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|Wednesday, November 16th, 2016|
|Try stuffing all that in your M3
One of the reasons this is the best car I have ever owned up to this point.
There was still room for another shopping cart full. I might have been able to get all that in an M3, but not anything else. With all this, there was still room for two passengers. Current Mood: accomplished
|Sunday, April 7th, 2013|
|Oh and BTW...
Working 55 hours a week AND taking care of a 6 year old and the house mostly alone AND taking care of a wife going through residency does not make for a person who can spend time keeping in touch.
I have dropped off the face of the earth, and I'm still falling.
I think maybe I should look for a less demanding job for the time being.
|Went to a dinner last night...
Everybody else there was a Department Head or Dean or Department Chair. It was an informal dinner amongst friends. We were invited because my wife's father was a former classmate of one of new persons there (and we are friends with some of the other people).
Admittedly, I liked the people as people... But I still don't know how I feel about being there. A little rattled at least. I hadn't fully thought about the implications of this particular circle of acquaintances. Thankfully, it seems that this kind of thing will be a rare occurrence.
I wish I could say something more definite or profound, but I can't.
|Sunday, November 18th, 2012|
It seems that switching to on-demand digital cable and internet connected set-top box has made TV completely too complicated to watch for my family. Half the time they can't even get the stuff to turn on properly.
To quote my son: "Dad, could you come help me with the TV. It only works when it sees you." Current Mood: goofy
|Tuesday, April 10th, 2012|
|My son's milestones
Last night was pretty exciting because my son decided to show off exactly how much he knows to his aunt on his own accord. Something we usually can't coax out of him so we usually can't guage what he has learned and what he hasn't.
Generally with us, we play learning games and then he gets bored quickly and starts giving wrong answers or wanting to play something else. Last night he really showed off and we found that he can spell most words. He did the times table for 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 perfectly. He also did non standard addition and subtraction and multiplication (i.e. 5000 X 2 = 10000, etc.).
He is doing pretty well on the balance bike too (feet off the ground for up to 10 seconds but can't quite turn yet). I really hope I can get him off training wheels by the time he goes to kindergarten.
|Wednesday, March 28th, 2012|
Finishing up the move to our parents basement. Insanely tired. We have way too much stuff. Too unfreaking believable much of it is really fragile tea sets and extremely thin glassed decoratives. Reminds me how much easier it was to move while being male.
We have lost our TV remote too. It feels like we are trying to compress down to one room even though we have the whole basement to ourselves. It's pretty scary sometimes.
|Thursday, March 15th, 2012|
|Bought an used Taurus X (2008)
After we sold off the Volvo Wagon (because hunting and fixing tornado injuries is fun when you are a single guy, but not fun when you have a kid and a wife who screams bloody murder everytime you approach a car with a wrench), we had to borrow my parents car (a white civic) for a while because of the huge expenses and need for a buffer amount in these uncertain times. Now that the expenses have dropped off and we have our buffer built up, we decided it was time to get the second car once again.
I think both of us wanted it to be a wagon, so I searched exclusively for that and found what I think is a good deal. So it's not a RS6 Avant or a Caddy CTS-V Wagon like I really want, but I can't afford to go for a sporty wagon just yet. I also think only Volvo and Audi gets wagons really right. (*cough* not even Subaru *cough*). Taurus X is a Volvo chassis regussied (and basically ruined) for American market. It is still less rattly over train tracks than a Subaru, and leagues better than anything offered by any other company).
Would have liked to buy one with sporting intentions, but it is only meant to tide us over until we can afford something better. What do I think about it?
Of course when I get any car I put it through it's paces. It is nowhere near as tossable as the Volvo was. I like FWD cars because of the twitch/jump quality. You can flick a hatchback into the next lane over as fast as an eyeblink and continue driving like nothing happened. You can get responses that fast in a MR (still not as quick IMHO, but then I've never driven a ferrari), but you aren't going to be driving off like nothing happened. The Volvo was somewhere between a hatchback and a 2000 era BMW 3 series in that regard.
This Taurus is around a Hyundai Sedan in the tossability standards (I hear they have gotten better this year, but I haven't tested a recent one out). Not bad for something pretending to be an SUV. Not anywhere near sporty, but not bad. Also, fact that they jacked up the roof and put the seats on stilts to make you think you are driving an SUV exaggerates the motions of an already fairly soft suspension and massively big sidewalled tires to make it feel a lot more tippy than it actually is. The tire camber, however stays pretty steady even at high roll angles and it tracks as true as most any car I've driven. Not to mention the roll is surprisingly low on this car even before considering it doesn't come with stabilizer bars.
I also liked how easy it is to rotate the car. I haven't tried to spin it yet, but it does rotate very well without even having to lift the throttle to nudge it along.
