Archive | February 2008

D’oh

I am officially out of the running for the Associate Editor position I applied for in the Edmunds.com Editorial Department.  I was told my writing experience isn’t at the level they need for the role and that my interests are more enthusiast-oriented than Edmunds is.

Oh well!

God is good!  O praise Him!  He is holy.

Smilin’ Bob ain’t smilin’ anymore


In my Xanga entry on Sunday, February 13, 2005, I ranted about drug commercials on television.  Now, we’ll have one less commercial to worry about!

“Smiling Bob” Verdict: Guilty – link to a local Ohio news story on Smilin’ Bob’s shenanigans


Even though Bob won’t be smiling anymore, God’s followers will have joy forever and ever!

Did you know: It is impossible to whistle and smile at the same time.

Foreverandever Etc.
by the David Crowder Band from the album A Collision (©2005 Six Step Records)

Love so incredible to know
It’s never gonna go, never gonna go
Love too impossible and true
For anyone but You, for anyone but You

I think I’m on the brink of something large
Maybe like the breaking of a dawn

Or maybe like a match being lit
Or the sinking of a ship, letting go gives a better grip

I’m finding everything I’ll ever need
By giving up, gaining everything
Falling for You for eternity
Right here at Your feet, where I want to be
I am Yours

Love so indelible to know 
You’re never gonna go
You’re never gonna go
Love too unthinkable and true
For anyone but You
For anyone but You

Forever and ever and ever and ever and…

Go fast, turn left

I have three free tickets to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at California Speedway in Fontana.  The speedway gave Edmunds.com 200 free tickets.  I requested and received four tickets.  Priority goes to people from church who want to go to the race with me as I plan to head to the track after church is done.  Ticket allocation will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis.

I’ll admit I’m not a big NASCAR fan, but it’s better than no racing at all!  Other forms of racing I’m willing to watch include off-road, snowmobile, and even lawnmower racing.  Addicted?  Yes, I am!

GMR and my car


Last week, I ordered two new Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R tires to replace the two front tires that took a beating at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  The tires arrived on Wednesday and sat in the backyard until they could be mounted and balanced on wheels.  On Saturday morning, I took the tires and wheels to Island Tires & Service (www.islandtire.net) in Pasadena.  Service was friendly and quick as I arrived and left in about half an hour.  Later that afternoon, I swapped the stock 2006 WRX wheels and tires that were on the car for the Prodrive P1 wheels that had been in storage since mid-November.

On Sunday afternoon, I did a recce run for a drive I was going to do the next day with some friends.  The plan was to go North on Azusa Ave until it turned into San Gabriel Canyon Road and continue along that until East Fork.  On East Fork, I headed East to the point Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) began.  GMR was where the fun to be had until it ended down the mountain at Sierra Madre Ave.  The first and only previous time I had driven GMR was back in July 2007 when I had the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX hatchback for an evening.  It’s definitely more fun to drive in daylight than at night.


Because I was stuck behind a GMC Yukon the entire time I drove along San Gabriel Canyon Road yesterday, I figured it would be better to go North on GMR and double-back today.  This afternoon, I met my college friends Steve Mar who has a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon and Jon Mak who has a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI.  We had a lot of fun driving our ‘Rexes up and down the mountain over the course of an hour.  Below is a video of my run up the mountain (the first minute and a half is pretty boring).  I’ll post a video of the run down the mountain later.  Enjoy the ride!  Note: I wasn’t driving all-out.  “Maximum attack” is reserved for the track alone.

You may view the rest of the photos I shot here.

Do NOT mess with God’s Word!


In Corona last week, a 1999 Honda Civic Si was stolen from one of the members of the NASIOC.com SCIC (North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club – Southern California Impreza Club…try saying that three times in a row quickly).  The car was completely stripped and left bare in San Bernardino.  You can see read a little more about it and see photos here.  Shown below is one photo that caught some people’s eye.

The thieves conveniently left his wife’s Bible in good condition.  At least they respected God’s Word!  If only they would have been convicted by it…

A Valentine’s Day song for everyone

Here Is Our King
by the David Crowder Band from the album A Collision

From wherever spring arrives
To heal the ground
From wherever searching comes the look itself
A trace of what we’re looking for
So be quiet now and wait

Chorus 1:
The ocean is growing
The tide is coming in
Here it is

Chorus 2:
Here is our King, here is our Love
Here is our God who’s come
To bring us back to Him
He is the One, He is Jesus, Jesus


And what was said to the rose
To make it unfold
Was said to me here in my chest
So be quiet now and rest

Chorus 1

Chorus 2

Majesty, finally
Majesty, finally here

Chorus 2

Majesty, finally

Label: Chordant (EMI)

No greater love than this

On Monday afternoon, I was really moved when I heard “This Man” by Jeremy Camp on KLOVE (www.klove.com).  I had heard it before but had never given what the song is about much thought.  I’m not a big Jeremy Camp fan either but the lyrics to many of his songs are pretty good.  The only “problem” I have with songs like these is that Jesus’ hands weren’t pierced–it was His wrists that were actually nailed.  I suppose I can let artistic license have this one.

