Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

It’s not selling because you’re charging too much… no pun intended.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

GM Said to Halt Chevrolet Volt Production for Four Weeks

If you ever wanted a metaphor of what is wrong with the current state of our country – it’s the Chevy Volt.

Originally, it was touted as a car whose gasoline engine would only run in order to keep the electric motors running.  In the end, it turned out to be just another hybrid, only with a price-point that could put you behind the wheel of a more proven hybrid such as the Toyota Prius – with just about every single option available.

Even the Chevy site which offers a ‘compare’ option that puts the Volt up side by side with its competitors lacks a key component – gas mileage.  Not to mention, looking at the list of competitors that are offered, the only car which comes close in cost to the Volt is the Nissan Leaf.  In fact, you could get a ‘competitively equipped’ Lexus Hybrid for $10k less.  When I look at the list they’ve provided, it almost encourages me to look elsewhere.

Now I won’t say that the Volt is a bad car – in actuality is a technical achievement for Chevrolet.  That said, Toyota accomplished the same 15 years ago and has spent the time since refining the car into an affordable reality for most buyers.  That’s easily one of the contributing factors involved in GM going belly up to the extent it needed a government bailout to rescue its unions it.

Another big problem with the Volt, besides the fact that it lacks the cult following of the Prius, as well as the price point of the Lexus, is that to achieve the fuel efficiency that has been touted since day one – there are restrictions on how you use the car.  Take a Prius on a short trip, or a long commute – there’s no question as to the mileage you’ll get.  The only way you can get 100mpg from a Volt is if you drive it less than 50 miles per day and fully charge it at night.  Travel beyond the limits of its EV only range and your fuel efficiency will drop into the mid 30’s as far as miles per gallon.  Still good mileage, but not for a car costing $40k.

What we’ve got here is history repeating itself.  During the oil crisis of the 1970s, Japanese automakers and their fuel efficient products absolutely pimp-smacked Detroit and their thirsty V8 driven catalog.  Even when fuel prices started to rise dramatically, the most fuel efficient Chevy you could buy was a brand-engineered and re-badged econobox from the Pacific Rim.  Given the choice between an Aveo or a Civic – which would you have picked?

Now with Chevy stopping production on the Volt again because it hasn’t reached the sales numbers they expected – who knows what is next for them.  Personally, being a shareholder under duress, I think they need to continue refining the car and get the price point down by about 50%.  Sure, they’ll take it on the nose, but one thing we know about General Motors is that operating at a loss is nothing new to them.  If they decide to make the same decision as when they scrapped the EV1 in 1999 (which came out at the same time as the original Prius) I can guarantee that whether or not they actually pay off the loans stolen from my tax dollars – they’re going to end up right back where they started.

My biggest problem with all of the American manufacturers, besides Ford, is that they’ve got the attention span of a goldfish.  Instead of creating the best car possible, they create an OK car and slap different levels of trim and options across multiple brands, then try to save money by eliminating the brands that aren’t selling well (see Plymouth, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, etc…) instead of realizing like the rest of us that IT’S THE CARS, STUPID.  They stretch out the life-cycle of their products to minimize cost and maximize profit, all the while not taking the opportunity to innovate.

They give us the Chevy Volt, or make it so their cars can run on Ethanol as well as gasoline while the rest of the worlds manufacturers focus on stronger, lighter materials and more efficient drive-trains.  Imagine where Chevrolet could be today if in 1999 instead of putting the most technologically advanced creation they had into the crusher they decided to add the engine from a Chevy Cavalier to it?

There has always been a market for fuel efficient vehicles, and until Chevy starts taking that market seriously – they’re always going to be lagging behind the rest of the world…instead of leading it.

 

First road trip on the bike…

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Last Tuesday night I decided to catch up with the rest of my family down at OBX.  The catch was, OBX is around 600 miles from here, and generally takes 10-12 hours to reach.  Since I’ve been riding for a good 4 years now, I decided to take my bike down.  Now there are many things which out and out scream – do not take a 500cc Kawasaki on a long road trip, such as a 2.9g fuel tank (150 miles max range) and a seat that was designed by satan to steal life from anyone who sits on it for longer than an hour.  Still, I decided to throw caution to the wind and get going.

