Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Tomaso Files: A somewhat Long ‘N Strange trip indeed...

So the past two weeks seem like a blur to your humble No Fenders scribe, as I’ve definitely seen a little more of the unusual then planned for... As it all started by South Sound Bureau Chief Mary Ellen inviting Mwah down to Tacoma for the weekend of the Long Beach & Chinese GP’s, to which I thought, what the H-E Double Hockey sticks, eh? Might as whale get outta Dodge ‘N try breathin’ some fresh air after having stared at le Confuzer way too many hours previously.

Not to mention the soothing company of the revered 92 years young ‘Aunty Harriet - who’s got nothin’ wrong with her hearing; WHAT? Asking me if there are any races on this weekend? Yes, the Chinese Grand Prix is on at midnight. Who? The Chinese Grand Prix... Portuguese Stampede??? Yep! That’s right there was a stampede in Portugal; Porch You Gall, I was corrected upon my pronunciation... Oh? How many were trampled in the Stampede? Oh, I don’t know - as I just heard the headline before I came down; Hya!

And besides, NO sweat, I’ll tape the IndyCar race since I won’t get home in time for the Monday replay - and then can just watch the Formula 1 race rebroadcast Tuesday morning... Since comca$t GOOBERED my ‘Ol School technology by forcing me onto a ‘DIG I-T! TULL box that won’t allow my VCR to record more then one channel at a time; Oh Never Mind!

Catching the bus home Monday morning after a two-plus hours ride and stepping off around 12:15PM, my stomach was grumblin’ so I made a beeline for the same said Sandwich Pub I’d met the crazy old lady in previously. And as I turned the corner to walk down my hill I saw several vehicles parked along the kerb - which usually only sees vehicles parked there during snow storms when the hill is iced over; WTF?

Then it was extremely quiet outside my building and all of the residents automobiles were missing; Huh? As I approached my walkway I noticed an orange safety traffic cone at the top of it - and as I attempted to take my first step a voice boomed out: you CANNOT come up here there has been a FIRE and you’ll need to go to the office for further instructions; Aye Karumba! (And now as I poond away - there’s that NOT so soothing tome of fire truck sirens blaring in the distance...)

Walking into the office I was met by the assistant manager - but before he could go any further then saying there’s been a fire in your building, I replied: I need to go to the bathroom first! (And then eat some lunch - as it was now around 1:25PM)

Mitch took me into the general office and introduces me to a female Red Cross volunteer who told me: the GOOD news is your unit was undamaged by the fire! It may smell like smoke a little while, but it’ll dissipate... Unfortunately you CANNOT enter your unit for approx 2-3hrs until the fire alarms are hooked up and power is restored. Then she passed me off to her male counterpart - who was the head Red Cross volunteer who asked me: you do have insurance, RIGHT? Saying they’d pay for me to stay somewhere for the night if I needed to do so... Ok, but I really need to eat something first.

After a piece ‘O my Bitamyte sandwich; NOT! Hmm? I’d better call Mary Ellen and see if I can return for another night instead of sitting round here for three hours and then surprise!

Thus riding the bus home once again Tuesday morning - I obviously missed the replay of the Chinese Grand Prix - which I’d really liked to have seen, especially since it would have been most symbiotic after having previously spent the weekend reminiscing ‘bout Aunty Harriet’s encounter with the then 21yr old rookie “Brittany,” aka Nico Rosberg which I originally scribbled ‘bout in; Indy day trippin’. (Part 3)

Yet as I’d later tell Mary Ellen, I felt extremely FORTUNATE that my frumpy ‘lil abode had escaped any fire damage - as I’d have been totally devastated, since all of my documentation would have been lost... And even though my entire F1 Diecast collection has sat in the closet for numerous years, nevertheless I’d not wish for their untimely demise this way, as hopefully some younger generation will enjoy them in the future - whilst I pontificate ‘bout there being put in a display case some day...

Yet I had several thoughts upon my near miss with the devastation of the fire to my Apartment building; a two-alarm fire for which the local newspaper said a man was rescued from his third floor balcony after being trapped by flames and a large dog was also rescued - the blaze having been set by carelessness with incense that ignited combustibles... As half of the building’s occupants - twelve units have been displaced due to fire, smoke and water damage!

