Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 - Some Serious Shit

I loved my Sanyo phone so much, I decided they can probably make a half-decent HD projector.

Thanks to the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, the sweetest full 1080p projector in all the kingdom, I will soon be seeing some serious shit of my own as Doc Brown punches his Time Machine to 88 mph - in just over one thousand seventy nine lines of HD resolution.

After nearly 7 and one third months of exciting research, I narrowed down my home theatre projector choices to the Sanyo Z3000, the Mitsubishi HC5500, and the most highly acclaimed projector ever, the Panasonic PT-AE3000U.

I decided against the 3-LCD Panasonic for two reasons. First, it cost a couple hundred dollars more than the Sanyo. And in order to acquire the extra cash I would've had to mug at least three little old Nonnas. Ethically, I see nothing wrong with mugging the geriatric grannies. In fact, I'd be racist... er... age-ist if I avoided them simply because of their elderlyness. So what's the reason? I wouldn't be able to handle all the punching, kicking and screaming. All that violence is too much for a tiny stick boy like me.

I'm fragile. Like a flower.

The second reason is because I cannot trust those engineering clowns at Panasonic after our nightmarish experience with our massive P.O.S. 1080i Panasonic TV. The first TV, purchased back in '02 was in the repair shop more than it was in our living room. After 2 years it was eventually replaced under warranty when the entire picture tube failed. And the replacement hasn't been all that much better in the 5 years we've had it.

I am a big fan of Mitsubishi, as I drive a most excellent one every day. In fact, my love for them is so strong that if Mitsubishi ever delved into the world of consumables, I'd eat their hot dogs and wouldn't ever question what kind of meat they used.

Sanyo Z3000 - a handsome projector with no aerodynamic silliness.But I did not choose the 3-LCD Mitsubishi HC5500, primarily because of the poor price/feature ratio. For a couple thousand dollars less, the Sanyo is the industry's first projector to have 5:5 pulldown (120 HZ) and creative frame interpolation (See www.projectorcentral.com). Additionally, it beat the Mitsubishi's contrast by a large margin, Panasonic's by a bit, and offered 3 full years warranty coverage vs. Mitsubishi's two, and Panasonic's pathetic one year.

Why LCD? Not because it stands for Liquid Crystal Deadliness. No. But I did breifly consider a DLP (Digital Light Processing) projector. I was tempted because I found a few, probably manufactured by Satan, for less than half the price of the good LCD's: For example, the $1,400 InFocus X-10, at TigerDirect.ca.

However, I ultimately decided against that entire technology as I am highly aware of, and susceptible to the dreaded "rainbow effect" that their colour wheel produces. Being vulnerable to rainbows, I'd make a rotten Leprechaun.

The sweet Sanyo is filling my tum-tum with butterflies. But I can't relax yet. I've still got a lot of drywall to hang before I can sit back with a tasty beverage and a Mitsubishi-brand footlong and watch the Z3000 project its high def awesomeness in my basement home theatre.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Star Trek Cereal - Boldly Going Into My Stomach

Kellogg's white collars boldly went where Post's didn't - and made this awesome Star Trek cereal.Look! Up on the shelf - it's a cereal! It's an advertisement! It's.... Star Trek Limited Edition cereal, from Kellogg's!

As you may or may not know, I'm a cereal fiend, especially when it comes to American cereals. If there's anything I love more than the cereal, it's movie/cereal team-ups.

Way up here in igloo-infested Canada, cereal selection is dismal at best and downright miserable at worst; often the choice between no-name oatmeal, Corn Flakes, or some sort of puffed, half-germinated seed pods with "no added sugar!"

But in the USA there are choices. In the USA there are special cereals. Limited Edition cereals. Cereals like Star Trek, with delicious planet Earth, planet Vulcan, and Delta shield marshmallows that crush gloriously between your teeth.

