Sunday, October 23, 2011

BMW vs. Cadallac vs. Mercedes vs. Lexus vs. Audi vs. Infiniti vs. Acura - My Thoughts

I've read just about every issue of Car & Driver, Motor Trend, Road & Track, and Automobile since the 80's. It started when I was just a kid and continues today. You could say I'm a bit of a junkie, but I like my cars. Few things get me more excited than driving fast, or even watching someone else drive fast, or the sound of a new 5.0 mustang launching from a stoplight (still one of the best sounding cars out there).

Here's some of my favorite brands (and not so favorite), and what model I'd choose and why. Also, I'm sticking to 4 door sedans here. I think moving 4 people in relative comfort and luxury while keeping up with a Corvette is incredible.

I'd stay with the CTS. It's Cadallac's poster boy car that brought them from 'old man' car to an actual enthusiast car. I give tons of props to Cadillac for re-inventing themselves, that's not easy for a car manufacturer to do (Hyundai did it too). BUT - I hate that GM (parent company of Cadillac) was bought out by the Govt. So to me, this is an Obama car, and represents everything anti-capitalism. That bothers me. GM and Chrysler should have gone bankrupt and been dissolved. Bailing out companies who make inferior products is bad for everyone. Anyway, back to the car...the CTS finally gives us an American car built well that has tons of athleticism borrowed from it's European competition. 

If I had to pick a Cadillac sedan - That's easy, I'll opt for the CTS-V. It's one of the baddest (and fastest) sedans in the world. Oh, and it looks like a transformer. And I have to mention that it does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and is the 2nd fastest car around Germany's Nurburgring (Porsche's wicked Panamera Turbo beat it in 2009)

This would be my personal choice. I've always been a BMW fan. I'd only buy a 3 or 5 series (or possibly a 1M, or I've always had a soft spot for the 850CSi). In that case, I'm not a HUGE fan of BMW's newest 5 series, so stick with the last model. The new ones are loaded down with all sorts of electronic assists that take away from the real BMW driving pleasure. PEOPLE should be driving cars, not cars driving people. You almost can't go wrong with any year of 3 series, but I'm partial to the newer turbo models. Basically, the BMW is the best 'drivers' car of the bunch. It's the most connected and athletic, but it's usually one of the more expenisve choices as well. And how cool do the 'halo' headlights look? Very cool.

If I had to pick a BMW sedan - Ever since I liked cars the M5 has been my favorite. But I have mixed feelings on the 2012 model. Something about (last year's model) naturally aspirated V10 revving past 8000 rpm makes me feel good, but BMW has handily proved that they can successfully chop 2 cylinders off and add a turbo. But again, there's something respectable about being able to produce 500 hp without forcing mother nature into the cylinders, but the 2012 does have 60 more hp with the turbos. I'll take them both.

I've never been a fan. To me, you're paying a premium for a name...and the actual car isn't exactly superior. Don't get me wrong, it's a solid contender among the competition...but I'd look elsewhere. Nothing really stands out to me here. They're also not the most reliable cars. Oh, and they merged with Chrysler back in 98, way to taint your image Mercedes.

If I had to pick a Mercedes sedan - Maybach, done and done. But if that doesn't count, I'll go with the E63 AMG.

By far one of the most smooth, refined, quiet, dependable, and boring cars on the road. And that's basically it, you sacrifice performance for total comfort. I don't mean they're totally boring, but compared to the others it isn't going to make you smile every time you step on the gas. But again, you won't find a smoother car ANYWHERE, so this is definitely more of a niche car. Granted, I do like the IS models...they look like fighter jets and you get some sport, but it's nothing a 3-series BMW wouldn't outperform. 

If I had to pick a Lexus sedan - I'd get an IS350 AWD, or if I didn't live in Utah maybe an IS F (still not sure if I like the funky quad exhaust)

Audi has come a long way in my books. They've stuck true to their 'quattro' roots, which has become one of the best AWD systems in the world. Also, every time I see LED lights on a car I can't help but admire Audi for bringing this into the mainstream first, and they do a sexy job at it too. Audi's have always been more of a subdued car, but high praises to overall drivability. However, as of the past few years I think Audi makes a better looking car than any of the cars mentioned in this post. Clean lines, sharp headlights, and a gaping grille. And the inside is classy. Only problem is that they're not the most reliable cars, as they share many VW components. So I'd make sure mine was under warranty to avoid the many costly repairs you'll be doing. They've recently broken the mold with the R8, and this could be the car I'd buy if I had to spend around 175K on a single car. I'm also a big fan of the S5 coupe.

If I had to pick an Audi sedan - this is a hard one, but I'd go with the S4 sedan, as it's most comparable to a BMW 335i (which I'd rather have).

