Archive for June, 2008

14
Jun
08

Excess & Damage

I heard once that you can judge how good of a time you’ve had by how messed up you are afterwards. Dylan Moran has a great bit on this subject:

“Last night? oh, I had a wonderful time… I can’t see. you should’ve come, you’d have at least lost an ear.”

I ended this weekend with a fever induced by infection and “extensive crush damage” on my big toe, so I guess this weekend must have been half decent.

Thursday was the 5th Anniversary party for the magazine and everyone at the office was eagerly going about their business, looking forward to rushing home to clean up and head out for an all-night bash.
Thats what I imagine went on, at least. I wasn’t there.

Oh, I know it’s not the smartest thing to blog about playing hooky from work, but I’m afraid I’ll have to risk it. you see, I had to attend a little event by Lamborghini.

at the Bentley event in the Poconos, someone had alluded to a low-key event at republic airport that they were still planning out and I got a head’s up the week before the date. I often go to these things alone, but since it was Lambo, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring my brother along. I put both of us down for the event and neglect to tell anyone at work since I’ve been noticeably attending auto events ahead of my office duties. Since this one landed they day of our little cocktail party, I planned out a crafty scheme to get me to both events and still be “at work.”

First off, I neglected to deliver magazines to the party the day before so I could deliver them day of, which I did. I then had to “run and do a ton of things for the party”, as far as anyone was concerned. I called V and met him outside republic, and we then headed over to the Lamborghini event.

I couldn’t miss this one, really. I don’t get to drive Lambo’s as often as you’d think and I promised my brother, so canceling wasn’t an option. I hope those who judge me will understand.

Rows of Gallardos sere set in front of the tent flanked by two private jets, and helicopters meandered about their business as we arrived. Victor’s jaw was on the floor and he was visibly thrilled by the whole atmosphere. It’s great to finally say to someone “see? this is what I experience at these events!”

I was happy that he enjoyed being there because when we went to sign in, they politely informed him that he couldn’t drive a test car because he was under 25. He was a good sport about it, thankfully, and continued to enjoy the whole experience.

Shuttled over to the autocross arranged on the runway, two Gallardo Spyders awaited our eager lead feet. The course consisted of two long but sharp turns, followed by a series of flowing bends, a drag strip, and a slalom. I climbed in the white one and surveyed the interior. The cabin of the Gallardo is a great place to just be in, it has a fantastic ambiance. Everything felt very tight and deliberate; a purposeful and contemporary arrangement. At the same time it had a swish ultra lounge feel to it, reminding you you’re in a Lamborghini.

And then of course, when you remember that, you also remember that Lambo doesn’t exactly race. If I see a Ferrari I haven’t driven, I know that the company’s practical competition experience went into the production of the car, so I can assure myself that it’s probably as capable as I imagine it to be. then there’s Lambo, Ferrari’s chief rival, so that definitely says something in its favor, but then again they have a history of cosmic outrageousness, not for winning motorsport titles.

the assorted cones start to make me nervous that maybe this is still just a wild rich boy party piece like its predecessors. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Lambos of old. My childhood dream car was the Diablo, I respect the Miura and of course, I pined like everyone else for a Countach. I love them, I really, really do, but in the back of your head I keep wondering “are they as good as I dream they are?”

They had a Diablo there too, actually. the interior was crazy, with a “laying in the street” driving position and strangely held together with jutting steel parts inside a tiny compartment. I wondered how one could possibly control the coolest car on the planet with this cockpit (it also had this “limited edition” ketchup & mustard disaster color scheme that’s neither here nor there, it was just disappointing). The Gallardo was more modern, obviously, but sitting in it felt less ludicrous. It felt intuitive and ergonomic, like they had the driver in mind as they designed it, not an afterthought.

