Archive | July 2007

Celebrate Good Times…

C’mon!  Let’s celebrate! j/k

Our brother Steve Loo (Xanga: rice4krxst) turned 27 years old yesterday (Monday).  Last year, we gave him a nice little surprise.  This year, we didn’t show our love for him in the same way (at least that I’m aware of).



No Honda Accords were hurt in the making of last year’s birthday surprise.


Seven in a row!

Team Edmunds won their seventh game in a row last (Monday) night (I don’t know the final score.  It was a lot to not enough.  I’ll post the score later. UPDATE: The final score was around 16-6.) to finish the season 9-3, which is good for 2nd place in our league.  I went 1-for-4 (reached on 2-base error by left center fielder – he wasn’t able to hold on to a sliding catch on a lazy fly ball (some people would count that as a base hit, but if the guy was faster, he would have had an easier catch), reached on an error by the second baseman, ground ball single up the middle, and reached on an error by the first baseman (I should have been out on a ground ball to second but the first baseman had his foot on the orange “run through” base instead of the white base)).  I think I scored three times.  The new season starts in early September and we will have the same team we’ve had together for our successful run this season.  Hopefully, the break will be enough time for me to heal up!!!


Please keep all the missionaries you know in prayer!

Something Fishy Happened Yesterday

This was my favorite song yesterday.  The clip below is from the 2007 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.

My Savior, My God
by Aaron Shust

I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior

I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, my Savior lives
My Savior’s always there for me
My God He was, my God He is
My God He’s always gonna be

Yes, living, dying; let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, my Savior lives
My Savior’s always there for me
My God He was, My God He is
My God He’s always gonna be


More to come later!  God is so awesome!

Sweet Inline-Six

I’m not talking about a BMW engine.  I’m talking softball.  Team Edmunds (co-ed) won their sixth game in a row on Monday night, 12-3, to improve their record to 8-3 with one game remaining.  The first place team won on Monday night so it looks like the best we’ll be able to finish is second with another victory Monday night.  If we lose, I believe we hold the tiebreaker over the current third-place team because we beat them two out of the three times we squared off.  I went 1-for-3 (grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the 2nd inning, hit a line single to right field, and reached on an error by the second baseman on a semi-tricky grounder I hit).

On the first at-bat, I really felt my pre-existing injury as I ran hard to first.  It’s hard not to run all-out because when you’re in the moment, it’s very hard not to give it your all.  Needless to say, it bugged me the rest of the night and today (Tuesday).  It will probably continue to nag until next Monday night.  I feel like I’m driving on a flat tire right now.  I’d say because of the injury, I’m 60-70% right now in terms of speed and mobility.


FISHFEST 2007


FISHFEST 2007
Saturday, July 28th – Irvine, CA

STAGE SCHEDULE:
GATES OPEN AT 1:00 PM

Main Stage

9:00 PM Third Day
7:25 PM MercyMe
5:25 PM Chris Tomlin & Francis Chan
4:05 PM Kutless
3:55 PM Star Fish Winner
3:00 PM Aaron Shust
2:00 PM Jessie Daniels
 

Edge Stage

8:15 PM Falling Up
6:45 PM Red
4:50 PM The Myriad
3:30 PM Needtobreathe
2:30 PM Deas Vail
1:30 PM Drew Bray

 Veggie Tales Kids’ Stage

7:30 PM Nazareth (Comedy)
5:30 PM Jana Alayra
4:05 PM Rob Biagi
3:00 PM Jana Alayra
2:00 PM Allison Kenyon

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
8808 Irvine Center Dr.,
Irvine, CA 92618
 
ADDITIONAL INFO:
Once in the venue, may not exit and re-enter

No Food or Drinks.
No chairs, tables or barbecues!
No cameras or recording equipment!
No plastic containers!
No alcoholic beverages or coolers!
No Backpacks!
Children over 2 years old need a ticket.
 
Who wants to go?!  Please let me know ASAP!

Edmunds.com Inside Line Full Test: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX


Edmunds.com Inside Line Full Test: 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=121788

Thanks to God, Inside Line Executive Editor, Michael Jordan, and Inside Line Editor-in-Chief, Scott Oldham, for giving me the privilege and opportunity to write the Second Opinion piece for this review.

Below is what I actually wrote for the Second Opinion piece before the editing process worked its magic.  Please let me know what you think.  Any and all questions are welcome.

Regarding the Second Opinion, below is what I wrote before it got edited. I was trying to compare the stock 2008 WRX to a stock 2002-2007 WRX and had a 300 word cap.

