Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Uzbeks in Yakutsk, Siberia

Wherever there is a need for cheap labor, foreigners will illegally migrate to work.  BBC Uzbek (!) explores migrants in the remote and cold city of Yakutsk (the beginning of the Road of Bones to Magadan in Long Way Round).  And check out the grey market RHD taxi from Japan.

More BBC Uzbek videos here.

Unibrows are huge in Tajikistan

Article here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

F1 fashion interview (plus bonus tips for slobs like us)

This blog is definitely lacking in the femininity department.  Well, that will change, for today only.

I happened upon The Pit Walk while doing a Twitter search on Heidfeld.  It's an insightful and funny (without being snarky) look at Formula One fashion.  Here are some questions I had for its author, pinknyanko.

1. Tell us a little bit about your background in fashion.

I first became interested in fashion through editorial makeup looks and fashion photography.  To learn more, I took courses in fashion merchandising and fashion design.  Recently I made my first foray into designing menswear and it was quite a learning experience for me. Currently I am designing a capsule collection and hope to showcase the work in an informal show in 2011. 

2. How did you become a Formula One fan?

Truthfully, I have little interest in most sports and I would not have discovered Formula One on my own, especially living in the States.  nekoball was the one who introduced me to motorsports such as drifting, Formula Drift... and of course Formula One!  There's just something about motorsports that appeals to me, I'm not quite sure what it is really. Perhaps it can be likened to some type of addiction. The more I watched F1, the more I got into it... I even made my blog and a twitter account!

3. Who are the best and worst dressed current drivers?  Why?

It is difficult to pick the best dressed driver because of the sponsored wardrobes.  However my vote for 2010 at least goes to Timo Glock.  Glock's casual wear is not really special, but I enjoy them for some reason.  I also enjoy his looks in more formal occasions (e.g. Zurich Film Festival) because of his use of color.  Overall Glock's clothes seem to reflect his personality somehow... all without trying too hard.

The worst dressed driver is the King of F1, Michael Schumacher.  Not only does Schumacher have a strong history of interesting cowboy outfits, but he has consistently shown the world his questionable taste throughout the 2010 season.  However, he has made great improvements and the current Schumacher does dress better than the Schumacher of the past.

4. Who is the most vain current driver?  Why?

This is a tough one. However, Nico Rosberg is my pick for most vain driver.  Although Rosberg has cut his hair, he seems to fuss over his hair quite a lot. And of course... it is impossible to forget about his "sexily" unbuttoned shirts. ;)

5. Do most drivers have stylists?

Sometimes I wish they did, maybe I could get a job! ;)

Seriously though, F1 is such a commercial sport. I am positive that the teams are aware of the image they wish to project.  I would not be surprised if drivers are told to look a certain way at corporate events and required to wear the sponsored clothing brands by image consultants or corporate PR people. (cough..McLaren..cough...Hugo Boss cough.. Puma) 

As a result, I think most drivers do not have personal stylists beyond wives/girlfriends just go for comfort, especially when they are at the track.  

6. How do you feel about the concept of grid girls?  Is it sexist?

Interesting question. Personally I do not think anything of grid girls/race queens.  To me, they are nothing more than a very specific type of model. They must look a certain way, they are constantly stared at, they bring "glamour" to motorsport, and they are compensated for it. 

But why do grid girls bring glamour to the sport? Is it because those involved in motorsports are mainly men?  What about the fans... are they mostly men?  Of course not.

7. Who designs the outfits for the grid girls?

People who obviously don't wear the uniforms and have no sympathy for the girls. =X 

(Disclaimer: Australia's uniform was designed by Kit Willow and whether you like the design or not...she did give it a lot of thought!)

8. Where can I find a Nick Heidfeld man purse in the States?

Anywhere! There is a NHMP for every budget, you are only limited by the amount of cash (plastic or otherwise) in your wallet. For the "worn" NHMP, I suggest second hand shops.  Those who prefer brand name items might consider looking in a high end department store.  For the ladies who like designer handbags would like a NHMP of their own, I suggest the Proenza Schouler PS1 bag.  However, crossbody messengers are currently a hot item and many cheaper alternatives are available!

9. What is the most common fashion faux pas for American men between ages 25 to 45?

It's hard for me to generalize "American" men's fashion because certain geographic areas each have their own look. However, my biggest pet peeves are:
1. Overall ill fitting clothes. Perhaps it is due to the obsesity rate in America. For some reason, Americans like to be "comfortable" and this has translated into the cursed "comfort fit" for many clothing brands. (Even American car seats are larger... isn't that sad?)
2. Although I realize this is a style of dress, I despise baggy-ghetto-fabulous-gangsta look. No one needs to wear clothes that are three (or more) sizes too large. It only makes you look fat, not cool.
3. Wearing flip flops everywhere. Asides from the beach, shared showers, and the pool, flip flops are rarely an acceptable type of footwear. Perhaps this is more of a California/west coast thing though. I hope so?
4. General sloppiness. There are exceptions of course, but America for the most part is a pretty casual place and tolerant of looking like a slob (see People of Walmart for prime examples). Or perhaps it could be said that Americans are less appearance oriented (as compared to say Asia)?
5. Fear of looking "gay." I hesitate to write this one because it is a sensitive subject for many. However, I do find that many American men are afraid to try many things because they do not want to look "gay." 

