Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
On buying a new vehicle part III
Or the end result of a long day at the dealership.
Yes, I am pleased with the new car. I'll be honest though, I'm still a bit disappointed to not have my first choice but what am I going to do? Now you may think that it's sheer vanity when you see all of the pictures that follow, but rest assured, there's a method to my madness, which is that...
If anything should happen to the car, I'd need a photo record for insurance purposes. Though I hope I'll never need to use these pictures for that reason.
Of course, you are right, I must admit. Vanity does have something to do with it, too. For the first time in my life I have a nice looking vehicle to show off and take pride in the appearance of, so please indulge me:
We don't have sales tax here in NH but the government gets it's money anyway. They make it rediculously expensive to register a new car. The woman at Nashua City Hall said that the cost of registration is based on the list price of the vehicle and that the rate is eighteen dollars per thousand. She said that it decreases every year and it takes five years to get to the lowest rate (three dollars per thousand based on vehicle list price). And of course you have to renew the registration yearly...
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
On buying a new vehicle part II
Or more appropriately, a funny thing happened today at the car dealership....
So now I've had the thrill of driving a brand new vehicle off of the dealer's lot. Just not the vehicle I was intending to buy.
I had my sights set on a 2006 Nissan Xterra, lousy gas mileage and all, but one kick-ass looking vehicle. Instead I ended up with a 2006 Nissan Sentra. Don't get me wrong, the Sentra is a nice car and will serve me well but certainly not what I had in mind.
What finally made me change my mind?
I had some credit card problems a few years ago, after I got separated from ex-Mrs. Green. These problems have not entirely gone away, and my credit rating has suffered because of them. It's kind of ironic because, the majority of my working life has been in the credit and collections industry, and I knew going in how important credit was and is. Knowing the credit problems other people have had, (because I've tried to collect on them), I vowed never to have those same problems myself. But then if we knew on which roads our lives would travel ahead of time then we could have called ahead to get a map or at least better directions....
What also didn't help my situation was the fact that I NEEDED a car.
So my options were limited. Hindering my efforts was the fact that I had no trade-in and that I also had no cash for any kind of down payment. The final nail in the coffin was financing. The Sentra, obviously, is not quite as expensive as the Xterra, which made it easier to finally get the loan approved that I needed.
As the Sales Manager and I were talking about other options, I knew what his end game would be and reluctantly I had to agree. He wanted to sell me the vehicle I wanted and was going to but I told him that at present I just couldn't bite, chew and swallow the accompanying payment. I also asked Mr. Sales Manager about other older used cars, to which he reminded me that with an older car I would lose much of the potential trade in value that comes with a newer car.
What the Sentra does for me is this: it gives me a reliable vehicle that I can use to help rebuild my credit rating, by ensuring that the payments will be made on time. If I do this for six months or a year, not only will I have improved my credit score but also will have a car that will have excellent trade-in value. Small cars like the Sentra are valuable to a dealer as a trade-in because they are in demand as used cars and thus, sell quickly.
Plus, when, not IF, I get a better job (read: higher paying) I'll have the opportunity to have some cash for a nice down payment.
Depending on how things go come February, I can call him up and say, "Lets place a factory order for a 2007 Xterra with exactly the specifications that I want." He informed me that he'd have no problem ordering something and that these special orders take about three months to arrive at the dealership, from the time the order is placed. So the new goal is May or June of 2007 before I can get the vehicle I really want.
The major disappointment for me today is that I fell into the trap that 95% of new car shoppers do. I didn't have the proper numbers in front of me in order to bargain effectively. I focused all of my price research on the Xterra and had not a clue what the MSRP vs. dealer invoice price actually is for the Sentra. So I probably ended up paying way more for it than I would have if I had done my homework on that car as well. But honestly, how could I have known?
Since tonight is rainy, I'll post a few pictures of my new ride at the earliest opportunity.
Monday, August 28, 2006
On buying a new vehicle part I
Many of you know what it's like to drive off of an auto dealer's lot in a brand new vehicle or in a brand new (to you) used vehicle. The latter I have done, the former I have not - yet.
I took the first step this morning towards that new vehicle. The smart step.
Armed with a gaggle of price information on the vehicle I want, I selected fifteen dealers in my geographic area (NH, MA & ME) that sell that vehicle. I faxed the sales manager at each dealership a letter telling them exactly what I want and asking them a) if they have it (or something close to it) and b) what their absolute best price would be. This method helps to smoke out better offers because every sales organization has hidden sales goals and some will sell at a slim or no profit just to make a sale.
So far I have received nine responses from the fifteen faxes that I sent - eight of which have given me a price and one I need to call back tomorrow afternoon. And the response rate could improve if I recieve any more calls tomorrow morning. Then there's my sales boy at the dealership that is closest to me that showed me the vehicles I was interested in and allowed me to test drive them. After I make the one remaining call-back I will call this dealership (they were purposefully not faxed this morning) and see if they want to play the game.
