WASSUP IN '06?

SLOT CARS!

I thought I should post something so that folks would know that I haven't kicked the bucket (insert old joke about now going to Popeye's instead of KFC): I'm just doing something different. For what it's worth, this tangent continues in the same general direction, which blithely celebrates second (or fourth or fifth) childhood, even as the polar ice caps are melting and polar bears are being forced to evolve gills. At least those lucky bastards aren't saddled with our national debt.

This iteration of adult childhood inspires obsession as much as any other, and is well-suited for the adoltish "spend-your-way-to-happiness" philosophy. Yes, you can spend lots of money on these toys, and there's a ton of selection in 1:32 scale from companies like Fly, Carrera, Scalextric, Ninco, Slot.It, Monogram/Revell... and many more. The Japanese toymakers are conspicuous by their absence and most of the good stuff comes from Europe-- which really isn't surprising since auto racing is more of a European thing. Yeah, here in the USA we do NASCAR, but...

It's a multi-faceted hobby with retro-roots from the sixties, and it encompasses all sorts of skills and interests. It shares some common ground with the doll-making/collecting world, including the Collector Mentality, the historical/pop culture tie-ins, the tactile quality, and the arts & craftsy side. However, it naturally involves competitive/social play where "action" actually means movement, not the potential for shelf-diving. It also has a propellerhead facet that appeals to the junior electronics and mechanics tinkerer. It's about maintenance and upgrades-- you run cars fast so they can be tweaked, broken, fixed and improved. That's a cycle that never ends, just like life. Unlike life however, it doesn't offer much in the way of the prurient interest... but most hobbies don't.

There's a lot of slot car stuff out there on the Internet. In addition to sites with reviews, tuning tips, merchandise, and forum gossip, there are sites of amazing scale auto modelers and experimenters, who aren't afraid of radical dissections. Me? I'm afraid of anything that requires a gloss coat. To get a taste of some really top-notch wood track layouts, visit Archer Raceways. Damn kewl, huh?

As for the website thingie, there isn't much that I can contribute that isn't already out there from folks with much more experience and knowledge than I... but so what? If you're a collector of oddball Javascript calculators, you might be interested in my simple Slotcar MPH Calculator. It was designed for people who, like me, were brave enough to purge all the useless math stuff that clogged their brains. No doubt this will end up in the nerd section of a calculator search engine, right below the link to the RPG Character Generator. If you're hopelessly bored, I also have a page which documents my descent into this new realm of nerdism, imaginatively entitled "SLOT CARS!"

Jimbobwan, 04/02/06