Transportation


9
Apr 10

Car Mount Video Test

So last year I bought a Panavise 809 car mount for my camera. I managed to shoot a bunch of video last year but I didn’t really have enough time to get everything right.

I ran more video tests this morning because I’m hoping to record some video on the road the next time I drive to South Carolina. I think getting video of some of the mountainous regions would be especially fun.

Anyway, I’m still having a few issues. The video seems pretty stable for the most part, but there’s some glare on the windshield and I’m not sure if there’s anything I can actually do to correct that.

Here’s a quick sample if anyone is curious.

The video quality isn’t bad considering how small my little point-and-shoot camera is. The diminutive size of the camera definitely makes it easier to set up and doesn’t put much strain on the mount. The camera is a Canon 780IS.

canon-power-shot-sd780-is

It’s a long drive to South Carolina. Unfortunately, a 16gb memory card only holds about 85 minutes of hi-def video. I’ll definitely need to get more cards and probably a couple extra battery packs. But I’m looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun.


7
Mar 10

A Parking Lot Tale

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Today while pulling into Piggly Wiggly, I got stuck behind a car waiting for another car to back out so he could pull into the parking spot close to the store. Unfortunately, the car backing out was apparently nervous about the crowding behind his car and backed out very very slowly.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting and waiting, and I finally decide to go around the car but I have to drive in the wrong lane to do so. But suddenly there was another car coming from the other direction which I hadn’t initially seen, and we had to squeeze past each other very tightly. This all happened because some idiot wanted a parking spot as close as possible to the store, even though there were plenty of open spots just slightly further down.

The reason for accidents and just bad driving in general comes down to people being selfish and unaware of the other cars on the road. (Or in this case, the parking lot.) If people would pay attention to the cars in front of them, behind them, and on each side, traffic would flow better and there would be less accidents. (And road rage.) So to all the drivers out there, try not to get so caught up in what you’re doing or where you’re going that you forget to pay attention to everyone else.

Personally, I like to park a good distance away when I go places. There are usually less cars down on the end which means it’s much less likely that someone will scratch my car. It’s also a lot easier to pull out, and I get a nice little walk in addition to the other benefits. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to do so.


13
Feb 10

Day One of My Road Trip

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I drove over 500 miles today. Today was day one of my 1000 mile journey to see my special friend, Leah. I’d never gone on a road trip of this length before. In fact, the longest road trip I had previously taken was only three and a half hours.

I started my journey at 7:22am central time. It took me nearly 90 minutes to reach the state of Illinois. I made the mistake of wearing a hoodie and my coat, and as it turns out, my car heater works exceptionally well. By the time I reached Rockford, IL, I had to pull over just to take off my coat.

But my battle with in-car climate control was only just beginning. When I had my heater going for a while, my car would get much too warm. Then I would roll down my window just a crack to cool down the car. I actually turned on the air conditioning a couple times for a few minutes. Unfortunately, my feet would get cold. I discovered the nifty little setting in my car that lets me aim the heater at my feet. It was swell.

The roads in Illinois are terrible. They’re bumpy and full of cracks and potholes. You’d think they’d take better care of their roads – especially the Interstate. There was very little traffic though. My decision to go through Bloomington instead of Chicago was a very wise one.

Indiana was more fun. The speed limit was 70 mph for a big stretch of the trip. I actually set my cruise control at 76-77 much to my delight. The speed limit on the freeway is 65 in Wisconsin, so I never get to go faster than 72 at home.

I arrived at my hotel at approximately 5:00pm eastern time. Tomorrow I will be driving through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and into South Carolina.

Things I Noticed Along the Way:

I drove past the world’s largest fireworks store. It struck me as somewhat odd that you can actually buy fireworks in February there. My brother-in-law would probably love that store.

There are loads of Cracker Barrel restaurants along the Interstate. I must’ve seen at least a dozen signs along the way, and quite possibly more than that. Funnily enough, my hotel is next to a Cracker Barrel. I almost ate there but instead opted for KFC which is right next to Cracker Barrel. Heh.

Illinois posts a minimum speed limit under the normal speed limit signs. I had never seen this before.

Illinois and Indiana both have a slower speed limit for semi-trucks. This is pretty cool as it generally makes them easier to pass.

The only area on my entire trip that had any congestion was the Interstate around Indianapolis. This struck me as odd because the Interstates in Wisconsin are usually jam-packed with cars.

In Indiana, you’re not allowed to stop, stand or park on the Interstate. They must’ve had problems with that before since they’ve posted a zillion signs informing drivers of this fact. They also seem quite obsessed with informing drivers that bridges may be icy. I guess Indiana is a safety conscious state.


13
Jan 10

Midweek Thoughts – Part 2

It’s Wednesday, that means it’s time for another exciting round of Midweek Thoughts.

The following words can be found on a large McDonalds cup, “Here’s to you – A toast to your wisdom, clever drink buyer – you have selected a classic fountain beverage, precisely mixed for maximum refreshment.” Is it just me or is McDonalds trying to sound like Burger King there? Every time I read that, I hear the voiceover guy from the Burger King commercials in my head.

I saw a first look at the 2011 Ford Focus last night on CNET. It looks nothing like a Ford Focus! The vehicle is not only beautiful, but it will feature automatic parallel parking assistance. Ford is apparently trying to reposition the Focus as a mid-level instead of an entry-level vehicle. I definitely need to start stashing as much money as I can, ‘cause I want one.

eurp_1001_01_z 2011_ford_focus front_view

After carefully considering the matter, I’ve come to the conclusion that NBC is run by a bunch of idiots. Anyway, just in case Conan happens to be one of the five people reading this blog, I just want to say, YOU ROCK MY SOCKS, CONAN O’BRIEN. I LOVE YOUR SHOW AND WATCH IT OCCASIONALLY!


10
Jan 10

Pre-order Your Flying Car Today!

Over the years I’ve heard many people ask, “when are we finally going to have flying cars?” Well if everything goes according to plan, next year!

A company called Terrafugia has created what they call a “roadable aircraft.”  Not only is it a plane you can fly, but it’s also a car you can drive. (The wings fold up in car mode.) The vehicle has been aptly named Transition.

flyingcar

For a mere $10,000, you can place your deposit and reserve one of these flying cars today. The total price tag is expected to be $194,000 and please keep in mind that you’ll also need to be a certified pilot. (What, you didn’t think the FAA was going to let just anyone drive/fly a flying car did you?)

flyingcar1

All in all it’s a pretty funny looking vehicle. In fact, I’d say it’s downright ugly. But that doesn’t prevent me from wanting one.

If you’re curious about the Terrafugia Transition or would like to throw down 10 grand to reserve one, you can find more info at http://terrafugia.com.