Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Ideal $300 a Month Car

A good buddy of mine (who's also one of the only people who actually read this blog) just got a $300 per month car allowance. He's asked me what new (or relatively new) car would I go for with a payment in that vicinity. So here's my quick hit list of cars that strike the balance between sport, style, usefulness, economics, and fun:

5. Volkswagen GTI

So yeah, despite VW's current turmoil, I'm still a massive fan of this car. It's a fast, fun, near-perfect vehicle and is more or less the first option that comes to mind. No surprises here.

4. MINI Cooper S 4 Door
I've recently been spotting some new 4 door MINI's and I kinda dig 'em. Now I'm not talkin' about the Countryman or the new Clubman. I mean the Cooper S 4 door. At first I hated the idea of this, but seeing them on the road, with a pair of bikes strapped to the top, I kinda love this wagon-esque super Cooper.

3. Fiat 500 Abarth
The Abarth (pronounced either ah-BART or AY-bart) is the perfect pocket rocket. It's fun factor is through the roof and would be an absolute blast to own for a bit... mainly because I haven't yet : )

2. Ford Focus ST

I'm really intrigued by this little guy. It's way too fast for it's own good. It's agile AND functional and you can't find a single auto reviewer who will talk crap about it. Not to mention it looks fantastic with a bike rack.

1. Hyundai Elantra GT + BMW G650 GS 
Let's face it, a base model Elantra GT is by no means a bad looking ride and it's beyond affordable too. So much so that you can probably swing a payment on a G650 GS as well and still be close to on budget.

It looks like a fun little combo, if you ask me.

Monday, January 04, 2016

2015: My Tenth Annual Year in Review

Ten years ago I started a blog about music, movies, TV, cars, and design and that same year I decided to do a quick review of my top three favorites in each category. I've loved creating this list each and every year since and here are my picks for 2015. Enjoy!

Top 3 Favorite Albums

3. Individ - The Dodos

The Dodos not only dropped one of their best albums yet in 2015, they put on a face-melter of a tour. Standout track: Confidence

2. Depression Cherry/Thank Your Lucky Stars - Beach House

What band releases an amazing, full-length album and then two months later drops another? Beaccch Houssse from Baltimore, that's who. Standout tracks: Space Song and One Thing

1. Every Open Eye - CHVRCHES

My kids know every lyric to every track, 'nough said. Standout track: Never Ending Circles

Top 3 Favorite Movies

3. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Who would have thought that after coming off of stinkers like Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger, these boys could out-Bond Bond. Standout stuff: all of the cars and clothes.

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I'm still completely shocked at just how sold I am on the new squad. #ThanksJJ Standout performance: Daisy Ridley as Rey.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Only a movie with this much high-octane could possibly beat out one of the best Star Wars flicks yet. Standout vehicle: Imperator Furiosa's War Rig

Top 3 Favorite TV Shows

3. Daredevil

This show feels so much like the street-level Batman I've always wanted. Standout episode: Cut Man

2. Mad Men

It was full-on surreal to be working on Madison Avenue during the last season of this one. Standout episode: Lost Horizon

1. The Last Man on Earth

Finally, a non-formulaic foray into post-apocalyptic awesomeness. Never in the history of television has a show been as insanely unpredictable as this one. Standout episode: Alive in Tucson

Top 3 Favorite Cars

3. Jeep Renegade

Not only is this little rig riding the #adventuremobile wave perfectly, its TV commercial pretty much has the most serendipitously catchy tune of all time. Standout feature: Awesome colorways.

2. Volkswagen Golf R Wagon Wolfsburg Edition
This one woulda easily been numero uno if you could actually purchase it stateside. Standout feature: It's the total package, even despite all the diesel drama.

1. Volvo V60 Polestar

The V60 wagon wins the day. Its flawless Euro-stance and hatch is actually available at a dealer near you. Standout feature: Polestar Blue

Top 3 Favorite Designs

3. Vintage Overland Caravan

Nothing says adventure time like a rugged teardrop in tow. Standout feature: Chrome caps

2. New Balance 574 Botanical Garden

It's the New Balance retro running shoe that says I'm fun yet sensible, stylish yet approachable, daring yet down-to-earth. Standout feature: The botanical tongue.

1. Levi’s x Pendleton Trucker Jacket
If I had $400 bucks to blow on a denim jacket, it'd definitely be this one. Standout feature: Its sick Pendleton print.