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Thoughts and Rants

I should write an introduction first, I suppose.

But here's some stuff to start with. Keep in mind some of these are impassioned RANTS and not to be confused with anything looking like normal, clear thinking. Some may actually be inteded to be funny, so don't take anything here seriously unless you know otherwise...

13 November 2002: More fodder. This time... on kitchens, of all things. My own personal view on kitchens is that they're to be used for cooking. Not a neat collection of polished tile and dust-free appliances that never get used.

And that's basically what I have here. I thought, "cool, my new place has a complete kitchen I can use! I don't have to buy anything!" bwahahahaa... I wish. Sharp knives- nope. Barely any knives at all. Food processor? (fortunately I don't need to use it) It hold a CUP of food. You can't even make a nice batch of won tons with it. Oven? The lower oven is for storage (!), the top oven is tiny. (which is ok, I don't cook turkeys or anything, but still...) Cutting board? Uh, that plastic mat isn't a cutting board.

Psssshhhhhh. Oh well, I'll live. Let's not even start me on electric stoves without a proper range hood...

Damnit. I'm not a chef, nor do I cook alot. But I need a real cutting board, a few sharp knives, some non-stick pots and pans... I don't have that many needs. Yet, I don't think they're going to be met this year, in this apartment...

13 November 2002: LAPD. Specifically, parking enforcement. After partying on Sunday night, this Monday was Veteran's Day, a Federal holiday. Some of Pete and Nick's friends who aren't from LA accidentially parked on the wrong side of the street... the 7AM-9AM no parking side, rather than the other side which was 4PM-6PM no parking. Anyway. Yeah, they screwed up. No, I didn't know they had parked there the night before, so I couldn't correct them.

Wake up in the morning... and holy crap, their car is gone! WTF? Yeah, they screwed up... but I mean jeebus! It's a holiday of all things, and it's NOT standard LAPD practice to tow away people all the time, they usually ticket you, and randomly every few weeks they'll crackdown on a particular street and tow everyone. Why the hell were they bastards enough to tow people on a holiday morning, be it Monday or not???

Yeah, there's no mercy in this world. I don't expect any mercy. But we can still complain about it. $148 for towing fees, plus a $65 parking ticket.

11 November 2002: yeah, finally... new stuff! It's hard to rant "on schedule"... I usually feel like ranting when I'm on campus, or I see someone doing something stupid... rarely when I'm in front of my computer.

A good news one, this time! It's a good time to be an automotive enthusiast. Why? Have a look around. In the sub-$20k category, we've got new performance machines. The Nissan Sentra SE-R/SE-R Spec V (175hp/180lb-ft), the Mazdaspeed Protege (170hp turbo), the Ford Focus SVT (170hp), Honda Civic Si (160hp, meh), Toyota Celica GT-S (180hp)... yeah, I know. Not bad. Not bad at all, especially the Focus SVT, which is a mean little machine. The SE-R Spec V is a nice little car, but the low fun-limited (rev-limiter) and disappointing high end performance hurt it. The Civic Si and Celica GT-S don't merit much consideration from me, as they lack the performance edge of the SVT. The Protege would look good if it wasn't for the Neon SRT-4...

But things get better, if you hit the sub-$25k price range. Subaru WRX (227hp/217lb-ft, AWD turbo)... hit stage II and you barf out something like 310hp on stock turbos, hit stage III or up and the potential is 340hp+ for very little cash overlay (think of it as a $20k discount on an Audi S4). Dodge Neon SRT-4. It's not out yet, but the factory spec looks severely under-rated at 225hp. It makes Mazda's turbo Protege look half-*ssed, as it's running 14psi from the factory vs. 7psi. =) Acura RSX Type S (200hp). Not my idea of a pocket rocket, but the K20 in the RSX-S really shouldn't be ignored, either. VW GTI/Jetta with the 1.8T motor (180hp). Again, more turbo fun! Not my style of car (even though I happen to enjoy stealthy 4-door sedans), but an excellent platform.

Just a hair above $25k (close to $30k loaded) is a vehicle that I don't consider sporty at all, but I've been a big fan of the stupid things since I got into cars. That'd be the Nissan Maxima, which comes with Nissan's silky-smooth VQ-series powerplant. 255hp/246lb-ft in Maxima trim, 245hp/246lb-ft in Altima trim. Altimas get an independent rear suspension, while Maximas get a 6-speed manual with optional helical limited slip. Best of all for me (and bad for Nissan, at least in California), Maximas aren't selling at all, which means I could pick up one for under $25k without even trying...

