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Old 05-08-2008, 10:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My eventful 24 hours (GM conference and car troublez)

I promised darin I'd give an account of my latest eventful 24 hours. Anyway, here goes.

I was invited to go to a GM conference on their new-old HCCI technology as a writer for ecogeek.org (run by a cool dude named hank). So this bit was down in white plains, ny, about a 5 hour drive from me up at school. My ladyfriend and I decided to book it down and check it out, so here is our tale...

After filling up in town for 3.68 (!!!, I filled up at 2.85 or something last time, but GM is paying for the gas), we ran into another CRX of the same color and chatted at a stop light. Going down the road we made another teal CRX friend...at some point a sound arose and was awful...

After a few seconds of the sound a thunk and a tread flying out behind me forced me off the road...luckily I had just run over a tread and not noticed, car was fine. We continued our drive, getting horrible mileage and struggling up the hills with my oxygen sensor throwing a CEL. Horrible mileage to be updated in the fuel log later...

Somewhere down the road something else pretty crappy happened, but I forget what, because once we got into town the car overheated and I had to pull over and rip off the grill block and such. After the reservoir finished boiling out I opened the rad cap to a geyser of coolant...it was pretty intense, and took quite a while to find the cap with a cigarette lighter as light assistance in the engine bay. Luckily I had a full can of coolant and could barely fill it up...The car ran fine after that, but sans grill block and with melted windshield washer lines.

We finally made it to the ritz-carlton at about 10:45 (left at 5:15), and I botched the hand off to the valet guy (never done it before), and we stumbled upstairs, where we realized we didn't have any money to tip the dude. Luckily, he was a cool dude and didn't penalize us. From there we'd missed dinner and ordered room service (on the GM tab, more about that on my vegan blog), even though the day menu had expired by 5 minutes. While waiting in the suite, we tried to decide which of the two plasma screens to watch tv on and how the digital curtain openers worked...finally we charged GM another 13 bucks for wireless (Wtf at the ritz for unfree wireless), and went to bed, since we had to get up at 8.

The next day we got up, went to breakfast, and had a rather rabble rousing discussion with susan, the pr person, charlie freese, a tech in charge of diesel R&D, and paul najt, in charge of the HCCI and one of the originals who worked on it in the 70s about how the internet brings out really polarized ideas and tons of misinformation. I tried to explain that while many blogs will say things like "EVs suck" or "ethanol sucks," I try to write in a way that presents information without making solid conclusions that are unfounded...dunno how that went but it was interesting to meet such people, to say the least.

From there there were presentations on some new engine tech, Q&A, and a "first drive" of the only HCCI car in the US, which felt pretty cool. More to come on EcoGeek and EcoModder blogs about that, of course, I'll link later.

Then sweet vegan lunch, chatting with other writers from magazines like popsci, and driving home.

On the way home we had an abysmal fill up and the weird noise on the car blew up and drove us off the road again. I plast cover had fallen down and caught up under the car...I'd thought the tire'd blow up...lucky us.

Anyway, made good time home, and here I am, all jazzed up about my first press thing and how much of GM's money I wasted.

I hope darin's happy.

EDIT: And all this helped me decide to buy a JDM civic VX engine and install it in the beginning of the summer. Project start!

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Old 05-08-2008, 10:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Epic journey! Living vicariously, you know. Thus the bugging to hear the story.

You could have brought home the digital curtain mechanism to work into your next grille block strategy .
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Forgot to ask: how many press type people were there, would you say? Was this for both the ink stained and the nerdy intertube types?
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had to give them my credit card in case we did something like take the 125$ robes and GM didn't wanna pay up...so I wasn't planning on stealing more than the BVLGARI soaps.
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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About 6, Pop Sci, scientific american, freelancer, AAA, some or rando, guy from PM that didn't show...so far all types, but they kept it small because they wanted us all to have time to test drive the prototype (and there's only 1, anywhere).
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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...and I bet that valet guy totally trashed your mileage!

Cool experience -- a prototype! When is the story getting published?

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Old 05-08-2008, 11:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The story is waiting on pictures and multimedia from GM. I'll start writing tomorrow though.

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