Archive | May 2007

Turning a new corner?

Senior Road Test Editor, Josh Jacquot, piloting the 2007 Porsche 911 GT3

Tomorrow at 3 PM PDT, I am scheduled to meet with the Editorial Director of to discuss the Vehicle Testing Assistant position I applied for.  God’s will be done!

I’m going to answer Jasper’s comment here for anyone else who may be interested.

JsprZ said:
good read on the track day. what mpg do you get on that 100 oct? do you go through a tank per track day? looking at your pictures, do you think a lower offset on your wheels would improve handling by having a wider stance? what suspension mods have you done so far? is it even worth changing from stock setup?

  1. I’m not running on full 100 octane at the track since I had some 91 octane already in the tank.  With the amount of 100 octane fuel I put in, I’m guessing I was running anywhere between 93 to 96 octane.  The car will average a little over 8 miles per gallon when it’s on running on the track.  I try to run with a little over half a tank (9-10 gal., tank capacity is 15.9 gal.) for hour of track usage.  Running with a full tank is undesirable due to the weight penalty it would produce (5.8 to 6.5 lbs./gal. –
  2. 50 minutes to an hour of track day use will usually consume half a tank.
  3. Wheel offset isn’t nearly as important as the size of the contact patch of the tires with the track surface.  Going to a wider tire definitely doesn’t hurt when running on the track.  My wheels are only 7″ wide; a 225 mm wide tire is the fattest/widest tire I can put on the wheels I use on the track.  225 mm is the widest a 7′ wide wheel can handle.  The 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi has 17″ x 7.5″ BBS wheels with 225 mm wide tires.  The 2005 and later STi/STIs have wider wheels (8″ wide) with the same width tires from the factory.  On an eight inch wide wheel, I believe 245 mm is probably the widest tire that can be put without having to roll the fenders.
  4. The suspension mods I’ve done so far consist of Prodrive (manufactured by Eibach) springs and STI Group N strut tops.  The latter are much stiffer than the stock ones as they are used in Group N rally competition.
  5. Yes, it’s worth changing from the stock setup for the WRX.  This does not apply universally to all vehicles.  The WRX has a tremendous amount of wheel travel for a sports car and a pretty soft suspension which makes for a lot of body roll-something unwanted when handling at the limit.  Stiffer springs, in my case I’m guessing they’re 15-25% stiffer than stock (Prodrive spring rates are unpublished), reduce some of the body roll.  The springs on the car aren’t so stiff that the car’s ride is completely bone-jarring by any means.  I imagine my car handles a little bit better than the 2003 Prodrive Subaru Impreza WRX that Motor Trend tested (  I say slightly better because I can vouch for the Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R tires having better grip than Potenza S-03 tires.

COBB AccessPORT Stage 1
OEM STi short throw shifter
Prodrive round tip muffler (axle back only)
Prodrive silicone intercooler hose

Wheels & Tires
Prodrive P1 Gold 17″ x 7″
Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R P225/45R17

Prodrive WRX springs (2004-on)
STI Group N strut tops (2004-on)
Whiteline steering rack bushings

Subaru 4-pot front/2-pot rear brakes (red)
Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
Motul RBF 600 brake fluid

Cleared headlights
OEM painted sideskirts
JDM sidemarkers
2006 STI rear diffuser

OEM turbo boost gauge
MOMO shift knob
STI 5-speed shift pattern emblem
Rear dual cupholder from a Subaru Forester

Update: Below is a response to part of banilla777’s comment

Understeer really isn’t a problem for me.  In my opinion, people who complain about understeer are usually trying to enter a turn faster than the car is capable of turning.  I just get the car slowed down more for the turn and all is well.  “Slow in. Fast out.”  Naturally, “Fast in. Fast out,” is even better.  But if you’re overcooking your “Fast in,” you’re going to have a “Slow out,” which hurts exponentially on the following straightaways the longer the straights are.

On a road course, a wider tire should never hurt your lap time if the vehicle is set up properly.  Increasing the size of the contact patch is never a bad thing on a road course or in situations where handling is of the utmost importance (e.g., autocrossing).  On a drag strip, it would increase the drag (rolling friction) of the tire and thus, slow it down (marginally in most cases).

