Archive | September 2007

McRae’s mishap

http://blogs.edmunds.com/Straightline/3436

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/article2461339.ece

Colin McRae and his son were killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday.  The 1995 FIA WRC drivers’ champion (in a Subaru Impreza WRC – 1995 was also the first of the three straight constructors’ championships for the Subaru Impreza) was piloting his helicopter that crashed.  He is survived by his wife and daughter.

September 11, 2001 – We Will Never Forget

God bless the U.S.A.!

Am I the only one who is irked when people say, “nine-eleven?”  I think saying, “September 11th,” is more appropriate because making the extra effort to actually say the date helps me remember what happened that tragic day.  Perhaps it’s the legalist in me.  Six years later, there isn’t any doubt in my mind that God used what happened for His glory.

Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the U.S.A.!

Mitsubishi Lancer GTS put to the test

On Saturday, I met up with Edmunds.com Senior Content Editor, Erin Riches, to put our cars through their paces on Little Tujunga Canyon Road (Google Maps link) for a “nice” afternoon drive in the sweltering heat and humidity.  She had Edmunds’ Long-Term 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS and I had my trusty ride, “Devoted Dan” — a lightly modified 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan.  Unlike the newbies (notice how they’re not leaning into the turns) in the Mitsubishi Lancer commercial above, I was not impressed by how the car drove.  It’s an excellent car overall.  Don’t get me wrong.  It just wasn’t *that* fun to drive.


Photo: Erin Riches

Here’s the Long-Term Road Test blog entry Erin put up on Inside Line2007 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS: Takes on a WRX…Sort of.  You can read her impressions of how the Lancer GTS drove after the jump.  She was gracious enough to let me swap cars with her for one of our runs.

Here are my impressions of how the Lancer GTS drove and thoughts about the upcoming Lancer Ralliart.  Please note I didn’t bother checking out the interior or thinking about its ergonomics.
 
Chassis – The car felt solid and well-built (the increased in structural rigidity added weight). Kudos to Mitsubishi/Dodge for beefing it up.
 
Engine – The car felt underpowered because of the vehicle’s mass. I think 175-200 hp would be good for the GTS trim. Noise wasn’t an issue to me as I had the front windows down during my run along the road.
 
Transmission – The shift throws are looooong. Shift throws were easily longer than the throws on a stock 5-speed 2008 Subaru Impreza. (My car has the OEM STI 5-speed short-shifter.) Shifts are much smoother than (as in not as notchy as) those on an Impreza 5MT.
 
Clutch – Pedal travel wasn’t too short or too long. The pedal effort is light.
 
Tires – The Dunlop SP Sport 5000M all-season tires (P215/45R18 89V) are definitely better than the Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires that are standard on all Imprezas. They provide more grip and don’t howl loudly in protest to high cornering loads as much as the RE92s. Note: My car is not on RE92s (I have a set of stock 2006 wheels/tires at home). It is currently on Bridgestone Potenza RE-01Rs (P225/45R 91W).
 
Handling – The car handled fairly well and kept its composure at all times. Understeer wasn’t a problem (then again, I believe that people who complain about understeer are usually going into a corner too hot to begin with). When the back end began to hint that it wanted to jump out a bit, it would settle down soon thereafter.
 
Braking – Like Erin mentioned, the brakes were smelly after we had beat on them, but they never felt like they were fading badly (as in the pedal going straight to the floorboard). Initial grab was pretty good every time I applied the brakes, but the pedal was softer than I am comfortable with. In other words, I couldn’t storm into corners with the GTS like I could with my car (my 2004 WRX has been retrofitted with 2006-2007 OEM 4-pot/2-pot brakes…and Ferodo DS2500 front brake pads (they generate a lot of brake dust for anyone considering them, but are the best pad imo for combined street/track use), Goodridge stainless steel brake lines, and Motul RBF 600 brake fluid).
 
Steering – My only gripe with the car from my short time in it (15 minutes or so(?) on a run down the aforementioned road heading South) was that its steering was uncommunicative. I just couldn’t “feel” much of the road and what the car was doing/how it was responding to steering inputs and undulations in the road. (The leather steering wheel itself felt nice in my hands and is sized well.)
 
Visibility – Visibility out the front is good. When doing any spirited driving, visiblity on both sides of the driver’s A-pilar is very important to me so I can look ahead in left turns. This was an area the 2008 Subaru Impreza was worse than its predecessor because of its larger side mirrors. The rear wing didn’t affect rearward visibility when I was checking my six.
 
The long-term Lancer GTS is priced at $21,615. If you want the maximum amount of smiles-per-mile for this amount of dough, look elsewhere (Civic Si?). However, I think this car would be a great fun-to-drive everyday commuter vehicle given its numerous “creature features.”
 
If the Lancer Ralliart comes out with 230-250 hp and all-wheel drive with the number of features the GTS has, the Impreza WRX will be in major trouble.  The only question remaining in my mind is: Will the Lancer Ralliart drive more like the GTS or the Evo? If the former, the folks at Subaru don’t have anything to worry about. If the latter, can everybody say, “MY2010-2011 Impreza redesign?”