This faxing strategy was not actually my idea but has worked brilliantly thus far. I actually read about the idea in this book and went to the website to purchase their information package specifically tailored to two vehicles I was interested in.
So I'll end up spending less for this vehicle than if I had just gone into the showroom to negotiate on my own.
Tomorrow morning I'm going to see the vehicle from the dealership that has offered me the best price so far.
to be continued...
Sunday, August 27, 2006
What's all the fuss about?
This is a clarification of last Tuesday's post, in which I rather abruptly left you hanging without the full story.
So let me fill you in on just exactly what I was referring to.
If you've been reading my blog from the beginning, you may know that after my foolishness with the Russian woman, I joined eHarmony, a dating website with a far better reputation and a very convincing and sincere television ad campaign.
I've been with eHarmony for just over a year now and have been able to get through the guided communication process with a number of ladies to the point where we are able to send emails through the eHarmony system.
Briefly, the way eHarmony works is that they match members based on the lengthy personality profile that you are required to fill out at the beginning. So the matches you get are highly compatible based on more than just physical appearance. All communication is anonymous - that is no last names or other contact information is provided through eHarmony. That information is only shared when and if each person feels comfortable enough to give it out. And, unlike some other dating web-sites, you can only communicate with other matches once you have paid to join, thus weeding out or eliminating entirely the tire-kickers and people who aren't really serious about meeting other singles for a lasting relationship.
When you recieve matches you have four choices: you can begin the guided communication process; request fast-track (send email right away); put the match on hold (for communication later); or close out the match.
Out of all of the matches I've been sent over the past year, none has attracted my fancy or imagination as much as one particular match that I received on August 18th. Not only do I find her very attractive, but what she wrote in her introductory information just blew me away. So I chose the fast track option and have been waiting for her to respond, hoping that she will do so positively. See, she still has the four choices regarding me as a match. If she declines the fast track invitation, she could still choose to communicate through the guided process.
That's where the anticipation comes in. I'm dying to communicate with this woman because I think we'd be an excellent match. I anxiously check to see every day if she has responded to my request or not.
So here's what I know:
Her name is Lynn.
She gives her location as Atlanta / Birmingham, AL.
She's 34 and 5'3".
She's a Christian.
She doesn't smoke or drink.
She gives her occupation as a project manager / advertising producer / photographer, apparently in the non-profit sector.
And, finally her picture:
By leaving this post, I'm hoping to use the power and reach of the internet to my advantage. Basically what I'm hoping for is to find a needle in a haystack. If you live in her area of the country and if you happen to know this woman, please encourage her to contact me as soon as possible, either here through my blog or, better still on eHarmony...
And if she happens to see this - even better.
So Lynn, your eHarmony match from Nashua, New Hampshire, who requested that you respond via fast-track, really wants to talk to you! UPDATE: The day after I left this post, I found out that she closed out our match on eharmony, stating that she is pursuing another relationship.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
SNMR 1.29: "Where the Heart Is"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "Where the Heart Is"
(2000, PG-13, 120 minutes) starring Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, James Frain, Dylan Bruno, Sally Field and Keith David. The film was directed by Matt Williams.
I first rented this movie when it came out on DVD, largely because of Natalie Portman's performance in Star Wars I: Phantom Menace. As with most people, I'm sure, I had never heard of her before the first Star Wars prequel and wanted to see how she'd do in a more normal role. An added bonus for me was that Ashley Judd was the co-star. I had first noticed Judd in my favorite Star Trek: TNG episode of all-time (5.6) called The Game, a wonderful take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
From the DVD's dust jacket:
Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman star in this offbeat, delicious slice of life about a down-on-her-luck southern teen who, after gaining 15 minutes of fame for giving birth to "The Wal-Mart Baby", begins to put her life together with the help of the kind, quirky strangers who become her surrogate family.
Based on the #1 best-selling novel by Billie Letts, this "brilliantly funny, deeply moving, beautifully acted" (KNX/CBS Radio) film co-stars Stockard Channing and Joan Cusack in an inspiring celebration of love and friendship.
From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 1252-:
For a while, this film overcomes its melodramatic trappings and becomes an engaging if unlikely account of a young woman, 17 and pregnant, who is abandoned by her boyfriend at an Oklahoma Wal-Mart; once her baby is born, she befriends a series of colorful and eccentric characters who become the surrogate family she never had. Unfortunately, contrivance and heavy dollops of bathos eventually turn this adaptation of Billie Letts' novel into soap-opera swill.
Despite this film being a bit long and dragged out, I like it. The mark of an excellent actress is how they do without the best quality material. I believe that Natalie Portman does well with the material at hand. It's a cute, feel good story. The script is a bit weak, whether it's an accurate reflection on the novel or just a lacking adaptation, I don't know - having never read the novel.
