Since there's no Laguna GP this year, COTA
seemed like a reasonable alternative. Since the box seats were a solid choice last time
, I opted for the paddock seating for this one. This was provided via Circuit of the Americas Experiences, a brand of QuintEvents that does packages for the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby and such. The outsourcing made things a bit less straightforward than Laguna (e.g. must buy over the phone), but it wasn't too bad. Amenities were similar - complimentary food and beverage all day
. Since the packages are not provided by the track, there were a few places where COTA and QuintEvents weren't quite on the same page - some of the gate personnel weren't wise to the situation, also we had to share paddock passes. On the flip side, it meant their business was customer satisfaction, so there were a few unexpected extras such as a photo booth, Ben Spies interview, and Playstation with F1 2013.
The package provided non-reserved (but amply available) seating above the paddock
, near the lounge (with ac!). The facility is nice and new, the front straight is a great spot to watch overtaking. It's a big track
, even getting to the vendor area from the paddock is a hike, and that's nowhere near the end of the back straight. The viewing from the front straight feels abbreviated
compared to Turn 2 at Laguna where you get the end of the straight and turns 2-4 before having to rely on the monitors. On the COTA front straight, the bikes zip by at a pretty hefty clip, climb the hill, and disappear just past the apex of Turn 1. Thankfully, there are ample jumbotrons, but it'd be nice to have a view of the full Turn 1 section (got that, Tilke?).
As mentioned, on Saturday, we were treated to an interview with Ben Spies
(bonus: hosted by SBK commentator Jonathan Green).
Austin was a very cool town
. East sixth is happening, even on a Thursday, but the college crowd is a bit much for an old timer like myself. It was interesting to see that 97% of dudes there sport a button down when they go out. Nothing wrong with looking classy, but something about the shirts just didn't seem to fit. West sixth is a bit sparser but more grown up. The real awesome scene is Rainey Street
. One of the COTA bartenders told me some crazy millionaire lady rescued it from developers and turned all of the houses into barbecue places, bars, and indoor/backyard music venues. It definitely carries the vibe you expect when you hear about the wonders of Austin.
Rhetorical question: Austin, what is up with the double parking? It's like a thing with you. Here will be a busy street and suddenly there's just one lane because someone has left their car or truck just sitting there. Please fix this.
Game of Thrones/LARP rules flag football
The most recent flag football game coincided with the GoT premiere
, so we implemented some novelty rules. Okay, I implemented them - being the League's Gandalf and all. First, there were the GoT rules:
- The teams consisted of four houses, each in alliance with another house. I toyed with the idea of a mid-match alliance change (now the Boltons are with the Lannisters!!1!), but instead just went with...
- ...each team had a traitor for the first quarter. Nobody was wise to it, though the most overt sabotage was Erik letting a touchdown pass bounce straight off his chest. At the quarter break he came up with a pretty good story for why he chose to defect.
- Finally, we had a few Bloody Drives. That is, each time there was a tackle (flag pull, not real blood) both the tackler and the tackled would have to sit out the rest of the drive (dead, in case that wasn't obvious).
Of course, simply adding a few rules changes won't get you strange looks by random passers-by, so I also came up with some LARP-style spells
that we'd be shouting throughout the match.
- Cone of cold - this spell meant a single opponent could not move for the rest of the play. This was predominantly used offensively to ice the coverage.
- Stamina up - this would grant you or your teammate a free blitz.
- Fus ro dah - this dovahkiin shout would prevent your opponent from traveling forward for the rest of the play. Unlike the rest which required physical contact to cast, for this one you just pick a name. It was most useful in halting breakaway runs.
- Lighting bolt - the most OP spell, cast this and the ball carrier must immediately fumble. Neither party can pick up the ball, so the mad scramble begins. We quickly found that this works best on kickoff returns.
- Leroy Jenkins - a quarterback spell that permitted scrambling beyond the line of scrimmage (normally not allowed).
I gave everyone their one-use spell at the start of the match, not wanting to throw too much of a wrench into the gameplay. At halftime the consensus was to re-issue spells for the second half, MANA RESTORE!!!
Ummm, burning log fight. That is all.
The time had come to drain and re-epoxy the pool
(see: chalking). I was extremely happy to have both the how-to and paint quantities to look back on
. This time around it was one gallon of primer and three gallons of topcoat. You're welcome, me several years from now.