Thursday, June 28, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

John McClane is back and better than ever in "Live Free or Die Hard," the fourth installment of the "Die Hard" series. We've missed a true blockbuster action flick for some time now; this one fills you up with all of the right stuff and little or none of the bad. It has been over a decade since we've seen a truly decent action blockbuster and finally that stagnation period is over!

Bruce Willis kicks ass. Period. He is blown up, shot at, blown up again, thrown out of windows, thrown out of cars, thrown off of planes and then shot at again for good measure. In classic Die Hard fashion he prevails with a gritty, sour yet lovingly witty character. There is little time to take a breath in Die Hard 4; you are constantly and violently thrown into the next turbulent situation and love every minute of it. The plot doesn't include a lot of "fluff" and there are only a few main characters with well developed personalities--the combination adds to the blockbuster effectiveness of this movie. With so many contemporary "action" movies relying heavily on non-human CGI (computer generated image) animation, Die Hard takes you back to a time when one two people fight, they shoot at each other and have to dodge "real" bullets. There is some CGI in the film but it is kept to a minimum and well blended. The most important thing is that the action scenes (basically the entire movie), while still a bit outrageous, are still based around our universe's laws of physics.

The supporting cast, including the evil (and fantastically cold-blooded) Timothy Olyphant, the skittish computer genius Justin Long, and the Kung-Fu sadist Maggie Q does a great job of bringing this movie together for two heart pounding hours. As I mentioned above, there are really only a handful of main characters (four in this case) and all are developed well--adding greatly to the likability of the movie. There is only one plot, one story and that is exactly how the movie starts and ends.

Because I don't usually like to give away a movie in a review I will just say this as a brief (and very crude) overview: terrorists are using the internet to systematically shut down the United States and Bruce Willis gets involved to whoop their ass. Hopefully that helps.

The cinematography and direction of Die Hard 4 is as good as the rest. You wont get a brain hemorrhage from watching it but you certainly wont yawn or look away. This was the most entertaining two hours at the movies I've had in a long time.

For great summer blockbuster fun I highly suggest seeing "Live Free or Die Hard." At the tender age of 52, Bruce Willis still has what it takes to bring Detective John McClane to triumphant life. The movie gives you all of what you want and little of what you don't and in my book that deserves a full five "Mitch Heads." (Oh, and it is PG-13 rated too most of your family can share in the joy of explosions).

- Mitch G

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Toyota Prius - "Yes"

Even though my BMW has yet to sell I am waiting delivery of my newest car, the 2007 Toyota Prius. This little car has sold more than 600,000 units worldwide and is still the #1 best selling hybrid car on the road today. Toyota really hit the spot with the Prius and I figured it is time for me to check it out for myself.

As my consulting position with Multimedia LED winds down I will be moving to Newport Beach, California to (hopefully) take my post as a development assistant with Craig Realty Group; this transition will result in a ten-fold increase in travel. I feel this change justifies the sale of my beloved 7-series and purchase of the new techno-loaded, gas-conservative green-box. I'm really looking forward to the technological innovations offered with the new Prius--especially the Smart Key entry and start system.

I've heard many complaints about gas mileage not meeting up to advertised EPA ratings but what I've found through experience in friend's Priuses is that those complaining individuals are not driving the car properly. It is a difficult game to maximize gas mileage in a Prius, one that undoubtedly involves a significant learning curve. Once I start driving mine I will report my findings on how to maximize gas mileage to achieve the advertised MPG.

If everything goes as planned I will be buying a 2007 Prius with the #6 option package that includes every option Toyota offers: DVD Navigation, JBL Audio, Smart Key, Bluetooth, HID Headlights, Leather Seats & Traction Control. The deal I have slated can not be disclosed but I am getting a smoking deal through my connections at the local dealership here in Sacramento. I opted out of a Touring model because the wait would be too long, the wheels are not favorable and I can not get the color (Grey) that I want.

Not that I consider myself a complete "yuppie," or anything of the like; I am just looking to do my part to help the environment, enjoy some new technology and maybe save a bit of "green" as well.

