Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Just another Toyota operator

Here's the problem with Toyota building a full-size pickup: your typical Toyota driver doesn't know a thing about how to drive. Which leads to the following display of Toyota driver aptitude:

Friday, 14 December 2007

Coming soon- reserved parking for your dented Lexus

As a part of my work with, I receive TONS of worthless press releases by most major automakers. This one from Toyota/Lexus just takes the cake. The press release is in italics below:


(Philadelphia, PA – December 10, 2007) Lexus drivers in the Greater Philadelphia Region now can have priority parking at the Wachovia Center as part of a new sponsorship package between Lexus and arena owner Comcast-Spectacor.

“Lexus continues to be a great advertising partner of ours,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “As we continue to look for new and exciting opportunities for our fans and our sponsors, Lexus remains a terrific partner.

“As a result of this new arrangement, we’re able to offer our customers who drive Lexus cars an opportunity to park in a specially designated space with other Lexus owners.”

As part of the new three-year advertising and sponsorship package, Lexus drivers can park in a designated Lexus parking spot in either of two lots in the Wachovia Center (C-Lot and E-Lot). Additionally, these new parking sections will feature Lexus advertising prominently featured on the light polls.

Comcast-Spectacor ( is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), the two arenas in which their teams play, the Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum, four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

I can just imagine all of the smug Lexus drivers in the Philadelphia area, beleiving they are fully elite because of the opportunity to park their cars in special lots. I actually like to think of it a a concentration-camp for bad drivers and banged-up cars. If we could force Lexus and Toyota drivers everywhere to park in brand-specific parking lots, we could significantly reduce the risk of risk of parking lot damage to our own more-special, carefully-driven-and-maintained cars.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Snowy weather brings out the best in Camry drivers...

Oh, for the lack of a camera when you need it...
Driving on Madison's unplowed residential streets today I came across two drivers living obliviously in Camry-land (the state of being so immersed in Camry-ness that the rest of the world ceases to exist).
I encountered these two drivers within 100 yards of one another (but scarily, within mere feet of me!) One: had parked right up next to a snow bank on an unplowed street and was spinning, spinning, spinning to no avail to get out. This Camry was parked on the opposite side of the street from every other car, making an extremely narrow passageway on the snowy lane. Two: after negotiating the stuck white Camry, I was coming upon a maroon Camry headed towards me driving on the wrong side of the road towards me. I stopped to allow this errant plasti-mobile room to re-attain the correct side of the road, but the driver piloted her craft even more to my side of the road, and inched closer to me, motioning to me that i should pass on the wrong side of her. Once I was passed, she continued on the wrong side of the road towards stuck white Camry. I didn't see what transpired when push came to stuck. What a bunch of morons...

Friday, 30 November 2007

Hall of Shame

This really speaks for itself...

Monday, 5 November 2007

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Danger--Camry Operator in Borrowed Passat

Madison, WI October 31, 2007
An alert has been posted to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in and around Madison, Wisconsin. A Toyota Camry driver has been spotted behind the wheel of a late-model, white Volkswagon Passat sedan. The Passat was seen on the corner of Old University and Chesnut Drive, failing to make a left turn at a clear intersection, then proceeding at between 10 and 15 MPH down Chesnut, and then stopping at a green light at a construction site on Chesnut. The driver was last seen headed towards University Hospital. The driver has not been in possession of the Passat for long, as all bodywork was still attached and free of scrapes, scratches and dents.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Dead Cat

Dear cat owner-

If I ever catch your cat in my garage again I will kill it. I may come kill you too, or at least I will sue you. Yesterday when it was so unseasonably warm and sunny, I had just finished washing my Volvo, and I put it away in the garage. While I was putting the supplies away, my wife came home and I helped her get our daughter out of the car and in the house.

When I came back to the garage minutes later, your dirty cat was sitting on the hood of my Volvo. It had left footprints on the hood, and dirt had fallen off of the cat onto my car. I would have thrown something at the cat, except it was on my car and I didn’t want to further sully my car that your cat had just dirtied. Seeing your cat on my car caused a rage to surface in me that I’ve been working for years to reduce.

Nearly ten years ago, when I lived in a different state, I pulled my then-new Saab coupe into the garage of my home on a warm summer evening, leaving the windows open. I went into the house without closing the garage door. I came out later that evening to go to the store, and I climbed into my beautiful Saab and drove away into the warm, dusky evening with the windows still open and the radio playing. Upon arriving at my destination, I rolled up the windows, locked the car, and shopped.

When I returned to my car a few minutes later and climbed in, I instantly smelled cat urine. I searched the car for a cat, but none was found. When I returned home in my reeking car, I saw a cat standing in our garage. It quickly ran out when I drove up.

As I inspected my car in the light of the garage, I was distraught to discover that the cat had climbed up on the hood of my car, and in through the open driver’s window. It left paw prints on the driver’s seat before standing in the driver’s footwell of the car and pissing on the carpet, pedals, floor mat, and footwell’s center console. I ended up disassembling the center console, lower dash and lifting the carpet to use “pet odor” cleaning solutions on the carpet. I hand-washed all of the interior plastic parts in the kitchen sink.

If I had ever seen that cat again, or if I had found out whose cat that was, I would have gotten sweet revenge. For good or bad, that never happened. Perhaps it would have been cathartic. Perhaps it would have been pathetic.

Ever since, I’ve never left my car parked with the windows or sun-roof open far enough that cats could get into the car. I don’t like to leave the garage door open for any length of time. I’m neurotic about it. So the fact that your stinking, dirty cat was in my garage sitting on my freshly-washed car last night absolutely crossed the line. Consider yourself warned.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Camry Hybrid- for Planet Clueless

As a car enthusiast, I subscribe to a few car magazines, and I watch several auto-themed websites to keep up with car news. I’m used to seeing all types of crazy ads promoting cars, but this one really got under my skin. It is titled “THE CAMRY HYBRID. FOR THE NICHE MARKET CALLED EARTH

The first paragraph includes the phrase “Engineered to squeeze up to an unheard-of 500 miles from a single tank of gas- practically twice the mileage of a regular mid-sized sedan”. The next paragraph states “It’s a feat that some claim is still years away. And without Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive®, it would be.” Too bad that isn’t true.

My wife and I own a 2001 Saab 9-5 sedan, with 2.3 liter, four-cylinder LPT turbo engine and 5-speed manual transmission. On highway trips in the 9-5, we routinely get 30-32 MPG. We occasionally see results approaching 35 MPG. At just 32 MPG, we can travel almost 600 miles on an 18.5 gallon tank of gas. And that’s without the added complexity of a hybrid powertrain. So that feat of 500 miles- without the hybrid system- isn’t years away. It’s years ago, as in 8 years ago, when the 9-5 was introduced to the US market. Of course, the 9-5 isn’t a regular mid-sized sedan. It’s a phenomenally competent, stylish, comfortable, spacious car, with a well-designed driving environment, none of which really applies to the Camry.

The ad goes on to describe the Camry’s hybrid system, stating that “The technology combines a highly efficient, gasoline-powered engine with a self-charging electric motor.” Umm… what is a self-charging electric motor? I’ve been an electrical engineer for over 10 years now. Motors aren’t charged. They’re powered. Batteries and capacitors are charged. I think they tried to simplify the words used to describe the fact that the motor uses regeneration to charge the BATTERY. Whatever. We all know that the people who operate Camrys don’t have any sort of technical understanding of how vehicles actually work.

Finally, you can see a little drawing in the middle of the page, a line-drawing of the hybrid system within the car. The caption under the drawing reads “Despite its unique technology, the Camry Hybrid drives just like a regular car.I know that to be untrue. No modern Camry drives like a regular car. It drives like a nine-year-old Buick with a 97 year-old deaf guy behind the wheel, at about 52 MPH in the left lane of I-5 with a dent in the back bumper and a scraped right-rear door.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

I’m a professional writer. Now, what should I write about?

On Sunday I had a phone “interview” with the editor of He had posted on that the site was looking for additional contributors, and requested a short email from people who were interested.

I replied, we set up a phone conversation for Sunday, and now he’s waiting for my first piece, which I promised him by the end of the week. Great. As a car guy, I’ve always wanted to be a bit of an automotive journalist. Here is my chance. There’s just one problem. I can’t think of anything to write about.

I’m afraid the demand for posts about a Saab 900 has pretty much been satisfied by the saablog. And there are only about six of you who like to read my gripes about drivers of inferior products. So what relevant auto-related topic should I be writing about?

Friday, 14 September 2007

Learn to drive, jackass!

Dear Dark Green Camry operator-

Thank you for making a right turn onto my street so wide that it forced me onto the shoulder this evening in order to avoid being hit by your crappy, ugly car. Without clueless, inconsiderate, unsafe drivers like you I wouldn't have anything to write about on my blog. I don't really mind drivng through the grass and gravel in my nice, clean Volvo, treating my wife and daughter to an off-road adventure. I needed a good excuse to test out my V70R's razor-sharp steering, as well as a reason to wash the car this weekend.

I hope that the next time you do that, another Camry is coming down the street instead of me in my Volvo. Because all of you Camry operators are such poor drivers, it will certainly wreck both of your cars, making our streets safer by getting you and your junky, poorly driven cars off of the roads.

Thanks again-
Mr. Anti-Camry

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Selling a dented tan Corolla

My neighbors across the street are moving to the midwest. Their banged up tan Camry is already back there. Their Corolla is across the street, in their driveway, for sale.

So far, I've seen several people over "kicking the tires", asking questions, poking around, making offers well below the $7000 asking price. My neighbor complained to me that the book value is $7500, and asked me why people were offering just $6000 and complaining about the floor mats being dirty.

So, neighbor, let me tell you why:

1. There is a huge dent in the front fender just in front of the driver's door. And the right rear corner/bumper is caved in. Who wants to spend $7k on a dented Corolla? Who wants to spend that much on anything so dented? You can buy a perfectly good Saab 9-3 turbo for that price, which is just as reliable, infinitely more stylish, and actually fun to drive.

2. Your car is certainly a mess inside. You clean it twice a year (with a power washer) and there is visible garbage in the back window.

3. You have no service records, since you did all of the service by yourself in your driveway.

4. The passenger side headlamp is out. I noticed it last Thanksgiving, and it is still out.

5. Last night I saw you drive away with a full-sized couch tied to the roof of the car. If I were a prospective buyer I'd run the other way.

6. The wheels are cheap stamped metal whose paint is flaking off.

So summarize, dear neighbor, people aren't offering you very much money for your car because it is dented and junky. It isn't worth the Blue Book "good" amount because it isn't in good condition. You'll be lucky to get rid of it!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Hall of Shame

I'm proud to introduce a new feature to Anti-Camry. I'm calling it the Hall of Shame.

Hall of Shame posts will feature what we've come to know as the status quo in Camryland... the junky cars and ones parked "just like a Camry."

Tonight's Hall of Shame is courtesy of my family's walk to the local library. My daughter got to touch all the stuff in the library that every kid in town has already coughed on; while my wife and I got an eyefull of these two prime examples of today's Toyotas:

Exhibit A: Parking... those lines are really just a suggestion, right?

Exhibit B:

There's a whole world of these poorly driven, dented Toyotas, piloted by a legion of cluless idiots. So you're sure to see another Hall of Shame post very soon.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Big Brother-san is watching!

Just as Toyota has created a committee of people to make their cars more interesting, they've now got a guy who they're paying to read peoples' blogs and other web content which is written about Toyota.

According to AutoBlog, Bruce Ertmann is Toyota's "Corporate Manager of Consumer-Generated Media". He tracks what is being written about Toyota online. I hope he reads all of the posts here, and that he will pass on to Toyota that most Toyota drivers are really bad drivers. I hope he tells his bosses that driver (re-)education should be mandatory with the purchase of a new Toyota. And I really hope he enjoys his Corolla. It's certainly tan.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Fear This!

The tan Camry I was following this afternoon while running errands in my fancy European race car had a sticker in the back window, which is unfortunately illegible. It reads "FEAR THIS".

I literally do fear that. Every time I get in my car I'm afraid of the tan Camrys and Corollas I see. Those dents and scrapes on those tan Toyotas are mirrored on other, innocent vehicles all over the place.

Another thing I fear is MICROWAVE POPCORN. I told you readers months ago about the acrid stench of it, which had been banned by both the City of Seattle and by me in my home. Since then, two things have happened that have shown that I was way, way ahead of the curve on this popcorn problem.

The first thing happened about 1:00 AM on a Thursday morning last month when I was on vacation with my wife and daughter. While staying in an Embassy Suites hotel in one of our coutry's top three strip mall scourged suburbs, the fire alarm with automated voice annunciation started sounding, indicating that we needed to prepare to evacuate. There were sirens, a disembodied voice, and a screaming two-year old. The culprit: a hotel guest who burned their microwave popcorn. The lobby was filled with disheveled guests, while the sloppy night manager stammered apologies about the "false alarm". The alarm was real. And so was the stench. It all came from that bag of chemicals and popcorn.

The second thing happened last week, when the dangers of diacetyl were made public. Diacetyl is a buttery flavoring used in products like microwave popcorn, popcorn oil (for use in movie houses), potato chips, and other junky food that fat or poor people eat. It turns out that people in factories where food products are made from diacetyl are suffering lung failure from exposure to the chemical. Manufacturers are scrambling to find replacement ingredient(s) for diacetyl. Perhaps they should (a) stop making microwave popcorn, and (b) start using BUTTER to make butter flavored things.

Banning microwave popcorn is still a viable issue in my campaign for governor. So is an overhaul of the Washington State Patrol. Now they've started yet another "crackdown" on speeding on I-5 in the Seattle area. Word is that whereas they used to give speeders a 5-MPH leeway, now they get only a 3-MPH leeway. Sounds like revenue generation at its finest. I insist that the roads would be safer if the KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS law was strictly enforced.

Oh and another thing... don't get me started on "illegal use of vehicle horns"...

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

You may have an expensive car, but you don’t know how to drive it!

I attended a performance driving school this week in my fast, fancy European sport wagon, the Volvo V70R. It’s got 300 HP, All-wheel drive, and a 6-speed manual transmission. I special-ordered it from the factory to be sure I got the exact high-performance car I wanted.

The school consists of a morning classroom session followed by driving exercises focusing on car control, handling, and braking. Then we drive at slow speeds (50-60 MPH max) around the racetrack to become familiar with it. After lunch and a short discussion of the track, we spend the afternoon lapping at speeds with which we are comfortable, and which our vehicles can handle.

One year ago, a bunch of us owners of new Volvo R cars were invited to a local European dealership chain’s performance driving school. Six or seven of us attended last year. The dealership chain sells Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, and Volvo, and most of the other cars were Porsches.

I decided to attend again this year. Four of us from last year’s crew were debating attending, but this year only two of us did. The other repeat attendee recently sold his S60R and bought a used 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. He has 3 kids, his wife drives a Toyota Sienna minivan. I’m afraid an entire fleet of Porsches won’t make up for owning a Toyota Sienna minivan. But I digress. His Porsche is below. He's going faster than my high-end digital camera makes it look.

This year, the only other Volvo at the school was a new 2007 XC70: basically, a decently powered, tall station wagon on very soft springs with an automatic transmission. I’m thrilled I wasn’t driving it. I can't imagine.

About half of the remaining cars were Porsches (mostly 911s but a few Boxsters), about half were Audi sedans (mostly S4, with an RS4 thrown in plus a TT, A6 and A8). The handful of others were an Acura NSX, Mazda RX7, and a handful of Mercedes: CLS550, CLK55 AMG, C230 Sport, and new GL320 diesel (yes, their biggest SUV, in a 6-cyl diesel), as well as a new Infiniti G35S sedan and a first-gen G35 coupe.

We had 2 run groups at the school, so that half of the cars were on the track at a given time. The GL, CLS, and C230 were all in my run group, as was the G35S. The CLS was driven by a 40 year old Chinese man who spoke with a very thick accent, and who explained that he bought himself the car several months ago for his 40th birthday. Seriously, he looked like a bad driver, even when standing apart from his car. The CLS is a BIG car, but the 550 isn’t the performance version of that vehicle. As we were standing around discussing our cars, he explained that it has a 6-speed automatic transmission (it’s actually 7 speeds). One of the other Mercedes drivers (the C230 driver) asked about the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Mr. CLS said there are no paddle shifters. It turns out he didn’t know what those things behind the steering wheel were, he thought they operated the cruise control which he had never used. Looks like he’s off to a good start…

When we got out on the track, the C230 and the GL were obviously underpowered in comparison to the other vehicles on the track. They were easy targets for passing. The CLS was an easy target because the driver didn’t understand what a “Line” through the corner was, nor was he able to understand when it was best to use the accelerator or brake pedals to quickly make his way around the track. He was an idiot. He should have been cited for DWA. He did get to see the R’s taillights pulling away more than once.
Better him than me!

The Porsche owners in attendance were split in to two groups: The gearhead guys who bought their cars to drive them fast (and already knew how to), and the poseurs who bought Porsches so they could be seen in Porsches. I passed two such 911s in my R. If I can outrun your new Porsche in my Volvo wagon, you probably shouldn’t be driving a Porsche. You should be driving a Camry. Also, just a tip: don’t wear Birkenstock sandals to driving school... or even to just drive your Porsche. Just ride the bus. Idiot!
(Birkenstock guy holding up the erstwhile R owner)

Interestingly enough, two different Porsches had mechanical problems while on the track. The first was towed in after it started smoking heavily from the exhaust after turn 2. The second I actually found by driving right into a smoke cloud exiting turn 2. Somehow on fast, sweeping left-hand turns oil can enter the intake, causing it to be ingested to the cylinders. Evidently, it’s a known problem with Porsche 6-cylinder engines. Yes, really… Porsches have this problem at race tracks. It’s shameful. No wonder the only dealer representative at the track was the Porsche Service Manager. He “fixed” the problem by wiping the oil from the intake with rags, and revving the engines in the parking lot to burn all of the oil off. What a sight. Seems like the service department at the Porsche store must keep busy.

The guy in the G35S had cool Puma driving shoes, poor driving skills, and a terribly unattractive car. The new G35 sedan is being tested by the auto magazines as a BMW 3-series competitor, but I don’t know how people can credibly compare the two when the new G35 is so anonymously styled. He thought his car was way cooler than my R. I guess "cooler" doesn’t mean faster around the track, loser!

On my final laps, light rain began to fall. It’s so liberating to drive 100 MPH with the windows open in the rain, feeling the fresh air buffeting the cabin, sensing the car and the track with my eyes, ears, nose, skin, and the “seat of my pants”. For any of you loyal readers who are actual “car drivers” rather than “automobile operators”, I recommend a performance driving school. It will help you become a better driver, learn the handling limits of your car, and give you a day of enjoyment lapping on the race track. The extra bonus is that you can come home and make derisive comments about all of the dumb-asses who own expensive cars and think they’re hot shit. What could be better than that?

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Isn't this interesting???

According to this post on Autoblog, Toyota "has created a "Committee to create interesting cars" in response to grass roots criticism that recent Toyotas are uninteresting."

A committee to create interesting vehicles sounds to me like a bunch of clueless nerds forming a club whose goal is to make themselves cool. They're so clueless about what "interesting" means that they wouldn't know "interesting" if it ran them over in a parking lot. Interesting cars aren't designed by a committee, nor by following a corporate formula that has created millions of tan transportation blobs. I predict uninteresting, poor-driving (and poorly driven) cars in Toyota's foreseeable future.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Your car is a piece of JUNK and you're a bad driver!!

I always intended this blog as a place to show off all of the crappy, banged-up Toyotas I see every day driving around. As it turns out, I don't always have my camera handy when I'm driving around, and I pass most of the crap-mobiles without snapping a photo.
That being said, I've managed to take just a few, which, I've decided, it's time to share.

The first is this faded, rusty red Corolla. It's a bit tough to see in the photo, but the original driver-door mirror is broken off. It has been stylishly replaced by a truck mirror. Beautiful. At least it should help reduce blind spots. Notice that this fat guy is driving in the 2nd lane, even though the right lane is empty. I would expect nothing less.

Next is the following Yaris, which I was lucky enough to follow through Coeur d'Alene last week. Good job on the customized body work. All 5 people in the car (yes, 5) were smoking with the windows open in the 102 degree F heat. Seems like a great time.

That brings us to my across-the-street neighbor. I hate to air the neighborhood's dirty laundry here on my personal blog, but really. He doesn't really ever wash his 2 tan Toyotas. But when he does, he really washes them. Here he is, POWER WASHING the two banged up appliances. BTW, the Corolla has had a headlight out since winter, and the Camry is scraped on the front-right fender, with the scrape terminating in a missing passenger-door mirror cover. Awesome. He also told me that the Corolla's Check Engine light goes on when he runs the air conditioning... when he called the dealer to enquire, they told him that "the light shouldn't come on until after 100,000 miles." Hmm... He actually drove the Camry out to his wife in Chicago earlier this month... that would have been an interesting, scary sight to behold. I'm happy to have been safely here in Washington. I'd like to be able to say that the absense of the Camry reduced the Toyota count on our street, but that isn't the case. His next-door neighbor traded the family's Chrysler Town & Country for a new Prius last week. Another family falls for the hype. And we're down to just two Toyota-free houses on my street, though the other holdout's Buick Skylark sedan doesn't win him any prizes.

Finally, a bit of Zen provided by cars other than Toyota: we spied this awesome PT Cruiser limo near Scappose, Oregon on Saturday. There it is, poking along in the left lane of HWY 30. Nobody has ever accused the PT Cruiser of being overpowered, and adding the extra weight of the stretch certainly didn't help.

I thought people rented limos when they wanted to celebrate, or for a special occasion. What would anybody possibly want to celebrate by renting this car? Poor taste? Poor crash ratings? Or maybe just poor driving in general. Thanks, Mr. PT Chauffeur, for driving in the left lane in your bad idea. You've given us all something to laugh at this week.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Somebody- maybe me- needs to start a car rental company for people just like me. People who can't stand automotive automotive incompetence... or even automotive mediocrity. I'd rent out Volvos, Saabs, Volkswagens, Minis, maybe even BMWs and Smarts. . And Porsches. Nothing crappy.

My boss is long-winded. He can come into my office to answer what shoud be a 15 second question and sit there flapping his gums for two hours. During last week's marathon chat a co-worker had to send me a text message on my phone to see if I needed her to pull the fire alarm so I could get him out of my office, enabling me to get some work done. In any case, my big old long-winded boss told me that he'd had a new Ford Escape rental the previous week, and that it was horrible. It felt rollover-prone, had poor handling, and terrible dashboard materials. This from a guy who (a) rents a lot of cars, and (b) owns a Kia Spectra. I'm not making this up.

In any case, his portrayal of the Escape, plus a fairly underwhelming experience with one in snowy Anchorage several years ago, caused me to ask for another car today when Ms. Avis-Spokane handed me the keys to an Escape. The "only thing" she had available was a Mercury Grand Marquis. When she told me that, I stood there, thinking about it, for a while. Seriously it must have been at least a full minute of me standing there at the Avis counter, going "Hmm... mmm... you said an Escape or a Grand Marquis...hmm.."

I went with the Mercury, because I remember how tippy and horrible my recent Jeep Liberty experience was, and I know how underpowered the Escape can be. I chose poorly. I'd forgotten that the Grand Marquis platform dates back to like 1990, a time when the "classic" Saab 900 was still in current production. The car's hard points are very 1980s in their locations, as is the horrific driving position. Much like Saab kept adding more electronic subassebmlies to their 17 year old 900 platform, so has Ford added the electronics to the Grand Marquis. The idea, however, remains the same. All the slippery, low-grade leather/vinyl, door-mounted seat controls (a la Mercedes), dim-witted automatic climate control, and in-dash info displays in the world can't dress up the old pig underneath.

The car floats on the highway like I remember floating on a waterbed once as a child. Shift quickly left then right, and a wave will come back to get you, an unwanted chassis oscillation upsetting the car's intended path. Venture on to a gravel road, and the "extremely isolated" steering and brake feel leave you with no clue whether the car is braking or skidding; accellerating or spinning the tires; turning or about to plow right off the outside edge of the curve.

Chrysler has come out with newer full-size cars in the Magnum/Charger/300 series; GM has very nice large cars like the Buick Lucerne (OK, one very nice large car plus a couple of AWESOME Cadillacs... the current Impala doesn't qualify as nice)... but Ford has the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car. It's disgraceful. Ford is trying to come back and is doing OK with the Edge and the Fusion triplets, but their current large cars are dinosaurs. Yuck. I'm not looking forward to the next few days piloting that beast around Coeur d'Alene.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Idiot Corolla operator at the gas station!

I stopped by the local Costco gas today in my snooty Euro-Sportwagon and, fortunately, I was able to pull right up to begin fueling my thirsty car with premium gas.

In the next lane over, a car had pulled away from the front pump but a second car was still fueling at the rear pump. Typical etiquette is to pull around the car which is still fueling and back up to align yourself with the pump. However, the Fat Female in the filthy white Corolla was just sitting there waiting for the second car to leave. She had her windows open. The station attendant approached the car and told the lady she could pull around. Her response was something like "No, I'll just wait, I'm not that good at backing up." WTF??!!

Fortunately there was nobody behind her. If I had been behind her I would have had an anyeurism, or shouted obscenities at her, or pulled around her, effectively "cutting" in line. Or maybe all three.

This is just another example of why Corollas and Camrys (and probably all Toyotas) should come with mandatory driver training. If this female couldn't pull around the car in front of her and back up a few feet to fill up her car, she probably shouldn't even be on the road. Imagine how many fewer cars we'd have on the road if the new Toyotas had this mandatory Driver Training requirement... people would take the class, fail the exam, and their blandmobiles would just have to be parked at home or returned to the dealership.

Right. Well, we can dream, at least.

Monday, 2 July 2007

The Storyteller

Let’s just say that you were at a social gathering, and there was a guy telling the entire assembled group a story, about how people think the rules apply to everybody except for themselves. He began to tell some stories about examples of this behavior.

As an example, the storyteller mentions those traffic circles in neighborhood intersections, saying that for a “left turn”, you’re really supposed to go 270° around the circle rather than cutting the corner to the left, but that he figures that rule applies “to everybody else”, that it’s OK for him to cut the corner.

Then he gives another example, one about talking on the cell phone while driving. He says it can be distracting, but he feels that he’s a better driver than most people; it’s OK for him to talk on the phone while driving.

All the while, you’re thinking that this guy is your typical Camry driver. Not so much oblivious to the rules of the road as figuring that because he’s a “good” driver, the rules don’t’ really apply to him. Mister Unremarkable, who feels that it’s just fine to bend the rules a bit. Umm hmm. You might become more and more disenchanted with the story, while gaining insight into the average Camry driver’s mind.

