Mon. Mar. 26, 2018 – another week gone by

69F with 98%RH this am. Cool and damp. My hands are stiff and previous nerve damage is flaring up. Weather or work, either way it’s a pain.

I look at the news and I think, “Leviathan is moving in the deep.” We see ripples, a glimpse of top fin, the occasional missing seal, the flash of movement, shadow swelling beneath the surface. The drums of war are beating, someone is chumming the water.

Or it’s just our human desire for pattern that projects all that onto the normal cycle of civilization.

Either way, it sure feels like change is in the air, and not in a good way.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

63 thoughts on “Mon. Mar. 26, 2018 – another week gone by”

  1. The drums of war are beating, someone is chumming the water.

    Don’t get all philosophical or cerebral on us this morning. It’s Monday.

    Son and his wife finally got to hold their child Saturday afternoon. Wife and I had already left to get home. DIL will be going home today sans infant. The baby will stay a few more days in NICU. They have to make certain he is feeding properly before release.

    NICU nurse stated that a month early is not that uncommon and the prognosis is 99.99% positive with no lasting effects. There were five other infants in NICU that were earlier than my grandson. The technology and knowledge these days is amazing. NICU nurse told us not to touch him because it stressed him. They could tell this from the monitors and his oxygen level. I suspect having his mother hold him, hearing her voice, hearing her heartbeat, feeling her skin will really help.

    Wife will be leaving next Sunday evening to spend a couple of weeks with the son and DIL to help out due to the C-Section. My wife also had a C-Section and for a couple of weeks she was really sore and her mother helped. After that the DIL’s mother will arrive for a couple of weeks to help but I think is more of just a visit to see, and spoil, the grandchild.

    To look at that child, realize that it grew from a couple of cells, is an extremely complicated organism, whose brain is an almost blank slate, will be walking and talking in three years, going to school in five years, is just absolutely astounding. Mind boggling does not even began to describe.

  2. Today is new (to me) car day. Picking up a very nice 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe later today. Black, 2.0 Turbo engine, and 6 speed manual transmission. It’s a fun little car. I’m a Honda guy, but Honda isn’t making anything that I want. I had an Accord coupe – v6 and 6 speed, but I let it go several years ago – wish I had kept it. But now Honda doesn’t make an Accord coupe anymore. Maybe they will announce a new Prelude in the next couple of years.

    My old car is an 09 Camry. It was actually the wife’s, but we got her a new 15 Honda Crosstour. Got it for a steal. Last model year, closeout, etc. We both really like that car. Anyways, the Camry is a great car. Or rather, a great appliance. It just isn’t exciting. At all. I’m really exited about shifting my own gears again.

  3. 35º and sunny here. I’m looking at a picture of my son working in the family business. He gets paid (as do his sisters) for doing work that I need to be done. Of course, I overpay them, but I’m allowed. That’s how they get money to do things they want to do or buy things they want to have.

    To echo Ray’s sentiment, the eldest son was born just a hair over 8 years ago and is still a wonder. He’s a big boy now, and an absolute joy.

  4. Cadillac ATS coupe later today. Black, 2.0 Turbo engine, and 6 speed manual transmission

    A Cadillac with a manual transmission! That would seem odd as Cadillac is usually associated with grey haired drivers who barely can distinguish between P and R. I guess Cadillac is trying to change their image.

  5. Cadillac has been trying to sex up their image for a while. The CTS is sold as a sporty sedan. They have a version of the corvette that is very sexy.

    The dealers around here aggressively market the CTS to an “urban” demographic with low lease rates.

    Wife had the SRX crossover small suv and we loved it. We got a very good deal and she drove it like she stole it.

    n

  6. Cadillac has been trying to sex up their image for a while.

    Cadillac has found that strange design space where only young adult black men and elderly white men find their vehicles attractive. Okay, so that was some pretty heavy stereotyping, but still amusing. For the (mostly) $40K-$90K price range I guess I can think of other vehicles I’d rather purchase at that price point than a Cadillac. Though, considering a car is something that will depreciate to $0, there are a multitude of things on which that money would be better spent. Still, we all like our status symbols. For some guys it’s 18 year Scotch whisky, premium cigars, bleeding edge electronics, or $100/plate dinners. For others it’s $90k vehicles.

    I spent some time in Miami recently and went out to try some ceviche (which I discovered I love) at a place called CVI.CHE 105 (highly recommend). We patronized the place twice while we were there and both times the owner was on site. The first time he parked his Lamborghini out front (in the no parking zone) and the second time his Rolls Royce was out front. What is that? $500-$600k in vehicles?

  7. I spent some time in Miami recently and went out to try some ceviche (which I discovered I love) at a place called CVI.CHE 105 (highly recommend). We patronized the place twice while we were there and both times the owner was on site. The first time he parked his Lamborghini out front (in the no parking zone) and the second time his Rolls Royce was out front. What is that? $500-$600k in vehicles?

    Miami is a different planet. The vehicles were probably leases.

  8. If you want some real ceviche that is beyond compare go to the fish market in Naples Italy. Which market doesn’t matter, just look for the one where the fish is just coming in from the boat. Ask the fishmonger for some ceviche and he (or she) will pick the freshest of the freshest fish, shrimp, crab, and scallops (almost forgot octopus too) add some herbs and citrus and their own secret ingredients and be prepared for a taste sensation that you cannot get in a restaurant. The only place that has ever come close are the fish markets in Newport OR.

  9. The only fish I touch are the ones I run over with my boat. I despise fish or anything from the water, especially salt. I would rather eat dog food.

  10. When I moved to TX I was shocked by the ceviche. RED SAUCE! OMG!!111!

    NOT what I was used to from Southern California, FRESH mexican in a Baja California style…. no, sweet red sauce is not for me.

    Give me the fresh lime based ceviche of Baja…..

    n

  11. JimL said:
    I’m sorry – it’s still raw fish. I’ll pass.

    Actually, the citrus cooks the seafood. The secret is using the right amount of citrus, careful mixing, and a time to sit and “cook”. The size of the seafood pieces is also very important as each type “cooks” at a different rate so the sizes will vary based on “cooking” speed. A Ceviche Chef has to as knowledgeable, if not more so, than a Sushi Chef. With either, if you taste “fish” spit it out and go somewhere else.

    Good ceviche does not taste like fish and IMHO cannot be prepared with anything but fresh caught seafood that has been properly handled. That is why you must go to the source, the fish market on the water. You better see lots of crushed ice, not seafood. The fishmonger will pull back the ice for just a moment for you to inspect and select what you want.

    For those of you that fish, I am sure you’ll agree that having a fire going on the beach
    ready to throw that fresh caught and prepared fish on the fire (yes, I use a pan) is the best way to go.

    I’ll admit that the state of the lakes, rivers, and oceans is growing more deplorable. No thanks to the garbage/trash that we “export” to China. You do realize that as those boats head back to China loaded with our waste that they actually discharge most of it on their way home. Also foreign vessels dump all their trash and sh!t in the ocean, some not even respecting our 12 mile limit.

    I have some sea stories about catching foreign vessels dumping trash and sh!t, but I’ll spare you until later (great use of a multi-100-million dollar submarine).

  12. I only buy vehicles I can pay cash for as I refuse to go into debt for anything that does not make me money (excepting a house). My car shopping budget is $8K and there are some good values to be had even in that range. I don’t want all the AI bells & whistles, just fairly reliable transportation. Toyota has always been tops on my list for value per mile driven. Last Camary we had expired at 280K because it was totaled by an “undocumented” driver who couldn’t read the road signs.
    I am restoring the wifes 1994 Honda Del Sol. Only 88K miles but the body has some rust and paint needs replacing. Best aniverserary gift I ever gave her. She loves to roar down the road on a nice day with the top off and the stereo up loud.

  13. Cadillac abandoned their base because it was shrinking. Their first attempt to capture a younger demo was the Cimarron, which is remembered only because of its dramatic failure, and an example of a cavalier attitude toward loyal customers. Only GM could have survived such a disaster.

