Sunday, May 28, 2017

2002 Heidfeld-Sato crash

I read about this on Sato's Wiki page.

Need your help, watch nerds!

I have not worn a wristwatch in over a decade. I am ready to get a nice one now. What is the watch equivalent of a 450SLC? My only parameter is that I have an unusually thin/skinny wrist.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

LX570 and Land Cruiser reviews

The LX570 review by Jonny Lieberman is pretty entertaining and informative. The Land Cruiser review is outright cruel.

Modified Land Cruiser is the world's fastest SUV

Kuwaiti telecom Ramadan suicide bomber commercial

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Raphael Orlove interviews Alonso

My favorite Jalopnik writer (and regular reader of this blog) Raphael Orlove interviewed Alonso today. So jealous. What was it like to meet your/our hero, Raphael?

Checking out Lexus SUVs

My wife and I had lunch a block away from the Lexus dealership today so I convinced her to check out a couple of cars. We had the baby with us and we didn't want to disturb his sleep so we just sat in them. We did not drive them.

But first, I saw my first LC500 in person. It was really nondescript and bland, especially from this angle. Here is Junior next to it. This is Matt Farah test driving one. Apparently, Lexus is only selling 400 of these a month. This dealer sold five within the last week. This is the only one left in its inventory. Maybe white is not a desirable color.

The car stickers for $102,000. In order to make more money out of this rare car, the dealer added Cliajet (paint protection), Dentpro (dent repair?), and Forever Start (battery insurance?) for almost $10,000 extra. Ripoff!

First up is the GX. My wife saw one recently and liked the looks of it. It's nice.

But the LX was really nice. But at $98,000, it was way too much. Sitting in it did feel like sitting in a comfy living room. The salesman said that 80% of these are leased. My wife doesn't like the grill and all the unnecessary gadgets, like the back seat TV screens. She was surprised that it wasn't as big as she thought it was going to be.

We concluded that the best compromise would be a slightly used Land Cruiser. Depreciation has taken a hit already. We're going to keep it forever. And it has a lot less bling. But then I saw this tweet:

Two blue hatches

The similarities are uncanny. They both even have black hatch doors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Huge California mudslide

Detailing cars

I had a bad bout of insomnia last night and ended up watching this very detail-oriented detailer detail cars.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Summer trip with Jr to Two Harbors, Minnesota

The in-laws are getting together in Two Harbors, Minnesota, along the shore of Lake Superior, this summer. It appears to be a sleepy little village that was once home to the mighty 3M corporation.

Sir Roger Moore

This tribute to Moore by A.O. Scott perfectly encapsulates my feelings about Connery versus Moore versus Craig.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cool car dealer display in Singapore

Namibian students interview German tourists

Oddly fascinating.

Chris Cornell, dead

Another talented and troubled artist, gone.

Video of Erdogan ordering attack on protestors in Washington

At 0:13, you can see the person in the backseat telling the guy with a radio to attack. Later, you will see Erdogan step out of the car.

Monday, May 15, 2017

993 with Tiptronic transmission

There's a clean one for sale locally. How are they? The only thing I could find was that they are robust.

Does anyone know where this track is?

Turkish girl carrying new mother goat, dog carrying newborn baby goat

Where is North Korea, according to Americans

Aren't you glad these people don't comment on this blog? Source.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Travel Wish List (Updated)

Above you will find my wish list from 2008. I've accomplished some of the items and priorities have changed. I've done most of 1. I've completed 2. 3 is not a priority anymore. 4, 7, and 8 stay on the list. 5, 6, and 9 not so much. And 10 has been done as well.

So as of now, my list includes:
1. Lima to Turbo (Colombia) by bus to complete my Pan-American quest
2. Northern Italy: Museums and factories of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati
3. Trans-Siberian Railroad from Vladivostok to Irkutsk
4. Magadan to Yakutsk via Kolyma Highway
5. Belgian Grand Prix at Spa
6. All the Central Asian -Stans
7. New York City for two weeks to eat at all the foreign restaurants
8. San Sebastian in the Basque region
9. Singapore-Hong Kong-Kuala Lumpur food tour
10. Paraguay

F1 2-seater

I would do this, especially with Petrov driving!

East Timor tourism video

There's an article in The Economist about how the country's oil and gas fields will soon be exhausted and that it needs to boost its almost non-existent tourism industry. Are Australians keen on visiting?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pink Mercedes W116 limousine

Did anyone else watch Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous as a kid?