This film, plain and simple, is fluff with a happy ending. The kind of mindless entertainment that serves exactly that purpose. I'll give this film three out of five stars.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Ramses II on the move
From the AP and your friends at the BBC:
Cairo, Egypt - 25 Aug 2006
A giant statue of King Ramses II has been moved to a new location free from the pollution and vibrations it has suffered during 50 years standing outside Cairo's main railway station.
The statue, which originated in Memphis, had been in Ramses Square since the 1950s. King Ramses II was born in 1302 BC and became pharaoh in his early 20s.
It was feared that lying the 83 ton, 11m (36 feet) high statue on a lorry would destroy it, so engineers decided to move it standing up in an enclosed steel cage.
Despite the early start at 0100 local time, tens of thousands of people lined the streets for the event, which was broadcast live on Egyptian television.
Ebullient residents lined the streets to watch the red granite statue move through the city at a slow and stately pace.
It took 10 hours to move the royal statue 2km. The authorities had rehearsed the journey with a replica in July this year.
Ramses, a prolific builder of monuments in his lifetime, will find a new home in an Egyptian antiquities museum to be constructed near the pyramids in the next five years.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
No news is good news
at least it is so far.
There are three areas of anticipation that are killing me that I'll share with you since you have been patient.
The first has do do with a doctors appointment I have on September 1st that will hopefully be very revealing. More details on that after I actually see my doctor.
The second has directly to do with the vehicle I plan to purchase to replace the Neon. On Monday I will begin in earnest the process of buying the vehicle, and if everything goes well, pick it up on Wednesday and register it on Thursday. Believe me, I'll post about that next week, including pictures - provided blogger cooperates and allows me to sucessfully upload them.
The third area of anticipation, and the one that is really driving me crazy has to do with...
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Anticipation is Driving Me Nuts
Had to be said. Really, it did.
An explanation in more detail to follow at a later time.
Picking up right where I left off
I'm talking about riding a bicycle.
Before this morning, I hadn't ridden a bicycle in at least 15 years. But I picked it right back up as if no time had passed. It took me about 25 minutes to get to and from work today. I'll be riding the bike to and from work for the rest of the week, provided the weather remains free of rain. There were very few cars on my route this morning and considerably more traffic on the ride home.
I did learn a few things from my morning ride, however:
It's amazing how much we take our cars for granted. Even a crap car like the Neon looks good when there is no alternative. I miss my car.
I am wonderfully and woefully out of shape for a lean, thin guy. My legs were a bit tired after my morning ride, not being used to getting all that much excersise so early in the morning. The ride was very refreshing though and I recovered quickly.
I didn't realize how much 've missed owning and riding a bike. This is a situation I'll need to rectify at some point soon. Nashua does have some decent bike trails, or so I understand.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Aye, she died a painful death, she did
Let's just say that internal injuries sped along the cause of death for my brief but (far from) glorious ownership of the 1998 Dodge Neon.
Not only did the Neon's radiator crap out on me last week but because of the car
overheating and my driving on it longer than I should have, I also either:
A) caused the head gasket to blow or at the very least warped the crap out of it
B) cracked the engine block
C) both A & B.
The jury is out on just exactly what further damage I did, but suffice it to say that after learning from the garage, in whose opinion I trust, this additional information the decision to buy a new radiator became an "I don't think so" no brainer. And well familiar am I to head gasket damage if indeed that was the case.
Now, at least for the forseeable future (hopefully a short one at that), I am officially car-less and will be riding my brother's mountain bike the 3+ miles to work. Didja hear that AG?!?!?!?!?!?! RIDING A BICYCLE TO WORK.
In the next few days whilst I sort out these automobile related issues, I shall be a minimal presence in bloggerland, but not entirely away from my computer altogether.
If you'd like to contribute to green's next automobile fund, just email me privately and I'll tell you where to send the check.
(I'm just kidding. OR AM I?)
AND you can also apply this post's headline to my beloved and now (for the time being) pathetic Red Sox and their 2006 season. Yes, they made reality the completely unfathomable. Winning not a single game of the five game series with the Yankees, and getting the crap beat out of them in the first three games to boot.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Bye bye Bruno
At the park today, I was reading one of those free entertainment newspapers from August 17th. One of the stories in it was a tribute to underrated character actor Bruno Kirby (1949-2006), who died in L.A. last Monday at age 57 of complications from leukemia.
Kirby was best known as Billy Crystal's best friend in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally (as Jess) and comedy City Slickers (as Ed). I first recall seeing Kirby in Good Morning, Vietnam as the annoying, polka loving 2nd Lt. Steven Hauk.
Here's an appreciation piece from The Washington Post regarding Kirby, written by someone who knew the actor personally.
Another story on Kirby, from People.com.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
SNMR 1.28: "The Firm"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Firm" (1993, R, 154 minutes), starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Hal Holbrook, David Straithairn and Wilford Brimley. The film was directed by Sydney Pollack.
I think that the first time I saw this film was after it came out on video and it quickly became one of my favorite movies. Tom Cruise may be a bit creepy and outspoken in his religious beliefs these days but you can't deny that he is an excellent actor.
From the DVD's dust jacket:
Three time Oscar nominee Tom Cruise delivers the most electrifying performance of his career in this riveting film based on the international best-seller.
Cruise plays Mitch McDeere, a brilliant and ambitious Harvard Law grad. Driven by a fierce desire to bury his working-class past, Mitch joins a small, prosperous Memphis firm that affords Mitch and his wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn) an affluent lifestyle beyond their wildest dreams. When FBI agents confront him with evidence of corruption and murder within the firm, Mitch sets out to find the truth in a deadly crossfire between the FBI, the Mob, and a force that will stop at nothing to protect its interests - THE FIRM.
Directed by Oscar winning Sydney Pollack and starring Oscar winner Gene Hackman plus a magnificent supporting cast, THE FIRM makes its case as the must see movie of the year.
From Martin & Porter's DVD and Video Guide 2006, p. 389:
Director Sydney Pollack takes the old-style Hollywood approach in this adaption of John Grisham's bestselling suspense-thriller by surrounding star Tom Cruise with a top flight cast of suppporting actors- and it works. Cruise plays an ambitious young lawyer who joins a law firm in Memphis only to find that his high salary and impressive perks come with a price: either go along with the company's corrupt dealings or become its next victim. Gripping.
This is an excellent film from beginning to end. I recall reading the novel but don't think that the screenplay strayed far from the book, if at all. The supporting cast is wonderful and I especially like Wilford Brimley's charachter - atypical for his usual good guy roles in all of his work that I've seen. Ed Harris makes a great FBI guy. Gene Hackman is one of the most versatile actors of the last 30 years or so. I'd recommend this film to anyone. It is lengthy though and I think the first hour drags a bit but not so much as to ruin the story. I like the piano music soundtrack, which is raw but it works well. I'll give this film four and a half out of five stars.
Friday, August 18, 2006
ding dong, this car is dead
The garage that has my car called me late this morning. They said it would need a new radiator, costing in total $416 for diagnostic, parts & labor.
Later in the afternoon I got another call back from the garage and they told me that the engine was making an unusual noise, that sounded like a hammer tapping on steel, and wanted to know if it was a preexisting condition or something that might have happened as a result of the engine overheating.
So I told them that I needed to come up and get some things out of the car anyway. They told me that they'd have a mechanic talk to me and let me listen for myself what this new noise sounded like.
When I got there, we listened and the mechanic told me some of the things that this noise could mean. None of the scenarios he painted bode well for the life of the car, being that I don't really want to sink lots of cash into a car I don't care for.
The garage is closed on the weekend and my car is on the schedule to be serviced on Monday. While they had the go ahead to replace the radiatior, I told the guy to try and pinpoint the source of the new noise. He told me, and I heartily agreed, that it would be foolish to install a new radiator if, say, the head gasket shows signs of warping or if, in ablsoute worst-case scenario, the whole engine would need replacing.
They'll call me after they've done more diagnostic tests on the car and give me their opinion on if it is fixable, and before the guy starts working on the radiator replacement.
My personal opinion is that I did more damage to the engine than I thought and that the car, in effect, will be totaled from this incident.
We shall see what happens on Monday, I suppose.
Game 1: Yankees 12, @ Red Sox 4
Game 2: Yankees 14, @ Red Sox 11
Not a good day for Red Sox fans. We're now 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and now at best -if the Red Sox win the remaining three games in the series, they'll still be in second place but will only be 1/2 game behind.
On to tomorrow's game.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The Yanks are comin' to the Hub
The Yankees, holding a slim game and a half lead over the Red Sox, come to Fenway Park in Boston on Friday for the start of a huge five game series. This series could seriously alter the landscape in the American League East, heading into September. Since 2003, the Red Sox hold a 41-40 series edge in the rivalry. So far this season, the two teams have split the first ten games of the nineteen game season series. For those of you not in the Boston-New York locale, you can watch Saturday afternoon's game on FOX at 13:00 EDT and Sunday night's game is on ESPN at 20:00 EDT.
So here's a primer for this weekend's festivities, from mlb.com.
Baseball doesn't get any better than this, folks. Believe me.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
the unavoidable lie
First off, on the whole, I consider myself to be a very truthful person. Honest to the point of, well sometimes being honest can backfire in your face as has happened to me. But there is one unavoidable lie that there is no way to get out of when the situation calls for it. At least no alternative way with pleasant consequences that I can think of.
Let me put this into perspective and tell you the whole story, then some. Hold on... honestly, you can't make this stuff up.
Being generally unsatisfied with my job of late and seeing where I think my company is headed (queue toilet flushing noise), last week I decided to go online to see what other potential employment awaits me. In applying to one job, I had to post a resume on monster.com.
