Iron Man 2

Posted in Film Review with tags , , , on October 3, 2010 by eternallylost

Finally watched Iron Man 2–on DVD.

If you ignore the character’s comic history, which is prone to revision every generation or so anyway to reboot a character and renew interest, it wasn’t a bad flick.

What was it about?!

It just felt like another 90min setup for the Avengers movie, but this one had a teaser of the upcoming Thor movie. And another hint at Captain America.

I give it the house of M (that’s Mavel Studios for all you non-comic geeks) for planning & executing a series of flicks that build upon one another that will culminate in a single movie.

I’m eager to see the progression both as a comic geek and as a movie buff.

Dreams are weird

Posted in Miscellaneous Rambling with tags on September 5, 2010 by eternallylost

Woke up early AGAIN!

Actually remembered my dream…well the idea at least. We all dream when we sleep. I’m just the type that hardly ever can recall any of my dreams. I think that it sucks, given the vivid imagination and daydreams I have, that no matter how good or bad my dreams are the best I can manage is to retain the essence of a dream for a few minutes after I awake, at best.

Dreamt I was in a world where man was in the lower rung of the ecosystem, one overrun by giant bugs and dragons.

I wonder if this means I should ease up on the late night snacks a bit?

Shanghai Nights 2010, benefitting Gawad Kalinga

Posted in About San Diego with tags , , on August 31, 2010 by eternallylost

I don’t normally promote events that I haven’t been to myself, but as this is for charity, I’ll make an exception.

Shanghai Nights casino charity event- Sept 18th @ 7:30pm — http://www.bpsandiego.org

100% of this year’s proceeds go to Gawad Kalinga (Tagalog for “to give care”), offering an alternate solution to tackling poverty by building communities in the Philippines and other developing countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, & Papua New Guinea.

A few of my co-workers went to last year’s event, benefitting another charity, and had a good time; mostly gambling and checking out hotties. There’s a live DJ and other entertainment as well.

From Paris With Love

Posted in Film Review with tags , , , on August 29, 2010 by eternallylost

Just watched From Paris With Love on DVD. It was a mantastic flick! Lots of bullets, explosions, and cool fight scenes.

Along with an edgy hairdo, Travolta looks like he gained some weight for this role. And it worked for me in this case.

Imagine “Training Day” meets James Bond. Travolta’s character does a good job from the get go, “dis”orienting our trainee and the audience, effectively sending the pace of the film into overdrive.

It’s a fast-paced and action-packed ride set against the backdrop of the seedy underbelly of Paris.

Dice Electronics iHonda R4 install with iPhone 3G

Posted in Car stuff, Tech Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by eternallylost

Another trip to my father in-laws garage…

Found time this afternoon to install the replacement sunvisor I bought on eBay and the Dice Electronics iHonda R4 iPod adapter I picked up via Amazon.

The sunvisor install literally took 5 mins. Saved about $50 over buying one from the Acura dealer and got a pair of visors out of the deal to boot!

Next up, the iPod adapter…

In preparation, I archived all of the locations in my GPS weeks ago. It seems that this precaution wasn’t needed though as all my saved locations were not erased.

To begin, disconnect the battery, make sure the emergency brake is up and put the car in neutral using the shift lock override (AT transmissions).

Based on a couple articles I read on the subject, I removed the center storage box just under the factory stereo/GPS unit and followed the steps outlined:

- http://tsxcore.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-03-23T15%3A02%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7

- http://www.enusbaum.com/blog/2009/01/31/car-hacking-installing-an-ipod-adapter-in-my-acura-tsx/

It took a bit more force than I thought to pop off the console, but once we figured it out, it was easily repeatable. Unfortunately, we had to repeatedly remove the console. I kept bumping the data cable with the bin, disconnecting it from the stereo.

The articles I referenced do a great job explaining the installation of this device on a 2004 Acura TSX with an iPod or iPhone 3G and I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said on this subject.

I opted to hide the iHonda unit behind the storage console and used a 1/2″ bit to drill a hole in the upper right corner for the iPhone cable. My father in-law had a rubber stop that we used to fill in the gap. This allows me to slide as much or as little of the data cable from behind the storage bin.

It seems there is only one practical way to install the iHonda R4 on an ’04 Acura TSX with navigation that will function with an iPhone 3G.

The four dipswitches on the R4 must be set in the following order (from left to right): OFF, OFF, OFF, ON.

The result is that with the iPhone plugged in, the Aux feature becomes selectable. Choosing to ignore the “airplane mode” warning will allow the greatest overall featureset (explanation further below).

The navigation screen is limited to a display of the track and disc which is utterly useless. What’s important, is that you can access the iPod application on the iPhone and make selections on the touch screeen as usual. You can even shake the iPhone to shuffle through tracks, which is convenient when driving so you don’t have to look away from the road.

The greatest added feature about about connecting an iPhone to the iHonda R4, other than the fact that my phone gets charged while I use it, is the fact that as long as you ignore the “airplane mode” warning, you can not only still make/recieve calls, you can also access the web– to stream Pandora (and other streaming music applications) right into your car stereo!

I may never load another CD into this car ever again.

That aside, the iHonda R4 is quirky and prone to failing to recognize a connected device occasionally. Simply unplugging and reattaching the iPhone usually re-establishes the data link.

Overall, the Dice Electronics iHonda R4 is a clean solution that doesn’t require any permanent alteration or replacement of the factory stereo. It also has a standard audio Jack should you wish to connect non-Apple music players or a smartphone with music capabilties.

My only regret is that I didn’t get one of these sooner.

TSX StopTech brake install

Posted in Car stuff with tags , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by eternallylost

Got my brake upgrade parts after just 2 days of placing my order with Excelerate Performance in CT!

My father in-law generously offered his garage and his assistance in installing the StopTech/Centric brake pads and matching cross-drilled and slotted rotors today. He also volunteered my brother law’s asistance as well.

First, the front rotors and pads: The notoriously useless rotor guide screws on the driver’s side came off with just a bit of brake cleaner applied to them (see this Acurazine post on this subject for details).

The same screws on the passenger side rotor were not as cooperative. Both were feathered by the cordless screwdriver and had to drilled out, which was an exercise in testing my brother in-law’s persistance and patience. The damn things were a pain in the arse! Shoulda used the tested technique off the Heeltoe web site (http://www.heeltoeauto.com/pitboard/?p=143). Hindsight is always 20-20.

Next the rear brake rotors and pads: These went off without a hitch, including those damn guide screws. I guess there just wasn’t as much crust on those rear screws than the front. Makes sense as he fronts do most of the brake work.

Took the TSX to the nearby Cal State parking lots to properly bed the upgraded brakes. It was more fun than I’ve had with this car in awhile. “I smell brakes!”

Cooled the smoking brakes at a local Starbucks before returning to the garage.

We were going to install the Dice Electronics iHonda R4 iPod adapter I picked up via Amazon, but someone (me) forgot to bring the radio code needed to restore access to the factory stereo unit. Too busy worrying that I didn’t leave any baby gear behind that I forgot this item instead. Sigh…next time.

MY IMPRESSIONS: My StopTech setup is awesome! Noticably improved stopping performance within OEM specs; way cheaper than any BBK setup. Plus, shiney rotors are cool to look at!

The StopTech rotors paired with StopTech pads make for an amazingly smooth and consistant stop, even when punished with multiple harsh start/stops from 40-50mph. So far none of the brake squeak common with performance pads. Very little brake dust too!

TSX Brake Upgrade

Posted in Car stuff with tags , , , on August 1, 2010 by eternallylost

I slowly pulled myself away from the brink of buying a sexy big brake kit (BBK) for my Acura TSX at a cost of about $2,500 (for just the front).

C’mon! Unless I’m autocrossing in this ride, I really don’t need that kind of stopping power. I freely admit that my “spirited driving” does require better braking capabilities than those offered by the stock stopping system. This likely contributed to my warped front rotors.

So I returned to some level of sanity and back to idea of simply upgrading to OEM spec performance brake rotors and pads.

Based on the impressions of several Acurazine TSX members and my own overkill research, I decided on StopTech slotted and drilled rotors and Hawk HPS pads.

Did another Google Shopping vs Bing Shopping vs eBay cost comparison, which narrowed down the field to a few brick and mortar speed shops who sell online. One in particular, Excelerate Performance, offered the lowest prices for most of what i wanted AND was a Premium Sponsor of Acurazine forums.

A few friendly PMs to the Excelerate moderator on Acurazine resulted in my switching over to StopTech brake pads, which are supposed to be as quiet as the Hawk HPS Z pads I originally wanted (performance pads tend to be noisy), but cheaper. A few more PMs netted me a shipping discount that made ordering from Excelerate a no-brainer.

So my pile of TSX upgrades is stacking up in my tiny condo. I’ll try to stop thinking of more upgrades until I get all this crap actually on my car.

Posted photos and my impressions to come afterwards.

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