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So when we bought our Mazda 3,the headlights (really nice projector beam style) were showing some wear on the lenses,and were in definite need of a good pollishing. I had never gotten around to it,knowing that it would (literally) be a pain in the neck (mine anyways,where some of my more serious spinal injuries are ;) ). Over the time we’ve had it,they’ve gotten worse,as expected.

Where The Wife has been driving the 3 much more than in the past lately (with the FJ Fiasco ongoing),she mentioned that the lights “weren’t all that great”,so it was time. I know an hour doesn’t sound like much,but it really put a strain on my ole neck bone(s),despite having sat in a stool at perfect height for the job,but with borrowed electric buffer,I got it done none-the-less (lets just hope it doesn’t put me down tomorrow or longer).

Anyways,some before pics…

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After pics…

16 17 18

As you can see (despite it being a pain in the neck…sorry,that amuzes me :P XD ),it was time well spent. About midway through her work shift today,I had taken it and swapped out with her for the rental car,and didn’t say anything about it (I wanted to see if she’d notice without the bias of being told). She did,and she actually mentioned the drive home was more enjoyable,because she “didn’t know if it was the air being clearer or where it’s nearly fully dark when coming home now…”,but “I could see better for whatever reasons”. (note: I’m pretty sure that she had not seen the difference,as there’d be no reason for her to walk around the front of the car to get in/drive home,and she said that she hadn’t) Nice ^_^

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SSA/Conn Fiasco Update #3 11-16-15

From “Social Security News” blog…

“Setback In Kentucky And West Virginia

     A motion for preliminary injunction was filed to prevent the Social Security Administration from going ahead with its plan to make almost 1,500 Social Security disability recipients in Kentucky and West Virginia who had been represented by Eric Conn prove all over again that they are disabled. After what I consider an extraordinary delay the District Court has denied the motion. The agency is free to continue with its plan without making any showing of evidence that there was fraud or similar fault involved in these claimants being awarded benefits. Everyone will just assume the evidence exists.
     I would remind everyone who is sure that there must be strong evidence of fraud or similar fault that no criminal charges have been brought against Mr. Conn, no disciplinary action has been brought against him by the Kentucky Bar and he is still free to represent claimants before the Social Security Administration. How can that be if the evidence against him is strong? Charges aren’t true just because you saw them on 60 Minutes. And no one has accused these claimants of doing anything wrong. They just hired the wrong lawyer.”
Not just “In KY and WV”,sigh…how many times must those people be told,there are people from SEVERAL states (including the Carolinas,Tennesse,Virginia,Ohio…even as far as Louisiana…
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2005 Mazda 3 Thoughts After 7,000 Miles (and fresh pics)

As I had not taken time to shoot any fresh pictures of my beloved Mazda 3 (2005 3S 2.3) since the weekend we brought it home back in March (MARCH?!? :o ),LOL,after cleaning it up a bit today I shot a few while out.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

It’s still stock,I have done no mods to it at all,nothing except adding 7,000 miles to it’s odo,and wearing it’s tires a bit more,LOL! We both really like it though (ok…despite it  being a relatively slow car–only has 160hp,and ran a best et at Bristol’s Dragway of 16.0 seconds–I love it :P ). It only had 1 previous owner and it had been well cared for,and came nicely equipped.

It came equipped with the expected power windows/locks/mirrors,cruise control,AM/FM/CD stereo (cruise and audio controls also on the steering wheel),A/C and such,but also had the optional power sun-roof (which both tilt’s up with 1 button,or retracts back into the roof with the other),leather seats,the “S” package which included the 2.3L I-4 engine with the automatic transmission* (which includes ,body side moldings,sportier front fascia with fog lights),and 17″ aluminum wheels,among other things. The only options available on ’05 S models that I know of that it did not come with are the rear wing,heat for the leather seats,and navigation system.

I had a good idea what to expect from this car,having personally read (literally) over 500 owner reviews on ’05 3’s in general (many of which were S models like my own),with the only real surprise being that fun-to-drive feeling (Mazda calls it “Zoom Zoom” ;) ). That said,here are the negatives…

The stereo,while it can certainly have it’s volume turned up,isn’t the greatest. It seems as if it’s a unit with low power,and budget spec’d speakers. Mazda apparently didn’t think that a remote trunk release was needed because they didn’t include one. While there’s plenty of leg room for taller folk up front,I would imagine that if I were a wider/heavier person,I might feel cramped in the knees from side to side,as even at 5’9″ and about 160lbs,my knees knock and end up resting on the (hard plastic) sides of the center console,which is cumbersome on longer trips. The leather seats in my unit seem a bit…hard (especially when it’s cold out),but they have proven firm and hold one in place during spirited driving,so I feel it’s a decent rade-off. The A/C (air conditioning) could use a bit more power…it’s not that it doesn’t blow out cold air,it just seems to take forever to get the interior cooled off on hot days (the FJ Cruiser,for eg,with it’s larger cabin space,cools off much quicker). I would imagine I will soon discover the heat has the same issues….it simply doesn’t blow out enough,if that makes sense? That’s really about the only things that I can think of,though,so not so bad IMO. On the positive side of things…

It’s fun to drive! It handles really well for it’s class of car,feels much more refined while pushing things on twisty 2 lane roads than cars I have personally driven (or have owned) costing considerably more than this car retailed for in 2005 (or even 2015…it would easily,for eg,run circles around the Honda Civic LX that we recently had on hand for several days). All of the instrumentation and controls have good ergonomics,falling right where one would expect them in a “driver’s car”. Despite having to use the key (or reach inside to use the lever below the driver’s seat) to get into the trunk,as sedans go it has plenty of trunk space (I prefer hatchbacks for practicality,as a sedan’s trunk space is only as good as the opening to reach down into it,but I digress…I prefer a sedan’s looks to a hatch’s,so it’s all relative),and the kids (or occasional adult friends) have yet to complain about rear passenger room or comfort. It’s been fairly fuel efficient,though nothing class leading,as we’ve had a low of 24.3mpgs (pushing things a bit on twisty 2 lane mountain roads ;) ),a high of 33.6mpgs (all non-interstate highway driving),but most often average around 26.5mpgs with a mix of city and highway driving.

Over all,we’ve grown to love our 3 over the last 9 months and 7,000 miles,small quirks and all,and unless we develop issues making it’s payment (SSA Fiasco ;) ),we have no plans to rid ourselves of it anytime soon. Would I buy this car if it were a brand new car in today’s market? Yes,without hesitation,not even considering Mazda’s reputation for building reliable cars,though that’s certainly comforting,LOL! Actually,I have plans for a few changes to it next year,budget permitting…

Sooner or later,I will find a factory wing in a bone-yard (salvage auto lot ;) ),I really like the look of it,it’s clean,smooth,classy and understated. If I convince myself that at 42 years old with spinal injuries that I could still get into and out of it without issues,LOL,I would like a set of 3″ lowering springs. While I actually like the factory 17″ wheels,there are several different styles in 18″ I would prefer. I don’t intend to “go crazy” with modifications to the powertrain,but I may swap in a decent header/full exhaust,cold air intake,and a chip (with professional Stage 1 tune). Had my unit been a 5 speed,I may would look into more serious mods (like a turbo swap from a Speed3…),but for a daily driver automatic that’s still family friendly and economical to own/drive,those few things would be plenty for me.




*It’s a shame this car isn’t a 2006 (it’s a 2005),as the 06’s that had automatics have a 5 speed auto,where-as the 05’s (including mine) only a 4 speed. It’s fine though,I’ve gotten used to it,after having been used to 5 and 6 speed automatics over the last few years,LOL!


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SSA/Conn Fiasco Upate 11-16-15 #2

Copied and Pasted from Ned’s page…

Eric Conn fiasco update-given that the disability hearings are ongoing -plan on filing an immediate motion to stop the hearings in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati this week. Have scheduled a conference call with the attorneys to discuss the appeal at 2 pm eastern time tomorrow.
Very disappointed in the ruling today by the Federal Judge. In my view he totally disregarded and ignored what I thought were very significant legal issues, as to the built in unfairness unfairness of the hearings, and most troubling was his his refusal to even acknowledge the representational crisis in finding competent representation for so many. The order we received indicated that all 1787 would have go through the hearings, and then appeal after they lose. The reality is that if you lose the hearing, your benefits are discontinued, while you appeal.
All we could to was raise the issues and hope they would be addressed. Hopefully the appellate court will be more receptive.
Share with those affected.”

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SSA/Conn Fiasco Update 11-16-15 Bad News

As always,copied and pasted from Ned’s page…

Ned Pillersdorf

3 hrs ·

Eric Conn fiasco crisis-Bad news-Federal Judge Thapar ruled against the 1787 today. He essentially said that the 1787 need to go through the administrative process, and that he had no jurisdiction to grant our motion to stop the hearings. Plan is to file an immediate appeal to the 6th Circuit court of Appeals.”

It seems one bad thing after another for us lately,this didn’t really come as a surprise. It seems Judge Thapar has no manhood in this instance and is afraid to step on toes or get involved,smh. Oh,I have no doubt it any of his family or friends were caught up in it,he would have stopped this whole thing months ago…but that’s how political cowards are though. We’ll keep diggin’ (and keep preparing for the worst),sigh.

