Been There, Done That

Trying to force my brain to take a break today… and having an evening NASCAR race helps with that. It’s actually at a track that I’ve been to, but when I went a handful of years ago it was still a traditional Sunday race. Ya know, having all the races on a Saturday night would be a good selling point for the out-of-shape, disabled, or old farts. (Of which I’m like 2.5 out of 3) Mid-day summer races, with all the blacktop and aluminum seats reflecting and radiating the heat… β˜€οΈπŸ”₯πŸ˜“πŸŽοΈπŸ’¨πŸ’₯Β Thankfully it wasn’t until I was a little older and more out of shape (after all my trips) that I realized how brutal it can really be. 😯

Tonight’s race is from Kentucky Speedway. I think it was four years ago that I went… staying free at ‘Da Boat for a couple of nights, and hopping over the river to Sparta on race day. 😎 If I remember correctly, Cassi went with – but just to enjoy the room and the getaway. It really is a fan friendly track, but woo… all that walking. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ It’s no Indianapolis… another track where I’m amazed that I would spend entire days walking around (miles) in the August heat. πŸ˜₯πŸ™‚Β I suppose it helps though, once you’re there, hearing the cars, seeing the drivers, getting the pics and occasional autographs… it only hurts and burns later that night. 😏

It’s funny, I remember having a Skoal Bandits matchbox car when I was a kid, but that was the extent of my interest in NASCAR until after I was out of school and Dad took me to a couple races at Indy. Since then I’ve seen two Brickyard 400s, two Indy 500s, one race at Kansas, and one race at Kentucky. πŸ˜ƒ But, probably showing early signs of what was to come, the last few times (and those were a while ago) that I went to Indy… I’d only go on qualifying / practice day. That way I could see the sights, collect all the good shots that I could, sneak in whatever areas I could manage… but not getting the “bake in the stands for however many hours” experience that actual race day would require.

I’m not saying that I’ll never go to another race, or another track around race days, but I just haven’t been able to stay as interested in the new drivers once “my drivers” or “our drivers” retired or otherwise exited the sport. 😟 Think about who you’re not seeing anymore when you go to a race, and if you’re old enough – it’ll probably make you wonder if you still wanna bother going too. πŸ€”πŸ€¨

Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Jeff and Ward Burton, Darrell and Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Bobby and Terry Labonte, Mike Skinner, Kenny Schrader, Ricky Rudd, the various Bodines, Rusty Wallace, Morgan Shepherd (oldest driver to start a NASCAR race, at 72 😯 years old), Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle,Β Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, and even Dale Jr. That’s how you know you’ve been a fan a while though, when you’ve watched a kid come into the sport, run for a good long time, and now even they’re gone. And yeah, I didn’t necessarily give many shits about a few of those named… but boy did they all have personality. πŸ™‚

And that’s exactly what made their presence so easy to remember and, now, miss. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Short North Adventure

As is typical any time that I go out and do something fun, the first half of the day was spent dreading the idea… the waiting, the getting ready… but once it was in progress it was exactly the distraction that I needed for the evening. This “hang out” was even a little more significant than usual, since not only was it me, Jim, and Adam… but Brad came along this time, and so did Rick. I’ve been the missing component, but it’s been a long time since all four of us hung out together. It’s nice still having friendships today (even if the communications are a bit less) that were formed decades ago.

Brad’s currently living in a group home near Bremen, so I went and got him before I headed up to Columbus. Jim already has a long way to drive just to get to Columbus, and there was no sense in him going all that rest of the way to get his brother. He seems to be doing really good there, and that makes me so happy to see. Brad’s been through some shit, most of which is his business alone… but it was good to see him doing well, and the drive to and from was actually nice thanks to the conversation.

The main “spot” for the evening was a store called Big Fun in Columbus’ Short North. Adam had been there a time or two before, and he wanted us to see it – so that was where we met up. Man what a store. I don’t think there was a horizontal or vertical surface in that store that didn’t have some sort of kewl vintage toy, doll, or game on it – and that’s not even counting all of the different retro spaceships hanging from the ceiling. You could spend an entire day in that store, looking through the glass cases, digging through the tubs and drawers of vintage toys and goodies – and you’d still probably not have seen everything.

