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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DPI Does Canada

A messy line of stainless cars. Neat-o.

Under threat of thunderstorms I drove the DeLorean to a shop in Oakville where Josh Bengston, owner of DeLorean Performance Industries, was paying our club a visit. It was a long time in the making, but we were finally able to reap the benefits of Josh's expertise.

Approximately 17 DeLoreans showed up for Tech Day 2013 in the Great White North. Josh, a champion of high performance parts for our 30 year old cars, inspected each one and made a list of necessary repairs. The worst was not unexpected; a pair of rotted out frames; Holes, bendy metal, the whole 9 yards.

After a couple of hours of enjoying everyone's company and unusual drinking habits, it was my turn for one of the hoists. I turned the key. My reward? A loud POP! After 20 minutes of complete frustration we pushed my car into the bay. Disheartened by the chance that I'd be towed home, the investigation began.

Under Josh's direction I removed the air cleaner and immediately discovered the problem. And it was pretty shocking. Care to wager a guess? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Injector #2 had blown right out of the engine! Josh had a quick look, bent the clip back and reinserted the irksome injector. The car started instantly. Problem solved!

Up in the air, Josh quickly replaced my torn ball joint boot, leaving me loads of time to clean my frame. It seems stupid, but I'm proud of that part of my car which no one can see. With 115,000 miles, it should be a mess. Instead, well, have a look for yourself. Here. And here. And also here.

At the end of the day, the only thing we wanted more than a shower was dinner. The tradition continued as we treated Josh to some good ol' fashioned poutine. Aside from the usual crowds around our cars (and, strangely, around our table) it was nothing but good times.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Whisky - the Movie

Whisky could have been titled 'Little Red Riding Hood' for all it had to do with whisky.
"One of the best films of the year... Brilliant!"

- City Pages (Minneapolis)

2004 wasn't a particularly fantastic year for film, but it wasn't bad. LOTR: The Return of the King won Best Picture and Lost in Translation, chock full of exciting whisky visuals, was nominated for a handful of Academy Awards. Good stuff.

On the other hand, from Uruguay, came the film "Whisky." Admittedly, Sue and I chose it for its cover. Besides the alluring title, it was thoroughly showered with prizes. And yet, it was a poor choice.

The first half of the movie was interesting, despite the minimal and painful dialogue. The director makes mundane seem captivating as regular people encounter everyday problems not typically explored in film. At times the repetitiveness of these problems provided mild amusement while other times I found myself yelling, "We get it! Move on!"

"Profound, deadpan comedy" - The New York Times. Deadpan? Maybe. The actors conversations were so flat I believed they were amateurs pulled directly off the street. But that's okay, because I knew I'd be excited when they got into the whisky.

"Exhilarating!" - Miami Herald. Aside from the fact I found the intricacies of the machinery (a sock factory) exciting, I would say the correct word to describe this movie is boring. But that's okay, because I was excited, readying my mind to see how many whiskies I could recognize.

"Masterfully understated comic performances." - BBC (UK). There were a few somewhat funny moments where I smiled, but nothing sly, witty or masterful. The performances were so utterly devoid of emotion it could have been acted by cardboard boxes. But that's okay, because I couldn't wait to see what kinds of whisky they were going to drink!

Who was the competition? Mrs. Shoemaker's grade 1 class?Approximately three quarters of the way through the film, I came to the realization I'd been duped. There was no climax to the (in)activities of the protagonists and there was no whisky. None whatsoever.

The misleading title wasn't the only source of my frustration. The key element of the plot (when his brother comes to visit, Jacobo asks one of his employees to pretend to be his wife) was never explained and stories that started to develop from it were never explored. It was almost an interesting film, but every aspect of it was far, far too restrained.

How it won the grand prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, or first prize at the Havana Film Festival are so beyond my comprehension that I've come up with one logical answer: no other films competed against it.

If Whisky has taught me anything it's proof that your grade school teachers were right - never judge anything by its cover, even if the cover is full of accolades.

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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Honda Acty, The Best Truck Ever

Honda Acty microtruck is even smaller than my Honda Insight!

The Honda Acty is the best truck ever built. Why? Because it's dangerous. And danger means excitement!

A friend of our family imported a fleet of Honda Actys for his business, which requires drivers to sit on the right-hand side of the vehicle. My dad brought the fleet back for him, this one with the cutest baby crane you ever saw! Unfortunately, none of the fleet were Acty Dumps (quite possibly the best name for a truck ever).

In North America the Acty is out of place. It's a Kei class truck, built to meet the requirements of the Japanese government as they combat their crowded roadways and polluted air. In Tokyo (and probably other cities) you must have a registered parking space before you're allowed to own a vehicle. However, the Kei class vehicles let you around that rule because of their tininess.

Right hand drive is boring for postal workers, but exciting for regular shmoes like me.Kei class vehicles are built to specific, itsy-bitsy dimensions with a maximum engine size of 660 cc. This 3-cylinder engine has a top speed of 110 kph, which means it's legal on Ontario's 400 series highways. However, after bouncing around on city streets at breakneck speeds of 60 kph, that idea utterly frightens me.

With a mere 1 inch of metal separating me from the world, the Acty was like driving a skateboard. Manoeuvrability is astonishing, but concentration is important. Almost everything is reversed from what we are used to. At first I used the wipers to signal my turns and grabbed the door when I wanted to shift. Strange how the brain works.

If you want some excitement in your life but skydiving, blind dates and volunteering for medical experiments scare you a bit too much, find a Japanese micro truck and take it around the block. If you're not smiling as you fumble around with the shifter and signals, go back inside. You are destined for a boring life.

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