Archive for the 'cruise' Category

by mkeefe on Aug 5th, 2015

One Year With a BMW M3

Photo Credit: B.Davis Photography

Time certainly flies, i’ve now owned the M3 for a little over one year. In that year i’ve spent money on track days, autocross events, rallies, car shows, repairs, mods, ticket :( and insurance. I figured I would take a moment and go over my experiences with each category.

Taking the M3 to it’s natural habitat… the track!

Earlier this year I was invited to a Porsche sponsored track day at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. This was my first time going to a track (besides NASCAR) and naturally the first time i’d be taking my car on the track. After a quick classroom session, we strapped on our helmets, got in and did some follow the leader style track driving. The amount of knowledge I gathered in a few short runs was mind-melting. I recommend anyone interested in sports cars to attend at least one track day in their life.

Photo Credit: Porsche of Westwood

Autocross took a back seat

Here we are in August and i’ve only attended one autocross event. This is due in part to work obligations, family trips and attending more community driven events (car shows and rides) that in previous years. I did manage to get my only ticket on the way to that autocross event though, so that will be a memorable event, for all the wrong reasons.

Rallies and Car Shows

Something about cars, octane, coffee (which I do not drink) and great people makes Cars & Coffee a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I’m very fortunate to live about 15 minutes from Larz Anderson Auto Museum which hosts the greatest C&C in the area. Over the year i’ve made some great friends, contacts and even landed a few clients.

In addition to C&C, i’ve also attended a few car rallies, which is basically an event that car folks gather, drive to a destination and grab some food. It’s not a race or a timed event, once again great people and nice cars. What’s not to love?

3 Day Rally Upcoming

Next week my wife and I will be attending our first multi-day rally to Canada. It will be quite the adventure, once again awesome cars and great people. One thing cars has created is a bond with other owners that no other hobby i’ve had seemed to.

Cost of Ownership

Aside from the track day and other car events, the TCO (total cost of ownership) on the M3 has been much higher than any of my other cars. However its all relative. Here is a short list of what i’ve had to do maintenance wise:

– Flush the differential fluid
– Replace side skirt
– 3x oil changes
– Repair adaptive headlights
– Replace inside trim pieces
– Wiper blades
– Tires (these go quick!)

As you can see, more than a typical family sedan, but the SPG (smiles per gallon) far outweigh the TCO for the past year.

Planned to Mod the M3 Over Time

Well I had planned to slowly mod the car over a few years of ownership, but that didn’t really work so well. In the past year i’ve changed the lights, intake, ECU tune, exhaust, tint and exterior trim pieces… to name a few. Part of the reason for modding was because i’m impatient, but it also allowed me to spend time looking over the car, working on it myself and just enjoying ownership more. I think i’m done modding for this season, but have already started a list for 2016.

What’s Next?

I’m at a crossroads right now, I want to keep the M3 a few more years, however the warranty expires in late 2016. Which of course means the cost for the years following will be much higher. I’d also like to try other cars, so far I have my eye on a few Porsches, Mercedes and even some older Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s. I guess time will tell on how long the M3 will be in the garage.

Bonus item: Washing, waxing and detailing is quite a lot of fun. Especially because I just learned about Chemical Guys products and all their gadgets. Here is a photo after hitting the car with a soap cannon.

by mkeefe on Jan 3rd, 2011

A look back on 2010

Just as soon as it began 2010 is now in the history books. Let me take a moment to reflect on some notable things that took place in 2010, both professional and personal.

It technically began in 2009 but on New Years eve I went to a Dane Cook show with my now girlfriend and what a show it was.

Fast forward to February which included a vacation to the Caribbean with family and friends where I was unaware at the time I would be doing the majority of my photography for the year. Overall the cruise was a great start to the New Year! I highly recommend you go on one at least once in your life.

The majority of Spring I spent working on various freelance projects and with awesome teams around the world. One notable project I got the opportunity to work on in the Spring was an interactive training module for an oil company, though I can’t speak any specifics on that project I can say it was fun!

Towards the start of summer I was invited to a Red Sox game where i’m almost certain no one remembers the score, but thats how you know it was a great time. As summer marched on I took a small break to Florida to see family and friends for a few days but ended up working on a bunch of projects while there.. kind of typical in the life of a freelancer.

When I returned home in late July I started officially working as a Flash developer with Litl in Boston where I had the opportunity to work on awesome Flash projects for their Litl webbook and other upcoming hardware. This was also the first time I had responded to a cold call from a talent agent, but something about Aquent (their parent) struck me right. I am still enrolled with Aquent and highly recommend them to professionals looking for new work or a new career.

In the Fall I flew out to Vegas for the annual PhotoshopWorld and got to meet a bunch of great people, including some I had spoke with via email/chat for the last few years. Rather than flying back home from Vegas I decided to make a stop in Colorado and spent some time with friends roughing it in the woods and shooting guns, two hobbies of mine.

When I finally returned home from my Vegas/Colorado travels I only had a few short weeks before I was on a plane to attend Adobe MAX for the first time in my life. Looking back I can’t believe I waited so long but I certainly picked the right MAX to attend with all the goodies given away by Google, Motorola, Adobe and even Blackberry. While in LA I also got the opportunity to speak at a mini conference on the subject of Flash mobile, which was a great time and can’t wait to speak again.

After returning home from MAX I decided to work on a few personal goals and in doing so I got my motorcycle permit, took a class and ended up receiving my motorcycle license. I also obtained (after much hoop jumping) my LTC gun permit. Don’t be concerned though, I am not running off to join a motorcycle club/gang.. I just love guns and bikes.

