Is Mitsubishi the Last Quirky Car Company?

The Diamond Star brand has been suffering as of late. Boring cars. Ho-hum marketing. A huge fuel economy scandal dating back to the early 1990s. Mitsubishi is now frequently in the news and speculation as to its fate is rampant in the blogospheres. Nissan has purchased a controlling stake in the company at fire sale rates. That worries me.

Why? Because in my humble opinion, Nissan stinks. On top of that, they’re owned by Renault, the equally crummy French car company. The bargain purchase of Mitsu has granted them market penetration in Southeast Asia, as well as more R&D resources. However, this move may kill off one of the last “quirky” car companies around if we’re not to include North Korea’s Pyeonghwa Motors.

I may be a bit biased here since I’m a Mitsubishi owner myself. Behold:

Mitsubishi Mirage

I bought this little bastard a few months ago. Three cylinders, 76 horses, manual transmission. Most other car companies would laugh in your face if you were to suggest this car to anyone. Hell, I would have laughed too. It also looks like the nameless generic car you see in car insurance commercials. In the few months I’ve had this car, however, I’ve fallen more and more in love with it. It’s a car that looks and drives like it has something to prove, and it does. It’s here to prove that Mitsubishi, despite their hardships and sparse lineup here in the States, can still crank out an efficient, well-thought-out car. I’ll totally agree, it’s a fucking strange car. The engine compartment wasn’t painted to save costs, so below the hood is a mess of overspray and gray primer.

I’ll totally agree, it’s a fucking strange car. The engine compartment wasn’t painted to save costs, so below the hood is a mess of overspray and gray primer. The storage compartment cover is attached to the back hatch by one lonely piece of string. Bluetooth streaming only works on the front two of the four speakers. The tires are 14 inches. It’s strange as hell. Mitsubishi probably knows full-well how odd this little car is. They’re no stranger to strange cars. For examples, we have the funky Mighty Max/Dodge Ram 50 pickup, the legendary Starion and GT3000, the pseudo-luxury Diamante, et cetera.

The Nissan buyout could put Mitsubishi’s quirky side at risk. I certainly hope not, since I think that the Diamond Star still has some innovation left in it with the Outlander PHEV and possible other forays in the EV market to supplement their extremely nutso i-MiEV. Here’s to hoping we get to see it all.

Up In Lights: Dallas’ Transformation into an LED Paradise

I came across an article today in the News about a new Dallas office tower was sold in one of the many cryptic and odd commercial real estate transactions that take place in the city every day. That wasn’t what interested me, though. The picture you see here (from the mentioned DMN article) is what that particular building, overlooking the Arts District, looks like at night.


In keeping with the downtown trend of flashy lighting, the KPMG Tower has even more of the hyper-bright multi-colored rods that also grace the BoA Plaza, the Omni, Reunion Tower, Hunt Oil…I could probably name a few more upon reflection. These last few years have brought the magic of the LED light to the masses with a massive decrease in cost. It’s allowed for a revival of the glitzy lighting trend of the 1980s in downtown Dallas. However, now, LEDs allow for the change of colors easily and with little to no maintenance. Lights placed in a certain fashion and programmed can display images like the Omni.

It’s starting to look a bit like our not-too-distant Blade Runner future. The skyline of Dallas has certainly benefited from LEDs, and at better efficiency, to boot. Plus, there really isn’t a height limit on building signage, so maybe we’ll actually get a Coca-Cola ad like in the movie? Hmmm…

Anyway, to me this new Dallas skyline we’ve been given pulls off a kind of flashiness that has somehow shirked the kitsch of Vegas lights. If you want to get all film-studenty about it, what about saying it conveys a “reserved confidence” or something? I dunno, maybe it’s just a way for this spunky town founded next to a muddy ditch because everybody was tired to stand out somewhat in this globalized culture of all kinds of bright metro areas.

An interesting article, nonetheless.

