Cars


Ups and Downs of the week.

Cool Cars -Went by Isringhausen today. Lots of awesome machines.

2011 MB SLSC

Porsche GT3

1970s Trans Am

  Oil Spill – What a mess.

  Red Sox – Just when you think there’s hope, they play like doo-doo again.

Little bit of time off – I need it.

Ups and Downs of the week.

In-car iPod – Got the aux input installed in the X5. Love having 200+ songs at my disposal in the car. Next up, the Z4.

Illinois politics – For years both sides have been making a mess out of this state’s economy. Now everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else. Pitiful.

Photomatix Pro 3  – Very cool HDR software. Stay tuned for pics.

The NFL – Do they really think they own the phrase “Who dat?

Internet forums -More than once I’ve been saved by info found on these various forums. The wiring diagram for the aux input in my X5 was wrong, so it didn’t work. But someone on the X5 forum had endured the same problem and had figured it out and posted the solution. Saved me a trip to the dealer.

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Top Gear – Love this show.

 Patriots – I didn’t think they’d get far in the post-season, but I didn’t think they’d get embarrassed. Geez.

 Warmer Weather – Finally a January thaw. Might get the Z4 out this weekend.

  School – One more semester. Can’t wait till this is over.

 Little Guys – They’re so much fun to watch when they’re kittens.

Nap Time

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Red Sox -Picked up some nice talent this week. Hope Mr. Lackey proves to be worth the high price they paid.

 Weather – Looks like crappy traveling weather before the holidays.

 Rescued cats – Between my wife and two of her co-workers, five cats found homes this week. 

 Tiger Woods coverage – Enough already. Let them work this out in peace. I fail to understand why people find joy in the misery of celebs.

 Photoshop – Fun to play with.

Little bit of color

This has been a week where the little things have been piling up. Nothing worth pulling hair out (especially since I have little hair left to pull), but just things that shouldn’t be.

1. My Dell Latitude Z laptop – Overall I’m happy with it, but the trackpad seems to just fade out every now and then, as does the keyboard. I’ll type a word and two or three letters in a row will be missing. For a $2500 laptop, this is inexcusable.

2. My LG EnV3 phone – It’s supposed to be compatible with the BMW bluetooth system. It’s listed on both Verizon’s site and on BMW’s site as an approved BMW bluetooth phone. It does send and receive calls as it should, but the phonebook won’t upload. LG’s Contact app has non-standard contacts like “In Case of Emergency” and “My Name Card” (whatever that is) that cannot be deleted. I believe it is these entries which are screwing things up. Bluetooth has been around long enough for all BT devices to conform to standards. LG needs to get with the program.

3. BMW’s Voice Recognition – This feature is supposed to enable you to speak a few commands to the car and have it do simple things like dial a number or name or change the scale of the Navigation map. But every now and then it seems to fixate on a name. For instance, to make up for not having my contacts uploaded into the system’s phonebook via bluetooth, I attempted to load them in manually via the voice recognition program. It worked fine until I entered my friend Dana’s name and number. After that, any name I attempted to enter was “recognized” as Dana, which prompted a warning that the name had already been entered. I lost my cool and told the system to go to hell, only to have it say “Dana” and “That name already exists” back to me. I guess in the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” little things like voice recognition working properly are overlooked.

4. ABC – I don’t watch much TV, but I do like to catch the evening news and I like (or did like) ABC Evening News the best. But tonight they had a completely gratuitous “news” item on Tiger Woods. Ok, I can see reporting that his mother-in-law got taken to the hospital. Personally, I don’t think it qualifies as news, but I can see how ABC would think it is. But then they went on to discuss his current loss of respect among his fans and even showed quotes from Twitter and other blogs or websites. They actually showed one where a kid supposedly told his mother that Tiger now “makes me sick.” Is this really news? Is it at all acceptable to broadcast the nasty things people have to say about someone just because that person is a celebrity? The “reporter” said at one point that the same thing that catapulted Woods to the top of his profession is now causing his downfall. I would have thought it was his golfing talent which put him at the top of his profession. That is certainly not what is causing his current problems.

After the news ABC showed A Charlie Brown Christmas. Yes, this show has been around for decades, but I still like to watch it every year. I consider the show a classic and as such it should be sacred and protected from the bean counters who chop shows apart to squeak out a few extra minutes of advertising. Sadly, ABC has decided that several scenes from the show could be scrapped in order to cut the run time and add more commercials. Making it even more frustrating, the sound was poorly sync’d, which is a common issue with ABC. It could be a cable issue, but it only happens with ABC, and a Google search shows there seems to be many, many people with the same problem on their particular cable system. ABC is quickly losing my respect.

5. MS Office 2007 – I sat down at a PC with Word 2007 for the first time and it took me 5 minutes to figure out how to access a print menu. There is no intuitive way to print from Word, which is the primary thing people do after they’ve created or edited a document. Trying to figure out how to Save As is just as frustrating. This is a clear example of change for the sake of change.  It actually makes the application more difficult to use, which is the very essence of failure in programming.

It’s not often you get a sunny, 60 degree day in November around here. Not unheard of, but rare enough. Yesterday was such a day, so I took the opportunity to head out for a drive. The corn in the fields, while picturesque, is actually a bad thing. There’s been so much rain that the fields are mudpits. The farmers are hoping they can clear the fields before the first snow. Harvesting in December. Who’d have thought?

