What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

F1 Destination: Austin, TX

Filed under: Cars!,Racing — dave @ 8:22 am 2010/05/26

Yesterday’s big news in the world of Formula 1 Racing, the sport returns to the US in 2012, and will be held in Austin, Texas! Just one more reason for me to visit that fine and funky city; not that there was any shortage of reasons before, but this means that I really need to do it, and have a really good reason for it.

I doubt there will be anybody doing donuts in the sand, but it should be a good time anyway!

Let’s Follow Mexico’s Lead

Filed under: Politics,The World — dave @ 3:42 pm 2010/05/24

… At least on immigration policy. So many people have their underwear so incredibly bundled about Arizona’s new law giving police the ability to enforce existing US immigration laws. Those people somehow think it’s perfectly ok for the US to leave it’s borders wide open to allow illegal immigrants to flow back & forth across the Mexico/US border for any reason at all, and as long as they’re here anyway, it’s ok for those illegals take advantage of government-provided ‘entitlements’. After all, they’re just looking for a better life, right?

Although there are a lot of people thinking that way, I’m thankful there are a lot more who see the flaws in that kind of thinking, and they don’t all reside in Arizona. But Arizona, because of SB1070, has become the whipping boy for the open borders crowd. Everybody — from President Obama right on down to the foulest mouths in the blogosphere — is railing against Arizona, while not even understanding what’s in the bill. It’s like they’ve all heard that it’s awful and have no desire to learn any different. Heaven forbid they actually read the bill. The entire thing is only 17 pages long, and doesn’t take that long to read, yet even Attorney General Eric Holder admits he hasn’t read it, nor has Janet Napolitano or anyone else who says they don’t like the law, or so it seems anyway. It would take, what? 20 minutes to read it? I love how Holder claims he hasn’t taken the time to read it, but apparently formed a pretty definitive opinion of it based on what he’s read in the news about it. And this is the guy who is supposed to be briefing the President on this sort of thing; doesn’t give me much hope that Obama has much of a clue as to what’s in it either.

And things just don’t seem to be letting up on this subject; last week Mexican president Felipe Calderon visited Washington, DC, and did his share of taking shots at Arizona. But I wonder what Arizona’s critics would say if they were to examine Mexico’s immigration laws… Or if immigration laws in the US were modeled after Mexico’s?

Here’s an excerpt from an article that reveals some details about Mexican immigration policy…

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,

  • “A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally.” (Article 123)
  • Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
  • Foreigners who “attempt against national sovereignty or security” will be deported. (Article 126)

Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:

  • A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison. (Article 127)
  • Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into Mexico will be fined. (Article 132)

From what I’ve read of the Mexican justice system, enforcement is probably a bit of an issue, but a bit of cash applied to the palms of the right officials will likely get them to look the other way. Even so, it’s pretty hypocritical for Calderon to be criticizing Arizona’s law.

Another thing that gets me is how government officials all over the US are overreacting to SB1070; last week a Chicago-area girls’ basketball team had to cancel a trip to Arizona for a tournament because the school district’s assistant superintendent thought the trip, “would not be aligned with our beliefs and values.” Funny thing is, the school district has sent groups of kids to China and the Czech Republic, so apparently the policies of those countries are more closely aligned with her beliefs and values?

Yup, the name of the game is hypocrisy. Just doesn’t get much better than this.

Suicide By Fast Food

Filed under: Fun!,Just Stuff — Tags: , — dave @ 9:07 am 2010/05/18

There’s a hilarious article on Cracked.com: Fast Food For Failures. A sampling…

The story behind the McGangBang is actually pretty cool. It’s gotten virtually no attention in the press and has gained popularity over the last few years strictly by word-of-mouth and Internet forums, and it’s still relatively underground. Sure, people have whispered about it and its history has been covered in exhaustive detail, but it hasn’t quite reached the mainstream yet. It’s only a matter of time before someone in a movie or TV show or popular and influential comedy megasite mentions it and then it’ll just blow up. Here’s how it works: You take an ordinary McDouble off the dollar menu…

mcdouble

…then you take an ordinary McChicken off the dollar menu…

mcchicken

…and you shove the McChicken inside the McDouble. Right in between the patties, just wedge that McChicken in there, so you have one tall super sandwich for just a few bucks.

mcgangbang

Get an order of fries because we all die in the end anyway.

