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So, today, after 13 years, the diesel has moved on to greener pastures. I found a buyer and he picked it up today. The goal was to find someone who would care for it and continue its run, and I did that. Personally, it was tough to move on, since that car has been a trooper. That being said, it is nicer to see an old car drive away, rather than sitting sadly in some salvage yard. But, I will miss it.


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gorgeousgary reminded me today that I hadn't posted the results of my car search here. As I said before, I sometimes forget about LiveJournal nowadays since people have abandoned it to a certain extent, and that I can't access it at work. In any case, here it is:

A 2016 Golf Sportswagen Limited Edition. To be honest, there were few options out there that I liked, and this was too good of a deal to pass up. It helps that my Jetta Wagon has given me 13 years of good service. Unfortunately, not a diesel for obvious reasons.

I will miss some aspects of my old car:

  • The range I had with the Jetta

  • The always on 12v outlets

  • The storage compartments under the rear

  • The lack of a sunglasses holder

  • Not having a car payment

But, I'm sure that the new car will bring a lot to the table. I'm still getting comfortable with it.

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I think my current mood on the car search now is to hold until the next model year. The reason why is that the VW Golf Alltrack (the AWD version of the Sportswagen) is coming out next model year. While I might not choose it as my next car, I definitely want to be able to consider it. Given that I still have a working car, I can take the time to see what the pricing would be and whether or not it would be worth it.

It isn't an easy decision, with the current set of Sportswagens being sold at good deals. That being said, the strong desire to change vehicles isn't there for me yet. It also doesn't help that I still as of yet haven't paid off the last repairs.

Going on to Subaru, what I find is that I would have rather have had an Outback from back before they got supersized into what they are now. That is I think part of the attraction to the Alltrack for me.

In any case, I know what is out there and I know what I like. If something does change with my car, I can probably move quick enough to get what I need with full knowledge.


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While I probably could look at more cars, I'm really not sure I'll gain much more insight to anything I'd want to drive, since I've seen my top picks. After a week of stewing on it, I'm ready to start putting my thoughts down.

As I said before, I do have a preference for wagons, which unfortunately are becoming a dying breed. One of my top picks is one of the few choices there, the VW Golf Sportswagen. Course, I'm kinda biased given that I've been driving VW for 13 years, but to be honest I wasn't expecting to like the Sportswagen without the diesel engine. Typically, VW's gas engines haven't been the most fuel efficient, but that seems to have changed with the TSI, a sporty turbo that gets pretty solid gas mileage. Also, a similar 10k oil change regimen that my diesel has. It isn't a TDI, but given my limited options it is definitely acceptable. I was also a bit worried about VW's recent history of cheaping out of there cars, but the Sportswagen is pretty nice. The only real issue I had with it was that the seat felt weird. Personally, I need to have a second go to see if it is an issue.

The other vehicle I liked was the Subaru Forester. While I'd probably prefer the form factor of the Outback, it has the disadvantage of being bigger and costing more. The engine is their standard 2.5l that they have had in their cars for years. So, reliable but also not something to get excited about. The interior is roomy and it definitely feels bigger than the Golf. It is also probably the only SUV that felt like I was driving a car, with little body roll in the turns. It is also an AWD vehicle, tho to be honest, my need for it in my lifetime could probably be counted on one hand.

So, really it is a question of what I want: does the Sportswagen have all the space I need, or do I need more? Personally I don't know. I know both vehicles are larger than what I have, which was one goal. Pricewise it might be a push, tho I probably can get a better deal on the Golf with the whole Dieselgate thing. I'm also familiar with VW, so I mostly know what to expect. That being said, I'll need to test drive both again. The good thing is, I'm not in a hurry right now.

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To be honest, I'm probably done with my first pass. While I could go to Nissan or Hyundai as well, I'm not sure I'll be any more satisfied with what I saw there after going through my primary choices.

One thing I didn't get into with the last post are my own personal preferences for what I'm looking for. Mainly my priority has been on three aspects which are on equal footing: fuel efficiency, the ability to haul stuff, and fun to drive. All of these have to do directly with the fact that this is the primary family vehicle, and it is also my daily driver. I'm also not particularly thrilled of the trend that if you feel the need to have more storage space, you need to get an SUV of some sort. To be honest, most people have no need for the ground clearance.

So, let's get on with it:

Mazda CX-5: This was one of the vehicles toward the top of my list, with Mazda's recent focus on fuel efficiency. While I think there is a lot going for it, I hated the acceleration pedal. It felt like there was very little play, which made it hard to judge acceleration. I also didn't like that the radio controls were on the center console rather than on the dash (or, even on the steering wheel.)

Subaru Forester: While I would have liked it better if the Outback was the smaller vehicle, we drove the Forester. Personally, I thought it was damn good. It probably one of the few crossover vehicles that actually felt like driving a car. Not sure how I'd feel about the CVT in the long term, but it seemed to work well with the engine. My son also liked that the rear seats could recline. Visibility is also as good as the reviews say it is. A solid contender.

Toyota Prius V: To be honest, many have pushed me to consider this, and given it is one of the few examples of a fuel efficient wagon, I did have to consider it. Again, my son enjoyed the reclining back seat, perhaps a little too much. The first thing that kinda put me off was the backup beep when you throw it in reverse. If I had the vehicle, I'd have to find some way to disable that. It was very annoying. I also didn't like the way cupholders were put in. It was the only car I tried out that didn't have cupholders in the rear center armrest (instead, it comes out of the rear of the center console.) There is only one in the center console, with a second one having to be pulled out from a compartment. Also, as I kinda expected, while the Prius might be a solid performer for in town driving, I found it was barely adequate on the highway. Given the price tag, I would want more from it.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: I liked this better than I expected. I liked the layout of the dash, and unlike the Prius, it had enough muscle for the highway. But, I did agree with my wife that it felt small. Also, it also told me that I wouldn't like motorized liftgates. I tried opening it by hand, only to find the resistance of the motor. To be honest, I'd rather open it myself.

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It has been a while since I've posted here (1.5 years from my last post), partially because LJ is blocked at work and partially from feeling like no one is here anyways to read.

In any case, some know that my car (VW Jetta Wagon TDI) is starting to show its age. Given that it is over 200k in mileage, it is understandable. That being said, my search was being frustrated by not finding many of the type of car that I really want. But, I'll make the best of what is currently out there. Today the search began with visiting the Ford, VW and Honda dealerships.

VW Golf Sportswagon: Given I've spent the past 13 years driving a VW, it is only fair that I check out the latest edition, even if I couldn't buy a diesel this time around. The Sportswagon still makes a strong argument for itself. The gasser mileage isn't bad (25 city/ 35 hwy) and drives like a VW should. Cargo space is smaller than my current wagon (more depth, but less height), but there seems to be a lot of ways to adjust that space, and fold flat is easier to achieve than my current vehicle. I like that the stereo connects to smartphones and run apps, also that the screen was nice and big and very visible to the driver. Also, plenty of steering wheel controls. The only thing I didn't like was that the seams of the seat seemed to hit me oddly and it wasn't as comfortable as I'd like.

Honda CR-V/Ford Escape: I'm conflating both of these, because I'd be hard-pressed to find a difference between these vehicles. Both had plenty of room and drove well, but neither was particularly impressive. I hated that both had these tiny video screens that feel like they are a mile away from the driver. I did like the backup camera for the Escape adjusted the markers based on where you had your steering wheel turned. The rear seats of the CR-V seemed more focused on being able to lie flat than on actual function as seating.

Ford C-Max: I actually didn't really get a chance to test drive this one, since we kinda rejected it quickly, and the salesman seemed to only want us to test drive one car. After looking at the rear, I got what Patches was saying about the "hump". It looks like the rear space is actually raised above the lip a bit. Also, not a big fan of the snub nose. Wife seems to think that if it can't hold enough to compete with a Prius, it isn't worth looking at. Not sure I agree. Anyways, I knew it likely was going to be too small, but I wanted to look at it anyways.

Stops for next week: Mazda (CX-5), Toyota (Prius V, RAV-4 Hybrid), Subaru (Forester, Crosstrak, Outback).


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I have some attachment to Judge Dredd. Back when I lived in Germany when I was a kid, I used to skim the Dredd graphic novels in the book store and got very familiar with Dredd, Psy-Judge Anderson and Judge Death (who scared the crap out of me). Course, later we got a Sly Stallone Judge Dredd movie, but it almost felt like a parody of Judge Dredd rather than something that played it straight. Fortunately, Dredd got a second chance to shine.

Dredd (Karl Urban) is asked to take on a new recruit named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who is on the cusp of becoming a Judge, but because of her special abilities, the Chief Judge wants to know if she can cut it. They respond to a murder in one of the megastructures, which leads them to a drug den. One of the people taken into custody is one of the lieutenants of Ma-Ma's (Lena Headly) drug operation. With security threatened, Ma-Ma wants to make sure the Judges don't leave alive.

The main thing that makes this film work is that they keep it simple. We get the monologue about the world in the beginning, setting up Dredd with his new partner, then we are off into the plot. There is nothing terribly complicated about Dredd: he's the living embodiment of the law of MegaCity 1, and who he is as a person is unimportant. That's why you don't see Dredd without his helmet, in my view. He is the uniform. This is also why the character of Anderson is important as well, she puts a human face on what Dredd does as she navigates the murky world faced by Judges and tries to make the right decisions. The relationship between the two is probably one of the best aspects of the film.

