Monday, January 22, 2024


 I really enjoy driving and owning TOYOTA cars.  My first Toyota Prius was ordered and shipped from Japan.  I remember driving as far as Marine county to order the car.  It was pretty big deal to change from gas driven car to an Hybrid. I saw the tax break during income tax reporting for purchasing eco friendly cars, and I wanted to trade in my Plymouth Voyager SE mini-van 1995 with 404,400 miles.  I put so much money into fixing this and that, and it finally became a burden.  I got my Toyota Hybrid with $250 down.  Waited 2 months for the shipment to arrive.  I really enjoyed the JBL speaker systems while I am driving.   Thus far I've owned 3 generations of Prius Hybrids.  Two Prius Plus,  Prius II Eco, Prius Prime.  The best gas mileage I had was with Prius Prime.  It was saving me gas by driving 65 to 100+ MPGe.
My first one was a Silver Prius Plus Hybrid.  It was a bit nerve wrecking when I saw the electric charge gauge goes down almost to 0 when stuck in after work commute.  Hoping the car would start moving to recharge itself.  The 2nd Silver Prius was much better in regenerating power.  Prius II Eco had a strange looking tail light design, but it gave me a good 65+ MPGe with at least 25 mile to 28 miles to a charge depending on the season of the year.
Prius prime came with the better looking tail light design but don't know why they bent the center of the trunk cover.  It made it look like the Japanese "TANUKI" - racoon like eyes.  But I love its power brake, power drive mode, etc.  I get 28 to 31 miles per charge in electric mode, then, gas/hybrid.  I noticed if I maintain good speed at full tank of gas, and it just finished getting full charge of 25+, when the meter reads it is driving at 100 or 90 or 80 MPGe, I can drive close to 650 - 800 miles in single full tank.
Too bad I lost the Prius Prime when someone rear ended me because they didn't restrain their dog and jumped on the driver.
So, I end up with Toyota Tacoma in May of 2023.  Well, officially, in May, that I feel okay to start driving out normally.  Accident trauma really give you a bad feeling to even thinking of driving out to the grocery store - to drive or walk.
If you need a truck, ask for Mo at Elk Grove Toyota.  He will help you nicely.   Not so much with the Finance guy though.  Terrible interest rate - compared to 0% for all my Prius I had.  On top of it, even though my Tacoma is beautiful, it is a gas guzzler!!!  I felt guilty each time I turn it on.  Best I get is 30 miles to a gallon and averaging 22 miles/g on the highway.  But I could not get any car 1st quarter of 2023.  No dealers had Prius Prime nor any other eco-friendly car readily available in the lot.  And the finance interest rates were skyrocketing.
 I was really stressed each time when I see the gas meter going down.  But so good about TOYOTA car is the safety RADAR system - if I am not mistaken or maybe it's a photo sensors.  My experience driving Toyota car in cruise control is like as though I am driving a Driverless car half way.  The radar sensor system of the Toyota car compared to my new Tesla Model Y 2023's photo sensors are much superior, I think.  Toyota's early collision warning is more "for sure" stoppage during cruise control driving or regular driving.  Lane change warning is really great feature, too.  During TESLAS's Autopilot driverless drive, it tries to change lane in "confusion".  It speeds up when I would not even try based on my judgement.  It requires two hands on the wheel at all time or it will prompt you to do so and with a better grip.  It's bit more stressful because I have to watch this toddler from running off and predict it or stop it from doing it's own thing.  Maybe I am doing it all wrong.  LOL.   It turns on the turn signal at a slight 'situation' it senses that I don't know what for, and I have to try to turn off the turn signal.  Toyota car has tracker to keep your car's distance three or two or one car distances away.  I am not an expert in the Toyota car specifications, but with my new Tesla, I noticed, there is no control to tell it to stay 3 car distances behind during Autopilot driverless mode.  I noticed Tesla would get closer to the car in the front to 'feel' it's distance.  When I am driving Toyota, I can feel it's precise control because it has much more stronger superior radar sensor???  I am not sure if that is true or correct, but I sure feel safer driving in Toyota with Cruise Control than in the Tesla Model Y.  I also like in Toyota car can detect your phone's applications and auto synch with them when you connect your smartphone connected to the USB cable to the car's USB port.  My TACOMA didn't come with a navigation unit like in Prius Prime, but my friend told me that all Japanese car can recognize your smart phone connected with USB cable.  It enable the car to connect "Android Auto".  Then, you will see your phone's app on the Tacoma or any Toyota cars with screen and USB port.  You can select WAZE or Map and display the Map on the screen and even hear the voice  of the map direction read out loud.  Really cool.  At first, I thought I had to download this and that app when I was searching why my Tacoma has a "MAP" button, and a display screen, but no map.  So, this tip about connecting your smartphone with USB cable to any Japanese car with display screen and USB port is a super plus.  As for TACOMA's backup cameras, they help me back TACOMA into a  tight garage space perfectly.  It's really helpful and cool.  The first day when I tried to park TACOMA into garage, I had my neighbor direct me back into garage.  Then, I found the button to turn on the feature.  I can squeeze my TACOMA into garage without hitting anything. 
 It has top view, side view, and rear view clearly. As for Tesla, I didn't realize that its body is wider than TACOMA??? can't be.  It's really challenging to drive the TESLA back into garage. It takes some practice to get used to it's "fuzzy foggy grey" cloud like interpretation of surrounding of garage and display of Reddish Orange glare on the screen to show that your car body is 'really close' to objects in garage.  It beeps distinctly to warn you that the car's body is really getting close to objects.  The other left or right cameras would display actual view of the surroundings in screen.  I still need some time to get used to TESLA's display control features and learn to adjust the control screen.  My Tesla came with long range dual motor, capable of charging and driving 330 miles.  That is the sale point for me.  I need a EV to drive round trip without charging Sacramento to San Jose.
.  There are lot of potential for TESLA, but needs work.  It's been around for 20? years now or since I last recall visiting their Los Altos' office when TESLA was still in the R&D.  It could do a better job in the radar and sensor system.  Make the screen FONTS larger?  or maybe I can change it?   Display the control more esthetically organized for drivers.  When, the car is stopped, Various menu is displayed.
Once it is all set and it is in drive mode, it should show only what driver really need to see - in a larger Font and Icons.  If the driver needs to view something, then, the driver can use the scrollers on the wheel to select. I still haven't figured out how to manipulate the menu with those two scroll buttons on the wheel. One for the volume on the left, and the right one is for the menu control and voice command control, I think.  Tesla could move and add few more buttons on the driver's wheel, so the driver is not distracted to reach for the screen to select or deselect features. For now, I enjoy driving Tesla to go places because it can charge up to 330 miles and don't have to pay $70 for 10 gallons of gas.  Supercharging stations are everywhere.  But I have to be mindful to calculate the amount of  charging time during the trip and make sure the charging station is located in a safe area.    Even with "supercharging" station, it takes 40 min to charge from 118 miles to 245 miles.   I hope Toyota will manufacture a full electric car that drive at least 450 miles.  That will be awesome.  In the meantime, my Tesla will be my chariot till then.

Friday, January 12, 2024


 During 2023 Holiday, I purchased another kitchen gadget - GOURMIA brand FoodStation - Smokeless Grill, Griddle, and Air Fryer that can also dehydrate, etc.  I want to give Gourmia another try.  The last  countertop Gourmia 7-qt Digital Air Fryer Oven failed badly on the TEFLON coated basket.  It fumed badly during cooking.  It transferred the Teflon burn smell to the food.  This FoodStation - Smokeless Grill, Griddle, and Air Fryer seem to have a different non-stick coating.  Still emit fume, I think. I am not sure if it is carcinogenic since I have not checked online for data.  The built-in smoke ventilator seems to suck out the fume.  I was attracted to the indoor grill and smokeless features.  I want grill at the table or at the kitchen counter and enjoy a meal quickly.  The cleaning is easy.  I thought "all those trays!" for Grill and Griddle, and Air Fryer.... it must be a lot of work cleaning.  It did not take up a lot of time to clean. I like the glass cover over it to help from splattering or just enjoy watching the food getting cook. So, this is a keeper for this time.  And Yes, I did change my comments here since the first posting. I discovered Teflon fuming more obvious in the last couple of tries.  Gourmia can work on different types of non-stick coating or just plain and simple - use no coating stainless steel - that will be the best.  Comparing to my InstantPot... Well, I think I like Gourmia's smokeless grill better than the InstantPot. Easier access. Funny thing is that I already tried grilling and air frying with the Gourmia, and I had fun using it.  I used InstantPot to make Yogurt, Flan, and making stew... I guess I keep both.
Groumia FoodStation out of box. A side view.

Grilling marinated Flank Steaks
It's a treat in Winter time to have grilled meat.

Monday, January 01, 2024


 It's really fun to get together to make MOCHI.
Watch it!, it's dead hot Sweet MOCHI.  Everyone ready to Roll!
The new modern way to make MOCHI ... well, it's been around for 50 years, but,  the old way is quite fun, too.
Did someone sneak in cheese dip as filling instead of Red Beans?  LOL.
While waiting for more MOCHI to turn out from the MOCHI machine,
A Self-Portrait
A Froggy
A Mochi
The frog
Mr. Snail
Sponge Bob... is the MOCHI ready, yet?
Here we go, Quick before it cools off completely.
Nice Work Everyone!!
Who is the lucky person to get DAIFUKU MOCHI with the Cheese Dip??
All Done - 20 lbs of Sweet Rice into 60+ some MOCHI.  Happy New Year!! Everyone.