Infiniti has come a long way in the luxury performance sedan arena. The original G35 was a home run, sharing engines and driving dynamics with the sporty 350Z. It was termed as a cheap BMW killer. Then the M35 comes out and is acclaimed as the best sports sedan among the competition by numerous car magazines. Infiniti just doesn't make a boring car anymore. Not to mention the mafia looking QX56. It's a tank. To me, Infinities are cheaper BMW's...and that's a pretty appealing position.  However, Infiniti just doesn't have the branding power that BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, or Audi have...but that doesn't mean it's an inferior car.

If I had to drive an Infiniti - I think I'd stay to the smaller G37XS.  AWD, 330hp and sexy wrapping make this an ideal car (and I'd have $$ left over to buy a Tacoma)

Acura is kind of in a different class. I can't really think of them as a true sports car manufacturer, one reason being they don't make anything rear-wheel-drive. But they're packed with technology, which is cool, but again that may take away from the actual driving experience.  Look up their SHAWD (super handling all wheel drive) to see what I mean. I'm a huge honda fan...and Acura basically adds some performance and luxury to an already solid, reliable, and practical car. I will go out on a limb and say the last TL (04-08) is one of the best looking sedans ever made. Very clean and sharp's ageless. And the 'type-s' makes it look even better by sporting one of the best looking quad exhausts of the group. I'm also a fan of the TSX 5-speed. But again, I group Acura as a high end Honda that doesn't really compete with this group.

If I had to pick an Acura - I'd go with an '08 TL Type-S, black.

There you have it. Let me know what you think, if you agree or disagree, or if you think I missed something here. Until then, I'll keep dreaming in my 03 G35.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

4 Ways To Keep ME In Social Media

A little article I wrote for my company's newsletter/blog...

Social Media now a days is like Yellow Pages 20 years ago. If you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, or corporate tycoon…then chances are you’ve heard of social media and are probably even using it.
For the past five years or so, countless “Social Media” sites have come and gone, most aimed at stealing a slice of the almighty Facebook/Twitter market share. Why are they failing? Simple. People go where people are. The initial simplicity and intuitiveness of Facebook and Twitter have kept a strong hold on the masses, and they keep growing.
I know what you’re thinking… “Great, I’ll just sign in to Facebook and Twitter and start advertising my products for free! EASY!”
Unfortunately, this happens all the time. That’s why so many businesses fail to see that return on investment. The problem is when the approach is all about selling your product or service. I know this will sound strange maybe even a little crazy, but no one wants you to flood their precious news feeds about your deals, prices, or products. People are becoming more and more internet savvy, and if they want to buy something from you they’ll Google you. Being successful at social media takes time (hey, kind of like your reputation).
So, what do people want? What makes a business successful at social media?
• Personality. As the title suggests, keep ME in social media. Keep your updates interesting, and make sure they reek with genuine personality, odd as it may or may not be. Look at Zappos if you want to see an impressive example of this.
• Engage. If you browse through a successful social media business’s page, you rarely see them selling any product or service. What are they doing? They’re engaging with their customers by asking and answering questions. They’re responding to feedback, good and bad. On that note, don’t be afraid of bad feedback. If you can’t handle it, you shouldn’t be in business. Respond respectfully and tactfully, but don’t ignore it. Check out Oreo’s Facebook page.
• Keep things real. What I mean here is don’t be fake, people can tell. You only have so many characters to keep in touch with your followers, don’t waste it on distasteful sales pitches.
• Consistency. Updating Twitter is fun…for a while. Receiving your first ‘RT’ or ‘Like’ is like opening presents on Christmas morning. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t get any presents. If you’re updating consistently (and using the points above), people will start to interact with you. Once this happens you’ll start creating relationships and social media becomes much more fun.
So go ahead, give social media a try. For some people it comes naturally, for others, well, there are plenty of tech savvy Gen Y graduates ready to help you out. And if social media doesn’t work for you, leave a comment and let me know why (that’s me engaging right there).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thailand 2010

Leaving in 2 days!!!

Salt Lake City - Los Angeles - Taiwan - Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Phuket - Krabi

Be back on the 24th!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


It's been a few months since my last post, and I wanted to put SOME thing in here, hence the title of this.  Part of my job is advertising via social media, so I made a couple videos.  I never realized that I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  Ok I'm not, but I felt like I was after it took hours to edit these videos.  I didn't even do the actual drawings!  But the transitions, music, cropping, slides, effects...they all take lots of attention to detail.  Here's an ode to video editors everywhere.

Comment away please!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Last 18 Days

So, I've succumbed to the Swine Flu, N1H1, the Evil Piggy, Rotten it what you will, it suuucks.  I've never been sick for so long in my life!   Luckily, I am able to work from that's taken up most of my down time.  But being cooped up for so long has not been fun.  I now appreciate going to work, working from home is just too monotonous, not to mention it's fun associating with people at work, makes the day interesting.