A Lap Around Buttonwillow Raceway Park

Here’s my track guide to Buttonwillow Raceway Park’s configuration #13 (clockwise).  I’ll also detail my track day on April 28, 2007 more here.  Enjoy!

Here’s a video Patrick from shot from his 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STi (not stock and much faster than mine) on April 8, 2007.  I met Patrick at my first track day at California Speedway on March 5, 2005.  In this video, he turned a lap of  My best (recorded…more later) lap was a 2:12.215.

I think it’s best if you watch the video first, read what I wrote regarding a lap around the track, and then watch the video again to get an idea of what I was saying.  What you hear isn’t quite along the lines of what I hear while I’m driving because Patrick’s STi has a 6-speed transmission whereas my (lowly) WRX only has a 5-speed.

Crossing the start finish line, I’m traveling at about 90-92 mph depending on the exit I got out of “Sunset” on the lap I’m completing.  If I got a really good exit out of “Sunset,” I’ll be going fast enough to shift from 3rd gear to 4th gear before I cross the line.  If I didn’t get a great exit out of “Sunset,” I’ll upshift to 4th right after the line.

Barreling down the front straightaway, I start braking from 100-105 mph about mid-way through the “strip” of cones on the right that close off an access road.  One of the things I don’t like about Buttonwillow Raceway Park is that there are a lot of turns that don’t have brake markers or other usable reference points for braking.  I’ll get the car slowed to about 60 mph in 3rd gear for “Sunrise.”  The car gets a little “loose” (back end gets squirrelly) going through here sometimes, but it’s nothing giving a little gas can’t solve.

I’ll accelerate out of “Sunrise” to about 75-80 mph before I have to start braking for the “Off Ramp.”  It’s a tricky turn in that I make sure the car doesn’t get onto any of the curbing on the left that could upset it and thus extend the braking distance for the turn.  Once the car is slowed down to about 20-25 mph in 2nd gear, I can get back on to the gas really early because of the car’s all-wheel drive.

Going along the “I-5,” I’ll upshift from 2nd to 3rd and get up to 85 mph or so before I have to start braking again for the “Cotton Corners.”  Here is another braking zone where I don’t have a good reference for a braking point and instead must rely on where I “feel” would be good to start braking.  The “Cotton Corners” are probably the most difficult turns on the track because I know I lose a decent amount of time to better-handling cars there.  Braking is done to slow the car down to about 40 mph for the right-left combination.  Sometimes, I’ll quickly tap the brakes for the left-hander to transfer weight to the front of the car to get the tires up front to bite better.  Climbing the hill, I shift early (also known as “short-shifting”) into 3rd gear knowing I’ll be in all the way to “Riverside.”

After cresting the hill and coming down it on its left side, I lift off the gas and go to about 50% throttle for “Grapevine” at 60-65 mph and do almost the same (lift and go to about 65-70% throttle) for “Club Corner,” which is taken around 70 mph.  If I turn-in too late for “Club Corner,” I’ll have to lift off the gas more and kill more of the momentum I want to carry through the “Bus Stop.”  I found it was best to turn in early and try to clip the small curb on the inside of the turn.

Once out of “Club Corner,” I’m flat-out through the left bend of the “Bus Stop.”  If I didn’t get through “Club Corner” well, I will usually have to lift a little to get through the same left bend because the line the car is taking is off the ideal line.  I’ll get up to 80-85 mph before I have to stab the brakes for the left turn at the end of the “Bus Stop.”  By stabbing the brakes and turning the car to the left quickly.  The rear end of the car will usually slide a litle going through the turn and exiting it.

The “Truck Stop” right-hander is taken flat out leading into “Riverside.”  At this point, the car is going about 90 mph.  (“Riverside” is the location of my first ever spin off the track.  It was drizzling on the morning of January 14, 2006.  The car had extremely worn (less than 2/32″ of tread) rear tires on it (with no tread left, I was hoping to use the tires as “cheater/poor man’s slicks”).  I turned in going only 50-55 mph and the back end quickly came around to where the front had once been resulting into a trip into the dirt run-off area.)  A slight lift off the gas allows the car to rotate, back end stepping out slightly, as the car goes through the turn around 80-82 mph.  Because of its banking, I can start getting on the gas well before I reach the late apex of the corner.

