« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

August 2006 Archives

August 7, 2006


Originally uploaded by therightpedal at 6 Aug '06, 8.35pm EDT.

It was a beautiful weekend (for a change) in E. MA, and on Saturday I headed over to Miata Day at the Museum of Transportation. A bunch of nice cars, of course, but I wasn't feeling photographically inspired.

I'm sure things would have been different on Sunday. It was Italian Car Day, and fellow Coupe-Brougham teammate David made an expedition and took some amazing pix. I'm simply agog, and next year, I'm going. That's all there is to it.

August 14, 2006


So, it's been a while, and I should work a little harder at recounting the stuff that's been going down lately. It was a big weekend, with Brian in town for a visit, a Sox game, and associated nonsense. And last week was busy too. But it's late, so this will be brief (and, to my credit, it won't have anything to do with meat cake).

No, for now, and (uselessly) in the style of one of my coworkers, I'll just wish my homegirl LC a big happy birthday today. She's rockin' it family-style down in Loosiana, on account of she just became an aunt.

And that's the jam, ladies and gents.

August 16, 2006

life imitates art

At work, I've been helping to build a program that grabs real(ish)-time weather data, and displays it on your cellphone with slick, attractive-yet-functional graphics. All well and good (more or less).

Interestingly, the weather has been nothing short of perfect for just under two weeks. There was rain yesterday (8/15) and there was some humidity on Monday 8/7. But other than that, since the heat broke on 8/3, it's been sunny, crisp and pleasantly cool.

This means that that the weather that this little application is displaying has been unvaryingly sunny/clear. Not the best for demos (yes, I could fake the data, but part of the testing involves feeds from external sources, so...).

And that means that I'm starting to get the sense that as long as I'm working on this app, the weather will stay perfect. Which for the time-being is ok. Not least because I'm atoning for fucking with the weather when I switched to summer tires (and made it snow) and took my hardtop off (and made it rain for 6 straight days).

But I feel like I might get a bit bored at some point. So enjoy the sun while it lasts.

And doesn't that just say it all?

August 20, 2006

incident in Turn 7

It was a pretty good weekend. The big thing was Zoom-Zoom Live, the Mazda dog-and-pony show that succeeds Rev It Up as the "drive our cars as fast as you can" promotional event. Daniel and I had gone to Rev It Up a couple of years ago and had a pretty good time so we headed down to the Weymouth Naval Air Station for the latest installment.

Things were set up a little differently this time. To begin with, there was preferred parking for Mazda owners, which was kind of a nice touch. (Yes, I'm a sucker.) So I was able to park close to the entrance and within sight of a couple of the courses. More significantly, the event was free (though at $40, the old Rev It Up events were a bargain); and even more importantly than that, you could do as many laps as your patience for standing in line would allow. But hour-long waits (for the good stuff) meant we didn't do as many runs as they'd have let us. The other big thing was that you were allowed to take passengers, so Dan and had shotgun for each other's runs.

So what about the runs, you ask?

Well, the good ones involved driving as fast as you could. First, we each did a fun (meaning untimed) run in the sublime RX-8. The gearbox! The sound! The 9000 RPM redline! It all makes up for the the torqueless difficulty of driving around town. Not an easy car to launch from a stoplight, but once it's going, you can just let it rev, and fling it into turns. Later, we also did runs in one of the new Miatas, which, I think, we both found pretty impressive. Of all the cars I drove, I liked how it felt the best--not surprising since it's the most similar to my car--but still, I was surprised at how quick it felt compared to mine
[AVI | You Tube] and Dan seemed impressed at how it handled. (High praise from someone who flogs a 350Z, and has had some actual training in the art of high-performance driving.)

There was also the Mazdaspeed Challenge, involving the Mazdaspeed6 and a clock. The time to beat was 42. 5 seconds. Dan went first, and reeled off a 44-something (complaining at one point about how he wasn't doing well). The hour-long wait in line (when I studied the ttrack diagram) and the preview of the course during Dan's lap should have helped me when I took over.

Instead, I was a little surprised by the hairpin in the middle of the course, thinking there was one more set of esses I could dance through. I came in way too hot, the front end washed out (stupid understeer), and I slid to the outside, slaughtering a handful of helpless, yet obviously foolhardy orange cones. So I futzed around looking for reverse (up and left on the MS6 and MS3, instead of down and right), then decided just to pull forward and finish the run, cleanly if not all-out.

Fifty-five seconds and change. Nasty. AND I had the corner of my badge clipped as a warning; if they have to clip it a 2nd time, you're done driving. Ah well.

