Sunday, 25th of January, 2004
Yeah, high schoolers don't understand that when they don't live with their parents they have to stock their own fridge.
Movie - The day started out with a lot of sleet. Here you can see it bouncing off the ice on my car.
Picture - And a picture of the same.
Picture - Well that's cute, ice buildup on the tires' sidewall.
Picture - The RE900s also leave a nice tread pattern into the snow.
Thursday, 22nd of January, 2004
Wednesday, 21st of January, 2004
Picture - While we're on the topic, another reason to buy a wagon - this time spotted in Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy Viet-Tam also on solo2.org). I have seen worse, though, here in this town too. I've seen people pull out of the Home Depot parking lot with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand holding a 10-foot pole out the driver's side window. I've also seen 4 people in the car all holding up a queen mattress outside their respective windows.
But even I wouldn't try to load 3000 pounds of stuff into my car.
I went out to the Saint Louis Auto Show today with Jeff - took some pictures:
Picture - The Volvo S60 R. I like the rear bumper skirt with the integrated exhaust hole, and a modest spoiler.
Picture - On the inside, the Volvo's sporty touch is reflected in the matching blue colour of the Volvo logo and gauges.
Picture - One of the coolest things all day was the shifter in the S60 R. It's like a big ball bearing! Volvo has always been known for practicality and safety - I didn't expect them to come out with something cool like this! Notice more of the blue accenting with the stitching on the e-brake handle.
Picture - A view of part of the autoshow floor.
Picture - Honda put an amazing interior into the Acura TL. The paneling is Volkswagon quality, the best ever, with nice quality wood finishing. The blue lighting is also VW-esque. The navigation system was actually pretty intuitive, with a little joystick to control it.
Picture - The new Acura NSX.
Picture - The Saab version of the Subaru Impreza WRX wagon: the 92X. It looks pretty cool - I think it'll sell, and subtlety benefit and promote Subaru in all its AWD-ness, which I love.
Picture - The new Ford GT.
Picture - Rear view.
Picture - Side view.
Picture - A little inside the GT.
Picture - Check out that that door - pretty cool design taking into consideration how low that car sits!
Picture - The Freestyle, the new Ford station wagon, I mean... whatever they're calling it now. This is going to go along the lines of the new Chrysler Pacifica - 3rd row seating, not as tall as an SUV or minivan. Big wagon, basically - I like it! The sedan version of the Freestyle is the Ford Five Hundred, by the way. Also, supposedly, Subaru is coming out with a 7-seater too, according to the last news release.
Picture - Of course, the auto show here would be incomplete without the booth that sells model cars, this year complete with a huge college of "Dub City" models.
Picture - When you've removed features from a car, and you have empty gauge wells left in your dashboard, it's always safe to just do what Mitsubishi did - stick a "Lancer" in there to remind the driver what they're driving!
Picture - Mitsubishi also added a unique feature in the Lancer Sportback wagon - a port-a-potty in the trunk! I find that little storage bin rather random - seems a little inefficient.
Picture - The new Mazda 6 wagon. Wagons seem to be a big theme in this year's car show - they're back! Mazda 6, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback wagon, Ford Freestyle, and the Saab 92X.
Picture - If you don't like the wagon, but want the versatility of the hatchback opening, you can get the Mazda 6 5-door. That's going to be a unique one, now that Saab has abandoned that design.
Picture - Here's part of what's inside that drives the Subaru Impreza STi.
Picture - And here's part of what's inside that drives the Subaru Forester XT turbo. A cute little intercooler, if you ask me.
Picture - The trunk of the Volkswagon Beetle convertible. Not much space left for luggage back there, after you get in all the convertible equipment, but it's cute, so I guess that works.
Picture - The powerplant of the Dodge SRT-10 truck. In case someone were to demand evidence, you can just look at the red engine block heads and see the V10 stamped on it.
Picture - The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Supposedly, this is Jeep's response to the Hummer H1. They claim that it can do anything the Hummer can do, and more.
Picture - I found the shape and unconcealed nature of the Jeep's intake inlet to be interesting enough to take a picture of. Jeff's down there checking to see if the drivetrain is protected as well as it should be for off-roading.
Picture - Yup, the Jeep seems to have the undercarriage covered.
Picture - Sitting in the Dodge Neon SRT-4 is interesting. Well, just looking at the interior, it's still a Neon, with no power windows in the back and all. But the boost gauge is probably a good reminder of what you have under the hood.
Picture - It seems like Dodge applied every technique they knew to make the front fascia look as big as possible. It looks like the cab of a semi-truck or something.
Picture - One more wagon to add to the mix - the Dodge SRT-8. I guess they couldn't decide on a wheel yet - it has steel wheels with wheel covers!
Picture - The hatch opening looks useful too - it opens up some more space on the roof to allow large objects to enter, so that loading is not hindered by the downward sloping roofline.
Picture - Just happened to peek under the hood of a Honda Civic Hybrid, and found it interesting that the little engine is lubricated by 0W-20 motor oil.
Picture - A Honda V6 motorcycle.
Picture - Honda V6 motorcycle again, with a tricked out Mercedes C230 Kompressor in the background.
Picture - The Mitsubishi "MIVEC" 160hp 2.4L engine in the Lancer Ralliart.
Tuesday, 20th of January, 2004
Picture - This bus probably makes more money for the owners than you think...
Picture - It's the first day of classes at Wash U. I took a picture of the swarm of people walking to class before 10:00 because it's the only time all semester where you'll see that many people actually going to class!
Monday, 19th of January, 2004
Sunday, 18th of January, 2004
Friday, 16th of January, 2004
Wednesday, 14th of January, 2004
Now available in stores near you?
Monday, 12th of January, 2004
Friday, 9th of January, 2004
After spending a week in Denver, the rumour that Denver has some of the worst drivers in the world (even worse than St, Louis) doesn't hold up for me. In fact, I found the escape from many St. Louisan's driving habits (or lack thereof) to be very refreshing. Speed limits, in general, seem faster in Colorado, and people drive faster too, but they are very skillful at it. You have to be a little more alert, too - I'll give it to St. Louisans that they are extremely predictable in their driving, albeit bad. I didn't see a single car accident in Denver - this next one is on the rural Interstates. The first thing I noticed about 10 minutes after getting into St. Louis County was how unsafe many of these drivers on the road are.
Picture - This Jeep Liberty got really messed up on the highway. The passenger compartment's rigidity looks very bad, it's all twisted and collapsed - could not have looked good for the driver. Many compact cars look a lot better in accidents than that.
Picture - East on I-70 now, near mile marker 308 in Colorado, with a new Audi A8 in view.
So I'm driving along Colorado, and I have my cell phone plugged into the hands-free unit, my radar detector plugged in, and my laptop plugged in via a power inverter. I start smelling something burning. Things burn along the side of the road all the time, so I close the air vents. After a little bit, I still smelled burning. Must be coming from my car! So I turned off the laptop, cause that's the device that I usually don't have plugged in. I brought the power supply up to my nose to see if it was causing the smell. Nope. How about the power inverter? Brought that up to my nose too, negative. All this is still going @ fast interstate highway speeds, by the way. Then I looked down at my center console. There was smoke coming out from near the radio! I turned the radio off and unplugged the cell phone. Then I realized it was coming from my 4-way 12V car adapter! I yanked the cord to that, and averted what could have been something really bad...
Picture - Another unique transport configuration in the western states. Double gasoline trailers!
I know the alignment on my car is off, but it's not enough to cause it to track on road surfaces - it still points straight. Except on Colorado rural Interstates! Something, perhaps the grooves, maybe the pavement, exaggerates the alignment problem and causes my car to pull to the right - regardless which lane I'm in. So it probably can't be all attributed to the crown in the road either. Literally, the instant I set wheels on Colorado, it starts, and the instant I hit Kansas, it stops. Interesting - I wonder if whatever they did to the pavement increases lateral traction of tires.
Picture - East on I-70, at mile marker 38 in Kansas, in all its flat glory.
Picture - A typical Kansas treatment of overpasses in rural Interstates. They plant a bunch of trees around the center column. This particular one is near mile marker 198, heading East.
So I've been running my web server on a Cyrix 6x86 133Mhz for a few months now, with 48MB of RAM and a 1.6GB hard drive. Well the hard drive apparently died some time last Friday. The machine had locked up, and I rebooted it and was welcomed with nice clanking sounds coming from the hard drive. It's time to move on and build a better web server anyway, so my website can run off of my laptop now until I do that.
Thursday, 8th of January, 2004
So that's where we headed - to Breckenridge, to ski. It was definitely my first time, and we went up peaks 8 and 9 for some greens and then blues. I'm defintely not good enough for any Blue action - I could not ski in control at all. I managed to get up to some ridiculous speeds though, and find ways to wipe out without hurting myself. Next time I need to jump out of a car at 45 mph in the snow, I'll know what to do. For the controlled skiing earlier in the day, it was very enlightening. A lot of theory on front wheel drive suspension design in cars is applicable. Throw the skis into a toe-in and negative camber, and it plows the snow, bringing you to a stop. However, excessive toe-in at high speeds causes you to go shifting side-to-side all over when you hit a bump with either of the skis. Cambering the skis helps directional control, just like cambering the wheels on car.
It was cold at the top of Peak 9, too - I touched a metal ski rack to hold myself up for about 1 second, and my glove froze to it instantly.
Driving in the mountains is also a complete world of its own. From this point forward in my life, I consider St. Louis to be extremely flat. There was a section in the mountain Interstates where I was doing full throttle at 5000 rpm in 3rd gear, up hill, with 2 people and ski equipment, and I was not going any faster, and even slowing down in sections, for a good 10-15 minutes straight. The high altitude didn't help either - cars have significantly less power up here due to the thin air. I started smelling burning oil from my air vents - turned out I burned a whole quart of oil in today's mountain trip.
Wednesday, 7th of January, 2004
Monday, 5th of January, 2004
Friday, 2nd of January, 2004
Thursday, 1st of January, 2004