How I learned to stop hating Jeff Gordon

The birthday party was at Alfredo’s Pizza & Pasta in Lewisville, Texas, sometime prior to the turn of the century.

The only memory I have is of unwrapping a pair of walkie talkies. Walkie talkies in the form of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, the rainbow-colored car that had been a part of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1992.

After opening the present, I looked across the table at whichever kid had gifted them to me.

Instead of saying thank you, I made a declaration over the noise of the party.

“I don’t like Jeff Gordon.”

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What the crowd at Martinsville was cheering for

“Kenseth takes him out! Logano into the wall! Caution comes out and the crowd roars!”

What were they roaring for?

It was the kind of noise level usually reserved for when Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins or Danica Patrick takes the lead.

At first glance, they’re cheering for retribution as Matt Kenseth ends Joey Logano’s chances at winning Sunday’s Martinsville race, just as Logano did two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway, when he sent Kenseth around in the closing laps.

Or they were cheering for what the accident set up. At least 40 percent – OK, maybe 30 percent – of the frenzied crowd was celebrating that Jeff Gordon had taken the lead and was within 45 laps of his first win of 2015, his last year in the Sprint Cup Series.

But there was undoubtedly another segment of NASCAR fandom – that doesn’t swear allegiance to Kenseth or Logano Nation – who was just relieved.

I was just in shock that it actually happened the way it did. I’m even a little disappointed.

But it still happened.

For once, after two weeks of hype and “will he or won’t he?” speculation that would make your grandmother’s favorite soap opera blush, a hypothetical fireworks display was lit in full view of everyone and God.

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The sound of silence

Susie and SnoopyIt’s hasn’t been this quiet in three months.

For 62 days my apartment was a playground for first seven, then six kittens. The sounds they produced were my soundtrack for 10 weeks.

The soundtrack finally finished at around 2 pm today in the Humane Society of North Texas in east Fort Worth.

While my apartment will still be home to two cats, Susie, the mother and Snoopy, the one kitten I’m keeping, it won’t have the same tune or feel.

They’re favorite instrument was my bed.

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A Tale of Life, Death and Cats


Seven days into this thing called “life.”

Seven days ago I saw both death and life.

Thankfully, the former was cancelled out seven times over.

As I’ve done many times this summer, I set out from my apartment complex on foot, the sun setting on west Fort Worth as I went for a walk through the subdivision just behind my apartment complex.

Dan Harmon’s “Harmontown” podcast blasted in my ears as started to trace my usual route in the August heat that used to be July heat.

A few blocks in, I walked around a bend and saw a motionless lump sitting at the mouth of a driveway.

The lump was a white cat.

That the cat was dead was made clear by the flies buzzing around it.

All of this registered in less than five seconds. By the fifth, I was quickly walking in the opposite direction, toward awaiting life.

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This is My Spotify Life, Part 2

“In order to understand the future, you’ve got to go back in time.” – “Back in Time” by Pitbull

Yes, there’s a Pitbull song on my Spotify “Starred” list. It was added on April 28, 2012.

Stop judging me. It’s a catchy tune and eight days earlier the music video for the “Men in Black III” theme song was released and I was looking forward seeing the movie when it was released on Memorial Day weekend.

Pretty simple. But then again, I also added Jimi Hendrix performing the Star Spangled Banner, so maybe I was going through a crisis.

It was finals week, so I shouldn’t be blamed for any decisions I made under duress.

By week’s end, one of my more memorable summers was getting underway.

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Jeff Gordon prepares for final road-course race at Watkins Glen

Daniel McFadin:

My NBC Sports story on Jeff Gordon’s final NASCAR road-course race, today at Watkins Glen.

Originally posted on NASCAR Talk:

The second half of Jeff Gordon’s last Sprint Cup season sees the four-time champion visiting tracks as a competitor for the last time.

Each week Gordon is asked the same questions, just with different track names used.

Friday, he received those questions at Watkins Glen International, which also plays host to his final NASCAR event at a road course.

Gordon, who will retire after 23 seasons, takes his leave as the Sprint Cup’s all-time win leader on road courses with nine. The Hendrick Motorsports driver earned five wins at Sonoma Raceway and four at Watkins Glen.

But those winning memories are not the ones that linger for Gordon.

“I feel like I say this every weekend when I get asked about a track that I’m going to for the last time,” Gordon said Friday. “I seem to remember the things that got away more than I think of the ones that (ended) sitting…

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This is My Spotify Life, Part 1

It’s been three years, nine months and three laptops since I embraced Spotify’s “who cares about Pandora and a few iTunes exclusives?’ spirit on Sept. 27, 2011, two months into my junior year of college.

It was a Thursday night and pillows propped me up in bed as I entered a very different musical world via a Toshiba laptop that wouldn’t make it to grad school.

That night I  founded my “Starred” playlist with “Dreaming with a Broken Heart” by John Meyer.

It would now take you 45 hours and 59 minutes to listen to the 664 songs I’ve deemed significant – for whatever emotionally petty reasons – to my personal musical journey.

And for posterity, I never delete songs from the list. With the exception of possibly four or five questionable entries made in moments of weakness, my real time music tastes remain intact for anyone to look at.

Here are a few songs that stand out to me from my first seven months on Spotify – from September 2011 to April 2012 – and some stories to go along with them.

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