Second Opinion

With the incoming 2008 Impreza WRX, Subaru has decided to explore the “x” in WRX—the unknown—with its latest sporting icon.

That unknown is the mainstream market. The 2008 Impreza is Subaru’s first concerted effort to enter what it believes is the promised land. Can the new WRX win over both the general public and enthusiasts desiring to slide it like (world rally champion Petter) Solberg?

Being a current WRX owner, I had high hopes for the new ‘Rex. I can easily say the new WRX does everything better than its predecessor—but not by much.

The new car drives much like the old car. That has never been a bad thing. The WRX has always had a way of making its driver feel connected. Rowing through the gears and carving corners remain a delight. The problem is the new WRX’s “improvements” were never felt. And for those wondering, a cheap suit still sticks to the road better than its all-season tires.

To satisfy the general consumer, Subaru knew it had to make the car a better daily driver. Improved areas include interior fit and finish, the radio and available navigation, ergonomics, cabin noise, and usable space. It’s what Subaru didn’t do that hurts its cause. Options that would make life with the WRX grand are still absent. Options such as HID headlights (long offered on WRXs around the world except North America) and keyless start are unavailable on a car Subaru hopes will court most people.

However, like its predecessors, the new WRX will grow on its drivers over time. It may not be the best at anything, but it does everything well. Subaru’s first foray into the unknown—reaching the masses—is an experiment to say the least. But it’s not one gone totally wrong.


Notes (were used for writing the Second Opinion above)
1. Exterior – Neither bland nor boring. Not exciting either. The front fender gap is not as tall as the outgoing model’s. Taller tire sidewalls make vehicle less appealing. Obviously resembles Mazda3 and BMW 1-Series in style and form. Personally, I am fine with the front grille, even with its “egg crate” look. In my opinion, the rear tail lights aren’t that bad; the chrome strip is. A heavily modded Miata owner behind me on Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) had no idea what the car was—he thought it was a Civic of some sort (note: the time was well into the night). Current owners say the exterior is more exciting than the 04-05. Others say it is the most boring Impreza to date. Some absolutely love it. Impreza owners and Subaru enthusiasts are an “interesting” breed to say the least. I actually enjoyed the fact that nobody seemed to really be looking at the car as I sat in stop-and-go traffic for roughly 90 minutes to travel 30 miles on Thursday evening. Why aren’t HID headlights an option on North American market vehicles? One would think there would be a healthy profit margin on it. How difficult would it be to offer the headlamps that will be standard on the STI as an option for the WRX (like they already have been for years throughout the rest of the world)?

2. Interior – Visibility all around is fantastic except for the A-pillar and larger driver side mirror, which affects looking ahead on tight corners. Tilt/telescope steering wheel is a long overdue addition. Driver side front window switch still has no express up functionality. Passenger side front window switch still has no express down (or up) functionality. There is more front legroom width-wise. The interior feels more spacious due to the scalloped door panels. The armrests on the door panels are softer/more plush. The miniaturized Tribeca dash works well for the car. Fit and finish are excellent. Radio and HVAC controls are easy to use. Steering wheel controls could benefit from a little more thought. A slight rattle was heard from the passenger side area of the dash near the windshield when traveling over certain stretches of road (particular frequency of the road undulations is probably the cause of this). The dim blue light and rubber tray on the center console in front of the shifter makes for an ideal location to place a mobile phone and/or a portable digital music player. The electroluminescent instrument cluster is bright and easy to read at all times. Redline on the tachometer would have been better at a 2 to 4 o’clock position compared to the approximate 1 o’clock position it actually is displayed. There is a lot more headroom in the cabin—Subaru shouldn’t have any problems adding a sunroof mid-way through the car’s lifecycle. The front seatback side bolsters appear smaller than 04-06 WRX (excluding the 06-07 WRX TR seats) but hold just as well. The thigh supports on the front seat bottoms seem shorter on the 08 WRX seats than their 04-07 WRX counterparts. Their reduced heights didn’t seem to affect how well the seat held me and may actually facilitate ingress and egress. Rear seat legroom is definitely improved. However, if any of the front seats are placed all the way aft on the seat rail, legroom can be very tight. The rear doors open at a greater angle than the outgoing models thus facilitating the loading of large boxes or other bulky items. The rear hatch opens easily with a press of its latch button. It has a convenient inner grab handle. North American Imprezas finally have a navigation system as an option, but Bluetooth and push button start (actually available on some of Subaru’s other JDM models) options are still not offered. The addition of window frames on the new Impreza definitely help reduce road and wind noise.

