Ben’s Super Secret Party Fantasticoâ„¢

I spent about three weeks planning a surprise birthday party for Ben. Karting at LeMans Karting then caravaning back to our house for cake and ice cream and pizza and console gaming and pigs in a blanket and beer and all the things he likes to do with his buddies.

There’s a WHOLE LOT MORE TO IT than that. Luckly though I’ve been discussing the sub-surprises with individuals so they are safe till Saturday or I will KEEL YOU ALL. Karting was the big thing. The thing I could not keep from anybody because they were all a part of it.

I sent out an email and an evite. The email’s subject was “Ben’s SUper Secret Birthday Bash!!!”. Then I realized that trying to keep up with everybody RSVPing was getting too hard so I created an evite. The evite’s title, and therefore the subject line for the email is seeds out to all invitees, was “Ben’s Super Secret Party Fantasticoâ„¢”.

Then on Monday Ben emailed me this.

Sujbect: DAMN IT
From: Benjamin Hirsch

[09:36] Person: Hey Ben? You have your pager with you?
[09:36] SlackerBenjamin: Hey man
[09:37] SlackerBenjamin: sometimes, but by the time you’ve messaged me, you’re offline
[09:37] SlackerBenjamin: I was at Guillermo’s birthday party on saturday, and the BMW CA Autox yesterday, very busy weekend, why? whats up?
[09:40] Person: Yea but still have my pager with me all the time.
[09:40] Person: I got good news……… I’ll be goin to your party sat : ) finally we meet.
[09:43] Person: Oh cool, how was that? I had a busy weekend as well, most of my weekend conducted of drinking… Drinking… Drinking… LoL
[09:44] Person: Will be fun on sat @ lemans karting
[09:45] SlackerBenjamin: you just ruined what was undoubtedly meant to be a suprise party
[09:45] SlackerBenjamin: I had no knowledge of anything about a party
[09:45] Person: Oh shit

I had immediate thoughts of hunting down this person and pulling his balls up through his mouth with vise grips. But moreso, I felt like I wanted to vomit. And cry. And.. BALLS!!

And then as quickly as it came, it passed. The old part of me that would have immediately taken over and grabbed my sanity and forced in down onto the slippery slope of depression was beat out by this other part. A part that realized right away that this was really not a big deal. The result is going to be the same. Ben is going to have an awsome time. His friends are going to have an awsome time. I still have a few surprises up my sleeve. His birthday wasn’t OMGRUINED because of this.

Then I started thinking POSITIVE!! Like, now that it’s out in the open I can get it UBER ORGANIZED. I can get the people invited I was having problems contacting. And I can psych Ben out and remind him that I’m totally going own him on the track. And I don’t have to stress about how Jason and I are gonna trick him into the car without him having a clue about what’s going on.

And I don’t know when this sane, positive outlook, rational thinking person took over. But I like her. I think I might even let her stay awhile.

P.S. – If we know you (like, IRL) and you are gonna be in the neighborhood this Saturday, come have fun with us. : )

P.S. (v:2.0) – I wanted to say Thank You to to Ben who has been EXTREMELY understanding of my face being glued to my monitor for the last few nights while getting the finishing touches put on the new redesign. I pretty much scrapped what I had (visual, not content) late last week and in the last few days have been pounding out images and coding late into the night. It’s almost done and I’m officially announcing a launch date of Sunday. THIS SUNDAY, PEOPLE!!

So thank you, honey. *big kiss*

My new extended family.

A little over a year and a half ago Ben purchased NorCalBMW. Before he bought it he told me that he wanted a way for all the cool people he met at Bimmerfest two years ago to continue to talk and get to know each other better and get to discuss their common obsession.

I was skeptical. My only real experience with car forums was Bakersfield Street Racing and various domestic forums. It was about this time that I’d made my last visit to BSR. After having moderated it, and gotten verbally beat down every day by ego’s bigger than life, I was pretty much DONE with any car related forum. I have thick skin so it wasn’t so much the idiot’s non stop spewing of verbal garage in the direction of any moderator that got to me… It was that they sucked out all the enjoyment I used to get out of racing.

I certainly didn’t expect NorCal to be like BSR. Ben is a better judge of character than that. And it wasn’t going to be a bunch of Honda driving 16 year old boys that piss on themselves when they see a girl. I knew it would be an older crowd. And being Bimmer drivers, I knew that they’d be a bit more… grown up?

But. I certainly never expected that NorCal would grow into what it is today.

There are at least 25 members of that forum that I consider GOOD friends. More that are just damn cool people. I wish I could find the right words to explain it. That I could eloquently describe just how much I truly care and love every one of my NorCal family members.

Recently we learned that one of the members was not going to be able to make it to Bimmerfest this year because work had been slow and he just didn’t think he’d be able to swing it financially. Ben immediately said to me, “Are you okay with us helping Moe get to The Fest? Like giving him a ride and a place to stay and paying for dinner?” And my immediate response was. “YES!!”

