Monday, February 13, 2012

Devon drives the cheapest car you can buy.

File:2012 Nissan Versa SL -- 10-28-2011.jpg

Quick! What's the cheapest new car you can buy in the U.S. right now? No its not the Smart Fortwo, and its not a Kia Rio. We're talking about the new Nissan Versa. Taking the crown as the cheapest car in the U.S.  The Versa is the only four-door sedan you can buy that starts well below $11,000. With rivals like Kia and Hyundai moving upmarket for few thousand more. Can Nissan provide a valid reason why basic transportation has a place in this competition? Let's find out.

Performance: There's only one engine and that's a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 109hp. Around town the Versa feels lively, however on the motorway you'll struggle to get up to pace. The CVT transmission makes the engine scream when revved hard. Only tradeoff is the high gas mileage that helps the Versa serve its purpose as a city car.

Ride & Handling: The Versa feels smooth and comfortable to drive around town. On the highway, you may struggle a little due to the small tires. However, most owners won't venture or try to push the Versa to its limits. This is a good thing because the Versa isn't the best handling of the bunch. But you do get brake assist and four-wheel anti-lock brakes to reduce braking distance.

Refinement: The Versa interior feels hushed and refined for the low asking price. There is some wind and road noise that will sneak into the cabin. It's far from intrusive and annoying. The CVT transmission makes the engine droand loudly when revved hard. This may make long journeys a bit tiresome.

Behind the wheel: The driving position can be a bit awkward for some. The steering wheel only adjust for height, which can be uncomfortable for passengers with short arms. The interior is has a logical layout with all the controls within easy reach of the drivers hand.

Space & Practicality: The Versa has a large roomy rear seat that can really rival larger sedans. There's plenty of space for three passengers. Headroom and legroom are superb for a car that carries the price of a used vehicle. The boot is massive and offers plenty of space.

Equipment: The base Vesra is pretty much a car. You get air-conditioning and very little else. You'll have to step up to the mid-range 1.6SV to get central locking, power windows and cruise control. Top of the range Versa adds Bluetooth, premium audio cd player and cloth door trim accent.

Buying & Owning: The Versa's low base price means that you won't have to pocket too much to buy one, and thanks to high fuel economy. Running costs will be low as well. Residual value won't be the greatest and resale value is about average.

Quality & Reliability: It's too soon to say if the Versa will be reliable in the long run. However, since the Versa is built by Nissan. Reliability should be trouble free for the mechanical parts. The quality of the interior is spotty. There are parts of the interior that feel cheap, but for the price you can't really expect anything special.

Safety & Security: Four-wheel anti-lock brakes and brake assist are both standard. Dynamic stability control and side curtian airbags are standard on all trim levels. Making the Versa one of the biggest bargains in terms of price. There are no deadlocks offered standard and an anti-theft alarm is not offered on the base trim level.

Likes: Low base price and low running costs, biggest rear seat and boot space in class, good amount of kit for the money.

Dislikes: Bland inside out, base trim can be seen as mean, nothing special other than a low price and roomy interior.

The Nissan Versa doesn't really offer much in terms of driving excitement, and that's okay. For the sole purpose of the Versa most buyers will be very satisfied. It may not be the most striking car to look at, and the interior isn't the most lavish. A basic transporation vehicle that can be used as a work horse. Low asking price with low running costs. A good vehicle but offers nothing special other than an attractive low price and roomy interior.

Devon's Pick: 1.6 SV trim adds power windows and door locks which are a few features that you'll want.

Devon M

Woman in black review

Woman In Black

The Woman in Black is based on a novel of the same name written by Susan Hill. With starring roll played by Daniel Radcliffe and supporting roles by Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Sophie Stuckey and Liz White. The movies starts off with Arthur Kipps who lives with his four-year old son Joseph and his son's nanny. Kipp's wife Stella died after childbirth. Arthur has visions of her and is facing financial problems along with stress from his employers. He is assigned to handle estate of Alice Drablow who owed Eel Marsh, where she had lived with her husband, son Nathaniel and Sister Jennet. During his train ride to this small town, Arthur becomes friends with a wealthy landowner named Sam who offers Arthur dinner with him and his wife. The next day Arthur goes to the estate to begin doing the paper work. All during his time at the estate, he constantly hears foot steps and eireey noises that begins to bother him. 

At this point, you'll think that the movie is going to turn into one of those cheese ghost stories. With the guy trying to find out what's making all the noises and gets spooked to the point he runs out of the estate. This is true, however the movie begins to get more and more weird as Arthur goes back to town. Suddenly one by one children are dying of strange deaths. The first death is a little girl who walks in with her brothers while Arthur is in the police station. She had drank lye and had turned pale from the effects of internal bleeding. Arthur tries to save the little girl by calling for help, but she dies in his arms. The Townspeople believe that a woman in black is coming after their children for revenge of her child dying. At this point you're wondering why the woman in black is after the towns people children? Well here's a little back story. The woman in black son died in a accident near the marsh. He could've been saved but it was too late. He drowned in the marsh and she never forgave those who were in the carriage that could've saved him. 

