Archive for the ‘Long Island’ Category

Eastern Brown Pelican spotted flying in Port Jefferson, NY

This evening September 15th, 2011 around 6:30 pm we had a power outage here in Port Jefferson, NY. After seeing a local LIPA truck near Mather Hospital earlier, I assumed they were fixing the lines, so I ended up going outside to see what was up and bumped into two neighbors that came out for a walk to see what was happening as well. It is amazing when the power goes out, people actually talk to each other, go figure. We were talking about the power lines and the damage from hurricane Irene and how burying the power lines would potentially lessen the occurrences of power outages and in the process preserve nature’s views. We were talking about nature and local wildlife, deers and such, and my November 11th 2008 at 11:30 pm amazing sighting of an eastern cougar (mountain lion) on our property here in Port Jefferson. I will call him the Port Jeff Panther, or the Puma of Port Jefferson, or Casey the Cougar after yours truly. I did report this amazing sighting to New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, but nothing came of it to my knowledge, I hoped he would have been be protected and re-released into the wild. I was mentioning to the guys about the recent mountain lion sightings in Greenwich Connecticut and the one cougar that was hit and killed by an SUV in June across the Long Island Sound in Milford Connecticut this summer; Google it.

As I was looking up at the power lines talking about what would appear to be strange unusual sittings of large cats, low and behold, as I was saying that, I witnessed what appeared to be a small Pterodactyl. You say what? A small dinosaur bird, I swear it kind of looked like it. It was not a hawk, as I have see plenty in Southern New Jersey, some very large that cast huge shadows when flying above, what a sight! But this wasn’t even close; this had a huge wing span of over 5 feet. It was darkish brown and looked like it could have been a pelican. A pelican right above the treetops that swooped and glided above and over me and the neighbors, of course the older guys were facing the opposite direction and were too slow to turn around and see it. I was like “did you guys see that” and I chased it, then it flew out of view over the trees. Holy cow! What was that? A huge bird that looked like a Pterodactyl or pelican? Unreal, and I told the guys they needed to pay attention to their surroundings even in suburbia, and always look up; you never know what you might see.

After we went back to our houses and once the power came back on, I hit the computer and did a little research to find out what type of bird it was. Turns out, it was most likely an Eastern Brown Pelican, cool! What they’re doing on the North Shore of Long Island, I don’t know, but maybe global warming and climate change is to blame, and maybe the hurricanes off the Atlantic coast has brought them this far north extending their range. Why am I seeing these unusual sighting you ask, well I am known for my keen eye and my situational awareness. Just keep your eyes pealed; you never know what you will see, but first you need to get off the computer and go outside.

Success! BBC America: Top Gear UK on Cablevision / Optimum TV

Success!!! BBC America: Top Gear UK on Cablevision / Optimum TV – request granted!

BBC America

BBC America on Cablevision / Optimum TV – request granted!


Thanks Altice USA / Cablevision / Optimum TV for finally providing the BBC America channel to your cable consumers here in New York State, the media capital of the world, supposedly. For years we were denied the BBC America channel, which features the best show on television, the original Top Gear UK and the newly added James Mays Drinks to Great Brittan. Before I had to go out-of-state just to catch up on old episodes on Comcast – On Demand. I since have requested multiple channels, such as Outdoor Life Network (OLN) now know as Verses, so us cycling enthusiasts could watch the amazing live daily Tour De France coverage from the live global feed and the Dakar Rally, and HD Theater to get the Isle of Man TT yearly Motorcycle Race. Other channels I requested were the Green Channel, Style Channel, Science Channel, and the History International Channel, Rai Italian Channel which eventually Cablevision delivered on. This all took a long while to make these programming channel requests and to finally get them in the channel line-up. Cablevision as a company and cable provider is extremely slow to act when it comes to providing their loyal subscribers with new and up-and-coming Channels.