Yeah, it sounds disgusting, but I feel strangely compelled to try it… Just once can’t hurt that much, can it? The article is fat free, calorie-free, cholesterol-free & guilt-free, but like me, after reading it you may find yourself suppressing your will to live just a little bit.

Reminds me a lot of an old(?) Christian rock & roll song by one of my all-time favorite artists, Randy Stonehill; American Fast Food. Dig the big hair! So ’80′s/’90′s!

BMWotD — Euro 1983 528i

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Fun!,Geek — dave @ 10:57 pm 2010/05/04

This is the car I want. It just came up for sale in an ad on MyE28.com, and it’s all I can do to keep myself from calling the seller right now…

euro_528i_right

1983 BMW Euro 528i – FOR SALE – Los Angeles

  • - Saphirblau paint
  • - M535i Gray Cloth herringbone interior (Manual sport seats)
  • - M30B35 engine transplant from 89 735i donor with correct motor mount from Koala MotorSport.- Preventive maintenance at time of transplant: GMB water pump, water wetter, New Coolant Reservoir, oil pan gasket, crank seal gasket, OEM pilot bearing, plugs & wires. Head had DOT-r sticker but fell off after steam clean. Recently passed CA smog with no problems. Does need valve job, can have done before sale.
  • - BMW e39 528i sport rims, professionally taken apart, all barrels straighten and polished by Al Reed in Anaheim (Plastic hub centric up front) – 235/45/17 Dunlop SP Sport 2000 E all around with good tread.
  • - Hartge replica front spoiler (Paul L.)
  • - Alpina replica rear spoiler
  • - 3.73 Limited Slip diff.
  • - Bilstein Sport struts all around- BavAuto springs
  • - Racing Dynamics (Green) adjustable swaybars front and rear (Part #196.81.28.010).
  • - Front Racing Dynamics strut bar. Although the suspension is solid the lower control arms are in need of replacement. Upper control arms in March 2010 (Mayle Heavy Duty). Still has front end shimmy but not as bad.
  • - 5 speed manual transmission / shifter needs new bushings to have tight feel.
  • - CARB Sticker, EPA & DOT importers paperwork in file, currently registered until July 2010.
  • - Brand new not installed Blaupunkt Sydney R126 with Pioneer 4×6 front speakers and OEM premium rears.

Since purchased the OD (176k) hasn’t worked but roughly under my ownership (2/2007) the car has traveled about 4-7k miles. The paint is in decent shape with exception to the Hood and roof. The interior is in great shape also with its exception to the driver’s seat. Car is in storage in Gardena CA….

$5900

The 528i was a European market model; it was originally equipped with the M30B28 motor, a version of the big-six that was for Europe-only. This car was imported after manufacture and federalized to meet US emissions standards after the fact. This one is a bit special though, as someone went to the trouble of swapping the 2.8L motor with the 207 HP M30B35 3.5L engine from a later-model 735. That’s the same motor I have in my 735i!). The 735i gets around pretty well with that engine in it; put it in a car that weighs about 1,500 lbs. less, and it would be amazing.

And then there’s the whole Euro look… The Euro bumpers look so much better than the 5 mph diving boards you find on the US-spec cars, and the headlights really dress up the front end. A lot of people convert their US cars to have the Euro bumpers & lights, but I doubt I’ll ever fall into a set that could be used on my 528e without paying through the nose. A lot of the hard stuff is already done on this car!

It does need a little help in a few departments; the paint on the hood & roof looks like it’s seen too much of the California sun (Rustoleum anyone?), and the driver’s seat shows the same wear pattern that so many sport seats display, so it could use some new upholstery. But re-doing cloth seats would be a fraction of the cost of leather! The shifter linkage needs replacing, but since I’ve already been down that road, that should be no problem. Or so I’d tell myself up until crawling underneath the thing to actually do the deed.

And it’s only $5,900 and 1,600 through-the-desert miles away. I wonder how well the A/C works…

It’s A Bad Windows Day

Filed under: Mac Stuff — dave @ 4:28 pm 2010/05/03

We’ve all heard of a Bad Hair Day™… Well today is A Bad Windows Day™.

So far today, among the 35 Windows XP desktops, eight servers and a dozen or so Macs, I’ve had two virus infections, three BSOD’s, and have had to chase down at least fifteen other miscellaneous issues with the Windows desktops. It’s Monday, without a doubt, and I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail all. day. long.

The funny — but altogether unsurprising — thing is that I haven’t set foot in the Graphics department (where all the Macs are located) since last Thursday, and that was only to get the page count from the printer they use. Macs make up about 25% of the computers here, but there is no doubt that I spend about 99% of my time on the Windows machines. I guess one could make the case that the Windows machines keep me employed, but for crying out loud… There has got to be a better way.

A Handy Mic Stand

Filed under: Gadgets,Geek — dave @ 9:08 pm 2010/05/02

If I ever become a death metal rock star (yeah, that’s me all over!) this stand will accompany me in every concert. So awesome.

hand_mic_stand

Interesting back story on the stand in the Wired article.

BMWotD — Parting Out Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Filed under: BMW Of The Day,Cars! — dave @ 12:33 am 2010/05/01

I downloaded the latest Nordstrom’s vehicle list last night, and for once there was a new addition to the BMW section…

1991 BMW 735i, RED, 4DR, 3.5L, AT4, BAD MOTOR

Cool — another e32! My first thought was about whether there were any parts I could grab from it. The “BAD MOTOR” part told me that it wasn’t wrecked and hood might be a possibility. But the “BAD MOTOR” part also told me it was probably a Cash For Clunkers victim, and made me wonder if it was the same poor unfortunate I had seen at Graham Automotive last summer… I decided I’d head over to check it out the first chance I had.

Well, this afternoon’s weather was better than was forecast, so I went. And sure enough, that was the very same car. A little rougher around the edges, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same car.

c4c_735i_1
c4c_735i_2
c4c_735i_3

The car has only been on the yard for a couple of days, and hasn’t even been moved into one of the lanes yet, but it’s already been picked over pretty heavily. The passenger door was gone, two of the door panels had been taken off, who knows what parts had been scavenged, lots of stuff gone from under the hood, tool kit emptied, dents & scratches all over… And of course the engine is toast, as is anything in the engine that would’ve been touched by the sodium silicate. Life in the yard is hard, especially for a Clunkers victim.

There were a couple of parts that I needed from under the car, but couldn’t get because it was still sitting on its wheels. I’ll have to come back for them. I did manage to get a coolant level sensor — mine has been reporting a low coolant level ever since replacing the coolant expansion tank two weeks ago — and a new glovebox — mine is missing a couple of pieces and doesn’t like to close without a fight — and a lower dash kick panel to replace the slightly ratty one in mine. I was surprised to find that the driver’s side floor mat was in decent shape, and it matched the color of the mats in my car, so I grabbed that as well. There were a couple of other guys grabbing parts off of it too. They didn’t care that it was a BMW at all; they were after speakers & stereo gear. I felt like chasing them off, but I guess it’s not my car…

While finding a car like that in the self-serve salvage yard, and being able to scavenge some parts from it is nice, knowing what that car looked like before and seeing what it’s become kinda breaks my heart a little. The car was incredibly well preserved; all of the interior bits were in good shape, and there was no rust on the car. If it weren’t for that stupid Cash For Clunkers program, that car would still be on the road. What a shame.