Cranky Driver

Trying to Make the Driving World a Little Less Annoying

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Driving down Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass

I give myself one job when we go on vacation: driving the car. My wife handles the trivial things like: packing, lodging, food, sights, and kids. Of course, we only drive if our destination is in the same continent1.

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The Not So Green Man

Crossy Kids

My kids (10-, 6-year-olds) sometimes walk 1 km to school here in Germany, and it freaks me out. That’s because we Americans never let our kids out of an adult’s sight, and because I have no idea how far 1 km2 is. German kids here walk or ride their bikes and scooters to school, which must mean German parents think this is normal, or they need to be locked up.

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German Traffic Signs

Rechts vor Links

Germans must be anti-American. Germans do not celebrate the 4th of July, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or Thanksgiving. And while Germany has a baseball league, is the home of the ancestral hot dog, and allows a few Chevys, it has no apple pie (it does, however, have Apfelstrudel, Apfelstreusel, Apfelkuchen, Apfeltasche, and even McDonald’s original tongue-scalding hot apple pockets).

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Ravensburg License Plate

Are You TÜV Enough?

[Update 2016-06-25: accidentally deleted this post, and lost some info posting it back. Oops.]

It took a while, but I finally got my approval from TÜV (Technischer Überwachungsverein) for my 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. This is necessary to register my car in Germany. A car requires this approval every two years.

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Grand Canal by Rialto Bridge

The Streets of Venice

I consider myself a car-driving fool, so traveling to a city where cars are not used is a bit odd for me. But Venice is pretty unique, so I don’t mind coming here. It’s been sinking for centuries, so who knows how much longer it will be around, which is as good of an excuse as any to visit.

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2016 Salon international de l’automobile de Genève

2016 Geneva Auto Show

I’ve wanted to go to the Geneva International Motor Show for some time now. Being the professional procrastinator that I am, it took me 18 years to actually do it.

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All Is Well Again

The world certainly doesn’t seem well, but my little part of it got significantly better last night. I was finally able to drive my car in Germany. Yesterday, after weeks of trying, I got the person helping me to understand what I needed for insurance. So as soon as I got home, I gassed up the car.

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Well, Hallo, Deutschland

After months of stress (and weeks more of it to come), I’ve finally arrived in Germany for a two-year assignment. This is my third time living in Germany, and the first with children.

Living out of suitcases for weeks, sleeping on the floor of an empty apartment, getting sick because I seem to be always outside in the cold, dreary German winter, it’s going about as well I had expected. The kids, who are attending German public school, haven’t even mentioned “red rum” in days, which is a relief, considering the trauma we put them through of changing homes, schools, countries, and languages.

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Oil Voodoo That You Do

So I picked up up a new long block engine for my car the other day (more on that later). In the process, I learned something new about motor oils.

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150,000 Is the New 100,000

I’ve always had a fascination for numbers. Some numbers have always been more pleasing to me, like ‘3,’ ‘12,’ or ‘Seven of Nine.’ This is, of course, very odd, so I’ve had to resort to extremes to hide it, like becoming an engineer, or pretending to use Excel to make pictures.

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