A rare situation

Archive for the ‘Car’ Category

Introducing the 2008 Mazda 323

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I’ve been idly reading forums geared towards automotive enthusiasts who own Mazdas. It seems that a semi-popular thing to do with Mazda3s is to re-badge them as a Mazda Axela. I’m not that big of a fanboy, but Courtney had an interesting proposition: why not re-badge it as a 323?

I looked on eBay, but no one was selling extra badges from the Mazda3 and the Mazda2 (I wanted to make the fonts look decent). All seemed lost, until Courtney noticed the car’s side panels: a shiny “2.3” badge on each side. Well dang, between the immediate availability of numbers and the fact that yesterday peaked around 75 degrees, how could I not?

It’s been three months since I bought my new car; I’m honestly surprised I haven’t done something like this already 🙂

Fishing line behind the badge cut through the adhesive holding it on in relatively short order.

The car was sitting in the sun, so the adhesive was already soft. Hot water, soap, and my thumb cleaned the residue right off.

Both 2.3 badges and the 3 badge from the back are off. Also featured, the lovely gouge some asshat left in my bumper a couple months ago.

The 2.3 badges got de-gooped, sawed apart, sanded down, and reset on 3M indoor/outdoor mounting tape. I think this is pretty much exactly what Mazda used in the first place.

Laying out how the re-purposed badges will look.

Hooray, a Mazda3…wait


It’s so beautiful!

A wash and a wax later, and everything looks spectacular. Thanks to Courtney for the great photos, and the idea, and locating the 2.3 badges, and cleaning off the badges, and making handy loops of fishing line for cutting them off in the first place…we went through a lot of fishing line.

Written by Chris

November 3rd, 2008 at 9:03 am

Posted in Car,General,Photography

Mazda3 Photoshoot

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As promised, I got it washed and took many a’picture!

The new Mazda3
Click for the Flickr set

Written by Chris

August 3rd, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Car,General,Photography

My Two Mazdas

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I finally did it: a week ago I signed the papers for a new 2008 Mazda3 5-door, and on Tuesday I took delivery after it had been driven in from St. Louis.

Dethkar and the new Mazda3
Click for the Flickr page

That photo’s not very good, I admit this. The new car looks sort of black next to Dethkar, whereas it’s actually a dark blue, but I wanted to get a picture of the two side-by-side while I could. The guy who sold me Dethkar last September is buying it back, possibly as soon as tomorrow. I’m rather amused by the whole circle-of-life thing going on here.

As for the new car, it’s pretty outstanding. I’m still getting accustomed to shifting it, it’s got a much newer transmission with a much shorter throw, and the presence of a fifth gear is making me miss third occasionally. It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I own this beast – right now it still feels like I’m driving around a rental car. I imagine I’ll get used to the idea 🙂

More pictures are definitely forthcoming, most likely this weekend as the weather clears up and becomes sunny again.

Written by Chris

July 31st, 2008 at 8:22 am

Posted in Car,General,Photography

It’s July already?

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My friend John posted an article on his blog yesterday indicating that the entire month of June was gone, and it was now July. Naturally I didn’t believe a word of it, but I checked a calendar and the foul thing corroborated his story. The meaning is clear: John has taken control of the calendar industry, and also it has been a dang long time since I’ve updated my blog. I have been sort of busy.

I’ve been at my new job for three weeks now, and I’m loving it to pieces; I’m stressing a lot less now that I’m in a lower-pressure and closer-knit environment. Last week I started on my first strategic development project. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to be able to drive a project without hitting roadblocks, either technical or bureaucratic, at every turn.

And speaking of driving metaphors! I still haven’t purchased a new car, though I’m better poised to do so than I was at last posting. Dethkar’s hanging in there, and in fact turned over to 215,000 miles a couple weeks ago. The squeaking hasn’t gotten any better or worse, but it isn’t overheating or losing power or anything else I’d expect. I’m not worried about it stranding me on the side of the road. I need to decide what to do with it once I get a new car. My dad figures that the Mazda dealer will give me a nominal trade-in for it, in the $500 neighborhood, but I’m not convinced of this enough to bank on it. If it doesn’t find a new home with the dealer, I’ll probably sell it on Craigslist or something. I figure I can get a few hundred for it easily, as it still runs just fine and would make a pretty good project car.