Moe has towed Ben’s car to the track. Just because. He was the only one that drove out to the track when it was POURING DOWN RAIN and gave us his easy ups to use. That saved me. I melt if doused with water. He went to Lagna Seca with Ben one day and was able to give Ben some very good advise on the proper line and how not to run his car into a tire wall on turn six. Just because. He brought his truck and trailor with him that time. Just in case somebody needed to use it. He left his Playstation at our house so that Ben could be entertained while recovering from knee surgery. He’s climbed under fences and over walls to get video of Ben’s car on the track.

Ben and I were prepared to fully foot Moe getting to The Fest. Just because! But the rest of the forum members are just like Moe. So before we knew it the troops were rallied and he had offers of places to stay, rides there, offers to pay for dinner, etc.

This is what I’ve come to know from the NorCal members. These acts of selflessness. This genuine caring for people. Best of all, I really enjoy just BEING AROUND them. I think for the last two months not a weekend has passed without us getting to hang out. It’s like a big extended family.

NorCal has taught me what real friendship is like. Seeing Ben care so deeply for it’s members and their happiness and wellbeing has made me love him more. I NEVER expected that a forum, online, would play a part in my becoming a BETTER person. But it has. I just hope that someday I’m able to return that favor to every one of them individually. And to make them feel as lucky and as fortunate as I have.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!! :buttrock

No, really!!

You know the site overhaul I talked about, like, two months ago? I think I might actually get it up by the end of the weekend. Just have a few little silly things I have to get ironed out first.

This is the longest temp-layout I’ve ever had up but we’ve been going non-freaking-stop every weekend with Valentines, and Ben at the track, and other NorCal events to plan and attend and GOOD LORD I WANT A WEEKEND TO DO NOTHING BUT VEDGE IN FRONT OF THE TV!! Run on sentences are cool. Ben’s catching a flight to visit the ‘rents in Arizona tomorrow and even though I have 41343613543 things I have to take care of this weekend, I’m thinking that I can get the site finished too.

Hopefully. The next month is going to be just as packed as the last month and if I can’t get it done this weekend then it will be late in April. heh

Anyway!! It’s very green. Very green. And while it’s not the most beautiful layout out there, the content is what I really focused on. Video’s, comment plugs, that nifty Site of the Week plug feature you see everywhere now (possibly, I’ve noticed this causing some slow page loads on some sites), cowbell, etc.

Word of the day: Yackass

I listen to The Brian Lehrer Show everyday on the New York NPR station, WNYC. Shoutcast = love. Anyway, today he had on Barbara Wallraff, contributing editor at The Atlantic Monthly and author of Word Fugitives: In Pursuit of Wanted Words.

From an Amazon review:

Despite the many thousands of dictionary words at our disposal, our language can be dismayingly inadequate. How many times have you searched for a word that means just what you want it to but failed to find anything suitable anywhere? Most of us, it turns out, lead lives rife with experiences, people, and things that have no names.

At least, they lacked names until now. Word Fugitives comes to the rescue, supplying hundreds of inspired words coined or redefined to meet everyday needs. For instance, wouldn’t it be handy to have a word for the momentary confusion people experience when they hear a cell phone ringing and wonder whether it’s theirs? (How about fauxcellarm, phonundrum, or pandephonium?)

Or what about a word for offspring who are adults? (Try unchildren or offsprung.) Or a word for the irrational fear when you’re throwing a party that no one will show up? (That might be guestlessness, empty-fest syndrome, or fete-alism.)

During the show they were inviting people to call in and reveal the words THEY used or “coined”. One man and his wife, for instance, define the men that spend too many hours at the mall shopping with a significent other as: meanderthals. HAR!

Anyway, this entire post leads up to my favorite new word which I plan to use often. And by often, I mean I plan to use it in context, in front of and hopefully TO one of my co-workers who spends more time on the phone than any hormonal teenage girl I’ve even known.

Yackass: A person who talks on the phone loudly and/or often. (Usually will refer to people on cell phones in public. But I think that the since I can now tell you what every member of her family is named, their favorite food, color, restaurant, article of clothing and sexual position (including that of her husband and boyfriend) the term applies to her too.)


I had planned on writing more about this here on TheFlux. Like how terrified I got when one second my car was fine and I was planning my day in my head and what to get Ben for his birthday and wondering if Cassidy would remember to turn in her lunch money… to suddenly being out of control and sliding down a grassy, muddy embankment into an onramp of oncoming traffic holding on to my steering wheel for dear life.

But everytime I start to go there, back to the things that went through my head when I realized that I was just along for the ride and there was nothing to do but wait for the car to stop and hope I was conscious and that the embankment didn’t start a rollover and that there wasn’t a car getting on the freeway as I crossed it’s path… it’s a dark place. A place so dark and so awful and full of horrible images that I just… can’t.

I sugar coated it a little in this post on NorCal. What I didn’t say was that I was shaking so bad that while trying to get the spare tire on the car I dropped lugnuts at least half a dozen times. And when I got back in the car I fought back the urge to get back out and throw up all over the side of the road.

Anyway, I few people have asked about the pictures @ flickr so here it is:

On the way to work on the 280 to Page Mill offramp, on a slightly off camber right hand turn, on a wet road, my left front tire blew. I was doing about 45 (which is slower than I usually go but the road was wet and my tires are not in prime condition) which is probably what made this not the WORST MORNING IN THE HISTORY OF MORNINGS and just a bad morning where I learned a valuable lesson.

