Category Archives: general prattle

I miss my friend…

While I’m waiting for the practice to start, I figured I would blow the dust of the old blog and clear the cobwebs. This was written on the plane on my way home from St. Petes… I wasn’t sure if I would post or not,  but a #TBT post by my BFF Carol this week reminded me of the weekend we became “besties”, in 2008 at Long Beach, and it tied in perfectly with this post as it revolves around the same people…

There is a common theme among the racing community. We all refer to each other as our “racing family”. Be it the drivers, or series workers, or media colleagues, or fans, we are bonded together by this crazy thing called racing.

We travel together, work together, eat together, fight together, laugh together, and cry together.
We embrace the highs, and learn to live with the lows.

Each season by choice, situation, or by tragedy, our family gets slightly smaller.
Drivers don’t return, teams downsize or shut down, people retire or get let go from their jobs, spouses pass on, and there is a domino effect that ripples throughout the community.

This year the most noticeable void, for me personally, is the big man himself not walking his lanky self down pit lane, a palpable and obvious loss made more poignantly evident by the very many tribute t-shirts and stickers seen throughout the grandstands and paddocks all weekend at each event.

But it’s also the not so obvious loss that I was feeling all weekend when I was in St. Petes. (and subsequently now, this weekend, watching Long Beach from afar)

By losing Justin, I also lose Julia and the girls on site. I lose Stefan and his new wife Katie on pitlane supporting his big brother. I lose Keith and Lynne Wilson flying over for certain races, with whom I had the great pleasure of joining on several occasions for meals and conversation. I lose conversing with his longtime PR support team. And I selfishly lose the company of one of my best racing friends, who was one of Justin’s investors from the early days of his open wheel career, and my race weekend roomie for almost a decade.

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We attended St.Petersburg four times together. All of my memories of this race and this town include her, and many include the aforementioned people. Memories popped up like ghosts while walking the grounds and the city and it just felt like something was missing.

But it was only as I sat on the plane reflecting back on my weekend, that I realized that, despite the awesome company I was keeping, something indeed was missing. A very large portion of my extended racing family. With each season, more and more familiar faces fade into memories. The faces I took for granted smiling at me from across the media centre, or looking up from the pit stall, or waving down from the grandstands.

Eventually I’ll be the face that fades away, and perhaps someone will muse “I miss my friend” about me.

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Meesh’s Milestone Marathon!

Hello my friends! In 6 DAYS!! On October 18, 2015, I will once again be participating in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as part of Team Cargill Cares, raising funds for Ronald McDonald House Toronto.
This year I decided to up my game as well as my mileage and will run my first ever HALF MARATHON!! (insert me screaming internally)

2yrs ago I ran my first official 5K at this event, as my family made use of the facilities at Ronald McDonald House Toronto while my nephew was being treated for testicular cancer. Though my nephew has thankfully recovered, and my family no longer uses the facilities, I have continued to run and raise money each year for this much needed venue and service as I have experienced the value of it first hand. It’s my way of paying it forward and saying thank you.

I’ve also upped my goal from previous years!
I will be running 21K… 4X’s the distance of my previous efforts at this event, so I figured $2100.00 was a nice simpatico number to reach for.
$100 per KM. As each KM ticks off, I will think “that’s another $100 for RMHT!” This will be what drags my numb carcass across the finish-line approximately 3hrs after the gun sounds…
This is the only charity/fundraising I do each year, so I’m counting on you all to step up! 100% of the funds raised are allocated and used to support RMHT and the families that utilize the facilities.
100%!! Not many charities can say that.
For perspective, it costs $125 per night to house a family at RMHT, they pay $15, the rest is subsidized by the monies raised via donations.

It costs $3000 for the average family stay at RMHT. (my goal doesn’t even cover that) 3200 families will walk through the doors at Ronald McDonald House Toronto this year.

This is a big milestone for me!
Which is fitting as just weeks ago I celebrated another milestone.
A half century of life on this big blue marble! The BIG FIVE-OH!
I will never complain about reaching this age. Many of the children I am running for never will have that privilege.
THIS is my motivation.
So, I ask that in lieu of birthday gifts/cards/drinks this year, you instead pledge your support to this cause! Reaching my goal would be the bestest birthday present of all!

