DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Blaise On Stillwater’s Main Street

November 7, 2011 3:00 AM

dyr minn DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Blaise On Stillwater’s Main Street

“I am a registered Storm Spotter.”

The Ride
The Driver: Blaise
Car in Question: 2007 Dodge Caliber
Spotted at: Main Street, Stillwater, MN 55082
Odometer: 16,000
Cars Nickname: My Little Storm Chaser


Q: What is your favorite feature of this car?

A: Running down the list of things I wanted, I decided to get a storm-roof, not a sunroof, a storm-roof. That way I can open up the roof window, and if I am looking for cloud formations, I have a full 360-degree view. There are a lot of blind spots inside the car, so it’s nice to be able to poke your head out without getting out of the car.

Q: Storm-roof. I like that.

A: That’s my patent pending term.

Q: I will have to figure out how to type the R with a circle around it. So you like to keep an eye on the sky?

A: I am a registered Storm Spotter.

Q: What do Storm Spotters do?

A: We keep an eye of weather conditions. If we see a funnel cloud, tornado, debris on the ground, or flash flooding, we report our findings to the local authorities. This is different than Storm Chasers who like to get right in the middle of the action.

Q: How did you get interested in storm spotting?

A: After 9/11, I wanted to be more civically involved.

Q: How do you become a registered storm watcher?

A: In my case, I found out about it from the local ham radio club that I belong to.

Q: Did you think the movie Twister was good or dumb?

A: I kind of liked it.

Q: I digress. So what kind of human personality would your car have?

Reliable, but with a little hint of rebellious. It sometimes had starting issues. I’d be idling at a stoplight and it would cut out on me. That seems to have corrected itself. Basically, this car has an attitude. It kind of thinks more of itself than it is capable of with a four-cylinder engine.

Q: Was this the first car you bought brand new?

A: Yes. My family has a long relationship with the dealer, and the saleslady actually drove to Brainerd to bring this car back for me.

Q: That’s above and beyond. What are the rules in your car?

A: No food or open containers allowed. You can have a bottle of something if it has a tight screw-on lid, but that’s it.

Q: What do you listen to in the car?

A: I like having the radio on if there is breaking news. I remember where I was ten years ago driving through North Saint Paul when I heard about the Twin Towers. I just about drove off the road. So it’s nice to have those live updates on the radio. With a CD, you are in your zone.

Q: What was your criteria when choosing this car?

A: My top three, in no particular order: I wanted a station wagon so it would be easier to get my wheelchair in and out. I wanted it to have good fuel economy. And I wanted it to be orange. If you see my license it’s a bit of a double entendre: BLZRNG for Blaze/Blaise Orange.

Photos and interview by Michelle Leon

Are you ready to Defend Your Ride? If so, email with “Defend Your Ride MN” in the subject line for submission details.

View previous Defend Your Ride features and other great stories for people who love cars at

Watch & Listen LIVE