Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety Percent Of Everything Is Crap


Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, "Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That's because 90% of everything is crud." Oddly, when Sturgeon's Law is cited, the final word is almost invariably changed to 'crap'.

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Ask Brian

Where The Bugs Are

This past Saturday was the Annual MMC Bug Splat Rally that Donna and I put on since 1999. Over the years we have noticed a steady decrease of bugs available for knocking out of the air with the fronts of Miatas. After the first 7 or 8 years we ran the same course up and over the dam at Clarks Hill. Since then we have moved the loop around to a couple other spots in the hopes of find a more dense insect environment. We haven’t had much luck. Every time we have a bug free or near bug free run, which seems common now, I say that maybe it is time to ask an bug expert where the bugs are.

Saturday was the clincher, so today I Googled “South Carolina Entomology” and it led me to the web site of the South Carolina Entomological Society. So I wrote an email to the President:

Rizana Mahroof,

Hello. My name is Brian Bogardus and I am a member of a car club located in the Central Savannah River Area that is centered around the Mazda Miata.

So why is a car club member writing to the President of the South Carolina Entomological Society you ask, it is about insect extermination. Specifically about killing bugs with the front of Miatas. For the past dozen years or so I have run an event called the Bug Splat Rally where the Club gathers in a spot somewhere in the CSRA, goes for a 40-50 mile drive in the summer evening/night and ends up at a Sonic for ice cream and the awarding of prizes.

When I first started doing this we would meet in Augusta, GA and drive up over Clarks Hill Dam and back into Augusta. After a few years it seemed like the amount of insects and their related death signatures decreased, so I started varying the start times and routes hoping to change that. The last 2 years we have met in North Augusta, looped up to Edgefield and then back to Exit 5 off I-20. While it was a lovely drive on back roads it left a lot to be desired in insect activity.

So, enough background, my question to you and/or your membership is, “When would be the best time of the year and the best time of day to do a back roads drive that would have the best chance for splatting big bugs on the noses of small sports cars?”

Regards,
Brian

Not long later I received a reply:

Hi Brian,

This rather an interesting perspective that I have not seen before. By any means it sounds like a successful 2-year event that attracted some people. Here are my views about where you may find highest numbers of insects.

1. Roads that goes through wilderness, marsh land, ponds or woods. If road goes through cultivated crop lands like corn, cotton or peanuts, these days we use mostly genetically modified varieties and crop varieties those are resistant to insect damage, you may not find lots of insects. Besides farmers spray agrochemicals to kill them too.

2.Summer is the best time where insects are active. Insects are cold-blooded creatures, they need optimum temperature for flight. When it starts to cool down, flight activity declines.

3. During the day insects do not fly much at peak sun hours or if the temperature is too high during mid day. Most of them fly when temperature in a day is optimum.

4. Some insects are called “nocturnal” like moths are active at night, dawn and dusk. They are attracted to beams of headlights and may be you can kill them easily.

5. Insects have certain period of life cycle, you will not find all types all the time, but at a given time there are plenty of them available. After all, they are the most successful organisms on the face of the planet.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Rizana Mahroof

Wow, thanks, but most of that stuff is not really news to me.
1. That is why I started with a loop around the lake. All the other routes we’ve changed to have been through 2-lane back roads. The farm info I hadn’t thought of before, but it is a non-issue around here.
2. This is why we run the event in August.
3. Start time has always been near dusk and
4. Finish is always after dark.
5. Don’t want all kinds, I’ll take any kind as long there are lots of them.

Maybe I should ask an exterminator…

Mat Matters

CTBNL 2

Put the original wheels back on the Miata. The 16″ wheels did look better, but turns out the 4.4 pounds more of unsprung weight at each corner was noticeably detrimental to the ride quality. I think I could eventually learn to like the look of this combination, while Donna feels just the opposite. Right now we are going to try a relatively inexpensive fix of chrome lug nuts instead of the black and paint the center caps silver and add some of RevLimiter‘s retro Mazda logo center cap inserts.

The velcro on the roll bar was a resounding success n the passenger side, so another trip to Walmart was made to pick up another package of the 2″ x 4″ pieces. The red mats were not so loved, they looked good peeking at them from outside the car, but they didn’t really lighten up the atmosphere of the car once you sat in the seats.

