Archive | July 2005

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
-Jim Elliot

Picture from:

Did you know?
Marjorie Saint, Nate Saint’s wife, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California.

Our new pastoral candidate at our church, Dr. Paul Gunandi (doctorate from you know where as well ), actually reminded me of this (famous) quote of Jim Eliot’s during the message he shared on Sunday morning.  He gave his life trying to reach the Auca (the “Savages” if I remember correctly) Indians in Ecuador.  They are now know as the Waodani…and most of them are now God followers!  Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and the rest of their team (I’m sorry.  Their names to come to mind off the top of my head) truly abandoned it all for the sake of the call.

It’s official!  I watched the Steven Curtis Chapman Abbey Road Sessions (in case you didn’t know, Abbey Road Studios in London is the same studio where The Beatles and some other group have recorded in the past) DVD tonight and can confirm for you ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, that the song “Much of You” on his All Things New album is indeed based on Pastor John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life.  The specific segment I saw this on was’s “New Song Cafe” episode located in the bonus features section of the DVD.

I will be off AIM completely this whole week (and the next) so I can try to spend more time in prayer.

What’s prayer got to do, got to do, got to do with it?

I will be going with about twenty-two other people from my church to a part of Ensenada, Mexico for a short term mission trip.  We will be leaving bright and early on Saturday, July 30, 2005, and should be returning on the evening of Friday, August 5, 2005.

We would GREATLY appreciate your (yes, YOU!) prayers and petitions for our trip.  I will edit this post as more things that can be prayed for come to mind.  If you would like more specifics and detail, just shoot me an e-mail.

Personal prayer requests as of 07/26/2005 1:00 AM PDT
1) Focus on this trip – I want to be a child of the burning heart.  I want to throw back my head and run with a passion through the fields of forgiveness and grace, carrying the eternal flame, with an undying hope and a faith and conviction of a truth that would never fade.  I want to be glowing in the dark – a child of the burning heart.  This “ain’t no” vacation, folks!  I’m going to make much of Jesus!!!
2) Health (physical, spiritual, mental, etc.) – I lightly tweaked/twisted my right knee somehow playing football on the beach last Saturday, July 16, 2005.  It hurts a little when I straighten it and am walking.  It did feel a lil bit better today though.  I also jammed left thumb running a route when someone crashed into my left hand or vice-versa (I don’t remember).  Praise God that I’ve still never had any major injuries in my life (no broken bones, severe sprains, or surgeries)!  The “worst” to date was a ruptured extensor tendon I received (successfully) blocking a spike from my buddy Micah Gilmore in the summer of 2003.  If I remember correctly, his high school team went to the California CIF state finals.  Even though, I got hurt blocking his spike, it still feels good to know I did it.  He’s got crazy skills though and would 0wn/Pwn me the other 99% of the time.
3) Español/Spanish – Well, I took AP Spanish Language in high school and didn’t do too well on the exam (2).  After that, I didn’t want anything to do with Spanish.  It’s like the ol’ saying, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  Even when I was working/volunteering with some of the neighborhood youth around USC my freshman and sophomore years, I wished I had retained my Spanish a lil bit better.  Seven(!) years later, some bits and pieces have come back to me over the last few weeks, but a lot of it is still missing like all of the original houses, hotels, money, and player pieces that came with your original Monopoly™ board game.

For the people of Ensenada we will interact with
1) God to be opening their hearts and souls in advance.  May they desire God’s love, joy, peace, and hope.  More importantly, may they simply desire to know Him, the power of His ressurection, and the fellowship of His suffering.
2) God’s unconditional elect will come to fall in love with Him for the first, but certainly not the last, time through the Holy Spirit sharing the gospel to them through us.
3) The strongholds of sin in these people’s lives to be crushed and removed from them so the King of Glory may come in and set them free indeed.

