Jun 29, 2004

Woohoo, the MPx220 is now officially on Motos website! Here is the press release and here are pictures.

Jun 28, 2004

Ok, now that I have a semi-respectible car, I'm thinking about taking it autocrossing. Let me explain in case you have never heard of autocrossing. Basically, a tight and twisty course is constructed of cones in a large parking lot. You rarely go over 60 MPH so this is not a high speed sport. It focuses on cornering and smooth driving. I'm definitely not good enough with the manual to consider doing it this year but I plan on checking out a few events so that I know what to expect next summer. Anyway, check out some of these course maps and you'll get a better idea.

Jun 24, 2004

I had a possible roommate check out the apartment last night. I cannot ascertain for certain, but I think we might be a good match. I really hope so, simply because I've had no other leads!

Car update: I'm getting better at the manual seeing as I haven't stalled yet today (a first!). I've had some compliments including about the exhaust note. I'm happy. I'm really started to get used to the upgraded audio. The bass response is pretty cool and there is a fairly slick steering column (not steering wheel) based audio controller. I will probably take a picture of it when I do a full photoshoot later. Basically, it is stalk sticking out from the lower left area of the steering column. It has a two-way switch for station seeking (while in radio mode) and track seeking (for CD mode), two buttons for volume control and a single button for mode which will switch between presets for radio mode and will switch CDs for CD mode. I'm getting used to using it.

Yesterday was my one year anniversary at Microsoft! Following standard procedure, I brought in a pound of M&Ms. Against standard procedure, I actually brought in a pound of M&Ms in three different flavors (plain, peanut and crispy (which is crispy in the sense of Nestle Crunch bars: crisped rice)). It feels fairly odd that I've already been here for a year. I've done so much, but it also seems like I could have accomplished more. I shouldn't really complain, there are others that started around the same time I did that haven't done much at all.

There are actually a few people that have started recently (one started two years ago and two others started a year ago) that are leaving the company. One is getting married, another is going to school and another is starting a company. It should be publicly known, but Microsoft is reducing their benefits. It just looks like there isn't enough to keep people around anymore.

Jun 22, 2004

Oh man, this game is almost as addictive as penguin baseball. You try to toss paper into a waste basket, simple enough.

Jun 21, 2004

Jeff took a look at my comparison post and asked about the units for the slalom course. I knew it was MPH but Jeff reasoned that time through the course might be a better value to track. I figured that average speed was used because different cars will have different acceleration rates, times through the course, speeds and more. Just using time might be a better indication of cornering ability and power, not just cornering ability. Anyway, I found this in one of my Motor Trend articles:

Just drive around the cones as fast as your can, right? Yes-and no. Try cracking off six perfect, consecutive, emergency lane-changes at freeway speeds (some well above) with a margin of error at less than one inch. Sure, this sound challenging until one realizes each cone arrives at less than a one second interval-the whole thing takes less than six seconds in these vehicles. This is one test that best reveals a car's evil side. A propensity to push, get loose, or even spin is ever more apparent while all four ties are howling at, in some cases, 80 MPH. That's right, the speeds listed above are timed averages between the entry and exit markers along the 600-foot course-not how fast the car is actually traveling along its curvy line, which is, in fact, much faster.

Jun 20, 2004

As you can tell from my last post, I have a new car! Well, almost new. Let me tell the story.

About this time last year, I was car shopping. I had almost signed on an Evo when better judgment told me to go with something cheaper to start. Also, 271 HP is a bit much for someone that had never driven a manual before. I decided to use my grandfathers Ford discount and just pick up a Focus. It had decent looks and handling and the interior was fairly accomodating. I have yet to find nicer seats (not even in the SVT). While I was trying to pick out the Focus I wanted, the sales person I was working with kept mentioning the SVT. When we finally went out to the dealer lot to grab an automatic ZX3 for a test drive, we had to pass over at least five SVTs to find a single ZX3. Obviously the cars were not selling well.

I bought the Camaro about two months ago and I've only put about 200 miles on it. I wasn't getting any better at the manual, so I just stopped trying. I'm always looking at car forums when the SVT was mentioned. I cannot remember the context but someone was praising it on a Subaru forum. A car has to be at least moderately respectable for someone entrenched in another manufacturer's camp to praise it. Just on a whim, I decided to look up new/used SVTs in the area. The only one I could find was a 2004 model with about 940 miles on it. I figured that had to be a typo for 9,400 so I figured I'd email the dealer. Nope, not a typo. An older gentleman traded in a SVT Lightning for an SVT Focus and then decided it seemed too young for him. He returned it 3 weeks later.

