Category Archives: Car Stuff

I Think I Got Free Gas

Either the mechanism to measure flow through the gas pump was messed up and gave me free gas, or I can’t do math…

My truck holds 32 gallons of gas. I was *very* empty (it would be a stretch if I had 2 gallons in the tank). Anyway, I fill it up and the pump stops at 20 gallons, so I start it again and it immediately stopped again (like the tank was full). So I check the gas gauge in the car and it shows as being full.

So either my gas tank shrunk by 10 gallons, or that gas pump just gave me ~10 gallons of free gas. Weird…

They Found My Stolen Car

I just got a call from the San Diego Police Department letting me know that some Federal investigators recovered my stolen car somewhere in Sonora, Mexico and that they are going to mail me something and that I can come pick it up.

Well first of all, I don’t have the keys for it anymore because my insurance company technically owns it now. Secondly, how does a US Federal something-rather have jurisdiction to recover my stolen car in another country (not that I’m complaining)?

Would be funny (and nice) if my personal stuff happened to still be in the car. hah

Only 3 months and 2 weeks after it was stolen. :)

LoJack Early Warning Recovery System

I went to pay for my new car today (the dealer doesn’t actually have it yet, but I guess there was some $2,500 Labor Day rebates that I could get if I paid for it and did all the paperwork now), and I opted for LoJack’s Early Warning Recovery System. That way if my car moves without me in it, I’ll get a phone call and text message instantly. :)

Then I can run out there and uhm… see if the thief is going to kill me or not I guess. Hopefully I can kill him first if it comes down to that (maybe I’ll just fling a stingray on him [I know that's not really funny, but if you think about it, it is kinda... and Steve Irwin would think it's funny too]). :)

Update

Oh yeah… they said I should have my car this week (hopefully).

Dude, Where’s My Car?

I’m not really one to complain (that often), but why in the hell does it take so long to build an f’ing car??? It’s now been over 3 months since my car was stolen, and I ordered a new one 1 week after it was stolen (before the insurance company considered it a loss since I knew it wasn’t going to be recovered), and I *still* don’t have a new car. I finally called the dealer to make sure they didn’t get it and sold mine to someone else or something. Nope, it’s still “in route”… My vehicle was finally built on August 10th, so the dealer’s best guess is that it was somewhere on a train to be delivered to them in the next week.

I’m infinitely thankful to Stefan for letting me use his sweet Nissan Pathfinder (and more recently his BMW X5), but enough is enough… Can I please get my own car now? Please?

Have You Hugged A Hummer Today?

Not sure how accurate this article is, or what their methodology is for calculating the “dust-to-dust energy cost” (I only skimmed it), but it’s interesting…

http://www.reason.org/commentaries/dalmia_20060719.shtml

Comparing this data, the study concludes that overall hybrids cost more in terms of overall energy consumed than comparable non-hybrid vehicles. But even more surprising, smaller hybrids’ energy costs are greater than many large, non-hybrid SUVs.

For instance, the dust-to-dust energy cost of the bunny-sized Honda Civic hybrid is $3.238 per mile. This is quite a bit more than the $1.949 per mile that the elephantine Hummer costs. The energy cots of SUVs such as the Tahoe, Escalade, and Navigator are similarly far less than the Civic hybrid.

Still No Car

Still about 5 weeks off on getting my replacement car. Does anyone have a time machine I can borrow? Because I’m not a big fan of the car I’m currently driving (although I am thankful to Stefan for letting me borrow it).

I think the car I’m driving now kind of smells like pee (heh, just kidding.. thankfully). :)

My Car Is Gone

Well awesome… came home from playing poker last night at around 12:30 am, parked in my “secure” gated parking structure, and went to run some errands at 11:00 am this morning, and my car is gone.

That’s rad.

Ferrari Enzo Crash In Malibu

I heard about this yesterday, but apparently it’s been an ongoing saga the last few months…

http://www.wreckedexotics.com/special/enzo/

The driver hit a telephone pole going 162 miles per hour and only suffered a bloody lip.

The amazing part to me is that the Enzo (a $1,000,000 car) can be repaired by Ferrari to be “good as new” for $250,000 (1/4 the cost of the car), because from the looks of it, it uhm… got cut in half, and the engine ripped out. :)

Alpine KCA-100BT & PMD-DOK1 Not Shipping

Well, now that the IVA-W200 is available for people to actually get, I thought I would see about getting everything together for my new car stereo. Unfortunately Alpine’s bluetooth module (KCA-100BT) isn’t shipping yet, nor is the docking station (PMD-DOK1) for their Blackbird portable GPS (PMD-B100).

