Voted "Best Blog With No Readers", 2009 Blogspot Awards.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Something Green

I was out in the park for a dose of green-ness. It kind of makes up for all this rain we've been having.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Lydia Time Again

(click image for bigger)

Words fail me. But a picture is worth a thousand, right?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Product Recommendation

This is the Accutire MS-4021B tire gauge. I've had one for a couple of years, and it's great. I've given a couple as presents, and gotten positive feedback. Accutire makes several other gauges, but I like this one because it doesn't have all that programmable junk that I don't need, and you can replace the batteries.

I got mine at Target for $12.99, but Amazon has it for $8.99. The Amazon comments are interesting. People actually gave it a one-star rating because they didn't remove the sticker that says 28.5, and thought that was the actual reading. Always read the directions.

Another reviewer thought it didn't work because they got 0.0 every time, and didn't realize that they were getting the calibration reading. That reminds me: one of the reasons I really like this gauge is that it can be calibrated. I've thrown away too many gauges because they lost their accuracy.

Being a race fan has made me realize the importance of tire pressure. My cars have gotten much better performance and mileage ever since I started checking the pressure regularly. I typically use the air pumps at Shell stations, because they're free.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Here Comes Le Mans

The world's biggest and most important stock car race is coming up in a couple of weeks, held in the beautiful French countryside. I hear you ask, "Isn't the biggest stock car race in NASCAR?"

Uh, no. While NASCAR still calls itself "stock car" racing, the cars haven't been stock for over a quarter-century. They are what's known in racing as prototypes. Each car is built one at a time at each team's race shop. Nearly all of the parts come from suppliers other than Ford, Chevy, Toyota, or Dodge. The race car may say "Impala SS", but it has nothing to do with the car Chevy makes besides the name.

Real stock cars come off a production line. (Thus, they are called "production" cars in the racing world.) You can go down to a car dealer and buy a car very similar to the one you see on the race track. There are races for these real stock cars, and the most important of them is the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Chevy will be there, but they won't use the Impala SS. If they did, they'd finish last. They race the Corvette. Winning at Le Mans confers some serious bragging rights, and this is where the Corvette legend comes from.

The 'Vettes race in a class called GT1, the fastest production class in racing. There is also a GT2 class for less powerful cars. They're still some impressive beasts, like the Porsche 911 and the Ferrari 430. Next year, the GT1 class will be eliminated. Corvette racing intends to get a head start on the switchover by racing a GT2 version for the rest of this season. It'll be fun to see how they do against the Porsches and Ferraris.

While these cars are getting sorted out, they have to make room for some absurdly fast prototypes, cars that would make NASCAR cars whimper and run away. Audi and Peugeot will bring three diesel-powered monsters each, and Aston Martin will challenge them with three gasoline-powered cars of their own. Last year, the Audis and Peugeots fought an epic battle. The addition of Aston Martin promises to raise it to another level.

I can't wait. This is the stuff I live for.

Reading List

  • Man Is Wolf to Man, by Janusz Bardach
  • Don't Swallow Your Gum! by Aaron Carroll & Rachel Vreeman
  • Instant Replay, by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap
  • New York, by Edward Rutherford
  • The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson

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