For the rest of the Ensenada team
1) Focus on God and unity in Him
2) Planning, packing, and/or preparation (not necessarily in that order)
3) The trip itself with our two rental 15-passenger vans.
4) Partnering with the local church in Ensenada headed by Pastor Juan Martinez
5) Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the kids

That’s about it for now!  I’m falling asleep here!

For the Sake of the Call
Words and music by Steven Curtis Chapman

Nobody stood and applauded them
So they knew from the start
This road would not lead to fame
All they really knew for sure
Was Jesus had called to them
He said, “Come follow Me,” and they came
With reckless abandon they came

Empty nets lying there at the water’s edge
Told a story that few could believe
And none could explain
How some crazy fisherman
Agreed to go where Jesus lived
With no thought for what they would gain
Lord Jesus had called them by name
And they answered

We will abandon it all
For the sake of the call
No other reason at all
But the sake of the call
Wholly devoted
To live and to die
For the sake of the call
The sake of the call

Not for the sake of a creed or a cause
Not for a dream or a promise
Simply because it is Jesus who calls
And if we believe we’ll obey
And we’ll answer


I think the time since my last entry has been the longest I’ve gone between Xanga entries since I started on 01/01/2005.

Softball update
07/13/2005 – My team lost by two runs.  I went 0-for-2 with a fielder’s choice, a groundout to second, and a walk (1 run scored).

07/20/2005 – My team lost by seven runs.  I went 0-for-2 with two pop ups to the second baseman, two walks (2 runs scored).  We were down by only 1 run as the visiting team going into the bottom of the 6th inning when we gave up a 6 spot.  I made the penultimate out of the game on my second pop up.  I just can’t seem to drive the ball well!  I guess I’m not waiting long enough for the ball to come down so I’m still getting under it.  If only they could simply pitch the ball overhand to me, that would be exponentially easier to hit the ball even though it’s going faster!

This brings me to a related issue.  I’ve never been on a winning team in my life except for my freshman year in high school baseball when we had a winning record and got to the first round of the playoffs but lost in the 7th inning to a team we crushed in the regular season.  I rode the bench that year so I don’t really count it that much.  Every other team I’ve been on has never had a winning season.  This include Uncle Ted’s (Low) softball team which won championships the summers before and after I played.  Am I cursed?  I don’t think so.  I think I have decent talent and raw athletic ability.  After all, you can’t coach speed.  And speed kills.  I can be a very competitive person when I’m on the field/court and you’ll hear me be much more vocal than I am at other times.  I suppose this is perhaps one of the ways God keeps me in check.  I don’t know.  What I do know, is that I should keep playing just to have fun and get a little exercise.  Winning is nice (very nice), but I suppose it’s just icing on the cake.

When you got down to the nitty gritty, the meat and potatoes, the nuts and bolts, folks, just remember the victory is the Lord’s!!!

On a different note, I’m saddened that some of my peers in college in general who seemed to be wholly/holy devoted to God when we were all serving Him in college don’t seem to be as intent on living for His glory and fame and making much of Him in their current lives.  I don’t know why that is, but I will be praying for them all.  I believe the pursuit of a more intimate relationship with Christ should be foremost priority over careers, leisure, recreation, toys, and so on and so forth.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve wrestled with this too, but by God’s grace, He humbles me and has me check myself before I wreck myself so to speak.

We were meant to live for so much more.  Have we lost ourselves?

LONG entry ahead!  I mean LONG, folks!

First, I want to start things off on a light note.  I wish college football season was here already!!!  Keep your eyes on this man, “The President,” Reggie Bush.  He’s like a video game character on the gridiron.  He can shake and bake, juke and cut, break ankles, and make people miss!


Victory signs up, everybody!  The “V” for victory is what Winston Churchill did in World War II.  It’s not just the peace sign, ya’ll!

