Saturday, October 31, 2009

Microsoft Windows 7 Burger King Whopper

BMW M5 (E34) Versus Mercedes 500E (W124)

Yesterday, I posted pictures of an E34 M5 convertible. I thought to myself: Self, I wonder if they ever made a Mercedes-Porsche W124 500E convertible. As far as I know, it never existed. Enjoy this article from Hemmings which compares the two sports sedans while I continue the search for that imaginary convertible.

Dear Zachary (Movie Documentary)

This is the saddest and most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining movie experience of my life.


German newspaper Bild reports today that Heidfeld is on the top of McLaren's list right now. His salary demand of 5 million Euros is less than half of what Button wants and a small fraction of what Kimi wants. We'll see.

And for you SoCal people, don't forget The Best of France and Italy tomorrow.

Update: 2009 car show photos here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Conan O'Brien's 1992 Ford Taurus SHO Versus 2010 SHO

Here is the original premiere of Conan's emerald green SHO.

This is how you're supposedly supposed to pronounce SHO.

Majestic E34 BMW M5 Convertible

We've already seen the BMW E24 cabrio and an M8 prototype, here is an E34 M5 convertible. Apparently, it was close to being a production model but was pulled at the last minute because bean counters feared that a beautiful E34 cabrio might cannibalize the 3 series cabrio's market share.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We're Number 26,545!

I looked up this blog tonight on Technorati and found out it's the 26,545th most popular blog in the world.* That doesn't sound like much to brag about but it does to me.

I started this blog in 2006 on a lark. I just wanted to write something that was not work-related. I wanted to write about things that interested me-- odd French cars, Central Asian issues, James Bond movies, unusual trips I've taken. I never expected this blog to receive thousands of hits per day (and it hasn't). There are simply not that many people out there in the world who are interested in odd French cars, Central Asian issues, James Bond movies, and unusual trips some random guy has taken.

But more than a handful of people are curious. People like you. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to visit and (hopefully) enjoy this blog on a regular basis. I try my best to think of interesting topics to post.

With that, here's to hoping that we move up to #26,544!

*This blog ranked #51 in the Motorsports category. How did that happen?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Citroen SM Dash Light Decoder

From the right turn indicator and going clockwise:
  • front brake pad wear
  • water temp
  • check switch (?)
  • hydraulic and brake pressure
  • engine oil pressure
  • charge light
  • left turn indicator
  • lights
  • handbrake
  • rear window defroster
  • hazard lights
  • low fuel
  • high beams

Flags Made Out of Food



More here.

French Batman

Restaurant In A Car Dealership Food Review (Part 2): F-1 Bistro/Ferrari-Maserati/Redwood City

F-1 Bistro

Address: 2750 El Camino Real, Redwood City

Last week, I reviewed Bistro 33 at a Mercedes dealership near Sacramento. Today, I will review F-1 Bistro inside a Ferrari-Maserati dealership in Redwood City.

Let me just start by saying that the food at F-1 Bistro is light years better than Bistro 33. I may have been a tad generous with my assessment of Bistro 33.

F-1 Bistro is an integral part of Ferrari and Maserati of Silicon Valley. It is right next to the receptionist’s desk and gift shop. It consists of a small open kitchen (very residential), a small bar with a few stools facing the kitchen, and five small tables. I am quite astounded by the kitchen fan’s power and lack of noise as the smell of food does not end up in the showroom at all.

I am greeted by a stand-offish cook. He is a one-man team and acts as the waiter, cashier, and maitre d’. First impressions are deceiving. He is actually a decent bloke and quite a talented chef.

I had the pan seared chicken breast ($18.99). It was the best chicken I’ve had in years. The skin was crispy but not crunchy. The large piece of meat, which included a leg, was tender, lean, and moist. It was served atop spinach and a white bean ragout. The portion seemed large when presented but was appropriate. A very fresh and healthy meal. My only small complaint was that it was a bit white wine-heavy.

My companion had the sausage and peppers with polenta ($12.99). I am not a polenta fan so I am not qualified to judge it. The sausage, though, was excellent.

When we went, there were only a few other diners. I don’t know how well the chef can handle a full house by himself. All in all, though, this is an excellent restaurant that just happens to be in a car dealership.

From the bistro, you can barely make out one of the cars in the showroom. But throughout our meal, we could hear the rumbling of V12s in the parking lot. I’m not a big fan of modern Ferraris (anything from the last two decades), so I didn’t check out the showroom after the meal.

Next stop: The Horseless Carriage at the Galpin dealership in L.A., which I will visit after The Best of France And Italy this Sunday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Origin of Lamborghini Espada

Jaguar Pirana
Lamborghini Espada

Extreme Origami By Robert Lang

Irish elk

With crease patterns.