  14. The first one has fallen. Which one will be next?
    https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/03/26/one-day-after-gun-control-rally-this-longtime-american-firearm-manufacturer-files-for-bankruptcy

    Just one day after a gun control rally in Washington, D.C., firearms manufacturer Remington Outdoor Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing heavy debt load, lawsuits and falling sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Remington filed its request in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware…

    Too many lawyers.

  15. Actually, the citrus cooks the seafood

    Sort of. It doesn’t kill parasites, so there are some fish you should avoid.

  16. Older DTSs are the last of the big sedans, from before the angular styling change, and are very popular with the crowd that likes big Impala, Rivieras, and 22 inch rims.

    Which is a shame, because I’d love to have a DTS.

    n

  17. “citing heavy debt load,”

    They are a victim of the LBO and all the mad money rape and pillage of american brands and manufacturers. Bunch of money guys bought the assets, loaded up the debt, cut back on everything they could, and road it to the ground.

    n

  18. Ray wrote:

    “Son and his wife finally got to hold their child Saturday afternoon. Wife and I had already left to get home. DIL will be going home today sans infant. The baby will stay a few more days in NICU. They have to make certain he is feeding properly before release.”

    A friend was born two months premmie in 1970. They kept her in the NICU for two months.

  19. @Ray
    That NICU nurse is full of horse sh*t.
    Tons of studies refute her assertation.
    Look up “kangaroo care” and get your daughter back into NICU holding that baby skin to skin. Doing it now rather than waiting is pretty important.
    Impacts nursing,attachment, thermal regulation, post partum depression, lactation and a huge number of other absolutely vital things particularly for a preemie.

    Our daughter was two months early. Family members shared kangaroo care duties for her entire 50 day’s in NICU, for hours a day (I was kinda broken so couldn’t carry the whole load). We saw enormous differences.

    The science backs it up.

  20. My daughter has a Chevy Cruze with 2.0l turbo and six speed auto. Frankly it does very well. 2.xl turbos are the hot engines right now for any brand.

    0x43 today. (yeah a programmer and a nerd)

  21. get your daughter back into NICU holding that baby skin to skin

    Daughter-in-law but that is just nit-picking. The NICU has the mother holding the baby several times a day and will be doing so every day until the baby is released.

    It is not the NICU or the doctors wanting the mother discharged it is the insurance company. They refuse to pay for the hospital stay beyond today. Their rules for her care, even after a C-Section are based on a baby taken at term. There is no variation for premature C-Section as far as the insurance company is concerned.

    Thus both parents will be spending as much time at the hospital visiting the NICU as much as possible over the next few days.

    You should know that the medical profession does not make healthcare decisions, only the insurance companies. Where some zit-faced cell phone junkie that cannot spell ZIT makes decisions based on a script put together by a 90 year old senile virgin.

  22. the Cimarron, which is remembered only because of its dramatic failure, and an example of a cavalier attitude toward loyal customers.

    It was a Chevy Cavalier with leather, sound proofing, and different tail lights.

  23. Harold wrote:

    “I am restoring the wifes 1994 Honda Del Sol. Only 88K miles but the body has some rust and paint needs replacing.”

    I loved the Del Sol. I *almost* got one in 95, but alas, sensibility won out. I got a 95 Civic EX coupe instead – as I was in college and the cargo capacity was much better. Great little car.

    I’ve been half-way keeping an eye out for an old CRX. Unfortunately, those are all old enough now to be in bad shape… or ruined by teenagers.

  24. @Paul, hence my “cavalier attitude” phrasing. You got it!!

    Added, I NEVER disparage anyone’s choice of cars, lest I offend. I am a prime example, having owned some rather unpopular cars. I enjoyed every one. I only buy used cars. The one exception was a new 1965 VW Beetle, bought new because used ones cost about the same, and sometimes more.

  25. Today is new (to me) car day. Picking up a very nice 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe later today. Black, 2.0 Turbo engine, and 6 speed manual transmission. It’s a fun little car.

