It's official.   
12:07pm 04/04/2007
 


Chrysler is for sale.
Chrysler has struggled as American buyers have flocked to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

"The crucial factor was the unforeseeable shift in demand to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles which was triggered by increased gas prices in the U.S.," Zetsche said.
"Unforseeable"? I hope that's not the sort of brilliance that earned him the "Doctor" moniker. Here's the CEO of a mnc that has had the Smart brand in its portfolio for the past decade, yet is just now getting around to bringing it the States, minus two models and offered at a price point 33% higher than where they should be positioned.

It's such a shame, too. Because the Chrysler products of the 90's (before the merger) were much more innovative than those of Ford or GM. I place the lackluster performance of the past decade squarely on Daimler Benz, who clearly held the upper hand in the relationship yet were unable to work with (or manage) their American counterparts effectively enough.
 
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2:16pm 03/27/2007
  Another Enzo bites the dust, this time by Undercover Brother.

Seriously. Only a handful of these Ferraris were made, yet celebrities and playboys can't help but bounce them off concrete walls like billiard balls.

With only 400 produced between 2002-04, I find it amusing how reports on the car's value vary from 1.2 to 1.5 million dollars. That $300,000 difference is easy to explain... it reflects the increment of higher value of each surviving Enzo faces as the rest are knocked off one by one. ;-)

 
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Not bad for a Kia...   
11:24am 03/08/2007
  "If this Kia Cabrio Concept looks a bit like a VW or Audi, it's for good reason. Kia's new design chief, Peter Schreyer, used to be designer extraordinaire at VW and Audi. [...]"



It seems a little 'girly' in white... I'm thinking TT grey, onyx, or that metallic burnt orange color available on the Kia Rio 5 and certain Pontiacs.

Says Mr Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and COO Kia Motors, "The Kia ex_cee'd is a fresh aesthetic high-point in our history, an encouraging sign of the growing internationalisation of our brand and a step forward in the process of evolving into a European company with Korean roots."

I've expressed to others that I wouldn't hesitate buying a Kia or Hyundai as a fuel efficient daily driver, and the direction these companies continue to move solidifies that sentiment.

On a related note, I saw two VW Eos last week -- in light metallic blue and glossy red -- and both looked good, albeit in a safe, conservative Solara-sort-of-way.
 
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1:05pm 02/12/2007
  Someone on my LJ friend's list (how many friends cuts have I survived now?) posted the following observation about life...
It's your fault if you're broke. It's your fault if your fat. It's your fault if you're friendless. Life isn't fixed, and that's the premise and promise of humanity; being powerful enough to dictate your own future; it's the promise of free will.
Or as Doc said at the end of last night's presentation of the cinematic masterpiece and cultural tour d'force known as Back to the Future III, "the paper is blank because your future hasn't been written yet, your lives are what you choose to make of them." It's odd how seemingly cheesy lines that I glossed over when I was 16 years-old ring so poignant 17 years later. Maybe it was the combination of seeing a young, healthy, Michael J Fox on the screen, knowing now -- almost 20 years later -- how his life would change and understanding the fragility of life and health that so many of us take for granted. Or maybe it was in reflection of watching Run, Lola, Run ealier in the day, and trying to figure out what aspects of life represent unavoidable fate and what can be changed through our decisions and personal choices.

Regardless, what Chris wrote above remains true, no matter how often I (and others) become too distracted with other aspects of our life to accept the role our individual actions (or inactions) play. It's a healthy thing to keep in mind, a reminder all of us could probably benefit by hearing from time to time.

 
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12:56pm 02/06/2007
 

Headline:   "Fiesta Bowl gate crasher ordered to pay $185 for face value of ticket, subsequent whining hurts dogs' ears for miles"

Apparently the OSU student snuck into a game where last minute tickets were selling for upwards of $1800.  And he's been ordered to pay $185 and provide 30 hours of community service for his transgression.  He claims the punishment is unreasonable and he doesn't have the money... but considering his trip also included gambling in Vegas, I'm not extending much sympathy.  

I'll admit, it sucks that policies about seat allocations often preclude the attendence by average students and alumni to many games, including super-cool bowl games.  But, let's face it, had it been a phenomenal game, he likely would have felt the $185 fine was worth it.  But truth is he's sore that he's being forced to pay for his attendance at a miserable game.  Don't have $185??  Grow a pair, suck it up, and work part-time at UPS for four days.  Jeez.   The road trip story could be ample conversation for years, but he ruins it by whining.  Seriously... People need to own up to their actions and understand the notion of 'consequence'.

 
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Fitness   
12:48pm 02/01/2007
  My scale read 181.5 lbs this morning.  That's down from highs pushing over 190 one and two months ago.  It was also the the second morning in a row that I've been able to pull the belt past its current hole.   Back in December, I was close to (if not occasionally) using the first hole on the belt.  I've since been able to bring it to the second, and now I'm more than comfortably using the third.  If I can get it comfortably into that fourth hole, and keep it there, I'll be happy.  My goal weight is something that naturally fluctuates between 172-177.

My workouts have consists of alternating cardio and lifting days, with 4 to 7 sets of flutter kicks (40-80 counts each) every day, done as part of my pre/post-workout stretching routine.  I'm going to start working in other ab exercises, probably variations of crunches, on a more regular basis too.  Cardio-wise, I run-cycle-run for no less than an hour.  For example, yesterday I ran 1.5 miles at a sub-9 minute pace, then cycled 15 minutes, then ran 3 miles in 27 minutes, followed by five minute brisk (I mean brisk) walk for a cool-down.

As far as eating, I've been packing my lunch every day (which also saves me at least $3/day) with two sandwiches, two medium eggs, string cheese, yogurt, and a handful of chips... prepared in 3 minutes.  I've refrained completely from eating out in the evenings (which also saves me cash), optiing instead for a chicken breast, pasta, mixed vegetables and milk/water (depending on the day's activitiies)... prepared in 20 minutes.   I have been allowing myself somewhat modest portions of premium ice cream (non-lite, non-diet).  Considering the rest of my daily intake and the calories I'm expending (about 750 during yesterday's workout), it's my perception the ice cream helps more than it hurts.

Anyway, this where I stand Feb1....  We'll revisit March 1.

(edit:  daily vitamins & minerals: 1 wallyworld Centrum knockoff, 1 B Complex, 1 E, 1 C, 1 chromium, 1 boitin, 1 alpha-lisoic acid, 1 selenium, 1 bee pollen)
 
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12:57pm 01/29/2007
  skiing: ok i've come to the conclusion that (with the exception of a certain NOLA native and anyone else on my friend's list) snowboarders are 'teh suck.' Seriously. Whether they sitting like clusters of little obstacles on the hill, clomping around in the queues, or spontaneously and inexplicably wiping out directly in the path of the others, they've become insanely numerous and insanely bad. I know, they're probably learning, and many are probably just posing, and if they weren't doing it on boards they would probably be the same way on skis... but still. Admittedly, whether they're really good or horribly bad, they provide the best entertainment. Midnight Madness was fun, didn't get home until 6:00 am Sunday.

car: picked up this stuff that was supposed to increase my gas mileage and clean my injectors (hey, they're was a 100% rebate). Combined it with a tank full of 92 octane gas (as a treat for the car, as it was relatively cheap last week). I then got horrible gas mileage. Like 23-24mpg highway. Ran the tank down to 1/8, filled up with regular, and got my usual 31+ mpg again. Moral of the story: if someone offers you something for free via rebate, there's probably a reason.

tv: Nice picture. Much of the cable content still depends on the quality of content and broadcasting station. DiscoveryHD is almost always spectacular. HDnet and HDmovies channels vary: The image for Patriot Games ('88-ish) was excellent. The Quick and Dead ('98-ish) was undeniably outstanding, enough to bump the movie from a 6 to 7.5, in my book. Close Encounters, unfortunately, was just okay, with a grainy appearance in the grays. The image for The World's Fastest Indian (released just last year) was disappointingly sucktacular, with a really noisy appearance. The Bounty ('85-ish) had what appeared to cycling RGB color shifting from whatever master copy had been used for the source. So, in summary, I think it really depends on the broadcaster and the media they're using. I think a friend has Indian on DVD, and I'm interested to see whether that picture is better.

Oh, and then there's aspect-ratio. Hopefully more stations and content producers will adhere to the same format soon. All in all, it's a great tv and -- one week later -- I can't believe how/why I remained content with my other set for so long.
 
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Long time, no update.   
12:43am 01/22/2007
  Lost seven pounds over the past three weeks working out and eating less, and I'm feeling pretty good about it. That puts me about halfway to my target weight.

Skied for over four hours last night (10:30p-2:45a), it was only the second time I've been able this season due to the weather... Came home under clear skies at 4:00 am, woke up to several inches of snow at 11:00. Apparently I picked the wrong evening to ski (or not, it was still fun, and that's what matters).

Replaced the radio in the car, it's nice to have music again. Also replaced the coil pack, after being stranded on 100% humidity days like 12/31 and 01/05. It ran without missing a beat today, and tonight's weather is almost as damp as those previous wet days. Dependibility is a good thing.

Other than that not much has gone on; been cooking a lot of meals at home, with little desire or spare cash to eat out (funds from that big-ass tv being delivered tommorow might as well come from what would otherwise be spent adding to my waistline). Restocked the kitchen earlier this evening. I should take cooking classes of some sort.

You waited 65 days to read this? Hope nobody was holding their breath. ;-)
 
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10:34am 11/14/2006
  Dear two local geniuses,

Read more...Collapse )
 
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More eBay Goodness   
10:35pm 10/27/2006
 
mood: amused
"You think anybody thinks I'm a failure because I go home to Starla at night?"



(that entire ad, nearly all 20 pictures worth, is bad. really, really bad.)
 
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11:26pm 10/23/2006
  I was browsing for an enduro bike, and instead found one of the most creepy eBay photos I've seen in a long time.

Now I must scrub my eyes with bleach and try to replace that seared image with something more soothing, like paintings of daisies or something from Maxim.
 
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9:11pm 10/07/2006
  Dear Trashy Neighbor,

The Eagles were a talented band. I tend to think positively of The Eagles. I listened to them a lot. When I was in the seventh grade. However it is now 2006 and, after more than a quarter century of airtime on "classic rock" stations, I consider the songs on their Greatest Hits album to be novelty songs. In fact, without the contextual continuity found on their original albums, I view their Greatest Hits album as a whole to be a novelty album... as I do most greatest hits compilations. As such, I would appreciate it if you would not subject me to any more of these songs today, as I outgrew this music more than 15 years ago.

PS. Please take a moment to kill the weeds and plant some grass seed in that dirt patch you call a yard.

PPS. a "greatest hit" notwithstanding, Witchy Woman is as annoying today as it was back then.
 
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3:22pm 10/07/2006
  By way of project_mayhem_...
StarTrek Inspirational Posters





 
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Rollercoaster of Love...   
10:48am 10/05/2006
  Top Ten Shaggin' Wagons in the UK
as compiled by yesinsurance.com

1. Volvo Wagon
2. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
3. VW Camper Van
4. BMW 3 Series Sedan
5. Ford Escort
6. Audi TT **
7. Land Rover Discovery
8. Porsche Carrera **
9. VW Golf
10. Ford Focus

[Ed. ** shyeah, for contortionists perhaps!]

Fun facts -- Of the 4,000 respondents:

"81% of couples have got frisky in the car, but restrained themselves before going the whole distance."
"68% have gone the whole way"

"51% have kissed, hugged or touched their partners enticingly whilst they were driving."
"10% have actually engaged in sex whilst driving."

"6% admit to damaging their cars during close encounters, but only 1% actually file a claim - possibly due to the embarrassment factor."

More sordid details, including supermarket parking lots and broken mirrors, at The Daily Mail
 
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Nice.   
2:44pm 09/27/2006
 
mood: pleased
7-Eleven Dropping Venezuela-backed Citgo

You'd think that if you had a lucrative 20 year contract about to expire, it would be wise to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric until, you know, that contract was renewed for another 20 years. Just a suggestion. To those aspiring to become a wacky Latin American dictator when you grow up, take note.

 
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White and Nerdy   
7:51pm 09/18/2006
 
mood: angry
So earlier today, someone on my friends list linked to a YouTube video of Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" video. I watched it. I laughed. I watched it again. I forwarded it on to two friends. And it seems a lot of people were doing the same thing.

This evening someone else posted the link to the video. Wanting another chuckle I went to play it, only to be informed that it had been removed from YouTube due to RIAA violations. How fucking white and nerdy is that???

Seriously. I never bought as many CDs as I did the summer before Napster was shut down. Why? Because all the media hype concerning Napster prompted me to try it. I downloaded songs, I looked up artist profiles and associations on MSN music and CDNow, and I downloaded more songs by related artists. I purchased albums based on what I was trying and enjoying. Large corporations, especially in the entertainment industry, spend millions of dollars in attempts at "viral marketing." And yet they shut down the most successful models. I mean really, YouTube is streaming media. I can't take it with me, I can't make copies of it, I have no interest in trying to play a 2:49 minute 320x160 clip on a big screen TV and profit from admission tickets. So what on earth are the record labels afraid of other than some 14 year old with a YouTube account doing more for content promotion than their own overpaid and unsuccessful marketing reps?

For a long time I have acknowledged and respected RIAA concerns over copywright, dilution of trademark, and revenue lost to file-sharing. But this, this, is absurd.
 
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I'm at loss for words...   
9:15pm 09/12/2006
 

Scattisi qui per più foto.
 
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Daihatsu's Trevis Junior   
2:59pm 08/24/2006
 

Yeah, I'm diggin it. Only $12,700 USD, but not available in the US. 49 mpg combined, 0-60 in about 12 seconds. I hope to see more cars like this imported to the US if gas prices continue to climb.



More info and pics at Winding Road
 
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Snakes In a Theater   
10:41pm 08/22/2006
  ...
Exclaimed one alarmed witness: Get these mutha#$%&in snakes outta my mutha#$%&in popcorn!

Wranglers, huh? I wonder if they used lassos. Well worth the price of admission.
 
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My Birthday, April 20th...   
7:27am 04/20/2006
  (Hat tip: project_mayhem_) Go to Wikipedia.org and search your birthday. List three events, two birthdays, and one death.

EVENTS
1912 - Opening day for baseball stadiums Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan, and Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.
1953 - Project BLUEBIRD turns into Project MKULTRA.
1979 - President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a Swamp Rabbit while on vacation in Plains, Georgia

BIRTHDAYS
570 - Muhammad, Founder of Islam (d. 632)
1972 - Carmen Electra, American actress


DEATHS
1992 - Benny Hill, British comedian (b. 1924)
 
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