The future Honda/Acura NSX?

22 05 2008

Arguably the world’s first and only true exotic supercar from the land of the rising sun, Honda’s NS-X (Acura in the USA) was a pillar of marvel for automobile designers with it’s light-weight aluminum frame molded into a sleek aerodynamic design. The low-slung mid-engined beauty ran on it’s rear wheels and could out-handle it’s European counterparts from marques like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche.

Unfortunately for Honda, manufacturers and fans of the established exotic sports cars refused to accept the NSX because of the rather anemic V-6 powerplant and the fact that it wasn’t from Europe. Regardless, there is no doubt that it’s design was years ahead of it’s competition back when it first came out in 1990 and Honda is aiming to try and make another home-run.

Honda’s HSC (probably stood for Honda Sports Concept) made the fans somewhat happy but the boring and derivative design wasn’t NSX which is why it was replaced by the equally boring “Advanced Sports Car” concept. This time, it’s going to be front-engined on a rear-wheel drive setup which could alter the balance the previous iteration had achieved.

I must say it looks ugly as f*ck and a lot of enthusiasts expressed similar thoughts when this car debuted last year at NAIAS (North American International Auto Show). Almost Chevy Corvette like and somewhat bland to the eye so I used some quick Photochop to make it once again a mid-engined supercar that it should be.

Didn’t know how to fix the headlights but that’s just my interpretation of the direction Honda should be taking. I know Honda went back to the drawing board after a huge negative reception for the ASC design but would love it if they could take cues from what I have above or at the least, bring back a mid-engined supercar.


St Paul Snow Plowing and Ticketing Rules are a SCAM

11 01 2008

First of all, on Wednesday night around 9:30pm, Kaci’s car got ticketed due to the “Snow Emergency” that was in effect while she had her Tiburon parked out on the streets. We’d just gone out to eat at around 8:30 and got back at 9:45 to see a plastic packet under the wipers. $45 because the side of the street she was on was a “Night Plowing Route” but we didn’t know it was cuz of the lack of signs. So well she got her ticket and the Night Plow starts at 9PM and goes on till 6AM but the streets weren’t plowed at all. Below is a picture of the street after she moved her car to a WEST-EAST street (Buford Avenue) where I parked my Civic.

If we thought that was injustice, imagine my surprise when I went to move my car at 9:30am the next morning to the spot in front of the house. Kaci had left late in the evening so her car was gone which is fine but my car was missing as well. One side of the street was plowed while the side where my car was parked wasn’t. WTH is going on here? I thought only the streets with the “Night Plow Route” signs were plowed. Buford Avenue (East-to-West street) didn’t have any signs.

As you can see in the above pic, there are treads of my car and it looks like it was dragged since I had my hand-brake on which effectively locks the rear wheels on a front-wheel drive car. Now I couldn’t be sure if my car was towed by the City of St. Paul/Minneapolis or if it was stolen. So logged onto the internet and found this website relating to “snow emergency” procedures. Clicking around told me that Day Plow Routes had no signs and would be in effect from 8am to 5pm. That is stupid. If there are no signs, they should at least have the courtesy of leaving my car behind or the $45 ticket fine on the windshield.

Now like I said, I didn’t know if my car was stolen or if the city had towed it away since my side of the street hadn’t been plowed. Somehow, I found this # 651-603-6895 (for St Paul towing) to dial which was supposed to take me to the office involved with the towing. Dialed it a million times to see if they had my car in the impound lot but nobody’s picking up the phone. A whole hour of dialing and not a single person picking the line and there’s no voice-mail feature either. How annoying. There was another # on the website 651-603-8695 which would lead me to a “This number is no longer in service” message.