There's also the new Honda Accord EX V6 coupe 6-speed at 240hp, but the jury is still out on that. Why? It's bigger brother, the Acura 3.2CL Type S 6-speed has more torque and more power (260hp), yet it's not always as fast as we'd like...

Sub $35k. My goodness. Nissan 350Z. $28k for an Enthusiast model, $34k for a Track edition which adds 18" wheels, helical limited slip, and 12.8" Brembo brakes. 287hp/274lb-ft. Mid 5 second 0-60, low 14 quarter mile. Hello indeed, I'll take one! For a 2+2 version, the Infiniti G35 coupe. 200lb heavier, "only" 280hp/270lb-ft, but it's more elegant, more flowing than the Z... it's sexy. (an Infiniti? Sexy? What is this world coming to?)

Don't forget. Ford Mustang Cobra. Yes, it's having production problems again. But 390hp for $34k. It's hard to argue with that kind of blistering performance. A sleek machine? Buy a Z. Visceral machine? Buy a Cobra. The F-body's demise saddens us. In the future, we await the Toyota Supra's return, as well as the Mazda RX-8. Mitsubshi's Lancer Evolution should be coming to the US, too. Hopefully it'll be considerably less than $35k, but if it comes with 280hp, even $35k may be hard to argue...

Sub $50k, theoretically you could buy an M3 (333hp) or Audi S4 (formerly 250hp, now 340hp?). Or a Porsche Boxster. We're talking nice European cars here. Unfortunately high demand makes the price on these a little variable. I wouldn't bother with a Boxster anyway, it should be a Boxster S... I wonder what happened to Volvo's S60R.

And in the high end market, some mean machines are out there. Jaguar XKR, Jaguar S-Type R, Porsche 911, Ferrari 360 Modena and 575M, Aston Martin's got some new toys out (DB7 Vantage?), the Dodge Viper is more powerful now, the coming Ford GT40. Much, much car goodness.

Old rants:

