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Sunday, 29 January 2012


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"It's like a camera coming along that had a 6-MP full-frame sensor..."

No, it's like a new, back to basics film camera... a total photography machine with no frills, no excess, no electronic BS, just what's needed and nothing more. (In other words... the Nikon FM3A with better marketing.)

I know whereof you speak about lacking a sense of smell, as mine is so bad, I have never knowingly smelled a fart in my life.

I do have a sense of taste, though, and I can sometimes taste smells if they're strong enough by sticking out my tongue.

Yet, despite these handicaps, I am somehow able to discern various flavors of single-malt scotch whiskeys and can reliably identify my favorites. I have never been able to smell coffee brewing or bacon frying, yet some perfumes drive me to distraction (and I don't mean that in a good way).

Weird. But at least I now know I'm not alone!

The Toybaru does look fabulous. AE86 fanboys have only been demanding this for ~20 years now. About bloody time. I have long desired an AE86 but held off due to the fanboy effect pushing up the prices of the parts.

The first test should be whether or not it allows the electronic nannies to be turned off... and unlike some Lexuses, have them stay turned off.

Mike, a car built after 1990......need I say more.....!

Greetings, Ed

I used to be a car nut, but then I found photography. I don't often get excited about cars anymore, but I totally get your fascination with the BRZ. Related: I used to own a '94 Miata. What a car.

Admittedly I've only read about the BRZ on TOP, but the thinking behind it strikes me as so right. And unfortunately so rare. Pity they couldn't make it better looking, though.

more importantly, different suspension setups.
So, which company does the good one?

So... what is it about BMW's MINI Cooper that keeps it off your list? Bet your son would pick a MINI over one of "those" in a heart beat!


You forgot to say that this post is off topic.

Or maybe it is on topic, if the comparison to a wildly improbably camera is germane.

And as for the coffee library: you make me want to take pictures of coffee and coffee paraphernalia, and so make coffee table books.

So I guess it is on topic after all...

"So, which company does the good one?"

Dunno yet, because I haven't driven them, but there are descriptions in MT. I think they like the Subie.


I live a couple of blocks away from Steep and Brew here in Monona Wisconsin and at times when the wind is blowing just right I can smell the coffee roasting. Sometimes it smells like burnt toast. Not sure what they are roasting then, maybe some of the darker roasts.

This post encapsulates every article about cameras on the net even though it only mentions them in passing. Only a guy would write this article. Nothing wring with that of course, but reading things like this reminds me of what a boys only club photography (or at least photography chats) tend to be. So much of the internet is filled with guys obsessing about various things, cameras, guns, cars, even perfume! I kid you not, if you go to basenotes.net, you will find an overwhelming number of men obsessing about a product that is predominately consumed by women, perfume. I'm sure there are many other examples scattered across the net.

A thought experiment, would you have written the same article if you thought it was going to be read by mostly women? I bet not. I don't think I have an actual point other than this article made me wonder if I am in yet another all male group.

I almost replied to the OM follow-up post about not getting excited about camera rumors with my thoughts on the Subaru BRZ or "Breeze" as I call it. (Still not a good name no matter what you call it). I was not expecting anything at all from this joint venture, kind of like I'm not expecting much big on the digital OM. But, man, once the final announcements came I love it. I am even more excited by all the reviews I've read. I'm with Mike and, in fact, I've argued on another off topic post in the past that I wanted a lightweight car that makes driving exciting by being lightweight and agile. What's the fun of high horsepower when everyone has to go the same speed anyway? At least in the US, just because you have 500 hp doesn't mean you get to go 100mph wherever you want. You're still stuck going 35 mph like everyone else. So if you don't need room for storage why are we wasting money on heavy, lumbering land barges?