Finally fed-up, I logged onto the official City of St Paul main website and called their Customer Service # 6510603-8989. A lady answered the phone and diverted me to this # 651-487-4700 saying that was the direct line. I told her that the City of St Paul needed to hire someone part-time to answer the phone because it’s driving a lot of people to frustration to which she told me to apply online. Then she thanked me and told me she was transferring me to the # she advised me because she couldn’t help any further on the matter. Transferred but no pick-up. Called up the # 651-487-4700 but no answer to the line again. Called the 603-6895 number multiple times and switching between the 487-4700 line every few attempts.

Finally, a rather rude lady answered the phone. I asked to confirm if my car was in the lot and she said she didn’t have that ability. Then I asked her what was required to get back my car if in the event that it wasn’t stolen and the city had indeed impounded it. Her requirements included a valid driver’s license, valid auto insurance, and the vehicle title. She said there would be a $45 charge for the ticket, $191 for towing, and $5 for using a check or debit card if payment wasn’t made in cash. The ticket was an automatic if your car got towed I guess. I told her that my insurance card had me printed as the owner and that was why I probably wouldn’t need my car title to which she responded saying that if I had recently sold my car, the insurance card would still say I was the owner. There was no way to verify if I was the owner.

Now I was calm and polite the whole time as I was talking to her while she was yapping angrily away at me as though I was the devil himself. I argued that my title was at home an hour and a half up north and I couldn’t possibly get there without my car. She told me that I could buy a duplicate title from the DMV which would set me back around $15 or $35. I asked her if I could get it for free since it’s only something that shows I’m the owner and she said I HAD TO BUY the duplicate title. So very unhelpful. I took down the address information for the nearest DMV in St Paul and the impound lot.

Then I then told her the same thing that I told the lady at the CSR line for the city – they needed a part-time person to pick up the phone on the other line to which she told me to look for jobs on the website if I was looking for a job. I told her there were no job postings for it so she should add it herself. She told me she would add it only if she was told to do it by her supervisors and if she were me, she would purchase the title from the DMV to get back the car. Before she hung up abruptly, she didn’t even have the professionalism to say this magical accepted phrase – “Have a great day!” What a bitch! I was now seriously pissed-off.

The girlfriend came to the rescue. Drove me to the DMV first to purchase my title. On the way, I called the good folks out at the DMV (651-292-9791) located above Sears in St Paul near the Capital building and a very pleasant speaking lady in sharp contrast to the person behind the line told me that I could have it printed for free as long as it’s just a document showing I was the owner. Got there and waited for 30 minutes. Called the line again and the same lady informed that since I was only there for a print-out, I could go to the far-right corner and pick it up. And I picked it up. Had her stamp it just to make it official. 😀 Hope she gets a raise.

We drove off to find a WellsFargo ATM and found one at a gas station. My stupid Gold debit card wasn’t working. Thankfully, Kaci’s WellsFargo card worked and I withdrew $200 and already had $50 in my wallet in cash so that was good. Off to the impound lot.

Then drove over to “1129 Cathlin St, St. Paul, MN” to pick up the car. Dang. A long line already outside the small building and the temperature was in the teens and light snow flakes making their way down. Everybody was cold and miserable. Good thing Nima was there to keep me company along with fleeting broken conversations of the grumbling nature. As we were waiting, the line kept getting longer and longer. Around 500 people in the compound as more and more tow-trucks came in with more cars hauled in. A news crew came over but the security people hustled them outside. They kept filming from outside the compound. Everybody and myself including appeared disgruntled. Bad day to be outside waiting to pay $240 and pick up our car. It’s almost like the line to go purchase a Nintendo Wii. After about nearly 2 hours outside, finally got inside the building. Another long line there with people waiting to pay their $240.

Get this now. Inside, a security officer was announcing saying that if no driver’s license, you needed a title to the car. If you did have a driver’s license with insurance, you won’t need the title. There were large signs also saying the same thing. That stupid rude lady on the phone either lied to me or doesn’t know what the frak she was talking about.

Finally, my turn after nearly 3 hours. Here’s the breakdown of the towing charges contrary to what the news incorrectly reported as $122 in total fines a few weeks before this incident.

