Monday, March 28, 2011

Buttonwillow Raceway

My boss is a racer and general racing fanatic, which is great being a mechanical engineer because your car is always so much better than everyone elses.... JK that's far from it. Anyway he sent out a mass email stating that he was going to be racing the upcoming weekend and I planned to be there to get some photos of the cars in action! It was a great day for some racing and Parish was brave enough to come hang out awhile with me while I took my 650 photos of the cars racing around the track. Instead of boring you with most of the details of the day we will get right to it!

Here are some of the upper end cars getting ready to head out on the track.

If anyone says that wrecks and spin outs aren't one of the most exciting things that can happen at a race they are flat out liars. I got this one drifting which turned into some off-roading on the grass. Luckily, everyone who spun out that day was perfectly fine.

Getting back on after his mistake.

Drifter #2.

This one almost had a head on with one of the formula looking cars but they averted the crisis.

Taking off to the track from the hot pit.

Some of the classier cars were just as fun to look at sitting still as they were racing around the track at 140 mph.

These two were part of the driving class that was offered at the raceway. I'm sure it was a pretty penny, but just might be worth getting in a RX-7 Racer.

This isn't your average cougar. Dressed with a V8 and supercharger it was keeping with the Porsche's on the straights without hesitation.

There were all kinds of racers there. Even 4-doors.

Corvettes were abundant here, but why wouldn't they be?

One the back side of the track there was a tricky hill section which got the best out of a couple racers. The OB areas of this track were very forgiving fortunately. No cliffs or what not. :P

More Vettes.

This Porsche GT3 tore it up. Doesn't look it, but the fastest car in this race by far. He must have spent all the money on the stuff that mattered and not the exterior.

...Yeah more Vettes. This one was right on the Porsche's heels most of the race.

Baring the spin out and throwing dirt everywhere after the first turn (which was pretty cool), this guy could hold his own as well. One of the flashiest as far as looks are concerned.

My boss's class is SRF and all cars have tight specs that must be followed. It's the most "equal" of all groups present.

This is the boss.

He did pretty well for most of the track. On one of the hairpin turns he hit some cones which slowed him down but maintained his position. After the first turn he had to brake on he realized that something was wrong, since the car was wanting to turn left when he was braking. He was having trouble slowing for the turns but he rode out the race anyway. The result of his malfunctions was dropping a couple positions unfortunately.

After getting back to the trailer and looking the car over he found that one of the cones he had run over got caught in his front-right brake caliper and was preventing the brakes from working fully. We had a good laugh about it at work today, and he kept the cone as a trophy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Telephoto Lens!

I've been working some overtime the past couple of weeks to pay for one of the new toys I required. I did a lot of searching around, and DSLR lenses are not cheap by any means. In fact, the one that I got is the base base base model all things considered. No IS, cheap construction and kind of heavy, but I wanted to try one out to see if it was something that I would actually need/enjoy before spending an arm and a leg for one. The good thing about this lens is that when it comes time to upgrade (if there is such a day) it has a high resale value, so theoretically I will be able to get most of my money back. :) So this telephoto lens has really opened up my distance since it is a 70-300mm. I rarely use my kit lens outside anymore. The only downside to this lens is a tripod is almost mandatory if it's not sunny out, but that rarely happens here so its all good! Here are some shots that I took while we were in Santa Monica and Venice Beach last weekend. Most of them were using manual focus, just so I could get used to playing with it and figuring out the mechanics.

It's great to be able to get those long shots now. I look forward to using it more on our cruise in a few weeks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. Patty's Day @ The Padre

Z and Colby were here over the week of St. Patty's Day. This was a good reason to go out and have a good time on a Thursday. While Kirstie and I paid for it the following day (I paid for it mostly) it was well worth the trip. Great atmosphere, good cover band, and free drinks due to our "festive" hair color selections!

We were out on the roof for most of the night. Frankly I was terrified to begin with. They had more fire on the top of that building than some buildings that are actually on fire. That combined with the plastered green hair spray on my hair made me a tad concerned. I can tell you one thing though, it wasn't cold up there.

We had a little pre-game before we headed to The Padre. Colby doesn't ask for very many things, so when he says "I would like to have green hair for St. Patty's", do the guy a favor and color up for your shots.

I don't like Irish whiskey he says. You're not a true leprechaun says I.

This is a sign things are going well at The Padre.

The girls chilling by one of the many fires.

These guys know how to have a good time!

Me and my sister, all greened out.

We had a really good time showing Colby around Venice Beach, Santa Monica and doing some partying here and there. I'm sure Z was excited to get back to some familiar places as well. It was a great St. Patty's Day adventure for all of us!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Skiing/Snowboarding w/ the Rents

My parents came the last weekend of the play to see Kirstie's brilliant performance, as well as try their hand at skiing for the first time ever! They were both pretty excited about it, and with some slopes just an hour away from the house it was hard to refuse getting back on my board. Last time I was on it was Ryan's bachelor party trip, which the slopes were a little longer there I might add. This is a perfect place to go if you are into terrain parks, or are just learning the basics. As for myself I tried a couple jumps with success, and was okay with that until the next time we go.

The resort we visited is called Alta Sierra. It was fairly minimalist, but has all the essentials.

Kirstie just as we were starting. She had a great time watching my parents learn I think.

I'm not sure who that awesome dude is.

My parents as they were waiting on their 85 year old instructor, he was very awesome from what I hear though. :)

Unfortunately, I didn't get to take any pictures or video of the action because my camera died, but I suspect we will be back soon to get some more snowboarding in. Hopefully before the next season!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Murder Can Be Habit-Forming

One of the more time consuming things we have done as of late is the Black Gold Productions performance, which raises funds for the American Cancer Society as well as API. This was a fun even that Kirstie and I both had a role in. While her part was more exposed than mine, I like to think they were equally as important. She was one of the lead characters, and damsel in distress (naturally) and I worked the sound cues from the booth up top. There were 5 performances in all, some better than others, but it was always a good time with these guys and girls!

Here is a view of the stage and all the cast.

Some nights were busier than others, and everyone laughed/gasped at different parts of the show, which made it different every night for us. (Which was nice!)

After this year, I'm guessing they have raised a little over $270,000 from tickets, etc in the last 12 years, which I'm sure is a great feeling for some of the veterans of the play.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Album!

I published a new album on Jamendo. Here is the link if you would like to download it. There is also a widget on the lower right if you want to listen now. :)

Blooming Orchard (Finally, a new blog post)

So we haven't been keeping up with our blog regularly, we have just been so busy we haven't had a weekend to lay out a couple blogs for family and friends. We have some finally!

A couple weeks ago my friend at work, Quin was saying that there was a pretty orchard blooming at Snow and Coffee. I wasn't sure why they named the road Snow until I got there. There were white blossoms everywhere! It was pretty neat to walk around and we have a few pictures to show for it. This was also one of the first adventures with my new 70-300mm lens that I recently purchased!

This was a long shot down one of the many rows. The only thing I could think that would help this photo was if the sun was coming in strong.

She so pretty. Makes for good photos.

Kirstie has a good time monkeyin' around.

I was trying to work on my "fuzzy background photos" with the new lens.

Amongst all the pretty there was a little ugly too.

We don't need anyone to take photos of us! We can do it ourselves!

Petals were flying when the wind picked up. Snow!

This would have made a great engagement photo location. So says Kirstie.

It was fun to just take a 10 minute drive and be somewhere so beautiful. There were a lot of people just stopped on the road taking it all in. A great Saturday adventure!