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2006/12/27 SpeedZone in Dallas
π 2006-12-27 22:33 by Merlin in Cars

When done visiting the Dallas, we has extra time which I thought would be well spent by visiting an intriguing park they had: SpeedZone. It's the first amusement park I know that is entirely based on motorsports. They have 3 different tracks and kinds: one somewhat lame many vehicle, somewhat slow speed track, a faster slick track where you get to practise oversteering (and oh boy do many people suck at it), and a higher speed autocross style track, where you go for the best possible laptime. Those were much fun.
That said, the unusual part was the dragster track with 300hp propane powered dragsters. The setup is quite nice: you are on a rail and they automatically stop you at the end so that you don't hit anything :)









See more SpeedZone pictures
or the SpeedZone web site
2006/12/26 Visiting Dallas
π 2006-12-26 20:17 by Merlin in Trips

While in Dallas, we visited the city (see pictures) , and saw the little downtown there was to see, as well as where JFK was shot, and the museum in his honor.
It was also nice to see the non official, and more likely explanations of what really happened.

















I wonder if it's still legal to casually walk around with guns. At the same time, Texas wins for having more churches than convenience stores.
2006/12/17 Quick early season day at Kirkwood
π 2006-12-17 21:31 by Merlin in Snow

Yeah, it's kind of sad that mid december counts as early season, but snow came really late this year, and it's only in mid december that there was arguably enough of a snow cover to justify going. Sunday 17th was a good day for kirkwood as Corniche had just opened the day before, and the Wall just opened that day, which gave access to some nice almost powder runs in the side forest.
The snow cover was decent considering how little precipitation we've gotten so far, but there was still a lot of uncovered or badly covered rocks and vegetation, which made for some scratches in the boards. In 5 years of going to kirkwood, it's also the very first time that I saw them making snow...
I've confirmed that my new boots are too small and basically unwearable without much sheer pain, so I'm going to have to find a new pair, which is hard considering they're custom burton boots with side click in bindings, but I guess that's the price to pay for having that convenience.
All in all, conditions weren't great, but considering I won't get to see any snow until beginning of February, it was good to have gone today.
Oh, and kudos to Xav for getting us there while staying on the road, not like the people we saw on 50, on the way to kirkwood.









ze transporter












And the remaining pictures of early season at Kirkwood
2006/12/17 Gotbluemilk Pictures
π 2006-12-17 21:29 by Merlin in Cars

Along the years, when going to track events, the guy from gotbluemilk.com took pictures of all of us. I recently bought a CD with all the pictures he took at different track events I've gone to betwween 2004 and 2006 (Laguna Seca and Thunderhill in my Miata, M5, and F430).


Let's start with a few pictures of my turbo miata:












Then, my one track day with the M5:







and a couple of recent track days with the F430:











All in all, some nice pictures. You can find the other gotbluemilk pictures here and especially the best of gotbluemilk .
Thanks to the fine folks at gotbluemilk for the great pictures.
2006/12/16 Pajama Day
π 2006-12-16 21:26 by Merlin in Google

Google had its first (likely annual) Pajama Day. Unfortunately, only 10 to 20% of the employees participated, but it was still fun to see people who did, including some VPs, and Sergey, one of the two founders.
A few more pictures here






2006/12/15 Watched full series: Heroes & Firefly/Serenity
π 2006-12-15 13:01 by Merlin in Public

Current Music: Asot 271
Current Mood: Good

After watching all the current episodes of Heroes in 3 days (11 episodes), I watched the 14 episodes of Firefly , and the resulting movie again: Serenity .

Heroes was an interesting series to watch, even if the premise behind it is actually not that different from the 4400 : humans who were changed to have supernatual abilities.
It'll be interesting to see the rest when it comes out next year.

Firefly unfortunately was killed by Fox, who were just assholes on this front. They refused to show the pilot because it was in widescreen, and didn't fit what they wanted to show. They soon after cancelled the show without ever giving it much of a chance, even though it had started to attract a lot of viewers.
The later movie Serenity did great too, but Fox retains all the TV rights, so the series is likely going to remain killed.
Kind of sad when things like that happen, but then again Fox is also Fox "News", so they're already on my shitlist. Too bad the Firefly producer didn't sign up with some other channel originally.
But then again, if I were to get one show back, I'd take Babylon V first. Firefly was nice even if the wild west, 6 shooter atmosphere looks a tad weird to me, but B5 was better :)
2006/12/11 Foggy / Rainy Thunderhill Day
π 2006-12-11 20:07 by Merlin in Cars

I took a slight gamble on the weather, but in the end the forecast looked good enough to give it a shot.
Unfortunately, we were greeted by ground fog, and the first sessions were delayed by about 90mn because the overall visibility was just too bad. Then, we had light rain, making the track quite slippery.
It made for a good exercise in light driving, and seeing how your traction control and ABS worked if you had any. That's where mine came in very handy, I set it to sport mode, which did a good job of cutting off before I got in trouble with the power. The corvettes however probably had a traction control that was so bad that they turned it off right away, and of course the next thing that happened is they ended up outside of the track.
By the afternoon, my third and last session was the only relatively dry one, and I was able to switch the traction control to race mode and get better times. Yet, wet tracks always make me nervous :)
I did have an instructor's session at the end, but I was just too beat due to a bad night, and decided to quit while I was ahead, instead of too tired, and off track, and headed back around 15:00 :)
Oh, I did get my butt kicked by a very fast Evo. That guy definitely had more balls than me. My times were around 2:19 in the half wet, and 2:13 to 2:15 in the somewhat more dry. Not stellar, but probably the best I could do that day :)









Yet, since I was there, I still made the best of it. Might as well :) (oh, and the best part is that the brakes held up. My new brake pads are definitely much better)







The rest of the pictures are here

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