Print Story A car for mature people who don't troll newbies
By georgeha (Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:42:53 AM EST) discworld, swimming, cars (all tags)
Plus Days of Exhaustion, Hell is other people, budget cuts, a victory for corporate executive insiders, late night partying, all I wanted was a Pepsi, stupid Craiglist and less.

In book reviews Paycheck, Beka Cooper, Brazen Chariots, Lords and Ladies, The Dream Machine and Germany's Last Mission to Japan.

Poll: Best car for the mature driver?

Gollywhompers, two diaries in one month, I'm getting my groove back.

A car for the mature driver

The ugly little Tercel finally gave up the ghost. It had a loud noise from the engine that lots of oil didn't fix, so I nursed it to our mechanic for his two second diagnosis. It was a rod about to go through the block, or hood, or somewhere it wasn't supposed to go.

I started hunting on, autotrader and craigslist. It's darn hard to find a reliable car for $2000. Sunday Mrs. Ha and I went around, said no to a riced up Integra and Civic, and no to a Volvo 850 with 213k miles on it.

Monday my dad and I went out, trying harder to buy a cheap reliable car and get it on the road.

We ended up at four big car lots, who had a total of five cars just above our price range of $5000 (Nissan Sentra, Monte Carlo SS, 2 Cobalts and a Mitsubishi Galant), none of which were fulfilling our need of basic, reliable transportation for a family of four.

Counting Sunday, I went to seven tiny lots and a private owner, and had choices on the seventh, two Camry's, a Civic and a Mazda Tribute. It was a tiny used car lot way south of the city, almost in the next county. The 98 Camry with 120k miles was right in the price range at $4000, it's very bland though, four doors, grey interior, champagne exterior, a few dings and scratches but very little rust. Mrs. Ha likes it too, it's an automatic.

I like it, it's comfortable, but it's not the tiny stick shift urban warrior I'm used to. This will be the first time (save for rare times when I was borrowing a car) that my daily driver is an automatic. A bigger car, with heat and AC, and an automatic, I feel middle aged, nearly old. I better start working on my midlife crisis vehicle, once it gets a little warmer.

I had expected to pick it up the next day, but the dealer was able to get it ready for us Monday afternoon, so more driving.

We may just end up parking these in the driveway, and the first one out takes whatever is closest to the street, so I'll be alternating the Windstar and the Camry.

When I dropped off the Tercel for our mechanic to scarp, he said there's a shortage of good used cars, apparently if it has less than 100,000 miles, they get auctioned off to African buyers, there's a big market there and I'm not aware of any African carmakers.

I'm hoping we're good for another 2-3 years, though the minivan has lots of rust. Next steps, open up a savings account at a credit union and pay off usurious CC debt.

That was my Monday, one of my days of exhaustion. The Saturday before was also exhausting, see below.

Budget cuts

Our oldest skipped swimming early in the month to attend the Town Hall meeting at the school. In short, because of a district deficit and a change to Equitable School Funding, her high school is facing a 35% budget cut. People are upset.

The school district has a $700 million budget, and an $80 million shortfall, roughly 10%. Last years shortfall was masked by one time only stimulus grants and $26 million from emergency funds.

The district has fixed costs, so it's not surprising the individual school cuts would be above 11%. What is surprising in the level, 35% at our high school, other high schools are facing 25-30%. If they get implemented, most electives would be cut and juniors and seniors might be out of school by noon.

I do wonder how top heavy the district is, those numbers are hard to come by. In the 2007-2008 school year, we were the worst in the county. I hear that there's 1 administrator for every 7 teachers. I do know the superintendent got a 5% raise in January. Stay tuned.

All I wanted was a Pepsi

It was too late of a night for a school day, and I wasn't even pushing little rocket ships.

Fourteen year old was assigned a project in early February, it was due in early March, she started the night before. She finished about 11:00. She had to read a book by an African-American author (and I'm not aware of any fantasy sword and sorcery books set in a medieval European type place with plucky teenage girl protagonists written by African-Americans, which is her favorite and nearly exclusive genre) and write about five songs that reflected the protagonist's feelings, and provide the songs, Holy Copyright Violations!

The book was about an urban boy growing up with a sibling in prison and gangs. Sometimes he felt alienated and angsty, so I suggested Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized . I even found the video, but she didn't like it.

Having to provide the songs on CD added about half an hour, since it involved iPod updating, and such. She said her own laptop that would not connect to the internet would help, so I found one on ebay for about $50. I tested it by loading Civ 2 on it, and I was able to stop playing Civ 2 after a few days.

Stupid Craiglist, or another rough Monday

I don't like Mondays. On DST weekend we went to Buffalo to celebrate our niece's 18th birthday. I figured the next Monday would be rough, we got back about 9:00, fourteen year old stayed home and hadn't had a dinner yet, so she was up until 10:00.