Out of gas!
After God’s Anointed Servants (G.A.S.) were done gathering last Thursday night for our weekly small group time, I asked Jon to give me a ride in the new 2005 Toyota Tacoma, Motor Trend’s 2005 Truck of the Year.  He drove me a couple of blocks in the new whip and returned to his house.  As we were traveling East on Foothill, we passed a man walking Eastbound on Foothill who appeared to be trying to hitchhike his way somewhere.  I wasn’t sure if I was seeing correctly, but made some sort of remark to Jon that it was surprising to see a hitchhiker in his neck of the woods (Map here courtesy of Google Maps).

After Jon let me out of the new whip, I spent some a few more seconds looking at the truck a little bit more, specifically the non-functional hood scoop.  Next, I got into my car and began what I thought was going to be my drive home.  As I came to a stop at the stop sign on Oak Dale Lane and Foothill Blvd., the same hitchhiker had finished walking by me.  We made eye contact and he started walking toward my vehicle.  I cracked the right front passenger window a little bit and he told me his story.  He said his vehicle had run out of gas and he wanted a ride to the nearest gas station.  I gave it a little thought and turned him down.  Seconds later, I thought I might as well help him and if something bad happens, I’ll just try to deal with it at the time.  This fellow was of decent build and if he were to try something on me, I have no idea how I would’ve been able to handle it.  So instead of making a left onto Foothill, I make a right and motion him to hop in.  He sounded really appreciative and started to give me a little more detail regarding his situation.  He was walking around with a small emergency gas tank.  Everything seemed to check out.  I drove him to the Arco on Foothill and Santa Anita for him to get some gas.  While he filled up his little tank, I was thinking about how I could talk to him, specifically about what his own religious beliefs were.

After getting gas, we started heading Westbound on Foothill Blvd and I asked the man his name and started sharing with Jim how I had first spotted him when Jon was giving me a ride in his new truck after we had gotten done with our “Bible study.”  I figured that would be a good lead in to discussing things of a more spiritual nature.  The plan now was to pick up his wife who also had left the stranded vehicle and was unable to walk as far as Jim.  He also asked if I went to USC and mentioned that he had a daughter who graduated from UCSB.  As we talked a little bit more, Jim said he had said a little prayer that someone would help them out after they had run out of gas.  He also mentioned that he was a Christian.  He said he was raised Roman Catholic and I never totally pried into whether he was truly born again or not.  Maybe I thought it didn’t flow with the conversation?  A “failure” on my part?  I hope not.  I was just hoping God would be taking everything we would be talking about and use it for His purpose.  I also mentioned that he was a good-sized fellow which was a reason I was hesitant to help him in the first place.  He said he used to be a running back in I’m guessing high school.  Of course this is where I mentioned I was a wide receiver and defensive back in my high school days.  We reached his wife, Karen, who was standing on Loma Lisa Lane or one of those short streets off Foothill waiting for him to return.  As I was about to help her into the car, I had to remind myself to turn off the car’s ignition and take my keys out (You never know, folks!  Better safe than sorry!).  Once Karen was in, Jim and I chatted a little bit more about my background.  He asked what my ethnicity was and what my own personal religious background was.  I mentioned to him that my parents were from Hawai’i and that they moved to California after my dad got out of the U.S. Navy.  I also mentioned that I had always grown up around the Christian faith contrary to the association that many people still connect Asian with the Buddhist faith.

At this point in time, I asked where their vehicle was located.  The vehicle was in-between the Westbound 210 offramp and onramp.  I got onto the latter and parked before it ended with my hazard lights flashing.  We went back to their vehicle which was a 1965 Chevrolet pickup Jim had been given from his father.  Before we had made it back to the vehicle, Karen also mentioned that she had looked across the freeway (facing South) and saw a church there placing her hope that help with come in some form.  Once we got to the Chevy, Karen hopped in the shotgun seat and Jim put gas in the tank and some on the carburetor.  Next, Jim tried to get the vehicle to start, but it still was unable.  He then proceeded to put more gas on the carburetor and the vehicle turned over and started!  Before I let them leave however, I asked Jim if I could pray for them and he didn’t mind at all.  I think he may have even been glad that I asked that.  I prayed thanking God that His grace allowed me to help them out and that He would help them return home safely and also draw them closer to Himself in their lives.  I would have to say that was definitely my headlight of the evening and week!

