many, many Malibus, and other stuff.

I ‘ve wondered for a while just what was going on with the new Chevy Malibu.  “Chevy Malibu” and “interesting car” are not thoughts that usually cross paths in the mind of even the most dedicated car person.  (I will admit to having vaguely fond memories of a ’75 ‘Bu, but those are personal in nature, if you know what I mean.)

But this new Malibu is somewhat different.  It’s either General Motors’ last chance or the first promising sprout of a new crop of modern American cars that will mark that company’s revival, depending on what you read and your own opinions.  The buff books and general media seem to be in agreement that it’s at least a fair competitor to Camry and Accord, and that’s a bare minimum standard that GM hasn’t seemed able to meet in a long, long time. 

http://www.chevrolet.com/malibu/

This is going to be Chevy’s new bread and butter car; the car Americans whove gotten used to the style, ergonomics, amenities and sturdy reliability of the classic Japanese midsize sedan will actually buy in large numbers.  The time may be right for it.  It’s true that the old time domestic loyalists (the people who would never, ever drive a Japanese car) are dying out or have shed their loyalty over the intervening years, but at the same time the Japanese loyalists, disturbed by the constantly increasing size, complexity and price of the Hondas and Toyotas and the growing evidence of dents in the Japanese quality armor, are starting to turn to alternatives.  Maybe the new Malibu doesn’t have to take everything from the big two.  Maybe being directly competative to Hyundai’s Sonata will be enough.  It certainly would be a great place to start.

The Malibu is a distinctive looking car.  Smooth and high waisted, with a strong, blunt , shape, it looks much bigger than it is.  It’s not quite like anything else on the road, and it certainly doesn’t look very Japanese, except in overall proportions of wheelbase to overhangs.  The basic platform is comes from Europe, where it underlies the midsize Opel, and it’s shared with the Saturn Aura (which is an ugly car that needs a powerful dechroming ASAP) so I suppose it’s a European look.  But that doesn’t seem right either. 

Perhaps this is a new American look, which is something we’ve needed for a long, long time.  If so, it’s kind of a nifty one, strong and plain and tough.  I can see more cars in this style, particularly a revival of the station wagon. 

More new ‘Bu pics.  The two tone interior of the LTZ models is awesome.

http://image.automobilemag.com/f/future-cars/2008-chevrolet-malibu-is-today-teaser-day/1018762+w480+cr1+re0+ar1/2008-chevrolet-malibu-interior.jpg

http://files.windingroad.com/newsuploads/2007/08/08malibu008-600.jpg

But it looks more distinctive in person than it does in photographs, with the dark colors, particularly the dark blue, giving the most dramatic effect.

I’ve been watching for this car for months.  Then its debut date came.  I didn’t see one.  Drove by the Chevy dealer.  Didn’t see one. (Admittedly didn’t go in to see if there was one in the showroom, not really being in the mood for the hard sell.) One week passed, then two, then three.  Saw other new cars debuting about the same time.  No Malibus.  WTF?  Does everyone hate them 

Then one, with a temporary plate, in traffic.  Then, a few days later, another in the parking lot at the grocery store.  Then two in one weekend. Then the local dealer sets one up at the flea market, and I got to sit in it …nice.  Maybe there isn’t one at the dealership because people are buying them and immediately going on long vacations? 

Then, over the last two weeks, they’ve  seemed to explode: blunt nosed, bluff flanked Chevies everywhere you looked like a pod of pilot whales. (That’s what they look like!) Now, they are literally everywhere in town.  I saw four on one trip on Saturday.  It’s the oddest debut into the fleet that I’ve seen for a long time.

Hmm.

Anyway, it’s the end of the month and the best thing I can say for it is I got through it with no major damage.  Better next time, I hope.

Sharkipede

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Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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rounding up, and annoying hints

A sharkipede sticks its head up from the gritty grey remains of a snowbank.  It’s March?  You’re ragging me.  No, really?  Holy cats.

