The Mook and the machine


Every once in awhile Mickey the Mook likes to stroll into a car dealership on a lazy Sunday afternoon and take the latest 'n' greatest for a free test spin. Mickey doesn't like to brag, but he has pressed metal in the sporty Audi TT, rumbled through neighborhoods in a Hummer H2, and spun circles in a beep-beep Volkswagen Bug. But oh, how he has truly longed to strap in behind the wheel of a sports car and burn corners on a raceway. So imagine Mickey's driving gloves pawing around in lust balls when he heard about this weekend's Mazda Rev It Up, the carmaker's national race series for pikers at the decommissioned naval base at Alameda Point. For an entry fee of $40, guys (and gals) like Mickey can sit in on racing strategy seminars, ask NASCAR, IRL, and CART speedheads for tips on passing in the corner, and then finally air out the speedy Mazda 3 for a few laps around a makeshift course. Boo-yeah.

Best of all, the lap times will be recorded and compared to other Mazda Rev It Up drivers across the country. The top speed demons from each of the fifteen cities will be invited to compete on the sacred asphalt at Laguna Seca Raceway later this summer. Last year's inaugural race series attracted 22,000 speed freaks nationwide, so Mazda's coordinators have divided the skill levels into four categories ranging from "Pro" to "Just for Fun." Again, the Mook doesn't like to brag, but he's already thinking pole position in the "Just for Fun" niche.

For those who don't possess the need for speed, a Go-Kart track will be on hand to limit your progress to 30 mph and Mazda designers will show off their cars of the future. For more information and to register online, visit MazdaRevItUp.com

The light is green. -- Justin Berton


Spring Zing

Gay-Lesbian Winterfest

Looking for pure exhilaration? Schuss, boogie, and gamble -- even honeymoon -- at Lake Tahoe WinterFest 2004, the Nevada Gay and Lesbian Visitor and Convention Bureau's ski and snowboard party week, March 7 through 14 at the Horizon Casino and Resort on Tahoe's magnificent South Shore. After skiing or boarding all day at Heavenly (powder aplenty from this year's storms), you can fill up your nights with dance parties, vodka bars, a lake cruise aboard the Tahoe Queen, and the ever-present casino action. Reservations: 1-877-777-4950 or LakeTahoeWinterFest.com -- Kelly Vance

SUN 3/7

Why We Live on the West Coast

Spring comes early to the Bay Area. While your friends back East are huddled around fires, toasting spuds, and drinking cleaning fluids to stay warm, we can venture out of our homes and wander the bayshore or the hills in the bright green freshness. Take a hike this Sunday with the Berkeley Hiking Club . You have a choice of two: a four-mile hike among the lagoons and shoreline of Bay Farm Island (meet at 9:30 a.m., call 510-523-3279), or an eight-mile trek around Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County (leaving from Shattuck Avenue and Berkeley Way at 8:30 a.m., 415-892-3706). Note: Rain does not cancel the Mt. Tam hike. For more info: BerkeleyHikingClub.pair.com -- Kelly Vance

3/5, 3/7

Still Are Warriors

Cold, hard reality has long since set in for the Golden State Warriors , and their season is now playing itself out in questions: Is Erick Dampier really bound to leave the team, as he has said? Is Nick Van Exel going to be traded? Can coach Eric Musselman cope with the uncertainty surrounding his young, once-so-promising team? Draw your own conclusions at the Arena, when the Warriors face the high-flying New Jersey Nets (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) and the dubious Memphis Grizzlies (Sunday, 6 p.m.). NBA.com/warriors -- Kelly Vance


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