Shortly after exiting “Riverside,” I’m going fast enough to upshift to 4th gear before I take the next left turn before “Lost Hill” (some drivers call it “Magic Mountain”) flat-out.  I’ll get to 100 mph, sometimes slightly over, before I start braking for “Lost Hill.

“Lost Hill” is my favorite turn on the track because it can be taken faster than it looks.  I’ll brake from 100 mph or so down to 65-70 mph and downshift to 3rd for the right-hander (no brake markers here either).  When you’re climbing the hill, it’s hard to see everything you would like to be able to see.  As a result, I’m not always able to hit the apex I want on the curbing on the right side, but there’s enough grip in the turn allowing you to not be affected much by that.  Coming down the hill, I’ve already got the gas pedal to the floorboard and will clip the curbing on the left at the very bottom of the hill.

The left kink that dumps the car back on to the “Dragstrip” can be taken flat out.  Right after that kink, I’ll shift into 4th gear as I head for the “Sweeper.”  The car will get up to approximately 95 mph before I have to brake down to 55-60 mph or so and downshift into 3rd.  I take this turn with a partial amount of throttle and the back end lightly sliding through most of the turn.  This turn is very tricky in that it has a really late apex and is decreasing in radius.  Thankfully, there’s a cone set up on the left side of the track to serve as a reference for when you want your last turn-in to be.  Sometimes I’ll lift off the throttle a little more to rotate the car and tuck the nose in so I can turn the car to the right to set it up for the “Esses.

The “Esses” can easily be taken flat-out.  I’ll upshift to 4th at about 90 mph before I go through the last part of the “Esses.”  While I’m going through the “Esses,” I get the car up onto the curbing for each part of the complex except the last left hander of the “Esses.”  That last part can sometimes upset a car and cause it to exit wide.  I think I made that mistake when I last drove at Buttonwillow on May 20, 2006.  Because I didn’t handle my mistake properly, I ended up spinning out and in the dirt.  I almost kept the car from spinning, but wasn’t quite able to make the full recovery at 80-90 mph.

The short straightaway from the “Esses” to “Sunset” is the fastest part of the track (for my car) where the car will get up to 105-110 mph.  The approach to “Sunset” actually has brake markers set up on the right side, but my and all the others cars I’ve followed through it seem to need to start braking before we even get to the first brake marker.  I try to get the car slowed down to about 55 mph in 3rd gear and hit a late apex.  The late apex for this turn is extremely important.  If a driver turns in too early for “Sunset,” the car they’re driving will usually exit wide and often get some wheels into the dirt.  With some wheels on the dirt and some on the asphalt, cars will sometimes try to “hook” and be sent into a spin.  “Sunset” is the most popular place for people spinning off the track.  It’s also the most dangerous because the pit wall starts shortly after the turn’s exit.

Leaving “Sunset” I’ve got the pedal to the metal on the front straightaway as I head for the Start/Finish line to do it all over again.



Good times, good times

I had a wake-up call (after having about four hours of sleep the previous night and probably just running on adrenaline) of sorts on my very first lap on the track.  The Mazda RX-8 in front of me got “loose” at least a couple of times on our warm up lap.  I had a feeling its driver didn’t have a good handle on the vehicle.  One thing led to another and the driver spun out exiting Sunset as we were completing our warm up lap and start our first session of the day.  The driver barely missed the pit wall that separated the front straightaway from pit lane and brought to the car to a rest in the pits.

I had a great time throughout the day when I was able to get clean laps where I didn’t get held up by slower cars.  I started in the “green” group which was the “slower” intermediate group.  I chose that group because I knew the “black” group, the “faster” intermediate group, had cars that were faster than mine on paper.  I also don’t want to think too highly of myself when I’m at the track because I don’t want to end up inconveniencing others and killing any of their good laps.  Later in the day, I switched to the “black” group hoping to get more clear laps.  It was a tremendous help!

