2009-07-29

Maybe not so great: YMCA

After a month and a half of skipping gym, I am working on getting back into the routine of working out a few times a week. Conveniently, there is a YMCA facility located less than 15 minutes away. Walking 15 minutes, of course.

Last night, I went there to check out the group exercise class. They were having Zumba at the time, and I joined.

The class was about the right level for me after the long break, challenging, yet not impossible. However the instructor could have done better with verbal ques and general interaction with the group. Had I not taken this class in NC a year ago, I would have never been able to follow.

Today, I went to check out something called Nia. The Y website describes it as a class that "Simultaneously uses physical activity to integrate one’s neurology (mind, emotions, and spirit) with one’s body, or musculature. Nia addresses the whole person, using a comprehensive, holistic exercise approach designed with a combination of: Tai Chi, Jazz Dance, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, The Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, and Yoga."

Sounded like it would be a challenging enough workout. Well, not exactly.

Maybe I am not sufficiently plugged into the New Age stuff, or whatever, but this definitely was nothing for me. Flowing movements combined with dance steps and a few limp kicks, which were few and far between.

I started getting bored and losing concentration after 40 minutes, so I sneaked out.

While I was still warmed up and full of energy, I thought I'd go punch something. :) Another disappointment: The staffer in the exercise room said that they had no punch bags or even a space I could safely practice kicking and punching air. She suggested I could go into a narrow hallway "where nobody ever goes" to do that.

That somehow did not sound enticing.

I stepped into a Zumba class for ten minutes instead. Next stop: Spa whirlpool and sauna.

Locker room looked, smelled, and sounded like it belonged to a school. Okay, that I could live with, though I would expect higher quality for $70 a month.

The whirlpool spa was fun, and I spent 10 minutes bobbing up and down in bubbly water, letting the water jets massage my back and shoulders.

The sauna was fine too, even though it could have been in better condition.

All in all, I am now not so sure this facility is such a good match for me. Still need to check out their cardio-box and karate classes, but there is a tae kwon do studio a few blocks from work on Castro, and I would prefer real martial arts instruction to merely okay group exercise classes at the Y at this point.

Who said one can't have an amazing lunch experience?

Since I moved to California, I pledged to not go to the same restaurant in my neighborhood twice until I have tried them all at least once.

There have been two exceptions, but otherwise I have been very good about sticking to my plan.

Today I tried Sakoon, a new Indian restaurant, and was very impressed: With the ambiance, the courteous staff, and of course the food.

I haven't had a mild curry in ages. And here it was, perfect :)

Anyways, I definitely hope they stay in business and thrive, because I plan to return to this restaurant. Maybe even before I am done with trying them all :)

2009-07-25

Things I do for my S2000...

Today on the way to the autocross I have discovered that the 12V power outlet on the rear console has come loose and was hanging by the wires. Not to be discouraged easily, I tried to tighten it from the outside, without removing any trim panels, using needle-nosed tweezers and a ton of patience.

That of course did not work as the opening was too snug to be able to keep the tweezers on the backing socket while screwing the front part of the outlet into it.

Step two was to try to access the socket from the trunk.

"Trunk?" you may ask, and rightly so. However, my faithful readership will remember that the S2000 is a two-seater, so the back of the rear console more or less "faces" the trunk.

I pulled the spare and climbed (or half-climbed) into the trunk with a flashlight and sure enough, there it was--the wires, the loose socket and the outlet barely visible on the other side of the opening.

Too bad I was not 5 years old anymore, because my hands did not fit in between all the other stuff that's routed behind the passenger compartment panels.

So off I went to remove the rear console. Found the manual online and was done in about 40 minutes.

For starters, I had to remove the trim panels with vents behind the driver AND passenger seats.

Next I had the privilege to remove the center console.

And finally, I was able to pull the rear console and tighten the backing socket that holds the 12V outlet in place.