Since then I've gotten a few emails from employers who found my resume online. One interview will be on Monday afternoon and the other one was supposed to be this morning.
To back up a bit, there's a new policy at my present employer (which makes sense and is perfectly legitimate) that requires at least two days advanced notice for time off and the requests now have to be approved by the supervisor, so that adequate staffing for the needed work can be planned for.
One company left me a message on my cell phone Monday saying they wanted me to come in on Wednesday (today) for an interview. I could not return the call on Monday because, even though I had my cell phone with me, my battery was dead and I did not have the charger with me to recharge enough battery power to make the call. Trying to make job interview arrangements on the current company's phone during working hours is a sure way to get fired if caught. So on Tuesday I brought my now fully charged cell phone back and made the call to set up the interview for today, since the man I'm supposed to interview with is a regional manager and not always in the area, it was either Wednesday or sometime next week or whenever the regional manager was back in town.
I, of course, opted for the interview today and knew that I'd need to make an excuse for not going in to work today. So I used the excuse that I'd had car problems and would not be in to have it worked out. They bought it. How fortunate for me I chose that excuse...
The job interview was set for 10 this morning. I left myself 45 minutes travel time so that I would get there five or ten minutes early.
Can you guess what happened to me on my way to the interview??
If you've read my blog at the end of June/beginning of July, you've probably guessed correctly - car problems, again. This time with the Neon.
When I got into my car this morning, I noticed a puddle of some liquid that started from under my car and leaked out into the driveable area of the parking lot. I looked under the car as far as I could, not wanting to get my nice pants dirty and couldn't see any drips or obvious problems, so I didn't think anything else about it.
While I was driving up the highway towards Manchester, I noticed that the temperature gauge on the dash was maxed out at H, which it wasn't last night. I hoped honestly that I would make it to the interview and that I'd be able to figure out the car problem after the interview.
No such luck.
I pulled over into the breakdown lane as soon as I noticed smoke coming from the back end of the car and from under the hood but without the grinding sound that accompanies a blown head-gasket.
Immediately I called ahead to my interview's contact person and told her that I'd need to reschedule and apprised her of the sitiation.
While I was on the phone finishing up leaving a message, the good old NH State Police cruiser - with lights flashing- pulls up behind me. The officer comes up to my car and asks if I'm all right. I tell him what happened and he inquires if I have a cell phone to call for a tow. I nod yes and he says that he's got to go down the highway to Nashua to check out another couple of situations but that he knew where I was and would come back around to check up on me in a while.
I said thanks to the officer, reassuring him that I'd be fine and he then went on his way. After he left I popped the hood and trunk and checked my engine oil. That had plenty. But I noticed that the coolant reserve was empty. I always carry, amongst other things, an extra five quart jug of coolant in my car's trunk for just such an emergency. The bottle had about four quarts of coolant in it so I grabbed my funnel and started filling up the reserve. Poured in all four quarts with ease but still the reserve was empty. Looking down at the ground near the car I see four quarts of coolant gushing from the underside of my car onto the pavement.
I then called AAA and my mom to make arrangements for a tow and a ride home from the garage.
After my last road service call to AAA I doubted that I had any service calls left since I had to pay for the tow when the beast finally died. To my surprise and relief, I was not told I'd have to pay for the tow and that the flatbed would be there within the hour.
Apparently they track service calls from membership year to membership year - not January to December as I thought. My AAA dues are due Aug 1st and after the last incident decided not to pay them - thus letting my membership expire. So after today I guess I'll pay the dues afterall.
As a bit of background, I always carry a bookbag with me with plenty of current reading material for unexpected periods of downtime, like this one, which ensures that I'll always have something to do while waiting.
Well, old dopey me forgot the bookbag today. So I was stuck waiting on the highway for AAA tow guy with absolutely nothing to read or do. While the weather was mildly warm and very pleasant, I was also dressed business casual for the interview that I wasn't getting to, so after standing in the sun I was sweating.
Of the hundreds of cars that went speeding by me in the breakdown lane, two people stopped to see if I needed any help. The first guy was in a yellow pickup truck with markings for Manchester Airport. The second was just a regular guy in a regular car who saw me and pulled over to see if he could help. I told both of them no but thanks for stopping anyway.
Fast forward to noon. I called my mom back and she agreed to leave work early and pick me up from the garage and either drive me to get a rental car or drive me back to my apartment. She came by at 12:45.
While I was waiting I called my insurance company and found out that I do have rental car coverage for 30 days - but only can be used if I were in an accident and not because of a breakdown on the highway.
We went to Enterprise rent-a-car anyway, where I learned that I don't have enough leeway on my intentionally small limit credit card to afford a rental car and that in order to use my Visa debit card, they'd need to take the money out of my account right away.
I told the guy that would not work as I have barely enough to cover my expenses as it was and that if any more money was used I'd end op bouncing several checks and being charged $28 in fees for every one of them.
