After Donna and I had lunch at our “favorite” place we walked over to Advanced Auto and I bought a nifty thin black metal license frame and the matching screw caps. Ever since I came home with the dealer plate on the back with it’s dealer black frame I kind of wanted a frame for the real plate. every time I went in a department store or auto parts place I looked. Today I found what I needed. Looks pretty good there.
The Miata plate is held on with only 2 screws at the top so the bottom holes are just there staring back at you. Well I fixed that. The screw covers came in sets of 4 so I epoxied the other two to the bottom of the frame for a more complete look. pardon me while I pat myself on the back.…
The word favorite is in quotes up there because we have a love hate relationship with Popeye’s. The service is dreadful and the food is hit or miss, but when it hits it is great. Today, like a Vegas slot machine, they paid off with a hit, hot food. This minor success of a visit will make us forget all the other past failures and probably get us to go back again (when we will get cold food, no doubt and the cycle will start anew.)
The other day when I was in Borders they had their bargain hardcover books on further sale by letting you get 3 for the price of 2. (Right here is where I’d link you to the post where I discussed the original purchase, but its gone with the wind, sigh.) As I usually do I bought 3 pulp fiction books, a Robert B. Parker, a Stuart Woods and some other book about a female lawyer.
1. Widow’s Walk
2. Orchid Blues
3. Courting Trouble
I of course read the Spenser book first because I sure wish I was a tough guy like him. Next came Stuart Woods, this was a newer character for him a female police chief in FLA, not the NY cop guy (although he makes a cameo.) In both books the writers used a term that seems so 50’s to me, but maybe if I was a drinking man the phrase wouldn’t seem so quaint, heck I’d probably use it whenever some one asked if I wanted a cocktail. “Sure,” I’d say, “The sun is over the yardarm.” The reason I’m disappointed, is that that phrase didn’t work its way into the third book, I guess that is what I get for trying something new…
It is Sunday and it is wash day (actually, almost everyday is a wash day, but Sunday is always a wash day.) There were enough clothes to do 2–1/4 loads of wash, but not wanting to do any more than necessary, Donna stuffed the baskets to make just 2 loads. In doing so, we lost tight control on the color/white separation, which usually is not a problem. Being as it still close to Christmas some new stuff was being washed, and my new white turtle neck got in the same load as Donna’s new red flannel sleep pants. The turtleneck is now a very light shade of pink. I guess if I just wear it under a red sweater it won’t look to bad.…
Tonight is Wednesday and that means West Wing. I seem to have lost that loving feeling. I think the show is still intelligent, it’s still funny, but it is off a beat to me now. It has got to be the whole no Aaron Sorkin thing. I’m afraid that after this season I won’t be back. And with that it will mean I watch no regularly scheduled network TV program. The end of an era and I’m sure they will miss me.
We watched this movie tonight and afterwards my wife said to me, “Your taste in movies sucks.” You know, I kind of have to agree.
This makes watching Anger Management all the more pressing. I didn’t pick that movie, it was thrust upon me. One of the workplace DVD swap club members bought this movie and when he added it to his list he asked if I was interested, I said no and made sure to put a No in that column of the spreadsheet. A week ago when he brought it in to give to someone else, he commented on how it was a good movie and I should see it. I reminded him of my No and helpfully explained that I didn’t like Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson is not funny (in comedies) to me. Today when he got the movie back, he came and offered it to me. Again. Sensing the only way to get some closure on this issue was to take the movie, so I took it. Don’t worry I’ll let you know what I, and of course my wife, think of it.
Got a call this afternoon from one of Liz Goddard’s flunkies, next week’s session of county court has been postponed. I don’t have jury duty, so now I have to come up with something else to write about.
And because my session was postponed, I’m off the hook until the next time my name gets drawn. Because jury notices go out all the time the people who are supposed to be there the week after next will get to hear the cases I might have heard next week. If all goes according to this schedule, I should get another call to duty sometime in the year 2019.
Nice break in the weather today. it was still warm after work, so this afternoon, Donna and I took the long way home.* It will be back to winter by Friday as the temps will fall into the upper 20’s overnight.