    Dude, I admire the six speed manual. I am past those days as I prefer automatics now. Shoot, Ford does not even offer a manual transmission in any of their trucks. The wife still drives her 5 speed manual 2005 Honda Civic with the 7,000 rpm motor but its days are numbered. I have talked her into a small SUV (Toyota RAV4 or Highlander or Kia Sorento). All she wants is 100% reliable and a CD player.

  26. 0x43 today. (yeah a programmer and a nerd)

    Happy Birthday ! Did you sign up for Medicare yet ?

    The wife turned the big six oh last week. Our business accountant made her a chocolate cake with chocolate icing that was to die for. She put cinnamon in the batter to make it moist and it was. I had four or five pieces until we finished it off yesterday.

    I got the wife a dozen Jack Higgins audio books in the Sean Dillon series, mostly MP3 on CD. She had two already.
    https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Justice-Sean-Dillon-Higgins/dp/1441841806/

  27. @Jimb …. 1965 Bug — my first car when I was 19 (bought it in 1970 for $1000). Six-volt battery. Sunroof (solid, not transparent) with a crank to open it. Fun first car.

    Bought the “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot”. https://amzn.to/2G5piKW (19th Edition !). Learned the basics of car maintenance from that book.

    Good times!

  28. RE: Del Sol … “ruined by teenagers”

    How true. We have three in our neighborhood that are tricked out for street racing”. After market engine parts are easy to come by. Other parts, not so much. The cable that connects the shifter to the transmission went south on my wifes car. OEM parts no longer exist. Searched from the Mississippi to California for used without luck. I had to go to a custom cable company and have a replacement made. I actualy had three made as the majority of the cost was for the first one.
    I had a Mazda Miata that was a larger car than the Del Sol but had much less cargo space. I am always amazed at how roomy the Honda is. Even with the top stored in the trunk area there’s still room for some groceries and the Get-Home-Bag. I am keeping my eyes out for another cheap Del Sol to use for parts in the future.

  29. This reminds me — I had pretty good Russian food in Seattle once, in the back of a bakery not far from the Consulate.

    Eating there was like living an 80s spy novel. You had to know that they served hot food in back, and there were no menus — you ate whatever Mama cooked.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-administration-expels-60-russian-officers-shuts-seattle-consulate-in-response-to-attack-on-former-spy-in-britain/2018/03/26/8ada3d8e-30f0-11e8-8bdd-cdb33a5eef83_story.html?utm_term=.8c75781d2517

  30. Medicare? Yeah but only part A. BS did it for me as I have employer provided insurance still.

  31. Only GM could have survived such a disaster.

    Long term, GM didn’t survive their bad 80s decision making. Starting in the early 90s, they had temporary reprieves thanks to the upgrade cycle every few years until 60 month car loans became the standard.

  32. OEM parts no longer exist. Searched from the Mississippi to California for used without luck. I had to go to a custom cable company and have a replacement made.

    I had a similar issue with a 1991 Mercury Capri that I bought used in 1995. In 2003 my wheel bearing went out and took out a spacer ring with it. That was only 12 years after manufacturing and unless the part was also used on another model it was impossible to get. I lucked out in that my father had a machinist friend who made one for me for free.

    I bought a used Saab 9⁵ shortly after Saab USA went bye-bye. I got rear-ended in June 2012 and it took the body shop until October 2012 to get the body parts they needed in stock (and I made it a point to get it repaired at what used to be the local Saab dealership as they were still doing warranty work on Saabs they had sold).

    Give me the fresh lime based ceviche of Baja

    That’s what they were serving up at CVI.CHE 105. The description for what I ordered was “Marinated fish in fresh Chulucanas’ lime juice, mixed with Arequipan onions, with an aji limo reduction.”

    Interestingly, Alton Brown has a well-rated recipe for Catfish Ceviche (for those of us land-locked away from super fresh seafood).