I take off slowly as instructed, acutely aware of the 500 or so horses sitting behind me in a v10. At these things, the first lap is “learn the car and learn the course”, so it’s feeling out the car gently, not slowly mind you, and I like what I’m holding on to. we get to the drag strip and the car barks that monstrously loud Lamborghini bark, the one you want to scream in unison with it as you speed off towards the horizon. I stopped where I was told to, but it’s so satisfying to go all out in this car, I just wanted to keep going. slaloms are always fun, and expectedly, the Gallardo dances through the cones with minimal effort.

Second lap is harder and faster. the v10 screams as I enter the turns, hitting the apexes and throttling out. downshifting with the paddles is fantastic as the car automatically revs high before shifting. at the drag strip a second time, I abandon gentleness and floor the pedal. Here’s where the nitpicker criticizes the 200k exotic car. I know it’s 4 wheel drive and its supposed to bog a little when you take off, but it wasn’t the fanfare I was expecting. What bothered me more was the launch control for the paddle-shift transmission I was using. Foot on the break, paddle in 1st, you simply step on the gas and the Gallardo revs and engages the gear automatically. the car did this weird lurching thing 4 times before we were off and away, and I had a feeling that had I controlled the clutch, it would’ve been much smoother. Any lurchiness would have been entirely due to my mismanagement of the whole thing.

Of course, once it’s going, you don’t want to stop, and again I was very hesitant to brake. I slalomed hard this time because I’d been so confident and at ease in the Gallardo, I just went for all the fun I could eke out of the next couple of minutes.

V and I hit the tent one more time and observed the Lamborghinis with a new understanding. We could feel how the Diablo would be a wild and suitable bearer of it’s name. The Superleggera made a bit more sense now, a bit more serious.

Victor and I head home, suit up, and head out to the Party, picking up a stunning Melissa on the way. Naturally, V can’t help himself to not race BMW’s the whole way there, leading me to speed after him, just to keep an eye on things, of course.

We arrive and the party is fantastic, better than the last big one we had. the food’s great and the drinks were plentiful. Company was superb, too. and the dancing. oooh, the dancing.

Lithe though I may be, I’m not one to frequent the dance floor at a party, especially if I’m surrounded by work people. I may be dragged for a song to do the required single song shuffling, but it’s hardly my choice in the matter. There are those who clearly don’t feel the same, as I learned.

There was this guy out there, whom I didn’t know, middle aged, white shirt, dark suit get-up, belly and black hair. kind of middle-management looking. I don’t know if he had a stressful day, or a nostril of coke, but this gentleman cut a motherf**kin’ rug that night. You know the old saying that girls go to clubs not just to meet guys, but sometimes, they “just wanna dance”? I think that maybe this is the one guy who said the same thing. He was so eager to get to the dance floor at one point (after just leaving) because maybe his “jam” came on, that he sprinted back and shoulder checked a woman in his way, feeling “the fever” anew while he twirled and removed his jacket simultaneously.

A lot of the usually quiet and reserve people around the office took full advantage of the open bar and really came alive that night. A couple people also wandered a bit too close to a certain 14 year old, which was angering, but she’s a smart girl and knew when to be freaked out and leave.

All in all, the night was great and I literally dragged myself home when it was all over. It’s an evening that ends with one seriously considering sleeping on the toilet, since the energy you have left is for either one or the other. I manage to maintain my civility and go to bed like a normal person, exhausted, and wondering if I’ll have any strength left for what lay ahead for the rest of the weekend.

To be continued….

-Alex-

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08
Jun
08

Proud parent of a 1 year old

I can’t be that good of a father figure since I missed it’s actual birthday, but my blog is a year old! It’s kind of interesting to realize I’ve kept it going for so long, even jumping from hosts to improve it. Looking back at last June, I didn’t have a whole lot to say, other than I started a blog and I then saw a movie the next weekend, but I’m happy that since then, be them good experiences or trying personal issues, there’s been something to write about and I thank you readers for sticking around.

the end of May kind of crapped out uninterestingly, so I didn’t have a whole lot to write about. I might have made up for it this weekend, though. stay tuned.

also, new test drive coming up next weekend! Nothing makes me happier than a fresh car on my doorstep.

-Alex-