2015 Year in Review

Guess you could call this a really late thanksgiving post, but I felt like it should be more of a retrospective of the past year.

2015 has been both a fantastically satisfying year as well as a fantastically sad one. Personally the year has been one of great fulfillment. Late last year I was finally able to come to terms with a lifelong anxiety issue that wreaked havoc on my life since childhood. This year has been the first year where I can actually say I was a comfortable person. That’s been a huge win. I’ve also moved into a new job where I have been able to actually use my degree and utilize some of my creativity. Another big win.

Also this year has been one of profound loss. Three of my uncles passed away this year, all of cancer. All were hard workers in the construction industry and were well loved by their family, friends and co-workers. I feel that these three men each had small roles in the man I became, and I’m extremely thankful for that.

In the realm of smaller potatoes in my life, my classes for my master’s degree have gone well, and I’m ever closer to being a first-generation graduate degree holder in my family, which is cool.

Hopefully 2016 holds as many or more successes that this year held without as many tragedies. Either way, we’ll hopefully all get through it. It’ll be tough, with it being an election year and all.

Getting into Soccer: A Soccer Dummy’s Journey

When I was a wee little twerp, my mom and dad thought it would be a good idea for me to try a sport. That sport was soccer, and I was enrolled in my county’s youth soccer league.

Needless to say, I was terrible. I mean awful. I remember just standing on the field zoned out wondering when the game would end so I could go home. I’m pretty certain it was quite embarrassing for my parents to see their little twerp looking up at the clouds instead of at the game. Either way, we all came to the realization that sports wasn’t my thing and that was that. I’m sure my parents still have my “everyone gets a trophy” trophies from that time in my life.

Anyway, as the years wore on I never gave soccer much thought until my undergrad years, when I would quizzically look at folks walk into class who I knew weren’t from European countries but wearing football jerseys from places like Madrid, Milan, Tottenham, and others. Why are they wearing that jersey if I know they grew up in Arlington? Are they wearing it ironically? Got it at the goodwill? I was a confused young man. It wasn’t until the 2010 Word Cup when I got a taste of that level of soccer. The excitement in the fans and the vuvuzelas spoke to me. After the Cup was won, cableless me went without soccer again for another four years.

Then, the 2014 World Cup in Rio came along. I actually went into this one wanting to learn more about the game. Still cableless me went to my apartment complex’s bar (pretty fucking sweet, I know) to watch the games. People surrounded the bar in those foreign jerseys and cheered. The thing was, though, that the jerseys didn’t match who they were cheering for on TV. I then came to a realization that was pretty cool. Sure, there were a few folks who were die-hard for their team and would act like a pissy Green Bay fan, but for the most part people were cheering for the game, not just their team. A well-played game was met with applause by all involved. That’s cool, I thought, and then went without soccer again.

Now, I want to get into soccer without having to rely on the World Cup, especially with all the bullshit FIFA does. So, I picked up a copy of PES2016, which I really stink at so far but I’m learning well. Also, I’m looking into the unbelievably confusing world of online streaming of international games. What fun! Spyware and pop-up riddled underground streaming sites are far from successful, NBC and Fox have their expensive proprietary streaming options, and BitTorrent doesn’t have much until after the game has been played. And cableless me really doesn’t want to cough up a shitton on cash on a cable package I won’t watch. Sling has good options but I’ll have to see what my soccer-loving friends use themselves. FC Dallas is doing pretty good this season, too, and their home games are on OTA TV, so that’ll work for a bit. I’m excited to get into things, so if you have any ideas, let me know.

TeeVee Tonight: Last Days in Vietnam

I saw the preview for this show a couple of weeks ago and got really pumped to watch this latest installment of American Experience. I’m addicted to the show anyway, so I would be tuning in no matter what. If you don’t use broadcast TV, it should be on PBS’ website and the Roku (best streamer period) channel. Anyways, here’s the preview: