Monday, August 21, 2017

The toy cars I kept


A while back, I got rid of all of my childhood toy cars except eight. I subsequently added two to the collection (the Hongqi and the Leaf). But looking at their putrid condition now, I think I'm only going to let the kid play with the Hongqi and Leaf.

From bottom left, counterclockwise:

1. Matchbox Datsun 120X (Made in England)
2. Matchbox Citroen CX (England)
3. Matchbox Ferrari 308 GTS (Macau)
4. Matchbox Audi Quattro (Macau)
5. Tomica Sigma MC74 Mazda (Japan)
6. Hot Wheels Hot Bird (Hong Kong)
7. Playart Lamborghini LP500S (Hong Kong)
8. Tomica Nissan Leaf (Vietnam) (I got this as a gift a few years ago from the Nissan engine museum in Yokohama)
9. Tomica FAW Hongqi (Vietnam) (I got this as a gift from rchen; did you buy it in Bangkok?)
10. Tomica Lamborghini Cheetah (Japan)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

40 years of Williams F1 cars

Renault Dauphine, Bonneville, Prost & Prost



"The car bagged the new speed record in the Classic Gas Coupe (CGC) category by reaching a top speed of 76.5 m/h (123 km/h)." 

A Pan Am-affiliated helicopter airline in Manhattan

Infiniti Prototype 9

Steel frame and body. Electric motor.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Citroen SM sedan ad


Latin American passport stamps

I just noticed that my passport is about to expire. I'm going to renew it today. Here are the old stamps along the Western Hemisphere:

Canada.


USA.


Mexico. Note I entered via Baja California Norte (Tijuana) on November 8 and exited via Chiapas on November 12 (Tapachula). I was supposed to have my passport stamped as soon as I crossed by foot into Mexico (this was my first Latin American land crossing). It wasn't until I got to the Tijuana bus station by taxi from the border that a nice policeman randomly checked my passport and told me I had to have it stamped. His office was so tiny, I had to stand sideways behind the counter because I was wearing a big backpack.


Guatemala.


Honduras. This was the only country which didn't require travelers to step off the bus. The bus driver's assistant simply walked down the aisle, collected everyone's passports, and returned a half hour later with everyone's passports stamped.


El Salvador. I can only assume this is the El Salvador stamp from the process of elimination.


Nicaragua. No rule of law here. There were Daniel Ortega campaign posters plastered all over immigration control.


Costa Rica. The most beautiful sunrise I ever witnessed was at the Costa Rica-Panama border.



Panama. Before the old lady customs officer searched all of our bags, we had to hold hands in a big circle and say a prayer together.


Peru.


Chile.


Argentina. Every border crossing had a big portrait of President Fernandez wearing a big blue sash.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Local police helicopters

In addition to police cars, the recent show also had helicopters belonging to local agencies.

This 2012 Eurocopter EC135 belongs to a private air ambulance company. I deal with them once in a while in my work. When a person is severely injured and can't get to the hospital quickly enough by road, they call one of these helicopters. A ride to the local trauma center (John Muir Medical Center) costs around $15,000.


Per Wikipedia, around 500 of these are used worldwide as ambulances.






This is where they load/unload the patient.




This 2014 Bell 407 helicopter is one of two operated by the county sheriff's office.


They are used for search and rescue, patrol, and firefighting.





This orange bag contains a collapsible bucket to pick up water to put out fires.


Here it is in action. We have had many fires this summer.




I wasn't able to sit in the local park district's 1998 Eurocopter AS350 because it was called to respond to some kind of incident.





Nudibranch melibe in Bali

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bought two more Hot Wheels

A new NSX and an Elmiraj!


Local police cars, vans, and motorcycles

A couple of weekends ago, all the local police agencies got together to show off their vehicles. For those of you outside the United States, this gives you a pretty good look at the typical police cars we see everyday. For reference, in the States, we have four levels of government. From top to bottom, we have federal, state, county, and city.

First up, we have a vehicle that's not even affiliated with law enforcement. But it was my favorite at the gathering. It's an old Ford Red Cross van.


My town has less than a dozen police cars. They are Chargers and Explorers (and a few Crown Victorias are still left). We have no motorcycles.

Our town is named after Joaquin Moraga. Moraga's grandfather built the San Francisco Presidio and founded the city of San Jose.


The town next to us has a larger vehicle fleet. They also have motorcycles and rumors are, an undercover Camry.


The county sheriff's office brought a number of vehicles. Our county is called Contra Costa because we are on the other side of the bay from San Francisco. Here is a search and rescue truck.


Hazmat truck.


Here is a Lenco BearCat(?). There is an outcry about the militarization of the civilian police force. I understand the concerns but on the other hand, the bad guys have some pretty heavy duty weapons.


Bay Watch!


Back to the SWAT van.









Local ambulance. We used to have smaller van-based ambulances. But because Americans are getting more porcine, they are being replaced with heavy-duty ambulances using heavy-duty gurneys.


BART is our area rail service.



These firefighters had to respond to a call while we were at the show.


This is probably driven by office staff, supervisors, or inspectors. Note Cooper to the left.


In the distance, motorcycle units were playing polo with a big ball.


This command center was pretty neat.


This room in the back is for the hostage negotiator.


In the hallway of the command center.


This is in the front and houses the officer-in-charge and the dispatcher.


California Highway Patrol motorcycle.


Citation books.


We still have quite a few Crown Victorias left, but the CHP has a lot of Explorers and some Chargers in our area.


This car is E85 compatible. The only reason this country has E85 (an ethanol fuel blend derived from corn) is because politically, the first presidential primary state is Iowa and Iowa grows a lot of corn.