Oh well… what’s another month in what seems like the eternal wait for the perfect car stereo? :)


Alpine IVA-W200 Shipping

Now that I know what car stereo I’m going to put in my truck, I started to look around for the IVA-W200 online to see if it’s available anywhere (no point in going to a local store to have it installed if it’s not available yet). Even though none of the online retailers have it yet, the official release date is listed as “March 2006″ so I decided to call a local shop to see if they know when it’s going to be available. Apparently it’s available now, but so far all the units in the shipments have been purchased before the shipments arrive. The guy pretty much said I had to pay for it and then that will put me in line for one.

I guess that’s good news to know Alpine is actually shipping the product already. :)

Update

A quick check on eBay does show they are starting to show up, so I suppose the guy at the place I called wasn’t bullshitting me trying to get me to come in. :)

Someone Finally Got A Car Stereo Right

Wow… I was starting to think that no car stereo company would “get it right” and give me exactly what I wanted. Not only did they get it right, but it’s better than I wanted (detachable GPS for example)…

I wanted a double-din deck with a touch screen (I even tossed around the idea of having a company rewire the IVA-300 touch screen to not be motorized because the PulseTouch screen is so nice (but not double-DIN). There was absolutely no option for bluetooth built into an aftermarket car stereo. I wanted iPod control, but it was annoying to have a hideaway box to get it. I also wanted a navigation system with the ability to see live traffic on it (also annoying it required a hideaway box). I went over it all over here and here.

So anyway… check this out…

Alpine came out with a double-DIN sized deck (the IVA-W200). It’s certainly more than I was expecting… double-DIN, with a PulseTouch screen (only the 2nd deck in the world with it), built-in iPod control (no need for a hideaway box) and Bluetooth (KCA-100BT module). As a bonus, it’s a DVD player too. Oh, and it has a steering wheel remote jack as well (you can still use your steering wheel controls without an IR blaster).

They also came out with the Blackbird (PMD-B100) portable navigation unit. The cool thing about this you don’t need a bulky hideaway DVD unit (with map data), since it’s portable, it’s all self-contained. It has a docking unit (which you could throw in your glovebox or something) so when it’s docked, you don’t have to see it and you can just access it from your deck when you want to. It also does live traffic data as well. :)

What the hell? Could it possibly be that someone did it exactly right? I guess we’ll see in March. :)

Buying A Ferrari

Okay… first of all, let me make it clear that I’m not buying a Ferrari… Even if I did, I don’t even have a place to put one for about a year (when the house is done).

But I remember reading somewhere (or maybe someone told me) that there was a multiple-year wait to get one. So I figured I would just ask to see how long the wait was (it would be fun to have a cool sports car *someday*).

Currently it’s a 4 year wait. And here’s the good part… you can’t get on the waiting list unless you already own a Ferrari. That’s so idiotic it (almost) makes me want to never buy one in my whole life. So basically you have to buy a used Ferrari (for more than the cost of a new one) to get on the list to be able to get a new one.

That’s just stupid if you ask me.

What I Want For Christmas

In order from cheapest to most expensive:

Ferrari F430 Coupe

Price: $174,585
Color To Get Me: Titanium (if you are going to get me all the cars, get this one in yellow. Too many silver cars otherwise.)

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S

Price: $255,000
Color To Get Me: Titanium

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Price: $328,750
Color To Get Me: Black

Mercedes-Benz SLR

Price: $450,000
Color To Get Me: Silver

$1,208,335 for 4 cars. hahaha

Now, if you would rather get me something a little more exotic, these are your options…

Chrysler ME Four-Twelve

Price: ~$650,000
Color To Get Me: Silver

Ferrari Enzo

Price: ~$1,000,000
Color To Get Me: Red

McLaren F1

Price: ~$1,400,000
Color To Get Me: Who Cares?

Bam Margera, Steve-O and Chris Pontius

I’m not much of a TV watcher, but Wildboyz and Viva La Bam are pretty damn funny. Don Vito is such an idiot on Viva La Bam, that I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh and this guy or feel sorry for him (although I usually laugh).

Anyway… the whole reason for this entry, is not because I care enough about any TV show to actually write about it in itself. But I had a dream last night with Bam, Steve-O and Chris in it. For some reason (you know how dreams are), I left my Hummer running with the keys in it in some ghetto alley while I went to a friends house. To my amazement, someone stole my truck.

Okay… that sucked, so now I’m walking home (which is some weird dry river bed) where I find Steve-O stabbing iguanas and laughing because he thought it was funny (it wasn’t). I ended up grabbing Steve-O and biting his pinky off to see if he thought that was funny too (he didn’t). Then all of a sudden, I see someone driving my Hummer through the riverbed (it was Bam and Chris looking for Steve-O). I don’t really remember what happened after that, but I remember being pissed off that Bam stole my Hummer. What a dick!

