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March 21, 2007

NASCAR Nation gets wired: Julie Buchanan's HomefortheRaces.com


Long story short: Ms. Buchanan (above) was always reluctant to rent her home to strangers on Bristol race weekends — so she created a home exchange website designed to connect outsiders with homeowners in the Mountain Empire, NASCAR's hotbed.

Here's David McGee's story from today's TriCities.com.

    Trading places: Site offers rental alternative

    Julie Buchanan was always reluctant to rent her home to strangers on Bristol race weekends.

    Now the Twin City native operates an Internet business designed to fill a unique niche in the race housing market.

    Buchanan and her husband, Steven, operate HomefortheRaces.com, a home exchange Web site designed to connect people in other cities with homeowners in the Mountain Empire.

    "I thought about [renting] for a long, long time, but I didn’t like the idea of someone else deciding who came into my house," Buchanan said Tuesday.

    Rather than pay rent, those who join the program are encouraged to establish relationships and exchange homes for a weekend, a week or longer.

    "Rentals and lodging are so expensive. People are paying $800 to $1,200 for three or four days here," Buchanan said. "With home exchange, you only let people in your home that you want — while you stay in their home. So there is mutual trust."

    She envisions a network of race fans from Daytona to California eventually using the service, with many also using it for vacations.

    "Maybe you exchange with someone in Myrtle Beach who comes here for the races, while you go there on vacation," she said. "And Bristol attracts fans from foreign countries. So people here could go to France or Finland and not have to pay for lodging."

    Housing is an issue because major events at Bristol Motor Speedway attract 160,000 fans. Hotels from Knoxville to Roanoke are typically filled and as many as 90,000 fans stay at area campgrounds, Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau officials say.

    Hundreds of area homeowners use several local firms to rent rooms or entire homes to race fans.

    "They’re [fans] paying a lot of money to do that. Our listing is $59.95 a year, which is the average cost of one night in a hotel. And they can exchange as many times as they want," Buchanan said.

    Speedway Vice President Kevin Triplett said he was unaware of the program, but had read about others.

    "I think anytime we can expose this area to other people, it’s a plus," Triplett said. "This is a creative way, by exchanging their homes, to visit somewhere else. It’s a neat concept."

    The site, which began operating in August, currently has about 30 members.

    "We’re trying to build a database, so we’re offering free memberships to the first 100 members," she said. The site also offers a feedback system, so members can address concerns or provide praise.

    Because exchanges are private dealings between those who join the program, Buchanan said she doesn’t know if anyone has exchanged homes yet.

    "There’s a lot of interest. We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls," Buchanan said.


zoom Zoom ZOOM.

March 21, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bluetooth-Enabled Rear-View Mirror


That's different.

From the website:

    Bluetooth-Enabled Mirror

    Forward-looking technology in a rear-view mirror.

    Enjoy the convenience of hands-free conversation with your Bluetooth phone.

    This high-quality glass mirror clips over your existing mirror.

    Gives up to 10 hours of clear conversation per charge.

    Features on-mirror caller ID display, voice dialing, fingertip controls, 3 security levels and last number redial.

    There’s even a headset jack for private conversations.

    Rechargeable lithium-ion battery and 12v adapter included.

    For Bluetooth-enabled phones only.

    Not recommended for vehicles with auto-dimming mirrors.


March 21, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Veggie Ice Cream — Forget Frankenfoods: This stuff's all-natural... and much scarier


You knew it was only a matter of time.

You will find it (above) on the menu at Uni a Sushi Place in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

In today's Washington Post Food section Phyllis Richman wrote that it "comes off much better than it sounds — and much, much better than its ingredients suggest."

Her review follows.

    Veggie Ice Cream

    If you hear children being threatened that if they don't eat their entree they can't have their vegetables, credit James Tan, who juggles his roles as sushi chef and daddy with skill and imagination. At Uni a Sushi Place in Dupont Circle, he and his staff have created a Veggie Ice Cream ($3.50) that comes off much better than it sounds — and much, much better than its ingredients suggest. It's a light, refreshing frozen dessert whose texture is more like granita than gelato. Multicolored speckles make it look like something in the tutti-frutti family, but it's even better because of its fresh, summery crunch. If you promise not to tell any kid under reading age: The crunch comes from raw carrots, cucumbers and broccoli pureed in a blender.

    In case you want to try it at home, Tan warns that the three ingredients must be pureed separately and mixed one at a time into the ice cream mixture as it thickens.


Uni a Sushi Place is at 2122 P. St. NW; 202-833-8038.

March 21, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Shape-Shifting Clock



What's it gonna be?

One cube — or all 13?

Or something in between?

World's first psychological assessment tool that also gives you the time.

Much cheaper than the proverbial consultant who charges you a bundle to hold your watch and do it.

From the website:

    blocks clock

    Get creative with your time.

    Design your own free-form, modern wall clock.

    Arrange the individual blocks around the clock hands, which are mounted on a matching block.

    Create an artistic arrangement that fits your space and attitude toward time.

    Includes 13 woodgrain cubes (12 for time markers, one holds the clock mechanism) with adhesive strips.

    Uses one AA battery (not included).



Unlimited time included at no additional charge.


March 21, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Johann Sebastian Bach would be 322 years old if he were alive today

It's his birthday, surprisingly not reflected in one of Google's trademark logo shout-outs.

Too much Arcade Fire on all those Mountain View iPods, what?

But I digress.

Recently I read all about a new whiz-bang technology that re-enacts Glenn Gould's epic 1955 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations via customized software and a Yamaha Disklavier piano, one of 300 such on the planet.

Reading's not listening: this morning as I sat quietly reading the papers, what should come up on XM Satellite radio via DirecTV's Classics channel (864) than Sony's new release of this very piece, as performed by the ghost of Gould on the Yamaha piano.


$18.98 at Amazon.

March 21, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

For the Minimalist: World's Smallest, Lightest, and Cheapest Self-Portrait Mirror


From the website:

    SS [Self Shot] Mirror

    The SS Mirror is designed to help camera users take better self-portraits with more accuracy.

    The mirrors are compatible with mobile phones and digital (or film) cameras.

    All it takes are 3 simple steps to apply the mirror to any flat surface on your camera.

    The SS Mirror uses 3M removable adhesive tape — therefore, if you no longer wish to have an SS Mirror on your phone or camera, it can be safely and easily removed leaving no scratches or sticky glue behind.


Three for $3.45.

[via Andrea Dunlap and MAKE magazine, volume 9]

March 21, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

World-Class Hacksaw Hack


In the new issue (Vol. 9) of MAKE magazine, Mister Jalopy's "Blast From The Past" feature offers "Old-School Hand Tool Hacks: What I Learned From The 1963 Bureau of Naval Personnel Training Course."

Among the many interesting tips was that above, which made me swoon with delight at 1) its simplicity and 2) its obviousness — after the fact.

Many have been the occasions in the past when my hacksaw proceedings have been truncated prematurely by throat-size limitation issues.

Never again.

March 21, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

KtraK — World's First Snow Bike


It's a bird... it's a plane... no — it's a KtraK Snow Bike!

Way cool.

Phillip Torrone and Arwen O'Reilly wrote, in volume 9 of MAKE magazine, "Add a ski to the front of your mountain bike and a tracked rear drive, and you're set to be James Bond."

Be the first on your hill.

Snowboards are so last year.

The 26" rear drive kit costs $400 and the optional front ski kit is $140.

March 21, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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