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Tucson Cars & Coffee April/May 2013
avatar It had been a few years since I last attended Cars & Coffee. Lots of cool cars. Some highlights from the last two months include the Lamborghini Gallardo 550-2, Ferrari 275 GTB, Ferrari Daytona, Ferrari 458, Audi R8 V10, Aston Martin DB9, Mercedes SLS AMG, Plymouth Prowler, and many classic cars as well. As usual, there were too many Corvettes to count.

My new car, the Subaru BRZ, managed to garner a small amount of attention. Pictures can be found here (April) and here (May).

swaq›   May 16th, 2013

Tucson Cars & Coffee April/July 2010
avatar I got lazy and didn't make a post for when I attended the April Cars & Coffee meet, so this will have to combine the two. The April meet had a good showing of Ferraris as well as some imports. There was also a new Camaro. Pictures from the April meet can be found here.

The July meet was yesterday, starting bright and early at 7 am. It was a pretty good turnout with 30+ cars. Some of the highlights included a Lamborghini Gallardo, Maserati Ghibli convertible, and an old Cadillac Fleetwood. Also present was a Viper GTS, 2011 Shelby GT500, and a fleet of Corvettes. Pictures from the July meet can be found here.

swaq›   July 11th, 2010

Forza 3
avatar My wife got me Forza 3 for Christmas. I've really been enjoying it. It's basically everything Forza 2 was but better. The graphics are stunning and the physics are top notch as before. Before I played Forza 2 I was a big Gran Turismo fan. Now with Gran Turismo 5 delayed again and since I've already invested in a wheel for the Xbox 360 I don't see myself going back.

One of my favorite things to do in Forza is hot laps to see how far I can push the limits of a car. Typically I'm happy if I can get into the top 1000 ranked times on the leaderboards, but over the last few days I've really surprised myself. I managed to get a top 50 time on one track (Benchmark Ring E) for both the clockwise and counterclockwise directions. After a little tweaking I was able to improve that to 5th place for counterclockwise and 2nd place for clockwise! It help that it is a really short track, since I could do a lot of laps, but I was still really surprised that I could pull that off. No doubt I'll be knocked down several places over the next few months.

swaq›   January 23rd, 2010

Tucson Cars & Coffee January 2010
avatar The first Tucson Cars & Coffee of 2010. This month we combined with the east-side Cars & Coffee group and the turnout was quite good. Some highlights of cars that hadn't attended before include an Aston Martin Vanquish, Ford GT, Ferrari 328, Lotus Elise, and more. There was quite an assortment of Supras, Subarus, Corvettes, Mustangs, and hot rods as well. As always, I took pictures, which can be found here. I wish I had taken more of the Vanquish, as it was a beautiful car. I didn't realize until I had pulled the pictures off my camera that I hadn't got a decent front shot of it.

swaq›   January 9th, 2010

Tucson Cars & Coffee December
avatar I attended the Tucson Cars & Coffee again this month. There was a pretty good turnout. An Audi R8, Ferraris (400i, F355, F430), Porsches (911s, Boxster), Corvette Z06, Superformance Cobra, and more showed up. There was a Nissan 370Z too, but I'm not sure if it was there for the meet. A Lamborghini Gallardo drove by on Skyline, but didn't seem to notice our group. Pictures can be found here.

swaq›   December 14th, 2009

Tucson Cars & Coffee
avatar Back in September I attended the Tucson Cars & Coffee meet. I had meant to upload pictures sooner, but just hadn't been able to get around to it. The pictures can be viewed here. Not too much else to report for now.

swaq›   November 15th, 2009

New Year 2009
avatar Well I have survived another year. Over the last year I married, moved twice, and got a job. Hopefully this year will be less crazy.

I spent Christmas in North Carolina with my wife's family. It is quite different than both Oregon and Arizona. The roads seemed needlessly bumpy in the areas I visited.

One of the biggest surprises of the trip was spotting a 2010 Ford Mustang. I'm not a fan of Mustangs, but it's cool to see a new one before they hit production. It was parked outside of an Office Depot and had GPS and a radar detector on the dashboard. I have uploaded a few pictures from a cell phone camera.

If you are ever in the Charlotte area I highly recommend stopping by BTs Burger Joint. We ate there a couple times and I was very impressed. I like being able to choose exactly what goes on my burger. The only location currently is the one in Charlotte.

Fortunately I was able to fill blueprint orders while away from home by connecting to the new Linux server I built. I am quite happy to be going into this new year without any lingering orders.

swaq›   January 1st, 2009

Distinct Lack of Snow
avatar This is my first December in Tucson and not surprisingly there is no snow. It rained quite a bit today though, which was enough to cause at least one accident that I saw. There were probably others too since the last time it rained there were four accidents before 7 am. Tucson drivers aren't exactly stellar... I'd hate to see what would happen in ice or snow.

And speaking of snow, back home in Northwest there has been quite a bit. So much so that the Portland International Airport had to be shut down temporarily. My brother-in-law was able to make it out before it closed, but I know of a family that had to drive down to an airport in California. Though I like snow, I'm quite happy to be in Arizona right now.

Due to Christmas plans, I will be away from my main computer from December 24th through January 2nd. I may still be able to check my e-mail periodically, but don't expect an immediate response. If you order blueprints there is a chance that I will not be able to send them until after January 2nd.

swaq›   December 23rd, 2008

Detroit Automakers
avatar In general I don't care too much about American cars. I've driven a handful but there's very little that I find inspiring. I suppose the Dodge Viper is interesting, and I actually like the Pontiac Solstice, but for the most part I dislike American cars.

The reason I bring this up is because the big three automakers are not doing so well in this economy. There are even rumors that GM might be purchased by Chinese. While it is hard to do anything about a lack of demand, it is their own fault that they are now facing possible bankruptcy.

I'm definitely opposed to bailing out the American auto industry. It would be much better, in my opinion, if they were allowed to die and new American companies were started with better management and more vision. Better engineering wouldn't hurt either.

On the blueprint front I have more or less caught up on scanning again. I now have a very large portion of my collection on my hard drive, which should greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to send out orders.

We've been in our new house for several months and I'm only now starting to feel a bit settled. There are still a good number of boxes stashed away in closets that I should sort through at some point, but at least there isn't stuff all over the floors and garage. I don't miss apartment dwelling at all.

swaq›   December 5th, 2008

Moving In
avatar On Friday my wife camped out at our house to wait on appliances and such. The refrigerator and couch arrived just fine. However, the washer and dryer were damaged during shipping and the internet set up was pushed back to Tuesday. Since we had told our previous ISP that we were canceling effective Friday we were without internet this weekend.

On Saturday we officially moved into our house. It is so nice to finally have a garage and a less than cramped living space. Not having neighbors across all adjacent walls helps too. Our apartment had a smoke smell to it from a previous tenant which is now unfortunately slightly present in our clothes. I guess we'll have to wash everything.

There is so much unpacking and organizing still left to do. Our computers are currently not hooked up so it will be a while until I can get back to blueprint scanning.

As a side note, I highly recommend avoiding U-Haul. The truck we rented was a piece of junk. It had over 209,000 miles and I kept thinking it was just going to fall apart or the brakes would go out or something. Also, U-Haul uses deceptive measurements in their advertising. We reserved a fourteen-foot truck online but the one we received was only eleven feet in the main bed. The fourteen foot number came from the little attic space above the cab. Because of this we had to make two trips. U-Haul charges by the mile in addition to the base fee, so this plus gas added a significant amount to our final cost.

Over the last week or so I have had to jump start my car three times. The first time was because I hadn't driven it in too long. I feel bad for neglecting it, but with the overheating problems I've been experiencing I didn't trust it on the forty minute commute home in the Arizona summer afternoon. Now that we live much closer to my work I think it will be safe, though I still need to fix the problem. The second time it had to be jump started was because I left the fan override switch on, and the third was my wife accidentally not shutting the door all the way.

swaq›   August 11th, 2008

House
avatar My wife and I are buying a house. The closing date is within a couple weeks. We are very excited, but it also means we will be very busy over the next month or so with packing, moving, and then unpacking.

Recently I've been having a bit of trouble with my e-mail. It appears that I have not been receiving some e-mails. This could be related to the new spam filter my e-mail provider installed, so I filed a trouble ticket. If you have sent me an e-mail and I have not responded it might be because I have not received it.

swaq›   July 12th, 2008

Spam
avatar Unfortunately it appears that some spam company has been sending spam spoofed to look like it came from my e-mail address. I just got about 50+ "undeliverable" error messages to e-mails I never sent. There is no way that I know of to prevent this because it is trivial to change the headers of an e-mail to make it look like it came from anyone. I apologize to anyone who received spam from an e-mail address at this domain.

