Thursday, December 22, 2011

Car-related post!

And now, to car-related items!

There is not much going on in the world of cars and racing for me as the off-season begins. The BMW has been winterized and last night, even when driving on ice-covered roads, the car was sure-footed and confidence-inspiring. There is still the occasional clunk from the left-rear suspension, but I have ordered the parts that I believe will finally rid me of the problem. I hope Marc will have time to install them in the next couple of weeks.

The Civic is still at Marc's house. When he has time, he works on it. We just ordered a bunch of bushings that he will install. I have decided that I would like to enter the car in a 12-hour enduro at New Jersey Motorsports Park at the end of April 2012 and the car will need several modifications (mostly small ones) to be legal for the SCCA's ITS class. The Civic will probably not be a strong ITS car, but it will not be as outclassed as it would in ITE, which is essentially an open class with highly modified cars. One of the bigger jobs would be adding a harness bar to the roll cage and removing some braces create too many contact points on the chassis. Marc can also take care of this.

The planning of such a race is a daunting task, but I have decided to start early and see if I can round up three other drivers and a bunch of crew members. Seb Rochon of Bimmershop has won this event before and it would  be nice to have him around next year to give us some pointers on our first enduro over three hours. Speaking of three-hour enduros, I realized the other day that the Civic has now run ten of them, and finished them all. The car may not be that quick, but it's pretty reliable!

In November, I submitted a couple of articles to the AutoJournals web site ( and I found out this week that the journal about the M3 was accepted. Neat! I don't really have much to add to the initial journal entry so far, as the M3 is a street car without too many issues, but I will try to think of something interesting to say about it in the future.

Other thoughts, in no particular order:
- I like the Hyundai Veloster. I think it looks awesome.
- Toyota: your new Camry and Yaris look just like the old ones. What gives? You used to style cool cars, like the Celica and Supra!
- I have seen a few Boxster's on winter tires. I'm glad to see people actually driving their cars in winter!
- Another racing buddy has bought an E36 M3 as a track car. I am jealous!
- Marc has a rear-wheel-drive 1986 Corolla GTS sleeping in his parents' garage. I wish I could buy it! Talk about a practical classic car!
- I saw a new Saab 9-5. I didn't know there would be any new Saab's. I thought they were bankrupt!
- I came across some cars on display in a shopping center near my office. Highlights : an Alfa Romeo Montreal and an Aston Martin Lagonda... wow.



Neat JDM truck

Really clean 80's Jag spotted the other day

Cool cars spotted:
AMG C63 Coupe
Mercedes 500E
Hummer H1
Saab Viggen
Audi S8
Audi RS4
Porsche Targa 4S

I finally have some free time...

So I can write in the blog after almost three weeks since my last post. To keep things simple, I will not mention anything automotive in this post and then I will make a second post about car stuff.

I have been pretty busy at work, since my intern finished her internship a few weeks ago. Luckily, I will have a new intern in January.

I haven't played basketball in a few weeks, due to scheduling and my family Christmas party in Ontario, but I've been to quite a few games with my grade 8-9 girls. The Diamonds are having a pretty good season, as we go into the holiday break with a record of six wins and two losses. We have lost twice to the undefeated first place team (just like last year) and we only have one more chance to beat them in the regular season. We will almost certainly play them in the regional playoffs. Our brilliant assistant coach Darlington says he is treating the whole season as a practice for that one playoff game, which makes sense. The only game against that team that really means anything as far as winning a regional championship is that final.

Even though the girls have several wins, the team's play has been inconsistent. We have managed to raise the intensity level of the team, and we now have to work on correcting mistakes to minimize turnovers. I will be taking the coaching Level II training in January, since the league requires this level to coach grade 10-11, which I may end up coaching next year. I have been watching basketball documentaries (Gunnin' for that Number One Spot, The Heart of the Game) which, combined with the fact that my 21-year-old assistant coach knows ten times more than me about the game, makes me want to improve my knowledge of basketball and my coaching skills. I realize that I never really had a great coach from the age of 12 and that I mostly just showed up and played. I think this is something I can address though, by reading books, watching videos and attending training seminars.

As far as running goes, I have simply not done any. This is a bit sad and I have no real excuse. Any 2012 marathon I might run is so far off I barely even think about it. I will try to get some runs in during the holidays.

Alex has successfully completed her first semester teaching as a professor at Concordia University. She put in many hours and did a good job with her students, while continuing to work on future publications with her collaborators from around the world. She is still busy and will even have to work during the holidays, but she seems more and more comfortable with the work load.

All that is left is to wish any readers a happy holiday season!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winter is almost here.

It did snow one day last week, enough that the city was blanketed in white. However (and thankfully), it all melted, so now we're back to late fall weather. The ground is pretty soggy though.

Snow day

Ready for winter driving

I have been pretty busy with work, but I don't have many other activities to worry about: the auto racing season is well and truly over and I am not training for any running event. The hobby that is the most time consuming these days is basketball.

My men's team has continued to do well. After our initial tie-game, we have won four in a row, despite the fact that only five players have shown up in the last two games. My shooting continues to be quite poor, but my defense is still pretty solid. I just wish I had more time to practice. I try to shoot around with the girls at practice, which is better than nothing.

The Diamonds are doing pretty well. After the two initial wins, the girls plated against Regina Assumpta, the top team in our age group. They played a solid game, but ended up losing 46-43, which is not bad. At least we saw that we can compete at that level. Yesterday's game against Jean-Grou did not go as well, despite the fact that we won by 3. I couldn't really complain about our girls' level of intensity, as they were working hard. However, the sheer number of missed layups, turnovers and bad decisions on court almost negated all our defensive efforts. When they double-teamed our best player, she struggle to be productive on offense. Considering we have already beat this team by 25 earlier in the season, it was not our best performance. 

The holiday season is approaching but, as usual, I will only be able to relax after the last day of work before Christmas.

Cool cars spotted:

Audi S6 V10
Audi RS6
Audi R8
Audi RS4
Alpina B7
Lexus ISF
Ferrari 458 Italia
Maserati Quattroporte
Bentley Continental GTC
Nissan GTR
Saab Turbo X