Earlier, I mentioned that a lap time of 2:12.215 (lap speed of 73.517 mph) was my best recorded lap time.  The timing transponder I rented stopped working properly during my first afternoon session.  As a result, I had a whole session where my lap times weren’t recorded.  I actually think it was my best session too.  I spoke to the event organizers and they said I could run with the next “green” session to make up for some of that.  I spent the next few minutes getting the unresponsive transponder off (Swiss Army knife > zip tie…getting it off resulted in a skinned left middle finger top knuckle (the one closest to the fingernail) so much that it started bleeding), putting another transponder on (I mounted the transponders in the lower grille area both times…a person can’t see it recessed there and with my front license plate helping to hide it), and tending to my minor “injruy.”  I also had to get more gasoline (100 octane of course…only ~$6.00/gallon) for the car before I headed back on to the track for that session.  By the time I got back onto the track, a fourth to a third of the session had already been completed.  Since they had already been running however, I was able to come on to the track without any cars around me since they had been strung out over the whole course (~2.7 miles).

I stormed out on to the track and everything was feeling good. I completed my “out” lap (lap coming out of the pits) and was at “maximum attack” for my first timed lap of the session.  I thought I put in a great lap (but I thought it wasn’t as awesome as some of the laps I turned in the session none of my lap times were recorded).  After that “flyer,” I had another nice lap going when I came upon a silver 350Z at the rear of a small train of cars.  I figured that was enough to kill that lap.  At the same time, my right (I think) contact lens shifted on me and obviously made it difficult to see well.  I figured instead of staying out and being a risk to myself and others, I should bring the car into the pits and move the contact lens back into place using the good old visor mirror.  By the time I finished doing that, the session ended and leaving one more session remaining for the day.  In that last session, I completed seven laps but only had a best time of 2:12.888.

One thing I noticed by the end of the day was my first lap or two after my “out” laps were usually my best laps of each session.  My reasoning behind that was that the tires and brakes were at their optimal temperatures on those laps.  The tires and brakes performed fine on the successive laps but on a marginally weaker level.

I actually didn’t find out about my 2:12.215 lap until the end of the day when I looked at the printouts posted in the meeting area.  I said, “Yeah!” in my head because I had accomplished beating the 2:12.678 time I set on January 14, 2006 even though the track conditions were more difficult (heat).  I think I may have broken into the 2:11s (the times some Evos were running) in the session that I didn’t get any lap times recorded, but I was still overjoyed that I had accomplished what I had set out to do.  I give the tires a lot of the credit for that feat.

I didn’t have any spins while I was on the track.  When I was driving the car at 100%, I was pretty “dialed in.”  Despite the heat, the tires (shameless plug for Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R tires here) held up really well.  I mis-shifted a few times into 3rd gear, which caused some grinding.  I was trying to rush my upshift in the heat of the moment and as a result, didn’t direct the shift lever from the 2nd gear gate to the 3rd gear gate properly.  As a result, it seems it’s more difficult to get the transmission into 1st gear ever since that track day.  It’s far from impossible and I can still get into first on a regular basis, it just has been a minor issue that I never had before.  It’s like the ol’ saying goes, “You’ve gotta pay to play.”  The brakes (Ferodo DS2500 front brake pads, stock rear brake pads, stock brake discs, Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, and Motul RBF 600 high temp brake fluid) were fantastic throughout the day except I experienced some fade one or two times going into the “Off Ramp” (see track diagram above).  I still made the turn without scaring myself or going off the course.  As to why the fade occured those couple of times, I don’t really know, because the brakes worked completely fine on the next lap!

One thing that I thought was really cool about the day was that there was a 1998-2002 Camaro SS on the track.  That was the car I wanted before I knew what the Subaru Impreza WRX was.  The 2002 Camaro SS has a Corvette-derived LS1 V-8 churning out 325 hp and 340 lb.-ft. of torque.  What was really cool about seeing this car on the track was that I was turning faster laps than the laps its driver was producing!


