We needed a little get away and spent a really terrific week at the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We decided on this trip to stay at this resort because it is truly beautiful and incredibly comfortable. We turned up the notch a little bit by choosing a room in the Main Building. See the video tour for a complete look.

The Main Building at the Grand Floridian is considered a Concierge Club Level. Not just one or two floors, the entire building. What does this mean? It means access to specialized concierge service, fantastic foods, champagne, wine, and mixed drinks. There’s no “honor bar,” it’s all included in the price you pay.

Is it worth it? It depends. The trick to enjoying Disney World, particularly as the heat turns up in the Spring through the Fall, is to return to your room during the day and take a break. What’s really nice is when you emerge on the 4th floor to the Royal Palm Club and you’re offered a beverage and a lovely display of hors d’oeuvres typically brought in from the various restaurants from the resort and the parks.

YouTube Tour of Room 4209

This Pope is truly one-of-a-kind. I know many evangelicals would not like his suggestion to not proselytize, but if you really think about it what he says, I think, applies to any faith. You should attract others by the way you live your life which should/could result in them asking you questions vs you persuading them.

Higher Learning

In a recent interview with the Argentine publication Viva, Pope Francis issued a list of 10 tips to be a happier person, based on his own life experiences.

The Pope encouraged people to be more positive and generous, to turn off the TV and find healthier forms of leisure, and even to stop trying to convert people to one’s own religion.

But his number one piece of advice came in the form of a somewhat cliche Italian phrase that means, “move forward and let others do the same.” It’s basically the Italian equivalent of, “live and let live.” You can check out the full list below.

The Pope gives a thumbs up to an audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (Photo: CSV)

The Pope’s 10 Tips for a Happier Life

1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in…

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EVO Magazine has updated their magazine for the iPad again and this time it is even nicer. It has a cleaner look to match iOS 7’s aesthetic.

Life with an iPad 3G

I’ve been an auto enthusiast a lot longer than I’ve been interested in all things Apple, but the two interests have meshed together nicely. I enjoyed reading auto sites like Autoblog, Evo Online, DriveCult, Automobile Magazine and others, but now I’m beginning to turn to their iPad versions. Why? Mainly it’s because the publisher can do a lot of creative things with their publications through an app.  I began with Zinio, and still use it, but it really is just the print version of the magazine scanned in, though there are a lot of features Zinio offers such as being able to see some video and reading just the text.  The apps have the potential to have a lot more robust character to their presentation of essentially the same content.

EVO Magazine is a top tier auto enthusiast magazine published in the United Kingdom.  I found it because one…

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Nigerian and Ghanan scammers are on a roll. They have moved on from trying to get you to transfer money to their account and in turn they’ll send you a large check and so on, to not only stealing money, but ripping apart hearts. These so-called “Romance Scams” are rampant and I have been a victim. I haven’t succumbed to a Romance Scam though.

Remember when we used to blog everything about our families and places we visit prior to Facebook? Well, back then I blogged about my kids and what I was up to. I did this mostly for my family. As time wore on, I migrated to Facebook and began locking down my pictures and posts. Why? Because I started getting calls from women in Europe who said they were being romanced by me. Of course I had no idea what they were talking about. One gentle Englishwoman told me the entire story about how she saw pictures of “me” on a dating site and began conversing with “me”. It wasn’t me. It was a Romance Scammer from Ghana.

At the time I wrote up a post like this. It was simple, I am the real Dan Mosqueda. I’m married. I’m not on dating web sites. I won’t ask you for money or laptops or cell phones. I’m not deployed to Afghanistan having left my child back in Ghana.

Nothing has changed. I’m still not deployed. I have no children in Ghana who need an emergency surgery or airline tickets or anything. Do not send scammers money. It’s your money, not theirs. And now they’re on Facebook to try and gain credibility. You can’t see my Facebook page.

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So here are a list of email addresses you might find them using along with names they might use. It’s not always Dan, but the pictures are the same. They’ll be pictures of me, my sons at various locations looking cute and cuddly.