That morning she was slow getting up, and slow getting her contacts in. She can't put her makeup on without wearing contacts, and she can't go to school without makeup, because people would realize she wears makeup, there's that whole dependency thing. I blamed her lateness on being slow to get to bed, she blamed it on DST, and I yelled that I didn't write the calender, I don't like it either.

I ended up driving her to a further on bus stop.

It was rough Sunday for other reasons, Mrs. Ha found a listing on craigslist that could be for her position, so hours of the day were spent debating on whether or not it was for her position, or some other daycare in NE rochester, what she's going to do, blah, blah, blah. I wish I made enough that she didn't have to work. I wish I made enough to hire a cook, because if I did ten hours days at work so I can scale the corporate ladder, we'd be living on Wendy's.

Other than that, her job is going well, though it's an adjustment for her bosses. They never hired anyone before, they're getting used to having an employee, Mrs. Ha is getting used to two bosses. She really prefers to work with kids.

A meeple in every pot!

One of the candidates for mayor is a gamer, Alex White, who owns the small gaming shop four blocks from me.

We had a special election since our previous mayor ended up as Andrew Cuomo's running mate. The leading candidate is a business friendly insider who was a utility executive before moving into City Hall, Tom Richards. A former mayor, Bill Johnson, who had vision but had trouble with details is also running. We're still paying for the expensive Fast Ferry to Toronto he bought (and then sold), it was launched without the permits for commercial truck traffic, making it a money loser until it was sold. Then, there's Alex.

Tom Richards won.

HIPAA madness

One day our mail order med company called me about Mrs. Ha's med, but I couldn't help, so I gave them our home phone, warning them that she doesn't her name on that credit card I'm using. They called her, she called me back so I could confirm the charges.

Later the bank called wondering if those charges were fraudulent. Nope, two grand for drugs, A-ok.

Hell is other people

other people's tired, ill-behaved children I mean.

Last Friday my high school bud's band was playing down the street, at the cozy bar next to the gaming store owned by Alex White, candidate for Mayor. I was meeting another bud there who ran late because the Amerks went into OT, so first bud and I chatted about India and city politics until other bud showed up. Fourteen year old had a swim meet the next day, so I left at midnight along with non-playing bud, who had to pick his daughter up at a late night movie.

Saturday, we (fourteen year old and I) spent most of the day at the swim meet at the community college. She had her best time ever in her 50 m freestyle (30.58), placing 10th out of 22. That put her into the finals, though we didn't know it until we were home and her phone and the house phone went crazy, asking her where the heck was she. So, I called Mrs. Ha as she had the only working car, we rushed over there and she ended up 11th of 12th (the 12th didn't show), but she did mess up her flip turn and buzzer press and start. Too exhausted, good thing two hour practices start for her.

It was not fun for spectators, the pool area was hot and crowded, food options were limited, and restless younger siblings were loud and annoying. I even got bored with my phone, but the backup battery pack worked. Another day of exhaustion.

This Sunday will be another day of exhaustion, my mother in law is having a birthday party at the nut house, we'll attend and may even take the Toyota.

Book reviews!

One of the Goodwill finds was PK Dick's
Paycheck And Other Classic Stories, a compendium of his short stories, and amazingly, I didn't recall reading any of them. They were good, but not the acid tinted reality bending Dick I prefer (sig that!), with Paycheck being the best. A mechanic is released from a highly secret corporation with his memory wiped and an envelope containing seven apparently random items that he picked out for his payment.

As I mentioned, fourteen year old's favorite microgenre is swords and sorcery books with plucky teenage heroines. This caused trouble when she had to read a book by an African American author for Black History month. Her favorite author could be Tamora Pierce, and she kept pleading for me to read Terrier(The Legend of Beka Cooper: Book1), about a sixteen year old girl who grew up in the roughest part of a city and decides to become a cop. It was a good story with her starting out as an apprentice on the night watch, making friends with other young folk, and getting magical messages from whirlwinds. But, if I have to read about cops in a medieval, magical city, I'll pick Pratchett.

Speaking of Pratchett, life's been stressful so I decided to retreeat to DiscWorld. While I was downtown for Girl Scouts and the Saint Paddy's Day parade a few Saturdays ago I went to the main library and picked up Lords and Ladies. It was good, but I should have read Witches Abroad first, as I got dumped into the tail end of the coven of Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick. I should buy Nightwatch.

I also haunted the history stacks of the main library, and found two good books about WWII. First up was Brazen Chariots: An Account of Tank Warfare in the Western Desert, November-December 1941 a biography of a British tank commander, commanding a Honey/Stuart during Operation Crusader. Pretty good so far, and ties in nicely with Moorehead's d Desert War , and he even mentions Moorehead.

Germany's Last Mission to Japan: The Failed Voyage of U-234 is about a big Nazi submarine sending all sorts of high tech stuff to Japan, right before Germany surrendered. The cargo led to all sorts of conspiracy theories, since some of it was uranium. The ironic conspiracy is that the uranium did make it to Japan, but not in the way the Nazis intended.

