Friday, November 23, 2012

2012 Season Champs

The 2012 auto racing season is over for me :( Thankfully, there are plenty of new champs to talk about during the off-season as well as plenty of news relating to 2013 already in circulation. Here are some of my favorite moments from 2012.
NASCAR – two new champs and a repeat champ in NASCAR’s top three series, as Brad Keselowski (Cup) and James Buescher (Trucks) took their first titles and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. repeated as Nationwide Series champion. Kyle Busch failed to win in either the Nationwide or Truck Series for the first time in many years, and failed to make the Chase after cutting back his schedule to focus on the Cup Series…hmmm…
NHRA – three first-time champions and a repeat in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) were first-time winners, while Ed Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) took his third title. Ron Capps finished second again and Courtney Force took home a Wally in her rookie season, as well as the Road to the Future Award as rookie of the year.
IndyCar Series – Ryan Hunter-Reay took home the title as Will Power finished second for the third-straight year. Dario Franchitti won another Indy 500, and James Hinchcliffe showed up at the first race of the year wearing a Danica Patrick wig :)
World of Outlaws – Donny Schatz took the Sprint Car title while Darrell Lanigan won the Late Model Series title. In the Super DIRTcar Series, Matt Sheppard became the first driver to capture three-straight Super DIRTcar titles.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Botanical Gardens Mum Show – November 5th, 2012


I don’t know how I stayed away from the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens for as long as I did (the last time I was there prior to this year was probably back in elementary school – like 30 years ago!), but I’m glad I rediscovered it. My mom and I made our second trip to the Gardens (since I’m now a member, I’m going to take advantage of it!) this year for the annual Chrysanthemum Show – some of my favorite flowers.

I couldn’t believe the size of some of these mums – they were huge and tall! In speaking to one of the volunteers following the visit, we found out a secret – the tall mums were actually “regular” mums that were snipped back and trained to be that tall (I guess the constant trimming of leaves from the stem will force all of the plant’s energy into that one stem, making it taller and the flower bigger). This gives me a project to think about for next year… (have to find this information online!).

The "Tall" Mums
Next up is the Poinsettia Show and Garden Railway Exhibit in December – can’t wait to go back!



I think she's left over from the Succulents Show!
All photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Star Wars films? Umm…

A little bit of background first: one of my earliest childhood memories is of my mom and grandma taking me to the drive-in to see one of the Herbie movies, and me being turned around the entire night in the back of the station wagon watching Star Wars (the original) – I didn’t care that I couldn’t hear it, it just looked cool! From then on, I’ve been a proud Star Wars geek – the movies, the books, Club Jade online…my sources for entertainment and useless pieces of trivia that make people go “Really?”
Having the back story of what happened in the five to 40 years following ROTJ (that’s Return of the Jedi in geek-speak) thanks to the awesome books, the announcement made Tuesday gave me…well, there was a disturbance in the Force: Disney is buying Lucas Films and other entities for $4 billion-plus, and with it comes another trilogy – Episodes 7, 8 and 9.
While I’m always happy to see new Star Wars anything, I’m having trouble coming to terms with how they’re going to make new movies, using the original characters (Luke, Han, Leia, etc), when so much of the post-ROTJ story has been told – quite well – in the books. A lot of the back story in the books can’t just be glazed over in movies, no matter what time frame they’re making them in. For example: Han and Leia’s marriage – and the prince who was supposed to marry her; their three kids, and what becomes of them; Luke’s marriage to the Emperor’s Hand – and how many people know who – or what – the Emperor’s Hand was? And, depending on the time frame, how will Chewbacca be dealt with?
So, yeah, I’ll go see them, and add them to my movie collection when they come out on DVD, but I have a bad feeling about this – could a new trilogy be delusions of grandeur?