My wife likes large cars and so she has one that we can use when we need to carry large things but I want the lightest, most agile car I can get. I am very interested in what a rear-drive car will be like since as Mike has said, these cars seem to have disappeared a long time ago. It's about time one of these came back. If it weren't for the fact that I won't need a new car for 5-10 years and I have $0 in extra spending right now, I'd be itching to go to a Subaru dealer this year.

I really like these lines from Evo.co.uk online who gave both iterations of the car 5 out of 5 stars. (You'll have to read down the list for the reviews).

"It makes a Scirocco seem synthetic, an RCZ anaesthetised, a 3-series Coupé over-complicated. This is a pure driving device like an Elise or an MX-5 with sharpened sinews. This is how a proper sporting coupé should be."

"You forgot to say that this post is off topic."

No, all "Open Mikes" are off-topic, as is explained in the tag line every week. Look just below the "signature."


Mike, I must be married to your sister! My wife used to get severe sinus infections three or four times a year. Then she had her sinuses roto-rootered and has been better. She still gets infections but much less so.
Oh yeah, bring on a pure driving machine. I still miss my old Alfas.

I kept expecting to read that the car had a cup-holder for the coffee...

The car you describe is similar in spirit and execution to the original Datsun 240Z.

They are very good looking in the flesh -- smooth and well proportioned.

Just building my new car at the moment...

1972 MG Midget.

it's getting a 4 cylinder 125 HP K series engine from a modern MG; already got a modern 5 speed manual gearbox and modern suspension.

Should be 125 Horsepower, in a car that'll weigh less than 750kg.

0-60 in about 6.5 seconds;
50 miles per (UK) gallon.

In all the talk about coffee, was there a mention of the vessel into which the coffee is placed, before sipping/drinking???

I would think that to ensure the receptacle for the brewed coffee would be as important as the hardware and method by which the coffee itself is ground and then brewed.

Your thoughts, please.

I am all for devices which have one primary function and do it really really well. It's not just the lack of complexity, it's the intimacy and immediacy of thought and response that marks such devices out from "general purpose" tools.

I do occasionally borrow a friend's Elise for a bit of track-day fun. This really is for me the epitome of the state of the art driver's car. Responses are almost telepathic, grip and feedback astonishing. Performance is brisk (0-60 in 5s) yet it uses a naturally aspirated Toyota 1.8VVT engine with 189hp.

The secret is very low weight and a very low C of G. It does not even need a roll bar and has a great ride, but manages to corner almost totally flat.

Having said all that my fast driving days ended with the universal application of speed cameras in just about every mile of the British road network. Now I just want to arrive as calm and comfortable as possible and haul people and gear around when I need to.

But I keep wondering what a photographic Lotus Elise would be like.

Very true. The 240Z was better looking than this car, but this car of course benefits from another 40 years of development of mechanicals and improvements in reliability. ...And rustproofing, of course!

I never drove an original Z. Would have liked to, though.



FYI, there are parts of the U.S. where you can get away with driving a car at 100+ mph for an hour or more at a stretch (and No, I'm not saying where!). Just because it's technically illegal, doesn't necessarily mean that it can't be done or that doing so means you're driving unsafely...

Besides, more than half of the fun of driving an overpowered car isn't going fast, but accelerating to the speed limit (or thereabouts) very quickly. 8^)

Please DO keep us updated...I'm salivating over this car. As a Toyota AND Subaru fan...drooling...and I can actually afford it!
Now if only I could justify that Fuji folder.

Wait...would a Leica MP be an accurate comparison...related to the above FM3A reference? I've never owned my own Leica, so don't have the relevant appreciation, but the MP has often called to me as the best picture making tool of the 35mm variety.
"Where's the ....?"
"It doesn't have one."

I like that in both cars and cameras. ...women, too, but I digress.

Re: coffee, I'd recommend checking out http://www.amazon.com/Caffeine-Blues-Hidden-Dangers-Americas/dp/0446673919

"No, it's like a new, back to basics film camera... a total photography machine with no frills, no excess, no electronic BS, just what's needed and nothing more."

