GMG Lowering Springs Installed! Porsche 991

I’m doing this blog post before I make a YouTube video this time. A lot of my posts these days seem pretty lazy to me. I just pop up a video and blurt out a few thoughts after the fact. Back in the good old days (when I didn’t make videos) I feel like my posts were a bit more thoughtful. That’s what I’m going for here.

When I had my Corvette I remember one of the things that really bothered me was the wheel gap.It was such a big deal to me that I contemplated spending about $3K on drop spindles (not including any installation costs). You can drop a corvette up to a 1/2″ on the car’s stock lowering bolts but knew I wanted to go at least an inch. Of course that didn’t matter because I ended up selling the car long before I got around to any mods like that.

Quite a wheel gap you have there!

When I got my 991 the wheel gap wasn’t large enough to demand my attention. I had lots of other things to do first…

Stock wheel gap here isn’t too bad. It’s hard to believe my car used to look like this 🤔

Fast forward a year or so and dropping the car was on my radar. After doing some research I settled on GMG’s lowering springs and ordered a set. I debated about whether or not to install them for nearly a year. My primary concerns were threefold:  1) How would the springs would affect the ride? 2) I felt stressed out about rubbing the front of the car when I drove over dips and uneven roads* (I have had other lowered cars and have done my fair share of nose grinding). 3) Would the stock wheels look okay on a lowered chassis (the centerlock offsets place the wheels a few mm inside of the fenders).

*This is a big deal on the 991 Turbo series because it has a retracting front spoiler. If you rubbed the underside of the car’s nose you’d actually be grinding the spoiler on the ground.

Eventually I decided to just go for it. I hoped the retractable front spoiler design would allow the car to have the clearance it needed. And who cares about ride quality when your car could look a little nastier. Plus if things didn’t looks right it would be a great excuse to get a new set of wheels. Can I get an “Amen”?

The guys @ Ken Garff were nice enough to take a few pictures of the install for me along the way. Don’t forget- when you have these installed you need to realign the car!

I dropped it off at my dealer on Monday and picked it up on my birthday a few days later. The install went well and when they did the alignment everything was within spec. I couldn’t believe how much of a visual difference the drop made (it ended up being abut an inch). Somehow it changed the car’s whole stance. The reaction at the dealer seemed very positive- several people there expressed how much they liked the modified look.

This is the ride height difference. The bottom of the wheels here are lined up with each other and you can see the gap difference which ended up being about an inch.

My concerns haven’t played out at all (yet?). I don’t really notice a difference in ride quality. It might be slightly stiffer but it’s extremely minimal. No undercarriage rubbing so far (although I still have a few places I haven’t gone yet that worry me). As for the stock wheels- they look good! Would they look better pushed out a hair? Perhaps… but I’m not even going there right now. So for I’m really pleased with this upgrade. Or maybe it’s a downgrade. Recommended 👍

Below is the video I eventually compiled:

From the video: Turns out that some dips are pretty tough to get through. All in all, 99% of the places I drive have been fine (I even went out and did some late night testing of areas where I know I’ll be driving the car). 

Darwin Pro Carbon Fiber Headlight Rings – Porsche 991

As many of you know I am a carbon fiber addict (and apologize for saying this over and over and over… but the first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting you have one).  I have been looking for ways to add a little more carbon fiber to the front of the car. The headlight rings have been on my radar for awhile but I resisted the urge because- and this may sound crazy- I don’t like to add carbon fiber just for the sake of adding carbon fiber. It’s nice when there’s some kind of functional benefit. But who am I kidding… I loved the set I had on my 997 so I knew I would like these too.

This was a fairly inexpensive set and I’m pleased with it, for what it is. The fitment is good (one side was slightly warped but I was able to get that sorted out alright) the quality acceptable and they look great. I had to use my own adhesive which was fine (all of this is covered in the installation video).

The one thing I’d nitpick is that the weaves weren’t complimentary. Typically, as I explain in my video, I’d expect to see the weaves running in opposite directions where there is a distinct left and right piece. Having them run in the same direction isn’t really much of an issue and my guess is that most people wouldn’t even notice this discrepancy. I thought it would bother me but having had them on for a week it’s not an issue.