  33. @Rick Hellewell, got a few years on you. My first car was a 57 Plymouth, bought for $500. It was five years old and rust free, remarkable for the Detroit area. No power steering, so I gained some much needed upper body strength. Over the years, I have had acquaintance with four Bugs, 59, 62, 65, ending with a 1970, which was the best of all. Most of them were in really good mechanical condition, so I didn’t have to do much more than maintain them. Some of their characteristics were a bit… foreign, or at least a throwback to decades earlier American cars, but they were undoubtedly the cheapest cars to buy, operate, and sell. They were also fun to drive. I am never sure that I won’t ever have one again. If the right Karmann Ghia came along…

    I still have a similar edition of the book you referenced, although mine doesn’t have a color cover. Not easy to get to, but that is the plague of the over-accumulator.

    I have lived in the Mojave Desert for 46 years, so the selection of older cars is, well, interesting. We don’t have rust, but do have a lot of plastic rot, so a garage is essential. I also don’t put on many miles in a year, so my cars can last quite a while. I read here about people thinking of ten year old cars as “old,” and just remember how true that was when I lived in the rust belt. I have two 1968s (wow, 50 years old.) Don’t trade much… Bought a near new looking 1994 Dodge Ram 1500 three years ago with 70k miles on it. Still haven’t driven it in the rain. Also haven’t had to clean the interior; it is in such good shape that I now want a trailer to haul nasty stuff. Cowboy Cadillac!

    Just bought a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country with 80k miles, similar story to the PU above. This one needs a good carpet cleaning, and some headliner fixes, but seems really nice otherwise. It will replace a 1997 TC with almost 200k miles. That one used to be the trip car, and is beginning to get a little decrepit, but then so am I!! It is one of the best cars I have owned.

    I am sure some of the fine folks here will disagree with my choice of great cars, but that’s what makes for good discussion. I will admit to being a bit of a car nut, having grown up around the industry and having relatives in the business, but at that time, cars were just transportation. I have always maintained all my cars, but have sworn off upholstery and body work. There are others who are much better than me. I still like all the mechanical stuff, including the computers. New and warranties are an obstacle to that. At least none of my cars have event data recorders!

  34. Speaking of Saabs
    My brother was a HUGE Saab fan and mourned the loss of Saab US.
    He bought a used Lexus a couple of years ago and when he went to Mexico he visited a Saab dealer and had it re-badged as a Saab with body badges, hood device, and hub caps. When he takes it into the Lexus dealer for work they freak.

  35. The first one has fallen. Which one will be next?
    https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/03/26/one-day-after-gun-control-rally-this-longtime-american-firearm-manufacturer-files-for-bankruptcy

    Colt. They were run by a Army General who got them out of the consumer firearms business and just DOD business. Stupid on a stick. Used Python pistols are selling for thousands of dollars on gun broker since Colt stopped making them.
    http://www.bluesheepdog.com/2016/04/11/is-this-the-end-of-colt/
    and
    https://www.gunbroker.com/Pistols/search?Keywords=colt%20python&Sort=13

  36. _On to the Asteroid_ by Travis Taylor and Les Johnson
    https://www.amazon.com/Asteroid-Travis-S-Taylor/dp/148148267X/

    Book number two of a two book space opera series. I read the excellently printed and bound MMPB by Baen.

    In the middle of the 2020s, there is a space race going on with China, NASA, and an American private space touring firm. Another firm seeks to get into the space business by secretly bringing a metals rich asteroid to Earth using an electric thruster system. The electric thruster system fails midway to Earth and the asteroid will hit the Earth rather than going into orbit around it since there is not a backup thruster system. Since the asteroid is a mile long by a quarter mile in diameter, the asteroid’s path must be changed.

    Please note this little series is very hard science fiction. All of this is possible today using today’s technology and materials. And, a LOT of money.

    My rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (21 reviews)

  37. Hey Lynn, you don’t have a copy of ArcGIS laying around, do you? Turns out City of Houston has a whole lot of their online mapping tools available offline, like where the sewers are, etc.

    I am not even sure what ArcGIS is ? Oh, looks like a competitor to Google Earth.
    https://www.arcgis.com/

  38. To look at that child, realize that it grew from a couple of cells, is an extremely complicated organism, whose brain is an almost blank slate, will be walking and talking in three years, going to school in five years, is just absolutely astounding. Mind boggling does not even began to describe.

    What is amazing to me is that things usually go well for such an extremely complicated process.

