Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Musings on a replacement car #2

After a bit more feedback I've a rough idea of what I want.

  • To not hurry because the car should last 10+ years before I decide to replace it.
  • AWD: because rally cars use this system for better handling, not a 4x4 because I won’t need the ground clearance.
  • Hatchback: To fit my bike (or kiteboard +swag + passenger with 2xPCs). Sedans are too small wagons too big.
  • Smallish and lighter: So it's zippy around corners, because I don't slow down much for them. Also makes carparks more managable.
  • Anchor points in the back for kiddie seats.
  • 5 door, to accommodate passengers + room for gear.
  • USB connection for stereo, to charge and play music (3.1 media jack too)
  • Smaller lighter car is better for parking and economy and power to weight ratio.
  • ~$20,000 with a $10,000 loan from grandma
  • <$30k, dont want to break the bank + all the cars here seem purely racing cars and I may like that too much.
  • Auto: Manual will be more fun (not in briz) but auto is easier, lots. Some cars have both!
  • New or just out of warranty (3yo): Don't need another 10yo "my first car"
  • Able to take regular unleaded petrol, not restricted to premium. Though I’ll probably keep using premium on long trips.
  • Decepticon car badge ~$4
  • Comfortably drive from Bundaberg to Roma (7h, 600km) without needing to stop other than for lunch.

So some candidates are:

Just looked at the Subaru Impreza L (L-mid range) in real life and am happy with the list above, with the fold down seats a bike should definatly fit. It also has the thing where you pretend its a manual not an auto.

same price as the Impreza and definatly a AWD

$10k cheaper than the Impreza, but not sure if its an AWD
not may 5 door models on this website AWD? ~$19K
do I stick with holdens? seem they are going to a single international car design (slowly) AWD?
Just like Levi and Tony. But wait the AWD is only avalible in Japan? maybe the rest of these are too? then the Suzuki may be my only alternative almost rally car.


Suzuki SX4 GYB
not a crossover, not sure what the difference is. Carpoint has them too. This one has 12km and is 1yo already. Would like it better if it wasn't approaced for use by P platers.

Audi A3 TFSI Ambition 8P
I think this is a 4x4 not an AWD and is a bigger heavier car than the others.

Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart CJ
Ralliart makes it sound like a hoons car and the price starts at $50k and drop ~$10k per year, to $24k for an 2009 model.

and then there is lots more Subarus, they seem to have the market nich.

So before Ive even posted this I seem to have narrowed it down to two cars, and the first review of the SX4 mentions this, although the review is rather old.

These on the other hand seem current. Generally favouring the slightly more expensive Impreza and have twice as much to say about it. But they dont seem to lift one above the other. I'm also fighting against the preconception bias as the Impreza is the first I took a liking to 2 weeks ago when looking on wikipedia.

 SX4 and Impreza on Car Verdict
 SX4 and Impreza on msn
 SX4 and Impreza on car advice
 SX4 and Impreza on TopGear

And now Tony and Wayne got me thinking about when the traction control benefits of an AWD would actually be noticeable. Seems Occasionally but rarely, unless I drive off-road more and much more aggressively. Wayne then suggested that if I want something that’s fun to take corners in then I should get a mini and that he is not biased at all.
MINI Ray – the cheaper option ~$26K petrol only, has no optional extras, except to remove the “Ray” badging so you can pretend you spent the extra. I wouldn’t miss any of the few optional extras that are available here.
MINI Countryman – Larger (and a 4x4) ~40K with things like fog lights, Sporty seats, DTC, DSC, possible sports suspension, buttons on the steering wheel, auto pretends to be manual. Diesel gives more toque & less power for nearly twice the economy. Lots of other options too.
MINI Cooper – $35K, Not sure about the dimensions, but shape of the Ray and extra bits like the Countryman, excluding 4x4. None of the MINIs have a real spare tyre either and require going to Briz for a service.
But these are aparently not terribly comefortable to drive, plus Aurore reccomended I go for a primarily practical car.

Good website for Dan, shows some car stats, without showing 20+ of the exact same car.

metaphysical investment

Needs weblinks to references.

The recent floods have reinforced for me the value of metaphysical investments in preference to material assets.

Science as a metaphysical investment

Probably really isn’t a good idea at all. If I were to travel backward or forward in time by one hundred years most of what I know would be useless. 100 years ago I’d probably have lookup tables and slide rules to calculate a density temperature correction. Today I let a spreadsheet calculate it out for me, maybe in a hundred years lab analysts wont even know that there needs to be a temperature correction because it is done on the fly by the instruments.

Maybe my analytical methods and steady hands would be of use, but the transition may be like me starting work in a genome sequencing lab. Though I have some industry experience they may as well hire a new graduate on the cheap for all the re-learning I would have to do.

