Now that we have a “mid-sized” car, every time we see a car that looks to her to be similar to the Purple Whale Donna will ask, “Is that car bigger (smaller) than we are?” A couple of times in the last few weeks we have come across a Lexus ES350 and when she asks about tone my response has always been that it is a bit larger that the Sonata. Today I checked, and you know what, it is slightly smaller in every thing but 2″ longer in length. The big difference between the two automobiles is towards the bottom of the following chart, horsepower, torque and price. All that extra HP is needed to move the 300 extra pounds in weight. I have ridden in a ES350 and the extra weight is in the bigger engine, a smoother suspension and sound deadening. Is it worth 50% more than the Hyundai? Maybe to some.
|Front Leg Room
||200 @ 6300
||268 @ 6200
||186 @ 4250
||248 @ 4700
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1042
I captured these two people fishing under the I-20 bridge that crosses the Savannah River while we were out fishing on land for ammo cans. It a very hazy morning so that the original was very high key, so I ran it through an HDR program and chose Ultra contrast. Click on the image above to see the original.
Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1042
I can’t be the only one who sees irony in Captain America. To do battle with Hitler’s Aryan pure-bred super soldiers we had to create our own special super soldier?
It looks like Mazda has a special promotional tie-in to the Green Lantern movie by launching the Karai special edition in Germany.
Today at the Valve Store™ while heating up my lunch a co-worker asked, “Its been a couple months, have you been surprised by any negatives on the Sonata?” “Things that don’t show up during a short test drive.” Neither Donna nor I could come up with anything. The car is as comfortable after 6 hours and a couple hundred mile trip as it was after the 6 minute, couple mile initial exposure.
It got me thinking, if I could change any of the things I didn’t like about the Sonata, what would they be. I could come up with only three.
1) Chrome Door Handles. The base Sonata GLS has body colored handles, while our SE has chrome. I understand why they are there, most people equate chrome with luxury, but to me the chrome makes them stand out in a bad way. They look mis-aligned because they follow along the curved character line that runs from the wrap around tail lamp to the middle of the front wheel well. So not only are they not parallel to the road, they are not parallel to themselves.
2) Chrome Oval Tail Pipes. They are the right size and shape for the back end of this car and the look still stands up even when you look at them closely and notice that in fact the 3″ x 5″ oval is just an enhancement for the 2–1/4″ round exhaust pipe. Where it does fall apart is in the side view. The length of the enhancement stops slightly short, so that from certain angles it is quite obvious that it is just tacked on.
3) Steering Feel. While the SE feel is much improved over the GLS, it still leaves a bit to be desired when compared to the weight and feedback of the Mazda 6 or the Ki Optima.
I have a question for all you vending machine designers out there. Why the long wait for change?
You feed 2 bucks into the bill acceptor and punch in the letter C and the number 4 for the 20oz Diet Dr. Pepper. You watch as the as a little bucket on an arm moves smoothly up and over until it stops under the appropriate slot. The row of bottles is pushed forward, forcing the front one off the ledge where it drops the 6″ into the bucket. The arm then glides over to the left and then (in this case) drops down until top edge of the bucket catches on the ledge above the dispensing chute. This allows the Diet Dr. Pepper to slide down into holding area and then rests for a second until the round plexiglass door rotates 180° until the drink is exposed and you can pick it out. With your selected drink now in your hand, the round door rotates back sealing off the dispensing area. A few seconds later 75¢ in change plops down one quarter at a time. Elapsed time between picking a selection and receiving the change is probably 30 seconds.
The only thing I can think of for making you wait is so that your attention is not diverted from watching the nifty dispensing dance.
We went for a walk in Hitchcock Woods this morning. I can’t tell you how far we walked because for some reason the GPSr stopped creating a track part way. It was still on when we got home, but the green line only went about a 1/4 of what I perceived we walked. Weird.
