I write stuff. A lot of it is about cars and motorcycles.

Dale Franks

The New Miata is Here!

In automotive circles, whenever you you talk about the best roadster, best small sports car, or best whatever, the answer is always Miata. It’s a wildly popular car among automotive enthusiasts and women. All of them are heartened today by Mazda’s unveiling of the brand new 2015 Miata.

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The Middle Way

2014 Buick Encore AWD

Driving a Buick says something about you. It says that you’re the sort of person who can’t afford a Cadillac, but not the sort of dirty, poor person who drives a Chevrolet. Buick is the brand for the middle class. While Chevrolet is the brand for the factory worker, and Cadillac is the brand for the factory owner, Buick is the brand for the senior software developer in the factory’s IT Department.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game…

Today, I went to Petco Park–a very, very nice ballpark, by the way–to watch the Dodgers play the Padres. Of course, I took a camera along to record some of the action. All of the pictures are clickable, so you can see the high-res versions.

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Why CarMax rules

There are some reasons why buying a car at CarMax kind of sucks. They don’t negotiate prices. The prices they don’t negotiate are too high. But there is one reason why CarMax rules: The CarMax Warranty. If you never need it, it might be pricey. If you do need it, it will save your bacon. Like it did mine.

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Soul Searching

2014 Kia Soul Base

I wouldn’t have thought that Hamsters would be an effective marketing tool. Especially urban hamsters, with their hip-hop music and baggy clothes. I would, of course, be wrong, because that’s exactly how Kia markets the Soul. Apparently, the marketing works, because there seems to be a lot of them around. It works so well, in fact, that the Soul is Kia’s best-selling model.

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What I saw at San Diego Comic Con 2014

Every year at this time, the San Diego Comic Con rolls into town, brining thousands of attendees with it. I remember going to Comic Con in the mid-90s, when it was small. The biggest star I saw back then was Adam West, who was signing autographs for ten bucks a pop. Now, it’s the West Coast’s center of sci-fi, comics, and fantasy action, with what seems like the whole entertainment industry involved.

I didn’t have tickets to get inside the Convention Center, so I hung around downtown and took some pictures.

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La Jolla Photoblogging

Chris and I took some time to head down to La Jolla on today and take some photographs. The coast at La Jolla is home to loads of marine life, and they’re so used to people that you can get pretty close to them without frightening them. Which we did. All the pics are clickable for hi-res versions.

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Sibling Rivalry

2015 Kia K900 Sedan

Kia is generally referred to as the sister company of Hyundai. That’s not an entirely accurate depiction, as Hyundai actually owns about a third of Kia Motors. But if we go with the “sisters” analogy, Hyundai would be the studious, sober sister, while Kia is the prettier, sluttier one. That’s not to say that that Hyundai is above flashing a little cleavage, in the form of the Genesis Coupe, which in its 6-cylinder Track or Touring spec, is pretty sexy in Korean car terms. But, in general, Kia’s cars are more fun to drive Hyundai’s.

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The Triumph of Style

2013 Nissan Juke Nismo*

There are cars that have hatchbacks, but are too big to be called a “Hatchback” and too small to be called an SUV. So, their manufacturers created a new category of vehicle: the “Crossover”. Nissan’s entry in the Crossover category is called the Juke, and they’ve turned it over to their in-house performance team, creating the Juke Nismo.

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Hanging In There

2013 Honda Fit

“Why,” you may be asking, “are you writing reviews of 2013 models when we’re already a couple of months into 2014?” Well, the thing about the Honda Fit is that there isn’t a 2014 model. The tsunami in Japan last year messed up things at the factory in Sayama where the Fit is made, forcing them to skip the 2014 model year. A new 2015 model has been announced as the next refresh of the model, and it will be an all-round update to the car, inside and out. For now, though, the 2013 model is the only Fit you can buy.

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Lotus makes motorcycles now. Sort of.

Most people think of Lotus as the British manufacturer of light sports cars with great handling. But now, Lotus has announced they’re making motorcycles. Well, a single motorcycle. And Lotus isn’t actually making them. And they’re not making only 100 units. Huh. That could not be more confusing.

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