Happy 4th of July

 

american flag in the wind

“Don’t do that with that firecracker, You’ll put your eye out!”

I miss firecrackers.

I liked that there was a bit of sanctioned “danger” and I liked knowing that the parents, and grandparents, and aunts & uncles were watching us blow things up, even if they appeared to not be. I knew as a child, in the back of my mind that they had my back and would intervene if us kids were about to do something really stupid.

As a child I loved this time of year. Long warm sunny days, swimming, camping, fishing, the smell of fresh cut grass, and complete freedom to explore my world, (within the neighborhood). School was still forever in the future (2 months).

Looking back I think it’s weird that my memory of that time in my life is still so bright and vibrant, but the pictures from that time are yellowed with age. At once, I’m that same child, and a wiser adult. Sometimes the juxtaposition is jarring. I guess that’s part & parcel of having the years adding up.

I miss the simplicity. I miss going as a family to the local school, or baseball field and watching the community fireworks show. We could see ours up close, but communities all across the city were putting on shows too and the night sky was lit with sparkling colors. You could lay on the grass long after your community show was over, and watch the surrounding communities shows.

Even up to 15 years ago, I could sit on my deck, and watch 4 local communities different fireworks shows. Those shows aren’t happening anymore. The fire danger is too high, but I get the impression that people now are happier sitting in their houses watching fireworks on their big screens; with clever narrative provided by a non threatening, friendly faced news moderator.

I’d like to go back to the other way.

Kids running around, sparklers sparkling, and fun glow in the dark toys. Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Fries and everything the Doctor says is bad for you. What’s one night gonna do? Live a little, splurge, have a good time and celebrate the independence of our nation.

Well that’s my suggestion anyway, and as soon as I get out of work… I’m going to go looking for trouble.

I hope your 4th is safe fun and that you indulge in independence.

Day 3 with the new 3

This is a BMW, unlike the rental cars I was driving, I can actually park properly without backing up and adjusting.

I thought that perhaps I was just unused to those other cars. But after weeks of driving the rentals, I was still having trouble parking them. (I had 2 different rental cars; One American and one Japanese.) It was like the steering geometry was all wrong. I’d get the nose more or less where I was aiming, but the butt of the dang car wouldn’t ever be where it was supposed to be.

The weird thing is that even though the 3 is bigger and longer, than my 1 was, it maneuvers exactly the same way. So I don’t look quite so OLD trying to park, and thank goodness I’m not parking by “Braille”.

I’m really liking the vehicle, the gas milage is excellent. The power is good and it’s a comfortable ride. I do miss the seats of the 1, they were adjustable 6 ways from Sunday. The seats in this car… Not so much, comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as the 1.

I’m at work, and I’m crabby. I think it’s because I’d rather be out doing something aside from sitting here in the office. I’ve been feeling very tired and achy the past week or so, I’ve been attributing this to stresses in my life. I’m starting to wonder if the reality is that I’ve had some kind of bug. 

Which begs the question, do I take the car for a drive along the coast? Or do I go home to the apt and sleep? I’m thinking sleep is the direction I’m going. Maybe a nice coastal cruise later on in the week. Given that it’s a holiday weekend, traffic is likely to be throughly nightmarish.

Yep, home it is, snooze away the afternoon.

After all what’s the fun of driving if you could walk to your destination faster? A long coastal drive will wait until another day.

The transmission seems to be “Learning” my driving style. That means that I’m noticing fewer “Strange Shifts” and that power is there right when I need it. I’m amazed at how smart this machine is. Don’t get me wrong, the 1 was plenty smart, but this one is a genius in comparison.

Every time I drive it, I notice something else. Mostly that’s a good thing. New features, little attentive features that make life nice. So this car has 

Sooooo…..

The insurance company totaled my beloved 135, may it’s parts live on for other lovers of 135s.

I will miss my 135. Every day I drove it, that car never failed to put a smile on my face. It was a bad assed wonderful peice of German engineering and was actually imported directly from Leipzig.

My complements and thanks to BMW and the people that built it.

The service people at BMW Riverside were all saddened to learn of the death of my 135. It was rare for a number of reasons.

It was a manual 6 speed, the first production year of the model, and it had an “M” sport package although it was not a full on “M”. Those didn’t come until later years. My 1 motored through a 140,000 miles with the original clutch and it had only been through one set of brakes. It (and I) weathered the fuel pump recall (3 fuel pumps) and the turbo recall (only one set) and all of those issues were handled by BMW with professionalism and alacrity. I was never without a car because BMW stood behind their product. I as a customer, always felt that I was important even though my car wasn’t from their top expense tier.

I’d entertained keeping my 1 until it was 20, After all it was almost halfway there and was still kicking strong. That all changed 6/4/2017 when a careless driver ran a red light at a significant speed.

I had hope that the damage was mostly confined to just the more cosmetic bits, and that repairs would be possible. But after careful consideration and talking with professionals who know their stuff, the general consensus was that the superficial problems would be easy, but the cooling systems for the turbos, the A/C, the radiator, and all of the sensors and intakes would probably rapidly increase the repair to beyond the value of the car.

So the pragmatic part of my brain kicked in and forced me to let it go. I was never going to get the value that the car had to me out of either the other insurance company or the other driver.  It was time to move on.

If I’d had unlimited cash, I’d have replaced my 1 with an M240 custom built with all the touches that I loved in my 1, capitalizing on the technological improvements that 9 years provide. I’d also have paid for the 1 to be repaired. With unlimited funds I’d have sent it back to Leipzig and asked the builders to make the repairs.

