Author Archives: macace88

A Girl Named Julia

When I woke up Thursday morning,  I fully expected a no-frills type a day; took a shower, had some yogurt, watch a little Mike and Mike in the morning, a usual morning for me. I agreed to help out fellow grad student Mark  with a video project on video games and college athletics. About 11am, he got over to my apartment, we did an interview, and it was done, no problem. In the mid-afternoon, I had to meet Andrea over at the 4th floor of Grady to go over our case study. After the meeting, I stuck around to work on a few reports for Dr. Lee’s Telecomm policy class. Later that night, I was supposed to go out dinner with a few friends, but the plan fell through. It got be around 5:30, I decided to head back to my apartment and take a nap because I had gotten sick a day earlier. I wanted to go out to dinner around 7 so I could get back and do laundry. It was a well thought out plan. (A important note here) I fell asleep around 6:15, didn’t get until 7. So, I woke up, threw some clothes on, and headed out to The Blind Pig Tavern on Atlanta Hwy. I sit down at the bar, order a drink, and tune my eyes to watching Heat vs. Bulls the big TV behind the bar. I ate, talked with the lovely bartender for a bit, sat until the end of the first half and kindly asked for my check. As I’m settling up with the check, a very attractive girl sits at the bar next to me.  She’s about  5’9” tall, long brown hair, hazel green eyes, mid-20’s, slender figure.

I didn’t think anything of it, until she turns to me and asks “Are there more lively bars around here?” I responded with a humble “No.” I then ask her almost as a reactionary response, “Are you new here in town?” She responds with a quick yes, but with a caveat. She told me she had very recently moved down from D.C. with her boyfriend, who was not with her. She then tells me her relationship has gone very sour and its her birthday. At this moment, my mind was screaming at me, “Walk Away, Walk Away, Walk Away!!!,” but as usually is the case with me, I did not. She asks for my name, I kindly give it to her (of course she doesn’t believe its my real name. What else is new?). I then ask for hers, and she tells me her name is  Julia.

What happened next literally left me speechless; Julia goes off on this hour-long rant about her personal life, which includes a tale of cheating on her ex-boyfriend with her current boyfriend, her one-time use of heroin,  mis-treatment by her boyfriend, driving down to Miami from Palm Beach to have a fling, the list goes on. While she’s telling me this, two things are going through my mind; 1. Is Julia being honest with me? or 2. This woman well and truly fascinates me, and I must learn more to gain understanding. After Julia finishes her rant,  she apologizes to me. I told her, “Its okay, you don’t need to apologize to me.” Julia then asks me for my thoughts on her, I responded with not being able to form a single damn word. I get a reprieve as she runs to the bathroom. While she is gone, my mind is scrambling to make sense of what was just heard, and I ask myself, “How do I not come off as judgemental?” I had to frame my analysis so it wouldn’t offend her, plus give a constructive criticism. Julia kept referring to herself as a “crazy bitch.” She repeated the term a number of times. I tried to tell her otherwise, coining the word shameless. She seemed to take kindly to the word, as much as warming up to me. I asked her why she was so promiscuous, she responded with not wanting to be alone. I was sympathetic, some people just don’t want to be alone. After my consoling/counseling of the poor girl, she decided to do the same thing to me. She pointed out the very obvious flaw in my personality; the fact that I’m wound tighter than a lugnut. She lamented that even I was thoughtful and attractive, I lacked a certain confidence to entice women. I couldn’t deny it, there I sat no more than 6 inches from her face, and I could not pull the trigger. My guess was caution was the better part of valor, or I have no guts at all. The point of her introspection was I don’t live for the moment. There it was, here is a woman who is totally free, able to play by her own social norms.

Before I wrap up this story, I’m going to give a little background on Julia; Born in Lithuania in 1987, speaks fluent Russian, graduated with a Masters’ degree in Business at Georgetown, and is incredibly gorgeous. Anyways, I concluded the night by walking her back to the car, giving her a hug and kissing her on the cheek. I drove to my apartment, got out of the car, went to bed, and tried to sleep. Suffice to say I didn’t sleep well, I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

If there is a lesson learned out of all of this, I learned I can not make a plan, for it will turn on its head. Fate has a funny way of showing itself, maybe its being at the right place at the right time, or it’s shutting up and listening to a girl named Julia.

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The TOP GEAR Revolution

A couple of years ago, my dad asked me if I’ve ever heard of the show “Top Gear”? I told him no, so he promptly turns to BBC America, and I had what can be best described as an awakening. The show was in Iceland with Richard Hammond (aka Hamster) driving a Bowler Wildcat (an off-road vehicle with a shouty V-8) against a jet-powered Kayak (video below). From that moment on, I fell in love with Top Gear. Its combination of British humor, fast cars, and general insanity is a must-see for everyone. The best way I can describe, its pretty much what goes on inside a car-guys=’s mind. I implore anyone to watch the videos below to get a taste of what Top Gear is all about.

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The Final Four

 

 

Its time now for the Final Four, descending this year on Bourbon Street and the Louisiana Superdome. The first matchup, going on right now is the battle for the Bluegrass State. Louisville and Kentucky are going back and fourth, trying to assert themselves. As a fan on neither team,  I can certainly say I have no personal stake in whomever wins. Of my brackets, Yahoo.com is one where I can still succeed. All four of my teams made the Final Four, with Louisville winning it all vs. Kansas. Unfortunately, Kentucky looks like they are going to win. Damn, better luck next year.