After I prayed for them, they went on their way and I hopped back into my car.  We both exited the Rosemead South offramp and then went onto a gas station and I went South on Rosemead all the way to the 10 West freeway to head back home.  They gave me a couple of honks and a wave when I turned right onto Rosemead as they continued straight to the Arco on the corner of Rosemead and Foothill if I remember correctly.

Some thoughts I had after the whole encounter included: Do I trust people too easily?  Am I a sucker?  Was this one of those incidents where how I treated these people just like how I treat Jesus (See Matthew 25)?  Was I their pseudo-deliverer/angel for the evening?

This blessed encounter reminded me of two things
1) I picked up a hitchhiker in the Redwood National Forest in NorCal with a few other AACFers during Spring Break 2003.  That lady wanted me to drive a totally unreasonable distance after I had already got her to the place she said she had initially needed to go to.  To be honest, I couldn’t tell if she had all her marbles.  At the same time, I don’t think we should have spoken with the other car in our group over the 2-way radio in Chinese, it may have alienated the lady or made her feel uncomfortable (not as uncomfortable as the rest of the passengers in the car with me though – this is where the “I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself” thinking also played a role).  I still think I wouldn’t be going out too far on a limb saying she probably wasn’t all there though.

2) The one time I ran out of gas on the Eastbound 10 my sophomore year at USC.  It was a Thursday night and I was driving home after our Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) large group meeting where our speaker had just spoken on James 1-considering it all joy when you face trials.  I knew I was already very low on gas, but thought I really could make it to the gas station close to home (think New Avenue exit).  I didn’t make it that far and ran out of fuel right before the Atlantic exit.  This was back when I was driving my family’s 1997 Oldsmobile Ciera SL with a 3.1L OHV V-6.  As some of you may know, offramp/onramp design on the 10 Freeway from Freemont to I’d say Del Mar Ave. is pretty much horrendous.  To go South on Atlantic, one has to brake fairly moderately and turn to the right.  Since the engine had cutout (because the car was out of gas), there was no power assist to the brakes for the (3,100-3,200 lb.) vehicle.  And while we’re at it, there was no power steering as well.

After the slight scare, but successful wrestling of the car onto the freeway offramp, I had to make a quick decision.  Heed the stop sign at the end of the offramp (thereby killing any momentum I still had) or keep on rolling.  I chose the latter and then made a right turn onto Hellman from Atlantic where it came to a dead stop seconds later.  I walked about a block to Timothy Cheng’s house (it was early September so Cal Poly SLO still had not started yet) and unexpectedly rang his doorbell around 11 PM.  Problem #1: Since I did not have an emergency gas tank on me, we used an old 1 gallon milk jug and filled it up with gasoline.  Problem #2: I did not have a funnel or spout to get the gas from the jug into the tank.  Solution A: I found a flathead screwdriver in the trunk which I would press down on the thin metal flap.  I tried to pour and splash the gas from the jug into the tank, but since the tank’s opening was recessed a little, I wasn’t too successful and was making quite a mess.  Solution B: I went “digging” in the trunk again and found an old tissue box.  I folded the box into a long “v” shape (similar in shape to what is found at the rear of a cement mixing truck) and used it to direct the gas into the tank while still keeping the metal flap open with the flathead screwdriver.

God really bailed me out of that one in such an awesome way because Tim Cheng was the person He first used to bring me back to Him in August 1997.  It was also “convenient” for me to run out of gas where I did so that I could simply walk to Tim’s house and enlist his help.

GOD IS AWESOME!!!  Wake the neighbors!  Get the word out!  Not to us, but to His name be the glory!

