Monday, June 24, 2013


I haven't updated this blog in some time now, and while there are a multitude of excuses for that, one of the most legitimate excuses would be that I have been diverting what free time I have to working on my newest personal project, 86DRIVE. It is essentially a new driving club that I and a few other fellow BRZ & FR-S owners started, but a fairly large component of it is our website, which I have been putting a lot of effort into promoting and building up the content for. It is basically a not-for-profit hobby sort of organization but as we gain popularity we will hopefully continue to raise funds to benefit our membership and perhaps even turn it into a viable business of some sort in the future. For now, we are a club with a fairly cool looking logo (designed by yours truly) and a growing membership as we continue to enjoy driving our cars and going on little roadtrips on the weekends. As the weather gets better for the summer we plan to hold a drive or meet just about every weekend. Typically the drives take place early Saturday mornings for 2 main reasons. One, it allows us to enjoy driving on the roads while they are relatively clear of cyclists and other traffic. And two, it lets those of us with families and other obligations to get the drive done early enough that we can return home and still have a full day ahead to do whatever else it was we are expected to do. So far it has worked out fairly well. We've even done a little fundraising by selling some t-shirts and decals with our logo design on them, which have been well received and I've done a few little things to help promote the club/site.  photo A7392044-2518-425E-974F-6B083A9B84F8-653-00000043E29595C1_zps73e3c432.jpg  photo autox-lv-10_zps574c10bd.jpg So if you own a sports car (even if it's not a BRZ or FR-S) and like to drive, check out our website, and consider joining us for a drive this summer. We have a lot of fun and we welcome drivers of all skill levels and experience. Hope to see you on the road soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013


It's been a while since I've updated here.  Not much to say but I've been doing lots of drives when I'm not busy at work.  Here are a few videos I've made using a GoPro Hero camera I borrowed from a friend.

I've been playing around quite a bit with video editing as well and come to the realization that I need better software/hardware. Windows Movie Maker running on XP just kind of barely does the job, so I think I need something newer. Thinking about getting a MacBook or iMac or something like that too.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Wow it's been a while since my last update.  I haven't been terribly busy with work but I have been keeping busy with other stuff.  I did get one business trip to DC where I managed to make one outing to Ben's Chili Bowl, one of my favorite spots in DC to get a couple of chili half-smokes.  Oh so good, oh so bad.

Notwithstanding the indulgent eating that is de rigeur for the holidays, I've been trying to exercise more, ride my bike, take more walks and do more time on the elliptical.  It's helped me lose maybe 8-10 lbs.  I'm going to try and keep it up with a target of losing about 15 more.

Still getting a lot of use out of my new iPhone 5.  The camera on the iPhone is decent but not awesome.  I get a lot of lens flare or reflections but maybe that's just poor technique on my part.  Anyways I do find myself using it out of convenience a lot more than the Nikon DSLR now.  I've been snapping away lots of pics and even started doing little videos.  Nothing worthy of the cinema or anything but it's kind of neat being able to hold the camera in places you couldn't normally squeeze your head, like under the car.  I also finally made some use of the Kensington phone/iPod suction cup mount I bought a long while ago, and mounted it in the windshield. Holy crap maybe they don't make the one I have anymore but why is it $149 to buy it on Amazon??  Trust me I did not pay that much.     Kensington Dash Car Mount for iPhone and iPod

Since things have gotten pretty quiet at work, I decided to take an extended time off from the office... I basically told them, I'm taking December off, I will see you in January.  And then added a week in January to top it off.  I have 37 days off starting tomorrow, which sounds pretty epic.  Helps me burn off a big surplus of vacation days I had banked.

So what am I going to do with all that time?  Hopefully a lot.  I need to make a list so I can remember to do everything and set some goals, but generally... a bunch of car stuff.  Go driving.  Go for bike rides.  Go for hikes/walks/runs.  Take more photos.  Listen to music.  Watch movies.  Play games.  Go shoot my guns some more. Exercise and lose weight.  Eat some good food (but not too much).  Cook dinner for wifey.  Bake some pastries or cookies.  I suppose somewhere in there I will have to do some holiday shopping (gag).  Wow I have a lot to do!  But for now, I'm going to bed.  Tomorrow is the first day of my vacation.

UPDATE:  I've started a  new blog to specifically cover this 37-day vacation.  Check it out at 37DaysOff.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I've decided to name my new car Stitch, after the blue Disney character.
He's blue and has a big smile.

Saturday was quite a day!  First of all I was approaching 1000 miles on the odometer, so I took Stitch out for a nice long drive through some of my favorite roads.  Here is the odometer just as I was about to break 1000 miles.

