Jesus, I can’t believe this song is almost thirty years old, and somehow it got stuck in my head all week:
Ah, the days of frosted hair and puka shells.
Also: tangentially related: the time the guy from Creed got in a fight with the band at a bar in Baltimore. Good times!
This article is an exhaustively documented dive into those “product reviews” that come up in Google searches which all seem to feature the same photos, quotes from the same authors, and link to the same crappy products. The TL;DR:summation is that private equity firms have bought most of the old trusted media entities, turned them into zombie digital properties, and are trading on their old brand names to game Google’s search rankings and fool consumers into buying shit products that don’t work well. Worse, Google seems disinterested in fixing any of this.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time cleaning up my long-neglected YouTube “channel”, which until recently has just been a CDN for videos I’m embedding elsewhere. I’ve made the realization that I need to add a lot more context around anything I post there, meaning each video needs some kind of voiceover, title card, and description so that they stand alone a bit better. I posted the latest Travelall update yesterday and within six hours I had sixty views—which is peanuts, really—but you’ve got to start somewhere, I suppose. As I’ve done work on WRI’s channels I’ve picked up some tips and advice on how to raise visibility, so I’m putting those into place to see how things go. Strangely the Hudson video has 11K views which look to be completely organic based on the stats I’m seeing. I guess Hudsons are more popular than IH.
Driving the blue CR-V almost exclusively for the past couple of weeks, it put the current condition of the silver CR-V into stark perspective. I took her out to get some supplies this weekend and became acutely aware of how how poorly the windshield wipers worked, filthy the interior was, how lousy the tires were, and the fact that an exhaust leak by the muffler has been heating up the plastic in the wheel well and melting it slowly over time. Before finishing my errands, I stopped in to the auto parts store and grabbed some new blades. At home I backed her up to the garage and spent a good half an hour vacuuming out the cabin and emptying out accumulated trash, which made a big difference inside. This morning, with a fresh paycheck, I ordered four new tires to be delivered to the garage down the street, and after they are balanced and mounted, I’m going to have them hunt down the exhaust issue and pray she doesn’t need an entirely new exhaust system. Eventually she needs to go in for a clutch, which I’m saving up for a little further down the road, but with new tires and a less flammable exhaust she’ll be in better shape.
Later on Saturday I cut out a section of 1/16″ 3-ply luan and laid it under the rear cabin floor of the blue car to reinforce that area. Knowing we’ll be loading her up with lots of cargo in the next couple of years I don’t want to be worrying about breaking anything. I also ordered a set of floor mats for the whole car to cut down on the wear and tear on the carpet, seeing how rough we’ve been on the silver car for the past fourteen years.
Meanwhile, our plates and paperwork came in at the dealer, so I’m going to head up there tomorrow night to pick those up.
I was surprised to see a medium-sized USPS envelope arrive in the mail yesterday, addressed to your humble correspondent; inside was a shiny new US passport featuring the new, terrifyingly bad portrait we shot here at the house where my hair looks like it’s falling off the back of my skull. I was fully expecting either a letter beginning with the words, “We’re sorry, but your application could not be processed…”, or just radio silence until the night before we’re scheduled to board the plane. It’s always great to be pleasantly surprised by bureaucracy!
I finished up a bunch of Scout II designs and posted them to my Instagram channel and to a couple of Marketplace groups, but so far there have been no bites in the storefront despite the Insta post getting a ton of likes. I would really like it if this made back some money; it was a fun exercise but I’m going to pump the brakes if I don’t make a lot of sales. Jen and I have been cranking out on a freelance project for an old friend where we’re both spending a ton of time in Illustrator—it’s time-consuming but can be done easily while playing a movie on Netflix on the second monitor—and I’d rather be doing that for guaranteed money as much as I like illustrating trucks.
We’ve put 150+ miles on the CR-V so far, and I’m very happy with our purchase to date. It’s a pleasure to drive. It feels both nimble and solid on the road—a little chunkier than the 2006, which it is—but when I get on the gas it gets up and goes. We’re still getting used to the controls, and learning about most of the features. All of the new lane-sensing technology is a big shift; the display on the dash flashes SLOW when the car thinks you’re approaching something too fast. The lane-changing warnings are a mixture of lights and a chime; I liked how the Chevy flashed quietly in my peripheral vision better. The seats are firm and comfortable, and the adjustments make them even better. Overall, it’s a hell of a car for the money.
One thing that I don’t like is the rear bed situation: Honda cheaped out on the material they used to cover the spare tire well. At different times in the past, I have thrown a pressure washer, pallets of water, two Costco shopping carts worth of merchandise, several hundred pounds of tools, Scout car parts, and people in the rear of the 2006, sometimes all at once. I’ve often looked at the rear of the car squatting down over the wheels and wondered if I overloaded it a tiny bit, but I never once worried about breaking the rear deck. Maybe that’s because it famously uses a removable folding table as the rear floor. But in the 2024 it feels like cheap cardboard. I’m going to buy a 4×4′ section of 1/4″ sanded plywood and cut a custom floor to drop in under the carpet—or, better yet, just pull the OEM piece entirely and cover the plywood with an OEM Honda rubber floor tray.
I’m shocked to admit both Ford and Chevrolet have beaten Honda in CarPlay integration hands-down. Granted, we were driving upscale models of their SUVs, so we got upgrades like extra-large displays. Honda’s integration isn’t as technologically savvy, but it does get the job done. Having test-driven multiple makes of car over the last couple of years, I wouldn’t consider a car if it didn’t have CarPlay. GM’s recent announcement that they’re going to discontinue CarPlay and go with some home-brewed infotainment system baffles me both because they did an excellent job with it in both examples we drove, and because it’s so monumentally difficult to do infotainment correctly. They’re going to have to hire a whole development team to build something half as good.