The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey That gave me a chance to finish Whittle's The Dream Machine, the story of the MV-22B Osprey from conception to it's first deployment. I found it interesting, but then I like reading about the problems in using 5000
psi titanium hydraulic lines.

< lovely day | But what if we don't belong anywhere? >
A car for mature people who don't troll newbies | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Honda? by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 10:50:20 AM EST
Lots of retired people drive them over in the UK.

What sort, an Accord? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 10:51:04 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Civics by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:13:50 PM EST

[ Parent ]
The Civic I looked at was smaller, with a stick by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:19:00 PM EST
too econobox for my middle aged image.

[ Parent ]
Econoboxes by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:28:50 PM EST
Remember most yerpian cars are econoboxes due to the high price of petrol (around $8 per gallon in the UK).

[ Parent ]
my midlife crisis vehicle by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 10:50:29 AM EST
Pity Honda is discontinuing the Element. You could strap surfboards on the roof, and tow a Victory Motorcycle behind it, on the way to Martha's Vinyard.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The older male driver by Herring (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:33:05 AM EST
On the Sunday club ride we had a couple of encounters with the older gentleman in a sports car type. After being cut up horribly by a tosser in a convertible Porsche, I was very tempted to squirt the back of his neck with sugary sports drink. I settled for shouting "cunt".

Anyhow, I belive that the car for you is a Morris Marina - probably in an orange colour. Should be easy to maintain too - which will come in handy.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

I meant mature as in accepting their middle aged by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:38:29 AM EST
when I get around to polls about men living in denial about their age and trying to compensate for a soft willy, I'll use Porsche.

[ Parent ]
This is why I suggested the Marina by Herring (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:49:02 AM EST
It's the perfect car for the more mature driver.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
Based on wiki, that would be a big step backward by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 11:52:41 AM EST
the precious few hours I get to work on vehicles, I want to spend on two wheeled vehicles.

[ Parent ]
I was trolling ebay motors by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:17:29 PM EST
'01 Civics with 160k miles were going for $5k. Man.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

That's about right by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:37:08 PM EST
$4k for a 98 Camry with 121k winter miles, sheesh!

[ Parent ]
Seriously, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 03:59:22 PM EST
at that price, you could pretty much ship this one over.

[ Parent ]
Wow that's a bit expensive. by dmg (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 04:23:34 PM EST
You could get a high mile BMW over here for significantly less. Secondhand cars seem more expensive in the US for some reason I am unable to fathom. I would expect them to be cheaper.
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
Cash for Clunkers by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 05:56:49 PM EST
it took a bunch of older, but usable cars off the road and pushed the remaining used car prices up.

My trade in value for my old car back in December was more than half for what I paid for it, which shocked the hell out of me...and I didn't get dinged (ha) for the scratches and dings on the car either.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

[ Parent ]
We had a similar scheme here though. by dmg (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 06:25:06 PM EST
I'm not sure if that can be the whole story. 
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Auto quality varies pretty widely by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:28:23 PM EST
I've been looking for a used car for a few weeks. But I'm only looking for certain makes and models that I'm fairly certain are reliable. There are plenty of makes and models that have a reputation for short lives that are in my price range. But if one wants a model known for lasting forever, the prices are pretty steep.

That is if you avoid the lots that have cars with so-so exteriors and squeaky clean engine compartments. One might conjecture that they cleaned the engine to hide the evidence of long term oil leaks, blown head gaskets, etc.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Sure some cars are more expensive than by dmg (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 10:10:16 PM EST
others, that is down to actual and perceived quality, I'm talking about the US/UK price differential which seems large.

Like for like, US second hand vehicles seem more expensive.
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Makeup @14? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 09:59:10 PM EST
Gosh, I thought you were a responsible father.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Girls these days by yankeehack (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 12:08:43 AM EST
honestly don't wear that much makeup (maybe it varies regionally). Most I've seen on LO & her friends is mascara, eyeliner, some coverup and maybe some eyeshadow and lipgloss if it's a weekend.

On the other hand, in the 80s, we wore makeup like French whores.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

[ Parent ]
The setting IS adjustable. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 12:15:13 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Boldo's Armory? by houser2112 (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 07:39:43 AM EST
That's the only gaming store in the entire area I can think of other than Crazy Igor's Millennium Games Millennium Games and Cyberstorm Lounge and... Crazy Igor's.

That's it by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 09:26:53 AM EST
It was a shock to see Alex White with short hair and a tie, I was used to seeing him in overalls and long hair.

[ Parent ]
Too bad by houser2112 (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 10:08:05 AM EST
I would've gotten a kick out of seeing a gamer in office.  I could see the headline in the D&C now:
"White makes save against teachers union breath weapon; RCSD budget cuts implemented".

[ Parent ]
A car for mature people who don't troll newbies | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback