the million-dollar garage.

This article about high-end luxury car picks for lottery winners reminded me that my Taxachusetts-based friend Jay often has Top 10 lists featuring cars on his blog.  Because I want to be just like the Kool Kidz, I figured I could take that baton and stumble off with it, too.

So, you just won a cool $300 million in the Multi-State SuperMegaBux.  You build a swank new mansion for the family, with a big-ass garage.  Your challenge is to pick five brand new current-production automobiles to fill that new garage of yours.

Here’s my list:

1.) Porsche 911 Turbo–because that’s my “Fuck You Money” dream car, and has been for a long time.  The current series of the 911 (997) packs a twin-turbo flat-six 3.8l at 493HP in the Turbo S version.  I’ll take the all-wheel drive Turbo S, because it’s a beast, and because, hey, New Hampshire.  (Not that I’d have much of a prayer with a 911 on our dirt road or in the snow.)

2.) Ferrari 458 Italia–because every luxury car collection needs to include a Ferrari.  The 458 sports a mid-mounted 4.5l V8 with 560HP output.  I would need to order it with an extra-large glove box to accomodate all the speeding tickets I’m likely to collect with a Ferrari, which looks like it’s going eighty above just standing parked at the curb.

3.) Aston Martin DBS V12–because it’s British and has twelve flippin’ cylinders.  Also: James Bond.  The V12 in the DBS has a displacement of six liters, and puts out 510HP.  Plus, it’s a sexy beast of a car.

4.) BMW 760i–because I’m a big fan of the Bavarian Motor Works with a history of satisfied previous ownership (a 323i and a 325i), and because the stable needs at least one large, comfortable car for extended trips.  I’d pick the top 7-series engine just because. You can’t argue with a six-liter twin turbo cranking out 537HP.

5.) Cadillac CTS-V.  Because it’s a station wagon with a Corvette mill–a 6.2l, 556HP V8.  Because my brother lectures me about American gas-guzzling excess on occasion, and I would gladly part with the sixty-five grand for that car just to pick him up at the airport in a 556-horsepower station wagon with an engine that would cost me a five-figure amount in annual vehicle taxes over in Germany.  (They’re taxed by engine displacement over there, which is why a 2.0l four-banger is considered a pretty big engine.)  Seriously–read the article, and tell me that wouldn’t be an awesome kid mover, a spunky parenting duty successor to the Grand Marnier.

Those are my picks.  What are yours?  Feel free to leave your choices in the Comments, or swipe the whole thing for your own blog entry.

(BMW 7-series pic courtesy of Rudolf Stricker. Ferrari 458 Italia pic courtesy of Anthony Joh. All other images are public domain.)


a meme for the fearless.

The Top Five Most Embarrassing Albums On My iPod:

  1. To The Extreme, Vanilla Ice
  2. Greatest Hits, Journey
  3. Songs from Dawson’s Creek, Various Artists
  4. Dance Into The Light, Phil Collins
  5. Guitar By The Fire, John Tesh

twenty-five things about me.

I’ve been tagged with this meme multiple times both through the blogosphere and Facebook, so here are Twenty-Five Things About Me that I’m certain you’re just dying to know.

  1. I’m very slightly cross-eyed, and as a  result I have stereoblindness.  Those nifty blue-and-red 3D glasses from the 1980s, for looking at three-dimensional print pictures and movies? Those don’t work for me. 
  2. My dominant eye is the left one, which means that I shoot rifles off my left shoulder for long-range precision work, even though I’m right-handed.  For rifle work at 200 yards or less, the vision in my right eye is adequate.
  3. When I was a child, we moved around so much that I went to ten different schools in as many school years.
  4. My favorite alcoholic beverage is honey mead.  I could forego all other spirits except that one.  Right now, my favorite is a local brand called Piscassic Pond, and I like their Haelfsett (semi-sweet) variety best.  Chaucer’s is second on the list, but it’s much sweeter, and a little more cloying.
  5. I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been literate.  I remember writing stories for my brother to take to school for Story Day when we were both in elementary school.  I wrote my first attempt at a novel at seventeen, using a lot of fountain pen ink, and a stack of ring-bound notebooks.
  6. Between all my mother’s siblings, they have almost thirty children.  I’m the second-oldest of the lot.
  7. I was a preemie, born two months early.  I spent the first twelve weeks of my life in an incubator in the neonatal ICU.  I was so used to seeing people in white hospital smocks that when my parents brought me home, I cried whenever someone approached me who wasn’t wearing white.
  8. My mother says I was a phobic little kid, disgusted by sand, and scared of falling leaves.
  9. The first time I got fully drunk was at the age of six or seven, when my (bar-owning and -tending) father gave me several Rum & Cokes to drink in order to impress one of his drinking buddies, for whatever reason.  (Not exactly a model Dad, my old man.)
  10. I have two brothers and two sisters.  Between the lot of us, we have six children, five of them just between myself and my oldest younger brother.  (I’m the oldest sibling.)
  11. I’ve crossed the Atlantic fifteen times so far (on commercial airliners, of course.)  The uneven number is due to one one-way trip, when I moved to the United States in 1996.
  12. The first time I came to the United States as a tourist, my port of entry was New York City.  I arrived in the late evening via bus from JFK, checked into my hotel, and commenced sightseeing early in the morning.  My first destination was the World Trade Center.
  13. My favorite pizza topping is pepperoni, preferably on a very thin crust. 
  14. I’ve never broken a bone in my body.
  15. I’ve only thrown up once in my life, when I was seven years old.  I overate on potato salad at dinner, and barfed all over my bed in the middle of the night.  As a result of that incident, just the smell of potato salad would make me nauseous even years later.
  16. When I was a teenager, I had a mad crush on Lea Thompson.
  17. I’m a tea drinker, and don’t care much for coffee, but every once in a while, I find myself craving a cup of it.
  18. My first car was a 1977 Opel Kadett in signal orange.  That was the easiest car to find in a  crowded parking lot.
  19. I can’t play an instrument, but I’d really like to learn one.
  20. When I was in my early Twenties, I was active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and rose in the ranks to be elected city chairman of the SPD’s youth organization.  (Wealth redistribution sounds awesome when you have no wealth to be redistributed.)
  21. I choreographed–and was one of the dancers in–the dance routine my high school class performed at our graduation ceremony.  There’s probably some evidence in film out there somewhere, but I’m pretty sure it’ll never make it onto YouTube.
  22. I don’t have any phobias, but I do get uncomfortable in large crowds.
  23. I’m a passable soccer midfielder, an an excellent goalkeeper.
  24. I have a permanent callus on the middle finger of my right hand.  It has been there since high school, where we were required to write with fountain pens.  For the last fifteen years or so, it has been almost unnoticeable, but it has reappeared since I started writing fiction in longhand again a few weeks ago.  (Apparently, it’s called a writer’s bump.)
  25. I’ve never watched a single episode of American Idol, 24, Heroes, or CSI: Punxsutawney.

