Trying to Make the Driving World a Little Less Annoying

Category: Rants Page 1 of 3

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.

A Light Rant

“If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.”
—Tom Petty


Go, please.

The Mechanic

For various random reasons, one of my cars gets work done by a particular mechanic. This mechanic does good work. He’s thorough and gets the job done without much hassle. His shop is a tad expensive, but I don’t mind paying a bit more if I get good quality (isn’t it sad that good quality isn’t expected in basic work anymore?).

Car Makers That Care

[updated March 21, 2014]

My last post was about cars that don’t come with a manual transmission. This is the other foot that drops on a shoe; the Peter robbing Paul’s Mary; the left hand spying on the right. This one is about the good cars.

The list is biased toward cars that have both a manual transmission and all-wheel drive (AWD), because that’s that what I want. If there’s a car that I missed, send me a comment and I’ll add it.

List of Shame

[updated March 10, 2014]

I’ve written a rant about manual transmissions, or the lack thereof in new cars today. So here is a listing of cars that do not come with a manual transmission.

This is not a comprehensive list, just a list of some cars I’ve looked into recently. If you have a recommendation to add to this list, please let me know. Thanks.

The Manual Transmission Rant

Listen to a child (or adult) playing with a toy car. Chances are the child will not only make vrooming engine noises, but also shifting noises, with the engine rpms rising and falling rhythmically. That’s because even a child knows that for optimal acceleration, you should shift when the next higher gear produces more torque than the current gear you’re in. It’s innate in all of us.

Grodor, Eater of Tires

So there I was, driving my family home in my wife’s car. We were just a couple of miles from our house when suddenly this demon-spawned monster sprang from the bowels of Hell itself and devoured the tires from our car, gorging itself on vulcanized rubber, its maw stuffed with steel-belted sinews and its razor-sharp teeth shredding our sidewalls.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Idiots

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, 32% of fatal traffic crashes in America involved alcohol. When I see this (or similar) statistic in some internet article, some one will invariably comment, through bad humor or ignorance, that sober people caused 68% of traffic related deaths in this country. See! Drunks ain’t so bad!

Slow Subaru, Practical Porsche

[see updates below]

Two months, two weeks, four days, one hour and fourteen minutes and lots and lots of dollars later, I finally got my car back. This included getting the car a new engine (short block), returning it for a check engine light (P0024 Exhaust AVCS System 2 Range/Performance), then promptly bricking the ECM when I got it home again (note to self: next time, brick ECM when car is in garage), and then finally getting the ECM quickly reset (thanks Cobb Tuning!).

My Cars Hate Me

I started this blog because I like driving. A lot. And therefore things that prevent me from driving the way I want to make me very cranky. Up to this point it’s been other drivers or traffic infrastructure that makes me frustrated and annoyed. I’ve suddenly discovered an insidious new source of crankiness.

My cars have turned on me.

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