Dumont Dunes with Kyle Busch and his Sand Rail

February 28th, 2009

Dumont Dunes

We arrived at Dumont Dunes mid last week to shoot some behind the scenes footage for NOS TV with Kyle Busch and his sand rail. This was the base camp that was setup by Kyle and some other drivers that were out having fun in the mid week.

Kyle Busch - Sand Rail

Kyle Busch

We quickly hopped in some rails and rode out to a jump site where the guys had tons of fun for the afternoon. This is Kyle’s rail in the photograph above which is powered by a twin turbo LS1 engine and weighs around 2,700lbs. This was my first time riding in a sand rail and it was amazing!

Kyle Busch

Jason actually snapped this photo while I was filming Kyle taking these jumps. Below is the teaser video and first installment from our day out at Dumont Dunes with Kyle for NOS TV.

Saturn is Dead – Let’s Wake Up and Celebrate

February 19th, 2009

Before I start this whole topic I want to state that I am a proud GM shareholder. Saturn was a brand that was going no where and doing nothing for General Motors except burning billions of dollars with no hope for return on investment.

I made a comment on twitter.com/joeyredmond yesterday “Saturn is dead! Finally some good news in the automotive industry.” I received a blast of e-mails, tweets, and facebook comments bitching that other GM entities should be taken out and why Saturn should survive. Before I get to into the topic let’s have a little history lesson on the great Saturn brand.

Saturn was launched 24 years ago in January of 1985. The Saturn brand launch was GM’s response to “to the success of Japanese & German small-car imports.” The brand doesn’t hold a candle to the dominating sellers in the market segment and they cannot come close to a competitive price point.

Let’s look at the facts:

2009 Saturn Aura XE Sedan: $22,655 MSRP
2009 Honda Civic Sedan: $15,505 MSRP
2009 Mazda 6 I Sport Sedan: $21,150 MSRP
2009 Toyota Camry Base Sedan: $20,195 MSRP
2009 Toyota Corolla Base Sedan: $16,150 MSRP
2009 Honda Accord LX Sedan: $21,555 MSRP
2009 Nissan Altima Base Sedan: $19,900 MSRP
2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Sedan: $18,495 MSRP
2009 Mitsubishi Lancer DE Sedan: $15,090 MSRP
2009 Volkswagon Jetta SE Sedan: $21,020 MSRP

I picked the sedan base model Saturn Aura XE Sedan which comes in the cheapest at $22,655 MSRP. I listed 10 cars that were similar in category and either Japanese or German origin. You know those “small-car imports” that Saturn was created to beat and destroy, maybe even save America!? Ironically I picked 9 other cars that were Japanese/German sedans base models like our Saturn. They were carry a  cheaper MSRP and I would rather drive all of them before a Saturn.

Without a price point lower than it’s competition and some lucky design what is the motivation for purchase? The car has no real culture or adoption from a segment in the market. Aftermarket support for tuners is out of the question and way behind many other cars on the list. Most people purchasing a car use it to identify with a person brand they believe themselves to fall in (or want to fall in). Running that list above most of those cars fall into a category of purchasers or stereotypes that most people put the owners into. When I see a Saturn no branding, thoughts, or ideas come into mind. I don’t put Saturn into any category or relate to the owners because of any culture behind the brand.

On my last note let’s also remember Saturn was a failure from the start. It was launched as a property outside of the GM super machine. Saturn even had it’s own dealership network at first. Then as sales faltered and never met expectations it was brought in as another badge under GM. Sadly the public and shareholders do not know how much Saturn has lost in recent years because they don’t report the figures separately (or at least where I can easily locate them.) A general figure I can find is that Saturn has lost over $1,000,000,000 in recent years on it’s own. Next time GM wants to beat Japanese car companies perhaps they should focus on quality, performance, and durability while scrapping the plastic body. Just my two cents but a $22,000 plastic paneled machine on four wheels doesn’t seem to be luring me into any dealerships over the next year or two. Perhaps they need to steal some guys on the new Hyundai project because they have clearly figured something out.

Slide America at Super Autobacs in Kyoto, Japan!

February 13th, 2009

I got sent this image recently from a buddy who was over in Kyoto, Japan. He walked into a Super Autobacs and while browsing the movie section he found a copy of Slide America. Very exciting stuff that he found our movie inside an Autobacs. I owe a thanks to Thuy at Livesocket who got us at Autobacs in the first place and Autobacs has become one of our largest sellers of Slide America overall so they are owed a big thanks as well. If you have been living under a rock and still don’t have a copy of the movie you can score one for $9.99 on the website.

Go buy the DVD: http://www.slideamerica.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=34

Heat 2009 @ UC Riverside

February 11th, 2009

She Wants Revenge at UC Riverside

Over the weekend Will Roegge and I headed out to Riverside (way out east) for Heat 2009 which took place at the UC Riverside campus. Above was the first band we saw on the main stage called She Wants Revenge. A band I was not familar with but they are from the Valley. They place some pretty exciting rock music and I loved their performance of “Tear You Apart.”

Heat 2009 at UC Riverside

After She Wants Revenge stepped off stage it was an expected long wait for N.E.R.D to take stage. After waiting for them for around an hour at SXSW 2008 I had no anticipation of them coming out quickly for this performance. Sure enough they brought out a DJ inbetween sets to cover some of the down time.  When N.E.R.D did come out they put on a show in typical amazing fashion. Here is picture from the closing of the show when Pharrell Williams invited girls from the crowd to come up and have a song dedicated to them.

