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March 28, 2003

Currently playing: Erasure - Blues

Currently playing: Erasure - Blues Away
Good news... I've gotten almost everything important done on my "to do" list this vacation.

Bad news... I've only got two days of vacation left (Sunday doesn't count), and a host of minor things I'd like to get done still need to get done...

What's killing me... Chenbro PC-610 review needs to get done, Ars System Guide needs to get done, and some other stuff... all these 4am bedtimes are justified-- I've been hard at work-- but man, I really should be trying to go to bed at more normal hours, too...

Posted by brian at 04:08 AM | Comments (0)

Currently playing: Pet Shop Boys

Currently playing: Pet Shop Boys - E-mail
Ever been playing around on-line and finding something that just makes you wonder what people are thinking?

Mazda's new 6 sedan. 5-speed V6... nifty little car. Guess what? If you want side air bags and side air curtains as an option, you cannot get it with the leather interior. If you get cloth, you cannot get the said side air bags with a moonroof. What the heck? I can get the safety equipment I want, but not all the luxury options...? Granted I only tried this with blue or red exteriors respectively, so I didn't try every option...

GM did a similar thing a year or two ago-- they had ABS standard across most models, then discontinued it in the name of cost-cutting.

Nissan does a similar thing on the new Altima, getting side air bags and xenon headlamps is a pain in the *ss. Nissan's also notorious for requiring you to load up your Altima or Maxima with options once you want more than a handful of options. Personally, I'd take a 2003 Maxima SE 6-speed with HLSD, moonroof, side air bags, and leather... but if I want leather I have to grab the Bose and the Meridian package, which is $$$$. (at least ABS and Xeons are standard on the 2002-2003 Maxima!) Granted this is all hypothetical anyway, but even skipping leather doesn't make it too much easier.

(and the all new, bigger, more luxurious, less sporty 2004 Maxima... 6-speed with HLSD requires leather. Doh. Good thing I don't want even if I could afford one, I can think of nicer boats to buy!)

Nissan's Sentra SE-R Spec V isn't as bad. You can get just side air bags and ABS, I think adding the moonroof requires an option package, but there are only two possible option packages with the bloody car, and it only comes with a real peasant box, aka, manual transmission. Nissan 350Z isn't bad... you buy by trim level, whcih determines most options (uh, Enthusiast Model or Touring Model, please!)... IIRC the G35 Coupe isn't bad either, but to get the 6-speed you have to buy the fully loaded "Luxury Leather 6MT" model. *sigh* At least the Subaru WRX isn't bad... WRX basically has no major factory options (I think they added leather for 2004), just frilly stuff like boost gauges, bodykit, etc. which you can get cheaper aftermarket.

Getting back to Mazda, they do the same thing on the new RX-8. I can get it exactly how I want with cloth, but if you want a moonroof, that's package option only, $1600 more, if you want leather you get the Bose and the moonroof too, $2800 on top of the base RX-8 6-speed with sport package. Yikes!

Honda traditionally does everything by trim level too. LX, EX, LX V-6, EX V-6, all have a pretty much fixed set of options, as does Acura... 3.2TL, 3.2TL NAVI, 3.2TL Type S, 3.2TL Type S w/NAVI...

So, some car makes are better than others. Options sheets clearly don't indicate how restrictive many options actually are.

But man, if you think the sub $30,000 cars I list here are bad (ok, some go above $30k fully loaded)... go check out Porsche or Mercedes. They're truly scary what you can do with options and price!

Posted by brian at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2003

Currently playing: Erasure - Fingers

Currently playing: Erasure - Fingers and Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day)
Erasure commentary from both the San Francisco and Los Angeles shows is now in the gallery section along with pictures from the LA show.

Posted by brian at 02:16 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2003

Just saw Erasure in San

Just saw Erasure in San Francisco tonight. It was f'ing incredible. Basically the same set list as the Los Angeles show, but the crowd went from super-impatient watching Color Kids to frickin' loud and excited when Erasure came on. More crowd interaction from Andy this time, and yes, a few bits on the war, too.

More later... just... just... wow! Bigger crowd, louder crowd, lots more gay people (much more diverse crowd than LA)... and man... where'd all the asian hotties come from? (most were really made up and looked super-high maintenance- ick!- but damn... it was nice to look at after the show!)

Posted by brian at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2003

Ultimate station wagon. Forget the

Ultimate station wagon. Forget the WRX wagon. Forget the S6 Avant. Custom M GmbH conversion of the E39 540i to the M5 powertrain and suspension. Drool!

Don't you have anything better to do? Pic 1. Pic 2. Pic 3. Pic 4. Pic 5. Pic 6. These were taken at 5pm. Veteran was blocked off, as was some access to Wilshire Blvd. People were still there at 10:15pm. It's just ridiculous. At the very least, support your fellow Americans who are serving in the armed forces.

Dave's going-away dinner. He'll be in Washington DC as an intern next quarter. Have fun Dave!

YUM! Post-finals treat. =)

Posted by brian at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

Currently watching: New Order -

Currently watching: New Order - International Bonus DVD

I'm free! Done with finals! (well, there's always next quarter... *sigh*)

Posted by brian at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2003

Currently listening to: KCRW 89.9FM

Currently listening to: KCRW 89.9FM - NPR - President Bush's speech
CNN link. Now I'm never going to get any studying done.

Posted by brian at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Currently playing: Erasure - Victim

Currently playing: Erasure - Victim of Love
Yes, the Erasure kick continues. (and you expected something else? Naaah!)

Took another final today, Microbiology 12... considering I'm taking it P/NP I'm not worried at all about it. If I was... well I'd probably be kicking myself for screwing the midterm, or else I might have an A. *sigh* Yesterday's final was Theater 104C, but because the professor is trapped in the 1970's he hasn't discovered computers or the internet yet. Man... that final scared the crap out of me. =( I hope I did ok! I probably did... but jeebus... theater and music professors are psycho, and the students are just as bad. I'm glad I'm never taking another theater class again!

Posted by brian at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2003

Ugh. It's times like this

Ugh. It's times like this where I feel like someone shooting me (to end my misery) because of all the crap happening (finals!) would be a good thing (how about terrific!).

*sigh* Back to work... I suppose I'll get to sleep this afternoon. Eventually...

Posted by brian at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

Pics up. Sorry for the

Pics up. Sorry for the lack of presentation... I'll fix that later. Have to go back to studying. Also, sorry for the small number of pics. Security technically didn't allow cameras inside, we went through all this trouble (wasn't much =) ) to smuggle a camera in... only to end up in the 2nd row (sweet!), but right in front of a security guard. Doh!

Posted by brian at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

Just watched: Erasure @ the

Just watched: Erasure @ the Mayan Theater, Los Angeles
Intro: a very Victorian-era intro about a guy unknowingly prophetizing his own death... leads into the appearance of Andy, Vince, and two singers on stage. Andy is dressed as a Victorian era woman in funeral dress from head to toe (including corset), Vince is in a sparkly black suit. Vince in this concert unfortunately doesn't do much except play the guitar and the synth.

Setlist moved to Erasure @ Los Angeles, San Francisco gallery site.

Posted by brian at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2003

Power outages suck. Fortunately, that's

Power outages suck.

Fortunately, that's why we keep APC gear around. *phew*

Posted by brian at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2003

Currently playing: New Order -

Currently playing: New Order - Atmosphere (Live @ Reading Festival 30 August 1998)
Friday wrapped up the last day of class for the Winter quarter. My actual last day of class was Thursday. =) I don't quite know how I stayed (mostly) awake throughout the rest of the day, because I stayed up most of the night studying for my Geography 150 final... then still had to deal with class for the rest of the day. Ouch!

Next week should be fun, if really, really tiring. Two Erasure concerts, plus my remaining three finals... Microbiology 12 (Infectious Diseases), History 8B, and Theater 104C. Microbio shouldn't be that bad, and neither should History 8B... but the most immediate final, Theater 104C (American Musical Theater), has me worried. 150 or so musicals/people to remember, along with relevant details. The professor claims that "most of us are non-theater majors", yet in class he seems to know everyone's name, and something like half the people he calls on seem to be theater majors, or people who know theater majors, or music majors, or people who just go see musicals regularly for the hell of it. It's kind of scary sometimes... Suffice it to say, I'm far more worried about this class than I am the rest of my classes, combined. eek!

Now that I've scared everyone, at least next week's finals are all GE's for me, so my stress levels shouldn't get too ugly... and when I visited my Geography 150 prof today, he unexpectedly had all the finals graded. Suffice it to say that I'm quite pleased with my final grade, both on the final and in the class. biggrin

Posted by brian at 02:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2003

Ah... memories. There's some 2nd

Ah... memories. There's some 2nd years figuring out their class schedule a couple of computers over. Figuring out their schedule just now.

I had my 2nd pass last week. Bwahaahahaha. They've also got class 4 or 5 days a week. I've been on a 3 day a week schedule for the last, uh, 4 quarters? hee hee hee...

Pious Nonsense (WRT the possible Iraq war) from Slate. Ordinarily I hate Slate, but Dave sent this to me, and it was interesting enough to be worth posting.

Posted by brian at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2003

Mmmmmmmmmm yummy...

girl scout cookies
Mmmmmmmmmm yummy...