What really moved me was asking myself if I would take Jesus’ place on the cross.  Part of me says I would because He means that much to me.  Another part of me says I would definitely wuss out.  A third part of me says I can’t because I shouldn’t get in the way of His mission to do the Father’s will and give up His life for those God has chosen to redeem.

This Man
by Jeremy Camp

In only a moment truth was seen
Revealed this mystery
The crown that showed no dignity He wore
And the King was placed for all the world to show disgrace
But only beauty flowed from this place

Would you take the place of this Man
Would you take the nails from His hands
Would you take the place of this Man
Would you take the nails from His hands

He held the weight of impurity
The Father would not see
The reasons had finally come to be to show
The depth of His grace flowed with every sin erased
He knew that this was why He came

Would you take the place of this Man
Would you take the nails from His hands
Would you take the place of this Man
Would you take the nails from His hands

And we just don’t know
The blood and water flowed
And in it all He shows
Just how much He cares

And the veil was torn
So we could have this open door
And all these things have finally been complete

Would you take the place of this Man
Would you take the nails from His hands
Would you take the place of this Man
Would you take the nails from His hands,
from His hands, from His hands, from His hands


On Monday night, our softball team won its championship game, 15-5 in the 5th inning (the mercy rule took effect when we scored our 15th run), to win the C+/C league winter season championship.  It took a little time to get things going after we gave up two runs in the top of the first inning.  It wasn’t until the bottom of the second we started to put the pedal to the medal.  I think we scored most of our runs with two outs in the bottom of the second and fourth innings.  I went 2-for-2 (2 singles to second base, the second was misplayed and I took second on the error) with a walk and three runs scored.  We’re off until April when the summer season starts.  Hopefully my left groin will be able to get to 100% with the time off.  I can run full speed on it now but it feels tight at times.



If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been blogging more about the car and things related to it, it’s because my CarSpace blog, The Outside Line, is “featured” on the CarSpace Blogs page.  Because of that, I feel a little more “obligated” to write more blog entries.  I’ll usually write them here and copy the source code to my CarSpace blog.

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


Regarding the Associate Editor position I applied for at Edmunds, I was given my second assignment last Friday.  I have to write a review for the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (No, I won’t get an opportunity to drive it.).  This is going to be used as my second sample in the application process.  The first one I wrote was a 2008 Nissan Maxima review (I didn’t get to drive that either.).  The SLR review is due on Friday.  I’ll plan on working on it tonight and Thursday night and submitting it on Friday morning.  If you would be interested in reading it and giving me criticism and feedback on it, please let me know.

Pretty in pink


After busting the left front strut of my car at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in November, I was presented with the burden privilege of upgrading its suspension.  I was hoping to have the upgrade done before I went to Laguna Seca, but the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) STI (Subaru Tecnica International) springs I ordered in late July.  The problem is that they didn’t arrive from Japan until after I had to get the car ready to go to Monterey.  I ordered Koni adjustable strut inserts a little before I ordered the springs.  They came within a week and sat in the house for the next four and a half months.


The springs that were on the car previously were Prodrive lowering springs.  Prodrive is the U.K.-based company that prepares and runs the Subaru World Rally Team in the FIA World Rally Championship.  The Prodrive springs are actually Eibach springs that are manufactured to Prodrive specifications.  Prodrive has never released the spring rates for their springs.  The closest they’ve come is saying that they’re 25% stiffer than stock.  The stock spring rates for a 2002-2007 USDM (United States Domestic Market) WRX Sedan with a 5-speed manual transmission are 163 lb./in. front and 119 lb./in. rear (there’s a great list of spring rates on NASIOC.com (North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club) here).  25% stiffer spring rates translate to roughly 204 lb./in. front and 149 lb./in. rear.  They supposedly lower the car 20 mm, but I’m pretty sure that number isn’t accurate because they lower the front more than the rear to create the “even” fender gap look.


Those, my friends, are the JDM STI pink springs.  They have spring rates of 257 lb./in. front and 217 lb./in. rear.  Compared to the Prodrive estimated spring rates, they’re 26% stiffer in the front and 46% stiffer in the rear.  For reference, stock 2004-2007 STi/STI spring rates are 224 lb./in. front and 195 lb./in. rear.  They lower the car 1 inch in both the front and rear from the stock (STi/STI) ride height.  As a result, my car now has a saggy butt look.  But that isn’t nearly as important to me as it being able to handle better!

Because the car got stiffer springs, it would be a bad idea to couple them with the stock struts.  The stock struts don’t provide enough damping for the springs.  This is where the Koni adjustable strut inserts come into the equation.

