Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

July 4th and cars

Happy 4th!

America is indeed the greatest country on the planet, despite its warts - perceived or otherwise. No matter if you agree with the sitting President or not, the United States remains a beacon of freedom and a land of opportunity. It’s the reason my family emigrated here way back in 1996, when I was only eight years old. Growing up in what was a foreign country wasn’t without its challenges, but overall it’s been a huge net positive. It’s hard to imagine what my life would be like now had we stayed in China.

One big thing I wouldn’t have had in China, a thing that America does so well to foster and encourage, is vehicle ownership, and car enthusiasm. In the home of open roads, endless interstates, cheap gasoline, and (relatively) low vehicle cost, I was able to grow into a love of cars, and as an adult, lucky to have the means to fully explore and immerse into the Californian car culture. I dare say no other country offers such easy access to a variety of cars and the immense road networks to enjoy them on.

Contrast that to China, where human density tops the charts, and car ownership is severely limited (and you thought your American city has terrible parking). Speed cameras are absolutely everywhere, so you can’t have any fun, period (authoritarian single-party government, remember). More crucially, the typical wage in relation to how much cars cost in China, made even worse punitive tariffs, means there would be no possible way I’d be able to own a Porsche 911 GT3 as I do here in the States. The only cars I’d be capable to buy (if allowed to, anyways) are the Chinese brands, which I have to say are quite cheap, costing around $6,000 equivalent.

So on this particular July 4th, I’m extremely grateful to live in a country where I can truly cultivate my passion for automobiles. There’s really no better place that this.

Views from the central valley.

I came home to a dumpster fire

Yesterday was Fourth of July holiday so of course there was hordes of illegal fireworks happening long into the night. It’s been my annual ritual and goal to avoid all the madness, shutting out the chaos with noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs while praying to the gods none of the shrapnel sets fire to my car. 

I don’t own a car anymore so one less thing to worry about. 

This year circumstances found me heading out with some friends to watch San Francisco’s official fireworks display by the piers. We avoided heading to Fisherman's Wharf directly because of the enormous crowds, and instead placed ourselves on the nice lawn at Fort Mason. Perhaps not as awe-inspiring compared to being upfront and close, but we valued space and actual spots to sit above that. 

Having a view of the Golden Gate Bridge backdropped in a glittering sunset wasn’t so bad either. 

Departing from the festivities I was able to see the many illegal fireworks setting off throughout the city, a symphony of exploding lights accompanying me on the drive home. The sheer volume and scale of some of the fireworks was truly impressive; dangerously close to rivaling the smaller shells in the City's show. One stray from those incendiaries land on a roof it is over. 

Unfortunately one stray did land in my housing complex’s communal dumpster, courtesy of my neighbor, so I came home to a literal dumpster fire. A company of firefighters was at the tail-end of extinguishing it, which blocked me from entering the parking lot. It was a mess.

I am decidedly live and let live when it comes to unsanctioned fireworks, but people have got to be smart about not igniting next to highly flammable things (all of our houses made entirely of wood not withstanding). Count it a successful July 4th holiday if everybody can have their fill with fireworks and in the process no houses - or dumpsters - got burned down. 

The evening sky over Golden Gate Bridge, our lovely view from Fort Mason. 

The evening sky over Golden Gate Bridge, our lovely view from Fort Mason.