Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meeting of G8 and GTO owners last weekend

Yesterday's meet and tour was a lot of fun, and a great experience. We had 4 G8's and 4 GTO's show up in the morning at Downtown Campbell. Our cars did get noticed (thus having the desired affect). The group was very friendly, with the topic of Pontiacs dominating the conversation.

GTO's in Downtown Campbell, from G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th

We took off just before 11am to head up to Alice's Restaurant up in Woodside (not an actual city on the map, it is usually addressed as "Redwood City"). The goal was to take the scenic route through the hills on Highways 9 and 35. I lead the caravan of G8's and GTO's. Unfortunately, right away (before even getting out of Downtown Campbell) we lost a couple cars in our caravan. We stopped for quite awhile to try to find them, but could not. After guessing they would find their own way, we started up again.

Then, my great leadership lead us astray. Unfortunately, I missed a turn in Los Altos area and we ended up heading back to Campbell. After letting everyone know my bonehead move, we took the alternative route along 280, which is still very scenic. Even on this route, we got some fun hilly roads later on highway 84.

When we got to the rest'rant, we found that the others did indeed find their way. We also meet up with a couple other G8 owners. In all, our group was over 15 people, with 7 G8's and 3 GTO's (one GTO met us in Campbell, but did not come on our drive).

Fortunately, I called Alice's the day before to reserve space for our crew. We got a private room in the back, and had a great time. We had a great diversity of people, including (but not limited to) a couple of engineers, a manager of a valet company, and one person who is from Japan. There were individuals from the immediate area, and others who came from as far away as Napa. Everyone got along great...and the food was pretty good too!

Afterward, we lined up our cars and took pictures. Again, our cars were getting noticed by others.

Almost everyone in Woodside, from G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th

It seemed like everyone had something unique to show off, or was interested in seeing what someone else had done so far. One car had cool looking black rims. Another had the clear protective bra. I had the truck liner and splash guards. Some had the 2008 with the "Atari Gages" and others has the 2009 without. One had dimmed the brightness of those gages with an overlay. One thing that struck me (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that it seemed like none of the G8 owners have tuned our cars (yet).

Checking the cars out, from G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th

When it was time for me to take off, I drove back home via the scenic route that I missed on the drive up. The G8 is so much fun on the windy roads, as it is on the freeway too!

Lessons learned for next time:
  1. Bring walky-talkies
  2. check out the route prior to the tour
  3. pick a spot closer to freeway to meet before a tour
Things that did go right:
  1. Fun drive√
  2. Cool people√
  3. great final destination√
  4. calling a day ahead for a reservation at the rest'rant√
  5. set up the date far enough ahead to get a good showing√
  6. and finally, have great weather!√

Here's the link to the online photo albums available so far:
  1. Matt's photos
  2. Don's photos
  3. Junya's photos of Matt's car and others
Here's a quick video of almost everyone that came:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back in my day

The longest day of my life is when I was like 18 or so. It was the day I had my wisdom teeth removed. It did all of them at once. This is the one day of my life I was forced to do nothing but lay back and watch TV in dull by powerful pain. This was still in the early days of the Information Age, before serious portable games, smartphones and the Internet. I've had no days longer since that day. I've had many days that have left me wondering where the day has gone.

It's weird now to discuss a time before the Internet. Sure, it kinda existed before 1994, but not in any way that is meaningful to us today. What makes this kinda ironic is that my generation is one of those generations that is going to be able to talk about how things used to be. Not in some silly way like "candy used to cost 5 cents", but in a real paradigm shift sort, like those old-timers that used to talk about the horse and buggy in times before cars. From those old-timers we get the stereotypical story of having to "walk 10 miles in the snow to school up hill both ways." What will my tale be for my grandkids? I imagine it would be something like like "Back in my day, we didn't have the Internet. I used to have to drive in a car in bumper to bumper traffic to get to a building called a library in order to use my library card just read a book." I'm sure the question from my posterity will be, "What's a car, grampa?"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Death penalty reconsidered in Mexico

Coahuila lawmakers last week sent a bill to Mexico's Congress to change the constitution to allow the death penalty for kidnappers who kill their captives. -MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters)

The moral high ground that Mexico once prided for themself is not being reconsidered. Mexico has chided the U.S. for our policy regarding the death penalty. Now that they are actually dealing with the problems they've fostered for so long. Now, they realize the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, and the lack thereof is an open invitation for criminal activity of heinous acts.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Report

As long as the holiday feels, it never lasts long enough. Allie and I split Turkey Day between my aunt's and her parents'.

Friday, we did a little late morning shopping. Got some great deals. Then we headed up to the auto show in SF. We looked at practically every car being made today. I walked away with a better impression of Saab, and a worse impression of Audi. I'm also left wondering why someone would pay $60K for either a Lexus or a Cadillac, so I understand why someone would spend that much for a Mercedes.

In the evening we saw Australia. It was a throwback to classic romantic movies with an Australian twist. Pretty clear. The story backdrop is the Japanese attack on Darwin, though this is almost minor to the story, as it is really about ugliness of racism.