I’ve actually been pretty busy for not really accomplishing much this past month.  February’s been a groundwork month: serious preparations are being made for projects that will bear fruit in the future.

Chief among these is the secret project.  I’ve been talking about it quite a bit, but am hesitant to put anything in writing in a public forum, so if the blog is your main contact with Sharkipede World, then I will beg your indulgence and ask you to be patient for a little bit longer.  Anyway, we’re working on it.

I also went to the Auto Show and blogged about it, wrote another new Kekionga story for the secret project, explored the capabilities of my Eee PC, shoveled a hell of a lot of snow, spent some quality time with a friend who is going abroad soon, helped another friend design her wedding invitations, learned more about coelacanths and digital printing, and went to my first comic book show of the year and had a swell time. 

A good month, if not perhaps a great one.  But then, how many are?  Good may have to be, well, good enough.

Sharkipede 

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 8:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Month’s end roundup, January 2008

It’s the last day of January already, and since one of the things I wanted to do with this new blog was sum up each month as it passes, it’s time to try it for the first time.  A month strikes me as the logical place to pause for an evaluation; not a short enough time that the thought is always breathing down one’s neck, but not long enough to forget all  about it and take one’s eye off the ball.

If one may be permitted to mix a metaphor.

This January has been a long month, and while I feel like I have been treading water, I’ve actually accomplished quite a lot.  I had my eyes examined, ordered new frames, had both pairs of my glasses made, and went through a particularly unpleasant Eyeball Twisting Week as my astigmatism was rather forcibly corrected by my own eye muscles.  It began a week ago yesterday and seems to be pretty much over.  My eyes haven’t watered at all today, and I’ve stopped having to blink to bring things into focus.  Very disconcerting, that.

I picked a new blogging site, and started this nifty new blog.  And, to my delight, a lot of you followed me here and have even posted comments.  Thank you muchly.

I’ve made surprising advances in my on-and-off interest in computers.  Most of this can be attributed to my growing affection for my new ASUS Eee PC,  which was a Christmas gift from Mr. Shark.  I’m using it a lot for writing and editing, and it has inspired in me a vague desire to learn something about Linux.   How weird is that?  I’ve acquired a couple of books and a disk with a core install of Fedora and some basic apps, and Mr. Shark says he will build me a Linux box to mess around with out of spare parts (apparently it doesn’t have to be particularly state of the art) as soon as he has finished building his own new PC.  In the interests of furthering my education he let me install the OS on his new system (under careful supervision, of course) and it was actually pretty cool.  More to come on this, I think.

But the Eee is proving practical right now, since I’m getting a lot of extra writing done in my spare time.  One of the projects that have moved to the new platform is writing “Hopelessly Lost, But Making Good Time”, my monthly column for Sequential Tart.  I’ve started a new series about superhero characters in comics, and the next few installments are already outlined.  Part one is finished and should be out on February first, at www.sequentialtart.com

I finished the script for my next minicomic, very moody and experimental, discovered the seed for an upcoming issue of Kekionga, and finished both covers for  Kekionga #2.  Random pages are partially pencilled, and the whole issue is thumbnailed.  This is where the month kind of fell down–I was hoping to be a little further along with that comic at this point, but part of that can be blamed on the damned Eyeball Twisting. 

Otherwise, it was a cold, snowy January.  I walked when I could, and will always remember Toby showing me the hawk.  Chester is doing well, in spite of the cold, which is hard on an old dog.  I worked well enough, making real progress every day, if not always on the “right” projects. 

My goal for next month is to work substantially, every day, on finished pages for Kekionga #2, and to get ready for SPACE,  my first con of the year, at the end of the month.  If I do anything new for the show, it will be produced in my spare time and will not interfere with the first goal. I hope.

And February is the month of the Auto Show, which means NSC will be returning, at long last, to its roots as an occasional car blog.  

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll stick around for the second month of version 2.0.

Sharkipede 

Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 4:07 am  Comments (1)  
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