The garage that works on my car is routinely full and has no scheduled service openings until Monday of next week. But becasue my car is already there, there is a chance they could look at it before the weekend, as they have been able to do before, with other vehicles of mine. No guarantees, though.
Fortunately my brother has agreed to let me borrow his car for the next few days, as he has two company pickup trucks that he can use instead. So I'm going back down to my parent's house tonight to pick up his car. Thanks, A.
This is why I need a new vehicle. I hate breaking down on the highway. And it has happened to me way too frequently in these last few weeks. Some people can go years without breaking down on the highway.
No sir, not me.
In case you missed it - the unavoidable lie is making an excuse to your present employer why you need time off on such short notice. Think about it - you can't tell your present company that you need time off from work to go to another job interview.
Well you could tell them, I suppose, if you weren't keen on keeping your present job until the opportune moment - until you had another job all safe and securely lined up.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
I've been waiting for this day
6 years, 9 months and 20 days to be exact.
What was I waiting for, you ask?
M came up to me this afternoon, baseball glove in hand, and asked his old man if he wanted to play catch with him.
How could I say no to that??
So I told him to get one of his baseball hats, and I got my hat, glove and a ball so that we could go out to play for about a half an hour. I was trying to teach him the basics of throwing and catching a baseball. He did better with his throwing than his catching which is normal. Even though V doesn't have a glove, she chased down some balls and was practicing her throwing too.
What beautiful weather we had for it too. Sunny, 75, with a slight breeze moving the cotton puff clouds across the sky.
Hopefully many more days like this to come...
And to top it off, afterwards while my kids played a board game, I got to doze off in front of the tv while watching the ballgame.... mmmmmm
Saturday, August 12, 2006
SNMR 1.27: "Some Kind of Wonderful"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "Some Kind of Wonderful" (1987, PG-13, 94 minutes), starring Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, Mary Stuart Masterson, Craig Sheffer, Elias Koteas and John Ashton. The film was directed by Howard Deutch.
This film has long been one of my favorite teen movies. I first saw it in the theater when I was in high school, while working for General Cinemas. Because this movie was showing at that time, there are certain scenes in this film which I have seen literally hundreds of times.
From the DVD's dust jacket:
Think everyone over 17 has forgotten what it's like to be 16? Filmmaker John Hughes (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Pretty in Pink) hasn't. Now Hughes (writer & producer) delivers another funny, savvy, crowd-pleasing look at adolescence in this story about a high school misfit (Eric Stoltz- Mask), who falls so head-over-heels for the senior class siren that he's blind to the charms of his beautiful and devoted best pal (Mary Stuart Masterson- Fried Green Tomatoes). Some fun, some heartache, Some Kind of Wonderful!
From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 1054:
Eric Stoltz stars as an affable lad who can't seem to make any headway with women. Unaware of the deep affection hurled in his direction by constant companion Mary Stuart Masterson (who all but steals the show), Stoltz sets his eyes high on Lea Thompson. Perceptive, thoughtful viewing.As with most of John Hughes other work, this film is excellently written, and has a good pace to it. The cast is excellent. I agree with the above assessment that Masterson's charachter Watts steals almost every scene she's in. I also love Elias Koteas as the skinhead Duncan. I love the film's closing song "Can't Help Falling in Love" performed by a little known band called Lick the Tins. As somewhat of a high school misfit myself and most of the time painfully clueless around women I find attractive, I can relate to this film on many levels. This is a wonderful little film on it's own merits and for sentimental reasons. I'll give this film five out of five stars. So go rent it or buy it on the cheap from ebay, like I did.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
A night at the ballpark
My mom runs a senior citizen program in Lowell, MA. Once per season they have a trip out to see the Lowell Spinners, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in the NY-Penn League (A). Every summer she invites the fam out to join her group for a night at the ballpark. Last season when we went, the Spinners won. This year not so lucky. However, the night is always off on a high note as our admission price allows us an all you can eat buffet two hours before gametime. We're tallking about lots of chicken wings, ribs, steaktips, hot dogs and sausages cooked on the grill plus corn on the cob, pasta salad, regular salad and fruit salad. Throw in a Pepsi or two to boot and you're all set for the night.
The weather was great until about the 5th inning when the wind started howling and the temperature dropped rapidly. Fortunately it didn't rain.
Here's the official press release from tonight's ballgame with some pictures that I'll add, when blogger lets me.
(Lowell) Spinners Erased by (Brooklyn) Cyclones
Strong pitching keeps Spinner hitters at bay, 4-1
Lowell, MA – The Brooklyn Cyclones rode a strong pitching performance by starter Eric Brown and combined it with some clutch hitting to defeat the Lowell Spinners 4-1 in front of 5030 fans on Notebook Giveaway Night, sponsored by Staples, Courier, Pepsi, Hood and Lowell Co-Operative Bank.
