Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tesla Model 3-amino

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Candylab Fire Chief

I came home yesterday and saw the boy playing with his new purchase, a wooden car?!

I googled the name of the company and it looks like Jalopnik has done a video on it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Protests in Hong Kong

How much longer will the protestors fight? And will the Hong Kong/PRC government escalate its own response?

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Kolyma Highway documentary

H/t to Sanchez. This Russian documentary with English subtitles is half interviews about the gulag system and half travel shots. Well worth watching.

World Leaders Cars (19)

175. Brunei: Rolls-Royce. 2007 car: Same.

176. East Timor: Land Cruiser. 2008 car: Land Cruiser.

177. El Salvador: Land Cruiser. 2008 car: Toyota Sequoia.

178. Grenada: Land Cruiser Prado. 2008 car: Mitsubishi Montero.

179. Kyrgystan: BMW 7-Series. 2008 car: Mercedes S-Class.

180. UAE: Gelandewagen. 2007 car: Maybach.

Mercedes S-Class: 45
Toyota/Lexus Land Cruiser: 37
BMW 7-Series: 16
Audi A8: 10
Lexus LS: 10
Toyota/Lexus Land Cruiser Prado: 10
Mercedes Gelandewagen: 8
Chevy Suburban/GMC Yukon: 7
BMW X5: 2
Jaguar: 2
Land Rover Discovery: 2
Range Rover: 2
Toyota Sequoia: 2
Audi A6: 1
Aurus Senat: 1
Cadillac: 1
Chevy: 1
Citroen DS7 Crossback: 1
Hongqi: 1
Honda Accord: 1
Hyundai Equus: 1
Hyundai Genesis: 1
Hyundai Santa Fe: 1
Isuzu MU-X: 1
Lancia Thema: 1
Land Rover Freelander: 1
Lincoln Navigator: 1
Lincoln Town Car: 1
Mercedes E-Class (old): 1
Mercedes E-Class convertible: 1
Mercedes GL: 1
Mercedes-Maybach: 1
Mercedes ML/GLE: 1
Proton: 1
Rolls-Royce: 2
Skoda: 1
Toyota 4Runner: 1
Toyota RAV4: 1
VW Touareg: 1
VW Transporter: 1

Fancy cars and wealth inequality

I posed this question on Twitter and got some responses.

John Osborn, former NASA engineer, sees fancy cars as art.

Matt Farah, aka The Smoking Tire, sees it as still less expensive than a yacht.

Patrick George, head of Jalopnik, says:

Run the Joules sees union jobs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Indy 500 2019 recap: Sunday

Race Day!

I tend to over-research and over-prepare, so I knew of the horrific traffic to the track. The race started after twelve, but we left our hotel 4.5 miles away at 7am. Along the way, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, we did a lot of people watching. A lot of pickups. A lot of people partying already. Shady police escorts that got friends, families, and the well connected out of the traffic and quickly to the venue. It took us two hours to get there.

We had seats at Turn 1. They were perfect.

There was a lot of military stuff. Flyovers by attack jets and helicopters. A speech by a 4-star general. Singing of God Bless the USA, God Bless America, and the national anthem. Soldiers waving around the track from the truck beds of new Chevys. And on, and on, and on.

We got to see five past Indy 500 cars equipped with Cummins Diesel engines.

And Mario Andretti in his 1969 Indy 500 winning car, preceded by a foursome of 1969 Camaro pace cars.

I, of course, wore an Alonso jersey to the race.

This was our view. A guy behind us had been to 48 Indy 500s.

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After the race, we went out for steak. I wanted to get a shrimp cocktail appetizer, but Mario Andretti's dinner party ordered all the shrimp and oysters the restaurant had in stock.

These two very different cars were parked outside the restaurant.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Indy 500 2019 recap: Friday and Saturday

I landed on Friday at around 9pm, and it was still light outside. It was hot, muggy, and there was a 100% chance of rain on race day on Sunday.

After checking into my airport hotel, Bozi (of TTAC, Hagerty, Road & Track, and Autoweek fame) picked me up in his Subaru WRX. He had driven up from North Carolina to watch the race. He took me to Speedway, Indiana, a tiny town surrounded by the City of Indianapolis. Speedway is the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As this was race weekend, Speedway's main drag was full of cars, people walking and drinking beer, and lots of people watching. On this street, you will find Dallara's U.S. headquarters and a tasting room for A.J. Foyt's winery.

We found a restaurant at the end of the main drag that didn't have loud, live music or raucous drunkards. Over a lamb burger and a couple of Sato 101 lagers, Bozi gave me the rundown of IndyCar and the Indy 500.

As we dined, a truck pulling this Trump float passed us.

After dinner, we walked a few blocks to the race track. I will go inside of it tomorrow.

On Saturday morning, I met up for breakfast with our favorite Azeri F1 marshal. Tarlan and I connected through this blog around 2011 and after all these years, we finally met in person. I had so much fun finding out about his new life in the U.S. and hearing of his experiences as an F1 marshal in Baku, Austin, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi. It was just incredible. Plus, he parked his ride next to my Maxima rental.

After breakfast, I met up with Bozi at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum. It was packed with fans. The main display hall had many of the Indy 500 winners over the years.

The second large hall contained Mario Andretti's cars and memorabilia. This was the 50th anniversary of his sole Indy 500 win. He was basically the king this weekend.

This Esprit was given to Mario Andretti after he won the F1 driver's and constructor's championships. He promptly gave the car to his teenaged son.

Then, I went to the gift shop. Because Alonso didn't qualify, all of his gear was 40% off. Sad!

Finally, we watched a crew push a Ferrari into the museum and place it next to a Ford GT40. Matt Damon and Christian Bale are making a movie about the Ford versus Ferrari rivalry of the 1960s and they were heavily promoting it during race weekend.

We then took a walk around the track facilities.

There was a heavily tattooed artist-type busily applying Indy 500 decals on all of these medical trucks.

We then sat in the bleachers to take it all in.

And then it started pouring rain. More of the same on race day?

Once the rain stopped, I ran back to my car, but I had to stop and take a picture of this.

On Saturday evening, @rchen was flying in. While I waited for him, I went to a pretty cool and strange bar called the Winner's Circle in Downtown Indianapolis for drinks and a bite. It's a place to eat, drink, and bet on horses. It has four sections. 1) The patio/sidewalk area. It's frequented by people with low budgets who want to hang out for hours. One of the outside customers came inside to the bartender with a styrofoam cup and asked for 12 cents worth of soda, as that was all the money he had. 2) The bar. I sat here and enjoyed two Irish pints of beer and potato skins. I sat next to an asphalt paver operator named Joe. He told me there was plenty of work in the area and he paid his bar tab with a crisp $100 bill. 3) The OTB. It's like the sportsbooks in Las Vegas. A bunch of old men smoking cigarettes and watching little monitors while betting on horses. 4) A private club for smoking cigars. You need a membership to get in, but Joe told me as long as you dressed nice, they'll let you in.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Alonso out!

Had I actually followed IndyCar, would I have known that there was actually a chance that Alonso wouldn't make it into the Indy 500?

According to reports, Alonso's McLaren:

  • did not have a steering wheel just before testing in Texas;
  • was painted the wrong orange, and sat in a paint shop for a month;
  • had the wrong tire sensors and thus failed to notice a puncture before a qualifying run;
  • had gearing for 227.5 mph instead of 229 mph;
  • had wonky suspension setup because of failure to convert from metric to American!
What the fuck?!