Posted by brian at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2003

Study explains how car fans

Study explains how car fans recognize their loves from CNN. From the article: When car aficionados were shown pictures of cars and pictures of faces together, they tended to get a kind of traffic jam in the part of the brain normally used to identify faces, psychologist Isabel Gauthier of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee reported.

Posted by brian at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

Currently playing: Madonna - What

Currently playing: Madonna - What It Feels Like For A Girl
Hotshot Header + AEM CAI on the QR25DE is definitely the most worthwhile pair of naturally aspirated upgrades for that motor as of this day. (no cams yet!)

Posted by brian at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2003

Currently playing: (on KROQ) Depeche

Currently playing: (on KROQ) Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence
Just played some Tears for Fears... which are ok, but not my top favorites... "hmm, I'd love to hear Enjoy the Silence next..." went to the kitchen to start lunch, and they play Enjoy the Silence next... sweet! =)

Posted by brian at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2003

Currently playing: Blümchen - Boomerang

Currently playing: Blümchen - Boomerang
John Brady Kiesling Resigns in protest over the Bush Administration's handling of Iraq. While I don't completely agree with his statements, I do agree with a key point: we need to improve our diplomatic explaination and reasoning behind this intended conflict. Pearl comments on Tony Blair's much more effective arguements WRT this situation vs. how effective much of our American diplomacy is.

Posted by brian at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

So I'm still up, and

So I'm still up, and can't sleep... what's this?... free gas today, 6:30AM-9:30AM at 3 selected Shell gas stations, one of which is in Santa Monica... hmm... not far from where I live...

... but I've got class at 9AM, and man, 6:30AM is 1 hour earlier than I usually get up. Is $30 worth of gas worth 1.5 hours of sleep (get up at 6AM to be there first!)... uhhh... probably not...

... then I read further on in the thread... "1 free tank regular gasoline." Uh. Crap. My car needs premium. Oh well!

Posted by brian at 03:42 AM | Comments (0)

Currently playing: Erasure - Rain

Currently playing: Erasure - Rain (Live in San Francisco)
Student Anti-War Rally... Dave's mentioned in the Daily Bruin again, pointing out his view that the protest was basically ineffective ""I don't think any of these chants have freed Iraqi prisoners. I don't see how clapping and chanting is going to help the Iraqi people," Yet, college is the place for both left-wing and right-wing views to be shared. I have to respect that, as stupid as I think lots of these things can be...

Nissan Feburary Sales Figures. Nissan's new designs look to be selling well, but their older designs clearly need to be reworked. The Altima, new for 2002, is holding up pretty well, and in its new 3.5SE trim it was expected to eat a lot of Maxima sales... Maxima sales are down by 58%, a reflection of both the Altima's success as well as the impending all-new 2004 Maxima. I haven't looked at previous sales data to really establish how much Altima sales have affected Maxima sales, but the Altima looks like it'll need another mid-life-cycle freshening to remain competitive, as the interior quality is still "meh" and it still has a few too many rough edges. The Pathfinder and Sentra are especially aging-- it's really noticable in the Sentra-- and while the Quest is old and crappy, at least the Quest has a successor on the way. Infiniti is holding up better with the G35 and FX35/FX45, but that's about it...

Posted by brian at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2003

Currently playing: U2 - Live

Currently playing: U2 - Live in Las Vegas - Bad/Wild Horses
Rock climbing has been a regular thing at UCLA's Rock Wall in Wooden Center. The drawback of climbing in the winter is that my skin is more dried out, and rock climbing exacerbates the problem 10x. Doh.

Posted by brian at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2003

Currently playing: Color Theory -

Currently playing: Color Theory - April's Bonfire
Dragged myself out of bed today to go to my 9AM class... only to find out that class was cancelled. The prof is there collecting papers which are due today, but that's it- no lecture. Grrrrr, that could have been an extra 1.5 hours of sleep! I didn't do the paper because it would only lower my grade if I did it. =) hehe...

Instead I sit here in a SSC computer lab, watching another girl do her paper. =P

Posted by brian at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2003

Currently playing: Erasure - Precious

Currently playing: Erasure - Precious
BMW M3 vs. Audi RS4.

Audi AG RS4 info with specs. 380bhp on the RS4, 333bhp on the M3. And all I can say is, holy crap the M3 gets creamed... damn... my next car really needs to be AWD+turbo or RWD+turbo... shoooot... maybe I should go looking for a used WRX wagon and a Vishnu stage 3 upgrade...?

Posted by brian at 03:58 AM | Comments (0)

Ministry of Sound - 04

Ministry of Sound - 04 - Afro Medusa - Pasilda

The Xanga horde continues to grow. Sheesh!

Posted by brian at 03:00 AM | Comments (0)