BMW E38 740iL/750iL

Two stories:

1. When I was in law school in the late 90s, I clerked in the summers for a very successful and esteemed law firm. The partners had a row of reserved parking spaces on the first floor of the parking garage right next to the entrance to the office building. They all got black cars and in order of seniority, they drove:

  • a black Jaguar XJR
  • a black BMW 740iL
  • a black Lexus GS400
  • a black Saab 9-5
  • a black Land Rover Discovery
One day, for some reason, I had to retrieve the BMW from some random place 30 miles away. That drive back to the office was spectacular.

2. We have a Kramer-like curmudgeon living on our block. For years, he drove a 1970s Ranchero. Then, he upgraded to a 1990s second gen Taurus. He NEVER washed his cars. I'm sure people on his end of the block are pissed at him. Well, he just picked up a V12 750iL. It's dark green and other than faded paint on the roof, it still looks strong.

Phaeton art almost ready

As you may remember, I asked Tom to recreate my old Isuzu Impulse and Phaeton. He already has prior artwork for the Impulse, so he's just changing the exterior color and wheels. As for the Phaeton, he has to do it from the ground up. I assume he has to create multiple versions of the same car to make the art easier to sell.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Eating the Globe update

Filling this map out relaxes me...

And here are the local places I plan to eat at:







United Arab Emirates

Sri Lankan


1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan for sale in California

I stopped by a classic car dealer and saw this strange contraption. Is there anything special about this specimen, Brendan and Australian readers? I can't believe it's worth $36,900.

There's a sticker on the back window for this Australian export company.

And here is a random video I found of an XB sedan at a drag strip.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Sunday, May 07, 2017

My first GoPro video

I just got a GoPro5 Black. I know it's all supposed to be super simple but I am having a hard time up/downloading and editing with iMovie. Here is my first attempt.

This is a video of my commute to the freeway if I want to go west (Oakland/San Francisco). 95+% of the cars I see on this road are fairly mundane. But there are always a few special cars. At 0:55, you can see a Polaris Slingshot.

If you are suffering from insomnia or intense boredom, feel free to watch the entire video and see if you can spot any other cool cars.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Chinese lady in 1940s Miami

Ruth Lee, a hostess at a Chinese restaurant in Miami, flies a Chinese flag so she wouldn't be mistaken for Japanese right after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Obama endorses Macron

Does Le Pen even have a chance to win on Sunday?

What to bring to Radwood

The June 3rd car show for 80s and 90s cars is getting a lot of buzz. I am thinking about renting an old car and driving it to the show, but what?

I tried Turo, which is like AirBNB for cars. There was a nice 420SEL for rent, and I actually booked it. But the owner canceled after realizing he was going to be out of town that weekend. Bummer.

Then I found this. But at $250/day, it's too expensive.

I then called an area Bentley repair shop to see if they knew of anyone who rented Bentley Turbo Rs. I got a resounding no. Unless something else pops up, I'm just going to go there in the i3 or TSX.

The lengths we go to for freedom and happiness

We took the baby out for dinner last night. It was our first meal out together since the baby was born almost a month ago. We chose a local sushi joint because it's family friendly and the food is reliable. I just noticed it's the only restaurant I've been to lately where the older waitresses still wear kimonos. Old school!

Our waitress, who was sporting a polo shirt, was very gracious and practically hand fed my wife while she was nursing the baby at our booth. We learned that she is Chinese, but from Tokyo. But the route she and her family took?

Her parents are originally from Shangdong, China. When the Communists took over, they fled to northern Korea. During the Korean War, they fled to southern Korea. She was raised in Seoul and moved to Taiwan at age 19. Taiwan at this point of the Cold War was welcoming the Chinese diaspora with college scholarships and other incentives. She did not like the humidity so she left Taiwan after just a year. She then moved to Okinawa, and finally settled and started a family in Tokyo. And eventually, she moved to California. That's a lot of moves!

Bill Burr tours San Jose

The comic drives around San Jose and makes observations. Many people, including Bay Area residents, do not realize that San Jose (1 million) has more people than San Francisco (850,000). San Jose doesn't get much attention because it has no distinct skyline and no landmarks of interest. It's just sprawl.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Corvette doesn't have a gas cap

I saw this on one of those How It's Made shows.

McLaren at Indy

I, for one, am going to watch this race. Just hope Alonso doesn't get another DNF.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Eating the Globe: Iraq

85 countries, and this is the best meal!

It's so subjective. I've come to realize that all of my favorite meals came immediately after long and arduous journeys. My favorite meal ever was in the Atacama after getting stuck in a ghost town. The best sourdough bread was at a breakfast place in the Yukon after three days of riding Greyhound.

This meal was spectacular because I took the i3 to Sacramento, a distance of about 85 miles. It was hot but I didn't want to run down the battery too much, so I set the A/C on low and set the adaptive cruiser control at 72 miles per hour. So after the hot and slow journey, going to this Iraqi restaurant was literally like finding an oasis.