- Mitch G

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lower Price!

I am lowing the price of my car to $15,800 if anyone is interested please let me know. I can provide a 27-point inspection report taken a few weeks ago from Niello BMW of Sacramento and am willing to ship. Thanks!

- Mitch G

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

For Sale: 2001 BMW 740i Sport

I'm selling my beloved 2001 BMW 740i Sport. It is currently up for auction on eBay and you can find it with this link here. It is fully loaded with the BMW factory sport package, convenience package and DVD navigation system.

It has almost every feature you could ask for: voice recognition, rain sensing wipers, HID headlights, power leather seats w/driver memory, sunshades, tinted windows, power folding mirrors, homelink and a UV protected windshield. The car has had all maintenance done on time and is in excellent overall condition. There are 113k miles on the clock and it runs perfect--just recently passed emissions testing. The title is clear with no marks on the carfax report.

I'm asking $17,900 and willing to accept offers. Please contact me for more information (425) 765-8460.

- Mitch G

Sunday, June 03, 2007

2007 SCCA Mather Field Charity Autocross

What a complete blast this was! I've never had so much fun with my car. The event was designed to support the Shriner's Children's Hospitals and all proceeds were given to the Shriner's charity fund. In total there were nearly 300 cars on the tarmac of Mather Air Field in east Sacramento County. At 8am the cones were up and the course was swept spotless--the weather sunny and flirting with a warm 75 degrees and a light breeze from the south.

The first run group (my group) positioned our cars on the starting grid and then proceeded to walk the course to get a feel for our task. After we made our rounds we went back to our cars, strapped on our racing helmets and started our engines. (I was the largest car there by about 1,000 pounds and 4 inches in length). Then the event started. I was in position number 15 on the grid and was able to see how a few drivers did in front of me. I felt anxious to say the least but of my nerves melted away as my heart took over pulling up to the beginning. The course, a 3/4 mile, 8 turn, 2 slalom, 2 chicane road challenge would exercise my bone stock 2001 BMW 740i Sport and its 18" All Season Michelin Pilot Sport Tires.

The transmission was locked in 2nd gear with the stability control turned off, my heart raced at a hundred paces per minute and before I knew it the green flag was waving in front of me. I jammed the pedal to the floor as the 4.4L V8 roared to life and jumped off the line with the authority and refinement only a German engineered V8 saloon can provide. A little wheel spin on the hot concrete to start but otherwise plenty of grip from the 255/45zr18 rubber in the rear. The rest of the 87 second run was a blur as all I remember was the sound of tires screeching and a drifting rear end as I plowed through the corners and powered out of them with a firm press of the "go" pedal. The smell of burnt rubber was intoxicating.

Each driver ran four laps for our $25 dollar donation and fortunately for me my times improved with each round (87, 83, 81 and 79 seconds respectively). After I was done racing it was the next group's turn to go and I spent the rest of the day out at turn 7 safetying the course and watching the other cars squeal around the corner and power onto the straight. At the end of the day I was sun-burnt, I smelled like gasoline and road grime but it was euphoric. Being my first ever car racing event, and driving a 4,400lb 4-door sedan I felt I did exceedingly well compared to the other cars out that day. As it stands I was only 3-4 seconds slower than many of the Subaru STIs, Mitsubishi Lancer EVOs, Corvettes and BMW 3-Series on the track that day. With the proper tires and suspension, given the same car and a few more laps of experience I believe I could have had very competitive times for the day. The quickest time set without penalty was a 62.005 by a race spec C4 Corvette and the 2nd quickest (63.257) by a 500hp Rousch-powered 427 Shelby Cobra; needless to say I am pleased with the results.

What an experience and pleasure it was to run my car and be in the presence of hundreds of other auto enthusiasts from all walks of life testing the limits and showing off their skills. It is even more thrilling that the entire event will benefit the Shriner's Children's Hospitals. Thank you to the SCCA team for all of their hard work to make the event happen and let me participate. I will definitely be back for more... once this damned sun-burn fades away.

- Mitch G

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