THANK YOU for your support!
All pledges will receive an official tax receipt (either electronic or in the mail.)

CLICK TO DONATE!! THANKS IN ADVANCE!!

Get Involved – Buy the damn Koozies!!

I can’t think of a better reason to dust the cobwebs out of the blogcave than to give a shout out to my friend, IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, who  launched a very special Indiegogo campaign today in support of eradicating Breast Cancer.

For those who don’t know, Pippa is the poster child for perseverance, positivity, and hard work; never giving up on her goals, even in the face of unfathomable obstacles and criticism. Her Instagram feed is a daily source of motivation for me. For all of those reasons, I am honoured to personally be part of the “Pippa Posse” for the Month of May.

On top of that, she works equally as hard to bring funding and awareness to a cause near and dear to most of us.

Take a look

1 in 8 folks.
1. in. 8.

I personally know at least 2. One who had radical surgery today.
This is a nasty motherfucker of a disease, an equal opportunity destroyer, and every little bit of awareness and money we can throw at it will only help to eradicate it once and for all.

So where does Pippa come in?

Well once again Pippa will be supporting Breast Cancer Awareness by driving the Susan G. Komen Liveried IndyCar in this years Indianapolis 500, and in conjunction with this she is running an Indiegogo campaign with the hopes of raising $50,000

So, it’s time for us all to put our money where our mouths are and help Pippa be successful in both her goals, to run the Indy 500 and to raise awareness and money for Susan G. Komen in the process.

From the time I started writing this, to the time I published, the donations had already doubled, with the campaign now sitting at 26% fulfilled.

Some of the hottest, more sought after items, went in the blink of an eye. Some of the bigger ticket items are still available. (this is only the first day after all) and some…
like the much maligned Koozies…
barely a whisper of interest.
There are 500 allotted to this campaign.
That’s potentially $4000 worth of donations… just sitting there.

Hey, boys, we know y’all drink beer at the track and in your backyards/living rooms… so dust off your credit cards and
BUY A DAMN KOOZIE!!
No one will judge you. Hell, maybe a lovely lady will by you a beer to fill it with as a thank you for looking out for her… girls. 😉

That said, if you don’t want one, that’s cool, you can just donate the $8 bucks.
Or bump it up to an even $10

Whatever your desired item, or donation level, remember: every little bit helps.
There are 23 days left in the campaign.
$36,907 to go.

What can you do?

Click the link and donate —–> LINK

Get Involved: here
Follow Pippa: here, here, and here

Now share the link.
Repost the Instagram.
Retweet.
Share with your friends.
Share with your friend’s friends.
Share with your enemies.

Do it for your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, your wife, your BFF.
Do it for all of your friends female significant others.
Do it for yourself…
so one day, when there is a cure, you can say, “hey, I helped fund the research for that” then take a big swig of your ice cold beer swaddled in a fab Koozie … (see what I did there?)

See y’all at Indy

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Calling all MOtorsports fans…

meeshstacheIt’s MOvember Bitches! And this year it’s personal! I’m on a mission to educate, motivate and eradicate! No one should have to deal with cancer. Especially a 15yr old boy with testicular cancer. It sucks. And It pisses me off.

Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer, behind skin cancers, in young men aged 15 – 29 years. It starts as an abnormal growth or tumour that develops in one or both testicles. It is a highly treatable type of cancer with a very good cure rate (over 95%) if found and treated early.

• Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29
• Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer
• Because treatment is so successful, the overall long term survival rate is about 96%
• 940 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in Canada in 2013.

My nephew is one of those statistics this year, which is why I mounting a personal charge for MOvember!

I wasn’t going to post about this here, but I have spent too many days over the last month watching clear plastic bags of poison drip into my nephew. I feel angry, and helpless and I just need to do something, anything, to feel like I’m helping in some way.

#fuckCancer

So back to MOvember. I can’t grow a mustache. (Ok, I actually probably can, but NO one needs to see a picture of that. But I will and will post one if that’s what it takes! ) But I’m coming up with things I can do, provide, auction off to raise funds for this cause.