So on our visit to Walmart for the velcro we also revisited the “cheap accent rug” aisle scouting some lighter colored options. We found a set that we had dismissed the first time and decided to try something different with them and see how it looked. The mats in the car are 18″ wide at the widest and 27″ at their longest. These second attempt rugs were 21″ x 37″, so they were big enough and there predominate surface was a nice light gray/dark gray mix, but there was a 3″band of the dark gray all around the perimeter. This meant that it was impossible to have a single solid 18″ wide block color(s), so I had to incorporate the 3″ band of solid color along one side of the new “mat.” To make things sort of even I also left the 3″ band at the bottom and made sure to put the side band towards the outside of the vehicle. Not bad looking, but the problem with these and the red before is what they are made of, very thin with a slight rubber backing, so they slip and slide during ingress and egress. Not the perfect solution for sure. Stayed tuned…

It’s The Little Things

The new Miata is fantastic, but not perfect. What David did to this thing when he first bought it is right out of the text book on Miata improvements. The addition of the roll bar was icing on the cake. Although roll bars are foremost thought of as primarily a safety improvement or a necessity for track usage, a huge benefit of one is it tightens up the rigidity of the open top car to near that of a closed one.

None of our previous Miatas had a roll bar and while they do have tremendous benefits, we have been contemplating taking this one out. One of the nice thing about the installed Hard Dog Ace bar is that allows full seat travel and tilt. It sure does, but it doesn’t mention how noisy it is while doing so. The seat goes all the way back, but the top of the seat rubs the top of the bar and the upper back of the seat rubs the diagonal brace of the bar. The vinyl back of the seat squeaks in both places. Our only remedy so far is to move the seat back up one notch towards vertical. And this is a very weird feeling for both of us who have spent the last 13 years in the Emperor with the seat back tilted one inch further back. Physically that is not much, but psychologically it is miles. I feel like a little old man scooted up to the steering wheel so I can see over the hood. Donna feels like she is in a smaller car.

Also contributing to that smaller car feeling is the near total lack of any color except black. Our first two Miatas had all black interiors, but again we have been spoiled by the baker’s dozen worth years in the light beige (Parchment in Mazda parlance) interior of the previous one. It is not too bad with the top down, but when it is up, and you guessed it, it has a black underside, even I think we are going to need more than the silver shift knob and e-brake handle to cut the dimness.

Last night we took a couple small steps to fix both issues. A trip to Walmart netted us some 2″ x 4″ strips of black velcro hook & loop fastener tape and a cheap 2′ x 4′ piece of red, gray & black throw rug. Tonight I stuck the fuzzy side of the tape in three places on the roll bar where it was contacting Donna’s seat back. Sitting in the seat in the garage there were no squeaks, hopefully a road test will turn out the same way. If it does, we’ll buy some more for my side. The carpet was subjected to Brian’s patented Presto Chango treatment and came out the other side, dun, dun, duh – Miata Floor Mats. Garage testing these was a little less conclusive than the roll bar squeak issue, better, but probably not enough.

Exiled

The Emperor started his exile today, we banished him to West Columbia. Well not really an exile, but maybe a thoroughbred retiring and being put out to stud. Naw, that not it either, he’d just getting a new kingdom to rule over.

I sold him to Steve Bartok the owner of Panic Motorsports. When we first talked he was thinking that it would make a nice start on a Spec Miata race car, which I thought would be a nice hobby for his retirement years. But the last email I got from Steve yesterday said that he thought it might be his new daily driver for a while. Today when we dropped it off he said it might be a project car.

Donna thinks for sure he is going to use it as his daily driver. The very first time we took the Emperor to Panic for some service work Steve effervesced over the Garnet Red color. He said he was going to paint his next race car that color. And he did.

Whatever happens, we know the Emperor is in good hands.

CTBNL

CTBNL

I made a quick run to Home Depot on Sunday afternoon to pick up a couple items and seeing as I was trusted on the errand all by myself I had a chance to get up to some mischief. Ssssh, I pulled around behind the building and backed the Car To Be Named Later close to a blank wall, I jumped out, with the engine still running . . . . . . . . I took a picture.