    I still maintain that we are designed with a 45 year MTBF. I pick 45 years because that is when our eyes start going bad. And there is lots of redundancy in the system so our bodies can usually handle several “events” without a total system failure. Just don’t dump the operating fluid (blood) or cut off our oxidizer (oxygen).

    I know that I have mentioned it here before but I did find out why we have a single pump system. I read a medical paper a couple of years back that calculated a single pump system is 150 calories per day and a double pump system is 250 calories per day. We are lovingly designed for the lean times which have been the norm until the last 100 years or so.

  39. ;_On to the Asteroid_ by Travis Taylor and Les Johnson
    https://www.amazon.com/Asteroid-Travis-S-Taylor/dp/148148267X/

    Book number two of a two book space opera series. I read the excellently printed and bound MMPB by Baen.

    The last book I read of Taylor’s was “Claws That Catch (Looking Glass, Book 4).” I thought it was absolutely childish and amateur writing. Is this one any better? I like his Warp Speed books, though.

  40. The last book I read of Taylor’s was “Claws That Catch (Looking Glass, Book 4).” I thought it was absolutely childish and amateur writing. Is this one any better? I like his Warp Speed books, though.

    I gave _On to the Asteroid_ 4.4 out of 5 stars ! Of course, this is two NASA rocket scientists writing a science fiction book, YMMV. The reviews at Big River are mixed between love and hate.

    I loved Taylor’s Warp Speed books also and want him to write more.

  41. @Jenny said and she is right:
    @Ray
    That NICU nurse is full of horse sh*t.
    Tons of studies refute her assertation.

    My Daughter was 13+ weeks premature in 1985 when NICUs were a rarity. Fortunately for her one had just opened up at the “big” hospital of the 3 in our area. It was headed by an experienced doctor and staff that the hospital brought in for big bucks.

    We were encouraged, no told in no uncertain terms, to be in the NICU (all gowned up) as much as possible and my Wife and I were to hold her; tubes, monitors, and all. But yes, skin contact so she could feel our heartbeat and breathing. Breastfeeding of course. My Daughter was in the NICU for 12 weeks.

    Now NICUs are way overused so it is no wonder that the insurance companies cause problems.

    New medical technology is super expensive (needlessly) so the hospitals have to over-utilize it to cover the cost. And the poor patient is left dealing with the insurance company.

  42. ArcGIS is pretty much standard in O&G for dealing with data attached to a location. It’s a 2d, mapping/database program, and it seems to have grown to take over all the city and surveying data as well.

    Thought you might have a student or demo copy laying around for some reason…

    n

  43. The whole Looking Glass series with John Ringo is why TT can get books published….

    That said, I’ve never read any of his stand alone stuff.

    n

  44. ArcGIS is pretty much standard in O&G for dealing with data attached to a location. It’s a 2d, mapping/database program, and it seems to have grown to take over all the city and surveying data as well.

    Thought you might have a student or demo copy laying around for some reason…

    Now I know why the ArcGIS tool sounded familiar. The Fort Bend County flood map is implemented using it:
    http://fbcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=cfe8b1a5660f4c5ca07f48aec0690591

    From:
    https://www.fortbendcountytx.gov/government/departments/county-services/drainage-district/floodplain-map

    Nope, we don’t do GIS work at all. We have have a request pending to add a land photo background to design a plant system on top of but we have yet to implement that.

  45. New medical technology is super expensive (needlessly) so the hospitals have to over-utilize it to cover the cost. And the poor patient is left dealing with the insurance company.

    The cost of medical product insurance is apparently simply amazing. Texas has limited medical damage awards to actual and projected damages plus $250K but I don’t know of any other states with this limitation.

  46. I bought the ’85 Cavalier. Type 10, 5 speed stick. Plastic interior and proud of it.

    I started by looking at the Cimarron and worked down. Well, I was moving down from a Cordoba with leather, a 360, and the slap stick shifter. Being rear ended and shoved into the car in front sorta messed the car up.

    I almost bought an Alfa Romero Milano. Sharp car. But, hey, if the fabric on the back door panels are snipped so much at the corners that you see the padding, what else is screwed up? I still have the brochure.