All glory and honor and praise
All glory and honor and praise
All glory and honor and praise
All glory and honor and praise

Have you ever noticed?
I don’t know if it’s just the way I sit or the shape of my posterior, but my rear end seems to slip and slide forward in pretty much any type of chair.  Can anyone else relate?  What’s the deal here?

Got GAS?
I met someone tonight (Thursday night) who was literally out of GAS.  No, his name wasn’t Joe.  It was Jim!  More details to come later!

Not to us, but to Your name be the glory!  Oh the wonderful cross!  Thank You, Jesus!

My friend from Cal State Fullerton’s Asian American Christian Fellowship, Happy, I mean Micah, Gilmore (Xanga) has been interning with Relevant Magazine ( this summer.  His latest piece is on the front page today!

In other news, on July 11, 2005, EA SPORTS’ NCAA Football 2006 (many online stores are offering free shipping such as EA SPORTS’ and – I will probably just purchase it locally though) will be released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox game consoles.  If it’s in the game, it’s in the game!  The USC Trojans should be unstoppable in the latest iteration of this franchise as well!

Softball game update
My team got taken to the shed tonight!  We lost 13-4 or something like that.  Our offense apparently is still on the Fourth of July holiday vacation.  I went 1-for-3 with a single and run scored, groundout to the first baseman, and pop up to the shortstop.  I had a few good putouts at first base on defense.

I really don’t think it’s my place to tell people how to do things, but I feel compelled to say something right now.

That something is please don’t “scoop” when turning your automobiles.  It may be a habit you’ve naturally had for a while now.  Here’s what I mean by “scooping”:
1) You prepare to turn your automobile’s steering wheel
2) Your hand (for most people, their left) goes up to the steering wheel right underneath the uppermost portion of the rim
3) Your hand grabs the wheel
4) Your hand executes the turn

Here’s why I and other experts (of which I would not consider myself to be one) think “scooping” is a poor driving technique.   When you “scoop,” you tie up your left hand.  Most people “scoop” with only one hand on the wheel meaning the right hand probably is not on the wheel.  Let’s say you’re in the middle of executing your turn when a quick, sudden, and drastic adjustment needs to be made for whatever reason (pedestrian, vehicle backing up, etc.).  With your “scooping” hand locked onto the wheel and your other hand somewhere other than on the wheel, your range of motion is much more limited. especially to the left if your left hand is the “scooping” hand and you’re making a right turn and need to swerve to the left.  Anyone short of Gumby would not be able to do this well.

The solution?  “Shuffle” steering is the solution!  Let’s say for the same right turn, you keep your left hand in the 9 o’clock position (9 and 3 are the *real* proper hand positions, not 10 and 2 like you may have learned from the DMV handbook or elsewhere.  9 and 3 offers greater range of motion than 10 and 2 do) bring your right all the way to the 10 o’clock position, grab the wheel with the right hand and turn the steering wheel to the right while your left hand is a little open but still gently touching the steering wheel as the wheel circulates through it.  If you need more input/lock, you can simply grab the wheel for a moment with your left hand and bring your right hand back up to 12 o’clock position at the most depending on how much more turning needs to be done and start “cranking” again with your right hand.  At the same time, if you need to make a sudden and drastic adjustment to your left at any time, you’ll already be able to have two hands on the steering wheel for any situation that arises.  The “shuffle” technique is preferred by many professional race car and stunt drivers.  Help me help you all!  Please don’t scoop.  Just do the shuffle!

The Advantages of Shuffle Steering

  • Both hands stay on the wheel at all times.
  • The hands never cross over or get jammed on the wheel. (Whatever technique you’ve used, try and reposition your hands so they are close to nine o’clock and three o’clock when cornering.)
  • The driver is able to steer without leaning and losing contact with the seat back.
  • There is less flailing around of arms than in hand-over-hand so the driver retains a better sense of where the wheels are pointed. This is especially significant during skid recovery.
  • The driver retains the stability to feed the wheel back to center after a turn, rather than letting it slip through the hands.

