Friday, July 31, 2020

Lexus LY 650 yacht


I'm on a boat!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Ethnic Russians in China

A small number of Russians have been living in China for centuries. It's a trip to see a babushka speak Chinese with the same Northern accent as my grandmother.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Monday, July 27, 2020

Walking Yokohama Chinatown

Well, the book I'm reading is pretty good. I have not completed a book since 2019 and I think I will be able to finish this one by the end of this week.

I emailed the author and he was able to get me some information about my dad's side of the family. Immediately after World War II, the U.S. had the Japanese take a census of every Chinese national in Kanagawa Prefecture. It showed my grandfather, who was born in 1896, my grandmother, who was 18 years younger than him, and my dad's three older siblings. It listed my grandfather as a clothing merchant.

Here is a walk though of Chinatown. You won't believe how many restaurants they packed in such a tiny footprint. Our family restaurant is at the 17:34 mark. It's on the left side with the green signs. My cousin's parking space is next to that three-wheeled scooter.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A peek inside Dagestan

What a beautiful and miserable place.

Friday, July 24, 2020

A one-day vacation

After four months of sheltering in place, we needed a mental health break. So we went to Sutter Creek in the Sierra foothills.

This was a gold mining town with a lot of old (for California) buildings. Virtually everything was closed. There was just one restaurant open. All of the wine tasting rooms were closed. We just walked up and down the main street. When we were walking up the street, I saw this 911. When we were walking down the street, I noticed the first generation Equus across the street.

This is definitely a different place from home. A teenaged girl walked past us with a red MAGA hat. An antique store had this poster on the front window. The poster was created and distributed by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Really. The antique store also had a picture of Bill Clinton wearing a dress and the Obamas wearing Trump shirts. Klassy.

We stayed at the Foxes Bed & Breakfast. We have been going there regularly since the early 2000s. Currently, they rent out four out of the seven rooms at a time and they always keep a room unoccupied for at least 24 hours before renting it out to new guests.

I wanted to buy wine and my only option was a nearby gas station.

I usually ask for this specific room (Fox's Den) because they have a stack of old National Geographic magazines. I ended up reading two newspapers, two Economists, and two Road & Tracks. It's amazing how much I can get done without kids around.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Sunday, July 19, 2020

July 19 blog

First up, I bought a book about the history of Yokohama Chinatown. I've been communicating with the author and I hope to learn more about my father's side of the family. Like, why the heck did my grandparents move to Japan in the 1930s?!

Next, I've seen this custom Cadillac Eldorado convertible around town. Yesterday, I was able to finally take a picture of it. It looks good!

And speaking of 25 year old luxury coupes, I really like the Lexus SC300/400. Jalopnik's Raph Orlove has a fun video about it:

And finally, I cannot stop watching Bald and Bankrupt on YouTube. Here, he visited the capital of Moldova and the breakaway republic of Transnistria. They look depressing and fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Great Depression Cooking

My step-dad, who was born in 1925 and grew up dirt poor in Ohio, made something very similar to this when I was growing up. But instead of hot dogs, he used eggs.

Quarantine barber robot

It has been six months since my last haircut. It appears California is going to change its law and allow professional barbers to cut outdoors. We'll see.

Back in 2008, I got a haircut in Guatemala. These are the questions my barber asked me:
  1. Where is Wall Street?
  2. What is a 7-Eleven? (It was mentioned in a popular song in Guatemala.)
  3. Why are Americans called "Yanquis"?
  4. If Northerners are called Yankees, what are Southerners called?
  5. Were North Carolina and South Carolina divided because of the Civil War?
  6. How many people live in the U.S.?
  7. Which Chinatown is always shown in the movies?
  8. Are the barbers in the U.S. all Latinos?
  9. Did you vote for John McCain?
  10. Where is Spain in relation to the U.S. geographically?

Guy travels throughout Belarus to try six beers in three days

What can I say? Right up my alley.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Icelandic lighthouse

More info here.

July 16 blog

On July 3, I had a minor sore throat. So I tried to get a Covid-19 test. I couldn't book it online. I couldn't book it by phone. Frustrated, I just went to a drive-through testing location at a random parking lot. They would not test me without a reservation. I pleaded and they made an exception.

Today, THIRTEEN DAYS LATER, I got my result back. I don't have coronavirus. America is so screwed.

I went to Berkeley today to pick up some food and parked next to this GM house. There's a GMC Caballero, a Chevy conversion van, and a Corvette.

And this Honda caught my eye. I think the guy also has a BMW.

I really want to do this drive along Cape Mendocino (westernmost point in the Lower 48) by the end of this month.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

July 15 blog

At this point, I would rather live in Turkmenistan than America.

How about an Aston Rapide shooting brake?

This song was on the 90s XM station in the minivan tonight. I have not heard this song in a quarter century.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Bowlus Road Chief

I have a lot of thoughts about this aluminum camping trailer. I learned about it in this cool article about a road trip in a couple of Tatras. One of the participants and his daughter started this company to sell these very expensive ($200,000+) trailers. I can certainly see why a Tatra lover would dig this 1930s design. The original Bowlus inspired Airstream trailers. But who is buying these expensive (and cramped) toys?

I did a quick Google search and learned that my TSX wagon only has a towing capacity of 1,000 pounds. WEAK!

Company website here.

July 13 blog

A few things to report this Monday.

First, I saw this Saturn in front of the bank. The clearcoat is a goner. But the wheels look new.

And look what I found at the drug store. I had to get it. My mom had a yellow five-door version of this Civic in Taiwan. I still remember the license plate number: 11-9129.

And about that Cars and Coffee from last weekend. I saw Mike Musto, his beard, and his Dodge.

I thought I saw Jason Cammisa's Ferrari 308 GT4 at the show, but his wasn't black. @slirt later showed me this post. Cammisa brought his VW Cabrio instead. And he described the show as one of the best. It will be interesting to see if this Cars & Coffee gets more popular. I think it was well attended just because there has not been a car meet anywhere in four months.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

July 12 blog

I took the boy to a Cars & Coffee today!

This Bentley Turbo R was my favorite car at the show. Look at everyone with their masks.

The original chrome wheels have been resprayed(?). They look much better now, even contemporary.

The boy likes El Caminos and copying me. So he grabbed my phone and took pictures of a red El Camino.

That Italian number I saw parked in front of Panda Express yesterday made it to the show.

And finally, a fantastic Suzuki Sidekick with a body kit. Much more interesting than the McLarens that showed up.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Cook and messman on a cargo ship

I'm researching life on a cargo ship and watched these interviews of two integral crew members. What a tough life.

July 11 blog

Trouble in paradise. Since the Shelter In Place in March, more and more wild animals have been spotted in residential areas. Last week, I saw this coyote during my dawn run. Yesterday, in broad daylight, a coyote (possible the same one) bit a toddler in the leg at a nearby park. This morning, these signs were everywhere.

Three unique cars were spotted during my grocery run. First up is this International truck convertible. I might have told this story before but a college friend had one, in white. He got it from his Alaskan uncle. For the long drives up there, his uncle outfitted a 50-gallon auxiliary tank. I once had a pilonidal cyst (literally a pain in the ass) in college. At that time, it was the worst pain in my life (my recent kidney stone was worse). My buddy drove me to the emergency room in his International!

Next up is this relatively mundane ML63. But think about it. You've seen plenty of ML55s. You've seen GL-whatever-MLs-are-called-now 63s. But an "ML63"? How many of these were sold?

And look at this Italian number I spotted parked in front of Panda Express.

Going back to yesterday, I broke my Twitter vow of silence and posted the Saab 9-4X. It was a popular tweet!

So after that tweet, I started obsessing over the 9-4X and the 9-7X. The 9-4X's interior was incredible. The 9-7X's interior was...GM. I can't believe the Aero version had a 6.0 liter LS2 in it.

Remember SaabKyle04?

A few more random thoughts. First, it's the 25th anniversary of Srebrenica. There was only one point in my life when I wanted to take up arms and fight. It was in the early 1990s when I saw on TV what was happening to those poor Bosnian Muslims.

I meant to post this earlier, but Public Enemy (with a reunited Flavor Flav) had an updated song at the BET Awards show.

Finally, I learned yesterday that Cape Mendocino along California's Lost Coast is the westernmost point in the Lower 48. Here is a Huell Howser episode about the lighthouse there.

Toronto bus ad

Friday, July 10, 2020

July 10 blog

Lots of cool cars spotted, and more!

Last night, my wife had a craving for Rainbow Sherbet ice cream, so I schlepped to the local Safeway. I found these Spam patties and fries in the freezer section. What?! Has anyone tried these?

During the morning commute, I followed this Integra sedan. It's clean, sure. But I took this picture because the plastic bumper cover has no blemishes. Has this person ever street parked this car in the last quarter century?

When I picked up dinner for the family at the Vietnamese place near my office, this rare Saab 9-4X with a dealer plate was parked outside. Outstanding!

Finally, on the way to the freeway, in front of the Alfa Romeo dealership, was this 1991 Gelandewagen for sale.

Finally finally, Mike Schlee has a new car blog that really resonated with me. Mike was a long time writer for AutoGuide. He's now with Subaru corporate. Recently, he started his own blog and has been posting regularly. It's like a throwback to fifteen years ago when so many of us started our own little personal car blogs. I encourage you to check it out.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

July 9 blog

Day 2 of not having the Twitter app on my phone.

First up, my son wanted me to show my friends what he can do with his Big Wheel.

Second, I'm daydreaming about my next trip. The one place I really want to visit in California is the Lost Coast. It's about 100 miles of wilderness north of San Francisco. When I was in college, I belonged to a group called Bay Area Friends of Sinkyone. It advocated for the native Sinkyone people of the Lost Coast, who were threatened by loggers. I have never been and it looks beautiful.

This is a great write up that I found.

And finally, this travel vlogger. I meant to post this Bolivia clip back in May. But then life got in the way. It's about a crazy Brit doing wild and dangerous things in sketchy parts of the world. Here he was, trying to get mugged in a bad neighborhood.

Well, I went back on his channel and guess what. He went to Serbia, caught Covid-19, and almost died. His description of his ordeal is terrifying.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

July 8 blog

With all the craziness happening in this world, I am taking a break from Twitter. So I will blog about what I usually tweet.

First up, I came across this Aston Martin DBS Superlegerra convertible in my office parking garage. At over $307,820, this has to be the most expensive car ever parked in the garage. This is an ultra rare spot, right?!

Next, I happened upon a Norwegian island in the South Atlantic. Because of Bouvet Island's location, it is not subject to the international rules governing Antarctic territories.

Finally, the local library finally opened for curbside service and the boy got this book. Chevy Lumina police car!

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Chrysler 700C concept van

Thanks to Ramon, I learned that my Voyager/Pacifica was partially based on the 700C concept.

Here's a story. I've only been to one car launch-- the 2014 Toyota Corolla in San Diego. My driving partner was Bengt Halvorson. He was such a pro. I watched him drive the Corolla, take a bunch of mental notes, finish his story from his last car launch, and get ready to fly to the next car launch.

Here is the Pacifica for comparison.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Four seasons on a Finnish island


Row over how to make tea

God, we are a bunch of willfully ignorant buffoons.

This video started it:

British ambassador's response:

American ambassador's response: