goodness, humor

Diamonds in the rough

I got a moving violation a couple of weeks ago.  It was totally my fault: I entered where it said “DO NOT ENTER.”  Pretty clear, right?  Duh.

Anyway, I’m taking an online driving course to make sure the point doesn’t go onto my licence and jack up my insurance rates, and this question made me burst out laughing:

if only the correct answer were C

Who writes these?  It sounds like they’re having a really fun time of it, which makes me happy and more willing to continue taking this stupid course.

P.S. I Google’d ‘law ghost’ just to see what would come up, and got this, a website for a ghost writing service for legal documents that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1992, and uses the motto “Lurking For You.”  Once you fax in your materials you’ll receive an email with the document in “Word or WordPerfect formats.”  Suffice to say, the midi file that plays on loop in the background is just precious.

 

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goodness, life, martial arts, work

I love you, Fiat

I hit 12,000 miles in my Fiat the other day, and I’m as much in love with it as ever.  My little Fiat is the best.  I’m such a fan.

But I’ve only had it eight months, which means I’ve been driving 1,500 miles per month.  Of course this is probably because I live on the Westside, work near downtown in the morning, and in Redondo Beach in the afternoon (about 50 miles) an average of three days a week, plus the weekend Redondo Beach drive (35 miles round trip).  That’s almost 750 miles per month just for work.  And that’s assuming I’m not covering for any other Sensei’s, or attending an event on a day off at Office Job.

This is part of the reason why I bought this car; I was doing a ton of driving, and hating every second of it because I hated my car.  Now, driving is a pretty pleasant experience.  Thank you, Fiat.  I love you.

driving home from karate job

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goodness, life, nerd

I’m an egg driving an egg

ABSOLUTELY NOT

I got my car last week, and it is… just awesome.  I haven’t posted it about so far because I’ve been getting a feel for it, and didn’t want to jinx it by saying I loved it, only to discover some horrible flaw.

It’s such a fun car.  I chuckle  every time I glance behind me as I walk away from it; it’s so tiny, but it doesn’t feel small once I’m inside.  The trompe l’oeil is titillating.  I’ve spent the last week drive an unusually large amount.  I drove over to my folks’ place just to have cereal.  I’ve spent the past week sleep over at boyfriend’s place because the drive is no longer arduous.    My little Italian car.  I’m enjoying it so much.

The engine makes this nice little purring sound when I accelerate through first gear.  The wheel turns so easily at low speeds, I’m still getting used to it.  The little blinkers on either side of the car are adorable and bright.  The horn is polite and fully ignorable (might have to change that).  The sound system’s fidelity is like crystal.  The turning radius is laughably awesome.  I loaded the back with my first groceries last night; they fit with plenty of room to spare.

I had to break in the engine by driving under 60mph for the first hundred or so miles.  That was an educational experience.  I’ve re-discovered a quiet level of gut-wrenching that I haven’t experienced since I first started driving.  Even in the slow lane, irritated drivers tailgate, then zoom past me, furious that I would obey the speed limits in an obviously new car.  I’ve been cut off several times because I don’t bother speeding up to stop the offenders.  I can’t risk anyone tapping my beautiful new machine; plus I’m leaving the turbo button alone for now, and don’t have the pickup without it to cause any real trouble.

Surprisingly, I’ve actually enjoyed driving more slowly.  The whole experience of the car is heightened and stress-free.  I’m going to have to spend more time in the middle lanes.  The day I got it, on my drive home from Boyfriend’s place, a man in a Mercedes pulled up next to me at a stop light and asked me how much it was, and whether I liked it.  I was all smiles.

No one else has driven it yet, though I’m going to offer the keys to Boyfriend for his birthday tomorrow.  He’s such a cautious driver, and I’ve never sat in the passenger seat.  Should be a fun time.

SIDE NOTE: I cannot wait to illustrate the title.  Should be amazing.  I have a vision!

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life

Where are you, car? *sniffle*

so close!

T-minus 21 days and counting to Fiat

I was given an ETA of 45 business days from when I placed my order for a brand new Fiat 500.  The only option I added to the basic model was the car alarm (which only came in a package with a better sound system and satellite radio, so I win!) and an automatic transmission.  No silly decals, no engine block heater, no “smoker’s option” (whatever that is).  Just 45 days to get an automatic with one add-on.  I’ve heard from the guy at the bank who’s helping with the whole thing that it should arrive “soon.”  The guy at the dealership said a couple weeks ago that “it should be here by the end of the month.”  I called him yesterday and he said there was “a delay.”