N.E.R.D at Heat 2009
Here is a video from my Myspace page www.myspace.com/joeyredmond which is from the final 2 minutes of the show. It is from the same song/performance of the image above from N.E.R.D. This video was shot mostly for audio to enjoy NERD playing a mashup of N.E.R.D – Everybody Nose and White Stripes – Seven Nation Army.
NERD Closing Heat 2009 @ UC Riverside – Samples White Stripes!

This video is from my Youtube page www.youtube.com/thejoeyredmond which is from the beginning of the concert. I should both videos on my point and shoot Canon SD 1100 so apologize for the poor quality but A- I was mainly in attendance to have fun and dance B- That is all they will allow you to bring in. Next big concert I plan on going to is Coachella 2009.

Checking over FriendFeed Statistics

February 7th, 2009

For starters if your unfamiliar with FriendFeed it is an amazing web aggregation of your activity on the Internet. You can follow my activity at http://friendfeed.com/joeyredmond and make sure to subscribe to my feed and I will follow you in return. Browsing the website today I found a very cool feature in the stats page showing you your activity you push to the website and what your friends push to the feed. This has been a great way to easily follow and track my current 2009 Be a Good Internet Citizen Bet.

My friends or subscribers on FriendFeed are some power Internet users including three Forbes Magazine Top 25 Internet Celebrities including Pete Cashmore (owner of Mashable), Jason Calacanis (Founder of WebBlogs/Mahalo), Leo Laporte (TWIT.tv), Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), and more. With that said looking at the 30 day statistics graph Twitter takes up over 50% of my friend’s activity. Personal blogs are the second biggest part of the pie followed by Tumblr in third.

My Friends

Friend Feed

Looking at my pie graph which is below Digg and Twitter lead my social usage across the last 30 days taking up more than half of my Internet activity. This blog comes in third place with around twenty precent of my Internet activity. My other top performers include Flickr, Youtube, and Yelp which follows a small “other” section including all of my other sites that FriendFeed tracks me on. A very cool tool and a great program that you should be on if your not already!

Me

FriendFeed

My Poor iTunes

February 6th, 2009

For the longest time my iTunes has been a huge disaster and I finally deceided it was time for an end. With 5,224 songs (around 16 days of music) is mostly mislabeled, mis genre’d, and missing album art. My new goal is to get this cleaned up in my spare time with album covers, proper genre, year of production, album, and artist. In three days I managed to finish the letter A and hopefully sooner than later I will give up or finish it. Finally my iPod will make sense soon and I can actually find my music!  I still have my Google Maps project going too that I will update you guys on.

Falken FK452′s now on the Infiniti G37

February 4th, 2009

Falken FK452 Tires

Last week I drove out to Fontana to visit Falken Tires and get some new tires for Bertha (My G37). I put them on the car last Friday and wanted to get a couple hudnred miles on them before I posted my thoughts on the FK452 Falken Tire. I am running 245/40/19′s in the front and 255/40/19′s on the the rear which are placed on the stock OE upgraded wheels.

Upon my intial test of the tire I was shocked how little road noise they produced and the intial feel driving on the tire. The tires we removed off the car cost over double per tire if you compare MSRP (around $850 total) and the Falken’s in every aspect matched or out performed the old tires on the vehicle.

The biggest difference in the tire I found was the quality of grip and when you are getting maximum grip in a tire. My old tires I had similar models on my G37 and my G35 and got very use to a progessive loss of grip which I must admit could get annoying under spirited dirving. Basically at a normal operating temperature the tire held maximum grip which is great for the mini vans of the world but not a performance vehicle. As you started to drive in a spirited fashion the grip would slowly deteriorate as you were needing it most. You would lose grip with tire heat and it was rather frustrating but I kind of excepted it as the norm when it came to tires, especially street legal DOT approved tires mind you.

Now on the Falkens the grip at intial normal operating temperture isn’t it’s peak grip which is great because normal temp. grip is sitll amazing and it just gets better. As you the tire heats you gain grip in the tire providing when I am ready to go have some fun in any of the canyons around here of Sunset Blvd. I am gaining grip in the tire when I am wanting more of it and that has been a very exciting experiance, finding more abilities in the G37 than ever as of late as a performance oriented vehicle. I have not been able to test them in the rain yet due to the amazing sunshine blessed upon Southern California and that is something you won’t hear me complain about!

If your interested in the FK452 tire I can suggest you go make a purchase of them at Discount Tire Direct! That way you can support two companies that support Formula D and your sport of Drifting while providing yourself with a great product. The 255/40/19 on Discount Tire falls right around $199 a tire which is a great price point in the category and much cheaper than some other tires in that same category.

Estevan Oriol Gallery Opening

February 4th, 2009

Melrose Avenue Hollywood, California

My good buddy Gene Tjin invited me to a gallery opening by Estevan Oriol which was down the street from my place on Melrose. All the photos in this post are thanks to Gene Tjin since he beat me by a few days on his blog post and I liked his photographs. Here are some images from inside the gallery.

Estevan Oriol

Melrose Gallery Opening

A pile of old televisions

Collection of Old Camers

Some of his work was truely amazing to look at and I love the simplistic elements of his photography. In today’s highly photoshopped and over post production days of photography it was great to look at some nice black/white prints. I learned some fun stuff about Estevan Oriol as well including how he toured with Cypress Hill back in the day. Thanks again to Gene Tjin for the invite to the gallery and the pictures from his blog! Gene Tjin is a fellow automotive photographer and he currently work at MagnaFlow Exhausts.

Read Gene Tjin’s Blog:http://genetjin.com/blog/?p=739

Follow Gene Tjin on Twitter:http://twitter.com/genetjin

Learn more about Estevan Oriol: http://estevanoriol.blogspot.com/

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