1. Tow Charge: $123.07 (Average towing charges should range from $25-75. Those liars.)
2. Storage Charge: $0.00 (Thank God I went there on the first day)
3. Admin Charge: $55.00 (To pay all the grumpy employees.)
4. Sales Tax: $12.46 (WTF man. Sales Tax for paying your stupid fines?)
5. Service Charge: $0.00 (Now what the heck could this be? Doing an Oil Change?)
6. Total Charges: $190.53

Then they slapped the $45 ticket onto it pushing it up to $235.53 for towing my car. Around me, clerks were squabbling about pennies with some of the poorer people who had their cars towed. Very sad picture.

Below is a picture of my car after I brought it back. It looked so pretty and I was so glad to be able to see it again that I had to take a picture. So now here it is for all to see while at the same time, it’s increasing my desire to one day look into the eyes of all the people responsible for my horrible day and see where they’re at someday in the future when I’m making a 6-figure income. Here’s to hoping karma acts as a catalyst in making my dreams come true.

And all this happened the day before I was to leave Minnesota for Florida which added to the high levels of stress I was already experiencing due to Northwest Airlines not having a seat ready for me on all my flights to and from Orlando.

So if ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to call 651-266-PLOW or 651-266-7569 (for QWERTY keypad phone users) to find up to date info on snow emergencies and plowing routes.

If there is one thing I learned from this event, it is that the laws of this nation are out there to protect the interests of those in power. In my case, this poorly thought-out “snow emergency” rule is a constraint only to the poor and lower income citizens who can’t afford to own a garage or secure a private parking lot. So not only are the poor targeted by this snow-emergency law, the rules ensure that if the poor people who had their cars towed are unable to come up with $236 in cash (which should be easy right?), they have to wait outside for a considerable amount of time in the nail-biting cold, and still made to pay an additional $5 penalty for using a bank debit card or a check.

Yea, let’s put them in their place. Let them know that they’re the lower-class citizens and that they deserve to be punished. We should ensure they get stuck in that position by having them lose more money, so we will never have to worry about them making as much money as us. Cuz you know, it would sure suck to have an ordinary person driving a brand new Lexus or BMW and pulling up next to us at a traffic stop. Yea. Let’s strip them of any dignity left in them by taking all their money and humiliating them by making them stand outside in the cold. That should be enough to make them disillusioned enough to never make it big.

DoorPal might prevent door dings on your cars

9 12 2007

And only covers cars in garages that can hold 2 or more vehicles. What you need to do is hang this water-bed floatation like contraption from the ceiling between your cars. That way you can swing open your door as hard as you want and not damage the other car. Can’t wait to have a garage that can house more than 1 automobile for the moment. Maybe I’ll think about dropping $79.99 for this but man. That’s kinda excessive for what it is but then again, it’s supposed to withstand extreme temperatures so it could be worth the money. We’ll all have to wait and see if it’s as good as the dude claims it is using a shovel against his Honda/Acura NSX.

The funny thing is Mr DoorPal posted the below video after getting a lot of criticism from the internet army of commenters for his original product video on YouTube. Watch him take out his frustration on the “DoorPal” and the wall and an innocent tomato later. But just when you think he’s about to lose it all, the “DoorPal” (logo screen) saves him.

This product will not work if you own Lamborghinis or have scissor-style doors that go up instead of swing out.

GM vs Honda Ads

24 09 2007

GM and Honda have recently started to barrage the media waves with song-heavy commercials for their products. GM prepping with a cover of the classic BeatlesCome and Get It while the Honda Accord commercial rolled out a peppier Hold on Tight by Electric Light Orchestra.

GM’s commercial had the GMC Yukon, Chevy Cobalt, and Corvette propped on a revolving platform stand with Paul McCartney lyrics ringing out “If you want it here it is come and get it… But you better hurry cause it’s going fast…” and kinda brought on the whole oldies loving feeling towards their cars. Too bad Honda’s retro song selection in my opinion was better suited for these kinda 30 second spots.

