Review: 2011 Ford Edge Limited

Even those allergic to materialism will agree that the sensation of buying a new gadget feels indescribably incredible. Even when the item in question is a lowly Kindle, the ecstasy experienced when taking the device out of the box and seeing it for the first time engages you like few other things do.

In the last little while and within days of each other, an alarming proportion of my friends all treated themselves to an iPhone 4. I wonder if they coordinated, just to mess with my mind…

While the existence of a minor conspiracy is debatable, what’s certain is that they all experienced the ‘new gadget high’ very recently.

Review: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Comfortline

I don’t suppose you’ve ever spent much time considering the phenomenon of wind erosion. It’s actually quite fascinating.

It’s among the Æolian processes – named for the Greek god Æolus, keeper of the winds – which entail the wind’s ability to shape the surface of the Earth. This includes the transportation and depositing of materials, and erosion. While water is a much more powerful eroding force than wind is, wind erosion is very important in dry climates such as deserts.

Las Vegas, Wrap-up

(One must see the other side to get the whole picture.)

When contemplating the city, a comparison between it and LA first sprung into mind. LA is known for similar chaos and similar depletion of bank accounts, albeit in very different manners. Both are very famous cities (and they are about a four-hour drive away from each other), the most famous parts of both are as flashy as things can get, and both have the same wax museum (LA's is better, though)... Yet, they are two very different cities.

Wherever you go in LA, you can't escape the film industry. There is a sense of undeserved self-importance in the air – like the fetor of real celebrities, incidentally – that actually degrades the image of the city. Nobody wants to be around useless people who think they are important.

Las Vegas, part III

(The lights fight with the night for your eye's attention.)

In spite of the kitsch and false sensation of feeling important, it's all worth seeing, if nothing else but for its creativity. There's life in the city, after all, and there's a huge amount of things to do: for instance, the nightly shows by world-famous DJ's, comedians, and other artists and performers.

There is also every conceivable type of food known to mankind, and some of it is actually high-quality and authentic...

Las Vegas, part II

(The dancing fountains of Bellagio.)

Las Vegas has something to offer to everyone, both off and along the Strip. As a result, you will inevitably find yourself taking in the man-made sights that South Las Vegas Boulevard has to offer.

That's not counting all the free entertainment that is available right on the Strip itself, not limited to a talking tree. Imagine running into that one while drunk.

If you have heard of West Edmonton Mall, multiply it by ten in your head. That's how much each major casino-resort along the Strip has to offer. And there are about thirty of those.

Las Vegas, part I

(The volcano at The Mirage.)

As opposed to the last two detours, I arrived at my destination by plane. Upon disembarking from which, passengers are greeted by the one thing Vegas is most known for: a terminal full of slot machines (not "very exotic" dancers, unfortunately). The "frantic slot machine bonging" greets you just after the pilot welcomes you to Las Vegas.

Detour: Las Vegas

(Not the usual angle.)

"This city is dedicated to lowest-common denominator attention-grabbing: boobs and lights and noise."

A fitting quote, expecially because of what happens after about midnight. Among other things, "very exotic" dancers become visible even from the streets themselves, girls that you've seen only a couple hours prior dressed in pajama-sweats and in full make-up. You know they can't be tourists, and if you've ever been involved in any type of performance activity – including those involving clothes staying on – you'll instantly recognize the standard pre-performance routine: everything's ready, you just have to put your costume on. Even if you perform without one.

Review: Volkswagen New Beetle 2.5

Once upon a time, a man called Porsche had a task of creating a small, economical car that all his countrymen could afford. And in 1938, production of his invention began – first called the “strength-through-joy car” (KdF-Wagen) because of politics at the time. After a few key years, it was renamed to Volkswagen Type 1, known to the rest of us as the original Volkswagen Beetle.

Now, Volkswagen has decided to create a 21st-century Beetle, taking all the design cues from the Type 1 and fitting them to the Golf VI platform.

This effort resulted in a car that takes the best out of an almost eighty-year-old design and makes it look masculine and sporty, while still clearly showing its roots. The performance of the highest model is practically identical to Volkswagen’s own Golf GTI sport hatchback, a car historically renowned for the grin it provokes as you sit behind the steering wheel.

But this isn’t it.

The subject of this review is instead the New Beetle – which is now the old one, but not that old one.

Harmonic D-minor

(A good ear is necessary.)

Step by step, the Fića is getting to the point where it should have been some time ago.

Modern cars have a robot computer that works as a knock sensor, electronic fuel injection, and on-board diagnostics. In the Fića – and other cars of its vintage – the car relies on you for all of that.

The interesting bit is that only basic mechanical knowledge is a prerequisite. The majority of the skills you need can be found in someone who tunes instruments...

In other words, if you know how to use an acoustic resonator (tuning fork) to tune an instrument, you will know how to be the car's fuel injection.

Special delivery

I woke up early this morning to the sound of my own doorbell. In my neighborhood, that combination of events can only mean one thing: a package has arrived. And, unless I have a secret admirer, there could only be one thing in that package: a reason to put pants on and run down the stairs before the uniformed man leaves a paper tag on my front door.

Fortunately, this mailman has made deliveries to my house before, so he knows to wait a couple extra minutes whilst I try and remember my own name before I open the door.

Third gear

I fixed the temperature gauge!

I consulted the knowledgeable about the gauge not working. Not only did I find out how to fix it, but I also found out some facts about my Fića that shed more light onto why it wasn't working.

The first thing is that my Fića did not come from the factory with a temperature gauge. As a matter of fact, none of them did until 1978, which was when Zastava first started to equip Fićas with them.

