*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Joining Automotive Society with a boring 'crossover' - three rows small

Never imagine Toronto's anyting but a Midwestern city: a family needs a car to do anything at all.  So... I'll be joining the bastards, but with ONE car only.  I am buying a new car, in cash.  Yes, I can buy someone else' problems cheaper, but I just don't want to.  I am staying under $35K CAD, paying in cash.

What I need is room for two adults and two children, for the next eight to ten years, reliable and good build quality for the price, and drives more like a car than a boat.  What I want is a third-row seat no matter how small, sliding rear doors, AWD for our winters, cruise-control and a few other options.  Have to get a fucking automatic for the wife.

Here're the 'crossovers' prices*, all with AWD otherwise what's the point, best to worst value:

Kia Sorrento LX turbo AWD
- third row seats option
- decent mileage
- best transmission (6-speed auto)
- best engine (hp/torque)
- $32500
Mitsubishi Outlander SE AWC
- third row seats option
- decent mileage
- best transmission (6-speed auto)
- best engine (hp/torque)
- $32000/37000**
Nissan Rogue SV AWD
- third row seats option
- best mileage
- CVT transmission (feh)
- excellent safety features
- $31500
Here're the 'small minivan' prices, best to worst value:
Kia Rondo LX AT 7-seat
- third row seats 
- no sliding rear doors
- no AWD option
- not CVT transmission (yeah!)
- $22300 
Mazda 5
- third row seats 
- sliding rear doors
- no AWD option
- CVT transmission (feh)
- mediocre safety features
- $26300
For 'crossoers; it is between the Outlander and the Rogue, as I just cannot yet sign on with Korean cars at the same price, much less convince the J-wife.  However, if we cheap out, too bad about losing the sliding doors, but the Rondo's much better value than the Mazda5!

*AWD/third-row option included if noted.  Prices right off Canadian websites, taxes, fees and rebates included.  Mileage may vary.
**$32K for 2015, $37 for 2016

Tuesday 28 July 2015

'The Beast': breeder-touring/monster-cross bicycle

It lives! My Franken-bike creation: breeder-touring/monster-cross. AKA, 'The Beast'.  The final iteration?  Proves the truth of evolution: 'survival of the most adequate'.  That's a Blackburn Co-Pilot Limo child seat.  The recline's nice, as the young tend to pass out in motion.  Previous write-up follows.

A new build up from new and old parts.  It's my take on the 'gravel mutt' idea: build a wide-tired rough roads bike as reasonably as possible from your parts bin.  Between the three bikes I have, I've now rebuilt almost every section of a bike, a few times.

The bike's been useful, if heavy.  My wife gave me the money for it as a present in return for her engagement ring: Japanese custom is to give half-back gifts, yeah!  It's been a fixed/free, singlespeed and a 1x5.  I learned enough from it about fixed/free to buy and build a lighter fixed/fixed, and that singlespeed is pointless.  As I have a paved- 'road bike'; this will be my unpaved road, and winter conditions bike.

It's not as economical as 'off the peg', but it is more economical than letting what I had go to waste, besides I wanted to keep the bike my wife bought for me, in some identifiable form.  A friend told me a Canadian Air Force story: you can crash and destroy every part of a plane but it's identification plate, and there's money in the budget to rebuild it, but there's no money in the budget to buy a new plane, even if that comes cheaper.

Since all that is left original is the following, it's a 'tour-mutt':
- touring frame and fork
- Brooks B17N saddle, seatpost and clamp
- headset and stem
- Tektro brake levers and rear low-profile cantilever brake
- Shimano pedals, one side clipless and one flats
- budget racks

I repurposed:
- the triple crank from my Lemond Croix de Fer, and its 26t chainring
- its Shimano 105 triple derailleur (used now as wide-range double)
- a 44t chainring from my fixed/fixed
- 37mm Schwalbe Silento tires from my wife's bike (gave her better rolling ones for pavement)
- parts to make a Shimano 105, 10-speed, 12-27 cassette
- downtube cable-stops
- Arundel Stainless bottle cages

I bought for it... too much:
- Nitto Noodle Bar
- tektro cross bar-top levers
- a high-profile cantilever brake for better stopping power, front
- Dia-Compe bar-cons
- Tiagra rear derailleur (without indexed shifting you can mix 9 speed rear and 10 speed front derailleurs)
- 10-speed Shimano 105 chain
- Mavic A319 rim, Deore hub wheelset
- SKS P50, 700x54mm 'chromoplastic' fenders
- cables and housing as needed
- orange cotton bar-tape, shellacked
- a 50t cross chainring guard

The build was epic in its delayed pace, back-tracking, reverse-engineering, and international sourcing (Canada, Japan and the US).  I could nearly start a business in bikes, if only there were any living in aught but schilling carbon 'dentist bikes'.

It will see use on local unpaved roads, and winter conditions, and I hope further afield.  Maybe even to pull kids in a trailer, as the cross brake levers begin to make it safer to do so.  There's room in that fork of 55mm: I could run 47mm tires for very poor road, so long as I push the fenders higher.

But bike wants are "n+1 , where n is the number of bikes currently owned."  +1 is a 29+ semi-fat, like the Surly Krampus, or 'Ops' version.

Saturday 25 July 2015

Smart Products Aren't

Having trouble with an LG Smart TV: cannot update the built in browser to cooperate as it used to with Google Drive.

Short version: 'Smart' products are not built by or for operating systems like Windows, Android or Apple.  They have limited functionality out of the box, and are far harder to optimize than a phone, tablet or computer, or they are impossible to, and the interfaces blow.  Better you run your online media from the appropriate device by cable/Wifi-dongle to a dumb TV.  This is the experience with my TV, and I have read it similar for cars and other consumer products.

LG customer service has been useless, as all corporations' are.  In short, I have discovered we can't load any browsers or apps of our own choice, nor update the ones we have.  Who knows if any update automatically?

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Mazda RX7, because Japan

I was so excited to see this on my friend's street the other day.  More excited his (married) friend knew what it was.  Why didn't I know girls like that a couple decades back?*

This is a cool thing that'll make sense to anyone with a passing knowledge of Japanese shaken/road-tax byzantine rules: the Wankel engine was to get higher power while paying only for a lower displacement.  Do you think engineers were allowed to use something as mental, and self-destructive, as a Wankel engine for a better reason?

Behold the spinning Dorito.

*Earlier in the evening I not only discovered she was another Montréal Anglo refugee, and was bored to death in Toronto, but when I asked the room what the typical Toronto date question was that showed how boring and materialistic people are, she knew: "What do you do?"

Sunday 19 July 2015


Young lady, I'm afraid you forgot your knickers.  And the hue of your cervix...  That can't be healthy.

This link in case you are unaware of the 'perverted golf-club' of Tokyo's Olympic bid.

I consider myself a native or two cities, Toronto and Tokyo, although the pur laine of the latter wouldn't, and I have neither pride in nor love of Toronto.  I have spent not less than five years in each, which was more than enough in the Middle Ages to be a citizen!  Funny, I spent about four years in total in Montréal, which I prefer to the other two, though neither I nor franco-montréalais would consider me a citizen.  The ethnolingual parsing of these some other time.

We are in the middle of the Pan-American Games in Toronto!  I care no more than you do!   Torontonians care little more than I do.  This is a good thing!  A great deal of money's been wasted, but a great deal less than for the Olympics (1:4 compared to London), which the usual suspects (developers-politicians-criminals) have been after getting for years.  It's been so unpopular, now they won't!

Poor Tokyo.