But if you want to create change and awareness for your community, so that it leads to action and a better quality of life and in this case quality programming, you need to take action and be persistent and go through the right official channels in order to get your concerns and requests voiced. After making multiple phone calls, I decided recently to write a blog about it here on the GOBBI Blog regarding the channel request and bam! What do you know, it worked! Instant results.

Town Improvements & Suggestions Granted!

I am thrilled to report that other recent Requests & Suggestions regarding local matters made by yours truly have also been met with success!

The Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson finally went Green by implementing a Recycling program in the heavily trafficked business district, which is frequented year round by locals and tourists alike. This will help keep our environment and village clean from the ever-growing carelessly discarded plastic bottle epidemic. I already see results with the new strategically placed solar recycling receptacles. Also lobbing for the New York State Bottle Bill helped out; now all water bottles sold in New York State are $.05 redeemable. Hopefully that will make a big dent with the cans and bottle that are strewn everywhere along Long Island’s roadsides and beaches.

I can’t forget the addition on all Port Jefferson Village downtown storm drains “Do Not Pollute – Runoff leads to the Long Island Sound” medallions, courtesy of New York (NY) County Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher [Suffolk County]; thanks Vivan!

Another request I made, which is finally underway, was to update the infrastructure and repave Route 112, a neglected New York State main roadway. Along with updating and repaving the road, the addition of bike lanes and signage for the two-wheeled crowd, so that we can all share the roads safely, are finally coming soon to Port Jefferson Station, Terryville and Coram. Another request met was the installation of shiny new larger more legible eyelevel road signs that are super cool; thanks NY State (Highway Department) lets continue these upgrades to all other New York State and Long Island roadways.

Port Jefferson’s Post Offices – Updating, request granted! Two local Port Jefferson and Port Jefferson Station Post Offices recently had a nice coat of white paint that really brightened up the neglected and dingy highly trafficked post offices. Also I requested recycling receptacles, and well the U.S. Postal Service Consumer Affairs Dept. delivered, so thanks, it make for a more present postal experience.

And two more request granted: Port Jefferson train track crossings repairs have been made on Main Street; thanks LIRR. And I don’t want to forget a 5-year long battle to get a local Port Jefferson Village road, Pine Hill Road, which was in desperate need of new drainage instructor and repaving, is finally under construction.

So basically, you can make a difference if you put the effort in and talk to the right agencies to improve your town and community. Hopefully the improvements listed here will create a domino effect on Port Jefferson’s Main Street, with the infrastructure improvements hopefully it will bring back businesses and improve quality of life for all.

Wanted: BBC America Channel on Cablevision / Optimum TV!

The best show on television by far is the original Top Gear UK. Unfortunately, here on Long Island NY, Altice USA: Cablevison / Optimum TV our local cable provider does not carry the BBC America in their channel line-up. So to get my Top Gear fix, I have to travel to New Jersey and Pennsylvania to view it on Comcast cable.

I’ve been making requests to Cablevision / Optimum TV for years now to carry the BBC America channel, for their great programming and fantastic television shows.

BBC America

BBC America on Cablevision / Optimum TV – request!


BBC America has been airing Top Gear UK for years now, and is the premier show for car / auto enthusiasts and speed junkies. They showcase pretty much every car and transportation vehicle on the planet and it’s incredibly entertaining. The rapport between the hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, James May (AKA: Captain Slow) and Richard Hammond is authentic and hilariously funny.

I know there is now an American version of Top Gear airing on the History Channel, but it doesn’t stack up the United Kingdom version and seems more like a cheap knock-off. Despite slight improvement with the second season, I still would rather watch the original genuine UK version.

So Cablevision, this is a programming request, please bring the BBC America to your channel line-up, ASAP!

2011 BMW M3 Competition Package “Whole Lotta Love”

Last fall in October on a Sunday afternoon, I was cordially invited to test-drive a 2011 BMW M at a BMW M Power Tour event held at the Vanderbilt Museum located on Long Island’s scenic North Shore. Among the cars, I had the options of choosing the 2011 M3 Coupe, M3 Coupe Competition Package, M3 Convertible, M3 Sedan, X5M or the X6M to test drive.

2010 BMW M Power Tour

2010 BMW M Power Tour | Vanderbilt Museum on Long Island, NY


As I approached the line up of cars, there she sat sparkling in the afternoon sunlight … a brand spanking new 2011 Space Gray Metallic M3 Coupe with Competition Package. With her engine warmed up and ready to go, I opened the driver side door and slid into the comfortable Fox Red Novillo Leather body hugging M sport seats and once situated, closed the hefty door with that typical BMW thump. After making some minor electronic seat adjustments and minor tweaks to the side and rearview mirrors, I was ready to go. [Compared to the E90 3 Series w/Sport Package, if you like a full range of seat adjustments, I recommend going with the manual control option, however with the E92 M3’s you have perfect full electronic seat adjustability.]

2011 M3 Coupe Competition Package

2010 BMW M Power Tour: 2011 BMW M’s

2011 M3 Coupe Competition Package

2010 BMW M Power Tour: 2011 M3 Coupe Competition Package


Before I started her up, I had to sign my life away and listen to a brief rundown of the controls from the M tour guide. However the sound of his voice quickly faded away as thoughts of sheer bliss entered my mind at the thought of driving this well-engineered machine. As soon as the tour guide ended his spiel, I pressed the start button to hear her come alive with an unfamiliar slight growl. I then took a glance down to familiarize myself with the new M DCT – 7 S-speed M Double Clutch Transmission shift lever. I tapped the lever over to the left into reverse, then tapped it over to the right for automatic mode and then got on my way.

As I rolled out of the parking lot, I came to a complete stop, looked both ways, and it was as if the seas had parted right in front of me, kind of like the feeling you get after buying a new sports car and driving it off the lot for the first time, but without the guilt. I slowly pressed the accelerator and off she went. Taking it easy at first on the residential roads, I soon came to a main intersection only to see flashing lights where another participant in a Melbourne Red Metallic X6M was pulled over. I slightly laughed knowing they were getting a speeding ticket and soon passed them hoping I would not encounter the same fate.

As I continued on to a main road riddled with Sunday drivers, I began to familiarize myself with the new iDrive system and sat nav, only to find how incredibly easy they were to operate. Even though I feel the screen is adequate in size, I would still like to see it slightly bigger in future models. With a simple twist and a gentle tap, all the controls and viewing options were at my fingertips. Typical with BMW’s cockpit and dashboard designs there is absolutely no distractions, pure simplicity, no BS – the way it should be. As I began searching for some good tunes on the crystal clear HD Radio, a familiar guitar riff; than-na-na-a’, then base than-na-na-a’, along with Robert Plants voice came out of the speakers – “You need coolin’, baby, I’m not foolin’, I’m gonna send ya back to schoolin’, Way down inside, a-honey, you need it. I’m gonna give you my love. I’m gonna give you my love, oh!!! Wanna whole lotta love, Wanna whole lotta love…” and with that, the car took control of me and the traffic around me suddenly dispersed and I found myself accelerating quickly accompanied by the roaring sound of the V8 engine. Right then and there I was in love, head over heals in love! With the wind in my hair, I was in a state of pure Zen and lost myself in the thrill of the ride. The ergonomics were perfect… the M sports seats wrapped around me like a glove and the beefy yet supple leather wrapped M steering wheel felt just right in my hands. All the while, without missing a beat, the Enhanced Premium Sound audio system vehicle-speed-sensitive equalization raised the volume of the music ever so slightly compensating for the sound of the V8, keeping the music totally crisp and kick ass.