Two months is a long time to wait for something you’re really, really looking forward to.  It’s been 30 business days, and I’m chomping at the bit.  It’s so close I can almost feel the stitching on the steering wheel under my fingers.  No one in my family has ever owned a brand new car.  We’ve always bought used, and that makes sense financially.  I’ve had two bad experiences with cars (both American), and I’m tired of inheriting other people’s problems.  I can’t wait!  Raaaaaaagh!

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goodness, life, martial arts

An exciting day

Yesterday was an exciting day for three reasons: Poker, Car, Kung Fu.

POKER

it's orange! like a pumpkin!

Diminutive Roommate and I went to college together.  I get the feeling we’re going to be friends our whole lives.  I sure hope we are, because we have so much fun together.  We used to play poker at least once a week in college, and decided recently that we should start doing that again.  Sister bought me a poker table years ago, and I just got it back last week from Chinese ExBoyfriend’s household (we broke up… wow, over five years ago).

Hooray!  I got it back!  But we’ve been borrowing poker chips from them too, so I thought fuck it, I’m getting my own chips.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that you can order any number of any color chip you want.  So instead of the traditional set of 500 white, red, blue, black, green poker chip set, I got 650 yellow, orange, gray, purple and pink.  CANNOT WAIT TO PLAY WITH THEM SUPER EXCITED THEY’RE GETTING HERE MONDAAAAAAYYYY!!

CAR

Apparently entry-level automatic cars are not sold without all kinds of bells and whistles, so yesterday I custom-ordered my car.  It’s going to be a white Fiat 500 with brown and white interior and no extras (who the fuck needs a engine block heater in LA?).  It should be ready in 45 days (Is that business days I asked?  No one knows.  Apparently this is top-secret info the Chrysler factories churning these things out in Mexico aren’t telling anyone).  I’m not as excited as I should be, because I’ve been attempting to buy this damn car for weeks now.  No one at the dealerships or credit union are doing their job despite the fact that I’m attempting to buy a car at full price, and in the meantime I’m stuck in that damn deathtrap 98 Exploder that inhales gas at an alarming rate (I’m getting maybe 11mpg.  Maybe).  When the Fiat arrives I’ll lose my mind.  Meanwhile, I spent $372 on gas last month.  But fuck it!  I’m getting  a new car!  It’s gonna be so fucking cute, hahaha!

so cute

KUNG FU

I was invited to train at a kung fu studio by a friend of mine (let’s call her Little Iron Friend- she has completed her Iron Palm training; high-fiving her is painful).  I’ve only been taking classes sporadically for six months.  I’ve chatted with the instructors, who have made it clear that they’re willing to put me on the fast track to obtaining a black sash.  I told them I’d like to earn a brown sash first, then work for black.  The head instructor seemed very pleased with that decision.  He said, “You move like a black belt.  There’s no reason why you shouldn’t earn your black sash within a year.”

fingers crossed!

I figured that meant that I would attend class without rank until I tested for brown.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived early yesterday to watch Little Iron Friend teach class, and one of the instructors approached me with a brand new, folded, shining brown sash.  He held it out to me with two hands, in the traditional style, and said, “This is for you.”  I didn’t reach out to take it; I just stared at it, and said, “What’s that?”  He grinned, and informed me that I will effectively hold the rank of brown sash while I learn all the material leading up to that rank.  This means I’ll be the highest rank in the intermediate class, which will likely cause some tension.  I’m not too worried about it; I have no ego associated with my rank, and I think most people know that.  I have one more black belt than the only black belt student in the school (that I’ve seen), and he’s uber serious for some reason.  No sense of humor to speak of.  It’s really a shame.

The point is, I have a kung fu brown sash.  And that’s amazing.  Little Iron Friend and I had dinner last night and chatted about it.  She’s a green sash, so I out-rank her now which could be awkward. I told her if she feels weird or if this starts to put a strain on our friendship, I’ll give it back and walk away. She said it’s not a problem, and we’re good.  She has a lot of respect for me as a martial artist, and vice versa, so I think we’re going to be fine.  I told her I was nervous about how the other students would react now that I technically outrank them.  She said, “I’ll stand by you.  Don’t worry about it.”  I was touched.  I’m so glad we found each other and became friends.

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humor

Tiny car syndrome

I know I keep saying this, but it’s settled: I’m buying a Fiat.  Within the month of May, I will own a brand new white Pop model Fiat 500 with brown and cream interior upholstery.  And it will be just adorable.  I went on another test drive yesterday, and I’m officially sold.  It’s way better than a Yaris (sorry Toyota, it was a tight race until I saw the interior- why would you put your dials in the center of the console?!).

silver lining: repair costs would have been low

I’m suffering from some anxiety about buying such a small car, though, and these worries manifested in a dream last night.  In the dream, I bought the Fiat, but was given a small plastic car instead.  The kind children play with.  And I couldn’t tell the difference.  It was bright yellow and made of that solid but soft plastic that kids’ giant toys are made of.  I drove off the lot amid a loud buzzing sound the engine made, and couldn’t tell I wasn’t driving the Fiat I’ve been pining for during the last two months.

Eventually, I got out of my little plastic pedal car, picked it up with one hand, walked back to the dealership and stood there at the counter where I demanded, “This is not a Fiat.  Where is my Fiat?”

Where indeed.

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badness, goodness, life

Fiaaaaaaaaaaat

Just made an appointment to test drive a Fiat 500 tomorrow afternoon after Office Job.  They apparently have three models: Pop, Sport, and Lounge ($15,500, $17,500, and $19,500 respectively).  The Pop is what I’m looking at because it’s cheaper, but they only have one automatic transmission Pop model at the location I’m doing my test drive.  I might have to wait around, driving Dad’s old Exploder until more arrive.  The guy said they sold three yesterday, “Boom!  Gone!” but translated from car salesman speak, I’m guessing that means four test drives and one sale.

WAAAAAANT

If this Fiat doesn’t work out… I’m going to regret selling my Pontiac.  It would have been so much more economical to keep it that I’m still panicking about selling it.  But when I mentioned that to my friends last night, they all sang out at the same time, “Nope!  That car always had problems, you made a good choice!”  Maybe they were right.

Cost of Pontiac: $9k

Cost of Pontiac with upkeep: probably around $11k

Sold for $2,200

So I end up $8,800 in the hole.  I had it for three years.  That’s about three thousand dollars a year.  Yikes.  Not a very good investment.  I should have hung onto it.

BUT NO! I found the front right headlamp had fallen out of it’s place, and was dangling from it’s wires over the front fender once, for no reason!  And every time it rained the light would go out and I would have to take it to the shop to get replaced!  And Dad had to manually install a switch to turn off the security feature that caused it to stop recognizing my key, and occasionally not start!  And the snap-crackle-popping noises coming out of the rear speaker were so bad, I had stopped listening to music at all!  And only half of the speakers worked!  And every time I looked at the dented fender, it made me feel bad about myself for being a bad driver while sick!  And the fuel pump broke within the first year just like my first Pontiac (not cheap), but this time I was on the freeway… in the fast lane… on my way to Medieval Times for a friend’s birthday party, which I ended up missing RAAAAAGH I’m still angry/sad about it!  And the doors were really heavy because the coupe was too long, and I was never able to find the the rear center seat belt, and the middle seat was rock hard anyway, and there was a small crack on the windshield from a tiny pebble hitting it on freeway on the way back from Pomona, and it was such a dark green that it was hard to see in the dark and was unsafe and was sweltering hot in the summer, and the AC wasn’t great, and neither was the heater, and the front right blinker hasn’t worked in forever, and Dad had to duct tape part of the door bumper on (before I took it to the shop and they forcibly screwed it back on), and the volume control on the stereo didn’t always work, and when Carmax sold it to me and I had my mechanic have a look at it, he pointed out (among several other problems) one part under the hood that was being held on with twine!  The brakes sucked (they made a horrible, deep whining sound when I had jam down on them), the pickup sucked (there was a full 1-2 second delay from when I hit the gas, and the car would speed up).  And it was about to hit 100k miles, which means its value would have plummeted if I hadn’t sold it when I did (it was at 99,964).

Things I liked about my dark green Pontiac Grand Am GT:

-red light-up display

-thick steering wheel

-enormous trunk space

-can’t think of anything else.

UPDATE: March 15, 8:56pm

Did the test drive.  Loved it.  The ride is pretty smooth, there’s plenty of room for two people with some small dogs in the back seat, and groceries in the boot.  Look at that.  I’m calling it a boot.  Because it looks like it was snatched off the very streets of London.  It looks so much like one of those black cabs they have, it’s uncanny.  Larger on the outside that I thought, which I like (safer).  Cramped for head and legroom for anyone taller than me in the back, but fine in the front, so I don’t care.  Loads of standard features that are actually attractive.  USB hookup, remote lock, etc.  Good shit.

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