Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Race To Go!

Well folks, it’s down to one races and three drivers. With the excitement of the beef between Gordon and Burton two weekends ago in Texas, (Did you guys see the brawl? It was AWWWWE-SOME!) and the excitement in Phoenix fans are sure to tune into the Homestead events this weekend to see if Denny Hamlin holds onto the points lead or if Kevin Harvick or Jimmie Johnson can catch him.

Hamlin started off the year a little rough with him having to have knee surgery in April. Amazing everyone, Hamlin got in the car the next week and got his first win of the year two weeks later, all the while still nursing his knee back to health. Quite a feat I have to give him the credit for. Not quite sure I could’ve handled 250 laps with a “peg leg” that’s for sure.

Needless to say it’s going to be an interesting last race! Can the young overtake the old-er? Can Jimmie and the #48 crew do the unthinkable and take back the lead to win consecutive championship number five? A feat that’s never been done once in the history of NASCAR? Or will a quiet third place Harvick step up and capture the title? I for one will be glued to the TV watching to find out.

Tonya Clarkston

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life After Five...

Let me start off by saying this is not going to be your typical Press Pass blog about trading cards, die-cast or NASCAR racing, I have worked for Press Pass Inc. for about 12 years and have moved through the entire office working in all departments except the Art Department and trust me you don’t want me to go there! I am now located in the Customer Relations department and look forward to excelling there and making my knowledge stronger with this business.

With that said, I do enjoy my work at Press Pass Inc. although my greatest passion is animals. After a long busy day I exit the Press Pass building and head north on I-77 towards Lake Norman where I reside and I retire to taking care of my 2 dogs and cat Macy, Biff and my adopted dog Major whom I rescued from a neighbor from being PTS! Major was severely abused at the young age of 2 or 3 by a mean male person, so he has issues with certain men but loves women. Since I have adopted him he has changed so much and has become a great companion. His only flaw is that he is terrified of thunderstorms! During one storm back this summer he ran out of the house and down my neighborhood street. I looked for hours for him and just knew he was gone. I continued to call out his name over and over again and finally heard his cry coming from a home under their deck, he was so afraid he would not come out! So the homeowner allowed me to go under their deck and coax him out, it took a lot of time and reassurance on my part but he finally jumped in my arms like he was holding on for dear life. That’s when I knew I made the right decision to take him in.

Along with my animals I also care for pets working my second job “Pet Sitting”. When I got into pet sitting it was something I thought I would like to do in my spare time (what little I have) and boy have I loved it so far. I have been at it for almost 2 years now working week nights and weekends for clients that are on vacation or just have another occasion to be away from home. It is really rewarding to visit the pets at their homes or stay over night with them and make sure they are well and happy for the hour or night I am with them each visit.

Most of them are really glad to see you when you arrive, just to see someone, anyone since their masters are gone away. Its fun and relaxing for me because you get the calmness and unconditional love from these pets no matter what kind of day you are having and no matter how many times you have to poke them with medication or injections for what ever they may need it for. I have found myself on occasion saying I will feel a lot better about whatever is bothering me that day or night once I visit “Cody, Maddie, Roxie, Tinkerbell or any of the other 114 pets I care for regularly. They have become like my step children and I find you can have the greatest love for those little fur babies and miss them when its time to leave that visit, but knowing you will be back the next day, night or in a few weeks gives me a good feeling.

The pet sitting is not limited to just dogs and cats, I also care for a 40-50 pound pot belly pig named Daisy, who has finally warmed up to me and stopped charging at me when I let her out of her luxury room to go outside and an African Grey bird named Pickles that recites to me the “Meow” sound of the owners cat Spooky! The first time I heard that bird say “Meow” and “here kitty kitty” I thought someone else was in the home. I have had so many laughs and fun times with this part-time job to fill my spare time.

So there you have it my life outside of Press Pass trading cards! It keeps me busy and sometimes when I don’t want to be busy but I love it and knowing those little ones need the care of someone when they are home alone!

Lisa Shelby

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Five Star Autographs

I’m not a writer by any means. I don’t blog, I rarely tweet; it just isn’t something I do often. Funny for someone whose job is opening her big mouth everyday and communicating with people to get cards approved huh? Give TC a pencil to draw- I’m good for hours. Give TC a pencil to write – not only is the paper in front of me blank but so is my mind. Don’t ask me to write copy, EVER! That’s like asking Kyle Busch to quit whining, it’s never going happen! Because I love our PP peeps SO much, I’m going to take a stab at this thing called blogging and tell all you out there what I’ve been up to for the past month.