Transformers, GoBots, HeMan, SheRa, Thundercats, Voltron, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, My Little Pony, Smurfs, MUSCLE, Care Bears, GI Joe, Batman, Superman, etc. Loose things, boxed things, NIB things, pieces for things, things with all their pieces… there’s just no way a few paragraphs or a few dozen pictures can even start to do that place justice. So yeah, Adam was definitely right… that place is truly amazing. (I’m even considering offloading a bunch of my own shit to that place, should they make the right offer. Better than eBay’ing one piece at a time…)

After that we walked up to the Short North Food Hall. What a bizarre place that ended up being. 😳 We knew it was a restaurant. Actually, it was several restaurants, all cooking out of the same kitchen… multiple burgers, dogs, philly steaks, fries, tots, pizza, nachos, subs, varieties of tacos. But when we walked in there was club music playing, and we could see that a huge bar occupied the center of the interior. Okay, great. But then in the seating areas all around the bar… children. And lots of ’em. Parents, drinking at the bar, while their children wandered around inside. 😧 Granted, most of the kids were with family that were just eating… but what the actual eff? Ohio law allows a big-ass bar to have probably two dozen children just hanging out, eating, wandering around, sometimes looking lost? πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

We all ordered different stuff. My tacos arrived in about 10 minutes. Adam’s burger and mac and cheese took 30 minutes. Jim’s burger and tacos… well, at least his burger… 45 minutes. And Rick and Brad’s food took nearly an hour. 😠 It was completely inexcusable. Oh, and they forgot Jim’s tacos, so he had to wait even longer for those. Adam finally gave the manager a piece of his mind, and she just replied about how many people were there, and how most people come here and chill before they plan to eat.” 😐 So, see, we were doing it wrong. πŸ™„ Thinking we could order food and receive it in a timely manner – or at least at similar times for our party of five. Heh… Adam was livid, and plans to contact a higher up tomorrow… I think he felt sort of bad, since that’s the joint he originally chose.

But it was all fine… “adventure” as I said, a couple times on our way back to our cars. The toy store was amazing, walking around the Short North or campus is always interesting, and despite the clusterfuck with the food – it was all really good. We had to hustle back to Adam’s car, since his meter had run out a half hour before we even got out of the “food hall” but luckily no ticket. So we parted ways, I got Brad back home, and got my happy ass back home as quickly as possible. The whole evening probably passed my brain’s tolerance point by about an hour, so I was ready to be home when we had only just gotten to my car to leave. 😬 But I’m home… home is good… mmm… home.

Unexpected

Of all the flying bugs that could have snuck in when I opened the door to get my camera. πŸ˜… When it happens with a moth I usually let them stay inside so Maven has something to stalk and play around with… but this sucker was a bit outside of her weight class so he had to go back outside. 😏

Meandering Thoughts

I’ve been anxiously waiting for the weekend to get here. 😐 While technically the day of the week doesn’t matter too much when it comes to my life, right now I’m using these “weekend” days as a crutch for my struggles of the moment. 😟 I’ve had a string of challenging days which have gotten progressively worse, mostly because I’m dwelling on a few things that I’m incapable of doing at the moment. Things that other people are somewhat countingΒ on me to be able to do. 😬 No matter what it might be, I hate when I can’t be “reliably reliable” for my friends or family… so while I do continue to work on myself, I really needed this weekend so I could chill and tell myselfΒ “Just take it easy on yourself for a couple of days. It’s the weekend.”

Even having said that, it’s only partially effective, so my brain took it upon itself to engage in other distractions. Twitter is always a “go to” place for relatively irrelevant engagement. It seems most of the world goes there to loudly and/or angrily broadcast their opinions (often barely grounded in facts, if at all) and I usually end up trying to educate the exceedingly ignorant, insulting, and condescending of the lot. I know the odds are slim that I’d ever get any of them to think beyond their narrow view of reality… but like I said, it’s more distraction than crusade. (Plus it lets me act like an asshole to those that deserve it. Everyone needs that outlet sometimesπŸ€”)

Lots of discussions about gun control and the Parkland kids, talk about the recent military engagement in Syria and the potential consequences… πŸ€“ but then somehow I got diverted towards more random/fun Twitter and Google searches. I think it started with things about Atlantic City, since I’m considering a trip there sometime this year, but then I ended up looking through local auction listings – which switched my brain over to straight nostalgia mode. 😊

One of the first things that I came across (which was weird, since I was just wondering about it a few days ago) was a vintage “Poosh-M-Up” pinball-ish type game… one that my Dad had when he lived here at this house. πŸ€— It’s funny, one of those things where my memory of the game and the location are inseparable. I’m assuming my grandparents originally bought it for him, but then I ended up playing with it once I was old enough. πŸ‘¦πŸ» But yeah, such a random thing to accidentally come across… and there’s actually quite a few varieties of this game, and I plan on reading about the history of them all. πŸ™‚ I never considered there’d be a bunch of ’em out there like this.

This local auction though, it has several items that I’m kinda interested in. 😯 That pinball game, old Atari game consoles and computers, other misc old toys of my era… and even though it’s in Mt Vernon, that actually motivates me to go a little more – since it’s a sleepy little town and there might not be many people that show up to outbid me. 😁 So after looking up that stuff on eBay, it made me think of other old games that I had when I was a kid, so of course I started looking up some of those things as well. I know that I always threaten to do an entire blog entry devoted to pricing toys from my personal childhood, but I really think that I’m gonna do that later tonight if my brain remains in its current happy place. πŸ˜‹