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Doing my own livery

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Slotcars | Add Comment

The slotcar group I race with has been a fun bunch of people.  We race approximately twice a month, and always on a wood track with no magnets (which is why I'm thinking about building one).  One of the classes we run is late 60s/early 70's Trans Am cars.  Eligible care are Scalextric 67-73 Mustangs, Camaros, Dodge Challengers, and if Scalextric ever makes an AMC Javelin (do I even need to finish this sentence?).

Due to the dimensions of the actual cars, and the center of gravity of a slot car, you basically get your ass kicked if you're not driving a 70-73 Camaro in this class.  Unfortunately, there are only a handful liveries for this car, and only a few decent looking ones.  So, you can easily find yourself on a 3 or 4 lane track racing your clones.

I decided that I'm easily confused enough as it is without trying to figure out which car on the track is mine, so I decided to grab an all-white kit and do my own livery.  I chose Chevy Hugger Orange, and went with a flat black hood.  It took me some experimentation with the paint and paint can temperatures, but the result is so far pretty good.



I still plan to paint the rollcage silver, and I might try painting the driver's helmet or something, but for now I think it looks pretty good.  I went with a 21.5k orange endbell motor, which is the max allowed by the rules, and Paul Gage tires.  It hooks up pretty well, but I think the tires offer a little too much grip on wood, so I might try going back to rubber.

Time for a wood track?

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Slotcars | Add Comment

When I got into slot cars, I built a 2-lane plastic track for test and tune purposes (yes, you can tune slot cars).  While a fun layout (see previous blog entry), it had its limitations.  First off, racing only two cars at a time isn't much fun, and it's not enough lanes to host races.  Second, I used Scalextric Sport track, which is notoriously dodgy in the connectivity department.

But now there is another drawback.  Lately I've been racing with a club that races on routed wood tracks with no magnets.  This is a total BLAST, but now my home track is not only useless for tuning (wood and plastic are very different animals), some of my wood-tuned cars won't even run on my track.

So... I'm considering selling my current layout and building my own wood track, either 3 or 4 lanes.  I don't have a lot of space, but I still might be able to host races (which is fun!) and at the very least I'd be able to tune cars.  It'll be a fun project, and the guys in the racing club have offered to help me, so it shouldn't be too daunting a task.  I'll post pics of my progress.  Work should start once the weather warms up!

Getting active again

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Misc | Add Comment

Every year I end the summer in decent shape, and then the holidays come and I eat too much, move too little, and in the springtime I have 10-15 lbs to lose and I've lost most of my cardio.  I get on the bike and I feel like a slug.  It sucks, but it's the same every year.  You think I'd learn.

This time around I have another plan.  A few months ago I picked up a home gym machine on Craigslist for a song, and got it set up in the basement.  I've been at it between 3 and 5 times a week, so hopefully I'll be able to at least neutralize the weight gain between now and spring, or at least maintain some sort of physical conditioning.

It's a decent machine, and I can do 95% of what I used to do at the gym, so I have no excuse.  I can even get Pandora playing on the TV in the next room for some music.

The hard part will be getting the junk food out of my diet, which I've resolved to do, but I really like to eat, and I REALLY like anything that's chocolate, so I have my work cut out for me.  Maybe if I could translate a chocolate cookie into a number of reps I'd me more successful.  Or maybe I'd just never leave the basement. :P

Resurrecting my slot car track

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Slotcars | Add Comment

We have an unfinished section in our basement.  Part of it is out laundry room, part is storage, and part is our home gym.  But another part is actually a 1/32 scale slot car track.  I call it "Poolesville International Raceway".  I thought it was a cute name for a small track in a small town of ~5500 people in rural Maryland.

The track is a 2-lane track that's 66' long, laid out on two 4'x8' sheets of plywood in an "L" pattern, and is mostly twisty.  There's a progam that you can download to create track layout layouts, and my current layout was the 5th revision of my 29th attempt.  You can end up with a lot of crappy layouts before you get one that works,  Not to mention one that's fun to drive.

So this is basically what I ended up with:

Eventually I'll make a version with all the turns named. Some of them have ominous names like "Curva de la Morte" (the top left of the track, lower R2) and some have no names at all.  It's a fun but difficult track to drive, but it's at least 10x more fun when you have someone to drive with, which I haven't had in a long time.

The reason I have the track is because a good friend of mine, Nick, is bigtime into slotcars.  He was always wanting to take me to races, so I bought a car to drive so I wouldn't have to borrow (and crash) his.  Well, having a slot car sitting around with no track to race it on is pretty pointless, so that's why I decided to build a small track, to practice and set up my car.  Well, cars.

One car became two, then three, then ten, then well, a lot.  I think I currently have over 30 cars, most of them eBay finds.  I have Jess's old, OLD computer hooked up to time laps, and I'm thinking about putting a wireless card in it so I can run pandora internet radio down there while I race.

The reason I'm ressurecting the track is because I stopped driving my cars for a while, and when you do that, the track oxidizes and looses its electrical connectivity.  I was to lazy to go around and scrub it clean, but my friend Frank helped me out one evening, so now things are running perfectly.  I even got a dust cover for it to keep it clean.

As far as cars go, my latest addition to the "stable" is this cool Mercedes SLR McLaren:

I've ordered some new tires for it, which will definitely help the traction in the back (and make it do faster laps).  I just really like the way it looks, which is how I choose most of my cars.  Who wants and ugly car?

The rest of my cars can be checked out here, on my slot car page.

Fire Steak

Posted: November 15, 2013 in Misc | Add Comment

While I'm certainly no cook, I do occasionally come up with a bizarre idea for a food recipie that I think would make a yummy dish.  Usually I'm wrong and trainwreck the dish, but every once in a while I get lucky, like I did recently with my "Fire Steak" marinade.  It goes something like this:

(serves two)

Take two single serving size sirloins, 6-8oz each.  Pound them flat (to around 1/2" thickness) with a meat tenderizing hammer.  Place them into a ziplock bag.

The marinade.

  • 1 Large lemon
  • 1 oz rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper (like from a pepper mill)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1oz - 1-1/2 oz Sriracha chili sauce

Juice the lemon into a mixing cup and combine the other ingredients into it.  Whisk it, then pour it into the ziplock bag with the two steaks.  Shake, knead, whatever to get them coated, then place in fridge for ~3 hrs.

Preheat grill to ~450-500 degrees.

Remove steaks from ziplock bag and dust each side with salt and (I know this sounds weird) table sugar.

Grill on one side for ~7 minutes, flip and grill opposite side for 4-5 minutes (for medium).  Adjust times to suit taste.


You can add or remove the cayenne poweder to adjust the heat, but not the Sriracha (the heat of that pretty much cooks off, leaving just the flavor.  The result should be a tender and very tasty steak, and sirloins are pretty lean, so you should be getting away with less than 500 cal per steak.

If you try it, leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it!

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You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours.

- Yogi Berra

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