While vacationing in Ohio, (I know, that doesn't make sense, but it's true) I specifically stopped at a grocery store to see what kinds of awesome breakfast treats I could bring home. I snagged a box of Star Trek cereal for $1.99. In fact, I was so excited, and the box artwork was so excellent, I went back the next day and bought a second box.

The box declares the cereal as a "sweetened oat cereal with marshmallows". But when I dove into the oaty galaxy swirls, I found them to be a less sweet version of plain, ordinary Cheerios. DE-sweetened is a more appropriate description. They certainly weren't bad, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they were sweet.

The marshmallows, however, were fantabulous, as they are apt to be. Like an erect Captain standing strong in the face of space danger, the 'mallows were stiff and crunchy.

Although I found nothing new in this cereal, I still loved it. It was a no-nonsense kind of food. It didn't try to introduce anything special or new. All it did was advertise a great movie, and give your sorry ass self a half-exciting reason to get up in the morning. If only for the marshmallows.

In the end Limited Edition Star Trek cereal has unboldly gone where many cereals have gone before. Into my colon.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Wanted

Sunsets are most beautiful when pollution levels are most dangerous.

While contemplating the existence of Zombies on the weekend, I watched an interesting event unfold outside my front window. A minivan slowly slinked, stalker-style, up my street and came to a stop in front of my house.

I ducked.

Honestly, I have no reason to duck. Nobody is out to get me (that I am aware of) and we never experience drive-by's in our happy neighbourhood. But I ducked anyway.

Spying through my own front window, I watched a child of maybe 9 or 10 years jump out of the back and run up to my front door. I waited for the doorbell, but there was nothing but the eerie silence of my quiet neighbourhood. No blood-curtling screams of "Help! I'm being kidnapped!" or "Call Robocop!" Nothing.

A second later the small human ran back to the waiting van. The rear door slid shut and the van slowly drove away, turned the corner, and disappeared from view.

Hand a note to a Wendy's cashier that says 'Wanted, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger' and see what happens.Eagerly wanting to know what that was all about I ran out the front door to try and see where the van went. But something stopped me. It was a note.

The note was typed on a regular piece of paper: "Wanted: 3-4 Bedroom Home In The Totally Sweet Area. We are a five-person family looking to purchase in your area. If you are interested in selling, please call or e-mail us.
555-555-5555 or stinkinrich@sympatico.ca

Based on the events I witnessed, this family seemed to be hand-delivering notes to only the houses they really liked. I watched them drive past plenty of houses larger than ours, so size did not appear to be the only factor.

This is now the fourth party to express interest in purchasing our humble abode since we moved in. (*The following sentence not intended to insult Realtors, especially Lela, Stan, Peter, Larry and Mark.) All of the interested parties wish to circumvent a Realtor, and thus avoid their high fees, stale coffee breath and annoying, pee-stained catch phrases.

But with four interested parties, two of which contact me on a fairly regular basis to inquire when we plan on moving, perhaps I can LAUNCH THE BIGGEST BIDDING WAR EVER! MUHUHAHAHA! Early retirement, here I come!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weetabix's New Minibix

Weetabix. Breakfast of octogenarians.

Using a skill I mastered in kindergarten, I noticed something different on the store shelves while shopping for cereal recently.

I used to like those "Spot The 10 Differences" type games until I realized what they actually were. Not exactly a test of your intelligence, but rather, an arrogant representation of the illustrator's apparent brilliance. By erasing one extra wrinkle under some crocodile's eye, or adding one extra millimeter to the bloody croc's third eyelash, the illustrator could simultaneously boost his own ego, and make millions of children cry when they could only find 9 of the 10 differences between the two stupid pictures of crocodiles having a picnic. With beavers. On the moon.

But I digress.

What I noticed on the store shelves was something which wasn't there before. It was a yellow box of cereal with the word NEW! splashed boldly in the upper lefthand corner. To be precise it was Weetabix's Minibix Chocolate Crisp cereal.

When I thought back to my early childhood, I recalled eating Weetabix, innocently swallowing its mushy, sogged clumps. I couldn't pinpoint anything particularly terrible about those memories, so I gladly tossed the box into the lop-sided grocery cart.