How I, not Stella, got my groove back

On Saturday around 5 PM, I stepped into a cage for the very first time.  No, it wasn’t “The Octagon.”  It was a batting cage at Montebello Batting Cages at Rea Park (600 Rea Drive, Montebello, CA 90640 – (323) 721-3572).  The old batting cages I used to go to in Glendale near Colorado and Louise closed down about two years ago.  Their fastest speed was only around 82 mph, but I loved the fact that they had machines with the “arm” that comes over the top.  I called the Montebello cage on Saturday afternoon to find out what kind of machines they had and what speeds they threw.  When I found out that they had the arm-type machines and that the fastest speed they had was 90 mph, I got very excited!  I had never hit any balls traveling that quickly before!  The price is $9.00 for 15 minutes (approx. 135 pitches), which is about the most I can handle at one time.

You may be wondering why the arm-type machine is important to me.  For me personally, I see the ball a lot better coming out of it.  It’s a lot easier for me to get my timing in sync.  Batting cages that utilize a machine with a spinning wheel to “spit” the ball are exponentially a lot more difficult for me to see the ball from my perspective (left-handers’ batter’s box) because there’s often machinery and other things that block my view of the ball before it’s pitched.  I can make some contact in those cages right-handed, but I can’t take anything resembling my normal swing when I do that.

It was great being able to hit ~90 mph balls with some consistency!  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be as I still ended up pulling more than 90% of the balls I hit.  I was able to iron out a few quirks with my swing-mainly that I was opening up too much.  Since I already knew the “remedy” to this “problem,” I adjusted my batting stance to a more “closed” stance (front foot closer to home plate than the back foot instead of them being parallel to each other).  By using a “closed” stance, I natural am go into a “regular” stance after I step toward the pitch.  The only reason I already knew how to do this was because it was something I had struggled with in the past previously.  I have to say it was quite a workout taking hacks for 15 minutes straight.  If I designed my own conditioning program, it would involve time in a batting cage and a go kart on a regular basis!


Things I still need to write about:

  1. Getting lost in Hawaii / Driving my aunt’s bugeye WRX Sedan (automatic transmission)
  2. Mitsubishi Outlander XLS driving impressions
  3. Toyota FJ Cruiser driving impressions

Is there anything ya’ll would like to read about first?

Wedding bells ring…are you listening?

Congratulations to my friends Micah (Xanga: micahs22action) & Christie and Ryan & Elaine who are going to unite in holy matrimony for the rest of their Great Adventures!

Micah is currently serving as the youth minister of Chinese Presbyterian Church of Orange County.  I first met him during my junior year at USC when he visited our Asian American Christian Fellowship large group meeting to see his best friend since 6th grade, Jeff Ton (Xanga: jton23).

Micah and his bride, Christie:

Micah’s “Praise Solutions” video from the 2003 (I think) Asian American Christian Fellowship praise day:

Every time I hear the song “Our Love Is Loud” by The David Crowder Band, I think of Micah and this video he did!  I also suffered the worst injury in my life to date, a ruptured extensor tendon on my right pinky, in June 2003 when it was on the receiving end of his devastating volleyball spike-the block I attempted was successful though!

Ryan was one of my Bible Study Fellowship discussion leaders (the other was Ed Johnson) last year.

Ryan is the sharp-lookin’ fellow in front of me sportin’ the suit and name tag.

Praise God for His love and provision of awesome, godly women for these two brothers in Christ!

From the worst softball game ever to the greatest T-shirt ever

Tonight, I was using Facebook when I saw a flyer for something that looked familiar.  I thought, “Hey!  That’s like Christi’s (Wong) T-shirt!  It looks similar to the one that I wanted to buy earlier!”  So being the materialistic person that I am, I went ahead and preordered one.  I think I’m almost as happy as when I bought my New American Standard John MacArthur Study Bible!  I can support two great causes with one shirt: 1) Jesus Christ, my LORD and Savior and 2) people going on overseas missions!  How awesome is that?!

Support overseas missions! 100% of the proceeds goes toward supporting overseas missions!

To purchase a shirt of your own or for more information, go to:

Happy 18th Birthday to David Wong!

Photo by Jaclyn Lim

What a manly man!

