Monthly Archives: January 2010

Character flaws…

Flawed characters make for interesting reading; however you might not want them as friends. And apparently, it seems, I’m a flawed character.

I received an email today from someone I hadn’t heard from in years. I knew this woman briefly during a bumpy period in my life (and hers, from what I recall) and we’d get together some evenings after work to share some tea and commiserate about life’s frustrations. At some point we lost touch and I took it as part of the ebb and flow of life and relationships.

Over the years I’ve come to terms with many things, and in the process I’ve come to understand that I’m not what you’d term a people person. While I’ve learned to play nice with the other kids, in the long run I am, for the most part, a solitary person. I’ve also figured out that in the end I’m not always the friend people want me to be. What surprised me about this morning’s letter was the resentment this person held all these years later. I do hope she has found more supportive friends in that time, people who could be there for her the way she needed and it seems I was not.

I tried to send her a more personal email; however on each attempt I receive the message:
The message could not be sent because one of the recipients was rejected by the server. The rejected e-mail address was ‘’. Protocol: SMTP, Server Response: ‘550 5.7.1 No such recipient; will not relay’, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 550, Error Number: 0x800CCC79

I have changed the actual email address as not to post it on the internet. And I’m writing this here because I know this individual reads this blog. For years my traffic stats have shown nearly constant visits from a specific reader:

Verizon Internet Services ( TAPPAN [Edit Label]
United States Tappan, New York, United States, 635 returning visits

These visits, which came on average once or twice a day, usually lasted only a few minutes. I’d often wondered who Tappan was, as I have several acquaintances from that area. But this morning I saw a string of visits from Tappan spanning over 40 minutes time, shortly thereafter received the email and made the connection. What I’m trying to understand is if someone isn’t the person you want them to be, move on and open your life to find someone who can be there for you the way you deserve.

Again, I tried to respond more personally but my emails have bounced.

48.5 mpg…

That’s what the Jetta logged last night as we dropped the kid back off at college. That’s one Jetta Sportswagen (Golf Variant) hauling 3 adults and dorm-room gear loaded to the roof, driving through NJ, Manhattan and out to Long Island via all the usual congested metro roads. Traffic was moderate, roads were rainy and the engine isn’t even broken in yet, so I anticipate even higher numbers in the future. The car is quick, agile, fun to drive, zipping easily between lumbering SUVs, and it was very satisfying to know we’d hauled the kid and her gear back to school on one gallon of fuel.

Oh, and for all you hybrid fans, here’s something to consider. Hybrids are designed to recharge by regenerative braking (so long as those brakes actually kick in) and by the engine. It’s a system designed for stop and go driving, not highway conditions. And if you’re plugging it in to charge your batteries, unless those volts were generated via solar, wind or hydroelectric power you’re just relocating your carbon footprints, not eliminating them. I’ve read some other articles questioning just how ‘green’ hybrids truly are; it’s something to bear in mind when the time comes to get a new car. Another option: stick with a good old clunker. Keep your car (refrigerator, washer, whatever) as long as possible. We did with the Mercury until fixing was no longer practical, and at a mere 11 years that was disappointing. The Volvo made it to 17 before lack of available parts and an excess of rust took their toll. The ’93 Dodge Dakota, on the other hand, just passed inspection with perfect emissions yet again. I expect a good 15-20 years from the Jetta, more if possible.

I no longer suffer TDI envy…

It went on for years. Every time one passed I’d sigh. That soft clatter of the little diesel, faint but distinct, would turn my head every time. Back in high school my mom drove one of the earliest models, a diesel-powered Rabbit, and I recall the car’s ability to run forever on minimal fuel. Years later I’d acquired an ’82 Volvo wagon with a manual transmission, and while the car was painfully slow and sounded like an old garbage truck I was very fond of the 30+ mpg it gave me on local driving. Sadly, underbody rust took its toll and the Volvo was retired in the end. Volvo was no longer building diesels and VW, at the time, wasn’t importing any to the States. We opted for the Mercury Sable which served us well, but after 11 years and 124,000 miles it was getting tired. And this time around, I knew VW was offering an ultra-clean 50 state certified turbo-diesel, not only in the Golf and Jetta, but in a Jetta Sportwagen (the Golf Variant overseas) as well. Even better, the model features a satin-smooth six-speed manual transmission, which makes driving immeasurably more fun for me.

Over the last few days I’ve logged over 185 miles on the odometer, and the fuel gauge still hangs well between 3/4 and 1/2 tank. A little ‘consumption’ meter on the dash reports I’m getting 30 mpg in local driving, sometimes more, and on highway rush hour driving I’ve seen consistent 43 mpg. The turbo diesel is zippy and responsive, the steering agile and fun. This car makes me so happy!

And this is amusing….

There’s some interesting videos here and more information:

And here’s the TDI forum…