My Year With a Miata

Last spring I sold my GT3 and bought a Miata.

I haven’t said much about it. I didn’t get time to do much with it. Earlier this week I sold it though and it feels wrong to let it go without a review.

Mazda invited me to a launch event nearly a decade ago when this version first came out. I had a lot of fun there but was already headed down the road of buying my first Porsche. The experience stuck with me though and when I found myself unexpectedly without a fun car for last summer, it shot to the top of my list.

It was a terrible time to buy a car. The pandemic had taken its toll on supply chains so new cars were nearly impossible to find unless you wanted a Mustang. I didn’t want a Mustang.

If you were in the market for a sports car and wanted one right away, the pickings were slim. Of all the big players like BMW M cars, Corvettes and Porsches there were none at all available. It was the same story for the FRS or BRZ or Golf R or anything else that might come to mind as an option.

You couldn’t even buy a Miata. I went looking and the only ones I found were bare bones base models or had automatic transmissions. For one you’d want, they had waiting lists with delivery times around the end of summer.

I was gutted.

Then, out of the blue on a Friday night, a friend sent me a link to this one that had just popped up on AutoTrader.

It was nearly perfect. It wasn’t red, but other than that it ticked all the right boxes. I called the dealer as soon as they opened on Saturday morning and, finding it was someone’s canceled order and was available, I gave a deposit to buy it immediately.

The car was still in Japan so it was a few weeks later when I got to go see it and then a few days after that when I got to drive her home.

I was ecstatic and man… I had PLANS for this car!! I did my research to see what I’d want for the track and bought new wheels and tires and springs and sway bars and floor mats and a camera. I couldn’t wait to put it all together!

And then I changed jobs. And in my new job, I had no vacation days left for 2022.

All the track goodies stayed in the garage, untouched. All the track days I wanted to do would have needed a day off and I didn’t have any to spare.

It was my first year without a track day since I started doing them back in 2015.

But that didn’t mean the Miata didn’t get driven.

At first I’d take it out now and then just for fun. I very quickly found myself looking for excuses to take it out and then simply using it EVERY time I could. Taking my wife to and from the train for work? Miata! Grocery shopping? Miata! Random errands? Miata!! Taking Granny home after a visit? Miata!!

Every time I got in and threw the roof back I was smiling. Every single time.

In the short time I had it I fell in love with the little thing. It was like having a toy to play with every time you needed to go somewhere. The roof went up and down in about 2 seconds so it was ALWAYS down unless it was raining.

It wasn’t perfect though. I’m not going to miss the constant beeping when it thought I wasn’t keeping in a lane or the warnings about imaginary cars in my blind spot. That system needs some work but on the flip side, I DID like that it would beep when it saw someone coming in a parking lot as I was backing out. Being so small and low to the ground it was impossible to see past the cars next to you so this system was a blessing.

There was annoyance at not having wireless CarPlay while also not having a reasonable place to put a phone when it was plugged in. There’s a cubby below the head unit I used but if it wasn’t sitting right or shifted around while driving it would be up against the shifter. Mazda has wireless CarPlay in the GT model so this made no sense at all.

That also brings the model differences to light. In order to get the go-fast goodies I wanted, which were the Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, and BBS wheels with summer tires, you had to choose the middle of the line GS-P model. Doing that meant you couldn’t have the upgrades the GT model got like wireless CarPlay, fancier headlights, a garage door opener and automatic climate controls. I’m sure there are others but those are all things I’d have happily paid extra for if I could. In fact, I had a plan to upgrade the rear view mirror myself to get auto-dimming and a garage door opener.

Mazda made a single special edition a number of years back that combined all these options. I have no idea why they never did it again or why you can’t simply order the Sport Package on the GT model.

I was eagerly looking forward to Mazda releasing the details for the 2023 models on the slim hopes they might make a car with everything I wanted. I was ready to order one. In retrospect, I guess it’s very good luck that they didn’t.

And now it’s gone. I look at the empty space in the garage and it makes me sad. I’m very excited for what comes next but I’ll never forget this one and would absolutely own another one in the future.

It’s not just hyperbole. The answer to everything really might be Miata.

My Substitute Favourite Tooth Broke

I thought I’d never have to deal with this tooth again. Truly. I thought I was done. Problem solved.

But here we are. Somehow, while eating some chicken, a piece of the new tooth came off. Not chicken bones. Not rocks. Just chicken.

