Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Friday, January 13, 2023


They say we're made mostly of water.  

So how come we can't find the sea?

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Steep winter

Had an absolute bugger of a drive back from Utah early this week.  Simple fact is never to attempt a drive through Flagstaff during a winter storm.  You think you can beat it? Fine.  Reap your rewards.  

Thankfully, we made it back in one piece.  And it looked like the lion's share of our adjacent travelers did, as well.  Those who slid off the road were, at best, mildly inconvenienced.  For the worst, they might have had to catch a ride back into town.  We did see one poor fellow who careened off the 17 and tore his entire bumper off.  

Glad to be back in the Valley of the Sun.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Chill change

The chilly weather has settled fully upon us here in AZ.  Those trees who would cast their leaves on the ground have days left to complete their ritual.  

The next few weeks should be fairly mild but frigid at night.  

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Friday, October 07, 2022

Lol, typo

Credit, @lettersofnote, Twitter

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Wake me when…oh, wait

Life passes much too quick for my taste. I've glanced at the "update site" button on my computer nearly every day, while September blew by with nary a whisper in the back of my addled mind.

Here's hoping that each one of us has a blessed holiday season, rapidly approaching.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Too long

Truthfully, I am getting older. Many regrets I have already laid to rest, happily exercising my rights to introspectively assign value to actions vs their outcomes.  There have certainly been a great share of youthful fantasies that never bore fruit.  I have identified and cataloged many instances of arrogance and suppositional rhetoric in my years.  

I can't look back at what might have been, because I did what I did at times for a colorful tapestry of reasons.  At some moments, survival was paramount. And still others, I was interested in the thrill of change, of spontaneity that would surely drive the winds behind the sails of my life.

I suppose that, given a bit of temperance, I can entertain the thought that life still holds much in front of me.  Mid life (in all it's sundry machinations, pock-marked with exhaustion, financial insolvency and straight-up dehydration) has me by the scruff of my neck right now, and it's hard to see above the trenches at times.  I am paralyzed with fear at forever screwing up more lives around me than I have hairs on my speckled head.  I often press the pause button and wonder, in the words of David Byrne, "Well, how did I get here?"

Yes, yes...the days go by.  Racing, forever racing because no matter how hard I try, I cannot exist for learning, and to slow down time is a fruitless exercise of sentimental futility.  Dry and brittle are the new hobbies that sink their atrophied claws into my soul; I continually reach backward to draw old pleasures into the present-tense of my life.  Perhaps that, my friends, is why my right shoulder has seemingly drawn its last ping-pong ball from the tumbler of life's lottery.  

I carry with me so much passion, so much hubris.  I sometimes explode with such unannounced and unfocused tremors of anxiety that I cannot help but wonder where it all comes from.   I was told all along that I ought to break the cycle of generational trauma, but which character traits do I carry in my psyche that, if lopped off with reckless abandon, would sever ties with lesser-developed but internal sensitivies in my soul?  Who knows.  

Anyway, here's a picture of the Sonoran desert that I took while I was punishing my body during a 41 mile bike ride this past Saturday morning.  As for the rest of the words in this entry, I have no idea where they came from, or why the savory picture of a morning's sunrise caused them to protrude with such fervor from my nervous soul.  Enjoy this fine Monday.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Updates, etc

Having driven the new car for a few days now, I've gathered a few thoughts about the differences between my previous Tesla Model 3 and this new Chevy Bolt.  Fun fact: I haven't test driven the last two cars I purchased.  That is an absurd statement.

The Tesla that I owned previously was a 2019 model year, "Standard Range Plus" version with a maximum of 240 miles of range.  

My new car is a 2022 Chevy (I refuse to type "Chevrolet", tho I just did...) Bolt EV 2LT.  Maximum range: 259 miles.  On paper, that doesn't seem like much of a difference. But my goodness, in real world driving comparisons, it seems night and day.  My commute to work is a healthy 31 miles each way, and I was always conscious of what my battery started and ended at.  

