Thursday, April 29, 2004

I'm 31

It seems a lot of people end up reflecting on life sometime around the age of 30 or 31. More than one friend of my ended up asking, "where did the time go?"
Well, for me it's a bit different. I've been aware of where the time went and it zoomed by me. I starting becoming aware sometime after I turned 25. The age itself wasn't the reason. Events in that year of my life are the cause. I have since realized that my level of selfawareness, selfworth, out look on life and emotional state mark the different periods in my life. I'll go more in to this soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Warning about Acura reliability

The Acura TL is having some serious reliability problems. I'm under warranty, so it's not costing me anything, but the issues are bothersome.

First, my transmission broke down after 37,500 miles. It started seriously slipping gears. I brought my car into the dealership on 4/14/04. At that time, the service agent admitted that they have seen 50 cars this month so far come in for transmission problems...and that was just one dealership!!!

Second, THREE interior parts have broken without any abuse whatsoever: The mirror swivel, and both front door interior side mirror covers. Even though these parts are not technically covered under warranty, the dealership has been very gracious in fixing these free of charge.

Given the number of problems that Acura seems to be having with 2002 and 2003 model years, I am now worried about the re-sale value of my car. I had intended my TL to be my long term workhorse car, but now I'm seriously considering trading it in for something more reliable within a couple of years.

You've been warned!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Artifacts of Evolution

I’ve got a few hypotheses about human evolution. The underlining hypothesis is that humans developed our large brain and self-awareness before evolution was completely done with the development our body plan. These are based on nothing more than observation, conjecture, and being a human myself. They were developed after considering lapses in the modern human body. It would be interesting to see someone explore these hypotheses.

Question: Why do we have Wisdom Teeth?
Hypothesis: Evolution provided humans which just enough teeth to get our ancestors through about 30 years of life.
Explanation: Wisdom Teeth provide one extra late life set of teeth to replace adult teeth lost due to harsh living conditions and tooth decay. The modern human generally do not have a need for this extra set of teeth.
In prehistoric times, humans had life expectancies limited to 30 years or so. Without dental care, our teeth tend to deteriorate rapidly in our adult life. Evolution adjusted to this attrition by providing one extra group of teeth. Prehistoric man relied on this extra set of teeth late in their lives. Maybe around 25 or so?
Observations: Many animals either have teeth that last roughly as long as their lives. Many hunter animals lose or damage teeth frequently do due the harsh nature of hunting. These animals either have teeth that rejuvenate, or that get replaced. For example, cats and dogs have teeth that grow throughout their life. Sharks are constantly growing new teeth to replace teeth lost during the hunt.

Question: Why do we get leg cramps?
Hypothesis: Leg cramps are part of a diminishing instinct to grasp items with our feet. This instinct is from a time when the body plan of prehumans was designed for tree climbing.
Explanation: Although there are certain medical causes for leg cramps at specific times, there seems to be an underlining cause to leg cramps at other times which go beyond the medical explanations. It is possible that instinct, which causes leg cramping, is an artifact of evolution that hasn’t quite died out yet, even though it is no longer useful.
Observations: Leg cramps can be triggered by things such as: our foot being in a tight space; while swimming; during sex; etc. Some monkeys appear to instinctively grasp branches with their feet while they are in trees.

Future questions to be addressed:

Question: Why do we require so much water for our survival?

Question: Why does our jawbone grow throughout our life?

My experience with the Acura TSX

Acura TSX

I had the opportunity to drive an automatic Acura TSX for over a week.

The Ride
I found that the ride is smooth and firm. It isn’t bouncy like the Toyota Camry. It isn’t rough, like the Acura TL Type-S can be when its tires are over inflated.

Performance and Engine
The 4 cylinder, 200-hp, 2.4L engine really makes this car move! While driving in city traffic, acceleration is quick and comfortable. Up-shifting is smooth but tends to be quick. In my experience with Acura, I have found that their cars try to get to the higher gears quickly. While driving on the highway, acceleration is very quick and even fun. Up-shifting is just right.

As with my TL Type-S, the engine is very quiet when compared to just about any other similar car. Trust me, it does make noise when accelerating. You just can't hear it from the interior of the car.

That SportShift
The manual shift override is fun to use when you are accelerating rapidly. But it isn't very useful at other times. I don’t mind using the override, but I’ve not found much use for it.

In automatic mode, you only have two choices: Drive and D3. I think that's kind of odd. You can shift lower with the manual shift override, of course.

Handling is sporty and nimble. I felt comfortable and in control during quick turns, sudden lane shifting and passing. I like the handling more than my 2003 Acura TL Type-S. Additionally, braking seems strong and stable.

Ahh, the Interior
The interior is very comfortable. I like the sleek, molded styling.
-Leather seats are standard, of course. They are very comfortable. The driver side seat is very adjustable with several electric controls. The shotgun seat has manual adjustments only.
-Channel up/down, mode and volume buttons for radio/CD changer are all right at under your left thumb on the steering wheel.
-Cruise Control set, cancel and accel-decel buttons are all under your right thumb.
-The controls for the Moon Roof are in a funny location, hidden behind the steering wheel on the dash.
-The standard radio/CD changer has nice big controls for easy use on the dash. The sound quality is very good, but not equal high-end sound systems.
-Climate Controls are just as easy to use with similar big buttons. There's separate climate control for driver and passenger.
-The adjustable armrest in the center consul has two compartments. The top compartment is a good place for papers. It also has change holders. The bottom compartment is very deep and has a 2nd power outlet. I love that!
-Extra touches include heated seats; a sizable extra storage compartment on the dash; and hand operated emergency break.
-For safety there is the driver, shotgun seat and side curtain air bags.

The exterior style has a modern crisp look. So far, it seems women really like the car’s styling a lot. I’ve been asked by more than one of my female friends if they could cruise around in the car. This could be a warning. That could mean this car is either a chick magnet or a chick car. If the car is received in the same way as a BMW M3, good for guys to own. If the car is received in the same way as the VW New Beetle, the TSX might end up being designated as a chick car. Who knows?

Quick Ending
I’ve had a pleasant experience with the Acura TSX. The styling, interior, handling and power make this a fun car to drive.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Selling DVD's on eBay

Some how I end up with extra DVD's for various reasons. I may replace an older version of a DVD with newer Special Editions. Columbia House may send me an extra DVD that they didn't get on the bill. Or I buy more than one copy of a DVD without realizing it. So what do I do? I sell them on eBay.

Selling used DVD's on eBay is pretty fun. I've sold every item. DVD's seem to be the hot item on eBay right now. eBay has made it particularly easy with their use of Muse, so you don't have to manually enter descriptions of the movies.

I'm not making any real money. For the most part, these are used DVD's. They arguably have value higher than for what I usually sell them. I've seen used DVD's sell for almost new prices in used DVD/CD stores.

One thang I recently discovered is the Media Mail rate is much lower for packages than standard rates. That means you can ship a DVD for $1.42. I get a 90 cent Certificate of Mailing to confirm the item was mailed. I can ship the DVD for $2.32. Most sellers on eBay try to gouge the customer by charging 5 dollars for shipping.

I've been experimenting with not even charging for shipping. So far, I haven't lost money on any of my recent transactions (not counting the market value of the used DVD). I'm not sure I can use this strategy when I sell new DVD's though. I generally need to charge for s/h to cover the difference of what I paid for the DVD and the selling price on eBay. It's prolly not worth it to sell new DVD's from my collection, unless I get them for free or at sever discount.

So, there's my thoughts about selling DVD's on eBay. :)