3 Reasons Dogs HATE Electric Cars

 

SmartCar Electric
SmartCar Electric

Only recently did we find out that our dog, Cody, really doesn't just have a dislike for electric cars but… actually he seems to hate electric cars.  He shows aggressive behavior toward any electric car that passes by pulling on his leash and barking frantically.  Sometimes it is difficult for me to even hold him.  It is has become a dangerous behavior.

I noticed Cody's behavior started a few months ago.  We tried calming him down and controlling him but it has become difficult since he gets so frantic and upset when one passes by.  As he goes nuts it have become difficult for me to control him on his leash.

Just to be clear when I say Cody hates electric cars I don't mean anything like a Tesla Model S, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, or a Chevy Spark EV.  We have these little electric vehicles that go around for the neighborhood security patrol.  While it is fine with they use EVs for me, to Cody it is a problem.  Here is what I think bothers him about these electric cars.

1. Electric Cars Look Weird

These neighborhood electric vehicles don't look like anything else out on the road.  They have a pod shape and only fit 1 driver, a 1 passenger, and have a small trunk.  It seems to bother Cody that they look weird and he think sthey are of place on the street.

2. Electric Cars Go Slow

Since these electric vehicles are meant for paroling a small neighborhood, and have limited range, they drive pretty slow.  Since no other cars drive that slow Cody doesn't seem to like it.  Better speed-up!

3. Electric Cars Make Strange Sounds

These electric cars that go around our neighborhood do not make much noise but when they do have a funny and distinctive, “Whirring” noise as they drive by.  I assume Cody doesn't like this noise and someone said it might hurt his ears.  Since it doesn't hurt Sierra, our other dog's ears, I am not sure this is the issue.  Could it be?  Perhaps Cody just doesn't like the whirring and want it to stop.

We like Electric Cars

For those driving electric cars or who believe automakers should be building more electric cars, I just want to make it clear as an auto journalist I don't have personally problem with EVs. It's only our dog, Cody, who hates those darn things it seems.

This behavior has really become an issue as one time Cody broke free from his leash as the security patrol was driving by once when I was getting him out of the car.  He caught me by surprise and he starting running down the street after the car.  It scared me as if he had tried to bite the wheels of the car he could have gotten seriously injured.  Luckily we called him and he came back to us and the security patrol person slowed down a lot.

We are glad Cody doesn't show aggression toward all vehciles, but still it is concerning for us.  We would appreciate any training advice or suggestions on how to fix this aggressive behavior toward electric cars.

Article originally published here

IMPA Renewal Reminder

Just thought I would give other auto journalists, that are members of the International Motor Press Association (IMPA), a heads-up that you might want to to renew your membership.  The deadline to be included in the IMPA membership directory and roster list is January 31st, 2014.  That means if you forget to do it before the end of the month you will not be included in the booklet they send out to all IMPA members.

There are 2 ways to renew, sending a check by snail mail or online and paying with PayPal.  If you choose to renew by snail mail and want to update your contact information, make sure to include that with your check.  If you want to renew online, which I opted to do, visit IMPA.org and click “Members Login” in the top right of the website.  (If you don't remember your password and login credentials you can just send a quick email over to IMPA to get them.)  You will then get have to click on “Modify Your Membership Information” if you want to update your any of your contact info for the directory and there should be a button to renew on the bottom.  You will than be taken to another page to pay via PayPal and all that.  If you just want to renew I think there will be a page to click on in the Members Only part of the website but I don't remember.

I usually like to email them to confirm that the payment and updated information went through.  I did get this screen when renewing online but there were no issues with my IMPA membership renewal.

impa

If you want to renew your IMPA membership at a later date I believe you can but part of paying to be an IMPA member is the fact you are included as a industry contact in the membership directory.  In my opinion that is one of the benefits of the membership.  Also it is important to note that all memberships start on January 31st so if you renew in the middle of the year you are wasting money on “unused” months.  I assume IMPA does this since it makes administration easier but is annoying for people that signed up in the middle of the year.  If you are not a member of IMPA, January would be the best month to join because of when the membership starts.

Anyway let me know if you renewed your IMPA membership already of if you are planning to do so.  Do you think that part of the benefit of being an IMPA member is the industry contact and roster list?  What other benefits do you get out of being part of an auto writer's organization?