For example, any given weekday morning, I would wake up with ~185 miles of range on my Model 3 (I would charge to 90% only).  Given maths, one would assume that I arrive at work with around 154 miles of range left.  More often than not, however, my range would be in the 140s.  On occasion, my gauge would correct itself and say I had 150 or 160, but that was rare and only really on 70º mornings, when the battery was at it's nominal temperature.

Now, I realize I only have a few days of real-world usage, but I've only had to charge my car once in the 4 days I have had it.  This morning in particular, I started my drive with 226 miles of range (again, charging to 90% because no one can seemingly come to a consensus online about charging best practices) and ended my drive with 212 miles remaining.  Now, I have some observations about this discrepancy.

Driving habits: I would drive my Tesla hard.  I never used "Chill mode".  It was always balls to the wall, bat outta hell style driving.  This is my fault.  But no one could challenge me on the road.  Each launch at a green light would cost me dearly.  The Bolt? She has not yet entered "Sport Mode", which basically means I am running this car in Chill mode 100% of the time.  It's served to calm me down.  Plus, it's a new car, so I am babying her.  I haven't taken Max above 75mph.  

Overall efficiency: This is a smaller car.  It's obvious just by looking at it in the garage. I am simply not launching a longer, heavier car around the freeways. (update: I am full of garbage.  The weights are nearly the same: 3552 lbs vs 3289 lbs)

Regardless, I am seeing some huge advantages with this newer EV.  Anecdotal statements from subredditors say that Tesla's range estimation algorithm is messy and unpredictable.  Sure seems that way, to me.

So, what do I like about the Bolt more than my previous Model 3?  

  1. Ride height.  I never thought this would be me.  But it's easy to get in/out.  I see more of the road around me.  It's a nice feeling, and it gives me great visibility.  
  2. Physical buttons. Sorry, but swiping on a screen, in retrospect, was inefficient at best and dangerous at worst.  I want to turn down the AC? Tap the AC button, miss the touch point, fix what I touched, get the right touch point, adjust the AC slider, oops...too high, adjust down...etc.  Now, I reach over and push a button up and down.  Magical.
  3. That A/C.  Speaking of the A/C, Chevy knows how to cool a car down.  While I don't have rear air, it hardly matters.  That air is chilly.
  4. Sound system.  The Bolt came with a 7 speaker Bose system that fairly trounces the sound from the Tesla.
  5. Quieter ride.  Some of this can be chalked up to the fact that I replaced my rear tires in the Tesla with cheaper, louder tires.  But the cabin in the Bolt feels quieter to me, too.
  6. Wireless CarPlay.  Seriously, I had wired CarPlay in my 2016 Hyundai, and I missed it each and every day.  Now I can use Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, Apple Music, Spotify...whatever I want.  It's my choice, and it's divine. 
  7. No glass roof.  Looks great, in theory...but as the driver? You never see it.  Only your passengers see it.  And I live in AZ.  It's HOT.  
  8. 360º backup (HD Surround Vision).  So nice to see everything around me as I park.  Oh, and 25% of the time, my backup camera in the Tesla would fail to respond.  So that was fun.
  9. The Regen Paddle.  On my Bolt's steering wheel, there's a paddle on the left side.  Pull it, and it doubles the regenerative properties of the permanent magnet motor.  I already use one-peddle driving, having gotten used to it in my Tesla.  But this regen paddle basically ensures that I may never need to use my brakes, unless in an emergency.  And this can only help increase my range.
  10. REAL SiriusXM radio.  Yep, I am hooked on the stuff.  I have had to use the app for the past 3 years.  It wasn't a huge deal, but it did require me to launch it from my phone before I could drive away and listen to it.  I also had to reach for my phone to change stations.  But now, I have the full experience back.  Oh, and it's cheaper.  $5.99/month vs $8.99.
There are quite a few other things I really like, but I think this entry is getting boring. So, how about what I don't like?

  1. It really is smaller.  The center console is narrow, and only one arm really belongs on it at any given time.  My rear seat passengers better be children, and small ones at that.
  2. No AutoPilot.  Nope.  No auto steer, none of it.  I have lane keep assist, but that is a poor man's implementation of the most advanced level 2 self driving technology known to man.  I miss it.  I will forever miss it.
  3. SuperCharger network.  For now, I am forbidden the use of Tesla's expansive network of fast charging stations.  But that could change, by year's end.
  4. The "Cool factor". It's just not a Tesla.  It's a Chevy.  No one is gonna stop me at the drive through and say, "Cool car, man".
  5. Two screens instead of one.  This one completely surprised me.  But it has been a wee bit disorienting going back to having my speed, battery charge, etc directly in front of me again.  So I am now looking back and forth between two screens, instead of the one massive screen in the Tesla.  I am really confident that I will get over this pretty quickly.
  6. The app experience.  Tesla's app was superbly designed and showed me everything I needed.  And it was usually quick to refresh.  But the MyChevrolet app is slow, inefficient, and doesn't show me critical information.  Are my doors locked?  Dunno.  Sure, I can lock them.  But shouldn't you show me?
  7. Phone as a key.  This one hurts.  I never carried around a key fob in the last 3 years.  I walk up to my car, it's unlocked.  I walk away, it locks.  I miss this dearly.
  8. That blinding, raw speed.  I may turn on Sport Mode someday and negate this one. 
  9. The frunk.  That extra space really came in handy, especially when bringing home pizza for the kids!
  10. Rear A/C.  See above.
In the end, the pros outweigh the cons.  She's still an EV, so that makes it a win for me.  How about y'all?  Any questions for me about my experience in switching away from a Tesla?

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Hello, Max

Well, here she is.  After all the worry, regret, and uncertainty of the past two weeks, I am feeling much more upbeat about where we landed.  She's a great little car, full of pleasant surprises and unsuspecting spunk.  Much like her name-sake*, which....come on. They even have the same expression.

I know there will be things I miss about the Tesla.  Carrying around a key again is weird, and Auto Pilot was so nice to have.  But the new car is so quiet, smooth, and I have CarPlay back!  

I'll come back later and give more updates, as I have only driven her a couple of times.  But it sure is a welcome sigh of relief to have an EV again.

*See this link, if you don't already know

Friday, July 01, 2022


At the delivery center on June 6, 2019
I realize deep attachment to "things" may not be the healthiest attribute I possess.  But I cannot help it in this moment, as I sit within the tangible feeling of regret in my soul as think about what I did this week.

I said goodbye to Petra.  My most perfect Tesla Model 3, who over the past three years, bandied me about as I took kids to school, drove to work, and kept up an engagement over state borders.  She barely gave me any trouble until the end, when her brain seized up and she required a new one.  It was an expensive repair.  That, coupled with the extended miles I placed upon her for the duration, prompted me to foolishly abandon her to someone else.

The miles multiplied quickly for so many reasons, other than noted above.  She was exhilarating to drive. I went to Payson, Flagstaff, Tucson, Utah, California, and so many other places, it's hard to keep track.  And it was always so cheap.  Road trips were a cinch when you only paid $8 to get there.  Foolishly, I let the wear and tear accumulate too rapidly.  

I also realize that this will probably be the first and last Tesla I ever own, as they have grown prohibitively expensive over the last few years.  I have proudly explained in the past that I purchased her for $36k, before the $4000 reward from the federal government for purchasing an electric vehicle.  That same vehicle now costs $49k now, with no rebates, and costs still rising.  

Astoundingly, she was sold for $33k with a ton of miles racked up.  I am sure she will bring the next owner a lot of joy once she is all fixed up and has some new shoes on her.  She only brought me joy, that's for damn sure.  