The first thing I came to realize, is that while the bike can keep up easily with interstate traffic (90+ mph on average), the gas mileage drops significantly (from 50mpg to around 36mpg) – so while I can go faster, technically its a wash because I would have to stop more often for refills.  So I brought the speed back down, and slowly other issues cropped up – mainly comfort.  The bike itself isn’t all that uncomfortable, but the seat isn’t exactly made for long rides.  Shifting back and forth in line with the varying levels of discomfort helped – but what I eventually tried was to plant my feet on the rear pegs and lean forward on the bike (like a sport bike).  That took most of the load off my rear end, and allowed me to relax my arms and legs.  Each time I did this I’d have to adjust the mirrors so I could see whether or not anyone was coming up from behind (NY bike, riding south, was waiting for the eventual ticket…).

As the ride progressed, I came to realize that everyone speeds – and at least during the time I rode – they speed a lot.  This helped make some good time once I was off the interstates, if a pack of traffic was doing 70mph through a 40mph zone, I just kept up with them.  Most of the ride was pretty un-eventful on the back-roads, but my general practice of ‘wait to get passed, then keep up with a decent gap’ worked pretty good.  At one point I was running very low on fuel, I ended up stopping off in Virginia at a closed gas-station which kept the pumps online.  Was a little creepy but got the job done.  I had tried to wire up a 12v port on the bike before I left, but all I managed to do was fry my cellphone charger.  So my primary source of navigation was a short direction list stored in my seat-bag.  I only managed to goof once or twice, like getting on route 12 in Kitty Hawk instead of staying on 158.  Also discovered that having a crosswalk button nearby is a great asset when stick at a light that isn’t configured to support a motorcycle.

I made a point at every stop to take a little extra time to stretch my legs, re-hydrate, and check that everything on the bike was still working right.  All in all, the ride down took about 14 hours including stops and waiting for the ferry to Ocracoke.  The best way to go on a trip like this, is to leave with the sun up, travel through the night, and arrive for sunrise.  The next day I took a few power-naps to partake in the absolutely glorious weather without collapsing.  I ended up deciding to head back early Sunday morning.  Since weather reports showed rain on the horizon for the coming week, and I had no desire to ride 600 miles soaking wet.  The ride back was a little more than I bargained for.

Starting with the wait for the ferry, the bike wouldn’t fire up when it came time to actually board.  After putting the kick-stand up I was able to get it started.  My best guess was that the kickstand safety switch which is designed to stop the engine if the bike is put in gear decided to start working (it never has).  Once back on the mainland, I made a point to stop for ear plugs (a dozen hours of wind noise and open exhaust can get a little rough).  I also stopped at an Ace Hardware store in Virginia to get a Leatherman – it felt a bit like going to Radio Shack and asking for a specific type of resistor – the kid who tried his damn-est to help me didn’t even know what a Leatherman was.  I ended up finding a knock-off in the outdoors section.  I removed the switch and re-attached it so that it would always be open.  This appeared to work for a short time, but eventually the bike wouldn’t turn over again.  I’d say at least 50% of my stops required pop-starting the bike.  Made me start to wonder how hard it would be to install a kick-start on it.

The next problem with the ride was the heat.  It was about 75F for the ride down and I didn’t have much trouble staying hydrated.  For the ride up, the average temperature was around 100F (a real-feel temperature indicated the temp felt more like 123F around Cape Charles, VA).  At each stop I’d pound two of those $.99 Arizona cans, but by the afternoon I started to get a headache and feel the dehydration starting to take affect.  The clouds began to roll in around Delaware, so I took a long stop at a Waffle House ($10 T-Bone Steak & Eggs… can’t beat it).  That helped me get my bearings as I continued back up through NJ.  I stopped on the turnpike for gas, there were some pretty long lines – one woman decided not to wait and drove around the lines to the other side of the pump.  To my amusement – they refused to fill her tank and told her to get back in line.  Between exits 6 and 8 I hit some massive slowdowns due to construction zones (although I couldn’t see a single bit of construction being actively performed).  This tacked another hour onto the ride, I had hoped to make it back without stopping again, but as the sun went down after that long wait I decided to get off of the highway and take some familiar back-roads home.

Heading up 206 through Flanders, I had to detour due to an accident.  Apparently a bike clipped a car, and the passenger on the bike was killed.  Gave me pause… I stopped to top of the tank and just sat there, astonished that I had gone over 520 miles at that point without a single problem and these folks who made the mistake of stopping at a 7/11 for whatever have had their lives destroyed.  I always ride like anything with 4 wheels is out to kill me, and thus far that has kept me safe… still, its only a matter of time before your ticket gets punched… if you’re lucky, you walk away, if not…  Damn.