But… I couldn’t pony up $60,000 to satisfy my car lust. I’m not wealthy. I know this is contrary to the profiling so common today that says White people are all rich, greedy, actively seeking to destroy the planet, and enslave everyone.

I’m scraping by, and looking at ever decreasing options. (This is White privilege?)

Which led me to BMW of Riverside and the CPO Program. As I was looking at other vehicles I noticed that for the prices of those other cars, I could get a very nice CPO BMW with a BMW warranty.

The folks at Riverside have treated me very very well over the years. It only seems right that I should purchase my replacement vehicle from them.

So allow me to introduce you to my new ride. This is a 2014 328i, it’s loaded with updated technologies. The engine is a 240 HP Turbocharged engine. The 135i was 300HP with Twin Turbos.

This is an automatic transmission and a very smooth ride. In fact it’s easy to forget that there aren’t 300 ponies rumbling under the hood.

This beast is very peppy and different enough from the 135 that I will be less likely to try to make comparisons between the two. This is a very different machine, and that’s a good thing.

I like the rear backup camera, and the parking sensors. I’ll miss the convertible, and this one doesn’t have a moonroof. 4 doors is something new for me. Don’t know if I’ll like that, but I don’t dislike it, the rear doors don’t totally destroy the lines of the car the way they do for some vehicles.

I like the lines, and sitting in it, the car felt right. It was like I was home. Starting the beastie brought all the computers online and the systems made sense. They were familiar and welcoming.

I’d been trying to adapt to the Mazda and Chevrolet technology packages. I completely failed. Nothing made sense and either I’m too German or the BMW systems are simply that superior.

Tonight, my new ride is secure in the garage, (After a brief programming issue) the car can actually open the door to it’s room. My iPhone is communicating with the car and I’ve already made a couple of phone calls on the road. My music plays right from my phone instead of needing to have the iPod installed. I still have the iPod and the cable from the 135i to integrate the iPod anyway.

I’m going to be learning more about the beastie over the next few weeks. One thing I think I’m going to like is the iPhone application that lets me lock & unlock the car from my phone. I can also tell the car to turn on the ventilation remotely so like my 135i I can ask the car to start venting at a specific time, (15 minutes before I leave work) the nice thing is that now I can program it from the phone, not a big deal, but if my schedule changes, I can update the settings without having to walk out to the car to change it.

One of the other nice touches is that the owner’s manual is built into the car. Yep, it’s all online and very well indexed.

I think the beastie and I are going to be happy together. Someday, maybe I’ll get that “M” whatever but for now… this guy is going to be just fine.

That is IF some moron doesn’t hit me!

I Hate Employee Surveys

They’re always biased to having you answer their questions as if everything is wonderful.

That makes me mad because; why ask the questions if you’re trying to skew the answers so that you get the results you want? It’s the same as polls in politics or telephone surveys.

But this survey… 

Well it was very annoying. SO I decided to answer the questions brutally honestly. OK, maybe I was a bit more brutal than was necessary.  

I was, absolutely truthful. The company management is rife with micro-managers, and there is absolutely nothing that will keep me there any longer than is absolutely necessary.

I work for a Micro-Manager on steroids. I’m not unbiased about answering questions about the management.

Hopefully my biased answers will balance out their biased questions.

Now I know

For years I used to wonder why the traffic and driving in Los Angeles was so bad.

I know the answer now.

It’s San Diego drivers visiting Los Angeles!

I’ve come to the conclusion that San Diego is actually a training ground for Pace Car drivers.

Yes You read that right. All Pace Car drivers must come from San Diego. This is the only place I’ve ever been where consistently drivers accelerate or decelerate to maintain a rolling road block.

At first I thought the people were playing games but it’s not gamesmanship, it’s the way these people normally drive!

I’ve actually sat in an honest to god traffic jam here, that was caused by nothing more than two 18-wheelers, one gardening truck, an RV and a couple idiots in cars.

10 miles of open road ahead, and bumper to freaking bumper traffic stuck behind them. And YET, not one of these morons would accelerate change lanes and let other people by.

This place appears to be the training ground for NASCAR pace drivers.  This wouldn’t be that big an issue except that there isn’t a need for this many pace-cars.

But then there’s the demolition driver wannabes. These are the folks that exit a freeway, make a right and cross 4 lanes of traffic to sit in the center lane instead of continuing their insane driving where at least they’d get the hell out of the way. But noooo, these folks after all the craziness are driving at 25 miles pers hour when the rest of traffic is doing 55.

This also explains why most cars in San Diego have dents and dings.

I think a great business investment in this area would be a body shop. But given all the regulations on paint, and prepping materials for doing bodywork, you’d probably go broke paying off the inspectors.

First day back to work.

Pain killers at 1/2 dose get me through the day.

Gonna try sleeping without the muscle relaxers tonight. But got the heating pad against my lower back right now.

Feeling pretty damn old… I used to be able to shake stuff like this off with no effort. As someone I knew once said… Time is the predator that stalks us all.

Been looking at replacement vehicles, just in case Wolf can’t be repaired.

That’s gonna be pricey, BMW or not. But I’m trying to keep a positive attitude that something will work out.

Maybe a 4 door and doing Uber. I’d have to get my work schedule changed but it might be a way to bridge the gap. Alternatively, maybe it’s time for a life of crime!!!!

So that’s the report for today.