Thursday, June 1, 2006

Memorial Day

"The weekends don't mean so much when you're unemployed. . . except you get to hang out with your working friends."  -Les Claypool

I haven't updated in a while, because I've been really busy doing things I didn't have time to do because of work.  And I've been applying for some select jobs online.  My interviewing skills are getting better after a few phone interviews.

Firstly, I had a great Memorial Day weekend hosting the folks.  I spent most of Sunday in Topeka with dad.  We went to the NHRA drag races at Heartland Park.  Incredible!  I must say, I've never heard a more ungodly noise than a pair of top fuel dragsters leaving the starting line.  Your ears literally hurt if you don't cover them.  I got an adrenaline rush every time.  Just the sound of a tire burn is pretty ominous, but when that tree turns green, it's like a bomb goes off. . . and keeps going off for 5 seconds.  The experience of watching drag races on TV is in no way comparable to being there.  To actually witness two cars going from standing still nearby to over 300 miles per hour a quarter mile away in just over 4 seconds is mind bending to see, hear, and feel for a newbie like me.  This was the last race of the day: Finals - Top Fuel - Doug Kalitta, 4.675 seconds, 310.98 mph., def. Brandon Bernstein, 4.691, 307.09.  I highly recommend the time and expense of actually feeling a pair of cars go by.  And Courtney and Ashley Force are kinda hot.  I didn't expect to see them filming a reality series for A&E, but these sisters raced twice on Sunday.  I saw a "these are the only curves in this sport" drag racing shirt with a female silouette.  The adrenaline/testosterone combo brings out a certain crowd, for sure.  Another interesting thing I saw was a new class of V6 turbo cars.  When the tree turns yellow the turbos spin up making a crackling and popping noise, and when the cars go, there's just a deep harmonic hum. . . and they take off like a streak.

We got back to KC in time to grill steaks and take the neice and nephew to see the Kansas City Symphony perform patriotic music, including the 1812 Overture replete with actual cannon fire, followed by one of the best choreographed fireworks displays overthe Liberty Memorial.  Hearing 35,000 people sing Yankee Doodle under their breath with a symphony orchestra in the background is a rare thing.

The old Jetta engine is out.  After a lot of trial and error with the hoist and the manipulation of jack stands on Monday, the deed is done.  I realized too late that a number system for labeling the electrical connections as I disconnected them would have been helpful.  Now I have to figure out how to wire the engine and transmission of an 1.8T Mk4.  But not after having to order some special parts and tools and moving the transmission from the old engine onto the new one. 

So much for the sabbatical.  I have a vacancy again at one of my houses.  Therefore, I have an extra mortgage payment that won't be covered by rental income.  I'm strongly considering getting a realtor's license and listing the house myself and selling it for a profit.  If I can't get the price I need, I'll just keep renting it.

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