Photo: Erin Riches

Softball, Soccer, SCC, and September

Saturday Softball

Back on Saturday, August 18, 2007, I joined Anderson (Xanga: nd627br), Tiff (Xanga: wurpol), Steve Loo (Xanga: rice4krxst), and a few others to form a team that would play in the annual JEMS softball tournament (Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society – http://www.jems.org – a.k.a. the parent organization of Asian American Christian Fellowship – http://www.aacf.org).  Our team was appropriately named the “Perfect Strangers” because our team was made up of the three of us, Anderson’s cousin, Nelson, and six other people from another church(es) we had never played with before.

We won all three of our games that day (24-2, 13-0 (I think that was the score.  12-0 if I thought wrong.), and 9-3) to win the recreational division of the tournament.  I had an exceptional day from the pentagonal dish in that I never made an out when I was hitting all day.  I had some hits that felt really good as soon as the bat made contact with the ball and hit a few balls that the other teams misplayed, one of them allowing me to have a “home run.”  As expected, the baserunning was hard on my left groin which was still not at 100% (and still isn’t, but hopefully will be before the Monday night league I play in starts up again on September 10th).


Team photo after our first game, a 24-2 victory


No longer Perfect Strangers after a 9-3 victory to win the recreational division of the tournament


Live Soccer Isn’t That Bad

I went with some of my co-workers on Thursday, August 23, to the Chivas USA vs. Los Angeles Galaxy game.  The Los Angeles Galaxy played horribly (they are currently 3-11).  David Beckham is so overrated.  It bugs me that so many people were at the game (ourselves included except for one of us who used to work for the Galaxy) just because of Beckham.  I think Landon Donovan is better player than David Beckham.  I give props to the Chivas USA fans for  the unwavering and passionate support of their team.  I was pretty impressed with the play and hustle of defenseman #2 Mike Randolph of the LA Galaxy–so much that I just looked up his information on lagalaxy.com.  He’s originally from Chino Hills for those of youreading from that area.

I need a little help here.  What is Herbalife?

I also think Edmunds.com should get some beach balls made with their logo printed on them so we can advertise our web site at baseball games and other events.


Santa Claus Steven Curtis Chapman is coming to town!


Steven Curtis Chapman, Sanctus Real, and Bethany Dillon (Ensenada 2005 mission trip veterans, remember the song with the words “You are all I need when I’m surrounded?”  If not, how could you forget?) are coming to Yorba Linda Friends Church on Sunday night, October 28, 2007.  I’ll be there!  Will you?  For concert information you can go to Transparent Productions’ web site (http://www.transparentproductions.com).

Steven’s new album, This Moment, comes out on Tuesday, October 23.  You can pre-order the new album at the following link.  By pre-ordering through that link, you will be e-mailed a link to an exclusive web page where you can listen to a streaming version of the entire album (Adobe Flash player is required) well before it even is out!  My favorite songs (so far) on the new album are “Children of God” and “With One Voice.”

http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/thismoment.htm

For those of you who plan on attending the concert, you better start practicing so we can all sing together!  You can begin studying at http://www.itickets.com/scc.


September is here!

One of my favorite things about a new month is turning the page of my Subaru calendar.  I try not to see what the photos of each month are so I’ll be surprised every time I advance the page.  Subaru Rally Team USA photographer Lars Gange shot the awesome photo above.  This photo is featured as the August 2007 photo on the 2007 Subaru calendar..  It has definitely been my favorite calendar photo to date!  Look at the glow of the hot front brake discs on Travis Pastrana’s 2006 Rally America championship-winning Subaru Impreza WRX STI.  Since my calendar is at work, I haven’t advanced it to September yet.  Hopefully, September’s photo will be equally good!

Now that it’s September, college football is here!

The #1-ranked USC Trojans took care of business against the Idaho Vandals tonight (Saturday night) with a 38-10 victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  Vidal Hazelton made an amazing catch of a John David Booty pass for a touchdown tonight to put the Trojans up 21-0 at the time.  Above is a photo from NCAA Football ’08 for the PlayStation 3 (NCAA Football ’07 is a better game overall in my opinion; it just doesn’t have the eye candy and bells & whistles of the new game) of Vidal Hazelton making a one-handed TD grab in-between two Vandal defenders.

The greatest upset in college football history…ever!

The Appalachian State Mountaineers (2-time defending Division I-AA/FCS national champion) defeated the #5-ranked Michigan Wolverines (ESPN game recap) 34-32 in what may have been the greatest upset ever in college football.  This was the first time ever that a Division I-AA team has beaten an AP-ranked Division I-A team.

September baseball is back!

And with it, domination of the Los Angeles Dodger$ (Note: I believe I can justify using the $ symbol when referring to the Dodger$ because their payroll is greater than $100 million whereas San Diego’s isn’t close to that.) by the San Diego Padres has returned!  With tonight’s 7-0 win, the Padres retained first place in the National League West (they lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by .001 in winning percentage).  With his 16th victory of the season (best in the NL) tonight, Padre pitcher Jake Peavy improved his career record against the Dodger$ to 8-1.  The Pads now lead the season series, 9 to 5, reminding San Diegans and Los Angelenos alike that the Padres own the Dodger$ (the Padres won 13 out of 18 games last year).