10. What is the most common fashion faux pas for Western European men between ages 25 to 45?

Again, it is hard to generalize because different countries and cities will have different styles.  While I do follow European street style blogs, there is always the matter of bias. The people that run those blogs will obviously blog about what they like... and it is very clear what their personal aesthetic is! I have also only been to Europe twice... so I am by no means an authority on the fashion there.

With those caveats, I do think that sometimes there is a bit too much going on for men that are highly inspired by the 1980s (too much color... or too much print).  I am a lover of color and prints, but remember that sometimes the very extreme make it on those style blogs. I don't think the average man would dress in such a manner, but less is enough.


There isn't really anything I highly dislike about European fashion (with the exception of total 1980s throwbacks and drop crotch pants...) but then again, I don't live there! :)  

Kazakhstan's atomic nuclear lake

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Police Squad intro (Leslie Nielsen RIP)

I remember an interview he did where he reminisced about growing up in remote Saskatchewan (his dad was a Mountie).  His brother cut his face pretty badly near his mouth and a doctor was hours away, so they sewed his face up at home with a fish hook.  Hard core!

This guy was my favorite comedian as a kid.  When I spent summers in Japan, this (fortunately) was the only English language show available at the video rental store.  Ah, the memories.


Carspotting: 2011 Alpina B7

Maybe our German readers can help me with this one.  It's a new B7 parked in California.  It has a BMW of Beverly Hills registration sticker on the windshield, but German plates.  Did this get here through BMW's European delivery program?  Is that license plate a legitimate (and recent) plate from Germany?

Here is an excellent article about the new B7.

Great Sunday read

This may be the most entertaining newspaper article ever.  The antagonist is unbelievable, except he's real.  It's a long read, but I just saved you the price of a book magazine.

Read it here.

Italian restaurant in North Korea

  • Any idea what the patrons are drinking out of those mugs?
  • That kitchen is soulless.  No amore there.
  • Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 FTW!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rocky IV Lamborghini Jalpa

Versus had a Rocky movie marathon on Thanksgiving.  IV is definitely the best.

Jalpa specs:
Years built: 1981-88
Cars made: 410 (How did Lamborghini stay in business?)
Styling: Bertone
Weight: 1,510 kg / 3,329 lb
Weight distribution: 44 front / 56 rear
Engine: 3,485 cc V8
Horsepower: 255 at 7,000 rpm
Torque: 231 ft-lbs at 3,500 rpm
Top speed: 146 mph
0 - 100 km/h: 6.0 sec
Quarter mile: 15.4 seconds at 92 mph
Price: $58,000

And this is the best line from Rocky IV:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cruz del Sur bus from Lima to Tacna, Peru

Eat your heart out, Greyhound.  The highest end buses are either Scania or Volvo 8x2 double deckers.  The 18 hour trip costs approximately 51 USD.

Among the amenities:

  • 12 seats downstairs, 27 upstairs.
  • Seats recline 160 degrees.
  • GPS monitor (just like airliners).
  • 3 meals a day.
  • 2 restrooms.
  • Bingo games.


Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mercedes W140 S600 600SEL V12 review

I ran into these pictures of this atrocious car this morning.  That's California's outgoing governor in it.

Holy kit cars, batman.  Are those VW Beetle taillights?

Judging by that car, Arnold's taste in cars is on par with his ability to balance this state's budget.  He must have cooler cars than that.  He does.  Here is his W140 V12 in the Mercedes museum in Germany.


Here is a young Jeremy Clarkson reviewing the car with Chris Isaak providing background music.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Separated at Birth: Cold War edition

In the 1980s, did anyone else think Mexican President Salinas and Gorbachev translator Pavel Palazhchenko were the same person?

El presidente

The translator

Russian car chase

From the 1974 movie Unbelievable Adventures of Italians In Russia.  (Thanks, Tarlan, for the tip.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Longest Yard (1974) car chase Burt Reynolds Citroen SM video

A Citroen was hurt in the making of this movie.

Meeting Richard "Jaws" Kiel

Richard Kiels, best known as the henchman in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, signed autographs yesterday at a local toy fair.  I was apprehensive about going.  There's no question that I am a huge fan, but I am always wary of obsessed fans who see their favorite movie stars as one-dimensional caricatures.  I wondered if Kiel is sick and tired of being recognized as Jaws, and nothing more.

When I first see Kiel, 20 feet away from me, I am star-struck and freeze mid-step.  That's the guy!  I get the nerves to approach him and shake his hand.  I thought that his hand was going to be so big, I would only be able to shake his index finger.  But I find out that his hand is large, but not humungous.  I tell him what a huge fan I am as I look at the various photos laid out on the table in front of him that are available for autographs.  I choose one with him picking up a huge rock, from the Egyptian desert scene from The Spy and a black and white profile shot of him.