No electronics, but a terrible time not being able to see my images, having to figure out how the heck I'd get them processed, what I'd do with them once I got them (get them scanned maybe?), etc. I'm a little tired of hearing film thought of as more "pure" photography; It's a fine form, and if you enjoy it or it suits your style, great.

But anymore, digital is the MUCH simpler way for most people to take photos. It's not a frill... it eliminates issues that would get in the way of photography for many people. Having film doesn't make it a pure photography machine any more than an equivalent digital camera would.

Sorry if this is a little bitter and not related to the post... but it's something that I see a lot of people say they want, that makes me hope they never get their way. (Like aperture rings on lenses!!)

BRZ could be a very nice car except for the fact that it's a butter face.

Hi Mike, Love the Sunday "Open Mikes". I am now using the AeroPress, not on a daily basis, I am stuck on a french press, but when I want a really really good cup of coffee. Am saving up for the Breville grinder. Thank you for the tips. The AeroPress works great.
Since I am having to save up to buy a $200 coffee grinder I will not be getting the SubaruToyota Coupe anytime soon, but it stirs my automobile desires. I also love light, quick 4 cylinders. All I can afford is a Civic. But I love it.
Ken James

" For the most part it's just basic, pure, old-fashioned sports car..."

...and it's got two, count 'em, TWO CUPHOLDERS!


Sorry Mike, I couldn't help myself. It was the perfect opportunity to comment on both halves of your piece.

We actually taste with our smell. It is not that we are sucking the fumes of the food through our nose, no a large percentage of our taste actually comes from our olfactory nerves. That why you can barely taste your food when you have a cold and your nose is all stuffed up.

Cars, coffee, and photography. Mike, you're like the long lost twin I never had. On or off topic, keep it up!

Well not all male. I'm here too.

I'm pleased I read sufficiently far to see the bit right at the end "... like a camera coming along that had a 6-MP full-frame sensor, no viewing screen, no JPEG engine, buttons and knobs assignable by loading in third-party apps, and that had a viewfinder like an OM-4T*. And that was made of metal with leather gripping surfaces."

It seems to me, that each of us would like our particular selection of operational controls exposed on our camera. Of course my 'in-camera multiple exposure on a single frame' button is likely not desired by many others. (It'd be quite a large button too, to fit all those words. Or even the ICMEOASF acronym. Just glides off the tongue, doesn't it?)

But it's the button I want.

Oh yes, back off topic: my little Citroën C3 manges to happily zip around 'down under'.

Whatever all that stuff is in front of the shift wouldn't be in a real sports car, and the headlights are just embarrassing, but what do I know , my sports car doesn't even have a heater or a radio.

Mike, you should try Durian, the fruit of a tree popular in Asia. They say it "Smells like hell and tastes like heaven". Personally I've never been able to get it past my nose. Most large hotels over there have signs on the door - "No Durian".

By the way, AWD did not replace four wheel drives. They are different systems.

So... what is it about BMW's MINI Cooper that keeps it off your list?

Compared to a real mini, it's not very mini.

When I saw the headline, I thought you might have taken inspiration from Aki Kaurismäki's Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110832/), in which one of the two loner-rockers has a coffee machine installed in his car.

For fellow Brits, a little translation...

Scion FR-S = Toyota GT86
Miata = MX-5
Chevrolet = If you've seen one, That'll be a Daewoo
OM-4T = OM-4Ti

I agree with you that the grinder is the most important purchase (I wish I'd seen your post before buying one for 5 times the price).

What type of coffee do you typically drink and what other gear have you bought?

I completely missed the asterisk at the bottom. I want a B&W only, square sensor camera! I don't care if it drives others crazy and it's because I'm square. I also want it manual focus just like I like my cars with a stick shift. It will never happen so at least someone finally made the car I've been wanting. Why Mazda never made a coupe Miata or Honda a coupe S2000 is beyond me. I'm not a convertible guy. I'm surprised you like this car this much, Mike, since I thought you were the roadster type.