On Sat, we spend time with my friends Ronie, Fern and Miriam. It was nice being able to get together. It's been too long. Everyone has just been too busy.

Sunday was spent cleaning up a bit around the house.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lunch Hour Rush

Today was one of those days where I spend the lunch hour running errands. First, I headed to the post office to mail off a package for my sister, then to the bank, then to Kragens to return a part. Fortunately, the location of each made for an easy loop around central Sunnyvale. I got lunch at In and Out Burger on the way back to the office.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What car did I end up getting?

I was at a Buick dealership on fine, early summer day checking out what Buick had to offer. My opinion is that this is a brand whose audience is quickly disappearing. I tried both major 2008/2009 offerings. I cannot image anyone under the age of 70 (currently) buying one of these cars. There is no attempt to even pretend to be modern. I cannot imagine myself being interested in these cars even when I reach 70. I imagine this brand will either need to be reinvented or will go the way of Plymouth.

Anyway, while I was at that dealership, I noticed this new car in the show room. I didn't even know what it was or what brand. It turned out to be the Pontiac G8 GT. I liked the car a lot. It had a lot of amenities while sporting one of the biggest engines on the road. Quick, tons of power, and very maneuverable. All that for a price tag in the high 20's to low 30's. By far, this car is the most bang for your buck! It is both fun and practical at the same time.

My wife and I didn't buy it that day, but it was definitely added to our list of options. We continued looking around for cars, as we've been doing for about 18 months so far. Near the end of summer, we were literally within a day or two from by the Chevy Malibu LTZ. This is another great car that is tremendous value for your money. It is more equipped than many luxury cars that cost 2 times as much, even sporting a reasonably powerful V6. But then I found out that the 2009 Pontiac G8 had been added to the GM Employee Pricing program, and the deal was sealed. We got a brand new 2009 Pontiac G8 GT that week.

It is a decision where we did not have to take as a comprise. This is something we really wanted, and for a great price. We tried several brands of the Japanese and American varieties. (Neither of us will touch European or Korean, though we prolly wouldn't mind getting a new BMW for free.) The only two makes that seem to make cars that interest us for the right prices are Infiniti and Chevrolet/Pontiac.

As part of my purchase, I traded in my old Acura TL-S. I liked that car, but I love my new Pontiac G8 GT. Given the huge problems I had with my not so old Acura car, I'm not too worried about the American vs. Japanese quality argument. Especially since the G8 is made in Australia anyway.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No on 8

I don't mean to turn my blog into a serious of videos and images, but this issue is important and needs to be considered. Please join me (and Dianne Feinstein) in voting no on prop 8!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just so the point is clear

Ok, just so the point is clear, I am against any law discrimates between citizens, regardless of how those laws are worded. Keep marriage straight, No on 8.

Keep Marriage Straight, No on Eight!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mark Walberg Talks to Animals

This is one of the best SNL skits in a long time (not counting the Palin thing, which landed in their laps): Mark Walberg Talks to Animals. This is so dead on!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vroom vroom Ren Ren

So, I dragged poor Allie to the Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruita. This is the first time she's been to one. She was a good sport about the whole thing, and I'm sure found it to be a bit over the top. Though she didn't get into it, she was taking in all the sights.

In the past, the quality of the headliner events at the Ren Faire have degraded. There was a time when they had actual knight melees held by the local reenactment groups and actual jousting. Then, main event become a show where the players would pretend to joust and battle. It turned out to be a silly WWE style show. I wanted to go this year to see if they got be on track. Though they didn't have the melee's of olde, they did have full on jousting again! It was more fun to watch than the fake show in years before.

The show that Allie liked best was a juggling show with a guy and his kid brother. The kid knew how to sell it. They put on a good show.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Car hunting

Allie and I have been car hunting for a long time. We’ve test driven a multitude of vehicles. We’ve given a second look at a myriad more. The reason for all this is the fact that I currently have a rather nice car, with a rather nasty habit. My Acura TL-Type S 2003 is a great car except that it needs a new transmission every 11,000 miles or so. Not good for the long run once the warranty is up. At this point, I don’t mind the nickel and dime costs associated with the average car once off warranty. I just don’t want to get hit with a $4000 repair bill and a week long car rental every 10 months or so. So, we need to trade in my TL for something else.
While car hunting, I’ve discovered features that used to be special only to the higher end cars are now included in the average cars. Of particular note, the high trim of 2009 Chevrolet Malibu has more features than my old TL, all for 10K less than what I paid for my car 6 years ago, and for nearly 15K less than the current price for a new TL. The level of quality across the mainstay brands keeps going up. Reliability is something that fluctuates, so it’s a good idea to always keep an eye on Consumer Reports and other sources. Right now, it appears some GM brands are doing well, while others haven’t quite got things figured out yet.
Given what I’ve been looking for, GM cars have been attracting my attention more than others. This surprizes me. Then again, I pretty much hate all the car brands for one reason or another. In general, I tend to gravitate towards American and Japanese, and show less interest in Korean and European cars. OMG, have you see the Smart Car? How dumb is that? Anyways, we think we know what we will end up with soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weeks are flyin by

As October approaches, it really seems the weeks and months of 2008 are flying by. It dawned me recently while I was reading something terribly unimportant that I was literally wasting my time. I could be reading something more important, or doing something to improve my self, skills and what nots. I'm not wasting all of my time. I'm glad to spend time with my family.