Managed to make it home around 10pm last night, 14 hours.  Looking back, I’m glad I took the trip.  I wish I could have stayed longer (seriously considering driving back… lol), but as far as long trips on a motorcycle go – I don’t think I’ll ever take another on this bike again.  That accident last night really shook me, moreso than the dehydration, soreness, and wear and tear on my mental faculties the 1200 mile round trip took on me.  Perhaps some day I will get a bike designed more for long trips, until then I’ll stick to cruising locally and commuting.  Seeing the world on two wheels is entirely different.  The sights, smells, sensations… After awhile I got the sensation that I was flying over the road…no longer a passenger, but part of my bike.  Next time, I’m driving!

Zen and the Art of IID Maintenance

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Just the other day I had an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) removed from my car.

Now drunk driving *IS* a big problem.  More people do it with or without thinking than you could even imagine.  If there was a breathalyzer checkpoint at the door of any bar in the tri-state area, I’d imagine that bar would look like one hopping place because while many enter, very few would actually be able to leave when they wanted to.

In New York State, should you be the lucky recipient of a DWI, you will be subject to fines (around $900), a state government surcharge ($750), lawyers fees (at last estimate around… $3000), impound fees ($300+), suspension and/or restriction of your driving privileges, being hurled back into the assigned-risk insurance pool (75% surcharge on your standard automotive policy for 39 months), and of course – the pièce de résistance, an IID ($120 install, $120 monthly monitoring, $80 removal, and $60 per reset due to a fail).

Now the theory behind the IID is that when installed in the vehicle of a DWI offender, it will prevent the car from being started if the driver blows over .020% BAC.  The devices have many countermeasures to prevent tampering such as built-in infra-red cameras to identify who is taking the test, rolling retests (every 15-30 minutes), as well a spiffy data log which keeps track of whether power to the device has been interrupted in any way.  Blow anything but a fresh lungful of bad breath, a violation is logged, reported to your case-worker instantly, and you may or may not find yourself back in court.  Following that theory, it works.  In reality…

From day 1 you will be told that these devices never malfunction.  That is an absolute lie.

Like any other modern electronic device, an IID can and will malfunction.  From false positives due to alcohol based mouthwash like Listerine or Scope, or energy drinks like Red Bull, to failed readings which trigger an ‘Abort’ or ‘Wait’ alert, to failing due to internal corrosion, hardware defect, etc… they are fully capable of keeping both inebriated and stone sober drivers from getting behind the wheel of their cars.

If you ask what to avoid besides alcohol, you won’t be told anything – everyone involved knows what can trigger these things to fail – but to admit that drinking a Red Bull or eating the wrong type of bread would cause a fail would be admitting that the IID can malfunction.  If the manufacturer, the government, or even the well-intentioned groups like MADD who champion the cause of these devices were to ever acknowledge that the IID is not 100% effective – it would quickly open up the laws that require their use to attack.  With no laws to require an IID, the revenue stream into the Government as well as the manufacturers which rely on raking in BAC violations would be drastically cut if not eliminated… and therein lies the rub.

I’ve had the IID replaced a total of 4 times across 2 vehicles.  Remember – these DO NOT malfunction…but why have them replaced if they’re always working as expected?  The very last time I had one replaced, the regional manager of the interlock company went as far as to accuse me of tampering with the device to make it fail.

Consider the logic at work here folks, it is mind boggling.  The device malfunctions, as a result I am late to work, late to appointments, have to completely scrap plans, and not to mention drop $60 to have the unit reset and re-calibrated so the car isn’t locked out 5 days after the initial malfunction…. And I was supposedly doing this ON PURPOSE!?  Every time it was obvious that the unit was malfunctioning, the regional manager fought tooth and nail against replacing the unit.  We were told repeatedly that we were the ONLY ONES having problems with these devices (a quick trip to Google will prove otherwise).  After all of the BS, and after paying enough reset fees, eventually they would authorize the replacement (with no mention of malfunction in the reason behind it).

After repeated calls to the regional manager went un-answered (mind you, she ASKED for me to call and discuss what was going on) – I resorted to my tried and true method of problem resolution commonly referred to as “Sherman’s March to The Sea.”  Using Google.com, I located the contact information for the top executives and owners of the interlock company, and emailed them directly to explain the situation and ask VERY NICELY for a resolution.

