"the helicopter on the computer screen has to be spinning- otherwise it just wouldn't work"

October 19, 2006
This evening I'm heading out on a last-minute business trip...I'm taking the Acela to Delaware. I've heard people speaking highly of travel by train, and I haven't taken one since this one terrible red-eye with Dylan back in the day, like in the late-80s, so I'm looking forward to it over all.

Cars of the Moment
I was gratified to see my car (albeit in a different color) as the big front-and-center image on Slate.com yeserday with the teaser My Teeny-Tiny Supercheap New Car. The article explains that the "low-end" for cars ain't as low as it used to be in the bad old Yugo days, even accounting for inflation, but still.

The Scion xA does well (though I think his concerns about the after-market-mod branding is a little unfounded)

the scion xA

the honda fit
but the champion is the Honda Fit... the Fit wasn't around when I was in the market, and the xA is going away, so they'll only be competing for a few seasons. It seems like the Fit does some things better (especially in having reconfigurable seats, and in my mom's minivan I saw how terrific Stow-and-Go seating can be) but design-wise I think it's not as good as the Scion. Hmm, trying to analyze that, I think the wheels look a bit too small on the Fit, and I'm not crazy about how the windows taper in the back. The Scion actually has rather pronounced bulges for the wheel well (is that what it's called?) and a good use of black trim around the rear side windows that give it a sturdier chunky look.

(It's funny how foreshortening affects cars like this. I have a short and stumpy automobile but from the side, it seems kind of long...)

I barely understand why there's a "midsize" market... small cars just make so much more sense to me, and they've really gotten good over the past few decades. Cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, quick off the line, park like a dream, and hatchbacks carry more than their fairshare of stuff. I think my xA is fine for the highways, like the guy at Slate says. And my Scion has more headroom than a lot of much larger cars I've been in... but I guess I've always just liked small cars, like Veronika's Renault Twingo when we visited her in Germany. (Heh... though Smart is coming to the USA soon... I'm not sure if that would be ok on the highways or not, but if I ever get more money than I know what to do with, I'd consider their convertible as a kind of toy car to have around on summer days in the city...)