Creativity is just connecting things.
— Steve Jobs

Tag Archives: Jeep

50 Things About Me

This blog, founded on June 1, 2004, is written and produced by Matt Binkowski.

Matt and baby Elise

1. I have been happily married for 14 years to my best friend, partner in crime, and all around love of my life.

2. My daughter Elise is perfectly cute, funny and smart as a whip. My baby boy Miles crashed the party on November 29, 2008.

3. I collect old Apple hardware:
– 1 Apple Pippin (Developer’s Edition)
– 1 Emate
– 2 Newtons (130 and 2100)
– 1 Interactive TV Prototype.

4. I started playing guitar when I was age 15.

5. My hollow-body aluminum strat was hand-built by a gifter luthier, Tom Murray.

6. I’ve driven a Wrangler over log piles, shale beaches, large boulders, through flooded trails, on the Rubicon Trail and the Chrysler Proving Grounds.

7. I like to think I’m a good painter and draftsman.

8. My dog lives on a 20 acre ranch in California and I miss him every day.

9. I lost my home, job, friends and savings thanks to the financial collapse in 2009 but somehow we were rescued and my family is okay.

10. I need to be challenged wherever I work.

11. If I’m watching a band is playing at a bar, I get nervous because I’ll feel like I’m up next.

12. My favorite color was blue and now it’s red.

13. I am an Eagle Scout and once won the Summer Camp-wide Archery competition.

14. I think Flash is the least usable application a designer has to deal with.

15. I used to live in California during the big internet boom and I miss that optimistic culture.

16. I rarely use my iPod Newton.

17. I love my iPod iPhone.

18. I find my Newton iPhone more useful than my iPod Newton.

19. I once fell from the roof of my Mom and Dad’s house and I didn’t get hurt.

20. I’ve never broken or sprained anything.

21. I once camped outside for 24 hours while it was 10 degrees below 0.

22. I once played in a band described by the Metro Times as “Detroit’s most offensive hardcore band.”

23. I took that as a compliment.

24. I loved playing in that band because our live shows were so crazy.

25. I painted three life-size oil portraits of my friends for my senior thesis in art school.

26. My college band performed a show in front of AC/DC’s lead singer and 800 high school kids. (it was so odd to see Brian Johnson just 30 feet away from me watching us play.)

27. There’s something comforting to me about a buddy list that makes me think I’m able to keep up with friends.

28. I take other people’s old Macintosh computers when they mention throwing them out because in some weird way it feels wrong.

29. I am determined to create my own OS X iPhone app.

30. I bought a Jeep so I could learn how to take it apart.

31. I hate being bored.

32. I have a good way of being calm in hairy situations.

33. I can’t cook anything except Crazy Pancakes.

34. Even those don’t turn out very well every time.

35. I wish Google Maps was able to send info to my Newton.

36. I’m somewhat addicted to the news, especially during election years.

37. I can’t watch CNN for very long before it stresses me out.

38. I once hiked over 100 miles in 1 week in New Mexico while carrying a backpack that weighed over 40 pounds.

39. I only drive the speed limit when I drive with my family.

40. I can draw Dora the Explorer.

41. I really can’t stand Dora the Explorer. I’m really learning to like Dora now that my daughter is so caught up in the Disney princesses who need to be married in order to “be complete.”

42. I can do all of the Winnie the Pooh voices.

43. I drink too much coffee and not enough water. Too personal? Maybe…

44. My first guitar teacher taught me Puff the Magic Dragon. Then I quit and learned how to play by listening to the radio.

45. The first record I ever bought was Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger.

46. The last record I ever bought was Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger.

47. My favorite movie is Better Off Dead.

48. I have a bad habit of rejecting bands the first time I hear them…and then reject them again a few months later…eventually listening to them religiously about a year down the road.

49. I’ve taken over 8,000 photos and 300 movie clips of my family.

50. I am amazed you made it all the way to the end of this list.


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The Chevy Volt is here. I’m normally not much of a car nut outside the Jeep Wrangler and the insanity of the Bugatti Veyron or Lambroghini Reventon but I really think this car looks good. I’d happily get one if they were out now.

And check this out:

GM estimates that the Volt will cost about two cents per mile to drive while under battery power compared to 12 cents per mile using gasoline priced at $3.60 per gallon. For an average driver who drives 40 miles per day (or 15,000 miles per year), this amounts to a cost savings of $1,500 annually. Using peak electric rates, GM estimates that an electrically driven mile in a Chevy Volt will be about one-sixth of the cost of a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. The cost savings are even greater when charging during off-peak hours, when electric rates are cheaper.

I will say that GM is one of my company’s clients but even still, I like the look of this car. Something about that black window trim makes me think it might have been inspired by the iPhone’s design.

Engorging on Jeeps

Man I can’t wait for this day. Aug. 9, the Chrysler Museum is having an open viewing of all of the latest Jeep concept vehicles from 6-9pm. What are the chances that my camera will be fully charged and its memory completely cleared for shooting? :-)

Lazy Reviewer

Not that anyone uses the New York Times as their benchmark for a vehicle purchase but, I still have to point this out.