Within 2 days, the installer had contacted me and advised that the replacement was approved – and the best part – the regional manager was no longer with the company.

The culprit here – and this is key because I was *NEVER* told that they would cause a false positive or malfunction, was my electronic cigarette.  Early on I had discovered that any flavored electronic cigarette would quickly trigger a fail.  After much hyperventilating the fail would clear on a retest, but this is what the manufacturers and government force you to do – learn by trial and error – all the while forking over hard earned cash to resolve problems with a device they say NEVER MALFUNCTIONS.

For months then, I continued not smoking real cigarettes – instead smoking my electronic variety which did not trigger any failures or malfunctions…  that is until the outside temperature dropped below 32F.  Almost overnight the unit would fail nearly every test until it warmed up enough, even failing for the installer after driving an hour to have the unit reset.  The very day I had the unit replaced the first time, I decided ‘no more e-cigarettes while driving’ thinking that would be enough.  NAY.  After sitting at my desk for 8 hours and attempting to leave for the day (and not vaping for an hour prior to leaving) – the IID repeatedly failed me.  Eventually I gave up, abandoned the car at my office, and got a ride home.

Now since these devices never malfunction, I had to resort to my own methods of avoiding these malfunctions.  A few things worked…  First was unplugging the head unit and bringing it inside with me when it wasn’t in use.  From a warm start, it would either WARN or pass on the first test… but the common thing here was normally that my first test of the morning would pass, then after about 10 minutes I would fail the retest.  The other thing was to make sure I removed the clear plastic mouthpiece when the device wasn’t in use, which allowed the condensation from my breath to slowly evaporate from the IID.

Still, despite those efforts – it still malfunctioned – and I was never advised to modify my behavior, simply that the IID does NOT MALFUNCTION, that NOBODY HAS EVER HAD A PROBLEM LIKE THIS, and that I must be DOING THIS ON PURPOSE.  After the final replacement, I stopped using my e-cigarrettes, and from that day to the joyous removal date – no malfunctions.  My best guess here is that the chemicals in the e-cigarette liquid must have built up on the sensor as once the device began to malfunction, all BAC readings were in the .020% range.

Recently passed laws make the absurd requirement of installing an IID in every household vehicle (regardless of guilt or innocence) that the offender may have access to drive.  Local municipalities are going even further, attempting to enact policies which prohibit your God given and constitutionally protected right to have a drink (as long as you don’t drive).  IID’s are becoming more widespread every day despite their inherent flaws and numerous malfunctions (ever see a BAC test given at a police station?  Did you wonder why the officer keeps telling the suspect to blow even after the test has apparently completed?  It’s to drive every bit of alcohol from your lungs and into the machine, so that your BAC reading is actually HIGHER than what is ACTUALLY IN YOUR BLOOD).

So to anyone who has to deal with an IID in their life, please remember the following (I am not responsible for anything that happens to you if you do or do not heed my suggestions) :

  • Don’t drink and drive!!!
  • Get help!!!  Even if you don’t THINK you’re an alcoholic, go to AA, get substance abuse counceling, and see first hand what alcohol abuse can do to people…  if that doesn’t elevate your thinking, nothing short of a bullet in the head is going to help you.
  • Buy a portable breathalyzer, they range in price from $10 to $100 and can be found in many convenience stores (even Best Buy sells them).  When in doubt, take a breath test.  I picked up a small keychain unit for $10 at Best Buy which let me know when my BAC was negligible.
  • Don’t believe the hype, the units malfunction every day, keep track of every malfunction (date, time, what you’ve eaten, drank, or smoked).  Report any and every malfunction to the installer as well as your case worker.  If you’re called back to court, the malfunction log is your friend.  A replacement could get every reading on the unit invalidated.
  • If you’re ever stopped for suspicion of DWI, and you know you are drunk, don’t admit to drinking anything, don’t admit to being drunk, be polite and cooperative – but remember – they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are committing a crime.  You have the right to remain silent whether or not you are under arrest.  Worst case, you take a field sobriety test, you get arrested, and eventually wind up at the station.  Refusing to take a breathalyzer test results in an immediate 6-month suspension of driving privileges.  Demand an actual blood test, it is the only truly accurate way to determine BAC, and could be the difference between having a criminal record or just having a bad night.  You could fail a field sobriety test, get arrested, and unless you were completely trashed – by the time you get that blood test – be in the clear or have a BAC reading within DAI range (driving while abilities impaired).
  • If you are arrested, get a good lawyer, and get everything in writing.  The court is not going to grant you any quarter, they are hell bent on making an example out of every single person before the bench regardless of guilt, innocence, or context.  DWI is a big problem, but also a huge money-maker for the Government as well as IID manufacturers, so they have every intention of squeezing you dry and burying you – with the end result being that you may or may not (depending on whether you’re an alcoholic, an idiot, or just plain unlucky) drive drunk again.