The film isn't perfect. Towards the end the ideas start to run dry as to what kind of roadblocks they can put in front of the judges, but the film doesn't overstay its welcome. While I think the attitude of Dredd hasn't aged well in the day and age when we have an over-armed police force, it is still a pretty good adaptation.

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I'll need to catch up on my reviews, since I have time on my hands.

I'm a pretty big fan of the first two Daniel Craig Bond films, which got away from the dilettante Bond that has dominated the past few decades to someone with a bit more of an edge. I liked the more rough-edged, less charming Bond portrayed by Craig. I even liked QoS, even as most of the fan community seemed to despise it. While not the greatest Bond film, it felt like a good followup and a middle chapter that could lead to an interesting final chapter in the story.

Unfortunately, Skyfall isn't that. In fact, in many cases it feels like a return to the Brosnan films, which given how middling those films ended up being. (Aside from Goldeneye, and casting Michelle Yeoh in a film, it was a waste in many ways.) In fact, this film is more about a farewell to Judi Dench as M, who made an excellent foil for both Brosnan and Craig's Bond.

Bond is on a trail of a stolen list of agents when he gets shot by his partner on the mission, disappears, and is presumed dead. He returns when he hears news that MI6 has been the target of a terrorist attack, seemingly directed at M herself. M sends the not-quite ready for primetime Bond after the assailant, who is also the one behind the stolen list of agents, which he's releasing to the public if he doesn't get M. The bad guy turns out to be Silva (Javier Bardem, obviously being dressed up as a more sinister Julian Assange-type.), a former agent M had sold out years ago and is looking for revenge on M.

It is sad that many feel this is a return to form for Bond films, because I think this is one of the worst Bond films I've seen. There are some interesting ideas here, but it feels very lazy. We've done the Over-The-Hill Bond stuff before, but the story seems to ignore it when it is convenient. It would have been nice to have to have Bond lean on others to shore up his weaknesses as he gets back into shape, but that just doesn't happen. We have another forgettable Bond girl, who's only purpose is to shag Bond and get killed by the bad guy. Silva also seems to be a waste, since his plans are far from brilliant. I'll take you through the big setpiece: Silva escapes imprisonment at MI5 because the new Q was dumb enough to hook Silva's laptop into the network, which hacked it and let him out. Q then makes a big deal that this was all planned by Silva, but what's the big plan? Go through the underground, end up at the Houses of Parliament (where M is getting grilled) where he only faces guards at the entrance and easily kills, and marches into the committee room M is in and starts shooting up the place. Wow, what a well planned assassination. [rolleyes]

Bond's plan of protecting M afterwards is equally as half-baked. After switching cars to the classic Aston-Martin (which seems to only be there to say, "Oh cool, it is the Aston-Martin from a better Bond film."), he drives M up to Scotland to his boyhood home, which is abandoned, in the middle of nowhere, and apparently no weapons other than his father's hunting rifle. Course, given that Silva seems to have a military-grade helicopter and enough soldiers to do a raid, it seems like a very poor plan. But, somehow Bond muddles through it.

I guess the one good thing I'll say for it is that Ralph Fiennes will make a great replacement for Judi Dench as M. Otherwise, it is a pretty forgettable Bond film.

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The procedure has been cancelled tomorrow because of two emergency cases. I'll find out tomorrow morning when they are rescheduling it.


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Well over a hundred years earlier, giant huminoids called Titans mysteriously appeared, attacking and devouring most of humanity. What remains of the human race is in a country protected by three large walls surrounding it. The humans inside have been safe from attacks from the outside. Until one day a giant titan appears, looking over the walls, and blows a hole in the outer wall and titans swarm in, devouring all they can reach.

We follow three survivors of this attack. Eren Yeager witnessed his mother being devoured and vows to destroy all titans. Mikasa Ackerman, who was adopted by the Yeager family and is very protective of Eren. Armin Arlert is the childhood friend of Eren and Mikasa. Smart, but relatively slight in stature, Armin lacks confidence in himself and feels like he's dead weight to his friends. Eventually they join the military and the Survey Corps.

Nothing hotter than AoT. While it only recently made its debut on TV here in the states, fans have been following the manga for the past couple of years. It isn't hard to find someone at a convention cosplaying as a member of the Survey Corps. Personally, the series isn't too far off from zombie apocalypse flicks, in that there is a lot of desperation and questions about the nature of the best and worst of humanity. Certainly you get your fill of angst and melodrama.

Along the way the plot makes some twists, questioning Eren's past, and the potential of 5th columns inside the human settlement. Since the series is ongoing, we don't get any resolutions, but we to get to a solid stopping point. For more, you probably need to read the manga or wait for a second season.

I can understand the appeal here, tho some episodes get pretty heavy on the ose. Personally, I needed a break from it. While it isn't one of my favorite shows, I'm glad I did see it.

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