But my thoughts upon this incident immediately drifted to the subject of Bahrain, as I pondered how many of the oppressed there would have been receiving immediate Red Cross care? Food, shelter, electricity and even clean & working bathrooms to use. (Not to mention friendly & kind people trying to help...)

As one protester was killed leading up to the Bahrain Grand Prix. Two Force India team members departed the Kingdom after their unmarked vehicle became embroiled in a protest skirmish - involving Molotov cocktails; not to mention the entire team forsaking Friday’s Free Practice-2 session in order to leave the circuit under the safety of daylight... Which doesn’t even address the further death toll occurring after the “United-for-All” Grand Prix - yeah, right you BASTARDOS!

Hmm? Did Uncle Bernaughty drop by the Bahrain International Circuit during race weekend?

Thus feeling very discombulated I watched the Long Beach IndyCar race Tuesday night halfheartedly, albeit I more or less just listened to it since I really couldn’t see much TV coverage in the darkness of my eerily quiet abode...

Thursday morning I caught the Shuttle Express to the airport - as the driver said I know you, you’re the guy I gave a ride home to once before who spotted Air Force One, right? Well actually that was another blind gentlemen as I always chuckle to myself over how blind people are immediately classified as being completely blind... As the driver and van riders had been quite surprised when this man who was only blind in one eye called out from the front passenger seat whilst upon the I-5 Freeway; there’s Air Force One.

And I felt like I was getting my Bobby Allison indoctrination “Justin-time” for my big Arizona adventure. As the third passenger we picked up - who was off to Chicago said her hair was still wet and did anyone mind  turning up the heat? So there I sat in my gortex raincoat, windows up and the heat suddenly blasting us to tarnations... Kinda like when ‘Ol Bobby drove around home in the Alabama summers the exact same way to train for driving in his “RASSCAR Bomber; CRIKEYS!

Then just before touching down at Phoenix Int’l the two Catty-chatties behind me suddenly perked up my ear as the one lady said: have you ever been to Florence, Oregon; Hmm? I’ve been ‘Dar... As she continued; you really need to take the Dune-buggy ride on the Sand dunes there. SHEISA! I’ve done that too - which I did last August and it was an absolute hoot...

And of course The Valley of the Sun was having an unexpected HEAT wave - which made me just marvel that much more as my brother Miguel pointed out the black Ferrari convertible cruising alongside us with its top down as it was only 97deg-f ambient outside; Aye Karumba!

And I guessed it was a F430 - which had the most soothing tome of the weekend, as Miguel informed  me there was zero identifying badge-work upon it, albeit it had a clear glass rear  bonnet cover which showed off the Scuderia’s upper engine brightwork, i.e.; valve covers, intake manifolds, etc. Welcome to Arizona baby!

The reason for this trip into a blasting hot oven - as it would be 102-103 degrees the rest of my duration was to go to Phoenix International Raceway for the first time in 14-years to go for a three lap excursion in a real honest-to-goodness, bonafied NASCAR Stock Car; CRIKEYS!

Yep, Y’all read that right - your humble scribe has finally conceded to the DARK side - being a willing participant in a Richard Petty Driving Experience two-seater ride-along program...

Which I’ll poond out ‘Dat rivetin’ story forze Yuhs  all ‘Somme-time in dar future - when I’ll hopefully(?) have the incriminating photos of meeze climbin’ aboard the No. 48 Lowes ‘Chebbie of Jimmy ‘Vanilla Johnson fame... Of which I have only Artiste Dave to thonk for makin’ I-T happen...

Thus, obviously (SNAP! Where are you Mr. Innucci, eh?) It felt very strange actually getting to listen to the entire Indy Car qualifying session from Sao Paolo, Brazil on my Confuzer’s tiny ‘lil speakers - as Trackside Online’s (TSO) Patrick Stefan did a very commendable job calling the action solo. (Making me flash back to meeting him in the IMS Media Centre nearly three years ago...)

And now it’s just back to my usual(?) routine before flying off to Speedwayland and the very first Oval race of the season in approximately ‘Juan month...

And whilst I’m NOT holding my breath towards any sort of great changes occurring anytime soon in the Kingdom of Bahrain.... Nevertheless, one can only hope that perhaps some sort of good will occur from the just announced re-trials for several activists - including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who’s been on hunger strike for nearly three months now...