I’m sure you’ve all heard and are SO excited about the upcoming release of our Five Star product. Who isn’t right?! I know I am! Timing has been everything with this product. With the sport deep within the Chase and the year almost over, most of our drivers’ schedules are bombarded with public appearances and 2011 photoshoots. Not the most perfect timing to request an autograph session that’s for sho! Thankfully we have great licensors that we work with in the industry who’ve made it happen for us to get these special cards signed in time for the product release in November. What would we do without our licensors?!

Didn’t mean it hasn’t taken any sweat or tears on the PP side of things though…the tears, you’ll have to ask Jesse (NASCAR Product Manager) about. ;) Jesse and I have both worn the soles off of our shoes traveling around getting cards signed. We’ve been all over the South, as far as Daytona, FL and Palmetto, SC to smaller towns like Randleman and Kernersville, NC meeting up with drivers. I would still be lost in some small country town in South Carolina if it hadn’t been for my Garmin.

As a true follower of the sport since I was a wee one, I’ve had opportunities to sit down with some of the best ever in the sport the past few weeks. Something not many people can say they’ve had the chance to do or will ever do. Something I can’t wait to talk to my own chitlins/grand chitlins about. I’ve met up with Legends like Richard Petty, The Silver Fox, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough to current Legends like Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick. Yes I got to meet Danica Patrick! You can freak out now. I’ll give you a minute to calm down. ;) And yes, she’s as short as you think she is and a real fireball.

Most sessions have taken anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to do. During this time, amongst the rumbles and grumbles of everyday shop talk, I’ve chit chatted about everything from the emergence of the Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang into the sport down to what local store serves the best hot dogs. If you’re ever in Charlotte for the race, Richard Petty highly recommends the dogs at Celebrity Hotdogs in Concord. Their walls hold as many autographs as our products do! And he’s right. The dogs are pretty dang good.

But I wouldn’t change all the hectic, chaotic work that has went into the project for anything! I grew up watching these guys fight it out on the track for years. Some of them were watched fighting it out off the track. But they are who have made this sport what it is today and with that said I am honored and very privileged to have worked with them all.

Peace and chicken grease my PP peeps,
Tonya Clarkston

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Spectacular

Aaah, fall. After 90 plus summer days of temperatures above 90 degrees, this is a long awaited time of year. This is my favorite time of the year – it’s brisk, cool and with that comes more energy and a desire to be outdoors.

I had a short time this weekend to experience up close and personal – a different kind of sport - Hot Air Balloons.

The first Hot Air Balloon flight was on June 5th, 1783 in Annonay, France by the Montgolfier brothers. (Did they play golf too?)

Fast forward 227 years . . . . . . .

My hometown hosted the 37th Annual Carolina Balloon Fest on Oct. 22 – 24, 2010. The National Balloon Rally got its start in 1974 at Aerial Ascensions in Statesville, NC. The owner at that time - invited Balloon Works customers from across the US to come to Statesville for a week of camping, flying and telling ballooning tales.

In 1978, the facility moved near Love Valley, NC – and thus began the week-long gathering of balloon enthusiasts, and local spectators. Curious about love Valley? Take a peek:

Anyway, late Friday afternoon I took a short ride up I-40 West, and like all the other cars around, in front, and in back of me – I had to pull over. There were 37 of the most awesome, and beautiful balloons – drifting right over the Interstate. More were coming! Some were low enough you could talk to Balloonist in the basket. What a color spectacular!!! What a breath taking experience.

If you’ve ever been to a Balloon Rally, you know what I mean – and it can’t really be described in words. It’s an experience. If you’ve never been to one – you just have no idea what you are missing. (Don’t think because you’ve seen “a” hot air balloon in the distance somewhere that you have an idea of what it’s all about. You don’t)

The next few Rally’s will be the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally 10/29 – 10/31 in Taos, New Mexico; Ballunar Liftoff Festival 10/29 – 10/31 Houston Texas; and Balloons Over Anderson 11/5 – 11/7 in Anderson, SC.

If these aren’t close to you, you can check the following site, and look up the schedule to hopefully find one near you:

You never know – you might find a new sport to watch.

Debbie Smith