Arthur thinks that reuniting the woman in black with her child will bring her peace and help calm her spirit. However, in the end he ends up dying with his son at the end of the movie. You see the woman in black standing there and the movie cuts to credits. For a horror film its pretty average. The scenery and where the film is shot is pretty spooky and really gives you the sense of horror. However, the movie is just too predictable. Many of the scenes are just Arthur walking through the spooky mansion. There are a lot of scenes where there really isn't anything being said. The scares through out the movie feel like they are being forced on to you. At times you feel like you're being forced to be scared. Daniel Radcliffe did a great job as leading actor. He really took on a great role, however his interaction with the rest of the people through out the film is rather stellar at best. 

The Woman in black is one of those movies that tries too hard to scare you. It's predictable and isn't really scary, but the scenes and the whole set up of the movie does a good job at being spooky. However, if you want something to really scare your pants off. I suggest waiting till this is released on DVD or looking else where.

Devon M 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Defining the music

'Timberwolves at New Jersey' Taking Back Sunday
This song is about a guy who is great with girls, while another guy is hopeless with them. The first verse is all the advice the first guy is giving to the other about getting a certain girl. The rest of the song is him telling the guy to give up, he wants to give up with the girl the hopeless guy is chasing. In Taking Back Sunday tradition, the title has nothing to do with the song and doesn't appear in the lyrics.

'Cute Without The E (Cut from the team)' Taking Back Sunday
This song talks about a boy who finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him. He tells her that he already knows and will kill himself for her. The guy knows he's supposed to hate her but he doesn't. The album title comes from a line in the chorus of this song: "And will you tell all your friends, you've got your gun to my head. This all was only wishful thinking."

'The Small Print' Muse
Originally titled 'Action Faust' after the story of a man who sold his sold to the devil. There are many references to the devil such as "The priest God never paid" and "slave to the grave".

'Gold Teeth on a Bum' Dillinger Escape Plan
According to Wilson this song is about: "Keeping your priorities in order during an age when taking care of the luxuries and letting the necessities take care of themselves is often the default mode of thinking ourselves into proverbial corner".

'Counting 5,4,3,2,1' Thursday
In a letter sent to fans, it explained, "Geoff Rickly (lead singer, Thursday) lived in a small village for the start of his life and it was extremely boring, so he made a pact with a friend to leave someday for the big city. All his life he lived in this same house, surrounded by this same white fence. He swore he would get out, but his friend died on the train tracks (ties in with "Running From The Rain") in the town. He never left and this if Rickly's grief.

'Steps Ascending' Thursday
Lead singer Geoff Rickly told fans at a concert before he sang this song that it was about how he and his best friend at the time got into a fistfight and didn't speak for years. His best friend was shot in the head and killed while playing with a gun on vacation and Geoff never got a chance to apologize. He said he always had dreams of his friend running down the stairs of his attic where they used to hang out, hence the name "Steps Ascending."

'Change (In The House Of Flies) Deftones
Moreno: "It's a metaphorical song. You could take it in the literal sense of me watching someone turn into a fly and taking them home with me and pulling of their wings and laughing. It spawns from me being a complete a--hole and getting the complete repercussion for it by having my life taken away."

'Beware' Deftones
Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno told Kerrang! that this song is "a warning against the temptation of women, drugs, alcohol or any other vice. It's quite dark." Moreno was doing a lot of cocaine during the recording of their 2000 album White Pony (hence the title), and ended up on speed while they were making Saturday Night Wrist. Said Moreno: "I could work insane hours when I was on it. I could be in the studio for days coming up with great ideas, but when I went back to it none of it made any sense." After a year recording Saturday Night Wrist with producer Bob Ezrin, Chino Moreno got frustrated and left to work on his side project, Team Sleep. "Beware" was the first song the band wrote when he returned. In Ezrin's place, Shaun Lopez picked up production of the album.

'Hole in the Earth' Deftones
Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno explained that this song is a reference to the turmoil they went through making the Saturday Night Wrist album. About a year into recording, Moreno felt it wasn't up to standard and started putting his efforts into his ambient music side project, Team Sleep. Moreno was also going through a divorce and doing a lot of speed, which didn't help. "Hole in the Earth" was Moreno's way of addressing that challenges he and his bandmates faced to make the record. Chino says he didn't explain his lyrics to the band until after the album was recorded. This was the first single released from Saturday Night Wrist. The album title is a reference to a medical condition one of Moreno's friends suffered called Saturday Night Palsy, which is caused by sleeping with your arm over a chair or with someone lying on it - typically the person has passed out drunk when this happens. A notable victim of this condition is Dave Mustaine from Megadeth.

'Manic Depression' Jimi Hendrix
The song's name, "Manic Depression," is an old name for bipolar disorder, a mental health disorder. There is no evidence the Hendrix ever suffered from bipolar disorder himself. Hendrix was doing a press conference in London and his manager at the time, Chas Chandler, told him that he sounded like a manic depressive. So the next day Hendrix wrote this tune. In this song, Hendrix sings of despair and confusion, and wonders just what kind of world this is anyway. His protective haven from the chaos is "music, sweet music." This is one of the more unusual songs performed in 3/4 Waltz time.

Devon M

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Devon drives to Infiniti and beyond

File:Infiniti FX50 S (S51, Facelift) – Frontansicht, 28. April 2012, Düsseldorf.jpg

In your face styling, sports car handling and refinement that can go toe-to-toe with some of the prestige German rivals. The Infiniti FX is one of those 4x4s that really makes you wonder, what is it really made for? Let's find out. 

Likes: In your face styling, powerful range of engines, handles well with decent steering feedback. 

Dislikes: Ride comfort is too firm, interior is on the cramped side and the boot is small. Prices can sky rocket very quickly too. 

Performance: There's two engines offered for the FX. A 3.5-liter six-cylinder with 303hp and a 5-liter eight-cylinder with 390hp. Depending on the depths of your wallet, we'd recommend sticking with the all-wheel-drive six-cylinder engine. It's smooth, flexible and offers decent kit for the money. The eight-cylinder racks in a higher asking price that may seem a bit steep. 

Ride & Handling: The FX can't match the agility of an X5, but it corners really well. Showing good body control and quick steering. Ride comfort is on the firm side. You'll feel way to much surface at all speeds and some bumps sends jolts through out the cabin. 

Refinement: The engines are refined and smooth when traveling at city speeds, extend your foot down on the motorway and you'll be greeted with a lovely snarl from both engines. Wind noise isn't an issue, but with the massive tires you'll hear road noise. If you option for the 21 inch alloys, you'll hear suspension clatter too. 

Behind the wheel: The seats and steering wheel adjust electrically in all version, so you won't have any problem getting comfortable. The multimedia system takes a little getting used to. Visibility at both the front and rear isn't great. The slopping roofline causes blind spots for parking and pulling into merging on to motorways. 

Space & Practicality: The FX is a nicely sized 4x4, so you'd think the cabin would be nice and roomy? Think again! The FX is tight for both front and rear passengers, meaning adults won't be able to spread themselves out. The boot isn't as big as you'd expect, the rear seats fold flat to extend cargo. 

Equipment: The  FX comes well equipped for the money. Push button start, leather appointed interior, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview parking camera comes standard. Top of the range adds 21 inch alloy wheels, navigation system, heated and cooled leather seats and a quilted leather appointed steering wheel. 

Buying & Owning: Whichever FX you choose, both won't be cheap to buy. Running costs will be high thanks to low fuel economy. However, your investments will be protected thanks to strong resale value and residual value. 

Quality & reliability: Many materials feel posh and high class. Although it can't quite match the prestige of its German rivals. Many of Infiniti mechanical bits are built by Nissan. Which means the FX will be worry free in terms of build quality. 

Safety & Security: Stability control comes across the range to help keep you out of trouble. You'll have to step up to the mid-range and top of the range trim levels to get four-wheel-drive. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard as well as active head restraints. 

The FX offers great road handling and is one cracking car to drive on the motorway. It's quiet, smooth and offers decent pace no matter which engine you choose. However, the interior is cramped and the boot is small. The ride comfort is too firm and the larger alloys generates suspension clatter. If you can ignore a few of these downsides, the FX is a great alternate to the X5 and Volvo XC90.

Devon's Pick: FX37 strikes the perfect balance of performance and equipment. The all-wheel-drive helps aid in traction without sacraficing fuel economy too much. Plus its more affordable than the top of the range. 

Devon M 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Janus is back with 'Stains'

The Chicago based band first rocked the scene in 2009 with their major hit single 'Eyesore'. This song blended good vocals, nice instrumentals and a mini breakdown that sounded good. It was a pretty basic song in structure, but had a little extra that made it sound more unique. Now Janus has released a new single titled 'Stains'. Keeping in tradition to their popular hit song 'Eyesore', Janus as choosen the route of a song that has a nice uptempo feel. But what keeps you interested in the song is the interesting guitar riffs used. It almost fits the songs moody sound. David Scotney (lead vocals) does a great job at expressing his raw emotions through out the song. Even though at the chorus when he screams 'Stains' the song 'Eyesore' does come to mind at times. There are bits of eletronica sounds that can be heard when he's screaming 'Stains' which doesn't sound over the top, but it does sound a bit strange. This is one of the more interesting tracks from the band, and we hope that the next album takes on this new sound. It's not radical but it does bring a new light for the band. 

Devon M