Continue reading Take The Long Way Home
They pull me back in. Tonight’s West Wing was one of the better ones in a long time. It was totally unbelievable that a President would do what was done tonight, but then again, isn’t someone about to announce a trip to Mars?
Moved into 4th place on the Seti@Home Miata Club today. It helped that the old Number Four quit processing WUs back in November. I would have eventually caught him, probably just a couple months further along. #3 is about 1,000 WU ahead of me. I am currently churning out 8 WUs to his one, so I should catch him in under 6 months (that is unless the SETI folks implement their transition to BOINC before then.)
A pleasant little diversion was had this weekend. Drove down to Hilton Head Island to take more pictures of condos. My friend Jerry who manages a bunch of places at the Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort has snagged a few new ones (bringing the total to 25) and I need to update his website with the new places.
Took Friday off from work and drove down in the morning. We had Japanese food at Donna’s favorite spot for lunch, met with Jerry, took pictures then we had pizza at my favorite spot for dinner.
Saturday was up “early” for a walk on the beach, leftovers for lunch and a movie in the afternoon. Dinner that night was over at Jerry & Donna’s (Jerry’s wife’s name is Donna too) place. When we got there they came out to ooh and aah appropriately over the new car. I handed him the keys and said, “Let’s go for a ride.” We then proceeded to terrorize the neighbors and their dogs by driving around way too fast for his quiet little plantation development. Back in the day, Jerry used to drive of-road rally cars and it shows. At one point he said aloud, “Not bad clutch work for someone who has only driven automatics for the last 4 years.” I commented that it was pretty much like riding a bike and he responded back by heel and toeing a double clutch down shift through the next corner. To which I kidded, “You know they have synchros in the transmissions now a days.”
This morning it was raining, so Donna (mine) and I cancelled the beach walk and drove on home. Sometime on the drive home the CD Changer switched to disc 2. Not bad, nine days to finish listening to all 170 songs. At this rate I will have to swap out the 10 disc magazine, sometime in early April.
Remind me tomorrow to tell you about this afternoon’s dueling car washes.
Back in December I chronicled a major event in my life, the purchase of new underwear, twice. You get what you pay for. When you spend $10 for 5 pairs of underwear you, get underwear worth $2. In the short span of perhaps 4 washings the briefs from Target are coming apart. In 3 of the 5, the elastic in the waistband is coming un-sewn. In all the color is fading fast. While we were on Hilton Head Island this weekend, Donna and I did a little outlet mall shopping and one of the stores we ventured into was a Jockey store. They had some nice briefs that were 3 for $11. After taking a pair out of the pack, I could see that I was definitely a size large in their world. I snagged a couple boxes. Donna was over digging through the store’s clearance table and when I showed her my picks she said, put them back. Huh!?! On the table she was looking at were two of the very same things I had in my hand, but priced at $3.99. Niiice.
P.S. If you click on that briefs link, what you will see is exactly what I look like in them. (Well, maybe, wished I looked like. Whater ever you do, don’t press the “Detail” button.)
On the way home from grocery shopping yesterday afternoon I decided it was time to wash the car. We had just drove home from Hilton Head in the rain that morning and the car looked ugly.
Just a couple of days before I bought the new Miata, our neighbors got themselves a new “car” too (the word car is in quotes because they bought a Dodge Durango.) When we pulled into our driveway, Omar was in his, washing the Durango. He had his bucket and sprayer and was going to town.
I parked the car in the driveway and we unloaded the trunk of groceries. I came in and swapped a load of clothes (taking one out of the dryer, putting the one from the washer into the dryer and reloading the washer.) I then went back outside with my bucket and sponges to wash our car. By now Omar has been at it at least 15 minutes and I didn’t know how far along he was, but as I filled the bucket with water I hollered over saying, “I bet I’m finished before you are.”
