Blog

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

Michelin Cup 2 tires are phenomenal

The San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing a heatwave, one of the few each year that balances out all of the parties we’ve been having in enjoying our typical mid 50’s weather, no matter the season. This particular heatwave is quite severe, though: not since Labor Day of two years prior - where temperatures in the city reached beyond 100 - has it been this bad. 94 degrees for three days straight really puts a strain on the nerves.

Especially when buildings in San Francisco aren’t equipped with air-conditioning.

Indeed, every time one of these hot weather patterns rolls around, I always declare that this will be the year I finally buy a portable air-con unit for my room, but it still hasn’t happened yet. Admittedly the not insignificant financial outlay for a machine only to be used a few days out the year is not so easily palatable. Add to the fact that usually by the time I’m ready to click buy, normal cool weather have returned, inducing me to procrastinate.

Let’s see if this year will be different, and I may have a secret weapon. Lately I’ve been super diligent on ensuring I get the appropriate quality of sleep, and a huge factor towards that is room temperature. Apparently, humans are evolved to get better sleep when the weather is cool (I certainly do during the winter months), so needless to say the last few days of this heat have not been conducive to me falling into slumber quickly; not when the bedroom is hovering in the 80s at midnight.

So, spend money to assist with something we do for a third of our lives; makes getting an air-con unit reasonable and justifiable, doesn’t it? I might get a chiliPad too while I am at it.

This first heatwave of the year did allow me to take the GT3 out this past weekend, the first chance to assess just what the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires can do when it’s within its optimal operating temperature. The verdict? So. Much. Grip. Astonishingly so. Only now did I realize that driving the Porsche around in San Francisco’s typical middling weather gives almost no information on the Cup 2’s true capabilities.

Is it possible to fall in love with a set of tires?

With the Michelins properly lit up, the GT3’s front-end is simply mighty. The communicative beauty of the 911’s steering shines in letting the driver know via the hands the grip level of the front tires, and in this maiden outing in hot weather, I’ve never felt more confidence-inspiring sensations through the GT3’s rim. I can truly trust the front-end: the tires dig and bite into the tarmac, no matter the amount of steering lock is inputed. The 911’s inherent understeer is still present, but it’s easily correctable when the tires are willing to do the work.

Obviously, the enormous 12-inch wide rear tires welcome the hot weather in equal measure to the fronts. Thanks to the engine being situated behind the rear-axle as is its signature, the 911 offers traction I dare say no other rear-wheel drive car can match. The Cup 2s with proper heat sticks to the ground immensely, but reassuringly so, allowing super fun mid-corner adjustability. Throttle-steer to tuck in the nose a bit or kick the rear-end out for some brief slip-angles: it’s all possible in the GT3, and easily accessible.

The 911 chassis reveals itself splendidly when the tires are on, and I’m ironically eager for more hot weather so I can sample the Cup 2s further it its absolute element. It’s so much fun.

Maybe I will get that air-con unit after all.

From my friend who’s traveling in Europe.

From my friend who’s traveling in Europe.

Nice and cool over here, but

Here in San Francisco we’ve been enjoying a nice cool spell (as per our summer usual) in recent weeks, with constant fog and temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s. It's really lovely indeed, and something we pay dearly for, isn’t it? This comfortable weather is partly why housing prices are still, sadly, through the proverbial roof. For those not fan of scorching climes like me, San Francisco weather is heaven. 

I do feel slightly guilty when I see record temperatures happening in other parts of California, especially so during fire season. While we are over here relishing a hot mug of coffee and snuggled underneath a blanket, our neighbors up north in Redding is battling against raging fires. It hasn’t even been a year since the Napa fires destroyed many neighborhoods and now we’ve got another one endangering homes and lives. 

Didn’t help at all that daytime temperatures in Redding over this past weekend was in the 110s. Hell is probably hotter but what’s happening there I imagine is quite close. Major credit to the brave firefighters having to endure those conditions. That’s an enormous amount of gear to be wearing under severe heat and triple-digit weather. Heroes; all of them. 

For sure San Francisco isn’t immune to maladies of mother nature: the next big earthquake is just a matter of when. I work in building basement so I hope this new library of ours is up to earthquake standards. It’s just what we’ve had a calm run for decades now, and it’s off-putting to see other towns get ravaged whilst we enjoy nature’s air conditioning. A few weeks ago it was absolutely beaming hot all over California, with many locales hitting record temps, but here in San Francisco it was chilly and fog as usual. 

I guess I’m worried about the karmic pendulum swing that will inevitably hit us back. I really should get that emergency kit for the house together... 

The divding line. 

The divding line. 

Air-con and missing my old WRX STI

In chatting with people today about the Labor Day weekend heat, many have offered anecdotes to support my premise that the reason San Franciscans so loathe the heat is due to the fact our buildings haven’t got air conditioning. The keyword here is respite, and when the temperature is blazing, San Franciscans can’t get any.

Colleagues who hail from southern California all said it felt weird for the weather to be this hot yet when they entered buildings there weren’t any climate control. As I’ve stated in the previous blog post, 100 degree heat is indeed bearable if one is able to avoid prolonged exposure by seeking shelter in air-conditioned buildings. 

Don’t suppose it does the environment any good to sit inside a car for hours with the engine on and AC cranked high. 

With Hurricane Harvey doing damage to the oil refineries (among other destructive behaviors), I guess we should prepare for higher gasoline prices soon. It’s been awhile since I’ve paid over four dollars for a gallon of premium, but with San Francisco being San Francisco and 91 octane already currently sitting at the mid 3′s, I would not be surprised to a see a 4 in front of the decimal point in the coming weeks. 

It’s during gas price surges where I don’t miss my old Subaru WRX STI; averaging 18 miles to a gallon was an absolute pain to the wallet in good times, much less during heightened prices. These days I can romp on the Mazda MX-5 to heart’s content and still manage MPG in the high 20′s. Do I miss the power of the STI, though? Of course, all the time. I don’t miss the 90′s era turbo lag, but once the tach needle is past the number 4, the surge from the EJ257 motor is amazing. 

Cheap horsepower was once the province of WRX STIs and Lancer Evolutions, but if I were to buy today I’d take a serious look at a V8 Mustang or Camaro with their respective performance packs. 400+ horsepower for mid-$30,000 is a mega bargain. 

Record heat in San Francisco

The classic San Franciscan tradition of complaining whenever temperatures goes above 80 is one I disagree with because as I’ve said before, it does the body good to have some variations in the weather. This past Labor Day weekend however, was beyond anything we’ve seen before.

For two consecutive days, the temperature for much of the daytime was in the 100s, and in the night hours the scale never dropped below 80. San Francisco simply doesn’t experience Fahrenheit in the triple digits, and the infrastructure is not built for it, namely the utter lack of central air-conditioning in homes. I’ve live in hot climes before, and it’s eminently bearable if the home is air-conditioned because that limits the amount of exposure to only the hours people are outside. Lacking conditioned air whist the mercury is in the 100s, we were basically hot and sweating for the entire day, right through to bedtime. 

I can’t remember the last time it felt too sweltering to fall asleep, but now sadly I’ve got a fresh place-marker in my memory. 

Thankfully, this recent bout of high heat occurred during the weekend (it’s significantly cooler today), which afforded me to leisurely do absolutely nothing but watch automotive videos on Youtube - as planned. I watched it all on the tablet, of course, cause it was indeed best to avoid turning on the iMac lest adding to the already sauna-like room temperature. Thanks to the heat, I was able/forced to to properly honor the spirit of Labor Day. 

If San Francisco is to see more and more of these 100 degree day weather - climate change or whatever - I think it prudent to finally invest in that portable per-room air conditioning machine. Perhaps soon, since San Francisco haven’t even got to its traditional ‘Indian Summer’ of late September and early October.

I shall gladly and unashamedly complain about 100 degree temperatures.