6 Reasons the SCCA is Losing Members

sports car club of americaSomething a lot of people in the racing community know about but don't like to talk about is the fact that the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), the largest racing organization in the US, has been steadily losing members for many years now.

I'm not just saying this without any numbers.  In the ‘From the Chair' column in SportsCar, the SCCA's monthly magazine, back in February 2012 this was an issue that was addressed.  “The Sports Car Club of America has seen gradual erosion in both membership and event entries and, unless unchecked, the very core of our club will be endangered.” said Jerry Wannarka Chairman of the SCCA's Board of Directors.  “Our membership is around 42,000 –  a number that reflects a drop of roughly 2,000 members a year for some time now.”  he continued in the column.

Is this surprising?  Not not really and a lot of finger pointing in the racing community has been going on.  I am going to tell you 6 reasons the SCCA has been losing members.

1. Terrible Marketing

This is no surprise and most members of the SCCA are aware of this, but their marketing is terrible.  I know from personal experience since I was a member for 1 year.  I tried to work with my local SCCA group to understand why the marketing efforts were not going well.

It seems the people that manage the SCCA's outreach believe that auto writers and journalists will just magically show-up to their events for press coverage.  The reality is if there isn't a really interesting story or I am not going to be able to drive a car, why the hell would I spend all that time driving there and back?  Keep in mind most events they hold are a fair drive away and are held at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, would take me roughly 4-5 hours of driving.  Somehow the people that run the Washington region SCCA didn't get this and don't realize that auto writers either need a really interesting story or need to get something out of going which they wouldn't get otherwise.  (Also they are not very good at returning calls and getting back to you.)

Look my time is valuable and even if I'm interested in racing not every event the SCCA is putting on is interesting.  When I wrote about Freedom Behind the Wheel it wasn't just a story that racing enthusiasts would enjoy but something veterans and their families would like to read too.  You can't always appeal to a wide audience but you always try to with your articles and stories.  

There is a reason companies pay marketers and salesman the most money and not the people that built the product.  They keep the company afloat.

2. Racing is Expensive

This isn't really the SCCA's fault as racing is just expensive.  However, they are not helpful in making so that people new to the club can understand what they need to do to get started with building their own racecars and getting setup.  I guess they assume everyone has the knowledge and resources to do so.

The SCCA from what I can tell has not worked on keeping the costs low for a lot of their races.  It is prohibitively expensive to just show up to a casual race and they don't have any intention of changing this.   Unless you are just independently wealthy or won the lottery I doubt quite see how some people manage to fit in so much time for the SCCA.

The other issue is that in this difficult economy a lot of guys that have sold their racecars or project cars and have completely stopped racing.  Usually I hear the same story.  Car guy used to spend most of his money on his cars, bikes, or other vehicles but now he has 2 kids and maybe another on the way.  He wants to save up money for a down payment on a house and has decided to stop spending time and money racing and on his toys, so he sells his racecar.  (Not easy to find buyers nowadays.)  No racecar or equipment, why would you keep an SCCA membership or other racing organization membership?

3. White People

Everytime I got a SportsCar in the mail my first reaction when opening the pages was, “Oh, racing is for white people.”

Unsure of how they can change this perception with minorities but the SCCA probably should think about it.  The demographics of the US are changing and if they don't' get in front of it the membership base will continue to erode.  Hey, even NASCAR has a diversity program.  Of course I don't think it's going that well as I have zero interest in attending a NASCAR race.

4. Too Many Racing Classes and Categories

I honestly couldn't tell you the difference of the racing classes and categories in the SCCA even though I was a member and I am an auto journalist.  This is probably because the racing categories were named by engineers, who are bad at naming things.

The reasons I mentioned this is it confuses newcomers to the SCCA and makes their lives harder explaining different classes.  All I know is that they have Road Racing, Rally Racing, and some Open Wheel series.  If you want to race a Miata you probably can do that too.

5. Racing Takes a Lot of Time

Me driving all the way to Summit Point just to write about a race, unpaid, is not appealing.  This isn't the only web outlet I contribute too and write for.  Also currently I am working on several other web ventures outside of the automotive space and I need to focus on things that actually pay the bills and make me a living.

For the average person to drive 5+ hours to attend a race or take part in one basically means you would need to take a whole or half day off from work.  I personally can't do this most of the time since it's just not feasible.  From what I've read it seems others feel the same way about the SCCA events too.