The flu started out as a little cough, then came the chills and aches, then the cough got bad.  I absolutely hate going to the doctor, but with all the "Swine Flu" hype, I decided I probably should.  So the next day I went to the doctor, which took about 4 hours.  He had me breathe in this tube for 10 minutes, said I have a 102 degree fever, then told me I needed to get tested for N1H1.  Thanks doc.   Went to where they told me to go and it was closed!  That was frustrating, and on top of that I really just wanted to be home in bed. So I went back to the Doc and told them it was closed.  They gave me a new set of directions, and after about 20 minutes of searching I found the lab.  The lab gave me some papers, and told me I needed to go to the hospital to get the test.  Super annoyed at this point, I got to the hospital and waited for the Swine Flu tester (can't remember her official title), she finally showed up and took me to a little room.  Next, I had to hold my head sideways as she put a sucker rod up one of my nostrils and squirt some liquid in the other nostril.  Well, apparently she wasn't getting enough "juice", so she jammed the rod even higher...that's when I heard a little popping noise and tears started gushing down my face.  Ouch.  She finally pulled the rod out and the blood came flowing. It was almost like she didn't even notice.  But hey, she was kind enough to give me a tissue.  I was then told that they would let me know the test results in 24 hrs.  4 days later they called and told me I "probably" had the Swine Flu.  So anyway, not too impressed with the doctors/labs/hostipal, once again.

So it's day 18 now and I'm feelin pretty good, just a cough left.  I even went out to a Jazz game Friday night with some friends, it was so nice getting out of the house.  Only thing now is falling asleep...the past 3 or 4 nights I haven't been able to sleep at night, and I'm not taking medicine anymore, so maybe it's the side effects of not being on medication.  Who knows?

Aaand that's a wrap.  I hope you don't get the Swine Flu!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Travel (B)log

These are some of the places I've been fortunate enough to visit over the past year.  I love to travel and see/experience different parts of the world.  I have seen a lot of BEAUTIFUL places, but I always come back realizing how fortunate I am to have been raised the way I was, with a good LDS family that fostered good values and provided a safe and comfortable upbringing.  I vividly remember returning from my mission in Russia to our house in Mesa, AZ thinking that we live like royalty.  We really DO!  I didn't understand what I did to deserve such a life.  I will forever be grateful for such a blessing.
Hawaii (oahu), April 2008 – Jordan Hatch, Cameron Bendixon, Jarom Christiansen – lives up to the hype, awesome geography, pristine mountains, everyone speaks english, expensive.  Why didn’t I go to BYU Hawaii?
Havasupai, July 2008 – a bunch o people – have to see it to believe it.  Oasis in the middle of a rock, cool water color, and watch out for locals that cut your hammock down while your sleeping.
Western Caribbean Cruise, Nov. 2008 - (Miami, FL, Rotan, Honduras, Belize, Cozumel, Great Stirrup Cay Bahamas) – Amy Nelson, Curtis Quattrin, Ricky Hacking, Richard Oto, Emily Streed – Rotan: watch out for guides trying to make a quick buck, very 3rd world.  Beautiful landscape.  Belize: wanted to spend more time there, cave tubing was spectacular and so was the jungle.  Don’t eat the fresh fruit too fast (broke my 10 year no-throwup record). Cozumel: great island for diving, and riding around on scooters in the rain.  Great Stirrup Cay: crystal clear water…and that’s about it.
Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Samara Mission), Arpil 2009 – Brigham Barr, Rich Millar, Ryan McCook.  St. Petersburg is cool, lots of preserved history, the streets are a giant modeling runway.  Moscow: big and dirty.  Red square is cool, Stalin’s tomb is creepy.  Taxi rides are expensive. Watch your back.  Samara mission: what happened to all the members??  Everyone now has cell phones.  Strange to be there not wearing a name tag.  Still love Marx.  Shashliki are still delicious.  And Russian train rides still make for interesting and entertaining stories. 
Subway, Zion UT, June 2009 – big group o people, hiking and swimming through narrow slot canyons.  Easy to get lost.  “subway” part of it is cool.
Havasupai, July 2009 – a bunch o people – flood of '08 reshaped a lot of land and waterfalls.  Sad that Navajo falls is now extinct.
Washington State, August 2009 (click here)
Puerto Rico, August 2009 – Adam Eschenroder, Lance (Ray) Nelson, Ricky Hacking – stay tuned for a post.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The 10 word book review

So, I've been into reading lately. Not hard core, but I enjoy a good book. After all, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." ~ Joseph Addison. Yeah, Joe said it, and I believe it.

So here is a list of books I've read this year and a 10 word summary of each:

Ender’s Game - Cool book, super nerdy, innocent kid wipes out alien race
Surviror’s Club - Fall out of plane? Can live. Amazing unbelievable survival stories
Train to Potevka - Russian trains, never know what to expect. Took me back.
City of Theives - Russians survive the unthinkable in WWII, watch the bad language.
Speaker for the Dead (Ender 2) - Cool book, super nerdy, guy tries to save alien race
The Shack - How to describe it in 10 words? Wouldn't do justice.
The Shack (I'll try again) - Very unique, only book I'd consider reading again, besides scripts.
Kite Runner (currently reading) - Good, but will there ever be restitution? Don't be racist.