30 December 2008

la bahia has closed

the awesome mexican seafood place around the corner from me, which opened earlier this year, has shut its doors as of dec 28. damn, we were planning on doing our new year's eve dinner there.

i am greatly saddened.

26 December 2008

i like the new TT

and i really like the new TT. i didn't drive it, but did sit in it and loved both the interior and the fantastic views in the (no longer?) blind spots.

at $52k sticker for the one pictured, that puts it in Cayman territory, and i note that they share the same goofy hatch structure. BUT the TT does have quattro drive, apparently, which makes it more interesting to me.

i confess i like the look of the older TT's better, but i further confess i'd rather have a new one.


i sat is this beauty today...

fit is pants

gf and i went to test drive cars today, for her. the destination was Fletcher-Jones in chicago, who sells VW, Audi and Honda in the same building (and Mercedes across the street).

we were treated to a Honda salesman trashing VW's, and a VW salesman trashing Hondas. pretty big turnoff, i must say. and i've had my own run-ins with their service dept, so i couldn't recommend anyone getting their car serviced there, either.

even more ridiculous, they refused to let us test drive a Jetta TDi, because, according to them, they only had 1, TDi's are in high demand, and they "didn't want to put any mileage on it." eh? if they're in such high demand, i don't see why they'd have any trouble selling one with 17 miles on it as opposed to 14. hrumph.

so we were happy to take out two of their cars anyway, a Rabbit and a Fit. note that in both test drives i was merely a rear seat occupant, but we arrived at the same conclusion:

Rabbit = great fun
Fit = pants

in the Fit, i was hyper-aware i was in an econo-box. i was very aware of the fact that we were all in same space, separated only by a seatback. in the Rabbit, i really did feel some ownership of the backspace area.

and the roadfeel couldn't be much more different. my VW @ 10 years takes bumps better than a new Fit.

downside of the Rabbit, as gf tells me, are:
1. mileage
2. non-availability of a manual on the 4-door

and i'll add:
3. no engine choices

So the Rabbit emerges as the only viable option today. The Fit is right out.

next up: Mini Cooper (S? not sure)

24 December 2008


i must be bored of "normal" football because i keep wanting to see all these crazy rules changes. here's the latest:

stop putting the ball between the hashmarks. i say, when a play is over, the ball stays put. unless you go out of bounds, in which case it goes on the nearest hashmark.

this way, if the ball carrier is tackled near the sideline, the teams would line up lopsided and we'd see all kinds of plays that either take advantage of the huge expanse on side one (return of the option?), or tricky, precision plays that go down the sideline.

it would also be interesting to watch a team trying to run out the clock, having to be wary of straying too close to the sideline.

so i want to see that, and of course giant footballs.

15 December 2008

bush v shoe

Q: Why did the Iraqi reporter throw his shoes at Bush?

A: Because Fox News didn't cover it when he sat with the bottom of his shoes facing Bush.

14 December 2008

"half the distance"

i am in favor of the NFL losing the "half the distance to the goal line" rule. i say: march off the penalty. if it winds up in the endzone, award a safety to the other team.

10 December 2008

the bug is back

i took it in with a list of things to fix (including new shocks), and they found all kinds of problems which explained the crappy ride and deteriorated performance: broken springs, blocked intake manifold, failed oxygen sensor, failing fuel filter...

on the ride back home, it was magic. the ride was nicer, yes, but dear god i had forgotten how the thing used to accelerate. at 90 hp, you can't really expect too much, but damn it's nice to have back the car i was sold on in '98. this is the kind of improvement i'd expect had i had a chip put it. i wonder how many HP i was down...

i don't take enough pictures of it, so included is the one i took tonight back at home.

Unsexy update: the check engine light is on. i must take it back to my mechanic. yargh!!!!

Sexy update: it was a stuck-open valve on the EGR causing the check engine light. fixed! (dec 12)

Yet another unsexy update: the check engine light is back on. argh!!!!!! (dec 14)

Sigh: it's dec 19, 2 days since i dropped off my car, and it won't be ready until the 22nd. new EGR valve, i'm told. getting tired of this...

Dec 22 update: it's back! i think i forgot how to drive.

06 December 2008

are the newest 911s really 911s?

consider this 1984 Porsche 911 Targa:

that's pretty darn close to my dream car, though i like the coupe more than the Targa. i love that era of 911s: distinctive, ugly but beautiful, and with that ridiculous whale fin that i just love.

for fun, i configured this 2009 911 using the online car configurator:

it's a Carrera 4, and i really dig the tan interior and black exterior. but there's something not quite 911-ish about it. it's not nearly as distinct as the 1984 version, and i think that makes it a bit boring. worse yet, it resembles my mom's 1977 buick skyhawk more than that Targa:

(file photo)

that is distressing me a bit, i must confess. yes, that skyhawk could do > 100 mph, but i wouldn't want to spend upwards of $105k (the cost of my configuration) to get that skyhawk look.

does that make the Boxster the prettiest 2009 production Porsche?

yes, i know the current 911 is MUCH superior to the 1984 version in just about every aspect, and yes i know i probably sound like some kind of 911 purist snob and i apologize for that, and yes i know i've never actually owned anything sportier than my 1987 VW Golf GT, but i just love that older look.

dirty diesel

i had a chat with my mechanic yesterday, upon taking in my VW for service.

i've been thinking a lot about a new car lately, but am continually disappointed by what i find in the US. honestly, my 10 year old car still seems the best of the lot given my parameters.

this past week, i'd been musing over doing the very-american-thing and having two cars. 1) my beetle and 2) something that tells people i'm middle-aged and having a crisis.

so i put to my mechanic (the 2nd car idea, plus just simply replacing my Beetle), who said the following things in his still-thick german accent:

  1. Lotus is like "having a girlfriend who isn't fun," referring to how much service they need

  2. porsches overheat often and need lots of service (apparently not a fan of the Boxster)

  3. ferraris and such: forget it (he brought up ferrari, not me)

  4. older toyota celicas are great

  5. the mini is a ton of fun (recommended the Cooper S over any other, including the D)

  6. given what i told him, the best car for me is the Jetta diesel

  7. otherwise, for something sportier, the Miata is about the best i can do

But the most interesting comment was reserved for why foreign manufacturers don't sell their ultra-high mileage diesels here: the quality of the fuel. even after recommending the Jetta, he did have some reservations about that engine being able to handle the low quality of the US diesel.

so where does that leave me? i can't stand the thought of buying a new car that gets worse mileage than mine, but not even the new Jetta can equal my mileage. i remain unconvinced about hybrids (for many reasons, including that their highway mileage is worse than city [i understand why, it just strikes me as wrong]). shockingly, the petrol cooper, even the S, gets better mileage than most US cars. more shockingly, the Lotus Elise and Porsche Cayman are about average!

maybe i'll just go test drive a Honda Fit. but if i bought one, i'd need someone in the UK to send me a "Jazz" badge so i can fit that on...