Some additional resources:
Steering a Car or Truck
Michelin | Performance Driving – Handling the Wheel
Andy Hollis (multiple-time SCCA (Sports Car Club of American) champion) “How to” on shuffle steering

Raves, Rants, and Reviews #2: 2005 Subaru Outback

2005 Subaru Outback 3.0R Wagon shown above

After a two-month hiatus, this reviewer got some seat time in another vehicle.  The victim this time was Irvine Subaru’s loaner 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5i wagon with about 7,400 miles on the clock (odometer for those who are less automotively-inclined).  It was too nice to beat on, or trash, it like I would’ve loved to have done with a Chevrolet Cavalier/Aveo/Cobalt, Dodge Neon, Nissan Sentra, or any Kia/Hyundai.  For those who have seen Days of Thunder, just think back to the scene where Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise) and Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker), after having just been released from the hospital for a big accident they were involved in at Daytona International Speedway a few weeks before, take two rental cars (Chevrolet Lumina and Ford Taurus) and drive them into the ground (picture vehicles banged up and steaming/smoking when they’re parked) on their way to the restaurant to meet up with their owners.  If I had gotten any of those highly desirable rental cars, I think I may have tried to seek out a dirt road to have some fun in.  Since I received a fairly nice loaner vehicle (upon my initial impression), I figured I might as well take care of it.

After taking delivery of the loaner, I left Irvine Subaru ( – 23663 Rockfield Boulevard, Lake Forest, CA 949-837-3500) to head to church.  The vehicle’s powertrain consisted of a 2.5 liter normally-aspirated flat-4 “boxer” engine with 168 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque and a 4-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with sportshift.  From a dead standstill, the Outback felt a little torquier than my 2.0 liter turbocharged WRX, which was nice and made life a little easier.  That feel didn’t last for long though, as the sheer weight of the vehicle and the transmission’s gearing soon nullified the effect.  Passing power was lacking to say the least.  While cruising on the freeway at 70 mph, I would have to stomp on the throttle forcing the vehicle to downshift and wait for what seemed like a while for the vehicle to accelerate to complete a pass.  With my (lightly-modified) Impreza WRX, I can stay in 5th gear and accelerate from 70 mph without any major delay to execute normal freeway passes.  I played with the manual-shifting sportshift mode for a little bit.  The shifts up and down were so slow that I didn’t even want to bother with it the rest of the day.  I put the shift lever back in the regular drive mode the rest of the time I had the vehicle.

Having been the first wagon I’ve ever driven, I was extremely impressed with the visibility it offered.  Blind spots to my 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock were virtually non-existant because of the thin D-pillar design and the surrounding rear windows.  The ride was compliant and comfortable without being boring.  The Outback rode on P225/60R16 90H all-season Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires mounted to 16″ x 6″ alloy wheels.  For those who aren’t familiar with the Impreza or WRX such as the one I drive, the stock tires on the Rex are P205/55R16 89V (slightly lower profile and different speed and weight rating compared to the Outback’s shoes/tires).  These tires won’t stick to the road like a cheap suit, but get the job done fairly well for all-season tires provided you aren’t trying to defy God’s laws of physics.  My sole handling evaluator was the banked ramp going from the 57 North to the 60 West at a steady 70 mph or slightly more.  I remember the days driving my family’s 1997 Oldsmobile Ciera SL and 1993 Oldsmobile Achieva S with their (cheap) front tires protesting my decision to take the turn at that rate of speed.  The Impreza on stock tires can handle it like a surgeon with his or her scalpel.  Going through the same turn, the Outback went through with a hint of tire squeal but was otherwise well-planted throughout the “exercise.”