 June 29, 2022.  Battle damage included, she's still a beauty

And while this story is laden with undeniable privilege, irony, and hyperbole (which I will not deny and am truly ashamed for), it's also punctuated by the fact that the car I purchased to replace her with is already in the repair shop, having landed there a mere 15 miles after picking her up from the dealership.  

I am confident still that when I truly drive my next car, she will help calm my feelings of regret.  But for now, everything is exacerbated by the fact that the car I chose to replace Petra with has already fallen ill due to a small manufacturing defect.  

Crossing my fingers that things go smoothly in the days ahead.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The bad news first

It's just a real shame.  A rotten, crying shame.  There I was in Utah, happily snapping pics of family and nature, none the wiser.  But upon close inspection of the photos, I noticed streaks of light all over the place.  Figuring there was something disturbing the lens on my phone, I turned the phone over, and saw the culprit immediately: my 26mm, seven-element, f/1.5 wide lens' sapphire cap was totally and utterly destroyed.

And it's only gotten worse with time.  Further cracks have appeared, branching outward from the unfortunate impact site.  It's my opinion that the sapphire protecting these cameras is utterly too thin, especially considering how prominent this camera bulge is now.  

I haven't a clue when this happened, but is has sure put a damper on my lust for shooting.  And yeah, my previous post (over a month and a half ago, natch) was an effusive post about how I had grand plans to shoot with this iPhone 5S I found in a drawer.  And while I have taken a few shots here and there, I underestimated how unlikely I am to carry around two phones with me, regardless of the size and shape of the secondary unit.  It also got really hot outside, really quick. Arizona summers are wearing on me in a way I didn't foresee.

Luckily, the other two lenses are intact and in good health.  I took a lovely shot of the Gilbert LDS Temple the other day with the zoom lens on a beautiful rainy day that I just may post when I have the desire.  Until then, just know where I've been, and know that I am not paying the prescribed $440 that Apple wants for this repair.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Five Ess

I found this old iPhone 5s in a drawer at work the other day, in new pristine condition.  It had been meticulously cared for by its previous owner, that was obvious.  Always in a case, and never without a screen protector.  This phone is considered ancient, in terms of cell phones...this model was released in September of 2013 (almost 9 years ago!). 

The battery doesn't work well anymore, which I suppose is expected.  Software is well out of date, too.  It won't run the latest apps, as most contemporary apps require iOS 14 and above (this phone runs 12.5.5, and no further).

But what I noticed when I picked it up was how *tiny* it feels in my hand.  What's more, it's tremendously convenient to carry around as a 2nd device, which gave me the idea to load Hipstamatic on there.  So, for the next few weeks, I will give this near-decade old iPhone a proper send off, using it to capture pictures for this blog.

A few comparisons between my working phone and this 5s:

13 Pro Camera: Pro 12MP camera system (Telephoto (ƒ/2.8 aperture), Wide (ƒ/1.5 aperture), and Ultra Wide (ƒ/1.8 aperture)

5s Camera: Single 8MP Wide camera (ƒ/2.2 aperture)

There are no image stabilization features on the 5s, no night mode, no neural image processing (Deep Fusion), no optical zoom, and no portrait mode.  On the plus side, the 5s retains some semblance of HDR capture, as well as a true-tone flash for low light.  

The fun part about this comparison is that due to the way Hipstamatic utilizes the iPhone APIs, none of this might matter.  I do not believe the Hipstamatic app utilizes any neural image processing features, it does not use anything but the 12MP wide camera, and it disregards the image stabilization features.  What will matter is the amount of light the lens can gather (ƒ/1.5 vs ƒ/2.2).

I am curious to see some side by side shots soon.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Palms in the sky

Not much to say, I'm afraid.  Been a busy few weeks since the wife and I returned from Disneyland.  Mirroring my latest post to Instagram, this was a shot I took near my place of work during a walk around the block.  

The hotel property in which these palms belong is being renovated to become some sort of long-term housing. Not sure how well that'll go over.  The place might be haunted.  It's a long story.

Thanks for visiting, as always.