They gave me an overnight test drive and I decided this is what my car should have been all along. Tighter (but not punishing) suspension, better brakes, better looks, better acceleration and an amazing transmission. Going to this car from the Camaro is very eye-opening. The Getrag trans is just a thing of beauty. I think the only better transmission out there for under $35k is in the S2000. The dealership first put the car on the market at $19,995 (or just about what the car cost new) and that didn't fly. The salesperson also offered me only $7,500 for the ZX3 and an interest rate of 7.49%. Given those numbers, my monthly payment would have been $677.17! The price of the car was talked down to $17,500 then $16,900 and finally $16,500. The trade in on the ZX3 was brought up to $7,750 then $8,000 then $8,500. The APR was brought down to 6.49%. After the trade-in, loan payoff (of the ZX3), license, document fees (yeah WTF), taxes and $1,000 down, I had to finance $17,238.75. With an APR of 6.49%, my monthly payment will only be $528.27.

The more I drive this car, the more I love it. I am not quite used to the 6-speed but I've had multiple people tell me I'm much smoother in the SVT than in the Camaro. That is just a put-down in disguise but I'll take it anyway!

Car Owner HP 0-60 1/4 mile 600 ft slalom 60-0 braking
SVT Focus Mike 170 7.4 15.4 66.8
Impala Kat 200 7.6 15.8 62.1 130
Mini Cooper S Zig 163 7.1 15.3
WRX Jeff
65.4 123

The only thing my new car is best at is stopping. Ironic.

Jun 19, 2004

As a kid, I absolutely hated a warm pillow. I would have difficulty falling asleep because by the time I had rested enough to almost fall asleep, the heat of my pillow would annoy me and wake me up. I would either flip the pillow or sleep on the other end. In other words, the average pillow had four sectors. By the time I was done with all four, the original sector had probably cooled down to normal and I could switch to it. I remember being awake for at least an extra hour some nights because of this.

I no longer have this problem, otherwise I would run out and buy the Chillow! A small, flat but otherwise pillow-shaped insert, the Chillow acts as a heatsink and radiator. It makes one side cold and one side a bit warm. The warmth is absorbed by the pillow proper and dissipated leaving the surface nice and chilly. Hell, I might buy one anyway!

Jun 18, 2004

I AM THE PHANTOM SHITTER: "Good luck, the next round will be worse, and I've started drinking Metamucil. "

Jun 15, 2004

Woohoo, three more GMail invites! I think I might want to try gmailswap soon as the invites seem to be increasing in number.

Jun 11, 2004

All of the second round of GMail invites are gone! Try Gmail Swap.

Nothing quite like slogging through an array of websites to find out the recommended fuel for your new crappy car. Considering that the car was produced in 1992, trying to find information about it online is interesting. Most of the sites that have info are either all-encompasing sites that cover a certain aspect of all cars (safety info, for example), or they are some enthusiast site just for that car or type of car (thus a third generation Camaro). I finally found that my base V6 engine only requires regular unleaded fuel. I know the Chevy used to have a 4-cyl Camaro and that would obviously take regular so I figured it was possible that the V6 was mapped for midgrade (89 octane). Nope, just 87 octane.

Nothing quite like slogging through an array of websites to find out the recommended fuel for your new crappy car. Considering that the car was produced in 1992, trying to find information about it online is interesting. Most of the sites that have info are either all-encompasing sites that cover a certain aspect of all cars (safety info, for example), or they are some enthusiast site just for that car or type of car (thus a third generation Camaro). I finally found that my base V6 engine only requires regular unleaded fuel. I know the Chevy used to have a 4-cyl Camaro and that would obviously take regular so I figured it was possible that the V6 was mapped for midgrade (89 octane). Nope, just 87 octane.

Jun 10, 2004

Who wants GMail? I have two more invites (I had three, but Sokol already grabbed one).

Cop was killed for his gun, authorities say: This sort of sounds like a movie plot; Ex-marine, Gulf War veteran, stalks/hunts down police officers until he finds a vulnerable one, marine hops out of Camaro and applies a shotgun blast to the head of the cop, steals cop's gun. What happens next?!

Jun 7, 2004

Well, my gallery is officially dead. I'm in the process of rebuilding it. Anyway...