I'm not Stephen.

Mr. Kiel was kind and energetic.  Though his scooter was parked next to him, the 70 year old seemed well and fit.  I asked for a photo with him.  He usually poses with his hands around the other person's head, as he if he was going to crush it.  He tried that with me, but I asked him to just pose with me in a normal fashion.

Before I left, I asked him what other movie or TV show role he recommended that I watch.  He recommended The Longest Yard (1974).  The black and white profile shot I bought was taken on the set of The Longest Yard by his co-star, Burt Reynolds.

I went home and watched it.  It is a darn great movie.  It starts with a car chase involving a Citroen SM and Kiel has a number of good lines.  It looked like everyone had a lot of fun filming the movie.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Aeroflot Tu-134 landing on street

Via Stipistop, of course.

Hot Wheels VW SP2 and Tyrrell P34 six-wheeled F1 car

Was at Target yesterday and found these.  At $0.97 each, I had to get them.  These have to be the most obscure real cars in Hot Wheels' current line-up.  My question is: Hot Wheels cars were selling for $0.99 30 years ago.  How can they be even cheaper now?

Hasbro Amaze-A-Matics

Just came back from meeting Richard "Jaws" Kiel at a vintage toy show.  This was the coolest toy there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Attempted coup in Madagascar

Two observations:
1. Check out the Renault 16 at 0:38.
2. Seafaring Polynesians originated from Taiwan and traveled all the way to Easter Island to the east and Madagascar to the west.

Soviet history for children, Lego-style

Lunokhod: 40 year old Soviet lunar rover

Friday, November 19, 2010

Luxury car Christmas sale euphemisms

I understand that luxury car makers don't want to offend non-Christian customers and they don't want to cheapen their brand by advertising "sales", but these euphemisms are ridiculous.

BMW "The BMW Joy Sales Event"

Mercedes "The 2010 Winter Event"

Audi "The Season of Audi Event"

Infiniti "Infiniti Limited Engagement Winter Event"

Lexus "The December to Remember Sales Event"

It's Friday!

Click here for The Cure's video about Fridays.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

California DMV banner car

Why does the Department of Motor Vehicle's website banner have a Volvo C30?

U.S. Out of Grenada bumper sticker

Saw this today at Urban Ore.

It reminded me of this sticker from one of Murilee Martin's posts.

Nuclear powered Cold War bombers

If you enjoy Hooniverse, you will probably like Atomic Toasters.  It's brought to you by the same crew, and it's about classic pieces of technology.  Today, they have stories about Soviet nuclear powered bombers and American nuclear powered bombers.  Prepare to drop your jaws.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cal Stanfurd Big Game The Play

The greatest play in the history of mankind.

California Dreamin' movie trailer

A train full of U.S. Marines carrying radar equipment to Kosovo gets stuck in a remote village in Romania.  Subtle hilarity ensues.  It's a bit long (2 1/2 hours) but it's well worth it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

007 Villain Swatch watch collection

Collect all 22!  Here are some of the highlights and lowlights.  They came out a couple of years ago.

See all of them here.

Richard "Jaws" Kiel ads

1980s Shredded Wheat ad:

2007 real estate informercial:

Psst, don't mention Craigslist to his customers.

James Bond watch

This was 007's watch in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).  Imagine what would happen if this is how modern day teens text messaged.  The world would run out of tin within two days.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mercedes W111 / 560SEC engine swap

Here is an insane engine swap project featured in the German car site Chromjuwelen.

Using Babefish, I was about to gather that:

  • They started with a 1965 Mercedes W111 and a 1989 W126 560SEC.
  • The project took 1,000 man hours.
  • Donor parts from a 300SEL 6.3: Rear axle, front brakes.

Complete photo gallery here.

Acetazolamide Diamox altitude sickness medication

Picked up the altitude sickness medication today.  Without it, I become quite miserable.

In 2004, I went up to Karakul Lake in Xinjiang, along the Karakoram Highway.  It was about 3,600 meters (11,811 feet) above sea level.  That was as high as I had ever been.  Despite the spectacular scenery and setting, I couldn't fully enjoy it.  I suffered shortness of breath; a constant, pounding headache; and difficulty concentrating.  Here are some pics I took:

Shadows at Karakul Lake

Mother and calf

Lots of sheep

I learned my lesson and took Acetazolamide next time.  These shots were taken at the Mauna Loa observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2007.  It's 3,397 meters (11,141 feet) above sea level.  Aside from a few extra trips to the loo, I was fine.  Pics from my trip:

Shadow at summit

Above the clouds

My next high-altitude destination will be Chungara Lake in Chile's Lauca National Park.  4,517 meters (14,820 feet).  Takes my breath away.  

Here is a Wikipedia picture of the lake and Parinacota Volcano in the background.