Infopost | 2008.07.31

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross

The results are in. Good data all around and it looks like we have a nice rivalry between the Mazdaspeed 6 and the vr4.

Erik's thoughts regarding the practice and championship...

The championship course was roughly the same as the practice, but run backward with a change to the first slalom. This made the back section very fast, but it turned out to be just under the rev limiter, and had an uphill breaking section at the end that tested the anchoring of one's retinas.

Ian was in the first run group, and chose to run STU, meaning the cars he was up against had the same tires as him, but the added option of sway bars, lowering springs, intakes, exhaust systems, camber plates, and most importantly - wing and emblem removal/addition. He held his own for the first run or two and then got pushed to the back by some tuned up M3s. He was running about a second off the tuned Subies on a fifty second lap, so there's no shame in his fifth place finish in a totally under-built car.

I was working the first station during his group and got an up close view of some very tight competition. Apparently some of the drivers had enough control to 'nudge' the cones to the inside of the first apex without me noticing (a more experienced course worker alerted me to their shenanigans, and once I moved over to inspect more closely all the hijinks stopped, leading me to believe that they were intentionally bumping cones because they knew I - the nearest worker - was too far away to call them on it). Whatever the case, the caliber of driving was up a little from practice, as competitors only had four runs to put down a time and cones dislodged count against the time.

I only had one out-and-out cone to call the whole shift, and who was responsible? Who else?

Ian: Did you see where I hit a cone my last run? I don't know where it happened but they said plus one.

I was next to drive while Ian crewed for me over my break. A survey of the grid showed two other DSP drivers a Civic SI and a four door Integra. The Integra wore street tires and didn't look fantastic at yesterday's practice (it ran while I worked course), so I was mostly worried about the SI running the same tires I had. The first lap out I was careful to go through the slalom the wrong way (Ian and I had spent much time discussing it and at the moment of truth I suffered from 'analysis paralysis'). When times came in from the other two cars I saw I was mistaken and the Integra, on street tires, four doors and all was going to be my main challenger.

Ian was instrumental in keeping my tires at proper pressure, cooling off the intake and reminding me that I should go through the offset slalom the right way all of this allowed me to stay planted in the harness and keep my focus on the driving. I was happy to see my times improve steadily for the most part. The most intense point was finishing my last run (which did not improve on my penultimate fastest lap) and having to wait in the car staring at the clock for the Integra, who had been narrowing the gap all day, to finally finish his final. I kept a slight lead and since there were three cars in the class, I nabbed myself a trophy for the first place finish.

Ian had to work the third run group and I decided to go help him out when I got a call on the cell two minutes before the start

'So, what do I do with the radio?'

Competition being a little more controlled than practice, the radio is used to call in cone penalties, reruns, red flags, tech problems, safety issues, time-out for course repair and other necessary reporting.

With Ian practicing his radio speak (affirmative bandit, that's plus two cones on car five-ought-niner) and myself trying to translate the broken English of the other course workers in our section, we managed to make all the cone calls necessary (albeit way way late). There was a near-collision as the last few stations failed to red flag a speeding Corvette after an RX-7 suffered a spin-and-stall.

Overall the event went very smoothly and left a few lingering doubts, namely:

What class should Ian build for? The downside of buying the expensive performer is that the other car owners in the class have the money to tune them more than the average engineering student.

What happens if the Integra gets race tires? Does EA delve into the realm of power mods?

What class will CR build to? There is a lot of discussion here as he has already started down the path of modification against my better advice. Some of this can be estimated by factoring his times to mine (or Ian's) at the practice and seeing where it would land him in the other F-tuned groups if the same ratio applied to the I/E times from the event. Needless to say, there is no class where the three Falkens and one stretched Nankang will be the state of the competition (Ed: except F-stock which had no entrants), but practice handling the broken traction is applicable to sticky rubber, so it's all good fun now.
How many dates does CS have lined up with Corvette owners?

The results. And afterthoughts...

Infopost | 2008.07.31

Bike night San Diego

Some more possibilities for the portfolio. Miramesa bike night.

Bike night San Diego

Bike night San Diego

Bike night San Diego

Infopost | 2008.07.30

Ducati Supersport dragged shutter

These are all pretty boring, granted unlike 85% of motorbike shots they have motion. Alas, I didn't get out to Paly this weekend and needed something to turn in today. Thanks Erik and Connie for good work. This weekend will be a different story...

Ducati 900SS night blur photo Ducati 900SS night blur photo Ducati 900SS night blur photo Ducati 900SS night blur photo

Storypost | 2008.07.27

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross

Truth: evaluative focus is complete rubbish. Stop using it, everyone. Anonymous Cohort 1 was about 50/50 for having cars in focus at the last autocross. Anonymous Cohort 2 shot yesterday and was about 30/70. More than one person in my photo class have presented photos completely out of focus.

Then I picked up Ted's camera and, being unfamiliar with Canons, left it on fully automatic. I guess their firmware developers think the background is most important. Oh well.

