31 January 2007

Jumping through hoops

The R's CD player went kaput a while ago and I finally got around to *start* getting it repaired: Getting my music back.

27 January 2007

Fuel consumption

It's still only January, but I've had to fill up three times. Ouch. I think my mileage has been slightly lower than usual, recently. I wonder if it's because this winter I've had the heater going, as opposed to warmer months where I turn the climatronic/econo feature completely off.

R32 fuel consumption 2007. Data from previous years can be found here.

24 January 2007

Microwave experiments cause sponge disasters

Investigators at the University of Florida found that microwaving sponges for two minutes at full power can sterilize them (Microwave zaps germs). It appears that some, after hearing this, tried it for themselves with less than positive results: sponges catching fire, smoking up the house, and damaging the microwave.

It appears the home experimenters left out a crucial step. The university promptly issued an advisory:

"To guard against the risk of fire, people who wish to sterilize their sponges at home must ensure the sponge is completely wet. Two minutes of microwaving is sufficient for most sterilization. Sponges should also have no metallic content. Last, people should be careful when removing the sponge from the microwave as it will be hot."--CNN
I'm of two minds about trying this myself. Wetting them... no problem. But how the heck do I know if my sponges have metallic content? I don't recall the packaging listing their ingredients.

R32 news

First, earlier this month I needed to replace one of my wheel center caps. I was slightly shocked at how ugly it looked with it missing. Anywhoo, you can check Stargazer's Garage or my website for details and pictures.

Second, a nod to Volkswagen service--scaring customers away from free repairs is a talent only they have (I hope!). This minor epiphany came about when I realized I was seriously contemplating taking the R to my preferred tuner shop rather than a VW dealership for warranty work.

19 January 2007

What I watch

I'd been looking forward to the new season of Monk on USA Network (Fridays, 9pm EST). The episode was titled Mr. Monk Makes a Friend and Adrian Monk attends a hockey game featuring the San Jose Sharks and... the Vancouver Canucks!

I'm not sure if they interspersed clips from a real game, but they had obvious shots of the backs of a couple Canucks jerseys: #1 Roberto Luongo and #7 Brendan Morrison. Unfortunately, in this episode the Sharks won 2-1. Boooo!

Anywhoo, this episode was pretty funny, and like most Monk episodes, I liked it. :o)

Another show I'll admit to watching regularly is Psych, another great series on USA Network (Fridays, 10pm EST). Tonight was the start of its second season, and it was worth the wait. Psych is similar to Monk in that it makes use of the 'quirky' detective character. Here, the main character disguises his amazing observational skills by pretending to be a psychic, solving mysteries along the way. This show is light on the mystery, but heavy on the comedy and laughs.

This Sunday is the series premiere of The Dresden Files on the SciFi Network (9pm, EST). I'm really looking forward to this one because this show is based on a series of novels by Jim Butcher that I absolutely enjoy reading. I'm even willing to fork over the exorbitant bucks to purchase these books in hardcover rather than wait for paperback editions! I hope the series does the books justice.

18 January 2007

Sampras elected to Hall of Fame

Pete Sampras was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame:

Fourteen-time Grand Slam singles champion Pete Sampras and three-time major singles titlist Arantxa Sanchez- Vicario have been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Sampras held the world No. 1 ranking for a record 286 weeks, including a streak of 102 weeks between 1996 and 1998. He was ranked in the Top 10 for 12 straight years, holding the year-end No. 1 ranking a record six consecutive years (1993-98). His singles win-loss record is an impressive 762-222, with a 203-38 record in Grand Slam events.

In his 15-year career, Sampras captured 64 singles titles and reached the final in 24 additional tournaments. He amassed a record 14 Grand Slam singles championships: seven Wimbledon singles titles, two Australian Open titles, and five U.S. Open singles titles. His last appearance as an ATP pro was at the 2002 U.S. Open, where, as the 17th seed, he won the tournament. Only the title at Roland Garros eluded him during his career.

Sampras was honored as the ATP Player of the Year from 1993-98, a record six consecutive years. He won the ATP World Championships five times -- a record he shares with Ivan Lendl. The American legend also remains the all-time leader in total career prize money, earning over $43 million.

The 2007 induction ceremony will be held 14 July 2007 at the Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

Sampras' induction isn't really a big surprise, but it's welcome news nonetheless. Congratulations, Pistol Pete!