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Mini Review: 2015 Honda Civic LX

The first rental car that we were given was a 2015 Honda Civic (base model). I did not get any pics of it,even though I had entertained the thought of doing this mini-review of it (I thought we’d have it longer and would have time to shoot them later,LOL),but it was just another brownish (Kona Coffe Metallic,or was that Tiger Eye Pearl….? I forget which) Civic like millions of others clogging up our freeways and parking lots. Here are a couple pics of one just like it (though this one has upscale aluminum wheels,ours did not) pulled form a Google search…

2014-Honda-Civic-EX-L-front-three-quarter-in-motion 2014-honda-civic-ex-l-rear-three-quarters

It was a fairly attractive car,a brownish metallic color,which was actually a much more attractive color than that sounds (I really liked it,myself),4 doors,and dinky little 15″ steel wheels* with bland-looking hubcaps. Fit and finish of the exterior was rather nice for the pricepoint of the car,IMO,though I wasn’t a fan of the Formula 1 inspired lower front fascia.

It was nicely equipped for a base model car,having niceties like a back-up camera,digital display of lots of pertinent info (like many modern cars-I’m not going to try to remember all of it,but you could see current and average mpg’s,which was the main thing that interested us),a CVT automatic transmission (I have never been a fan of those,personally),and of course power locks,mirrors,windows,and such.

The interior….let me say up front that it was obvious that this specific unit not only IS a rental car,but it has apparently been treated as such too,LOL,with stains everywhere,deep scarring of the plastics,etc. That said…I did not like the interior,at all (nothing to do with cosmetics). The seat,while plenty cooshy under one’s tooshy,just never felt right to me (or The Wife),and had no lower lumbar or side support (like,for spirited driving) what-so-ever. It was easy enough to find an ergonomic driving position,however,as the seat had several adjustments,and the steering wheel had both tilt and telescoping adjustments.

The dash was a mix of analog and digital read-out for tachometer and speedo,split up with the tach deep within the dash panel,and the speedo up higher. I didn’t particularly like that arrangemet,but I digress….everyone likes what they like and I’m sure some would love that. The climate controls worked well enough,the stereo’s sound sucked (despite the price of base model cars these days,it’s a base model car and we didn’t really expect high end audio,but this system left lots to be desired…though we may be jaded by our FJ’s “FJammer” stereo).

Riding and driving the car was decent enough,if one has no expectation of outrunning (or out handling) the guy across from you at the stop light in the 1991 Geo Metro,LOL,especially with the anemic,underperforming CVT transmission and the “Econ” switched on (supposedly improves fuel mileage). At least the fuel mileage we saw in our time with it was pretty good,as we saw an average mix of roads and were able to get 34.8mpg’s out of it’s first tank,and were averaging a solid 38.1mpg’s 1/2 way into the second tank when the right rear tire let loose. We were impressed with it’s mileage (though said fuel mileage was another thing that the above mentioned guy in the ficticious 1991 GEO Metro would best the Honda at…the one my Dad owned back in the day would return 50+ mpg’s nearly every tank,and would easily best this Honda on a twisty 2 lane with a decent set of 14″ tires. Sad…just sad. The Honda is a lot more car to enjoy than those old Metros ever were though,LOL :P )

With a base price of around $18,900…I would not buy it. For less money invested,there are better performing,more comfortable,as efficient and as stylish compact cars elsewhere. We did enjoy driving it for several days,but not enough to drive past a different car for less money that we wold enjoy more-so. There are scores of diehard Honda lovers out there,though,and I personally like the Civic Si for example. I came away uninspired by the base LX however.

Some specs…

Exterior Measurements

WIDTH5 ft. 9 in. (69 in.) HEIGHT4 ft. 8.5 in. (56.5 in.)
LENGTH14 ft. 11.4 in. (179.4 in.) FRONT TRACK4 ft. 11 in. (59 in.)
REAR TRACK4 ft. 11.9 in. (59.9 in.) WHEEL BASE8 ft. 9.1 in. (105.1 in.)

Interior Measurements



ENGINE TYPEGas FUEL TYPERegular unleaded

Weights and Capacities



DRIVE TYPEFront wheel drive TRANSMISSION5-speed manual

Engine & Performance

BASE ENGINE SIZE1.8 L CAM TYPESingle overhead cam (SOHC)
VALVE TIMINGVariable TORQUE129 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm
HORSEPOWER143 hp @ 6500 rpm TURNING CIRCLE35.4 ft.


  • MacPherson strut front suspension
  • Multi-link rear suspension
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • Front and rear stabilizer bar

The rental unit that Enterprise gave us as replacement to the Civic (after the right rear tire exploded in it’s sidewall,LOL) is a same-class car,but where the Civic had been the base model (most likely,had it been on a dealer’s lot,it would have been the least expensive unit on the lot),this one is “nicely equipped”. Coming soon,a mini-review on a 2015 Chevrolet Cruz LT,stay tuned…

*15″ wheels aren’t necessarily “dinky” or “little”,LOL,bear in mind,our currently owned vehicles have 33″ tires on 17″ factory wheels (FJ Cruiser),and 17″ wheels/tires (Mazda 3) ;) :P


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