I washed the Miata from top to bottom, stem to stern. I rinsed it off a second time with a low pressure stream to aid in sheeting the water. I dried the car. I shook out the mats. I wiped off the interior dust with a damp towel. I washed the windows inside and out with Windex. Finished, I pulled the car into the garage. When I walked back out to get the bucket and reel up the hose, Omar was just finishing up washing the back of the vehicle, all he could do was shake his head and smile.
It is Wednesday faithful readers and that means one thing, West Wing. It was a repeat of the season opener and for whatever reason I didn’t remember it — for the first 30 minutes anyway. I guess I must have missed the first half of the show way back when it was first on in September (or October or whenever.) I’m sure will rerun show number of the season where the find Zoey to wrap this story arc up before bringing out the new first run episodes for February. February is sweeps month the networks always save up the good stuff for then.
Not to rub it in on those of you in the frozen north, but Donna and I went out to Burger King for lunch and rode with the top down. I don’t know what was better the nice open air drive or the Whopper served hot and fresh for a change.
Go to the BK site linked above. Then select the Nutirition tab. You can build your meal and see the totals. I had a Whopper — no mayo, medium Sprite and we split a medium fries, so my totals were:
300 calories from fat
34 grams of fat
12.5 grams of saturated fat
3.25 grams of Trans fat
75 mg cholesterol
1280 mg sodium
130 grams total carbs
6 grams fiber
66 grams sugars
33 grams protein
Continue reading Top Down Day
This morning’s paper reported that NASA had lost contact with the Spirit rover:
“Since Wednesday, its 19th day on Mars, the Spirit had sent back to Earth only meaningless radio noise or simple beeps acknowledging receipt of commands. Among the possible causes: a corruption of its software or computer memory.”
I find it suspicious, first the British probe Beagle fails to report in and now this…is it a simple “Windows Mars Edition” bug in the rover or could the Martians be sabotaging our attempts at fact finding?
Yesterday was the 2 month anniversary of Garnet Red Miata ownership. There are 2,380 miles on the odometer, compared to the 400 when we picked it up, so we are averaging pretty close to 1,000 miles a month. Could have been more, but we didn’t take it to south FLA for Thanksgiving. It may stay that way for a while as we dodged another high mileage trip by ditching our plans to drive to Maine in April and instead fly.
After 60 days of owning a 2nd generation Miata I guess it is time to revisit a post I made back in October regarding my thoughts on the sister car to this one I had used as a loaner while waiting the repairs on my beloved 1995 1st gen car. New stuff is in italics.
1) That new car smell. Still there, but fading.
2) That new car feel. Everything is still tight and rattle free. I really like the feel of the turn signal stalk, wiper switch and light switches. They are the same as on the old Miata, but I don’t know if they have been engineered better or the others felt that way too in the beginning.
Black leather from the factory. Finally Mazda has eliminated the need for having an ugly exterior/interior combination just to get leather seats. This car has beige leather, which looks good set against the maroon looking paint.
4) Round Knobs for the HVAC controls. The sliding levers of the 1st generation Miata are so 1950’s. Plus they have a nice feel too (see #2 above.)
5) Remote electronic trunk release. — This may have been inevitable, see the bad #1. Coupled with a gas strut this would be awesome. Still no gas strut, but still lovin’ this feature. Now if I could only figure out how to make one of the other buttons work my garage door — heaven.
6) No zip back window. Eliminates a step in putting the top down. This one is definitely a keeper. To lower the top all I have to do is unsnap the two latches and throw the top back. A lot simpler and quicker than those fancy electric tops. Although occasionally we would leave the top up with the back window unzipped on the other car, it probably won’t be missed.
7) With some new valve timing trickery, they increased HP to 142 from 128 and flattened the torque curve, so the car is faster. Not leaps and bounds, but faster.
8) Bigger brakes at both ends makes stopping almost as fun and exciting as accelerating. I notice the stopping power more than the going power over the ’95.
9) OEM 16 inch wheels are the nicest I’ve seen on a Miata. And as a bonus they are easy to clean because there are no small openings where you can’t wipe easily with a sponge.
