Recently a particular song has been stuck firmly in my head: Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy. Apart from seeming singularly apropos to my life right now, it’s also noteworthy for the magnificent voice of the singer, and for being the first ever song in the UK to reach number one in the charts before its release (through the newly acknowledged measure of download count).
On Sunday I took my brother to see the new Aeon Flux movie. E, a long-standing follower of the animated series on which the movie is ‘based’ disparages it as travesty. Being myself only a casual seen-a-few-episodes viewer of the series, I was spared the “where’s-bombadil?” effect. My own feelings about the film were mostly positive: I went in expecting a totally gratuitous Charlize-Theron-in-vinyl-bodypaint action-fest. Ms Theron was indeed all over the place in her vaguely bdsm constumes, but the plot was deeper, the visual more artful, and the acting more satisfying than I had expected. If you’re not a serious fan of the original, I’d cautiously recommend it as very entertaining sf/fantasy.
While my Mazda is broken, I’m getting my pound of flesh out of RACV, in the form of a rental car. It’s a current model Nissan Pulsar ST, and I spent enogh time driving it yesterday that I now feel competent to critique it.
It’s a great little car in terms of features and good design. It comes standard with ABS, A/C, CD-player, remote central locking, power steering, cruise-control and numerous airbags. For the first couple of days I drove it I was repeatedly amazed by how little I noticed the car; controls are inuitive, handling is incredibly predictable.
Yesterday, however, I had to drive the car from North Melbourne to Collingwood and back in mid-afternoon traffic, in the rain. Several things stood out as I drove this time:
- Fuel economy is not so hot. I had hoped that a modern small-four would be significantly more economical than my clunky old V6, but it somehow ate a quarter of a tank yesterday.
- Performance can be a little gutless at times, and the transmission is clearly unprepared for any kind of agressive driving, becoming jittery and sticking when pushed hard.
- Traction control is spooky. Having driven a recent Subaru with ABS, I can safely say that it’s not just ‘ABS is spooky’. In the wet, the Nissan often felt like its brake lines were cut, or like the brake pedal was tearing loose.
Overall, it’s comfy and featureful, but no amount of ingenious design can quite cover the cheapness of everything. I have deep concerns about how it would age.
Right now, since I have spectacularly little to do except ‘look busy’, I am trying to teach myself ipsec and racoon. So far I have a broken racoon install and a headache…