After the walk I headed out back to finish pressure washing the deck. I had done about 1/3 of the job on Thursday night and I got another 1/3 done today before the brass nozzle in the end of the plastic wand was spat out and disappeared onto the lawn. I made a short search of where I thought it might have gone before giving up looking. The last time this thing broke it was at the handle and the local Big Box Home Improvement Warehouse had not repair parts, so had to buy the handle, hose and wand assembly online. I had little hope of getting the pressure washer fixed today, but I was pleasantly surprised that the first BBHIW I tried not only had a universal replacement wand for $20, had I needed it they also had hose & handle replacements on the shelf too.
OK, so the last few days have been spent refinishing the deck. I pressure washed half of it one day last week and finished yesterday. Because of the diminished chance of rain today and tomorrow I did some staining tonight. The last time I did this I used a sprayer and it took a while, so this time I did it with a roller and it was a lot quicker. But it was not accurate (I’m not sure that is the right word) so that I need to go back tomorrow and do some touching up around the edges. Detail work.
It is a pain in the butt to have to do it every few years, but if you want it to last and the money you spent on the thing not to go to waste, you got to do it. The above photo was taken during construction 10 years and 11 months ago.
The Sonata has an ECO button on the dash and when it is pressed in does something magic, I think (because it isn’t covered in the owners manual that I downloaded from Hyundai), to the throttle response and shift points to increase the car’s fuel mileage. To let you now that the system is armed and working there is a green ECO displayed in the middle of the dash. I find the light annoying so I keep the ECO switch off.
We filled up with gas tonight for the first time since we tested the lower limits of the gas tank and we had been 477.6 miles of mostly just to and from work commuting. The Purple Whale drank 15.26 gallon of regular fuel, so we averaged 31.3 MPG for this tank.
I wonder what would happen if I left that switch on?
We have been two at a time Netflixers since way back when. A couple years ago they threw in streaming from the cloud for FREE. At first they limited the amount of time you were allotted by how many DVDs your plan allowed, then they bumped it to unlimited streaming (still FREE.)
Today I received an email from the fine folks at Netflix:
We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.
Your current $14.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:
Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 2 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $11.99 a month
From $15 to $20 on September 1 for the same thing, that is a 33% increase. The folks that were in it at 1 DVD and unlimited streaming got zapped for even more, they are going from $10 to $16 or 60%.
Our 2 DVDs were separated into 1 for TV shows and 1 for movies. But we are running out of TV shows we want to watch, Law & Order (The Mother Ship) is the last one and while we are only on Season 8 of 20, #8 is the last one available on DVD. The rest are tied up with exclusive rerun deals with cable TV. So today I went ahead and changed our plan from 2 to 1 DVD at a time and kept the streaming portion. Even with the downgrade in service it will still cost us a buck more when the price goes up in September.
I’m going to see just how much we stream per month, which is mostly me on the laptop watching stuff that wouldn’t appeal to Donna. Maybe we will just drop the streaming altogether and go back to getting 2 DVDs at a time for the $12.
I think if they eased up the price, in what I call The How To Boil Frog Method, it wouldn’t have been too bad and maybe not have inflamed users like me into doing something rash. After all, how much does it cost per month for HBO? $20?
The typical southern afternoon thunderstorms have kept me from finishing the staining touch up on the deck, but I did make a little progress after work today without opening a can or handling a brush. I borrowed a friend and his pickup truck to make a trip to BBHIW to buy the required boards I needed to replace the top boards of the railing.
Even though I have tried to stay ahead of the curve with staining, a few of the the top boards of the railing do need replacing because of warping and cracking. Rather than replace just the couple of bad boards, I decided to replace them all with some of that newfangled recycled 2-liter soda bottle stuff. The composite decking is expensive, $20 for an 8′ piece, but it does come with a 20 year warranty.
There were 8 separate boards that need to be changed and it would have taken seven 8′ sticks because the next two smallest boards I have after one 2′-9″ piece, are 4′-6″ and then there is another one that is 4–8″. I did mange to save a few bucks by buying 12′ boards because I could combine it down to 4 pieces.
We might have been able to deal with the 8′ pieces in the Miata, but 12′ would have been a little dicey, so we called for help.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1043
This email made it through the first line of Spam Defense at work, Postini, but got caught in the second line, Outlook’s Spam Filter.