Z4

Ups and Downs of the Week.

  Reality TV – It seems to bring morons out of the woodwork. First the Balloon Boy’s family and now the White House party crashers. What a bunch of egotistical losers. And on a related note… 

 White House security – Talk about a major screwup.

 Runflat Tires – Had a tire blow out this week. I must have hit a piece of metal or glass and it sliced the edge of the tread and sidewall. I heard a muffled pop, but felt no change on the handling of the car. Only the tire pressure warning on the dash alerted me to a problem. I drove another 15 miles to a tire dealer.

  Runflat Tires – These things are seriously expensive. It cost me $489 to replace the blown tire, plus another $45 for a rental car because the tire had to be ordered. If I had been using regular tires, I would have needed a tow. But in the end, it may have been cheaper.

I’ve finally started to get all my pictures from the trip sorted out and edited. It’s easier to do this a day at a time as we did quite a bit of driving around to different places. And even though this is titled “Day One,” this was actually Monday, our second day in Germany and the third day of the trip. The first two days were spent getting to Germany and then recovering from the flight.

Our hotel was very close to the main headquarters of BMW in Munich. The buildings of the BMW complex are themselves something to see, but housed within is a museum, which we didn’t visit this time, and a new building called BMW Welt (BMW World). It’s their showcase for new models and technology which goes into their products. It’s also where you pick up your new BMW if you’re German or took the European delivery option. It has to be the classiest set up for picking up a car in the entire industry.

As you can see, the day we were there it was fairly quiet at BMW Welt.

BMW Welt

Although there was the unexpected sight of a rider blasting around on one of BMW’s new Enduro bikes. I imagine something like this would send American insurance underwriters into shock.

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

The star of BMW Welt is their new concept car called the Vision. It’s an environmentally friendly machine with some serious horsepower and radical aerodynamics.

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

Here’s the area where new BMW owners meet their car. All these cars were going out to new owners that day. Very cool way to pick up a car.

BMW Welt

Upstairs there is a gift shop and restaurant with an outdoor deck which overlooks the Olympic park and stadium. On a nice day it would be a great place to enjoy a beer and people watch.

BMW Welt

A short drive from BMW Welt brought us to Schloss Nymphenburg. This amazing palace used to sit on the outskirts of Munich. Now it’s well within the city limits. The grounds encompassing the palace and the palace itself are both enormous. The panorama below only shows the buildings one can see facing in this direction. They actually wrap around a huge area and stand before an incredible garden area behind the palace.

Schloss Nymphenburg

The main entrance to the palace is by itself pretty impressive.

Schloss Nymphenburg

The gardener in me was secretly amused to see that I’m not the only one who does battle with moles.

Schloss Nymphenburg

The front gardens include a huge lagoon which flows out into a canal which, in turn, runs about a mile out to a pumphouse (or some such thing). Across the street from the pumphouse is the start of yet another park. You can see the pumphouse in the full zoom picture below. Ludwig I of Bavaria lived here in the mid 19th century, so swans in such a scene are a given. Swans were big with the Ludwig crowd.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

The interior of the palace is just as impressive as the outside. Breathtaking frescos on the ceilings and huge paintings on the walls adorn most rooms.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

No tour of a castle or palace would be complete without a visit to the bedrooms of the formerly rich and famous.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Ludwig I fancied himself quite the ladies’ man and kept a Gallery of Beauties (Schönheitengalerie) with paintings of women who caught his eye.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

The rear entrance to the palace has a huge double stairway leading down to the seemingly endless gardens. You could literally spend days walking around the grounds.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

Full zoom shows a bridge where a Munich street crosses through the park, which continues on past it.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Looking back at the palace from the first fountain in the garden. Statues line the walkways.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

Once you get out into the garden, the tough decision is which way to walk. There are interesting options in every direction.

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

Schloss Nymphenburg

After our visit to Schloss Nymphenburg we stopped into a nearby Greek restaurant and had a delicious lunch. Then we drove downtown, found a parking spot, and walked. And walked. And walked. We did manage to visit a museum called the Neue Pinakothek. Mostly 18th and 19th century European art. Some familiar, some not.

Neue Pinakothek

Neue Pinakothek

Neue Pinakothek

 So that was our first day. We literally stumbled back to the hotel and collapsed. We did manage to get out to a nearby Chinese restaurant for dinner.

Yesterday I left work at noon and drove over to Springfield to get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) for our trip to Germany next week. It was a gorgeous fall day, so I took only backroads and grabbed some pictures of central Illinois in Autumn. I had the road to myself. Good fun.

What traffic?

Colorful Farm

Barn

Corn and soybeans to the horizon.

My Chariot

Neat viaduct

The commute today was an entirely different story. Still kind of cool, though.

Rainy road

Rainy road

Sadder barn

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Red Sox – Actually winning consistently on the road. I like it. Beckett had another great game tonight and Papi is to be feared by opposing pitchers again. All is well in The Nation.

  Celebrity Coverage – Do we really care that much? Or does the media just tell us we do?

 Dad – Coming home again on Thursday.

  Paving by gravel – I know I complain about it every summer, but this damn gravel is lethal to car paint.

 My Sister – Trekking up to MA again (third time) to help Mom take care of Dad when he comes home. Glad she’s there to help out. I know my folks really appreciate it. As do I.

 

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