First up: I’m running another 5K this weekend! If I get some pledges to my MO-space, I will run the entire race wearing a fake moustache. (my comrade in arm has pledged she will do the same!) AND I will post pics!
It is cold, it is NOVEMBER IN CANADA, it may even snow, and I will be out at the crack of dark EXERCISING!! That alone deserves a couple of bucks 😉

If you’re so inclined, and would like to support the cause, you can do so here:
http://moteam.co/meeshbeer

OH, and if you’re participating in MOvember and want to join our wolfpack, we’d love to have you!! (we’re looking for some MEN to join our cause and grow some facial hair) That’s right, I’m looking for other MO-Bros and MO-Ho’s to join my team!

MOtivationNation

Grow a great stache!
Grow an awful stache!
Grow the hair on your legs, chin, mole(!), under your arms!
Whatever works!
Let’s DO this people! Join my team here:
http://moteam.co/motivation-nation

This is a month long effort. I will continue to post facts, videos, challenges, etc…

In the meantime, for all my male colleagues and friends, stick your hands down your pants and fondle your boys. Check em good. And if something doesn’t feel right down there, go get yourself checked by a medical professional.

http://testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org/self-exam-how-to/

self-exam

A Quick Hello!

My goodness, where does the time go? I swear I try to schedule time to update this thing, but scheduling my brain to produce something interesting on demand is not always the best course of action! *trust me you should be thankful*

It’s not like I’m not enjoying the season! On the contrary. I’m one happy camper as far as that goes. Real life has just intervened and taken up all of my spare time and then some. I actually wrote a couple of blogs that I, for whatever reason didn’t go live with. *duh* (I may tweak and upload at a later date if relevant) I even attempted to live blog the Brazil race, but that was just too edge of your seat enjoyable to be distracted! (plus it was the first race I was able to watch live since St. Petes due to ‘real life’) I was even recently a guest on Motor Week Live (not archived yet) where I gushed lovingly about the season to date. (one big run on sentence, no breath taking, will likely not be invited back… LOL) All the while also overseeing my team at Open Wheel World. So I have been in the fold, just not on here… sorry kids, I’ll try to do better.

That said, I have a good chunk of racing scheduled in for the next couple of months, starting with Indy, and will be catching up and updating more frequently.

I hit the road on Wednesday for Indy for my annual Indy/Detroit sojourn. As much as Indy isn’t my favourite race on the schedule (I know, I know, sacrilege…) it will definitely be a barn-burner this year and not to be missed! It’s also a chance for me to catch up with my Indy-Only peeps, and try to convince them to venture out of their bubble and come to the other races on the schedule! Oh, and there will be a little bit of socializing… (just a bit ;-))

I won’t go into too much more right now, as “real life” is pressuring me to close the lid on this thing and get ready for work (I have too many jobs!) But I just want to say how chuffed I was to run into the dressing room last night, open up my livestream app, and watch Ed Carpenter snag the pole! It’s so nice to see him come into his own. He is one of the nicest, most down to earth drivers, and to see him come up through the ranks, run his own team, and accomplish this monumental David vs Goliath achievement, well, you can’t help but smile and root for him to drink the milk a week from now.

Ok, more later! But for now, enjoy the rest of bump day!

You can’t unsqueeze toothpaste…

I had some downtime before my show Saturday night, and since I’ve been asked by a few people “what I think” and “where I stand” post implosion, I figured I’d write down a few thoughts now that I’ve had a few days, well a week actually, to digest.
I wrote a little more before bed last night, and just amended the end a few minutes ago after a day blissfully offline.

While I was poking around twitter earlier, I discovered a bunch of my peers also posted similar “recaps” (apparently we all came to the surface at the same time following last weeks “Deep Dive”)(*snort*) I haven’t read any yet so as not to alter my course or have anyone influence my own first response (I promise to read them all now)
So apologies if this is a rehash of someone else’s post or inadvertently comes across as a rebuttal of some sort (like last weeks weirdness) I am curious to see if we’re all on the same page, or if I’m charting my own weird course…
Anyway… read on. Continue reading

A Girl and a Car… the Acura edition!

