Monday, August 19, 2013

Top Ten lists, a behind the scenes look

No doubt you are wondering how I do it. How can I possibly come up with these amazing Top Ten lists? Well, there is a lot of heavy lifting going on here! I usually break out in sweat, have to take multiple breaks (usually accompanied by the consumption of a beer...or two) and generally agonize over these lists for hours. Or for a solid 15-20 minutes. Ahh, the lengths I will go to so that I can thoroughly entertain you my dear reader. So now that I have totally built this up WAY out of proportion to the results your are no doubt expecting, there may still be  the very remote, half chance that you are still wondering how I do it...or not. Fear not, the waiting is over! Now for your reading pleasure I give you an exclusive behind the scenes look at how these lists come to see the light of day (even though I usually write them in the dark of night).

Fact is there is a lot of pressure coming up with original content for the blog on a regular basis. I have only so many car stories so it helps to stretch things out a bit. So I have come to occasionally utilize  (that is when the urge hits me), to stoop to that old stand by - The Top Ten list. Hey its worked for David Letterman for decades now. Geez I hope I have that kind of staying power, but come to think of it, he makes a lot more than I do and he has a team of expert comedy writers to think that stuff up.

So what about me? Where to I turn? Well since you ask, I bring in an expert team to assist me. They have massive street cred, being brainwashed as car guys since early toddlerhood. They are my two boys (now young men) Nick and Dylan. They have been my go to guys for a long time. Nick always pushes me to include the Nissan GTR on any top ten list (except for lists of cars that suck, although I have been tempted to add it a few times) and Dylan vacillates between the Gumpert Apollo (I cannot even come close to fathom why), the Ford GT, the Hennessey Venom GT and most recently the McLaren MP4-12C. I can understand the McLaren, its one of my favs too. Even with a stretch I can see the Hennessey being included in some of the lists, except for the fact that they have sold like five of them (including one to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith). But the Gumpert? Its hideous! OK, maybe fast too, but still...its hideous. And I must admit my two boys have called me a Porsche fan boy on more than one occasion. Hey, that's the name of the blog for crying out loud. But I have been known to push the GT3 and GT2 pretty much every chance I get (which by the way is all the time).

So the first thing we do is pick a subject. Top Ten Ugly Cars of All Time, Top Ten Exotics, Top Ten Cars with Bad Names (hmmm, may have to do that one...) Anyway, we carefully formulate the Top Ten list to reflect some type of important pecking order in the automotive landscape. Then we get online so that each of us can present our picks. We usually have seven to ten cars that each of us wants to push, and then the battle begins. We banter back and forth, a few insults and barbs are traded. Nick will push his GTR agenda and Dylan will push his car of the day agenda. OK, I must admit, my agenda is pretty much the same and it revolves around the cars from Stuttgart.

Then in a flurry of activity, out come the magazines. Our weapons are Top Gear, Evo and Excellence (so I can at least try to maintain my Porsche-ness). We dig up specs and stats, we see what Clarkson, Meaden, Vivian and Metcalf say and if they agree with us, we excitedly point that out. If they don't we declare that they must be idiots. Point is we do at least try to find that cold hard stats that back up our picks.

When we finally have twenty or so picks, we start to slice and dice. It pays to have the cut and paste feature handy as the list goes through several iterations with an ebb and flow as cars are proposed, weighted, dissected, leaving their good and bad points exposed for all to see. Cars can start off low or high and based on their merits, or sometimes just pure luck they may move up or down (or even disappear entirely) before the final order starts to take shape.

Slowly the list takes on a life of its own, but is not yet complete, not yet perfect. At this point we usually have to take a break from the activity, we are simply beat. The boys head off to movies, video games, snacks...something to get away from me and my lists for a bit, while I inspect my beer selection to see what matches up to the task at hand. It could be a Left Hand Brewery Milk Stout, Newcastle Brown Ale, or most often some goodness from Samuel Smith. Notice I did not say Samuel Adams, no I am talking about the brewery in Tascaster UK. Hmmm, could it be another list is taking shape? Must admit, the top 10 British ales will require another set of experts to help me weigh in on my list. In this case, the experts being older than twenty-one and liking exotics beers. I have a couple of people in mind to help...

Anyway I usually have to bribe my experts to come back downstairs and resume our deliberations. At this point, they are raiding the pantry or wondering when we will eat dinner and after seeing my final tally, usually give me a thumb up (at least I think it was their thumb)... Good news though, another list is complete and you, my dear reader can enjoy the fruits of our toils.

You know what they say, somebody has to do the hard work. It may as well be us.

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time.

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