I’m glad it is done with.  I’ve never been arrested for DWI, DUI, or DAI – everyone has driven at while at least buzzed, but I pray that you never have to see the effect this has on those you love.  It is an unmitigated nightmare at every level.  Driving under the influence of alcohol is stupid, avoidable, and not worth losing your money, self respect, or life.  Avoid driving after drinking at all costs.

GPS for Android

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I’m a big fan of GPS, even when I know where to go, I like to keep an eye on the statistics of my current trip.  My first experience was with a Garmin Nuvi, which still works fine – but mainly I use the Google Navigation on my Incredible.  Problem is, Google Navigation isn’t very smart.  The app doesn’t allow you to choose between the ‘shortest’ or the ‘fastest’ route to a location, instead it simply believes that the route it suggest is what is best for you.  Most times, that may not be a big deal, however in the case of my recent drive to North Carolina, it added nearly 2 hours to the drive.

Instead of keeping me on the highway for a majority of the trip, it sent me on back roads which shortened the overall drive by about 100 miles.  This would have been fine if the short cut wasn’t packed with 30mph zones and traffic lights.  Pretty much every other GPS and mapping application out there skipped the back roads and sent me on a more direct route.  100 more miles, nearly 2 hours less to drive.  That lead me to the Android Market to find a suitable replacement that provided more accurate routing.

Right now my top 2 are Waze and Sygic.

Waze is free, and community based.  So far its directions aren’t the best (a recent trip from North Jersey to my house skipped 3 other routes that I know for a fact are faster) – but it has a large user base and they constantly keep other users up to date on traffic, hazards, speed traps, etc… in the area.    The graphics are basic but effective, the navigation voice appears to be human (instead of the robot used by Google Nav), and the vehicle tracking is accurate.  That’s one thing I like about most GPS units, it shows you where your car is… something lacking in the next option, Sygic.

Sygic is a paid application, it runs $15.99 in Euros and has the bonus of being able to download updated maps directly to the SD storage on the phone.  Sygic attempts to bring a more traditional GPS interface to the Android phone, multiple map packages, voices, etc…  Its directions are accurate, and its short/fast options are also well implemented.  My biggest complaints are that Sygic will take the turn for you – and then auto-correct.  Meaning if it asks you take a left, and you continue straight, the mini-map will take the turn and for a few moments continue on before it corrects.  I’ve found other GPS options handle recalculating much quicker.  My other complaint is that the icon for your current location is a HUGE ORANGE ARROW that takes up a VERY large portion of the screen unless you’re driving very fast.  I want a small icon, that’s it.  Voice navigation is computerized, but also better than the Google Nav option.

I attempted to purchase Sygic the other day but had some trouble with the card processing…. going to give it another shot.  As much as I am enjoying Waze, I need a GPS app I can count on, and Sygic is it.

Had a thought…

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

By no means is this an original thought, as I’m certain that others have come to the same conclusion…  A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to drive my friend’s electric Mini for a bit around town.  The car handled very well, had gobs of torque, and was just plain fun to drive.  The problem of course with any fully electric car is that they must be frequently recharged, such is the case with the Nissan Leaf which has an approximate 73 mile range according to the EPA and takes 8 hours to fully charge from 0.
My local Price Chopper has an electric vehicle charging station out front, which isn’t a bad thing if your groceries will fit in your electric car and you are there long enough to leech a significant charge off the grid.  Some corporations also have electric charging stations available for those workers who choose to drive on electrons rather than gasoline (yes, I know gasoline has electrons too, everything does).

The problem as I see it is that the electric car in all its glory cannot be used for long road trips – and that’s where the greatest benefit to the US economy would be found.  The economy doesn’t benefit as much from simple trips around town as it does from Americans getting out and exploring the open road – something which has declined over the past 10+ years as fuel prices have gone from reasonable to ridiculous.

