Carol Phan, Chris Hoovler, Kassy Bittick, Bobby Bittick

2 years ago today, Tracy, CA lost four wonderful teens….their loss has left deep, irrepairable, scars in our hearts, but, we continue through the pain.

Those of us who were friends of Carol, Chris, Kassy or Bobby….we could have missed the pain….but, we would have missed the dance…

If you are a teen who thinks you will never die….you will, and you can.  It is not you who suffers, but, those you leave behind.  Think twice before driving like an idiot….

Here is Scotty McCreery covering Garth’s “The Dance”.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

We love you Carol. :-(

7 Stages of Grief

I was running the other day (a good sign that at least my life is starting to return to “normal”) and thinking about what stage of grief I might be in, or entering (truthfully, after reading the below, I am probably between 4 and 5 right now).

That thought prompted me to do an Internet search on this topic (on the 5 month anniversary…today) and I found this awesome explanation at this website.  I hope the people who run that website do not mind me copying it…

I know many of you who read ForCarol knew either Carol, Chris, Bobby or Kassy….this may help you understand a bit more about yourself.

The lesson:  Grief takes time.  You will never be the same and you will never forget, but, you will eventually learn how to move forward with your life.


Here is the grief model called “The 7 Stages of Grief”:

7 Stages of Grief…

You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.


As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)

Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

7 Stages of Grief…

As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

7 stages of grief…

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.


Carol Phan, Chris Hoovler, Bobby and Kassy Bittick

It has been almost 5 months….we miss you sooo much.


“Scoop” Movie Review

“Scoop” Movie Review

With Woody Allen, Hugh Jackman, and……sigh, Scarlet Johansson……how could you go wrong?  You can’t.

In the 2006 “Scoop”,  journalism student Johansson is visited by a legendary reporter who happens to be dead (Ian McShane).  This reporter tells Scarlet that Hugh Jackman is the much sought after Tarot Card killer.

With this scoop, Johansson and Allen (who is stupendous) set off to find the truth.

But watch out, the truth might kill you.

Great movie.  Not a fast and furious action thing, but, it has it’s share of humor, wit (especially when Allen and Johansson are together…they are magical), and intrigue. Rent it if you find it.  We watched it on VUDU.

“Just Go With It” Movie Trailer

Looking forward to this movie…it comes out Feb 11th.

Projection Show in Kharkov Ukraine

Carol’s mom forwarded this to me this morning.  At first, I thought it was going to be fireworks, ho hum, been there, done that, boooorrrrring.  :-)

BUT, this is awesome.  Enjoy.

I assume they are using lasers to do this while projected on a large building.



Intelligence Test Quizzes

Here is one of several quizzes sent to me by Carol’s mom.   I’ll post more over the next few weeks.  This one should be super easy. To pass it, you only need 4 correct answers out of 10….easy, huh?

Good luck.

At the end of this post, I will have a link to a PDF with the answers. (NO CHEATING!)

1. How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?

2. Which country makes Panama hats?

3. From which animal do we get cat gut?

4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5. What is a camel’s hair brush made of?

6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7. What was King George VI’s first name?

8. What color is a purple finch?

9. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Hmmmmm, maybe doing a Google Search for each of the questions would be more fun than just seeing the answers. I did some searches for you, but, feel free to do your own and see what you come up with.











Sooooo, how did you do?

I will let you know that I got…..drumroll……1 right (#10).  How funny!

Get Real Behind The Wheel Tracy, CA Event

The Get Real Behind The Wheel folks in Tracy, CA will be having an “On-Track Safe Teen Driving Program” soon at the Altamont Motorsports Park.

Full information can be found on this web page, or below if you don’t want to jump around.

On-Track Safe Teen Driving Program
For ages 14 & up – Learners permit not required
When: Sunday October 10 and 25, 2015
Time: 10:00am – 2:00pm (New drivers registration by 9:45.
Where: Altamont Motorsports Park
Address: 17001 Midway Road, Tracy, CA 95377
Cost: FREE
Donations & Volunteers Needed – Call (209) 612-4222

Directions: view map & directions

Drive Safe!  Never Forget (Carol, Chris, Kassy, and Bobby)

drive safe logo


Mr. Ucci is helping a lot since we started to talk.   :-)  Watch for at an upcoming Get Real Behind the Wheel event!

UPDATE Feb 25, 2012:  Had a very nice discussion with Tom from Get Real Behind the Wheel the other night.  Look for us to collaborate in some ways moving forward.  We hope Mr. Ucci gets well soon.