From: Marianne Gardner [mailto:Marianne.Gardner@lateforbreakfast.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 3:24 PM
To: A Cast Of Thousands (including me)
Subject: Re: Re: Job
I am glad to inform you about available vacancy C16882 in advertising business.
Position name: Supply manager.
Positioning: All States USA
Reports to: Senior Supply manager
Duties : Coordinate supply projects.
Manages the creation and maintenance of Equipment Bill of Materials. Reviews purchase orders to ensure adherence to quality and procedures. Control activities for all phases of supply projects
– Citizenship: US
– Bachelors degree
– Credit rating more then 700
– 3 years of work experience
– Strong computer skills
– High level of communication skills
– organizational skills
If you are ready to move forward please send your response with resume.
At first I instantly classified it as spam because it contained a random and unconnected group of ASCO & Emerson employees and the different email addresses of the sender and the one they wanted a reply to. But then the sender’s email address URL caught my eye, lateforbreakfast.com, it intrigued me. So I opened a browser and entered the URL into the address line and hit enter. What could happen?
Turns out Late for Breakfast is the name of an Australian Pop/Jazz group and their web page is quirky enough to make me read the whole thing and even listen to a couple of their tunes. The music is not bad actually, kind of reminded me of Steely Dan.
So, what do you think?
Spam — just something to get me to reply to the gmail address to verify that mine was a valid address or some sort of monetary scam.
Marketing ploy — knowing the type of person who would be curious about the URL would aslo be the type that would enjoy that style of music.
Yesterday was breakfast with the MMC and while some folks did, neither Donna nor I had grits.
We also watched the Jeff Bridges play Rooster Cogburn. About three months ago we rented the 1969 John Wayne movie and didn’t make it past Glen Campbell in the boardinghouse. This newer version of True Grit we watched all the way through and enjoyed. I can give this analogy for our preference, the 1968 Mustang GT is a classic automobile and was an awesome car for its time, but given the choice, we would opt for the 2011 model.
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1044
We had some unseasonable cool weather on Monday, so we drove the Miata to work. It was cool enough in the morning for me to almost want a light jacket. It was sort of cloudy at quitting time, so we even made the return trip home with top down.
Both times I started the car it seemed to turn over a little slowly before catching. Battery going dead? The original battery lasted 5–1/2 years and this one is only a touch over 2 years old. Maybe there is a small amount of dark current that drains the battery, but it was never noticed because the car was a daily driver and the constant charging kept it going. I may duck into an AutoZone or similar and have then analyze it later this week.
Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1044
But not enough to actually pay for it.
I got my second letter in the mail from SiriusXM today. My 3 month trial subscription expires on July 26th. This offer is for a special $4.99 a month for 6 months. Of course there is an asterisk attached to the price and the fine print on the bottom says: Other fees and taxes will apply. The yearly rate is 7.92 a month before those fees and taxes. I’ve read on the Sonata Forum that if you call (or answer their phone calls, which I’m not doing) they will offer a yearly $77 price ($6.42 a month before those pesky fees and taxes.)
Sometimes it seems worth a few bucks a month and then other times not so much. Just going to go back to recording songs off the net and dumping them on a USB stick.
Also on a musical note (get it? musical, note?) I signed up for a subscription to Spotify, that cloud music service that all the kids are on about these days, and got my email invite yesterday. I haven’t activated it yet. From what I’ve read, it is, unlike Pandora, hard to discover new music, unless you do the social media thing. So I guess I’ll give it a try, but I think it will be less missed than XM when I give up on Spotify after a few days.
After work today I decided to take the Emperor down to the local Advance Auto and have them read the battery. I hopped in the Miata and as I have been want to do lately, had to reach back into my front pocket and take out the key after I couldn’t locate the push-to-start button on the dash. As I turned the key to start all I got back was rrrr_RRRRR_rr r r r_click. Good thing we bought that other car a few months back.
I disconnected the Miata battery, took it out of the Miata trunk and put it in the Sonata trunk. On our way to grocery shopping tonight, we stopped in to the aforementioned Advanced Auto. When I hefted it up on to the counter and asked if they would put my car battery on the tester, the fellow behind the counter, Will, said, “Car? Looks like a lawnmower battery.”