It’s been a pleasure seeing this young man grow before my very eyes from the boy who played warball/dodge ball on Friday nights in Royal Ambassadors to a man wanting to follow God’s call for his life.  I have been tremendously blessed and privileged to see him grow in the faith God’s given him.  Remember, folks, two Wongs (or more) always make a right!  Word to your mothers (and fathers, brothers, sisters, and anyone else)!

I got served…a slice of humble pie

It’s been hard to get that horrendous softball game out of my head.  I have to wait until June 4th to take the diamond again and get that bad taste out of my mouth.  I think perhaps God was trying to humble me because I think I can play baseball/softball decently well.  As a result, I changed my profile photo back to the stained glass window (the one and only) from church.  Not to me, but to God be all the glory (Psalm 115)!

Worst game ever

My company’s co-ed softball team (2-3) got demolished tonight.  My performance out there certainly didn’t help.  I was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts (in slow-pitch starting with a 1 ball, 1 strike count!!!) and a walk in the bottom of the seventh inning with a run scored.  I grounded out to second base on my first at bat (I was pretty sure I beat the throw to first!) and left two runners stranded.  I think I left three or four runners stranded when I struck out too.

That’s not all, folks!  I played left field and had two errors on ground balls that took funky hops as I was running in to scoop them up.  I should’ve gotten my body in front of them instead of rushing to scoop them up.

Tonight’s game was definitely one to forget.  I am positive it was my worst game ever, including all the drubbings I participated in when I played high school baseball.

The conclusion I’ve come to is this–slow-pitch softball is harder than baseball–at least for me it is!  I have more reasons to support my conclusion, but it’s late enough already.

In other news, I’ve decided to apply for another position at Edmunds that is more entry-level and pays less.  Yes, I’m crazy, folks!  Car-crazy that is!  (By the way, we had a red 2007 Infiniti G37 Coupe in the parking structure when I got to work this morning.)  I first saw the job posting yesterday while I was looking at Inside Line (

The position is in the Editorial department as a Vehicle Testing Assistant.  I already know the guy who was the Vehicle Testing Assistant because he is now the Manager of Vehicle Testing.  He actually was the one who gave me the okay to drive the company long-term Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota FJ Cruiser.  The previous Manager of Vehicle Testing is now the News Editor.  I’m hoping this will be my way in to one day write about and evaluate (drive) vehicles.  The excellent thing about it is it doesn’t require a journalism, English, or engineering degree with formal writing experience.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job.  I’m sure I would love this one even more since it could be the first step in “chasing my (second) dream” of test driving vehicles!  Becoming a professional race car driver is pretty much out of the picture now.  Your prayers for God’s will to be done (not so much for me to get it) would be greatly appreciated!

From what I know, the Vehicle Testing Assistant helps the Vehicle Testing Coordinator issue vehicles everyday to the editorial staff.  This person also oversees the data acquisition for track testing.  Another thing this person has the “privilege” of doing is taking the long-term vehicles in for service at their respective dealerships.  Having worked in the service department of two dealerships in the past, I think this would help me.  I believe this person also interacts with different manufacturers to arrange the delivery and return of any press vehicles used for evalutation. 

Whoomp!  Here it is!

Vehicle Testing Assistant

This position is responsible for supporting the Vehicle Testing Coordinator in all facets of an extensive vehicle-test program, including scheduling, procurement, maintenance, measuring and instrumentation, track testing, information gathering, photo and video shoots, record keeping and article generation.


  • Assist with test-fleet calendar and vehicle assignments
  • Assist with picking up and dropping off test vehicles
  • Maintain test fleet in top condition
  • Manage equipment and supplies for instrumented track testing
  • Support photo and video shoots, including driving vehicles for camera
  • Interact with writers, editors, test team, vehicle handlers and manufacturers
  • Represent Edmunds professionally and effectively to the automotive industry


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • At least 3 years driving experience with a good driving record
  • Knowledge of and interest in automotive subjects and reporting for publication
  • Experience and interest in writing with a desire to develop journalism skills
  • Good computer skills
  • Strong work ethic, positive attitude, responsible conduct, team player

I love L.A.!!!

I love L.A. (but not the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings (hockey), Bruins, and Raider Nation)!

