Vanity Plates

All three of the vehicles I have owned since living in the US (my first vehicle was leased) have/had vanity plates. One of the reasons for this is that such things aren’t readily available back in the UK. Yes, you can buy them but you can’t usually choose them and then you’ll end up paying $1000 for PAUL4999, hardly a bargain.

This week’s San DIego Reader has a long article about vanity plates, mostly about ones they have seen on the road and talking to the people who chose them. The article opens with some statistics such as CA is the 22nd ‘most vain’ state with 3.49 percent of vehicles having a vanity plate: VA has the most at 16.2 percent. It then makes the following statement:

San Diego Reader | How much can you say in 7 letters?

I wonder what the percentage is just for MINIs in the country? I think it must be quite high, but I don’t agree with the statement in the article. I think it is much more to do with the culture of the MINI community that we take pride in our vehicles – don’t see many vanity plates on the Prius.

New Front Brakes

I finally got my front brakes done this weekend. I had tried last weekend to take my own pads to the local ‘one stop’ auto place for them to be replaced but they found that the rotors were out of spec and I needed to come back. So, a week later and another parcel from Moss Mini (awesome delivery service in Southern CA, arrived next day at ground shipping rate) I went back to the auto shop and came out with a new set of front brakes. I can feel quite a difference in the braking action.

Total labour cost was $100 so I did a lot better than the place I went to before Christmas that wanted my arm and leg for the rear brakes but, yes, still not as cheap as doing it myself. But a $100 seems ok for something I didn’t want to do myself.

I was looking through the service manual and noticed that I have been remiss in getting a few flushes done, looks like I should have done transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid by now. I will have to put them on the list over the next few months.

San Diego Dealer Coming Finally

According to a comment from a MINI USA online press event yesterday, there will be a MINI dealership opening in San Diego in about a year. It’s about time, is all I can say. It’s too late for me, I’m not paying MINI service rates any more, but I am sure many San Diegans will enjoy not having to make the trek north to Escondido. Not sure what this means for Brecht – maybe they’ve made all they are going to make from MINI now, and I am sure it is a worthy fortune.

Of course in this economy a year is a long time and we may not see the dealer at all, but I sure hope we do.

The End of Sirius/XM?

All the financial outlets are reporting the imminent filing of Chapter 11 by Sirius XM and their stock has tumbled to just 8c as I write this. A lot of people seem to be saying this means the end for satellite radio but I’m hopeful that they will be able to restructure and continue. Maybe they will have to lose the NFL and Howard Stern but I’ve no interest in them anyway. Of course, doing so might lose them more subscribers than they can afford to lose. But I’d hate to see them go under.

I like XM for the long radio dead spot on my commute to San Diego. I suppose I can go back to CDs and/or the iPhone. Slacker would be great but there’s no high speed internet connection for most of the journey.

But those are thoughts for later, if and when the time comes.

Booked up for AMVIV

Just a quickie to confirm we are booked for AMVIV. Registered today for the event, will grab me a hat, shirt and grille badge but will skip the banquet. Did the first one and did not enjoy it at all, will go see a show or something instead.

Saw a tip on the SCMM forums for booking the hotel. I was able to get the Palace Station Hotel for $140.85 including taxes which is about $100 less than the special event rate. It’s a courtyard room but at over $200 less than a Tower room I am sure I can get by. More money for gambling and MINI treats.

Hope to see you all there!

Update: db says that the organisers get free rooms if people use the event code rather than booking elsewhere so if you want to help them participate for free, you should use the code. I don’t feel bad for not doing so – they already got $25 more out of me than if I had spent the event rate and a cheaper hotel means I am likely to support a vendor or two.


I don’t know if it was today’s cool temps and the high winds coming home from work but I swear my MINI was purring as we cruised our way down I-15 this evening. Motoring never sounded so good.

Should be signing up for AMVIV this week, not sure why I haven’t done it yet. I’d really like to do the Mount Charleston run on the Thursday but that would require either an extra night’s stay or a very early start (and long day’s total driving). Can’t decide whether to stay at the Palace Station or not. Nothing wrong with it but there are some great rates out there in Vegas right now, a suite in the Rio works out at $90 a night for instance and would make it more of a vacation for my wife. But we can delay that decision a while yet. More later.