1) The keyhole for opening the trunk is too low. It is hard to get the key in and turn without squeezing your fingers. With the inside release and the key fob button, who uses this anyway? I may have once so far. They ought to just eliminate it in the next redesign.
2) No zip back window. Reduces the headroom, so tall drivers will now hit the fabric panel used to automatically raise/lower window. I have taken to leaning just a bit to avoid brushing my head against the top.
3) The speedometer is calibrated in 20 MPH increments with little ticks every 2 MPH, this makes it hard to tell your speed at a glance. I don’t know about your town, but where I live, we have speed limits of 25 & 45, not 22 or 48. I’m getting used to this, I still don’t like it, but I’m probably one of the few drivers left on the road today that even looks at the speedo.
6-speed transmission. Always seems like I needed to shift. I know with more use I would have adjusted to it, but why didn’t they leave the 5 speed ratios as is and make 6 a real overdrive? (At least here in North America.) This car has a 5-speed, so I feel right at home.
5) With the new valve timing trickery, they may have increased HP and flattened the torque curve, but 1st gear to me seems to run out of steam. I really miss that kind of punchy acceleration of old.
6) OEM16 inch wheels. They are big looking. And I haven’t weighed them, but I bet they are heavier than the 15″ Kosei Racing Senekas I had on the old car. Plus tires will now be 50% higher in cost…
& The Ugly:
Splash Green Mica. Who you kidding, it’s teal. Looked odd but interesting in the mid 80’s on other cars, but why now on a Miata? The color grew on me, by the end of the 4 days I no longer gagged when I looked it. This now belongs in the good category. Although I swore I wanted another blue Miata, Garnet Red with Parchment interior is one sharp looking color combination.
2) You call that carpet? This stuff can only be charitably called floor covering. Makes the cheap loop carpet of the 1st generation Miata seem like a $50/yd plush Saxony. This definitely still belongs here. It is shredded recycled plastic soda bottles dyed beige. I think a nice set of coco mats would make a big improvement (because that would leave so little “carpet” showing.)
3) Where the heck is the exhaust note? When the Miata first appeared they had an ad that ran in magazines about how they tried 100s of mufflers to get just the right sound (and they did,) but it is all but gone now from the factory. When you get right down to it I miss the exhaust note of the 90 as it was even nicer than the 95. This is a mod that is on the back burner because until you actually hear a muffler installed you don’t know if you can live with it on a daily basis. You would be buying a $300 pig in a poke.
5) Plastic brushed aluminum trim. Looked exactly like what is was, an afterthought and tacked on. I’m thinking of seeing if one of the members in the club with the black stuff would want to swap out for some “aluminum.” It might look nice in an all black interior.
6) Not necessarily limited to the new Miatas, but the gap between wheel and fender is huge. There is like 3 inches there. Take a look at Audis or BMWs, those German engineers know how to stuff a wheel well. Why should I have to spend several hundred dollars on shorter springs that make the car ride stiffer just to make it look less like a 4x4 truck and more like a sports car?
I’m am still glad I upgraded, but that is just me, I wanted NEW. Ideally I would have liked to have traveled back 14 years and snatched that 1990 Mariner Blue ‘A’ package from myself and brought it forward to today. Although I enjoyed the heck out of that first Miata, I really would enjoy now. Bob Hall, widely credited as the Father of the Miata, had this to say about the difference between the 2 cars, “The NB (99 & up) is a better car, but the NA (1990–97) is a better Miata.” He is absolutely correct.
After making it all day yesterday just below the freezing rain line on the radar, somewhere during the night it dipped down to us. Everything had a nice little coating of ice on it this morning. Not the roads and such as it hasn’t been cold enough to cool them down below freezing yet (maybe tonight.) Unfortunately the ice has built up on power lines and the trees that hover above them, so now power is out all over the area. When Donna spoke to her mom a little before lunch there was no power at our house. Last report is it has been on and then off three more times, currently it is off (which is why I’m blogging from work.)