Also looking forward to reading more here and elsewhere about the BRZ. 30 more HP than Miata? Nice, but with 200 additional pounds over the Mazda, it may need it.

So, re the car, what are the cup holder specs?

Forgive my insensitivity but why did you go down the road of home-roasting and burr-grinding with your known olfactory shortcomings?

(Unfortunately I have a super-sensitive nose. I say unfortunately because it makes my wife nuts. All sorts of odors/fragrances set me off...)


And here I thought this was going to be a rant about drinking coffee in a car.


The March 2010 issue of Automobile magazine has an article on the SubToy. Just as interesting is the article on the first Japanese sports cars, the Honda 800, Mazda Cosmo 110s, Toyota 2000gt and the Nissan Fairlady Z432.

toys for boys, and the men who can afford them!


Sorry- make that the March 2012 issue of Automobile magazine

Piped-in noise. That's a good line to use. Now camera manufacturers can claim that their sensors are totally noise-free even at ISO 102400, and people found it eerie, so the manufacturers had to add some noise.

My sense of smell is also somewhat impaired, but I do love my coffee and drink a full pot every day, sometimes more.

I have only seen the profile photo of the BRZ, but I like it. Reminds me of a 1930s Bugatti.

I think a marriage made in heaven would be Subaru joined with Lotus.

Until these cars get at least 50 mpg with significantly reduced pollutants, I'm not interested. I regard all high performance cars as failures unless they meet high energy use standards. The world cannot afford these dinosaurs no matter how fast moving they might be.

This isn't likely to be an inefficient car, although actual mileage remains to be seen. You can reserve your disapprobation for luxury cars with huge engines (some even have 500hp now), and pick-up trucks sold and driven for style rather than utility, and for minivans and SUVs, all of which are much worse energy-hogs than the BRZ is likely to be. The BRZ weighs 2700 pounds and has a 4-cylinder engine. Although not designed to optimize high mileage, it is definitely well over on the "more efficient" side of the ledger in today's automotive world.


I share your interests in cars, photography, and coffee, though my non-coffee-drinking coke-for-breakfast partner would kill me if I succumbed to roasting my beans.

Of all the cars I've owned, the red 97 Miata was my favorite. Sweet handling, inexpensive, and reliable. It was the MGB that the Brits should have made.

Unfortunately, the convertible form factor didn't work for me, and now I drive a Cooper S, red like the Miata. The Subaru/Toyota looks interesting, but I don't have my hopes up as I haven't found any recent Japanese cars as pleasing to the eye as those coming out of Europe.


This months UK Tog Gear mag does a head to head on both, and I think pretty conclusively falls for the Subaru. which heartens me hugely as a long time impreza driver!

You know where all this is leading. Before long you are going to move to the big island and GROW your own coffee.
I can think of worse things to do than put some Gabby on the Victrola and watch the sun set over the coffee plantation.

"You know where all this is leading. Before long you are going to move to the big island and GROW your own coffee."

I actually heard from a reader this morning who DOES grow Kona on Hawaii. [s]


Lady: "Sir, you smell!"

Benjamin Franklin: "No Madam. You smell. I stink."


Pump the brakes, this thing looks like crap.

Isn't the car making car noise on the stereo in the same league of silly as the fake shutter and zoom sounds pretty much every digital pocket-cam and cameraphone makes on the default settings?

I expect it can be turned off just like those...

There's always a silver lining. Since you can't be a coffee connosieur, you don't have to try this:


Remembering that you also were afflicted with audiophilia, there is a parallel with your olfactory limitations. My wife, an occupational medicine doc, has commented (when seeing my copy of Stereophile) that very few middle aged men have much upper range hearing and that she recommends that the first step in deciding on high audio should be a hearing test.:-)

I like seeing the mentions of the BRZ - despite being a big Subaru fan (have bought six of 'em now, including two STIs and a WRX) I also wasn't expecting much, but the BRZ has really lit my fire. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I'll be trading in my STI for one this summer. Yes, I'll lose power and AWD, but I'll get much better mileage (I get 21.5 in my '08, I'm expecting more like 28-30 from the BRZ), I'll get more day-to-day fun-to-drive, and I'll get that RWD feel.

