A Concession, Of Sorts

Since YouTube pulled the GT-R video the other day, I figured y’all might want to take a look at Autoblog’s take on the LHD US version of the beast. To wit:

Of course we tried "Launch Control." Flip a few switches and slide a few levers, all in perfect sequence, and a fully depressed gas pedal will bring the engine to a steady 4,500 rpm. Side-step the brake and a second goes by… tic… and then… BAAAAAM! The rear tires spin a bit while the fronts just cleanly hook up. Your neck snaps back as the car rips, claws, and tears at the pavement. Don't forget to shift, about once per second, as the GT-R screams to part the atmosphere. When the time comes to reign in the gargoyle, massive Brembo brakes – 15-inch rotors in the front chomped by 6-piston calipers – bring nearly two tons of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber to a stop without any drama. It goes brutally fast. It stops just as violently. It is so much fun.

Ohhh, mamma!


Hola, ninos!
Well, it’s official, there’s no more need for me to exploit y’alls collective knowledge. I scooted over to Scott Honda last night and found myself a 2005 Odyssey EX-L with leather, DVD system, power side doors, moon roof, and all on a vehicle with only 36,000 miles on it.
So, situation managed. Dios freakin’ mio! I own a minivan!

Nissan GT-R

You Brits think you’re so cool, what with your Top Gear and whatnot. Well, TG’s testdrive of the new GT-R solidly cements that coolness for all time.

Holy cow. Only nit to pick with the video: guys, buy some racing tires or something. The squealing through the corners was just plain painful.

Further Reader Minivan Bleg

You guys were great the last go-round, so I figured I’d solicit further advice.
Here’s the situation: We’re looking at an ’06 Honda Odyssey. Y’all (and others) were convincing in your arguments and I’ve decided that loyalty to ancestors is great, but when it makes you neglect your current family, it needs to be gently placed aside.
So we’re looking into this particular Odyssey (side note: I absolutely hate typing that word. Henceforth, it shall be The Honda) and the dealer’s website offers a free Carfax for all used vehicles. I clicked through and noted that The Honda has had only one owner, 22k miles and is listed as in good repair. It also notes that in July ’07, it was in an accident in which front and side airbags were deployed. It’s a Honda Certified vehicle, which should count for something, but now I’m very disinclined to pursue it, as driving a formerly-crashed vehicle just doesn’t seem wise to me.
So, what say you? Is it okay to pursue a car that’s been in more than a simple fender-bender? Or should I stop now and look elsewhere?

Soliciting Reader Feedback, Minivan Edition

So it’s official: we’re in the market for a minivan. Our legendary Passat has run its course and is no longer sufficient for conveying our burgeoning little family about town, so we’re looking to upsize (read: with two car-seats in the back and with an eye towards more some time in the next 3-4 years or so, it’s impossible to convey anyone else along with us, meaning in-law visits strain credulity. We’re in need of a third row, basically.). SUVs don’t have enough cabin room and generally tend to make even the minivans look fuel-efficient, so it’s the Daddy Van route for me.
We’re leaning towards a new Kia Sedona, what with its 5 star crash ratings, obscenely long warranty and far lower MSRP (when compared with other minivans). Yes, I know that one should generally look into late model vehicles so as to force the first owner to eat the depreciation, but unfortunately the older Sedonas were underpowered and lack the safety rating of the new model. Also, we’d lose out on the kickin’ warranty. We’ve looked around at the domestics (Chevy Uplander, Dodge Voyager, Chrysler T&C) on the market and have come to the conclusion that they are either 1) lacking in quality or 2) overpriced.
So, please, anyone with any minivan-buying experience, weigh in and posit relative plusses and minuses of our strategery.
Also, as a note to the major auto manufacturers: why are none of you producing hybrid minivans? If ever there were a class of vehicles that could benefit from a jump in efficiency with a lot of room to store batteries, it’s the minivan segment, so why no hybrids? And, why no hybrid turbo diesel/electrics? If TDIs can get 40+ MPG, why not slap an electric supplement on those badboys and take ’em to the 65+ range?

Those Cheeky Brits

Have you seen the BBC’s Top Gear[*]? No? Then you’re missing one of the best gearhead shows on the air currently, and there’s no better example of the awesomeness of TG than their decision to match up a Range Rover Discovery “sport” ute against a British Challenger 2 MBT:

Now that’s some good television.

