28 May 2006

X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Today I watched X-Men 3: The Last Stand. It is definitely worth going to see.

In preparation for today's movie-going adventure I finally broke down and bought the X2: X-Men United DVD to add to my X-Men: the Movie DVD, and watched both last night. I say 'broke down' because when I first watched X2 I walked out of the theatre not very impressed. Overall I liked the movie, but not enough to want to spend my money on a DVD. I don't remember all my reasons, now, but I do remember two things: 1) being a big fan of Logan/Wolverine, I thought he was deserving of even more screen time, and 2) I really disliked Famke Janssen in the role of Jean Grey. On watching the movie last night, I decided I was wrong, or my opinion had changed--Logan had plenty of things to do in the movie. Regarding the latter, my opinion didn't change. I think it's the combination of Famke Janssen's acting/portrayal of Jean, her looking too old to play the part, and the lack of chemistry between her and Hugh Jackman, in my opinion. Personally, the only way I could buy into Logan and Jean's mutual attraction is because in high school I read all the X-Men comics where the comic-verse Logan-Jean-Scott triangle had been plenty explored.

Okay, back to X3--minor spoilers may follow--I really liked this movie, and rate it better than X2, and if not its equal, then at least close in enjoyment to the original X-Men movie. I thought the introduction to new mutants (new in the movie-verse, not comic-verse) was timed right, i.e., didn't waste too much time on the introductions. Logan had plenty of screen time, and I thought the action sequences were all enjoyable. Famke Janssen's acting was better in X3, I thought. I also liked *gasp* James Marsden/Scott Summers (I can't believe I just said that!) in the relatively few (another plus!) scenes Cyclops had. I thought interactions among the characters was good, in particular a brief but satisfying Logan-Marie scene, and there were plenty of cameos and inside jokes interspersed throughout.

The best thing about X3, in my opinion, is how many parts of it ran counter to my expectations. There were several points in the movie where I thought, "okay, that will never happen in this movie", especially in a franchise like the X-Men. Only to find out later that I was wrong. Well, mostly wrong ;o) I should say that that these counter-to-my-expectations points don't detract from the movie--they weren't there just for the sake of shocking/surprising the audience--but actually make it more realistic and hence more believable.

This movie wasn't perfect--being filled with a lot of action, that left less time for character development. I thought some of the special effects were obvious, but not obtrusively so. I was disappointed that Jubilation Lee didn't have a bigger part, and Kitty Pride didn't have much interaction with Logan. I wasn't expecting the same degree of interaction as portrayed in the comics, but I'd been hoping for at least some dialogue/conversation between them.

Anywhoo, enough babbling. Go watch it yourselves ;o) I'll end with a suggestion--stay and watch it until the very end of the credits....

--4.5 out of 5 stars--

27 May 2006


I'd requested and received some free samples of Metallic Polish Wax and Glanz Wax from Einszett earlier and today was the day I decided to compare it to the Blackfire stuff I've been using recently. The R32 had been polished with Blackfire Gloss Enhancing Polish followed by four coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection. This morning I washed and dried the car, and on the passenger side of my hood I first applied the Metallic Polish Wax, followed by the Glanz Wax. Unlike the acrylics I'd used before, Glanz Wax is a synthetic wax so it can not be layered. Adding another layer would merely remove and replace the previous coat. Anywhoo, the Einszett stuff was the easist to apply out of all the waxes/sealants I've tried, and personally I couldn't tell the difference between the left and right side of the hood. I found it a little difficult to accept the fact that in this case four coats of Blackfire equaled one coat of Glanz Wax.

Here's one of the pictures I took, but for the rest, further details and impressions you can click here. The pictures aren't the best :o( but it does look much better in person, and I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two. Now I wonder what I'm supposed to do with practically new bottles of Blackfire products....

24 May 2006

TSBs for the 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32

If you're ever thinking about buying a car, I recommend taking a look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. You can search for any technical service bulletins (TSBs) for individual makes and models. The free search gives you a list of any TSBs, but there is a charge for additional details.

Right now there are four TSBs reported for the 2004 Volkswagen Golf R32. Two of them involve the electrical system, and the other two with engine cooling components. Luckily I haven't run across any of these issues personally (knock-on-wood). Still, I think it's useful information to keep in mind in case anything does come up.

20 May 2006

Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash

One of the perks I was looking forward to when I moved earlier this year was the free car washing area available for tenants. In addition to being able to wash my car more often, I happily envisioned being able to rinse the salt, dust, or pollen off my R32 as the mood suited me, without having to do a full wash. Much to my disappointment I was visually reminded of the annoying existence of hard water. I'd forgotten this little tid bit because for the past 2-3 years I'd been forced to use DIY places, i.e. Flagship. Hand wash, only, please!

