Thursday, May 15, 2008

Google Maps Street View

If you haven't seen google maps street view, check it out. You can "walk" down streets of major cities, turn your head right or left to look at the buildings and take a virtual walking tour of major landmarks.

I first caught wind of it when privacy concerns arose by the people caught in the street view cameras coming out of strip clubs or falling off their bikes. Soon google will be blurring faces in street view.

Below I took a stroll down Yawkey Way to the entrance to Fenway Park!

Monday, May 12, 2008

$4 per gallon gas

Today I filled up my car for $3.99 and 9/10 per gallon (thats $3.999). Not quite $4 but close enough. And I felt just fine about it. My car uses premium unleaded, but I get noticeably better mileage and more HP. Plus it's amazing on a percentage basis how much of a bargain premium gas is nowadays, you only need to get 3-6% better mileage for it to pay out (and your car likely will!). But the bigger picture is the fact that we pay relatively little for our gas compared to the rest of the world (especially the developed markets). We could have cheaper gas since the US is sitting on $1.3 trillion dollars worth of oil, but we won't drill in ANWR, which is fine with me but you can't have your cake and eat it too. So we pay higher gas prices, but not that high as the chart below details (Updated last month).

Gas Prices Around The World

As a quick aside: Rising energy prices is going to be a good thing for the future. We aren't too far away from making "green energy" more viable on a cost basis. As traditional means of energy become more expensive, we will be able to invest in solar or wind energy without requiring government subsidies to make them pay out. Once an alternative enery becomes profitable - it will tip.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

6 Month Reviews

2008 BMW 335xi
After 6 months I still love my car. In fact I still haven't gotten used to it being my car. I still find myself walking out into the parking lot and seeing this car and thinking "wow - that car looks bad-ass" and then figuring out "Oh! That's my car!" I also love the fact that I can "chip" the car and get an extra 50-70 hp out of the car (up to 400 hp!) all while staying under warranty (yay Dinan). I think that would make my car a lot of fun even after I have had it for a while - to make it feel like new. I got almost 10 years out of the Audi, hopefully I can do the same with "Jill". I also am very happy with the AWD, I know many purists prefer RWD but I don't get it when the car is slightly faster with the xi and from what I understand the more hp you put into the car in the form of a turbo tune "chip" - the better performance you will get out of AWD vs RWD in terms of getting the power to the ground. Also I like getting up in the morning (especially winter) and driving my car without worrying about the weather like some RWD friends I know. Of course AWD only helps you get going, the stopping part is on the ABS brakes! Favorite car features are bluetooth and iPod adapter.

I also love the iPhone. It is hard to think what I did before I had it. I can get anything I want at the tip of my fingers, plus it's like a little GPS with google maps (no need to print directions anymore!). I think the 3G phone is a must since the edge network is so slow when you are off wi-fi, I also hope they improve the speaker phone volume. It's also an awesome video ipod.

Garmin Nuvi 360
I love my garmin. I have used it for many a road trip, as well as for some local trips where I didn't know where I was going (Cat Breeder, etc). The garmin gets a great satellite signal anywhere in the car and the points of interest are a great feature. I no longer have it on all the time, only when I need it, but I still am very happy with the purchase.

BONUS: 4 Year Review - Tempurpedic (foam) mattress
I still love my foam mattress. I am a bit bony, especially if I lay on my side (hip). The bed is so soft and comfy, and evenly supports your body, it is something like laying on a cloud, except that it is not a "soft" mattress in that after about an inch or two the resistance of the foam increases significantly so you feel like you are on a firmer mattress only it is VERY comfortable. My only wish is that I got the King size instead of the Queen because now that I am married and have 2 cats - it can get a bit crowded!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Movie: Lars and the Real Girl

Meghan brought home the movie "Lars and the Real Girl" on a reco from someone at her work. I have to say I faintly remember seeing the ads but the movie seemed to slip by without much press. Well - I am here to tell you that it was amazing! Movie Rating: A+

You are probably better off just watching it without knowing too much about it, so I won't give out many details. The movie is a drama - though it is mostly uplifting and funny - but not in a "laugh out loud" kind of way. The plot revolves around a man (Lars) who is socially awkward (probably some mental illness) and falls in love with a life size female doll. There is a similarly awkward female co-worker who falls for Lars and there is a love triangle with Lars, the girl and the doll. It is an extremely engaging film and what I liked most about it was how there wasn't a bad guy. There was no tension (no need for an antagonist) but it was a very compelling and heart warming journey about acceptance and love.

I also need to add that the actors chosen were perfect for their roles and totally made the movie. Probably falls close to "Little Miss Sunshine" in that regard.