Brooklyn (30-20) jumped on top early, scoring a run in the top of the 1st with two outs on an RBI single by first baseman Jeremy Hambrice. They added two more in the 5th inning on RBI singles by catcher Jason Jacobs and right fielder Jonathan Sanchez. Lowell (24-25) was able to scratch together a run in the bottom of the 8th inning as Jorge Jimenez singled and advanced to 2nd when Jeff Vincent walked. Mike Chambers hit a fly ball to left that got caught up in the wind and dropped for a base hit to score Jimenez and the Spinners had cut the deficit to two.
However, the Cyclones added an insurance run in the 9th on an RBI double and the Spinners could not muster any late-inning magic tonight, as they had done the previous night.
Kris Johnson (0-2) picked up the loss although he allowed just his second earned run in 10 starts this season. Ryne Lawson was solid in long relief, hanging in for five and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out two. Jean Guillen’s nine-game scoreless streak ended tonight as he allowed one run on just one hit and two walks in an inning and a third.
Lowell did not have many scoring opportunities tonight as they put just seven runners on base via five hits, a hit batter and one walk. Vincent, Chambers, Jimenez, Zach Daeges and Reid Engel had the hits for the Spinners as Vincent extended his hitting streak to eight games.
The homestand ends tomorrow night as the Spinners look to take the rubber game of their 3-game series with the Cyclones. It’s Revenge of the Nerds Night sponsored by Pepsi and Bank of America with our special guest Myron Noodleman performing during the game! Brian Steinocher (0-1, 2.79) looks for his first victory as gates open at 5:30 p.m. and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
A New Era has begun
Well at least it has at the company I work for.
Last Friday was my friend R's last day after logging seven years at the same job. He gave his two week notice and now has the same job as he did at my company but for a larger company with greater stability and with more pay. So now I continuously wonder about my job security because R was the one who got me in the door here and I know I'm nowhere near the favorite employee. I work hard and have become good at what I do but I won't blow sunshine up anyone's a** and I ask too many questions. I'm definitely not a YES man for the owner. We have one engineer, a guy in his 50's, who is also not a YES man. He was hired two weeks after I was and is also not a favorite of the owner. We have another engineer who is 24 and just got her MA in May. We also have an intern who is 22 and still in school. These two ladies are smart and work hard but are also young and impressionable.
The owner of the company has brought in his son (which I can understand) and his son's best buddy and they are slowly sucking the life out of the company. They have, unknowingly or unwittingly perhaps, ushered in an era of negativity amongst the crew. Aside from the owner, son and buddy, practically everyone else who works there is looking to get out and off of the sinking ship. I really don't think that this company will be able to finish out the year, since finances are tight for the owner, whose building overhead and payroll suck up all of the profits from our one and only customer and (so far) non-profitable r & d projects.
The owner has asked the intern to take over some of R's responsibilities, which if that were the only thing on her plate she could probably handle. When I got the memo of the changes I thought that it was absurd. This intern is going back to school full time next month and yet probably will be expected to put in 30 hours per week at work. Not to mention that she'll be a graduate assistant one day a week as well.
I'm going to talk to the owner tomorrow and tell him I'd like to be considered for R's position and see what he says. His reaction will give me a good idea of my worth to the company, or not...
Though no matter what, I'm still looking for other opportunities.
Ex asked me on Monday if there was any way we could meet earlier on Friday than our normal 5 PM time, so I can take V and M for the weekend. She revealed to me that she has a new boyfriend, Randy.
I don't particularly care that she does, as long as she's happy. After all, we've been divorced for more than two years now and *I* have been looking for another relationship myself. All I'll be concerned about is how he will treat V and M when she finally introduces them and to a lesser extent, how he treats her. Even though I'm the ex, I wouldn't want to see her get involved in an abusive relationship.
But in talking to her it made me wonder: Is it that easy? And What am I doing wrong/not doing?
She met him when they both were at the car dealership waiting for their vehicles to be repaired and they started talking and now they've been dating for about a month...
Monday, August 07, 2006
stole this from Sarafina awhile ago & thought I'd post it with my answers.
1) Your Rock Star name: (first pet and current street name) Mandy Spitbrook
2) Your Movie Star name: (grandfather/grandmother on your dad's side and your favourite candy) Arthur Eleanor Peanut Butter Cup
3) Your 'Fly Girl/Guy" name: (first initial of first name and the first two or three letters of your last name) T. Bam
4) Your Detective name: (favourite animal and favourite colour) Eagle Blue
5) Your Soap Opera name: (middle name and the city where you were born) Dean Woonsocket
6) Your Star Wars name: (first three letters of your last name, last three letters of your mum's maiden name, and first three letters of your pet's name) Bamammspasha
7) Your Porn Star name: (middle name, father's middle initial, and the street you grew up on) Dean D. Beaverbrook
8) Your Superhero name: ('The', your favourite colour, and the automobile you drive)
The MIDNIGHT BLUE neon
I'm not going to tag anyone. Fill this out for yourself if you like - or not.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
This afternoon V and M went swimming. The air wasn't hot enough to heat the water enough for my taste, so I just sat poolside in the shade watching them play. It's absolutely amazing how much more progress the kids have made in the swimming area. They both now can tread water well enough that they don't need their lifejackets in the shallow end of the pool. Both are becoming adept at going underwater without holding their noses first and are doing excellent at swimming underwater for short distances. M wants a set of goggles so he can open his eyes under the water.
Why is it that the best looking women at my apartment complex are either married/have boyfriends, are smokers or have large obnoxious tattoos, or a combination of all three?
There were two couples, each with a small child at the pool today. Each woman was physically attractive enough. The best looking woman of the two had no large visible tattoos but took time out from playing with her daughter to light up a cigarette. Yack. The other woman, while not as attractive as the first, not only was a smoker but had a tattoo that covered the majority of her back. Yuck.
I'm not really into tattoos myself but can (sort of) understand the desire to have a small, discreet one.
Then there was another woman who was there with her kids. She was wearing a bikini but was way too skinny for it. She had two medium sized tattoos on her back and a smaller one on each leg, near the ankles, though she didn't light up while she was there. Two of the kids she brought were tossed out of the pool by the pool monitor for excessive horsing around and another, younger kid somehow got hurt near the end and was complaining that he could not see and was crying for help. She got mad at the pool monitor, whom she thought was an actual lifeguard, for not doing more to help. She was complaining about the lack of assistance while she was huddling over the injured kid, who I'm assuming was her son.
With myself and possibly the skinny bikini lady above as exceptions, the rest of the adults at the pool this afternoon (including the pool monitor lady) were smokers. I understand that the pool area is an open air public place but... what ever happened to public areas being smoke free? Is there some kind of law that is supposed to restrict such behavior - something similar to the law in effect banning smoking from restaurants?
Saturday, August 05, 2006
SNMR 1.26: "Kingdom of Heaven"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005, R, 144 minutes), starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, David Thewlis, Nathalie Cox, Eve Green, Edward Norton, Michael Sheen, Jeremy Irons and Jouko Ahola. The film was directed by Ridley Scott.
This is one of those DVD's that I bought when it first came out because it looked good but have never gotten around to watching it until tonight. I've had it in the queue to review for quite some time, but have been putting it off for other movies. I think I bought it primarily because of Orlando Bloom, who I liked in the LOTR trilogy and Pirates of the Carribbean films.
From the DVD's dust jacket:
From Ridley Scott, director of Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, comes a thrilling, action-packed epic of honor, passion and courage that "explodes with adventure" (Chicago Tribune). Orlando Bloom heads an all-star cast in this sweeping tale about a young knight during the Crusades who must battle overwhelming forces to save his people and fulfill his true destiny.
From Martin & Porter's DVD and Video Guide 2006, p. 614:
In twelfth century France, a blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to expiate his sins, rising to the rank of knight and leading the defense of Jerusalem against the Muslim leader Saladin. Director Ridley Scott gives the film a beautiful look and impressive battle scenes but the script is weak and drawn out. Bloom lacks the presence to carry a movie this size.
I thought this movie was okay. Not great but not horrible either. I agree with Martin & Porter that the script was on the weak side, primarily because it was too drawn out. The battle scenes were excellent but not enough to counter the lull during the slow sections of the film. Rent this if you like or wait for the movie to play out on cable television. I'll give this film two out of five stars.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Answer me this
Ok, I've been tagged by bluez628. Thanks for thinkin' 'bout me.... I guess....
Rapper Name- Green Machine
Alternative Rock Band Name- The Get a Life Band
Name your pain- kidney stone/prostate
1 True Word That Symbolizes God- Mercy
1 True Love or 1 Million Dollars?- True love any day of the week (though, honestly, who couldn't use a million bucks???)
Live Free or Die Stupid?- Living free (though IS living really FREE?? Methinks not...)
Purist, happiest moment ever (8 words or less)- watching my children being born.
Most Influential Life Lesson- hard to say - there have been many.
Most Succesful Person You Least Admire- Paris Hilton.
Where we go when we die (1 word)- Depends (on what you believe).
Worst TV Show of the Past Decade- Any "reality" program - like Survivor.
Best TV Show of the Past Decade- ALIAS, baby!!!
Still with me, yes or no?- yeah, sure.
Burning Building-baby or dog?- baby first, dog second.
Who runs the world? (2 words or less)- NOT ME.
Worst Idea You Ever Had- I'll get back to you on that one.
Shittiest Job You Ever Had- Any job where I'm working for someone else (all of them to date).
Best Job You've Ever Had- Haven't had it yet but I'm working on it.
I'm not going to tag anyone. Answer this if the mood strikes you.