MCS vs X5

I’m stopped at a stop light, vaguely aware of a large MPV in the lane to my left but he is stopped at least halfway down the length of my MINI. I use this light all the time from work and it is notoriously slow to change. The change to green catches me by surprise. The X5 accelerates a little past me while I get my usual slow start in first. By the time I am in second our front bumpers are level. Just as I go to shift into third (yes, I shift gears too early, hard habit to break) I can sense the X5 wants over. There’s a right turn into a small strip mall which he wants and he’s pissed that I beat him to it. He breaks hard, pulls over to turn, flashes his lights, beeps his horn etc etc.

Now, this turn can be no more than 2000 feet from the stop light. What person in any kind of right mind thinks they will get to the turn in an X5 before me with time to change lanes? The MINI has been around long enough for people to know that its not a slouch, so why did this idiot think he could get there fast enough?

I swear that every day of driving here makes me wish I lived somewhere else.

Vegas Here We Come

On a whim yesterday I decided to go to this year’s MINI Vacation in Vegas. I went to the very first AMVIV in 2004 so it will be interesting to see how it has evolved. I am pleased to say that the wife will be coming with me this time so that will be a big plus.

I’ve decided to get the pulley modification done while I’m there, Randy is coming out of retirement just for this event. This will be the third time I’ve had this modification scheduled, fingers crossed that it will actually happen this time. Other highlights will probably be the trip to Death Valley (somewhere I’ve always wanted to go), and the Poker Run on the Saturday morning.

Also planning to check out the new Phantom of the Opera show at the Venetian. I saw the original in London many years ago and this new, shortened, version is supposed to be a lot tighter and more enjoyable.

My Next Car….

… will be a diesel. So one of the following will have to happen:

  • I delay buying my next car until 2009, or some future date when diesel cars are available
  • I move to a diesel-friendly country like, hmmm, New Zealand

Neither seems out of the realm of possibility.

A Little Gadget Envy

Went to a co-worker’s house at lunchtime to play with his Wii, traveled there in his new Lexus. Not sure what model is was, other than it was a small one. But I was somewhat mesmerised by his nav system and definitely came away jealous – it showed the rear view when reversing, moving map on the go, and then while parking it showed a schematic of the car marked with how far each part was from an obstruction. Very cool. Made my MINI feel very old-fashioned.

And talking of cool gadgets, the Wii was a lot of fun, I hate to recommend it but I certainly do if you can get your hands on one. Even though its not high def it looked gorgeous on the 57″ 1080p LCD TV. Damn, now I have nav system and game console envy[*].

[*] Not that I don’t love my MINI or my PS3!

Flashing Other Users

One difference I continually notice between UK and US driving is in the meaning of flashing one’s headlights. At home, it almost always means “after you” or “I’m letting you out” but every time I flash someone here to let them know to come out it is taken as a warning and they don’t come out. I’ve been doing it for years and I don’t seem to learn.

Only got one MINI related gift this Christmas – a bunch of new magnetic badges. I don’t really expect a lot of MINI news this year but I’ll continue to post pointless junk as and when I feel like it. Happy New Year, all.