Negatives are how it all feels. Everything is highly muted in feedback. At least you can feel the road, which you can't in a SUV, but it's still pretty low. You really have to pay attention to sound more than tire feel to know you are on blacktop rather than concrete. The sound is pretty low too. Put it around my favorite skid pad (a place with mainly flat textured concrete with very thin expansion joints that I measured out 30 meters on) and I had to do a double take at the speedo because I calculated I was doing a good .81 to .86 g's (the speedo is hard to read for exact numbers) but it honestly did not feel like it. I would have predicted it had 1/3rd of the traction of the Civic Si from feel alone (The Civic hits 0.94 G's consistantly with the current Continental Extreme Contact DWS but these tires tend to marble have high levels of tread squirm and flex their sidewalls and generally feel terrible doing it).
I'd say that puts traction at near what my Jetta was capable of with its OEM tires and many people would remember what kind of cornering that one was capable of.
The engine sounds horrible. I mean economy car horrible. It does not sound like a V6. It accelerates okay. Not amazingly. I'd say the 263 hp is adequate. Both the Civic and the old Volvo would leave it in the dust. The AWD is slow to react, almost like it's not there at all intil you really ham handedly force it into life. I wonder what use it could possibly be of except to drive down the MPG numbers.
With fairly aggressive highway driving, full throttle starts, the skid pad and other handling tests, I got 24 mpg avg. on the computer so far, but I will be tracking miles and gallons like I do with all cars over the long haul anyway because I don't trust those computers.
It's not a fun wagon by any means. It's a simple people mover. But I still like it. I like it a lot, of course, overwise I wouldn't have bought it.
|Thursday, January 5th, 2012|
|Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012|
|Insanity tastes good
For breakfast today:
Two spicy kababs in between two heavily garlic buttered texas toast slices with Helman's mediterranian roasted garlic mayo.
Downed with Private selection black tea with orange and spices that was brewed in artificially flavored hot spiced cider.
|Monday, December 19th, 2011|
|Now I understand Kayak's looney explanation of why they pulled out ads from 'All American Muslim'
So after all the controversy, we decided to check out the TLC show 'All American Muslim'. Aside from wanting to flee from the channel forever at the horrifying, gut churning, nightmare inducing promo ads for other shows on TLC (at least now I know what demographic Lowes prefers), I won't be returning because the show itself is a nightmare of poor storytelling. The producers of the show have no understanding whatsoever of a storyline. It's just all disjointed cuts of poorly explained events. With horrific sound editing to boot. You CAN make this stuff compelling people.
In any event, I only managed to watch maybe 10 minutes of it before I had to distract myself with real life. One thing I learned: Muslim women are not supposed to shake hands with unfamiliar men...
|Sunday, October 16th, 2011|
|a new use for a tablet computer
confusing the heck out of flies so that you can catch them in a dark room. It's especially fun to see them do confused backflips when you move the screen by flicking up and down.
|Friday, August 19th, 2011|
|This is what happens when you can't get a babysitter
We took our son to see the last Harry Potter. We went "We are going to cover your eyes at the bad parts, okay?"
My son: "Okay."
Us covering his eyes at certain scary parts
My son: "you are doing it wrong, I can see bits of it through the gaps."
Us covering his eyes in the kissing scenes
my son: "this is not a scary part, why are you covering my eyes?"
Eventually, my son: "Oh, stop covering my eyes, it's just a movie..."
|Wednesday, August 10th, 2011|
I wonder how many in the media are this impossibly naive about the simple mechanics of a riot.
The people who are rioting are not always (or even sometimes) the people who are distressed by the economic situation. But that dosen't mean that the riots aren't caused by the economic condition. Anytime you oppress a group of people, you invite the criminal element to oppress them as well.
That means the distressed areas attract rioters. Good God, in jr. high we covered the Watts Riots. All the kids were like "How stupid were the rioters to burn down their own businesses."
Uhh... They weren't effing burning down their own businesses. The ones who were being hurt by the politics and demonstrating against it were often not the ones who were burning down stuff. The ones who were burning down stuff were attracted to the places because the civil unrest gave them an opportunity to burn down stuff. They didn't care about the politics .
The economic conditions DID cause the riots (just not the rioters).
|Monday, May 2nd, 2011|
|Tuesday, April 26th, 2011|
I have started to understand my method of problem solving a little better. When I face a problem, I just start out looking straightforward for solutions for a few minutes. I then stop the direct aproach and go off on something else random and browse and browse and browse. (Not just talking about internet, I do this for literature, etc. too)
Eventually some pattern emerges out of the random walk which leads me to a completely different solution than the direct aproach led me to... Or the situation gets resolved by something else entirely. I think maybe that is why many people like web browsing.
I have been thinking about the higher education thing quite a lot, but so far the answers are rapidly evolving and each time I aproach it I get different answers. That's why I'm still not sure where I stand on it.
|Thursday, April 14th, 2011|
|Education: The Next Big Bubble (?)
Aside from the massive APPEAL TO AUTHORITY
wanking at the beginning, I found this article very interesting:http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/10/peter-thiel-were-in-a-bubble-and-its-not-the-internet-its-higher-education/Like any good bubble, this belief– while rooted in truth– gets pushed to unhealthy levels. Thiel talks about consumption masquerading as investment during the housing bubble, as people would take out speculative interest-only loans to get a bigger house with a pool and tell themselves they were being frugal and saving for retirement. Similarly, the idea that attending Harvard is all about learning? Yeah. No one pays a quarter of a million dollars just to read Chaucer. The implicit promise is that you work hard to get there, and then you are set for life. It can lead to an unhealthy sense of entitlement. “It’s what you’ve been told all your life, and it’s how schools rationalize a quarter of a million dollars in debt,” Thiel says.
Thiel isn’t totally alone in the first part of his education bubble assertion. It used to be a given that a college education was always worth the investment– even if you had to take out student loans to get one. But over the last year, as unemployment hovers around double digits, the cost of universities soars and kids graduate and move back home with their parents, the once-heretical question of whether education is worth the exorbitant price has started to be re-examined even by the most hard-core members of American intelligensia.
I don't agree with the guy, but there is smoke in there.
Granted, education has always been a sort of bubble in one way. I can't see it as a bubble economically in another because we are talking about something that is not either a fungible nor a liquid asset. Tech stock, real estate, barrels of oil, etc. are all things that can be bought and sold. Not so much for education.
The real reason University prices are going up is because of the retraction of public funding. Sure some people might say that it's just flattened out, but what would it mean if meat prices flattened out? What would happen if car prices flattened out? That's right, a lot of people in the respective industries would go out of business. The funding was already way below sustainable to begin with and it has gotten smaller.
Add to this the fact that the Boomer generation made piss poor educators, and it's a crisis that looks like a bubble.
The reason higher education fails us is because it takes very intelligent people and turns them into piss poor stamped products. The people who built IBM and Intel didn't go through a college system that worked you to the bone to become proficient in one specific thing only. If you are only proficient in plugging out electric circuit boards to some specifications, you are a product. You are a cog to be plugged in to some project.
You are not a person who was trained to "create something revolutionary in the garage". In fact, by forcing you into the intense grind stone, they took parts of you that would have helped you be that person OUT
. Honestly, the education revolution initially DID fuel the entrepreneur revolution. Now we have far greater college graduates, but far less entrepreneurs!
Especially biology. Biological fields are a joke. There is no excuse for there not to be a boom of biology startups. The field is literally wide open, fertile, and completely devoid of any homesteads. Instead, you have graduates scratching at the doors of big pharma for $60k post-doc jobs. Fear and insane levels of exclusivity rule the land.
You were expecting thousands of companies scrambling for experts? Well, they are all failed, pulled into one big metastatic monopoly or another. It's easy to blame regulations, etc. But it's all BS. It's because the graduates were meek. There is no Gold Rush. They are all afraid to go to the Yukons because they think they will get eaten by wolves.
This is what the stupidly grinding core curricula with stupid lame ass escapist
electives joke of "higher education" did to us.
|Monday, February 14th, 2011|
|Top Gear America Renewed!
Woohoo! Top Gear (US) is renewed! I'd suggest it to anybody who likes cars (and even some who don't). See it on History channel.
|Friday, January 28th, 2011|
|Sunday, December 26th, 2010|
|Top Gear US: My Take
After having watched the first 5 episodes (and having read many whinging posts by "real fans of top gear") I'll have to say that I actually like the American version of Top Gear better than I do the UK version.
I'm not saying it's better. UK version just has too much of a head start with seasoned veterans who have up to 30 years of good automotive shows under their belts. Not to mention all the other shows they do. There's just too much experience under their belt for anybody else to come in and match them.
However, the US show has one thing the UK version doesn't have: An awesome set backdrop. You have one episode rambling through the south, the next through the salt flats, the next through the ski resorts in Utah, and on and on... Cars are a luxury in Europe. They are the lifeblood of America. For such a young show, you already get a feel for how much better America is suited for something like Top Gear.
I also like that they have a crappy driver worse than James May, a good driver better than Hammond (and Jeremy for that matter), and a good amount of charisma for presenters so young. Heck, I'd say Tanner has a good chance at giving Tiff a run for his money. There are a lot of missed timing cues and flat lines, but I remember Top Gear from the very late1990's. I'd say this one is starting a notch higher and has a higher roof. They do need someone with more nerdy tendency because two goofball guys who seem to know very little about cars is a little off putting, but that will definitely change as time goes along. The look on Adam's face as he hits 160 or 170 in the Lambo is worth having to bear his learning on the job. You can't get that on the UK show where even James May has been over 200 mph.
|Thursday, December 23rd, 2010|