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The love of Formula 1

 

Why I love Formula 1, before I answer that question, I need to give you some background.

Grand Prix racing dates as far back as 1894 in France. The very early days were an endurance of man and machine pushing their cars to the limit. It then soon evolved to formula racing, becoming what is now known as “Formula 1”. The circuits of the day were mostly carved around city streets and town roads, most notable of which was LeMans, site of the world 24-hour Endurance Race. Other circuits included the Targa Florio in Sicily, Brooklands in England, and what would become the most iconic circuit in Formula 1, the streets of Monaco. All the famous marques of the era took part; Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, BRM, Ford, the list goes on.

After World War II, all the world’s Grand Prix were consolidated into the World Championship, in a showcase to see who was the best driver. Men like Nino Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari were head and shoulders above the rest, pushing their cars beyond what other drivers could or dared to do. A decade later, in what many historians consider the “Golden Age of Grand Prix Racing”, the cars changed drastically from being front-engined beast of fury, to rear-engined rocket ships. As the cars became faster, the danger increased as well. There was not much in the way of driver safety, very little in fact. Seatbelts were minimalistic at best, the circuits were ill prepared to handle accidents, and worst of all, everybody associated with the sport went along with it because that was the nature of racing. It wasn’t until drivers Sir Jackie Stewart and John Surtees stepped in, demanding better safety. The rise of  big-market sponsorship made safety concerns a prevalent topic in the Formula 1 community.

Fast forward to the 1980’s, where politics and greed were (and still are, the status quo). I am not going to bore you with all the details, just the most important. With the influx of money and manufacturers, the privateer teams were becoming more and more frustrated with the governing body, the FIA (Federal Internationale d’Automobile).  The war raged on through the early 80’s before it was settled by team owner Bernie Ecclestone (the Napoleon of our time), who promised to give the teams more revenue as long as he holds the commercial rights (he still holds them today).

Now comes the year 1988, the year I was born. The first word uttered out of my mouth was “car”. From that moment on, my dad knew I was going to be a racing fan. Every sunday morning, my dad would have the Grand Prix on TV for us to watch and enjoy. It was at this time I started to hear and memorize the sounds the engines, the howl of a Ferrari V-12, the scream of a turbo-charged Honda, the thunder of a Renault V-10. Those memories of watching drivers; Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher battle it out in those overly engineered monsters still resonate with me today.

Watching Formula 1 for me is like a like a religion. It only comes around every so often, every race is an event to behold, the pageantry, the fans, the glamour, watching the cars on the grid before they start, it gets my adrenaline going. There is a reason why I get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to watch the Malaysian Grand Prix. I know its crazy to want to purposefully get at 4am to watch an auto race, but believe me when I tell you, no matter how I’m feeling; good, bad, sad happy, that passion is always there, waiting to come to the surface.

To put into pictures what I’m on about, please watch this preview for the 2010 documentary film, Senna. It tells the life story of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, who many believe to be the best driver of all time.

 

Stay tuned for more posts and videos about Formula 1 and just cars in general.

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This Will Destroy You (An epitaph)

Recently, the post-rock band This Will Destroy You announced they were parting ways. It’s sad because I came to know this band’s odd form of music only a short time ago. Last summer, I saw a trailer for  the Academy-Award nominated Moneyball. In the 2nd half of the trailer, a piece of music starts and was immediately hooked on it. It complimented the images in the trailer so well.

I decided to investigate by viewing comments on YouTube for clues to the Music’s origin. I came to a link for a pseudo music video based on the song entitled The Mighty Rio Grande. It was video about Earth’s climate from various heights. The music was entirely instrumental, very distant in nature, but sounded epic. It takes you to a place and a time, but you don’t where it is, but you know it’s there. It’s hard to describe how you feel when you listen to this music, in part because it tells a story. I compare it to like driving through the Mojave Desert at dusk. Now I’ve never been to Mojave Desert, but if I were driving through the Mojave at dusk, I would be listening to this music. It haunts you, not in a scary way, but in a way that sticks in your mind.

After listening to the song in its entirety (an astounding 11 minutes in length), I decided I wanted more of this music, so I went on-line via Itunes to search for the accompanying album. The search led me to their self-titled album, and without hesitating, bought the album off Itunes. In addition to The Mighty Rio Grande, the rest of album had the same distant, but epic feel. It’s not like prod-rock that goes on for 12-13 minutes at a time. This music is more focused, like a journey almost.

I implore anyone who reads this post to take a listen to This Will Destroy You. It might not your cup of tea, but at least try to understand what the music is saying because you might not hear something like it ever again.

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Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha you gonna do when the Cops friend you on FaceBook? (I swear, I thought I had a better line)

On Thursday, I sat down at my desk with a Miller High Life and read District Attorney Edward Marsico’s article about using Social Media to catch criminals. I was struck by the effectiveness to which Police use sites such as Twitter and Facebook to catch various criminals, notably gang violence and pedophiles.

As Marsico noted, whenever there is a jump in technology, criminals are the first to utilize it for despicable means. Many law enforcement officials knew that one way to combat activity were to beat the criminal at their own game. 

My question, where do we draw the line between finding justice and violating someone’s right of privacy?

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