  1. Riceboys. Yes, your car may look good lowered. But 1/2" an inch off the ground makes me laugh! And what's this with VTEC stickers on those Integra LS'es running stock steel wheels w/o hubcaps? You're not fooling anyone!
  2. Anti-drug zealots. Yes, drugs are bad. Yes, DARE has good reasons. Yes, drugs are a waste of money. Doing most drugs once is NOT going to hurt you. So, don't do it... but if you do it once or someone you know does, don't flame them for it unless you are worried that he or she will be stupid enough to try it again!
  3. Car zealots. Yes, I'm an elitist bastard and a dork who knows waaaay too much about cars he doesn't even own (such as Nissan Maximas and Nissan Sentra SE-R's). I don't go around claiming that a Maxima will eat every car in its class alive in terms of performance. THOSE are the people who piss me off and make respectable enthusiasts EVERYWHERE wince in pain.
  4. People who think they can handle a manual transmission well after (xx) number of days of practice. HELLO? You can move a gearshift and a clutch pedal, but you can NOT drive stick well. You don't stall at every light. GEE, I kind of expect that. Smoothness, weight transfer, timing, clutch modulation, the engine's powerband, anticipation of upcomning terrain, etc. etc. etc. I've been driving a manual since I got my license, I do the occasional autocross, and no, I don't think I am an expert manual transmission driver. A good one, yes, but certainly NOT an expert! I can teach people to drive stick. I've taught people to drive stick. So what? I'm good enough to teach the basics, but I myself have yet to master all the mechanics.
  5. Teaching people to drive stick isn't all that hard. My Saturn has survived 3 people and 99k miles on the clutch... :-)
  6. Mac fanatics. Yes, enough said. I'm cool with you, and will even debate you. Debate you to a reasonable end that is. I won't outright say in general that PCs are superior to Macs and I expect you to to state the same about Macs vs. PCs.
  7. Star Trek/Star Wars fanatics who insist on comparing the two. Don't make me waste my breath. Star Trek is a syndicated television series and some movies and tries to be somewhat like an evolution of Earth (relative to the `60's as a starting point in their history). Star Wars is a series of epic movies set in a completely different universe. Don't bother comparing, please.
  8. AMD vs. Intel, or AMD vs. Intel vs. DEC vs. PowerPC vs. Transmeta vs. IDT vs. the world, or something. *yawns* Progress and competition are good, let it stay that way. Until early this year I recommended buying Intel because they overclocked like no tomorrow. Today (December 2000) it looks like good AMD motherboards and compatible heatsinks are available, so I'd rather buy AMD because they overclock well and offer better clock-for-clock performance than Intel chips.
  9. Cable and DSL internet access. I want it, so I can play CS. AT&T@home sucks, they advertise it as available to all of Silicon Valley yet they haven't upgraded my neighborhood yet. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. Japanese vs. Domestic cars, Imports vs. Domestics, etc. Again, your arguement is dull. Go away. And stop comparing your $4,000 Civic DX hatchback with a Drag gen3-turbo'ed B18C shoehorned in the engine back with a BMW M5 or the mid-90 Chevy Impala SS. All three can be very fast. The difference is the latter two have style, looks, and most of all respectability among the general public which your Civic will never have. Do you want to pay $20,000 or $50,000 extra for that respect? That's up to you.
  11. Computer lusers. Not just end-users or system admins, but the stupid ones. Look, the kitty cat screensaver, pop-up MP3 jukebox, Realplayer Smartstart and AOL all running in the background ARE slowing down your system. Yes, I can try to fix insert error of the day but if you insist on running all this crap or if you insist that you didn't change anything since I last fixed it, the error will come back!
  12. Computer lusers, part 2. You need to upgrade your PC every few years if you want to play the latest video games, so no I won't help you upgrade your Pentium-90's video card because you still won't be able to play Half Life on it. Yes you need a zip drive to use zip disks, and no you don't have one like I do so stop asking me about it!
  13. Computers require cleaning once in a while. Please do so at least once every three months, especially if you just asked me to build you an overclocked monster of a computer. Even your run of the mill PC runs better if it doesn't have an inch of dust on the inside.
  14. Just because you have an opinion doesn't mean you are a hater. (thanks, just wanted to emphasize that)
  15. Love can hurt (emotionally, you sicko. If it's hurting you as a result of physical contact I suggest counseling immediately). It sucks. I'm not used to it. But oh well. You can't live without it...
  16. Yes, so many things in this world are relative to one thing or another. Just because it's relative doesn't mean you can't have a valid opinion, though. The important part is that your frame of reference for your opinion gets across as well as your opinion.
  17. If you're in a movie theatre watching a movie, set your cell phone or pager to silent. Ditto for little kids (or leave 'em out of this theatre)-- well not exactly but you get the idea. If I'm watching an adult movie the last thing I want is a smart*ss prick making snide comments throughout the movie or a little kid kicking the back of my seat.
  18. Just because it works doesn't mean you should do it. Such as using a dinner knife for a screwdriver, lowering your car on stock shocks, kicking the side of your PC to turn it off, etc. Some problems may not be cost-effective to fix, but I doubt everyone has that excuse...
  19. If you're a reader of Ars Technica's forums, don't ask what the DoD is. If you don't already know you will soon enough. Or when you hit 1,000 posts. Or become a Centurion.
  20. Someone on Ars Technica (hence known as Ars) posted something like this: sometimes you want White Castle hamburgers and nothing else will do. The context was something like you know steak is better than hamburgers, but sometimes you just have to have hamburgers. It was actually a reference to relationships between one night stands and serious relationships...
  21. If someone who knows me wants to contact me, it isn't hard. I've got the requiste forms of communication that seem to be standard these days. Conversely, if I don't want people contacting me I can just turn those forms off for a while. You'll have to settle for leaving a message. Get it?
  22. One example may not be a good example of something. The awful pool that Barry and I played tonight--- I know I'm awful, but not that awful... the e-mail flame war you read compared to the usual calm and helpful e-mail threads you read... etc. etc.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully it wasn't too abusive. Before you flame me, remember what I said above:

Keep in mind some of these are impassioned RANTS and not to be confused with anything looking like normal, clear thinking. Some may actually be inteded to be funny, so don't take anything here seriously unless you know otherwise...

So... I'm venting here. It's my webpage. I can do this. You can't stop me. So. If you didn't like it or found it mean-spirited, go away to some other section of my site. I don't mind having flaws pointed out, but personal attacks here are most definitely unwelcome.