A week of tweets: 2009-08-30

Sunday, August 30, 2009 
  • Driving to boston from phl. Long drives are not my thing, such a waste of time. But hey, nj rest stops, yay… #
  • NJ’s no self-pump rule cost us about 30 minutes wait. Should have filled up in PA. Don’t hit the NJ turnpike without enough gas to get out #
  • Check out 25 Aug edition of BBC Global News. (iTunes). Michael Shuer (sp?) Is shockingly honest. #
  • near 34.010573, -118.484423 http://tinyurl.com/nzx37o back in santa monica http://twitpic.com/fed1r #
  • near 34.00654, -118.491813 http://tinyurl.com/nr7f5u canadians on the beach http://twitpic.com/fenmk #
  • LAX-SFO today, got on the 2:50, yay. Finally home after 4 countries, 8 flights, 7 rental cars, 2 trains, and a taxi. #
  • Going to Cato’s ale house. #

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Posted at 02:11:00 GMT-0700

Category: Twitter

Rental Infiniti M35x

Thursday, August 27, 2009 


I got a very nice M35x upgrade from Hertz in LA this visit. It was one of the better rental cars I’ve had and a nice conclusion to 7 rentals in a row. The car is fast, comfortable, and quiet. The stereo sounded very good, there was in-dash GPS, refrigerated seats (!), and some other good features.


The control dash is a bit over the top. The radio/temp/GPS control panel is via a big knob in a near horizontal format that made it fairly difficult to find the controls one wanted while driving, probably my only complaint.


It has a fairly nice back-up camera feature that projects overlay graphics to guide backing up and made parking a lot easier once one got the hang of mapping the camera to motion.


Oddly, the car had a feature I couldn’t figure out – a Compact Flash card slot. It is unusual not to have a USB interface, which seems more general than something media specific like a CF slot. I didn’t have a CF card to test, but I’d think it is either a way to add data to the GPS or media for the radio.

Posted at 15:24:02 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental cars

A week of tweets: 2009-08-23

Sunday, August 23, 2009 
  • near 37.218878, -7.442649 http://tinyurl.com/mvx6dr cherry picker soccer match http://twitpic.com/e4war #
  • near 37.340166, -6.711883 http://tinyurl.com/pjrran spain… #
  • near 37.366906, -6.216173 http://tinyurl.com/ocxcro. Just passed an 11mw solar tower. The beams of light look like guy wires in the sun. #
  • Nice dinner last night at El Bulli. Early flight today through Lisbon to BLQ, a night at home in italy, then Rome, IAD, etc. #
  • Back in italy. A little rain moing through to cool things off. #
  • On the way to rome. Almost… Stopping at a friend of carolyn’s first, then on to a friend of a friend’s for the night… #
  • near 42.423472, 12.548427 http://tinyurl.com/m5txha at the art monistary. #
  • At home with the parents in swarthmore… #

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Posted at 02:11:00 GMT-0700

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La Petrognola Chestnut Beer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 

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This is a really good local beer (see the geotag) that is very hard to find, even in the local shops.  The full-service food store, called “Self Service,” used to carry it, but not anymore, alas.  Very tasty.
Posted at 10:16:47 GMT-0700

Category: photoPositiveReviews

Yellow Fiat Panda

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 
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We had some amusing rental cars in Italy.   First and last a Ford Focus that was quite competent, had enough room, and handled quite well.  Then we went to Portugal and rented a car to drive to Spain.  Perhaps because Spain and Portugal still have some hard feelings, it is absurdly expensive to rent a car in one country and return it in the neighboring company.  It would cost less to pay someone to push the car back.

So we were given a “Spanish car” in Lisbon, a Toyota Yaris with a really pronounced fuel delivery problem at anything above 1/2 throttle which had the car juddering and barely making it up hills.  Hertz sent out the mechanic who asked if we had the AC on (yes, it was 40 out) and then said it was normal. I told him it felt like it was running on 3 cylinders and he said that was right, it had 3 cylinders.  Now we’ve rented a couple of Yarii before, and they make it up the mountain in Italy fine with the AC on, and would easily have climbed the hills of Lisbon, but they wouldn’t take it back and besides even if they wanted to there simply wasn’t another car available in Iberia.  So we got a reservation from EuropeCar and called Hertz and were told we could drop the sick Yaris off at LIS.