6. Young People are not interested in Cars

Yes, it's true.  All young people are not interested in cars and are much more interested in the latest and greatest smartphones.  😉

In addition all young people are currently working on creating the next Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.  At least thinking that by spending too much time on these social networks.

SCCA is Losing Members

I read in another SportCar issue that while the SCCA gains a fair number of new members each year, a majority drop their memberships and do not renew.  In addition they are losing more members than they gain each year equaling a decrease in members.

It's clear they they need to make some changes and to it aggressively within the next 2-3 years.  If they don't the SCCA might cease to exist.

 

CarNewsCafe an Awesome new car site

carnewscafe

Hey Everyone! You might have noticed that on my social media channels I have a have started a new website with few of my auto writing buddies, CarNewsCafe.  Admittedly the site is not much now but we have a lot in the works which should make it into a premiere destination on the web for car news, vehicle news, and basically anything to do with cars.

I am planning on working on some cool audio content that will be going live on the site soon.  We will be podcasting these and posting all audio content on CarNewsCafe for everyone's listening pleasure.  (At least I hope you will like listening to my voice, because I always thought I could be on the radio or be an announcer.)  The podcasts should be pretty rad as it is a lot easier in my opinion to do audio than video content.  I am investing in some premium equipment as well to make these car news podcasts top notch.

There will also be some video content but I am not sure if it will be anything that is truly worth mentioning.  They most likely will be weekly car chats in a “cafe style” with other auto journalists.  Hence the name of our site, CarNewsCafe!

All this content will be available for free but we will be using different forms of monetization.  We love writing about car news and reporting the latest and greatest in the auto world but… we need to get paid too!  So no complaints about we have ads or whatever on the site.

Please “Like” the CarNewsCafe Facebook page and “Follow” our Twitter feed.  I would really appreciate it and it would really help us out.

If you have suggestions for the site please let us know.  I am open to constructive criticism and suggestions.

New Vertical Business Cards

I recently had some new vertical business cards designed.  I think the design came out nicely and it is clean, simple, and fun.  Check out the design!

Vertical Business Cards

I noticed a lot of business card nowadays are double-side so I thought it would be fine to get on with the trends.  Checkout the design I got for the back:

vertical business cards

The car silhouette design came out really nice and I like the WAPA (Washington Automotive Press Association) and IMPA logos.  The main reason I am part of these auto organizations is so I look legit.  Now when I give out my cards I assume they will check since I mostly give these out to people that work in the automotive industry.

Wondering where I got these business cards designed?  Fiverr!

If you haven't of the Fiverr, the tagline makes it easy to understand, “The world's largest marketplace for small services, starting at $5.”

That is essentially the best way to describe Fiverr, a huge marketplace for small jobs (ome jobs are quite intricate or large for what you get.)  The idea of Fiverr is really simple.  A seller can offer services and jobs that are $5 or factors of five depending on your seller status.  Fiverr will hold your money until the job is completed and your are satisfied with the work, when finished the Fiverr seller gets $4.  Fiverr takes a 20% commission ($1) on each sale.

I found a designer who offers specializes in Fiverr gigs specifically for graphic design work.  This seller does logos, ebook covers, and of course business card designs all for $5.  They had good reviews and ratings and the samples I saw I liked, so I felt comfortable using them.  Each vertical business card design cost me $5 so I paid $10 for the entire design, which is still a good deal for getting a business card in my opinion.  The Fiverr seller gave me several options and when I asked for changes they were made promptly and to the way I had specified I wanted them done.

If you need a business card designed I would recommend using Fiverr.  There are lots of similar microgig sites out there now such as Tenrr, which does not take commissions  and Fourerr, which only cost $4 per gig.  I like Tenrr since they have a nice “Request Job” feature.

Some of you might remember that list time I ordered business card I got them from Office Depot online, which is technically VistaPrint.  I would not recommend ordering from VistaPrint as the quality was not what I expected for what I paid and the paper was pretty thin.  This time I ordered from 123Print which is a Frederick, Maryland based company.  (There printing and processing facilities are located in Minnesota and Pennsylvania.)  I thought it would be nice to support a local company and get a small test run of the cards (I ordered 100) to see how I like the design in real-life.  I will let people know what my experience is with 123Print.

Let me know if you like or dislike my new vertical business cards.  Anything you want to suggest I do differently in the future for my vertical business cards?

