Cars


Ups and Downs of the week.

 Home again – After being on the road nearly non-stop for three weeks, it’s good to be home. I have no school work and no place to be this weekend. I intend to enjoy my lack of things to do.

  Greed and self-importance – ‘Nuff said.

 Dad – Stronger every day. Hopefully he’ll go home again this week.

Meh   Red Sox – Big Papi seems to have recovered somewhat from his epic slump, but Dice-K is just awful this year. They’ve got some issues to work out.

 Ragtops – Top-down driving is awesome. My Thursday commute was perfect. Sunny, warm (ok, hot) day, top down, a/c blasting cold air at me, Bob Marley cranking on the stereo, and near empty roads going to and from work. I thoroughly enjoyed the 110 mile round trip. 

Ups and Downs of the week.

 FIA – The governing body of Formula One finally makes a good decision and lets the results of the season so far stand as they are and allows the diffuser design used by three of the teams. In years past they would have caved in to pressure from Ferrari and the other teams. 

Meh  Red Sox – Their bullpen is looking great and the offense is showing some signs of life, but they’re still in the basement and unable to get clutch hits. UPDATE: They’ve won 4 in a row now and are back at .500. Tampa Bay is in the basement and the Sox are moving up. What a difference a couple of days can make.

 Weather – Mid-70s today. Finally got to drive all the way home with the top down. Spring is here at last.

  Run-flat tires – Good in theory, lousy in practice.

 Dad – Still making progress.

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Formula One is back – Opening race from Melbourne, Australia. This season brings so many changes to the cars that the whole field may be shuffled. We’ll know after the race on Sunday who the front runners this year will be. UPDATE: Great race. Kudos to Brawn GP.

  Winter is back – We’re forecast to get 2-4 inches of snow Saturday night. Ugh. UPDATE: We only saw flurries. Sometimes it’s good when the weather seers are wrong. 🙂

  Spring Break – Nice having everyone gone for a week.

  1st Level Tech Support – How can you explain a DNS problem to a support tech who doesn’t know what DNS is? Only GoDaddy does it right.

 Dad – Still making impressive progress. He’s in a  nursing facility now, but it’s much more comfortable than the rehab hospital and they’re being more aggressive with his rehab, which is also good.

  Prehistoric Road Maintenance II – Didn’t take long for a rock to find my fender.

Rock Chip

Ups and Downs of the week.

   Sarah’s New Book – This represents over a year of hard work. Between this new volume and her original book, the vast majority of historical novels are now indexed, classified, and described. I know I’m bragging, but she deserves it.

Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre

  Prehistoric Road Maintenance – This week it seemed every road I drove on had holes and cracks patched with oil and loose pea stone gravel. I really need to get some pictures of the idiotic way the state of Illinois patches roads. They spray a little bit of thick oil on the crack or hole and then blow in 1/4″ pea stone. They always use way too much pea stone and the first time someone runs over it, it gets scattered everywhere. Then it gets tossed in the air to chip paint and crack windshields. The really stupid part is that it doesn’t last a week. The crews are back at it on the same roads week after week. If I knew whose idea it was to do it this way, I’d sit outside his/her house with a bushelful of these stones and a slingshot and plink away at whatever car they drive. I just hope we’re not throwing away our stimulus money on this nonsense.

  My 2006 Z4 3.0si – This car is a beast. It’s fast and corners like it’s glued to the road. I’ve been having a blast in it for a week now. Best of all, it gets great gas mileage on top of being fun to drive.

2006 BMW Z4 3.0si

2006 BMW Z4 3.0si

2006 BMW Z4 3.0si

2006 BMW Z4 3.0si

2006 BMW Z4 3.0si

2006 BMW Z4 3.0si

Ups and Downs of the week.

   Good news/Bad news – The good news is, Chris Bangle is leaving BMW. Bangle is the designer responsible for the worst change in design direction (IMHO) ever made by a car company. The 5, 6, & 7 series BMWs all went from sleek, unique, instantly recognizable thoroughbreds to overweight, plain-Jane, run-of-the-mill tubs. The bad news (well, maybe) is that his protégé, Adrian van Hooydonk is taking over. Let’s hope he doesn’t follow in Bangle’s footsteps and that his designs look better than his haircut.

Adrian van Hooydonk and Chris Bangle

Meh  Stimulus package – I guess you can’t make everyone happy, but this plan seems to have settled on making everyone unhappy. I hope they know what they’re doing.

  Warmer weather – Finally. The snow will be gone after this weekend and next week’s forecasts are predicting (dare I say it?) near 60 degree temps.

  Economy – The bads news continues to pour in.

  Dad continues to improve. – He took a few steps this week and is eating more kinds of food. His voice is much stronger now, too.