3. Engine & Transmission – The 2.5L flat-4 feels fantastic! Bear in mind my vehicle has the 2.0L used in ‘02-‘05 vehicles. I imagine the engine’s performance isn’t much different than the 06-07 2.5L though. Usable torque can be had throughout the entire powerband and turbo lag is non-existent as long as the driver has selected an appropriate gear. The engine pulls strongly to redline—never feeling like it’s running out of breath. Gearing is similar to 02-05 WRX (e.g., 75 mph @ 3,000 rpm in 5th, shift points for other gears seem similar). The “punch” of the turbo (confirmed that it is indeed a Mitsubishi TD04 unit and not the Legacy GT’s IHI VF40 despite the fact that the engine is an LGT motor) providing full boost is no longer felt and may make acceleration less thrilling to the driver. The clutch take-up is progressive and does not require as much effort as the one in my 2004 WRX (pedal travel is slightly shorter than 04 WRX, but still fairly long). No hanging rpm issues (think 2006 Honda Civic Si) were apparent with the drive-by-wire throttle. Shift lever action is fairly smooth and throws are long, but not “cross-country” long (easily cured by the installation of a short-shifter). Downshifting into 1st gear is easier than 02-05 thanks to the double-cone synchros for 1st. Reverse gear can be engaged infinitely easier than the previous 5MTs. The transmission coupled with the engine never left me wanting for an additional cog. I was initially disappointed in April when Subaru announced a 5MT was going to be used with the new WRX, but after driving it, five is fine. The exhaust note is more subtle from both inside and outside the cabin, which like hitting full boost, may detract from the fun factor of the vehicle.

4. Brakes – Brake pedal feel is not as good in terms of the brake system’s initial response as that of the 06-07 WRX with the Subaru 4-pot/2-pot calipers (these were also used on the Z32 Nissan 300ZX). The stopping ability of the brakes (front rotors are believed to have the same part number as the Outback XT’s) is excellent, but still is hampered by the grip of the Bridgestone Potenza RE92A tires. Rear brake disc size appears to be the same as the 02-05 WRX rear discs (unconfirmed). No fade was felt going up or down GMR.

5. Suspension – The new suspension (Legacy front or similar and Tribeca-derived in the rear) seems to be a slight improvement over the outgoing model’s. Healthy body roll still exists, but seems to be less than the 02-07 WRX. The steering rack seems to be quicker. The car is capable of executing quick changes in direction well. Understeer still exists (tires?), but is manageable nearly all the time. The rear stays composed unless the car is tossed hard into a corner or the car is greatly upset in mid-corner. High-speed stability is lacking as the car feels jittery when being driven at high speeds (tires a factor here?). The deletion of the rear limited-slip differential (to make way for the Vehicle Dynamics Control, or VDC, stability control system (can be easily turned off) and an open rear diff) did not seem to affect the vehicle’s handling characteristics adversely.

6. Tires – The Bridgestone Potenza RE92A all-season tires don’t seem to be any better than their RE92 predecessors. They howl in protest in turns stickier tires quietly manage. The change in size to skinnier and taller 205/50R17 from 215/45R17 still does not make any sense.

On Wednesday night, thanks to a kind volunteer on NASIOC (member: theheckwithyou), I drove a stock 2006 WRX to verify (or disprove) some of the things I wrote. In first gear, the 2008 WRX doesn’t feel more powerful than a stock 2006/2007 WRX (compared to the 2.0-liter flat-4 in my car). It’s in the low RPM range in higher gears that the increased “usable torque” is much more noticeable, especially in 5th. Discernible differences couldn’t really be felt in the suspension or brakes. Please note I didn’t open up his car like I did our evaluation vehicle. The brake pedal response and feel I wrote in my “Notes” section were probably an effect of having stainless steel brake lines on my car. The brake calipers on my 2004 WRX are the same as the 2006-2007 WRX ones (I paid an arm and a leg to retrofit them because the WRXs in the rest of the world had them at the time…then Subaru stuck it to me by announcing the brakes would be standard on 2006 North American WRXs). Cabin noise is definitely less in the 2008 model (thank you, window frames).

My 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan

Powertrain
COBB AccessPORT Stage 1
OEM STI 5-speed 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

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

Brakes
Subaru 4-pot front/2-pot rear brakes (red, same as USDM ‘06-’07 WRX)
Ferodo DS2500 front brake pads
Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
Motul RBF 600 brake fluid

Exterior
Cleared headlights
OEM painted sideskirts
JDM sidemarkers
2006 STI rear diffuser

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

The Outside Line

Hey, folks!