This week, my cuzin is in the hospital awaiting labor. I visited her and her new husand in their room. It's funny I call him that. Her sister, myself and her all got married within the past year or so. Funny how that works. We were all in long term relationships and it just all kinda turned out that way.

On my way to a business type meeting thing, I visited my aunt and her husand yesterday. He was also in the hospital a recently for a serious matter. He was released quickly, so I didn't get a chance to visit him at the hospital, so I stopped by yesterday to see how he was going.

Man, why the heck did my parents move to some place that is literally more remove that the infamous Bumfuk, Idaho. I haven't seen then in aeons now.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What? Someone is VP pick for McCain?

Let’s patronize women in the 21st Century because it worked so well in the 20th Century. McCain’s pick for his running mate is one of those things that says, “See, I listen to you women. I know what you want because I’m smart like that.” It is an idiotic move that may have already backfired. For all the phony praise Palin got for her convention speech, in reality, she came off as seeming like she doesn’t really belong there. Her energy was strained and her message was without substance. I noticed very few people talking about the message itself. Most of the praise was about her poise. Joy. It weakens the McCain bid for the presidency.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes

Allie and I ended up having an enjoyable weekend. On Saturday, we got out into the fresh air and did a little cycling. I've been threatening to do it for a long time. The goal was to go down the path I would take if I rode my bike to work. I thought I could use my street bicycle because one leg of the trail is paved. Unfortunately, I discovered that a significant portion of the path is very gravelly, covered with rocks that are far too big to be safe for my street bicycle. So, in order to ride to work, I'm going to have to brave some rather dangerous city streets, or change the tires on my bike to handle rough terrain. I guess I can borrow Allie's bike (which is a "man's" type too), though it will need some adjustments. Anyway, I'm not cycling to work any time soon.

Instead of continuing down that path, we opted to head down to the local shopping center for a relaxing after-lunch smoothie break.

On Sunday, we meet up with my mother-in-law for some Dim Sum (and 'den some) at her favorite rest'rant. I can never comfortably eat Dim Sum on an empty stomach, so I ate some cereal before going. I don't know how good of an idea that was since I ended up eating too much Dim Sum.

Allie and I planned to head over to the Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes. We invited my mother-in-law to join us. A co-worker's son was at one of the booths that I was interested in (WinePod), so we planned to at least meet up there with them.

The day was warm and sunny. Maybe a little too warm. After going around the faire twice, I finally found the booth. My co-worker had just arrived as well. My wife used to work with us, so there was some catching up him and his wife.

Afterwards, Allie and I took her mother to a rest'rant that we hadn't tried yet, called Steamers Grillhouse. We had a rather expensive, yet tasty lunch. Of course, at this point, I had not yet fully processed the Dim Sum earlier in the day, so I ended up getting somewhat uncomfortably stuffed.

After we headed out and dropped my mother-in-law off, we went home to watch a rental, There Will Be Blood. In case you haven't seen the movie yet, here's a spoiler: Someone bleeds at the end. The rest of the 2.5 hours of the movie don't really lead up to that moment very well. It was about as organized in thought as my blog taken on the whole. The movie needed some serious editing.

Sometime around when we started watching the movie, Allie asked if I wanted dinner. My emphatic "No!" surprized her a little bit. The moment pasted quickly. In fact, I still feel kinda stuffed just thinking about how stuffed I was Sunday evening.

She didn't really watch most of the movie because a friend of hers called up to do some catching up. She talked to her about an hour or so. When she came back, she asked what happened. I was like, "It's too much to go into, and yet, it doesn't seem like anything at all." I didn't feel like going into detail since it didn't really interest me all that much. She asked again, and I relented, telling her about some of the uninteresting events that lead to nowhere. It almost didn't matter since there was such a big jump in time during the last scenes, it was like watching a whole other film; perhaps an independent short film that itself wasn't edited enough. Did I mention that There Will Be Blood of boring?

Well, I'm glad the bulk of my weekend was enjoyable, regardless the movie.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I'm am a Search Assist search item

It appears that I am now a Search Assist item on Yahoo! I was a little surprized at this discovery. The search item is "fcsuper rebel". This is completely unexpected. I wonder how often a term has to be searched before it is added as a search item. More amazing is that "fcsuper rebel" is a Search Assist item, yet "fcsuper" is not. It might seem more likely that just "fcsuper" is searched more often rather than "fcsuper rebel". Weird.

The term still gets a "do you mean" statement at the top of the page with a suggestion for "fc super". I still own the top spot of that search too. It's a little lonely at the top, as the gaming product "FC Super" now dominates the search of that item. I have to wonder if someone at that company named it after me. :) What are the chances of something as unique as FC Super showing up twice in the our world in my lifetime? I got a feeling that I should be glad to get the website when I did. At least I own my name sake's web address.