Sport as a metaphysical investment

Seems like a decent idea. I remember a TV show where a dozen blokes from different sports competed in various tasks. There were footballers, a boxer, triathlete, swimmer, race car driver and I don’t recall the rest. They all had a go as a particular skill from each of the other sports, like punching a bag quickly, time trials (driving, swimming, running). In the end the Race car driver was the overall winner. He was OK at everything, had a lot of stamina and recovered quickly.

Therefore probably if I went forward into the future a thousand years and they drove Mechas or competed with air blades. My breath capacity from underwater hocky; efficiency from fencing; reaction time from volleyball; party tricks from gymnastics; poise from dancing; balance from bike riding. May in some small way mean that I’m not terrible at it.

Religion as a metaphysical investment

Um, kind of the whole point of religion. So I acknowledge I’ll be dead one day and when that happens things may change dramatically in such a way that I can never predict the transition.

Social skills as a metaphysical investment

If there are no people than I’d probably go mad. I’ll have to rely on other people to warn me about cultural taboos. Do we say grace before eating? Can I wear DT’s at the beach? Am I supposed to spit on my hand before a handshake? Do we bash our beers together to prove their not poisoned?

Information technology as a metaphysical investment

Would have to be essentially useless, particularly in an agrarian society but also if the prediction in the Matrix come true. The way we interact with technology is the main thing determining how it get used. Games are helpful in this regard as they always press the envelope. Playing both Hawken with the Occulas and then ToME (or ADOM) with only a keyboard will keep my mind diverse. Like Leonardo DaVinci who could apparently read Latin then translate it to French with his left hand and German with his right all at the same time.

IT is where I am constantly learning new things and trying to keep my mind supple.

Creation as a metaphysical investment

Best idea ever, it’s much easier to break than it is to build. If I end up in a place with no Lego and nobody speaks English then acting/singing is about all I can do. I should learn how to sing opra, then language will nolonger be a barrier. Cooking is good to but some places have wired vegetables and some people are allergic to flour (haven’t the faintest idea how to make flour either).

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. I don’t know how to fish…

Friday, February 22, 2013

Musings on a replacement car

My current car now leaked all the water out of the radiator, just after me replacing all the fuel lines and the muffler, I suppose it’s just at the age were things start going wrong. I could get a 10yo car outright the same as last time or I could pay twice that for a nearly new car with more help from grandma.

Subaru Impreza WRX seems like a nice car, but it is also has good resale and is thus expensive.
$40-50k for a new one.
$13-15k for a 2003
I got the idea for these from looking at what cars won Australian rally tournaments ten year ago. I’m Concerned about fitting my bike in the boot though these do come as hatchbacks. I enjoy not slowing down for roundabouts, but there are only 2 places I know of to do hill climbs like in Initial D, so a fun offroad car would be better.
apparently a Honda Civic VTI-S is similar to the WRX but with ~$2k more for a new car there is not point getting one second hand, New ~$23,000. hopefully my bike could fit into the back. I don’t think I’ve driven a front wheel drive before.

A government auction car. Cost ~$10,000, with ~100,000k from 2003, just like when I bought my current car.
the public trustee seems to sell the newer govt. cars that are 3yo and $15-$20k, they done have any Subaru’s it seems.
All these will have a full service history and I may get a police pack.

A 2WD ute would be nice in this case
Utes, looking at the fords are ~$32,000 new and ~$15,000 for a 2008 model. Actually that’s comparable with the WRX.
With the soft top cover I could defiantly fit my bike or PC+Kiteboard+Swag+spare clothes. Though I may need a new sojourning bag for just my PC to keep it safe and clean.

Old Car:
Commodore VR 95 sedan
VIN 6H8VRK19HSL780486
3rd owner
Service history
Mag wheels + Spoiler
Auto Petrol
car seems to be worth $2-3k

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SVG Cave: Beginnings

The point of this file is to create something in POV-Ray that would be too hard to make in SVG. I want something that looks artistic and impresses me more than the lighthouse I lost.

Challenge is to compleete it within a year.

a crystal that can make prisms of light and seperates the spectra a little.
For this I think may need a narrow light beam.

Shadows, to that end I think I'll place asome fire

movement, I dont understand smil programmed image movies so I'll do it here.

General idea:
a cave scene with a black shillouette of a man infrount of a flickering fire, with a crystal growing from the wall to the left.
Then if the fire actually looks OK, movement of the camera, still looking at the fire. then once you see the fire, start to look at the man. He then moves quickly towards the camera, so the scene ends all black.

I'm intending to blog the progress, sort of like a turorial. This will require a little more organization in the beginning and a lot more comments. But then I also get to be a better programmer.

Fist need the cave, then a light souce, make it so that it looks like an orb and is in the center. Plus the all important camera. With this I should have a visible scene.

Then add some texture to the walls, probably some ovoid bolders too.

Crystal to the side, now there should  be somewhere for the light to play, may need to be slightly irridesent to make sure it is always visible itself.
Possibly also need to use photon mapping, needs more research.