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross Mazdaspeed 6 trolley

Matt's Mazdaspeed 6.

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross Mitsubishi 3000GT

The vr.

San Diego MST3K Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mike Nelson Bill Corbett Kevin Murphy

Bill Corbett, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy doing live commentary on Plan 9 from Outer Space. Well, this was the intro skit.

San Diego MST3K Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mike Nelson

The street. Jon, Mike, and Ted in the foreground. Ugh.

San Diego MST3K Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mike Nelson

Mike turned around briefly. Yes yes I have no shame.

San Diego MST3K Mystery Science Theater 3000 Bill Corbett Kevin Murphy

We wouldn't have been happier had the Packers won the Super Bowl.

Infopost | 2008.07.27

This is the first of what will be many design quandaries.

Skylights are great things. They have a functional purpose of lighting dark rooms for free. They look good in the same way a moon roof looks good on a car - it's nice to see sky above you. Also they can add variation to a monotonous ceiling.

I've noticed that single skylights fulfill the function very well - especially when positioned high above. Installing three or more in close proximity looks very good as they provide a windowlike view of the world above. Two adjacent fixtures is kind of no man's land. (See images).

I have four skylights, approximately 2'x4'. They are clear, fixed, uv proof, and well insulated. I have three candidate locations for them.

I think I'm set on a strategy. The lighting provided to the bathroom and kitchen is irreplaceable so I'm definitely going there. If ever there were a place to pair skylights it'd be at the 5'x5' square above the master bathroom, shown below. The living room will benefit from the extra light source and if views of the sky appeal in the near future, perhaps I'll add a larger piece.

Here are some mindblowingly photorealistic renderings of what it would look like if San Diego had clouds and you were hallucinating.

The skylight will become an excellent light source for the otherwise dark living room. The placement is based on the rule of thirds and avoiding the overhanging eave on the near side.

Two skylights here looks good and provides ample light for the sink area. If it works out I'd like to remove part or all of the adjacent wall such that the shower area is no longer a cave.

Jessica brings up a solid consideration. I'll have to see how dirty the glass gets. They'll be easily reached by hose, but I'll arrange ready roof access should cleaning be required.

I also picked up two solar tubes, having seen them in some MB lofts this weekend. They'll be perfect to replace the existing recessed hallway and second bathroom lights.

Storypost | 2008.07.22

MGM Grand Las Vegas

Rosy's moving to Nebraska, so a trip to Vegas was in order.

Feathers in my cap Black eyes After the company zoo soiree I got Jes to promise to draw me a giraffe. She apparently got creative with the punctuation and drew me, a giraffe.

Gambling giraffe cartoon floosies

Editorial | 2008.07.22

San Diego SCCA SCNAX autocross kart

Jalopnik has a fine article on the wonders of expensive gas with respect to auto enthusiasts. Basically:
On that last point, hilarity:

While this has a few boring side effects, fewer health-related deaths and lower health care costs, for example, the benefit to the driver is that your co-pilot is less likely to add sprung weight to your car. We're pretty sure it's the same reason Colin Chapman became a vegan and John DeLorean made sure all his women were coked-out anorexics.

I'm sure there are far more ins, outs, and what-have-yous than the five point brief covers. But it's certainly along the lines of conversations I've had with Erik and Connie spawned by reports of increased scooter sales.

I take no pride in saying I live in a hive of ignorant drivers, unnecessary traffic control, and terrible city planning. Perhaps five dollar gas combined with the cell ban will improve the situation marginally.

On a related note, I cruised by a hydrogen fuel station in Irvine the other day. A little preliminary research yielded the figures $5 for 70 miles in the new Honda hydro. Just don't smoke in it.

tags: scooter

Review | 2008.07.22

Valentino Rossi Casey Stoner corkscrew dirt pass 2008 Laguna Seca

And what a day.
F1 Hockenheim

[Video since removed]

Hard to say it was technically a great race, but about thirty laps in, Timo Glock certainly sparked a wave of drama. He showed everyone in spectacular fashion that F1 cars don't take too well to driving off tarmac - rumble strips included. The ensuing safety car nullified Hamilton's gargantuan lead and, on account of creative pit strategy, the Brit had to regain the lead from fifth.

More artificial drama at Glock's hands included Piquet's run at the checkered, owing to a fortuitous pit as the Toyota spun into the barrier. It was certainly entertaining to watch Hamilton on a ten lap charge to regain first. And the scandal of Kovalainen's yield to the faster McLaren - a team that purportedly issues no orders.
Superbike Brno

Troy Bayliss absolute legend

Standard operations here. Two races with great battles, lots of lead changes, Bayliss!
MotoGP Laguna Seca

The Laguna race featured the finest battle so far this year, even if it was resolved prematurely. It's too bad Hayden couldn't compete and Hopkins was out, but the AMA wildcards did pretty well.


Check out 1:06... There's a much better replay out there somewhere showing an opposite angle.


'The Corkscrew was a great overtaking spot. Sometimes it's possible to make a mistake there, but the gravel had good grip.'