We also did the questionably-intriguing "matched time gymkhana," which is like the other courses, except you tried to come as close as you could to a specific time. Which meant not driving as fast as you could, but rather taking a wild guess about how fast you should be going; trying to drive fast seemd to get you across the line a good 10 seconds early. Being geeks, we used a stopwatch. I came in 2 seconds over, Dan 2 under.

We also did some hot laps in the slot cars, which was probably the first time I'd done that since I was 13 or 14. And after all that, I had Dan drive Veloce back, which he did with typical aplomb, at a very high rate of speed.

Again with that training thing. Next year, no shit....I'm doin' it.

PS: Relatedly, Tim has posted his sparkling pix of Miata Day at the MoT a couple of weeks ago.

August 26, 2006

sometimes a little suburbia is exactly what you need

This is the fuckin' life.

I'm sitting in a chaise lounge, in a backyard, with a laptop and a beer and a dog and a view of my car. The weather is perfect, and the rapacious mosquitos of Wakefield, MA, famed in legend and song, have yet to swarm. There's a soft breeze, the smell of grass, and only the occasional waft of emissions-uncontrolled motorcycle exhaust from the (unmuffled) hogs and rice rockets heading to the Honey Dew biker bar donut shop. Simone is on the Cape and asked if I could come out to her place to spend some time with Rocky during the day. So here I am, after a day of Veloce projects, kicking back as if this were my natural habitat.

I've come up with about a dozen more things I want to tweak and add to my car, but today I finally got around to doing one of the the most significant fixes. I finally installed the little circuit board I bought last winter that provides an auxilliary line-in jack to the stereo, so that I can plug my iPod directly into the system. No more FM modulator nonsense. The difference is like night and day. And it only took me 9 months to get around to doing it.

While I was in there, I disconnected the silly interlock between the front defroster and the AC switch. See, on most (all?) new cars, when you turn the vent control to defrost, the air conditioning automatically comes on. I know why they do this; because most people don't understand how to keep windows from fogging up; and one of the best ways is to turn on the AC. So these days it happens automatically. Blow dried air on the windshield and it won't fog up.

But that irks me, because sometimes a little warm (rather than "conditioned") air is all that's required. So I wanted to be able to choose weather to turn on the AC at the same time or not. Fortunately (and perhaps surprisingly), someone else agreed, and discovered how to do it.

[As an aside, it is not true, as the above link claims, that you have to remove the center console as well as the radio to get at the connector. You really only need to remove the radio.]

I also did some whimsical stuff. I polished up the turn signal stalks, getting rid of the weird not-quite-black paint on them, and making them look a little sharper. And I went after the aluminum plate in front of the radiator, making it gleam.

I guess I don't know which is the icing, and which is the cake: dirtying and bloodying my hands with some automotive tinkering, followed by the sounds of maximum rock and roll, or kicking back with a cold one and the sound of nothing but the chirping locusts and jingling tags.

August 27, 2006

Granddad and his Integra, 1996

Granddad and his Integra, 1996
Granddad and his Integra, 1996
Originally uploaded by rotorglow at 27 Aug '06, 6.09pm EDT.

Ten years ago (!!) when I moved to Boston from North Carolina, I had to sell one of my cars. For a couple of reasons, I sold the sporty hatchback, instead of the sporty sedan.

Happily, I found a great buyer for it, my grandfather--confirmed auto addict, open road speed freak and Honda enthusiast. I flew down to Chapel Hill and drove the Integra up to my parents' house in Philadelphia, where he picked it up a couple of weeks later. It thus became another member of a distinguished motoring tradition, that has included Morgans, MGs, Studebakers, Dodges, Chevys, Opels, and since 1989, only Hondas (in order: 89 Civic DX, 89 CRX Si, 93 Del Sol Si, 95 Integra LS, 00 Insight, 01 Civic Hybrid, 04 Accord Hybrid).

Here he is after washing the Integra, and just before heading back west on one of his 4-day banzai runs back home to Phoenix.

August 28, 2006

double trouble

Turns out that the accidental absent-minded, pre-caffeine ingestion of a 2nd dose of anti-depressants, 18 hours early, does not result in mood elevation. Quite the opposite.

August 29, 2006

a mix I'm feelin'

Boston's own DJ C has dropped a truly savage Blentcast.

I'm treading that line between sound pressure and eviction.

About August 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Rotorglow in August 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2006 is the previous archive.

September 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.