I was on the clock and was running late getting back to the Vanderbilt Mansion, so I hit a nice long open stretch of road with an gradual incline and accelerated only to find myself flying past other cars. At one point, a motorcyclist was hitting the throttle hard as well, and I made sure to pass him cleanly only to notice he did a double take as I did so. The acceleration was nothing but clean and smooth. I quickly reached the top of the incline and was pleasantly surprised at how quick she was once on an open road. Now I get the Dr. Jekyll meets Mr. Hyde aspect of this Bavarian engineered muscle car. The E92 M3 is unassuming, even quiet as she passes you by at a crawl ever so stealthily, but beware what lies underneath, she definitely has a case of go-juice in her and is ok for the girlfriend or wife to make the trip to the grocery store, but expect her to have some fun on the way their.

It was time to back track. With John Bonham’s thumping 26″ base drum beat pumping out of the speakers “My, my, my, my/Ahh. Oh, shake for me, girl. I wanna be your backdoor man-a. Hey, oh, hey, oh/Ahh. Hey, oh, oooh. Oh, oh, oh, oh…” I began the decent after reaching the top of the incline, I stepped on it and down she flew, just like a rollercoaster ride. With very precise handling and acceleration, this baby was quick. After a couple of big swooping turns, I soon found myself back in stop-and-go traffic and put her into automatic mode to see how she performed only to find she passed with flying colors. The automatic mode will certainly come in handy for those who are manual-clutch challenged. I was a bit leery of the new M DCT – 7 S-speed M Double Clutch Transmission and having never driven the previous SMG, I had nothing really to compare it to. Unfortunately with M cars, you can’t usually test-drive them at a dealership, because typically they are unavailable to test drive, so you can’t compare transmissions. After driving manuals for most of my life and also experiencing BMW’s amazingly smooth Steptronic automatic transmission, I always wished there was something in-between, but now I can tell you this M3 has it! The M DCT is intuitive, the “flappy-paddle gearbox” is a piece-of-cake to use, yet easy to drive especially in traffic and will only get better as technology advances. The best of both worlds, I’m now a convert.

Time is quickly ticking away, I head directly back to be on time, but what is the fun of that? I think it is time for the old school “Super-GOBBI Lap” as I was known for doing back in the day. So I took a peek at the sat nav and took a right turn to head towards the water on a desolate back road. What a perfect back road it was to really put the M3 through its paces before heading back. Two shaded lanes of tarmac with some twists and a nice straight run with some dips. This is where I shut off the radio and lowered the windows more so I can hear the V8 doing its thing. The straightaway came up quick, so I decided to gradually punch it, and man she took off fast and was still climbing as I pressed the accelerator pedal. She never shook or wavered; the 19-inch forged alloy wheels in conjunction with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) made for perfect stable thrust forward. Not wanting to take my eyes off the road to glance at the speedometer, she kept climbing with no foreseen plateau, I had to tell my brain to physically take my foot off the accelerator as I dipped down fast approaching an old train bridge. It felt like the car had no limit, I was a little taken aback. Expecting the power to max out a bit, but no-sir-ree-bob she wanted to keep going even if the road didn’t. I eventually hit the beach then turned around for a repeat and I took it a little easier on the return run through the under pass.

Well I made my way back using the on-board navigation, it worked seamlessly I might add. Back to the pothole riddled main roads, and the one thing that totally blew me away was the M3’s handling of the neglected Suffolk County roads. It was due to the amazing Electronic Dampening Control suspension and the 19” wheels that just simply glided over the bumps and potholes. This was the same road I took earlier in the day to get to the M Power Tour event which made my own car shake and rattle, but with the M3 Coupe with Competition Package it made mince meat out of mole hills, it was like you were in an Lux SUV or something, very impressive. Compared to the standard M3 Coupe the Competition Package has enhanced handling and suspension tuning, and offers 1/2-inch wider wheels front and back, totally worth it!

