Archive for March, 2009

2009 Toyota Camry

Monday, March 30th, 2009

My dad’s got a Camry. It’s a 1997, with 135,000 miles on the odometer its second coat of paint. He had the gas filler door spring replaced and the interior cushioning has gone a little soft. It’s still on its original brakes. The On knob for the radio broke a while back and he hasn’t bothered to replace it.

And it will never die.

Sure, he could wake up tomorrow and decide to drive it into a tree, but barring some kind of catastrophic event, he’ll eventually have to decide which of my brothers to leave it to in his will.

Which brings us to the current model. By all accounts, it’s a better car than Dad’s. Bigger, more powerful, with a well-designed cockpit and the ergonomic efficiency one expects from middle management, i.e., the Camry’s natural environment.

Fred Meyer cheese Danish

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I had such high hopes for this one.

“As did I!” The Generalissimo paused to wipe some frosting from his mustache. “It looked better on TV!”

“Um, okay.” But I sorta understood his point. Individually wrapped snack treats fall into two categories: bland rest stop food, or unexpected treasures. This was definitely the former.

The bread was dry and tasteless, but had a touch of sweetness to it that most Danishes shy away from. It gave me hope, which was then dashed by the pitiful amount of cream cheese filling. The filling wasn’t bad. It also wasn’t great. It had a pleasant tartness to it that the sugar tried to mask—unsuccessfully I might add—but the texture was too grainy for my tastes.

2009 Mini Cooper

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

This car took us all by surprise. My impression has always been that the Mini is a chick car: cute, nonthreatening, and small, the kind of car you want to paint bright pink and put a set of magnetic eyebrows on above the lights. A VW New Beetle for people with a little style.

Then you get inside. The tach gauge sits above the steering wheel, right where it should be. It moves up and down with the steering column, like the old Porsche 928. The center stack, dominated by the massive round speedo and the other controls, sticks to the retro-cool theme. The buttons and switches scream “Apollo moon landing.” The sport seats (a must have option at $250) hold you in place without squeezing.

The trunk will only hold a small child, or a medium size adult if you take a chainsaw to their limbs. The backseat only works if you don’t have legs, unless you move the front seats way forward. I’m six-one; no one is sitting behind me in this car.

Safeway cheese Danish

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Safeway’s bakery makes some pretty good deserts, including today’s subject, a cheese Danish. I managed to arrive at our local store just as the baker was putting the frosting on the morning’s pastries. It was still warm when she put the bag in my hand, and I skipped out the door to the car. The Generalissimo was less than amused.

“You mean I have to wait to eat this scrumptious morsel of righteousness?!”

“Yep.” We went back to my place, where the Generalissimo stared at the Danish for three hours, barking my name from time to time so I’d check the frosting for the appropriate amount of dryness.

2009 Subaru Forester

Monday, March 16th, 2009

The Forester is the taint of the automotive world: taint a wagon, taint an SUV. It’s the embodiment of the notion that one car can be all things to all people.

But it isn’t.

As a wagon it succeeds, right until you start driving it. It’s got plenty of space for five adults, and a trunk that will hold a body and a half with the seats up and the cargo cover in pace. The rear seats recline for passenger comfort, which would be a lot cooler if they were comfortable or had, say, an actual cooler to hold all the beer you’d have to drink to like this car.

2009 Toyota Yaris

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The Yaris is Toyota’s attempt to get the key “I can’t afford a real car” demographic. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a fun car that will get you from Point A to Point B and do it without annoying you more than absolutely necessary.yaris.jpg

Our test vehicle was the three-door hatchback model, but we’d spring for the five-door. The extra grand gets you a second set of doors and makes the rear seats accessible; the increase in trunk space (seats up or down) makes it a legitimate weekend hauler, so long as you’re toting small dogs or a few cases of beer back to your frat house and not, as the Generalissimo is apt to do, lug fifty gallon drums of God-knows-what to his “bunker