Monday, July 22, 2019

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Monday, July 15, 2019

Eating the Globe: Romania


I bought this Romanian snack off of Amazon. There are just three ingredients, and it tasted like wet cardboard. I ate a few and I'm tossing the bag.


Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
North America: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga

On the local bus authority advisory committee

I want to serve my community so I am trying to get on the bus authority's advisory committee. My town council unanimously appointed me; now I just need the bus authority board's approval. I am very excited about the opportunity.

The bus authority serves ten suburban towns and unincorporated parts of our county. According to Wikipedia, it has 131 buses and 48 paratransit vans. I have only ridden two routes-- the one serving my home (the stop is just a block away), and a free shuttle serving the area's busiest shopping district. I'm thinking of riding all the routes with my boy, for research purposes.

The evolution of BART maps

If you are a fan of public transit or maps, this 28 minute podcast is for you!

Original map:

1995-2010:

Current:

Friday, July 12, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A new addition and 2019 highlights so far

I am happy to announce that we have a new baby girl! Mother and daughter are healthy and happy. Big brother is confused. Cooper is Cooper.



My highlights this year are very family-focused.

January: I drove 11 hours and visited Lassen, Modoc, and Siskiyou Counties. Out of California's 58 counties, those were my 55th, 56th, and 57th. I just have Alpine County left to visit.


February: Discovered a new trail.



March: Survived a bomb cyclone in Denver.



April: Celebrated the boy's second birthday.

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May: Went to the Indy 500! Tried to order oysters at a steakhouse after the race but was told that Mr. Mario Andretti and Mr. Aaron Rodgers' party ate all the seafood in stock already.

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June: New kid!




Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3

Even if we are giving up the TSX wagon soon, it needs fresh tires. I just checked the tire code and they are the original tires that came with the car! It's a model year 2014 TSX but the tires are from 2013.

Tirerack recommended these. Are they any good? I want dry weather handling, some wet weather handling, and I don't care about snow because we never go to the mountains to ski. Treadwear is not super important.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Eating the Globe: New Zealand


I planned on eating some New Zealand lamb, but I found some wine instead. I'm not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blancs, so these tasted just okay.


Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
North America: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga

Fordlandia, a rubber plantation in the Amazon

I'm currently reading The Tango War, which is about Latin American involvement in World War II. It briefly mentions Fordlandia, a planned community in the middle of Brazil. It ultimately failed due to rubber disease and pissed off workers (no alcohol or meat allowed). Here's a book about it.

Tokyo G20 motorcades

Thanks to rchen for this. Lots of interesting stuff. Most leaders got the Mercedes treatment. Japan had a Lexus. Saudi Arabia got a Mercedes with a Chinese plate along with G-wagen support vehicles. Turkey got a Maybach. China, Russia, and America brought their own weirdo limousines as well as unique, non-Hiace, support vehicles.

Hong Kong protest 7-Eleven umbrellas

Viral marketing at its best!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Eating the Globe: Burundi

Update 1: It is very bland and has almost no flavor. I'm going to try with an extra spoonful of beans next time.

Update 2: Not good. K has threatened to throw the bag away.


I'm in a rut. Other than an elusive Haitian food truck, I am out of restaurants in the Bay Area. Plus, with a second child on the way, I am not dining out as often. So I am going to try coffees from obscure countries. I found Teasia on Amazon and they offer coffee from some random-ass countries, like Burundi, Panama, and Timor. So here we go.

From their website:

Grower: 1500 coffee producers associated with Shembati Washing Station
Variety: Bourbon, Jackson, and Mbirizi
Region: Mbirizi, Kayanza Province, Burundi
Harvest: March - July
Altitude: 1700-1800 meters
Soil: Volcanic loam
Process: Fully washed and dried on raised beds

The beans are lighter in color and dull (not shiny/oily). I will give a taste review tomorrow morning.


Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
North America: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga



Any other good Ryan Gosling movies?

I just watched Drive and it was great. I've seen Lars and the Real Girl and Crazy, Stupid, Love. Any other movies of his you recommend?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A day in the life of a Japanese car repair shop

What happened to MH370?


I've been following this tragedy and this article is the most comprehensive. If anything, read part 6 about the crazy pilot.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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.




Tally
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.