Religion is just a meme in the minds of many. The mind is comprised of a collection of neurons with some capabiilty of memory and higher processing. The neurons are a physical entity that is controlled by chemicals and electrical pulses. Viruses can have an affect on chemicals and chemical processes. Why can't someone just create a virus to destroy religion? Would it really be that hard? Please?

Jun 5, 2004

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart

Agee, James - A Death in the Family

Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice

Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain

Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot

Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March

Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre

Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights

Camus, Albert - The Stranger

Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop

Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales

Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard

Chopin, Kate - The Awakening

Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans

Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage

Dante - Inferno

de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote

Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe

Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment

Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy

Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers

Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss

Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man

Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays

Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying

Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury

Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones

Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby

Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary

Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust

Golding, William - Lord of the Flies

Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter

Heller, Joseph - Catch 22

Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms

Homer - The Iliad

Homer - The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God

Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World

Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House

James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady

James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw

Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis

Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior

Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird

Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt

London, Jack - The Call of the Wild

Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia- One Hundred Years of Solitude

Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener

Melville, Herman - Moby Dick

Miller, Arthur - The Crucible

Morrison, Toni - Beloved

O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find

O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night

Orwell, George - Animal Farm

Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago

Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar

Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way

Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49

Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front

Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac

Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep

Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye

Shakespeare, William - Hamlet

Shakespeare, William - Macbeth

Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet

Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion

Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Sophocles - Antigone

Sophocles - Oedipus Rex

Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath

Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island

Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin

Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels

Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair

Thoreau, Henry David - Walden

Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace

Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons

Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Voltaire - Candide

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five

Walker, Alice - The Color Purple

Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth

Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories

Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass

Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray

Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie

Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse

Wright, Richard - Native Son

Haha, I'm a tool. Just today, Kat and I went to Big Apple Bagels to grab a quick lunch before we both headed off to work (yes, working on a Saturday). I ordered my usual, a Roma Italian sub and a 32oz Diet Coke. We were both a bit tired today but I believe I was the one with worse coordiation. While reaching for my drink, I slightly nudged it. Thinking I was about to knock it off the table, I made a quick grab for it, hoping to save it. Instead, I increased the drinks velocity and redirected its destination vector directly toward Kat. Needless to say, I absolutely drenched her in 32oz of Diet Coke. Thankfully, she wasn't too upset. I tried to clean up as best I could, but she was basically covered and nothing could be done. We quickly finished our meal outside and then went home. Minus 50 points for me (for the obvious) and plus 50 points for her (or not freaking out).

Jun 4, 2004

Found on Fark! retroCRUSH: The 50 Coolest Song Parts: I don't agree with many of the selections (either that or it's just hard to tell from the much-needed but low quality MP3 clips they give you) but over all this is a pretty cool list with some of my favorites. Favorites include anything by Queen, The Who and Heart.

What was Number 1 on the day you were born????: I remember seeing this site years ago but I don't think I ever blogged it. Here are some songs:

Mine: Magic by Olivia Newton-John

Kat's: Pop Muzik by M

Jenn's: Funkytown by Lipps, Inc. (bwahahaha)

Just for kicks, the song 9 months before my birthdate was No More Tears (Enough is Enough) by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer. Hmm, not sure what to make of that one.

Oh, BTW, my gallery is hosed. I'm not exactly sure when it happened or what happened, but it's hosed. I tried to upload some pictures last night and my upload tool kept crashing. I tried to add the pictures through the normal web interface and that was having some problems. When I couldn't delete some albums, that's when I knew it was completely messed up. Even upgrading over the existing installation didn't help.

Looks like I get to rebuild it from scratch this weekend! Yay!

When you drive to work and get out of your car and then ask yourself "Am I wearing underwear?", you know it's going to be a good day.

Jun 3, 2004

Why the hell did The Berry Zone have to pick the exact same Blogger template as me? I mean, come on, dude already stole my first name, he doesn't have to be lazy and steal the same damn template!

No matter, it's all love.

Hmm, power to weight ratios, one of the most important aspects of any car. The Focus only has 130 HP but it only weighs 2551 pounds and has 135 ft-lbs. The Camaro, on the other hand has only 140 HP and weighs 3103 pounds but has 180 ft-lbs. A few calculations later give 19.62 pounds-per-HP and 18.90 pounds-per-ft-lb for the Focus and 22.16 pounds-per-HP and 17.24 pounds-per-ft-lb for the Camaro. The Focus is faster than the Camaro but the Camaro has better low-end acceleration? Weird.