Until then, all Fićas had to make do with just the warning light. The thing is, having only the warning light is about the same as having nothing at all...

Second gear

(Spot the difference.)

After the Fića got back from the mechanic, I resumed my usual schedule of running it every couple of days, to keep the battery full. The first time I did that post-repair, the Fića hesitated to start, made popping noises from its exhaust pipe (don't we all), leaked fluid, produced a coarser engine sound, and promptly stalled the instant it was left to idle on its own (sans foot-to-pedal contact).

And yet, this was all supposed to happen.

Gremlinbusters, part III

(Which one does not belong?)

Sunrise. All is calm in a particular town in BC. The more-than-fashonably late summer season has stuck around for a few days already. Somewhere, in a semi-industrial sector lies a shop, one that specializes in Italian cars. The shop's been there for quite some time, yet there's something there that doesn't fit – something that shouldn't belong, but does anyway.

Gremlinbusters, part II

(When there's a will...)

How do you get a car with no handbrake and brake lights somewhere 50 kilometers away, to get that all fixed?

Some are quite content with taking their chances and driving the car there. The fingers on the hand that doesn't have to do the shifting are crossed – necessary so that the back of the car doesn't meet the gaze of any police officers, and that the route doesn't contain any uphills, despite Google Maps saying otherwise.

Gremlinbusters, part I

(The start of a few days' work.)

The time has come.

Like I mentioned I shall do a few posts ago, I have taken the Fića to a mechanic specializing in Italian cars – his shop being an hour's drive from the Fića's home usual parking space.

A detailed tear-down, diagnosis, and subsequent repair of all faulty areas is going on right now, which will be posted on the blog. Stay tuned.

First gear

I am proud to say, the Fića has gotten closer to the point of owning the streets under its own power! As you'll recall, the first electrical gremlin is history: it now starts like it should, without secret handshake or hesitation. However, the second gremlin still persists, but it has sobered up a bit.


Have a look at the part in the above picture. Don't pay attention to what it looks like, or what surface it's on. Focus on what the part represents.

No, I'm not trying to be poetic, even though it really seems like it. That part represents the possibility of a solved problem – it brings with it new conclusions and an answer to an old question.

Review: 2010 Chevrolet Silverado

The universe holds some particularly sad truths. One is that people have lots of potential, but only few realize even half of it. Instead, they allow themselves to be distracted by things that don’t matter, and lose consciousness of the what's really important.

These people view realizing their potential as too much work, a sentiment that's cemented with every minute that passes by. Their lower two cheeks get so deep into the couch that one day, they begin to lash out at those that have put in the necessary effort and made something of themselves.

Pandora's album

As promised a few days ago, I present the comprehensive photo gallery of the star of this blog.

But before you browse through the images, first take a look at what the Fića looked like back when I bought it. I'd say it's now as much the same as it is irrecognizable.


The time has come! Wonder no more which of the six options represents my Fića, as I can now show you what the above-pictured window is attached to.

Click through to (finally) reveal what hides under that tantalizing white tarp...

Getting ready

Imagine a nice sunny weekend, the first of its kind in many months. At long last, there are no duties to be taken care of, there is nothing to be tended to. In such a state, what's the first thing your brain devises for you to do? Relax with a nice drink perhaps?

I know the answer.

Abstract trilogy

There was this series of movies called Star Wars – you may have heard of it. The series consisted of two trilogies describing the role of spaceships and glow-in-the-dark swords in the life of a man who buys a black suit to mark his mid-life crisis. Or something like that.

My Fića, however, is not a spaceship, but it does have a trilogy of its own – and just like Episode I, it at first appears to have nothing to do with the main story and the rest of the parts.

The elements

Some call it "snow." I call it "getting in the way." Worse still, I actually like snow.

It makes sense, I promise...

Despite being an active participant in my ongoing house renovations, I've still managed to get the Fića closer to the point of the formal 'de-embargo.' I've fixed the right sun visor, such that it now stays up, instead of just dangling about. The remaining minor bits that were pending are done as well, so the only thing standing in the way is the electrical misadventure.

Wait, I lied.


Fact: there are electrical gremlins – it's not the Fića's fault, but that of the unfortunate fellow that reinstalled the electrical system after the paint dried.

Fact: I will have to sort them out myself – regardless of what one might consider doing to balance the universe, the car is now half a world away.

A mind of its own

What you see above isn't just the Fića's engine running; it's an event. Although, it isn't so for the reasons you might expect.

This event doesn't occur if the battery and oil warning lamps do not light up beforehand. When you turn the key in the ignition of modern cars, most (if not all) of the warning lamps in the dash come on. When you crank the car, they begin to turn off. It's the same with the Fića.

The stone of wisdom

The stone you see pressed against the Fića's back tire is what we like to call the stone of wisdom (kamen mudrosti). Its inherent purpose is to keep the Fića from heeding the sloped driveway's calls of having it roll backwards and hug my fence.

Don't be fooled, though, the car is modern enough to have a parking brake. The thing is, it doesn't work.

Problem solved

Every day there's progress. Although yesterday, it didn't seem like it.

After successfully making the Fića start several times the day before, I assumed that it would now work normally. Like I already mentioned, classic cars keep you busy...and despite having been brought back to life, they still have a temperament. As such, guess what happened, or should I say, didn't happen...?

It's alive/Happy new year!

To the right of my driveway, by where the Fića is parked, is a twenty-foot (or more) pine tree that loves to shed needles. These needles are so abundant that this tree's days are numbered.

But while it's still here, we figured that we could make some use of it; this tree is therefore also this year's Christmas tree, which was convenient since last week, we received a thirty-eight-year-old four-wheeled present that perfectly matches in proportion.