I bet I’ll have some fun getting the ice off the car when I go out to drive it home in about an hour. I need to find something near my desk here to use as a scraper.…
About 10 AM yesterday our power went off. The ice from the storm had accumulated all over everything and our southern pine trees just couldn’t take it any more. They started losing limbs like lepers and when the limbs crashed to the ground they brought down power lines with them. So last night we went to bed at 8 PM (believe me we struggled mightily to stay up that long with no electronic entertainment to occupy us) in a house with an inside temperature of 55 degrees. This morning the when we drove to work the devastation of trees was amazing, branches were just piled around the bases of trees. Good thing traffic was light because I had to drive on every which side of the road to avoid low hanging branches and the Miata is pretty low to begin with. And trust me on this, we were very nervous about more branches falling on us as we drove under the trees, especially with nothing but fabric for a roof.
On the one street right outside our subdivision there were no less than 3 sections of power lines down. I figured it was going to be a week before we had power again, judging by the destruction I could see. Driving around town tonight after dark it was weird to see that one block would be lit up and the next would be dark as pitch. As we came from the well lit up south side into the middle of the town, the change to near total darkness was eerie. After running an errand on the north side of town we came back to find our neighborhood lit up! Woohoo. Sometime about 2 hours ago our power was restored. So tonight, Mr. SCE&G Lineman, I love you. When I turned the heater on, the thermostat showed that it was 50 degrees inside and tonight it is getting down to 24, so it probably would have been middle 40s inside in the morning.
I received a small bulky padded envelope in the mail today from Mazda North America. I wondered what they were sending me. A gift perhaps? Sort of. Inside was a bottle of touch up paint in my color code (5F.) It was there way of thanking me for filling out a survey they sent out wanting to get my thoughts and feelings on the car buying experience. I almost tossed out the survey when I got it, but figured, what the heck, so I filled it. Thanks Mazda, I’ve got a small spot on the hood from a rock or something that needs a bit of touch-up.
Yesterday and today we took the Honda Civic to work and the Miata has sat in the garage. The reason for that is that Donna wanted to visit her mom in the hospital during lunchtimes and she didn’t want to have to drive the Miata. It has been over 2 months now and she still hasn’t driven it. She swears she won’t drive it until it gets it’s first boo-boo (door ding or scratch or something) so I guess secretly I hope she never gets to drive it.
It didn’t make it to the 60 degrees as promised today, but that didn’t stop Donna and I making the trip to Augusta with the top down this afternoon. We went over to Rader to run the Master’s Miata Club “newsletter”, The Driver, through their postage meter. The word newsletter is in quotes because it was actually a postcard. Last month it was just a one pager that included the wrap up of our one get together in December and little else, I called it a Mini-Driver. This month because the January meeting consisted of nothing but event planning, all that needed to be disseminated was the February events. They fit on a post card I called a Microminiature-Driver. Next month, the Subminiature-Driver, readable only using a microscope.
The Splash Green Miata was still unsold and sitting on the lot. Good thing Rader is running a sales business and not an automobile shelter, or they would have euthanized that car by now. Of course, they shouldn’t feel like the Lone Ranger because a search of the inventory of every dealer within 150 miles of me turns up 12 more of these albatrosses still collecting dust. At least Rader doesn’t have any of the horrible 2003 Strato Blue Special Editions clogging up heir inventory like so many other dealers, another search turns up twice as many (26) of them languishing unsold within that same 150 mile radius.
If you have been reading here this week you know we had an ice storm here Sunday/Monday. I bet almost 75% of the people in the area lost power. Some for only a little while others are still without. Our power was only off until Tuesday evening, but cable didn’t come back on until Thursday night, we were lucky.
I didn’t see this, but my wife read it to from this morning’s paper. We have what they call Rants & Raves where people call or email in their bouquets or brickbats. I’m sure a lot of places do this now a days, sells papers. One person wrote in to complain that the cable company was lax in their responsibility because they were still without cable and they were going to cancel. Don’t you think that maybe the cable company volunteered their bucket trucks to help out the power guys restore electricity to houses and that might be a little bit more important than somebody getting to watch QVC or Jerry Springer.