    Looked at a BMW. 3 series? Small Bimmer. By their attitude I was un-worthy.

    The Dodge dealer, yeah, let’s not talk about that joint other than to say the parts department was very good.

    Then there was the Pontiac dealer that also sold Renaults. I didn’t care much for the Pontiac version of the Cavalier. But hey…. that Alliance or whatever it was called, I like! There were two… one was a hatchback and the other had a trunk. Made a deal, shook hands on it, my friend stayed at the dealership while I went to get my checkbook. In that 20 minutes they decided they had to have an extra $1500.

    So, off to the Chevy dealer. No hassle, no “talk to the boss”, just made an offer and they made a sale. $8500 or so with tax, etc.

    It was almost a stripper. No radio but with A/C. White. I added the radio and speakers myself. I pulled off the Chevy logos other than Type10 on the doors, red pinstripe, peeled the bow tie on the grill apart to scrape out the gold paint and painted it with the reddest nail polish Skaggs Alpha-Beta sold. It was a sharp looking car. “Oh, hey, is that the new Monte Carlo?” Damn cops… 3 over the limit and BAM! I get a ticket. I liked that car. As a bonus the seat didn’t press on the pins in my hip.

    One rainy day I had a flashing yellow and some dude in a z10 with the flashing red decided to go. I drove on to work and his car was leaking engine oil and transmission. I got a ticket for not yielding. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 27 and the other guy is 40.

    The insurance company was a joke. No way to replace the car for $3000.

    A friend found a ’78 Volare wagon in San Antonio. $1000.18 out the door. It turned over to 0 miles on the way home. I put almost 80K on it and learned a lot. Hey, valve lash adjustment isn’t hard on a slant 6. It is cool to be able to stand nickles on edge on the air cleaner while the engine is running. I didn’t care if the Earl Schribe paint job looked like crap…. it looked nice when wet.

  47. If you are considering a Kia, consider this… most of the interior components are the same as the more expensive cars, but the retail price is less. Do you think the more expensive cars are gouging? or is is possible that Kia made up the difference somewhere else.

    Then consider this simple test. Open a front door. Look at the sheet metal A column where the door hinges attach. GENTLY bounce the door open against the limits of the hinge. Observe the structural A column twisting under the gentle force….

    Go buy something else.

    n

  48. “Good ceviche does not taste like fish and IMHO cannot be prepared with anything but fresh caught seafood that has been properly handled. ”

    Yuuup! As with bacon, I will only eat bacon that doesn’t taste like bacon.

  49. What is amazing to me is that things usually go well for such an extremely complicated process.

    And every child (except identical twins, triplets) is a genetic combination that has never been tried before.

    Wife and I were to hold her; tubes, monitors, and all

    Son and DIL have been told the same thing. Limited contact the first couple of days as the nurses could tell that touch was stressing the infant. But it is now to the point that NICU is expecting as much holding and contact with the parents and the infants. Gowns of course, scrubbing before entering the NICU.

    Insurance company is getting antsy and is taking some effort from the doctor to keep the infant in NICU. Doctor has told insurance company that if they force the infant to be released and anything happens to the infant the insurance company will be on the receiving end of legal action. Apparently that is generally normal when dealing with insurance companies and nothing special in this case.

    Insurance companies know this crap and are hoping that people will be meek and accept the decision. Standing your ground, asserting your rights, is not what insurance companies want.

  50. @Paul, good stories. I never liked dealers, a consequence of coming from a family of auto company employees, and a long story. That was in the sixties, and from what I have heard, much worse today. Of course, there must be some exceptions, some good dealers, but I have never found one. Almost all of my deals have been with private parties. I did buy one used car from a dealer, and that was OK, except they claimed that the car had been “serviced.” Yeah, the brakes had been replaced, probably at a high cost. Claimed the state requires all brakes to be inspected and relined if more than 40 or 60% worn, I can’t remember which. Never verified that, but I think it just generates needless business. The car was overpriced, but I was tired of looking. Some models are hard to find in good condition.

