September 7th, 2010:
Racing, Theater Progress, and Detroit…

We’ve been exceptionally busy this summer. Somehow, we’ve managed to mix weddings, racing, home improvements into our already hectic work schedules to make updating my blog (or even posting to Twitter) a luxury. My race season has ended with 4 events in the bag (plus a practice session). I learned a lot about my new race car as well as myself. With some maintenance on the car and a little more seat time, I’m hoping to have an exciting season next year.

In other racing news, Glenn (my father-in-law) had a spectacular “racing incident” last weekend at Mid-Ohio. Another driver spun just ahead of him in a blind uphill corner. Without enough time to avoid the collision, Glenn hit the side of the other car between 60 and 80 mph, casing significant damage to his car, but no injuries (apart from a little soreness). We were very relieved to see him climb out of his car once the corner workers had gotten the remaining cars on track under control.

Christian (my brother) and his drywall crew finished the walls in our basement a few months ago. Since then, we’ve put a coat of paint on the walls (to make it easier to paint after the trim is installed), finished the remaining electrical wiring, routed and installed speaker connections, consulted with Eric at AVIO, tested the speaker locations (awesome) and built our 2nd-row riser. We’re on-track to have our theater finished by the end of the year!

Our company moved to downtown Detroit about 3 weeks ago, doubling my daily drive time. The good news is, that’s my only complaint. Detroit is great… and that’s coming from somebody that gave up on the D when the currently imprisoned mayor was re-elected. I went to school here and grew up on the edges of the city, so it’s nice to re-connect with my hometown. There’s hundreds of restaurants to visit at lunch, traffic in the city itself isn’t bad (compared to Chicago, NYC, etc.), and our new building is simply awesome. Our founder, Dan Gilbert, is trying to get more innovators and entrepreneurs downtown. If that happens, it’s only going to get better down here.

- Duane

November 3rd, 2009:
New Race Car. Continuing workout. Home remodeling.

Gina and I bought a Spec Racer Ford on Sunday. It’s chassis #051 and was originally a Renault-powered car. Mechanically, it’s a sound car. We’ll be updating the front lower control arms, belts, and 5th gear before next season as well as doing a little frame painting and cleanup (the fiberglass is in great shape, though). I’m excited to start racing with a more competitive car and to see if my driving skill is strong enough to keep me running with the pack, finally.[Pics Here]

Gina and I are in week 2 of phase 2 of the P90X plan. We’ve had to skip a day of workouts last week and this week due to illness and schedule, but have otherwise stayed true to the diet and exercise plan. Phase 2 is more intense and the workouts seem even longer, but we’ve both noticed feeling better since beginning the workout. The end of this week marks the 1/2 way point.

We’ve been trying to complete our home updates, but our race season, Gina’s work travels, and our workout plan have severely limited the amount of time we can spend on our projects. Christian’s new company (Degen Development) is keeping him pretty busy, but we’re trying to book him before the end of the year. On the list are crown moldings for the den fireplace, new basement doorwall, and continued work on our basement finishing/theater.

- Duane

July 20th, 2009:
Mid-Ohio Race Approaches, Mini-remodeling project nears completion…

July 31st – August 2nd is the IT SPECtacular at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course and I’m racing this year. I’m both excited and terrified: over 30 IT cars have registered, including some of the fastest guys cars in the nation. I’ve never raced at Mid-Ohio before. Luckily, Chris from Angry Sheep Motorsports set up my Neon yesterday, which always makes me feel better.

As noted in previous news updates, Gina and I have been working on a mini-remodel of our den and kitchen. I’ve installed new recessed lighting, other lighting fixtures, run some complicated a/v wiring, and significant drywall work to prepare for our first experience with professional painters. I hate painting… hopefully seeing how easily the pros do it will make it easier to decide to go this route more often.

In other news, I celebrated my 34th birthday last Saturday. Gina made an awesome coconut cream cake, bourbon-glazed ribs and cheesy potatoes. I was able to relax a bit, play some games (finishing Ghostbusters and House of the Dead: Overkill), and get some work done on my race car and around the house.

- Duane

June 19th, 2009:
Adventures in wiring… and home improvement…

Gina and I have been working on hiding the wiring for the TV we mounted above our den fireplace last winter and changing to the split system heat pump by Goodman. The process of hiding the wiring involves making several strategic openings in the drywall on several floors of the house, drilling through headers, floors, etc. inside of the wall, crawling around in the (incredibly itchy) insulation in our attic, snaking wires through the walls, and… inevitably… swearing. We’re trying to re-paint our kitchen/den area, and need to get the TV wiring done before doing so, as well replacing our kitchen light with a series of recessed (can) fixtures. Ah, the joy of home ownership.

- Duane

February 17th, 2009:
As the basement project continues, the bug to build an arcade cabinet returns.

I’ve wanted to build a M.A.M.E. cabinet since the first time I downloaded the premier arcade emulation package. I just never had anywhere to put one, but thanks to my brother, Christian’s, help, we’re looking forward to a warm and functional basement space. Our new basement will be divided into 3 rooms, plus utility closets and storage: a dedicated projection theater, a walk-up bar, and a small arcade/air hockey area. George shares my excitement and we’ve been plotting our home-built arcade shrines in-between projects at work. We’ll be visiting Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum for a little recon soon. Perhaps we can learn something from his years of arcade and coin-op attraction restoration.

- Duane