14 January 2007

Caveat emptor

Several months ago Trend Micro offered me a free-upgrade to Trend PC-cillin Internet Security 2007--which I accepted. I was happy with their previous anti-virus software and thought, why not? I disabled the upgrade's firewall (since I prefer using ZoneAlarm's firewall program) and it was smooth sailing... after I over came my initial dismay at how much more of a resource hog the 2007 version is.

Recently, I've been having problems with ZoneAlarm--its TrueVector Service kept on crashing--so I finally gave up trying to fix that and have since turned to PC-cillin's firewall. Anywhoo, all this gave me the final push to renew my PC-cillin subscription which is expiring soon so I clicked the renewal link in PC-cillin's main console...

1) First surprise, a 1-yr renewal costs about $49.95. What the heck? Wasn't last year's renewal at least half that price?!

2) Second, I noted that Trend's shopping cart had automatically included a 2nd item, Extended download service, for $4.99 which would allow me to download my purchase for 30 days. What is this? Isn't this just a renewal, to update my virus definitions for the next year? Am I actually purchasing complete software that they originally told me was a free upgrade?

3) Third, Trend offered an option to receive my purchase on CD... for an additional $9.95.

So, depending on whether I wanted a CD, a 1-yr "renewal" would cost $55 or $65. I was not happy. I took a quick look at Amazon.com where I discovered that they offer Trend PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 for $39.99 with free Super Saver Shipping.

Hmmm, so Trend isn't offering a "renewal", at all--they're offering complete software and (ignoring whatever shipping charges they'd take me for) to add insult to injury they're charging $25 more than their own distributors.

Buyer beware.

13 January 2007

Inside pictures of the R

It was almost three years since I took any interior photos of the R. Not much has changed, but I thought it was time I updated the pictures... especially since I spend so much time in there . :o)

If you're interested, you can check out my website, or take a gander at Stargazer's Garage.

08 January 2007

Top Bushisms for 2006

As posted on CNN:
1. "I'm the Decider." "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense." April 18, in response to a question from CNN's Ed Henry.
2. "I use The Google," in reference to the popular search engine. October 24th. Interview with Maria Bartiromo of CNBC.
3. "It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship." June 29.
4. "I've got an ek-a-lec-tic reading list." August 29 interview with NBC's Brian Williams.
5. "The only way we can win is to leave before the job is done." Nov. 24 (Greely, Colo.)
6. "Stay the course." On numerous occasions.
7. "When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma." Sept. 24. Interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
8. "The Congress was right to renew the Terrorist Act." In reference to the Patriot Act. Sept. 7 (Washington)
9. "I want to be a war president; no president wants to be a war president." Oct. 26. (Des Moines)
10. "The fiscal year that ended on February the 30th." The government fiscal year ends Sept. 30; Oct. 11 (Washington)
--CNN Political Ticker

05 January 2007

Canada wins gold!

Yipee! Today Team Canada won their third consecutive gold medal of the World Junior Hockey Championship. Canada defeated Russia 4-2 in Canada's sixth consecutive appearance in the championship game. This year's tournament was held in Leksand, Sweden.

To reach the final, Canada defeated the United States 2-1 in a semifinal shoot-out (5-4). In the bronze-medal game, the United States defeated hosts Sweden 2-1.

Congratulations to all the players!

Canadian 3-peat at world juniors

04 January 2007

Site news

I'm going to be trying something a little different--I'll be posting any R32-related stuff at Stargazer's Garage and see how that goes. For now, at least, I'll just be putting links to the posts on this blog. I'll still be posting everything else on this site.

How do I spell relief?

Site visitors for December

The top 5 visitors for December 2006, listed by country, were:

1) United States,
2) Canada,
3) Switzerland,
4) Germany,
5) European Union.

You can see the full list here. I don't recall if this has happened before, but curiously Poland had 14 hits but used no bandwidth. Eh?

For previous months you can follow this link.

02 January 2007

Happy New Year!

This year I spent New Year's Eve with family. My eldest niece made a valiant effort to stay awake until midnight but ultimately succumbed to blissful REM. She stayed awake much longer than her sisters, though. :o)

I was surprised and dismayed to learn that the city of Vancouver no longer had fireworks for New Years (and Canada Day, too!). It gives the impression that Vancouver is cheap--not very flattering in the run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Anywhoo, having said that, you've probably guessed the firework photo is not from Vancouver--I found it on the internet and I have no idea how long the link will survive. Enjoy it while you can ;o)

If you want to see some amazing photos, I recommend checking out Stargazer's picture gallery on flickr. He's been taken by the photography bug, and I tend to feel a little inadequate when I see his pics. :o)