  51. ArcGIS is the field leader, but pricey. I was involved in a small mapping project a few years ago and we used Manifold GIS, a few hundred dollars, not thousands. Worked well.

  52. “To sleep, perchance to rub, aye, there’s the dream” is how a friend once put it…

    re ceviché, Chad, cool recipe. I go down to the fish market in Seattle and buy whole catfish. Freaks them out when I don’t want it fileted, but I do it myself, use every scrap, and pay only $4.99/lb.

    Funny line of the day: “It looks like that particular gene pool could use some bleach”.

  53. Go buy something else.

    I had a Nissan Versa rental recently. Road noise was awful compared to other modern cars, but the car seemed like it was well built.

    The price is low on the Versa because you don’t get any gadgets. Mandatory backup cameras are coming soon, however.

  54. Of course there are ‘tiers’ of pricing and quality, but all the auto makers buy pretty much everything in the car from suppliers. From radios, to knobs, dash controls, seats, door handles, etc. it all comes (essentially) out of a catalog.

    If you spend time comparing, esp. if you look closely at the “premium brand” versions of the same vehicle, like lexus vs toyota, most of the interior fittings are the same.

    The same is true of the low end value brands. They are shopping in the same vendor pool as the big guys.

    So, if some large percentage of the cost is made up of the same components, or very similar ones, across vehicles and brands, SALE prices have a large “sunk” cost built in. Premium brands get a bit extra for the name. That leaves the low end brands to make up the difference somewhere.

    From what I can see with my eyes and feel with my hands, that means that everything is just a bit thinner, lighter, weaker, less durable, and where hand work is involved, less well finished.

    For an example of finish, compare the nissan maxima to the altima. Not THAT much price difference when comparably equipped, but the Maxima is way more finished. Look at the interior of the trunks for example.

    Another thing you can’t see is sound and vibration dampening panels. Better cars have lots of them. Also glued on plastic baffles and sheets to seal everything. That keeps noise down, wind infitration (dust) down, and water out. Extra door and window gaskets do the same thing.

    There are real differences between makers and across product lines. The Navigator isn’t just a re-badged Expedition, it has different suspension, and different engine/trans programming. Same goes for most of the other models too (domestic), imports from the Euro branch of a carmaker may just be rebadges… no experience with those.

    n

  55. For an example of finish, compare the nissan maxima to the altima. Not THAT much price difference when comparably equipped, but the Maxima is way more finished. Look at the interior of the trunks for example.

    Nissan has been chintzy with interiors as of late, but, for as long as I can remember, Altima is marketed to particular demographics which eliminates the vehicle as a cross shop vs Camry/Accord in the suburbs, especially the H1B enclaves around Round Rock.

  56. if you look closely at the “premium brand” versions of the same vehicle, like lexus vs toyota, most of the interior fittings are the same

    Buy a part for a Lexus and it will arrive in a Toyota box. The mechanical stuff is identical to Toyota. What you get with Lexus is a more refined trim, a little better sound deadening, and a few options not available on Toyota. Reliability should be about the same as a Toyota.

    When my Avalon (great car) was wrecked I was looking for another vehicle. Went to the Lexus dealer to look at a vehicle. It was nice no doubt. Dealer said I could take it home for the night and drive it. Come back in the next day and we could finish the deal. I had asked for their best price, don’t play games.

    Wife and I both drove it, put about 100 miles on the car. The look of shock on the salesperson’s face when I brought it back, gave him the keys, and said we don’t want the car at that price. Five days later the salesperson managed “to find” a rebate that would drop the price $1700.00. I told him no and told him why. I stated he was not up front with me on the cost, tried to get an additional $1700 from me, and I no longer trusted him or the dealer.

    Went back to Toyota and bought another Avalon and never looked back.

  57. Honda/Acura is the same way. An Acura is a Honda with a nicer interior, and a few more electronic gadgets.

  58. Honda/Acura is the same way. An Acura is a Honda with a nicer interior, and a few more electronic gadgets.

    It used to be that all ? most ? of the Acura’s had turbo-chargers also and required premium fuel.

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