It is so much easier to do this without Donna present. Not that she isn’t usually a good sport about skulking around behind shopping centers and hopping out of the car while I photograph it. But when I start wandering around aimlessly looking for the right angle and sitting on the ground or leaning in then getting in the car again and backing it into a spot a foot away, then dancing looking for that certain approach and maybe moving the car again with the car to get a different angle and taking a picture and then turning the wheel and backing up and…well about then she starts fidgeting.

Here is a photo with the Emperor’s old wheels actually on the CTBNL instead of just rolled up next to it. I think they look real good there, just not sold on the road feel, yet.

Long Journey Home

On July 29th I ordered another Blipshift T-shirt, yet another Miata design, another reprint of a shirt I already have, but with a difference. This shirt besides being long sleeve it has an NB image, AKA my kind o’ car on it. This.

Orders were stopped being taken on August 1st and a week later the shirt was on its way. Everything was going along smoothly until the USPS got a hold of in outside of Atlanta. They sent it southeast instead of due east. When it arrived in Valdosta they realized quickly it was in the wrong spot. Here is where it got weird, according their tracking it went to Augusta, then Tallahassee, then back to Augusta in 16 hours. It was in our Aiken mailbox today, so maybe one day late.

Aug 8, 2016
7:40 PM EDT UNITED STATES Electronic Notification Received
7:57 PM EDT UNITED STATES En route to DHL eCommerce Distribution Center
9:26 PM ET Secaucus, NJ, US Arrival DHL eCommerce Facility
 
Aug 9, 2016
12:06 AM ET Secaucus, NJ, US Processed
8:17 AM ET Secaucus, NJ, US Departure Origin DHL eCommerce Facility
 
Aug 11, 2016
9:15 PM ET Forest Park, GA, US Arrival Destination DHL eCommerce Facility
 
Aug 12, 2016
5:46 AM ET Forest Park, GA, US Tendered to USPS
 
Aug 13, 2016
7:13 AM ET Valdosta, GA, US Arrival at Post Office
8:04 AM ET Valdosta, GA, US Missent
7:49 PM ET Augusta, GA, US Arrived USPS Sort Facility
9:04 PM ET Tallahassee, FL, US Processed Through Sort Facility
 
Aug 14, 2016
11:15 PM ET Augusta, GA, US Processed Through Sort Facility
 
Aug 15, 2016
4:26 AM ET Aiken, SC, US Arrival at Post Office
9:24 AM ET Aiken, SC, US Sorting Complete
9:34 AM ET Aiken, SC, US Out for Delivery
2:14 PM ET Aiken, SC, US Delivered

Choices

The new Miata came with some really nice light wheels, Konig Dial-Ins in Matte Gray, and very sticky tires, 195/50 x 15″ Toyo Proxies R1Rs, that look really good on the silver car. Unsprung weight on a lightweight sports car like the Miata is important and that combination weights 30.4 pounds.

Because David also gave me the original wheels that were on this car when he bought it I have an extra set of wheels to play with. Those wheels were the OEM 15″ wheels that came on the car with some 195/50 x 15″ Dayton Daytona SR tires. Based on the amount of tread wear on them they probably were bought by the previous owner new to put on the car when he sold it to David. Then he promptly replaced them with a real sports car tires that he put on some new wheels of his choosing. For the heck of it I weighed this combo too – surprisingly they came in at 30.2 lbs.

I opted to put those stock wheels with the Daytona SR tires on the now dethroned Emperor because I’m selling it, this left his old wheels, the 16″ Drag DR-19 with 205/50 x 16″ Yokohama S.Drive tires as an option to put on the new car. So while I had the Car To Be Named Later sitting there I rolled a set of these up next to it to see what they looked like. Not too bad, sort of brightened up the look some. Go hover your mouse over the image above, if you haven’t already accidentally done it, to see what it looks like. Because these are 16″ wheels and tires the combo more at 34.8 lbs.

I went ahead and put this combo on the car. When we went a small drive this morning to go get some breakfast the car actually felt different. A little clunkier over bumps and slightly slower feeling turning corners. You wouldn’t think that 4.4 lbs a corner would be noticeable, but it is. Not sure I like it, may just go back to the Konig/Toyo combo that was on the car, but for now the heavier Drag/Yokohama combo will stay on. At least until next weekend.

Think of it of like wearing some clunky work boots around all day at work and then slipping on a pair of lightweight running shoes to go home in. If you wore nothing but the boots all the time or you wore the running shoes all the time you would get used to whichever and never know any different.