It felt so good to be on the road again!  I totally missed driving the car!

I can’t believe I heard NEEDTOBREATHE’s ( song, “Shine On,” on a Desperate Housewives commercial.  I couldn’t believe it because I know it was a song I had heard before on The Fish 95.9 FM KFSH ( being used to promote an episode of a show reflecting values that are anything but “family friendly.”  As far as I know, the members of the band are Christians, but I guess they are not marketing themselves as a “Christian band.”

Anyway, you can check out their music video below!


Somewhere between the end
And the point where we begin
There’s a fire burning brightly
That’s found its way to dim
When the feeling’s gone…

Shine on, shine on
and onto something new its long and overdue
I will remember you
Shine on, shine on
And let the others see you’ve got your victory
Will you remember Me

I was with you in the valley
And up upon that hill
So take just one more step in front of you
For I am with you still you still
And you’re not alone

Shine on, shine on
And onto something new it’s long and overdue
I will remember you
Shine on, shine on
And let the others see you’ve got your victory
Will you remember Me

Can you see My hands are open I am waiting just ahead
And you think you need it all now
But you needed Me instead

Shine on shine on shine on shine on won’t you won’t you shine

Shine on, shine on
And onto something new it’s long and overdue
I will remember you
Shine on, shine on
And let the others see you’ve got your victory
Will you remember Me

Somewhere between the end and the point where we began

Speaking of commercials, has anyone seen the new Mercury Mariner commercial with the “OK Go” song?  I think it was filmed in front of the USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology buildings!

Aloha Oy!

My sister (Xanga: sweetleiiani) is getting her master’s degree this weekend!  See ya’ll, later!  Take care and God bless!

Cloverfield Chaos

Something pretty crazy happened to me/the car yesterday morning as I was exiting the 10 West.  Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…

There I was.  I was waiting in “line” to exit the freeway in the right lane of the Cloverfield Blvd off-ramp of the 10 West.  My car is completely in its lane waiting for the cars ahead of it to shuffle up the grade and make their right turns.  I began to notice a few cars pass to my left closer than I’m comfortable with as they proceeded forward in the second right turn lane.  Out of nowhere, I heard a clunk to my left.  My first thought was someone had grazed the driver’s side of my vehicle.  Still being in a mild state of shock, I looked to my left and saw the left side mirror pushed forward.  I put the window down and reached out and swung it back to its proper position.  The question that first came to mind was, “What exactly happened here?”  Trying to figure out an answer to that question, I looked in the adjacent lane further up the road and saw a white vehicle with its right side mirror folded in (I’m guessing a it was a late 1990s-early 2000s Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable.  To be honest, I wanted nothing to do with this vehicle after what happened other than getting away from it.).  As it went by at about 10-15 mph (maybe upwards of 20 mph), that car’s right side mirror hit my left side mirror.

The line I was in began moving and it traveled far enough to allow me to come to a stop right next to this white car.  I looked over and gave my “What are you doing?” look with the accompanying hand gesture and shoulder shrug I usually complement that look with.  The driver of the vehicle was an elderly lady wearing sunglasses (kind of like those Blu-Blocker ones you may have seen on TV growing up).  It looked like she may have been trying to get my attention to say something, but she didn’t even put her vehicle’s front passenger window down.  After I gave her “the look,” I thought I really wanted to have nothing else to do with this situation.  As long as the mirror on my vehicle wasn’t damaged, I was more than glad to “get away with one.”  I didn’t even want to check out the extent of the possible damage to the other vehicle’s mirror because I figured it was that driver’s fault.  I knew it and she knew it.

I finally made my right turn and began heading North on Cloverfield to the office.  I re-adjusted the mirror glass using its electric motor because the impact shook it a little (not surprising given the fact that I’ve had to re-adjust the mirrors in the past on the rare occasions I’ve folded them in).  Amazingly, I didn’t see any marks on the mirror or its glass at this time.  Keep in mind I’m still sitting in the driver’s seat of the car.  Next, I turned into the underground structure and parked the car in its usual resting place on P3.  As soon as I had finished parking it, I immediately got out and began to survey the mirror for any damage.