Here’s my private industry solution to the range issues of electric vehicles – and it has nothing to do with the government…  Forget charging stations…  What manufacturers such as Nissan need to do is configure their vehicles with easily interchangable battery packs.  See, not only is the process of replacing the entire pack, or individual batteries within the pack a cumbersome task, it can only be done at specific Nissan Leaf dealers.

Forget that.  Tap into the mind of Preston Tucker here.  Engineer the battery pack so that it can be removed and replaced within 10 minutes at any Nissan dealership in the continental US, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Right there, your range goes from 73 miles per trip to… lets drive to Florida and stop every 70 or so miles.  That’s 15 stops on an 1100 mile trip from Warwick, NY to Daytona Beach, Florida.

What happens at every stop?  An opportunity to explore the local scenery of the localities you are briefly visiting.  Take a leak, stretch the legs, see the world.  The local and state economies benefit at each stop by the services and products sold to traveling consumers.

Now if every single automotive manufacturer with an EV option did this – the sales and use of EV’s would explode overnight.  Would it add some cost to the vehicles?  Sure.  Picture an option package which includes free swaps for the life of the vehicles powertrain warranty.

Take this one step further – standardized power supplies for EV’s.  Stop at any dealer and swap it out.  Free at your manufacturer, $15 (approximately 1/6th of the average $90/hr labor rate) at any approved dealer.  Utilize the existing network of auto dealers across the nation, pump more cash into local economies, and all it would take is an investment by each dealer (greatly subsidized by government tax breaks for those manufacturers that utilize standardized EV battery packs) to have charging stations capable of keeping an appropriate number of packs on hand.  Hell, put efficient solar cells on the roofs of these dealerships and its a completely clean and green setup.

For short trips, use available charging stations.  For road trips, use the dealer networks.  Mark my words folks – the first manufacturer to implement quick swap battery packs will be the first to completely dominate the EV market and seriously put a boot in the ass of OPEC.

Demand for gasoline will drop, cost per gallon will drop as supply exceeds demand, and those of us who choose to continue on with our traditional gasoline powered vehicles can do so without spending hundreds of dollars per month.

As new and more efficient power sources emerge – they’ll likely be smaller and lighter than the previous generation – make them compatible or adaptable to the previous generations EV’s.

Anyhow… that was my thought.  Quick swap / standardized battery packs for EV’s that can be changed at any dealership, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Zen, and the art of the close call…

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Heading home from work today, I’m coming into Florida doing about 40mph, a couple carlengths off the Mitsubishi in front of me…  Up ahead, a UPS truck is waiting to hang a left out of a parking lot, and a tractor trailer is waiting to hang a right into the parking lot.  Then someone decides to do a courtesy stop.  Now normally, this isn’t a problem… but on a Friday afternoon when everyone is heading home from work on a busy road, it’s not too bright.

So the Pontiac stops short, and comes to a complete stop to let the UPS truck out.  The Mitsubishi behind them stops short and slams on the brakes.  I start to emergency stop behind the Mitsu, but I can’t slow fast enough, so I start to veer right and head for the grass, ready to take my first fall.  The Mitsu of course, still can’t stop in time for the Pontiac, so it starts to cut right at the same time I do, cutting me off.  I veer even harder right, into the grass.  After a bit of wobble I manage to slow and stop on the grass…  Mitsu on the grass behind me.  I slowly start to move again and the Mitsu AGAIN starts to cut me off after the Pontiac is already driving past me.

At this point I’m downright irate, so I just get on the gas and head down to turn around in the parking lot, when this jagoff puts his arms up at me like ‘WHAT THE !@#$’ – so I toot the horn, salute him, and continue on my way.

I wasn’t speeding, I wasn’t tailgating, I’ll have to work on my emergency stops a bit I think, but for the sake of all things holy, if there’s someone trying to pull out of your parking lot on a busy road at rush hour, and you have a line of cars behind you, LET THEM WAIT.

Well wonders never cease…

Monday, May 16th, 2011

In my ongoing expose of just how many of the drivers in my town are complete and under buffoons, we have the driver of a late 90’s teal Ford Ranger.