Minichamps Heidfeld 1/43 Collection (Williams and McLaren)

After collecting all of Nick Heidfeld's BMWs, the discriminating collector should move on to these two bad boys. First, we have the 2005 Williams BMW FW27. Nick's only pole position of his career was in this car at the Nurburgring for the European GP.

Then, we have the 1998 McLaren MP4/13. As the test driver, Heidfeld set the record at Goodwood in 1999. Mika Hakkinen and McLaren won the driver's and constructor's title in this car.

James May's Car Collection

I have been on a bit of a James May kick recently. I am watching Oz and May Drink to Britain on Youtube and I just finished reading May On Motors. May On Motors is essentially a series of reprints of his newspaper and magazine columns. I'll save you the time and trouble and just say that he is far more entertaining on TV than in print. But what I did learn in the book is his growing car collection. Without further ado, here it is:

1. 1980 Bentley T2. I talked about his T2, which he bought for 14,000 pounds, here.

2. Range Rover Classic Vogue SE. Needing something more utilitarian, May bought a silver Vogue with a grey interior for 4,100 pounds. Richard Hammond bought the exact same vehicle in a bet to see who could buy the better example for 4,000 pounds. Hammond won and got a 25 pound curry meal at Light of Nepal from May.

3. 1985 Porsche Carrera 3.2. James next wanted a proper sports car and so got this. He opines that this is the apex of the original 911. His is silver with blue seats and has no spoiler or body kit. It stickered for 16,995 at a Porsche purveyor and he knocked it down by 1,250 pounds.

4. 1976 Jaguar XJ-6 Coupe 4.2. He briefly mentions the Jag, which is apparently mustard in color. He had to sell it to make room for his new Porsche Boxster S (car number five), which May claims is the first new car he has ever purchased.

6. Mini 1275 Special. Not much is known about this car, other than the fact that he bought it on Ebay after having a pint too many. It's got a checkered roof and spotlights on the grill.

7. 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Fixed Head with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nick Heidfeld's Steering Wheel

The F1.09 has failed Nick Heidfeld. Aside from a lucky second in Sepang, the car has let Nick down. With one race left for the season and his future still uncertain, let's look at his steering wheel. The car is in serious need of an iDrive knob.

1. Race control information display
2. Shift lights
3. Multi-purpose display, e.g. gear indicator
4. Neutral
5. Activate front wing
6. Multi-purpose button
7. KERS boost button
8. Pre-settings down
9. Pre-settings up
10. Acknowledge
11. Pit lane limiter
12. Brake balance
13. Radio
14. Pit stop
15. Safety car
16. Drink
17. Problem marker button
18. Differential
19. Differential
20. Differential
21. Info to pit crew
22. Selector
23. Tire adaption
24. Wing
25. Pedal
26. Fuel
27. Upshift
28. Downshift
29. Clutch

Credit: BMW F1 Blog

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Behind the Scenes Look at 2009 F1 Brazil GP

This lucky guy got to hang out at the BMW garage. The first video is of the Heikki-Kimi fire and the second is of Kubica and Heidfeld pulling out of the garage.

5 Chilean Concentration Camps (Campos de Concentracion En Chile)

Today, we learned from Human Rights Watch that at least 43 Uyghur men and boys have been disappeared by the Chinese government. Though some of them may be guilty of serious crimes, they are all certainly entitled to due process and legal protections.

In the 1970s, after the democratically elected Chilean president Salvador Allende was toppled in a right-wing military coup, Pinochet, Contreras, and DINA set up a number of concentration camps throughout the country. Thousands of Chileans were tortured and killed. Here are five of these camps. You can find out more at Derechos Chile.

1. Pisagua. This prison between Arica and Iquique in the north hugged the desolate Pacific coastline.
2. Colonia Dignidad. The most disturbing. This farming community was founded by German immigrants in 1961. The leader of these Germans, Paul Schaefer, fled to Chile to evade child molestation charges at home. Rumors of disgusting things were coming out of the colony for years before the place was turned into a detention camp by the government.

3. Isla Quiriquina. The tiny island housed a naval training school which in turn held some of the disappeared. This video shows a recent graduation ceremony of females cadets. One wonders if the same atrocities would have happened had some of the intelligence officers and military personnel at the detention camps been women.

4. Chacabuco. This is the trailer for a documentary about the nitrate mining town in the middle of the Atacama Desert that was converted into a concentration camp.

5. Dawson Island. This remote speck in Patagonia was literally at the end of the world. The only footage I was able to find was of these mountaineers. The island in the background is Dawson.

So Is Heidfeld Going to McLaren Or Not?