And speaking of projects! shaim had its 0.4 release, coincidentally on the 4th of June. The reception was understated but positive overall. We fixed a bug that got one of our best testers able to use it again, so we’ve been getting a lot of great feedback for the next version. It’s more stable and full-featured (at least in AIM) than ever.

And speaking of stable! Today’s my four month anniversary with Courtney! Things have been going and are continuing to go great between us. Tomorrow we’re taking a trip to Lawrence, mostly just for the hell of it. She’s starting grad school in a couple weeks, and has picked up a second job at the Adult Services (reference) section of her library – going to Lawrence won’t make for a long trip, just two days, but it’ll still be fun to get away for a bit.

And speaking of…um…plants! Which we weren’t, but now we are. My damn plants became infested with damn gnats. I’m guessing they were in the potting soil I used to plant my herbs and a vine of ivy, but now they’re friggin’ everywhere. I’ve moved all my plants outside, but short of a complete repotting with known good soil and spraying the plants themselves down with some fun mix of chemicals, the best I can do is let nature take its course. Reportedly, letting the soil completely dry will kill off the gnats and their larvae. This is wrecking havoc with the health of the plants. One of my rosemary plants died, the cilantro plant got eaten (not related to gnats but still annoying), and the catnip is pretty much withered. I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to put up with this before I just do the repotting procedure.

And that’s it for June. On to July, with hopefully more frequent blog updates.

Written by Chris

July 2nd, 2008 at 7:56 am

Posted in Car,General

Old car, new car, blue car, blue car

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Dethkar seems to be slowly winding down to its end of life. I fixed the electrical problem on Monday, turns out that the wiring splice jobs that the previous owner put in were faulty (who’d have guessed) and pulling them out solved the problem. Later this afternoon I’ll be diagnosing the squealing coming from the belt area, though at this point I’m thinking that it could be the water pump itself. There is one good thing about old cars: if I’m mindful to fix the squealing, whatever it is, it’s pretty cheap to do so myself. A new belt is only $15, a new water pump is $35. It’d take a while to get to the pump, but it’s not impossible. The biggest pain in the ass would be draining the coolant first.

Being fully aware that Dethkar has paid its dues and it may not actually be worth fixing, I went looking around Kansas City Mazda dealerships (there aren’t many) for the car I’d want: a dark blue Mazda3 5-door with a manual transmission. It seems I’ve picked a relatively rare beast. There are very few Mazda3 hatchbacks in Kansas City, only one of them is a manual, and it’s bright red and has many miles on it already. I went to a Mazda dealer in Olathe and ended up test driving a Mazda3 sedan with a manual, being told that the hatchback was basically the same thing but about 200lbs heavier. It is a very very nice car, and I asked the salesman if there was a chance of locating the vehicle I wanted in the nearby areas. He said he’d look, and today he called to say that one had been located in Omaha and another in St. Louis. I’m not quite ready to buy, but it’s good to know that there are options.

Written by Chris

June 4th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Car,General

Another quality Dethkar solution!

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This last Thursday, the dashboard cluster lights went out in my car. The gauges still work fine, but the lights don’t come on when the headlights do, same with the climate control backlight. There isn’t a fuse out, it’s just a terrible wiring harness.

And so, here is my new cluster light.

Written by Chris

April 27th, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Car,General

Vehicular economics

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Dethkar, as my Mazda has been dubbed by my friends, clicked over to 212,000 miles earlier this week. When I bought it, it had 206K and change on the odometer. So let’s do some math!

Purchase price of the car: $375
New tires: $150
Registration/plating: $75ish
Repair work over Christmas: $200
Gas over 6,000 miles, assuming $3/gal and 22mpg: $820 (yikes)

Total spent: $1620, but let’s not count gas on that ticket because I’d have been buying gas for a new car too. Call it $1000 in purchase/repair/legalities/maintenance. Over the past six months, Dethkar has cost me an average of seventeen cents a mile, and not broken down, stranded me, or maimed me or my passengers or anyone else on the road. Not bad!

Written by Chris

March 21st, 2008 at 8:20 am

Posted in Car,General