Sunday, September 23, 2012


Who are these 1500 people that clicked thumbs down??

Saturday, September 22, 2012

On that note

Google Art is hella sick and everyone should check it out.

Modern Art

I was never one for modern art.

Part of the problem is that it is all so opaque and meta, that you can't really understand what's going on by just looking at a piece in isolation.

Like, Lynda Benglis is known for her feminist sculptures.


Why is this feminist? It's just a lumpy piece of shit. Except you have to know that her contemporaries were predominantly males making really angular lumpy pieces of shit in hard colours (how they got to that point is a whole other story). This has obviously more feminine characteristics in its soft curves and softer colours and served as her rebuttal to the masculinity of the art world. It's like a back and forth discussion in a secret language; they are saying things about their society, but you have to be in the know.

What happens if you try to make the same thing today? Well I guess you'd be full of shit, really.

Warhol and his likes are noteworthy not because of any sort of technical excellence but because nobody in their time would've thought about doing what they did. They were taking the lowest forms of consumer culture and trying to make it into art. Now that it's become accepted, what meaning is there today for you to do what he did? Now not only can anybody paint a terrible soup can, but anybody can think of painting a terrible soup can.

Which brings me to Damian Hurst, who I think is a total hack and people need to stop giving him bags of money for animal carcasses and crystal skulls. I think he derives a lot of success because his works are aesthetically pleasing in a way that many are not. So if you don't really know what the hell you're looking at but want to act sophisticated, why not at least pick up something that looks cool?

That is to say, I think some modern artists are full of shit.

But most of their appreciators are definitely full of shit.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Axis powers revisited

BMW 328i xDrive

BMW is known for making Ultimate Driving Machines.

They are also known for their other full of those things that drove the British out of France and blitzed London. But that was a Bad Time, so let's forget about that part.

The 328i used to run a 300cc I6 228bhp/199lb-ft power plant. This year they are downsizing to a 200cc I4. Which is actually good news, because, with the help of TwinPower turbos, their performance has been boosted to an impressive 241bhp/258lb-ft.

"Hey roll your windows up, it's quite windy back here"

I didn't even notice. When you are throwing the car around, you really don't pay attention to much else. In Sport mode the throttle response feels great and the steering is sharp. In most other cars you have to contemplate the physics of a turn; this car is not like most cars: it is as nimble as you are. This is when the car is at its best, when you don't think, you just drive.

"Just don't go past 150"

Haha, that's funny. But in more than a good way. For all their engineering, 241 horsepower is 241 horsepower. At some point you've hit 6500 revs and you're ready for more but you glance at the tachometer and you realize there's just no more for it to give. And that's just a little disappointing.

My father mentioned after his drive that it felt like the Maxima had more power in it. I dismissed it out of hand initially, but it turns out that he's right. When you hit rock bottom in the BMW, there would still be some juice left in the Maxima.

There are some interesting questions here. For instance, what was I doing in a BMW at 6500 revs? And what the hell was I doing in a Maxima to have any baseline of comparison?

Those are good questions.

So now I am going to talk about the exterior: it looks great. I don't like much what they've done with the new headlamps but they still know a thing or two about making a pretty cars.

But don't let the outside fool you. The interior is just tragic. When you are driving it to the fullest and nothing fills your senses except the road, there's no problem at all. Except that you won't be driving like that for the vast majority of time. Else, you won't be driving at all for long because those license infractions will suddenly start appearing very quickly. For the rest of the time you can admire the cheap looking plastic panels, and the cheap looking steering wheel, and the terribly designed shifter and the terribly designed signal switch and a million other Minor Annoyances present in the vehicle. These are things you can put up with, but when the price tag is running close to $60k all-inclusive, why should you?

"You should move your seat back a little more"

No don't! Because it feels like a vice sitting back here! Second-class passengers indeed!

"Buy it for yourself, not the wife"

About sums it up actually, because this is a car for a lot of things, but it's not one for Real Life.

Infiniti G37

The G37 is in the same class, but it is actually not in the same class. This car is of a different pedigree altogether.

The inside is roomy and elegant, everything works as you expect it to, and they give you some amenities right off the bat. For instance, rear-view camera: standard. How many extra packages would you need to buy before you can get this in a BMW? Over five thousand dollars worth. The G37 treats you as you'd expect to be treated for the price.

And it stays together longer; the vehicle histories show it.

As for the engine? It is a beast. A 370cc V6 giving you 328bhp at 269lb-ft, and the torque comes earlier than in the VQ35 too. At 4000rpm it gives an audible but not overbearing low growl, suggesting that there is more power yet untapped should you need it.

You don't need it.

I put it in high gear to see how it would do for kicks and it effortlessly boosted me uphill.

No, it isn't as agile as the bimmer, nor would you want to drive it like one. But it is more maneuverable than what its girth suggests. Even with a 1" longer wheelbase than the old Maxima, it actually turns tighter, and of course the VQ37 gives you very little to complain about.

Except perhaps the gas prices.

Although the exterior isn't quite as exquisite as the BMW, it does a good enough job at looking its part. Besides, the exterior is for other people, but the interior? That's for yourself.

To sum, you can occasionally enjoy a BMW (and really enjoy it), but the G37 is the one that you can sit easy in on any day, at any speed.