The moment of truth.
It was very hard for me to keep the motor under 4000 RPM during the break-in period.  But once I passed the magical 1000 mark, it was finally time to let 'er rip!  I took it down Palomares Rd, which I think of as my own personal backyard test track, and then out past the wine country vineyards of Livermore, to Mines Rd.  Mines Rd is one of my most enjoyable driving routes.  It goes out to the middle of nowhere and then runs up Mt. Hamilton to the Lick Observatory above San Jose.  If you're an Initial D fan, Mt. Hamilton is like Bay Area's version of Akina.  It's a beautiful mountain road but an incredibly twisty and challenging drive.  Pretty unforgiving too -- if you make a mistake and go off the edge of the road, you're going off a cliff and down a long ways.  So you have to keep it safe and sane here.  I didn't switch the traction control all the way off, but did go to VSC Sport mode to have a little more fun.

And oh man, what fun it was!  This was my first real opportunity to see what this car is all about, rev it like it was meant to be driven, and push it a little in the corners to see just how crappy the tires are.  To my surprise, they gripped the road fairly well.  I like to drive with the windows down so I can hear the tires and they gave very good audible feedback.  A little scrubbing sound as you start to turn in, gradually increasing in sound as you push it harder.  On a few tight hairpins I got on the gas a little more aggressively at exit and got some wheelspin but as everyone has noted, nothing too dramatic and very easy to modulate.  The whole package was very confidence-inspiring and I was able to drive the car harder than I did the first few times I drove my MR2 there.  With an MR-layout you really have to watch for snap-oversteer if you get too aggressive, but the BRZ's FR layout is much more forgiving and predictable.  The suspension soaked up most bumps very well and I found it much more comfortable to drive than my fairly harsh-riding MR2.  And it offers fairly comparable levels of responsiveness and balance.  I was very pleased with the performance of the car, bone stock -- so I'm not sure I even need to do much upgrading for now, if my main usage of the car is for the mountain twisties I don't want to ruin the comfort and balance it currently has.  If I start heading to the track frequently, then that is another story.

On the way to Mt. Hamilton I stopped by a popular rest point for bikers and cyclists -- The Junction.  Got a few compliments from bikers as I rolled through, but I didn't stay long.  I was having too much fun driving!  When I got to the Observatory at the top of the mountain, there were no other cars there, just a few bicyclists.  The view up there is fantastic on a clear day.  Again, after a brief stop to take a few pictures, it was time to head back down and tear up the roads some more...

That wasn't the end of my day though.  I also had to take Stitch in to get smogged, so I could register it at the DMV this week.  So I stopped by my local smog test place, the guy there is cool and we talked about the car for a while and he even snapped a pic of it after the test.  Of course, Stitch passed with flying colors!

Then it was back home and time to give Stitch a much-deserved bath.  My wife was nice enough to help me clean the interior while I dried the exterior.

Then I spent the rest of the evening applying the 3-stage Meguiar's Deep Crystal Shine system.  Paint cleaner, polish, then wax.  My back is a little sore and my arms a little tired, but man the shine on the car is so impressive, like a mirror.  Maybe in the morning I will take the car out and get some more shots of it in its oh-so-clean glory.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012


All set up and waiting.

I woke up early this morning to get out to the local range to try and get some shooting in before it was time to head down to have lunch with my mom.  I was very anxious to put some rounds through my new SIG522 rifle now that I got the iron sights put in.  But when I headed up into the hills where the Chabot Gun Club is, the fog was incredibly thick.  Arriving right at the time they normally open, I was greeted with the sight of  a very quiet range.  They were holding all shooting until the fog cleared.  So I set up everything, even loaded my magazines and waited for the word.  An hour went by, and every time the fog cleared up a little, a few minutes later more fog rolled in.  Ughh.  Called my mom and pushed lunch back a little further.  Finally 2 hours of waiting paid off, the fog started to burn off and the sun peeked through the gloom.  Time to put up the targets and commence firing!

How did I do?
I was very happy with the results right off the bat.  I had the local gun shop Imbert & Smithers install the sights for me and it seems they did a bang-up job dialing them in.  Seemed perfect for the 25 yd distance I was shooting at today.  I didn't have to make any adjustments.  The SIG performed beautifully, made it so easy to nail the target.  Maybe 25 yds is too easy, next time I will have to move up to 50 yds and see if I can still keep it nice and tight.  Wish I had more fun time at the range, but I had to head back home and get ready for lunch with mom.