Locate the silhouette, just a simple shape. 3 sphears and a rectangle or two.
Detemine a possible camera path.
Here I may also be able to test out the movie generation. For for the following I'll need to not have the silhouette.

make a log ember:
will need to have some light surfaces that phase red and yellow. then overlay a black cracked texture onto a cylnder.
Probably need sinewaves and rand here, but the seed must be consistant if I use a movie
Duplicate, rotate and translate the log under the orb to form a fireplace a few times.
the timing here will be a simple cycle, offset for each log and constantly repeating.

Make a flickering flame:
replace the light orb with a new shape, still using the looks like function.
A teardrop of white, possibly an ovoid with cone and covered by the blob function. This can be the center that always remains.
on top of this i'd like a series of possible shapes of which 2 are always visible.
Hopefully then the light output will act both as a point light source and as an area light.
This will require a lot of testing to see if it is beleivable. May need a rock embedded in the floor to watch the shadows as well as the crystal. If the flame is too odd, then I'll have the camera never look at it directly.
Say I have ~3 fundamental shapes of each size, the colours can vary blue>white and red>yellow. Size can pulse a little and the shape can be rotated about the y axis and be translated a small ammount onthe x and z axis's.

Re-place the shillouette and run the movie;
1 stationary, to see the shadows and crystal
2 have the camera path bob up and down, and move in an arc around the figgure, looking at the fire.
3 Stop at the fire, with the crystal behind the shiluette.
4 Look towards the shilluette. At that time have the shiluette grow and evelope everything in darkness as it moves closer to the camera.
Save the photon map on the first scene?


#include "colors.inc"
#include "finish.inc"
#include "math.inc"

//what will become a flame
    <0,0,0> rgb <1,1,1>
            <0,0,0>, 20//to just be touching the ground
            texture {pigment{rgb <1.1,1>} }
            finish { ambient 1 }
    fade_distance 700
    fade_power 1

//what will eventually move
camera {
   location <0, 145, -700>//units in centimeters, so I am 1.50m tall and 7m from the fire (lowwered the height by 5cm to correct the location of my eyes :)
   look_at <0,10,0>//10cm above the ground

//the ground
plane {y,-100 texture {pigment{rgb <0.2,0.7,0.5> } }}// will pretty this up later

//the outside shell of the scene, may need modifiers to be an inside shape.
    <0,0,0>, 1000// ten meter diammeter
    pigment { Grey }//again will have to pretty this up, probably both texture and colour

#declare MossyOvoid =
                threshold 0.99
                sphere { <-15,0,0>,15, 1.5 pigment {Blue} }
                sphere { < 15,0,0>,30, 1.5 pigment {Pink} }
                //moss covering here
            finish { phong 1 }
          sphere { < 15,0,0>,15 }


    scale 15
    rotate z*45
    translate <300,0,60>

    scale 15
    translate <0,0,1000>
    rotate <30,0,60>//this orbits the ovoid around the origen, ensuring it remains on the edge of the cave.
    scale 200
    translate <-100,0,0>
    rotate <30,0,60>

OK so this is a start, the ovoid while egglike is not centered properly
only one object is viible
the cave is rather small


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I think I’ve found a new physical outlet. Currently the sea is full of mud and faeces on account of the recent floods so I’m not too keen on kitesurfing.
Josh asked me one day “wanna go to gym with me?” I replied “whats it involve?” Then as he formulated a response I thought to myself, ‘Meh why not? Its something different I could have a look as least and have nothing else to do at that time, It would only require turning up an hour earlier to pickup Josh from work that I would have otherwise.’
What Josh heard was “What’s it involve, yeah sure.” I suppose I didn’t really care about the answer to my question. Either I was going and would see soon enough or I wasn’t and it wouldn’t matter.

The problem with normal gyms is that they are too much like playing computer games. You sit there on one thing inside a building without any fresh air doing repetitive exercises.
The good thing about this gym is that when I say I’m going to it nobody will assume I mean gymnastics J. It s just a little bit unusual, like going fencing or learning Latin. Knowing Josh makes it marginally social, there is a possibility of meeting girls unlike dancing. There is a bit of airflow in the shed and once I know what I’m doing it can be done anywhere.
I wonder what my goal should be?
To be a flag?
Be good enough at one handed chin-ups that I can be like || in Midory Days, of ?Fes? In The Princess Bride?
To get visible abs?
Maybe it’s just another metaphysical investment that I can take with me wherever I go?
Learn a new basic skillset?
Buff my wrists so that kitesurfing with one hand is made more easy?
Standing flips
Run into a wall but miss because I ran up it and did a backflip.
Maintain a handstand
Walk like Mito Guy Kahonas great blue beast, all around the backyard at least.

That should be enough for the first six months I think, then I should be able to get back into kitesurfing. Unless I find some more interesting people to hang out with at gym.