Girls to add extra material to their uniforms a few years ago to eliminate bare midriffs ought to be strung up by their medding thumbs!
  • Oklahoma committed a staggering number of mental and physical errors and still almost won their game with Boise State - not sure that's a good thing
  • The entire state of Idaho is celebrating tonight - can't help being happy for them
  • This recent trend of having the college bowl season extend a week or more into January might be good for television but it's giving credence to the idea that a playoff is feasible - if we're going to continue having the bowls, they ought to all end on January 1st, except for the national championship game

Posted by johnnylockheart at 2:28 AM CST
Out Of The Blue
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: MTX: Love Is Dead
Topic: Auto Racing

To a large extent, my life has been in limbo since we stopped racing.  I've written before - here and elsewhere -  that stopping racing cold turkey has been a difficult adjustment for me.  Figuring out a way to reinvent myself has been a major struggle.  I recently got some news that has the potential to clarify things considerably. 

I've learned that a race track south of Tulsa called Creek County Speedway is planning on having a limited non-wing sprint car class in 2007.  Outside of mini-sprints, there hasn't been any weekly non-wing open wheel class in the state of Oklahoma in the five years since I retired.  The fact that a limited, relatively affordable class is apparently being started is not something I expected to happen.  I figured my only realistic choice was between starting over from scratch with an IMCA Modified or staying out of racing altogether.    

I'm still a little bit in shock, but I know I'm going to have to give this a shot.  Even though the rules package sounds good, it's still going to be expensive to put a car together (racing is never not expensive).  There's no guarantee that they'll get enough cars to keep the class going all year.  My dad won't be physically able to help much.  There are some significant technical differences between sprint cars and our old supermodified - coping with those differences will be an additional challenge.  But even with all the potential pitfalls, I can't turn my back on this opportunity.  So much of racing revolves around practicality and the specific details of the rules packages.  Slight differences in the wording of the rules can make the difference between having to spend $3000 vs. $15,000 vs. $30,000 on a motor to be competitive.  Truly limited non-wing sprint car classes are very uncommon, nationwide.  I was very fortunate to have the chance to participate in the old 100" wheelbase open wheel limited supermodified class for 11+ years, and when it ended I figured my time in racing probably went with it. 

Racing helps me understand my life, if that makes any sense at all.  There's going to be a huge amount of work involved in getting our old sprint chassis assembled - we've done some of the work, but we bought it as a bare chassis and there's still a ton of stuff left to be done.  Unless we buy a lot of new lightweight parts, the car will probably be at somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of weight.  There may even be some issues we haven't anticipated, since we never ran a sprint chassis before.  But the idea of strapping into a car and dropping the throttle and pitching that sucker sideways - it's really difficult to explain to someone who's never had that feeling.  Let's just say that there's now there's an urgency to getting the thing rolling that didn't exist a few weeks ago.   

Posted by johnnylockheart at 1:59 AM CST
It's Only Rock & Roll
Mood:  amorous
Topic: Music

Incredibly, RAR is back for a hot new round of ultra-obscure blogging!  More to follow!  In the name of full disclosure, I orginally posted this list on The Donnas' fan club message board. 

Favorite Records of 2006 

Strictly speaking, these aren't all from 2006 but they are all fairly recent...

* The Groovie Ghoulies: Berry'd Alive
Awesome set of Chuck Berry covers - Kepi's vocals and Roach's guitar sound more like Chuck than Chuck does! Faves include Trick Or Treat and Betty Jean.

* Kitty & The Kowalskis: Chinese Democracy
Kitty doesn't release albums very often, but when she does they're consistently brilliant. I love everything about this record. Forget about Axl and get yourself some kick-as melodic punk rock at its finest.

* The Bouncing Souls: The Gold Record
The Souls are a professional band in the best sense of the word and this new disc illustrates that point well. Lots of fun stuff here - Better Things is a fave.

* Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: Sinner
It's been a long time since Joan's last U.S. release, but Sinner proves the wait to have been well worth it. 100 Feet Away and Five are a couple of faves, but this is another record filled to the brim with great songs and The Blackhearts have never sounded tighter.

* The Genders: Virgin No. 72
A new offering of catchy, sweaty, gritty, Stonesy, supremely politically incorrect rock & roll from my favorite band from Tel Aviv. I don't think this has been released in the U.S. yet - I got my hands on it when they played my hometown on their recent U.S. tour.

* The Dollyrots: Love And Revolt (EP)
Got to see the 'rots live for the first time at Warped in Dallas, and it was the highlight of the day for me. Intelligent and irresistably infectious - keep an eye out for a new full-length in 2007.

* Johnie 3: self-titled
Just a thoroughly fun punk rock band. Most of the songs revolve around girls - they're not trying to solve the world's problems, and that's just fine by me.

* Chixdiggit!: Pink Razors
It's a mystery to me why these guys from Canada aren't huge - Pink Razors is a profoundly great record, filled with irresistable songs and clever lyrics. You also get a a very cool full-length band commentary on the same CD. Got to see these guys live for the first time on my summer trip to California - they're the real deal.

* Teenage Bottlerocket: Total
This is their first album and if it's a sign of things to come, we're in for a fantastic treat. Ultra-cool songs from top to bottom, with excellent vocals. Faves include Radio, So Cool and Repeat Offender. Can't wait to hear more.

* Fabulous Disaster: Awesome Fromage (split EP with OC Toons)
Fabulous Disaster has been in the studio recording a new album to be released in 2007, but they released this morsel to help tide us over. I can't say I'm a big fan of OC Toons, but the Fab D side of this record has some tasty stuff. Faves are Black Eye and Suck It Up.

