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July 23, 2009

Drive By Noise

One of the things I've come to recognize is that I often regulate the speed of my vehicle by the amount of noise being generated. It seems to be a sub-conscious thing. This becomes particularly apparent when I drive an unfamiliar vehicle, in addition to the different controls and responses, the noise levels are quite different and maintaining speeds becomes more difficult. Other things I've noticed include driving faster when the radio is louder (less apparent road noise) and slower when the windows are open (more road noise). My new car includes a speed sensitive volume control on the radio. The control is subtle enough to go unnoticed most of the time and I find this can mask noise during acceleration leading to increased acceleration rates. Modern cars keep getting quieter and quieter, I wonder if that has any affect on the speeds we drive.

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July 21, 2009

Where's Your GPS?

I've had a GPS receiver for many years which I primarily obtained to participate in Geocaching but which I've been using more and more for directions.

It's purely amazing how easy it is to navigate in a foreign location you've never been too. It's almost the same as navigating in your own home location. I have no second thoughts about traveling to some distant location and being able to find my way around. The GPS even contains Points Of Interest (POI) such as gas stations, restaurants and hotels that make it easy to find destinations. You simply pick an end point, whether it be a city, a geocache, a POI, etc. and hit route and the GPS will find a path to get you there. It may not pick the best route, but it will pick a reasonably good route to get you there and if you mess up and miss a turn, encounter construction or just find an alternative route the GPS will calculate a new route to get you there from your current position. This also applies when you are traveling off road in the bush, on iced over lakes or other remote locations. While the GPS can only route you as the crows flies, it leaves a nice bread crumb trail on the map of your travels. So not only can you determine your location and direction, but you can see how you got there and follow the trail back out.

These features of GPS would seem to make them indispensable for anyone traveling in new areas. With the fairly low cost and ease of use of a unit these days I wonder why more people don't have one. There have been several stories on the news lately of people who got lost traveling to a new area with disastrous outcomes, it would seem that having a GPS would have helped these people. On the corollary side there is often news of people following GPS directions very literally and ignoring common sense. While the GPS is a precision technology and the maps are very detailed and accurate, they aren't perfect or totally up to date with current road conditions. You still need to be on the one in charge and making logical decisions with the aid of the GPS navigation.

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July 18, 2009

Shopping for a new Pizza Place

My favourite pizza place was sold to new owners some time ago, ever since it just hasn't been the same and I've been in the market for a new place. I've started making the rounds again, sampling the various joints and haven't come up with anything yet. Several years back there was this great mom and pop pizza place, it had great pizza and prices, everyone in the family could agree on getting pizza from there. They mysteriously closed one day and I miss them. I switched over to Gondola at that point, I really liked the pizza, my brother wasn't so hot on it though. Stuck with Gondola for years as I got a consistently good pizza that I really enjoyed, even though the price kept ratcheting up. After switching to the new owners, the service, the pizza and the prices all seem a little worse.

So I sampled Pizza Hotline again after someone recommended it. It's quick and cheap with online ordering, cool, the first order surprised, I was impressed at the pizza. The second order bombed, it was so bad I threw some of it out. I enjoy Diana's Pizza on occasion, it's really good, but it's not always the pizza style I'm craving and a bit pricey. I always seem to pick it up, so I'm not sure if they deliver to my location either. Tried a mom and pop shop near Kirkbridge, Desi Pizza, which turned out to be pizza and indian sweets. Pizza was super cheap and it showed. Little Caesars is super cheap and edible, but low quality. Panago Pizza was good and a little different, but I thought the price was high and value low. On the good side they will actually deliver here, they wouldn't when they first opened. I've tried Niakwa in the past, generally liked it but found the quality and value to be less than Gondola. There is an old Niakwa on Pembina that is now known as River City Pizza that has similar pizza. I found Santa Lucia to be too greasy, Dominoes to have very low quality, and House of Pizza and Bigtime to be low quality also. Tony's Pizza was very good, but not the style I'm interested in. Mr B's pizza in Transcona is very good, but I'm not a fan of it as a left over and they have middle slices without a crust :( Pizza Hut was great in the 80s, but now it's low quality as well. Used to enjoy the Pizza Place in Grant Park until they mixed up a bad batch of something we ordered and we couldn't even finish a slice. The other locations seem to have quite different pizza that doesn't seem like anything different. Boston Pizza is okay, but I prefer to leave it as a eat in restaurant place as it doesn't really stack up as my pizza place of choice. Romani's Pizzeria is across the street, thought I should give it a try. Their pizza also impressed, a reasonable price with a unique flavour. I really enjoyed it, but found it a bit greasier than I'd like.

So that's where I am today, still looking, any suggestions? I'm looking for something that is a good value, tastes great fresh and as a left over. Something that is reasonably close by and delivers.

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July 17, 2009

110!

I got to drive on the new section of Hwy 75 that has had its speed limit bumped up to 110km/h. It is one of the smoothest, flattest pieces of roadway anywhere in the province and easily capable of being driven safely at 110. It took many years of arguing before Manitoba got a speed limit of 110 anywhere, but it has finally happened. The only downside is that this stretch is so short. The other oddity is that none of the new speed limit signs have units on them. Seeing as this stretch of road is directly north of the US border it's odd they wouldn't include the km/h bit that almost all other signs have.

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