When the story is over, people are mingling, and maybe you go ask Mr. Unremarkable if his stature as a great storyteller grants him the privilege to cut corners and yak while driving. He just laughs and says something like “Yep, perks of the job, I guess.”

After the gathering is over and you’ve eaten all of the host’s very good food, you head out to the parking lot, and as you’re pulling out in your sleek Euro ride, you see the grand storyteller getting into his car. What do you think he drives? As if the stars had foretold this moment, you witness the storyteller climb into his tan Camry with a dented rear bumper and drive away.

Move Over --->

This guy has the right idea. If I could figure out how to download the video, I'd put it directly into my blog. I'll work on that.

Move over

Ironic that I saw this piece while visiting Portland (both my mom and a friend emailed me the link), and then later that day I could have usted this guy's product to get this old bag out of my way: I finally passed her on the right after following her for about 20 minutes as she eased by right-lane cars at about 70.01 MPH.

It really was the Hondas tying up traffic on the trip home from Portland. The Toyotas were not out in force, for a change.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Oh my God! Slow Down! It's the Police!

What is it about seeing a police or State Patrol car on the freeway that causes people who are driving along - with their cruise control set exactly at the speed limit- to slam on the brakes and drive slower?

During a recent trip on a largely uncrowded Interstate, I came upon a pack of cars crusing along at 67-68 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. The cars were clumped up behind a blue government-issue Crown Victoria with “exempt” plates, indicating a government. The vehicle was not marked with any departmental decals.

Even though the Crown Vic was cruising along at 68 MPH with both front and rear seat passengers, nobody would pass it. Nor would anybody move over to get behind it. A yellow Explorer and an ivory Lexus LS 430 (the rich man’s Camry) were running the roadblock next to the Crown Vic, neither speeding up or slowing down. This is the type of thing that drives me CRAZY.

After maybe 10 minutes of this frustration, the LS430 finally slowed enough to get behind the Crown Vic. That at last allowed me a free lane, where I was able to set my cruise control at 70 and pull away from all of these idiots. The Crown Vic was definitely not a police car. Just some chumps from some government agency on a road trip. The other vehicles still didn’t pass; they left the road block in effect for as long as I could see them in my rear view mirror. IDIOTS.

Don’t be afraid to drive the speed limit. As long as you’re not tailgating or driving aggressively, you won’t get a ticket for driving at the speed limit. If you’re not willing to do the speed limit, GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Bad driving isn't exclusive to Camrys

Several astute readers have pointed out to me (privately, not in the comments) that bad driving isn't limited to tan colored Toyotas. Surely I know that. However, pretty much every tan Toyota sedan is dented or scraped, and is poorly driven. Look at the next Camry or Corolla that goes by you. I'll bet it's dented or scraped. Seriously.

The fact that tan Toyotas aren't the only poorly driven cars was demonstrated to me a bit earlier today when the driver of a faded red Mazda hatchback sped up in a construction zone to be sure to not let any cars get in front of him. Cool move, I'm sure the flagger who jumped out of your way was thrilled. Jackass.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Just another reason to go to confession...

According to the BBC, the Vatican has issued a set of "Ten Commandments" for motorists to promote safer driving.

The "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" call on drivers to respect speed limits, refrain from drinking before driving and avoid cursing. "Transgressions" while driving can cause road rage or accidents. The document also points out that using automobiles can become an "occasion of sin", especially if used for dangerous driving or prostitution.

Is this what the Church is doing to maintain its relevance in the world, hot on the heels of all the sex abuse allegations which have essentially bankrupted the church in the USA?

I can see it now: "Forgive me, Father, for my transgressions. I swore at that bitch in the Camry, and made an obscene gesture toward the jackass in the Hummer." Amen.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Mr. Anti-Camry for Governor!

I read yesterday on that the City of Seattle is considering banning microwave popcorn because it often set off smoke alarms in city buildings, causing lost time and revenue. I think they should ban microwave popcorn becuase it STINKS. I have forbidden my wife to cook it when I am home. I think the aroma is putrid. They shouldn't just ban microwave popcorn in the City of Seattle, they should ban it in the entire state.

In fact, I should probably run for governor. My three key points:
(1) State patrol is to heavily enforce the Keep Right Except to Pass law on freeways. I don't care if people are speeding, as long as they're driving safely. But left-lane dawdlers will be ticketed, towed, and jailed for repeat offenses.
(2) Ban microwave popcorn.
(3) Get Washington out of the ridiculous CARB vehicle regulations which will put more stringent vehicle economy/emission standards in to effect. The CARB deal limits the number and type of cars sold in the state. I say that if it's good enough to meet the general US EPA regulations, the vehicle should be sold here. This regulation may ban future sales of Diesel vehicles due to emission standards... that's absolutely ridiculous.