Posted by johnnylockheart at 1:33 AM CST
Monday, 3 July 2006
hungry hearts
Now Playing: Bruce Springsteen: Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Topic: Auto Racing
They're racing at the Fairgrounds tonight - a special holiday date. The faint roar of the straining engines is a siren song to my uncertain, wavering ears. I ache for what's lost. I know it ain't coming back, but I'm wondering if I should - if I could - settle for something less.

It was a highly improbable confluence of circumstances that led to my having a chance to race the type of cars I love the first place. There aren't that many tracks in the country running non-wing open wheel cars, and far fewer that have a restricted class that's remotely within my limited civil servant means. I know I was extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to do the thing I love for as long as I did. But even so, that blood does not leave your veins when you retire. I'll continue to yearn for the feeling of dropping the throttle and broadsliding into a turn for as long as I exist on this earth - maybe beyond.

There were so many discouraging nights - so many times when a rational person would have just packed it in. We had limited money, limited knowledge and limited skill but wondrous, amazing things can happen when you persevere against seemingly insurmountable odds. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and pride when I think about the night I was able to give my dad an A-Feature victory.

But now, even if I wanted to throw reason to the wind and start over again in another class, my dad's no longer physically able to help, I have no kids of my own to teach and I'm not strong enough to do it all myself. My time has passed, but my heart has yet to accept it. I'm not sure it ever will...

Posted by johnnylockheart at 10:31 PM CDT
Sunday, 14 May 2006
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Family
There are few people who have a better heart than my mom. She would protect the whole world from harm if it were in her power to do so. She made us feel safe and secure all throughout our childhood. She and my dad sacrificed a lot for their kids, and I appreciate it so much. It's an unpleasant fact that many, many people do not have such loving parents. I know I've been extremely fortunate. She'll never read this, but thanks mom!

P.S. Mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies you've ever tasted.

Posted by johnnylockheart at 10:06 AM CDT
Saturday, 13 May 2006
"Trust Me"
Mood:  rushed
Topic: Politics
Reposting this from my MySpace blog. Try to hang with me - I do still plan to get this site going again eventually.

So, President Bush says "We are not trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans". In the tradition of President Clinton's difficulty with the word "is", Bush must be referring to literal "trolling" with a boat, fishing rod and reel because trolling is one of the nicest descriptions I can think of for maintaining a massive database of every phone call made by every American. No, Mr. President, you do not get brownie points for not recording every single conversation. I would add that at this point, we have no idea how many conversations ARE being recorded without a warrant.

This issue goes far beyond whether or not you trust the current administration. Setting this sort of precedent lays the groundwork for the possibility of more sinister abuses by future administrations - administrations which could just as easily be left-wing as right-wing. Throwing away our Constitution and the principles on which this country founded is not the way to save it. You can't "save" something by destroying it.

It's time for all of us in all sections of the political spectrum who believe in liberty and the rule of law to stand up to this administration and say ENOUGH. The dangers of 1984 will always be with us, even though the year is long past. Complacency in the face of this sort of abuse can bring down any nation.

Posted by johnnylockheart at 12:28 PM CDT
Thursday, 22 December 2005

Yep, I'm back from the Bermuda Triangle to amaze and amuse young and old alike!

I'm stealing this from Alex, who in turn stole it from Sheila.

Lucky Sevens

Seven Things to Do Before I Die

1. Live

2. Reconstitute my long-dormant photography skills

3. Get back to reading as voraciously as I did in my youth

4. Find a girl who sends my heart straight to my throat every time I see her

5. Travel through Europe via rail

6. Clear up the whole "fundamental nature of the space-time continuum debate"

7. Enter a race car in the Chili Bowl

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. Speak a foreign language fluently

2. Understand why anyone would buy a computer-generated music record by the Lindsay Lohans and Hilary Duffs of the world

3. Force myself to read The Lord Of The Rings

4. Eat sushi

5. Maintain an uncluttered house

6. Swim (there's still hope for this one to get off the list)

7. Pass up a chance to see a great race or a great rock & roll show

Seven Things I Am Looking For In A Prospective Mate

1. She makes me laugh - a wicked sense of humor is non-negotiable

2. Intellect - doesn't have to be an exact match, but I think it works out best if two people are in the same ballpark

3. A good heart - another pre-requisite, there is no substitute for this

4. Hotness - Sexual attraction is a good thing - ignoring that aspect is a bad idea. However, it's also true that I tend to be more attracted to someone who rates highly on the first three parameters.

5. The ability to just have fun in a wide variety of situations

6. Complementary traits - I don't think it tends to work well when two VERY similar people get together. A good mixture of similarities and differences is best...

7. If she's willing and able to finance a USAC Silver Crown team for me, throw those other six silly criteria out the window!

Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. Holy Crap!

2. Fuckin' idiots

3. Well...

4. Back in my day... (just kidding)

5. Unfortunately...

6. Wanna do lunch?

7. Catch ya later...

Seven Books That I Love

1. The Rainbow - D.H. Lawrence

2. Ada - Vladimir Nabokov

3. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky

4. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

5. The Ambassadors - Henry James

6. Fear Of Flying - Erica Jong

7. The Last Picture Show - Larry McMurtry

Seven Movies I Watch Over and Over Again

1. The Last Picture Show

2. My Man Godfrey

3. Blade Runner

4. Stranger Than Paradise

5. Amelie

6. His Girl Friday

7. Broadway Danny Rose

Seven People I'm Curious About

1. Kim Shattuck

2. Peter Falk

3. Peter Bogdanovich

4. Claire Danes

5. Thora Birch

6. Rachel Flotard

7. Joe King

Posted by johnnylockheart at 12:35 AM CST

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