(Photo from the web – not my actual mirror)

Looking at it closely and running my fingers over the affected area, I still was unable to find any damage the mirror may have sustained.  The front leading edge of the other vehicle’s right side mirror hit the rear corner of my vehicle’s left side mirror. I did have to pause for a moment to make sure splattered bug remains from the previous weekend’s 100-plus mph exploits at the track and the drive to and from the track were not really a scuff mark.  I still saw no visible damage whatsoever!  The unpainted, black plastic frame around the perimeter of the rear of the side mirror was apparently the hero of today’s craziness.

Now that all is said and done, I must say the fact that the side mirrors can swivel both ways on my vehicle was what made today’s “outcome” possible.  Before today, I thought those mirrors could only fold in toward the window and not toward the A-pillar at all.  I guess it’s sometimes good to be wrong!  The lesson I learned today is I’m going to hug the right side of that lane a bit tighter from this day forward.  The saying that comes to mind is, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  That’s not to say that I’m in total control of many things that may happen to me and/or my vehicle.  It’s also these uncontrollable things that are often more frustrating than the results of our own shortcomings, failings, and mistakes.  In the meantime, I’m simply very thankful for how everything turned out today and I hope you don’t have to experience any similar situations of your own anytime soon.

Congratulations to the UC Irvine Anteaters – 2007 NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Champions

The sad thing (to me) is most UCI students and alumni didn’t even know their team was doing so well.   I’m not officially an Anteater fan.  I think it was simply cool that they did well!  By the way, their Most Outstanding Player, Matt Webber, is left-handed!

Video highlights:


Anteaters win first volleyball title

May 5, 2007


Columbus, Ohio — UC Irvine defeated IPFW, 3-1 (30-24, 24-30, 39023, 30-28) to win its first men’s volleyball national title at St. John Arena Saturday.

It is UCI’s first national championship since the men’s water polo team took the crown in 1989. The Anteaters end the season 29-5 overall, the most wins in school history and the most in the country this year. IPFW ends the year 23-8.

The Anteaters hit a blistering .724 in game one (22-1-29) on their way to a 30-20 victory. Jayson Jablonsky and Matt Webber each had six kills with Webber hitting .857 (6-0-7) in the first set. UCI jumped out to a 5-2 lead behind the serving of Webber and never let IPFW get within three the rest of the game.

IPFW controlled game two after the score was tied 5-5, the Mastodons went on a 4-1 spurt to take the 9-6 advantage. IPFW, who went onto a 30-24 victory, watched UCI hit just .155 (13-8-33). The Anteaters pulled to within 26-23 late, but UCI serve sailed long and IPFW ended the game out-scoring the Anteaters 4-1.

The score was tied 3-3 when UCI peeled off 6 straight to take the 9-3 lead. The Mastodons went on a 6-2 spurt capped by a Macias ace to narrow the Anteater lead to 20-16 capped by a Macias ace, but a Jablonsky kill stopped the roll. IPFW would get within four at 23-19, but another Jablonsky kill was followed by two Mastodon attacking errors to give UCI the 26-19 cushion. The Anteaters would take the game 30-23, hitting .194 to IPFW’s .086.

Game four was tight until UCI scored three straight on a Jablonsky kill and IPFW two attack miscues to open a 21-18 lead. The Mastodons tied the score at 27-27, but a Smith kill gave UCI 28-27 before a Webber kill put the Anteaters up 29-27. Smith delayed game-point with a serve into the net. The final Mastodon attack sailed long for the game, 30-28 and match point.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Matt Webber led all players with 22 kills, hitting .457. Jayson Jablonsky recorded 18 kills, while David Smith had 13 kills and a team high four blocks. Middle blocker Aaron Harrell hit .600 (10-1-15). Setter Brian Thornton tallied 59 assists and six digs. Taylor Wilson added a team-high eight digs and six kills, while libero Brent Asuka had five digs.

Thornton, Jablosnky and Smith were also named to the All-Tournament Team. IPFW was led by all-tournament team member CJ Macias with 21 kills. Josh Stewart hit .706, recording 12 kills (12-0-17).