2 Cars, 1 Town

September 15, 2009 at 11:43 am (Cars & Trucks, General) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Okay, kiddies.  Back to talkin’ about cars and stuff like that.

My home town of Vancouver Washington is not a place where you would normally expect to see exotic automobiles.  Nevertheless, one occasionally sees something unusual, expensive, and / or lightning fast.  Vancouver’s mean streets have played host to the new Challenger and Camaro, and I once even caught a ride in a vintage Rolls Royce when my plebian Mazda 626 broke down.

But this post is all about 2 black cars from opposite ends of the spectrum, both sighted in the last month or so, right here in “The ‘Couve“.

Latest sighting first… I was out being run around on Fourth Plain (my dear sweet Merkur XR4ti is temporarily benched), and up ahead I espied the cute little butt of a petite black roadster.  As we drew near, I saw it was sporting a removable hard top and BMW “M” badges.

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Aha! A BMW Z4 M convertible. Talk about quick and sexy!  Oh, honey.  Front and rear wheel arches widely flared, lots of fat tire under each corner of the beastie, and as we watched it launch from the next traffic light (with a throaty 4 cylinder roar), it made impressive use of all that power and all that rubber.  Nice.

Next upon the stand – something completely different.  Also black, also European, but from an entirely different “neighborhood”.

Several weeks ago, cruising along Mill Plain (east of I-205), my highly trained eye was caught by a black hatchback up ahead.  I tilted my head this way and that, trying to fit what I was seeing into my brain.  Is is a Nissan?  Is it a Fiat? Did someone jack up the back end of a 1989 Toyota Tercel?

No, dear friends! My wondering eyes were beholding a marvel of Russian engineering in the form of – a Lada Samara (I think it was a Samara – I’m sure it was a Lada).

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The young feller behind the wheel looked and sounded American born, and was very excited that I recognized the car, as we shouted back and forth and I favored him with a “thumbs up” for taking on the awesome responsibility of driving such a rare vehicle.  (Parts are easier to find these days, thanks to The Interwebz, but the FedEx charges will kill you.)

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Not a lot of Americans pay attention that closely, as I’m sure many of you have discovered.  Too bad, really.  There’s a lot going on out there in traffic – and in the world – and a lot can be learned if we merely pay a little attention.

Whenever I’m out and about, sitting at a light, I look around me, and most of the time, I see my fellow primates staring fixedly at the light, waiting for it to turn to green.  Hey you – WAKE UP! Life is going on while you’re marking time, thinking about where you believe you “need” to be next.  You’re gonna miss all the fun.

And all the cool cars, too, you dork.

(… not to mention, that hot chick over there in the crosswalk.)

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9/11 Recalled

September 11, 2009 at 12:16 am (General, Mind & Body, Politics) (, , , , , , , , )

Wow. Eight years since the towers fell. And it’s been a rough eight years all around. (It’s been very tough on our men & women in uniform, and I’m sure it’s been even rougher on Afghanis and Iraqis, and not to diminish the suffering of the innocent in those lands, but that’s a subject for another time.)

I’ve decided to tell my 9/11 stories.

Let’s go back to 2001. The morning of September 10th – the day before. When I walked out the door to go to work that day, I literally (not just a figure of speech here) stopped in my tracks, right on my front walk and said – out loud – “Something is really wrong!”

I stood there for a moment or two, mind in a whirl, looking around and listening, but saw and heard nothing untoward.  I shook it off, and went to work, with a feeling of foreboding nevertheless. Next morning, a friend called and woke me up with the awful news.

Next, let’s go back to 1983, when I was visiting New York City. My co-worker and I visited the observation deck of the World Trade Center. As I was looking down at the construction site across from the base of the tower, I saw the beginnings of the secondary buildings that would later be damaged in the 9/11 attack. A wee small voice inside my head said, “Too bad it won’t last.” I thought, “What??” The reply – “That’s right, this won’t last. I chalked it up to my usual cheery fatalism and my acute awareness of  mortality and entropy.

When we got back to ground level, I stood for a few moments on the sidewalk and looked back up at the facade – that bright, modernistic metal cladding that we all saw jutting out of the smoldering ruins on 9/11, and once again that tiny voice popped up, saying “You’ll never see it like this again”. And I thought it meant I would never return to New York City.

The psychic energy of the 9/11 event was so powerful, I apparently felt it not only the day before, but 18 years before, as well. Yipes.

Ever since then, I’ve listened to that little voice.  It tried to warn me about my marriage (failed) but I didn’t heed it.  Other times, it’s helped keep me out of trouble.  Those little voices have a lot to say.

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Blue Eyed Soul

September 2, 2009 at 12:19 am (Entertainment, General, Music) (, , , , , , )

Apropos of nothing, as they say… this band just sort of popped back up in my memory the other day, and it occurred to me to share their music as a classic example of blue-eyed-soul from the 1970s…

Ladies and gentlemen – the Average White Band!

Not at all bad for a bunch of lads from Scotland! I recall they caused quite the stir at the time, as a few purists considered them to be too Caucasian to properly bring the funk. I disagree. Here, have a slice of cake, and decide for yourself:

Now that I think about it, I probably got to thinking about AWB because my co-worker, Spence, is a member of a Portland funk band called Excellent Gentlemen.

But because I am old, and socially lame, and my car’s broken (again) I have yet to go and see them perform. Yes, I know. I should be horribly shamed. But whatcha gonna do, eh?

Spence, I promise I’ll get out and see the Excellent Gentlemen play. It looks like it will be an amazingly good time. As long as there’s some Guinness for me to drink.

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