On a strictly personal topic I also celebrated 6 months with my girlfriend, got to spend the holidays together and even celebrated the arrival of 2011 on the Boston waterfront with friends this past weekend.

I also took a 13 day vacation to where else? Florida! I imagine one day I will move there, I guess we’ll see.

In all 2010 was a great year, I progressed my business towards bigger and better projects, checked off personal achievements and got to travel around the country. This of course only means 2011 will be even bigger and I am not wasting any time either. In early 2011 I am launching a bunch of website applications, mobile apps/updates and opening a new company with my good friend Phil whose graphics work you have seen in much of my client work for many years now.

So there you have it, how was your 2010? Lets hear it.. and on to 2011 and all it has in store for us all.

by mkeefe on Feb 24th, 2010

Back on dry land – Cruise Recap

As you may know I have just returned from a 9 Day cruise to the South Caribbean with my family. I wanted to take this time to talk about the trip much like I did a few years back when I went to Japan. Whether you have cruised or are thinking about it I hope you find this information interesting and useful.

Norwegian Dawn (NCL)
This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare the ship to, but I do know there was a lot to explore and spend time with. On the ship you will find a few clubs, many restaurants and even a theater. Throughout the week we took in many shows ranging from comedy to 60s celebrations. There was a great amount of entertainment even beyond the ones we attended. Every night you will find each of the clubs/theaters feature some event, for all ages. Late at night the adults will find more “explicit” content such as comedy hours.

This particular boat was the home of hilarious comedian Dave Heenan. We actually had the chance to see him 3 times and each time he had us in fits of laughter. One time to the point where he noticed my aunts laugh and we told him (from the crowd) we were all from Boston. This of course opened the floor for many Boston jokes. As it turns out he plays Boston so I will be sure to see him again!

Of course food is a big topic on a cruise, after all everyone has to eat. Well the Dawn certainly doesn’t take this fact lightly. You will find all sorts of food choices ranging from buffet to gourmet steak in one of the premium restaurants. Over the course of the week we had the opportunity to eat at all but one restaurant on the ship. Each place has a speciality while the basics pretty much can be found at any of them. Our family made reservations on Valentines night at the Dawns Impressions, a wonderful italian restaurant that has one of the best Veal and Chicken dishes I have ever eaten!

Maybe shows and food aren’t your style, well the Dawn has you covered. You will find a pool, basketball court, driving range, kids center and even an ice cream bar all on the ship.

Now of course we didn’t spend 9 days on the boat (though some people actually do). We decided to book an adventure at each of the ports of call, to ensure we got something specific to each island.

Sunday – Samana
Started with a boat ride through the Mangroves and then into a few caves for an in depth tour of historic carvings and stories. Our tour guide Mr. Kelly was very knowledgeable and let the group explore the caves while ensuring we stayed safe. It was actually so dark in the cave I shot all my photos at 1600 ISO with a 1/30 average shutter speed so they aren’t great, but still show the depth and sheer size of these caves.

After the boat tour we adventured into the city via a motorcycle pulled carriage and saw first hand how the poorest people live and survive. It not only was an eye opener to other parts of the world but really makes you thankful for all you have!

Monday – Tortola
Our tour guide Smitty let us get out throughout an open bus tour of Tortola to take photos of breathtaking beaches, mountains and even our cruise ship far down in the bay from a mountain top. It was nice to see each of the tour guides would cater to photographers as much of the tour had cameras. Of course just like any other tour I spent a good part of each stop taking photos for others, but i’m used to that. This was the first day I got to swim in the ocean, or more like swimming in a salt shaker. It was so salty (compared to the Atlantic) that you could actually become dehydrated.

Tuesday – Antigua
Coastal tour and party aboard a renovated pirate ship that served Caribbeans popular drink, Rum punch. Walked the plank and even took a few rides on the rope swing. Not too many photos on this part of the trip because I wanted to drink and swim. I do have a few from my Canon Elph and others my mom took from the dock as the pirate ship left.

Wednesday – Barbados
Nothing was planned this day just took it easy from a tiring time the day before. Stayed on the ship and photographed much of it.

Thursday – St. Kitts
The best port by far. We were taken on a tour of beautiful St. Kitts by our tour guide Mr. Mack. He took us through the town and didn’t leave one historic detail out. We then visited a park with a famous fabric creation that is particular to the Caribbean. After we boarded the bus and took a ride to a beach for some sun, food and Jet Ski riding. While on the island you need to find a cab to take you around but the previously mentioned Mr. Mack was kind enough to become our taxi driver for the remainder of the day at a great rate!

Final 2 Days on Ship
The final two days were spent on the ship headed back home. We took in a few great shows, slept in and ate like kings. One of shows was called Bollywood, an indian adventure with lots of aerobatics, smoke, lights and pretty good music. I actually would have enjoyed a soundtrack for purchase but there was none. I shot a quick video towards the end on my iPhone of the cast/crew farewell which was held after the Bollywood show.

Final Thoughts
People say a 9 day cruise is too long but I feel it was perfect. Just enough time on the islands and boat to not get bored. Of course if you don’t like spending hours at a show, comedy club, casino or restaurant than maybe you could become bored. However that wasn’t me and I can’t wait to set sail once again. For those who haven’t cruised be sure to bring larger clothes for the last few days and watch your alcohol consumption as it flows about the ship like water, you can buy it anywhere.. even at the pool!

I think my next destination will be Alaska or Hawaii!