GM Autoshow In Motion... plus Mike's Birthday
Which Mike, do you ask?
Just look at the pictures. You should be able to figure it out. I just can't help it that I know six or eight different Mikes. Yes, my cell phone directory is a mess as a result. You should see how many Jennifers are in it. O_o
It was pretty damned good. Much better than the Pomona event. The driving courses were too short at Hollywood Park-- Pomona felt "just right" in comparison-- but it wasn't nearly as crowded. Waiting times for the general passenger car/Pontiac tent lines were still much too long, because of some hairbrained decision to feed both of those tents onto the same course. The lines elsewhere were bad, but not awful. Even when there were no lines, wait times were still 5 to 15 minutes, which was much more tolerable than Pomona's 25+ minutes.
The Hummer course was extremely short. The Lexus event last year was much better with a fairly elaborate course. GM provided us with a "Hummer-lite" experience. Two turns, some bumps, and the hillclimb. Nice, but not much to experience aside from the hideous turning radius with a Hummer H2 set on 4WD-Lo's locked differentials.
The Corvette/CTS-V course felt similar to Pomona, but the lines were moving much better and were shorter to start with. Viet, Cheston, and I managed to each get our Corvette 6MT drives without too much agnoy. Having driven a Corvette 5AT at Pomona, both times the Corvette felt pretty big, and the interior was okay. The difference with the 6MT was very significant as far as the driving experience. Much more precise control of power delivery with the 6-speed, even forced it to dip into the stability control (they wouldn't let me turn it off) on the last turn of the course. Straightaway long enough to redline first gear, shift to second, nice long left-hand sweeper, then two short turns to the end of the couse. Cheston was skilled enough to get it a little sideways down the sweeper, very nice indeed. Big grins all around after we were done! (I readily admit I don't normally drive RWD, and hence was not nearly brave/skilled/crazy enough to do that!)
Lunch. No big line at the cafe. I'm used to a single-pass buffet at these events. This wasn't even that-- it was a chicken sandwich in a box. Oh well. Free, eh? They had a Clayton dyno setup with a GTO on it. Mildly amsuing, but it was done as a "quarter mile simulation" instead of a proper dyno. *snore* After that was an On*Star demostration-- reasonably cool... then we left. Not bad at all... at least as far as driving went. If the line for the passenger cars wasn't so bad, we would have gone back to drive the GTO 6MT... ah well.
Drove home, caught some much-needed sleep, then off to Mike's birthday dinner at C&O Cucina. Bej wasted very little time with the Bicardi 151, then someone else (Will?) helped things out with a round of water-for-everyone-but-vodka-for-Mike...
Ordering food in this group is normally done family style, instead of the normal chaos of my usual friends at C&O's. 15 people broke down into 3 groups and ordered that way. Over at the far end of the table with Camille/Heather/Tara they ordered way too much food, while the other two groups took a little attention away from food in favor of some alcohol. Long Islands for us... yummy.
Scribbling on the tabletops was a popular activity while we were waiting for food. For those who are unfamiliar with C&O, they provide paper tablecloths and crayons to track orders and, in some cases, entertain guests. Since we rarely play with crayons anymore, none of us could resist. Naturally, the perfectly sober group at the end made the most disturbing comments and drawings on their tablecloth. Does that surprise anyone? Not really? Me either. ;-)
The end-of-dinner group picture was, uuhhhmmmmm, interesting. It didn't turn out scandalous at all, which was a surprise.
Off to Mike/Chris/Henry's apartment afterwards for cake and cards. I don't quite know where the cake went, but I didn't see very much of it being eaten. =( Erik's comments that the cake was approximately 2,000 calories per crumb, as it was chocolate fudge cake with double layers and chocolate frosting made it sound both much less appetizing and MUCH more appetizing at the same time. Mmmmm... fudge...
One issue with the recent surge in popularlity of Texas Hold'em is that everyone wants to play. Really cuts down on the opportunites to socialize with the people who aren't playing. =( Heh. Whoops. There were some people who I had met for the first time at New Year's Eve who didn't really recognize me until I started shuffling cards. hee hee. o_O The sad part is, I hadn't played Hold'em since the New Year's Eve party. We had 10 people. Pretty good game. All the more aggressive people got wiped out pretty early-- the flops this time were pretty decent, and quite a few full houses got dealt out.
Sometime around 1:30 or 2am, we finally called it quits and everyone went home after Tara emerged victorious. Mike looked like he'd had fun.