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Never Give Up on Your Dreams

You have all heard this…never give up on your dreams.  No matter what happens get up, dust yourself off, and try it again.

This guy has a gift, and he kept trying.  Look what happened to him!  I wish him all the best…

Ford MyKey

I have been ranting since Sept. 18, 2010 about the need for cars to ID the driver and limit the speed of the car, think for the driver when it comes to SEATBELT usage, etc. depending on who is driving.

Someone (I’m am getting her name) emailed me the link to the article below this morning….very cool.  NOTE:  I am not sure sounding a chime will slow the kids down (I might speed up just to see what the chimes do at higher and higher speeds).  I really think the computer will have to limit the speed based on the driver, but, this is a first baby step.  NOTE 2:  It does limit the top speed…but to 80 MPH!  That is pretty stupid….it should allow the parent to choose the top speed limit starting at….hmmm, 50 MPH.  Back roads are dangerous as we all have found out….

No wonder why Ford was the only car maker to survive without a bailout….they are SMART!  (Well sort of….80 MPH limit is WAY to High).

I plan to visit the local Ford dealer (if Tracy still has one) to see if I can give it a whirl, and if in fact it still is being made (the article below is over a year old, so you never know).

The article is here, but, I will copy it below so you don’t have to move around.


  • MyKeyTM, another innovation from the company that introduced SYNC®, allows parents to limit speed and audio volume to encourage teens to drive safer and improve fuel efficiency
  • Harris Interactive Survey shows that many parents would allow teens to drive more often if their vehicle was equipped with MyKey – helping young drivers build road safety experience
  • MyKey will debut as a standard feature this summer on the 2010 Ford Focus and will quickly be offered on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models

Ford Motor Company is introducing an innovative new technology – called MyKey – designed to help parents encourage their teen-agers to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, and increase safety-belt usage.

Ford’s MyKey feature – which this summer as standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and will quickly become standard on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models – allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour.

“Ford not only offers industry-leading crash protection and crash avoidance systems, we also are committed to developing new technologies such as MyKey that encourage safer driving behavior,” said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “MyKey can help promote safer driving, particularly among teens, by encouraging seat belt use, limiting speed and reducing distractions.”

MyKey is appealing to parents of teen drivers, including 75 percent who like the speed-limiting feature, 72 percent who like the more insistent safety-belt reminder, and 63 percent who like the audio limit feature, according to a recent Harris Interactive Survey conducted for Ford.

About 50 percent of those who would consider purchasing MyKey also said they would allow their children to use the family vehicle more often if it were equipped with the new technology. The added seat time can help teens build their driving skills in a more controlled setting, complementing graduated licensing laws that give young drivers more driving freedom as they get older.

More than half of parents surveyed worry that their teen-age children are driving at unsafe speeds, talking on hand-held cell phones or texting while driving, or otherwise driving distracted. More than a third of parents also are concerned that their teens do not always buckle their safety belts when driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes. Teens also are less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.

Teens surveyed by Harris said they are largely open to MyKey if it means they will have more freedom to drive. Initially, 67 percent of teens polled said they wouldn’t want MyKey features. However, if using MyKey would lead to greater driving privileges, only 36 percent would object to the technology.

“We’ve upgraded an existing, proven technology – the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system – with some simple software upgrades to develop a new unique feature that we believe will resonate with customers,” said Jim Buczkowski, director, Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering – the same team that developed SYNC in partnership with Microsoft. “We also developed MyKey’s functions in such a way to quickly spread it across multiple vehicle lines, giving us the ability to go mass market in the spirit of other Ford innovations such as safety belts, stability control and SYNC.”

Holding the key

The MyKey system allows the parent to program any key through the vehicle message center, which updates the SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system. When the MyKey is inserted into the ignition, the system reads the transponder chip in the key and immediately identifies the MyKey code, which enables certain default driving modes, including:

  • Persistent Ford Beltminder™ with audio mute. Ford’s Beltminder system typically provides a six-second reminder chime every minute for five minutes. With MyKey, the Beltminder chime continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled. A message center display “Buckle Up to Unmute Radio” also appears on the instrument cluster.
  • Earlier low-fuel warning. Rather than a warning at 50 miles to empty, MyKey provides a warning at 75 miles to empty.
  • If MyKey is in the ignition, features such as Park Aid and BLISTM (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert cannot be deactivated.

