Why We Race Night

 

There is a sad and inescapable truth petrol heads must face: 99 percent of us will never own our dream cars. Cars are important, we build our cities around them, shape our civilization around them,  grow cultures dedicated to them, global tribes of men and women who love not just cars as an idea, but specific types of cars, brands and models, legacies, histories, mythologies.

we love cars, obsess over them, they become members of the family, and sometimes they inspire us. Car lovers are astounded by the beauty of the Ferrari 458 Italia, the power of the Mercedes McLaren SLR, and the grace of the Porsche 911 GT2, but most of us will never get to sit in one, they are dreams made real in metal and oil.

Video games are the greatest friend of the petrolhead, all these intangible dreams at our fingertips, ready to be driven, fawned over, painted, upgraded, tested to their limit, and money is no object.

Forza Motorsport 3 is our game of choice, every Thursday we bring our love of cars together, we share jokes and anecdotes, often about the cars we love and own. We speak casually about our dream machines as we que up to put them to the test in our grand fantasy world of burning rubber, scorched pavement and glossed metal. We are brothers in speed. We are race night.

Race night isn’t about who wins or loses, it’s not about who’s got the best tune setup on the best car, the best win record or the cleanest line, it’s about the moments when we slam our 2,000,000 dollar hypercar into a guard rail, and laugh hysterically at ourselves. It’s about smashing your opponent into the speed trap, and politely apologizing and letting him pass you. It’s about coming in dead hard last, and not caring one bit. This philosophy of fun and friendship over competition has given the Giant Bomb race night a startling longevity. Racers have come and gone, but the spirit has never changed. Laz will always come up with a race that is more focused on creating chaos and comedy than some arbitrary notion of “balanced racing.” I will always have something brash and silly to say as I come in last, not to be bitter or adversarial, but to make my friends laugh loudly into their headphones, and Keval, well, Keval is and always has been our benchmark. He’s our Stig, the immensely skilled anonymous master of our giddy fantasy land.

Our cast of characters is ever growing and ever changing, like car culture itself, we have our histories, our legends, our mythologies, our customs. We endure for the same reasons that any tribe of car enthusiasts endure: because as much as we celebrate the victories of our lore, they don’t matter. Our proud traditions endure not because we cast out the slow in favor of the fast, we endure because we love what we’re about, we believe in our community, and everyone is welcome.

That’s why we race night.

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This is why we love cars.

this story has been on Jalopnik for a while now, but i'm going to repost it here on giant bomb, because i think anyone who loves cars, understands why people love cars, should read this story and let it inspire them:
 
 

Richard Jordan had everything he was told to want: cars, a new house, and a fiancee. Then his fiancee left him. So he sold everything, bought a Lamborghini Gallardo and set out across America. This is his amazing story.

This is a love story, but not a conventional one. Sure, there's a woman. There always is. But it's when the woman split that the real romance began. This is the story of Richard Jordan, a man who lost love and then found it again in an exotic Italian sports car and the open American road. Jordan's journey would take him across the country and back again multiple times as he racked up nearly 100,000 miles on a car so expensive, most owners rarely drive at all.

It was early 2006 and Richard's version of the American Dream lay crumbling at his feet. After giving his girlfriend of five years a ring and a house in suburban North Texas — purchased with the proceeds from selling his metal fabrication business, his old house and a few of his cars — she left him.

"I bought us the house and planned on moving in and, as soon as I did, she left," explains Richard. "So I got stuck in a house I didn't want, in an area I didn't want to be in... it was kind of emotionally traumatic. So I bought the car and wandered around."

It wasn't actually as easy as that. No one wanted to buy his new house so he was stuck with it. It took him months to sell the rest of his possessions. That, combined with the majority of his life savings, he used to afford a $90,000 down payment on a Lamborghini Gallardo — one of the most expensive vehicles on the market.


The Gallardo is named for a famous Spanish bull and unleashes a massive 512 HP through its mid-mounted V10. Its sharp looks hint at the performance: 0-to-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds with a top speed of 195 mph for the model Jordan purchased. The price? A steep $180,000 at the time of purchase.

After locating the right model and arranging the financing he picked up his black Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe from Lamborghini of Ohio. The date? July 4th, 2006.

Independence Day was an almost intentionally ironic choice, as he picked that day to separate from everything he'd created but now no longer wanted, including the house.

"I'd become a prisoner to my house, to everything, to my fantasy of an American Dream or anything I could remotely call home."

With one of the fastest cars in the world but nowhere to take it, Jordan just started driving. For more than a year he wandered from place to place, living in motels and making new friends. He'd cross the United States three times and make trips from Ohio to Colorado to Texas to North Carolina on just a night's rest.

"It was just a feeling that I didn't really have a home, there was no place to safely be but the Lambo. That was the one thing that felt like it worked for me."

He visited the ghost towns and big cities and retraced childhood trips. As soon as he'd settle down somewhere he'd get the itch to move and pack up to drive somewhere else. It quickly became difficult to pay for the house in Dallas — his one remaining possession he couldn't shake — and still afford gas. He almost lost the house numerous times.

"I have a few hundred grand against me, I don't like debt, but I'm used to it," Richard says. "I've accumulated a lot and paid it back several times in my life."

His wanderings yielded as much joy and humor as they did introspection and isolation, including a trip to strip club in Ohio where Richard, then 32, was mistaken for Moby by an a waitress who was convinced he was the musician because of his shaved head, glasses and fancy car.

"This girl comes up and was a waitress and she's like 'You're Moby, aren't you?' and I said 'I'll be anyone you want me to be,' and she took it as 'I'm Moby.'"

Richard is not Moby, but he's also not completely against accepting free bottles of champagne when offered.

"It was just ridiculous, the manager's like kissing my butt, I maybe spent $100 the whole night and it was just really, really silly and absurd."

Driving across the country in a Lamborghini means occasionally driving above the speed limit. Richard's honest about his desire to go fast and has a drawer full of 53 tickets to prove it. But it wasn't speed, exactly, that landed him in the handcuffs of an Indiana State Trooper.

Though generally jumping from hotel room to hotel room, Richard did have family responsibilities like serving as the best man in his cousin's wedding. While en route to the wedding he was stopped for speeding but ran afoul of the Indiana State Police and suddenly found himself staring down the highway at a roadblock.

Because his car's registration was one-day expired the troops were able to search the car and found a handgun.

"I don't travel without guns, I've been in too many situations so I always carry one or two guns with me," Richard says. "A car like that is an assault on the senses, and you could be in a decent area and just be barraged by people and you never knew who you're dealing with."

At first he didn't grasp the gravity of the situation — the police thought he was moving drugs — so his calm demeanor and jokes about hating the town he was in and a general Blues Brothers schtick didn't go over well. They kept him in the back of a squad car for four hours, eventually releasing him on his own recognizance when they realized they weren't able to drive the car on the back of a flatbed without his help.

He eventually got the car back and the charges settled, but the whole endeavor cost him $25,000 in fines, travel, and legal fees.

Most people don't use their expensive cars as daily drivers exactly because they're so expensive. The highest mileage of any Lamborghini Gallardo for sale on eBay Motors is 38,835 for a 2004 model, but the majority of vehicles are below 10,000 miles.

In his trips across the country Richard managed 91,807 miles.

"I can't afford to buy something like that and drive it on the weekend," Richard explains. "The difference between being materialistic and not is when you use what you have."

For him, it's a better value to drive it given the immediate drop in value for a used Lamborghini. It's even strange for him that others think otherwise.

"No one is concerned with anything as long as Starbucks and the mall is open. It baffles me. It overwhelms me actually. You can have something that's as extreme as a Lamborghini — that's perfect in a sense — and it has no value once you use it."


All that driving does have a price and now the car has even less value. After all the hard driving and long miles, the timing chain stretched, crunching the valves and turning the car into an exotic and expensive paperweight. The car is now worth less than he owes on it and the bank refuses to grant him another loan.

"For me, it's wasteful not to use it. That's anything. It doesn't matter if it's a fucking dishwasher," says Richard. "That's not really socially acceptable. It's not the way we're programmed... most people don't live like I do. I'd eat ramen noodles to pay for gasoline, just to avoid the monotony of being stuck in four walls."

Considering the traumatic experience that led him to buy the car, its destruction doesn't seem to burden him too much.

"It worked everyday, it worked like it was supposed to, it never broke down," Richard assures me. "It exceeded all my expectations."

He's using his sudden lack of transportation not as the end of one journey but as the start of a new one, setting up a shop in Dallas where he plans to build custom motorcycles and superbikes. He has plans to repair the engine or swap in a new one once he can afford it, but for now it makes an interesting sculpture to show friends and prospective customers in the main room of his new office. Richard's also met a girl, but he's trying to take it one step at a time.

His Lamborghini may no longer run, but Richard doesn't regret the decisions he's made. He adopts a zen-like tone that clashes with his mohawk while explaining how lucky he was to be able to leave everything behind and experience something many fantasize about but almost no one has the balls to actually do.

"You're never going to live up to anyone's expectations, so you might as well live up to your own and for me that's to be as free as you can. And if money doesn't buy you freedom then it's useless."

We couldn't agree more.

 
 http://jalopnik.com/5559767/i-sold-everything-to-buy-a-lamborghini-and-drive-across-the-country?skyline=true&s=i
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A Rebut To Mr. Ebert

 Ebert seems to want to decide what art is and isn't by way of taste, but that can't be. if what art "is" can be discerned through subjectivity, then nothing is art. nothing. my understanding of art is this: "a creation who's only purpose is itself and it's audience."
Cars, beautiful works of engineering and aesthetic, something people the world over are passionate about, are not quite art, but a Ferrari 458 Italia's staggering beauty could be construde as a work of art, even though the object itself has a purpose beyond it's audiences enjoyment: it gets you from A to B. there is valid arguement on both sides of the debate as to whether or not a sportscar can be considered a work of art.
this is one of the only reasoned arguements there can be had on where the lines of art blur, because at the end of the day, "art" is not great. it's not pretty or perfect or what you or i say it is.

Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo is a piece of art.

Baby by Justin Bieber is a piece of art.

Liesure Suit Larry: Box Office Smash is a piece of art.

these are for all intents and purposes utterly dreadful things. they suck. they're annoying, they are utter failures, but they are art.
i've never understood the instinct critics and artists alike, have for sanctifying the word "art" as something to be bestowed only upon the holiest of holy works. the debate that derives from this way of thinking is childish and arbitrary. it serves no purpose and it's unmoveable. if Art is what you, or i, or Roger Ebert, or anyone decides it is based on cultural and personal signifigance, then art doesn't exist, and all this stupid squabbling is for naught. nothing can be art under this doctrine, because it is vague and overpersonal.

it's time to stop putting art on a pedistal, time to stop using the term like an ordainment or an echelon. art is terrible, art is great, art is creation, even lazy, stupid creation. video games are art, the bad ones and the good ones. now shut the fuck up.

i'll leave you with a quote from a movie Ebert gave 4 out of 4 stars:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends.

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Building A Giant Bomb GTS Gym.

so here's the score, i'd like to start a Giant Bomb Pokemon Gym League. and appropriately, it should be filled with Giant Bomb users. 
 
i'm looking for 8 Gym Leaders. There WILL be an Elite Four, probably made up of Gym Leaders willing to run two teams, and a champion, who will be the first person to beat the team. all members will recieve a gift from yours truly for thier participation. 
 
Okay, so, let's lay down some science:
 
GUIDELINES 
 
ALLOWED VERSIONS: the versions users are welcome to use are Platinum, Diamond, Pearl, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, being any Generation 4 game. 
 
ALLOWED POKEMON: we're going by tournament standards. No Legendary Pokemon. No Wobuffet. this applies to Trainers as well as Gym Leaders and the Elite Four. no repeat pokemon, sorry all you all-Farfetch'd trainers out there, diversify your portfolio, motherfuckers! Please note that the Sleep Clause is also in effect.
 
ALL PARTIES CHECKED: Your party must remain consistant throughout the league's activity. this also applies to trainers coming to challenge the gym. before you can go through the gym, you must register your team. said team can be lined up in any order you wish, but it must remain the same. to comply with this, all gym leaders will have thier teams posted publically, and if trainers wish to enter the league, they'll have to publically state thier team before-hand.
 
ADVANCEMENT: Advancement is pretty simple. once you present your challenge to the gym, you'll recieve a friend code from the first gym leader in a PM. once you've beaten them,  the gym leader will send a PM to the second gym leader, who'll then send a PM to you. this process will continue all the way to the final challenge, to ensure that the League is completed in proper order. if you lose to a gym leader or an elite four, you won't have to repeat the entire league, but you will have to challenge the gym leader who beat you again with the same party, 
 
 
meaning all you're allowed to change after being beaten, is the order of your pokemon, and your strategy for beating them.
 
GYM LEADERS: each gym leader will have a team of 4 to 6 pokemon of a single or double type. the double types will be pokemon of similiar type, (ice/water, for instance.) each Elite Four will have a team of 6 pokemon of no more than 3 types. dual type pokemon (like Venomoth or Luxray) are allowed, but thier primary type MUST be the assigned type. so if you're the Water type leader, Sharpedo (water/dark) is fine, but Omastar (ground/water) is NOT.
  
Here is a list of the Gym leaders i need: 
 
Water/Ice Type
 
Fire Type
 
Normal Type
 
Ghost/Psychic Type
 
 Rock/Ground Type
 
Electric/Steel Type
 
Fighting Type
 
i will be running a Poison Type team.
 
if you'd like to get in on this, send me a PM, tell me what type you'd like to run, and whether or not you'd like to be an Elite Four (as well as what types you'd run as an elite four member.)
 
prizes for league leaders and champions will be determined as the rosters fill up, they'll be anything from specially bred pokemon, parties, rare items and even legendary pokemon.

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Filling Pockets (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Abra)

Pokemon and i have a long, rich past. i got into the pokemon craze pretty late in the game, in point of fact i hated it in the beginning. i knew only of the cards, and at that point i was already into Magic: The Gathering, which i felt was more 'adult' than pokemon. 
 
 many years after the Pokemon craze had simmered a little, my grandmother got me a Game Boy Advance SP for Hanukkah, it came with the newest, hottest game, Pokemon Fire Red. a remake of the very first Pokemon game, Pokemon Red. I wasn't pleased. i wanted Advance Wars and Castlevania, not this kid shit. Anyway, a road trip back home from Grandma's with no game other than Fire Red left me with little options. i began my quest and picked Charmander as my starter. i realize now how much of a trial i would have had with the first gym, had i not caught a Mankey. in the 4 hours it took to get back home, i had reached the Cerulean gym, and was absolutely hooked. endless strategy, simple interface, perfect pace, it was easy to see why this was such a hit. i learned type effectiveness and weakness, i found favorite types (fighting and poison) and favorite pokemon (Primeape and Weezing.) i learned that some really crappy pokemon turn into valuable  assets to my team (Abra, Magicarp.) i was completely addicted to this distinctive world.
 
soon i was playing other versions of the game, i realized that most of the quests were the same, and the game had alot of inefficiencies and stupidly unspoken rules. and yet, i kept coming back to it, i kept wanting to play, wanting to raise new pokemon and become attached to them. when i got a DS, i played through Diamond and was ecstatic that i could transfer my Primeape, my Charizard and my Weezing over via the Pal Park after i beat the quest. but then came the realization that i wanted to do it all again, the story, the quest, the adventure of raising new monsters in new ways, but i didn't want to lose the monsters i had already raised.
my solution came with the release of Pokemon Platinum Version, a more complete, refined version of Diamond and Pearl.  my mother had a DS, she used to for maybe a month, then never touched it again. i asked to borrow it, and she had no problem with this. i spent days trading over all the pokemon i had collected and traded for and palparked over to my newly completed Platinum quest. catching more than 250 Bidoofs and Starlys to trade over for my old pokemon, and turning Platinum into a sort of Hub, i could now restart my other versions as i please, going through the quests and trying new things, wihout the worry that i was going to lose my old parties forever. currently, with the completion of the excellent Heart Gold version,  my platinum file's pokedex turned over to 400. that means i've only got 93 pokemon left to see and capture. many of which are simply a matter of breeding some of my imported pokemon to include thier lower forms into the 'Dex.  my first pokemon are still around. Charizard, Primeape and Weezing have joined Toxicroak, Vaporeon, Staraptor, Infernape, Luxray, Haunter, Mightyena, Sceptile, Shroomish and many other mainstay party pokemon i've grown attached too over the years and quests.
 
i'm also applying to be a Poison-type gym leader in a Pokemon WFC community. 
 
my journey with Pokemon has been a long one, i've always fancied myself a media literate guy with a wide and well-rounded sense of taste. Pokemon is almost indefensable when it comes to good taste. it's childish and antiquated and repetitive, but at the end of the day, it's absolutely fun. it's addictive. it's a game made entirely of that etherial 'X Factor' people talk about in pop culture platitudes. Pokemon White and Black are coming soon, and they look like the first major step in making Pokemon current, and making them push the hardware it's served on. it's a late, late step, but it's a big one, and a welcome one. i can't wait.

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