31 July 2009

no fruit for you!

gf and i went to the Andersonville farmers' market the other day. at one stand, we saw some lovely peaches, offered in small baskets of a half-dozen or so. i'm still rather low on my sugar intake, so i asked if we could buy just two peaches.

the woman said i had to ask "the farmer," and sent her over. i re-inquired, and got a question of my own: "will you be eating this by tomorrow?"

"yes, for breakfast," I replied.

she looked us over some.

"you keep this on the table," she said in her accent, which i couldn't place. "no refrigerator!"

we agreed to the conditions of the sale, and she agreed to sell us two peaches for $2.

they *were* good peaches...

is this what my lawn care people think of me?

this was the stamp used for my last bill.

30 July 2009

the gti has arrive-ed!

... and now belongs to a very happy gf.

it was prepped with the 18" wheels, which we had previously negotiated away for a nice savings. so they had to swap on some 17" ones, which took ages. but imho the 17" ones both look and ride better.

it's a really good looking car, i think. and maybe i'm just a little bit jealous.

29 July 2009

28 July 2009

progress on the highspeed rail front, with Chicago as a hub?


An agreement signed today seeking to fast-track high-speed passenger rail projects in the Midwest has three powerful engines pulling in its favor: the Obama administration, the clout of congressional delegations from eight states and the support of the nation's freight railroads.

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and the City of Chicago entered into a memorandum of understanding that commits the governments to coordinate plans to develop 110-mile-per-hour rail corridors across the Midwest.


Several governors mentioned President Barack Obama's strong support for the Midwest high-speed rail initiative, which would be comprised of a network based in Chicago and eventually branch out 3,000 miles over nine states.

But the first priority is to operate faster trains from Chicago to St. Louis; to Detroit/Pontiac; and to Milwaukee/Madison, Wis., within three to five years. Preliminary cost estimates total about $4 billion.

looks promising?

lifted, better photo

27 July 2009


Koni was having a sale on their shocks recently, so I grabbed a set of the oranges (aka STR.T) and had them installed. and i got lifted! i wasn't expecting that. it's a little hard to make out in the photo, but i'm some 1-2" higher.

so far, so good. handling seems better, ride is definitely improved, even though the (run of the mill) shocks i replaced were only a year old.

total eclipse of the heart: literal version

surprisingly few mis-steps through the first 2:55, then...

still, darn good effort through most of it.

19 July 2009

chilly in july?

i've always thought the greatest perception crime against global warming was its name. "global climate change" is a little more all-encompassing. heck, i liked the term Greenhouse Effect, but it didn't really catch on.

is that why it's chilly today? dunno, but i did just buy this smashing new hoody.

yummy chocolate found @ whole foods

18g of carbs for the entire 70g bar. the cacao is sourced in Ecuador and the taste is simply fantastic; I like it better than the Lindt 85% and Green & Black's 85% I typically have in the house.

18 July 2009

gf is buying the GTI!

the 2009 GTIs are in really short supply. gf wanted 4-doors with the manual, and in the 7-state search region there were exactly three left. And one of those got sold while we were at the dealership doing the search!

So there is now one being trucked all the way from PA; should arrive near the end of the week. Despite the shortage, she still managed to get it some $1200 under invoice, then got an additional $700 credit for the 18" wheels (they're putting on 17").

VW is offering 0% financing, so she's taking that for a whopping 66 months -- I have to think the dealership is getting a nice chunk of change for setting up the financing, and they'll make some money back on the service. Still...

13 July 2009

urban eyechart

as found in Rogers Park...

09 July 2009

the VW GTI is fantastic

gf and i went VW test-driving this evening. i do not like the DSG transmission, even with the sport mode (see below) and flappy paddles. the Rabbit is fun. the R32 is absurd, and even more so when i see how much VW has missed the boat on it.

and the GTI is fantastic.

fantastic with the 6-speed manual, anyway. kind of forgettable with the DSG. I'm more impressed with it as a technical marvel than I am driving it. i rather hate it, actually.

and VW sent only DSG-laden R32's to the states. give the RS32 the manual, take away its ridiculous ricer exhaust noise, and you'd have a friggin' fantastic car! as it stands, it's absurd. a little sluggish, shockingly, until you put the DSG in S mode, but then even the lightest feathering of the pedal makes me look around, wondering where the nitrous-infused Si is...

but the GTI, oh yes. "only" 200 hp? Keep the revs right, and I don't think you'll ever want more. the shifter was not nearly as forgiving as the Rabbit's, but I like it. steering and braking were both exceptional. Cornering was adequate, but pretty impressive considering how good the ride was, even on 18" wheels! (I'll take the standard 17" wheels, thank you)

Nice interior, which is refreshing after the mini cooper disaster. If I hadn't just spent all that money on my bug, i'd be very tempted.

Mileage is rubbish, though, so maybe I don't feel so bad.

the vehicle pictured is a 2008 RS32, never titled, with under 7k miles on it. a very pretty car. even the gf, who wants 4 doors, a manual, and hates the exhaust noise, admits she'd still like it. boy did VW miss the boat there.

04 July 2009

turbo update

the new turbo is in and i'm delighted to report that 1) my max boost is back to a normal 22 psi, and 2) my EGTs (exhaust gas temps) seemed to have declined as well.

with the new turbo, i have a little less power in the lower RPMs (bigger turbo needs a little more time to spool up, I'm guessing) but more power in the higher RPMs. I'm looking at a couple airflow improvements, and then I may head out to a tuning party in Michigan in a couple weeks to get re-tuned for the new hardware.

the new turbo is louder, too. Under heavy boost, I can hear a shrieking noise (sounds like the air being let out of a squeezed balloon neck), which I suspect is a boost leak somewhere. Will have to get that checked out.

03 July 2009

"look around you" series

i've seen only this one ("water") and "maths". i liked "water" better. thanks to Scot C for the link.

palin resignation speech

did anyone see/hear this? it was incomprehensible. fragments of talking points mixed with non-nonsensical sports metaphors. i have no idea what she's doing next (this reads to me more as leaving politics than re-entering the national stage), and this speech certainly didn't have any kind of focus which i thought propelled her to her next position.

i've read speculation that an imminent news cycle is going to have something unpleasant about her; can't say i disagree.

01 July 2009

chorizo in cider and chile rellanos

very yummy dinner tonight. gf made chorizo in cider again (one of my favorites) and poblanos stuffed with cheese and some of last night's leftover taco meat (lamb / beef / pork), coated with an egg batter and fried in this morning's bacon grease.

the bacon grease was a little much for rellanos, so we'll have to find something else for next time. but man do i love that spanish chorizo.