I'll bet I could get plenty of votes running on this platform. Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi had better watch out. Somebody from the real world has their eye on positive change in Washington!

Here's one more thought...

I hate helicopters. They are noisy and always flying over my neighborhood because I live too close to the freeway... the traffic 'copters are always flying over during commute times, rattling our cheap aluminum-framed 1970s windows, reminding me that I live in a 1970s neighborood too close to the freeway. If I'm governor I'm going to institute a No-Fly Zone over my city. That'll increase property values!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

What are those stripes for?

Yesterday I stopped for lunch at a major regional "one stop shopping" store to get some lunch. It's a big store, they have a big parking lot.

I parked my big, fast car in a parking spot and got out of the car, proceeding to walk toward the store. There were some empty spots head-to-head between me and the store, I was walking through them toward the store.

A brown Camry (really) pulled in but was actually pulling through, too lazy and thoughtless to drive in the striped traffic lane. As she pulled past me, I glared. I actually considered shouting at the middle-aged female driver, to ask her whether she was familiar with what the lines are for that are painted on the ground.

I should have yelled. Now I've got this pent-up Camry rage building inside of me.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The Right Lane

What do the words "Keep Right Except to Pass" mean to you? Evidently nothing, because you are incapable of following the simple instruction. You merge onto the freeway and immediately move to the second lane. Are you thinking "Oh, the right lane isn't for people like me. it's for trucks and motor homes." Or perhaps "In the center lane, I'm not in anybody's way, whether they're merging or passing, I'm just fine."

Whatever. You're in the way. I will pass you on the right, because the people in the left lane are indignantly driving along, thinking "I'm doing the speed limit here, and I'm not approaching my exit, so the left lane is the correct one."

In my R, I think of the Right lane as the R lane. Nobody else will use the Right lane, so I use it as my own personal express lane.

What ires me the most is when I come up on soembody in the left lane, and they don't or won't move over. Whether they see me in their mirror, or whether they think the mirror is not a useful driving tool so it's pointing straight at their girlfriend's tits, I'm not sure. But you, in the Tercel, need to go back to Driver's Ed. And take the 4Runner lady with you.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Clueless Camry bitch tried to back over ME

I had to go to Walgreen's to get a prescription for my daugter tonight. As I was returning to my car, walking behind the brown Camry parked next to me, the driver started to reverse. The bumper actually touched my leg. I slapped the trunklid with my hand and said "WATCH OUT". The clueless female driver just glared at me and drove away.

Another typical Camry operator. God help us all.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Prius Outdoes Hummer in Environmental Damage

Admittedly this is an opinion piece written by sombody at a college newspaper, but I'd assume somebody checked his facts. The text of the article is at the link above, and provides ammunition for my "Hybrid Hype-othesis", which is that Hybrid cars aren't any better than conventional ones... Toyota's publicity machine would have you believe that hybrid cars are making the world cleaner and greener by emitting only rainbows from their tailpipes. As if. Mainstream media here in the US needs to stop drinking Toyota's corporate cool-aid and WAKE UP to the fact that Toyota builds fossil-fuel buring vehicles (including full-size, 8-cylinder powered trucks, SUVs, and large sedans) just like other automakers from all over the globe. Enjoy the article!

I can't take it any more!

This blog will come as no surprise to those of you who know me. I've been infuriated by drivers of dumpy, dented tan Toyotas one too many times. This blog is going to be the outlet for my frustrations.

Yes, I exist in a higher level of automotive being. Your Totyotas are transportation appliances to you, just another refrigerator or washing machine, enabling you to go about your drearly daily tasks with as little joy as possible. You don't care if they are dirty, dented, smoking, or even if you do a poor job driving them. But I care that you're getting in my way, and clogging up the roads I need to drive on.

Whether in my Volvo or one of my Saabs, my car is better than your Toyota in every way. My car has personality. My car is fun to drive. My car is responsive. And my car is driven by somebody who PAYS ATTENTION both to driving and to my car's appearance.

While it would be physically impossible for me to detail or photograph every idiotic Toyota and driver, I will do my best to vent my frustration right here in this forum. To my comrades who are fellow Auto Snobs, come back to read the Auto Snob to build solidarity with me in my quest for empassioned driving. And those of you who are appliance operators... you too may read, to see your sins detailed for the world.