Now that's an evening.

It was stupid hot in San Francisco today. Mid-80s. (No, there was no humidity but remember that most of the city does not have air conditioners. Nor does it generally need them)

Fortunately, after my run down to the ocean, this was the perfect time to wander up to my roof and enjoy a half bottle of wine while the sun set. That's what it's all about.

Whoa! Shocker!

It turns out that changing the day you're going to shut down the analog TV signal 2 weeks before you were supposed to do it is CONFUSING. I'm shocked. Shocked!

Look, it's simple. The people who have not yet dealt with their DTV issues (via whatever) have had something like 4 years to do so. The only way to make them fix their problem is to break their TVs. End of story. Half breaking their TVs isn't going to help.

I have now officially competed in a "motorsport"

Albeit in a 1965 Chevy Corvair in crap condition with a shift pattern of 1-2-4-3 (double clutching all the way. 2-3 didn't work, but 4-3 and 3-4 both work if you double clutch). Spun it twice, but I don't feel all that bad since I got to watch an Alfa Romeo eat it in my rearview mirror in the same spot as my second spin with an experienced racer at the wheel and there were dozens of spin outs in the location of my first spin (hard left hander coming over the top of a hill where you can't see the turn due to the shape. Apparently even more interesting on a motorcycle).

We won the "Most Likely to Go Home In An Ambulance" Award. Plans for next year are already under way. Think Corveyron! Because 4 carbs begs for 4 turbos! And maybe a working gearbox.

(no subject)

I own a piece of clothing (several actually) that is clearly marked as "help[s] to prevent the need for skin grafts." How many people can say that?


So, I'm reading a first drive review of the Pontiac GXP and the reviewer loved it and comments that right when GM starts going out of business they start making good cars. This is, of course, untrue. They've been making good cars for awhile now. Unfortunately, they're called Holdens and they're only sold in the Australian market. The GXP is actually a copy of a Holden (the Holden looks better, but I like chunky cars. Pontiac rounds things out too much these days. They're like Honda---they can't leave a crease alone).

Things that suck and don't suck

So, once more, my laptop's hard drive died (I've lost count of the number of drives I've killed over the years. The number is larger than you might hope. I think I just do a lot of HD intensive stuff). Anywho, as a result I'm paranoid. Total number of files lost? Maybe 2, about 35 minutes of computer time.

Things that do not suck:

OS X's Time Machine backup feature. Flawless. Not sure if the Time Capsule stuff is totally sorted yet, but that would be even more flawless since you don't plug it into anything.

Apple's "Genius Bar." They're generally pleasant people to deal with and willing to take me at my word that I actually know what I'm doing. I think the exact quote was "5-7 days? Hell, give me a screwdriver and I'll be out of your hair in 90 seconds." Rather than some bullshit I got "I'll be right back with your drive." 5 minutes later I was out the door. This one is a Fujitsu, hopefully it will fare better than the Seagate it replaces.

Also, my machine was literally one day out of warranty. Turns out Apple are more interested in good customer service and repeat customers (I'm on Mac #5 at this point so it must work) than being dicks about warranty periods. I did sign up for AppleCare since it's transferrable and my machines tend to be in use for a long time (even if not by me). The customer service is more or less why I buy Apple hardware, I don't care if it's more expensive (which it really isn't all things considered these days).

A truly awesome idea

I don't think I've posted this here before, but I am presently involved in one of the Best Ideas of All Time. Basically, there's this race. It's like the 24 Hours of LeMans except with really crappy cars. I mean really crappy. Astoundingly crappy. Hence it is known as the 24 Hours of LeMons. Our entry is a 1965 Corvair Corsa. A truly magnificent beast. Air cooled boxer 6. Rear engine (mounted WAAAAYYYY out behind the rear tire in the tradition of the Porsche 911). 4 independent carbs (you heard me. 4 separate carbs). Rattle-can black. An interior so rusted you can press your hand through the sheet metal, except then you'll need to go get the lacerations stitched up (tetanus shot not required, it has nothing to do with rust per se. It has a lot to do with deep puncture wounds.). I'm sure Peter is deeply jealous.

Anyway, now that the grid is pretty much set we actually got some press from Jalopnik's LeMons beat reporter. The article is hilarious. The predictions in the comments even more so.

The most amazing part is that the Corvair is a surprisingly attractive car. The convertible Corsa from '65-'67, restored, would make an awesome vintage ride. (The cars look like small a '67-'68 Camaro, which replaced the Corvair). Even the '62-'64 convertible is cool looking, though somewhat lacking in the rear suspension department.

Dear Automakers,

Posting teaser shots of facelifts for your trucks is a waste of time. Trucks do not have styling. Trucks will never have styling. Especially these days with the tendency towards full-sized cabs on otherwise small trucks. You might as well just get a four door hatchback and rip off the back.

Also, teaser shots of the Prius are not interesting. The Prius is one of the worst modern cars I've ever driven (If we ever get it working, The Corvair is likely to be a worse car, but at least I'll be able to see). It's a blindspot on wheels. Apparently Toyota aren't going to take it out back and shoot it, but they're going to release a new version which they have teased with a picture of... a switch. Marked "open" and "close." I surmise that it will have doors.

On the other hand, I was a passenger in a Camry hybrid recently and it seemed perfectly reasonable---much higher general build quality than the Prius. Better seats. The control computer is still too high to use effectively, but they've got it in their heads that it should be high so you don't need to move your eyes too far from the windscreen. I would argue that you should put the important bits in the control cluster not on something in the center console so that it's part of the scan you need to have anyway, but that's just me. The rest can live where the radio does in German cars (so that the controls can be operated without having to move your hand too far from the shifter).

Also, kids working on concept cars, please work on concepts that are cool---well styled & functional---not the gimmicky crap you insist on producing.