Today they’ve posted a new review of the 4 door Jeep Wrangler. In the “review” the “journalist” said the following regarding the soft-top:

The Wrangler X has a standard soft top that can also be folded back, which seemed like a good idea on a lovely, 51-degree fall day in northern New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the instructions on how to lower the �easy folding soft top� were long enough to be a novella. I gave up and went inside to take a nap.

I know that it can be a little awkward at first to remove the soft top but come on.

Smashed Rooflines

With the Detroit Auto Show underway for the press, some manufacturers have been “fighting” broken embargo agreements with the press. The general issue is that they are releasing photos of new vehicles whether they be concept or actual production revisions.

There’s just one question I have for every auto designer out there if they ever even read this blog. Can you explain why virtually every new vehicle that is coming down the line has what looks to me like a smashed roofline? Here’s an example from my favorite brand:

This picture of the Jeep Trailhawk concept vehicle is helpful in illustrating my point because you can get a sense of scale with this normal height person (DCX’s head of design).

Regular readers of this blog know that I drive a Wrangler which has TONS of headroom and my wife happens to drive a Pacifica. The Pacifica has lots of headroom too but awful blind spots because of the tight intersections of the roofline and the rear of the vehicle.

I just can’t imagine driving this Trailhawk anywhere without wondering what’s behind me and why I have such a narrow field of view from the front. To me this resembles the H3’s lack of view all around except the rear passenger door window and I just don’t understand the trend.

And the super wide C pillar just screams “blind spot accident” all the way. I mean, it’s f’n huge.

This can’t be simply assigned to a design style or whatever because it just smacks of the designer’s total lack of forethought in visualizing the future ride in this vehicle. I understand this is strictly a concept but come on guys. There seems to be a weird line that designers cross into “totally impractical land” that just really bothers me and I’m surprised the design chiefs even let designers spend their time refining such shapes when you KNOW they’ll be seriously revised in production.

Not So Great (Car and) Drivers

I’m sorry but I just couldn’t help but laugh out loud over Car and Driver’s new review of the 4 door wrangler. I drove the same vehicle over the same stretch of trail and it seems I had MUCH fewer troubles than they did. Just read this:

“We bump down the Rubicon’s boulder-filled Big Sluice section with the grace of an overturned Porta Potti. We’re getting good at identifying the percussion of abuse from underneath. A metallic shriek is a dragging suspension-link bracket, and a crinkling noise like tinfoil being unrolled is the exhaust can getting squashed. A sudden pounding jolt means a frame member has been clouted, and a long, deep scratching scrape that sounds like a Lexus being dragged upside down is in fact the Wrangler’s skid plate doing its duty.

Note their handiwork on the front bumper too. Damn guys, to smash that part up is ridiculous since the object would have been in FRONT of you. Then again, it looks like they’re taking the psycho route through that pass anyway. Seeing how badly you can mash up your Jeep on a trail is not the point of any off road trip. The crushed corner is probably from them trying to create poser photo-op like this picture below.

Here’s more:

“By the time we reached pavement on the Rubicon, the Unlimited was haggard and shedding plastic trim. Did the rocks win? We’ll call it a tie. The Unlimited drove everywhere Dubey and Coffman carefully directed it but left paint and metal shards in its wake as it wriggled up the trail, at times like a size-12 foot squeezing into a size-11 shoe.”

I’m sorry guys but either you’re not watching the spotters show you the right line or you suck at driving off road and can only handle oval test tracks. Jeez. In my group, not one vehicle ended up with scratches on the doors and broken suspension link brackets. I can’t speak for the Jeep Jamboree or Jeep folks there but they must have been laughing up a storm around the campfire later that night because of such assy driving from Car and Driver big shots.

Weece’s Deep

My little Elise really loves those motorized cars like the Barbie Jeep, so I’m sure I’ll have to break down in the spring and haul one back from Toys R Us just like the rest of the parents in my neighborhood. As luck would have it, it seems there’s a new kids Jeep based on the Hurricane concept vehicle. I think she’ll be getting this one instead of Barbie 😉

Not-So Submilinal Advertising

I was checking out the Toyota website for some images and got sucked into the FJ Cruiser photo gallery and saw this image.

To say I was surprised was an understatement. I can’t believe Toyota is actually showing a Jeep Wrangler in the background of the picture behind the FJ. As if this were to imply that the Wrangler can’t lead the offroad world anymore. You KNOW they could have easily cropped the photo so the Jeep wasn’t visible.

Cars: The Movie Review

From :the NYTimes:

“This ethnic and cultural profiling is pretty much par for the animated film course, hence Jenifer Lewis, as a two-tone 1950’s ride with big fins called Flo, provides the only identifiable “black” voice. Less wince-inducing are Luigi (Tony Shalhoub), a banana-yellow Italian-accented Fiat that runs the local tire store; Sarge (Paul Dooley), a World War II jeep as memorable and colorful as dung; and Fillmore (George Carlin), a VW bus who extols the virtues of organic fuel, mutters about conspiracies and raises the Stars and Stripes to the guitar squeals of Jimi Hendrix.”

Nice comment about the jeep character. DANG.