Friday, October 16, 2009

New Car: 2009 Pontiac G8 GT

After hearing the news about General Motors' decision to cancel the Pontiac brand due to their bankruptcy, I had to think quickly. For at least a year, I had been waiting for the 2010 Pontiac G8 model to be released so I could purchase one. Unfortunately, I found out that they had ceased production with the 2009 model and the only ones left for sale were the ones on dealer's lots. After some research and finding out that no more "Stryker Blue" G8's with V8 engines existed in the New England area, my cousin located one in Cambridge, Ohio. After one phone call with Whitesides of Cambridge, I bought one. I even got it for about $10,000 less than the local dealers were charging for their black V8 models. Friday, October 2nd, 2009, I flew down to Cleveland and then connected to Columbus, Ohio. The dealer had someone pick me up and bring me back to the dealership.

To make a long story short, I drove six house the first day and ended up at my girlfriend's college in Pennsylvania. I stayed there for a day and then drove seven more back home to New Hampshire.

If you're not familiar with the Pontiac G8, it is currently the #1 muscle car in America (source: U.S. News). It is also a performance sedan, similar to a BMW. As for specs, the GT trim that I got has a 6.0L V8 engine producing over 350 horsepower and 385 ft-lbs of torque. As all performance vehicles should, it is rear wheel drive. The manual transmission is only offered on the more expensive GXP trim, so I got the 6-speed automatic with one of those manumatic +/- shifters. Inside, it's got heated leather seats and a Blaupunkt stereo with 11 speakers, XM radio, and OnStar. Here's a bunch of pictures:

I ended up keeping my 2007 Pontiac G5 as a winter car, and also kept my 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT. You guessed it, I'm a die-hard Pontiac fan!

To keep my G8 in tip-top shape, I even built a garage tent for it! See the video below for a really amazing time lapse of the construction. It only took an hour and 22 minutes to set up!

(All photography ©2009 Chris Andrews)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taylor Swift at Mohegan Sun Arena (August 28, 2009)

One month after my last time seeing Taylor Swift, I went to see her again! This time, she was at the Mohegan Sun Arena (in Mohegan Sun Casino) in Uncasville, Connecticut. Unlike last time, I was allowed to bring my better camera in. They did ask some interesting questions to let it through the gate, like "is the lens detachable?" Out of the two, this concert was much better! Probably because me and my girlfriend had a wonderful straight-on view and the room was much smaller than last time in Boston. My camera has a 20x optical zoom and HD video, so enjoy! Photos at the top and YouTube videos at the bottom:

Gloriana opened up with a very short playlist

Kellie Pickler came up second

And of course Taylor Swift and her amazing theatrical performance was saved for last

Taylor Swift at TD Banknorth Garden (July 31, 2009)

First of all, I am VERY VERY behind in posts so I am going to sum this up real quick.

This summer, I was lucky enough to see Taylor Swift live in concert twice! Once at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts as part of Keith Urban's Escape Together World Tour on July 31, 2009. The second was at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on her own Fearless Tour on August 28, 2009.

I wasn't allowed into Boston's concert with my new snazzy Canon PowerShot SX1 IS superzoom camera, so I really didn't get any good pictures. But here is one anyway:

An event that happened before the concert is also worth noting, and kind of funny. Boston is a very busy city but lacks something important: parking. It is very difficult to find any sort of parking for under $35, even if you're only going to be there for a couple hours. After wandering around for a short while, I pulled into some building with a "P" sign. It was very small, as in two parking spaces, but them something happened: a magical door opened. Well, it was just an elevator.. but a big elevator! No one was around so I figured I'd just go ahead and drove right in. Yes, with my car. I got to the third floor and all the spaces were filled. It was pretty cramped so I couldn't really turn around. I got out and pressed the door open button. Moments later a man came out, and stopped. He was kind of stunned to see me, and asked how I got up here. "The elevator", of course. Apparently this building was valet parking. Oops! Too late now. We went off to the show and besides some confusion about which blue car on the third floor was mine, I got my car back in one piece.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yellowstone National Park: Video Clips

These are just video clips, to see the blog post about my trip to Yellowstone National Park, Click Here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Boston's second annual Scavenger Hunt

I'm short on time so I'm going to make thing one really quick:

Boston's urban playground group Banditos Misteriosos hosted their second annual scavenger hunt on July 11th. It was originally supposed to be a month earlier but got delayed due to weather. I couldn't make it last time so I was quite pleased it was delayed until a time I could make it!