The restaurant was founded and employed by Iraqi refugees. There are a lot of men working the open kitchen. In the back is a hectic bakery. The market is filled with customers, who are 80% Iraqi and 20% random people from the neighborhood.

I got the chicken shawarma with Iraqi bread. This is how they write "Jim" in Arabic. The script probably has to be rotated 90 degrees.

They trimmed the chicken pieces straight out of a whole roasted chicken. You get a little bit of everything, from skin to muscle to fat. They lay on a bed of moist, flavorful saffron(?) yellow rice. The tomatoes were left on the grill just long enough to slightly soften them. The raw cucumber and onion salad and small tub of yogurt sauce complemented the entree perfectly.

Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
North America: Belize, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga

How much meat do people around the world eat

Flow of Brazilian rivers

Friday, April 28, 2017

Radwood 80s 90s car show

Who is going?

Dear reader from Reunion:

I would love to interview you and ask you about the cars there, the island's relationship with France, the pieces of MH370 that have washed up onshore, and the recent terrorist attack. If you are interested, please email me at milhousevanh at geemail. Merci!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Eating the Globe: Albania

I bought this at the Eastern European market yesterday. The cashier suggested that I slice it and eat it with fried eggs and onions. So I made this for myself for dinner.

Here it is. It's a beef sausage (Albania is a Muslim country so no pork). It is hard like beef jerky. It is quite spicy (it really kicked in after I ate the meal) and quite sour.

My progress:
Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden
North America: Belize, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga

Transporting an engine, shoelaces, and an Albanian sausage

I had an eventful and fun day yesterday.

Some of you may remember my Maserati engine coffee table. Well, years ago, it was deemed by my wife as a hazard, both physically and aesthetically. It was banished to the garage, where it sat, gathering dust and spider webs. Now, she wants it out completely to make room for massive boxes of Viva paper towels and 55 gallon drums of laundry detergent.

Fortunately, someone wants it. All I had to do was deliver it to them in San Francisco. But how? I'm about as handy as Donald Trump, so I researched extensively and asked the friend who originally helped me transport the engine from Santa Rosa to home. (Friend and truck no longer live in the area.) I even went to the local hardware store to get advice. I ended up buying a rope and deciding to put the engine in the TSX wagon.

I needed an extra set of hands to lift the engine so I recruited my friend (and friend of this blog) Chris. He brought some bungee cords. Bungee cords?!

I really wasn't sure if this was a good idea. My greatest fear was that we were going to get into a crash and the engine was going to fly forward and decapitate Chris. But as I closed the hatch, I said out loud and thought to myself-- Chris is an engineer; he knows what he's doing.

We delivered the engine to San Francisco without incident. The new owner was stoked. Mission accomplished. I took Chris out to lunch as a thank you.

It was over pan fried turnip cakes that I learned I was in the presence of an engineering rock star. I was lamenting about how I was five Economist issues behind in my reading when he told me that he was in last week's issue in an article about why shoelaces get untied. OMG!

After lunch, we walked across the street to an Eastern European market to check out its merchandise. I picked up this Albanian sausage, which I will count in my Eating the Globe series. The energetic Bosniak cashier recommended that I just fry up ten thin slices with some eggs for breakfast.

90 year Chilean police anniversary ad by Dodge

Here's to the most professional and honest police force in all of Latin America!

A post shared by Ramón Rivera Notario (@riveranotario) on

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Iraqi food!

I try to be home as much as possible now so eating out is a rare treat. I found this place in Sacramento on the way to Nevada City so I'm going to go there this weekend!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Impressive truck driving video compilation

G550 4x4 Squared

For some reason, the local used luxury car dealer has a 4x4 Squared with less than 100 miles on it. I had never heard of it before running across this ad on Craigslist.

And here is a very honest take on the car, by the ICON guy:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ethiopian intersection without traffic signals

Beautiful and terrifying.

A walk with Cooper

This is the wettest season on record. Usually, by late April, this would all be yellow.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Engine disassembly and assembly video

Chinese government destroying Uyghur spirit

Insightful car guys tweet thread


Go here! (The thread is 60+ comments long. I don't know why most are not showing up.)

Fastest lap at Le Mans

H/t to Alan.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A gift from BMW

A question for you fathers out there...

I got this in the mail.

It's a cool USB stick with some marketing BS about how eco-friendly the i3 is.

The package also came with a free one-day car control course at either BMW's track in Thermal (between Palm Desert and the Salton Sea in Southern California) or next to the Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory, where they build the X3, X4, X5, and X6.

The easy choice would be to fly down to Southern California for a day. But if I go to South Carolina, I can get a factory tour and visit the BMW Zentrum museum.