So far, the upcoming new 2008 Honda Accord’s gotten an endorsement from NBC networks and is expected to feature in all of their new shows – Chuck, Life (some guy gets outta prison and starts life as a cop), Bionic Woman, Journeyman, and an older one – My Name Is Earl. What does GM have? Wait. They have the new Cadillac ads but no retro music.

Honda Accord 2-Door Coupe / 4-Door CNG (Compressed Natual Gas) Sedan / 4-Door Sedan

The videos are listed in the order of the title.

Edit (Sep 24): There were no Honda Accords in Chuck or Journeyman. They did show one Honda Accord commercial in between the 2 shows but saw far too many Nissan Rogue ads which figured into today’s first episode of the 2nd season of Heroes.

EDIT (Sep 25): Youtube removed the previous clips. They’re updated now.

EDIT (May 22): Youtube videos renewed.


24 09 2007

NBC has 3 new shows and 2 are airing today (September 24th – Monday)! Out here in Minnesota, we’ll be getting – Chuck at 7pm, Heroes (2nd Season) at 8pm, and Journeyman at 9. The final new tv show is Bionic Woman (26th – Wednesday @ 8pm) featuring a woman who gets into an accident right out in the beginning and ends up with bionic body parts. According to Google the internet, this is a remake. I could care less but they’re featuring the brand new Honda Accord and me thinks it’s the car the main chick’ll be driving when she gets into her life changing accident which makes this a must-see show.

Chuck’s about some Geek Squad supervisor getting a top secret government laptop to fix (by mistake) and ends up driving backwards down a flight of stairs in a debadged Toyota Yaris with a secret agent. Sounds like a great mantra for a good pilot.

Heroes is … You know what it is. This would be the 2nd season to remind us that the geeks are back in townnnn!

And Journeyman looks like it’s going to suck. Sorry but I’d like to see more shows tainted with humor over serious business in a bearish economy and the peeps who run this country. There’s enough serious stuff. Back in the booming ’90s, we jus had to much fun things to do and that coincided with the gloomy X-Files hit. So back to happy stuff guys!

EDIT: Sorry. Bionic Woman is on at 8PM and NOT 7PM as I have posted above.

Honda Civic Cruise Control problem solved!

12 09 2007

In my previous post dated 07/23/07, I talked about a problem getting my cruise control on my Honda Civic to work on the freeways. My only trick was to drive for 5-10 mebbe 15 minutes to get it to work. But that didn’t work all the time and was pissing me off. This time I figured it out. Before we go there, let’s get back to the initial problem.

The symptoms it showed were:

1. When the cruise button ON switch was depressed, the green light would come on.

2. Then when the SET CRUISE button on the steering wheel was pushed, nothing would happen.

While driving down to the cities the previous week to drop-off a friend to the Minneapolis (MSP) airport and talking to him, I realized something – my cruise had worked the second I pushed the 2 buttons. Then a nagging feeling hit me …

… My clutch! Ever since I had my clutch replaced, those mechanics didn’t bother to put in the right hydraulic pod and it doesn’t come all the way back up. Usually, I’d jus nudge it from below and it would pop-up all the way. Sometimes, it jus came up by itself but there’s that 1 inch of looseness in the clutch.

I tried it. I pushed down the clutch. My CRUISE disabled itself. WOOOT! With my clutch not all the way up, I hit the SET CRUISE. The cruise system didn’t take over. I nudged the clutch a bit and it went all the way up and then hit the SET key. SUCCESS!

And to think this whole time I was afraid it might’ve been an electrical issue. Had the “main relay” replaced and that didn’t fix it. Checked almost all my fuses under the dash and under the hood and no problems there either. So the answer was right there next to my left foot. Gosh!

Conclusion: If you drive a stick (or manual transmission) and have issues getting the cruise controls to work, try and see if your clutch goes all the way up.