I absolutely love rally racing and rally cars, but having driven a turbo Impreza for 10 years, I'm ready to try something different for a change. I do have an old Lotus Elan in the garage but that's not something I will drive every day!

One big advantage for me of the BRZ over something like the Miata is the back seat. Yes, it's tiny, but it's big enough for my kids' car seats!

I am somewhat disgusted that Toyota is using the Scion name for their version. I want nothing to do with Scions!

(David L: Car & Driver's initial drive said that the BRZ felt like a collaboration between Subaru and Lotus, not Subaru and Toyota. If that's not a good sign, I don't know what is!)

"My wife, an occupational medicine doc, has commented (when seeing my copy of Stereophile) that very few middle aged men have much upper range hearing and that she recommends that the first step in deciding on high audio should be a hearing test.:-)"

There are some parallels. Music lovers with hearing loss report nearly universally that they can still get great pleasure out of listening to music. However I know of at least one case where a speaker designer might have left the business because his hearing was going bad. His designs, which I thought had particularly lovely, well-balanced bass, were marred by increasing treble stridency. This was mentioned with increasing urgency in reviews. And then he abruptly closed down his company. I never did learn whether his hearing was the real reason he got out of the audio field, but I've always suspected it.

I'd love to see an audiologist again, to chart my downward course--when I was tested as a teenager my hearing was as good as can be measured. I know it isn't any more, but I'd love to know in what way.


I'd wait a year for Subaru to come out with an STI variant. 0-60 in sub 7 seconds isn't that impressive (what Road and Track is claiming - when they say sub 7 that means just under). For comparison my 07 WRX wagon does it in 5.7.

That being said, I'm hoping the work with Toyota brings some better fit/finish to the table, our 2011 4Runner is quite a few notches above the Subie in fit and finish. Also, I'm surprised they bothered with a slush box option without going to a dual clutch. I toe heel everything, but I'm looking forward to a nice dual clutch paddle setup in my next ride considering how often my body is wrecked.

Anyways, it's very exciting to see a well put together price point rear drive sports car again. Too bad this didn't come out 10 years ago ;) I have a feeling an S4 is more likely to be my next ride.

No, JZ. You´re not THAT guy.
That guy is a product manager at Ford Europe who happened to decide the european Puma did´n sound that good, specially with the 1,7 125bhp engine [which by the way, is a truly lovely car].

So they decided to put a plastic membrane on the passenger firewall to create indoor exhaust enhanced pipe sound.

Sorry for your sinus condition limiting appreciation of the smell sense, that indeed is important for sensing the full extent of the coffee aroma, as you correctly point out that it is a combination of taste and smell. For home coffee roasting, sense sight will also serve you well, as you'll observe the various levels of the roast, City, Full City, etc.., especially with the upgraded version of the Behmor home roaster model that you purchased (more on that in a minute), where they have improved the visibility of the beans, thus the ability to observe the beans in the roasting chamber; this is quite important, as skilled roasters will tell you that observing the roast level with your eyes is part of the art.

Paradoxically, a declined sense of smell, will come to your advantage too, sparing some of the strong roasting smell that can be overwhelming (not a major deal, though, with the home coffee roasting machine that you are suggesting here, as it features a smoke-reduction mechanism eliminating much of the smoke and smell of the roasting). I agree to you that to have great coffee and be able to enjoy and appreciate the delicate nuances and subtle flavors of the coffee, one should roast on his/her own; that way, the flavors will still be preserved, as the beans tend to lose the flavors in a relatively short time and if you buy already roasted beans, even whole beans, if it's been quite a while after roasting, the coffee will lack in its aromatics.