Computer For Your Car Dashboard

Okay dude, this thing is pretty cool. It’s a full blown computer packed into a double-DIN sized chassis. the thing is made by Infill (a Korean company). I still have a hard time believing they fit it all into the chassis without a hide-away unit, but it seems like they did. It’s basically a tiny PC and includes 40GB hard drive, DVD drive, TV tuner, GPS, voice control, USB ports and even an mPCI slot. Rumor has it you could even install Windows on it if you wanted.

The site is in Korean, but you can find it over here:

http://www.infill.co.kr/product/main.asp

Not only that, but the default GUI on it looks like it’s pretty awesome, and it’s cheap (compared to other car stereos with GPS/navigation)… around $2,300 USD.

Since the thing has a GPS and Internet connectivity built into it, and the $20 version of Google Earth has support for GPS, you could install Google Earth on it and have that be your navigation system.

Damn I want one of these!

Hydrogen Powered Hummer

Hummer made a “proof of concept” vehicle that basically turned the Hummer SUT (which is what I have) into a hydrogen powered vehicle. The engine actually stayed the same (the Vortec V8), but was modified to work on hydrogen.

Now for the funny part… :) The hydrogen system is less powerful than the normal gasoline system, so they added a super charger to bring it up to 180hp (a little more than half the horsepower of the gasoline version without a supercharger). Which gave it comparable performance to the gasoline counterpart. You think a gasoline powered Hummer uses a lot of gas? The hydrogen powered version needs to be refueled every 60 miles. :)

Oh well, at least they are working on it…

Speaking of which, some Australian dudes may have come up with a way to economically (and quickly) generate hydrogen from water using sunlight. The current way to make hydrogen in large quantities involves using a whole bunch of fossil fuels… Kind of stupid to burn up a bunch of fossil fuels just to make a clean burning fuel in the end… stupid.

Gas Stations

Man, it seems like I’m bitching and moaning about stuff lately, but here’s another thing that annoys me. Gas stations put caps on how much gas you can buy with your credit card in a single transaction, and with gas prices getting close to $3/gallon here, you always have to run two different transactions to fill up your tank. Most gas stations seem to cap the amount at $40, $50 or $60 worth of gas. If gas keeps going up, you are going to have to go through 3 separate transactions just to fill up your tank. Lame. Hopefully I have nothing else to bitch about for awhile. heh

I Am A Dude Magnet

First of all, let me say that I never bought my car to attract people… That being said, one thing that I’ve found really annoying is the fact that I’m now a total guy magnet. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if I was a chick magnet (heh), but I’m not…. just guys.

Everywhere I go, I have guys stopping me, wanting to talk to me about my car. Everything from asking if I like it, to asking stupid questions like, “How much did it cost?”, “Do you think you could drive over my car?”, etc. I’ve had guys trying to talk to me about it when I’m on my cell phone, others block me into a parking space with their cars when I’m trying to leave.

Get a life guys… I don’t want to be your new boyfriend! hehe

$15 Per Gallon Gasoline

Remember a few years ago, when gasoline “spiked” up to around $1.75 and everyone started freaking out? People actually started stealing gas from other people’s cars, and filling up their tanks at gas stations, then leaving without paying.

Well now I’ve seen gas over $3/gallon, and people don’t really seem to care. They got used to it I suppose.

I think we need gas to be $15/gallon overnight (like add a 500% tax to it or something). At $15/gallon, people would start using public transportation and get rid of some traffic, pollution, etc. Making it a tax could keep the actual gas costs down, so airliners and public transportation would be inexpensive still (make them tax exempt).

There are other benefits as well… the US consumes roughly 130,000,000,000 gallons of gasoline in a year. If we jack the price to $15, let’s say gasoline consumption gets cut in half (or so). That would drive down the raw price of oil (airliners could get gas for probably $0.50 or so per gallon). But… here’s the biggie. 65B gallons of gas, with a $14 per gallon tax works out to nearly a trillion dollars/year ($910B to be exact) in gasoline tax revenue. That would solve the budget deficit problems that Bush gifted to the United States. Although, maybe they should wait until Bush is out of office before something like that went into affect, because somehow the administration would spend it all (and more) I’m sure.

With that kind of money, we could build fiber to every home with 100Mbit Internet connections. That would let most people telecommute to work (and they wouldn’t need gas to commute then).

I should run for office, because I’m full of good ideas. heh

BTW, this is coming from a guy with a car that gets crappy gas mileage.

Gimme Bluetooth God Dammit!

I have a cool bluetooth enabled phone now, and it’s handy for being a wireless Internet gateway for my laptop when I’m traveling, but I also want to be able to use it handsfree in my vehicle. Can someone tell me why there are no good after-market options for this?

I heard through the grapevine that Alpine is coming out with integrated bluetooth support in some of their after-market stereos this fall, so I guess I’ll have to wait. Just really annoys me. Maybe they will actually come out with a double-din sized touch-screen deck too, but that’s probably too much to ask.

Bluetooth Phone Control In A Car

You know what I wish someone would do? Come out with a way to control a Bluetooth phone hands free while in your car. The 2004 Acura TL can do it right out the factory. Seems strange that after-market manufacturers like Alpine wouldn’t jump on the opportunity. Not only would it be a hot item, but Alpine systems are modular, so they could come out with a Bluetooth module for $80 or $100 or something and it would work with any Ai-NET compatible deck.

That’s what they did with their iPod controller… it’s just a “magic box” that hides away somewhere, and works with any Apline stereo (that supports Ai-NET).

Just seems like an opportunity for someone to do it, because they would sell a TON of them.

Pictures of Hummer H2 SUT (Finally)

Well, I finally decided to do a “photo shoot” with my old truck (a white Toyota Tacoma) so I could put it up for sale. So I got it washed today and also put a new battery in it. So while I was at it, I took a couple pictures of my new car (a Hummer).

When I was getting a new battery for the Tacoma, I forgot to use the parking brake (and I forgot to put it in gear too). This is bad because it’s a manual transmission. :) I guess I’ve just gotten used to driving an automatic now (this is what I thought as I got out and my Tacoma started rolling away.. heh).

BTW, after driving the Hummer for a month, my Tacoma seems TINY after driving it again.

I got the Hummer washed today as well, and it was pretty comical watching them try to wash it. First they put it part of the way in the mechanical car wash, and basically have a bunch of guys in there washing it by hand. Then they back it out, and finish it in the detailing section (it was planned, I guess they have done it before). Then what was the best part was they had a lady who must have been about 4′ 8″ drying the Hummer. The top of her head didn’t even come up to the hood.

Use Your Verizon Minutes For Onstar

Normally Onstar charges $0.30 – $0.47 per minute (depending on how many minute you pre-purchase) to use the built in phone. Well now Onstar and Verizon have a new (well in the last few months) partnership that allows you to use your Verizon cell phone plan minutes for the phone in your car.

This was a smart move for both companies, because my Onstar service is free for the first year with my new car. The cheapest plan ($15/month) is not worth it for me to pay for it at the end of the year. The partnership makes me want to keep the $15/month Onstar plan as well as switch my cell phone service from Sprint PCS to Verizon. Neither company would have made any money from me otherwise.

Too bad the website to get info (like pricing) isn’t really functional right now.

Onstar Voice Recognition

I’ve had my new car for about a month now, and about a week ago, I realized I could actually talk to my car (and it talks back). It’s amazing how well it works too. Not only that, I realized that the Onstar system that comes in cars has a phone number assigned to it, so you can call your car (makes sense now that I think about it). You can say “dial xxxxxxxxxx” as you would naturally, just rattling off the numbers and it gets the right number all the time.

I remember when my mom got a new car when I was a kid, and I though it was super high-tech because it had a button (that’s right, 1 button for the A/C). But it was cool because it lit up green when you pushed it.

Now you can talk to your car, navigation systems tell you how to get anywhere (or where the closest ATM/restaurant is), the computer analyzes how dirty your oil is in real time to tell you when you should change it (rather than just doing it every 3,000 miles), radio is being beamed down from satellites, etc.

Now we just need flying cars, and I’ll be happy. :)

I Love Gas

One thing I have noticed since I started driving a Hummer is that when you are driving, everyone is really nice (much more so than my Toyota truck). Probably because people are scared you are going to drive them over.

There is one rather funny exception to this though. Small cars (I’m assuming the drivers are pissed off that people drive Hummers) are the only cars that have cut me off (and they do it a lot) since I’ve had it. Doesn’t matter what kind, but they all probably get 40 miles per gallon. I’ve seen lots of Geo Metro, Ford Focus, Honda Hybrids, etc. up close lately. :)

Personally, I wish the Hummer got better mileage, but regardless I think it would be funny to have the following license plate (the California DMV website has a pretty cool tool for building a license plate and checking if it’s available, which is where I made it). Although that’s just asking for an angry hippie to key your car. heh

Someone already has that license plate BTW. :)