I’m heading back to work from a dentist’s appointment when I decide to stop at the Tuscan for a cup of coffee.  Before I make my turn, I activate my blinker and see a mother and daughter on the crosswalk bracing against the heavy rainfall blanketing the area.  I do what I normally do (what everyone should do) and come to a stop so they can cross.  As they begin to cross, another gentleman starts to cross from the opposite side of the road.

Then behind me, I hear a horn and see this nitwit flipping out, waving his hand, cursing at me for stopping, and then I suppose cursing at the people on the crosswalk for daring to hold him up for a whopping 15 seconds.

I’m sure everyone at one point or another has been behind a car at a crosswalk, not realizing why the car ahead of them has stopped, and impatiently honks.  It’s human nature.  But most will invariably let out an ‘oops’ and maybe even duck under their steering wheel out of embarrassment after making such a mistake.  This guy?  I don’t know what his deal was, but congratulations, you are tothemetal.net’s Asshole driver of the day!

Still worth a chuckle…

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I’m heading home from PAC computers today after another vapor excursion when a black Dodge Charger R/T proceeds to ride up my ass like a proctologist funded by universal healthcare.  I slow down like I normally do, he backs off a bit.  We just about clear West Milford when he rips out over the double yellow and passes me right before the ambulance squad.  Wouldn’t you know it, there was a speed trap right after it, and in typical fashion – the cop doesn’t pull out.

I continue on my way, not in any rush, when inevitably I catch up to the Charger that is now stuck behind a Jeep with a trailer.  Inside, some shrimp dicked midlife crisis in progress is eyeing his rearview while flicking an analog cigarette out the window, oddly enough not really tailgating the trailer, instead slowing down so I can catch up.   I keep my distance since I’m not a teenager or an asshat, and eventually he ~chuckle~ follows the Jeep down Hoyt Rd… Of course not before stopping, and SLOWLY turning out of my lane to make sure I have to come to a complete stop.

So let me get this straight… you’re in a rush, you catch up to me (as I’m driving the second most pathetic creation ever devised by Chrysler at 5 over the speed limit), tailgate me, pass me illegally when you realize that I’m not going to play any games or speed up because I’m intimidated by the vast singularity hovering mere inches above your driver’s seat, then make a point after I’ve caught up because you’re an overzealous twat by slowing down and taking your sweet ass time to pull out of my way…

God I’m glad I grew up.

Oy

Monday, May 31st, 2010

I really gotta wonder what is in the back of some peoples heads when they’re tailgating a motorcycle.  I’m coming home last night from running some errands, it’s hot, and muggy out, my facemask is coated with mosquito shrapnel, and this jackass in a Toyota is on my ass from the moment I hit the 30 zone in Warwick.  I proceed to let off the gas until I’m doing 15 mph, as he is so far right as to pass me at the first available opportunity ON THE RIGHT.  So I speed up to 30mph, he backs off for 2 seconds, and again is on my ass.  So we get up to the traffic light between Main and Kings, it’s red, so I stop, look, and flip him off.  I see this grand-baby boomer yuppie prick flipping me off right back and flailing all over the place.  Seriously, I don’t get people sometimes.

Boooo

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Took the truck out the other day for a drive down to Jersey, and noticed that the battery gauge was stuck at 9, and the battery light was flashing…

The plug to the voltage regulator on top of the alternator decided to fall off, and land on the exhaust header….which was blazing hot, and turned the plug into a puddle of molten plastic.

The laughs began when I started trying to find the part… Autozone, no dice. NAPA? No dice (they had a 3 wire one, where mine had only 1 wire, but I’ll get to that next). So I stop at Healey Chevy in Goshen. $75.

SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR A PLUG AND A FEW INCHES OF WIRE. This isn’t a BMW, it’s a 20 year old pickup truck, with a part number so common that dozens of different models had the same exact part!

I wasn’t even going to waste my time with the local boneyard. They’re more concerned with cashing out by selling the parts to overseas refurbishing agents who re-sell us our own parts at a premium than allowing someone with an old car/truck to pick a part or two to keep their toy running.

So I stop at the Goshen NAPA, and find out after the guy made a phone call – that the 3 wire will work, I just need to use the “L” wire, and he’s also getting me an OEM unit (used)… Took all of… 5 minutes. Hopefully after a quick splice tomorrow, the Chevy will be back in fighting form, and I hope so. It still uses R12 refrigerant and cools off quicker and stronger than my 4 year old Volkswagen.

Cool. Hehehehehehe.