I've decided the Vasa is a decent urban assault vehicle (once I switched from economy to sport mode), far better than the lowly Stratus I rented, and even better than the Tracker. The perfect urban assault vehicle does not exist, compromises must be made, depending on your skill and fear level. In general, something big, fast and nimble is good, and a battered car body that shows you're not afraid to trade paint help. Plus, if drive a brand notorious for oblivious driving, such as a Volvo, you have that going for you.
So, the Stratus has poor visibility, was too low, and had a shitty turning circle. The Tracker has great visibility, but is a little too tipsy, as most SUV's are. The Subaru has the mismatched and dented body, but is a little too underpowered and unimposing to challenge a minivan in the Towson traffic circle. But the Volvo 960 wagon, yeah, biggish, fastish, and nimble enough to mix it up, plus it inspires terror in clos drivers, because it's a Volvo. The only thing that might do as well would be a big Dodge wagon.
The highlights of the trip were the Metro, the Aquarium, the paddle boat, the zoo, and my sister and sister-in-law, their cute rowhouse apartment, the cicadas and Yuengling. The lowlights were the heat and the traffic (including a 45 minute 98 degree jam that gave the seven year old heat rash), the lack of Starbucks, slow but friendly checkouts, and the wacky ass gas station near CUA that cheated me of 16 cents of gas.
One more gripe about SUVs and pickemup trucks is their poor cornering ability. As were were heading down 70 to 695, fresh Starbucks in our mugs, we noticed the ramp was slow, slow, slow. Looking up ahead, we saw a pickup going about 20. This was typical. SUV's and pickups just get too tipsy when you hit an entrance ramp at a decent speed, so you have to plod behind them.
Walking back to our car after the graduation, the seven year old groundscored an Office Space DVD that some dorm rat through out. Sure, it appeared scratched, but it played fine. The kid probably watched it once or twice, and figured out it was too unrealistic, heh.
The seven year old was also entranced by the cicadas, we saw quite a few. There must have been 20 casings and few lives ones on a 2 foot high plant at the zoo. The cicadas did not disapoint.
The car mp3 player worked fine, we only changed CDs a few times during the trip. It's much nicer to carry a few burned mp3 CDs than 30 CDs.
I picked up some goodies at the hardware store this morning. A flexible 2 x 2 rubber pipe coupler, to see if I can make it fit from my carb to my airbox (otherwise I have to buy 10 feet of PVC). A 3/4 by 1/8 piece of welding stock, which I hope to cut and bend and solder into a starter clutch holder so I can properly torque down my starter clutch. Then, back to riding up and down my street.
I just finished two WWII books, Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers, and Budiansky's Battle of Wits. Citizen Soldiers, being a book about the American GI in Europe from Normandy on, is controversial because it doesn't properly discuss the contributions of the English, French, Poles, ANZACs and Russians. Hmm, go figure. Battle of Wits is about code breaking in WWII, and it's one of Stephenson's sources, or they have common sources, as several of the anecdotes in Cryptonomicon also make their appearance in Battle of Wits, sans Shaftoe and Waterhouse. To wit, breaking into the captains safe of a sinking Uboat, sinking a milchcow in the Caribean, Macarthur being a prick in the Pacific, the 20th Division's code books, spotter planes in the Mediterraneum and more. Next up is Operation Blowback.
They're still not done with the roof, maybe Wednesday. I want our house back. I should have a faux-urquell report tomorrow, it's keg tapping time tonight.
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