M3 Coupe Competition, 19-Inch Y Spoke Wheels (Style 359M)

M3 Coupe Competition, 19-Inch Y Spoke Wheels (Style 359M)

M3 Convertible, 18-Inch M Double Spoke Wheels (Style 219M)

M3 Convertible, 18-Inch M Double Spoke Wheels (Style 219M)


[NOTE: The ride height of the M3 Competition Package was spot-on perfect. It stated in the M3 brochure that the Competition Package has a lower suspension by 10mm (0.39″) for enhanced aero-dynamics and in the brochure’s photo, it looks pretty low. But after driving her, I did not find this to be the case. The car was very stable at high speeds and also great on bumpy roads and I was confident that I would clear the imperfections in the road with no hesitation. In a side by side visual comparison, the ground clearance appears to be the same or slightly greater unlike the lower measurement stated in the brochure for the Competition Package than in the standard M3. The reason why I believe this is so is because the 19″ rims on the Competition Package raises the ride height compared to the 18″ rims. Personally, I actually prefer an increased ride height, so there is no hesitation entering and exiting driveways or parking lots that have a bit of a lip or going over bumps and pot holes on the road. The one thing I dislike about the E90 3 Series Sports Package is that only the front suspension is lowered. At 80 mph on nice flat, well maintained roads, the E90 3 Series Sports Package is a dream, however pulling in and out of driveways and going over bumps and other road imperfections causes me to slow down to a crawl or come to a complete stop which leaves me paranoid that I’m going to scratch the front air dam and under carriage. To my delight, this was not the case with the M3 Competition Package. I wish I had a tape measure on hand to confirm if what I saw visually was correct.]

I took it down a notch and made my way back to the Vanderbilt reluctantly, I could have drove her straight to the California coast, all I needed was a bigger water bottle and I would have been all good to go. Pulled into the parking lot and shut her down for a rest. I didn’t want to get out, but I had to turn the key over some time. It was love at first sight for me, and was like a brief passionate love affair, which rarely comes along.

The E90 3 Series with Sports Package is a great reliable car with sporting luxury but not over the top, but the well-balanced and performing Competition Package is how I feel the standard M3 Coupe should come equipped quite honestly. The E92 M3 Coupe is not the most exotic or sexy car on the planet but I feel it is the coolest because it can be your reliable daily driver, and when you feel like turning-and-burning you can. The Enhanced Premium Sound audio system is the best stock stereo I have heard in years and I am meticulous about sound quality being a drummer, so I like it loud at times and with good base, it delivers. However, I would like to see the volume boosted up 10%+ or so, but that’s me.

2011 M3 Coupe Competition Package

2011 M3 Coupe Competition Package


On the outside the M3 Coupe is shrouded in sleek business attire, but all rock star underneath the hood, I only wish she looked a little more aggressive inside and out to match her personality and price tag. A little more in your face M styling, but they are getting there. In my opinion the Competition Package should include the Carbon Front Air Dam and High-tech Carbon Rear Spoiler. M = More but how much more is it worth? The price jumped dramatically from the previous M3 and basically you can get two 3 Series for what they are charging, so I expect to get a little more bang-for-your-buck meaning interior styling. And why not, an undercarriage mounting point for a trailer hitch.

Truly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde share the same sole in this German engineered rear wheel drive machine. I was told by the heads of BMW M Division, that the M3 is 80% different then the standard 3 Series. So with that said it is an amazing automobile. For me it is the absolute perfect size car… well engineered and built, firm but totally comfortable and certainly a user-friendly badass daily driving vehicle. [Be aware she drinks a lot; so better fuel efficiency would be an improvement. NOTE: I did not have the new Auto Start Stop function on while driving.] *The one change I would make is to replace the summer tires with Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires so you can better handle 4-season driving, especially when it is your only ride. And maybe in the future we will finally see BMW make an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) M3 and M4 with M xDrive, because we need it here in New York with all the unpredictable weather we are now having, sound like a great idea to me.