A Tab Dump Of Stunning Depth And Ferocity

It’s that time again — time to free myself of a bit of mental clutter expressly for your edification. That’s a win/win situation if I’ve ever heard of one.
Chinese-manufactured sedans: deathtraps on wheels and headed to a dealer near you, ‘twould seem.
It seems as though prior to the British-hostage-sailors incident, the Iranians tried it once before on some Australians. It seems the Aussies reacted a bit differently:

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be “highly colourful language”.

I bet they did. Wonderful cussers, the Aussies.
Scientific validation of my place in the birth order, at long last. 1st born rule, all others drool!
Pro-abortionists are puzzled by the fact that calling pro-lifers nasty names and insulting their humanity remains a horrendous way to win votes for the Democratic cause. Go figure.
If architects had to work like web designers, would the blink tag still be seeing use in Las Vegas?
Brits call for the return of creative invective to public life, you excrement, you whining hypocritical toadies.
MNF-I is taking the fight to the enemy in Iraq. Good. ‘Bout time. Now witness the power of this fully-armed and operational battle stationSurge.
Democratic Senators’ solution to speech they don’t agree with: raw censorship. Hooray for the First Amendment!
The Team Fortress 2 preview over at Shacknews? Breathtaking. I cannot wait for HL2:Ep. 2 to drop.
I salute our brave NASA astronauts who complete daring missions even when pursued by T.I.E. fighters.
Three celebs tell multi-culti victim hounds where they can shove their victimhood. Good.
Could this mean the end of Toucan Sam, Snap, Crackle and Pop?
RIAA asks for legal recourse against Bush twins for creating Prez. mix CD for Father’s Day. Slashdotter’s collective head explodes from decision on which side they hate more — Bush or the hated RIAA.

A Bountiful Link-Filled Catch-Up

I am fully cognizant of my delinquent blogging — apologies all around. I’ve been in full recovery mode since taking the redeye from SFO to PHL on Friday night. Short observations on that flight? Sucked like a brand-new Dyson 07 with the full pet hair kit. Stupid US Airways.
In exchange for my previous silence, please accept this surplus of links.
This is my kind of math: 1 rainy/icy racetrack + multiple expensive race cars + a massive pileup = millions of USD/GBP in damage, 0 fatalities. Nice.
WordPress converts aplenty: Michelle Malkin moved from an On’B MT-powered site to a brand-spankin’ WordPress one. Jeff Goldstein dumped Emotion Engine for WordPress, while Fred Thompson’s official blog was built from the ground-up using WP.
iPhone-tailored apps (read: websites for the iPhone’s tiny Safari browser) have already started hitting the streets, thus an aggregation site was nigh-inevitable, of course.
The Payback Project — stickin’ it to sucka GOP Senatorz that be all “We’ll vote to let the illegals ignore our laws ’cause then they’ll totally vote for us. Or maybe their kids will.” “Teach the GOP to respect their base again — the hard way” — fo’ sheezy.
Speaking of “fo’ sheezy”: Geek bling keyboard rings. To paraphrase a certain incarcerated celebrity heiress: “That’s Ctrl-Alt-Del hot.”
Life as a videogame character? It has its plusses and minuses.
LOLCODE: taking both the lolcats meme and programming where both probably ne’er should have ventured. LOLBOTS, on the other hand, is the utlimate incarnation of the joke.
John Hodgman as Steve Jobs in the intro to WWDC last week:

Speaking of WWDC, I posted my crappy cameraphone pics from the conference over at my Zooomr page.
Can’t forget the transforming Transformers cosplayers:

The “People’s Car”, My Foot

An Update To “The Dealership That We Shall Not Name”

I spoke very briefly with the general manager of T.D.T.W.S.N.N. on Friday and explained the situation, also mentioning that I had faxed copies of the documentation in my possession and that hard copies were on their way as well. His response was, and I quote: “Well, what do you want me to do about it?”
Great attitude there. Way to mollify a customer that you’ve wronged. Looks like it may be VW Corporate all the way.
On a slightly tangential note: service manager Bob at Cherry Hill Imports (or, “The Dealership That We DEFINITELY Shall Give Free Press”) expressed a good deal of empathy with my situation and cut the bill for services rendered this time out in half. He’s always been a stand-up guy in his dealings with me; I guess AndyOne’s right — it’s the scumbag salesmen that are the problem.