He hooked it up to the magic box and because there was no indication of what the battery’s cold cranking amp rating was, he used the number off their replacement battery, 370. He said, “That really is only a little more than a riding mower’s 340.” “Your battery is bad, the voltage is a little low at 12.4v, but the cold cranking amps reads 90.” I thought to myself, kinda figured it would be low, cause there wasn’t much cranking going on in the garage a little while ago.
He said, “We have two of these batteries in stock.” I thanked him as said I’d let him know. You see there is this sticker on the top of the battery that says ‘Limited Warranty’ and under that are the numbers ’36/60′ and I wonder if that means 36 month replacement and up to 60 months prorated discount. Going to call the Mazda dealer’s parts department tomorrow to find out what the deal is.
The Sonata passed the 4,000 mile mark on the way to a friend’s house this evening.
A week ago I received a piece of mail from Amazon informing me that they had made it easier to use my accumulated reward points right at the check out page and that I had a whopping $27.61 points available. Donna was feeling expansive, so she said go ahead and spend them. And because I have been such a good boy I could have an extra ten bucks to cover shipping. I really didn’t need anything in that price range and briefly considered a stuffed purple whale for the back deck of the Purple Whale, but instead opted to upgrade my cheapo computer speakers to some slightly more expensive ones — Cyber Acoustics 3 pc Subwoofer/Satellite System.
Last night I installed the speakers. First up was to remove the old set and if your PC setup is anything like mine, it required a trip under the desk to the land of the Dust Bunnies who live under the mountains of Power Strips and Voltage Converters. I sorted through the hanging wires rounding up the ones associated with the old speakers, unplugging here and there until I had the two small satellite speakers, the 3″ cube that passed for a subwoofer and the power plug/converter in a pile in the bottom of the trash can. The new setup went together with little issue and sounds leaps and bounds better than the one it replaced.
This afternoon I needed to recharge some AA batteries so I placed them inside the charger that rests on the right side of my computer desk. I leave the little sucker unplugged because the manual for it said that doing so would increase its lifespan. When I plugged the the connector into the back of it, nothing happened. Hmmm, usually the display fires up so you can monitor the charging process. Thinking I might have dislodged its power converter plug when installing the speakers I returned to the Land of the Dust Bunnies. I followed the wire down to the power strip and, nope, it was plugged in. I unplugged it and looked at the back of it. It read Altec. Uh oh, that was the brand name of the speakers I just took off. So I rooted around in the trash to retrieve the power plug that I had mistakenly thrown away. Hooked up the correct power thingy to the charger and the display was still blank. Dang.
The photo above shows what happens to capacitors* when 9V AC is applied to where 3V DC is supposed to go. So not only am I hard on batteries, their chargers are none to safe around me either.
*I have no clue if these are 4,000 picofarads or not, but when I looked up farad on wikipedia this phrase caught my eye, When speaking of capacitor values a picofarad is sometimes referred to as a “puff” or “pic”, as in “a ten puff capacitor”. Kind of apt as the capacitors in this charger sure went up in a puff of smoke…
It is raining in Beantown right now, so the FRS are in a delayed start.
It is also raining in Aiken right now, so our lawn is sighing in relief.
It had just stopped raining in Columbia when we got there after work to replace the Emperor’s dead battery. The battery itself may be new, but as far as Mazda and the warranty goes, it is 26 months old.
It hadn’t rained at all in Lexington where we ate dinner in Chicago.
Came home from work and plunked in the new battery in the Miata. I had to set the clock to the correct time, make the one radio preset for the CD Changer, set the radio volume leveler for top down motoring and took the Emperor out for a spin.
Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1046
The back deck project is finished for all intensive purposes. I have to try one thing and if it works out, there may be about an hour of staining left to do.
Saturday morning we got an early start to beat the heat. Donna and friend Joan went for a walk and I went out to put the top trim boards on the railing around the deck. I didn’t buy any screws because I had a bunch of 1–5/8″ deck screws left over from a long ago project. The first thing I did was to drill pilot holes in the already cut to length and shape boards. I used the old boards as a guide to get the right amount of holes but made sure I was slightly off so as to not try and use an old hole for the new screw.
