Gran Turismo 5 Update

Now 3 weeks since the last update. It’s been more of the same: either win a race by a large margin, or repeatedly lose a race by a large margin until I have enough money to purchase a car that can win the race by a large margin. Actually, it’s been this way since my days of playing Gran Turismo 2. I would say that was my heyday as a GT player, when I got the most enjoyment out of playing the game. Obviously I’m a lot older now, and I don’t have as much time to play. I still enjoy the game, but it’s not the same as it was back then.

Gran Turismo 5 - Racing on the Fuji Speedway F
Racing on the Fuji Speedway F

I’m not even going to bother listing times anymore, but I will list the races that I have completed:

Japanese Championship
Schwarzwald League B
Euro Championship
Polyphony Digital Cup
Gallardo Trophy

And I’m now starting on Gran Turismo All Stars.

If I recall correctly, I also unlocked the Extreme Series of races. I look forward to the endurance races.

 

2009 Acura TSX

This is the first car that I have ever completely financed by myself. It’s also the first “sporty” car that I have driven, and the first car that I have modified. Modifications include 19-inch Enkei GTC01 wheels and Eibach Pro-Kit lowering springs. In the few years that I have owned this car, I have learned a tremendous amount of automotive knowledge. If I ever decide to change careers, I will strongly consider becoming an automotive mechanic.

2009 Acura TSX
I really like the rear end of this car.
2009 Acura TSX
The side of the car, zoomed in from a distance.
2009 Acura TSX
Up close and personal.
2009 Acura TSX
A night shot with a freight train rolling by.
2009 Acura TSX
Another night shot. One of my favorite photos.
2009 Acura TSX
When the car had a carbon fiber grille as an alternative to the chrome one.
2009 Acura TSX
Highlighting the Enkei GTC01 wheel.
2009 Acura TSX
A closer look at the weaves of the carbon fiber grille.
2009 Acura TSX
Trying to capture the paint after a detail.
2009 Acura TSX
Acura. Advance.
2009 Acura TSX
A closer look of the front.
2009 Acura TSX
A closer look of the back.
2009 Acura TSX
And the full length.
2009 Acura TSX
The Golden Gate Bridge and a container ship at dusk. One of my favorite photos.
2009 Acura TSX
View of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from Treasure Island.
2009 Acura TSX
With the Bay Bridge in the background.

Snapshots from the 75 Gallon

A few photos from the 75 gallon tank that I had for a short while.

Snapshots from the 75 Gallon
Early stages of the tank, before the plants really took off. Unfortunately, I never took a photo of the entire tank once everything filled in.
Snapshots from the 75 Gallon
One of the Bolivian Rams (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus) from the old 50 gallon tank. Notice how small it is. This is due to the fish in the next photo dominating over it.
Snapshots from the 75 Gallon
A macro view of a Firemouth Cichlid (Thorichthys meeki). The boss of the tank.
Snapshots from the 75 Gallon
Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps, better known as the Gibbiceps Plecostomus. I am a big fan of fish belonging to the Loricariidae family.

Gran Turismo 5 Update

Man, has it really been 2 weeks since the last update? Well, I’ve gone through a lot of races in this time, so here goes:

In the M3 again, for the German-car-only Schwarzwald League A series of races:

Tokyo R246 5:31.897 (won by at least 41.000 seconds!)

Nurburgring GP/F 6:45.548 (won by at least 37.000 seconds!)

I guess you could say that the M3 was overpowered.

Gran Turismo 5 - The M3 at Red Bull Hangar-7
The M3 at Red Bull Hangar-7

Next, the MR Sports Cup, in a Ferrari 512BB ’76:

Deep Forest Raceway 7:48.136 (Last place by 46.739!)
Deep Forest Raceway 6:48:983 (won by 01.899 over a W12 Nardo Concept ’01)

High Speed Ring 5:43.118 (won by 05.752 over a McLaren F1 ’94)

Circuit de la Sarthe 2009 8:42.368 (won by 01.221 over a Ford GT ’06)

Although I won the MR Sports Cup in the Ferrari 512BB ’76, there was still something odd with this car. It felt like it was driving on ice most of the time, with the rear-end breaking loose seemingly on every turn. Checking the tires, I confirmed I was using soft racing tires, so I wasn’t sure what the problem was, exactly. I made a lot of changes to various settings, including ballast, brake balance, and spring/damper firmness, but it was still difficult to control this car, especially after driving the M3 in previous races. I tried to use the Ferrari in the Historic Racing Car Cup, and failed miserably because you really do need a full racing car setup rather than a modded street car:

Deep Forest Raceway 6:50.672 (last place, lost by 25.803 seconds!)
Deep Forest Raceway 6:36.996 (4th place, lost by 13.102 seconds!)
Deep Forest Raceway 6:25.611 (3rd place, lost by 05.476 seconds to a 2D Race Car ’67)
Deep Forest Raceway 6:31.121 (4th place, lost by 08.650 seconds to a 2J Race Car ’70)
Deep Forest Raceway 6:33.996 (last place, lost by 12.744 seconds!)

Looks like I have to save some money so I can get a real race car, or convert one of my existing cars to a race car.

Gran Turismo 5 Update

Had a couple of sessions over the past two days and finished the Tuned Car Championship. I again had trouble against the Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo. That is one fast car. Eventually, I gave up trying to beat that car with the M3, and went to my trusty old Dodge Challenger SRT8 ’08 instead. I’d used that car to beat many races previously, and it was already maxed out with mods, with 784HP. Here are the race results:

Suzuka Circuit 11:08.120 (won by .788)

Grand Valley Speedway 10:16.386 (2nd place, lost by 09.202 and reached Level 21)
Grand Valley Speedway 9:58.069 (2nd place, lost by 04.384 after adjusting max speed to 224 from 255, and adding the adjustable LSD mod to help with braking)
Grand Valley Speedway 10:00.231 (won by 03.725, got lucky this time as the S2000 was not in this race)

Special Stage Route 5 7:34.844 (won by 06.051 after restoring max speed to 255)

Tokyo R246 9:03.854 (2nd place, lost by 06.721 after adjusting max speed to 236)

After switching to the Challenger:

Tokyo R246 8:43.516 (beat the S2000 by 01.668)

And finally, the Championship with all 5 races:

Suzuka Circuit 10:46.804 (won by 01.794)
Road Course – Daytona 9:03.196 (won by 19.629)
Grand Valley Speedway 9:44.590 (won by 03.066, reached Level 22)
Special Stage Route 5 7:23.717 (won by 03.393)
Tokyo R246 8:44.733 (won by 01.635)

Here’s a photo of my Challenger after getting pushed off the track and hitting a wall with the rear end (click to view larger version):

Gran Turismo 5
Gran Turismo 5 – Dodge Challenger

A Race at a Time

Only had time to complete one race today: the Road-Course Daytona race of the Tuned Car Championship in the Expert Series. I attempted to use a near-stock BMW M3 Chrome Line to win this race, and failed miserably. I made 10th place, with a time of 10:24.618. In the past, I had won races rather easily with the M3, so when I chose it this evening it didn’t occur to me that it hadn’t really been “tuned”. I had a sports exhaust, some intake modifications, and medium sports tires.

After I realized this I maxed out the mods, including the 3 stages of engine tuning and racing tires. I won the race, but not without fighting for 1st place in the last couple of laps against an S2000 GT1 Turbo. I won with a time of 9:35.411, just .735 ahead of the S2000.

Buffet Dinner @ cafe TOO, Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong

On June 25, 2007, my family and I enjoyed a buffet dinner at cafe TOO inside the Island Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong. These are some of my selections from that evening.

Buffet Dinner @ cafe TOO
On this plate we have grilled lamb, cheese-breaded chicken, salami, prosciutto-ham-wrapped asparagus, and pan-fried fish.
Buffet Dinner @ cafe TOO
A hearty noodle soup (pork bone base) with sliced beef, bok choy, bean sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms.
Buffet Dinner @ cafe TOO
Cream of tomato soup.
Buffet Dinner @ cafe TOO
A selection of raw oysters, a crab claw, salmon and tuna sashimi, a prawn, and shrimp cocktail.
Buffet Dinner @ cafe TOO
Here we have an Indian selection: basmati rice, naan bread, various curries, and tandoori chicken.

Random Food

This is a collection of random food items that I have enjoyed.

Random Food
August 26, 2010: Chicken wings marinated in fish sauce, cilantro, lime juice, and some other seasonings, then grilled.
Random Food
August 16, 2010: A nice New York steak dinner that I fixed up. I was especially proud of the red wine sauce.
Random Food
May 24, 2009: Steak and eggs, a classic breakfast.

50 Gallon Planted Aquarium

This was one of the most beautiful tanks that I kept. Unfortunately, it took up too much of my time and I eventually tore it down. Most of the fish in it are dead now, but some still survive in my 75 gallon tank. Below are some of the best photos that I took of the aquarium and its inhabitants.

50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
Early stages of the tank, taken about 3 months after initial setup. Was not planning planted tank at this time.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
6 months after initial setup, I decided to fill in the tank a bit more and add more plants.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
A closer view of the 6 month old tank.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
The matriarch of the tank, a beautiful Bolivian Ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus).
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
9 months later, a Clown Plecostomus (Peckoltia vittata) also calls my tank its home.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
Water change in progress: adding new water to the tank.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
A view from the side of the tank, now 1 year old.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
Full view of 1 year old tank.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
A German Blue Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi).
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
Another full view, but a little closer and brighter.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
The Bolivian Ram hanging around a piece of Java-moss-covered driftwood.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
It’s a jungle out there.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
A photo of the tank after a fresh cleaning and trim.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
A closer view of the trimmed Water Wisteria, Hygrophila difformis.
50 Gallon Planted Aquarium
Closeup view of Otocinclus affinis.