Overall I think they are a nice addition. It’s a good way to get some carbon fiber on the forward facing end of the car. It’s a non-permanent addition too – if I find a nicer set down the road I should be able to swap them out with no issues. The parts were ordered from eBay seller dpro6097 (the eBay division of Darwin Pro). Customer service was responsive when I asked them about the issue I was having with a warped part.

Sideshow Statue: Batman vs. Superman

Let’s be serious for a minute. Batman is, far and away, my favorite super hero. I loved the comics, I loved the animated TV shows, I manged to cobble together some love for a few of the movie franchises. Recently Dawn of Justice pitted the Word’s Greatest Detective against the Sun-Powered Boy Scout. Say what you want about the movie, but I felt like they finally nailed the costume. This is the kind of costume that a picture doesn’t do any justice. Owning a picture of this would be an embarrassment. In cases like these you need a lifelike statue to showcase this level of excellence (I’m not sure if I know how to be serious). And so I present to you, Batman:

If you decide to get one use this link and I can get some referral points: Magical Buy a Batman Statue Link
I have no illusions that anyone will click through this link and buy this guy, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s seriously a great figure.

Aspheric Mirror Installation & Function – Porsche 991

I love the lane change assist in my wife’s Yukon. When they added the same feature to the new generation of 991 cars I lusted a bit. Adding it wasn’t an option so I opted for the next best thing (although as I use it I’m starting to think that it is the best thing): Aspheric Mirrors!

Function: most of the mirror is flat and works like a typical side view mirror. However, the outer edges are concave and provide a larger, albeit distorted, field of view. You get a few more feet of side vision and this completely eliminates the blind spot on both the left and right as cars come from behind. As a car passes you can see that car in the side mirror all the way until it becomes visible in your actual peripheral vision. It works extremely well. Additionally you get a much larger field of view behind your car which makes it easier to back out of a parking spot.

Installation: As far as modifications go this one is among the easiest. The mirrors simply snap out of and into place. The only danger here is that if you’re not careful you could potentially crack the mirror. My video below demonstrates the removal, installation and function of the aspheric mirrors on the 991 platform.

Cost: The mirrors are expensive- there’s no question about it. The only real consideration here is how much do you want to see? Realistically you only need the driver mirror as it’s difficult to crane your neck around and look behind you. The passenger mirror is not absolutely necessary but I wanted my mirrors to match (cause I’m a freak like that). I felt they were worth it to me personally because I have struggled with blind spots and have difficulty turning my neck (due to an injury).

I admit I am perpetually looking for ways to modify my vehicles so I don’t really need a good reason to do stuff like this. However, having done it I’m very happy with the upgrade and would definitely recommend it. It’s good enough that I would probably consider skipping the lane change assist feature on a future 991 and simply adding aspheric mirrors. Shocking, i’m sure.

MACarbon Steering Wheel Installation – Porsche 991

I have lusted after the MACarbon custom steering wheels for long time. Last year I decided that I was ready. No matter the cost, no matter the wait… I was all in. I submitted the order for my wheel in October and hoped it would come in time for Christmas (my ignorance knew no bounds). I worked with John, who was fantastic. He suggested the white stitching on the leather portion of the wheel and I love how everything turned out.

Below is a video showing an overview of my steering wheel and demonstrating the wheel removal process on a Porsche 991:

The wheel was completely worth the wait! I’ve purposefully tried to balance the interior and not get too carbon fiber crazy (real crazy). I’ve kept a good mix of Aluminum present (i.e. door pulls, pedals, shift knob) and so I left the center of the wheel silver. But the carbon fiber dash accents flow perfectly with the top and bottom of the wheel, which are also carbon fiber. All in all I feel like it’s incredibly complimentary and perfectly inline with the vision I have for the car. The only drawback so far is that the carbon fiber parts of the steering wheel do get a little colder than the leather (not great on wintry days)…  Still one of my all time favorite upgrades!