I grabbed my old screws and instantly thought they are too light in color compared to the dark brown (Brazilian Walnut) decking boards I had purchased at Home Depot. But I opted to try a couple to see if they would be that noticeable after they were sunk in the piece of decking. Two screws were all it took to realize that they didn’t get hidden enough and really stood out.
So I drove the 1 mile over to Home Depot to buy some darker screws. They had on the shelves screws in gray, forest green, silver, tan and my best option choice — brown. I took my 1lb. box of brown composite deck screws home and tried a few. I started the first two in the holes of the previously tried tan leftover screws. Not bad, but they will have to do considering what my options were. The third screw I tried, in a virgin hole, went down and stopped with he head above the board before spinning uselessly stripped. I tried one more with the same results. I backed out the 1–5/8″ screws, tossed them back in the box they came out of and drove back to Home Depot to return them.
This time I bought 2–1/2″ screws. The color selection was the same, so I took them home in the same brown color. Wouldn’t you think that a store that sold two kinds of composite deck boards, both in a dark brown shade, would carry dark brown composite deck screws? The 2–1/2″ screw heads sunk in just fine while holding down the top boards, but they were about a 1/4″ too long for outside trim boards and they stuck out a bit from the bottom. Once I finally got going, I finished the job in about an hour. The one pound box turned out to hold just the right amount for my job as there were only three screws left over.
When I opened the second 1lb. plastic box, right there on top, was a brochure showing all the variations of the Grip Rite Prime Guard Plus composite deck screws. The second color illustrated was dark brown and it would have been a perfect match. To add insult to injury, they also offer it in a #8 x 2″ long version that would have been the perfect size. So I guess in 20 years when the composite boards need replacing I’ll pre-order my screws.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1047
Saturday is the MMC’s Annual Bug Splat Rally and this year we have added an extra zig and corresponding zag to the route. Monday we ran about half of the route to see how the extra roads worked out and last night we ran the whole thing to make sure that my mileage numbers on the route map were correct. Before we started I didn’t really make sure the nose of the car was squeaky clean, but at the completion of both runs the nose of the Emperor did not have seem to have any real new splats on it. Maybe the very dry, very hot weather has really decreased the insect population around here.
There are 4 prizes up for grabs on the Bug Splat Rally, Biggest Bug (winner gets an awesome trophy), Closest To The Target, Most Bugs and Cleanest Car. If the insect total tomorrow is anything like this past Monday and Thursday one car could win those first three prizes and the rest of the participants will all be tied for the Cleanest Car Award.
Started up, went down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1050
We ate for the Trifecta. Breakfast at Autens where we were too early to for the annual pancake eating contest. Lunch at Chick-fil-A where the parking lot was full, the drive-up window line was long, but inside the service was surprisingly fast. Dinner was at Zorbas Pizza and Grill where the food was spectacularly mediocre for the price they charged for it.
Dinner with the MMC at Zorbas was a prelude to the Annual Bug Splat Rally and for only the second time in its 13 year history no one went home with the Biggest Bug trophy. I skipped 2002 for some reason and this year, as I alluded to in Friday’s post, no one hit a bug, let alone a big one. In an effort to make sure he didn’t take home the trophy, one member wrote the word bug on the green Avery dot on another car and another member, a past winner, said even if he did actually win the trophy, his wife would not let him back in the house with it. So, awaiting next year’s run, the trophy sits in a place of honor at our house; on top of the water heater in the laundry room at the back of the garage.
Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1052
We slept in a little this morning and then got on the tandem for a bike ride before the weather got stinking hot. We rode a long looping 15 miles before ending up at the west side DD for our usual. By the time we were done we had gone 22 miles and change. After parking the bike and closing the garage door, neither of us ventured outside again.
We watched the last 2 episodes of Season Eight of Law & Order: The Mother Ship on a DVD from Netflix with lunch. This disc was the end in two different ways, first, it marks our return to one DVD out at a time from Netflix and secondly, Season 8 is the last of L&O seasons of the 20 that is available for rental (except for inexplicably, season fourteen.) The afternoon was spent watching the FRS beat the CWS on TBS. And tonight, well, when do you think I’m writing this.