As I headed to the Honda Canada head office on the morning of my scheduled race weekend road trip start date, I spent my hour plus bus commute wondering if I would get the sexy orange coloured Civic Coupe SI I had seen on the website or have to settle for the more staid dark grey or white version. (yes, I’m the girl that enjoys those orange or chartreuse liveried cars) I wondered what gizmos, gadgets, and bells and whistles I would get to play with. I wondered if the cup holders would be more coffee drinker friendly than the CR-Z , (yes, I think about these things) and I wondered what the storage space would be like in the trunk.

When I arrived, I realized I had misread my email and that I wasn’t getting the Civic Coupe SI, but rather the Acura TL. See the Coupe is manual transmission, and while I did drive a manual for many years, I haven’t driven one lately, and figured the time to relearn that skill wasn’t on the highway… in a their car!

I don’t know why I pictured an overly large car when I realized I would be driving the Acura TL for the weekend, but I did.
I pictured a big car that “grown ups’ would drive.
Older, rich people.
I don’t know why. I really don’t. It’s just how my brain works.
Suddenly my fun road trip was feeling not so fun.
And it was white. WHITE?!

Now my friends who accompany me to the Canadian International Auto Show every year are probably laughing their asses off right now, as every year I profess my disgust towards white cars. Not only are they entirely uninteresting to shoot under the fluorescent lighting of the convention centre, but they just scream rental car and no imagination to me. Again, what can I say… Meesh brain at work.

So off to the parking lot I ventured, key fob in hand, to find my car for the weekend.

Well, first of all it wasn’t that big. That was a relief. I knew it would probably eat a little (possibly a lot) more gas than the last one, but I didn’t want to feel like I was driving a giant car. I’m a city girl. I have a small city apartment, I drive on cramped city streets, and I travel mostly solo. I like all of my spaces “cozy’, including my cars.

I opened the door, and the seat automatically adjusted, pushing back to allow me to comfortably enter the car.
Ooh Fancy. Nice touch car designer peeps!
Oh, and there are not one, but two buttons to adjust your seat in multiple directions to get your personal comfort level ‘just right’ (which I later discovered you could “set” and have the car remember for up to 2 main drivers) Again, nice.
Score one for the “grown up” car.

Hmm… no key. Just a big red push button. (this of course made me immediately nervous, and I made sure my key fob was hooked onto my body at all times, lest I accidentally lock myself out of the car in the middle of nowhere)

Adjusting the side view mirrors I realize they are ever so slightly tinted blue, making them very clear to see out of, and lessening the glare from following and passing cars. I would later discover that the rear view mirror had an auto dimming feature for night driving that again, blocked the annoying glare from the following vehicle. Nice. More brownie points accumulated.

Once again, I had the benefit of the built-in GPS. This one was equally intuitive to use, yet much less user-friendly at the same time. I wasn’t too fond of the more time-consuming way you had to enter addresses, using the awkward knob to dial to select single letters one at a time. I also began to think it was an older model/set up, as the old Honda head office address came up in the search, and it didn’t recognize the new one! LOL! How ironic that I had to use my iPhone’s gps and Google map to remember where to turn off to get the car back on Tuesday!

So, safety checks done, and all strapped in, on to the highway I went.

Dayum! Nice pick up! This car does not drive like a “big” car either. It is super quick, and super smooth, and super agile. I felt the same maneuverability in the Acura as I did with the much smaller, lower profile Honda CR-Z, but it actually had a bit more weight to it, so I felt much more in control and safer if that makes any sense.

