Wednesday, February 25, 2009

most fascinating thing

Björk explaining how a CRT TV set works.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Haruki Murakami accepting award in Israel

60 year old Murakami speaks about the conflicts between Israel and Gaza.
Murakami compared human beings to fragile eggs in advocating the preciousness of life.

"Bombs, tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are the high wall. The eggs are unarmed civilians, who are crushed, burned and shot by them.

"We are all human beings, individuals regardless of nationality, race or religion. And we are all eggs -- we are all fragile eggs faced with (a) solid wall, called the system. Take a moment to think about this. Each of us possesses a tangible living soul. The system has no such thing. We must not allow the system to destroy us. We must not allow the system to (have) a life of its own. The system didn't make us -- we made the system," he said. Mainichi

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why S2000 dies and no one cares

Excuse me for dwelling on this a little longer. This is temporarily becoming a shrine for my beloved S2000.

From the get-go, the S2000 has been a car designed for enthusiasts by enthusiasts.
It has got a few "flaws" - not a torque monster, its straight line performance less than desirable, its ride back-breakingly hard, 2L 4-banger of an engine, not inexpensive, impractical... the list goes on. But all these flaws serve a common purpose - to be an uncompromising sports car that hugs curves and drives like a motorcycle. A motherfucking bike, on 4 wheels. Let's be honest here, curves is always better than straight line. It takes a special kind of motorhead to appreciate another.

What about other drivers who seek the thrill of sporty driving? Why is it then, S2000 remains a lackluster?
Well, it's not a drag racer nor does it go quick enough off the line to rival a muscle car between stoplights. It doesn't have the numbers on paper to knock your neighbors socks off. 240-50 horsepower, 220 lb-ft of toque, provided it is a good looking car, a few good years were had. But the problems I suspect lie with pricing and livability. It costs $35k or 4 million yen to own a new S2000. Seeking a performance bargain, buyers look no further than Mazda Roadster aka MX-5 Miata. S2000 isn't worth the extra 10k. For people willing to pay more, 300+ horses is the way to go. And then there is the problem of S2000 being a daily driver. 9000rpm redline (8000rpm AP2), top of torque and power curves at 7500rpm do not translate into lazy driving. These numbers show how it should be driven - hard. Who here revs to 9000rpm on their way to the grocery store, on their daily commute? S2000's sporty suspension setup allows each bumps on the road transfer directly to your backbone. It's no grand tourer. Besides, there is little storage.

What people would buy instead.
In addition to Mazda Roadster (better bargain), people generally go for Nissan Z (more horses and torque), Porsche Boxster (excellent details, finish, prestige), Type R (similar VTEC, but bargain), Audi TT (German), Lotus (faster off the line), Bimmer Z4 (same story as Nissan Z), LanEvo or WRX STi (excellent turbo), Mini (nippy), RX8 (4 seats), Golf GTI (excellent hatchback), CLK (Merc), but to me, they are either expensive, worse looking, or, much less purpose-built than Honda S2000.

So who in the world would want one?
I do. And you: You have to genuinely love to rev (you don't have to but why buy an oven when you only want to cook rice?) You need to look past all the inconveniences that it brings. You have to be able to fit in relatively crammed space. You need to appreciate the hard work and technology that went into the design. You must be hardcore enough not to spend time looking at the dash or listening to music (the dash and audio way outdated). You must love that engine and exhaust note (music to my ears). You need to show the respect it deserves, or it will bite. Then, and only then, will your S2k reward you. To purists, AP1 is the car of choice. I wish I wasn't just out of college when it came out. Even if I did own one when I was younger, I probably would have introduced its front end to the side of a mountain.

What might have been a winning formula for the S2000 in terms of sales?
There are several things Honda could have done to boost sales during its "midlife" crisis 4 or 5 years ago. (noted these things would make S2000 a little less appealing to me and some) Go luxury, raise the price tag and give it a thorough face lift. Call it S2000 GT deluxe. After all that's how the Porsche is selling their Boxsters. Although one has no choice buy love the Boxster. Go power, drop in a turbo, raise the displacement, or simply give it the Type R treatment. It would appeal to track day enthusiasts. Although it is already a track day vehicle sans boy racer flair, and there are plenty of aftermarket parts for that very purpose. Or HELLO? offer automatic transmission as a choice. Every manufacturer in the world is doing it. Why do you have to be so elegant/arrogant?

To most, it's too much work for one car.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

S2000 driven the way it's meant to be

at Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Listen to that music.

I have yet to find a better S2000 video.

Maximum respect for the driver.

Same car same driver haunting a couple of Porsche 911s at a track with only one short straight.