Now, back to the Behmor home roasting machine, in my opinion, this is the best choice you could have made when buying a machine for your home coffee roasting, and it's the best piece of advice you could have given for people wishing to roast their own beans at home, because this is a mid-range kind of home roaster, not like the cheap air poppers that lack in capacity as well as durability, and it is affordable unlike the good higher-end home drum roasters that are much more expensive and can be purchased probably in the range of $800-$1,000+ (usually with a higher capacity, though). This Behmor version is known as a great machine that does the job well in many aspects - visibility of the beans, airflow, cooling, chaff collecting, smoke suppression etc. - despite its lower price; some say that it can be compared in its quality to the commercial Probat roasting machines. It roasts in batches of up to 1 lb.

Personally, I have suggested just this afternoon to a friend to buy this home drum roaster, but there's a caveat: this home roasting machine is not best for those who like roasting at a dark level, as it unfortunately roasts at just beyond the Full City roast level. This is not an issue for people who prefer the medium roast that allows for sensing more of the flavors of the origin. If one likes dark roasts too and will need to buy roasted coffee when preferring a dark roast, this should be taken into account when buying, if a factor in the buying decision is saving money down the road.

I wonder if my wife will consider upgrading our 1997 Subaru Legacy Outback (155K city miles) to one of these? Does it take an infant car seat? Just a thought....

My wife and I have owned several Subarus, and the manager of the local dealership is a friend. He actually likes cars, which is unusual.

In a conversation with him, a few years ago, I suggested that I'd really like, and would buy, a car with the suspension and brakes of the WRX and a peppy but normally aspirated engine. Say, 170 to 200 hp. More responsive in city driving, better gas mileage, lower insurance premiums, etc. (I had a WRX at the time.)

Surprisingly, he said I was not the only person who had asked for such a vehicle, and that he thought he could sell a ton of them.

There's a good chance that I'll buy a BRZ, despite its unfortunate looks. Like you, Mike, I'm mostly interested in handling. They'll produce an STI version eventually, but I'm not interested; I express my manliness in other areas.


Does a Prius have a cigarette lighter?

May I introduce the best way to make coffee?

Manual grinding gives you best smell:

Vacuum Brewing delivers best aroma:

Unfortunately these techniques are not common in the US. I heard that in NYC there are one exquisite Coffee Shop offering Vacuum Brewing.

Of course you have to have the best beans. Maybe a Luwak? ;-)

Mike, I think you should not blame yourself for not being able to sort out the coffee tastes. I have a pretty good smeller that often requires me to throw clothes I have worn to a restaurant into the hamper because of the lingering food odors. I drink good coffee from Peet's who taught the Starbuck's boys their trade, using a burr grinder and a French press. It is difficult for me to sort out the different coffees, too. I have not gained any wine expertise either even though I have drunk a lot of it over the years. The latest thing we schlubs are supposed to sort out are very expensive salts from different parts of the world. Really, little tastes, that are not completely overwhelmed by the taste of salt and flavors of the food it is on! What we really know is that golden eared individuals cannot hear the differences in audio they think they can hear in double blind studies, sort of like mediums who can' contact the spirit world with skeptics present. Wine experts are fooled by cheap wines in blind tastings. It is all marketing and suggestion and a group of people getting a lot of money by fooling you. Your reaction to coffee is one of the few honestly expressed reactions around. Trust it. You could have the nose of a bloodhound and it probably would not be any different.

contacted my local subaru dealer about arranging a test drive of a brz when the car is available. got an obnoxious reply saying test drives were right out - all cars were already allocated to buyers and would i like to get on the wait list. cripes. i won't buy a car under those circumstances, no matter how much the filthy hacks in the motor trade laud the damned thing. i try driving every car i consider buying. no exceptions.

thus no brz for me ....

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