Archive for June, 2006

Jerome Fun Run

June 26, 2006

Today I went with the Dynamic Mini Collective on a fun run to Jerome, Arizona. I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant about joining an organization that a) had the word “collective” in its name and b) had as its only unifying principle that its members had bought a particular type of car. It just struck me as an odd raison d’être, but any chance to drive Buzz for an extended amount of time in interesting locales was easily worth $25.

We met at a Starbuck’s and left at 7:30 AM for Wickenburg. This leg of the trip was pretty uneventful since I’d been on it many, many times. We did see a sign for a pick-your-own peaches store, which we decided would be very enjoyable for The Girls. Another day, perhaps. In Wickenburg, we gathered at the Shell station, refueled, and generally made a spectacle—the first of many—for the locals.

Our next stop was Prescott and this section of the run was easily my favorite. We got to go through Congress, Yarnell, Peeples Valley, and then the windingest damn road through the mountains. The towns were neat because they were all so old and rustic. The mountain roads were nothing but switchbacks and I got to really test out Buzz’s handling. I wish I could have gotten my new rear sway bar installed for the trip, but timing was just too tight. I occasionally got glimpses of the whole group of Minis going around the switchbacks but mostly I was just focused on the road.

We stopped in Prescott for supplies. For some reason, Sandi and I completely forgot to bring sunscreen. You just can’t spend the whole day in a convertible without protection. We’d be sizzled like a sausage. I captured some video with my digital camera of all the Minis pulling out of the parking lot; I apologize about the early shakiness of the movie—I finally realized that I could steady my hand on the top of the windshield and that really helped towards the end. The Prescott to Jerome period was filled with mountain roads, but they weren’t nearly as interesting as the Yarnell ones.

We reached Jerome at about 11 AM and motored over to our designated parking area. That’s the other benefit of being in the DMC: they called ahead and reserved some public parking spaces. The 26 Minis that made the run lined both sides of the main street in Jerome and I heard locals and tourists talking about them the entire time we were shopping and eating. It certainly does make quite an impression!

I hadn’t been to Jerome since my sixth grade field trip through northern Arizona. On that trip, we spent a few hours in Jerome and I can’t say that I remember too much beyond that it was a historic place. On this trip, I could appreciate Jerome for what it was. It is simply astonishing how well-preserved most of the town is. Nearly every building has been converted to modern uses while still retaining the feel and spirit of the old structure. We spent most of our time shopping, so I couldn’t really indulge my inner historian.

We separated from the pack after stopping at the Cottonwood Dairy Queen (and completely overwhelming them as well). We had had a long day and wanted to get back to our girls, who we rightly imagined had missed us as much as we missed them. I took some pictures, but we were both focused on the driving during what would have been the most photogenic parts of the trip.

Imagine Me

June 19, 2006

This is me, by the way…

<img src="/images/34-25/bbrown.jpg”>

Vimto

June 19, 2006

This is an English soda given to me by my boss, who wanted to see my review of it. Between its national heritage and its billing as a “sparkling grape, blackcurrant, and raspberry juice drink” I had very low expectations going into it. No bad aftertaste, but not so good in the duringtaste. It’s way better than any other grape soda, but I’m not a big fan of grape sodas.
Official site | Wikipedia entry

2 of 5 stars

The Command Prompt

June 16, 2006

This is going to seem like yesterday’s news to my fellow Mac OS X and Unix readers, but I just got something working today that is pretty impressive in the Windows command prompt.

I love this Windows version of “grep”—I install it on every server and desktop I interact with. It’s super fast, very similar to the Unix version, and I’ve never had a single problem with it.

I was trying to use its output as input for another command. This is called “command redirection” in the Windows world and “piping” everywhere else. Sadly, the documentation on the Web about this feature of Windows is sparse. I can see why: Windows executes both commands simultaneously and if the receiving command wasn’t designed to wait for standard input then it’ll just error out. Like the “del” command, for example. Non-Windows users are welcome to snigger quietly now.

Then I found this article. This isn’t piping per se, but the idea is the same. Take the output of one command and use it in another. Once I had that, it was a simple for /f "tokens=*" %a in ('grep -l stuffIwantDeleted *.FOO') do del %a. Worked like a dream!

What’s New in 2

June 15, 2006

List of .NET 2.0 and C# 2.0 New Features: nice to have it all in one handy place.

Eat Different

June 11, 2006

Someone else has had my same desire to be free of mealtime variety. Monkey chow, that was the missing link! Sadly, the “experiment” has been rather glib, resorting to the obvious “you are what you eat” cheap jokes. My original sentiment was serious: I would love to see a cheap food source developed that was nutritionally complete and available in huge quantities. I guess I’ll just have to keep waiting. {via}

Buzz Buzz

June 7, 2006

I finally got rid of my 1999 Toyota Camry. I’ve had it since 2001 and I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t treated it as it deserves. I half-assed its maintenance; there was a huge dent in the driver’s side from a parking lot incident that I wasn’t able to witness; and nature was its only cleanser. I put 70,000 miles on it—passing it along to its new owner with over 130,000 miles to its credit. Here’s hoping that she will honor Cameron as I never did.

What did I get to replace it? My wife and I decided long ago that the Camry’s replacement was going to be a fun car. We’ve had plenty of practical vehicles in our time. In fact, except for the 1996 Ford Mustang convertible, I think all of our cars have been sensible. It was high time that I start enjoying my commute!

But what did I get? My initial thought was of my dream car—the Audi TT Quattro. Now that is a fun looking car with a lovely sophistication. It’s also pretty expensive (though reasonable as a used car) and highly unreliable. My idea of fun is not blowing thousands of dollars on repairs, no matter how bitchin’ the ride might be.

Come on, what did I get? With the TT out of the picture, I was really at a loss. I’d seen nice cars on the road, but none of them jumped out at me, took me by the scruff of my neck, and shouted, “Go buy me now, mofo.” The car that I eventually purchased didn’t either, so I guess that was probably an unreasonable expectation on my part. I was fairly firm about getting a convertible since I’d had two of them already and Phoenix is a great place to own one.

So I ended up getting a 2005 Mini Cooper convertible in Cool Yellow:

I settled on the Mini Cooper mainly because of The Italian Job. That movie made me look at the Mini Cooper as a sporty, maneuverable beast of a car. Prior to watching it, I considered them pansy European answers to expensive gas and limited parking spots. Afterwards, I could see the elegance of their lines and the benefits of their size. When I saw a convertible Mini one day, it suddenly rocketed to the head of the pack.

So I’ve been driving it now for three days and I can’t believe how much fun it is. I look forward to any opportunity to take it out for a spin. In true Mini tradition, I have named it and he shall be called Buzz. I was going to go with something stupid like Sunshine or Sonny, but Sandi suggested Buzz as in “bzzz bzzz” like a bumble bee and I loved it!

To quote the eminently-quotable Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”