Archive for April, 2006

Meeting Yoda

Posted: April 29, 2006 in Automotive, General, Lotus

I agreed to take a look at an ’84 Esprit for someone who was interested in buying it (but they live in West Virginia). So Saturday Justin and I drove up to South Windsor to take a look at the car.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The email correspondence with the current owner sounded more like a High School cheerleader (every sentence ended with at least one exclamation point). Parking in front of the house I noticed that there seemed to be a number of car lovers in the area. Next door a vehicle sat under a car port, disguised with a car cover. In front sat a speed boat next to a modified 2G Eclipse. Across the street sat an Audi A4 and another car under a car cover, and in front of the small unassuming house that we were walking up to, sat a modified MR2.

The house was very zen, with a little sitting area and a bridge over a rock garden, all freshly painted a bright yellow-orange. I rang the doorbell and waited while this short Asian man opened the door. He said something about coming out through the garage, then closed the door.

The garage door starts to open and I see a yellow car… it continues up and I see the familiar curves of a late model Esprit. I begin thinking that the car I was to look at has been modified in some obscene way, that the owner had grafted a newer body on an older car. As the door opened further I realized that this wasn’t the case, and that what sat in front of me was actually an Esprit V8, in bright yellow.

I peered around the V8, expecting to see the older Esprit sitting behind it. There sat a car in pieces, not the Lotus, but something else familiar.

“Is that a Z?” I asked.

In slightly broken english he told us how he was putting a Skyline engine into the Z. One of his projects. He then led us around his house and into the back yard where we walked towards a pair of sheds with doors wide open. Certainly these were wide enough to park a car within, but they were both empty. He began telling us a story about the Esprit, and I began to wonder where he was going (and why he was showing us an empty shed).

Justin later phrased thought it was very zen, that we were seeing “absence of car”.

I started to wonder if perhaps the car was stolen (or never actually there), when he started to tell us that he also owned the house next door, and the house across the street (and that both of his sons lived in the houses). We walked across the street to the covered car, which started to take on a familiar shape as we neared. I noticed a car back of this car too. A late model RX-7. We walked around the RX-7 as he removed the car cover off the Esprit. This car had been heavily modified as well. Carbon fiber hood, obvious work under the hood, probably a real screamer.

Justin and I looked over the Esprit, the owner and I went for a quick drive, then we came back and parked the car. My “duty” done he showed us one last thing.

We walked over to the covered car next door. I thought perhaps it was a three wheeled bike or something of that sort at first, but he hinted at the fact that it was also a Lotus.

I said “Eleven?”. Showing that I knew just enough to be dangerous. I of course meant Seven, but never being a big Lotus Seven fan I was thinking of an “E” name, and not the grandfather of the Esprits.

He corrected me, as he pulled off the car cover. He began telling us about this car. He told us how he had put a Hayabusa engine in the car (which Justin and I both were a little clueless about). The car weighs just under 1000lbs and has about 370HP. For a comparison, that’s 2.7 lbs/hp. Compare that to 6.33 lbs/hp for the Ford GT, 4.19 lbs/hp for the Ferrarri Enzo, and 4.15 lbs/hp for the Bugatti Veyron. This car is a monster.

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Mind in the Gutter

Posted: April 23, 2006 in Automotive, General, Jeep

Justin and I (and a large group from JonFund drove up to Mass for the April off roading trip near Yankee Candle.

Although the weather was decent earlier in the day (not nice like a few days before when it was in the 70’s though), it started raining shortly before lunch, and continued through the day. Even with the poor weather we all had fun (I believe).

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Still a trek

Posted: April 21, 2006 in General, Movies/TV/Music

Variety today is reporting that J.J. Abrams has been signed to direct and produce another Star Trek movie. I think, for the most part, that this is a good thing.

Abrams has a quality that many of his peers seem to lack. He has a way of crafting something that immediately grabs you and glues you to what you’re watching. He’s been attached as writer in some fashion to a number of good popcorn flicks in the last decade, but more importantly both Alias and Lost sprang from his mind.

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Let me check my wallet.

Posted: April 21, 2006 in Automotive, General, Lotus

Lotus announced today that they will be importing 15 Exige Cup cars to the US this year. $79,000 will buy you a life-time membership to the roller coaster ride called Exige. This thing will keep up with anything in it’s price range (0-60 in 5.1 seconds) and out handle anything in any price range. Of course, for those of you who might be fuel conscious it sips fuel with a 24MPG city/30MPG highway rating (try that with your Corvette).

Compelling TV

Posted: April 19, 2006 in General, Movies/TV/Music

I just finished watching Cowboy Bebop for the third or fourth time (I don’t remember). It’s just such a great series. The last three episodes just make you wish there were more.

Of course the last three episodes that are so strong wouldn’t be nearly as strong if there were more. I think one of the biggest reasons this series is so great is because of scope. They knew pretty much from the beginning that there were only going to be 24 episodes. This means that the whole production could be planned out with a proper ending.

This is rare in US television where a series is renewed until it doesn’t do well in the ratings (usually because it jumped the shark long ago). Then it just doesn’t get renewed one year.

Occasionally the writers/producers may have a chance to finish things up. Buffy was sure that the 7th season was the last, Angel knew about 3/4 of the way through production that the 4th season was its last. Firefly got a major motion picture, and The Pretender got two made-for-TV movies.

Unfortunately, even this knowledge didn’t really provide the same kind of compelling TV that Bebop did. Buffy’s series finale was fairly lame. Angel’s was decent, but felt more like there was more to come. The Pretender wasted the TV movies (apparently there was to be a third which might have been better), because none of the loose ends were tied up. Firefly was the only one that came even close to a proper bookend to the series.

Boot Camp

Posted: April 6, 2006 in Computing, General

I thought I’d post my thoughts on Apple’s newly announced “Boot Camp”.

For those who have no idea what this is, it is “official” software from Apple to make any of the new Intel based Macs dual-boot capable. This means that you can choose to boot Windows or Mac OS when you switch on your computer.

As others have noted, this is great news for geeks. Most average users won’t use it. It’s not a completely transparent solution. You do need to reboot to take advantage of the other OS, and writing files between the two OSes isn’t perfect. Yet.

This is unexpected from Apple, and although they will always have to walk a certain line (can walk too far over on the Windows side), this is great news, especially for people like me.

I can ditch the PC from under my desk, and have one machine. I can play PC games, and take advantage of software that I just can’t get on the Mac. I don’t even mind paying M$ for a copy of Windows to get a fully functional PC for free.

I say this is a good start. Maybe Apple won’t blur the Mac/Windows line, but others will work on that.

Now I’m starting to wonder if I should buy that upgrade for the G4, or if I should hold out just a bit longer for the Intel based desktop machines.