Monthly Archives: February 2007

Nascar Experience

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nascar race fanLast week, one of my close friends conner called me and invited me to go to a Nascar race in Fontana California. Either of us have ever been, so we recruited another buddy Matt and paid $125 a piece for a ticket to the race and a seat on a chartered train (metrolink) that would take us from Oceanside California to the Fontana speedway (90 miles).

My alarm went off at 5:15am on Sunday morning. Conner, Matt and I got to the train station a few minutes early and enjoyed our surroundings; Home Depot Jackets and Nascar shirts everywhere…it was obvious that we were about to enter a whole new wolrd.

The train ride took a surprising 2.5 hours which seemed quite long, but we had bloody mary’s, margaritas and playing cards…we weren’t bored. Once we got to the raceway it really hit me how big of an event this actually was. There were over 140,000 people in attendance. Nascar is the most viewed spectator sport in the United States right now.

We headed over to a friends car in the parking lot who was grilling up a bunch of snags and a tri-tip. We chowed, drank a couple of beers and again, were really enjoying taking in our surroundings including die hard Nascar fans rooting for their number one driver/team in nearly every form of expression you could imagine. Matt decided it would be good if we fit in, so he bought us a bunch of Fontana Speedway t-shirts…now this is getting good.

Heading into the race, we realized that there is a circus of events outside the track and tons of places to buy souvenirs, headphones to listen to the race and of course…beer and bratwurst. Conner and John leased a set of headphones that scanned all the radio frequencies used by the racers, so they could hear the pit speaking to the drivers and vice versa. Once we got to our seats, the couple in front of us leased the same unit but UPGRADED it so they also got an LCD screen that showed the inside of the cars and all the replays (of the crashes) as well.

Before the race started we were graced with a fly by of Huey Helicopters and a bunch of fighter jets right after Kevin Costner came over the speakers telling the drivers to “Start your engines!” Wow…the build up is actually quite exciting. At this point, everyone in the crowd started screaming, cat whistling and hooting! It was insane…

Once the race got started…well, they kept going around in circles. In fact, they went around the 2 mile track over 225 times. Wow. That was a long time to watch really loud cars go in circles at 170 to 200 miles per hour.

Towards the end of the race, EVERYONE in the stands was drunk (but not us). It was a booze fest full of drunk dudes (not many girls). We ran into this guy who wanted to beat up our buddy John just because John threw peanuts at him, 3 of them hitting him in the face, while he yelled for him to “sit down.” fat nascar copsSee, there was a big crowd standing up watching his girlfriend tugging hair and scratching at some other chick sitting behind them. John did the right thing, I mean, we couldn’t see the race, throwing peanuts at the mean looking biker dude with a fighting girlfriend is the logical thing to do. Well, the cops finished up their bratwurst and showed up to regulate. After Summers last couple of experiences with the cops, Conner I decided it was best to leave these fat cops with their biker buddy and head out before the end of the race.

Now came the tricky part…we had one hour to get to the MetroLink train and we had to go back to the car to get our gear. Have you ever seen 140,000 people trying to leave a stadium and go to the same parking lot? Needless to say we made it to the train with about two minutes to spare. The train ride home took 4 hours. It was hell. No more Nascar races for me, but I sure am glad I got that notch on my belt without loosing any teeth.

Have you ever had a Nascar Experience?


Mattress Size Decision

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Summer and I currently have a queen size mattress. It fits perfectly into our not so big bed room and we have both used this size mattress for years, so we have all the accessories; queen size sheets, queen size blankets and queen size pillow cases. Well, we are in the market for a new mattress, and I suggested going bigger. I am six feet tall and weigh in around 200 pounds and grew up with a dad that is almost 6’4’’ so I have been hearing about the California King Size mattress since I was a kid. He raves about how great they are…I always just assumed they are better because they are bigger! So, I started researching California King Size mattress and found out something very shocking aside from how the sizing works; Mattresses are not cheap, as a matter of a fact, quality mattresses are very expensive.

Now, I am not one to scoff at expensive stuff if your really need it (Garmin GPS, Surfboards, Lottery, Cars) but I never thought I would consider spending $4,000 on a mattress. I have been going through a cheap queen size mattress ($200-$300) about every two years since I moved to California. They always start to sag in the middle where I inevitably fall asleep and now by the time summer comes to bed she is fighting all night long not to sucked into the center of the mattress. This can’t be a very comfortable night sleep for her and it is starting to effect my sleep too. Because of this, we decided to buy a new mattress, but I soon realized I am going to have to invest a couple thousand dollars to get a good high quality king size mattress. Now, I am not worried about this one lasting, I am going to buy one from Costco which offers a lifetime warranty on all of their products for any reason whatsoever. The million dollar question is, what size should we get; The California King, the King or another queen size mattress.

Mattress Size:
California King Size Mattress Dimensions: 72”(W) X 84” (L)
King Size Mattress Dimensions: 76”(W) X 80” (L)
Queen Size Mattress Dimensions: 60”(W) X 80” (L)
Full Size Mattress Dimensions: 54”(W) X 75” (L)
Twin Bed Mattress Dimensions: 39”(W) X 75” (L)

mattress size chart
Mattress Size Chart

So now, with the visual, I see that my dads love for the California king, where my affinity towards wanting one originated, was because it gave him an extra 4 inches in length so his feet wouldn’t hang over the end of the bed! Now, I am not that tall AND I am taller than Summer so this mattress research has helped me come to the conclusion that we don’t need a California King Size matress, we need a regular old King Size Mattress. It is wider than the California King and 80” is plenty of length for us.

There are many mattress brand names out there, so I will begin researching them too (Sleep Train, Simmons, Serta, Sealy, Stearns and Foster)…but ultimately it is going to be a Costco purchase…I can’t ignore the lifetime guarantee considering the bad luck I have had with mattresses over the past few years.

Along with this purchase will come the purchase of all new sets of King Size sheets, blankets and pillow cases…but it will all be worth it in the end (as long as they aren’t pink or purple)…when we go to bed and wake up rested.

Paragliding Gets You Really High

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I surf blacks beach early in the morning before the prevailing onshore winds kick in whenever I get the chance. For me, the onshore winds ruin the surface conditions of the waves and makes them more difficult to ride…but for the paragliders, it creates a heavenly updraft off of the cliffs that paragliders can float in all day long.

Because of these updrafts, the Torrey Pines Glider Port (also an access point to hike down the cliff to the beach to surf) is always packed with hang gliders and paragliders waiting to take their turn in the updraft. Watching them fearlessly waddle off the 500ft cliff into the updraft amazes me everytime. I am too much of a wuss to do this:

Torrey Pines Paraglider

I think, this headline is the reason why it scares me so much:
German paraglider survives storm that killed Chinese competitor

The tragedy occurred in Australia where hundreds of competitors were practicing for the World Paragliding Championships. A strong thunderstorm swept in and took many practicing competitors by suprise. The updrafts from the storm caught two competitors by suprise and uncontrolably swept them up to the heavens. One man was swept so high that he died apperently from a lack of oxygen and extreme cold and was found 47 miles away from where he took off.

The second competitor, the one that lived, was pulled up to an altitude of 32,000 feet where she lost consciousness for nearly 30 minutes. She must have lost some altitude and awoke regaining control of her glider and was able to land safely with just some minor frost bite.

I know everyone thinks surfing is dangerous because you can drown or hit the bottom real hard…but paragliding is just nuts. Thirty-Two thousand feet is 3,00 feet higher than Mount Everest which has taken the life of over 186 people trying to assend it it is so high! I am going to leave flying to the birds and rejoin my buddy flipper in the ocean.

California Lottery

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I am not a big lottery fan, or at least, I wasn’t a big lottery fan. I grew up in a town outside of Atlantic City New Jersey and saw first hand, the hardships of gambling. My take on the scene was two fold; that of old people getting bussed to the casinos so they could spend their social security checks and people that work in the casinos wasting their life away on cocaine and booze…oh, and gambling.

It wasn’t until I moved to San Diego and took a trip to Las Vegas that I realized gambling and the casinos could be a lot of fun…if you could afford to do it. It gave me an entirely new outlook of playing cards (blackjack) and “going to the casinos.” Going to the casinos meant a little bit of gambling and whole lot of high end night clubs and restaurants filled with beautiful girls. This was a far cry from the Pacific Avenue casinos I grew up going to.

I seem to be getting off track here. Let’s get back to lottery tickets.

I was never a big fan of the lottery because I always perceived it as an extension of the casinos as I knew them. Then Vegas happened. Then Summer happened. I won’t go off on another tangent about Vegas but I will yap a little bit about Summer and her Passion of Scratcher lottery tickets. Yup…we have fun with scratcher lottery tickets a couple times a week.

The other day I went into our local liquor store to buy some scratchers (our pet name for lottery tickets) to bring home so Summer and I can compete, she likes competition, at who is going to win their ticket back or perhaps win $5. It’s not about the money, it’s about the competition and the little grey scrapings we have to wipe off the kitchen table when we are done. I went up to the counter and asked for a couple of the Spicy Hot Cash Scratchers and a few of the Poker Night Scratchers. This isn’t the usual guy working.

He asks me: “how old are you?”

Me: “32 years old”

He tells me: “I need to see your ID.”

Me: “ok, let me grab it” (I reach for my id)

He says: “Kid, if you are going to lie about your age, at least say an age that you might be able to get away with!”

Me: “No really, I am 32” (I am going through the lint and receipts attached to my money clip)

He says: “There is no way you are 3 years younger than me, can’t find your id?”

Me: “Here it is, I thought I was old enough to pass for 21, but this is a real compliment”

He says: “Holy shit, you ARE 32 years old! Here you go…man, you are lucky”

Me: “Thanks for the compliment dude, I just bought lottery tickets, we’ll see if I’m lucky”

I thought it was pretty funny that he didn’t even think I was 18 years old AND that he started to lecture me on how to lie about my age the next time I try to buy scratchers. It was good stuff.

The outcome you ask? Well, Summer won this time…but I’ll be back…and I’ll be sure to bring my California ID because the odds are in my favor…I think.

Ultimate Valentines Day Present

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So, as we approach Valentines Day, Summer and I decided to save our money and not buy each other extravagant valentines day presents. I know it seems a little, bah humbug, but we are very practical people and we are trying to save money for a huge project in our near future.

I got into work this morning and did my usual reading of Summers blog, and what do I find? An entire blog entry about the present I was going to buy her for Valentines day before we decided not to buy each other presents. And she really wants it.

“Stefan told me what he was going to get me and now I WANT IT SO BAD! I had never even heard of it before, but I checked it out and I want the Nike+ system!”

So here I am, in quite a pickle. Summer really wants the Nike+ System but we already decided not to buy each other presents! Now, mind you, I am a thinker. I over think, or at least really analyze every decision I make…even decisions as easy as “what’s for dinner.” So, I have come up with a really good solution. I am going to post what I would really like for Valentines Day…hopefully Summer will read this, tell me if we are going to do gifts for each other…and problem solved.

The Ultimate Valentines Day Present for me:

The Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx

This handy little unit is waterproof and is designed for outdoor and marine use. It has a removable microSD card for detailed mapping memory and is built with an indestructible rubber housing. It has a USB port that can load map data from around the world and can upload pre-mapped out routes from my laptop. I can even buy pre-loaded microSD cards with MapSource and BlueChart.

MapSource will be a rad addition to my outdoor adventure gear because I will be able to map out trails and roads in advance. There will be no more questionable turns in baja or central America…we’ll know exactly where we are at all times. I will be able to breadcrumb my riding/hiking/traveling, integrate the coordinates with Google Earth and print out/post satellite images of my rides, hikes, camping trips and surf trips.

This brings me to BlueChart. BlueChart is a plug-and-play programmed card that helps boaters navigate the seas around the world. You might ask me, Stefan, I didn’t know you had a boat! Well, I don’t! But…Summer and I love to travel to surf. One of the things about traveling to new places and surfing is that we don’t really know where the good surf breaks are or how to get to them unless they have been discovered by other people and published. Using BlueChart, I will be able to study the contours of the bottom of the Ocean wherever we are traveling and make much better decisions on where we are going and how we are going to get there when we are hunting waves. Deep water to shallow water makes for good surf breaks.