Mere hours
later I was excitedly prying open the box of Minibix. With delicious-looking chocolate chips embedded in each rectangular wedge, I was expecting a delicious cereal treat.

Like strange breakfast magic, Weetabix is first crunchy, then instantly soggified.Upon eating the Minibix, my childhood memories of Weetabix almost instantly came flooding back. And they were not good memories. The dripping sog was far worse than I ever recollected. The cereal had turned to pulpy sludge in only a few seconds.

Every now and then my tastebuds danced with delight as chocolate passed over them, but it was not enough. The cereal was a failure. However, as everything and everyone deserves at some point, I gave it a second chance. But even the next day, when I was fully expecting the softness & squishiness, I just couldn't do it. I had to dump the bowl.

Finally, I decided to try the cereal dry. Lots of cereal is eaten dry, as a snack. Some cereal even tastes better dry. Personally, I prefer any cereal marshmallow when it is dry and crunchy. I was hoping this new Weetabix would have some salvation in its dryness.

The rectangles crushed in my mouth, sweet chocolate mixed with a sort of beige blandness of something similar to, but more fragile than corn flakes. It was.... okay.

Thankfully Suz liked it more than I did and the box did not go to waste. However, I will not make the mistake again. Weetabix is simply another cereal to add to my long list of crappy Canadian cereals - which makes shopping for breakfast in the U.S.A. all the more exciting.

You will only find me eating Weetabix in my winter years, feebly mashing the mush between my gums while I cry over my wasted years of youth.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hypocricy Of Ontario's Policing System

My documents. Fighting a ticket is not as easy as it seems.

Today I went to court for the first time, to fight my bogus "improper muffler" ticket. I was feeling confident because my police-officer friend told me I'd more than likely win. But, still I did not know what to expect.

And if I could offer anyone advice, that is the only thing I would confidently be able to tell them: expect the worst. The worst Justice of the Peace, the worst behaviour from the officer who charged you, and the worst outcome possible. Do this, and you will be prepared.

If you are looking for how to fight a traffic ticket, the following may or may not help you.


When I arrived 15 minutes early, I sat outside the courtroom until the prosecutor entered. She was very friendly and I followed her inside. I sat in the second row. Sitting in the front row is not permitted.

Soon afterwards six police officers entered. They all sat in the far back corner and talked amongst themselves. Most of them looked happy and normal. Then I noticed the officer who had issued me the ticket. Officer Peng looked very grumpy and disturbed. Almost angry. Like I had ruined his day by fighting the ticket.

When my case was called I approached the defense table with all the documents I had prepared. I had with me a magazine article on the Porsche Cayman factory exhaust, an independant Harley-Davidson factory exhaust study, results from two decibel tests I conducted on a City bus exhaust, and a Yamaha YZF motorcycle exhaust. I also had with me a letter from my mechanic stating that my exhaust was a properly functioning and properly installed system. I had a copy of the Highway Traffic Act which I supposedly violated, and a list of questions for the officer.

The officer gave his testimony, and was surprisingly disrespectful. He looked behind himself for some of the time, mumbled as though he were fed up or frustrated, and spoke extremely quickly, making it difficult for everyone to hear him. The prosecutor asked him to repeat himself on at least 2 occasions. He also stated falsely that my exhaust sounded like a bee in a tin can, which couldn't be farther from the truth, as my exhaust is low, producing a deep bass tone.

When the prosecutor finished her line of questions, the very pleasant Justice of the Peace indicated I could now ask the officer questions. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that 'Yes' and 'No' questions were the only questions permitted.

It was perfectly permissible for me to ask the officer if he was hung-over that day. (I wanted to know if there was anything interfering with his hearing.) I then asked, "Are you aware that my exhaust IS a properly functioning exhaust that is properly installed by a mechanic?"

He declared that he did not know how to answer the question. I said, "I want to know if you're aware that my exhaust system functions properly."