My car immediately stopped turning and I went into a slide. This is a two lane offramp and I was in the right hand lane. I kept it straight while sliding across the left lane but when it hit the wet grass of the embankment the wheel dug into the mud and spun me 180. It slid across the grass and onto the onramp on the other side of the embankment where it spun 90 degrees more.

In the horrible Paint image you can see where it happened. The black arrow is the direction I was facing when I can to a stop. When I get home I’ll get a better image made. Without seeing the actual road, the turn where the tire blew doesn’t look nearly as bad as it really is.

I pulled off the onramp and assessed the damage (checked all tires, lights, turned the car on and off a few times, looked under the car for leaking fluid, keeping an eye on the temp guage). The only thing I could see at this point other than a whole lotta mud all over the car was the flat tire so I threw on the spare and ended up only getting to work about 20 minutes late.

Lesson 1: Don’t procrastinate getting new tires. It was stupid of me and if it hadn’t been 5:40AM and there was more traffic on the road, I could have seriously injured myself or, even worse, somebody else.

Lesson 2: Slow the fuck down. I’ve taken that turn much faster than that. Granted, never when the road is wet and not in the last month or so because of the tires. But I have. And while it’s fun, it’s not the place, or the turn, or the time to be “having fun” on.

Lesson 3: My Brembo t-shirt carries bad karma.

Lesson 4: Ben is a wonderful boyfriend. He managed to calm me down a bit when I called him once I was back on the road and he was really concerned about me and my state of mind but gently reminded me how foolish I’ve been for not changing the tires sooner than I should have and to see this as a lesson worth paying attention to.


I’m laying in a bed. In a hotel room. In Navato, CA. Watching some reality TV. If you know of anything else to do in Navato PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!

Ben is outside the room putting R Compounds on the M3 for tomorrow and chatting up the guy in the M3 in the room next to ours. We’re waiting for The Jasonator to get here in his M3. And wondering who owns the red M3 a few rooms down…

Cassidy is in the “living room” watching cartoons and changing her Cabbage Patch’s diaper.

Keep an eye on the flicker bagde. I’ll be adding pictures all weekend with the Sidekick and will post real pics at the end of the weekend.

Ya’ll have a good weekend!!

Because KristEn said so.

If my week had consisted of more than coughing uncontrollably, watching 24, sleeping, and taking as many drugs* as it required to make it through the work day, I might have something interesting to write about. And now that I have you all spellbound and hanging on my every word…

Cameron came over last Monday evening and what was supposed to be an overnight stay turned into a week long visit. He and Cassidy were both off school for the week so he was babysitting for us while I worked and suffered the Great Cold of 2006â„¢. Which, by the way, sucked the big one. Since I was sick and not going to the gym I decided that it would help if I ate like crap.

This lead to a Friday night trip to the Burger Pit for dinner. We ate there mostly because we are all lazy and it’s close enough to walk to and because they serve half pound burgers and that’s what it takes to make a 17 year old boy feel like he’s gotten ALMOST enough to eat. To completely fill them you also need fries, and a shake, and cake, and left over turkey fajitas, and a large bowl of cereal. I think we spent my entire two week paycheck feeding him for six days.

We watched 24. A lot. We are on Season 3: Disk 2 (of 6). Jack Bauer is my hero. I know I’ve said this at least 10 times in the last 10 posts, but you should totally Netflix ALL FOUR SEASONS and watch them back to back to back to back and be completely obsesses with me. Because Jack Bauer is my hero.

I finally started to feel better on Sunday and just in time for the 30 minute jaunt to Santa Cruz to lunch with Chris and Vanessa, and Guillermo and Sandra for Sandra’s birthday at Crows Nest. Smoked Salmon, Calamari, Eggs Benedict and some sinful strawberry daqueri. *hears angels sing* See, TOTALLY NOT HEALTHY. That same day I had a Mochalatta and half a Cinnamon Bun from Cinnabon (Sandara and I were shopping and we NEEDED the energy), pizza, and a beer. TOTALLY. NOT. HEALTHY.

That day ended a four day stint where I not only fell off the wagon, but I burned that fucker to the GROUND!!! At the gym on Monday when I went to weigh myself I closed my eyes and pushed the slider slowly across the scale. I expected at LEAST 3-4 pounds gained. And it stopped EXACTLY where it was when I weighed myself the Wednesday before!! The weight training saved my ass. Literally. The muscle if finally doing it’s job of attacking the fat. GO MUSCLE GO!

14 pounds now. One. Four. I’m a pound away from my best big 10 pound increment. And the before/after pictures.. speak volumes. Someday I’ll post them. When I’m not being such a coward. So it won’t be any time soon. heh

Anyway, Ben is starting the next edition of 24 SOIHAVETOGOOMGBYE!!!

*By drugs, I mean Nyquil and Tylenol Cold so really, it’s not nearly as fun as it sounds like it could have been had it been, like, Crack and Ruffies.