mikegarcia25.com

22 August 2009

Drive The Discussion Exchange '09

From a short little advertising spot on Facebook, I found a link to Drive The Discussion, a website focusing on young Republicans and how to revitalize and refresh the look of the Republican party. Pretty cool concept, I guessed, because the stereotype is that Democrats are supposed to be young and hip, while Republicans are old and stuffy. Case in point - the candidates for the 2008 Presidential Election.

They were holding an "Exchange," a discussion-based event sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida on August 22nd, 2009. Since it was being held 15 minutes away from me, why not attend something like this? It was free, it was on a Saturday, and it was important to me. I never thought I would learn so much and be as motivated towards my future and the party I support after having attended this event.


It was being held at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL and I got there right on time at 10AM, and found out the speakers didn't go on until 1PM, but we were free to hang out, talk to other young Republicans aged 18-35, check out booths, etc. They had some cool raffles, t-shirts,frisbees and other freebies, and I was interested in what was going on and what we were going to hear.


At 1PM, the speakers started giving their brief speeches about who they were and why they were young conservatives. We heard from former Miss California / Miss USA first runner up Carrie Prejean, who, as you can see from this video, maintains her conservative position against gay marriage, something that most likely cost her the Miss USA crown. Also, 14 year old Jonathan Krohn, author of Define Conservatism (at age 13!), and one of the most politically educated young adults I have ever met.

We then heard from Todd Herman, Director of New Media for the Republican National Committee, and learned about how to get the message out about our views online - NOT through Facebook and Twitter (which aren't searched through Google searches), but through blogs like this very one you are reading! Facebook and Twitter are great for spreading the word amongst friends, unless you are one of my friends who hate hearing about politics, but they just don't get searched, and therefore, as was the case and still is, they don't help spread the word enough towards people looking for answers online. So get yourself a blog and start getting your views out there for others to hear!

Here's an example Todd produced - search "obama ama rejected" in Google, do this for yourself, I'm not providing a link to it, and see what you come up with. Notice the headline from the (currently) 4th listing by the "All Barack Channel" as Todd called it:

AMA Straddles the 'Public Plan' Option

Doctors' Group Remains Wary of Government-Based Health Care Option


Now how condemning does this sound towards the truth that the American Medical Association outright rejected Obama's plan? How does this even point the finger at Obama, or even the AMA, directly? Why are they so lax on Obama's plan towards FREE (read: socialized) HEALTH CARE, but just searching the word "Palin" on Google brings you to some of the most damning, offensive, ridiculous websites the internet has to offer, right at the top of the list! The point is, you have to search for quite some time to find anything controversial on Obama, using many different search terms to get you there, but just put in any Republican's name and voila, plenty of anti-conservative websites abound!

You can even follow Todd on Twitter like I am! My Twitter link is right here, in case you missed the new link to it on the menu bar on my main page - you must be granted permission to follow me though. Next, we got to hear from Matthias Shapiro (website | Twitter), creator of the 10,000 pennies video in which he visually represents how the Obama administration needs 90 days to figure out how to take $100M out of a $3.5T budget. Check out his other videos here and learn something about politics at the same time! He was even invited to Washington to meet with Michael Steele for his video, and a cool video of him during that event with Todd Herman can be found here.


Next we got to hear a panel discussion from young members of the Republican party talking about ways to get people active in politics and how they became interested in politics. Ranging from a CEO of a tech company who just found politics to be valuable to a 26 year old female lawyer running for mayor of Fort Myers, FL. Even young Jonathan Krohn from earlier got to speak more about his views, very powerful stuff for any age group!


Then the Exchange '09 came to an end with motivational and inspirational speaker
Bruce Jenner. Aside from being known by the gossip crowd as the step-father to the Kardashians, namely Kim who he said was the most Google'd name on the internet, he was the gold medalist in the 1976 Olympic Games for the Decathlon. He talked about reasons why he gave up so many years of his life to be the best in the world at doing something like winning the gold medal in the Olympics. Why would someone not work and focus on becoming a superstar in ten different events for the decathlon? Very powerful speech and had a great message for young Republicans to get motivated in things they believe wholeheartedly in.

While getting to meet and hear from such powerhouses as Jim Greer and Charlie Crist, the event was really focused on the younger crowd. Greer, while speaking to Crist, asked what demographic was the most important to pay attention to for the next election. Minorities, women, lower class, etc were all important demos, but one thing a lot of those have in common to are young adults, 18-35. They are the ones who played the most important role in the 2008 Presidential Election, and therefore must be a source of focus for the future.

This was a great event and I hope to participate in more just like it!

13 June 2009

Facebook Link

Facebook has updated their system to become a little more like Myspace in that you have your own username now to find people by. As if it wasn't easy enough to find me if you've been to this page before, what with the links to my page posted everywhere, you can now find me by going to:


Of course, the same rules apply - if I don't know you, I'm not adding you! I've got a lot more information about me there than I do on this blog and public website, so I'm not adding everyone and anyone under the sun...... simple condition: if I've met you and I can recognize your name when adding me as a friend (or you can do something to help me recognize), I'll add you! I'm not one of those lonely saps on a social network with over a thousand friends, just over 200 right now that I could tell you a lot about each one from knowing them for years or having conversations with them out and about!

18 April 2009

Celebration Exotic Car Show - 4.18.09

There are people even in this economy that are recession proof. From the yacht owner in the previous blog to the owners of these incredibly high end cars, if there's one thing for certain, it's that people who love their luxurious lifestyle find a way to be recession proof!

Let's compare this year and last at the Celebration Exotic Car Show, hosted by the Make-A-Wish foundation, in Celebration, FL. Last year there were three $1.8M Bugatti Veyrons, this year, there was only one. Poor economy to blame? Hardly - there were just as many high-end cars there this year, though the quality of them wasn't as good. Going back through the pictures from last year:


and then comparing them to this year:


You won't see the Maserati MC12, the yellow Enzo, or the two missing Veyrons (the red Enzo was there, just not pictured this year), but people like Michael Fux, founder of Sleep Innovations, selling the company, company declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and now becomes CEO of it during the reinstatement, sure had a lot of vehicles I've not seen before going to these exotic car shows in Florida. I've read that his white-on-white Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano has been a big hit in previous shows that I've not seen, as was the yellow-on-yellow Rolls Royce Drophead convertible that were at this show. Some even talk about seeing the $2M Ferrari FXX or the Aston Martin DB9R he partnered with Bell Motorsports on, but he didn't bring those to this show!

Missing from this show was the two Ariel Atoms from last year, but the Ferrari F40 and F50 made a return. The yellow Drophead was the only one there this year, there were two others last year too. So like I said, the quality dropped off a bit, but there were even more "celebrity cars" than last year - the original Batmobile, the Munster Coach, and the Monkey Mobile weren't there last year, nor were all the Star Wars characters (unless they were there before I got there last year, a possibility). Vendor booths weren't as wild this year, but there were still some great companies represented. All in all it was a great show, check out the pics at the links above if you missed it and want to be a part of the Florida exotic car show lifestyle that I certain love!

15 March 2009

Yacht Day in Palm Beach

My father was invited by an alumni of the boarding school he went to for a day out on his exquisite yacht up and down the Palm Beach shore. Pass it up? Yeah right!


There was more food on board than for a wedding of 100 people, and only 18 people were on board, not counting the crew.


It was a small boat, only 145-foot (sarcasm), and only costs between $95-105K per week to charter. In other words, our 2 hour expedition we took today ran at least $13,500. What recession???


For more information on the yacht, take a look at some old pics of it (and probably old pricing info as well) by checking it out here, and you can see my full list of pictures from today on my Picasa page by clicking here.

22 February 2009

Central FL Road Course / Kami Speed Track Day

Went out [very briefly] today for the Central Florida Road Course Meet and Greet track event sponsored by Kami Speed.


It was cool getting to see the new track in person, and getting a feel for it in the MINI. Called a "meet and greet," Kami Speed rented the track to promote their company name as well as get Central Floridians out on the new roadcourse. We got to do 4 "parade laps" where cars were very quickly inspected visually and drivers without safety helmets let loose on the track. I'm glad to say that by 1PM, there weren't any accidents!


Unfortunately though, there were too many ricers at the event, and cars like the one in front of me in the picture above were full of issues that I didn't want to be a part of. That 240's trunk lid wouldn't latch down, so under hard braking, it would open. And luckily nothing fell out to hit my car...... Other reports of mufflers falling off were relayed to me by track officials after finding out the owner used plastic washers to bolt the muffler to the exhaust pipe!

I still had a good time taking the MINI out on a track again, but next time I'll make sure it is more competitive and less rice!

20 February 2009

The 11 Most Expensive Catastrophes In History

my dad sent this to me after receiving it from the Mayor of Windermere, haha.... SCARY! # 11. Titanic - $150 Million

The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today ' s dollars).
11

# 10. Tanker Truck vs Bridge - $358 Million

On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany . The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.
10

# 9. MetroLink Crash - $500 Million

On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles . It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging.. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.
09

# 8. B-2 Bomber Crash - $1.4 Billion

Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we ' re only #7 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots were able to eject to safety.
08a

08b

# 7. Exxon Valdez - $2.5 Billion

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world ' s biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship ' s master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.
07

# 6. Piper Alpha Oil Rig - $3.4 Billion

The world ' s worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world ' s single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world ' s most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.

Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.
06

# 5. Challenger Explosion - $5.5 Billion

The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today ' s dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today ' s dollars).
05

# 4. Prestige Oil Spill - $12 Billion

On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia , Spain . Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.

According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.
04

# 3. Space Shuttle Columbia - $13 Billion

The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA ' s orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today ' s dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.

In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics..
03

# 2. Chernobyl - $200 Billion

On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster.. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl , including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.
02


# 1. 2008 Presidential Election- $800 Billion in the first two months………


THE ANTI-CHRIST

02 February 2009

Cars and Cafe - 1.31.09

Orlando Automotive Club (www.orlandoautomotiveclub.com) hosts a monthly car meet in Lake Mary, FL, and I've been attending the past two of them, meeting the awesome members, and getting to see some incredible cars. The president of the club, Ricky, is a cool cat I got to hang out with after the meet for lunch along with some of the other members, and we discussed me joining the club.
When you park next to cars like this, its kind of hard to stay focused on anything else going on in the world! The MINI next to a Porsche Carrera GT and a Nissan GT-R, or roughly $500K worth of cars to my right.....

I'll be attending
Cars for the Cure next weekend to support the American Lung Association of Florida, and will be parking with the other members of OAC! More pics like this soon to come!

01 February 2009

The REAL FastLane

Previously, I had all my information about my car(s) on this, my own personal website designated with my real name. Unfortunately, there were some internet trolls that obtained the link I had attached to my signature in certain online automotive forums who just couldn't deal with the fact that I had personal information on the website owned by me, and tried to publically chastise me for saying what I wanted or needed to say on my own damn site....

While they have been dealt with, the situation remained that I still had to take care of - separating my personal site with that of my cars. If you know me, you know my cars are an extension of me - I don't think a car defines a person, but the feeling I get by throwing the throttle to the floor around turns in the MINI certainly thrills me! Separating the sites meant having to buy a new domain just for the cars and not having any personal information on it, and not linking it back to here. Now, obviously, I can link THIS site to the site with the cars no problem, if you know this address, good for you, you already know who I am and what I'm all about!That's great, but what to call it? I started a business in college with a partner and named it "Fast Lane Tuning, Inc." where it could be shortened to FastLane, one word. Fast Lane Tuning dot com (no link to it because I don't own it any longer) was the original site address, and once that was lost mistakenly, it became The NEW FastLane dot com, where we focused the brand name just on MINI performance parts and accessories.

That was stolen from me by a guy my family and I trusted for many years before starting me out on a successful career path after graduating college, and after he turned out to be a fake and a thief in more ways than domain name theft, I lost that one too. So I came up with The REAL FastLane so no one would get the wrong idea. Plus, I was out of ideas, and hopefully I want to end up owning many fast cars during my lifetime, so it seemed fitting to keep FastLane closeby!

And there you have it!
Check out the site for pictures of my cars, past and present, and the work I did to them. Let me know what you think, thanks for reading!

main page update: BLOG!

Well, I've finally done it.... joined everyone else in the world and made a blog! But not just ANY blog.... one that is framed over my actual website. Take a look for yourself and follow along!
  • Check out the website address of this page - while you're actually viewing mikegarcia25.blogspot.com, it's framed over using the index.html file from my own website.
  • Check out the title bar of the page - it would normally read my blogger user name, but instead, it's that of my actual website.
  • Lastly, click on the links on the right hand bar under "other elements of my site." They link directly to other parts of my actual site and that of my cars' website, The REAL FastLane.
So there you have it. I can now update my homepage quicker and easier using blogging technology, and hopefully that means many of you will come back to it more often then to just see pictures of stuff, see what new firearms are in the safe, or how much more work I've done to my cars! Take a look back at some of the previous blogs I dated back in time before I had the blog (or the site for that matter) that were featured on my original style homepage. You can also leave comments to each one of my blogs, give it a try now (if you aren't a registered member, they will have to be approved by me before they are published, however) and let me know what you think of the changes or click on the "reaction" you choose, thumbs up or thumbs down!