Like many things in life, all good things must come to an end (except a life in Christ that is!).  Exiting the 60 West Fairway Drive offramp allowed me to do some moderate braking.  The light remained green while I barreled down the offramp.  Being unfamiliar with the vehicle’s increased weight, I realized I hadn’t slowed down the vehicle as much as I should have to turn left in a comfortable manner.  This realization came as I was pretty much at the end of the offramp, so I figured, “Oh well.”  So I “blasted” through the dip at the end of the offramp probably going 25-30 mph and turned left in a hurried manner.  With 8.4 inches of ground clearance front and back and plenty of suspension travel, that dip had another thing coming to it!  Outback – 1, freeway offramp – 0.  For stopping power, the 3,355-lb. (2.5i wagon with automatic transmission curb weight) relies on 11.5″ ventilated brake discs with twin-piston calipers in the front and 10.6″ solid brake discs with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Compare this to what I’m used to with a 3,085-lb. vehicle with 11.4″ ventilated brake discs with twin-piston calipers in the front and 10.3″ sold brake discs with single-piston calipers in the rear (stock).  My vehicle in its current state is actually on 11.4″ (294mm to be exact) ventilated brake discs with four-piston calipers in the front and 11.4″ (290mm) ventilated brake discs with twin-piston calipers in the rear.

The interior and its ergonomics were easily the biggest shortcoming on this vehicle.  Usually when I’m in other vehicles, all I really care about are their driving characteristics and dynamics.  There were some things going on in this interior that made it pretty much impossible not to observe and notice them.  The cloth seats were comfortable and supportive–great to sit in the entire time.  The steering wheel was a three-spoke design with a dark blue Subaru six-star emblem in the middle, but the wheel rim was plastic.  It simply did not convey a feel of a true “driver’s” steering wheel.  Subaru’s current slogan is “Think. Feel. Drive.” but the steering wheel itself already detracted from at least the “Feel” part of the slogan and also carried over into the “Drive” portion.  After all, steering wheel feel is very important for how the vehicle communicates the road’s condition and the vehicle’s ongoing relationship with it.  I was unable to locate a telescopic function on the steering wheel.  Worse yet, I couldn’t find a way to adjust its tilt either.  The former wasn’t too surprising because my Impreza doesn’t have it, nor do many other vehicles today (even though there is no good reason for omitting telescopic ability on modern vehicles).  Not having a tilt function on the steering wheel was a huge surprise!  I felt all around the steering column looking for a release lever or button to tilt the wheel to my liking.  Since the steering wheel’s angle wasn’t too far from what’s comfortable and natural for me, I just dealt with it the way it is and considered in a minor issue.  The radio and HVAC controls were simple and easy to use.  Maybe not for all people, but since I was already familiar with some Subaru controls, it wasn’t really an issue at all.  The on-board computer on the center dash was a neat feature I enjoyed playing with a few times.  Its display could be toggled between elapsed time the vehicle has been running, current mpg, average mpg, approximate miles remaining until you need fuel, and outside temperature.  Another low in the interior was the fake wood trim pieces that were used in a few pieces.  On most vehicles, fake wood trim still looks almost like the real thing.  This particular application of fake wood trim was not a good idea by Subaru.  Regarding the climate control, the A/C worked extremely well when I had it on going from church back to the dealership.  The air it blew was nice and cool almost right from the start.  I found myself going from blower setting “4” to “3” to “2” the longer I drove.  To be honest, I did not spend any time checking out the rear seats or the cargo area.

For a vehicle priced at $26,185 ($24,445 Base MSRP + $575 destination fee + $1,000 for automatic transmission + $165 for auto-dimming mirror with compass), it is difficult for me to strongly recommend the Subaru Outback 2.5i Wagon.  Depending on your needs, it may be a great fit for you.  If you would like more bang for your buck, I would recommend the Subaru Outback 2.5 XT with its 2.5 liter 250 hp turbocharged flat-4 and the Outback 3.0R with its 3.0 liter 250 hp flat-6.  They both have the adequate power and friendly interiors to haul you, your friends, and your stuff around in an all-around excellent package that has performance, comfort, and style.  The Subaru Outback, Legacy, and B9 Tribeca vehicles are all manufactured at Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.’s (SIA – plant here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.  Bear in mind that Subaru also was the most reliable manufacturer for the 2004 model year in the April 2005 issue.  The Subaru Outback is also one of their “Recommended Buy” vehicles in its segment.