But when we got there, that wasn’t the case – apparently Hertz Spain would charge Hertz Portugal €25,000 if they accepted it.  As we made it clear we wouldn’t be driving it away, there was suddenly another Spanish car at the Hertz downtown office.

We drove downtown where they were super nice and promptly produced another of the same competent Ford’s we had in Italy with one minor variation – the driver’s side mirror had been destroyed by the car wash just before we got there.  So they gave us a nice Portuguese Renault Laguna III with the key card ignition system.  It worked great and was a fine car to drive with a useful 6 speed manual transmission.

It got us to SVQ without any problems and we could even keep up with our friends in their Mercedes C230 with the strange transmission that switched into “limp home mode” immediately.  Yes, the car rental adventure was not ours alone, their car, a high end rental Mercedes was flawed as well.  They asked “why does the car redline at 150?  Is that bad?”  It took a little work to be sure there wasn’t a button or feature being missed (like some manual shift override), but no… it was a “feature” not a bug, and was to remind the driver to get to a service station before the transmission fell out of the car.  It made it to Spain and back in 2nd.

When we got back to BLQ our Focus was touring around Florence, so we picked up the cheerful Yellow Fiat Panda.  Pandas are great little (little) cars.  They handle surprisingly well, have surprising pickup and, like the tardis, are bigger inside than outside.  Even so, a panda can’t really hold more than two people and their normal travel luggage, and three is a tight squeeze even if one is only 80% full size.  But we all packed in and zipped back home suddenly noticing that the yellow panda must be the year’s most popular car.

Finally we returned the Panda, got our Focus, and drove to Rome with three adults, one awfully tall 12 year old, and a lot of luggage in relative comfort and in good time.

Posted at 10:12:02 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental cars

Innovations in Child Management

Sunday, August 16, 2009 

Modeled after the forward-thinking Safe Haven Program in Nebraska where you can drop off unwanted children rather than having an abortion up to age 16, in Portugal you take your kids for a long walk on a short parapet at the local castle.

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(“Look at those Guelph Merlons, honey” “That’s funny, I thought they’d be Ghibellineeeeee….”)
Posted at 10:38:50 GMT-0700

Category: Funnyphoto

A week of tweets: 2009-08-16

Sunday, August 16, 2009 

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Posted at 02:11:00 GMT-0700

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Hertz portugal rents motorcycles

Friday, August 14, 2009 

From 80€ a day for an F650 to 119€ a day for an R1200GS with bags.

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Very tempting, though most people apparently only rent them to test the bikes for a day and you can’t ride them out of the country, a bit limiting in a small country.  Still, could make a for a very nice vacation riding around.
Posted at 04:33:46 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental cars

Lapa Palace in Lisbon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 

Quite lovely, excellent view and an exceptionally helpful staff.

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The Lapa Palace was Isabella’s favorite hotel, and with good reason.  A gorgeous view, a nice pool, and the staff was incredibly helpful.
Posted at 08:23:15 GMT-0700

Category: HotelsphotoPositiveReviews

A week of tweets: 2009-08-09

Sunday, August 9, 2009 
  • Once again, comutting to LA for the day. Escape the sf cold. #
  • Wow, got in car in santa monica at 4:58, returned car and made 6:09 flight with several minutes to spare. #
  • Walked on the plane, saw a friend from high school who lives in australia. Small world… #
  • Off to iad. My schedule originally had me popping down from yyz, not slogging over from sfo. Plans… #
  • Plug in power. Yay ual! Free electrons! Now if I just had some wiggler magnets we could have a show. #
  • Boarding to FCO… Gang boarding premium on an international flight? Hmmm… #
  • At fco and what’s in rome? The crocks. The company is failing yet tourists from the midwest continue bright yellow plastc cultural hegemony #

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Posted at 02:11:00 GMT-0700

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