In addition I have been receiving a lot of spam myself at these addresses, and I think it might be related to the PayPal order system for the blueprints. In response I will probably be reworking the system to hide my e-mail address. I will also be changing addresses as well.

During my revamp of the order system I may update the pricing.

swaq›   April 18th, 2008

Egg
avatar Today was not a good day. As I was leaving for work this morning I discovered egg on my car. I can't imagine any reason why someone would egg my car, I've barely been in Tucson for a month. Then at work today I was tasked with putting address stickers on envelopes instead of something related to my job, since they didn't have anything better for me to work on.

On the way home from work I went to a car wash to remove the egg. I would just wash it at home, but I live in an apartment and we don't have a hose available. On the way to the car wash I was preoccupied with looking at address numbers because I was on a section of road I hadn't been on before. So preoccupied that I didn't notice a light turn red in front of me. I flew into the intersection just as cross traffic had started moving. Fortunately my brakes were strong enough and I was able to swerve to miss the traffic and keep my egg problem from becoming a totaled car problem.

I want to get a house with a garage as soon as possible. Then I won't have to worry about my car getting egged (at least at home...) and I'll have a place and facilities to wash and work on my car. Oh yeah, and there won't be upstairs neighbors doing laundry or vacuuming while I'm trying to sleep.

swaq›   February 21st, 2008

Real Job
avatar Since my last update I have gotten married, moved to Arizona, and got a job. We're still trying to get organized and unpacked, but I hope to be able to resume blueprint scanning soon. My new job starts in a couple days so that will limit my free time. Sorry to those of you who have had to wait so long.

In other news, my wife and I went to an exotic car meet today. My Supra doesn't really count as an exotic so I just parked it off to the side. The owners at the meet were quite friendly and a couple of them even let my wife and I sit in their cars. Those cars being a Ferrari 365 GT and a Ferrari 348. I took a few pictures from the meet which can be found here.

After the car meet we stopped by Shane Co to get my ring resized as it has fallen off several times already. Then we also stopped by Scottsdale Lotus where we admired a handful of Lotus Exige S's as well as several Ferraris and other exotics.

I could probably go on and on about the cars we saw, but I've been up for almost 19 hours now and need some sleep. Also, if anyone actually reads this I don't want to bore them too much. Maybe at a later date.

swaq›   February 3rd, 2008

Blueprint Break
avatar I am done with college! My last final ever was on Tuesday. Assuming I passed all my classes I am now a graduate.

I still have a lot to do. There's Christmas gifts to buy, my wedding to plan, and lots of packing. In the meantime, I'm not going to have any time to scan blueprints. All of the current orders have been scanned, so don't worry if you already have an order in. However, I will not be able to process new orders in a timely manner. You can still go ahead and order, just be aware there may be over a month wait before I scan anything.

About 71% of the blueprints on the order list have already been scanned. If you manage to order one of those I will be able to send it out much sooner. Feel free to send me an e-mail to ask if ones have already been scanned.

swaq›   December 7th, 2007

Spiders
avatar So I've been dreaming a lot about what car(s) I might get in the future. There are so many great cars out there and I assume my funds will be limited, so there are difficult decisions to make. How can I choose between an Elise, NSX, 348 Spider, Supra, 911, etc.? These are all very different cars. It would be nice to have one of each for their unique characteristics. I've loved Supras as long as I've loved cars, so that is pretty much a must on my list. The Elise is my fiancee's favorite, and is a great handling car. The NSX is just a good all-around semi-exotic car, but it doesn't have much soul to me. The 911 is an icon, but I could do without one.

The car I keep turning to for my exotic car desires is the Ferrari 348 Spider. It's traditional. Convertible, Ferrari, pop-up headlights, beautiful exhaust note. The design is timeless. While the performance is good, it's not why I would buy the car. It would be easy to build a faster, better handling car with the same amount of money, but it's how much fun it is to drive that really matters.

A lot of factors go into what makes a car fun for me. How it sounds is near the top of the list. Very little compares to how a Ferrari engine sounds at 8,000 rpm. If a car has the weedwacker sound of a Civic it's not going to tug at my emotions favorably. I also like the exhaust note of the 911, but it's just not at the same level as the Ferrari. The NSX has a comparatively boring exhaust note, from what I've heard. A Countach has a mean exhaust note which definitely rivals the Ferrari.

Open air driving experience is a must. At the very least my dream exotic has to have a targa top. In addition to the hardtop models, the 348 offers a targa and convertible options. For this car I prefer the convertible. It has one of the nicest designed soft tops that I've seen on any convertible. In addition, I plan on already owning a few targa cars (Supra and Elise), so it would be best to have something different. An open top has the added advantage of being able to hear the exhaust note better, enhancing the sound experience.

Call me superficial, but another important category for me is looks. If a car isn't visually appealing I don't want it in my garage, let alone spend $50,000 or more on it. All the cars that I would consider are attractive cars. I don't care how fast the Bugatti Veyron is, I could never buy something that ugly. Same goes for the new Nissan GT-R. The Ferrari 348 has a design that looks good from every angle and will never get old.

Performance is an obvious category, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my list. A car needs to be fast enough to be fun. It doesn't have to have supercar performance to be enjoyable. I don't plan on racing this car or bragging about how fast it is. It also has to handle well and feel nimble. That pretty much rules out all GT cars which generally weigh 3500 lb or more. It also has to feel pure. No in-dash DVD player or other gimmicks. Sure, it has to have some comfort features to keep from feeling like a stripped down race car. For instance, comfortable seats, CD player, and air conditioning is important. But in general less is more.

Of course, there are downsides to a Ferrari, like maintenance costs, but it seems to fit my dream criteria so well. Maybe I'll change my mind once I actually drive one or by the time I'm actually in the market there will be a different car that captures my imagination. If five to ten years from now I still want this car then that would be a very good sign that it will continue to be appealing to me even further in the future.

swaq›   November 5th, 2007

Bye to Keiran
avatar I sold my Nissan pickup today. Because I'm moving to Arizona in January I had to get rid of it. It was a good truck for me, as I really only needed it to move my couch between apartments. I put less than 6000 miles on it during the year I owned it.

This is my last term of school. I really can't wait for it to be over. It's not that I dislike school, but more that after over seventeen years it starts to get a bit old. After that long the remaining six weeks should seem like nothing, yet it still feels like I'll never be done. I'm just taking it one day at a time, trying to survive. However, that has its downsides as well, as it tends to cause me to procrastinate. If I'm not thinking about homework that is due in a week, or even a few days, from now I put it off. This last week in particular has been much more crunched for time than I would have liked. There were two nights where I got three and five hours of sleep respectively. That's really not enough for me to function properly...

Blueprints have been keeping up fairly well. Recently I was completely caught up on my orders, but then I got an order on Wednesday and another on Friday. I should have some free time again to work on those after my midterms are over this week.

For my birthday my brother bought me Forza 2. It's been a really fun game so far. I love being able to race real people online. Unfortunately I think someone borrowed it without permission and now it's all scratched up and there are a few cracks in the disc near the center. It still plays, but there have been a couple times now during loading that the console couldn't keep reading the disc and had to give up. Bleh.

swaq›   October 28th, 2007

Mid Valley Mini Meet
avatar What was supposed to be a 10-20 car meet ended up being only 5 cars, including mine. Two Elises from EliseTalk showed up as well as a Supra and his friend with a 300ZX. It was still fun though and the weather was great. After meeting up at Reser Stadium we went for a spirited drive and then stopped for pizza.

I posted some pictures from the meet for your enjoyment.

swaq›   May 7th, 2007

Centralia Meet
avatar I was able to make it to the Centralia, Washington meet last weekend. It was a lot of fun. About 40 Supras showed up as well as a handful of other cars. Meeting other Supra owners is great. Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures (191 to be exact) and uploaded most of them for everyone's viewing pleasure. This is also a test for a commenting system I coded up, let me know if you find any bugs.

Centralia Meet Pictures

swaq›   April 27th, 2007

Still Alive
avatar I've been really busy lately with moving and starting work that I haven't had much time for my website. Currently I don't even have internet at my apartment. Also, I've just been a bit lazy...

In somewhat recent news, I bought a new (for me) car. It's a 1991 Toyota Supra Turbo, and I had it shipped all the way from Florida. I plan to update the site soon with more information on that.

swaq›   April 3rd, 2007




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It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end. -- Ursula Le Guin

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