While I was in there, I also routed the auxiliary audio wires underneath the center console, so now the plug comes out in the cup holder.

And no, I never use the cup holder for holding drinks anyway, because it is too shallow and any size cup gets in the way of shifting gears.

Don't drink and drive!

2009-07-20

PCA Autocross results posted

Behold: The results from Saturday's PCA autocross are up on their web page, and I am exactly one position above the 50 percent "fold". Yay me :)

Looks like I got caught on camera during two of my runs with Tristan instructing.

If pictures don't show in Facebook notes again, see original post.

2009-07-19

Porsche Club of America Autocross at Santa Rosa


I am glad to say that I seem to have gotten my autocross mojo back.

Two weeks ago I went to a two-day event with the American AutoX Series and totally bombed. Finished way down close to the bottom. Care to have a look?


Gotta say, I improved slightly from the first day to the second, but not enough to feel good about my results.

Yes, all-season tires did not help, but I was not anywhere close to the limits of their traction at any time. For some reason, I just could not drive well that weekend.

Be it the less-than-ideal setup, a totally new club where I did not yet know anybody, a different way to mark the course, or any of a gazillion excuses I could come up with, but my results still sucked.

So yesterday I asked the folks running the Porsche event to pair me up with an instructor to try and find my mojo again. And guess what? It worked!

I lucked out by getting paired with the fastest driver in the club, Tristan, and he turned out to be good at instructing, too.

On my first run, I got a 64.xxx, and Tristan gave me a few pointers, so the next run, I shaved off almost three seconds. Over the course of four more runs, I worked my way up to 59.156. That was a decent result, but not enough to break upper 50 per cent.

That day, we were getting three runs in the morning, and four in the afternoon. Tristan was in the car with me on all runs, and on my last, seventh, run I drove solo.

No idea what got into me, and what exactly happened, but I drove close to a perfect run and got a 56.6xx seconds! That definitely put me above the fold.

Thanks Tristan for helping me get back into the groove.

2009-07-14

... as if I never moved

Behold: Pretty much all unpacked. Only decorations like mirrors, shelves, and pictures left to hang, plus the kimono for the bedroom.

This is how it looks when you first come in. I am not quite happy about where I had to put the drafting table, but there is no other place in the apartment that would both keep the table out of the way and close to art supplies on the shelf.

I was very glad that all three shelves and the sofa fit along the living room wall. All in all, I think downsizing to a space half the size of my NC condo went pretty well.

Through a lucky coincidence, the cabinets in the kitchen are just the right color to work great with my existing furniture.

The kitchen is a bit small, but I hardly ever cook, and so have no moral right to complain. All my pots and pans and dishes comfortably found a home in the cabinets. I even like the way the two shelves frame the space, helping optically divide kitchen and dining area from each other.

My little Honda is also happy with its new home. The storage closet in the back wall of the car port is just over two foot deep and as wide as the parking space, so I could fit all four competition tires, plus two unmounted RE01s, and my tools and other car stuff in there.

Once I got over the initial shock of having to mount the front license, I have to admit, it looks only half that bad. Last week, I saw an S2000 with native front license mount, and am glad I went with the aftermarket bracket.

Ferrari 308 GTBi on Castro



Ran into this beauty today. Very nice condition, a beautiful car. Had to cross the street and drool all over it. Thank you Marcello for taking the pictures for me!

НЛО Надежда, группа Муха



They have more tracks on Jamendo page.

Enjoy :)

2009-07-04

Maier racing

Saw this car at the American Autocross Series today, and it is remarkable for more than one reason. Yes "Maier" is kinda obvious. But it is also the first in-real-time "Maier" sighting for me.

2009-07-03

One week in California

Today is one week (and one day) since I arrived in California on June 24th.

If you have not been following my adventures on Facebook, here are some pictures I published there from my trip--from a one-star suite hotel in Durham, NC to the new apartment in Mountain View, CA.