As everyone came into Christopher Columbus Park near the Aquarium in Boston, we formed into groups of ten. My team was mostly familiar faces from the other organization I'm a part of in Boston: Boston Societies of Spontaneity.

If you've ever seen "The Amazing Race" on TV, that is pretty much how these scavenger hunt events go. We're given a bunch of clues and based on how we solve these riddles, we must go somewhere in the city and complete a challenge. Each leg of the "race" is independent of each other so we could do them in any order. After three hours we came back to the park with all but two of the objectives complete. There was a gathering to determine the winner, and they received awards for their completion of these tricky tasks.

Until next time, goodbye!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Carlisle 2009

The Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, Pennsylvania is known for its massive car shows. This year was no exception.

On June 27th, I went down myself for the "All GM-Nationals", an annual event showcasing the magnificent cars produced by America's own General Motors. As with every one of their shows I've been to, a few of the company's new models were pushed right up front to where the most people would see them. This time the prime real estate was taken up mostly by the new Chevrolet Camaro.

Also near the front was a line of new Pontiac G8's, the next generation of American performance sedans from 260 to over 400 horsepower. Unfortunately, production will be cut short due to General Motors' bankruptcy deal with the U.S. Government.

Just to see these wasn't the real reason why I came to Carlisle this year, though. I was here to see one of my favorite cars, the Pontiac Fiero. I've got two Fieros back home. If you don't know, the Fiero was Pontiac's 1980s sport coupe with the engine in the back and only two seats.

Usually the shows up in this area have just one or two Fieros, but Carlisle 2009 had many more; in fact, I counted 55 Fieros in all, many of which were modified with V8 engines and one was even purely electric. Of my favorites was a mint condition 1988 Fiero GT with t-tops in a brilliant red: the most desired year and trim of the whole five-year lineup. Another Fiero, still looking sharp, had 424,726 miles on it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yellowstone National Park

(I'm writing this in July about a month after it happened so I am being very brief):

Update: New post with video clips: Click Here.

I recently visited Yellowstone National Park for almost a week with a handful of students from Daniel Webster College as part of a course called "Searching for Yellowstone". After a month or more of pre-travel study, we set off to experience everything we read about first-hand.

After two tiring days of driving from New Hampshire through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, we were supposed to fly to Salt Lake City, Utah. Unfortunately there were an array of issues in the airport and we ended up taking a later flight that connected through Minneapolis, Minnesota; except it was delayed and thus after missing the connected, got to Salt Lake City the next day. We then drove from Utah through Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park.

After staying overnight in Mammoth Hot Springs, we went on a nature expedition with local wildlife biologist Nathan Varley from Mammoth all the way to Cooke City and back to see bison, elk, wolves, bears, moose, and many other rare and unique animals. After that, we met up at the Roosevelt Corral and rode horses to a remote location for dinner.

The next day we went to Gardiner, Montana, and met with park historian Lee Whittlesey to learn more about the park. From there we drove to Canyon and saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and then south around Yellowstone Lake to West Thumb Geyser Basin and finally to Grant Village for the night.

The Grand Tetons south of the park came next. We hiked a trail around Jenny Lake and met some curiously friendly chipmunks and saw some great scenery. After stopping in the famous town of Jackson, we headed back to Grant Village and passed a really cute baby bear on the side of the road with its mother.

For our final day we set out to see the geysers. First stopping at Biscuit Basin, we ended up at the tourist-packed Old Faithful and then walked through another basin and finished our trip at Grand Prismatic Spring.

(Photography is Copyright © 2009 Chris Andrews and cannot be used without permission)