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For a very long time, let’s say 1966 through the turn-of-the-century, I was an outspoken supporter of the idea that to keep the US economy strong we needed to change the balance of import/export, support our domestic manufacturers, and buy US products.  Especially cars.  (Without dwelling on the details, I guess I was, sadly, proven right).

So from 1966 until 2003 I owned American cars, American motorcycles, and I refused to support the foreign competitors.  That meant, for instance, that for about 25 years I refused to even ride in a foreign car on US soil.  By around the turn of the millennium I realized that what should have been a national effort to save manufacturing in the US had turned into what felt like a one-man effort.  (I now own an Italian motorcycle, a German motorcycle, and I drove a Japanese car for 3 years).

But Rashmika feels differently, and (being one of the many people who put “value” at the top of their list of requirements for cars) always liked Japanese cars.  So much so that, in ’06 when I decided to get rid of my Infiniti G35 Sport Coupe, she decided to get rid of the Jag I had got her and keep the Infiniti instead!

Recently, after the Infiniti was totaled, she decided on a Mazda RX-8 GT. 

I am still driving my Corvette.  So naturally when I realized the 24 Hours at Daytona was coming up (tomorrow), I looked at the list of entrants, and to my shock and dismay Corvette Racing (the official team from GM) was not listed.  To say this is a disappointment is an understatement  -  Corvette Racing has dominated the GT1 Class for a decade, and annually crushes Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, et al.  For whatever reason, they won’t be at Daytona (maybe they need Presidential approval), but they will be at Sebring, LeMans, etc. later in the year.

But in looking through the entrants what do I find?  Dempsey Racing (owned by Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy fame) has entered, and is racing a Mazda RX-8 – same car/same engine as Rashmika’s!  And they’ll be running their little rotary-powered RX-8 head-to-head against the Porsches, Ferraris and BMWs.  And Dempsey, who might be mistaken for a namby-pamby pretty boy, is a genuine by-gosh race driver cut in the mold of Newman or McQueen  -  a wealthy actor who has the guts and has developed the skills to race competitively.

So this year, for the first time in my life, instead of rooting for the thunderous iconic American Corvettes, I’ll be hoping to see the little Japanese David slay the mighty Goliaths from Germany and Italy.  How bizarre.

RASHMIKA'S RX-8 GT (I guess her license frame says it all)
RX-8 GT

PATRICK DEMPSEY'S RX-8Dempsey Racing

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We just recently picked up a new car and this is the front plate that was on it.

Any of you Spaceballs fans who may want this front plate before I toss it?

May thew Schwartz


stusegal: (Big Ol' Dinosaur)
First of all - she's fine. Car's totaled.

She was sitting at a traffic light in a line of cars, and some guy on his way to work, exiting US Interstate 287 just didn't see that the cars were stopped, and instead of using his brakes just used the back of her car to stop.

Must have been pretty hard, because his airbag deployed on impact, and he was taken to the hospital (the police subsequently issued him a "careless driving" ticket).  The back end of her car was pretty smashed up, but it looked fixable.

Except for being shook up from the accident (she watched this idiot in her rearview mirror as he hit her, but there was nothing she could do), and having a bit of soreness, she's fine. Just angry.

She really liked the car, and wasn't planning to get a new one for a couple years - but the insurance company says the damage is approaching $20K, and the frame of the car is bent, so by the time it's fixxed it could actually cost more than the value of the car  -  so they "totaled" it.
2003 Infiniti G35 Sport Coupe

I got this car in early 2003; it was one of the first G35 Sport Coupes that Infiniti brought to the US.  (For you not in the USA, this is the car that Nissan originally brought to the US instead of the Skyline GT-R).  I drove the car for a couple years, and in '05 when I ordered a Corvette, Rashmika moved into this car - don't be thinking she gets my "leftovers", because at the time she had her own Jaguar, but loved the Infiniti so much that she dumped the Jag for the Sport Coupe (she claimed the Jag didn't have any "zip").

We both really liked this car.  Too bad.  But the good news is . . .she's fine.

stusegal: (Big Ol' Dinosaur)



I'm pretty sure the neighbors think I'm nuts when they see me out in the rain, in my duster, washing the car . . .

Washing the car in the rain - 2009

The only time I ever wash the car is in the rain. The thing is, the only time any one else washes their cars is on sunny days, because I guess they like to wash it, and shine it, and admire it, and maybe drive around in the shiny car.

I have however noticed that I have what I think is called "hard water", which has a lot of minerals in it, and wherever it air-dries it leaves behind a white residue. This residue builds up on certain of our plumbing fixtures and, even with the chemicals that are supposed to remove it, is nearly impossible to remove.  So exactly what would this residue, or the chemicals, or the required compounding, do to a relatively fragile surface like the paint on a car?

I could spend a lot of time on this but I won't, because the easy answer is - - - I wash the car in the rain.  Then the rainwater washes away the hard municipal water.  And it looks fine.  And I never have to worry about whether it's going to rain after I wash the car.  Makes perfect sense to me.



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We went to an F1 race with Grand Prix Tours (www.gptours.com) this summer, and I promised a couple other members of this community I would report back on Grand Prix Tours, and how it went.


Click here to Read More... )

stusegal: (Big Ol' Dinosaur)
FINALLY! - yesterday we took the top off the car for the first time this year!

Funny, because we've had a pretty nice summer, but there's been showers every day or two all summer . . . and what I like to do is take the top off and leave it off.  So this is the first forecast we've had for a week of sunshine.

I loaded up the sound system with Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Don Henley, etc.

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Last Sunday we had our annual Ride For Rawhide! to raise money to rescue dogs from kill shelters and place them in loving homes.

Here is a short video that Greater Media Newspapers shot at the event:
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A fantastic trip to see our first Formula 1 race in Montreal . . . . where we got to party with Jackie Stewart, and see Robert Kubica win his first Grand Prix in the mighty BMW . . . . .
stusegal: (Rebel With A Cause)
First we had no fall  -  then winter started early about a month ago, and we've had either bitter cold or some kind of frozen precipitation for maybe 4 wks.  Add to that, I've been a bit under the weather since our return from WorldCon Japan  - - which means I've hardly been on a bike since August.

Well today it was 45 deg and sunny, so I decided Rashmika's Buell needed to be ridden since it's been sitting for a month.  I took it out for about 45 minutes - felt so good that when I got home I fired up the Ducati and took that out.  Well, that 150hp chuga-chuga v-twin felt so good that when I got home I fired up the BMW and took that out for a ride.

Amazing how good a ride on a motorcycle can make you feel.  Amazing how gooder 3 rides makes you feel.    [profile] frankwu just posted his thoughts on how depressing winter is due to the lack of color - I agree, but offer the short-term cure . . . go for a ride! (or whatever is analogous for you)
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