-Subaru reliability, safety, and build quality
-Excellent amount of standard features
-Off-road prowess (personally unverified – but vouched for by many others)
-Offers the practicality of a wagon and ruggedness that exceeds most SUVs

-Somewhat pricey
-“Plasticky” interior
-Base model needs more power

Standard on all Outback 2.5i

2.5L 4cylinder boxer engine, 168hp
All wheel drive (awd), Active
Limited Slip rear axle
Anti-lock disc brakes, with EBD, 4 disc
Airbags: Front dual stage
Airbags: Front and rear Side Curtain
5 seatbelts & headrests
Power Windows, auto down drivers, illuminated
Power Locks
Power heated mirrors
Power driver’s seat, 8 way, (except XT)
Wood Trim by center console with taupe interior 
or Brushed Silver Trim with grey interior
Alarm system with ignition disable
All Weather Package: heated front seats with 4 settings, defrosting outside mirrors, front wiper de-icer
Air conditioning
Rear Spoiler
CD player, single disc, R/RW (Panasonic)
6 speakers, 2 in front door, 1 in rear

Standard on all Outback 2.5i

Trip Computer (economy, outside temp, etc)
Fog lights
Cruise control
4Beam headlights, auto on-off with ignition
Day-time running lights
Keyless Entry, with gate/trunk release, panic button
Front wipers: Variable speed intermittent
Rear wiper, 2 speed, auto-on in reverse with auto trans
Rear defroster with rear wiper de-icer
Alloy wheels 16″
Fold flat rear seats- wagon, one touch
Roof rack with cross bars
Dual vanity mirrors
Dual map lights
Rear cargo light
Rear cargo cover, with a gate attachment
Door courtesy puddle lights
Cargo area power outlet
Center console power outlet

From (a NHTSA web site)


Rollover Rating
Driver Passenger Front Seat Rear Seat 2 wheel drive 4 wheel drive
2005 Subaru Outback 4-DR w/SAB (SUV) 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars Not Tested 4 stars

For more information, you can check out Joe Spitz of Carter Subaru’s personal web site at: First Test of the 2005 Legacy and Outback

If only writing so many other things in life were this fun…   If you know anyone that works in the automotive publishing industry, I’d love to meet him or her and maybe get my foot in the door!

Quick poll
For you true “drivers” (one who simply enjoys driving) out there, which do you prefer?  Please let me know!
1) Driving with the window down and/or sunroof open if applicable, wind blowing around/in your face, and hearing your vehicle’s melodious exhaust note
2) Driving with the A/C on, listening to your favorite music/radio station

This is my declaration of DEPENDENCE on the One (Jesus Christ) who gave His life to me!

More to come a lot later…probably after I come home from work tomorrow!  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!  I have to work on the Fourth of July.  Oh well.  Praise God for the freedom that I and we have to worship Him in this country!

by Steven Curtis Chapman off the album Declaration (©2001 Sparrow Records)

Now just the other day
I overheard a flower talking to this guy
He said you know that I would be nothing without you
He said you give me rain, you give the sun a place to shine
You’re everything that my whole existence comes down to

Then the flower started singing a song
Before I knew it I was singing along
And we sang

This is my declaration of dependence
This is my declaration of my need
This is my declaration of dependence
On the One who gave His life to me

Now let me say that I’m the kind of guy who wants to do it all myself
Don’t want to ask for help
Don’t like to stop for directions
But in reality I’m nothing on my own
It’s by God’s grace alone
That I can make this confession

All that I am and all I’m hoping to be
Is all and only what He’s given to me
So I say


And I know this is how my life was meant to be
I was made for this dependency
On the One who has created me
So I’ll sing my declaration song
For the One I am depending on
And I hope you’ll sing along