I just created a new blog at CarSpace.com called The Outside Line.  I will use it to mainly post about automotive-related things.


http://www.carspace.com/blogs/theoutsideline

Things can only go up from there!

I should have some good news on Sunday night (No, I didn’t save a lot on my car insurance by calling Geico)!  Praise God!

Five Iron Frenzy

Almost!  “Five Aluminum Frenzy” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Our softball team won 21-5 today in 5 innings over the team we were tied for 2nd place going into the night.  Our fifth straight victory (season record 7-3)moved us into sole position of 2nd place.  I went to 2-for-2 (2 singles, 2 BBs, 3 runs scored).  We should be able to win our two remaining games.  To finish in first place, we would need the 1st place to lose both of their remaining games because they hold the tie-breaker over us, 2 games to 1.  I slid three times tonight to satisfy my “getting dirty” requirement.  I’m pretty sore right now though.  Previous injury is nagging a lot.

My One Night Stand


Photo: Joey Chong



I spent last (Thursday) night with a 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX.  It felt so good to come back “home” to my 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX!  That’s all I can say for now.



Blues Brothers


Guess which one I took home!  I apologize for the poor photo quality.

Praise & Potenzas

It’s time again to give thanks to the Lord, our God and King…His love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34,41; 2 Chronicles 5:13, 2 Chronicles 7:3,6; 2 Chronicles 20:21; Ezra 3:11; Psalm 100:5, Psalm 106:1; Psalm 107:1; and more)!

Softball – Team Edmunds co-ed softball team (now 6-3) won their fourth straight game on Monday night 17-14 over the top team in the league (7-2) in eight innings (one extra inning).  I went 1-for-4 (pop up to the pitcher, line single between the first and second basemen (sure felt nice to rope), groundout to the pitcher, and reached on an error on a hard groundball I hit back to the pitcher) with 2 runs scored.  The error I reached on occured as I led off the top of the 8th inning.  We had a 12-10 lead going into the bottom of the 7th, but were unable to hold the home team to less than two runs as the balls they hit seemed to find all the holes.  It was a good, fun game.  The only bad thing that happened was I didn’t have to slide at all and get dirty.  This team was the team I had my worst game ever against.  They hold the tiebreaker over us as they beat us twice and lost to us once.  I hadn’t joined the team yet the first time we played them.  Any progress my injury made toward recovery was thrown away by playing and running the bases (and also basketball on Sunday nights).  I probably won’t be 100% until a few weeks after the softball season is over (3 games remain in the season with playoff games afterward).

I had dinner with my wonderful, old (not in age…old in that I’ve known the person for almost nine years) friend, Talene Lee, tonight.  It’s always nice to catch up with people you don’t regularly see!

I missed most of tonight’s (Tuesday night) 2007 MLB All-Star Game.  Padre pitcher Jake Peavy pitched an okay, scoreless first inning for the National League team.  Padre pitcher Chris Young was credited with the loss thanks to an amazing inside-the-ballpark 2-run home run by Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners.  At least Padre pitcher Trevor Hoffman didn’t get rocked again this year.


Puttin’ on the Ritz…Potenzas

I threw some old shoes back on to Devoted Dan tonight.  It took me about 90 minutes to do it all myself which wasn’t too bad.  I then took him for a nice, “spirited” spin for about 20 minutes.

Before

After

Why the change?  I can’t totally tell you all why I did it yet.  Let’s just say I felt I need to get a good feel for Dan’s capabilities again with “stock” all-season rubber (Bridgestone Potenza RE92 – 215/45R17…the tires that came off were Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R – 225/45R17 summer (read sticky/grippy) tires).

Here are a couple of hints:

Finally, Subaru has a new commercial that makes me want to drive!  Off the top of my mind, Mazda, Audi, and BMW have awesome commercials that have been evoking this feeling in me for years.

Subiesport magazine’s 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX preview

I spy STI!

Here’s another treat for you all!  The next-generation Subaru Impreza WRX STI has been spotted at the famed Nürburgring track in Germany.  Click on the photo or the link below to watch an exclusive video at Edmunds.com Inside Line.

Article and video here: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/GeneralFuture/articleId=121620


Thou shalt not steal

Photo: ©2007 Dann Chen – Russell Martin gets “owned” breaking the eighth commandment in the 11th inning of the game played on June 30, 2007.  As a result, the Padres won by scoring two runs in the top of the next inning off Brett Tomko and Trevor Hoffman shut the Dodgers down in the bottom frame to produce a 3-1 victory.

The Los Angeles Dodgers: Property of the San Diego Padres

The Pads lead this year’s series 7-5.  Who wants to see the Swingin’ Friars rough up the (other) Blue Crew on Wednesday night, September 12, 2007?  I’ll be there!  Will you?

Tore Up the Track

Last Tuesday night, I went to Dromo One (www.dromo1.com) with Steve Quon (Xanga: GR81stud) and Alex Ho (Xanga: Alex115).  We went at a great time because we were the only ones on the track for the 6 PM race and hot laps!  It was so nice having the track to ourselves!  By the end of my track time, I was within half a second of the best lap set that day by someone I imagine was a “regular” at the track.  I also don’t think my kart was that great in that it seemed too darty when reacting to light steering inputs (I got used to it) and the seat was in a fixed position for a shorter driver.  I then went to Molcasalsa in La Habra for the first time with Hanley (Xanga: randomranting) and Jon (Xanga: jonathankng).  Mexican food > Asian food!!!


Here’s a video of the 2007 Formula SAE West competition I volunteered at last month:


Still not firing on all cylinders

My left groin is still sore from pulling or straining it four or five weeks ago.  I’d say I’m about 60-75% right now.  Your prayers would be appreciated!


Robots in disguise

I saw Transformers on Wednesday night.  I won’t spoil any of it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

Here’s a pretty cool Transformer that wasn’t in the movie.





Racking up the miles

I passed the 71,000-mile mark on “Devoted Dan” (my car) on June 24th.  For those who don’t remember, I hit 60,000 miles on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2006.  Those 11,000 miles in six months puts me on pace to hit 82,000 miles around Christmas-time.  I actually was at 72,000 miles when I parked the car at church this morning.  The next goodies I plan on giving him are Koni Sport strut inserts and JDM STI pink springs.  I’ll let you all know when those go on and my driving impressions after the suspension upgrade.


Why I LOVE my job

I found out a little more information about the Vehicle Testing Assistant position I didn’t get.  Our Editorial department hired someone who previously worked at Motor Trend.  That being said, I am totally cool/okay with that.  If I had to make the decision, I honestly would have hired him over me even though I was an internal applicant because of his work experience.  I’m sure I’ll meet him eventually and find out he’s a cool guy because I definitely can say the same about the person who used to be in that role who was promoted to the Manager of Vehicle Testing and our News Editor who used to be the Manager of Vehicle Testing.

Here are some reasons why I love my job:

  1. Our web sites (www.edmunds.com, www.edmunds.com/insideline (for the cool stuff – think Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine), www.carspace.com, and www.autoobserver.com) are devoted to automotive consumers and enthusiasts – I would say they are the best out there (at least the main Edmunds and Inside Line sites…the other two need work)!
  2. I get to see cool/new automobiles in the parking garage on a regular basis (As far as I know, the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX will be coming in this week.  I’m going to keep my camera in the car so I can take some photos of it as soon as I see it)
  3. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people at work
  4. I can wear a polo shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a baseball cap to work (T-shirt and jeans would be even better – I’ve seen people in other departments wear those, but I don’t think they’re allowed in my department…I guess that’s too casual)
  5. What I currently do allows me to learn more about how our web site works and visitor behavior
  6. We can surf the Web and use AIM as long as we get our work done (although sometimes I feel I’m not as productive as I should be)
  7. I love the way I’ve “decorated” my “cubicle”
  8. We have a game room
  9. We have a softball team (actually two – the Monday night co-ed team I’m on and a Thursday night men’s team)

Here are some things I don’t like about my job:

  1. Fighting traffic to work and back can be a bear (but hasn’t been as bad as I originally thought it would be on a daily basis…plus it gives me a great opportunity to listen to Truth For Life (www.truthforlife.org) every weekday from 8 to 8:30 AM on KKLA 99.5 FM – latest nugget of truth from God’s Word: genuine faith is visible, audible, and credible )
  2. Not everyone wants to be your friend
  3. Sometimes my group/department feels understaffed (My manager told me another Associate Business Analyst (what I currently am) is on the way)

I feel like I’m forgetting some things above.  I’ll edit this entry if more come to mind.

I thank and praise God for the job He’s given me!  All glory, honor, and praise to Him!



Oh yeah!  Who wants to go to Fishfest 2007 on Saturday, July 28, 2007?  Please let me know.