They’ll ask you to send money and items to a church or other location in care of a friend. In many cases “my” friend in Ghana is Alhassan Mustapha. Mr. Mustapha will retrieve the money and items from the Tesano Baptist Church where he will claim to be a faithful member.
A little research reveals the Post Office in Accra, Ghana near the church is also near the area where the real Alhassan Mustapha lives. I have no proof of this, but I imagine Mustapha has people inside the Post Office intercepting his mail and he shares the loot.
It might not be “Daniel Mosqueda” or Paul or Alex. It could be Jim Smith or Tobias McLaughlin. The moral of the story is to avoid dating sites that aren’t large enough to fight off the proliferation of these scammers. The next thing to learn: DON’T SEND MONEY TO ANYONE YOU DON’T ALREADY KNOW.
Do an internet search on the name of the person romancing and be diligent. There are sites like Pig Busters where you can find information. Here’s a page on Mr. Mustapha:
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1958 Jaguar XK 150

Saturday is a day car guys love to get together and today was no exception. While chatting with an owner of a 1966 Mustang Convertible at our local meet up, I saw an immaculate Jaguar XK-150 drive by and park. I finished up the Mustang conversation and made a bee-line to the XK-150. This example was built in May of 1957 as a 1958 model.

Pony cars sparked the imagination of a generation in the 1960’s, a spark that still flickers to this day. These aren’t sports cars and they don’t handle particularly well, though some of them are pretty fast. Every Saturday across American car owners and car lovers gather in parking lots to look at each other’s cars and chat about their obsession with the automobile. Typically these gatherings are not organized, they’re organic affairs sprouting up and growing. Colorado Springs is no different. Naturally, the Pony Cars, along with sports cars, hot rods, trucks, and all manner of motorized vehicles, show up.

Some would say the ultimate Pony Car comes from Carroll Shelby and Ford in the form of the GT-350 or 500. This specimen wasn’t perfect, but it had a patina that transports the onlooker back in time to evoke a time when people didn’t talk to their cars in a Hasselhoffian manner.

Painted in classic American racing colors, this GT-350 was a pleasure to just stand and look at. The owner has no problem telling you how he feels about your ride via his custom license plate.

In the interest of fairness, General Motors made some pretty incredible Pony Cars as well. Chevrolet had its Camaro and Pontiac the Firebird. I didn’t actually talk to the owner of the Firebird below, but it appears to be a 1968 based on the 350 cubic inch engine. It was clearly repainted in a pearl white. It looked really nice, even with a period incorrect paint job, it still transports you to the 60’s making it easy to imagine it shredding tires at a late-night stoplight drag race in Modesto.

Unfortunately, there were some more “modern” Pony Cars from what Dan Roth, of Autoblog, calls the “malaise” era. The soulless Firebird in the background, was a 50th Anniversary Indianapolis Pace Car Turbo example. Whew, that was a lot to type and I didn’t even bother with the year. Who cares? I was half expecting Hasselfoff himself to jump out in skin tight leather pants.

As time marched on, the Pony cars began to bloat, but there were still some notable models. This Ford Boss 302 Mustang was a road-going version of the Trans-Am racing car. This 1970 example is one of 7,013 manufactured. It was a pretty fast car, even by today’s standards, doing 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds. I asked the owner how it handled. “Terrible” was his answer. It’s probably safe to say that’s what one would get out of a Pony Car, fast in a straight line, but not so great when it comes to attacking the curves. This example has competed in Autocross, but the owner told me he was beat by, in his words, “a lot of girls.”

What’s an E46? Let’s turn to Wikipedia for a simple answer: The BMW E46 is the fourth generation of the 3 Series compact executive cars produced by BMW, produced from 1998 when it succeeded the BMW E36.

My sister bought a 2000 BMW 323i for my son’s graduation present. It turns out a friend of hers had the car since it was new, but it was having transmission problems and the cost to repair the E46 was going to be about $4,000.00. My sister and her husband own a business with a substantial fleet of vehicles, everything from heavy duty trucks, vans, Prius (Prii?), SUVs, and an M3. With that fleet, they have their own staff mechanic. So she bought the car and had the transmission replaced for about $2,000. A substantial savings and an effort that brought this car back to life. Sort of.

2000 323i

2000 BMW 323i – E46

Enter my 18 year old son and the recipient of my sister’s largesse. He’s a kid right? He had no idea of how to take care of a car properly. I think back to my 1979 Mazda GLC and how I discovered there was a brake problem when I heard something detach from the car and the brakes barely worked! I was a dumb 18 year old too. So, my boy really did a number to his E46. He constantly complained about how he “hated” the car. But it really turned out he simply didn’t understand what was going on with it when things stopped working.

My oldest decided it was time to move on with life and joined the United States Marine Corps and I inherited his now problem plagued car. I figured a little work here and there would be all it would take to get it back up to snuff. I was terribly, terribly wrong.

The following posts are going to chronicle the work of bringing this Ultimate Driving Machine back to the way it should be.