I really enjoy the process of customizing my car. I feel like each modification makes my car into something more one of a kind and that uniqueness beings a lot of satisfaction. I’m glad I did’t shy away from carbon fiber this time around. Also, I can’t say enough nice things about having a cool dealer right up the street- infinitely convenient.

MACarbon Seat Belts (Front & Rear) – Porsche 991

The first time I laid eyes on these carbon fiber seat belt buckles (from MACarbon) I knew I’d have them in my car one day. It was a bit of a mental fight- they’re not cheap and the buckles I already had worked quite well- but the fever from my mod-bug infection was at an all time high. I’m pretty sure my order for these parts was placed in September of 2017! But good things come to those who wait, right?

These carbon fiber covered buckles really step things up a notch as these parts are surprisingly visible (not so much in the back, I suppose). The leather covers on the front buckles looks great and hides the wires that run from the buckle into the seat. The rear buckles have a nice leather base and then that’s framed by the carbon fiber trim- a good looking setup!

Driver buckle & passenger buckle

Left and right rear buckles are the same

I originally had these on my “to buy” list with a note that said “what is wrong with you?” This was a hard purchase to justify but I managed to push it through and I’m happy with the results. It’s the little things (“Is this guy serious right now??” Half).

Below is a tutorial of the installation process (for the fronts):

Quick comparison of new parts with old parts. Rear seat belt installation is really easy… unless your pieces aren’t made quite right. Such was the case with my shipment. The surrounds needed to have some of the carbon fiber removed. MACarbon kindly offered to pay to have them returned for a fix but I told them I could take care of it. It was no problem- I milled them down a bit with my trusty Dremmel and  I got the parts installed in no time.

Sideshow: Millennium Falcon, Liberty and Justice for All.

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten any pop art (like… weeks). For some reason Sideshow Collectibles has appeared on my radar quite a few times in the last couple of months and I admit to spending a fair amount of time browsing their product offerings.

In December two things really hooked me and I placed preorders for both. The first was  “Liberty & Justice: Trinity,” a limited edition print by Alex Ross. I am a super hero sucker and Alex easily makes my top five favorite artist list. The second item was a diecast Millennium Falcon by EFX. I had been mulling over the idea of buying a vintage Kenner toy but the 19″ Falcon from EFX filled the position nicely.

Both collectibles are fantastic and I made a quick overview of them:

My first two ordering experiences with Sideshow went fairly well. They take a down payment (non-refunable) and they are good about letting you know when the balance will be changed and when the pre-order is expected to ship. They also offer a reward program for customers which gives you  about 5% back (although it take a month for the rewards to become available… c’mon, I got stuff to buy!). I imagine I’ll be a regular customer as they have quite a few items I’ve got my eye on (I’m looking at you, Optimus).

Movies Watched in 2017

2017 has ended. Here are all the movies that I have watched in 2017 (these had to be fairly current movies from this year or late last year to make the list). Newest movies are at the top. My goal this year was 40 movies, half in a theater. 
Results: 65 Movies total, 25 in theaters! This coming year I’m going to get a Movie Pass and shoot for the stars! 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle [Theater] 8/10 – I thought this was a ton of fun. Loved the cast and story.

Coco [Theater] 8.5/10 – Fantastic movie! Loved everything about it. Great acting, plot (albeit with a predictable but appreciated twist) and imagery.

Blade Runner 2049 [Theater] 8/10 

Disaster Artist [Theater] 7/10 – I guess when you have a weird dream and you’re a little crazy you can make part of the dream come true.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Theater], 8/10 – I’ll admit that I thought there were some weird parts. But the way the built up tension was pretty wild. Good cast, interesting story, sufficiently conflicted characters and pretty great visuals made for a very watchable movie. Not your Dad’s Star Wars.

Justice League [Theater] 7/10 – This got blasted by critics but I thought it was fun. I actually enjoy the contrived fights between the good guys (here, Superman vs. everyone). I don’t really understand how they came up with Steppenwolf to be the main villain… but sure. Why not.

The Shack, 8/10 – Blasted by critics and it’s easy to see why. Who wants to see a movie that does an excellent job of showing how God can be good and love his children while simultaneously allowing bad things to happen to them? A perspective altering journey.

Pirates of the Cariben: Dead Men Tell No Tales 7.5/10 – I thought they downgraded the coolness of Jack Sparrow a bit, but Captain Salazar was as good as the bad come.

47 Meters Down 7/10 – Unbelievable, but riveting. A great movie to work out to.

The Great Wall 6/10 – I just pretended the attacking monsters were Huns.

It ([Theater] 8.5/10 – Heck yes! Goonies for adults. The kids were fantastic actors and the movie pacing was spot on.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 8/10 – I thought this was a pretty epic movie. Solid story, effects, etc. It’s not the King Arthur I grew up with but it was good.

The Circle – I didn’t even finish the movie (it expired and I didn’t re-rent it). No rating but it was less than engaging.

Baywatch 7/10 – Ridiculous. Fun.

Going In Style 6.5/10 – An elderly heist movie? Eh…

War for the Planet of the Apes [Theater] 7/10 – A solid entry. Parts of it reminded me a little of home alone (i.e. an overly silly escape sequence).

Dunkirk 7/10 [Theater] – Not my favorite Nolan movie.  Well made and certainly moving at times but I’m just not a war-movie kinda guy.

Boss Baby – Better than I expected. Family values over corporate greed.

Allied, 7.5/10 – This is a very solid spy thriller / love story. Liked everything but the end.

Fate of the Furious 6/10 – Wow. What a mess. I literally had no idea what I was even watching at some points. This franchise’s ability to commandeer the absurd has no equal (with the possible exception of the new Transformers movies. Still, a ton of fantastic action.

Patriot’s Day 7/10 – Solid action movie about the Boston Marathon bombing. Seemed like it tried to stay true to the actual events.

The Belko Experiment 5/10 – Pretty lame. Stupified version of the Hunger Games in an office setting.

Bleed For This 7/10 – Somewhat hyped up biography of Vinny Pazienza. Good as far as boxing movies go.

The Mummy 6/10 [Theater] – Everyone wants their own extended cinematic universe of some kind. This is a mess of a start. Tom Cruise need to up his energy level. He’s just not intense enough…

Spider Man: Homecoming 9/10 [Theater] – I’m not a huge Spider Man fan but this movie was exceptional. The Marvel Universe just continues to blow me away.

Lion, 9/10 – I cried so hard I had to step out of the room. Adoption has always been a topic close to my heart. Lion tells the story of five year old Saroo who is separated from his family and eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Childhood memories and guilt compel him to search out his biological family. Possibly my favorite movie that I’ve seen this year.

Life, 6.5/10 – Sort of like Alien but less engaging. On the surface it does everything right, but it’s just okay.

Cars 3, 7/10 [Theater] – I liked this movie, although in some ways it felt like it should have gone right to DVD. It’s predictable but loveable.

John Wick 2, 7/10 – Good solid action flick. It’s weird to me that everyone knows they should never mess with John Wick, but they keep doing it.

Transformers: The Last Knight, 6/10 [Theater] – It’s like no one cares and they don’t even try. Still a visual smorgasbord but with a totally incomprehensible narrative.

Wonder Woman, 8/10 [Theater] – Really good! DC’s best super hero movie to date.

NOTE: I’m going to stop putting in the ticket images. It takes too much time and with the QR code system sometimes I don’t even have anything to include these days. 

Little Boy,  7.5 – Although it’s from 2015 we chose to watch this on Memorial Day hoping the kids could see how difficult would have been to see a father go off to war. It’s emotionally manipulative, but I felt like it was needed and the movie is paced well and the acting is solid.

Collateral Beauty,  7.5 – Touching. I did not see the plot twist at the end. I think there is collateral beauty all around us but being finding it takes an emotional maturity I doubt I have at this point.

Alien: Covenant,  7 [Theater] – I liked most of it, but I just don’t understand why spaceship crews in the Alien movies have to be so stupid. There were dozens of ways that everything that went wrong in the movie could have (should have) been prevented.