 
The part laid flat in the above image is the Koni Sport adjustable strut insert.  The item positioned in an upright manner is an actual strut assembly, which is not available for the WRX.  To install the Koni strut inserts, Suby Specialties had to remove all four struts, cut and drill into them, remove the original cartridges, and then install the new strut inserts.  Because of their adjustability, a broad range of strut damper settings are now available to me.  Out of the box, I believe there were set around 40-60% firm.  At these settings, most of the body roll the car would previously exhibit in turns had been eliminated.  The tradeoff was the ride was annoying on bad (read: pothole-ridden) roads.  Wanting to soften up the ride, I adjusted all four inserts to an almost full soft setting.  The car feels like it rides better now than when it was on the Prodrive springs and stock struts.  Then again, that may simply be all in my head.  The beauty of the ability to adjust the inserts is that I’ll be able to firm them up the next time I take the car to the track!

Rocking, ranting, and rallying

Do we have any guitar heroes out there?  I LOVE the David Crowder Band!

God makes all the difference!  God changes everything!  God makes my whole existence (as a sinful man redeemed by Him) worth something so I sing…

La la la la
La la la la


Now it’s time for some random ranting!  Scroll down if you’re not interested in reading my two cents.

  • Extraordinarily-gifted Asian drivers
  • Drivers who don’t use their turn indicators
  • Slow drivers in the fast lane
  • Drivers behind you who expect you to 1) Proceed so that you would end up blocking an intersection 2) Turn right even though there’s a “No Right on Red” sign on the traffic light 3) Turn right without waiting for the pedestrians to cross the street first
  • Drivers who drive at night with only their Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) on
  • Drivers who drive regularly with their high beam headlights on
  • Drivers who drop their cigarette butts onto the streets/highways/freeways
  • Drivers who intentionally wait until the last moment to change lanes
  • Drivers talking and holding their cell phones in a way that it obviously affects their driving
  • And the list goes on!

From the streets to my Father’s house (it’s a big, big house…with lots and lots of room…a big, big table…with lots and lots of food…a big, big yard…where we can play football…a big, big house…it’s my Father’s house = great song, not necessarily Biblically accurate, though…you can watch the video here)

  • Irreverent worship – If a person doesn’t want to be in Sunday School or worship service, please leave.  I’d rather have the person leave and screw around outside than 1) adulterating the worship God is being given and 2) distracting others from worshiping God.  It (rhymes with kisses) me off that people are chatting with their friends, writing notes to each other (no, they’re not sermon notes), text messaging, and committing other acts of disservice to the God whom all should be honoring.  Playing DS during Sunday School and worship is BS!!!
  • If you see trash on the ground, please pick it up even though it’s not yours
  • Sometimes the liners in the trash cans at church fall into the can.  People then continue to throw their trash into the trash can without caring whether the trash goes into the liner or not.  Here’s an idea.  How about pulling the liner back up, wrapping it around the rim of the trash can, and then throwing your trash into the liner.  It’s not that hard.  Yeah.  You might get dirty.  Just wash your hands when you’re done.
  • This one is also garbage-related.  When the trash can is full, don’t keep putting trash into it.  Look for another trash can that isn’t full and place your trash in it.  It’s that simple, folks!


Rally Madness!

Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT) drivers Petter Solberg (Co-Driver: Phil Mills) and Chris Atkinson (Co-Driver: Stéphane Prévot) finished 5th and 3rd, respectively, in the opening Monte Carlo round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship.  The fifth-place result is Petter’s best-ever finish in the Rally Monte Carlo.  Chris’ third-place finish tied a career-best finish of third at the 2005 Rally Japan.  For those wondering, the SWRT is using an updated version of the Subaru Impreza WRC 2007 rally car for the first half of the season instead of the hatchback Subaru Impreza WRC 2008 rally car.  Markko Martin is testing the 2008 rally car for the team.  The Rally Sweden is this weekend.  You can follow the team’s progress at www.swrt.com.  After only one stage, Petter is in the lead by half a second!




Speaking of rallying, the New York Giants rallied to beat the New England Patriots last Sunday to win one of the greatest Super Bowl games ever!  The final outcome reminded me of the USC Trojans’ 2006 Rose Bowl defeat to the Texas Longhorns.  The Trojans had an amazing season featuring one of the greatest offenses ever in college history.  The Longhorns came in and knocked them off in one of the greatest college football games ever.

David Tyree’s catch pictured above kept the Giants’ game-winning drive alive.  After his TD catch put the Giants up 10-7, TV viewers may have seen him point upward and if I remember correctly, say, “All God!  All God!”  When asked about his amazing catch the next day, Tyree basically told ESPN that he is in awe of God.  You can watch the clip of his interview (2:40 long) below.

Keeping with the rallying and sports theme, our Edmunds coed softball team won our first round playoff game on Monday night.  We actually lost our last regular season game to finish the season 10-1.  Perhaps it was a good thing we lost.  Hopefully, we don’t end up like the New England Patriots!   We (#1 seed) were down to the #4 seed 9-2 after the top of the third inning (we were the home team).  Our offense came together in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to rally and retake the lead.  The #2 seed lost to the #3 seed in a close 13-12 game after our game.  We should fare well against the #3 seed as we beat them 5-2 in our regular season matchup.  Then again, that’s why we play the game!  We play for the championship on Monday night!

Soli Deo gloria!