Again, he stumbled and said he did not know how to answer the question. I said, "It's Yes or No. I just want to know... are you aware?"

It was a pretty simple question for anyone beyond primary school and finally he answered, "Well, then, no, I was not aware of that."

When I moved on to my next question, "Are you aware that my exhaust was specifically designed to meet the strict 95 decibel limit set by..." the prosecutor stepped in and stopped everything. She said this type of questioning is not permitted and the Justice of the Peace agreed, stating the officer is not expected to know the manufacturing details about my exhaust. She said I'd be able to present that in my defense, when I took the stand.

I asked one final question: "Have you ever stopped a Harley-Davidson or any other motorcycle and issued that same ticket?"

"No." was the reply, and I declared I had no more questions.

The officer stepped down and I took the stand. I swore on a Bible that I'd tell only the solemn truth, and the Justice of the Peace asked me to explain why I thought I was not guilty.

My main points to her were facts:
  • My exhaust is 95 dB, verified by the manufacturer and a dB meter

  • A Porsche Cayman factory exhaust is 99.2 dB

  • A Harley-Davidson Softail factory exhaust is 102 dB at cruising speed

  • A Yamaha YZF factory exhaust is 116 dB at idle

  • A City bus exhaust is 100.2 dB travelling less than 5 km/hour

I held various magazine articles and explained where these numbers came from. Some were published articles, some were my own independent tests conducted with a decibel meter. I held up the HKS catalogue and read aloud, "HKS exhaust systems that are designated for street use retain all factory emissions equipment and complies with... a noise limit of 95 dB. This is the opposite of the officer's claim that my exhaust was designed to make excessive noise."

Buses are alLOUD to be loud when you have a corrupt policing system.I quoted the Highway Traffic Act to the Justice, "'Every motor vehicle or motor assisted bicycle shall be equipeed with a muffler in good working order... to prevent excessive noise...' which means that all of these vehicles must fall under the same law that my car falls under. And all of these vehicles have much louder exhausts than my car."

Now the prosecutor had a few questions for me. She asked if I had replaced my exhaust, to which I answered yes. She asked why I had not just gone to Canadian Tire in order to purchase a quiet exhaust. I declared that I did install a quieter exhaust and explained my reason for replacing it was that my previous exhaust was far too loud. She asked if it was fair to say my exhaust was louder than some other cars on the road. I said it was fair.

Having successfully presented many facts to defend myself, I stepped down. Her Worship, the Justice of the Peace re-stated everything the officer had said, and everything I had said in my defense.

She agreed that there were other vehicles, which were louder than my car. She said she did not understand why there were laws that allowed shops to legally sell exhaust systems that violate the Highway Traffic Act. She said she did not have the ability to change that legislature.

Then came the result. She said while there are indeed other vehicles on the road producing more noise than my exhaust, for example the city bus, police officers cannot possibly stop every single one of them. She continued, stating, "unfortunately, the officer stopped you that day, therefore I find you guilty of the offense of Improper Muffler contrary to the Highway Traffic Act."

How can the legal system justify this? They can't. Feel free to make any assumptions about corruption you wish. You cannot have police officers stopping evey single bus to issue a ticket, thereby delaying the entire transit system. The city would fall apart. And imagine how silly it would be to have city employees (bus drivers) paying the city fines.

I gathered my things, angry at the hypocricy and illegal political partisanship within our city. The principles of equal treatment under the law do not exist here in Ontario.

The Justice of the Peace had agreed my car was not as loud as the Porsche. She had agreed it was not as loud as every motorcycle on the road, and most importatly she agreed in her closing statement that it was not as loud as an official city vehicle. Yet she found me guilty despite these facts, which, by example, puts all city buses in violation of the Highway Traffic Act. Yet you will never see a police officer stopping a bus.

I looked at the officer as I left the courtroom but he refused to make eye contact with me. Instead, with his head down, he turned to his right, and stared straight into the wall, like a small child who knows he just did something wrong.

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