Fast forward 4 days to a couple of hours after the race on Sunday, and 10 silver, decaled Acuras are lined up on pitlane in preparation, I’m assuming, for the next day’s Mid-Ohio Driving School.
I nod my head knowingly, understanding just how much fun these lucky students are going to have in this super racy car on this incredible track.
While I never got to drive the track itself, I did walk the entire perimeter while shooting the race, plus I got to drive some deserted, twisting, hilly back roads in Ohio, so I can very much imagine what it would be like to really lay it out on a real road course. It’s funny, while I’ve always loved racing, I never really had the desire to get behind the wheel myself, that is until recently. Perhaps there’s been a shift in my testosterone levels? LOL

Oh, and I could easily have packed 4 times what I did for my trip in the trunk of this car, then added more crap in the spacious backseat! Loads of room.

Loaded up, I hit the coffee shop, dialed in my first destination, and hit the road.

Bells and whistles!

The center console, which gave me much fodder for complaining last time, was well laid out in the Acura. Not only were the cup holders in the perfect spot, but there was a little cover that slide over them, like a rolltop desk. There was also a deep well-like hideaway under the center arm rest that contained all your auxiliary plugs, and even had a little gully for your cable, to allow for you to have your phone (on airplane mode of course, but accessible in case of emergency ;- ) on the seat or on that rolltop surface when the armrest was closed. My favorite feature though was the little hideaway drawer, just big enough to hold my passport, some money and my toll booth receipts. Handy and accessible. Loved it!

Remember my biggest pet peeve of the CR-Z? That horrible, HORRIBLE blind spot? Well my friends, all could have been solved had it had the groovy blind spot alert of the Acura. Yup, a little orange back-lit cutout picture of a car pulling alongside another car lights up right beside your side view mirror when your car detects another car in its blindspot. Eureka! I LOVED that! Personally, I don’t understand why there is even an option to shut it off. It should be mandatory in all cars. Particularly the cars driven by dickwads on cellphones that don’t pay attention. (though they likely wouldn’t pay attention to the alert light either unless it was hooked up to their cellphone and CALLED them to alert them… but I digress… )

Remember how thrilled I was to discover the seat warmers in the CR-Z, well just imagine my shock and amusement (and subsequent hysterical giggles for about 10 minutes) when I discovered the Acura had seat COOLERS! Yes kids, I pressed a button by accident and was greeted with a pleasant gust of cool air up my lady parts. Hey, when you’re driving for 6-7hrs at a time, which I usually do on these trips, being able to cool your nether region on demand, well, that is just a really, really enjoyable feature. I’m pretty sure you boys wouldn’t mind having your “boys” cooled on a long drive too 😉
Speaking of the AC, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it activated. Even after a full day of being parked in the hot sun.

Satellite Radio! Not having ever had any sort of satellite radio, this was a real treat. A little confused trying to figure out how to tune the damn thing, and not familiar with any specific stations, I just hit seek until I found something interesting, then landed on the 70’s channel. Oh lord. All I can say is thank goodness I travel solo, cause I was having my own little flashback to my childhood in-car karaoke concert all the way to Ohio.

Unlike the CR-Z, of which I saw NONE the entire week and a half I was driving one, I did see many Acura’s on the road, most as I suspected being driven by older couples, who gave me strange looks when I drove by in the same car.
Now I realize I’m no spring chicken, but I think, and sadly most of the time act, “young”, and I look younger than the age on my license. Come to think of it, I was also wearing pigtails that day, so I probably just looked like a car karaoke singing idiot. (thus the strange looks)

In truth, I am probably within the actual target demographic for this car (age wise, not salary wise lol) and were it within my means, this would definitely be a car I would consider for purchase/lease. But I really think this car would be appreciated by all ages. Ha! funny, I have the tv on in the background and the Acura commercial just came on, with the British dude driving on a hilly road course, talking about the blind spot alert and the amazing handling.
Yup! I agree with you British dude! Sold!

So there you go. Another unconventional “world according to Meesh” review.

Sidebar: All three races I attended whilst being “Powered by” Honda Canada for the weekend, a Honda powered driver/car/team was on the top step of the podium. Coincidence? I think not. That’s some serious Meesh mojo right there! 😉 Something to consider for the 2013 IndyCar season… #justsayin

Thanks again to the fine people at Honda Canada for the sweet ride, and the fine people at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for putting on such a great event for me to attend! (Review of the weekend coming up!)

*interior car shots courtesy of http://www.honda.ca*