Friday, March 26, 2010

2912 Frozen Friday

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence."
-- Henrik Tikkanen --


After spring-like weather the past week, nearing 70 on several days, we're frozen again. It got all the way up to 37 today, and is expected to dip into the mid to low teens overnight for a few days. I guess Mother Nature has discovered I just bought a convertible.

I spent some time yesterday paying bills and figuring out financial stuff, and then went to dinner in the evening with Mensa, at a Thai restaurant I've wanted to try for ages. It was very good. I think I really like Thai.

Roman sat across from me at the table. Angie and the Zig were next to him on his side, and they mostly talked with each other, and next to me were two rather hard of hearing rather dull guys who mostly talked to each other ("Wa'd she say?" "She asked if you want coffee." "Oh." "What?" "I said 'Oh." "Oh.") So Roman and I mostly talked with each other.

I do think Roman would like to try again. Nope, ain't gonna happen.

Today I walked past the rocking chair in the bedroom, and the sewing/hemming/mending pile on the chair slid to the floor. The heap is huge. I haven't actually seen the chair in years.

Sorting the heap and piling it back on the chair, I found a lot of stuff that I'd forgotten buying. When something looks really good on me, I'm likely to hem it immediately (I have to hem everything, usually shorten sleeves, too), but if it's just so-so on me, I throw it on the chair to be done when I get around to it. Since I've lost some weight, I tried some of it on, was surprised, and immediately hemmed two dresses and three pairs of slacks, and I found a skirt that fit perfectly - I don't know why it was on the pile. Whoop!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2911 The car has been ordered.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Actions lie louder than words."
-- Carolyn Wells --


I've ordered my car.

I went to the dealership yesterday. I wanted a 2010 model, I'd like to have it in mid-April and I asked what's the procedure for getting the colors and options I want. The salesman said it would be a bit difficult to get exactly what I want in a 2010, because March is the last production month for the 2010, the last 2010 custom orders were placed in February, as of April they're building the 2011s, so they'd have to find my 2010 on a lot somewhere, and they may or may not be able to find exactly what I want.

I want exactly what I want.

So I'm getting a 2011. Arrival before mid-May.

Which is not exactly what I want, but at least that's more acceptable than the wrong colors or wrong options.

(Gee, remember when the model years started in January of that year? I was surprised when the next year's cars started showing up in November.)

Then we started talking price. Unfortunately, he didn't have the MSRP or invoice numbers for the 2011 models yet. (Neither did

MSRP - what the manufacturer thinks the car should sell for, but only naifs actually pay.
Invoice - what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car. The difference between what you pay and invoice is the dealer's profit.
TMV - "True Market Value", what Edmonds calls the average price actually paid for the car in your zip code. Usually significantly below MSRP, a little above invoice.

So then we started talking price. I told him I'd gotten the TMV from Edmonds, and expected to pay that much for the 2010, and in that general ballpark for the 2011. He freaked. He started talking about 7% profit "built in", and was running numbers rapidly, very confusingly. I wasn't sure what that 7% was on, derived from, it didn't make any sense. It especially didn't make sense because 7% of the invoice price, added to the invoice price, was WAY over the MSRP.

Finally I said, "Look, it doesn't much matter, because we're using the wrong numbers for this car anyway. We really ought to just agree on how much I will pay over invoice. Period. Simple." The Edmonds numbers showed X dollars over invoice as the average, so I said, "I'll pay Y dollars over invoice, assuming you can show me the invoice". He didn't like that at all. It was too close to TMV. His face got red. He continued trying for closer to MSRP.

At that point, a woman who had made an appointment to pick up a car arrived (I'd hadn't called before coming in), and he went off to help her. When he came back, he said, "Ok. Y dollars over invoice." I guess he realized he couldn't write a contract without the actual numbers. I said I wanted it in writing, so after a visit to the financial office, he came back and said the contract could be written that way. It would actually say "Y dollars over invoice" as the total price for the car (plus tax, and registration).

And a few minutes later, that's what came out of the financial office, and I signed it, and made a $500 security payment.

There may be another small battle when I see the invoice numbers. I expect to see the wholesale price of the car and my chosen options, and a destination charge, and nothing else. No prep charges, no advertising charges, no other padding. Edmonds says some dealers try to pad with stuff like that, and you don't have to pay it.

I'm a little disappointed that I won't get it before May, but April is buggy and rainy anyway, so ok.


Suzy has some booboos on her front bumper (I think someone must have backed into her in a parking space) and the gas cap door hinge is broken. Her bumper is plastic or rubber or something, and it's cracked and broken. If I want to sell her (haven't decided yet) I'll need to get that fixed. So I stopped by at a body shop and got an estimate. It came out to $1,090. I paid $9000 for her four years ago, when she was already three years old with 32,000 miles on her, and her blue book value now is only $3,400.

It doesn't seem worth fixing her.

She has 81,000 miles now, and other than her broken nose she's in terrific health, inside and out.

Maybe I'll just keep her. Maybe a duct tape girdle inside the bumper will make her feel better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2910 Dense GPS

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
-- Sidney J. Harris --


Stupid GPS. Every time I want to cross the river, Jeeves tries to take me south, then back north, then west. The shortest, fastest way is west, then south, then west. Every time we get to the intersection, Jeeves gets all upset when I turn west instead of following his orders to go south. And every time, I think I'm "teaching" him the correct route.

Two years now, and he hasn't learned yet.

Monday, March 22, 2010

2909 Innovate!

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it."
-- Billings Learned Hand --


Why do you always have to do things they way "they" do it? Make your own way! Innovate! Create your own music!


Actually, Ronnie can do it the "right" way, too. You'll find several clips of him on YouTube. Click above, and then on "More from: Bokete7" on the right.

2908 Feral Cat

Monday, March 21, 2010

"The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous."
-- Shana Alexander --

Jasper still has some habits from when he was a feral adolescent.

He's "tame", loves me, comes around asking for petting every fifteen or twenty minutes. Doesn't like being picked up, but he'll allow it for about 10 seconds before wriggling to get down. Doesn't sit on my lap, but he'll stand up next to my leg and pat my lap to ask for petting. Allows me to touch him everywhere, even his tummy.

Food and sleep is a different story. He seems conflicted.

He'll tell me when his food dish is empty, and wind around my legs while I'm filling the dish, and take the first taste while I'm near, but after that initial taste, if he sees me watching him eat, he jumps and runs away. He won't go near his food if I am anywhere he can see me.

Same with sleeping. If he's asleep on the sofa, or in the back bedroom, and I appear in the doorway, he'll jump up and run away. When I go to bed, he'll come up on the bed and curl up on, between, or next to my legs, but he never actually sleeps there.

When he was wild, he had to guard against being trapped by food or surprised in his sleep, and I guess it's still there. I wish we could get past it.

Now we've got another problem. Starting about two weeks ago, when I'm on the computer he goes under and behind the desk (a huge wooden "manager's desk", purchased from The Company at a warehouse sale), and I can hear thumping and scratching, and the electric cords (printer, scanner, old flat screen monitor, desk lamp, etc.) moving around and rubbing against the wall. He's into something back there, but I can't find out what because as soon as I move the chair back so I can look under the desk, he shoots to the side and out the door.

I'm worried that he might fry himself.


I hadn't thought about it before, but Jasper and The Man have a lot in common. The triggers may be different, but the reaction is the same.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

2907 Mental Rambles

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."
-- Robert X. Cringely --


I keep saying this journal is my diary. Today I accidentally rediscovered this post, from January 19, 2006: If you haven't been following the blog that long, please go read it.


The Boston photos today are of people trying to get into the Guinness book of records. Those things are getting ridiculous. Ok, it's kind of neat to know about the smallest or oldest person, or the biggest horse, or the fastest runner. But these days it's the biggest cream pie, or meatball, or number of people jumping up and down at the same time. That's stupid. "Oh, you got 300 exercise bikes into a room? Well, we'll get 302." Big deal. One photo shows bakers seaming regular-sized gingerbread bricks together with icing to make the biggest gingerbread cake. Big deal. Just take a week's output from a commercial bakery, and schmush them together.

One photo got me remembering something from long ago. It's a photo of a rubber band ball (I think he cheated because he didn't use regular rubber bands, and there's a lot of space built in), and it reminded me of when The Company banned rubber band balls. In the space of about a month, there had been three fires in desk drawers caused by rubber band balls. When they get very tight, and if there's a lot of "cheat" air space built in, the pressure causes spontaneous combustion in the center. They think there was something odd about the composition of the rubber bands purchased during that time period, too.

If you have an old rubber band ball lying around, take it apart some day. There's a good chance you'll find the core is melted and fused.


Several thoughts from the tour bus trip yesterday:

I hate roadside rest areas with the toilets that automatically flush, especially when you're not finished yet, and it sprays your nether regions with who knows what.

I hate when the bus driver lets the only kid on the bus, a 9ish-year-old sitting in the front seat, choose the movies for the trip. We were treated to an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, "Kung Fu Panda", and "Fat Albert". There were 21 paid adults on the bus, and that's what we get?

The fat kid was sitting in the front seat, his mother was behind him, and I was behind her, so I was treated to several hours of their exchanges. As we neared the destination, the two of them were pointing out to each other every fast food joint we passed - making notes of where they were, as if they might be forced to actually walk to them. All of them.

The mother frequently told the kid to do this, or not do that. Every single time, he asked "Why?", and every single time without exception she replied, "Because I said so." I consider that very poor parenting. At some point the kid is going to decide she's "not the boss of me", and rebel. And expecting obedience to "Because I said so" implies some kind of punishment for disobedience.

When Daughter was small I always explained why, in terms she could understand. Sometimes she'd come back with, "But what if I blah blah, would that make it ok?" If not, I'd explain why not. If so, I'd remind her that she really does have to blah blah. I think it led to a Daughter who listened, accepted my reasons, learned to negotiate, and ultimately was better able to make considered decisions for herself.

