A Need for Speed

Okay, I admit it.  I love car racing.  There I said it.  I have come clean.  I know what you’re going to say.  I have heard it all before.  I know all the jokes about going around in circles.  Say whatever you want, it won’t affect me.  I know what I like, and I am comfortable with that.  I told you people at the beginning that I loved cars, so really, this shouldn’t come as a shock to you.

one of my “to do list” models
Generally speaking I prefer either touring cars or open wheel racing.  So, yes that means I sometimes have to get up very early on a Sunday and watch the races from Europe.  It also means I must scour the internet looking for races that are rarely broadcast on TV channels I get.  A cable channel devoted entirely to fast cars sounds wonderful, but why did they have to put it in the top tier TV package.  How I long for the day when I can choose the 15 channels that I watch and pay about $1 for each of them.  Quake in fear cable companies, that day is coming

What spurred this blog topic was my local paper.  Every week they have a car section and the reporters get to drive a whole bunch of cars that I never will. This week one of the reporters went to a racing school that is located a reasonable distance from my house.  In between fits of jealousy and rage, the fire, the desire, the urge (perhaps it would be too cliché to say the drive) for this hobby was reignited (maybe if I had an editor he or she would want me to use puns like, it got my engine started…. perhaps it’s good for all of us that I do not have an editor)

I love the look of these cars
I guess there is a speed demon lurking in most of us.  I love car chases in movies, and I love the roar of the engines.  I have fantasized about racing Porsche 911 down an empty highway, foot to the floor.  These thoughts haven’t surfaced for a while (I guess that is what life on a commuter bus does for you) but this newspaper article did it.

So, I did what anyone who had an internet connection would do,  I googled it.  Then of course reality set in.  They have long and short courses.  They have a cool track, great facilities and Van Diemen Formula cars, and a cool program.  The pictures are fantastic and the lust for speed is boiling in my blood.  Everything is perfect, except that to go to this racing academy I would have to give up eating for the next two years.  I grant that it would be worth it, but somehow…… after two years without sustenance, my body would be too emaciated, and I probably wouldn’t have the ability to turn the wheels.
vintage and cool

Reality is cruel.  It gives passions, dangles them in front of you, and then watches as you vainly jump for them–it is like playing monkey in the middle with two taller older brothers.

I could write a letter to the editor, hoping to wipe that smug smile off the reporters face, but what good would that do.  It isn’t his or her fault exactly (I was too angry to check if it was a man or woman), but my frustration level makes me want to lash out.  I probably won’t feel better until I get my own dose of speed.

Just in case somebody wants to know.  Currently, my favourite kind of racing is The British Touring Cars, followed by Endurance Racing (most notably the 24 Hours of LeMan) and then the Australian V8 SuperCars.

Commuting Distractions Revisited

For most commuters, a book, even the newspaper would be enough.  For this hobbyist, super enthusiast, if you will, I need more.  Yes, as I mentioned before, I do my best to read a lot of books.  Sometimes, though, books are just a slog, or just aren’t doing it.  When this happens, I turn to puzzles like crosswords, sudoku, the jumble if I can find one, or some other puzzle.  The one that has currently caught my eye is called codeword.

I get the feeling that for people in England what I am about to introduce is old hat.  As for Canada, I have never seen it in a newspaper here.  It sometimes appears in a book of variety puzzles, but I stopped buying those because never get through all of them and the book hangs around for years.

I was introduced to Codeword when I visited my friend in Japan.  He told me that he looked forward to his Sunday Edition of the Daily Yomiuri newspaper because they carried a Times supplement and had a codeword puzzle in it.  I could sympathize with my friend because I look forward to the Saturday Star because of the comics and the huge crossword.  As for Japanese newspapers every Sunday I read the Japan Times online because they have a great Dahl cartoon (check it out, it is pretty cool)

When I visited his place he graciously let me do his codeword (pretty nice considering he would have to wait seven days to do another one)  I was hooked.  It is different from both a crossword and sudoku, but contains some elements of both.  Basically if you like word games you might get a kick out of this.

I decided to repay my friend by sending him a codeword book, and since they had two I bought one for myself.  I have done about 143 of the 150 puzzles in the book.  There were 70 easy ones, 60 moderate ones, and 20 difficult ones.  I am not sure I appreciate the ratio of puzzles, but since it has taken me almost one year to do them, I really shouldn’t complain.  I have enjoyed the puzzles, and even learned a few, slightly obscure words.

I wish a Torontonewspaper would carry these puzzles once a week, but they’ve probably got enough going on right now.  I certainly wouldn’t want them to bump the jumble for this one, but…..

I probably won’t buy a book of these puzzles again, just because it seems like such a big commitment. 

If you want to try some of these yourself, a quick google search and you’ll find some that you can print up.  Let me know what you think.