Category Archives: Driving

Why I Hate Quickbooks

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I spent a recent Sunday afternoon – and I’m still not done – suffering through one of man’s worst acts of intellectual barbarism. Yes, I suffered through another bout of doing the books for the year. It was a timesink beyond belief, and I mostly have myself to blame for not putting in place better methods from the year before.

Despite bemoaning this self-inflicted predicament, I have repeated this sadistic ritual annually without fail. But I promise this year is going to be different because I just can’t take it any more.

Afflicted With Quickbooks

Having thought about this, the problem is actually twofold. First, much to the chagrin of every accountant I have worked with, I absolutely detest Quickbooks. Every version on every computer I’ve ever used has been utter garbage.

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The Other Side of Mulholland Drive

A college buddy of mine, we’ll call him B-Dogg because that was his moniker, said to me during our undergraduate days he was going to do three things:

(1)   Get his PhD
(2)   Move to Hollywood
(3)   Drive a silver Porsche

At least that was the part of the conversation I remember most. The rest of it was about some homework assignment that I may not or may not have completed satisfactorily (that’s not a typo).

Fast forward a few years and he duly accomplished the three things he had enumerated. Since then I’ve come to visit on occasion when I’m in LA.

We’ve also been to a number of other places but they usually involve nondescript rental cars (a Hyundai i10 on St. Maarten’s twisties was a real gem) driven with reckless abandon. And strip clubs. B-Dogg loves his strip clubs.

In fact, there’s this strip club somewhere outside of Miami that’s nearly the size of a CostCo, containing a larger quantity of women and stages than one’s two eyes can see in an hour. Or three. But I digress.

Even though I had known about it since I was a kid, it wasn’t until last March that I sought out Mulholland Drive, that sinewy mountain road that winds through the Hollywood Hills.

I was there again recently, and instead of thrashing a rental, we took B-Dogg’s silver 2013 Porsche Boxster S (Type 981) for a brief Sunday excursion on Mulholland Drive with the top down before afternoon plans with his wife and some friends. Continue reading “The Other Side of Mulholland Drive” »

Ohio’s Triple Nickel and Other Epic Back Roads

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The road started off straight as an arrow as I made my way from rural Michigan to Columbus, Ohio to visit a college buddy, his wife and their four young children on my way home.

Somewhere between realizing the march of time had turned us into college kids masquerading as grownups and test driving his new Subaru BR-Z, I told him of my intent of hitting the back roads on the way home, specifically Route 26 through Wayne National Forest.
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Racing and the Fine Line Between Courage and Foolishness

It’s been 14 years since I raced a racing kart. This past weekend I stepped back into it again, this time in the popular TaG (Touch and Go) class – a class I had never raced in before. I don’t know why I ever stopped.

What’s it like? You have to experience it for yourself to get the full effect. But the video (my new GoPro camera worked great) above can provide a bit of the flavor, and I’ll elaborate below.
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Three Secrets of Speed

Three Secrets of Speed. A racing kart is the best tool for discovering the secrets of speed, learning hot to race, and driving fast well.

A racing kart is the best tool to discover the secrets of speed.

Many guys would never admit or don’t even realize they aren’t good drivers. They let ego and a lack of awareness prevent them from actually becoming more skilled. Often they attempt to compensate for this lack of ability by buying faster cars or making excuses.

  • That guy bragging about how fast he was going on the freeway “racing” other cars?
  • That guy pulling up next to you at the light and gunning his engine?
  • That guy with the lowered econobox bouncing down the road with 10 degrees of negative camber?

All of them were cut from the same cloth. While some people seem to equate the two, the ability to buy something is entirely divorced from the ability to use it well. Don’t be that guy (see video).
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The Legend of Mulholland Drive

Map of Mulholland Drive near Hollywood, California

Mulholland Drive, courtesy Google Maps

Earlier this week I had half a day of down time in Southern California and set out in search of roads like those in car commercials, those rare places where winding roads meet with little traffic.

After making my way past Malibu, I headed back for dinner in Hollywood on the famed Mulholland Drive to find out what it is really like. The very first words I ever read about it were from a write up of the original Lotus Elan in the January 1990 issue of Sports Car International:

“…Mulholland Drive, the legendary road that winds through the hills above Los Angeles like a Californian Targa Florio. It’s a road, in case you haven’t heard of it, that gets used as a proving ground for the manhood of young, middle-class delinquents who want to be race car drivers when they grow up.”

Finding it wasn’t too difficult, but starting just west of the San Diego Freeway (I-405) it wound through a residential neighborhood. Perhaps inexorable development had co-opted the original spirit of the road. There were too many intersections at first, the curves of the road interrupted by a string of traffic lights. But this is the road from the movies which offers fantastic views of the city lights below, with several overlooks along the way. And I found it to be authentically hardcore.

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Adventures In Moving, With A Sports Car (Part 2 of 2)

Adventures In Moving, With A Sports Car

The whole MR2 enchilada. Everything that came out of the car.

[Continued from Part 1]

Prior to leaving I checked the basics like fluids, drive belts and tires – especially the tires since I don’t carry a spare. Everything was fine so off I went toward South Carolina to visit a college friend, the car slightly heavier with what I gather was about 250 to 300 pounds of stuff.
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The Way of the Sports Car

1991 Toyota MR2 hardtop sports car.

1991 Toyota MR2 hardtop

Sitting at my desk on a cold winter morning, having traded the warm Florida sunshine for a snow covered northern suburb, may not at first glance seem ideal. But the reality is I took an excursion from the cube farm to meander along the metaphoric open road, which just happens to wind through winter, and to share this drive with those who can appreciate it.

Our desires deserve discovery, expression and reward. For some it’s surfing the perfect wave or perfecting their golf swing. For us the rewards can be found driving a machine tailor made for twisty roads. This is our outlet.

For a long time I’ve immersed myself in thrilling drives, executing a perfect downshift after deftly apexing a curve, admiring fabulous sports cars, and unlocking financially sound ways to experience them. This is the four-wheeled equivalent of the hero’s journey, one that provides not only an escape, a respite from the mundane, but which also yields far reaching benefits.

It’s about more than what some may view as frivolity.  Embracing the dream of the open road and attaining meaningful and useful skills will enrich the tapestry of one’s life. Whether we’re talking about sports cars and performance cars, great investments, or any other endeavor, it all comes down to a few common threads:

  • Discovering and embracing what we love
  • Developing our skills and expertise
  • Connecting with those with similar interests

Choosing appropriate challenges, cultivating the ability to meet them, and connecting with like-minded people is tremendously rewarding.  Being able to share that with you in my own voice is what Sports Car Investor is about.  My goal is that we will both continue to grow and enjoy the mastery of the skills we seek.

Thank you for joining me on this epic automotive adventure.