Which German Will End Up At McLaren-Mercedes?

There was a blurb today on about Heidfeld possibly going to McLaren. I will repost it below in bold. My commentary will be in italics.

Nick Heidfeld was the forgotten man of the 2010 silly-season, but he could be in the running for a coveted seat at McLaren or Renault.

The Abendzeitung newspaper reports that, with Lewis Hamilton pushing hard against the prospect of sharing a team with Nico Rosberg or Kimi Raikkonen next year, Germany's 32-year-old Heidfeld has emerged as a candidate.

See. I was right about Hamilton not wanting to share any of the attention. We saw what happened to Alonso and something very similar can happen again with a "star" like Kimi or Nico. What McLaren needs is a low-profile guy who can rack up the points for the constructors title. That perfect number two is Heidfeld.

"He is the most under rated driver in Formula One," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, likely to part with Hamilton's current teammate Heikki Kovalainen at the end of the season, is quoted as saying.

And Mercedes' Norbert Haug adds: "He (Heidfeld) brings over ten years of consistently strong performances."

See. I've said repeatedly that Heidfeld is the most underrated driver in F1, despite outperforming his "better" teammates consistently. All I got were snickers.

Germany's Bild newspaper said Heidfeld, who debuted for Prost in 2000 and also raced with Sauber, Jordan, Williams and BMW although never winning a race, is also in the running for the Renault seat currently occupied by Romain Grosjean.

Although I have to wonder why McLaren and Mercedes would want to praise Nick if they are indeed negotiating a contract with him right now. Wouldn't these accolades just push Nick to demand a higher salary? That wouldn't be smart. I just hope this isn't all a ploy on McLaren's part to get Kimi back to the bargaining table. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nissan Z Car Ad Looks Suspiciously Like Porsche Spoiler Evolution Pic

Restaurant In A Car Dealership Food Review (Part 1): Bistro 33/Mercedes/Rocklin

Bistro 33
Address: 4747 Granite Drive, Rocklin

So the gimmick is an eatery in a car dealership. I had to check it out.

Bistro 33 is a trendy micro-franchise of eateries in the Sacramento metro area. It recently opened up a restaurant inside the Mercedes dealership in Rocklin, which is just a few blocks from the Rocklin Road exit on Interstate 80.

Upon entering at noon, I was pleasantly surprised at how packed the place was. Truth be told, when I read about the concept, I thought the idea was doomed. But I was wrong, perhaps. I was seated at the last open table. The decor can best be described as upscale IKEA, very Northern European, simple, clean. The staff was efficient and neither friendly nor unfriendly.

As for the food-- I want to preface this review by saying that just by the mere fact that I am being very nitpicky about the food says a lot about the place. The food is good enough that I am actually comparing it to serious restaurants. So there you go.

The sweet potato fries ($5.95) were seasoned, cut, and fried perfectly. The three dipping sauces were truffle mayo (tasted like regular mayo), peach ketchup (tasted like Domino's pizza dipping sauce), and bleu cheese dressing (exactly as described).

I was eager to try the tasting sized clam chowder ($1.95). It's soup served in an espresso cup. The ingredients and presentation were excellent, but the chowder was barely lukewarm.

I had the meatloaf ($16.95) as my main course. It came with cayenne aioli on top, which didn't taste like anything but left my palate with a spicy sensation five minutes after completing my meal. It came with a side of mashed taters and a few spears of asparagus. All of the ingredients were fresh.

The meatloaf itself and the dark brown sauce which hugged the circumference of the plate were interesting, to say the least. The loaf was made of ground lamb and pork sausage. The outside was a bit burnt and the inside was soggy with an almost eggy consistency. The ponzu-like sauce smelled like Japanese curry and was uber-rich. Tiny specks of spices can be seen in the shallow pool of sauce. One taste and I knew that I was going to be thirsty for the rest of the day.

Overall, the meal was between average and decent. I think the place is worth going to if you are on your way to Reno or Sacramento.

You really don't get that great of a view of the showroom while sitting in the dining area. I did get lured into the showroom after the meal. My observations: the new E class's taillights look like those from the Mitsubishi Galant. And, the CLS really has no rear headroom, but it remains the best looking Merc sedan of the last 15 to 20 years.

At the end of the meal, I got a 2 for 1 coupon to revisit the restaurant. That may explain why the restaurant was full and why there were so many even-numbered parties.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

5 King Kamehameha Statues

1. Kapa'au, Big Island. This is my favorite. It is near the King's birthplace. This was supposed to stand in front of Iolani Palace but was lost off of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) while in transit. By the time this statue was recovered, its replacement was already on Oahu. So this one ended up in the North Kohala district of the Big Island.