I guess now I’ll find out what sort of warranty comes with new teeth.

Does the tooth fairy buy imitation teeth??

I’ve Ended My Grudge Against Doug DeMuro

Firstly, if you don’t know who Doug DeMuro is, you really should.

It’s been the better part of a decade since Doug asked his fans what car he should buy next. I told him, and the world agreed with me. Buy a Ford Model T, I said. It will be endless hilarity!

It seemed like a done deal and would be my claim to Internet fame. And then… he didn’t. He bought a Viper, which was the next most popular suggestion because obviously he’d rather own a Viper.

I get it, Doug. We’d all rather own a Viper. But this wasn’t for you. This was for US to be amused at your expense! You asked, and we answered.

It’s hard to describe just how disappointed I was with the result. I was livid. Bitter, even. My hopes and dreams of Internet infamy were stamped out forever. And for what?? Does anyone even remember anything Doug did with the Viper?

But that was then. This is now, and I’m ready to turn over a new leaf. They say that time heals all wounds and if we look at what’s happened in the past 8 years since this soul-crushing rejection, I have to admit that things seem to have worked out ok.

Doug has grown from being a bit player on Jalopnik to being a full fledged YouTube star and he’s been crushing it for years now.

Would that have happened if he’d bought the Model T? Could owning that car have been such a joy-sucking disaster that he’d have lost all interested in journalism?

Might he have become a used car dealer just north of Tijuana, hawking clapped out Volkswagens to washed-out former Top Gun pilots in San Diego?

Imagine a world without Doug telling us about the most random quirks of everything we wish we could drive but can’t.

And what would my life have been like? Would I have been blamed for him quitting Jalopnik in a huff? Would I have been named and shamed in his last ever post, complaining about his permanently arthritic arm being damaged from cranking the damned Model T every day, just trying to get to work?

Would he curse my name every time it hurt to slap some barely-running Corolla on the hood when trying to extol it’s virtues to a new recruit that’s just gonna go and finance a new Challenger anyway?

Instead of that, I ended up spending most of the past 8 years driving Porsches on race tracks and having the time of my life. So really, things seem to have worked out well for both of us.

I’m still a fan, Doug, and couldn’t be happier for the successes you’ve found since this all went down.

I’m ready to bury the hatchet. Let bygones be bygones.

You keep doing you… and I’ll keep watching with amusement.

And it’s not too late to do a Model T review! Tell us how the damned clutch and shifters work as only you can.

Samsung TV Doesn’t See DLNA Media Servers

Last night I tried to watch something from my media server on a TV that had no problem doing this before.

The media server is a DLNA server running on a Synology NAS.

It took a bit of searching before I found the solution so I’m recapping it here to help anyone else with the same problem.

The key here was that I changed my router a little while ago. The new one is an Asus mesh system.

This is where I found the solution:

The Asus app to manage the routers is fantastic, but this setting isn’t available in it. You need to access the web interface.

Go to the LAN section, then to the IPTV tab, and change the setting for “Enable multicast routing” to Enable.

As soon as I changed the setting the media server showed up in the Sources options on the TV, just as it had always done before.

Life is Pretty Good Right Now

I’m sitting in my basement with my wife and dog, having a few beers and watching NASCAR and tracking how our fantasy teams are going.

I’m looking forward to going on vacation in a week and can’t wait to get back to the race track this summer and drive fast again.

Life is good. I’m so thankful to the world that things have worked out the way they have. I feel like I’m living my dream and finding happiness all along the way.

I like my life. I love my friends and family. I feel content. I feel like this is the most I could hope for. I hope it lasts.

I especially hope that all of you are having a great weekend as well. Enjoy the small things. Today is a beautiful day. ❤️🙂

Top of the Fantasy Leaderboard!

We’ve been playing NASCAR fantasy games for what feels like decades now. It’s not often that all three of us are at the top of the standings like this!

It’s early in the season and I have no idea if it will stick, but this makes me very happy. There’s 107 active players in this league!

Edited to change to the final standings after yesterday’s race. We are the top 3!

Battlestar Galactica

I’ve just finished watching the first season of Battlestar Galactica.

For years I’ve heard about how great it was.

If I’m honest… I’m not that impressed. It’s not bad. It’s just not great and I was expecting greatness.

I’m starting the second season and it seems to be picking up the pace a bit so maybe it gets better as it goes. Maybe Gaius will be killed off. That would improve things.