And there you have it.  This should absolve me from any memery for at least another year, I hope.

the 2008 munchkin wrangler digest.

First Post of the Month (with first line excerpt):

JanuaryOn Primitive Computing.  “A few days ago, I started a little experiment.”

FebruaryOlfactory Memories.  “A little while ago, I fed the dogs in the cold mudroom.”

MarchRuining a Good Run.  “America is historically reluctant to elect a President straight out of the U.S. Senate.”

AprilGet Them While They’re Young.  “The Palestinian Hamas runs a television station called Al-Aqsa TV.”

MaySelf-awareness, No Doubt.  “Backyard play time.”

JuneMonday Search Term Safari.  “How to clean porn off laptop”

JulySort Of Big News.  “There’s a very highly regarded annual writers’ workshop called “Viable Paradise“. “

AugustFlash Review: The Android’s Dream.  “John Scalzi’s The Android’s Dream kicks off with a character being killed by way of flatulence.”

SeptemberMonday Search Term Safari XIX.  “Happy Monday, Intertubes!”

OctoberFor Shame.  “You have to have a complete lack of empathy if you can walk into a convenience store and steal a donation jar set up to collect money for a child with cancer.”

NovemberA Really Old Laptop.  “Here’s Quinn with the typewriter Robin gave me as a birthday gift last year.”

DecemberSome Are More Equal Than Others.  “So I hear some ball boy shot himself in the leg in a Manhattan night club by accident.”

Top Five Posts Of The Year:

  1. Butchering A Whole Herd Of Holy Cows (5,294 views)
  2. Guilty Gun Pleasures: The Three-Eighty (2,472 views)
  3. Sacred Cows, The Second Serving (2,386 views)
  4. Why The Gun Is Civilization (1,633 views)
  5.  I Should Have Been A Police Detective (1,228 views)

Top Five Search Terms Of The Year:

  1. munchkin wrangler
  2. Sock and Awe
  3. ashley dupre
  4. pretty girls
  5. sig p232

Top Five Referrers:

  1. View From The Porch (Tamara) 37,460 referrals
  2. The LawDog Files (LawDog) 17,412 referrals
  3. The Other Side of Kim (Kim DuToit) 7,566 referrals
  4. A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver (Ambulance Driver) 4,459 referrals
  5. Say Uncle (SayUncle) 3,950 referrals



Feel free to consider this a meme and use it for yourself.  I cribbed the “first line of the first post of every month” thing from Elizabeth Bear (who probably cribbed it from someone else), and the rest is just statistical information from the Stats page in WordPress.  If you have SiteMeter, you should be able to cull the same information with minimal effort.


around the world in ten mouse clicks.

I had to do some research this afternoon and spent about an hour distracting myself with a geographical Wikiwander. 

For all you meme hounds, here’s a travel-related one I cooked up.  I won’t tag anyone with it, but feel free to answer on your blog (or in the Comments if you don’t have one.)

Lazy Saturday Travel Meme

Five really interesting/beautiful foreign places I’ve visited:

  • Scotland
  • The Netherlands
  • Italy
  • France
  • Croatia

Five countries that are high up on my List of Places I Want To See:

  • New Zealand
  • Iceland
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • Iran

If I could speak one more language fluently, I’d like to be able to speak:

  • Arabic

If I had to trade my citizenship for another one, I’d most likely move to:

  • The Netherlands