Additional MyKey features that can be programmed through the vehicle’s message center setup menu:

  • Limited top speed of 80 mph
  • Traction control system, that limits tire spin, cannot be deactivated
  • Limited audio volume to 44 percent of total volume
  • A speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph

Using MyKey to teach teens to avoid speeding can provide an added benefit – improved fuel economy. Ford research shows that driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph consumes 15 percent less fuel, and mastering other eco-driving habits such as avoiding jackrabbit starts and excessive idling can help improve fuel economy by more than 50 percent.

Safety is the key

MyKey is just one way that Ford is helping teens drive more safely. Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program helps young motorists master four critical driving skills – hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management, and speed management – that help address the majority of dangerous driving conditions. More than 3,000 teens have participated in DSFL ride-and-drive events. And more than 500,000 people have used the training course since 2003 on

# # #

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s wholly owned brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit

About the Harris Interactive Survey
The survey of 347 parents of teen-age children was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive from Aug. 1-5. The survey of 249 teen-age drivers was conducted online within the U.S. on behalf of Ford from Sept. 17-22. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

April 6, 2009

Lois Chan Plays the Piano For Carol

I grabbed this from Carol’s mom’s Facebook page….hope she does not mind.

Thank you Lois!

“i played this song specially for a very close friend who passed away a few months ago. i was supposed to spend some time with her during my winter break, but even though that is no longer possible, i still wanted to give something for Christmas. the last time i saw her, i played the beginning of this song for her and she loved it, so i finished the song just for her.
aside from my friend who had passed away, this song is also for the people who have stayed by my side through the tough times, i’m very thankful and i’m very happy i have these people in my life. i wish everyone happy holidays :)
~Merry Christmas~

Song: Let Me Hear Your Voice (Koe Wo Kikasete) by Big Bang”

Carol’s mom sent me this picture that Lois made for Carol.

Who’s Line Is It Anyway

This is / was one of our favorite shows.  Make no mistake, it takes awesome talent to be able to improvise comedy as well as these people do.  And Richard Simmons is one of my favorite “good” people…

This video was posted by Altamont Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning’s Sam Aranda on Facebook.  I just had to post it here…..this is SO FUNNY.

Email is so old school

WikiPedia Picture of an Old TV

If you use email, like me, you are soooo old.

Today’s teens, tomorrows adults, appear to be killing email by their exclusive use of texting.  I mean who the heck has time to write an email, put in the subject, find contacts to send it to, then sign the email:  “Thanks, Mike”.

Immediate gratification is the teen way.  If you have to wait 2 minutes for a eply to a text that is FOREVER!  And not only that….they text while in the bathroom, while doing their hair, while eating, while having sex….who knows.  To me, the old guy here, this is not the best thing…whatever happened to concentrating on one thing taking time to smell the roses, be creative.  Stuff like watching a movie, reading a book, taking a walk outside and enjoying nature..those wonderful singular events that allow you to be within yourself, to think for yourself not as a collective…..

Gone…too bad.

Here is a NY Times (the newspaper….another old decaying concept) article that I read that discusses this…

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” Trailer

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” coming this summer!

Viking Metrodome Roof Collapse

Cool video.

Giving From The Heart 2010

Volunteered as to take pictures at the annual “Giving From the Heart” Christmas at the Great Plate in Tracy, CA.

Kids and parents (and volunteers) had a great time!  The pictures (and video) say it all.  (click on the picture to make it bigger).

Santa Arrived!

Carol’s Piano Donated to Tracy High

We moved Carol’s Grand Piano to it’s new home at Tracy High.   Not much more to say….pictures say it all (click on the pictures to make them larger).  I would like to thank Bob and Edmund for taking such good care of the piano during the move!

We all hope Mr. Costa and the Tracy High music students will enjoy playing this awesome instrument.  Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Brighter Christmas

Every year the folks at Brighter Christmas raise money to help those in need have a….hmmm, Brighter Christmas,  by putting people in jail!

This year supporter, Larry Hite, was put in jail…. so I went over to try to bail him out.

It did not seem to work….he was still in there asking (begging!) for a hacksaw as I left.  Let’s hope the bail was raised and Larry gets out….but if not, the jail is on 10th and Central…you can visit.  :-)

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

12 or 13 ?

Carol’s mom sent me this….are there 12 or 13 people?  It moves…so wait about 10 seconds before deciding.  :-)


Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

Tara Tinsley on Tour

Local Tracy, CA musician, Tara Tinsley, is planning a USA tour in the Spring of 2011.

Go to her Facebook page for all the details.

Help support Tara on her way to stardom.  :-)

Drive Safe!  Never forget.