Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Whidbey Island Double Bluff Park, one of the bluffs.

Whidbey Island Double Bluff Park, one of the bluffs.

One thing I did not think about before moving up to Seattle was car registration. I envisioned the process to entail going to the DMV with the title and asking to get a couple Washington plates. I thought it would be easy enough to do via mail.

I was a bit mistaken in that belief.

Registering an out of state car in Seattle (and Washington) is no easy feat. The first difficulty was the emissions test. There was no difficulty in passing the emissions test, I just wished that I could have used my emission test from California in lieu of a new emission test. In particular the testing center recommended driving on the freeway for fifteen minutes before getting the car tested in order to bring it to normal operating temperature.

First I find it off that there is a recommended amount of driving to do before getting an emissions test. Second the test is required every other year, I drove aimlessly on the freeway for fifteen minutes before the test, doing nothing but adding a car to the road for that time. Maybe this is why the traffic is bed in Seattle, people are just trying to warm up their cars for the emissions test.

The second difficulty faced by myself on the other out of state students moving here is the tax required on registration. If the car was purchased recently the person registering needs to pay Washington sales tax (about 10%) on the fair market value of the car. If the car was gifted recently this tax needs to be paid. The exception is if the car has been owned by the driver in another state for over ninety days. I fortunately fall into this category however my friends do not and they will probably be paying somewhere between $400 and $1000 to register their cars. Mostly they have either newer cars (bought just shy of ninety days ago) or they inherited them.

One of my friends, who is not happy with this tax, blames it on Washington being poorly run and out of money. Coming from California I am quite familiar with a state being out of money and trying to find creative sources of new income. However I could not believe that Washington was worse off. Absolutely they are not but per capita the state is actually in a worse shape then California. Based on Google California has a deficit of $1166 per person while Washington has a deficit of $1230 per person. Maybe the car registration tax is an attempt to close that deficit.

That or they just don’t like people moving into their state.

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Nevada City's Broad Street at night.

Nevada City's Broad Street at night.

Last year after the fourth of July parade and when the sun went down Nevada City was quiet. A few cars remained parked on the streets, not another person was walking the streets and nary a car drove down the main thoroughfare.

With that knowledge in had I had an idea: I wanted to take a few long exposure night shots of Broad Street to make an HDR image (exposure of 2 minutes to 1/4 of a second). So after dinner I was at the top of the street looking down and I set up my tripod as usual.

Then cars started to come up the street. Well that was fine cars are allowed to use the streets I suppose.

They came up the street very slowly, very carefully and often with their high beams on. Then they slowed down when they neared me and looked very slowly as they drove by. These were attendees of the local fair coming home after the fireworks finished, and they celebrated with several choice beverages based on their driving habits of the evening.

In the end I did not get a photo that satisfied me in terms of exposure and lack of high beams. I shall endeavor to try again tonight in the hopes that many people will be home, have left town or perhaps driving a bit faster then seven miles per hour.

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A friendly blue robot.

A friendly blue robot.

Going to the San Francisco Autoshow the Saturday after Thanksgiving is one of the few non-holiday family traditions that we stick too. My Mom, Aunts and a Cousin all go shopping in the city on Black Friday and the following Saturday, while my Dad, my Brother, his girlfriend and myself all go to the autoshow.

It is a fun thing to do, especially now that I am starting to look at buying a car for graduate school. I know that I will not be getting a new 2009 or 2010 model car, it just helps to look at what I do like in a car so I can narrow down what type of used car I want. Besides cheap that is.

At the show my brother observed that all of the cars tires were rotated so that the emblems were right side up. I wonder whose job that is.

There were a lot of cars and by the end of the evening they all started to blend together into one homogenous car. There was a bit more hybrid and fuel cell cars at the show this year then previous year (though I did miss last year). Surprisingly there was no Tesla Roadster at the show, usually they have a boot right at the entrance. This year it was taken up by small smart cars. 

The best part was the robot at one of the car makers sections named Henry. He did a really good job at interacting with the audience, remembering names, asking relavant questions, picking out family members and recognizing when his picture was about to be taken. He was on the left side of the uncanny valley which helped. His legs though were bolted into the floor so he could only move above the waist, if he could walk freely around it would be a lot better.

He would not pass the turing test though since some of his questions repeated with the same inflection and pace. Then again he would also fail on the fact that he is in now doubt a blue robot.

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