Friday, November 26, 2004

Of Kilts And The Prius

(c) Andy Ternay
  • Car and kilt.

  • I hope everybody had a happy Thanksgiving. Laura and I did, we visited her cousin, had dessert. Dinner was at the Waffle House! Not very formal, but easy and calm and that is what we needed.

    Traditional (I use this term loosely as research shows that much of what I had taken as centuries old traditon really turned out to be so much romantic fiction) Scottish kilts are substantially different from Utilikilts or the poly-vicose kilt I got from Bear Kilts. Whilst I still like those kilts and will continue to wear them (especially the short one from Bear Kilts, to amuse my friend Jim), I now understand what purists are talking about.

    One major difference is the amount of material. This kilt is eight yards of wool. The pleats are almost three and a half inches deep! The wool is very finely woven and maintains its shape well unlike the Utilikilts which wrinkle easily. Surprisingly the wool is not too hot around the waist. It is very comfortable.

    I have heard people on websites refer to the "swing" of a kilt. That is a good description of the sensation of the wool as it moves with your stride. There is a substantial feel to the fabric.

    A couple of notes on kilts. They are worn high on the body, the top is about level with the bellybutton. Your, ehem, privates don't get cold even in icy weather. In this way the Utilikilts are similar to the wool kilt: they form an umbrella of fabric that traps the warm air and allows the wearer to stay warm. The knees are the only exposed part and mine don't seem to register the cold - sometimes my feet in my boots and hands in my pocket are colder than my exposed knees. I'm not sure how that works.

    The Prius is somewhat different from the kilt in that you don't worry about your privates being exposed as much. It is a delightful car. I find it to be fast when I need it to be, and easy to control. When we got it, it had five miles on the odometer! It is already over one hundred.

    Some brief comments:
    The energy consumption screen is gimmicky. Yes, it shows whether or not the battery or the engine is running the car. It does give instant MPG feedback. It does display when braking or simple motion is used to recharge the battery. But it is an attractive gimmick, nothing more. Only if you have the NAV navigation feature is is a practical item.

    Keyless entry and start is too cool. Using keys already seems like an antiquated concept.

    The beeping when you reverse? Annoying. Must look up how to turn it off.

    Stealth mode: driving on battery power only is indeed totally silent and just too cool. The way the internal combustion engine starts is seamless and almost unnoticeable.

    Having the car turn off completely at stop lights rules. When the light changes, press the accelerator and it restarts, no hesitations, no problems.

    Each time you brake, it takes the energy from the slowing process and charges the battery. Again, too cool.

    If you coast on a road, foot off the accelerator, the wheel rotation charges the battery. Too cool for words.

    The transmission is a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) so there are no gear changes at all. Without those to cue me in, I often find myself speeding without even noticing it.

    I have proposed naming the car Diana after the Goddess who is associated with the moon, is a huntress and a protector of nature. I also am thinking of Dr. Dian Fossey the brilliant and assertive lady who fought to protect the mountain gorillas from extinction.

    Time to go now. Goddess bless you all.