The guy sitting behind me was good looking, about my age, and I think he was dating the woman sitting in her own pair of seats across the aisle. He was an idiot. He complained constantly, most about riding on a bus. He'd ask the woman, "Do you have a gun?" "No, why?" "If you do, please shoot me." I got to hear that charming exchange four or five times. "If I ever suggest anything like this again, kill me." "Whatever made me think I'd enjoy this?" On and on. I was about to do the woman a favor and strangle him.

We passed two accidents that caused traffic jams. At the first accident, several voices on the bus rose to opine that it was some idiot on a cell phone. Guy behind me declared they were obviously texting. And also that no one in this state knows how to drive.

As we passed cars in the next lane over, I looked down. Slow. Barely moving. Seems reasonable that a lot of people were going to be delayed. I expected to see most people on a cell phone. I was very surprised that only about one in ten drivers was on the phone. In a few cases, the passenger was on the phone. I was marveling at that when the idiot behind me spoke up and observed to everyone that "Eight out of ten of the cars we're passing, the driver's on the phone!" Did he really think that no one else was looking out the window? I didn't say anything.

A little later we came upon the second accident. Same chorus of "Idiots texting!" I had to grit my teeth to avoid wondering loudly if there were ever any accidents before cell phones. I hate it when people jump to conclusions, cast aspersions, like that. Maybe someone got clipped by a car changing lanes. Maybe the steering whatsis broke. Maybe the driver had a heart attack. Get your heads out of your asses, please.

We were dropped at the aquarium at 11 am, and picked up at 2:30 to go to the seaport museum village, arriving at the ticket counter at 3, where we found out that the museum village closes at 4 pm. You can wander around until 5, but then you get chased out. There's nothing else nearby. The bus driver had said we'd be leaving at 6. Um, huh?

So at 5:30, everybody was sitting on the curb in the parking lot. The driver agreed we could leave early --- except --- four people had known about the closing time at the museum, and had elected to stay at the aquarium. It also closed earlyish, but there was a fancy strip mall with restaurants etc. next to the museum. They expected to be picked up at the aquarium at 6:30. So we all got on the bus, went to the closed and shuttered aquarium, and waited.

The guy behind me wailed, "The aquarium? We're at the aquarium again? Holy shit! Shoot me now!" (I wished I could.) "This is ridiculous! I'm already composing the letter I'm gonna write tonight!" And on and on. Finally I turned around and explained to him why we were waiting here. Believe it or not, it shut him up for a while. I guess it hadn't occurred to him that there might be a reason.

I think there may be a reason I'm not very social....


Some of the cars I've been looking at have heated front seats, standard or as an option. I wrinkle my forehead at that. I don't really need heat there. That's not where the cold is, or, at least, not where it lingers long. It sounds like a nifty thing to brag about, but ultimately not so useful.

Now, massaging seats! That's something I could appreciate! Or chilled seats for the summer. That sounds a lot more useful.

The Jaguar has cooled seats. No convertibles, but chilled seats.



Note to women wearing straight skirts: When the skirt makes horizontal wrinkles at the top of your thighs, IT'S TOO TIGHT!!! It should hang smoothly, even when you walk.

2906 Weekend Rambles

Sunday, March 21. 2010

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."
-- Euripides --

Friday evening I saw "Rent". It was a local professional production, but some of the performances, particularly the young man playing Angel, were outstanding. The play itself? Well, I don't understand what all the fuss was about. It was the first to put gay relationships front and center on the stage, but that alone doesn't explain why it had such a long Broadway run.

Saturday morning I got up at 5:30 am (I did the impossible!), drove to Albany, and caught a tour bus to Mystic, CT. We visited the aquarium and the museum village.

I got caught mid-blink, but dig those thighs! After looking at this picture, I dug out the jeans I hadn't been able to wear in over two years, and they zipped right up. This eating tons of food six times a day works!

This is pretty much how I feel today. I was all excited about going to the dealership and telling the guy what car I wanted with what options, and ... phooey ... they're not open on Sundays, or Saturdays, either. Some are, but not BMW. I guess they don't want customers who have to show up at work every day.

2905 The Vote

Sunday, March 21, 210

A man might forget where he parks or where he lives,
but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.
-- Barbara Bush --

Well, the health care vote is supposed to happen today. The plan is to use a technique called "deem and pass". There's an explanation of D&P at, and a discussion at the WSJ law blog, at

Basically, they pass the amendments (HR4872, a.k.a. "the reconciliation") , and that automatically passes the bill being amended.

The problem is that if it is passed, foes of the entire bill won't let that stand. They'll fight it as unconstitutional, theorizing that you can't amend a bill that has not itself been passed. Of course, without the amendments, the bill won't pass. Catch 22.

Frankly, I very much approve of passing amendments before a base bill, in almost all cases.

Think of it this way - some governing body wants to pass a law that would result in my having one finger chopped off every week for 10 weeks. Naturally, I object. So they promise that there will be an amendment, canceling the finger chopping part, that will be passed immediately after the original bill.

Uh huh. Yeah, sure.

Pass the amendment FIRST!!!! Then we'll talk....