The question for you fathers: At what point do you feel comfortable asking your wife who just gave birth for permission to fly across the country for a few days for cars?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fueling up my i3

I have to go to Nevada City in a couple of weeks for work. It's in the Sierra foothills (around 2,500 feet in elevation) and 150 miles away. Normally, the i3's battery runs out of juice after 125 miles. But since I'll be going uphill, I suspect my electric range will drop to 80 to 90 miles. Then, the gas Range Extender generator kicks in (I have yet to use it).

This has led to some thinking. The easiest solution is to take the TSX wagon. But we have family visiting so I'd rather let my wife and guests drive/ride in the TSX. The Civic is fine, but I'm relegating it to transporting the dog and transporting sweaty-me from the gym.

The next solution is to call the BMW dealership and borrow a gas-powered BMW for free under its Flexible Mobility program. Under the program, electric BMW owners can get around 10 days of free rentals when they have to travel long distances. The caveats? You are limited to 100 miles per day (dumb) and the vast majority of dealers do not participate in the program (dumber).

But you know what's even dumber? The dealer where I got my i3 participates in the program. But recently, I found out that while I was filling out paperwork to lease the i3, the dealer slipped in, unbeknownst to me, an application for a BMW credit card. When I received the card in the mail, I was pissed. Needless to say, I don't want to go back there.

So I have to drive to Nevada City in the i3. I am plotting out a route that would take me to DC Fast Chargers. These chargers are indeed fast. I found one that's only 1.3 miles from my office. It's free and will charge 80% of my battery in less than 30 minutes. I can catch up on email and voicemails in that time.

Young me as a farmer

Now here is a good story.

I was raised by 19th century Mandarins. Specifically, I was raised by my maternal grandparents, who were born in 1900 and 1911. My grandfather came from a well-to-do background. Manual labor was foreign to him. He spent his childhood reciting ancient poems and practicing calligraphy. My grandmother was never taught how to read or write. And her feet were partially bound.

Hilarity ensued when they raise a grandchild in the late 1970s. Progressive and forward-thinking they were not. I was discouraged from playing outside or even to sweat. And even though we lived in Taiwan, speaking Taiwanese was strictly forbidden.

So one day, some family friends thought-- Wouldn't it be funny if they took me to a farm for a week?

On the first day, I encountered mud. I didn't know what it was, except it looked like wet dirt. I took a step and was ankle deep in it. The result can be seen in this photo, which I recently uncovered.

On that trip, I was also introduced to thousand year old eggs. I found them revolting then, but now I love them.

Buying Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars

Whenever I am at a drug store, I go to the toy section to look at what die cast cars are available. So far, I have been disappointed. I guess Matchbox and Hot Wheels are owned by the same people now. I don't like most of the models and when I see a model I like, I don't like the color scheme.

Where locally can I find a better/larger selection? And is there anywhere in the Bay Area that sells Tomicas?

But then again. Should I be pushing my taste/preferences on the boy? Or should he, when he is old enough, pick the cars he likes?

These multi-packs seem very popular.

I like the SP2 a lot, but I don't like the racing livery.

Again, cool car, but I don't like the colors. Also, what a drab package.

Now if I saw this 6x6 at CVS, I'd get it!

Andre the Giant flying out of 1980s Japan


Saturday, April 15, 2017

BMW E1, BMW's first electric car

Matteo the car designer was at the BMW museum today and this tweet caught my attention.

I learned that the E1:

  • debuted at the 1991 Frankfurt Motor Show
  • developed by BMW's Technik division
  • 93 mile range
  • 43 hp
  • aluminum chassis, plastic body panels
  • first prototype caught fire and burned to ground

Friday, April 14, 2017

Follow this car designer on Twitter

Watching this Mazda ad on TV last night reminded me to remind you to follow Matteo on Twitter.

Matteo is an Italian car designer who currently teaches in Barcelona. I don't know how I found him. Perhaps via Sanchez? I really dig Matteo's brief observations and posts about current and past car designs. 

Largest non-nuclear bomb dropped in Afghanistan

Remember when the History Channel showed informative documentaries instead of pieces on vampires and Dan Brown novels?

And here it is in action.

Citroen XM/SM mash-up

Is this Photoshopped? Or real?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Standby, folks

Having a week-old baby takes a lot out of you! Who knew?!

I've got several post ideas. I just need free time. I have an interview with a Range Rover/Land Rover nut. I have interviews regarding Lima and Cartagena with Ramon. I am going to write about why I am pissed off at my local BMW dealer (they applied for a credit card I never authorized). I am planning an out-of-range trip to the mountains in my i3. Etc., etc., etc.

Maybe I'll have time this weekend. Thank you for your patience and understanding.