Howard County Speed Cameras

In case anyone wants to know all the locations of Speed Cameras in Howard County, I thought I would post this list.

  • 4500 blk. Doncaster Drive
  • 4600 blk. Roundhill Road
  • 5000 blk. Ilchester Road
  • 6500 blk. Freetown Road
  • 6600 blk. Seneca Drive
  • 6700 blk. Old Waterloo Road
  • 7200 blk. Oakland Mills Road
  • 8400 blk. Savage Guilford Road
  • 9300 blk. Mellonbrook Road
  • 10100 blk. Donleigh Drive
  • 10200 blk. Old Frederick Road
  • 12500 blk. Frederick Road
  • 16800 blk. Old Frederick Road
  • Centennial Lane
  • Old Stockbridge Road
  • Vollmerhausen Road
  • 3000 blk. St. Johns Lane
  • 3100 blk. North Chatham Road
  • 4000 blk. Crescent Road
  • 5700 blk. Cedar Lane
  • 6000 blk. Stevens Forest Road
  • 6700 blk. Old Waterloo Road
  • 9100 blk. Northfield Road
  • 9500 blk. Kilimanjaro Road
  • 9600 BLK. Whiteacre Road
  • 10300 blk. Quarterstaff Road
  • 10400 blk. Green Mountain Circle
  • 12100 blk. Wood ford Drive
  • 14000 blk. Carrs Mill Road
  • Centennial Lane
  • Rogers Ave

Even though I don't live in Howard County I think it is important for people to be aware of of Speed Cameras and their locations around the Baltimore-Washington metro area.  Citations and tickets issued through the speed camera program are only a $40 fine and there are no points added to your driving record.  Still, that $40 can add up quickly if you are not careful.

I found this list on the Howard County Government website and so it is the most accurate it can be as of this writing.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about Speed Cameras in Maryland.  Are they good or bad?

John Moschetto, aka Gypsy Jack, has Passed Away

yamaha r1
Gypsy Jack's Yamaha R1

Some of you might know John Moschetto, aka Gypsy Jack, who I have mentioned a few times on this blog.  I am sad to announce that John Moschetto passed away a few weeks ago on the morning of Saturday October 27th while riding on the way to one his favorite local car events, Hunt Valley Cars and Coffee.  I am not sure of the all the details but it seems Jack got into a collision with a Toyota 4Runner at the intersection of Shawan Road and Beaver Dam Road.

The Baltimore County police crash team is still investigating the accident, although early reports suggest that Moschetto lost control of his motorcycle and crossed the center line, heading into oncoming traffic. Moschetto was declared dead at the scene, according to police.

Reported the online newspaper, the Hunt Valley Patch.  You can also read the original Patch story (with a quite a lot of comments) here.

What's surprising to me is that Jack was always a careful rider and had never been in a motorcycle accident in the 40+ years he was riding.  (He was however struck on the back of the head while riding his bicycle.) He was very enthusiastic and passionate about safe riding techniques.  He would never ride in bad weather or unsafe conditions and avoided them most of the time.  In my opinion he gave sportbike riders a good name.  I would have liked to learn to ride from Jack and he was going to help me get my Yamaha Virago running and rideable.  Now, very regrettable, I won't have the chance or opportunity to learn to ride from him.

Jack was someone who was very enthusiastic and passionate about anything to do with wheels and it really showed.  He could talk your ear off about the latest MotoGP race and was an avid fan.  As most know he loved customizing his beautiful motorcycles to perfection and riding. Jack was a great photographer too and allowed me to use some of his Hunt Valley Cars and Coffee photos for this blog.  He also had quite a toy collection and used to compete with RC cars.

You can still visit Jack's website, Gypsy Jack Racing, and visit his Examiner page to read some of the motorcycle articles he wrote there.  He never liked writing for Examiner much but he clearly was passionate about writing.  I encouraged him to start his own blog so he could showcase his motorcycle and toy projects.  I wrote a short post about him awhile ago on this blog and shared a few pictures   He wanted me to write other posts about him and his motorcycles and I sadly won't be able to.

Life is short and when accidents like this occur it is just reminder we should be happy of the time we have on earth.  If you were a friend, neighbor, or family member of Jack, please a leave a comment below and share an experience or memory you have of him.

 

yamaha r6 aprilia
Yamaha R6 Aprilia Mille R