Ups and Downs of the week.

 New Toy – 2006 BMW Z4. Quick pic here. More to follow.

2006 BMW Z4

  Blago – He continues to thumb his nose at the very people who elected him. He’s a sociopath who refuses to acknowledge he did anything wrong and his obstinate refusal to step down is going to run this state into bankruptcy. He’s nothing but a curse and a burden on this state now.

  President Obama – I like what I see so far, but the really tough decisions are still ahead.

  Dad is doing better – Sitting up straight for longer periods. Standing (but not walking yet) on his own. Starting to eat just a little. And best of all, his attitude is great and he’s getting a little stronger every day.

Ups and Downs of the week.

  Progress – Dad is finally out of the cardiac hospital and into a rehab hospital. Now the rebuilding begins. He’s lost a lot of muscle and will need to learn to walk again, but it’s a step towards home. He’s happy and so are we. I’m hoping he’ll be home by Christmas.

   Saturday morning tests – What an awful time to plan a final; the Saturday starting a big vacation week.

  Time off – Even though it’ll be a working “vacation,” it’s time I need badly.

Meh    Big Three Auto Company Bailout – On the one hand it’s important to try to keep people working, but on the other they still have to sell cars, which they haven’t really been able to do effectively.

   The Economy- Getting worse by the day.

Ups and downs of the week.

 Margaritas – Perfect on a 90 degree day. 

   Red Sox – Out on the West Coast for another road trip. Downright embarrassing game tonight. TB won, so the Sox are back in 2nd place.

 Skype – Seems to work pretty well, even when conferencing with several land lines.

  National 55 MPH speed limit- We’ve been down that road before. It was stupid then, it’s stupid now.

 BMW’s Ultimate Test Drive – Had a ball driving some awesome cars this past Monday. Great way to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research, too. 

Ups and downs of the week.

 Apple iMac – We bought 5 of them (24″) at the office. Sweet machines that run Apple OS X and Windows XP faster than a dedicated Windows box.

iMac

Meh   Red Sox – They swept the Twins while the Yankmees were sweeping the Rays to gain back 3 games, but when they had a chance tonight to gain another game and pull to within a half game, they suddenly forgot how to hit. Or maybe they used up all their offense in Wednesday’s 23 hit rout.

  Noise at the office – This week they were jackhammering the back stairs, demolishing the old library area, and cutting/scraping up the concrete road surface out in front of the building. At times you couldn’t hear yourself think.

 Yet another 3-day weekend – Well, sort of. Monday is the Susan G. Komen foundation BMW Ultimate Test Drive at Isringhausen Imports in Springfield. I’m scheduled to drive a very nice Alpina B7 and a Z4. In the past, they’ve had enough free time slots available to allow you to drive anything you want, so I’m also looking forward to driving a new M3 and maybe a 135i. 

  Amazon’s “Free” Shipping – You don’t pay extra for it, so in the strictest sense of the word it’s free, but if time is money, their free shipping is plenty expensive. I ordered a pair of sunglass last Friday and they supposedly shipped on Tuesday from a town in MO that is only 110 miles from my house. I still haven’t received them. Amazon claims they’ll arrive on Monday. So almost a week to travel 110 miles. Next time I’ll pay the extra 2 or 3 bucks, but I suppose that’s exactly why they make the free shipping so painfully slow in the first place.

Update: I just found out that despite Amazon’s email notifying me that my glasses “shipped” on the 8th, they didn’t actually make it to the post office until today. I suspect they were packaged on the 8th and not picked up by USPS until today.

One of the most powerful memory triggers is the sense of smell. An aroma can bring back memories from childhood that seem like they were from yesterday. And I’ve also noticed that other triggers can bring back memories of smells, which in turn bring up other memories. I was reading a blog post from last year that spoke of the smell of bacon and eggs wafting through the trees in the morning when my folks took us camping in our childhood. That smell is still one of my favorite. It almost is enough to make me want to try camping again. Almost.

One of those other triggers is music. Back in the mid-80’s, I was working as a driver education instructor for Central Texas College over in Germany. I taught GIs how to pass the German written driving exam. I was always traveling to a distant Army base each week. One week I was driving back and forth to Stuttgart each day. It was about 100 miles each way, but in Germany, where there was no speed limit on the autobahn, the trip took less than an hour. As that week started, I had a new tape by Steve Perry (of Journey) called Street Talk. Lots of good songs on that album. I played it over and over during that week. To this day when I hear Foolish Heart, I can smell the leather in my ’77 BMW 633CSi that was my transportation back then. That was a very good time in my life and it seems the good memories are the strongest and most enduring. Just like camping when we were kids.

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