2. Honolulu, Oahu. This is the most iconic Kamehameha statue and is the replacement of the statue just discussed above.

3. Washington, DC. This one is in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. The other statue representing the State of Hawaii is that of Father Damien.

4. Hilo, Big Island. This one has an interesting background as well. It was supposed to grace the Princeville Resort on Kauai. But because Kamehameha never took over Kauai, the locals wanted nothing to do with it. So it was donated to Hilo.

5. Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Maui. I want to check this one out. It is supposed to be the most accurate representation of the King.

What Are the 50 Porsche Models In the Panamera Family Tree Ad?

Yesterday, I posted the new Panamera ad. What far eclipsed the new four door sports car is the collection of classic race and road cars that accompanied it. 49 other cars to be exact. I've done my best to identify them, but there are a number of 356s, 911s, and some odd ducks that have me scratching my head. What I can say for sure is that there were no 924s, 944s, or 968s.

If you think I've made an error or want to add one to the list, please let me know. Thanks.

Road cars:
0. Panamera 4S
1. 959 (red)
2. 928 GT (champagne)
3. Carrera GT (silver)
4. 911 GT3 RS (orange)
5. Cayenne (black, trim level unknown)
6. 993 (blue)
7. 997 Turbo (white)
8. Boxster S (yellow)
9. Cayman S (silver)
10. 914 (white)
11. 1964 911 2.0 (charcoal)
12. 911 Speedster (white)
13. 1949 Gmund coupe (silver)
14. 906 (baby blue)
15. GT3 RS (lime green)

Race cars:
16. #20 Steve McQueen Gulf 917 (owned by J. Seinfeld)
17. 550 Spyder (blue) (Reims 12-Hour winner)
18. #59 Brumos Porsche 935
19. #14 Lowenbrau 962 (1986 Daytona winner)
20. #12 908/03 Spyder
21. #7 RS Spyder
22. #9 Martini Racing 911 RSR Turbo 2.1
23. #6 917/30 Can Am Spyder
24. #25 Mobil 1 GT1
25. #36 907
26. #19 718
27. #45 GT3 RSR (silver and red)
28. #59 Brumos Porsche 911 (1972, blood orange)
29. #59 Brumos Porsche 917/10
30. #59 Brumos Porsche Daytona Prototype

Don't forget to watch/record IFC's infomercial-documentary Welcome to the Family this Sunday night.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Porsche Panamera Ad (Family Tree) And Making of Video

The collection assembled is stunning. I'll have to research the inventory over the weekend. (Update: I've identified 31 so far...)

Family tree ad (30 seconds):

Family tree ad (60 seconds):

The "making of" video:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yas Marina Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Lap Video

The only interesting feature of this new circuit is the pit exit.

Also, the Arabian Peninsula gets two GPs and the entire western hemisphere gets none? What a crock.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photos of Pollution In China

The New York Times has a series of pictures by Lu Guang. They dramatically show pollution in China and its effect on her people.

Cancer victims from one village

Reviewing Restaurants In Car Dealerships

Check back in the next couple of weeks as I will be reviewing and comparing three restaurants in car dealerships:

Bistro 33 of Rocklin (Mercedes)-- Review here
The Horseless Carriage in North Hills (Ford)-- Review here
Bistro F-1 of Redwood City (Ferrari, Maserati)-- Review here

Heidfeld Would Make Perfect No. 2 @ McLaren

If Heidfeld goes to McLaren, he'll rarely challenge Hamilton for 1st place at races (or for attention). But he is fast enough and experienced enough to consistently rack up points and podium finishes for the all-important constructor's title. So hire him already, McLaren. Here he is in 1999 setting the still-standing record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Update 1: This report is music to my ears.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Heidfeld Versus Kimi, Massa, Villeneuve, And Kubica

Planet F1 had a nice post about how, among other things, Heidfeld and McLaren would be a good fit. I continue to assert that Heidfeld is extremely underrated and is just as capable as Robert Kubica. So Kubica is going to Renault, why shouldn't Heidfeld go to McLaren?

Here I compare Heidfeld's qualifying and race results with his past teammates:

2001: Heidfeld versus Kimi

Heidfeld: 10
Kimi: 7

Race finish
Heidfeld: 8
Kimi: 6

2002: Heidfeld versus Massa

Heidfeld: 10
Massa: 5

Race finish
Heidfeld: 8
Massa: 4

2006: Heidfeld versus Villeneuve

Heidfeld: 5
Villeneuve: 7

Race finish
Heidfeld: 7
Villeneuve: 3

2006-09: Heidfeld versus Kubica

Heidfeld: 22
Kubica: 26

Race finish
Heidfeld: 25
Kubica: 23