Monday, January 30, 2006

Where is Winter???

Is it just me or has winter been noticeably absent this year. For much of January, the temperature was near 50+ degrees here in Connecticut. The ground freezes overnight, then thaws the next morning. We have received a total of about 6 inches of snow thus far, thats it!

Just prior to our first and only major snowstorm, I rushed to Hartford to pick up a check for a brand new snowblower. This same machine has been idle in my garage since the beginning of December!

There is the potential for a nor'easter tomorrow, but the temperatures are still mild, and it appears the storm will remain at sea. No snow is good for a few reasons. In Maine, I used to get a lot of grass killed during the harsh winters. Another reason is there is less salt put down on the roads to corrode cars.

As we approach the eve of February, I am not getting comfortable in this mild weather. I can recall many nor'easters hitting well into March. Spring is a long way away, but then again, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in a couple of weeks.

We shall see...what February and March have in store for us.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm Back

Wow! It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but I am pleased to say that I will be back to posting regularly.

We had Officer's Retreat, Jay had minor surgery, so it has been a little busy.

I have not forgotten about my blog, I just haven't had too much time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

American Cars vs. Japanese Cars

For the past two weeks, I have been without our primary car. Just before Christmas a deer hit Elaine as she was driving down a rural road in our fair city of Norwich, Connecticut. While our car has been getting fixed, we have had a rental car.

Now many of you who know me well, know that I am a car nut. I have been for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a kid, I have always favored, Toyota and Honda cars for their styling and reliability. When we had an opportunity to replace our minivan in Norwich, I was pleased to see that the Toyota Sienna was on our official list.

I have grown to love this car. It truly lives up to its reputation for quality and reliability. After driving a brand new Chevrolet minivan for the last two weeks, I realize that I have made the right decision.

Quality--Fit and Finish
One of the things that makes asian cars head and shoulders above their american counterparts is the issue of quality. Everything about them seem like the engineering was thought out more so. On our Toyota minivan, the doors close perfectly, all of the controls and other ergonomic features are exactly where you need them, and function seemlessly. On the brand new Chevrolet minivan, the doors did not shut without slamming them. An alarm and message center would confirm this. The tailgate seemed to be slightly misaligned.

My Toyota Minivan is one high tech vehicle. The engine is a 3.3 VVT V-6. It makes 230 horsepower and on a trip, I can get 25 mpg averaging 75 miles per hour. The Chevrolet has a bigger engine... a 3.5 that produes less power...only 201. At 75 miles per hour, I only averaged 21 miles per gallon. To top it off, the Toyota is a much quieter drivetrain and has a five speed transmission rather than a four speed.

The seats in the Toyota are great! They are like Lay-Z-Boy recliners! It has these seats in the front and back. The seats in the back have dual armrests and if you have small children, this is a great headrest for naps! On the Chevrolet, the back captain chairs did not have armrests! They sat alone! Fortunately, my son and daughter didn't fall asleep! They would have sustained a neck injury!

I am glad I got my minivan back! It is a great vehicle, and except for large vans, I will never purchase an American car again! If Toyota builds a large van, GM and Ford will be in trouble for fleet sales!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Atari Flashback 2.0

One of my Christmas gifts was the newly released Atari Flashback 2.0. Many of us, that are my age and older can probably remember the old Atari 2600 game system. I remember the first time I played one. I was 6 or so years old, and My Aunt Evie and Uncle Dave brought one home from college. I remember playing Space Invaders with Uncle Dave for hours that night! My thumb was sore from hitting the fire button.

Well, Atari decided to put 40 games on a console that has a striking resemblance to the original Atari 2600 complete with the original joysticks and fake wood panel. I thought this would be a great thing to get due to the fact that the games are easy enough for my kids to be able to enjoy.

This system definitely brings back the memories! Remember the game Combat? You could either be a tank, or airplane and your only objective is to "kill" your opponents as many times as possible. This doesn't show the blood and guts of today's games, just the tank or plane spinning wildly out of control. It also has classics such as Asteroids, Missile Command, Pong, and Centipede to name a few.

Samantha's favorite game is Pitfall. I remember Pitfall being huge when I was a kid. It is a fun game and she is getting quite good at it for a 5 year old.

It is a great device and if you grew up on Atari, and have $30 to spare, check it out.