Preventing spots is easy enough, all I needed to do is hand dry the car. This is no biggie. I hand dry the R32 whenever it's washed. This didn't solve the problem when I wanted just a rinse, though. Fortuitously, I saw a fellow tennant using Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash, something I'd seen in stores but never taken a close look at. For those that haven't seen the ads, this system is simply a device, with a soap reservoir and hard-water filter, that screws on to the end of a hose and is supposed to make hand drying unnecessary and spot-free. Anywhoo, I promptly went out and bought this thing simply for the filter--I'd read some things that made me extremely reluctant to use the provided soap. I downloaded the official manual and FAQ if you'd like more detail.

Anywhoo, the filter certainly worked--no more spots! The drawback, though, was that the water pressure when using the filter is fairly minuscule. It took me some time to rinse off the R32. But wouldn't you know, I bought this thing four months ago and have only used the darn thing once. A day or so after I picked it up the hose broke in half so it's impossible to screw on a nozzle.

14 May 2006

Billet aluminum dash vents

Today I installed some billet aluminum dash vents I purchased yesterday at the R32 GTG. The stock vent covers pull straight out, and the new ones go right in. I'd write more but these were so easy to replace there isn't very much to say. These billet vent covers are sold by EIP Tuning for $99.95 per pair--though I bought them at a discounted price. Here's a picture of how they look from the outside; I thought these vent covers might look better than the stock black, given that my R is reflex silver.

You can click here for even more pictures.

13 May 2006

Haldex conundrum

According to the R32 maintenance schedule I downloaded from VWoA, the Haldex oil and filter should be changed every 40k miles. This would be fine, except that Volkswagen Driver magazine, in March 2004, published an article in which they asked the technical department at Haldex Traction AB Instrumentgatan, Landskrona, Sweden, when and how to service the Haldex system on Golf 4Motion. The tech department rep advised to change the Haldex oil every 20k, and the filter every 40k. You can read the article for the DIY and part nos, or you can click here, or you can even click on the picture ;o)

I had my 20k service done a couple months ago at Pro-Imports. I debated asking them to change the Haldex oil, but ended up deciding not to; I think I'll probably request a change at 30k.

Stargazer's Garage: People are funny sometimes

Check out this post for a funny--and depressing--story about a quest to buy some floor mats.
Stargazer's Garage: People are funny sometimes

2nd East Coast R32 GTG

Today and tomorrow is the 2nd East Coast R32 GTG. Saturday everyone gathered at EIP Tuning to check out one another's rides and to see what deals the different sponsors were offering. On Sunday there will be breakfast and then a caravan to Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia where I think there are a couple club events that are free for spectators. I took a modified route to and from EIP--it still took me the same time to drive compared to my previous route, but there was less traffic through more scenic areas.

I had the impression that EIP turbos were the focus of this year's GTG i.e. encourage people to buy one :o) There wasn't the mad rush and long lines to buy things that I remember from last year. I'm guessing that after two years most everyone already has the relatively inexpensive mods that they want--number-wise I can't imagine as many people able and willing to buy a turbo as say, an intake or chip.

Those with EIP turbos were asked to park out front, and there must have been around fifteen or so. North American Motorsports was a sponsor again, this year. They had some sway bars among other things on display.

Gomobile had on display an R with an amazing sound system--with the bass going you could see the rear wiper vibrating in tune with the music. There's no way you could store anything in the back, though, which gets rid of one of the R's key appeals, IMO.

There were a couple Rs with wheels I would definitely get, if I could spend the money. I'm not sure what brand/model they are, though, or how much they cost--they just look good :p

There was also a custom car with an EIP Turbo--recently I've been whimsically wondering what colour I would choose if I were to repaint my R, but I'd probably stay away from this one. Not that I think it looks bad; it's just not for me.

For many more pics, you can click here.

11 May 2006

Toast of the future?

Do you hate it when you burn your toast? Then this handy item is just the thing for you! Burnt toast may soon be a thing of the past if the Transparent Toaster ever comes to fruition. This toaster uses transparent heating glass so that famished toasters can keep a hungry eye on the progress of their toasting toast. Unfortunately, the glass doesn't yet get hot enough to do any toasting, so all you end up with is warm bread.

If this transparent toaster ever works out, I wonder if watching bread toast will be as mesmerizing as watching fish in an aquarium, or flickering flames in a fireplace.

Anywhoo, I posted this because I myself have recently rediscovered the wonders of toast. Too lazy to return my toaster to storage--it had been drafted for use by guests--my rediscovery was driven by whim and a desire to use up jam left-overs left by said guests. I'm proud to say that I haven't burned any toast (knock on wood), which is dandy for me, but perhaps not so dandy for the future prospects of transparent toasters.

10 May 2006

R32 Gallery update

I found another review of the 2004 R32, originally published in Ride & Drive, in October 2004. One thing that makes this article different than most others is that this reviewer felt the front seats were uncomfortable due to excessive lumbar support. Other than that, this is another positive review of the 2004 R32. See the link on the right for more of the reviews I've collected.

I also took some pictures after applying a fourth coat of Blackfire Wet Diamond, and I put on some Blackfire Deep Gloss Spray.

You can click here for more pics of my Blackfire results, and here for a couple new exterior pics.

09 May 2006

East Coast R32 GTG #2

This weekend is the 2nd East Coast R32 GTG at EIP (the picture is actually from last year's 1st East Coast R32 GTG). Last year EIP and other sponsors had some great deals, demonstrations, and great door prizes :o) I'm sure this year will be more of the same, though the format has changed. For more information you can check out the plan of events. Last year I picked up a spare tire, upgraded the ECU, and for the price of the gasoline I used to drive up there, picked up a CCAI.

This year I don't have firm plans to buy anything, since the R is pretty much the way I want it. The most I might do is pick up some billet aluminum dash vents. Kind of pricey ($99.95 per pair) for something purely cosmetic. I'll have to see what kind of discount they have :p

Spam I am

Several days ago I received an automated e-mail from blogspot telling me that this site had characteristics of spam blogs, and as such could no longer be updated. Site would be deleted within x days unless blah blah blah. Anywhoo, my first reaction was that the e-mail was some sort of strange phishing attempt. It must have taken me at least 10 minutes to find an e-mail address for blogspot support. I sent off an e-mail regarding the veracity of this e-mail spam notice--afterwhich I realized the simplest way would be to try updating this site. Well, as you've probably guessed, I discovered the spam blog notice was legitimate as I couldn't create any new posts.

The problem is solved, now, but I wonder what made this site spam-like. Perhaps I have too many links to other websites? Are my posts too short? Oh well.

04 May 2006

Jet powered VW

Check out this link: apparently someone has found a way to add 1350hp to a VW bug--and it's street legal, too! Looking at the pics, I can't help but grin in disbelief :p I have no idea whether this is legit, but I found this link via a scifi.com newsletter I subscribe to, if that means anything to you.

May the Force be with you

Wow! I'm so excited by this news I just had to share:
This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD
May 03, 2006

In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you'll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.

This release will only be available for a limited time: from September 12th to December 31st. International release will follow on or about the same day. Each original theatrical version will feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, close-captioning, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release. International sound and subtitling vary by territory.

"Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters," said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. "We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we're very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars."

Click this link for the original article.

I refused to buy the previous DVD releases because I couldn't accept the changes that had been made to Episodes IV, V, and VI... yuck (I don't think I'm ever going to buy I-III, btw). The only possible draw backs I can see here is that they're going to cost an astronomical amount of cash, and that they're being released right before the new DVD formats start coming out.

Update: Well, now that I've calmed downed a little bit, I re-read the article--it looks like they're sticking both versions of each movie on the DVDs. Oh well. Just because it's there doesn't mean I have to watch it.

02 May 2006

More old news

I found another review of the 2004 R32, published in the Austin American-Statesman (June 2004). Here's a quote from the article:
The R32, to put it simply, is a midget rocket ship, capable of briskly jumping away from traffic lights and many of the cars on the road today.

The V-6 is a fast-acting monster — rumbly exhaust is standard — and the six-speed shifts smoothly. It's virtually miss-proof when using up the 236 pounds-feet of torque the quick-spinning V-6 develops at 2,800 rpm.

The test R32 was much more fun to drive than the Beetle or the Phaeton, and high-revved launches aren't necessary to enjoy it. Just poke at the pedals and watch the speedometer climb. It's tempting to leave it in third or fourth gear.

Site visitors in April 2006

Just as the title says, click here for a list of site visitors in April 2006, listed by country. The top five were:
1) USA
2) Australia
3) Great Britain
4) Canada
5) Sweden

01 May 2006

Yahoo versus Google

Wow! I usually stick with google when I need a search engine, but I have to say that yahoo has now taken a great leap ahead. Why is that, you ask? I searched for "2004 golf r32"--with yahoo my site was listed at numbers 15 and 18 :o) On google I came up empty until at least page 7 when I finally gave up :o(

Just thought I'd share :P

New old news

I found a MkIV R32 review article that I hadn't read before. I was kind of surprised because lately all I've seen are articles on the MkV. Anywhoo, the article was published in Driving Sports Magazine, June 2004, and click here for a read. Here's a funny quote: "The R32 isn't just a fun car...it also makes a great snow-blower."

Fyi, I have a whole list of MkIV R32 reviews (U.S. spec).