Get Out, 8.5 – A very smart mystery thriller. I will freely admit that I  didn’t guess what was going to happen.

Monster Trucks, 7 – Cute movie- really more for kids. Boy meets monster, boy befriend’s monster, adventure ensues.

A Dog’s Purpose, 8 – Really liked this. I think it’s too bad that critics decided to lambaste the entire movie. Great message, enjoyable storyline and solid acting.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2, 8.5 – Loved it. I don’t think it’s as good as the original, but I don’t know how it could be. James Gunn really has a knack for making this kind of fun work.

La La Land, 7 – Very enjoyable. Not all actors are singers, but that’s okay. The ending is hard to take but sometimes there are two dreams and they simply can’t co-exist.

The Founder, 8 – Spectacular in man ways. I really relate to Ray’s ambition but not his ruthlessness. Well crafted, well acted and powerful.

Girl on the Train, 7.5 – Pretty good mystery thriller. Reminded me of what lies beneath.

Hidden Figures, 8 – Inspiring. I’m not a huge fan of the way history is embellished to make certain points even if it does make a more emotionally satisfying journey.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 7.5 – Much better than I was expecting. It’s nice how they try and retain continuity throughout the HPU.

Ghost in the Shell, 6.5 – Certain visual elements are very loyal to the original Anime and that was appreciated. Casting was a strange choice (especially given that the Major was Japanese before her… transition). The original was also much more subtle whereas the new movie sort of yells “Are you still human with only your brain in a robotic body??!!” Still a fun watch.

Beauty and the Beast, 8.5 – Great remake. I thought the “gay” controversy was blown way out of proportion (nothing is this movie is inappropriate). They kept the great elemts from the original cartoon and still manged to make this movie exceptional on its own terms.

Before I fall, 7 – Sort of a modern Groundhog Day. Certainly more current, visceral. These kinds of movies always make me think about our limited perspective.

Assassin’s Creed, 6 – Sort of a cool mess.

Kong: Skull Island, 7 – Ultimately forgettable, but thrilling to watch.

Logan, 7 – Intense but disappointing in many way. It’s sad to watch a hero deteriorate.

Queen of Katwe, 8.5 –  Based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi and the game of Chess. Fantastic acting and absolutely recommended (I’m a sucker for a good Chess movie though).

Masterminds, 7 – Better than I thought it would be. Lots of funny moments moments mixed with lots of not funny moments.

The Light Between Oceans, 7.5/10 – Absolutely heart wrenching. Just when you think it can’t get more emotionally distressing they find a way to take to the next level. Despite it’s excellence, it’s almost too sad to recommend.

Lego Batman, 8 – “Puter!”

Arrival, 8.5 – Wow! What a great story. Great science fiction with a super twist.

Inferno, 6.5 – I’m not sure I even understand this series anymore. At lest they stopped the virus.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, 7/10 – Not a bad effort but Tom Cruise is starting to show his age a bit (it’s fine- he has to age).

Split, 7/10 – Intense and disturbing. Somehow I failed to understand the twist and the movie progressed almost exactly as I expected (perhaps a testament to my deranged thinking?).
split-movie-jan-2017

Keeping up with the Joneses, 6 – Mr. and Mrs. Smith minus anything that made that movie enjoyable. Some funny moments but, for the most part, a solid dud.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, 6.5  – A Peculiar movie with some confusing undertones.

Pete’s Dragon, 6 – Fairly painful remake.

The Accountant, 7 – Enjoyable with a nice twist at the end.

Storks, 6.5, – Cute, but I found Andy Samburg as annoying as ever.

Ben-Hur, 6/10 – Unfortunately this movie fails to excite in the way the original did. However, I liked that the new version was less about revenge in the end- that was a nice touch.

Sully, 8/10 – Slow paced, but thoughtful.

Deepwater Horizon, 7.5/10 – This is an intense & often gut wrenching movie.

Passengers, 8/10 – This movie got blasted by critics but I thought it was a pretty good sci-fi story with some interesting philosophical questions.
passengers-jan-17

Magnificent 7, 7/10 – A solid remake, however not magnificent.